User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 87

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Relevance of the Foundation's resolution concerning controversial content to this project

Conversation turned unpleasant and unproductive. Happy to host a restart in a few days time, but let's chill for now
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

At WT:NOT I have proposed incorporating the Foundation's May 2011 resolution concerning controversial content into Wikipedia policy. An editor has objected on the grounds (among others) that the resolution only applies to Commons. I wonder if you could clarify that point, or pass this question to the board's working group for clarification?

Though the resolution, the working group report and the 2010 Wikimedia study of controversial content upon which they were based repeatedly refer to the Mediawiki community and Mediawiki projects, the resolution specifies Commons when it urges the community

to pay particular attention to curating all kinds of potentially controversial content, including determining whether it has a realistic educational use and applying the principle of least astonishment in categorization and placement.

The resolution's talk page notes that it uses "curation" to refer to all aspects of managing images and other content on our projects, including placement of images in articles. Thank you for your attention. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 12:18, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm unaware of any discussion at the board level that would suggest that the resolution applies only to commons. However, it is worth noting that the plain text of one paragraph does "urge" the Commons community in particular. I speak only for myself here: my view of that line is that the Commons community has had the biggest difficulties in coming to grips with our responsibilities in this area (for some good reasons, I should hasten to add), and therefore good people there needed extra support to get things done. It isn't that the resolution doesn't apply to all Wikimedia projects, it is that the other projects already generally do a very good job of dealing with these issues.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:51, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for that clarification. May I ask your thoughts on my proposed change to WP:NOTCENSORED? I believe this project may be able to improve the way it handles controversial images, and I would value your opinion. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 14:42, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Perhaps the future would be to have guidelines to emphasize common, mainstream views about any topic, such as:
WP:COMMONNAME - currently avoids fringe names for topics.
WP:COMMONIMAGES - to focus on mainstream images for a topic (I've never seen pictures of Muhammad displayed anywhere in Egypt, only caligraphy of names).
WP:COMMONCOURTESY - what "civility" means in polite society.
WP:COMMONDECENCY - some limits to the insults hurled at WP:ANI.
I think that gives a method for reminding users about the real-world concerns when working on Wikipedia. WP is certainly a high-profile, mainstream part of world society, and there needs to some emphasis on higher standards of quality. -Wikid77 (talk) 18:07, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment: as much of the resolution that is not already covered in Wikipedia's policies has already been (view discussion and collaboration and consensus) incorporated into wp:censor. Not sure why people keep missing the discussion that took place, or didn't notice the addition in the second paragraph - everything else (from the resolution) is already part of various policies. ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 18:12, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
    • Robert, the perennial problem here is policy literalism. you're guilty of this yourself, frankly: You latch on to a literalistic reading of one narrowly-interpreted passage of NOTCENSORED as your guiding light, and use that to skew all discussions so that they become impossibly tedious. It does not matter if the resolution is covered in various other places when in fact you refuse to look at any policy except NOTCENSORED. That's why we have to change that little bit of text, to discourage that monomaniacal focus. --Ludwigs2 18:37, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
      • Ludwigs2: Once again you misstate my actions and intent? Aren't you already at AN/I with such actions as being part of the reason? There is no religious exception in any policy on Wikipedia - your goal is to create one (with a bunch of diffs already on AN/I to prove that I, unlike you, aren't simply making such stuff up). I have repeatedly stated that all of the relevant policies need to be applied in conjunction - not singularly. Here on Jimbo's page, at AN/I, on the RfCs, on the Muhammad images talk page and elsewhere. You wish to ignore something unambiguously written that states such things will be handled secularly by repeated attempts at applying IAR - and solely to this article as opposed to uniformly across Wikipedia. Diffs to support that are at AN/I as well. I would greatly appreciate it if you would stop intentionally mischaracterizing my intents and actions - especially since I've proved contrary with numerous diffs I know you have seen in numerous conversations I know you have read (and responded to). ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 18:47, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
