User talk:Alastair Haines/Archive 6

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Can I possibly bother you for another intervention? Talk:Judas_Iscariot#Death_section outlines my view on the problem, while it's going again turn into an edit war with an editor trying to retain OR. Thanks Faith (talk) 22:07, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks :) Faith (talk) 06:50, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
LOL. Well, it was a help to me, because it gave me a new reference (as if I need any more books, lol). Faith (talk) 06:56, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Hello Alistair. I do not much appreciate being described as an 'antagonist' in this discussion - I am simply an ordinary editor, trying my best to ensure that Wikipedia has wide, balanced and scholarly coverage of the issues. And I have not 'vanished' - you need to remember that we are not all in the same time zone, and some of us have families who also place demands on us, and sometimes it is worth taking time out to compose a considered response rather than a hurried one. Your phrasing could, frankly, be taken to imply that you are not being even handed. I want to emphasise that I do not, in fact, question your even-handedness. But if you are going to involve yourself in a dispute between two editors, you need to be scrupulous about what you say and how you say it, on both sides. It would also have been appropriate to post a message on my talk page to let me know what you were doing. That would have been helpful to me, and would have left me with a more confident feeling that you were trying to be fair.

I am sure this was completely unintentional on your part, and as I have said, I do not in fact question your even-handedness here. On the contrary, I find your contribution both fair and helpful. It is really useful to have the participation of someone who actually knows what they are talking about; I certainly would not claim to be an expert - all of my contributions are motivated by my frustration at seeing articles about biblical subjects reduced to mindless prattle by uninformed fundamentalists on both sides (I mean the 'Jesus never existed' camp as well as the 'Every word of the Bible is literally true' ones) - and I struggle to try and include what examples I can find of good scholarship which reflects what I understand as, very broadly, the mainstream view - that the Bible was written by ordinary people, decently trying to express what they understood as theological truths, in a very human and fallible way, in a culture very different to ours, and not simply intending to create a one-dimensional, historically exact narrative of events. (Trust me, I'm an archivist)

I want to make a couple of points about the Judas article that you might find useful. One thing I do know about is web usability and readability, which is why I make a special effort to ensure that the articles I work on are not just fair and accurate, but also accessible to ordinary readers - for example, making general statements higher up, more detailed discussion lower down (the 'upside-down pyramid' approach), and using ordinary language (people tend to stop reading at the point where they find something they don't understand).

The first point may help to explain what I was doing with the Matthew reference. I mentioned the fact that the quotation from Jeremiah was problematic, simply pointing out that the reference appears to be in fact from Zecharaiah (which I thought was hardly controversial). I added, further down, the view that "the Matthew account is a midrashic exposition that allows the author to present the event as a fulfilment of prophetic passages from the Old Testament books of Zechariah and Jeremiah." I'm not saying that could not be improved upon - certainly it could be expanded, and would offer a very interesting insight into how the Gospel writers work, which you touch on in your comments. And if it is controversial, I am perfectly happy for the entire reference to be shifted from the Matthew quote to the lower section, or a new one.

What concerns me is that, instead of suggesting a rewrite or asking for a citation, the editor FaithF simply removed the reference to the problem, leaving the reader with no explanation as to why a quotation from Jeremiah is supported by a citation to a completely different book of the Bible. I was even more concerned by the fact that I was accused by the same editor of Original Research in this, in stating what is I believe an admittedly simplifed version of a common observation. FaithF does seem very quick to accuse others of Original Research. That seems to me to run contrary to the principle of assuming good faith. I notice you have not challenged FaithF on this. Should I take this to mean that you agree with him / her?

The second point, about using everyday language, is relevant to your insertion of Greek text and detailed Bible references. The Greek especially, in roman and in Greek script, seems excessive to me - does it add anything? I'm not sure it does, and I worry that it might put off readers. Remember, this is not an academic dissertation - it's for a general audience. This sort of material might be better off in footnotes. I mention this here and not in the talk page of the article because (a) it's a general point you might like to consider in other articles (forgive me if I sound like I'm lecturing to you, I don't mean to); and (b) I frankly have neither the time nor the energy to commit to making small attempts to improve articles when these are likely to be met with accusations of bad faith. If you feel like considering them in the article, please go ahead.

Finally, you might like to have a look at the article on Internal consistency of the Bible, where the same editor has completely overhauled the article in recent days. Much of this is useful - large tables of pretty useless to-and-fro POV commentary about specific lines from the Bible and whether they are contradictory or not have been removed - but now, where there were occasional sections which attempted to reflect a balanced view of some controversial lines and what they tell us about the thinking of the Gospel writers - there is, mostly, an extended essay on 'What inconsistencies have been alleged and why they aren't really inconsistencies' - complete with the usual allegations of original research, inaccurate synthesis, and insinuations of bad faith, as well as citations from eighteenth and nineteenth century publications and obscure apologetic websites.

Of course, that is just my viewpoint, and I am certainly not neutral in this, and I'm not asking you to agree with me. But I would welcome a balanced and considered view of this, if you can find time to offer an opinion. If not, well, thanks again for your highly constructive contribution to the Judas article.--Rbreen (talk) 21:43, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Alastair, I've added a very brief response to your reply on my talk page. --Rbreen (talk) 10:52, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Internal consistency of the bible[edit]

Dear Alastair: I've made an edit in the article Internal consistency of the Bible, in the section Old Testament. It seemed to me that the article was bogged down in apologetics, sort of "here's an alleged inconsistency, let's show why it isn't." I've tried to show why the inconsistencies, alleged or not, matter: how apparent inconsistencies led to the DH, how inconsistencies between the DtrH and Chronicler's History can elucidate out understanding of what Chronicler's is saying. Faith is a very active editor of this article and will doubtless go ballistic. You might like to come and have a look and ensure that everyone keeps cool! (Yes, even I need to be cooled down - I have a tendency to tease people, and sometimes be perhaps a little too short-tempered.) PiCo (talk) 08:22, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Ballistic? No. I simply reverted with a note on talk, because PiCo's changes removed all the sourced material from two sections in favour of editorial SYN and OR. It is annoying, however, that PiCo made all these changes, and informed three editors for support, without saying something to me who is called "a very active editor of this article". But no matter. Faith (talk) 08:35, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
PiCo was talking to me there Faith not you. I'm sure he doesn't mean it, he's more frustrated and worried about himself exasperating you. He knows you have a case. And he knows I understand what he means. And he's being a bit naughty hoping I'll smooth over any ruffled feathers. But he's welcome. ;)
PiCo say sorry to Faith for suggesting ballistic behaviour was a possibility!
Faith, I think you're doing just right. You are making decisions within policy and it is a very healthy restraint on others. Can you consider being a little slower and more gentle when you're right all the time? A lot of us blunder around a bit and appreciate a little space.
I've sometimes found this the most difficult thing at Wiki -- going slowly and letting some wrong things happen, so that it means we all end up going forward together. I've probably got lazy and I'm not bold enough often enough, so I'm appreciating your energy Faith.
But still, think about this, if you're right and backed by sources, you'll win eventually, why rush? Also, if someone's wrong and working without sources, it's not going to last in the long run.
Hmmm, I'm not sure if PiCo is a man (very sorry if I got this wrong, didn't mean to insult you;). Don't know this aspect of who you are either Faith. Don't want to open a can of worms if this is an issue. Crazy, but I'd prefer people told me a lie than leave me hanging. It's almost as though a basic part of a normal social introduction is missing. But don't mind me. Cheerio. Alastair Haines (talk) 09:40, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
(I'll AGF and not ask what you were smoking at the end here, lol). I guess lack of introduction is The Way of the Wiki (I envision that the title of a Haiku.) PiCo doesn't need to apologise. It's not a big deal, and I'm not that easily injured. I'm not trying to "be right", but only a bit more correct than you mere mortals (lol). Seriously, I didn't mean any offence. Even though it's to be expected with a wiki, it's annoying to spend several days clean up a hugely horrible article, searching all over for proper online and book references, to have it replaced a day or two later with more OR. Anyway, this is probably why I should exit stage right, and do something more constructive (like trim my toenails, an endeavour which would produce results lasting longer than a day or two). I'd forgotten how frustrating wikis can be. Faith (talk) 10:10, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

PiCo is a man. The nick comes from the first syllables of my first and second names, with a small change: Philip Coggan. (Google that name: there are two of us: the first is an extremely eminent financial journalist with the London Financial Times, much-respected for his insights into the financial system, author of several highly-regarded books; the other one is me). Alastair, it's nice of you to suggest I might study at a biblical college, but I think I'm a bit too old to do it properly - Hebrew is beyond me I fear. But I sincerely wish you all the best with your career. Let's meet someday when I'm back in Sydney - or if you come to Phnom Penh. PiCo (talk) 15:38, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

  • Thanks, and also bless you. Faith (talk) 15:29, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Christianity Newsletter[edit]


Congrats on being offered a full-time job with the C-B Gazette. Many, many journos get their start with local newspapers - take Andrew Denton, who I understand is doing quite well. Whether you want journalism for a career I don't know - print journalism is supposed to be a dying trade, along with print itself, newspapers going out of business all over the place, magazines not much better off, and journalists staying alive on Red Cross packages. My big secret is that I don't actually need the money I get from writing - I'm 57 and have superannuation and investment income, and the writing is because I like doing it. (My real-life employment was with the Dept of Foreign Affairs and then with the UN).

But if you're a writer, you'll write, like a fish will swim and a bird will fly.

Good luck, and let's stay in touch. (You can email me if you like - the email link is included on the personal page, somewhere). PiCo (talk) 17:14, 17 May 2008 (UTC)


Indeed, I have been studying heraldry via the Society for Creative Anachronism for several years, and even put my meager skills to use in my brief term as local herald for my shire (local SCA group), which involved helping others learn about heraldry and the principles of design employed in SCA heraldry. SCA heraldry is admittedly a little different than period heraldry. For instance, the SCA gives a very short leash for marshalling and also has special rules regarding modern symmetry and offensive heraldry (such as using swastikas, which would have been appropriate in the Middle Ages, but would be considered offensive now). Heraldry did indeed develop into some "national" styles, although these did not necessarily follow lines we would recognize as national nowadays. In areas of strong German influence (more accurately, Holy Roman Empire influence), eagles featured prominently, while in areas of more French influence (including England), lions feature prominently. Some areas developed other distinctive attributes, in terms of symmetry and proportion (note the special crosses seen throughout Scandinavian heraldry and vexillology).

On another topic, if you know anyone who reads French, I'd like some help translating fr:Trictrac to add to the quality and world-wide view of Tables (board game). Wilhelm meis (talk) 00:28, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

You might check [[Category:Heraldry_by_country]]. I think I'll add "starting new national heraldry stubs" to my "to do" list. Wilhelm meis (talk) 03:29, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Judaisms view of Jesus[edit]

Hallo. Not sure if this is your department but I would value your ionput in the discussion here - [1]. I support the edit in question but I'd like to see some other opinions before RV'ing. Thanks.

Also, if you've read any of Kenneth Kitchen's books, Mosaic Authorship really could use a section with his views. BestWolf2191 (talk) 02:00, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for that response which was right on target.

The question is though whether this statement:

This article addresses Rabbinic Judaism's response to views expressed by the Christian theology of, e.g., the Nicene Creed, regarding Jesus of Nazareth (or “Jesus Christ”), as those views may impinge upon Judaism. For other purposes, see Historical Jesus or Jesus (disambiguation).]

ought to be added at the head of the article. I think I can understamd why someone would want to distingush between the question of the historical and "theological" (read evangelical) "Jesus so I support the edit but what do you think on that score? Thanks againWolf2191 (talk) 03:28, 18 May 2008 (UTC)


Alastair -- thanks so much for your kind words! I've been laying low of late, trying to finish the last touches on a book that's taken way too long to Galley proof. But it's nice to hear that someone out there thinks the same way on some things. It doesn't necessarily make me right to have you agree, but it certainly makes me feel better about it! :-) How have you been? Tim (talk) 14:44, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Alastair -- thanks for the note :-). What's your book about? Mine is a collaborative effort, which was going to be anonymously published (like the New American Standard) but is now going to have our names listed as editors. I'm a little behind the eight ball. It was supposed to be finished a few weeks ago and I have about two weeks to go. That means the people who purchased at pre-pub price will get their copy about a month late. In any event, we've priced it as low as we can at 16 dollars a copy Comprehensive New Testament. You won't see any commentary, though. Think "Nestle-Aland... in English."Tim (talk) 13:54, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Alastair -- I understand about being over the limit! Been there, STAYED there way too long. It's funny what happens to those dissertaions. Mine turned into a full blown edition of the New Testament "The Common Edition" (the result of an algorithmic comparison of what ten translations had in common and what they did not, with certain features weighted according to what users were looking for in a market survey I performed). The result was something like an updated evangelical RSV. I tried unsuccessfully to get it published, and even sent samples to Billy Graham and James Dobson in 1995, but Billy Graham's staff said he couldn't be bothered and James Dobson informed me there was no need for a standardized English version. I finally gave up and released it to Project Gutenberg online back in 2001. The Comprehensive New Testament corrects that previous text against the Nestle-Aland and maps the deviations in twenty translations in the footnotes.

I've always liked the Song of Songs (and never cared for the Artscroll version of it). What's your thesis?Tim (talk) 16:35, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

The whole time you were describing your thesis I had in the back of my mind: "of course, doesn't everyone know that?" that comes when you see so universal a blind spot so blatantly exposed. Bravo! It's one of those "somewhere inside I always knew that but never realized it" moments you don't get very often. Hopefully it will get the traction it deserves and resonate. How long till you're done?Tim (talk) 11:55, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Looks like you have your own trilemma of sorts with this one. Erich Neumann argued in his works that the Hebrew Bible was a partriarchal overlay on older matriarchal Babylonian/Sumerian myths. Perhaps, but even those had burst the boundaries of the matriarchal ur-religion. Gilgamesh is certainly patriarchal. As for the Bible, I couldn't find anything in Neumann's works that referred to the Song of Songs, and that piece of literature would have been too late for his consideration anyway. I've pulled out Alder's Literary analysis of the Bible and will take a look at his SOS take sometime in the next week or so. I've always called the woman "Shoshanna" because of her comment about herself as the Lily of the valley (which is most bizarrely applied to Jesus in a Baptist Hymn -- another example of patriarchalism run amok; if the woman finds her flower metaphor stolen by a male figure!). Perhaps a literary angle? I think you hit the nail on the head when you pointed out that Jews and Christians each see themselves as the spouse of a male deity, and apply the SOS metaphorically to themselves. In that light, regardless of the original intent of the author (which may not be provable), the RECEPTION has certainly been taken by the religious groups in empathy (identification) with the female character. At least, for Jews and Christians, the female is the central figure TO THEMSELVES. Could that be the window to wriggle into your analysis?Tim (talk) 14:43, 22 May 2008 (UTC)


Hi Alastair - I've responded to your comment on my talk page there. I see in the meantime you've been commenting on the Lewis trilemma page - no response from me currently as I'm really busy, but the talk page comments will I hope elucidate ... --Rbreen (talk) 15:05, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Codex Sinaiticus[edit]

Can you correct Codex Sinaiticus? This article is not finished, but needs some cleanning. One sentence is strange to me: "while the block of text has the reciprocal proportions, .91 (the same proportions, rotated 90°)." ".91" — it is mistake. May be 91°? I am not sure. I admire your linguistical possililites, because I now only similar languages (with exception for hebrew), and only one I know well. Leszek Jańczuk (talk) 17:56, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for explanations. I am impressed by sumerian, hieroglyphics, hieratyc scripts. For me it is abstraction. Maybe I should note, I am Ukrainian by nationality, but I was born in Poland. I have no problem with Russian, Ukrainian, Belarussian, Polish. In fact these languages are similar (also Slovac, Czech), but only in Polisch and Russian I speak well. God bless you. Leszek Jańczuk (talk) 22:42, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Copyedit help[edit]

Hello Alastair. I am looking for someone to copyedit Textual criticism, which I am working on toward FA status. Interested? Drop me a line if so. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:01, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

Hi Alastair, Thank you for your words of encouragement, but I can only take a small portion of the credit. I realise that section is very long, and threatens overwhelming the article, so I'm not adverse to someone making it more succinct while maintaining the central points. I started to remove it today, but had a second thought and kept it there until someone complains. I believe I could have written an entire article just on that topic, as there is a wealth of material showing why those census lists are not contradictory if examined properly. Of course there are always the apologists one wishes one could gag, but I find it helpful to stick with the "oldies", knowing they have stood the test of time for good reason. I only drew on Ware's thesis as he echoes prominent scholars, but also deals with the entire issue, allowing us to avoid WP:SYN issues. You commented that people are "not really interested in the topic beyond a very short discussion, and the longer an explanation resolving a discrepancy, the more it looks tenuous", and I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, sometimes the answers aren't short and sweet, and I can only tell the impatient person that theological responses usually don't fit on a bumper sticker. When my patience is tested, I find turning to BLP issues a good diversion, making sure the wiki isn't harming reputations of real people; it's amazing how much garbage sneaks into the articles. --Faith (talk) 05:40, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

  • I wonder if a separate article might be a viable solution. What do you think? We could then add a main article link, rather than a lengthy section on this article. --Faith (talk) 05:44, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the pep talk and the very helpful suggestions. --Faith (talk) 19:00, 26 May 2008 (UTC)


Thanks for the informing me--Angel David (talk) 18:57, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Request for Peer Review help[edit]

Thank you for you work as a peer review volunteer. Since March, there has been a concerted effort to make sure all peer review requests get some response. Requests that have gone three days or longer without a substantial response are listed at Wikipedia:Peer review/backlog. I have three requests to help this continue.

