User:BostonMA/Mediation

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Please Note: This page has been heavily reorganized for readability

Mediation Pages Related to Sathya Sai Baba[edit]

Pages associated with this mediation include:

Negotiation with Andries[edit]

Hello Andries. Before we jump into the disputes themselves, I would like to deal with some preliminary issues. You had agreed Talk:Sathya Sai Baba#Dispute resolution to mediation on a prior occasion. Please understand, however, that I am not an official mediator, just a volunteer. Under these circumstances, I would very much like you to express whether or not you are willing to have me as a mediator. (Please do so in the top section above). There are some other issues that I would like to discuss right at the start.

Prior to your original agreement to mediation, you raised concern that the process should be binding. I have no power of enforcement. I can however, make proposals that all parties abide by certain procedures. Agreement to these proposals would be voluntary, and it would be the right of wikipedians to treat such agreements as outside of normal Wikipedia jurisdiction. However, such agreements may have a moral authority, even if not an official one.

So, please consider whether you would agree to have me play the role of mediator, and indicate your agreement/disagreement above. Thanks --BostonMA 13:50, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

I have two concerns that may be resolved together
  1. BostonMA's relative inexperience with Wikipedia. S/he started editing Wikipedia in December 2005. Is that correct?
  2. If the mediation is going to be informally binding then it would be good to complete some work first on the article. I want to add information from the book by Brian Steel about SSB (including the assertion that he now refutes some of his writings on his homepage) and the LIMF book. I think it would be better to include this information first before starting the mediation and included possible disputes about it in the mediation. I guess nobody wants to start a new major dispute a month after the mediation has ended. (Yes, I should have said this when I agree with mediation, but I did not think of it then)
My proposal is to wait until information from these books has been added to the article and in the meantime BostonMA can become more experienced with Wikipedia. Andries 21:37, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
I have access to these books. Let me know what you need from these. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 22:21, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
Hi Andries. Regarding your question: I obtained a user account in December, and although technically I have made anonymous edits for some time prior, you are welcome to date my involvement with Wikipedia from that time.
With regard to your proposal: I think we may have different ideas regarding mediation. As I see it, mediation is not arbitration. If you should accept me as a mediator, that does not mean that I will play the role of handing out decisions, and expecting you to abide by them. Rather, I will be aiming to clarify issues and facilitate the coming to agreement by the parties themselves. I would ask questions to which I hope the answers would help this process and I would share my opinions and my experiences. However, I would not decide the content of the article (or articles) in question, and I would not tell you what to do.
You are quite within your rights to not accept me as a mediator, or to propose that I only act as a mediator at some point in the future. However, I don't see the need for postponing mediation until after you have made your expected edits. Since the purpose of mediation is to help the parties come to an agreement, my inclination is to not favor postponement. With that in mind, I offer a counter proposal: accept me as a mediator on a trial basis, say for two weeks. If at the end of two weeks, you are unhappy with my involvement, I will remove myself from the dispute, and no-one should hold it against you that you were not satisfied. I am neither a long time editor, nor do I have any official status, and thus, no-one ought to be penalized for accepting me as a mediator on a trial basis, but rejecting me as a mediator when the trial is over. So that is my offer. Please give it some thought. --BostonMA 22:20, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
I accept BostonMA's counter proposal. Though BostonMA is inexperienced, his discussion with a veteran contributor to Wikipedia, user:172, shows that he is reasonable and fair. I hope that BostonMA's is wise enough never to reveal his real name, because the history of the disputes between apologists and critics of SSB shows that he may be victim of defamation and ad hominem attacks. Andries 13:06, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm glad we could work something out. --BostonMA 14:34, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Scope of Mediation[edit]

In the mediator's opinion, the conflicts that occurred on the SSB and related pages prior to the start of mediation had a highly repetative character. The same or similar points would be raised again and again. Part of the reason why mediation seemed to become necessary is that the repetition of arguments seemed to have little or no effect toward resolving the conflicts. For this reason, the mediator has attempted to focus on a few issues until they are resolved, rather than to leave off a discussion whenever a new issue arose. For that reason, there is somewhat of a gap between the questions the mediator has raised, and the immediately disputed edit conflicts. The mediator does not want to discourage the parties from debating issues outside of those he has raised as formal questions. Nor does the mediator want to address every edit conflict immediately when it occurs. However, it has been argued that a "new" edit falls outside the scope of the current mediation. The mediator disagrees, and believes that the new edit conflicts are continuations of existing edit conflicts. Because the mediator has not focused on these questions, parties should not be accused of abandoning mediation merely on the grounds that discussion of edits is taking place on the talk pages of the article rather than on mediation pages. However, the mediator does not want to set a precedent in which parties believe that the mediator should not raise questions pertaining to certain edits on the grounds that these edits are "out of scope".

Please express your agreement or disagreement with this opinion of the mediator. Please discuss other issues elsewhere. --BostonMA 20:55, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Andries: The mediator can mediate any dispute, but I think mediation makes only sense in grey areas, for example somewhat doubtful sources or the structure of the article i.e. in cases in which the policies are open for different interpretations. Mediation does not make sense when there can be reasonably no differing interpretations of policies, such as when a reputable source, like salon.com supports the inclusion of a certain statement or opinion, like accusations of sexual abuse of "boys". If the mediator wants to mediate disputes for which different interpretations of policies are not reasonably possible then I will not object strongly, though think this may be a waste of time for all, but especially for the mediator. I do hope that black-and-white disputes can be dealt with quickly. Andries 21:22, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
  • SSS108: I agree. SSS108 talk-email

Issues raised by SSS108[edit]

One of the main editors for the SSB Wikipedia article is Andries. He is also the webmaster to the largest Anti-SSB Site on the internet, opposing SSB: hetnet.nl/~exbaba It is important to point out that Andries now claims, after a three year period, he is not the webmaster for the site. However, there is plenty of evidence to refute this claim: Reference As a matter of fact, Andries is now listing his position, on the hetnet.nl/~exbaba site, as being the "Main Representative, Supervisor and Contact". Therefore, his direct involvement, with the largest Anti-SSB site on the world wide web, is indisputable.

Andries has referenced the personal homepages of various Anti-SSB activists for over two years on the Main SSB article and about 14 months on the Allegations Against Sathya Sai Baba article. Andries never complained about personal homepages until my homepage was cited on the Main SSB article. Now Andries claims that personal homepages violate Wikipedia's guidelines. I have NO problem removing my name and webpages from the article. However, Andries is linking the references directly to Anti-SSB sites (including his own) in an attempt to promote his POV.

It is my contention that these actions do not promote a NPOV because the references (which were never originally published on Anti-Sai Sites) are linked to sites that specifically oppose Sathya Sai Baba. Therefore, I have insisted (to maintain fairness) that as long as Andries Anti-Sai Site is referenced, my Pro-Sai Site should be referenced as well. I have also asked that the references either be linked directly to their original sources or not linked at all (giving un-linked reference information instead).

Thaumaturgic originally submitted one paragraph to the Main SSB article Reference 2 Andries kept deleting this article and modifying it, attempting to undermine it. Then Andries started attributing the viewpoints to me Reference 3 After attributing the viewpoints to me, Andries claimed I am "non-notable" and repeatedly attempted to delete the entire Devotees and Proponents section. It is important to point out that the one paragraph was/is not dependent on me or my views. The paragraph contained statements of fact that sum up the Devotees and Proponents POV. It is also my contention that Andries is guilty of POV Pushing. He is willing to go to great lengths to add anything negative to the article but consistently waters down, modifies or deletes any positive material.

One example (out of many) is when Andries cited LIMF (The unofficial biography of SSB, Love Is My Form) as a "reputable" reference to support opposing information against SSB. After stating LIMF is "reputable", Andries completely disregards LIMF when it comes to Pro-Sai material in the book.

I am not the only person to have problems with Andries. There are many other editors who have had numerous problems with him. For example, you can view the Guru Talk Page and the Prem Rawat Talk Page.

I suggest that a couple of paragraphs be added to the Main SSB page that fairly and neutrally summarizes the SSB Controversy. Then I ask that the NPOV be enforced with other SSB related articles, including the "Allegations Against Sathya Sai Baba" article.

I would like to make it clear that I am not seeking to eliminate or suppress the Anti-SSB POV. You can verify this from my edits. At no time have I ever deleted the Anti-SSB POV or modified it in any significant way.

Thank you for volunteering to moderate. I am optimistic that only good can come from this and I look forward to working together with you to make the SSB Wikipedia Articles neutral, fair and balanced.

SSS108 05:27, 2 February 2006 (UTC)


Issues raised by Thaumaturgic[edit]

BostonMA, I would also like to thank you for volunteering to mediate. If you do not mind, I would rather watch the discussion and add occasional comments. I do not want Andries to feel that he is being ganged up upon by SSS108 and me. SSS108 is much more familiar with the material in question than I. This Wikipedia article is prejudiced and is promoting an antagonistic point of view, against Sathya Sai Baba. Andries is the person who is responsible for this bias. Any information added to the article must first pass his inspection, approval and edits. This is unfair and should not be allowed. Andries is openly antagonistic towards Sathya Sai Baba and maintains a high-ranking position on the Exbaba site. You can view the discussion I started when I added the Devotees and Proponents section [1] Like SSS108, I have not sought to eliminate the antagonistic point of view. With SSS108's help, I simply sought to include a Devotees and Proponents point of view. Who knew that one paragraph could evince such hostility? The problems with this article far exceeds the addition of a Devotees and Proponents point of view. I am committed to a neutral point of view and would like my voice counted as one, among many, opposing the bias in this article. Thaumaturgic 16:11, 2 February 2006 (UTC)


Statement by user:Andries[edit]

What I expect for this article and from mediation
1. Same standards for allowing sources and reference: if critics can only use peer reviewed articles and articles from reputable magazines and newspapers then apologists' material must follow the same standards. So I suggest setting a standard for inclusion and exclusion first. If apologists (like Moreno) can quote themselves from their non-notable homepages that contradict reputable sources, like the BBC and the Free university of Amsterdam then I (and other critics) can quote myself too from my non notable homepage that contradict reputable sources. The website www.exbaba.com, though I am affiliated with the website, is not my homepage: it is the homepage of the concerned Dutch former followers of SSB of which I am a member. Only a very small fraction of the website was authored by me. The only articles that were authored by me are my testimony “calumny confirmed”, a short translation and short comment about a SSB school in the Netherlands, my small outdated essay about “brainwashing” (that was first published on a yahoo group and then on http://www.surrealist.org/betrayalofthespirit/index.html#cultsgeneral and only then on exbaba) and the compilation of the recovery section on exbaba. Exbaba has never been the website on which I can de jure or de facto voice my opinions, unlike the website of Gerald Joe Moreno/SSS108 and I have limited influence over its contents.
2. Clearly identified violations of Wikipedia policies should either be removed or improved within a week. We should not wait with improving or removing until “the other side” has followed all of Wikipedia policies and guidelines.
3. Main organization of the article should by subject or chronological, not per POV. We should not discuss Jens Sethi, or affidavits in two or three different places.
4. The discussion and space dedicated to criticism in this article should reflect the criticism in both mainstream media articles and scholarly articles since David Bailey’s publication of “The Findings” in the year 2000 that was a major turning point in the debates about SSB.
5. Facts and government actions should precede the opinions and internet wars between critics and apologists. The first clearly have more encyclopedic value.

With regards to my behavior in the past that involved using the homepages of Robert Priddy and Brian Steel as sources that may have violated the Wikipedia a bit I would like to say the following. Both Priddy and Steel have published books about SSB that could have been used as a source for this article. Using their outdated books as a source while not allowing their current homepages in which they refute their previous writings may break the Wikipedia policies literally, but clearly contradicts common sense and the Wikipedia policies do not treat such an exceptional case. Apart from that, Steel and Priddy have been favorably cited as a source by Alexandra Nagel who wrote an article published by the Free University of Amsterdam in 1994 about SSB. Thirdly, most of Priddy’s online work has been published in book from by Basava Premanand who is treated as an expert by the BBC in the documentary Secret Swami. You can check this in the transcript. Fourth, the writings of Steel and Priddy do not contradict the publications of reputable sources, like the BBC and Danish Radio, unlike the writings of Moreno, who basically writes among many other things that the investigative journalism by the BBC is flawed when writing about Rahm family. (I have some inside knowledge about the way the BBC worked and they omitted several testimonies by sexual abuse victims and choose to focus on the Rahm family, among others because everything had to be cramped in a one-hour documentary.)

Another thing with regards to the accusations of Moreno about my behavior that I should not have attributed statements to him. I think my behavior is clearly backed up by Wikipedia guidelines and policies.

Here is the excerpt from wikipedia:NPOV that states that views have to be attributed. "To write from a neutral point of view, one presents controversial views without asserting them; to do that, it generally suffices to present competing views in a way that is more or less acceptable to their adherents, and also to attribute the views to their adherents. Disputes are characterized in Wikipedia. They are not re-enacted." In this case, attributing statements only revealed the fact that those statements are only sourced from a non-notable homepage.
Here is another excerpt that proves that attribution by me of opinions to Moreno was fully justified. (This is a guideline, not a policy though) Wikipedia:Cite_sources "The need for citations is especially important when writing about the opinions held on a particular issue. Avoid weasel words such as, "Some people say…" Instead, make your writing verifiable: find a specific person or group who holds that opinion, mention them by name, and give a citation to some place where they can be seen or heard expressing that opinion. Remember that Wikipedia is not a place for expressing your opinions or for original research."

Also Moreno/SSS108 confuses links to homepage with information or opinions sourced to homepages. The first latter is clearly discouraged or even forbidden by policy, but I have not seen any guideline or policy that says or discourages that linking to media articles published on homepages is forbidden or discouraged. If so, where do policies or guidelines say so? I admit, of course, that it is better to link directly to the BBC than to the anti-SSB websites http://www.saiguru.net and http://www.exbaba.com if the material is available online at the website of the BBC. I have already made a start with bypassing the anti-SSB websites saiguru.net and exbaba.com. I had not done this in the past, mainly because it was easier and more convenient for me to link to exbaba.com, not because I wanted to promote exbaba.com: after all I know the website quite well, but even I occasionally encounter something there of which I was not aware. If the material is only available on www.exbaba.com and www.saiguru.net then I think this justifies linking to these websites, because online references have clearly added value to the reader. Not everybody has access to a university library around the corner. Of course it become a different matter if those media article are interspersed with comments by the editors of exbaba, or apologist comments, but this is as far as I am aware not the case, with the exception of one article published in the Dutch newspaper Trouw, mistranslated by the Dutch American Ella Evers. Probably most of the writings by Moreno cannot be sourced to any media article or scholarly sources. This is, I believe, an indication that Moreno wants to publish his original research in Wikipedia.

Moreno also seems to confuse neutrality with NPOV. Wikipedia is not neutral about the Flat earth theory, but it does follow NPOV policies. NPOV means following media and scholarly articles and opinions, not minimizing them or excluding them because they are non-neutral or "biased".

Further what I personally see as a major problem is that Moreno publishes all my e-mails on his homepage with all kinds of suggestive and misguided comments. How can I properly communicate with him if he behaves in such a way?

Andries 15:25, 4 February 2006 (UTC)


Starting Off[edit]

Although the setting of ground rules might seem to be the first order of business, my instincts suggest that we try an experiment first. I think all parties agree that the article should be neutral and balanced, but opinions vary regarding what constitutes neutral and balanced. I would like, as the first order of business to do a little exploration to find out if there is room for agreement on some basic issues, such as the percentage of the main article that would need to be devoted to criticisms of SSB if that article were to be accepted as neutral and balanced by all parties. Its possible there is room for agreement, but it is also possible that the parties are far apart on this. So, I'd like to explore this a bit.