        Robert: it really would be better if you stopped trying to analyze my intentions and AGFed that I have the project's best interests at heart. treating me like I'm some sort of nemesis is not going to get us anywhere - it's pure wp:BATTLEGROUND crap. We have an issue to discuss: you'd do a lot better just discussing it rather than trying to bitchslap me into submission. --Ludwigs2 19:38, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Ironic, you imply I'm editing in bad faith due to my incorrect interpretations, I respond, have over a hundred diffs of proof, and I'm not AGFing? I'm not allowed to respond to your baseless accusations of incompetence and/or bad faith? I won't fill Jimbo's talk page with a hundred diffs, not when a tiny but representative amount is right here [1]. ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 19:46, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Robert, I know everything you've said about me, and you are going well out of your way to create an untrue impression. I mean, just for an example: I've said repeatedly that I think the images should be removed from Muhammad, but that I'm open to discussing the matter. you keep saying that I'm zealously trying to remove all images of Muhammad everywhere and that I refuse to discuss it. You're lying because you're trying to make a political case against me that will shut down the discussion, and there's not a damned thing I can do about it except ride it out and remind myself frequently that you're too obsessed with the issue to behave in a rational manner. So yes, you can continue to lie about me, and I suppose that's fine, but I would really prefer if you stopped and addressed me with a little bit of open-mindedness. --Ludwigs2 20:12, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Saying you are open to discussing the matter is one thing. BUT, after you proposed an RfC,[2] and we all were working on one,[3][4][5] you trying to disrupt or circumvent or change the outcome of the process with a trip to WQA,[6] and trip to ArbCom[7] - and reverting back to your position of not compromising until you get your way (and stating you will continue to repeat such until then)[8][9][10] is not being open to discussion. Neither is, while we are trying to work on an RfC agreeable to everyone (that you keep sidetracking or trying end runs around) posting an RfC[11] that virtually none of us supported as another attempt to enforce your POV by an end run on a collaborative RfC that you yourself proposed.[12] Actions... louder... words. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 20:32, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
See what I mean about pejorative interpretation? My WQA against Tarc had nothing to do with the article, except that he was (so I thought) really being a bastard towards me, and my objections to the 'work' you were doing on the RfC was that you were denying the core points that anthony and Hans and I were trying to talk about (there's no sense having an RfC that doesn't even address the problem on the page). you adopted a point of view which refused to allow any of the discussions that needed to happen, and then accused me of tendentiousness for refusing to treat that narrow point of view as the literal truth. friggin' FOX News logic.
But whatever: I'm not here to watch you play politics on Jimbo's page. if you want to discuss the idiocy of our disagreement then let's do it our own talk. Otherwise, lie about me elsewhere, please. --Ludwigs2 21:43, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps you are confusing me with someone else then? *I* am the one who proposed an RfC that addressed EVERY issue you all brought up - EXCEPT adhering to religious beliefs, which I WILL NOT DO until WP:CENSOR is changed. Change it, and I'll through religious exceptions into the RfC as well. Until then, my hands are tied and you're accusatory (with, unlike me, not a single diff to prove it) yet again. As for Tarc, didn't I post the diff at AN/I where you started on him? How did you expect his reactions to be?
@ Wikid, I've actually been thinking about doing that myself - we could use a guideline or policy that lays out how we should deal with controversial material in a nuanced way, rather than relying on a blurb in wp:NOT. I've been debating whether to start a new one wp:CONTROVERSIALCONTENT, maybe, or simply pull NOTCENSORED out of NOT and make it standalone. At any rate, I think we should pick a page name and start writing it - maybe if everyone has at it on an abstract policy page we can collaboratively work through all these disputes. --Ludwigs2 18:43, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

A renewed complaint about IPA

As an American in England, one of the things that naturally occupies at least some attention is the differences in American and British English, which are often amusing. Today I'm on my way to Newcastle upon Tyne and so I naturally wanted to read up on the famed local accent, Geordie.

Of keen interest to this lay reader is how people say things there. But the Wikipedia entry is entirely useless to me. Here's a typical line from the entry: "There is some differentiation in pronunciation in the Geordie dialect based upon the speaker's sex. For example, English sound /aʊ/, pronounced generically in Geordie as [əʊ], may also have other, more specific pronunciations depending upon whether one is male or female. Males alone often pronounce the sound /aʊ/ as [uː], for example, the word house (/haʊs/) pronounced as [huːs]. Females, on the other hand, will often pronounce this sound as [eʉ], thus: [heʉs]."