1) If you are asked to do a peer review, please ask the person who made the request to also do a review, preferably of a request that has not yet had feedback. This is fairly simple, but helps. For example when I review requests on the backlog list, I close with Hope this helps. If my comments are useful, please consider peer reviewing an article, especially one at Wikipedia:Peer review/backlog (which is how I found this article). Yours, ...

2) While there are several people who help with the backlog, lately I have been doing up to 3 or 4 peer reviews a day and can not keep this up much longer. We need help. Since there are now well over 100 names on the PR volunteers page, if each volunteer reviewed just one PR request without a response from the list each month, it would easily take care of the "no response" backlog. To help spread out the load, I suggest those willing pick a day of the month and do a review that day (for example, my first edit was on the 8th, so I could pick the 8th). Please pick a peer review request with no responses yet, if possible off the backlog list. If you want, leave a note on my talk page as to which day you picked and I will remind you each month.

3) I have made some proposals to add some limits to peer review requests at Wikipedia_talk:Peer_review#Proposed_limits. The idea is to prevent any one user from overly burdening the process. These seem fairly reasonable (one PR request per editor per day, only four total PR requests per editor at a time, PR requests with cleanup banners can be delisted (like GAN quick fail), and wait two weeks to relist a PR request after it is archived), but have gotten no feedback in one week. If you have any thoughts on these, please weigh in.

Thanks again for your help and in advance for any assistance with the backlog. Ruhrfisch ><>°° 20:54, 27 May 2008 (UTC)


Thanks for your previous help on the article. You suggestions on structure were a real help in improving the article. Qmwne235 (talk · contribs) has also substantially helped me past few days and on his suggestion I have put it for up for GA class review also. I request you to have a fresh look at the article. I hope this passes the muster for GA…this will give me confidence to nominate it for FA class. Do have a relook. Thanks.--Anish (talk) 12:03, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Anekantavada has been promoted as a Good article. Your contributions have immensely helped improved this article. Thanks for all your help. I hope you will help me out to make this as a featured article. I also intend to work on other Jainism related articles and am counting on your expertise. Thanks! --Anish (talk) 19:47, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

i so want to steal some of your userboxes...[edit]

may i borrow some of your boxes?

by the way, good work on the comma john article.

-bc IsraelXKV8R (talk) 21:33, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedias in Classical Languages[edit]

Cudos on your support (Foundation mailing list). I don't think it will be quick or easy, but I think these requests will win out in the end.

I prefer arguing that these are "Classical Languages" (not "ancient" or "dead" languages), and that a classical language cannot by definition be dead. Don't let the opponents use their terminology unopposed!

The main language that has been excluded is Classical Greek, with every-so-often a new deletion threat raised against Latin (which always fails since an active community actually exists that is building it). The main thing that might possibly get Greek going is translating the interface and creating some pilot content. Dovi (talk) 19:33, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Origin of Sirius before the archaic period[edit]

Alastair, your sources and/or abilities may be helpful here - Talk:Sirius#Reference_to_Jay_B._Holberg. A detailed source I had on Sirius raise the possibility that it was imported to Ancient Greek (presumably recently) before the Archaic period (as it is mentioned in Hesiod by name at that stage), I guess because of its unusual formation. Now another editor is unhappy with how I have worded it and questioning a book by an astronomer on its linguisitic qualifications. Anyway, all help appreciated. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 21:56, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Noah's Ark[edit]

Hello Alastair. I'm having a (reasonably amicable) dispute with another editor on the Noah's Ark page. There's currently a vote on a certain proposed edit on the Talk page there. Perhaps you might care to look at the issues? PiCo (talk) 02:22, 2 June 2008 (UTC)


Hi Alastair....Not seen you on the article for a long time. I was hoping you would help me out to make this as a FA. Your help until now has been fantastic and I am still banking on you. But if you dont have time I will understand...your efforts have changed and improved the structure of the article. Thanks--Anish (talk) 10:57, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

War of the disambiguated sexes[edit]

Hi, Yamara here. I'm not trying to give you hard time or edit war, it's just that disambig pages are simple affairs, designed only to guide people in finding an article with a specific name. A reader may wish to explore epicene from a related article page, but from a disambig it's pretty strictly by word form: on DAB we have to help readers find what they are already looking for, not distract them.

Your research and citations are excellent, but belong on an article page where debate and edits can expand. There's a disambig rule about one active link per line, which is why I've left femininity (and masculinity) as the main articles the page points to. Citations of "positive" aspects plainly belong there, as the noun suggests the quality of the condition. However, declaring "feminine" as objectively positive could invite ridicule, as some of the most frequent appearances in common usage are "Feminine hygiene" and "feminine napkin".[2] (And, in scholarly aspects, your Johnson quote example. His choice of words was always precise, and he is not suggesting anything particularly positive with his use of "feminine".)

Hope this clears up my stance, without any undue animosity. We can have WikiProject Disambiguation sort it out, if you prefer. Cheers, Yamara 18:32, 3 June 2008 (UTC)


I have held no doubt about your passion for these subjects, and considered asking for your assistance on Immortality's Christianity section (as per the tag there) while we were distracting over the DABs. For my part, I would welcome your input.

I'm glad you appreciate my insight as to immortality being a goal. I think we can demonstrate this is not OR, if we are careful and strict about our references. We should therefore let the sources speak their passion, and leave interpretation to cautious and creative editing.

Just as a comment from a preceding note of yours, I welcome collegiate approaches, but if any encyclopedia exists outside an ivory tower, it's Wikipedia. I'm a realist in this regard, and tend to edit with the expectation that the average person will both expect to understand all non-technical entries, and have her say in them as well. Look forward to seeing you in Talk:Immortality. Cheers, Yamara 17:17, 4 June 2008 (UTC) (reposted from Talk:Yamara)

Gender of God talk page[edit]

I removed your section titled Exploring a feminine Holy Spirit with the edit summary "your WQA ended with agreement that this is in violation of WP:TALK". You immediately undid this removal with the reply "not without talking with me it doesn't" [sic].

Nobody needs to gain your permission to apply Wikipedia policies. Whether you are in violation is irrespective of whether you think you are in violation. How many people need to agree that you are in the wrong before you will consider that you might be? Ilkali (talk) 15:22, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Why I'm getting involved in this tiff is beyond me, but maybe it's because I think I see well-meaning editors making commendable contributions, but then lots of impatience and suboptimal levels of civility on top of that. I think we need to distinguish how ready editors should be to put up POV tags from how ready they should be for citation-needed/unreferenced tags. WP:NPOV tags should not be put up without at least a brief discussion on the Talk page. Citation-needed/unreferenced tags, on the other hand, can immediately go up, as suggested by WP:PROVEIT. --Atemperman (talk) 21:59, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure how best to format Talk page back-and-forths, so I'll just reply to your remarks on my page here. I arrived at this mess by looking through the RfCs, and didn't want to spend several hours poring over what everyone has done so I could render an impeccably researched judgement. I understand all your points, and am sympathetic in many ways, but think that you invite trouble when you put on so imperious a persona. I think you're being too focused on being right, rather than on trying to achieve the best result. If you're going to add in the sources later anyway, then just say that, let the "unreferenced" tags stand, and remove them when you put in the sources. Since in WP, you don't have as much choice as you might in other forums over whom you're collaborating with, navigating these issues is as much about managing people as it is content.--Atemperman (talk) 22:44, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Attachment theory[edit]

Hi alistair. i've done quite a bit of rearranging and sorting on the page if you'd care to have a look. I also put the individual developments of each tenet with the relevent tenet to see how it works. Fainites barley 21:22, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Hey thanks Alistair! Re the reworking of the first para of the second section though - alot of what you've added is not actually what the source says which is a bit of a problem. Fainites barley 08:32, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Feel free to revert it all, it only took an hour! ;) I'm not sure whose text it was, or if it was correct. I simply tried to rephrase the text to say more straight-forwardly what I thought it was saying.
I was also trying to phrase it neutrally and appropriately. We're dealing with a controversial theoretical model. It all seems fine to me, but stating theory as theory, in the language of scientific method—observation, data, hypothesis, prediction, etc.—can go a long way to deflecting unnecessary scuffles.
If what was in the article before was out of line with sources, then what I've done will be too.
If what was there was OK, then mine should be too.
If I've misunderstood, then my text must go, but others will also misunderstand the text I changed.
If my text is factually wrong, then the old text was not sufficiently clear.
I don't pretend to be an expert at much except reading, so I don't mind being reverted.
Mind you, perhaps the only thing that's odd is me introducing the language of scientific method. That isn't much different to using "therefore" or "because" etc. I hope I didn't actually make claims that are out of line with the theory.
Anyway, revert away, I simply don't know enough about AT to object. :) Alastair Haines (talk) 09:01, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Thats fine. I'm not reverting! The source is a book who's stated purpose is to explain attachment - published by the RCP Research and Training Unit. I was just concerned that we didn't attribute something to them they didn't say. maybe there's a better source that explains things more comprehensively - or explains a few extra bits. Fainites barley 11:20, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Regarding the lead - I always find these difficult. The general rule is that they should not be more than 5 or 6 paragraphs and should summarise the whole article. A tall order. Mind you - I've seen some medical/psych articles with very long leads that seem to work very well. Fainites barley 13:08, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Christianity Newsletter[edit]

rongorongo FAC[edit]

Hi Alastair,

Rongorongo is up for FA again, if you'd care to comment. kwami (talk) 22:12, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Pentateuchal criticism or what?[edit]

Hello Alastair. I know you're busy with the important extra-Wiki part of your life (as I guess I should be with mine), but when you have time I'd like your opinion on something.

For a while now I've been dissatisfied with the fact that so many articles on bible-criticism subjects refer readers to documentary hypothesis for more details on how the Torah came to be written. This isn't really very sensible - for one thing, the DH is only one of several putative answers to the question, and for another is tends to assume that Wellhausen had the very last word on this subject - and that consequently, if you demolish Wellhausen, Mosaic authorship is revealed as the only game in town.

Anyway, I'd like to start a new article on critical theories on how the Pentateuch came to be written. It would concentrate on "models" rather than hypotheses - documentary, fragmentary, supplementary - and would deal with major trends since about 1975. Nicholson's book would probably be a good starting point. But my very first question, before mapping out this article as a stub, is: what to call it? Pentateuchal criticism? Origins of the Torah? What? Do you have any good suggestions? PiCo (talk) 04:07, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments Alastair. I've created a stub called Pentateuchal criticism - so called because it's short, easily recalled, and ties in with all the other uses of the word "criticism" on similar pages. I'll add some potential sources soon - I've got Wenham, Van Seters and Nicholson at the moment. PiCo (talk) 07:33, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

ANI discussion[edit]

Hello. There is a discussion about your behavior (which you should have been notified about) at ANI here

I believe Ilkali (talk · contribs) has a legitimate point in that the discussion on Talk:Gender of God that you seem to be in disagreement with would be better discussed on user talk. Perhaps in the interest of diffusing this issue, you could take it there. Toddst1 (talk) 13:48, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Mark 16 cite disagreement[edit]

Hello, just letting you know I'm not trying to be a prick or anything, I'm just trying to have a well written cite for your info you added. Otherwise it's only a matter of time before someone removes it an being uncited. And I'm not talking about the manuscript cites (although links to online editions of them, if they exist, would be cool), but the cite for that claim in that edition of the NT. A simple link to that edition and chapter should suffice, but I don't speak Greek and I don't have a lot of time to do it myself. Roy Brumback (talk) 23:46, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Alastair, you're claiming that edition of the New Testament makes that claim. All I'm asking for is a cite or link to that page of that edition. Other wiki pages are not verifiable info, although the cites on those pages are. Is is really so hard to simply have a link to Mark 16 in that edition, if that claim is made in that chapter, or wherever it is in the book? You're not claiming that for instance Codex Vat. lacks the verses, but that that edition of the New Testament concludes that they are not part of the original autograph manuscript, and since that is a conclusion of the scholars who made the book, just citing the whole book, though technically accurate, is poor citation, as I would then have to dig through the entire edition to confirm what you say. Edition and page number or direct online link to the part of the book being cited are much preferred. I'm not doubting what you wrote is true, I'm just asking for a little bit more in the way of citation. Just saying you can follow the wiki links and confirm it yourself is not acceptable, as wiki pages are not always reliable or verifiable sources. If you don't want to do that, then it will be only a matter of time before someone tries to delete it all as unsourced. Take it easy. Roy Brumback (talk) 05:37, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Latin manuscripts[edit]

I'm certainly not trying to buy into that argument! Delete all reference to popes if you like. PiCo (talk) 10:57, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

I wrote a comment in the article talk page abt the scope of the article (Old Latin and Vulgate) before reading your comment on my own talk page, from which I gather that you want to restrict the article to Vetus manuscripts. That should certainly make it kmore manageable - and leave room for a further article on Vulgate manuscripts. It is encouraging to hear that genuine authorities are interested in seeing Wiki become a reliable reference, but...the problem is, anyone can edit Wiki, and at any time. So anything we write now can be overturned at any time in the future. Students of culture will doubtless have a wonderful time studying Wiki in years to come (many a PhD waiting in the history pages), but I'm afraid that our names are writ in water - and unlike the young Mr Keats, this time it's likely to be for real. PiCo (talk) 15:00, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm getting a better idea now of what you're trying to do. I can see that your list could be a real help to scholars. Given that Wiki isn't stable, have you considered putting it on a website? You could use Wiki first to iron out the bugs, and when it's as perfect as can be, transfer it to the site. PiCo (talk) 01:54, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Gender of God[edit]

Sadly I felt it necessary reported you for 3RV violation. Abtract (talk) 21:50, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

That is disingenuous. Since you deliberately reverted without consensus, merely shared your edit count with another user. Alastair Haines (talk) 12:31, 24 June 2008 (UTC)


I've blocked you for 24h for a combination of 3RR, incivility, edit warring, and an utterly bizarre and impolite closure of an RFC. I really don't understand how you can possibly expect to get away with [3]; or indeed [4] William M. Connolley (talk) 22:40, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

If you observe the edit history and text of the talk page more closely, you will observe two editors "voted with edit counts" to force through changes, and offered an invalid and inappropriate RfC not addressing article content. I stand by my decisions. Alastair Haines (talk) 12:16, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Copyedit of First-move advantage in chess[edit]

Hello, I have seen your name in the list of Wikipedia:Peer review/volunteers. I am currently presenting a chess-related article for FA at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/First-move advantage in chess, and one of the reviewer (User:Tony1) has said that "prose needs sprucing up a little". Unfortunately I am not a native English speaker so I have no clue about how to improve the article on prose. Would you please like to have a look at the article and improve it where possible ? SyG (talk) 13:50, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your copyediting of the article. You may be happy to know that it became a FA! SyG (talk) 18:33, 27 June 2008 (UTC)


saw the mention in newsweek. congrats!! IsraelXKV8R (talk) 14:29, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

they are yours for the taking should you want them. IsraelXKV8R (talk) 16:21, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Creating new talk page sections[edit]

This isn't a big deal, but: It seems like you create new sections in talk pages by editing the existing final section and inserting a new header underneath it, which leads to misleading edit summaries (eg your current addition of a 'Expanded slightly on Hinduism' section in Talk:Gender of God had the summary "/* First sourced proposal */: comment", suggesting that it is a reply within the "First sourced proposal" section). Could I suggest you use the "new section" link at the top of the page instead? It'd make it a little easier to interpret edit histories. Ilkali (talk) 07:56, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Quick hi[edit]

Hi Alastair. Just in case you're wondering, I'm tied up with the real world, so not much time for Wiki these days. Hope to be back in a few weeks & can get ahead with some of the projects we were working on. Hope the thesis work is going well. PiCo (talk) 11:12, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

It's unlikely I'll spark a revolution this time round. It's interesting work, a book that an Australian expat here has written- he wants me to upgrade the prose. It's about a young British boy who disappeared in Cambodia in 22004 - Jim was hired by the family to investigate (he runs a personal security business). No trace of Eddie was ever found, but the story 0of the investigation is fascinating.
I'll have a look for Newsweek - someone must have it. PiCo (talk) 01:59, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

2nd 3RR report[edit]

I've reported you for 3RR violation here. Ilkali (talk) 09:47, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

As usual, you are simply asserting slander Ilkali. This is unacceptable behaviour.
But, after a month of warning you, you still ignore me.
Sadly, I am still waiting for generous community members to wade through all your personal attacks and discover they have no basis in fact. Alastair Haines (talk) 12:03, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
"As usual, you are simply asserting slander Ilkali". 'Alastair Haines has reverted four times' is not slander. It is a verifiable fact, and one that I have a responsibility to report.
"after a month of warning you, you still ignore me". You have never warned me, Alastair. For something to be a warning, it must at least specify what will happen if things do not change, and you have never done that. Your threats are vague and void of authority. You cannot intimidate me. Ilkali (talk) 12:14, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
It is a verifiable falicy,
as indeed are your other empty words here. Alastair Haines (talk) 12:25, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
Stop x nuvola with clock.svg
You have been blocked from editing for a short time in accordance with Wikipedia's blocking policy for violating the three-revert rule at Gender of God. Please be more careful to discuss controversial changes or seek dispute resolution rather than engaging in an edit war. If you believe this block is unjustified, you may contest the block by adding the text {{unblock|your reason here}} below.