What I would like each of you to do is to answer the questions below. Please note that the questions are about a hypothetical article which is neutral and balanced. If you say that a neutral and balanced article would not have more than x percent of its space devoted to criticisms, that would not imply that if the current article has less than x percent then it is neutral, nor does it mean that if the current article were adjusted to have less than x percent that it would be neutral. What it means is that any article which has more than x percent would not be neutral. Please try to give justifications for your answers. For example,

"I think article y is neutral and balanced. The subject of article y is similar to the subject of the SSB article in the following ways. It contains x percent devoted to criticisms, so I think a neutral SSB article should not have more/less than x percent devoted to criticisms."
(I am more interested in the answers to the two questions than I am in arguments that might be raised to support the particular numbers chosen. I am at fault for conveying the impression that I am more interested in the arguments which support those numbers than is the case at the moment. I think the arguments are important, but I really want to see the numbers soon, even if they are high and low limits that you have chosen merely because your gut says they are OK.) (BostonMA 23:13, 4 February 2006 (UTC))

Thank you in advance for indulging my request. --BostonMA 16:40, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

1. If the main SSB article were neutral and balanced, it would not have more than what percentage of its space devoted to criticisms of SSB?

  • SSS108 spacewise: 25% SSS108 00:22, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Thaumaturgic 20% of the total article. Thaumaturgic 01:35, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Andries 48.3 %

2. If the main SSB article were neutral and balanced, it would not have less than what percentage of its space devoted to criticisms of SSB?

  • SSS108 spacewise: 15% SSS108 00:22, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Thaumaturgic 10% of the total article. Thaumaturgic 01:35, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Andries 25%

A Second Step[edit]

I have not seen a response from Thaumaturgic regarding the acceptable high and low limits for the critical content of the main SSB article. However, Thaumaturgic had expressed previously an intention to "watch the discussion and add occasional comments", so I will not wait. I note that the high limit for SSS108 is 25%, which is the low limit of Andries. Unfortunately, there is not very much overlap. However, with the figures given, it would be theoretically possible for there to be a balanced article, which could be recognized as such by both parties (if we examine only this one aspect, namely the percentage of critical content).

What I would like to ask now are the following questions.

1. Approximately what percentage of the current article would you say is critical?

  • SSS108 Approximately 50% of the article is critical (including Anti-Sai references, Anti-Sai media articles and not factoring in the long list of books written by SSB) I feel this is unfair because the article is not about the controversy. It is supposed to be about SSB, of which the controversy is but a part. SSS108 02:31, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Thaumaturgic I agree with SSS108. Thaumaturgic 02:39, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Andries I did a word count of the main body of text that has in total 5.978 words. The total amount of words that deal with the criticisms incl. rebuttals, but excl. the sex change is 3.802. This means that the percentage of material that deals with criticism, opposition and controversy is 63%. Even I think that this is too high, thought it was considerable lower before SSS108 and Thaumaturgic insisted on adding rebuttals some of which, but not all are spurious, because solely based on SSS108's homepage. Andries 02:56, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

2. Can you agree as follows: If the the article is at any time over 40% critical, that you will refrain from adding further critical material?

  • SSS108 I don't add Anti-Sai information. So the question is irrelevant to me. My personal homepage, Andries personal homepage and the personal homepages of Anti-Sai Activists should all be left out of a neutral article. 40% dedicated to the controversy, on the Main Page, seems completely unreasonable to me. I am sure Anti-Sais will be very happy with that percentage SSS108 02:31, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Thaumaturgic 40% is unacceptable to me. If, as SSS108 pointed out, the article was specifically about the Sathya Sai Baba Controversy, I would agree. However, 40% of the total main page is disproportionately high. Thaumaturgic 02:39, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Andries If the 40% of the article deals with controversy, rebuttals and criticism sourced from notable sources then I will not add anything. However if the rebuttals are sourced from non-notable homepages who engage in original research then I may add surrebuttals. Andries 02:07, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

3. If the answer to the above question is no, please explain why you feel you cannot agree to the previous item.

  • SSS108 N/A SSS108 02:31, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Thaumaturgic n/a Thaumaturgic 02:39, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Andries The distortion and sophism on SSS108's homepage, his selective excessive scepticism, and his ad hominem attacks on critics are an insult to people who experienced serious harm due to their involvement to SSB. If Moreno/SSS108 is allowed to quote extensively from his homepage then the same standards for inclusion and exclusion should be applied to critical material. Andries 11:44, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

4. Please give a percentage such that if the critical material within the article ever rises above this level, you agree to refrain from adding further critical material.

  • SSS108 N/A SSS108 02:33, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Thaumaturgic n/a Thaumaturgic 02:39, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Andries Again, I think that all major controversies and allegations desribed in reputable sources should be mentioned which is not yet the case now. If all parties follow Wikipedia policies, which is not the case now, and if the major controversies are treated then I will not add critical material when the percentage is above 40%.Andries 11:44, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Please note. The questions above are not asking whether you would consider an article which consisted of 40% critical material to be balanced. Rather, the questions ask about your own willingness to cease adding critical material.. --BostonMA 02:56, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

All the major point of criticisms have to be represented. One point criticism that is not yet represented is the suicide of young men as described in one of the most prestigious newspapers on the planet, The Times. I insist that this will be included because something similar happened nearly to someone close to me. Andries 03:09, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Issues to address before moving forward[edit]

BostonMA: Are you referring to Andries and Thaumaturgic. Or are you referring to Me and Thaumaturgic? SSS108 05:19, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
I am referring to Andries and Thaumaturgic. Andries' low limit is 25%, and Thaumaturgic's high limit is 20%. That would make it unlikely for there to be a version that both parties would agree is balanced, so I think the difference in ranges needs to be explored further. --BostonMA 12:06, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

OK, several issue have arisen that I think need to be addressed before moving forward.

  1. There is no longer any overlap between the acceptable critical content ranges of Thaumaturgic and of Andries.
  2. Andries has expressed a feeling that more critical material needs to be added.

Regarding the first item: Thaumaturgic and Andries, could you please give as best you are able, rationales for why you chose 20% and 25% respectively for your respective high and low limits. Please do not take too much time in your explanation. A paragraph or two will suffice. Also, please do not bother to argue against the other party's position at this time. Thanks.

  • Andries I chose 25% because I do not want to appear unreasonable and 48.3% for the high percentage based on a calculation that I made elsewhere on this talk page. Controversy is nowadays a substantial part of the SSB story.
  • Thaumaturgic: I chose 20% for my high and 10% for my low. The main article is about Sathya Sai Baba. It is not an article specifically about the controversy surrounding Sathya Sai Baba. There is already another page dedicated to the controversy on the "Allegations Against Sathya Sai Baba" page. Dedicating 40% of the article to the controversy is turning the main page into a controversy page. I feel that the article is full of personal bias and once a neutral point of view is enforced, the amount of text dedicated to the controversy will significantly shorten. Since the article is about Sathya Sai Baba, his life, teachings & philosophy, practices, organizations, charitable activites, centers, miracles, etc., I think dedicating 1/5th of the article to the controversy is fair. It is also seen that important information about the Sathya Sai Organization and beliefs & practices are put on separate pages. Why is that important information allowed to be put on separate pages, but then when it comes to the controversy, 40% of the article is going to be dedicated to it? On the main page, no one subject is given 40% leeway. Giving the controversy that much space is disproportionate. That is the reason for the percentages I gave. Thaumaturgic 05:52, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Regarding the second item: Andries. I am sorry to hear that a friend of yours was close to suicide. I can understand your feelings about this. Other editors have not expressed to me their views regarding whether or not mention of the suicides belongs in the article. At this point I would like to put that question aside for the moment. But lets assume, for the sake of argument that the article should mention these suicides. If I understand your position, you believe the article to contain 63% critical material, and should not exceed 48.3%, leaving aside my proposal for a voluntary 40% cap. You also agree that the current percentages are excessive. My question to you is this. Do you need to add your additional critical material right now? Or can you wait until the article has become more balanced? Could you help to improve the balance first? I would very much appreciate it if you would give some thought to these questions, and share them here. --BostonMA 03:45, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Personally I feel that Wikipedia policies completely allow me to summarize the Times article on the suicides. I also personally said something similar about suicides on Dutch TV on 11-11-2002, but I would rather quote the Times than myself and besides the TV programme in which I voiced my opinion was not really reputable. Yes, the percentage of the material that deals with the controversy is 63% in the current version and I consider this too high. Andries 04:00, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
I would rather not get into the concrete question of whether the suicides belong, or do not belong, in the article. Rather what I want to focus on is the question of whether you are willing to help bring the article closer to being balanced before new critical material is added. If you have a strong opposition to waiting before new critical material is added, I would like to understand why you have this opposition. Thanks. --BostonMA 12:06, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
As I had already stated, my preferred way with dealing with this article is removing or improving clearly identified violations of wikipedia policies within a week. Due to the controversial nature of the subject, a high proportion of criticism is not a clearly identified violation of Wikipedia policies. However as a compromise, I will add no criticism in the coming two weeks, even if they are fully justified by notable and reputable sources, such as The Times. By the way, I had made an alternative version of the article User:Andries/Sathya_Sai_Baba that does not blatantly violate Wikipedia policies such as Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No Original Research, unlike the current version of the article. Andries 12:22, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Thank-you for your willingness to compromise. --BostonMA 12:41, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Off-topic:I also feel that regardless of the dispute between me and Moreno/Thaumaturgic, other editors could do more work to improve the article. 90% of the article was written by me and almost all the references were provided by me (if we exclude the paragraphs only sourced by Moreno's homepage). There is still a lot to improve that is unrelated to the dispute between me and Moreno/Thaumaturgic. Andries 12:33, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Moreno has provided additional information about these suicides that The Times did not make mention to. Moreno's information was even taken directly from David Bailey, a Sai Antagonist. One of the three people who committed suicide was not even a Sai Devotee. He was a very disturbed person, even according to the police, who simply visited Sathya Sai Baba's ashram before he killed himself in Bangalore. No one, from any Sai Center knew who he was. According to David Bailey, Keith Ord and the Times, the other 2 people were severely disturbed. One was homeless and hiv+ and killed himself. The other was, according to David Bailey very emotionally and mentally disturbed. He would even call David Bailey upto 30 times a day. And no one mentions David Bailey's involvement in the man's decision to kill himself. The Times article was written years ago and does not take into account this information. It is outdated. Thaumaturgic 06:02, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Off topic, Thaumaturgic and Moreno, why don't you e-mail the Times, the BBC, Danish Radio, the EU parliament, Lousewies van der Laan, India Today, US state dept and show them Moreno's website and request them to retract their warnings and articles or to make updates? If you succeed in doing so then this can be stated in the article. Now it is just a homepage against many reputable media and institutions. Andries 18:45, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, why don't you explain why The Times left out David Bailey and Keith Ord's statements about 2 of the suicide victims? These two people are Anti-Sai Activists. Also, you have already said, numerous times, that the BBC, Danish Raido, etc., were biased against SSB and were favorably inclined towards Anti-Sai Activists. So you have already explained why they would speak out against SSB. They were biased. Even you admitted it.

SSS108 19:06, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

BostonMA, did Andries ever answer the original question at the beginning of this thread?
SSS108 18:13, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Suggestion for a two week effort to add non-critical content[edit]

Andries has agreed to not add new critical material to the main SSB article for a two week period. My suggestion is that, during these two weeks, in addition to the discussion which is taking place on this page, a strong effort is made to increase the content of the non-critical sections and/or add new sections. For example I would imagine that the "teachings" section could go into much greater depth. (I am far less familiar with the sources available, but I would guess that this is possible.)

I believe the discussion on this page should continue during the next two weeks. However, I think it would be unfortunate if sufficient advantage were not taken of Andries offer of compromise. Adding new material may or might bring to the fore other issues or disputes. I hope those issues can be dealt with on this page in a timely fashion, so that some lasting improvements can be made to the article. --BostonMA 13:24, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Discussion of High and Low Limits[edit]

The strictly biographical section should be expanded, but there are no or hardly any reputable sources for it and this is a problem that Wikipedia cannot solve. There are however quite a lot of reputable sources for criticisms of SSB. Andries 16:53, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I would like it, if you could, to state the range of space that should be devoted to criticisms of SSB if the article were neutral and balanced. There may in fact be obstacles to arriving at a neutral and balanced article. However, I would like you to set those aside for a moment, so that we can explore how close or how far apart the parties are on this question. Thanks --BostonMA 17:05, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I understand your question, but this is a difficult question so I have to think about it. I do not know any comparable living person, but I see however some parallels with Jesus in 1. the magnitude of the claims made about himself. 2. the mythical proportions of the persons. (father of mankind, "love of a thousand mothers" etc) 3. the variety of miracles attributed and claimed by these persons 4. the lack of reputable, reliable sources for the biography. In other regards, SSB is more comparable to Ron Hubbard with regards to the degree of controversy about his life and thoroughely debunked claims. Andries 17:09, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Cleary, controversy is a major part of the SSB story "The God of Big Things" from Lonely Planet Andries 17:23, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
To finally answer your question, I think that a fair proportion of the article devoted to criticism, opposition, and controversy would be the same for Ron Hubbard (section "Controversial episodes") that is 25%. This excludes information about the sex change and views on the guru. I would prefer the original organization of the article that separated concrete criticisms on SSB from views on the guru (charlatan, divine incarnation, devil, anti-christ etc.) in the same way as the religious perspectives on Jesus are distinguished from the rest of the article. Andries 19:18, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Hi, is 25% the minimum that would be required for a balanced, neutral article, the maximum that it could have and remain balanced and neutral, or is 25% somewhere in between? --BostonMA 19:23, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia normally follows scholarly and media articles, so to give a good and justified answer on this, I think, we would have to analyze the post 2000/post-Bailey media and scholarly articles. One of the notable articles that did not voice criticism was the New York Times article by Keith Bradsher (that contained factual mistakes). A very important article was the long cover story by India Today that was about 80% criticism if not more[2] I asked some Indian colleagues about the magazine and they considered it a reliable source. The majority in Wikipedia is not formed by the number of adherents but what reputable media articles and scholarly sources say. Andries 19:49, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I'd like to begin by saying that I am more interested in the answers to the two questions I initially raised, than I am in arguments that might be raised to support the particular numbers chosen. I am at fault for giving conveying the impression that I am more interested in the arguments which support those numbers than is the case at the moment. I think the arguments are important, but I really want to see the numbers soon, even if they are high and low limits that you have chosen merely because your gut says they are OK.
With regard to the particular question of what criteria should be employed in determining whether an article meets NPOV, my suggestion is to continue along the lines you initially took when you mentioned the Wikipedia article Ron Hubbard, that is, to compare or contrast one encyclopedia article with another. That is my answer to your particular question, but, again, I don't want this to be an exercise in scouring pages and counting lines of criticism unless we find there is no other road open. I again apologize for insufficiently emphasizing what part of the task I felt was most important. --BostonMA 22:01, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

BostonMA, I think that it would be easier if we discussed the definitions already established on Wikipedia, regarding a Neutral Point of View NPOV. Once we come to a consensus on what is considered "neutral", based on Wikipedia's established definitions, I think that would positively facilitate this discussion, as the main point of contention has do with a NPOV.

To me, "balanced" means that there is equal opportunity for each POV to be expressed. In this regard, the percentage issue, in my opinion, is irrelevant. For example, Andries may be able to cite numerous sources, writing many paragraphs, about alleged molestations. However, the Pro-Sai POV can be easily summarized in several sentences. Although the amount of space dedicated to each is disproportionate, as long as there is equal opportunity to fully express an opposing POV, then I believe the article could be considered to be "balanced".

