User talk:Cgingold/Category:Atheist politicians

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Category:Atheist politicians[edit]

If you think a category is absurd, bring the issue at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion by nominating the category for deletion, don't simply remove it from articles before there's a consensus about it. bogdan 12:26, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Please note that I am reverting your removal of categories. Unless there's a consensus on that category, it should stay the way it is. Such unilateral actions are against the rules of Wikipedia. bogdan 12:28, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, but you've completely misconstrued my edit summaries. The category itself isn't absurd -- the point is that these particular individuals simply don't meet the criteria for the category. You were rather hasty and presumptuous. It would have been more sensible -- not to mention considerate -- if you had first inquired what my rationale was, before rushing to revert my edits. (The note immediately before yours on my talk page is a perfect example of an editor who did precisely that -- and my reply resolved his concerns.) Cgingold 12:55, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
What criteria? Nicolae Ceauşescu, Enver Hoxha, etc meet the two criteria: of being a politician and being a (in these cases self-described) atheists. Are you disputing that they were atheists? Can you explain what is exactly the problem? bogdan 12:59, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
Of course they're atheists -- that's the easy part. The problem is that these individuals were dictators, which puts them in an entirely different realm from politicians. You may perhaps have a different perspective on this in Romania than we have in the U.S., but it strikes me as pretty absurd to consider a dictator as a variety of politician, when by definition, dictators -- in contrast to politicians -- are unconcerned about the views of the polis. Cgingold 13:27, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
That's a personal definition of yours. Let's take the definition from politician:
A politician is an individual who is a formally recognized and active member of a government
Are dictators members of a government? yes. therefore, they're politicians. bogdan 13:40, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

That's a pretty broad definition of the term. If you look at the parent Category:Politicians, you can see that it was obviously created with Western/democratic politicians in mind, with apparently no forethought given to the possibility that people who clearly fall outside the scope of that conception of politics would be added to the category and lumped together with ordinary politicians. These individuals really need their own category. Cgingold 14:03, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

PS - I need to leave now, so we'll have to continue this discussion later. Do you have a suggestion for alternative categorization (i.e. a subcategory) for these people? (for example, "atheist dictators", or something along those lines) 14:13, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Dictators get voted in office, too. Also, most held other political offices (being regular politicians) before becoming dictators. bogdan 14:13, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
Anyway, Category:Dictators was deleted because it was POV, so I think that there should not be any other category with "Dictator" in the name...
bogdan 14:17, 1 August 2007 (UTC)Cat tag cnv'd to cat ref.--Jerzyt 01:00, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm not terribly surprised to hear that -- I sensed that using the term in a Category name might be problematic, which is why I said "or something along those lines". However, I still feel that these people need to be separated out into a subcategory, rather than lumping them in with "Western style" politicians. Now, it's clear that what they all have in common is the fact that they are/were the heads of Communist nations. So the solution may be as simple as using that specific term in the name of the category -- i.e. "Leaders of Communist nations", or something to that effect. Cgingold 22:27, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
I've just found the Category:Communist rulers, which looks to be exactly what I had in mind. So I'm planning to add Category:Atheist politicians as a parent category, making Category:Communist rulers a subcategory -- which would then allow us to separate out the subgroup of "Communist dictators" from the larger group of "Atheist politicians". Unless somebody has a better idea, I think this should resolve the problem. Cgingold 23:50, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
Some people from "Category:communist rulers" are not atheists, for example, Mathieu Kérékou. bogdan 07:00, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Okay, so what would you suggest as a subcategory? Perhaps "Atheistic communists"? Cgingold 08:02, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Not all atheistic communists are politicians... One could simply have some political opinions, but not getting involved directly in the government. Would you argue that Einstein, a socialist, was also a politicia?. bogdan 14:14, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

That was merely a spontaneous parting thought, not a serious proposal. I am all too aware of what a mess the political categories are, owing to the conflation of categories for ordinary people with categories for politicians. I'm still waiting for you to lend a hand with a constructive suggestion on this. <sigh> I was assuming that you wanted to provide some input on the name, but perhaps I was mistaken. Cgingold 14:45, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Notes to User:Jerzy[edit]

Hi, Jerzy. I just determined that you are the editor who authored the definition of "Politician" for Category:Politicians -- which has remained unaltered for the last 2-1/2 years -- and I thought perhaps you might like to contribute to a little discussion about Category:Atheist politicians which is under way on my talk page. I'd be very interested to know your views on the subject. Cgingold 22:29, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Hello, again. I spotted your ghostly footprints on my talk page. :) I was hoping you'd have something to add to the discussion. I really can't go along with lumping the atheist/Communist politicians in with Western/democratic atheist politicians without any distinction between them. Seeing as you put some thought into defining the parent category, do you have any thoughts as to a good name for this subcategory? Cgingold 12:48, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