Per a report at WP:AN3. EdJohnston (talk) 13:56, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

It is a little difficult to follow the "contest the block" procedure when one is blocked from editing one's talk page.
The blocking decision was clearly made without examining the evidence. I expect an apology in due course. However, since I have limited time pursuing this will have to wait. Alastair Haines (talk) 15:31, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


Hi Alastair, I'm sad to see your recent issues as regards gender of god. I understand you must feel frustrated but breaking WP:3RR will get you into trouble regardless of whether your position is correct or not. I have not looked at the situation and I don't know what's happened but as someone who knows that you edit with betterment of the project in mind I strongly urge you to pursue dispute resolution in this case.

Responding angrily (or what someone might mistake for anger) to other editors wont help. Repeating edits wont help. These are cul de sacs that will undoubtedly make you frustrated with the project. Mediation on the other hand might help. So might an article content RfC. These approaches may defuse the argument and improve the page. They will also help bring more eyes to the page in case there is a wider issue there.

It might also be helpful to temporarily disengage from an area of dispute. Drop me a line if you'd like an outside view - you can still post here or you are welcome to email me--Cailil talk 14:22, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Hi Cailil, thanks for your advice.
Oddly enough, I'm currently opposing editors who are insisting on the claim that "God is nearly always male across religions", which is unsourced, and not clearly meaningful, since what god and gender mean varies with religion. They are also insisting on removing sourced text from Durkheim, Rodney Stark, William Sims Bainbridge and other sociologists and anthropologists of religion that explain the diversity of views.
Interestingly, I don't actually feel frustrated at all, the processes will work, it will just take time.
I haven't actually broken 3RR, that's a pointless exercise, as we both know.
As you point out, you have not looked and don't know what's happened, yet you assume the claim against me is true! You are far from alone in that. That would frustrate me if I thought that people had nothing better to do than to investigate and remedy any slander against me. No, I'm realistic, and I don't actually want genuine contributors caught up in a tedious, time consuming issue like this. Kind volunteers donate time to investigate these things.
I don't feel angry, I feel patient and hopeful. At every point I have sought to address the editor who is currently accusing me first, before I requested time from other users, and to give him a chance to change. I tried a WQA, but those who considered the case couldn't see then what has since become obvious about this editor's behaviour. Among other things, they were distracted by that editor's effective deflection of attention to me. Having found that strategy to be successful, he has repeated it over and over, with mixed success.
An RfC was raised at one point, by the editor above against me, which attracted only further misunderstanding, by a respondant, who like you admitted he hadn't had time to check all the facts, but it looked bad for me because it was two to one. Of course, this was used as further evidence against me.
My assessment of this is that involvement of people in a casual manner, only multiplies hearsay and clouds the issue. So I have appealed to the mediation cabal, for an individual who can stay with the process as long as it takes for all evidence to be considered. Actually, I think that will be enough to solve the problem.
I really appreciate you dropping by and offering such patient and helpful advice, even when you suspect there may be no smoke without fire. Actually, the situation is very simple, the editor has provided not a single source or discussion of article content in thousands of words, but has repeatedly questioned my motives for providing the sourced and neutral content I have provided. That some others have expressed their belief in this attribution of motives has led to a complete halt to addition of sourced text to the article.
Wiki editors should know better than to lock things down by invoking a majority.
In many ways I actually find the current issue a positive experience! It has made me even more appreciative of yourself and of others who have shown precisely the kind of maturity that is lacking in the current case. In two years at Wiki, I have been very fortunate in several discussions, when opposed by majorities, with only sources to back me. Others have sometimes rigorously challenged my interpretation, requested additional sources, and even edited robustly in such challenges; however, until now, I have been thrilled to see how respect for policies (not me or even my arguments) has led dissenters to desist when they can't find sources that unambiguously represent their own view.
Anyway, thanks once again, you really needn't worry. What will make me happiest is if you just get on with your own positive contributions to real life and to Wiki. Alastair Haines (talk) 15:29, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Gender GA Sweeps Review: On Hold[edit]

As part of the WikiProject Good Articles, we're doing sweeps to go over all of the current GAs and see if they still meet the GA criteria and I'm specifically going over all of the "Culture and Society" articles. I have reviewed Gender and believe the article currently meets the majority of the criteria and should remain listed as a Good article. In reviewing the article, I have found there are several issues that need to be addressed, and I'll leave the article on hold for seven days for them to be fixed. I have left this message on your talk page since you have significantly edited the article (based on using this article history tool). Please consider helping address the several points that I listed on the talk page of the article, which shouldn't take too long to fix with the assistance of multiple editors. I have also left messages on the talk pages of a few other editors and several related WikiProjects to spread the workload around some. If you have any questions, let me know on my talk page and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. --Nehrams2020 (talk) 08:15, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Gender of God mediation case[edit]

I'd really like your input on the case regarding the Gender of God article [5]! Your initial concerns seemed a bit vague. I know it's asking alot to clarify them but it would really help move things along. -Rushyo (talk) 15:02, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Noah's Ark and support[edit]

Alastair, I really appreciated your comments on my Talk page, thanks. I sympathize entirely with what you say. There is very little which can be done when editors such as PiCo and Doug Weller refuse to adhere to Wikipedia policies. The processes for enforcing these policies are so labyrinthine and glacial that destructive editors are usually able to avoid any consequences whatsoever.

The main problem is that unwanted edits to a page can be opposed indefinitely if so desired. Say I propose in the Talk page an edit to the Noah's Ark article. All others have to do to obstruct it completely is to ignore the proposal. A week goes by, two weeks, and say I decide to include it because no one objected. Immediately it will be removed by members who don't like it, on the basis that I didn't obtain consensus. This is a farce, since consensus was consistently sought but other editors refused to engage in discussion. There does not appear to be any way around this other than to continue advancing through the various conflict resolution steps. In the case of the Noah's Ark article, PiCo willfully inserts material which was rejected by consensus, and deliberately deletes entire sections without any discussion at all. In addition he makes repeated accusations of bad faith. I have documented all this for the relevant parties when I need to present it.

I would certainly provide you with any assistance I can with regard to your own difficulties. --Taiwan boi (talk) 08:40, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Thank you Taiwan boi, at this stage I'll express confidence in the mediators and other parties, that sources will be allowed to shape consensus. Should consensus not be reached, I will appreciate your support, in taking it to ArbCom. The Foundation obviously cannot afford to uphold head counts over published sources, nor be seen to tolerate personal attacks. It's just a matter of time. Cheers. Alastair Haines (talk) 08:48, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Alastair, I'd like to seek your opinion as a third party on the long term behaviour of PiCo on the Noah's Ark page, and the resultant edit war. I would really appreciate your help in approaching PiCo with a view to breaking the current deadlock by explaining to him the correct editing procedures. This would take the form of a third party observation, with a view to developing into informal mediation. If he refused to discuss it with you and I after our efforts, I would take it to RFC. --Taiwan boi (talk) 11:13, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your latest Alastair, I really appreciate it. --Taiwan boi (talk) 14:15, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Alastair, would you take a look at my edits to the actual article and tell me what problems you see in them? I did agree on the talk page that proper procedures should be followed, and I do think the article does get torn from pillar to post. Perhaps I haven't kept up with the debate well enough (evidently almost certainly not well enough), but my comment was about proper procedures and looking for consensus. Presumably because of that Taiwan boi posted a notice on my talk page that he intended to seek mediation, but I had no idea I was supposed to do anything but wait until something happened. He has now posted that he is giving me only one more day to respond. I did look at the requests for mediation page and there was nothing there so I assumed I was just supposed to wait until something formal happened. As someone who has taken a very minor role in this I don't see why I'm involved, let alone told that because I didn't respond to something that just looked like a notice about some future event things might be escalated. I would like to know exactly how I have not adhered to Wikipedia policies as I always try my best to toe the line. If I really have been out of line I will of course apologise, but I'd like some evidence that my comment on the talk page fails to adhere to Wikipedia polices (eg what policy and how? Frankly, I am fed up with this article and was going to take it off my watch list and wish I had. I definitely will once this bother is over, I have other articles I am much more interested in. I assure you that my comment was meant in good faith and I look forward to your comments. Doug Weller (talk) 16:46, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
I've stopped watching the article. I will add, as I did on my talk page, I am unhappy with being told I am assisting a vandal -- in fact, I'm unhappy about any accusations of vandalism in this case. (And as anyone can tell by looking at my contribution history, I spend a lot of time, probably more than I should as I'd prefer to spend it in positive improvements to articles, dealing with real vandalism on a variety of articles. If any mediation is actually going to take place I hope that such language is taken into account. Doug Weller (talk) 08:46, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Hi Alastair. Like Doug, I'm a bit confused as to what's required here. Taiwanboi is the only one who feels this is a matter of all-consuming importance - I'm quite happy to sit back and wait for a clear instruction from someone that I'm required to do something. Anyway, thanks for your involvement, I think you did pretty much what any reasonable person would have done under the circumstances. And now I suppose I have to go and say something on Taiwanboi's page. I wish he'd get himself a nice cup of coffee and a good book and go sit in the garden for a bit. Flowers, birds, peace'n'quiet, that's the way to go!PiCo (talk) 15:09, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

I didn't even know there was some kind of process under way. I wish someone would tell me these things. They really should tell me about this - I'm not ignoring them, but I don't spend my entire day monitoring the Noah's Ark page on Wiki! PiCo (talk) 15:36, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Don't you read your own Talk page? You've been notified every time. --Taiwan boi (talk) 00:33, 6 July 2008 (UTC)


Thank you for your kind note, Alastair! There was a lot of work to be done with saints and related topics on Wikipedia, but it's been a pleasure working on it. Cheers! --Polylerus (talk) 15:11, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

De Nada![edit]

You're welcome! It seems passing strange that definitions of "gender" and "god" would be irrelevant to a page on the Gender of God! I see that my revert is reverted already, so I'll have to dig deeper to find out what the hidden agenda is.

The publication is going well. Right now we're getting blurbs from reviewers, and the final galley should go out for printing next week. Provided there are no obvious problems with the final galley, the customers who've alread bought the book will get the galley (which will be identical in format and quality -- but two months faster).Tim (talk) 16:08, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Great minds think alike! The link is

You should have it in a few weeks.

Alastair, thanks for asking. My wife and I have had a romantic comedy screenplay on hold ever since we fell in love with each other after working on it (the, uh, story significantly changed). Also on hold have been a few works of fantasy. And that's where I'm trying to get my hands into the market. There's a new boom on Robert E. Howard going on, but the writers are lifting characters and not stories by the author. The result looks like a new debacle like what happened when they did this last time (think Arnold Swarzenager trying to get closure for the death of his mommy) -- the original Conan movie had more to do with Bambi than the archetypal barbarian. There are some problems with Howard's writing that would need to be solved for a correct transfer to screen, so I'm sending a sample to one of the studios to see if the author can be handled more authentically. In any case, I really have to stay off of Wikipedia for a while or tone it down or I'll never get any real work done... As for gender and Judaism... historically the uroboric relationship between Marduk and Tiamat has masculine parallels in the Torah. I've mentioned Neumann. His work "The Origins and History of Consciousness" is a marvelous study of gender in world religion, mythology, and individual consciousness. "The Great Mother" is another magnificent work in the field. Although Neumann was an Israeli, he was not a rabbinic authority (nor even religious). So his analysis of what Judaism holds is an external analysis (if you're Orthodox). Internal analysis is a tough one, for any group... especially a religion. Judaism, for instance, is replete with metaphors of God as king (not queen), father (far more than mother), husband (and NOT wife) of Israel, etc. The prayer books routinely speak of God as our Father, our King, etc. As you and Lisa are discussing, there is no gender inherent to God per se on a theoretical level, and yet we relate to "Him" as children, a wife, etc. I've glanced around my library this morning and see some tangental discussion by Schechter in his "Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology" and of course Cohen's "Everyman's Talmud." But these are just digests. It will take a bit of time to track down some of their references in one of my Talmud sets (I only have Soncino, Neusner, and a few scraps of Steinsaltz). I apologize for stepping into the Gender and God discussion and then getting distracted elsewhere. I'll try to give a bit more priority to the subject on that page before I go on vacation next week. There's just not much time for me right now. One of my dearest friends in the world is having an engagement party in a couple of weeks in Chicago, and I can't find a way to squeeze that in -- and she's infinitely more dear to me than Wikipedia. But I WILL do some research for you on this subject, and I still have out that book I was going to review related to your thesis work (and in fact, I think I'll read that this week before doing anything more on Gender of God). Ah! And that reminds me... check out Artscroll's Tanakh. Their version of the Song of Songs isn't even a straight translation. Instead of a romance between a woman and a man, the woman is allegorized as "Israel" and the male lover as "HaShem." This is a traditional take, of course. But what is telling is this: you would be run out of shul if you tried to reverse the genders in the allegory. Does "God" technically have a sex? No. But a gender? Yes, but not exclusively. Just a few weeks ago my Rabbi brought it up, and pointed out the common idea that Elo-im (the dash should be "h") is a masculine idea and that Y-W- is a feminine one. The TITLE elo-im carries connotations of judgment, while the NAME Y-W- carries connotations of mercy. Rather than argue on the talk page, how about tell me what you are looking for and I'll try to do a little leg work for you.Tim (talk) 14:53, 6 July 2008 (UTC)


Thanks for your comments and compliments on talk page of Anekantavada that I do not entirely deserve. When I was looking out for some one to help me out on this article you came out to help me. You challenged all the edits and the structure itself and that ensured a GA rating for article. But thats not I will be relying on your valuable contributions for other articles also.;)--Anish (talk) 04:01, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Once again I am indebted to you. Thanks for the FA nomination. Hope it passed the muster.--Anish (talk) 06:14, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Your comments gave me some hope and I have posted some reply. Lets see.....not yet losing any hope. --Anish (talk) 08:26, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Hey could not help going through your talk page. I didn't realise that you are going thru a lot of stress with RFC and all that. I was wrapped up with Anekantavada. Anyway anything i can do to help you?--Anish (talk) 09:43, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

More on FAC on Jainsim[edit]

Thanks for your offer on my talk page. I am planning to line up Karma in Jainism and then Ahimsa in Jainism for FAC and will definitely require your assistance (to which I have got used to). But I am taking things a bit easy now..on the last one was a bit stressful. I hope you like the new barnstar that I changed on your page. I can see you are having your share of troubles......I guess that is what drives away the good editors from wiki. I will keep a watch on your page...just in case. I also note that you have a good group of well wishers who are expecting a lot from you...(I am one of them). --Anish (talk) 09:19, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

PS do call me if need arises.

Gender of God[edit]

I didn't remove a single source. I object to you claiming that I did.

"Not feminine" is implied by "has no gender". The converse is not true. Therefore, it is appropriate for the statement in the header to say that God (in Judaism) has no gender. This is confirmed by the two sources I put in. The fact that someone came afterwards and added a third source which says God is "non-feminine" doesn't in any way argue against what the first two sources said. Please leave it as it is. If you change it back to "not feminine", I will change it back again, because that's contrary to two out of the three sources brought. -LisaLiel (talk) 20:44, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Apologies, if that's what I said, you didn't remove a source, you removed sourced text.
I've changed the text to better reflect the relevant source, masculine is Paula Reimer's description; non-feminine is what she considered to be most important, which is why I noted it.
Personally, I think Reimer's views are clearly expressed, profound and spot on to the topic of the article. They are relevant even beyond discussion of Judaism. The lead doesn't provide sufficient room to develop them, which is a pity. Nor does it allow room for adequate expression of alternative PsOV. Alastair Haines (talk) 01:02, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
They may be relevant beyond discussion of Judaism. They aren't all that relevant to Judaism. I brought mainstream sources for the simple fact that God is not considered male or female in Judaism. You brought Paula Reimers, but she doesn't even say what you're claiming she does. She's saying that we should view God as female. She doesn't say a single thing in that quote:

Those who want to use God/She language want to affirm womanhood and the feminine aspect of the deity. They do this by emphasizing that which most clearly distinguishes the female experience from the male. A male or female deity can create through speech or through action, but the metaphor for creation which is uniquely feminine is birth. Once God is called female, then, the metaphor of birth and the identification of the deity with nature and its processes become inevitable.