However, the issue of "neutrality" completely changes everything. For something to be "neutral", it cannot be aligned with, or supportive, to one side of a dispute or discussion. Therefore, in my opinion, one of the hallmarks of a "neutral" article is that the percentage of text devoted to Pro/Con viewpoints is fairly equal, around 50/50. If an article is over 65% devoted to an issue, I would suspect the "neutrality" of the article (unless reasons were given). This is the standard I think most would expect from an Encyclopedia that provides factual information that is not based on subjective opinions and unconfirmed allegations.

To specifically answer you question: between 60% - 40% (or vice versa) is the range I consider to be neutral.

SSS108 23:52, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

I would argue that you may be going in the wrong direction with this. The questions by BonstonMA, as I see it, are questions to help him understand your positions as it pertains to your concept of "balanced". Jumping to procedural actions, at this point is highly premature and IMO, dangerous, as it displaces the non-negotiable principle of NPOV with an arbitrary assessment of "balanced". For example, one side is remind in us the WP:NPOV principle of undeue weight, in which it is stated that "Articles that compare views need not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views", but fails to address what minority means in this context.


Percentages of criticism in various articles[edit]

Here is a list of post-2000 retuable media or scholarly articles in English language that should serve as a guideline to determine the fraction of criticism in the article Sathya Sai Baba.

Andries 20:12, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

  • >50% criticism BBC documentary Secret Swami
  • >60% Danish Radio documentary also broadcasted in Australia
And please note that I have omitted the sensationalist tabloid newspapers who warn against dangerous "cults". Andries 20:59, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Andries, explain how you got these percentages. The Anti-Sai POV is 4 times larger than the Pro-Sai POV. That is a text percentage of 80%-Anti 20%-Pro. And it is my contention that many of the links you just posted are highly biased. However, we can go into that later.

The unweighted average of these articles based on the above list is

60%
80%
50%
80%
80%
0%
0%
30%
80%
10%
50%
60%

This leads to an unweighted of average 47% 48.3%.

Discussion related to Wikipedia policies[edit]

SSS108, in Wikipedia minority point of views deserve minority space. This is clearly and explicitly stated in the Wikipedia:NPOV policy. Andries 20:22, 4 February 2006 (UTC)


Hi. I would like to ask a question on the side. It sounds as though you are arguing that a neutral and balanced Wikipedia article ought to have the same proportion of criticism as a newspaper or magazine article or scholarly article. Is that your position? If so, could you raise some arguments that might overcome my reluctance to accept that? My reluctance with regard to media is that media follow trends, what is "in the news", and this changes over time. My reluctance with regard to scholarly articles, is that a common criteria for a scholarly article to be considere worthy of publication is that it contains new or unpublished results, not that it provides an balanced overview of the subject. Thus, I would be reluctant to consider scholarly papers as a general models for encyclopedia articles. Perhaps I have raised concerns unnecessarily, but if it is your position that an encyclopedia article ought to have the same proportion of criticism as a media article or a scholarly article, then please help me to overcome my reservations. --BostonMA 20:27, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

It is true that the media change over time and the list of media articles and scholarly articles that I made hereunder shows only the last 6 years, that is post 2000/Bailey's The Findings that was a major turning point in the debates about SSB. I think six years is long of a time frame to give a balanced over view. I do not see other fair and reasonable criteria to make a NPOV article. What criteria do you suggest? Andries 20:46, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

I suggest that the controversy be summed up in a couple of paragraphs. This was attempted on the talk page on SSB: Reference
SSS108 00:09, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

...This leads to an unweighted of average 47% 48.3%. Based on this, I think that following the Wikipedia:NPOV means that we devote this percentage to the treatment of criticism and controvery.Andries 20:33, 4 February 2006 (UTC) (amended, BBC documentary and Danish Radio documentary)

...Well, I did not not do a word count, but that was just a rough guess. AND AGAIN AGAIN I HAVE BEEN TELLING YOU OVER AND OVER AGAIN THAT IT DOES NOT MATTER FOR WIKIPEDIA THAT YOU CONSIDER THE MEDIA AND SCHOLARS BIASED. HERE IN WIKIPEDIA WE FOLLOW MEDIA AND SCHOLARLY ARTICLES. Andries 21:32, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

For example, one side is remind in us the WP:NPOV principle of undeue weight, in which it is stated that "Articles that compare views need not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views", but fails to address what minority means in this context. If, for example, Britney Spears sells 10,000,000 albums, and on the other hand a few music critics state in published sources that her music is below standards, what is the majority position in this case, the one of the fans that clearly thing otherwise about her music, or the one of her critics? ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 21:37, 4 February 2006 (UTC)#

To me it is clear that the majority view is not formed by the nr. of adherents, but by scholars and reputable sources. We do not allow the physics aricle to e.g state that a ball makes a warped curves, only if many people believe this (and they do based when based on interviews). I read an article about this. Andries 21:41, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
The point you are making is about a scientific concept that can be proved true or false. But here we are taling about subjective assessments. That is a completely different deal. I would encourage you and others, to take sometime and re-read:
≈ jossi ≈ t@ 21:45, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I think the percentage of people who believe that an object makes a warped curve when there are no forces on the object was about 30%. Does this mean that we allow 30% of the space in the Wikipedia article on motion to this clearly incorrect view? Of course not, because this is not an informed opinion but the opinion of lay people. Andries 21:47, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
That is an excellent example, but it relates to a scientific aspect that can be tested and proved true or false. Here we addressing something very different: opinions ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 21:48, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Neither the NPOV policy nor the guideline for living people make a distinction between subjective and objective matters. Andries 21:50, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
The thing is that journalists who spoke with these sexual abuse victims found them credible and convincing. That should be the basis of this article. Andries 21:55, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I also think that the comparison by Jossi with the critics of Britney Spears' music is flawed. The controversy about SSB is not just a matter of taste, that is whether you like his teachings or not, but is far more fundamental and it touches the core of his SSB's mission and claims of avatarhood: false miracles, sexual abuse and much more. It would be more comparable if there was a documented notable accusation that Britney Spears plagiarized all her songs. Andries 22:29, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, she has been accused of lip-synching. That is as bad as it can get for a singer. Read: Britney_Spears#Controversy. But that is not the point. We are discussing minority and majority points of view or opinions. If Mr. Baba was convicted of any of thes crimes that you describe, this conversation would be quite different, don't you think? Why? Because in that case we could refer to verifiable facts (e.g. a court case's transcript), not just opinions. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 23:21, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
No, I do not think that an accusation of lip syncing is very serious. I mean, it does not surprize me and many singers do it. Andries 23:45, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
And may I remind the contributors on the motivation by the judge who acquitted SSB of breaking the Gold Control Act, that is that objects made by spiritual powers are not subject to the law. This must be one of the few times in the 20th century that a judge assumed paranormal powers in his verdict: clearly the law does not seem to apply to SSB. Andries 23:53, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Since when did the Anti-Sai POV become a majority opinion? SSB has millions of followers and there are no more than 50 or 60 people who openly oppose him. There are currently about 12-15 Anti-Sai Activists who are actively writing against him. Therefore, if anyone has a minority POV, it is Anti-Sai Activists.

SSS108 23:52, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Since when are articles in Wikipedia based on the nr. of adherents? Andries 23:55, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I am talking a Majority POV. You keep claiming that the Pro-Sai POV is a minority opinion. I disagree. The fact that SSB has millions of followers while the numbers to Anti-Sai Activists rank below 100 clearly shows that Anti-Sai Activists have a Minority POV. SSS108 00:04, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Not on number of adherents, of course. But you will not write an article on Islam based on the critics of Islam and Muslims without violating NPOV, would't you? Not when Islam has more than 1 billon adherents, even if the have a substantial number of critics. You could say the same about Judaism. Fact is that most religions and their leaders (and in particular non-mainstream religions) have their detractors, and these detractor's views ought to be present in their repective articles. But not as the majority viewpoint, unless it is. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:08, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

That is the point I am making Jossie. Of course, the Anti-Sai POV should be included in the article. However, Andries just said, as he has said many times before, that the Pro-Sai POV is a Minority POV. It isn't. Therefore, the article should reflect the Majority POV, which happens to be favorable.

SSS108 00:14, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

I did describe the beliefs and practices of Sathya Sai Baba, incl. a separate article that does not mention a single word of criticism. That is essential for Wikipedia, I have to admit. Wikipedia NPOV policies means following scholarly and media articles, that have been heavily critical about SSB. Andries 00:18, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, provide us with a link to the article you are speaking about. If you are talking the same Beliefs And Practices that I just looked at, it cites non-notable people like Steel, Dadlani and the original research of Priddy. It also links to Anti-Sai Sites.

SSS108 00:40, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, that it is the article and it contains some outdated references at the end, but again, there is not a single word of criticism in that article, though I am accused by you of being incapable of writing neutrally. Andries 00:47, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
If almost all scholarly articles about Muhammad wrote that he abused his power then this deserves a prominent place and space in his biography, regardless if there are billions of adherents who think otherwise. Andries 00:23, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
The issue is not one of "favorable" or "antagonistic", but of NPOV. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:17, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

(text here moved to source materials)

Who is to make distinctions about what is scholarly or not? References that are verifiable from books, encyclopedias, articles and other media are citable and usable. That specific book speaks of the teachings of this person and could be used a a source if the information is pertinent. As for your distiction about year of publishing, since when is this a problem? (You were quite happy to use references from the 70's in an article about a different person, do you remember? Or should I go visit these pages and remove all references prior 1985 claiming that these are no longer relevant?). As long as you state in the citation the year of publishing, that is enough for verifiability nd NPOV. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 17:11, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
To answer your question who should make a distinction what is scholarly or not. I think the answer is that the contributors of Wikipedia do this, incl. me. I have read the book (at least some of it) and I did not find it scholarly nor am I aware that it is favorably authoratively cited in any scholarly article about SSB. I will not use it as a source and I would be unhappy if contributors chose otherwise. With regards to the 1995 book by Peter van der Veer, I never meant to say that it cannot be used as a source only because it is pre-2000, but what I meant to say that it is not a good source to determine the fraction of criticsm that should go into this article because it predates the major controversy about SSB. Andries 18:36, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Source Materials[edit]

The reason why I disregarded LIMF is because I do not have the book and I have problems ordering it. I will try to order the book this weekend in a bookshop that is specialized in importing Indian books. User:Andries11:46, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

As for the sources mentioned by Andries, please note that these are just a fraction of material published about this person. I saw In the library at least 10 books, if not more, not mentioned above in which this subject is explored. One can argue that the list he produced is a list of articles that explores the critical/controverial aspects of this person. ≈ jossi ≈ t@

And what kind of books are these? I know these books quite well because I was the librarian of the local SSB group. These are all hagiograhical material, and personal experiences with SSB, mostly based on the "biography" by Kasturi. Andries 22:52, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
BostonMA if you want a good overview of the books available about SSB then I suggest you study the annotated bibliography by Brian Steel in three parts.
Annotated research bibliography in three parts collected by Brian Steel, available online.
part 1, Items of a scholarly or academic nature or provenance
part 2, Work Critical of SSB and his Mission by non-devotees (including ex-devotees)
part 3, A Basic Bibliography of Works about Sathya Sai Baba by the SSO and his Devotees
Andries 23:01, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I am referring to non-haiographical books such as the Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religion, Reawakening the Spirit in Work: The Power of Dharmic Management, Many Globalizations: Cultural Diversity in the Contemporary World, Popular Christiantiy in India: Between the Lines, Nation and Migration: The Politics of Space in the South Asian Diaspora (by a compatriate of yours named Peter Van derVeer) and other books. These five books are the ones I browsed and wrote down their titles, but If I recall correctly there were many more such books in which this person is mentioned (maybe 20 or more). You can go to any good library and check the books on the religion section, such as almanacs, encyclopedias, etc. Read the entries about this person and then check the citations. Then follow the citations to find other relevant sources. That is what I did. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 23:06, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Oh, okay, that is a good idea. Thanks. Andries 23:07, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, for sounding a bit arrogant, but I found it highly unlikely that Nagel and Steel had overlooked important sources. Nagel was quite surprized that I found an article (by Alexander Deutsch) that she did not know. Andries 23:12, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
That is OK. Just note that any scholar worth his salt, will look for sources that confirm their theories and theses. There is no such a thing as an "objective" scholar, IMO. :) ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 23:24, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Brian Steel and Alexandra Nagel openly oppose Sathya Sai Baba. They are critics and their viewpoints are not neutral. Andries wants to cite Brian Steel simply because Alexandra Nagel made reference to him in one of her papers. Other than Nagel, there are no notable references that cite Steel. If either of these individuals did not profess being Anti-Sai, then maybe one could make a case for neutrality based on objective research. However both of them have openly admitted being Anti-Sai Activists and their research is dedicated to that end. Therefore, citing them is promoting an Anti-Sai POV.

SSS108 23:36, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

well, in response to your post, I could state again what I have stated again and again and againAndries 23:42, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, make us a list of neutral scholars against SSB? So far, you can only cite Nagel and you attempt to include Steel by association, (since he was referenced by Nagel in one of her papers). Both Steel and Nagel are not neutral. Neither Steel or Nagel have any qualifications or credentials that entitle them to be called "scholars" in regards to SSB. Steel may be a scholar in Spanish and Nagel may become a scholar once she gets her MA this year or next year. Once again, Steel and Nagel openly oppose SSB. They are not neutral. So even if you call them scholars, their neutrality is totally disputed. How do Steel and Nagel support a NPOV?

