Template talk:Circumcision series

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Problematic addition[edit]

I'm reverting this edit, which added "female circumcision".

This "circumcision series" navbox is useful because it allows readers to conveniently navigate through Wikipedia's eleven articles on various aspects of (male) circumcision. It is questionable whether it is helpful to include female genital cutting, as this is a separate subject. More importantly, including "female genital cutting" (or "female circumcision") makes it unclear what the other articles are about. For example, when FGC is present, it is unclear whether "medical aspects" is about circumcision, FGC, or both. When FGC is absent, it is perfectly obvious that "medical aspects" is about those aspects of circumcision. Jakew (talk) 17:45, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

No problem, suggest we call it "Male circumcision" then. I don't see anything as unclear with my changes, and it would be crystal clear by implementing your desired change with the change I suggest. Otherwise, it would be unclear why female circumcision is not included in this template, unless one wished to implicitly claim that female circumcision is unrelated to the topic of circumcision. Circumcision is a subject affecting males and females. One subject: here is its dictionary entry: [1] Notice the definition applies to males and females. On this especially controversial topic, ambiguity and implied "correctness" of some uses over others is especially frowned upon. Since this new template's contents are disputed along with the article, I suggest removing it completely until the dispute is resolved. Blackworm (talk) 17:54, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
As you know, Blackworm, we've discussed many of these issues previously, and I'd prefer not to go over the same ground again. I'll therefore try to keep this brief.
First, excluding circumcision itself, all of the articles listed in the template are sub-articles (or sub-sub-articles) of circumcision, and discuss specific aspects of that procedure. To use my earlier example, medical analysis of circumcision is about the medical aspects of the circumcision of males. It is not about the medical aspects of female genital cutting. At present, it is clear from the visual structure of the template that each topic is an aspect of circumcision. If "female genital cutting" (or "female circumcision") is introduced, however, it is no longer clear what procedure the navigation links are about.
Second, one cannot conclude from the absence of inclusion that something is unrelated to circumcision. There are topics that are clearly related to circumcision (eg., foreskin and penis) that aren't included, but I doubt anyone would view this as an assertion that they are unrelated. And there are numerous topics that may be related depending upon one's point of view. Again, the lack of inclusion isn't a rejection of those points of view. It is important to distinguish between not asserting a point of view and rejecting it.
Third, dictionary entries define words, not subjects. Whatever one chooses to call them, the fact that one can make a statement about FGC that is not true of circumcision, and vice versa, should be a clue that there are two subjects.
Finally, if you think this template is unsuitable, I suggest listing it at WP:TFD. Jakew (talk) 20:26, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
I see the dispute is still alive and well. Sadly, this means your change adding the navbox to circumcision and related articles does not have consensus, despite your well-meaning intent. I will be obliged to remove the navboxes from these articles since the navbox has precisely the parallel dispute as the article. Since the navbox cannot be tagged to indicate a dispute among editors as to its appropriateness, then this new change of yours must simply be undone, per Wikipedia policy. Contrary to your assertions, the argument of incompleteness is entirely relevant and valid -- I've presented to you two perfect alternatives, both of which you apparently reject: call the navbox "male circumcision" since that's the topic you want contained in it, or discuss ALL circumcision within the navbox and don't exclude female circumcision from the topic of circumcision. It is the juxtaposition of these two positions of yours (the rejection of both these solutions) that is unacceptable and curious. Again, why must we adopt your odd categorization of circumcision into "circumcision" (that is, circumcision of males) and "other things that are called circumcision and fall under the same definition in dictionaries but that I don't want to discuss or even acknowledge in the encyclopedia that they are circumcision or in any way related to circumcision." Since that is what your argument reads like to me, I hope you can understand my opposition, based on Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy. Blackworm (talk) 00:34, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
By the way, your first point is easily addressed by reformatting the navbox. But the greater problem is in the organization of the articles themselves, with some referring to "circumcision" and some (correctly) to "male circumcision." The organization of the articles ensures that comparisons between the circumcision of males and females found in reliable sources have no outlet in this encyclopedia, which I see as a grave flaw with very controversial consequences.
Your second point is addressed above. If someone created a navbox called "programming languages" but silently excluded all but object oriented languages, the problem (and the implication that non-object oriented languages are not programming languages) would perhaps be more evident. Or perhaps, a navbox on "discrimination" that excludes "discrimination against men" because an editor (or a majority of vocal editors) views it as not being discrimination.
Your third point about FGC and circumcision doesn't hold -- FGC is a subset of circumcision, i.e. it's the circumcision of females. Even the WHO, the foremost advocate for circumcising boys and foremost opponent of circumcising girls, the WHO which popularized the newly-created acronym "Female Genital Mutilation" and later "Female Genital Cutting" specifically in an attempt to dissociate the topic from the topic previously known as circumcision (male and female), says quite plainly that FGC is known as female circumcision, and repeatedly and consistently uses the phrase "male circumcision" to disambiguate from female circumcision in its documents. Why is this the one case we don't do or say what the WHO does? Rather, we seem to act upon the WHO's advocacy and disassociation of the terms, taking the one step further so as to insist that circumcision is only a word used to describe a "procedure" done to males. (A "procedure" not a "cutting off," right?) That violates WP:NPOV. Blackworm (talk) 00:51, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps the first point could be addressed by reformatting the navbox into two sections or something, but it's unclear why that would be beneficial. FGC, as far as I know, doesn't have any sub-articles yet, and is consequently trivial to navigate. Even if the complexity approached that of the circumcision hierarchy, it is unclear why the reader would be served by a joint navbox, as opposed to say a "female genital cutting series" navbox.
If someone were to create a navbox called "programming languages", it would as a practical matter be impossible to include all of them because such a large number exist (see List of programming languages). So it would seem obvious that exclusion of a language (or group of languages) would not necessarily imply that they were not programming languages. (I think it might be difficult to decide what languages should be included, but that is a slightly different problem.)
If we consider the various definitions of the word 'circumcision' (eg., here), we can see that there are several. The first group of definitions at dictionary.reference.com provides four: (male) circumcision, FGC, spiritual purification, and a religious festival. But that seems a very poor argument for including them all in a navbox.