Where does this say a single word about how Judaism views God? This is a defense of those who want to use female language for God (a cause near and dear to your heart, perhaps, but that doesn't make it mainstream in Judaism), but it doesn't even mention Judaism, let alone how God is seen in Judaism.
Personally, I think the quote should be taken out of the article entirely. The quote from Alpert is already there, and two lengthy quotes by ultra-feminist rabbis in liberal streams is giving undue weight to a highly controversial view. Even most Conservative and Reform Jews don't agree with them, and the traditional Jewish view has always been that God doesn't have gender -- that we use masculine forms for God merely because no neuter form exists in Hebrew.
But I'd prefer to get some consensus before removing a quote, even one as unnecessary as this one. -LisaLiel (talk) 02:36, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Hi Alastair. Thanks for your note. While I do think that there is a distinction today between sex and gender, I don't believe there to be any evidence of such a distinction predating, say, the 1970s.
I don't think that Reimers' views are at all even close to the mainstream in Judaism, and so I can't agree with your statement that there are three views. One of the flaws in many of the liberal Jewish movements is that they treat Tanakh as though it alone is the source of Judaism. As such, they come at the written material as though they were outsiders. Sociologists. Such views may be of interest from the point of view of secular scholarship, but they have little to no relevance to Judaism, even if the person espousing them carries the title "rabbi".
Furthermore, I would contend that Reimers' point is irrelevant. Whether God is portrayed as masculine in Tanakh is besides the point. A person reading the bare texts of Tanakh could infer any number of things from it which may or may not conform to what Judaism says.
In other words, you are portraying the fact that God is described with masculine imagery in Tanakh as contradicting the fact that Judaism does not see God as having gender. But this is incorrect. The two facts do not contradict one another, and both are true. God is described that way in Tanakh. Judaism does not view God as having gender.
Reimers wants to argue that we should use feminine imagery for God. That's her personal view. It's argumentative, rather than descriptive, and doesn't speak to the question of how Judaism sees God.
You wrote: "From what I've read, there are actually three notable points of view—masculine, feminine and neither." But there is no notable POV in Judaism that God is feminine. There's no notable view in Judaism that He is masculine either, but it isn't strange that people (like Reimers, perhaps) who have not studied Jewish sources might conclude from the masculine imagery of Tanakh that there is.
Incidentally, two additional points. You say that "henotheistic religions (afaik) are unanimous that sex is not applicable to God." Judaism is not henotheistic. It is monotheistic to an extreme degree. In addition, it would be helpful to dialog if you would not use the Tetragrammaton when referring to God. Casual use of this Name is considered highly offensive to Orthodox Jews. While I can understand scholars using it in papers (though I disagree), its use in discussion with an Orthodox Jew could be seen as inflammatory. I'm sure you don't intend this, and perhaps you were unaware that we see it that way. -LisaLiel (talk) 04:16, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Alastair, please stop changing the header of that article. Labeling a reliable source as POV and another as irrelevant is arbitrary and without any basis. As you've said, you aren't exactly an expert in Judaism. Do you really want to know what Judaism says about the subject, or do you want to push an agenda? I ask, because while I'd like to assume good faith on your part, the fact is that all Jewish sources agree that God is neither masculine nor feminine. The only dispute is over whether we should be using masculine or feminine imagery (or both) when describing Him. And note: I say "Him", because "It" is offensive, and "Her" is controversial. "Him" is standard usage, but my using it doesn't imply that I think God is male or masculine.
Would you like me to add a few dozen sources for the fact that Judaism doesn't view God as having gender or sex? I'll be happy to do so if you want. But you haven't asked. What you've done is claim that a quote that doesn't mention Judaism or how Judaism views God is a valid source for how Judaism views God in terms of gender, you've labeled a statement by a major Orthodox rabbi as "POV" (!!!) and you've labeled a standard web source for Jewish concepts as "irrelevant". Why have you done this? -LisaLiel (talk) 13:09, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Alastair, your quibble about gender vs. sex isn't relevant here. The Hebrew Bible doesn't recognize such a distinction; nor does Judaism. The Hebrew language itself didn't possess a word for "gender" (as opposed to "sex") until about 10 years ago. Judaism does not view God as having gender or sex. Since those two terms are viewed as synonyms outside of gender studies, Jewish sources will obviously be using them interchangably. -LisaLiel (talk) 13:57, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
In Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach, by Suzanne Kessler and Wendy McCenna, a case is made for the term "gender" to be reflective of 5 separate and distinct concepts. Gender assignment, gender attribution, gender role, gender identity and gender role identity. See here for more details about that. I understand the concept, and I understand that biological sex in a human being is not the same as the person's gender. Please don't think I don't. But you are attempting to extend this distinction to God. That's where you're going wrong.
In Judaism, God is One. Absolutely unitary, without parts or aspects or attributes. This means that neither gender nor sex is relevant to God. There's an unending list of things that aren't relevant to God; it's impossible to enumerate all of them, because there are always new concepts being invented. Like gender, as distinct from sex. -LisaLiel (talk) 14:19, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Bart Ehrman[edit]

Mr Ehrman now has a very bad problem. [6] According to Ehrman there are no such text to validate that the resurrection was not made up whole cloth by Greek communities before the canon text was put to paper. According to Ehrman because of no evidence it had to have been all "made up" with one outrageous tale trying to out do the previous. Well now, so much for that. LoveMonkey (talk) 03:34, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

July 2008[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg Please stop. If you continue to violate Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy by adding commentary and your personal analysis into articles, as you did to Gender of God, you will be blocked from editing Wikipedia. Extremely WP:tendentious editing. Some reverts have been starkly contrary to consensus. You have already been reported twice under 3RR, completely annihilated any chance of reaching consensus and I cannot assume good faith anymore. You have repeatedly made borderline WP:personal attacks as well. Rushyo (talk) 15:16, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

[7][8] [9]

Found after a quick 5 minute search through a few diffs. And no, I will not 'apologise' for criticising your behaviour. I don't imagine the myriad of other people, including an administrator who merely pressed a block button, will be apologising for validly criticising you either. Demanding everyone apologise every single time they state you may be wrong is uncivil. -Rushyo (talk) 15:32, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I note that my reply to this was deleted from my own talk page.
The links do not prove what they assert.
The warning above asserts nothing but a personal opinion contrary to fact.
Incoherent "warning" dismissed and forgotten.
Wikipedia seems to allow people to slander faster than they can possibly be held accountable.
Slander away. My substantial, flawless and constructive edit history carries weight, not nonsensical slander thrown at me like this.
Alastair Haines (talk) 09:46, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Gender of God [2][edit]

Alastair- I see that Rushyo has resigned from mediating the dispute. That is unfortunate, because it is now me that is in charge of mediating this dispute, and I'm going to be real honest with you: I do not pull punches. The point of a mediation case is to find a solution that everyone is happy with, not as a platform for one user to attempt to punish other users with different viewpoints. Throughout this entire case you have been borderline uncivil, passive aggressive, stubborn as an ox, and clearly unwilling to accept the decisions of consensus. The fact that you hurl accusations at Ilkali but get up in arms when Rushyo told you to stop wikilawyering shows that you can, as they say, "dish it but cannot take it". Now, I'm not saying everyone else here has been purely angelic, but let me tell you something: acting the way you have does not help your case one bit!
I strongly suggest that if you wish to be taken seriously you improve your behavior. L'Aquatique[review] 17:44, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

There is nothing wrong with me confronting people in a straight forward manner for personal attacks.
My whole aim in seeking mediation was getting someone else to do this for me, so I could stop.
That's precisely what my aim will remain until this is dealt with. What else can I do? Compromise and accept the personal attacks?
You state opinions with no evidence. And you misunderstand the mediation contract.
It is I who asked for mediation because I was tired of endless personal attacks and edit warring against my sourced and good faith contributions. That is thoroughly documented and that is the issue. Either you are willing to volunteer to assist me in resolving it (and I have been explicit that I do not seek sanctions on anyone), or you are free to resign. Your mandate is to address the issue I raised. I have explained it already in the project talk. It appears you have not read that. Please do so.
Unless you can show cause for me to believe you can mediate the outcomes I requested, which would include apologizing and withdrawing your obviously speculative opinions above ("passive agressive" for goodness sake), obviously mediation has failed.
For any third party reviewing the case, it is clear that neither mediator has been able to demonstrate reflective listening regarding the two sentences of my initial request. Your comments above are the absolute opposite of it.
Sorry L'Aquatique, I spent a happy hour enjoying your User Page today, but unless you're willing to realise that even your own comments above are based on an endless chain of hearsay, simply intensifying a problem not resolving it, it would appear our relationship isn't going much further.
I'll be thrilled to see you "take what you dish" and accept you're wrong. Otherwise, you're not really modelling what you ask are you? But it's the facts that matter isn't it. Sometimes people actually are right, and others are wrong. Which is it in this case?
The evidence is abundant. "Smite his enemies" for goodness sake. Right under your noses for a week without dealing with it. When I finally raise it, suddenly it's me whose the one being nasty. Amazing. Alastair Haines (talk) 18:14, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Alastair for the love of the Gods! There is absolutely no way ArbCom could possibly rule in your favour and Gender of God would lose a very avid contributor. You're going to get yourself blocked. There are at least half a dozen peers who have warned you about your conduct. Every single time you escalate the situation and act aggressively towards all parties. You are taking flak from two mediators, who wanted to help you, for your incivility and made personal attacks against one of them (me). You have been in multiple edit wars, cited for multiple personal attacks against multiple people and blocked once already.
If you had a problem with his statement then you should have slapped a warning on his talk page to make him aware of this and left it at that. There is no need for punishments over a single incident. Besides, think about it: Two members of the Mediation Cabal are here telling you, in good faith, that you seem to have misinterpreted what the Cabal is about... yet you're telling them they are wrong. What position are you in to do that? You refer to yourself as an 'impeccable editor' despite every party, neutral and otherwise, telling you that is not the case. This kind of thing is why I can only assume your obstinacy is deliberate. ArbCom (the highest deliberatory body on Wikipedia) is only going to end in one result and it's not one I or any other party wants to see because you have contributed an awful lot of good content despite your terrible conduct.
If you still intend to go ahead with ArbCom with every single involved party likely to oppose you, lots of evidence of prior misbehaviour and multiple breaches of all kinds of conduct then surely there really is nothing anyone can do to make you understand. -Rushyo (talk) 19:14, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

For what it's worth, in my (admittedly incomplete) review of the discussions, it seems that there has been some misunderstanding between "gender" and "sex." For instance, the question of "is God approached as 'he'" is different from "does God have male genitalia". Consequently, people get up in arms over something that isn't supposed to be taken literally in Western religions (and no, the phallus God has in the Kabbalah is metaphoric for the simple reason that ALL Kabbalah is metaphoric -- but don't tell a Kabbalist that!). The edit warring that I saw and continue to see is not conducive to rational editing. Alastair will put something up and it gets ripped out rather than tweaked or moved. If people had just hit the edit key instead of the undo key there wouldn't have been a problem, and Alastair seems genuinely interested in positive resources people can bring to the subject. If I were him, I would be hard pressed to have been as civil -- and in fact COMPLIMENTARY -- as he has been in the face of knee jerk undo buttons. The article just needs some discussion of what is meant by gender (whether literal in some mythologies or not in modern religions) and then look at some tendencies in the way we approach our respective Deity(ies). So far, a full ten times as much effort has been wasted yanking the article about than it would have been to have simply collaborated. As such, dear mediator, I'd request a neutral positive approach rather than a hammer of "I'm warning you." I've wasted a few hours on this already without being able to even GET to a positive edit because of all of the artificial confusion here.

Oh, and while we're at it... can we weave in there somewhere that the gender of our Deity(ies) says more about us than our Deity? Whether "God" is made in our image or we in "his" the gender we assume for "him" does speak volumes of what image we really have for ourselves.Tim (talk) 18:28, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I've been following this a bit, tried to wade through the mediation, etc, and although I'm sure I have missed some nuances, I agree with what Tim has said. Alastair seems to have tried very hard to be civil. And there should be a reliable source somewhere (I should hope sources) that discuss how our view of the gender of our deities reflects our view of the world and ourselves. (Even if we don't actually believe in any deities). Doug Weller (talk) 18:57, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

(unindent)Hi Tim, Doug, I would appreciate it if you posted comments about the article itself on the medcab page. This is a discussion about Alastair's behavior.
Alastair- I really don't know how to respond to your post. It will be a cold day in hell before I apologize for being honest. My job as a mediator is to find a solution that everyone can be happy with, not to further your POV and validate your incivility.
I have no doubt that what you are adding to the article is in good faith, but simply being in good faith does not mean that it should be there. There were valid concerns regarding the style, sourcing, and other issues with your additions, and if you had accepted that and agreed to forge a compromise with the other editors, we all could have gotten on with our lives and the article would be all the better for your contributions. Instead, you edit war and then bring the case to medcab where you actually have the gall to make personal attacks against the mediators who are trying to help you! Don't you see that this is not how someone who asks for help is supposed to act?
I'm sorry, but that is my final answer. I will not continue to argue with you, and I will not resign as the mediator of this case until everyone has found a solution we can agree upon. If you take this to arbcom, I give you my word as a former girl scout that you will lose and there is a very good chance you will end up banned. Think very carefully about whether that is what you want before you return to the case page. L'Aquatique[review] 19:35, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

These are not the words of mediation. Although limited by time and by ignorance of Wikiprocess, I would attempt to speak mediatory words as a simple participant in whatever forum this is taken to, especially in light of the fact that the mediator is not being mediatory here. SOMEONE should speak mediatingly! There is a lot of animosity here that I don't know the cause of -- but the direction is very obvious to myself as a third party.Tim (talk) 20:23, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry you feel that way. My job as a mediator is to represent the interests of all parties, and prevent one side from getting run over by others. That is exactly what I am doing. L'Aquatique[review] 22:50, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Unbelievable! At last count it is everyone versus Alastair. There is only one user being run over here, but those I asked to help have "jumped on the bus". L'Aquatique has accused me of being uncivil—for defending myself!
Slander is bad because it generates discrediting hearsay.
The way to stop it is to fact check. Alastair Haines (talk) 23:07, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

RFC on you[edit]

Hi there. This is just to inform you that an RFC on your conduct has been filed here by User:Rushyo, User:L'Aquatique and User:Ilkali. It's preferrable you post a response for your own sake if you do, so that if this is reviewed, other users (including administrators and members of the ArbCom) will have an idea of your take on the concerns raised there. You can post a response here if you wish. Cheers - Ncmvocalist (talk) 16:42, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

  • I've been working on ArbCom pages for enough time to know that they are not going to do anything for you if you complain there. You need to familiarize yourself with WP:DR - RFCs are a legitimate step in dispute resolution, and certainly in this case, an essential element prior to the Committee agreeing to arbitration. I strongly recommend you focus on a response. Ncmvocalist (talk) 17:07, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
LOL, should leave a note here for passing guests.
As you know, it's the oldest trick in the book, people covering their dishonourable conduct by throwing mud at those who've exposed them.
Gossip and slander are still gossip and slander, whether or not they are given a fancy title like RfC.
Sure, I'm old enough to know not to feed trolling by showing up at a troll convention.
Ncmvocalist, welcome to my page and all, but in polite company people normally introduce themselves.
Pleased to meet you, how do you do.
Are you asking for my professional assessment of WP:DR?
If that's your point, I think it's rather well done.
From what I'm seeing though, basic training in CR is missing from admin and negotiator appointments.
Guess I'll raise that with responsible parties by and by.
Cheers for now. Alastair Haines (talk) 09:31, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
a passing guest...the door was open so I looked in...let's talk...I need a mentor!--Buster7 (talk) 13:38, 20 July 2008


wHO i AM IS HIDDEN IN tHE 5 Pillars of WikiWorld...see if you can find it. I am concerned about Cabals (if you know what i mean. And I think you do)...look where I can talk, freely, without misadventure...Laughing...--Buster7 (talk) 17:02, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Gender of God RfM[edit]

You're the only one who hasn't signed off on the Mediation Committee case. Please either remove your name from the list of involved parties or sign off. Here's the link: Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/Gender of God. Thanks! L'Aquatique[review] 19:54, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Alastair, I know you're on the other side of the world and probably asleep, but when you wake up, you might want to check into the mediation on the page. I think the problem here is the dispute, rather than the disputers. Mediating the PAGE seems more on target than mediating the PEOPLE.Tim (talk) 20:01, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Legal Threats[edit]

Hi Alastair. You seem to be making legal threats on this RfM. Please don't do this. We have a policy on legal threats, and, apart from being uncivil, legal threats are, in themselves, prohibited on Wikipedia. If you have a legal complaint, you should speak to our general counsel.