SSS108 01:27, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Nagel's 1994 article was a published by the Free University of Amsterdam as an official publication in their series about religious movements in the Netherlands. In other words, this makes her 1994 article a scholarly article. Andries 01:30, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
To give some background information, SSB appeared twice on Dutch TV in the early 1990s in two favorable Dutch produced documentaries, among others in the documentary "God lives in India" that may be well known to many devotees. One of these documentaries resulted in a major controversy in the Dutch media, started among others by the Dutch psychology professor Piet Vroon, in De Volkskrant. Even Basava Premanand was a guest in a discussion programme on national TV. Nagel wrote among others about the media controversy in her 1994 article. I think that the Netherlands may be the only country apart from India where there was a major controversy about SSB before the year 2000. Andries 01:39, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Nagel's 1994 article was a published by the Free University of Amsterdam as an official publication in their series about religious movements in the Netherlands. In other words, this makes her 1994 article a scholarly article. Andries 01:30, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Andries, this was discussed once before by you and Moreno. In 1994, Alexandra Nagel had no degrees and no qualifications. Even you do not know how her paper got published. Okay, so her paper may be considered "scholarly". But Alexandra Nagel does not become a "scholar" just because she had a paper published in a University Magazine. Nobody becomes a "scholar" that way. Thaumaturgic 01:49, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
okay, agreed. I do not know the qualifications that Nagel had then, but the undisputed fact is that she then wrote a scholarly article about SSB Andries 01:51, 5 February 2006 (UTC) (amended)
The golden standard of Wikipedia are peer reviewed articles and I think that the source that comes closest to this standard is Nagel's article. Andries 02:01, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, how does Alexandra Nagel's article come close to Wikipedia's neutral point of view? She is antagonistic against Sathya Sai Baba. As SSS108 and I keep saying, she is not neutral. You keep defending Alexandra Nagel's "scholarly" article, but you have yet to defend her neutrality. That's because she has publicly stated being against Sathya Sai Baba for almost 13/14 years. Thaumaturgic 02:44, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

I will say this one more time, but no more. The discussion about this purported "scholarly" article by an ex-follower is inconsequential in light of dozens of published books on the subject that are neither mentioned nor cited in the current article. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 03:15, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Like what scholar? I am not aware of any scholarly biography of SSB. Andries 03:18, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Jossi, I will try to check the articles that you mentioned, but I would be very surprized if it contained any substantial post-2000/post-Bailey's Findings material on SSB. You yourself wrote on the talk page that you were unable to find anything, except an article by Mikael Rothstein in a book by James Richardson. In other words, I am still waiting for your scholarly articles on SSB. Andries 03:24, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

I gave you a partial list of books above. I would also make one point clear: I do not have a POV about the subject of this article, as I only heard about this person here in Wikipedia, and I am not here defending the POV of anyone. My only concern is that we make this article readable and informative. As it stands now this article is a great example of what a good and NPOV article is not. My concern is that in the mediation process, this does not get forgotten: we are here to write an article that complies with Wikipedia content's policies and not just to accommodate editor's opposing views. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 03:25, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Jossi, you mentioned among others an article by Peter van der Veer who teaches at the University of Amsterdam. Do you think that Nagel who studies at the UvA would be unaware if Van der Veer had written anything substantial on SSB? Very unlikely. Andries 03:28, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
If I recall, that book from Van der Veer contains very interesting information about Sai Baba and ISKCON in the context of their presence in Fiji, but I do not recall any information about controversies besides some dabling in internal politics of the movement in that island. There is good information in that book, and even portions of an interview with Sai. The fact that is not included in the article you refer to, is quite revealing and in aligment with my previous assessment: scholars cite selectively to prove their theses. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 04:02, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, thanks for the information, I will try to get that book. I noticed that a SSB school was recently opened in Fiji [7] Andries 04:09, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Peter van der Veer's book was published in the year 1995, that is before the year 2000 that is before the major controversy around SSB. So I do not think that van der Veer's book is a good indication of the degree of controversy that is surrounding SSB Imagined Indians A review of Peter van der Veer, ed., Nation and Migration. The Politics of Space in the South Asian Diaspora. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 1995. 256 pp. Andries 14:43, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
The book Reawakening the Spirit in Work: The Power of Dharmic Management by Jack Hawley that you mentioned is not a scholarly biography for this article. The non-scholary book about management is based on some of the teachings of SSB, but not suitable for inclusion as a major source to this article. I had read or at least glanced through the book a few years ago. Andries 14:43, 5 February 2006 (UTC)


Andries, which reputable sources contradict each other? We have already ruled out Brian Steel since he did not write a biography. Which sources are you talking about?
SSS108 19:18, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
For example Schulman and Kasturi about the cobra at his birth. LIMF and Kasturi about the birthdate. LIMF and Kasturi about the year that he left school for his full time mission. Andries 19:30, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Schulman did not write a biography. Okay, so there is a contradiction about SSB's birthdate. SSB's birthdate does not comprise his entire biography. And LIMF cited reasons for the discrepancy regarding the birthdate, but Anti-Sai Sites, including yours, never mentioned it: Reference Are these all your "many contradicting sources"? If they are, I think we can reasonably assume that a good biographical summary can be written leaving aside these few issues.

SSS108 19:45, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

off topic. Steel mentions that the year of 1929 may only be an error which conveys the gist of remarks made in the LIMF book. Andries 20:59, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Conveying a "gist" is not the same as mentioning the reasons for the discrepancy, as cited in LIMF. Brain Steel did not make reference to LIMF's statements about the discrepancy, so my statement still stands.

SSS108 22:11, 9 February 2006 (UTC)


No, Kasturi did not write a biography. He wrote a hagiography. Andries 05:32, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Regardless of your assessment about that source, please note that Kasturi is widely cited in books that refer to this subject. On the other hand, Mr. Steele is not. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 05:36, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Please note that it is very common that official biographies are not the best. I guess Kasturi can used undiluted in the Beliefs and practices section and article. And it is not true that Steel is cited rarely. His homepage is used very often. Andries 05:40, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Let's present the information available and attribute it to the different voices. As for Steele, I meant that in the books I consulted, there is no mention of such a person. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 15:35, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries already said that personal homepages and original research violate wikipedia guidelines. When Andries agreed to remove personal homepages, he also removed the personal homepage of Brian Steel. Now, however, he is trying his hardest to reference him. Andries, besides the Anti-Sai Activist Nagel, where are the other reputable, notable and mainstream media sources that have referenced Brian steel?

SSS108 16:23, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Robert Priddy lists Steel's website in his book The End of the Dream published by Basava Premanand as one of the "most important current websites in English in the exposure of SSB". Premanand was treated as an expert/guru on the subject of SSB by the BBC. Or do you want it less indirect? Shall I quote Basava Premanand directly? The book by Priddy also contains a few articles by Sergei Badaev by the way. Andries 17:16, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
And now that I have answered your question, please tell me what reputable, notable and mainstream sources reference your website or list it as an important website? Andries 17:19, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, I never contended that my website and my views were notable or accepted by mainstream media. Remember, YOU were the one who began attributing the viewpoints to me. Then YOU began to reference all the viewpoints with your personal homepages. I did the same. And do tell us how Robert Priddy and Basava Premanand argue for a NPOV? if you can use Priddy and Premanand's books, then I will rebut using Hislop, Sandweiss, Kasturi and others books.

SSS108 18:06, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Using these books instead of your website in Wikipedia is a big step in the good direction. At least these books are notable, unlike your website, though hagiographic. Andries 18:10, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, they are notable. Unlike Steel and Badaev. You did not answer my question: How do Priddy or Premanand argue for a NPOV?

SSS108 18:14, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Premanand is treated as an expert by the BBC so he can be considered a reputable source. Omitting him or minimizing this source would violating NPOV policy. Andries 18:20, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

He is not a neutral source. He is a skeptic, rationalist, atheist and a self-admitted critic of SSB since 1968 (using the BBC Documentary information). What reputable media has cited his book?

SSS108 19:49, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Temporary holding place for conversational items to be deleted[edit]

This section will contain conversational items that have limited value outside of their conversational context. I will place them here so that parties may examine them. Unless objections are raised to the deletion of items appearing here, they will be deleted on a regular basis.



Proposed structure of the article[edit]

Proposal by Andries[edit]

  • (summary)
  1. History and origins (main article: history and origins)
  2. Miracles, claims, and ashrams (main article: beliefs and practices)
  3. Teachings (main article: beliefs and practices)
  4. Organizations
  5. Opposition, controversy, and allegations (main article: controversy and criticisms)
    1. (Parliamentary, governmental and political issues and responses, not sure whether this is a necessary subsection)
  6. Views on the guru
  7. Sathya Sai Baba's Presence in Popular Culture
  8. Bibliography
    1. Books by Sai Baba
    2. Selected books by his followers
    3. Books by sceptics and critics
    4. Other books
    5. References
  9. External links
    1. Official Sathya Sai Websites
    2. Websites of critical former followers, skeptics and other critics
    3. Websites to Devotees and Proponents
    4. Other websites
    5. Media articles

Proposal by Jossi[edit]

Intro

  1. Biographical outline
    (should be the central core of article as this is a Biography, and probably the one that will require more research. Merge here most if not all of History and origins of the Sathya Sai Baba movement article.)
  2. Teachings
  3. Beliefs and practices
    main article: beliefs and practices
  4. Organizations
    main article: organizations
  5. Controversy and criticism
    (main article: controversy and criticism)
  6. References
  7. Further reading
    (Only these that are not mentioned in the reference section)
    (Short list of books)
  8. External links
    (Small number of links)
    (Besides the main sites, add onnly these that are not mentioned in the reference section)


Discuss possible merge of subtopics with main[edit]

Please discuss the pros and cons of merging one or more subtopic articles into the main SSB article.

  • As per Content forking: Summary style, my proposal is as follows:
    • Expand as much as possible the biograhical outline section, based on published sources available
    • Use the structure as suggested above (See my proposal)
    • For those sections that warrant it, summarize the section and fork content to a separate article
  • The article should be then shorter, easy to read, focused on the subject, with good summaries about main aspects, and with other articles linked for those readers that want to explore further.
  • ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 18:25, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Links in Beliefs and practices article[edit]

  • Andries, could you explain why you think the current links are relevant for the Beliefs and practices article?
Because the external links are relevant for the Beliefs_and_practices_in_the_Sathya_Sai_Organisation. That article should be a complete stand-alone article. The external links describe (aspects of) the beliefs and practices. The media articles describe the beliefs and practices in a more detached and critical way, but they do describe the beliefs and practices. I admit that the links of ex-devotees focus far more on the negative, but so what? They are relevant, see e.g. Robert Priddy's website about the sathya sai org. See also Wikipedia:external links (I amended this style guide recently) Andries 22:02, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Could you give some examples of beliefs or practices that are described on the links? --BostonMA 03:50, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, one of the hundreds examples possible. Robert Priddy quotes SSB sorted per subject [8] There is an abundance of information about the beliefs and practices, the SS organization, and SSB's teachings. And here an article about an informal hierarchy in the SSO [9] Andries 02:24, 12 February 2006 (UTC)


  • SSS108, could you explain why you think the current links are not relevant for the Beliefs and practices article?
BostonMA, yes. The Pro/Anti links are irrelevant to the Teachings section because that page is not specific to the Controvery and the links are. It is specific to SSB's Teachings. The Pro/Anti links are not about SSB's teachings. The Pro/Anti links are already provided on the Main Article, from which the Teachings Section is expanded from.
SSS108 03:24, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Also, Andries is making the case that I am non-notable and my website should not be referenced because I have not been cited by notable media, etc. Neither has Robert Priddy. The link Andries just posted is about the Sai Org. Not SSB's teachings. Priddy claimed he studied SSB's teachings for "many years" and found them to be nothing but a spring of inspiration Reference Now, Priddy bashes SSB's teachings because he is a disgruntled Ex-Devotee.
SSS108 03:36, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
BostonMA, in regards to the dissent about SSB's Teachings, the ExBaba site has very little original material. The ExBaba site simply duplicated articles taken from the websites of Brian Steel and Robert Priddy. SaiGuru.net is a mirror site to the ExBaba site and duplicated articles, verbatim, from the ExBaba site, except for about about a dozen articles (mostly newspaper items). I have provided an exhaustive link-to-link comparison between SaiGuru.net's articles and those on Anti-Sai Sites, proving it is a mirror site: Reference
Dissent about SSB's teachings is mostly specific to Brian Steel and Robert Priddy. Brian Steel completely contradicts himself Reference, as does Robert Priddy (link provided earlier).
Since Brian Steel and Robert Priddy are non-notable, and are not cited by any notable media regarding their articles about SSB's teachings, it is ironic that Andries is advocating for the inclusion of their non-notable homepages yet seeks the elimination of my homepage. Also, Steel and Priddy's articles would both constitute original research. So if their original research is allowed, so should mine.
SSS108 05:21, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. --BostonMA 16:40, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

There is a big difference between an external link in the section external links and using an external links as a reference. The criteria for the latter are higher than for the former. Andries 11:59, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries response does not explain why he wants to add links to all the Anti-Sai Sites. For example, he cites Robert Priddy. Instead of citing Priddy's site, he cites every single Anti-Sai Site that simply duplicated Priddy's articles on theirs. Why does Andries do this?

SSS108 03:09, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

All the links to website that I inserted describe the beliefs and practices and teaching of SSB that cannot be easily distinguished from the beliefs and practices. I could give hundreds of examples of this, but I was not asked to do so. Andries 03:13, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, you failed to address the points I made above about the duplicate links on SaiGuru.net and the duplicate content from Priddy and Steel's site. The point is that if the references are so scattered throughout these sites, how are people supposed to find them and see the relevance to the topic? They can't.

SSS108 03:16, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

The websites of the critics do provide a substantial amount of information about teachings and the beliefs and practice, but I have to admit that it may be somewhat difficult to find in e.g. exbaba because the website is huge. An alternative would be to provide a list of webpages, but then you will start complaining about duplicate links etc. So I think that this is the best solution. Andries 03:24, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Writing Biographical Section[edit]

Comment by Andries on Jossi's proposal: I cannot write a good detailed biography because I do not have reputable sources and the sources that I do have contradict each other. It would help if I have the 1997 book by Brian Steel and the 2000/2001? Love is My Form book by Padmanaban (sp.?) that I have ordered, but these sources also contradict each other. Andries 19:02, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

It is not uncommon for biographies to contradict one another. In that case, mention of both (or more) versions of events seems appropriate. --BostonMA 19:08, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, I could give it a try, but it may become hilarious reading material. Andries 19:12, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
I mean, the contrast between the different versions is huge and the difference in time of the different version of a certain event is sometimes three years. It will yield funny reading. Andries 19:15, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
You do not need to mock the contradictions (nor do I think you should). You merely need to state that according to author 1, thus and such happened, however, according to author 2, this and that happened. The reader can determine for himself/herself that these two accounts are incompatible. --BostonMA 19:18, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
I had no intention to mock the confusing huge contradictions between the different versions of SSB's biograhies in the article, but the end result will naturally become hilarious reading. That will be the unavoidable result of using greatly contradictory sources for this article. Andries 19:24, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
I hope that you understand that this will be a tedious difficult undertaking and I think the only persons who has done so before is Brian Steel on his homepage. Andries 19:32, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

The biography needs to be written based on available reputable sources. Period. As BostonMA said and per WP:NPOV it is possible to write that ecyclopedia A says this, book B says this and article D says this. Rather than "hilarious," it would be interesting (and encyclopedic) to read the diversity of POVs. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 01:22, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Reputable sources are not available as I wrote before. We can use the least unreputable sources. Andries 05:32, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, where did Brian Steel write a biography on SSB? Brian Steel wrote a compendium. There is a difference between a compendium and a biography. Strange you would bring Brian Steel up regarding SSB's biography. You never did before. Kasturi and Murphet wrote biographies as well as Sai Towers.

SSS108 03:29, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

And again, this is a huge task that has not been done before anywhere else. Andries 05:59, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I understand that it is sometimes difficult to write an good encyclopdia article. However, should this not be the aim of editors? --BostonMA 12:22, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
We can use "at least unreputable sources"? Andries, you have been arguing all this time against "unreputable" sources, but now you are saying we should use them! We can use Kasturi and Murphet as guidelines. All the information is there. Kasturi and Murphet's books are available for download: Reference
SSS108 02:59, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I will ask others to help with the biography because I cannot do it alone in a reasonable period of time, due to many contradicting sources, none of which are reputable. Andries 19:14, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

SSS108, Thaumaturgic and Jossi, are you willing to help add material to the biography section? --BostonMA 22:42, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, but I do not have the time. I can help with some sources if needed, but the main drive should come from the contributing editors. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:26, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
Jossi, an expanded biography can never fulfill the Wikipedia policies due to the non-availability of reputable sources. I am not saying that we should not give it a try: I just do not know at the moment, but I do think that BostonMA and Jossi have requested more from me than can reasonably requested from a Wikipedia contributor, that is that I should do a meticulous comparison of the several highly contradicting sources and compile a completely new biography that does not exist anywhere else. Andries 19:31, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, we already discussed this. You keep up bringing up "highly contradicting sources", but the contradictions you name are not even a handful. Futhermore, you keep trying to compare biographical informatation with books that were never biographies in the first place. Steel's book is not a biography. It's a compendium. Schulman's book was not a biography either. SSB's basic biography is consistent. His devotees never recorded SSBs life thinking that they had to preserve every fact for some sort of historical narrative. Although some dates don't mesh, the stories are still the same.