I think it's helpful to distinguish between a concept and what we choose to call that concept. I understand that you have a concept in mind (which you call "circumcision"), and you see "male circumcision" and "female circumcision" as aspects of that concept, but not concepts in their own right. I guess that's fair enough, but it's a fairly unusual way of looking at things. I think a more common way of looking at things is that there are concepts of "circumcision" (ie., the removal of the penile foreskin) and "female genital cutting", and the latter is sometimes called "female circumcision", and the former is almost always called "circumcision". There is the umbrella term "genital surgery", of course, but this includes procedures other than circumcision and FGC. A few people (anti-circumcision activists, for example) also appear to have an umbrella concept of "genital mutilation" (their choice of terminology obviously reflecting their own POV), which they use to refer to both of these concepts together (eg., "Marilyn Milos is an opponent of genital mutilation"). As with "genital surgery", though, this is broader than the concept that you seem to prefer. Jakew (talk) 11:36, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
No, I have no unusual way of looking at things, but rather you do. Refer again to this mainstream dictionary definition of "circumcise:" [2] I think the fundamental problem is your denial, in light of much contrary evidence I've already presented, that "circumcision" is not "the removal of the penile foreskin" but rather is that, PLUS analogous procedures on females. I understand there is great political pressure to separate the concept of circumcision into "circumcision of males, formerly viewed as mutilation (see 1911 Britannica), which we will forthwith call the only kind of circumcision, and is good" and "mutilation of females, which we must not call circumcision any more, and is bad." But this political attempt is far from complete, as many dictionaries and sources still use the politically incorrect verbiage. We must reflect this, not obscure it and propagate the politically motivated change in verbiage any further than we already have (with "FGC" for example). Sadly, this political battle is replicated here at Wikipedia (with the endless disputes, and the tagging) rather than outlined, discussed, and openly addressed in Wikipedia.
The concept you are looking for is called "male circumcision." See the WHO's "Male Circumcision" pages, in which they repeatedly and consistently refer to your concept as "male circumcision" or "MC," for more evidence. See the many sources discussing circumcision of males and females. Your separation of the concepts is fine -- but I insist on disambiguation, just like the WHO insists on it: i.e., where you want to refer to male circumcision, call it "male circumcision" like the WHO and other international sources do, not "circumcision" as the latter approach co-opts the definition and implies that females cannot be circumcised (similar to the grave error in the definition in the circumcision article, recently partially rectified by adding the word "male"). Blackworm (talk) 15:45, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
As I've said previously, dictionary definitions define what is meant by words, but they aren't intended to identify concepts. As such, I'm not sure why you refer to this definition again. I agree that the word "circumcision" can be used to mean removal of the penile foreskin, some or all forms of FGC, spiritual purification, or a religious festival, and I do not intend to suggest that any of these usages are necessarily "wrong". However, the term "female circumcision" is controversial (see that article), and there is no particular reason for us to use POV terminology.
I find it unhelpful of you to say 'The concept you are looking for is called "male circumcision."', as though that were the only term for the concept. There are several. The name that I (and most authors of sources that I've read) use is "circumcision".
However, since this is the title of a template, rather than the name of an article, WP:UCN does not apply, and so there is no reason to favour "circumcision" over "male circumcision". I've therefore amended the template. Jakew (talk) 19:14, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't agree with your first sentence. "What is meant by words" is identical to establishing a concept. Here at Wikipedia, we also present "what is meant by words." The "senses" of a word serve the purpose of identifying various related concepts. You may wish to talk about a different, more detailed or more rigid concept, one that's related but with more exclusions and conditions, and they exclude examples of the concept based on your criteria, but all you've done is identify a new concept. To distinguish it from the general concept, disambiguating language must be used (e.g., "male circumcision"). In any case, articles are thankfully not based on the concepts of an editor, they are based on sources. Sources discuss female circumcision. Sources discuss circumcision of males and females. Sources even use the word "circumcision" in quotes, similar to the way you do for "female circumcision," presumably in order to express disdain or disapproval for the term in the same way you do. It is the position of the Canadian Children's Rights Council that "circumcision" of male or female children is genital mutilation of children.[3]
Also, please note that some of the articles you link to in your circumcision series navbox also discuss female circumcision. As a consequence, tt seems very odd to exclude female circumcision from the navbox. I realize this is disputed, and you must realize that this effort of yours, combined with your apparent inflexibility on the content of this new effort, is part and parcel of the dispute. For the time being, it's better to remove it rather than create more disputed elements. Blackworm (talk) 20:39, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
And I also disagree with your other statements. The term "female circumcision" may be controversial to some, perhaps those who view female circumcision as always bad and male circumcision as generally good, but that doesn't mean Wikipedia considers it "POV terminology" and thus must exclude it any more than "circumcision." It's terminology used in sources. The controversy about that is explored in the female genital cutting article -- where it should also be explored in the circumcision article. But alas, the whole point of the "controversy" over the phrase "female circumcision" seems to be that it highlights parallels to male circumcision, or at least brings up the possibility of comparison. Since male circumcision is prevalent in some areas where female circumcision is unknown, the choice to explore the phrase "female circumcision" in female genital cutting rather than circumcision further obscures this link; certainly benefitting the small number (for example, of vocal pro-"[male] circumcision" activists) who oppose this mainstream terminology, wish to change it, and further (unlike the WHO) wish to obfuscate it by failing to disambiguate, using "circumcision" instead of "male circumcision" to mean male circumcision, even in international contexts (such as the English Wikipedia) where such disambiguation is useful: effectively using activism to remove female circumcision from the concept of circumcision. Blackworm (talk) 20:39, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for your changes. Still has a couple of problems. The template name needs changing to "male circumcision series", link should be to male circumcision as to do otherwise implies that all circumcision is male circumcision (and imposes this odd organization, creating an artifical hurdle to changing it), and articles which deal with circumcision of males and females in general rather than male circumcision (for example, the ethics, law, and cultural articles, if I remember correctly) should be under a circumcision navbox, not (only) a male circumcision navbox, although that isn't your immediate problem since you seem to have charged yourself with making a male circumcision navbox. If you wish, I'll create the general circumcision navbox, and add the circumcision articles to it. Blackworm (talk) 20:54, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