With that said, the opinions expressed in the statement of the dispute are subjective opinions, and therefore protected speech, regardless of how unjustified or even derogatory you may perceive them to be. Only factual, verifiable statements which are false are actionable libel. — Werdna • talk 02:27, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

After further contemplation and discussion, I have blocked you from editing indefinitely, until the situation is resolved, either by a legal resolution, or by a retraction of the legal threats. — Werdna • talk 02:31, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I have not made a legal threat, however justified you may believe that allegation to be.
As such, your words and actions above extend the slander and injury.
The statements I have quoted are allegations of puported fact which can be falsified.
They have now been frequently cited in what has become escalating, unfounded criticism of my patient (but assertive) pursuit of retraction, not sanction.
However, it is you, not I that seems to be taking this in a legal direction.
I certainly have absolutely no intention of withdrawing my "protected speech" to accurately name published comments discrediting a real person for what they are.
I have however never had any intention of pursuing legal resolution, nor stated such, nor will pursue such. I can't afford it, but nor can I afford to allow anonymous editors to continue to take one another's opinions as somehow authoritative judgement on issues related to character, especially when these continue to fail to accept responsibility to admit the personal attacks contained in their own posts, which actually explain the self-defensive nature of my own assertive but more temperate language.
I request that a volunteer with credibility within the community be found to represent my case. Unless someone can be found to do this, justice cannot be seen to be done. If there is no one who can be found to do this, then there is a serious problem with the current system, of which I was unaware until now. I still have confidence in both the system and the Foundation, and expect that an advocate would not prove hard to find at all, however, it is clearly not in my individual power to find this person. Alastair Haines (talk) 03:46, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

You are accusing other editors of libel, and strongly implying a threat to take legal action over it. In my book, and in the book of many others, that is a legal threat. Please either pursue this legal threat, or retract it, and you will be unblocked expeditiously. — Werdna • talk 03:52, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Please withdraw your demonstrably incorrect and hasty judgement.
On the other hand, I cannot admit to what I haven't done, nor can I withdraw what I have not said.
You are simply refusing to admit your hasty judgement.
You have imposed a major ban on insufficient evidence.
Please note, I can understand how you could easily make this error, I don't disrespect you for it.
However, apology and withdrawl by you would save a lot of people a lot of time, and set a good example for many others.
You are currently in precisely the same position as others who have found it easier to avoid admitting I'm right about their haste and error, by joining a chorus assuming previous decisions must have been correct.
It's somewhat easier for you, since a simple re-reading of my words will make it clear a legal threat must be read into them it is not entailed by them. Additionally, do you seriously propose I have the resources, let alone the will, to take on the Foundation in a legal case on foreign soil? An organization I feel affection for and solidarity with, for goodness sake. This will be apparent to many third parties. It is an easy mistake for you to have made, and more credit comes to you by admitting this than any minor discredit for a fairly easy error of interpretation.
You personally can defuse a great deal at this point.
If you don't, it is inevitable that others will review this matter and question the "summary action" of a major ban on a long term good faith editor, on the basis of questionable evidence.
Please stop and think and get things in proportion. Alastair Haines (talk) 04:47, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

As you rightly point out, I do not seriously believe that you have the time, resources or inclination to challenge the foundation legally. However, you did imply an intention to do so in some of your comments, such as "The way the dispute is expressed above is slanderous of me, and I use the term deliberately and legally.", and "I use my real name as an editor. I have no choice but to hold the Wiki community (and ultimately the Foundation) responsible for what I allege is slanderous." While we do not normally take such threats seriously, legal threats are a serious issue, and have a chilling effect on speech on Wikipedia. It is for this reason that legal threats, even implied ones, are strictly prohibited here, regardless of how seriously we take them. In order to resolve these sorts of issues, presenting a deterrent to making legal threats, as well as ensuring that they are not left "dangling", it is longstanding Wikipedia practice to block the accounts of users who make legal threats, until such time as the threats are resolved, either by actual legal action, or by a simple clarification that no legal action is intended.

If you do not intend to take any legal action, because your comments were made "in the heat of the moment" with no actual malice, or because your meaning was misrepresented or misconstrued, simply say so here, and the block on your account will be lifted. — Werdna • talk 05:26, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for quoting my comments. Clearly they contain no threat.
There is no "heat of the moment" about the comments, only about the interpretation of them.
Even if my words are misconstrued, the context prevents the interpretation you give to them.
If we are to hold people responsible for every possible misconstruing of their words, how much more seriously should you take the words that others have offered regarding me. But no, we actually agree that people are not only responsible for their words, but also for interpretations they make of the words of others. Interpretations can easily be false, and sometimes unhelpful, especially if expressed inappropriately.
Your own misinterpretation is in fact typical of other misinterpretations that have led to the current situation, each providing fuel for the next and all starting with one editor's inappropriate, then slanderous claims, that have still not been examined.
To address the interesting sideline you opened. You are in no position to wave freedom of speech about, when you are unilaterally blocking mine, and on questionable evidence.
But what is really serious is that you are imposing silence on one who has no other form of defence, while his character is being questioned.
It doesn't concern me that much, since the evidence itself (or rather the complete absence of it) argues in my defence.
But to return to the key issue (and the point my words you quote make also), it is absolutely the case that the reputation of the community and of the Foundation are at stake, just as much as is my own. A failure to resolve this issue on the basis of objective evidence will not look good to discerning readers who review it.
I am doing you and everyone more of a favour than you realise. Alastair Haines (talk) 06:19, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

I do not see any statement in your reply which indicates your intention not to pursue the legal threats which I have determined that you have made. You may, of course, appeal the block to another administrator, using the {{unblock}} template, or make the abovementioned statement. — Werdna • talk 06:49, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Werdna, you now add a contradiction to your previous misinterpretation. Above, you acknowledge that "I do not seriously believe that you have the time, resources or inclination to challenge the foundation legally." But now you say, "I do not see any statement in your reply which indicates your intention not to pursue the legal threats".
You ask me to withdraw something I never said.
Is it so hard to see that is impossible?
You, however, refuse to withdraw something you have said, and done, despite your own admission you don't seriously believe I would intend what you claim I've sought to express.
Thanks for telling me the proceedure. Alastair Haines (talk) 07:12, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
File:Orologio rosso or File:Orologio verde DOT SVG (red clock or green clock icon, from Wikimedia Commons)
This blocked user's unblock request has been reviewed by an administrator, who declined the request. Other administrators may also review this block, but should not override the decision without good reason (see the blocking policy). Do not remove this unblock review while you are blocked.

Alastair Haines (block logactive blocksglobal blocksautoblockscontribs deleted contribscreation log change block settingsunblockfilter log)

Request reason:

Blocking admin admits, "I do not seriously believe that you have the time, resources or inclination to challenge the foundation legally."

Decline reason:

The request is moot because the blocking admin has unblocked you. —  Sandstein  11:28, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

If you want to make any further unblock requests, please read the guide to appealing blocks first, then use the {{unblock}} template again. If you make too many unconvincing or disruptive unblock requests, you may be prevented from editing this page until your block has expired.

What was actually posted
  • "The way the dispute is expressed above is slanderous of me, and I use the term deliberately and legally."
    (01:20, 9 July 2008 (UTC) diff)
  • "I have no choice but to hold the Wiki community (and ultimately the Foundation) responsible for what I allege is slanderous."
    (01:33, 9 July 2008 (UTC) diff)

(Added quotes with diffs.) — Athaenara 08:28, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Are you talking to anyone in particular Athaenara? I don't believe we've met. Hello, how do you do. Welcome to my user page, I'm glad to see you've made yourself at home.

If you don't mind me butting in here for a moment. For interested parties, here is what I said, in context, it's not long and there is no threat.

Conditional disagreement: The way the dispute is expressed above is slanderous of me, and I use the term deliberately and legally.
It is completely unacceptable to refuse to address my request for investigation of Ilkali's behaviour and language, but instead to make counter accusations which, in fact, have no evidence, but arguably express precisely the animosity they claim of me.
If, however, the dispute is rephrased from the NPOV (which is easy) I will accept participation in further discussion. Ilkali, Ryusho and L'Aquatique have all used language of me that is personally slighting (in Ilkali's case) and much stronger in the case of the others. Alynna has never used such language. For me, there are two issues.

  1. Removal of language like Ilkali's "not cut out for this", "smite his enemies", and Ryusho and L'Auatique's stronger language, attribution of motives and other allegations (including "passive aggressive" from L'Aquatique).
  2. The issues of the article itself, which are trivial in comparison, and have been, imo only obscured by attempts to bypass my (mostly) patient reminders of the realities of the shape of the reliable literature, this bypassing usually involving slights or more robust personal attacks.

The sooner all text containing references to editors rather than content is removed, and parties commit to addressing subject and sources rather than other editors, the sooner we can progress. Without this presumption and actual practice of good faith (which is actually simply Wiki policy), the discussion so far is evidence that the real issues will continue to be hopelessly clouded.

  1. All text that addresses editors rather than subject and sources be archived to a section marked as such. (This will also include text in self defense.) Where necessary, sources and arguments addressing the subject can be "refactored" into another section. (It should not even really be necessary to note who provided which source or argument.)
  2. That a volunteer moderator/mediator/chair, committed to taking no side in discussion, assist with helping us all to establish firstly what subject this article addresses, and secondly what is a suitable title for that subject. Additionally, this moderator would impartially uphold the Wiki principle of posts being required to address the subject rather than other editors (generously with the first, strictly with the second).

Other note: I use my real name as an editor. I have no choice but to hold the Wiki community (and ultimately the Foundation) responsible for what I allege is slanderous. This is a serious issue and a little reflection should allow people to realise that I genuinely have no choice in this. I'm in no rush about it, but obviously I can not leave this issue until it is settled. Alastair Haines (talk) 01:20, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Currently things stand with one administrator demanding I retract something I didn't say.

Of course, there is no threat that my privelege of speech (even in this context of self-defense) would be removed.

It simply was removed.

The argument for this? "I have determined". User:Werdna, above.

See above for my civil, calm response to this rather confronting situation.

Someone please come and put my case for me. It's not complicated, it's just much easier for everyone, including me, if I don't have to keep doing this myself. Alastair Haines (talk) 08:48, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Athaenara, why didn't you also quote the edit he made after the ones you quote, where he wrote "I have however never had any intention of pursuing legal resolution, nor stated such, nor will pursue such."[10]? Do you really think that that is irrelevant? Doug Weller (talk) 10:09, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, Doug. I didn't notice that comment, and I have therefore reversed the block. — Werdna • talk 10:31, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Err Werdna, when I make a mistake, like accidently bumping into someone,
politeness leads me to acknowledge any inconvenience.
There's another word for it ... civility.
Is it only me, or does this seem to be a dying art?
Alastair Haines (talk) 14:28, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Alastair, as I read it, Werdna didn't make any mistake at all. You very clearly threatened legal action against Wikipedia and the editors. It was only because you backtracked that the ban was lifted. The backtracking doesn't make the original threat cease to exist. Doug pointed out the retraction you made, which was stuck in the middle of your verbiage, and Werdna immediately acted on it. It's you who should thank her. It would have been really easy for you to simply say "I didn't intend it as a threat, and I apologize for it." Instead, you posted a lot of self-justification, with a backtrack stuck in the middle of it. And now you're asking for Werdna to apologize to you? -LisaLiel (talk) 14:46, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Hey, folks, let's take everyone at face value for a sec, okay? Let's believe that Alastair was with himself when he wrote that and knew what he meant. Let's believe that Werdna was with herself when she read that and knew what it looked like to her. Instead of saying "you very clearly" did thus and so and "backtracked." How about "thanks for the clarification." I know I'm trying to get everyone to apologize about everything on another page, but maybe we can all do one single apology/group hug there and keep it in one place?Tim (talk) 14:55, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
And for the record, Alastair, I have to apologize to you. When I read your words it really looked like some kind of legal threat. I'm sorry I read it that way. I should have known how ridiculous that would have been.Tim (talk) 14:58, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Dear Tim, thanks for your honesty, telling us even what you thought, which we could never have known. Your apology was gratefully accepted even before you offered it! Perhaps you know and can guess enough about me to be sure of that. ;)
As I mentioned above, I have absolutely no problem with people misinterpreting me, nor even with them getting upset and saying and/or doing things based on their misunderstanding. I do, however, have a problem with such people holding me responsible, in public, for their misreadings though. Especially when I even go to the trouble of clarifying.
Lisa, I have backtracked on nothing. As I have asserted before and continue to do so. There is not and never has been a single infringement from me at Wikipedia. Quite the reverse, I have patiently endured actions and words out of line with Wiki policy and common politeness. It is precisely the Foundation I am seeking to protect, which depends on volunteers like me to uphold it's principles, even when its members and administrators err.
Who was it that said, "A true patriot defends his country, even against her government." Three cheers for Jimbo, three cheers for the Foundation. And can people please stop sending me adminstrators to train, I've done enough of that over a long period in real life, and have not volunteered to do it here. Alastair Haines (talk) 16:22, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Wow. Now that's ego. And it's obvious to everyone who read what you wrote that it was a threat and that it was intended as one. You don't throw around terms like libel and talk about "having no choice" to respond to it without wanting it to be taken at face value. And had you not demanded an apology (!) from an admin who read it exactly as everyone else did, I would have let it go once you backed down. -LisaLiel (talk) 17:15, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
LOL, Lisa, you go right ahead and read whatever you like into things. Of course, there's no ego in "I would have let it go".
Just reminding you, I've backed down on nothing. What's to back down on?
On the other hand, there's a lot of unsupported slander of me floating around, and I'm still waiting for some people with mops to show up to clean up the unholy mess.
Where do we call a mop brigade at Wiki? Alastair Haines (talk) 18:00, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
We're all part timers. We don't mop... but we do Apples and Windows...Tim (talk) 18:05, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Request for mediation not accepted[edit]

Exquisite-folder4.png A Request for Mediation to which you were are a party was not accepted and has been delisted.
You can find more information on the case subpage, Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/Gender of God.
For the Mediation Committee, WjBscribe 02:40, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
This message delivered by MediationBot, an automated bot account operated by the Mediation Committee to perform case management.
If you have questions about this bot, please contact the Mediation Committee directly.

A wise decision. A wolf in a guise of "Request for mediation" clothing. Well picked, and thank you. Alastair Haines (talk) 09:07, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Alastair, you and your legal threats were what caused it to be rejected! They really could have helped to sort out this mess at Gender of God. Thank you so much.
Are you planning on writing a response at your RFC? It is strongly suggested that you do, since no response from you will look rather bad for your case. L'Aquatique[review] 20:03, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
I've only just noticed this comment. Nothing can look bad for me, since there's no evidence of me ever infringing anything at Wikipedia. Those calling the RfC, however, look very bad, they are abusing Wiki processes to slander (in a legal sense) an impeccable editor. I am quite content to let the community (and if necessary the Foundation) take responsibility to correct this personal attack. I look forward to apologies from the parties involved in due course. Have a nice day. Alastair Haines (talk) 17:35, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Email me[edit]

Alastair, my email is on yahoo. Same screen name. We have to diffuse this, even if the "right" people start the apologies.

Hint, everyone thinks they are right. Anyway, email me, okay?Tim (talk) 05:23, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

And me, using Wikimail from my talk page. Doug Weller (talk) 07:16, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for dropping by Tim and Doug, emails sent as requested. Alastair Haines (talk) 07:36, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Christianity WikiProject Newsletter - July 2008[edit]

This Newsletter was automatically delivered by TinucherianBot (talk) 08:40, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Can you copyedit Mangalore?[edit]

Hi there, I saw you listed at Wikipedia:PRV#General copyediting as a copyeditor. I was wondering if you would copyedit Mangalore which is a city article. The article is already a GA and it uses UK English. Hope that's not a problem. Language is very simple and the prose is quite precise. Copyediting won't take much of your time. Thanks!. Kensplanet (talk) 18:11, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

I just had a look at the first paras. It is really beautifully written, not flowery, just jolly clear prose with a really logical, engaging and informative approach. I'll see how I go with it.
I'm copy-editing a masters thesis for a friend atm, which is really heavy going, so this makes a nice break. However, I have writing deadlines of my own to keep as well.
I recommend asking other copy-editors to work on the article as well, I'll jump in where others leave off and vice versa, it'll be obvious from the edit history.
Thanks for inviting me to read this article, it's just plain interesting and enjoyable to read, well done to all concerned. Alastair Haines (talk) 18:29, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Copyedit request[edit]

Hi. I was wondering if you'd mind taking a look at the Insane Clown Posse article and doing some copyediting based on the concerns of the opposing FAC reviewers? (Ibaranoff24 (talk) 21:57, 10 July 2008 (UTC))

Ruhrfisch comments[edit]

I will once again need your help on Ruhrfisch comments on the nomination page. he has a few valid points. I will also start work on it as nomination should not be rejected on account of minor concerns.--Anish (talk) 07:20, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

I was at a loss to reply to the recent comments by two experienced editors...esp. "the vaguely proselytizing tone" bit. But you replied nicely. I have asked Ukexpat (talk · contribs) to once again do some copy edit changes.--Anish (talk) 18:51, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Two the same articles[edit]

Unfortunately we have two the same articles:

Unfortunately I am responsible. Leszek Jańczuk (talk) 19:29, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Peer review#Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Austria)[edit]

Hi Alastair,

I am asking for a big favours of yours. I nominated the article Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Austria) for featured list, but there were too many small grammar problems, so we decided to withdraw it, and do a peer review first. The list is complete and very well sourced. It also followed all he suggestions given in Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Belgium) (recently promoted to featured list), so in general is in a very good shape. Only the description fields for the coins are in a need of a good copy/edit. Can you please help us to get this list promoted?

Many thanks, Miguel.mateo (talk) 06:14, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Request for massive favour on India House, a current FAC[edit]

Hello AH, I was wondering if I could ask you for a massIve favour and help copyedit India House. This artilce is currently listed for FAC. A reviewer in the FAC mentioned quite strongly that the text is not upto the mark. I thought it would help a lot if somebody had a look and suggested any improvement, since it has already been copyedited once by another editor and once byself. Please understand that I am neither looking for your support in the FAC, nor am I asking you to comment on wether it deserves or not to be FA, since I realise this would be canvassing. Nontheless, any comments on improving the article would be extremely welcome. rueben_lys (talk · contribs) 01:37, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

See also[edit]

According to WP:SEEALSO, red links should not appear in "See also" sections, which is why I deleted them. --Flex (talk/contribs) 23:54, 20 July 2008 (UTC)



Buster7 has smiled at you! Smiles promote WikiLove and hopefully this one has made your day better. A new friend. Happy editing!
Smile at others by adding {{subst:Smile}} to their talk page with a friendly message.