SSS108 02:47, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

It does not matter that books are not biographies, as long as they contain biographical information. I admit that there is some internal consistency in Kasturi's hagiography, but it remains a hagiography and hence about the least reputable source available. I agree that the books by devotees often do not mention years, dates etc.: they copied most information from Kasturi without mentioning sources and are inaccurate and hence cannot be called reputable. Andries 19:54, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is always a work in progress. There is noting wrong with getting the bio section started with whatever published sources are available. If new sources are fond we can add these and if there is competing info, we can descibe these as well. I see no issue with this. My proposal to start with published sources first, and leave websites for later, as published material maybe less actualized, but at least is readers can easily assess reputability of these sources. For those aspects not available in published material, I have no problem in referring reputable online sources. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 04:04, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I have attempted to increase the biography section and Andries deleted it. Andries even deleted the names to SSB's parents, which are indisputable! As I pointed out, on the SSB discussion page [10], an encyclopedia of world religions wrote about SSB and cited Kasturi and Sandweiss as references. If a 4 volume encyclopedia of religions cited Kasturi and Sandweiss as references, I see no reason why this article cannot do the same.
Also, Andries repeatedly said (even on this page) that there are no "reputable" sources for the biography. However, when I asked Andries to define "reputable", he could not define it. So how can we come to a consensus about "reputable" sources when Andries does not even know what standard he is trying to demand from others? [11]
SSS108 21:30, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I deleted the names of SSB's parents from the lead section and I think these names should not be in the lead section because they are not important enough for the summary/lead section. Andries 14:18, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

That is not the reason you gave for deleting the section. Your reason for deleting the section was because you wanted it referenced and you do not want to use Kasturi's hagiography as a reference (although an Encyclopedia of Religions cited Kasturi as a reference in their 4 volume set) [12] Although Steel, Priddy, Premanand have never been cited in an Encyclopedia, you say they are "reputable" sources and you try to include their non-notable works in this article. However, when Kasturi and Sandweiss are referenced in an official Encyclopedic reference, you argue that they should not be referenced because they wrote hagiographies and are not "reputable". Your standards are hardly consistent.

SSS108 18:16, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Writing Teachings Section[edit]

BostonMA, there is already a large section devoted to SSB's teachings: Beliefs and Practices On the Main Page, SSB's Teachings are summarized into 4 paragraphs, with a link that goes to the full article. However, when it comes to Critics and Opposition, on the Main Page, there are 19 paragraphs and a separate article on the Allegations Against Sathya Sai Baba that is composed of 32 paragraphs. Tell me something is not wrong.

SSS108 17:41, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

SSS108, Andries agrees that something is wrong. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your position, but the impression that I get from your comment is not only that 19 paragraphs for opposition is excessive, but that 4 paragraphs for teaching (and other sections?) is sufficient. Please let me know if I have misunderstood you. I see that there is a separate article for the teachings of SSB. I am not sure of the rationale behind placing that material in a separate article. However, I would imagine that both the main article and the teachings article could be greatly expanded. Of course I am only one person, but my expectations for an encyclopedia article about SSB would be that it contained significantly more information about his teachings than is present. Where does SSB fit in relation to other trends in hinduism, or to other ecumenical movements? What is SSB's attitude toward, or relationship with other gurus? What are SSB's teachings with regard to Varna? Does he tolerate caste distinctions? Does he condemn them? What are his teaching with regard to family relationships? The position of women in religious organizations? Does he teach a theory of Jyotisha? Does he reject it? I would expect of SSB, as a guru, to have a position on the purpose of life. What does he say about this? I don't mean for you to answer any of these questions here. However, I think explaining SSB's positions on questions like these, as far as they are documented, would be an enhancement to the article. Please let me know if you do not agree --BostonMA 18:36, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
It is quite difficult to describe and summarize SSB's many and sometimes contradictory teachings. Andries 18:47, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
I finally found a statement that the SSB movement is unrelated to caste, a fact that even superficially involved persons can confirm and inserted in the beliefs and practices article. It would be even better to find a quote by SSB or by his hagiographer Kasturi about this. I think that Robert Priddy maintained a cross-index of SSB's writings on many subjects that helps to find citations. Andries 19:55, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, you are misunderstanding, BostonMA. On the Main Page, long sections are summarized in a few paragraphs, with a link going to a separate page with the full article. However, this is not what is being done with the Critics section, although a separate page exists! The Critics section comprises about 50% of the Main Article and then has another page, on the "Allegations Against Sathya Sai Baba" page, that discusses the same material more in depth. If other sections are summarized on the Main Article with links going to separate pages, why can't the same be done with the Critics section? Why have 2 pages dedicated to the same material to begin with? This has been done for the past 14 months without complaint.

SSS108 18:54, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for the clarification, but I am still confused. Whether or not you are saying it, I am hearing you say that you think that 4 paragraphs for the teachings of SSB are sufficient, and the reason is that there exists another page which goes into more depth. Is that what you are saying? --BostonMA 19:03, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

BostonMA, I do not know why SSB's Teachings are summarized and linked to a separate page. I also do not know why SSB's History and Origins are summarized and linked to a separate page. From what I understand, since these subjects are lengthy, they are summarized on the Main Page and are linked to the indepth article. However, when it comes to the Critics section, it is not summarized on the Main Page although there is another in depth page that is devoted to the issue: Allegations against Sathya Sai Baba

Andries was the person who created all these separate pages. I see no problem summarizing and linking to an in depth article. However, Andries has made the full case against SSB not only on the Main Article, but also on the Allegations against Sathya Sai Baba page (yes, the contain the same information). Why isn't the Critics section summarized on the main page, like the other sections (with a link to the in depth article)? Even if this was done, there is still the issue of bias and the promotion of an Anti-Sai POV through the referenced links. But that a different discussion.

SSS108 22:41, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

The question that I would really like you to answer is whether or not you have an objection to increasing the size of the teachings section. Please let me know if you have an objection to this. --BostonMA 03:18, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

No, I have no objection.

SSS108 03:33, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Then would you be willing to put some effort into expanding the non-critical sections during the next two weeks? --BostonMA 13:41, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes. However, the non-critical sections can easily be expanded by taking available information on the in-depth, linked articles and putting it back on the Main Page. It seems to me that the majority of non-controversial information is already there. So how would you suggest to approach the situation?

SSS108 16:18, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Hi, Has the issue of moving the content from the "teachings" article to the main article been discussed? If so, what points were raised, and what was the outcome of the discussion? If not, I would suggest that this would be an important discussion to pursue. --BostonMA 17:09, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

BostonMA. I do not believe this has been discussed. (some text removed by BostonMA 03:25, 9 February 2006 (UTC))

SSS108 17:59, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Jossi, do you believe that 4 paragraphs on the "teachings" section is sufficient for the primary article? --BostonMA 18:55, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

I am not familiar with the subject to make too much of a case, but I woud argue that it would depend on the size of the spinoff article. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 19:16, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Has anything been decided about moving the "Teachings" section to the Main Page?
SSS108 01:00, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Hi SSS108. I'm glad you asked. Things at this page seemed surprisingly quiet. There could be a number of reasons for this. I think I've pushed things in a direction that the parties perhaps did not expect, and everyone needed time to thing about the new direction and new arguments. Another possibility is that people became frustrated with my mediation, but rather than say anything became quiet. It also crossed my mind that editors might be used to the conflict and not used to working together, and that they were waiting for me to leave so they could return to their more familiar activity ;-) In any event, I don't really know why it has been so quiet, it could just be that people are busy. But I'm glad you raised a question.
Jossi made a "soft" objection to moving text from the "teachings" section to the main article, saying "it depends". Other than that, I have heard no real objection. That doesn't mean that everyone agrees, they may not be vocal about it. I have no objection to such a move. I think it would help reduce the preponderance of critical material, which all parties have agreed is a problem. If you also have no objection, my suggestion is to wait a bit, to see if my comment here draws any strong comments. If other parties remain quiet on the issue, my supposition would be that there is consensus, and that you should begin moving text as you feel appropriate. Let's give it a little more time though.
I don't know whether that was the motive for your question. If you had something else in mind, or if you are opposed to this idea, then please set me straight. One final opinion I will share. Even if all the content in the teachings article were moved to the main article, I still think that a great deal new could be written on SSB teachings that would improve the SSB "articles", whether the teachings article is separate or not. Again, please let me know if you had something entirely different in mind when you asked the question. --BostonMA 01:49, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, BostonMA. Personally, nothing has happened that I did not expect. My arguments are still the same. It seems, however, that everyone does not object to the Teachings section being listed on a separate page. I feel the same way you do about the Teachings section. Undoubtedly, it requires more work. I think the article can be improved with time. Nevertheless, the main points of contention revolve around the Critics Section: Content, References, Links, Notable Sources, etc. I don't think anyone is debating the content on the Teachings section or other sections. Our disagreements revolve around the controversy. Do you still want us to work on the content on other sections, when they are not the contentious issues?

SSS108 02:39, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Also, I think that having the Teachings section listed on another page might become an issue if the Allegations section is left, in full, on the main page. Then, I would see every reason to include the other sections in full too. But this would make for a very long article.
SSS108 02:56, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Hi. I understand that there are a number of points of contention other than the percentage of space devoted to criticisms. My proposal is not to stop working on those issues, but to work on those issues while at the same time working to together to fix the article in ways in which all parties agree it needs fixing. Controversies around the links, references etc. need to be resolved, but there is nothing that says we must have an article which is recognized as unbalanced in another way during the interim.
You and Andries may have different visions for what the final article should be. It is conceivable however, that an article with around 25% dealing with criticism could be acceptable to you both. However, even if the article never gets to a form that will satisfy everyone, I think it is important that as long as your vision and Andries vision are both (at least at this moment) in the same direction from where the article is at present, that efforts be made to improve the article, and not stall on these improvements on the ground that ultimately your visions are different.
One of the effects of working in that direction is that it will help to address concerns among the Wikipedia community at large that the parties work toward writing a good encyclopedia, and not merely push their own point of view. It is also possible that removing or reducing one source of friction, may help in the resolution of other points of contention.
You raise the issue of the relationship between having a spin-off article for teachings, and one for criticisms. I am open to hearing other points of view, however, my own POV is that whether there is a spin-off article for "teachings" or a spin-off article for "criticisms" are two independent questions. For me, spin-off articles are a means to correct problems with the main article. If a teachings section made the main article too long, or made the article appear unbalanced in favor of SSB, then a spin-off article might be appropriate. The issues are similar, but independent for a criticisms spin-off article. If the volume of criticism in the main article make the article too long, or unbalanced, then a spin-off article may be appropriate. SSS108, or any of the other parties, please let me know if you see things different from the way I have presented them. --BostonMA 14:30, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

As a clarification, I do not object to merging back content from related articles. The caveat was, that if these are too long, these can be summarized and the main content kept on a separate article. The focus of the article should be on the biographical aspects of this person. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 16:47, 8 February 2006 (UTC)


BostonMA, I cannot think of any other points of contention besides the Controversy Issue.
I have not seen this point specifically addressed, although it has been raised several times, but there is already a "spin-off" article for the Controversy. It's listed under Allegations against Sathya Sai Baba No other section has TWO complete sections devoted to it. The full case for the Controversy is made on the Main Page and on the Allegations against Sathya Sai Baba page.
Since it appears that all parties are satisfied with the Teachings section, then I would say we agree it is neutral. So it wouldn't matter if the Teachings section was put back on the Main Article or not. Since we all seem to agree on the Teachings section, it would not make the Main Article imbalanced because no one is complaining about the neutrality of that section.
SSS108 17:42, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, I am happy to hear that you are satisfied with the Teachings section, though I would appreciate help in finding references for that section and the spin off article. Andries 19:31, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
I have no problem making the teachings section somewhat longer. I guess the average reader will not be interested in a detailed treatment of the teachings so I think it is important not making it too long. The lack of interest in the article Beliefs and practices in the Sathya Sai Organisation may be due to Wikipedia:main article fixation. The "Teachings" section is now together with the "Mircles, claims and ashrams" subsection of "beliefs and practices" section. One can hardly distinguish claims and teachings by SSB from "beliefs and practices" because committed devotees treat SSB's books and teachings as scripture, in other words they believe everything that SSB says and writes. Andries 14:15, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
The main problem with the article teachings and articles "Beliefs and practices" is the lack of references, that are mainly due to the lack of accurate, reputable, and detailed summaries of the teachings. It is possible, of course, to reference the subsection and the article "Beliefs and practices" to many individual articles and one of SSB's many public discourses, but this is very tedious: I have read so much by and about SSB, but it is not easy to remember where I read what. For years I have been a member of a study circle in an SSB group. Andries 14:29, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, once again, you keep using the word "reputable". You keep demanding that all the articles be "reputable", yet when I asked you to define that word, you couldn't do it [13] That is why no one can understand where you are coming from and what you are demanding. You attempt to set a certain standard known to you alone. You also expect others to understand this standard although you are incapable of communicating it.

So once again, you need to define "reputable". Until you do so, no will understand what exactly you are asking for.

SSS108 18:04, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

SSS108, a definition of the word reputable (apart from the trivial "with a good reputation") is a difficult, general discussion that, I think, has little place here. A better place to discuss this is, I think, after reading Wikipedia:Reliable_sources is at its talk page. Andries 19:59, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, the definition for "reputable" has every place here. Why? Because you keep demanding that sources be "reputable" (so far, you have used this word 23 times on this page alone). Although citing Kasturi and Sandweiss would clearly fall into Wikipedia:Reliable_sources, you are arguing against them. Then you argue in favor of Brian Steel although mentioning him would clearly not fall into Wikipedia:Reliable_sources. Since you keep demanding that sources be "reputable", one would think you would know what you are demanding.

SSS108 20:33, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

SSS108, If you seriously think that Sandweiss and Kasturi are Wikipedia:reliable sources then we have to come to the conclusion that our opinions are so wide apart that there is no chance that we will ever have an article that we both consider neutral. Andries 20:41, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, then tell me how Kasturi and Sandweiss would not be considered reputable sources when they were cited in the 4 volume "Religions Of The World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia Of Beliefs And Practices" by J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann? Morton Klass (who is a well published author in college references) has also written about SSB in "Reinventing Religions: Syncretism and Transformation in Africa and the Americas". Klass cited Kasturi, Murphet and Sandweiss. In "Redemptive Encounters : Three Modern styles in the Hindu Tradition", by Lawrence A. Bapp, he also cites Kasturi. If all these well published and notable sources reference Kasturi, Sandweiss and Murphet, tell me how, by citing these three, it would violate Wikipedia:reliable sources?

Then in contrast, you seek the inclusion of Brian Steel, Robert Priddy and Basava Premanand as references although they have never been cited in notable references or publications.

SSS108 21:03, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I can see that Sandweiss and Kasturi can be used for the beliefs and practices section and the beliefs and practices article. But to state their experiences and hagiographies as facts, as if they were reliable sources is ridiculous, I think. Andries 21:26, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Who is asking that their experiences be stated as facts? I am not aware of anyone making that claim. Why are you limiting the references to Kasturi and Sandweiss to the "Beliefs and Practices" page when the "Beliefs and Practices" page is not dependent on Kasturi or Sandweiss as references? Kasturi and Sandweiss are notable references that have been used in college references and even in a Religion Encyclopedia regarding SSB's life. Therefore, a section will be written about SSB's bibliography, citing Kasturi because if these notable publications can cite Kasturi, I see no reason why Wikipedia can't.

SSS108 21:34, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Questions Unanswered?[edit]

I have already asked this question and did not receive a reply. On the "Issues to address before moving forward" section [14], Andries and Thaumatugic were asked a question and I cannot find Andries response. Did Andries ever provide a response to the question asked? This question was asked 6 days ago.

Also, under the "Links in Beliefs and practices article" [15], Andries was asked to give some examples of beliefs and practices as described in the referenced links. Did Andries ever answer this question?

If the questions have been answered, then I wouldn't mind that this section be deleted. I just noticed that Andries has written many replies in the past week and these questions seem to go unanswered. I wanted to know why. Thanks.