That's ok. To address your concerns in order:
  • Since the template name is not ordinarily visible to the reader, I see little point in changing it. I've no objection to it being moved, however, if you want to take responsibility for doing so and updating all the transclusions.
  • The title of the circumcision article is circumcision, not male circumcision (which is merely a redirect). It is preferable to link to the actual title of an article.
  • Ethics of circumcision and Circumcision in some cultures and religions are about (male) circumcision. The scope of circumcision and law is "disputed", as the hatnote there points out. I can't think of any articles that are sub-topics of both (male) circumcision and FGC.
  • I would almost certainly oppose the creation of a "general circumcision navbox", if I understand it correctly, since such a navbox would have to refer to FGC by the controversial and POV term "female circumcision". I do not consider this to be compatible with WP:NPOV. Jakew (talk) 21:16, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
FGC and circumcision are significantly different procedures; FGC does not belong on this template, which discusses circumcision, any more than Clitoral hood piercing, Ampallang, or Castration do. Jayjg (talk) 00:09, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Considering human sexes are different the procedures would have to vary wouldn't they Jayjg? Garycompugeek (talk) 13:10, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

This issue will never go away. What issue? The fact that there has been male and female circumcision for thousands of years yet some glorify male circumcision while female circumcision is demonized and called female genital cutting. Not very neutral eh? Garycompugeek (talk) 22:02, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