--Buster7 (talk) 12:17, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Smile, the next day[edit]

I've just reread the transcript (lol) from yesterdays hearings at Uncyclopedia and I'd like to thank you and the other two editors for your kind support(s). I also sent a thanks to_____________which follows:

Thank you for your recent intervention and concern. I'm glad you understand the energy that overflowed at the cabal site. Thank you for the steps you took to prevent almost definite retaliation should it have been discovered by the "wrong" editor. Together let's look at something tho. Lets look at what one little sentence can create. Everything that followed my edit at that site was unnecessary and would NOT have happened if the first editor had merely communicated instead of reverted. I am very reasonable. But, his "trigger happy" style set into motion all that followed: wasted time and words that should have been devoted to the task at hand-editing articles. Envolvement by 5-6-7 editors. Let's you and I consider that what happened to me is multiplied enourmously all across Wikipedia since rapid deletion is seen by some as their calling. At this point it is just an observation. But, as we can see, the actions of one effect many. I regret the "bastion" sentence but I don't think I could have predicted the firestorm that followed. Thanks again--Buster7 (talk) 11:42, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
You are absolutely right. It's not personal, it's widespread. Perhaps Wiki is becoming a victim of its own success. Two problems. There is a lot of unencyclopedic text added. But also, editors join who get an incomplete picture of how the process should work in a civilised manner.
It occurs to me that Jimbo's original idea that adminstrators/sys ops should be pretty much anyone whose been around for a while has probably not caught on properly. There are insufficient admins to help educate new editors. Also, they are so busy they don't have time to investigate things properly (so they make more mistakes). Yet, because there are so few, their perceived authority is greater, which only magnifies the problem.
At a "grass-roots" level, this comes across as a high-handed cabal, defending one anothers' actions to maintain an impression of reliable authority. However, sources and common decency are the only authorities, and sys-ops were intended to be moderated by the same sort of consensus approaches used in articles — ideally there is no "admin POV" established by vote, just an NPOV gathering of differing POVs to an argument to inform a decision that should arise as a consensus. Currently, many things are done unilaterally by admins, because they are under-staffed, there are not even votes on various serious actions.
I have three recommendations:
  1. "deletionist" editors be addressed directly by a policy encouraging "cooling it a bit",
  2. regular contributors stay cool about deletionists and find friendly editors to support them as needed
  3. the "admin cabal" work more pro-actively to disempower themselves but empower the 'Pedia, by actively seeking more sys-ops.
Alastair Haines (talk) 05:31, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

The Scouting info I found at User:Rlevse. Thanks for your help.--Buster7 (talk) 03:50, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

things escalate[edit]

I call it the Fudamental Law of Contingency. One action (a domino falling) is contingent on the actions of another thing (a prior domino falling). So...had otterathome initiated his input with talk instead of other domino falls. i sent you an email.Did yoiu get it? if not advise I will resend Re: Your response above. Well said. I have a solution that responds to ALL 3 recommendations.--Buster7 (talk) 00:30, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

email resent moments ago...--Buster7 (talk) 03:07, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Codex Coislinianus[edit]

This article is almost finisched. I think it contains almost everything. Possibly some small detailes will added in the future, but I think it is enough for now. I am afraid, I made some mistakes in that article on account of my language. By the way, I created article Fonds Coislin. Can you correct two of them? I think we need not only articles about manuscripts, but also about libraries in which they are holded, and collections of manuscripts.

Several days ago I created section New Testament#Early Versions, in which I described only Syriac, Latin, and Coptic. I think it is enough for this article, there is no need for any other version, but we need to create an article "Early Versions of New Testament", in which all early versions will discribed, with some detailes. I think about it, but I am not ready for now. Maybe in October, or November. Few days ago I expanded an article Coptic versions of the Bible. I think we need also "Syriac versions of the Bible". Unfortunately I can not write about Old Testament. List of New Testament uncials, List of New Testament minuscules, and List of New Testament lectionaries need some attention. Only List of New Testament papyri, and List of New Testament Latin manuscripts are finished. Good work.

During all this work I think about library in Caesarea (destroyed in 636). Some mss. like Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Ephremi Rescriptus, Coislinianus were holded in Caesarea. In which way these mss. survived? Maybe Arabs allowed took some manuscripts... It is good subject for speculations. I think also about some illustrations for articles. With kind regards. Leszek Jańczuk (talk) 20:54, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Alastair Haines[edit]

Hello, Alastair Haines. The RFC/USER discussion at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Alastair Haines has been closed.

The outcome was: After reading through all the diffs and the supported opinions, recognizing that Alastair was indefblocked with it later upturned, I hereby warn User:Alastair Haines to be civil in content disputes, not to make false threats and accusations, and urge him to take this criticism constructively into making himself a better Wikipedia user. I recognize, and hope those who have posted recognize, that further incivility and trouble could very well lead to an arbcom case (remember that they, however, do not rule on content).

-- Wizardman 23:05, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments Wizardman. I note specifically that although you use the word "warn", you do not allege that I have ever been anything but civil in my text at Wiki, you do not allege that I have ever made any threat. That is good, since neither allegation could ever be upheld.
Since no specific failings in my editing have been identified, there is no criticism here, constructive or otherwise. No editor is perfect, and even the best make mistakes, we can all improve (and all slip). As, no doubt, is obvious, my long and impeccable edit history shows improvements like anyone's does, and probably slips like anyone's. I have no doubt the future will extend precisely the usual pattern.
Finally, it is good to note that you have warned those who raised this RfC that their incivility could lead to an arbcom case against them, as I have already pointed out to them, and will indeed pursue should they repeat what they have done in the past.
Given this outcome, I see no need for me to pursue any specific further discipline of the offending parties at this time. Apologies from them is simply a matter for their own conscience, and will be happily accepted if offered.
Thank you for your time Wizardman. Alastair Haines (talk) 02:08, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Alastair, I appreciate your positive outlook on the wording here, but I did not get the impression that Wizardman actually warned the offending parties in this case, but seemed to only warn you instead. I've asked for clarification on his talk page since, 1) it is logically impossible to edit war BY YOURSELF, and 2) TAKING action cannot be more civil than CONSIDERING action. In both cases, it appeard that Wizardman warned you yourself, instead of the offending party. He at least should clarify his warning to apply equally to all sides.Tim (talk) 03:22, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Ah! Thank you Tim. Those are remarkably clear, concise and reasonable observations. I really appreciate you making them.
I watched a L-M documentary, Roving Mars recently. I love observing the technical skill of humanity on the one hand, and its application to addressing questions that only become more numerous the more we know. Alastair Haines (talk) 03:56, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

The Round Table[edit]

Re: that Crusade related article we have emailed each other about. I'm getting pressured to have to move it from its present location. I'm afraid if I don't move it soon, I will loose it and have to start from scratch. Any suggestions. Please email. Thanks.--Buster7 (talk) 04:28, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks so much for your help, Al. Your solution makes life much easier. I see you swim. So do I, daily. I wonder if MigMAt is interested. I really hope he is...but I dont want push. If he is afraid of the time and effort required, I can assure him I will take on the burden. No rush, I guess.tks.--Buster7 (talk) 21:49, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

It seemed as though you implied you required some assistance. Please advise. Happy to be available.--Buster7 (talk) 04:42, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

G'day NewSouthWikiWelshman[edit]

...and I mean 'welshman' in the most gender neutral way, of course...and I'm aware that not all of you guys are from NSW.. and I'm aware that this hasn't been the most smoothly written note in Wiki's history, but hey ho...slaps head, persuades voices in head to pipe down, and continues.... Fancy attending a meetup? - We've got some interested Chapter stuff to chat about, no doubt there may be some tales of Arabian Nights (or at least Egyptian conferences), and it just generally felt like it was about time..... head over here if you're interested.... do feel free to wiki-edit away in the usual fashion too if you've got any other ideas! cheers all, Privatemusings (talk) 07:25, 29 July 2008 (UTC)you've been spammed in this nature because you signed up as interested in being notified about this sort of thing.. hope that's ok!

Wikipedia:Featured list candidates/Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Austria)‎[edit]


Thanks for your warm words in the discussion, I hope this do not become a battle. Honestly, your comments make a lot of sense to me, is like common sense right? I do not understand why people keep saying that they are copyright material, but I am not an expert on the field either. Anyway, even on the web site of the Austrian Mint is written that images can be used for free, so I might change all licenses (lot of work though) and discussion should be finished. What worries me is that this argument has consumed so much time and nothing else has been done for this article to be promoted to FL.

Thanks again, Miguel.mateo (talk) 07:54, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Great Example of teamwork at its best....fOR gen Info...suggest you see Wikipedia:OMGcom...slightly humorous but not far from the truth. A list of Dragons????--Buster7 (talk) 12:31, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Hi there Alastair,
In the previous review to make this article FLC, one of the decision makers said that the article is sort of "floral", meaning that the tone is not actually encyclopedic. He put some samples (check the comments of The Rambling Man). Is it possible for you to take a quick look once again at Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Austria) and see what can be tweaked to turn this into an FLC? Let me know if it is possible. I have asked Buster7 for help as well. Thanks as usual, Miguel.mateo (talk) 07:24, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
PS. What can I do to put the image license issue to rest? Fashua does not seem satisfied ...

Divine Sex[edit]

Hi Alastair -- thanks for keeping me out of an edit war. I really don't know how to do even the smallest editing on that page without Ilkali wiping it out, or mangling the grammar. I have to confess, though, that I've been rubbed raw recently and I think the tone of my entries on the talk page is a bit... testy. Anyhow, I appreciate your island of sanity in an orgasmic ocean of foolishness.Tim (talk) 16:13, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

You should be waking up shortly. My day is almost done. Happy reading! We've been busy!Tim (talk) 20:38, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Alastair, did you get my email? Also, I finally read the Song of Songs section in the Literary Guide to the Bible. Some useful paragraphs there. If some of the points are compared to Neumann's "The Great Mother" it can get even more interesting. I think the writer agrees that there is a strong matriarchal underlay there. Of course, just the fact of physical sex is matriarchal (since patriarchalism is against the flesh and for the spirit, and the matriarchal sees the spirit stemming from the flesh). Also, the fact that they long to have been brother and sister, suckling at the same mother's breast is intensely matriarchal. I'd REALLY suggest playing those themes into Neumann's ideas for your thesis.Tim (talk) 01:38, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Alastair, thanks for the note. I can't read lmco at home, and can only read yahoo or at home.Tim (talk) 03:35, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Have you noticed the irony that you fight in the Jewish section and I fight in the Christian one? ;-)Tim (talk) 13:37, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Mr Haines!...check out User talk: Jimbo Wales/recent archives...he discusses community, gorillas, and Marilyn Monroe. Also, we mere mortals cannot "Know" God anymore than an ant can know is not within our limited capacity.--Buster7 (talk) 02:55, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

3RR Warning[edit]

Alastair, you have already exceeded the 3RR limit and been given two warnings.

If you revert again I will report you. If you don't like an edit, you should discuss it on the Talk page. -LisaLiel (talk) 18:11, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Nuvola apps important.svg You currently appear to be engaged in an edit war. Note that the three-revert rule prohibits making more than three reversions on a single page within a 24 hour period. Additionally, users who perform a large number of reversions in content disputes may be blocked for edit warring, even if they do not technically violate the three-revert rule. If you continue, you may be blocked from editing. Please do not repeatedly revert edits, but use the talk page to work towards wording and content that gains a consensus among editors. If necessary, pursue dispute resolution.

Lisa, Lying is very poor behaviour. Alastair Haines (talk) 22:06, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Note, Lisa demonstrates the classic smoke-screen tactic. When guilty, throw as much blame at others as possible. Lisa was subsequently blocked for 3rr violation.
This is the first time I've reported a 3rr in two years at Wiki. It's only the second time I've found someone unwilling to discuss content based on sources. Ilkali was the first, JCDenton is now a third. Interestingly, both Lisa and JCDenton quote Ilkali, whose bad example I've been seeking to correct for some months now with little support.
There's a trade-off between being welcoming, assuming good faith, being flexible and tolerating pig-headed abuse of the constraints of volunteer community processes. Best wishes to all who seek to uphold collaborative contribution of sourced knowledge for the good of all. Alastair Haines (talk) 08:49, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Have you check those accounts for potential sock puppetry? Miguel.mateo (talk) 08:59, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I am sure you know, but just in case, this is what I am referring to: Wikipedia:Requests for checkuser Miguel.mateo (talk) 09:11, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Miguel. It's a good thought. But I've seen all these editors at work for some time now. They are genuine real and different people, each with different POVs and ways of arguing. They are mistaken, rude and pushy, but they are highly intelligent and not wilful vandals. Their main problem is refusal to hear criticism, and the people who articulate that criticism. Normally, I would avoid criticising such people, it's a waste of time. That's precisely why many others who can see they are wrong don't get involved. Who wants to cop the abuse they dish out? Unfortunately they want to push their (different) POVs at a page I watch, so I have to do the best I can until others come to the rescue. But it's happening! :)
Don't worry about this, too many words, too little content, too much nastiness. Just keep contributing, your work is great! Alastair Haines (talk) 09:29, 4 August 2008 (UTC)


Nuvola apps important.svg You currently appear to be engaged in an edit war according to the reverts you have made on Why Men Rule. Note that the three-revert rule prohibits making more than three reversions on a single page within a 24 hour period. Additionally, users who perform a large number of reversions in content disputes may be blocked for edit warring, even if they do not technically violate the three-revert rule. If you continue, you may be blocked from editing. Please do not repeatedly revert edits, but use the talk page to work towards wording and content that gains a consensus among editors. If necessary, pursue dispute resolution.

Information.svg Please do not delete content or templates from pages on Wikipedia, as you did to Why Men Rule, without giving a valid reason for the removal in the edit summary. Your content removal does not appear constructive, and has been reverted. Please make use of the sandbox if you'd like to experiment with test edits. Thank you. JCDenton2052 (talk) 19:19, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

You are quite mistaken JCD. Alastair Haines (talk) 22:06, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

regarding gender of god edit war[edit]

Hi Alastair I need to let you know that I have opened a thread at WP:ANI about the recent edit war at gender of god. LisaLeil has been blocked but I am concerned by everyone's behaviour at that page. Please see Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Edit_war_at_Gender_of_God. Please also note although that this is an attempt to resolve the dispute that page it is not about article content nor is it about who was correct - it's about the behaviour of all parties and about finding a way to edit harmoniously--Cailil talk 22:10, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