SSS108 18:30, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I am not aware that the questions have been answered. --BostonMA 01:08, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Understanding the Reliable Sources Policy[edit]

The Reliable Sources policy begins with the statements:

Wikipedia articles should use reliable published sources. This page is an attempt to provide guidance about how to identify these. The two policy pages that discuss the need to use sources are Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:Verifiability.
If you can provide useful information to Wikipedia, please do so, but bear in mind that edits for which no credible references are provided may be deleted by any editor.
What follows is a description of Wikipedia's best practices. Many articles may fall short of this standard until one or more editors devote time and effort to fact-checking and reference-running. (See efforts to identify reliable sources.) In the meantime, readers can still benefit from your contributions, bearing in mind that unsourced edits, or edits relying on inappropriate sources, may be challenged at any time.

As I read these paragraphs, they seem to me to be saying several things:

  1. Editors are warned that information, even if useful, may be deleted at any time if that information is not supported by credible references.
  2. Editors are implicitly promised that they may delete information, even if useful, if that information is not supported by credible references.
  3. Editors are welcome to contribute useful information to Wikipedia, even if that information is not supported by credible references.

Put another way, as I read this, the policy does not forbid adding useful information which is unsupported by credible references, but allows such material to be removed.

What I would like to know from each of the parties is the answers to the following question:

Do you understand the policies and guidelines of Wikipedia as I have described them, or do you understand the policies and guidelines of Wikipedia differently?

  • Andries: I think I understand the policies and guidelines quite well as described by BostonMA, but I hope for some leniency of contributors in applying this policy and guideline for the beliefs and practices about which there is no serious dispute. Andries 21:12, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
  • SSS108: BostonMA, yes, I feel I understand the polices. I also agree with Thumaturgic's comments about "credible references". Apparently, the standard used for "credible references" varies significantly. Whatever leniency Andries asks for, I want too. SSS108 02:03, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Thaumaturgic: I believe I understand what the policies are essentially conveying. But it seems there are misunderstandings when it comes to "credible references". I, myself, am confused about what truly constitutes "credible references". I am actually quite surprised Andries is asking for "leniency". If he gets the "leniency" he wants, I am sure that the beliefs and practices section will very soon become highly disputed. Thaumaturgic 01:11, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Thank-you for your responses (and I apologize again for my absense) --BostonMA 20:51, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Reputable sources?[edit]

If there are no reputable sources about this subject, then maybe this article needs to be deleted altogether. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 20:53, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

There are a lot of reputable sources describing the criticsm and controversy and some reputable sources analyzing the miracles. Andries 21:00, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Jossi, I do not know why you asked this question, but you and I know that this article will with 99.9% certainly survive an Article for Deletion vote. May be you became desparate of the discussio, sarcastic, or humorous. I don't know. :) Andries 21:08, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, you already admitted that these "reputable" sources are biased. Once again, you are using the word "reputable". However, I have discussed this several times and you do not even know what you mean by using the word "reputable". Even after admitting this, you continue to use the word "reputable" to defend your POV. The sources you want to cite do not advocate for a NPOV. Not only that, the references you cite are many years old and nothing has come about from them.

Andries, Jossie's point is well taken. You keep saying there are no reputable sources for SSB. Why should we have an article about SSB if there are no reputable references?

SSS108 21:13, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

If you think that there should be no article about SSB due to the lack of reputable sources then I suggest that you will try to get it deleted. Deleting the article is impossible, regardless of your and mine desire on this matter, because the person of SSB is notable and so many people will vote to keep it. Andries 21:18, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, no one is trying to get it deleted. You are the one making the case that there are no "reputable" resources about SSB, except the critcism against him. If that is truly the case, then one could argue that the article should be deleted on the premise of your arguement, i.e., there are no reputable resources about him. Why keep an article that has no reputable resources? After all, that is the case you are trying to make.

SSS108 21:28, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, we do not have to get the whole article deleted. We can keep the criticism and controversy part. Andries 21:33, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
That was a pertinent question, given your assessment about the lack of reputable sources for a biography (that is what this article is supposed to be, by the way). Without credible third-party sources, a biography will violate No original research and Verifiability. But leaving the sarcasm aside, the point I am trying to make is that as long as an editor is trying to use this article as a way to promote an overly antagonistic POV to the subject of the article, this article does not have much of a chance of ever achieving compliance with WP policies. Are we forgetting that is is an encyclopedia? Are we forgetting what Wikipedia is not?. What seems to me inappropriate is the very obvious attempt to advocate under a not so subtle veil of an apparent compliance with content policies. Following the guideline in Wikipedia:Biographies of living people could be the way out of this problem, as well as an understanding that a WP article cannot be used as a platform to advocate for or against the subject of the article. Wikipedia is not a newspaper, is an encyclopedia. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 22:23, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Jossi, your understanding of the policies and guidelines may be different from my own understanding on this matter. Could you please read the "Understanding the Reliable Sources Policy" section and express your opinion there? Of course, I may be mistaken on the matter, but what I would like the parties to understand is that policy does not compel sources to meet some standard, but authorizes editors to remove material if the sources for that material do not meet certain standards. If it is possible for the parties to agree upon what is or is not reputable, then at least some of the disputes could be solved. I don't rule out this possibility. However, there may be another way to approach a solution. If it is accepted that what the parties add, what they delete are based upon their own choices, choices which are permitted by policy, but are not dictated by policy, then there may be room for negotiation. However, as it stands, editors appear to be saying "I can't add that because it is based upon an unreputable source". The reality may be closer to "I don't want to add information based on a given source (for whatever reason)." --BostonMA 22:47, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
My latest reply was only a tongue in cheek reply. Can you please specify where the article breaks this guideline and please do not talk about homepage because I already know about that and also do not complain about undue weight to critics without giving a reply to the average of 48% of criticism that i calculated. Thanks Andries 22:28, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Jossi, my main point is that SSB is extremely controversial and there can be little doubt about this. If this is not reflected in the article then it breaks the Wikipedia:NPOV policy, not just a guideline. Andries 22:39, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

It is my contention that you are wrong about reliable references. It is also my contention that the critics section, as it is currently written, is not neutrally written and violates a NPOV. That is why we are here. SSS108 21:40, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Could you please speficy where the critics section violates NPOV (I already know that you disagree with the size)? Andries 21:54, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
By the way, it is possible to write a rebuttal to the critics and stay within the policy. Why don't you write about the reaction of the typical reaction of Peter Pruzan, as documented in the Danish documentary Seduced? 21:54, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

The critics section is filled with personal opinions. The sources you cite are biased (by your own admission). You cite non-reputable/non-notable personal homepages, including your own. You cite non-reputable/non-notable people including Brain Steel, Robert Priddy, Hari Sampath, Said Khorramshahgol and Glen Meloy. You cite non-reputable/non-notable articles written by Alexandra Nagel (ex. Shiva Shakti Article, which has never been cited by reputable sources), citing the gold control article without any reliable and neutral references (court case documents, etc.). The critics section also violates an NPOV by linking all the references to Anti-Sai Sites when they were not originally published on them. The list goes on and on.

A rebuttal can be made considering that nothing has come from any of these allegations: No court cases, no indictments, nothing. The rebuttals are easy to state and can be made succintly. SSS108 22:14, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I disagree with you on all points. Andries 22:20, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
And by the way, if the article cites Priddy and Steel then it is mainly your fault because you keep reverting to a version that cites Priddy and Steel. I had removed all information only sourced to homepages, but you keep reverting. Andries 22:22, 11 February 2006 (UTC)#
Media article cited Glen Meloy. The Free university of Amsterdam published Nagel's work about SSB. So I disagree wi

th your assertion that they are not reputable or not notable. Andries 23:56, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, it was reverted because you kept deleting the devotees and proponents section without a discussion. Also, you should cite from those articles. Just because Nagel managed to get one paper published in a University magazine does not make all of her articles reputable or notable. Just because she had one paper published, you try to include all her opinions and articles. That is deceptive, in my opinion. Everything you say exclusively favors your point of view. Thaumaturgic 01:19, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

The two articles by Nagel "A guru accused" and "Shiva Shakti" were only updated internationalized versions of her 1994 Free university of Amsterdam article. Andries 01:22, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
It is completely untrue that I reverted without discussion: I have repeatedly argued that there are two main reasons why that section should be deleted i.e. 1. main organization of the article should be per subject, not per subject, one should not treat the affidavits or Jens Sethi or whatever on two or three different places and 2. Most of the section was sourced only by Moreno's non-notable homepage in violation of several of Wikipedia policies. Andries 01:26, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries, you need to show us the reputable media that has pubished these "updated international versions" of Shiva Shakti and A guru accused. You cannot deem what is reputable based on your opinions. You need to reference the published sources, in reputable media, referencing these two articles. So far, the only published paper was "De Sai Paradox". You cannot provide any reputable sources that make reference to the alleged "updated international versions" to the other 2 articles.

SSS108 02:44, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Robert Priddy mentioned Nagel extensively who also published a book published by Premanand who is treated as an expert by the BBC. Again, these article are updated internationalized versions of a peer reviewed article. I think that comes very close to Wikipedia's golden standard and much closer than most of the material. Andries 02:33, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
The BBC did not call Premanand an "expert" so that is your assumption. Premanand, by his own admission, said he was a critic of SSB since 1968. So he is not neutral. Also, which notable media has referenced Priddy or Premanand's books? Doesn't matter if Priddy referenced Nagel. Priddy's book has not been referenced in notable media. As a matter of fact, neither Priddy's new Anti-Sai book or Premanand's conspiracy theory book are even listed on Amazon.com. Neither of their books are easily obtainable and apparently must be purchased through Premanand, in Podanur India.
SSS108 02:44, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
The BBC treated Premanand as an expert. There can be little doubt about that. Many Indian books are not easily obtainable. I have problems acquiring several Indian books, like LIMF. Andries 02:50, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
And I find your objections to sources when you insist on keeping your homepage in the article very much like the splinter in my eye and the boulder in your eye. Andries 02:53, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Andries, show us where the BBC called Premanand an "expert". You are making that assumption. You should not try to state your own personal opinions, but stick to the facts. Where did the BBC call Premanand an "expert"? The BBC was getting the opinion of a self-professed critic of SSB since 1968. And Premanand lied in the BBC as well, but the biased BBC didn't even bother to question him. Probably because they were biased (as even you conceded). And I am insisting on keeping my homepage in the article as long as your homepage is in the article. Remove yours and I will voluntary and immediately remove mine.
SSS108 03:02, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Regarding Glen Meloy, none of the comments attributed to him, on the Main Page, were mentioned in the Divine Downfall Interview [16] No where in this article does Glen Meloy accuse SSB "of being a cult leader who uses mind control, and propaganda and who has created a personality cult". Show us the references?

SSS108 02:22, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Feel free to remove that. I read it somewhere, but I forgot where. Andries 02:33, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

48% critical material about Sathya Sai Baba[edit]

(moved from my talk page)≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:33, 12 February 2006 (UTC) With regards to Sathya Sai Baba, 48% of the space of reputable (both scholarly and media) post-2000/post Bailey articles deal with the criticsm and controversy. If this is not reflected in the Wikipedia article then this breaks Wikipedia:NPOV policy and gives undue weight to proponents. Can you please give a detailed rebuttal to this argument? Of course, it is important to describe beliefs and practices and basic background information and this is what I have done. Thanks. Andries 22:49, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

That is original reseach. If the BBC says "48% of all material written about Baba is controversial", fine. But it doesn't. The problem, again, is that we are trying to write an encyclopedia, not a newspaper, or an essay about the probable pernicious aspects of this person. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:40, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Do you seriously deny that SSB is very controversial? So what if it is original research? Original research on the talk page to assess which POV has majority is fully allowed and I think commendable. What other way do you suggest to assess the weight of informed POVs? And if we post 2000 scholarly articles then we will also get a very high percentage. Andries 00:49, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't deny anything, because I know almost nothing about this person. What you can do as an editor of this encyclopedia is to present views and opinions as reported by reputable sources. Let's stick with that and see were we get at. The conclusion of what percentage is this or that shoud be the result of finding these sources, not the driving mechanism to decide what gets included. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:55, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Does main article meet NPOV?[edit]

Jossi, you wrote "As it stands now this article is a great example of what a good and NPOV article is not.". Where does the article break the NPOV policy? I had already asked you twice to specify where the article breaks the NPOV policy, but you gave no answer. I believe you have the best intentions, but I do not think that it is helpful to refer to general policies and guidelines to an experienced Wikipedia contributor, like myself, without trying to be more specific how and where they should be applied for this article. Andries 14:43, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I already explained this on the talk page. But here is a summary:
  • Undue weight to critics' POV. Read WP:LIVING and WP:NPOV
  • Use of personal pages as sources. Read Wikipedia:Reliable sources
  • Use of selective sources to push one side's POV
  • Tone of article is one of advocacy or oped investigative journalism at best o a pamphlet at worst, not an encyclopedia. Read WP:NOT.
  • Multiple articles, lack of summaries. See Wikipedia:Content forking
Luckily with this mediation taking place, there is a chance to move closer to an ecyclopedic article. The source of all these problems. IMO? The attempt by editors to work within policy and still push a POV. Content policies are not there to find ways how to bypass them it and still seem compliant. The spirit of the content policies has not been respected. Hopefully from now on these will be. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 16:53, 11 February 2006 (UTC)#
Jossi, thanks for the explanation. However I think that your objections, regardless whether they are justified or not, with the exception of the complaint about homepages and possibly summary styles are not backed up by guidelines and policies. Post 2000 reputable and scholarly articles have on average a percentage of 48% of criticism so I do not agree with your complaint about undue weight to the critics' POV if you assert that this is backed by guidelines and policy. In relation to that I have yet to see one convincing example of the many scholarly article that you assert were written about SSB. (I am trying to get the 1995 book by Peter van der Veer). Andries 18:13, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Andries, I'm a bit surprised by your statement "so I do not agree with your complaint about undue weight to the critics' POV...". When asked:
"If the main SSB article were neutral and balanced, it would not have more than what percentage of its space devoted to criticisms of SSB?"
  • Andries 48.3 %
"Approximately what percentage of the current article would you say is critical?"
Andries I did a word count of the main body of text that has in total 5.978 words. The total amount of words that deal with the criticisms incl. rebuttals, but excl. the sex change is 3.802. This means that the percentage of material that deals with criticism, opposition and controversy is 63%. Even I think that this is too high, thought it was considerable lower before SSS108 and Thaumaturgic insisted on adding rebuttals some of which, but not all are spurious, because solely based on SSS108's homepage. Andries 02:56, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
and
Yes, the percentage of the material that deals with the controversy is 63% in the current version and I consider this too high. Andries 04:00, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Could you help me to understand the seeming conflict between your statements? Thanks --BostonMA 00:38, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I had and have the impression that Jossi wants to downsize the treatment of the controversy and criticism to a very small size beyond let's say 25% -30% and that is something that I do not agree with. Andries 01:10, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
It may be that your vision of the article and Jossi's vision of the article are in conflict. I don't know. However, whether your ultimate visions differ, it seemed to be the case that everyone agreed that the current article suffered from excessive focus on criticisms. I hope that there is still agreement on this score. --BostonMA 01:16, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
As per Wikipedia:Content forking the issue is not of percentages. Develop each section based on reputable sources, written in an encyclopedic and sympathetic tone of voice as per WP content policies. If a section gets too big, summarize it and spin-off to an article. This would apply to all sections (maybe with the exception of the Biography section as it the main aspect treated.) Note that I have no intention or inclination to reduce the size of any section (pro or con). The only think I have said is that a reader coming to this article for the first time, without prior knowledge of the subject will encounter an article helplessly biased toward criticism. That is undue weight IMO. The article should be neutral, and now it isn't. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 01:19, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

We should discuss all sources, not just Nagel[edit]

I do not oppose a discussion of Nagel as source (this is by the way incorrectly in the Wikipedia namespace, instead of the user space) as long as we also discuss other sources too. Can we please also start a discussion of Moreno as a source? What bothers me is the double standards used by Moreno for inclusion and exclusion of sources, as I had already stated some time ago. Moreno is very critical of Nagel, but if we appply only a fraction of his critical attitude that he shows for Nagel to his homepage then there can be no doubt that his homepage should not be used as a source. Andries 15:11, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

This is very simple, a personal homepage is not a reputable source for Wikipedia. No material from that website is citable. Same applies to all other personal homepages. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 16:10, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Andries was the person who attributed opinions to me that were/are not dependent on me or my site. I am simply demanding that as long as Anti-Sai personal homepages (including Andries Anti-Sai personal homepage) remain in the article, so should mine. Remove the personal homepages of Anti-Sai Activists and I will gladly and promptly remove mine without complaint. SSS108 02:16, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

This is non-negotiable in this mediation as it violates Wikipedia content guidelines. No personal homepages can be used as sources unless these are used in an article about the owner of the homepage (needless to say, if the person is notable enough to warrant an article in Wikipedia). ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 02:41, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
I have started a page at User:BostonMA/Mediation/Sathya Sai Baba/Use of Websites --BostonMA 03:47, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Jossi's Role in Mediation[edit]

At one point, Andries asked me on my talk page:

Why do you invite Jossi? As far as I am aware Jossi is not a party to the mediation.