_ _ How handy! I was just abt to create this section in order to reply. Thanks.
_ _ I'm not good at terse replies, and fixed the stray Cat ass'g't rather than let it fester while i tried to respond definitively to your solicitation. But for the moment, here's me attempting terseness:

Subdividing a Cat according to a hierarchy that can find consensus as the natural hierarchy for it is helpful in the context of the present MediaWiki Cat system, and will probably remain necessary despite any further elaboration of it. Geography, with the boundaries of states (countries) as natural hierarchy, is fundamental, and most Cats will inevitably be "crossed" against nation (or nationality, for people Cats). Beyond that, IMO crossing cats that, like occupation and belief, are not fundamentally related is clutter. And i presume them to be essentially vehicles for a slightly more refined vanity or name-calling until demonstrated otherwise. I expect that careful research, or discussion on WP:VPP, would show that WP has arrived at some general understanding that would frown on the category you have in mind.
I have no doubt that this particular Cat would add to all its members' articles one more tag, without a significant, let alone proportionate, benefit to users.

--Jerzyt 17:08, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Obviously, you couldn't have foreseen the creation of the category "Atheist politicians". So let me ask you a more general question vis-a-vis "politicians". When you wrote up the definition, did you give any thought to the possibility that Communists in non-Western countries might at some point be put in the category or its subcats? My sense is that the Category was fundamentally intended for Western-style politicians in Western-style political systems, and that it's not a very good fit for Communist systems. Cgingold 22:43, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

_ _ Actually, i wasted no effort in considering secondary problems that would come, with each of the foreseeable creations of any of the multitude of potential subCats that i didn't believe should be created.
_ _ Here's a light touch-up of a draft that i worked on before trying to be terse (and will probably not bother trying to make fully reflect my views; it's mostly abt side issues where i am unwilling to endorse by silence something that has been said in this section):

_ _ I was asked to comment bcz i originated the Cat def for Category:Politicians, and i gather it still hasn't been changed. (But Cat defs tend to be mostly ignored, so silence probably means not consent to, but contempt for the authority of, the definition. [wink] So don't take its stability too seriously.) And i should also say that i was not satisfied with "my" definition the last time i studied it; i think it leaves too much room for non-politician activists, who aspire to influence the formation of policy by proposing and agitating for policies, and trying to get elected to policy-making positions (or who try to be in position to take on policy-making roles or help others do so -- e.g., unity government, putsch -- if & when normal politics goes into crisis). It can be argued that third parties (in US politics, what i am most familiar with) have a history of working long-term transformations of major-party platforms and even programs, but IMO that is different in kind from the low end of real policy-making: participating basically on the losing side in legislative (or parliamentary confidence) votes, but occasionally making a marginal difference in policy, bcz of a close vote or the desire of the majority to demonstrate national unity, or bcz one has been steadily professional in the dog-work of drafting legislation and ends up being taken seriously about obscure, non-controversial, but significant matters that no one else has troubled or been lucky enough to think thru thoroly.
_ _ I think the attempt to draw lines between dictators and democratic politicians would very subjective, and AFAI can recall i specifically intended to include people at the policy-making levels of governments of all degrees of participation. It's a democratic dogma that democracy is Platonic democracy, and everything discernibly different (from any of the Platonic democracies) is in a different world from democracy. But if you live e.g. in California your influence on the choice of Pres of the US is about 1/3 what it would be if you lived in Alaska -- so are American presidents not politicians? On the other end of the scale, Beria (IIRC) didn't put together as large a coalition of armed Politiburo members as Bulganin & Khrushchev did, so his expectation of being the next Stalin failed to bear fruit. This is all politics.

_ _ Perhaps i need to say explicitly that Cats whose members' qualification is frequently subjective are disasters. A fuzzy word can easily be hedged about with qualifying phrases, in the article text, and good writers will often do so almost without conscious thought. But every fuzzy definition of a Cat will result in disappointment of misled users and conflict among disagreeing editors, until such time as we can record, in the tag, degree of applicability of fuzzy Cats, and and not only reflect this on the Cat page, but also render Cat tags on the article pages accordingly, say like the way the list under "Show pages she liked about // View all of her tags" (at right edge of about the 2nd screen) is rendered at this sample StumbleUpon page.
_ _ I think that directly answers your last question. In fact, i've occasionally thot further, and i'd go so far as to say that Category:Monarchs should be a sub-cat of Category:Politicians. (Tho i will waste no energy toward achieving that Cat relationship: it would be useful only as a matter of consistency and clarity.) For instance, if only bcz his realm was so much smaller than Stalin's, i expect Henry II was the more dictatorial of the two. Yet surely Thomas a Becket qualifies as a politician -- if he didn't, Henry wouldn't so badly have wanted him dead. (And in turn, Henry's need to contend with Becket makes Henry a politician, not an equal of the comic-book version of Stalin or Hitler.)
--Jerzyt 02:53, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
--Jerzyt 16:45, 5 August 2007 (UTC)