While I'm glad that you've provided a golden opportunity to expose those who've been defaming me for several months now, I am bemused by the bizarre suggestion of "gaming the system", especially given that the only administrator actions against me followed precisely the same circumstances, where two users shared edit counts to block me. Had my objection to their invalid use of their counts been upheld, as it ought to have been, there would be no issue now. But, I am ever optimistic, that if we get enough people involved, even small impromptu cabals can be dissuaded from wasting everyone's time.
Thanks for doing my work for me.
The solution is simple, people commit to following policy, addressing the content issue at hand, editing only after discussion. I've been setting this example and calling people to this for a long, long time. And that will be precisely the outcome of this discussion. Alastair Haines (talk) 08:32, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't know about the other case of editors teaming-up on. Could you provide diffs of this situation so that outsiders can inspect it. BTW I really must ask you to refactor your remarks on WP:ANI. There's a WP:NLT issue here. Similarly while JCDenton was incorrect to use a vandalism template accusing him of defamation wont resolve the interpersonal issue between the two of you. I strongly recommend you reword it so that there are no misunderstandings (like there was in the past) about what you mean.
I know better than many other people what it is like to be in a dispute on wikipedia and what kind of pressure one feels personally - I recognize how that is amplified by editing under one's real name. Have you considered changing your account's name to preserve your privacy and accord yourself some measure of anonymity? This can be done without loosing your editing history or a new account can be created.
Also I would point out that you can remove warnings from your user pages - in this case I have corrected JCDenton on this issue and I recommend that you remove the warning template linking to the posts I left JCDenton and this one--Cailil talk 10:52, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
You're a really honest, considerate and diligent man Cailil. Regarding providing diffs, I'll let everyone else make accusations and speak first. Since I have done nothing wrong, I have nothing to worry about. They have to attempt to make a case to justify their actions and words. I don't need to do anything but remind people to fact-check. If things are well handled, and I've seen that often at Wiki, I won't even need to do that. Someone will moderate discussion and ask those questions anyway. When hearsay is excluded, there's nothing left of the smoke-screen of allegations against me. I'm making one point and one point only at this stage. There is no evidence that I have ever done anything but objectively protect Wiki and its processes, irrespective of my or anyone else's opinion. I have nothing to prove, though my good faith is abundantly clear over two years. If people assume it, they'll see the evidence of it. I'll help as necessary, but if you could find two editors opposing Lisa, without her having to provide diffs, others can find two editors opposing me, without me having to do that work for them.
I really appreciate your friendly warning. However, I insist on retaining the wording at ANI. There is no NLT issue, because I say so and I'm the only person who can say that yay or nay. Publishing false allegations against an identifiable living person is libel, whether that person is notable or not. I'm not asking volunteer workers on the Foundation's software to admit that, nor threatening to hold the Foundation accountable in court. It is ridiculous to imagine I'd do that. I'm simply reminding people that this is serious in a way. I think it's a healthy thing for processes to work through this. We should treat anonymous editors with the same respect we would treat any real person. Just like we should not accept original research from named editors, the same way we cannot from anonymous editors. If there's nothing like that in policy yet, there should be, and there's certainly nothing in policy against it. But anyway, I don't think I am legally allowed to waive liability for defamation. Because character is tied to those who employ or publish, or have employed and published you, as well as to one's dependents, one would defraud them to waive liability. I can't be bothered checking it. As I said above, I cannot withdraw what I haven't said, or stop doing what I haven't done.
JCDenton has falsely accused me with regard to my character. The interpersonal relationship here is indeed my first concern, withdrawl of the accusation would mean this was no longer an issue between us. It is he, not me, that has instigated the breach of relationship. Would admitting he was right restore things? You bet, if he was right. But the option you suggest is to either be unclear (reword to be vague) or to be silent. Why ask me to speak up about diffs, but be silent on other matters? I can't see the point in watering down my perspective on things (which obviously I believe to be true). I'm not suggesting incompetance or bad character of anyone. I'm simply stating that false accusations are called de-faming, because they undermine respect and injure a person's ability to function as productively in a social context. People are not saying, "Alastair seems to care a lot about this issue and is overlooking this objective fact." People are saying, "Alastair is characterised by an unwillingness to consider opinions other than his own." It's defamatory because people's articulation of it proves the circulation it has gained. It's ridiculous, because none of them have ever met me, they have not explored two years of constructive editing, some of it sensitive, nor have they seen me at work in conflict resolution. There is little chance that any are really in a position to make such sweeping judgements, yet their published words have influenced the actions of other editors.
The last two points are quick. Yet again, thank you for your wise comments. Because of my love for and trust in Wiki I shall not change my name. I did not know of the option. Using my real name is a safeguard for others and for Wiki. Also, editors really should be treating one another with enough respect that Wiki is not made vulnerable to legal action by allowing use of real names. It's easy to address this by policy. As far as I understand, removing personal attacks from others talk page posts is actually allowed.
Finally, any warnings I've placed on other's pages, in my mind belong to them. They can keep or delete as desired. Currently, the cluttered mess of warnings, rude comments and administrator errors on my talk page is evidence that demands action. It has attracted emails. I really appreciate you trying to defuse things. I'm not angry (though I've had my moments), I'm simply unashamed, and patient. You yourself are evidence that concerned users will gradually address the issues the posts and warnings represent. Like you, I wish this was gone away already. But, thanks to you, I think that time is coming sooner than it would have without your responsible, open-minded, and neutral intervention.
I know why I respect and like you, differences of opinion and outcomes contrary to my optimism will not change that. I think you know this to be true. I think you're doing a fine job of mediating, it hurts me to reject your wise and eirenic proposals. I have come to dislike conflict, I'm too old to find excitement in it, but I'm too old too resign what I believe to be responsible action in the circumstances.
If it's any help, I have no ill-will towards any of those currently vexing me. I'm not so sure the same could be said of them. But they are responsible for their reactions, not me for actions I've taken, if appropriate, that they have construed badly. Alastair Haines (talk) 12:09, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Why Men Rule[edit]

Stop hand nuvola.svg This is the last warning you will receive for your disruptive edits, such as the one you made to Why Men Rule. If you vandalize Wikipedia again, you will be blocked from editing. JCDenton2052 (talk) 22:22, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

See your own talk page for "what vandalism is not", written by a third party. I issue you with your second warning for incivility. Defaming other editors is unacceptable at Wikipedia. Alastair Haines (talk) 08:37, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Recent edit history[edit]

A synoptic view of Lisa's perspective and Alastair's perspective.

  • bullet items are Lisa's text
indented items are Alastair's

"Because several misstatements of fact, tendentious claims, and wikilawyering have come out with regards to this section, I thought it would be worthwhile to present a brief history of the editing that has occurred on this section. It will be useful for mediation, and if necessary, for arbitration." — Lisa

  • On July 4, 2008, I noticed that the header in this article stated, without any citation, that Judaism views God as male. Since this isn't the case, I edited it (diff: [11]) and provided two reliable sources for my edit.
Lisa doesn't note that she also obscured, without sources, the well known fact that God is called Allah in Islam, HaShem in certain forms of Jewish speech, and has other names in other religions. These were important at the time because people were coming to grips with the meaning of God in the title. The lead clarified concisely that God, in the article, refered to a range of different presumed persons.
  • Alastair immediately responded by editing to state that Judaism views God as "non-feminine" (whatever that was supposed to mean), and added a reference to a quote by Paula Reimers that doesn't address the question of how Judaism views God in terms of gender, but rather addresses the reasons why some people might want to use feminine terminology for God (diff: [12]).
One hour later, I provided a sourced definition more in line with a summary of recent published Jewish views. In Judaism, God has been proposed to be masculine, masculine and feminine, or neither (Lisa's, and a popular POV). God has been proposed to be feminine by a few Jewish writers, including a prayer-book, however the feminine view receives an opposition the others don't. Hence, I provided a writer who actually holds Lisa's view, but argues at the least God is non-feminine and explains why. Since reliable Jewish sources hold any of all four possible views, and only one is widely rejected, one of many possible sourced summaries is to limit it to what is specifically negated.
  • Since the two sources I had posted backed up the edit which stated that God has no gender in Judaism, and since the Reimers quote did not support Alastairs edit claiming that God is seen as "non-feminine" in Judaism, I changed the text back. Despite the fact that the Reimers quote was irrelevant, I left it there (diff: [13]).
Reimers is widely cited as a Jewish source on the gender of God in Judaism. I first learned of her from other books on the subject. Lisa accurately describes herself editing to a POV. She narrowed the text to represent only the sources she'd provided, excluding others, specifically Reimers, who she dismissed as irrelevant on her own (Lisa's) authority.
  • Alastair replied to this edit by posting a scolding on my talk page (diff: [14]) telling me not to remove sourced material. Of course, you can see by the article history that I hadn't done any such thing.
Since Reimers argues that God has never been feminine in Jewish history for important theological reasons. The non-feminine view is a sourced view. To paraphrase Lisa, of course, you can see she did precisely what I told her she did.
  • On July 5, 2008, Alastair then edited the header of the article to say, again, and removed any statement about how Judaism views God in terms of gender, and instead stated that the Tanakh of Judaism presents God as masculine (diff: [15]).
A compromise. Go for the main source of the religion (as generally interpreted), rather than the diversity of later views.
  • On July 6, 2008, I once again changed the text to state that Judaism views God as having no gender, and I moved the Reimers quote into the Judaism section, allowing it to stand in the body of the article, immediately after another quote by Rebecca Alpert about modern Reconstructionist prayer book which uses feminine language for God (diff: [16]). I did not remove the source, because Alastair clearly felt strongly about it, but I took it out of the header, because it did not address the issue of how Judaism views God in terms of gender.
Again, Lisa insists on her POV. There is no doubt about this being one of the views in Judaism.
  • Alastair's response was to label the citation of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan as "POV" and the citation of (a well known resource for Jewish concepts) as "irrelevant" (diff: [17]). While I'm trying to present these edits without commentary, I was stunned that an editor on Wikipedia would behave this way. So I simply reverted it (diff: [18]).
Lisa is not pointing out that the quote talks only of the sex rather than the gender of God.
"G-d has no body, no genitalia, therefore the very idea that G-d is male or female is patently absurd."
Indeed! So absurd that few, if any, monotheistic religions believe God has biological sexual parts.
However, so many think analogies from gender roles are helpful in understanding God that they many use Father, some use Mother; Father and Mother is also used in Sikhism. Which leads to reliable sources for an article on the Gender of God.
  • On July 8, 2008, I edited out the two sources I'd put in (diff: [19]). I then placed those sources in the Judaism section, where they more properly belonged (diff: [20]). And then I moved the {{fact}} tag in the header so that it was only pointing to the statement about Islam, because the sources for Judaism were available in the Judaism section (diff: [21]).
Lisa doesn't note that at this point I'd given up hope of her allowing anything but her POV edit, as the diff demonstrates.
  • At this point, Tim and Ilkali got into war over grammar. I lost interest and didn't pay much attention to the article for a while, except for removing the quotes that Tim had placed around the word God (diff [22]).
With Lisa's apparent absence, I must have eventually got around to flagging the POV phrasing of Lisa's text. As can be seen in the diff below, it admits of only one Jewish view.
  • On July 28, 2008, though I wasn't paying attention, so I missed it at the time, Alastair again labeled the sources I'd brought as POV and moved them to the bottom of the sections (diff: [23]). In the intervening time, Alastair had had an RfC brought against him by Ilkili for bullying and wikilawyering, had threatened legal action against Wikipedia, been banned, backed out of his threat and gotten unbanned, and refused to respond to the RfC, whereapon it was closed by an admin.
Lisa again misrepresents facts and expresses them from her point of view. From mine, those who had backed Ilkali in edit-warring, bullying, wikilawyering and gaming the system raised an RfC that was eventually reopened and then finally closed, presumably for lack of evidence, since no accusations were ever passed on to me, nor was I even asked my opinion.
Lisa simply lies about me making legal threats, since it was never established that I had either intended that, or that my words meant that. Of course, neither is so. The wording is available elsewhere, I have insisted many times that I will not retract it, and I have repeated it several times.
The adminstrator retracted the ban when another user pointed out that my words had clearly been misread. No apology was offered. Just a bit disappointing.
  • Alastair next changed the sources so that instead of them reading as reliable sources for Judaism, they were presented as opinions (diff: [24]). Again, I wasn't paying attention, or I would have challenged this as soon as he did it. He stated that one of the sources "sees" things a certain way, and that the other "believes" what he wrote. It's hard to imagine a more weaselly way of trying to get around reliable sources.
Here, the regular Wikipedian will easily see I had simply edited the text to be NPOV and removed the tags. I'd given up hope of Lisa doing this. Now we can see why. Anything but her POV is a weasle. That's good faith misunderstanding, but it's still misunderstanding. What Lisa doesn't mention in all this is the rude comments she'd been leaving on my talk page at various points. By this stage one can see both views. Lisa's hasn't budged an inch regarding text and has made personal slights throughout. She sees her text constantly under assault from someone ignorant of Judaism and badgering her with Wiki rules. I see someone failing to appreciate the rationale behind Wiki policies and insisting on one particular Jewish POV (presumably her own). Even so, I address the text, never once suggesting what I cannot know, that she might simply be insisting on her own POV to the exclusion of others.
  • Today, August 3, 2008, Tim added a piece of material about Mesopotamian myths to the Judaism section, which has no relevance, since Judaism does not consider itself to be derived from such myths, even if some modern biblical scholars claim it was (diff: [25]).
I rather enjoy the way Lisa presents her POV and unco-operative editing with a refreshing honesty. She knows she's right. "Even if some modern biblical scholars claim ..." What, indeed, are reliable sources and alternative points of view, when Lisa can keep us on the straight and narrow? Personally I like Lisa, I even told her that on her talk page some time ago. Her faith is refreshing. However, as far as writing up diverse and sometimes sharply differing points of view in a co-operative environment, she's not the first companion I'd choose.
Does anyone else find it strange that someone can be as long at Wikipedia as Lisa and yet blithely articulate things contrary to the five pillars?
Of course, Reimers and many, many others disagree with Lisa on this point. Yahweh, or God, in the Hebrew Bible is often opposed to Ashtoreth, typically related to Astarte or Ishtar, as known from other Semitic peoples. That God and his gender are contrasted with Ashtoreth in the Jewish literature is not only significant, it is widely and uncontroversially held. The nature of the significance is debated. But, sure, I'd be the first to say God is God, whatever scholars might say. The only problem is that this is an encyclopedia, not a place of worship.
  • At about that point, I noticed what Alastair had done, and I went in to fix it (diff: [26]). I moved the reliable sources back up to the beginning of the article, since they are the only sources in the entire article which even speak to the question of God's gender in Judaism. The quote from Rebecca Alpert does not; it talks about a controversial prayer book put out by the Reconstructionist Movement which uses feminine grammar and imagery for God, but which does not claim that God is female in Judaism (or male for that matter; it doesn't address the issue at all). The quote from Paula Reimers does not; it speaks only to the sociological reasons why some people like a book like the one Alpert commented on. The material on Mesopotamian myths is not relevant to the Jewish view of God's gender, because Judaism does not believe itself to be based on Mesopotamian myths, even if some modern biblical scholars claim it was. The material demonstrating that God is referred to with masculine grammar and imagery in the Bible is irrelevant, since the reliable sources in the section stipulate that this is the case. Nevertheless, I left all of that material in, and merely moved the only reliable sources in the entire section to the top, and removed the weasel words that Alastair had added for the purpose of dismissing them as mere "opinion pieces".
There are some points I'd accept here. However, wholesale slaughter without discussion is not the way to get them accepted. In fact, Lisa's points are best addressed by addition, not subtraction. For example, I agree, at quite a bit of a stretch, it could be argued feminine language is intended allegorically in the Women's Prayerbook. So, that needs to be sourced and documented. I imagine there'd be more writers condemning it on the grounds of being literal, or in danger of being taken literally. So, research is needed, not removal of a sourced, relevant view.
  • That was when Alastair decided to eliminate edits he didn't agree with. Without any discussion whatsoever, he reverted my edit (diff: [27]).
What else would we expect from Alastair? Ho hum.
Lisa simply lies here. Alastair in two years at Wiki, religiously documents edits on the talk page if there's any likelihood of trouble. With Lisa, it's not likelihood, it's guarantee. That's not criticism, I think that's great, she even is willing to discuss (after changing things back to her text). The difficulty with Lisa is encouraging her to discuss before making changes to stable text or removing sourced text. Also there's the difficulty of communicating the idea of NPOV. NPOV does not only mean that a Jewish perspective is always permissible, it means every Jewish perspective is always permissible.
The thing Lisa doesn't realise is that she's doing my work for me. As a conservative Christian, I want fringe Christianity firmly labelled in its place. I have absolutely no objection to fringe Jewish views being labelled as such, and once Lisa's triumphantly won that precedent, I'll follow right up behind and pull the Christian views into shape, citing Lisa's brilliant arguments for the same thing at Judaism. Go Lisa!
But the one thing I can't accept is censorship.
There's another thing that came up in the Gender of God#Scripture before midrash section I opened specifically to address Lisa's censorship of the Tanakh. I believe I'm wrong about what I suggest in that header as far as modern Judaism goes. However, the fact remains that the Tanakh traditionally and widely, inside and outside Judaism is read as presenting God as masculine. Any number of feminists will point this out in no uncertain terms. Lisa's allowed to say feminists don't understand the Tanakh or Judaism, but Wiki isn't. The gender of God in the Tanakh, is not a fringe view in Judaism. If it is, we'll need extraordinary sources to prove it.
  • I then restored my edit, which Alastair has labeled a reversion (diff: [28]).
  • Alastair responded by reverting my edit again, and warning me against "edit warring". It's a strange thing to call what I did edit warring. I made a reasonable edit, which Alastair reverted without a word of explanation, and when I restored it, he accused me of edit warring. And reverted it for the second time (diff: [29]).
  • I restored my edit for the second time, and placed a warning on the Talk page to Alastair. I gave a lengthy explanation for my initial edit, and warned Alastair to stop reverting my edit (diff: [30]). This time, I also removed the paragraph which contained a lengthy discussion of Hebrew grammar, which had no relevance to the Jewish position on the gender of God.
  • On the Talk page, Alastair labeled the text that I edited "the consensus text". He also claimed that I was "altering text that has stood for more than a year", when the edit history clearly shows (as I think the diffs I've given show) that what I altered was text that had been there for several weeks.
  • Alastair had reverted my edit twice, so he sent Tim in to do it the next time. Tim reverted the Judaism section to the way it had been before my initial edit on this day, including putting the only two relevant reliable sources at the bottom of the section, with weasel words preceding each one (diff: [31]). He then added a citation which says that God is both male and female (diff: [32]).
  • I then edited the page so that it reflected my initial edit with the addition of Tim's source. This should not be considered a reversion, since it included Tim's addition of a source (diff: [33]).
  • Without any discussion, Tim reverted my edit (diff: [34]).
  • I restored my edit once more, but this time omitted the irrelevant paragraph about Mesopotamian myths (diff: [35]).
  • Tim then reverted my edit again. This was the third time he reverted my edit, yet I note that he has not been blocked. The only reversions I have done this entire day have been to restore the edit I made initially which was reverted for no legitimate reason (diff: [36]).
  • So I restored my edit one more time (diff: [37]).
  • Then Alastair reverted my edit for his third time (diff: [38]). At this point, my edit had been reverted six times in the space of an hour. Three times by Tim and three times by Alastair.
  • Finally, I restored my edit for the last time (diff: [39]).
  • As a result of all of this, I was blocked for 24 hours, even though my "reverts" consisted only of restoring a good faith edit that had been reverted by two other editors without any discussion.
The final comments from Lisa show that not only is she unclear about the value of stable text, sourced text, consensus, and the NPOV entailing expression all POVs, with proportionate weight, she is also unclear about edit warring. In Lisa's understanding this is an irregular verb:
  • I restore my edits
  • You restore the edits I approve of OR you edit war against them
  • Alastair and Tim edit war against my edits
The fact that Alastair was restoring edits he'd made that had been stable for more than a year
and that Tim was restoring a sourced quote he'd contributed don't enter the equation.
The good news in all this is that defamation like that Lisa throws around ought to be no more reliable than the source.
The bad news is people get partisan in debates and latch onto and repeat what they hear, it's called hearsay.
If you want to know if Lisa's right or if Alastair's right. Examine the edit evidence for yourself. If you want to know about motives, ask the person whose motive you want to know. You don't have to believe her or him, but you can't assume others are any more reliable than you are in judging any replies. In fact, often people don't even bother to ask.
To make it easy, all you need to do is ask, "Why did you do that?"
It's also worth reading what people write, 'cause they often tell people why they are doing what they're doing, and they can get a little upset when they've gone to the trouble of publishing their reasons already.
Have a nice day people. :) Alastair Haines (talk) 14:30, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