To which I responded:

Hi, Jossi is not officially a party to the mediation. However, Jossi appears to have strong concerns about the content of the SSB articles. It would seem formalistic to me not to include Jossi. Do you object?

That was on Jan 12. Since I did not here back, I tended to interpret that as a passive "no I do not object", although it is possible that someone might feel uncomfortable objecting. However, since the subject has been rekindled, I think it ought to be discussed in an open forum.

Jossi is not an official party to the mediation. At the same time Jossi has been active in the discussions around SSB. (Jossi is also involved in discussions with Andries on other topics). The other parties may welcome Jossi's involvement, or they may or not. I would like the parties to express their opinions regarding what role Jossi ought to play in the mediation if any. I will state up front what I will do with these statements. If anyone states that they do not want Jossi involved in any way, then I will ask Jossi to refrain from participating. If everyone accepts Jossi's participation, but any party expresses the opinion that Jossi ought to be a party to the mediation, I will ask Jossi to be a party to the mediation. If there are other proposals, I will consider them.

Please express your opinions regarding the role Jossi ought to play in this mediation. Please discuss other topics elsewhere. --BostonMA 04:15, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Andries: Irrelevant as per SSS108. I have had many and intense disagreements with Jossi since he entered Wikipedia. I admit that he in general did good things for Wikipedia and that some of the comments and edits that he made relating to SSB are very sensible. Andries 12:36, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
  • SSS108: Since Jossie has withdrawn. A response is moot. SSS108 22:12, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Thaumaturgic

I have decide to abstain from participating in this mediation from now on. If any party would want my help with sources, or as a sounding board for specific proposals, do not hesitate to drop me a line on my talk page, or send me an email. Good luck, and hope you can find a way forward that works for everybody. I leave you in the capable hands of BostonMA your mediator, from which I have learned a lot about how to handle conflict resolution, by just observing the way he has handled this tricky project so far. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 05:10, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Asking for references[edit]

Providing reference is a lot of work: often I have read something but do not remember where. Can we please agree that we do not ask for references if we do not want a certain statement in the article anyway, regardless if references are provided? Thanks. Andries 12:56, 26 February 2006 (UTC)


Mediation Standstill[edit]

Andries, why haven't you answered the questions in mediation? It is coming up on 2 weeks and you adamantly refuse not only to answers the questions in mediation, you adamantly refuse to give any explanation why you refuse to answer the questions in mediation. On your talk page, the mediator reminded you to answer the questions. On your talk page, I asked you to answer the questions. I also kindly asked you to give a reason for not responding. See Andries Talk Page You refuse to give any answers and choose to stay silent. You promised the mediator that you would answer the questions the past weekend. You did not. See BostonMA Talk Page It is time for you come forward and state why you refuse to answer the mediation questions. You have lots of time to watch the articles to see who edits them. You have lots of time to revert the articles and make long rebuttals about the Salon.com article. You have lots of time time to make comments. But you have no time for the mediation questions. Why? I would like to know. SSS108 talk-email 17:37, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

SSS108, I also would like Andries to respond to the open questions. I do not know why he has not yet responded. It may be that he is not feeling well, it may be that he is weighing how to respond, or it may be some other reason. I would like Andries to respond, but I also think it is appropriate for me to offer you (SSS108) some unrequested advice.
Some of your comments have led me to be concerned that you may believe your next step is a request for arbitration. If I have misread the situation, you may ignore the rest of what I am about to say. You may be inclined to believe that the arbitration committee would rule in your favor. The arbitration committee often surprises people. I certainly cannot tell you how such a case would turn out. However, there are a few things that you should consider before embarking on such a course.
When the arbitration committee accepts a case, they may sanction any or all of the parties involved, including the parties that initiate the case. If an editor has a personal connection with the topic of an article, the arbitration committee may ban that editor from editting that or related articles. They are likely to do so if the editor appears to have an agenda of promoting a particular POV rather than an agenda of promoting the general good of the encyclopdia. You will often hear the term POV-pushing, but "tendentious editting" is the term that seems to be in use in the Arbitration Committee. I recommend that you take a look at this case, and try to understand why User:Henryuzi was banned]. I offer no opinion on whether ArbCom good or a bad decision. I am only trying to direct your attention to some very real possible outcomes of arbitration. As far as I can tell, ArbCom is little interested in content disputes, and would have no reluctance in sanctioning an editor, even if that editor was "on the right side" of the content dispute. In short, ArbCom may decide to ban you, either instead of, or in addition to, Andries. Whether that would be just or not, it is a possibility.
I do not know how ArbCom would address your website. They might take the view that external websites are outside of the things they should consider. However, they might instead decide that your website constitutes incivility or a violation of no personal attacks. I really don't know. However, whether they decide rightly or wrongly, there is little chance for appeal of ArbCom's decisions. (You may appeal to Jimbo, but I have yet to see a successful appeal.)
Andries is at times abrasive, and has in my opinion made some errors in judgement, both in regards to the content of various articles, and in regards to policies governing the content. However, in the course of this mediation he has shown a certain willingness to compromise and a certain ability to recognize some of these mistakes and correct them in the course of discussion. He is both a long time and active editor. Arbcom may very well consider all these factors as well.
To conclude, if you are considering a request for arbitration as your next step, I cannot prevent you from taking that step. However, I think it appropriate for me to warn you that things may not go as you expect. For my part, I think think the next step is to continue to try to work things out through discussion. Sometimes that requires patience. I apologize if anything I have said here is offensive. --BostonMA 21:43, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
As the party that initatied the request for mediation, I would encourage all parties to carefully consider what BostonMA said above. Alot is at stake for both sides, so patience is much recommended and will surely be rewarded. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 23:28, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

BostonMA, I am unaware how the mediation/arbitration process works (this is the first time I have participated in one, or even seen one in action). Honestly, I do not know what the next step is. It is undeniable that Andries behavior has me confused and leads me to suspect that he is the one who is seeking arbitration (after all, he has threatened to request their intervention). I have made no such comments or threats about arbitration and have continually asked Andries to participate in mediation (as can be seen in my numerous comments above). So if you think I am seeking arbitration, you are mistaken. Read the discussion and you will see that the only person who is avoiding mediation and who is threatening to file a request with the arbitration committee is Andries.

If Andries is not feeling well or is too busy to answer the mediation questions, why doesn't he just say so? After repeatedly asking him why he refuses to participate, no answers have been forthcoming. He simply said once, that he was tired on Sunday and Monday and that is why he did not respond. However, Andries recent activity shows he has plenty of time to engage in edits, reverts and arguments, but has no time for mediation.

BostonMA, I have already conceded that my name and website should not be listed on the article. I am only insisting that my website be left in the article until Anti-Sai Websites (including Andries) are removed as well. Let us be clear on that. As a matter of fact, it was Andries who attributed viewpoints to me that were not dependent on me or my website. After Andries started referencing Anti-Sai Sites, Thaumaturgic did the same. When Andries started demanding that personal website references be removed from the site, he shot himself in the foot because this would mean he would have to remove his personal website references as well. He is unwilling to remove Anti-Sai website references (including his own), so I am unwilling to remove mine. I have shown, in word and deed, my commitment to the mediation process. I have not made any comments about arbitration (unlike Andries). I do not know how this standstill is to be resolved and that is why I made a complaint to you, not the arbitration committee. SSS108 talk-email 00:36, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Hi SSB, thanks for your comments. As I mentioned, I did not know your state of mind or your plans. My worries were sparked by this edit, however, I am pleased to learn that my worries regarding its meaning are unfounded.
It of course is entirely possible that Andries wants to go to arbitration. I don't know. He did mention that with regards to the "boys" issue. I would give him the same advice i.e. ArbCom, if it hears the matter, won't stop at the question of whether "boys" should be included in the SSB article. I think that would be one of their least concerns actually.
The issue with your website is not merely that a link to it appears in the SSB article, but that Andries is mentioned by name and is subject to a rather severe criticism (for example on this page). If you had written the same things in a talk page, I think there is a strong likelihood that an admin would have blocked you for WP:NPA. However, these comments about Andries are not on a Wikipedia talk page, but on your website to which there is a link from the SSB article. That raises the question of whether this is or is not prohibited by WP:NPA. I really don't know the answer to that. It is something we will discuss if we continue mediation. It is even more unclear to me what attitude ArbCom might take on such a matter. The point of bringing it up was to draw your attention to the fact that a request for arbitration could easily backfire.
I apologize if my worries came accross as beliefs. However, as time passed, I became increasingly concerned that some action might be taken with unforseen consequences. I wanted to clarify what some of those consequences might be in order to forstall uninformed action. It was not my intent for it to sound accusatory, but I can see how it might come accoss that way, and I apologize for that. I do appreciate your willingness to continue mediation. Sincerely. --BostonMA 01:20, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

BostonMA, once the wikipedia article for SSB is neutral and fair, that page will definitely be updated. That page was started a while back when I decided I could no longer participate in editing the article due to the fact that nothing I submitted was accepted. Therefore, I gave voice to what I considered systematic bias from Andries (an Anti-Sai Activist who, at that time, was claiming to be the webmaster to the largest Anti-Sai Site on the net). It is also important to point out that I had requested mediation at the time and nothing came out from it. Also, nothing on my page about Andries is incorrect. All my comments, in my opinion, are fully backed up and expose what I see as Andries systematic bias (even though he claims to be neutral enough to edit this article). My page about him proves he is not neutral and cannot edit this article neutrally. Andries has had many months to challenge my page. He has not done so. However, since you brought this up, I will remove the links from my talk and personal wiki pages. SSS108 talk-email 02:33, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I answered today all outstanding questions by BostonMA except the ones about the inuendo that the Indian Skeptic used. I do not understand the article in the Indian Skeptic very well and the questions by BostonMA about the inuendo in the Indian Skeptic do not seem urgent, because only very remotely related to the current state of the article. Nevertheless, I will answer these questions too, hopefully this weekend. Andries 14:23, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
BostonMA, it is you who decides whether this article, or specific disputes about this article, or the behavior of editors of this article are referred to the Arbitration committee. The arbcom will accept cases only if they have been unsuccessfully mediated. It will be clear that I am completely fed up by the behavior of SSS108 who seems unable to understand or unwilling to follow basic Wikipedia policies which is clear from his repeated removal of the word "boys" that is well sourced and referenced to salon.com. Other reputable sources for the word boys are the Danish TV documentary "Seduced" (that mentions the word "pedophile") and the UNESCO press release (that mentions the word "minor"). Can you please give this dispute a high priority in the mediation? Andries 15:59, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Just an FYI to everyone. Anyone may file a request for arbitration at any time. The arbitration committee may vote not to hear a case, and are likely to do so if other attempts at dispute resolution have not been made. Even if mediation is in progress, a party may file a request for mediation. The party might claim that the mediator is biased, that the mediator does not understand the issues, or any number of reasons why the party believes that mediation is or has failed. The arbitration committee may or may not find such arguments convincing. I am not recommending that anyone file a request for arbitration. Nor do I think this is a terribly important point. However, I think it appropriate to set the record straight, as far as I see it. --BostonMA 00:31, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Amazing how Andries does not understand the Indian Skeptic article, written in English, but has no problem trying to reference it as a source against SSB. Whether or not Premanand used innuendo is highly relevant and a very important question. Our answers to this question give insights into our ideas on what constitutes fair, neutral and factual data. In my opinion, this question is one of the most important questions asked. Almost 2 weeks later, Andries says he doesn't understand it. SSS108 talk-email 19:46, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I do not know the background of that particular article in the Indian Skeptic and I hardly know any names in it. I never used that particular article as a reference for this article. Andries 19:57, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
The particular article refers to a number of letters, such as a letter written to the Supreme Court of India. I believe that those letters are in the same issue of Indian Skeptic as the article in question. I hope that helps you understand the details.
The issue for me is this. Suggesting that a someone ought to be investiaged for possible criminal behavior is suggesting that there is reason to believe that the person involved did in fact commit a crime. However, making a suggestion that there should be an investigation allows the party that makes the suggestion to deny that they have in fact made any claims or accusations, and technically such a denial would be accurate. It is technically possible for a journal to adhere to the motto "exceptional claims require exceptional proof" while simultaneously casting unfounded aspersions at someone, if that journal uses the technique of "calling for investigations". Now a journal which engages in such a practice, but does not provide any credible evidence that a crime has actually been committed is not a journal that I would describe as non-partisan. Nor do I believe that most people would be indifferent to the prospect of such a journal writing a negative article about themselves.
There are a number of reasons why I think it would be useful for you to answer the open questions about Indian Skeptic. There is one reason, however, that I think deserves special attention. There are many possible reasons why you may not have answered the questions. One possible reason is this. After I raised these questions, you may have recognized that Indian Skeptic is in fact partisan, and is in fact not the sort of publication to which most people would be indifferent with regards to the prospect of a negative journal. This would be in contrast with your previously stated positions regarding Indian Skeptic. However, rather than admit that your previous statements were in error, you are being less than straightforward. This is only a possibility, and there are other possibilities. I am not saying that the possibility above is what has actually happened. However, if you were to be less than straightforward during mediation, that would make the mediation much more difficult and possibly much less fruitful. For that reason, everyone has a strong interest in knowing whether you intend to be straightforward in the mediation. That, I think, should provide a strong motivation for you to answer the questions, even if you think the questions in themselves are not that important, or even moot. --BostonMA 00:31, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
SSS108, do you deliberately mispresent my behaviour to put me in the worst light possible? Andries 20:00, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Andries, I have reasons for my all my comments about you. On Wikipedia, others share my sentiments about you as well. Premanand is cited on your Anti-Sai Site. Premanand is cited on your friend's Anti-Sai Sites. You actively defend Premanand. You actively defend Premanand's anonymous "Betrayal" letter (despite never researching it). You actively defend Premanand's "Gold Control Act", despite it never being published, in full, on the internet. You actively defend everything against SSB and raise a huge wail when it comes to including favorable material. Your actions and words have influenced my perception of you. The questions are really simple: Did Premanand use innuendo? Did Premanand factually prove that SSB influenced the judiciary? Yes or no? SSS108 talk-email 22:03, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