I've already presented sources and other evidence to Talk:Circumcision outlining the many sources that use "the circumcision of females" or "female circumcision" quite plainly, quite openly, and with a thorough understanding of the topic of circumcision. Indeed, many of the sources already referenced in the male circumcision and female circumcision articles refer directly to female circumcision, often in the title. That can be checked -- it's right there, plainly. Yes, some oppose the phrase. We discuss that in female genital cutting but oddly not in circumcision, where we exile the phrase completely. Many do not oppose the phrase, evidently. Some even favour the phrase. Jayjg, I believe you are misrepresenting the situation. And as this new navbox seems to further propagate this disputed, implicit POV, it seems it must be removed. In any case, it doesn't have WP:CONSENSUS. Blackworm (talk) 13:06, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Blackworm, you previously indicated, in your posts dated 17:54, 25 March 2009 and 00:34, 26 March 2009, that you would consider it sufficient if "circumcision series" was changed to "male circumcision series". I didn't entirely agree with that change, for reasons explained previously, but nevertheless I made the modification on 18:57, March 26, 2009. Now, you seem to indicate that you're still unsatisfied. Can you explain what has changed? Jakew (talk) 19:08, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry, Jake. In my attempt to find an easy solution to the problem, other facts escaped me: especially the state of the circumcision ethics, circumcision and law, and circumcision in cultures articles -- namely the ongoing dispute as to whether these articles are about circumcision of everyone, or only circumcision of males. The de facto state is that they are about everyone -- the articles refer to circumcision of both females and males. This navbox of yours, if about "male circumcision," seems to cause a re-appraisal of that status for those included articles, and seemingly would be a tool in that debate -- after all, isn't it likely someone coming to a male circumcision navbox containing articles about male circumcision (in essence serving the purpose of a category, but with arguably more exposure), and reading about female circumcision, argue against the female circumcision information on that basis? Especially in the absence of a general "circumcision" navbox (the reader assuming, as implied by the navbox's link to circumcision rather than male circumcision, that all circumcision is male circumcision) that also contains these ethics etc. articles? That problem only became apparent to me afterwards, and again I'm sorry for the resulting shift in my position. I'm without a good compromise right now, since it seems the idea of a circumcision navbox with "female circumcision" in it is unacceptable, yet a "male circumcision" navbox with articles partly about female circumcision is acceptable. Can you expand on that, perhaps? Blackworm (talk) 08:23, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm afraid you're operating, at least in part, on the basis of incorrect assumptions. As I stated above, circumcision in some cultures and religions is about (male) circumcision (I refer you to your edit of 20:39, August 6, 2008 with edit summary "This article seems to be exclusively about male circumcision"). Similarly, the first paragraph of ethics of circumcision leaves little doubt: "Male circumcision involves the excision of genital tissue from the human body, so the ethics of circumcision are sometimes controversial".
There is, as noted, a dispute (though apparently a rather old one) at circumcision and law. Your argument that the de facto state is your preferred outcome is logically flawed, as it presumes that only one understanding of the subject of that article (yours) is correct, thus begging the question. So it is better to avoid making such an assumption, and instead consider that "circumcision and law" may be about (male) circumcision only, or it may be about both (male) circumcision and FGC.
So let's consider circumcision and law. If we presume that this article is about (male) circumcision only, there is obviously no problem. The only potential problem occurs when we consider whether "circumcision and law" is about both circumcision and FGC, or to put it another way, if we regard "circumcision and law" as a logical child of both of these parent topics. I have to say that I regard articles with multiple parent topics as a sign of poor organisation, and this potential problem may simply be a sign that we ought to reconsider the organisation. However, I think we should recognise that in some cases multi-parent status is unavoidable in an encyclopaedia (for example, brit milah is a sub-topic of circumcision and Judaism). I'm afraid I don't quite follow your argument here. I don't think that multi-parent status is necessarily a good argument for excluding articles from navigation tools. For example, thinking back a few years, it would have seemed unreasonable to object to the inclusion of brit milah in a Judaism navbox simply because that article is also about circumcision.
Again, if you think that the navbox violates WP policy, I encourage you to list it at WP:TFD. Doing so would have the benefit of getting input from the wider community. Jakew (talk) 11:10, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
No, the analogy would be more apt if the navbox was entitled, say, "Orthodox Judaism," and if editors opposed the idea that Brit Milah was part of Judaism in general (e.g., they opposed its appearance in the "Judaism" navbox). More to come. Blackworm (talk) 14:45, 29 March 2009 (UTC)


Does anyone mind if I move this to Template:Male circumcision? The template itself says that "Male circumcision series" is the title, yet for some reason that's not what it's called. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 23:37, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

I think we ought to use the a title consistent with the name of the circumcision article, so for the time being I oppose moving it. Jakew (talk) 08:24, 21 August 2010 (UTC)