PS whoever dumped this on my talk page, thank you. You saved me a lot of time. Alastair Haines (talk) 14:31, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

This stops now[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

At the AN/I thread, you asked for proof of your poor behavior. People have been giving you proof for a solid month now, but you choose to ignore it. So, here's a nice list of diffs showing that you are in fact far from the little angel you attempt to pass yourself off as... Let's see... Oh, here's you, threating a good faith user with an arbcom case: [40]. Some personal attacks and even, this is good, evidence of wikistalking: [41], [42]. Oh, telling a user flat out he's wrong, that's pretty uncivil: [43]. Not, of course, as bad as these little gems: [44], [45]. Trying to get other editors to gang up on people with differing opinions: [46] (Holy War, anyone?). You even claim to "train administrators"[47]! Well, you sure as hell didn't train this one. L'Aquatique[talk] 21:58, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Are you an administrator now? Well, you got a head start in the training process. Thanks for providing evidence of your need for training in discerning constructive edits from wilful ones. If these flawless edits are the best examples you can find of what you think is poor, it's time for us to turn from what is innocent to what is far from innocent in your own and other users' comments, and Ilkali's original edits that still need to be brought to scrutiny from behind this smoke-screen of hearsay. Your empty rudeness and slander above ill becomes a would-be mediator. I expect we will come to those matters eventually. You have been and are being very foolish. You only need to look at your own emotions to see it. Cheerio. Alastair Haines (talk) 10:09, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I can just see this escalating badly. Deep breath everyone...Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:34, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Thanks Cas. I'd finished. I will consider not feeding those who troll my user talk. What would help is if someone would tell them to leave me alone. I have a lot of nice friends at Wiki, and I don't want them exposed to this nonsense. But, for the time being, my silence implies dissent. I have already adopted that policy several times over the last four months! Alastair Haines (talk) 10:53, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Arbitration Committee Case: Alastair Haines[edit]

After consulting several other administrators and an arbitrator, I have opened a case regarding your poor behavior with our Arbitration Committee. It can be found here: Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration#User:Alastair Haines. You will probably want to provide testimony under the section labeled "Statement by Alastair Haines". If at least four more arbitrators accept the case than reject it, it will be opened into a fullblown arbcom case. Be aware that the Arbitration Committee makes binding decisions upon us, and I would advise you to choose your words carefully. Good luck- L'Aquatique[talk] 02:03, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

A few things to note. Your arguments would probably be stronger if you included diffs. If you don't know how to post a diff, check out WP:DIFF. Also, try to remember that this case is not about Ilkali, it is about you, and to a lesser extent, myself. :) L'Aquatique[talk] 04:53, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
L'Aquatique, don't matronize me. Anything I assert can be easily checked if ever it needs to be. On the other hand, you dare to provide misleading interpretations of perfectly ordinary edits in an effort to discredit me. You appear to be misusing Wikipedia processes for your own ends.
You show complete disregard for Cas' comments above.
It doesn't bother me, because your serious misbehaviour in these things, whatever its motivation, is actually exposing you to receiving the criticism you deserve.
Please keep up your belittling comments, it provides others with more and more evidence of precisely what I've been alledging all along. Alastair Haines (talk) 06:10, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Don't kid yourself. However much you'd like to assume that I'm the enemy here, you're going to be sorely disappointed. I'm not doing this to slander your good name, I'm doing this because your behavior is disruptive and you have made it clear that you will not listen to the many people- including uninvolved admins- who have told you do. I had no choice to take it to arbcom. I hope you understand that this is not personal. I'm sure in real life, you're a great guy. But on-wiki, you need a wake up call and this is the only way I know how to give you that. L'Aquatique[talk] 06:24, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Alastair employs "do not feed trolls" mode for the umpteenth time. Cheerio. Alastair Haines (talk) 06:36, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

A Handshake[edit]

@ alastair...we have crossed paths a few times and I have always found you to be a courteous gentleman. Not just to me but to all involved in the editing process. Your prose is never aggressive and your rhetoric is balanced. I might even say you were a bit diplomatic. I see now that that is not a universal interpretation of who you are or what you do. Your critics seem to be growing in number. But I am not one of them. While you may, at times, bring a little "acidic" flavor to a discussion-those moments are rare.

As a relatively new editor, just learning the ropes, it troubles me that you are portraited as an angry, petulant self-centered editor. I certainly do not support that characterization of you.

I'm sorry to have to tell you, but your plight is interesting from many vantage points. From what I can discern from the discussions relating to Gender of God and the subsequent ArbCom case... you are being "railroaded out of town"..."backed into a corner". I have read most of your recent additions so that I could get a good feel for "the players'. I have absolutely no idea what ArbCom means but it sounds serious! Good Luck.

Please know that NOT all the citizens of the community called Wikipedia want to string you up to the nearest tree. In your replies above and elsewhere you make reference to 2 years of good faith, quality editing. From what little I know of you, I'm sure other editors will rally to your defense. Perhaps you can change the drift from fighting a war to keeping the peace.--Buster7 (talk) 06:55, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for your kind words. And indeed I have been keeping the peace. Were you to have the liesure and patience to check it, you'd discover that I am purely responding not initiating, even then I do so slowly. When someone comes into your house throwing bombs, though, how you encourage them to cease fighting depends very much on the personality of the bomber. I have been and will continue to measure my responses according to my best judgement of what will encourage each bomber to desist. But ultimately it is not in my power to stop others from bombing. At least they are only attacking me! ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 07:30, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Just a quick note to second Buster7, your interaction with me has been one of the best experiences I had in Wikipedia and I feel I need to learn so much from you. Good luck in all that process that is taking value time out of you (time that could be used to do so many other important things). If you ever need a witness of your kindness and positive attitude, I will stand for you, just buzz me. Miguel.mateo (talk) 10:04, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Miguel. You're a hard working editor, patiently providing quality text and info oustandingly illustrated. Keep up the great work! Wait ten years before attempting to edit political or religious articles, and then think seven times before starting! ;)
Wiki has to stretch hard to cope with some topic areas and some personality types among editors. May you be spared most of that in your work. And thanks again for your kind comments. :) Alastair Haines (talk) 13:16, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Alastair Haines[edit]

An Arbitration case involving you has been opened, and is located here. Please add any evidence you may wish the Arbitrators to consider to the evidence sub-page, Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Alastair Haines/Evidence. Please submit your evidence within one week, if possible. You may also contribute to the case on the workshop sub-page, Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Alastair Haines/Workshop.

On behalf of the Arbitration Committee, — Coren (talk) 02:03, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Good Luck[edit]

....nuff said!!!--Buster7 (talk) 06:37, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Gender of God request[edit]

Hi Alastair, thanks so much for your kind words to me and your recent request. Unfortunately, due to real-life responsibilities, I can't spend much time on Wikipedia currently. I just wanted to contribute some to the Gender article to help move things in a constructive direction. So, I suggested that folks focus on reliable secondary sources, not their own analysis. I tried to get the lead / framework set up collaboratively. In so doing, I also tried to model a way of proposing edits and working together. I may keep doing a few of these things, perhaps, but I'm afraid I can't contribute more substantively at this point. I do appreciate your encouragement of my editing and I wish you well. Take care, HG | Talk 12:52, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Your arbitration evidence[edit]


Your statement on the evidence page currently stands a bit above 1500 words, well over the maximum of 1000. You may want to summarize parts of it, or move the more extended discussion to the talk page. Besides, keeping your evidence terse and to the point is advantageous since it keeps focus on your points and eases the arbitrators' analysis.

— Coren (talk), for the Arbitration Committee, 14:13, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Today's New International Version[edit]

Hi Alastair, on your Gender entries into the Today's New International Version of the Bible, “they” and “them” can be singular though most often plural. You seem to be indicating they are always plural. You state on your page, “This user considers the singular "they" to be substandard English usage.” Do you consider Americans and Canadians to be substandard English users?

You state you’re a preacher and a messianic gentile. How do you expect people to listen when you indicate they are substandard? Just a thought. AbubakarB (talk) 07:39, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for responding.
You stated on my talk page, "I have read a great deal on gender neutral language and the Bible. I oppose it", It did show with a couple edits; "Jesus & Dinner party", the scripture (Revelation 3:20) in no way indicated Dinner party as you stated.
You also stated, "Would you propose the only people who should be allowed to edit are those who are in favour of GN language in Bible translation?"
I questioned two entries of many you entered and I placed statements on the talk page. Was I disallowing editing? I was opening dialogue I thought by moving them to the talk page.
In regards to your statement, "It is actually Americans and Canadians that most commonly refuse to use "singular" they", that is not correct, unless you are talking about a minority of fundamentalists. You completely ignored my statement about an inclusive language translation, the New Living Translation, is #2 on the sales charts in North America. The TNIV just adopted the NLT language. AbubakarB (talk) 08:18, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Your statement, "As it stands, your edit makes nonsense of one side of the argument. At the moment it looks like AbubakarB thinks two quotes from the TNIV constitute a coherent description of the view of the critics of the TNIV."
I was moving a quote to the talk page to discuss, which is what we were doing, I thought? AbubakarB (talk) 08:42, 10 August 2008 (UTC)


Stop hand nuvola.svg This is the last warning you will receive for your disruptive edits, such as the one you made to WP:AN/3RR. If you vandalize Wikipedia again, you will be blocked from editing. JCDenton2052 (talk) 21:55, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

We're all equals here JCD, disagree with me by all means, but don't threaten blocks you can't implement, because I reported you for multiple reversions to insist on your POV tagging.
If you seek to push your opinion without discussion, any user has the option to report that.
You have the equal right to report me were I to do it.
But, as you saw, other users at the page upheld the points I'm making, and another editor also reverted your tag.
As it turns out, you are only the second person I've ever needed to report to AN/3RR.
Many of your own words and edits show you have a biased view of me personally and you have edited accordingly.
I suggest you stop to think whether you would treat other users the same way you are treating me.
Even if you were right about me, you are not choosing the best way to make your point.
But if you are wrong, you are doing a disservice to both me and to Wikipedia.
Your accusations against me are the sort of thing that stops many people contributing some of the things I'm willing to contribute.
You have opposed text that reflects opinions you seem to find distasteful.
It's fine for you to disagree passionately with such opinions, but not to "punish" editors who've worked hard to source and present them neutrally.
Please consider sourcing and contributing criticisms of the views you dislike.
But by all means ask for those views to be clarified, expanded and have further sources added.
Personally, I'm very glad to oblige you in the latter, and welcome the former also.
Most of my work at Wiki is providing sources, pure and simple, because I detest conflict, especially unmoderated conflict.
Cheers. Alastair Haines (talk) 23:29, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
I explained each of my edits on the talk page, so your claim that I push your opinion without discussion is a lie. As to your claim another editor also reverted your tag, you made the same lie on your false 3RR report. [48] You claim You have opposed text that reflects opinions you seem to find distasteful. Where have I done that? However, I do admit to opposing text that violates both WP:NPOV and WP:NOR. JCDenton2052 (talk) 23:53, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
This warning appears to be gratuitous JCDenton2052. I can see nothing in Alastair's recent contributions that would warrant a 3RR warning from yourself. If it is from some earlier diff, you have been adequately active and could have warning him in a more timely manner. Please kindly supply some form of basis for this warning, or apologise. John Vandenberg (chat) 23:39, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
I am not warning User:Alastair Haines for 3RR. I am warning him for vandalizing WP:AN/3RR by posting a false report against me with multiple false statements. Please see the discussion here. [49] JCDenton2052 (talk) 23:53, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry I misread what the warning was about; it was just so strange and there was nothing in his recent contributions worth any warning, much less a final warning. If any vandalism occurred here, it is your "final warning" to Alastair user talk page. I have dug into the matter more closely, and explained myself in more detail here. --John Vandenberg (chat) 04:55, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
JC, this warning reduces your credibility in the issue we are dealing with. Please show some kind of balance. When you flagged this up I was naive enough to go hunting for whatever you could be talking about. I don't think it impresses the admins like it would a relative newbie like myself.Tim (talk) 23:47, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
I am not attempting to impress anyone. I am warning User:Alastair Haines for posting a false 3RR report on me. JCDenton2052 (talk) 23:53, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Where? When? How? And how is a warning over here even warranted? Did someone take some kind of action? Honestly, this just looks weird.Tim (talk) 23:57, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
See the discussion here. [50] Furthermore, User:Alastair Haines did not inform me of his WP:AN/3RR report. While not against policy, that is a WP:Wikiquette violation. JCDenton2052 (talk) 00:03, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
And this is more civil? JC, this is really giving me a sour feeling about Wikipedia. I'm sorry, but this is just grandstanding and you owe Alastair (and everyone who's wasted time trying to figure out what you are talking about) an apology.Tim (talk) 00:09, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
An apology for what? JCDenton2052 (talk) 00:15, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
For this entire thread. We're trying to solve problems here, not create more.Tim (talk) 00:18, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
What's wrong with this thread? Where am I trying to create problems? JCDenton2052 (talk) 00:26, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry Alastair. Didn't mean to clutter your page with a pointless argument. It wasn't nice.Tim (talk) 00:30, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for trying Tim. Don't worry about it. JCD is entitled to his opinion. I'm entitled to remove his post if I wanted to. But I'm letting it stand. It shows I'm not ashamed of being accused. I'm willing to tolerate strong personal comments and so on.
Your comments really help passers by not be confused by this. It's them I care about most.
I'm longing for this to be cleared up, because this is more evidence of how "bad news travels quickly" and reliable sources are rarely checked. JCD is a victim of believing I'm virtually a non person already.
I hope JCD will change his mind, but I think it unlikely while a result might be provided elsewhere that could be used as vindication.
Sorry, JCD, if I appear to be discounting your opinion as largely shaped by others and opportunistic, it's all too easy for discussion to degenerate when its personal, isn't it? Alastair Haines (talk) 00:56, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Alastair, Tim, this is hilarious; I had laughed a lot with this thread and "the circus" that JCD has just mounted in a few hours. Take the things from the bright side, this thread is ridiculously funny! Miguel.mateo (talk) 06:03, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Hi Miguel, I can see the funny side, but it is obvious that JCD is not a happy man, and unhappy people are never funny. But he's been expressing his unhappiness in a forceful way at Gender in Bible translation and Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood also. A little of why he's doing what he's doing can be seen if the diffs of his interaction with Cailil are observed.
From my perspective JCD needs someone, other than me, to explain that we can't be encouraging editors to drop tags on articles when they feel angry with a particular editor who they have not attempted to talk to.
JCD was not blocked due to a technicality, because he added inline citations in one of his edits, but still insisted on his top of page tag. In fact, he did revert the article to his tag four times in quick succession. It obviously depends on the admin who gets to such reports first.
Because I'm not used to reporting people for 3RR, he is quite correct, I didn't notify him that I'd made the report. Didn't do that with Lisa either, the only other person I've ever reported. In the unhappy event I feel it appropriate to do this again some time, at least I'll know what to do. But I don't encounter 3RRs often, because I talk with people. Alastair Haines (talk) 06:30, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I have never edited either of the two articles you linked. I added article tags and explained them on the talk page. You addressed one issue out of many and removed both tags. I reverted you twice. I asked for a third opinion and followed it. I took off the article tags, replaced them with inline tags, and explained each one on the talk page. I did not insist that the article tags remain. You removed them without any discussion and I reverted you twice. In none of my interactions with you have I made four reverts. JCDenton2052 (talk) 06:49, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
You're absolutely right about not editing the other articles, my apologies. There is an element of me assuming you guilty of something you hadn't done there. I do appreciate the fact you added inline cites, but the point at issue was the lack of necessity for the tag at the top of the page. You restored that tag four times and after I'd openned discussion and indicated the nature of policy on the issue.
Just now I started entering the diffs and I noticed that your last two edits were both inline cites. This is indeed my error. You had accomodated my request and I was still reverting you, then went further and reported you, also without notifying you. I can see why you're upset. Your edits were justified and I'd have made them in your shoes too. That's precisely why I didn't revert when I saw the page without a tag at the top. I obviously followed the wrong link with my last two reverts.
We obviously still disagree on content. That is easily sorted out because I own the book. I don't recall seeing your replies to my most recent posts at the talk page on your points one or two.:::Alastair Haines

(talk) 06:59, 11 August 2008 (UTC)