The questions are not posed quite correctly. Did Premanand use innuendo to suggest that SSB improperly influenced the judiciary? And did Premanand provide an evidence that SSB improperly influenced the judiciary. --BostonMA 00:31, 10 March 2006 (UTC)


Again, it does not matter if Moreno thinks that the article has a bias. What matters is that a reputable source i.e. Salon.com uses the word "boys" for the victims of sexual abuse by SSB. The article by Goldberg in salon.com article is not an oped. Goldberg was in the ashram and talked with the people there and also with ex-devotees and she reported about this in her article. And even it is an oped then I cannot see any implications for the article. It is a reputable sources that stated that SSB was accused of sexual abuse of "boys" and that accusation stated as an accusation (not as a fact) can and should go in the article. I have no intention to discuss this any longer with SSS108, because this is a clear-cut case, unlike most other disputes with SSS108. I am sure that SSS108 has sincere doubts about the inclusion of the word "boys", but these doubts are not justified by policies of Wikipedia. It is not my duty to teach SSS108 the basics of Wikipedia again and again. Andries 07:59, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Andries, how do you know the article is not an op-ed? You told Jossie that you weren't even going to check! It doesn't matter if Goldberg was at the ashram or not. Her entire article was slanted against SSB and she told Glen Meloy that she wrote the article hoping to bring attention to his cause. I am objecting to the wording, not the reputability of salon.com. Goldberg did not investigate any cases of "boys" being abused. She simply repeated that claim, as made by Anti-Sai Activists. This hardly qualifies her as a source for supporting the claim that SSB sexually abused "boys". You tenaciously hold on to Goldberg and Premanand to make your case that SSB is alleged to have abused "boys", yet you lack any solid references that SSB did abuse "boys". Not even one testimony from a child or a parent of a child. Not even one reputable source that ever privately investigated it and was willing to make that claim. Not even one! You are drawing inferences from comments. Goldberg never claimed that SSB did sexually abuse boys. She said Anti-Sai's believed that. SSS108 talk-email 19:17, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

A reputable source used the word boys and that justifies the word boys in the article, stated as an accusation, not as a fact. Go and read the Wikipedia:five pillars. I will not discuss this particular dispute anymore with you, because you seem either unwilling to understand Wikipedia policy or unwilling to adhere to it. Andries 19:50, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
BostonMA, can you please request the Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee to accept a case about the inclusion of the word "boys"? Andries 20:00, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I will not request that ArbCom accept a case about the word "boys". That is a content dispute, and it is very unlikely that they would deal with the content dispute. I have explained elsewhere why I do not look forward to an ArbCom case. I think we can handle the issue of the word "boys" in this mediation. --BostonMA 00:49, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Let us look at Michelle Goldberg's references to "boys", since Andries is obviously failing to understand my POV: Only 4 references to "boys":Salon.com Article Written By Michelle Goldberg:

REF 1: "All this helps explain why there has never been any official action against Sai Baba in India, despite the dozens of ex-believers who insist that his claims to divinity mask a wholly human craving for the bodies of the ashram's young men and boys." ("boys" used in relation to claims made by ex-believers)
REF 2: "American Jed Geyerhahn, who was 16 when Sai Baba started coming on to him, echoes de Kraker's account: "Each time I saw Baba, his hand would gradually make more prominent connections to my groin." The stories are endless, and endlessly alike, concerning mostly boys and men from their midteens to their mid-20s." (Where are the "endless" stories documented? Age range is also referenced.)
REF 3: During his time at Prasanthi Nilayam, he said, many students at the ashram's college told him they were pressured to have sex with the guru. "I've spoken to 20 or 30 boys who have been abused, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are 14-year-old kids made to live in his room and made to think it's a blessing. In most cases, their parents have been followers for 20 years and are not going to believe them," Sampath said by phone from Chicago. (comment about "boys" came from Hari Sampath)
REF 4: Sampath also wants the American government to intervene, on the grounds that "American citizens have been knowing about this abuse and taking American boys to Puttaparthi and feeding them to him. (comment about "boys" came from Hari Sampath)

Michelle Goldberg did not document any cases of "boys" being abused. "Males", yes. She repeated the stories told to her to Geyerhan and Sampath. Goldberg's talk about the "stories being endless" is her personal bias that she admitted when writing the article to bring attention to Glen Meloy's "struggle". It is clear that the word "boys" refers to gender (not age-wise as "boys" is a term for a child 12 years of age or younger) as she specifically followed her comment by saying "mid-teens to their mid-20s". Hari Sampath also boasted to Brian Steel that he was responsible for the Salon.com article. Michelle did not document any cases of boys being abused, so if you insist on using that word, this fact must be mentioned as well as the age range she gave. SSS108 talk-email 06:04, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia editors are not supposed to assess into detail whether reputable sources had good reasons to write what they wrote before including it in the article. Of course we can agree to exclude certain sources if we all think they are flawed, e.g. the New York Times article A Friend in India to all the World makes blunders when writing about SSB (e.g. "famous for not saying much in public") and I think that we all agree that we do not want certain statements of the NYT article in Wikipedia. In this case there is no good reason to exclude the salon.com source. Unesco uses the word children. Andries 06:34, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Andries, this is exactly the problem with you. Michelle Goldberg expressed her opinions and gave the Salon.com her slant and bias and you see absolutely nothing wrong in citing the article because it is "notable". Once it comes to a slant and bias in favor of SSB, from the "notable" New York Times, you start saying we must exclude it. There is your bias and double-standards in action, out of your own mouth. If Goldberg and her bias are allowed to be cited, then I see no reason why Keith Bradsher and his bias cannot similary be cited. The New York Times is even more "notable" than Salon.com. SSS108 talk-email 02:29, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

I never said that you cannot cite the New York Times article by Keith Bradsher, but I personally refrained from doing so because the article contains several blunders. And of course I hope that you do not cite these blunders in the article. Andries 04:48, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

The alleged "blunders" are your perception of them. Keith Bradsher's article is going to be cited. Despite your own admission that Tanya Datta and Michelle Goldberg was biased and favored Anti-Sai Activists, you continually say that their bias can be cited as a "fact" because it was published in notable and reputable sources. Using your own logic, it doesn't matter if Keith Bradsher made alleged "blunders" or not, since it was published in a notable and reputable source, it can be stated as a "fact". You said it. Stop using double-standards. SSS108 talk-email 05:23, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Mediation Standstill 2[edit]

BostonMA, how are we to proceed with mediation when Andries feels that the questions about Premanand are not urgent? Are we going to proceed with the mediation with these questions unaswered? Thanks. SSS108 talk-email 05:23, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
SSS108, Andries has stated his intention of deleting certain material unless reputable sources are provided. I do not know if you care whether that material is deleted. However, if you do care, my suggestion is to focus in the next day on providing reputable sources. If you are not sure what is reputable, I would be happy to give you my opinion. --BostonMA 15:27, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Boston, I know what information will more than likely be edited out. However, I will also go about deleting links to personal homepages that are used as references. All those referenced links that go to the partison, biased, controversial and personal homepages of Anti-Sai Activists will be deleted because they violate the policies in Reliable Sources. You see, the edit wars will resume unless we get certain things resolved in mediation first. If Andries wants to begin editing out information in the article, so will I. SSS108 talk-email 20:27, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

No, they do not violate any policy. I will revert. Again and again you misunderstand Wikipedia policies. Andries 20:37, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Go ahead and revert Andries. I think it is clear that when the referenced links go to your Anti-Sai Site and reload into a framed page (preventing people from using the "back" key), this directly solicits your partison, biased, controversial and personal homepage. That is why we came to mediation. You are the one who is refusing to participate in the mediation. Therefore, I will stand my ground and it is my firm conviction that I am correct. Reference the sources either to their original sites or do not provide a link at all. After all Wikipedia is not supposed to be a "mere collection of links"...especially when those links go directly to a site the exclusively and wholly opposes Sathya Sai Baba that you happen to be the "Main Representative, Supervisor and Contact" for. SSS108 talk-email 21:14, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

BostonMA, I am more than willing to hear your views about reputable sources. Thank you for offering. Is it fair to say that mediation has stopped? I ask this because you did not give me an answer about proceeding with mediation, from my previous question. SSS108 talk-email 21:18, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I am tired of teaching you all the subtleties of the Wikipedia policies again and again. The guidelines clearly state that linking to online sources is preferrable when they are available. Andries 21:23, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I will try to avoid linking to exbaba.com and link to saiguru.net as much as possible, because of my affiliation with the former. I have no affiliation with saiguru.net at all. Andries

Not when those "online sources" are on a partison, biased, controversial and personal homepage. Show me Wikipedia policy that states linking to controversial sites is okay. Teach me the "subtleties of Wikipedia policy" that promotes the bias of controversial sites, such as yours? For your information, your Anti-Sai Site (and the Anti-Sai Sites of your friends) ARE partison, biased, controversial and biased. Once again "preferable" does not mean it is mandatory. Either we attempt to get a neutral third opinion about this from BostonMA, and resolve this in mediation or take our risks by going through arbitration. SSS108 talk-email 21:34, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Saiguru.net is the personal homepage of Lionel Fernandez. The SaiGuru.net site is a mirror site to your ExBaba site. You need to avoid ALL Anti-Sai Sites. Period. No exceptions. SSS108 talk-email 21:34, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I continue to disagree and I will not repeat my arguments that I have stated ad nauseam. Andries 22:08, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
The habit to provide online sources is so natural and logical for Wikipedia that it is often not explicitly stated. Here is an example where it is implicitly stated Wikipedia:Cite_sources#What_to_do_when_a_reference_link_.22goes_dead.22 Andries 22:33, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
SSS108, you seem sincerely convinced that I am making up guidelines or making up generally accepted common standards. Here is an example about using references that shows that what I state is generally accepted practice. The article I_Want_to_Hold_Your_Hand about a Beatles song is a Wikipedia:featured article that means that it fulfills the highest generally accepted standards of Wikipedia practices. It uses as a reference among others an article in the Ottawa journal of February 10, 1964 that is of course not available online on the website of the original publisher, but instead the Wikipedia article refers to a Beatle fan website, called http://beatles.ncf.ca/beatlenuts.html Andries 01:04, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
I'd like to point out that the beatles site in question is not a partison, biased or controversial website. SSS108 talk-email 04:35, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Untrue, it is very much a pro-Beatles biased website. I consider all websites that defend materializations that can be done by sleight of hand as partisan. I do not consider websites that consider such materializations doubtful or even ludicrous partisan. Andries 11:33, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Andries, provide me with the resources and references that support your claim that the beatles site in question is controversial and openly biased. As your good buddy Premanand said, "I cannot accept your claims without proof." I tried to find some information about the controversy surrounding the Beatles site, and couldn't find any. Since you just made the claim that the site is biased and defends materializations, back it up with references. Thanks. SSS108 talk-email 18:13, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Not when it links to a partison, biased, controversial or personal website. Continue to rant, rave and avoid mediation as much as you like. Wikipedia is not supposed to promote bias. Linking to your site promotes Anti-Sai bias. I am not going to repeat myself again. Go ahead with your edits. I will go ahead with mine. SSS108 talk-email 23:18, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

I do not avoid mediation. I have answered all questions completely. Andries 00:04, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
BostonMA, I assume that I have answered all question extensively and clearly enough and I assume that the fact that some questions are still listed by BostonMA as open is due to the backlog that BostonMA has in updating the editor's reminders' list. Andries 00:38, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for answering the questions. Even if it took 11 days for you to do so. SSS108 talk-email 01:58, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

(Discussion of websites moved to User:BostonMA/Mediation/Sathya Sai Baba/Use of Websites#Links to Documents on Websites) --BostonMA 23:10, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Suggestion to Editors regarding Inadequately Sourced Materials[edit]

The parties have agreed on a process for removing inadequately sourced material. The mediator suggests that SSS108 place notices on the SSB talk page that he intends to remove the following materials after 48 hours, unless it can be shown that these materials were published by a reputable source. --BostonMA 15:33, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

  1. Link to Andries site about alleged videos of faked materializations.
  2. Link and references to David Lane's personal site and non-reputably published comments made by him.
  3. Link to The Findings, which has never been published by reputable sources.

(the above items were taken from issues raised by SSS108. The mediator is not expressing agreement or disagreement with the claims made in this list.)

ad 1. Some of the videos were shown in the documentary "God lives in India" that was shown on Dutch national TV by the NOS, UK Channel 4, BBC documentary Secret Swami.
ad 3. The link to the Findings was given as background material in reputable sources. I think that the same can and should be done here.
Andries 15:41, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Andries, The Wikipedia policy Verifiablility states:
  1. Articles should contain only material that has been published by reputable sources.
  2. Editors adding new material to an article should cite a reputable source, or it may be removed by any editor.
You have agreed (with a qualification) to a method for determining reputable sources. Please limit your arguments to the issue of whether or not the materials in question have been published by reputable sources. Please make those arguments on the talk page of the article. --BostonMA 16:06, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Questions for SSS108[edit]

SSS108, please clarify your objection to the use of the Trouw article. Do you believe that Trouw is a reputable source? (BostonMA 15:54, 26 March 2006 (UTC))

BostonMA, I am objecting to the way the Trouw article is being used. It is being used as a source to prove that there was some sort of mass defection from SSB. Whomever wrote "Hundreds of Dutch devotees did the same tearing up all the Sai Baba photos off the walls and throwing out his books" didn't document it. It is an unsubstantiated and subjective claim. This is hardly reliable information that factually documents that hundreds of devotees did defect from SSB. Andries is using that article as proof that there was some sort of mass defection. Also, I object to the translation. It was translated by a critic of SSB and even Andries said the translation was poor. The English translation indicates that there is a definite slant to it, judging from the use of parenthesis that seem to have been added by the translator. SSS108 talk-email 16:15, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

BostonMA, I am intending on removing this reference and have already waited several days to discuss this issue. Since Andries has not made an argument against mine, I surmise he doesn't have one. SSS108 talk-email 17:51, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

I think that 48 hours is sufficient notice to make changes. Giving advance notice shows good faith and and an effort to avoid edit wars. However, I do not think that it is a safe assumption that merely because an editor has not responded within the 48 hours, that the editor in question will not make a response after the edit has been made. I have no problem with you proceding as you have done, i.e. giving notice of proposed edits, and then, in the absense of objections, making those changes. I think it would be fair to ask Andries to do the same, that is, if he wishes to undo a change for which you have given 48 hours notice, and for which he has given no response, then he should also give 48 hours before making his reversion. --BostonMA 18:10, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
In contrast to what SSS108 states here, I did make an argument against SSS108's dismissal of the Trouw article as a reputable source. Read the talk page at talk:Sathya Sai Baba. Andries 18:28, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

I am not objecting to the reputability of the Trouw article. I am objecting to the way it is being used. Its use is deceitful, in my opinion, for the reasons just stated earlier. It does not factually document anything. So I believe it cannot be used as a reference for factual data. SSS108 talk-email 19:19, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

The Trouw newspaper was right that there was a significant defection from the SSB movement in the Netherlands. Another source (local Dutch Newspaper) that stated the same is here [17] "With some success, because the following of the Indian guru last year has diminished. Of the about 2800 subscribers to the Dutch Sai Baba Newsletter, 800 have cancelled their subscription, partly because Riemersma distributes The Findings in the Netherlands." Andries 21:18, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Beyerstein's study in Indian CSICOP[edit]

BostonMA, please do not do any effort to determine the reputability of Beyerstein's study published in the Indian CSICOP. The reason is that it is easy to bypass a direct treatment of this study by using Nagel's 1994 article published by the Free University of Amsterdam that has already been determined as a reputable source and that refers to this study. Andries 20:42, 2 April 2006 (UTC) (amended for grammar)