I do know the positive argument in favor of IPA, but I am unconvinced that they outweigh the negatives, which are very substantial. I raise this question for thoughtful philosophical conversation and brainstorming here on my talk page, but at some point when I feel better informed, I'm also interested in thinking about where and how I might best raise this point to the editors who are currently using IPA, in an effort to help convince them that some modification of what we do would be a good thing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:23, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

There is no good alternative to IPA. It's clearly the most established of the standardised phonetic systems. Methods of rendering pronunciation that do not require specialist knowledge of a phonetic alphabet, and instead just use the regular alphabet, rely on the speaker having a particular accent or dialect, and so fail to be useful across dialects and accents. The Geordie diphthongs would be rendered in RP English alphabetic rules very differently to standard American, and to standard Australian. A non-native English speaker might be totally lost - and they're rather likely to know IPA. Hell, English speakers have it sweet, given that the IPA is closely based on English alphabet usage.

My preferred solution: Encyclopedias are here to educate people. We should work on helping our readers navigate the IPA better. VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 15:42, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

I find IPA to be incomprehensible gibberish, but can't comment on whether there's a better alternative. There is a template {{IPAc-en}} that is in sporadic use (see Taoiseach pronunciation for an example) that has a mouse-over decoding for the reader. I think the template's use should be strongly encouraged for the same of readers who don't understand the IPA (i.e. the majority of readers). Calliopejen1 (talk) 15:44, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps what we ultimately want is a voice synthesizer function that can render an IPA string into audible sound. If IPA is really unambiguous, it ought to be possible to transform an IPA string into an OGG or something and play it. Looie496 (talk) 15:54, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Or simply use the power of the masses: add a "please listen/pronounce this" pop-up so those knowledgeable can add pronunciation to the various articles and those who don't know how to read IPA can just listen. It sounds like the kind of usability initiative that the WMF should fund. I think there's something similar implemented for a handful of articles mainly for the vision impaired, where the whole article is read by someone. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 16:14, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
We keep coming back to the same thing, Jimbo. The only thing worse than IPA, is all of the "alternatives" that have been offered, each of which invariably makes sense to a small sub-set of English speakers (mostly native to a specific dialect of English) and seems "natural" to them, but is worse than misleading to the rest of the English-speaking global community. I know that to be an Anglophone is to believe that the rest of the universe must adjust to what we do without us having to learn anything but English itself; but it ain't that easy. --Orange Mike | Talk 16:16, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
The IPA is brilliant though but. Learn it, and then pick up a dictionary from another English speaking country and read the IPA they have there. Having another accent come out of your mouth basically unbidden is a weird and wonderful experience.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 16:20, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think "learn IPA" is the right answer. That's not something that casual readers should be expected to do. In response to the notion that all the alternatives depend on an assumption that someone has a particular dialect, I do agree that this is (sometimes) a problem, but I think it is not so hard as people make it out to be. I think the most promising alternatives are the suggestions that either a machine-pronunciation tool be created (is it technically feasible? does one exist already, and is it open source, or of it isn't open source, does it have no business model for the creator and therefore likely to be open sourced if I ask the right person?) and also the suggestion that our UI should encourage people to upload native pronunciations.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:27, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
One more note, and this is a question for VsevolodKrolikov. You wrote, up above, that non-native English speakers are "rather likely to know IPA". I think that's almost certainly false. I think fewer than 1 in a hundred non-native speakers of English would know enough IPA to be able to productively use it. Am I completely wrong about that? Do people learning English really learn a system of "107 letters, 52 diacritics, and four prosodic marks"? I have never heard of such a thing. (Not that "I never heard of it" is a valid argument - it isn't! I'm just saying: is there evidence?)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
If machine pronunciation is possible, it's probably no better than that of Google translate, which has this feature for many languages (not for IPA script directly though). Mind you, Google uses proprietary software on their servers for this, which they license from a couple of small companies. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 16:37, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
As an amusing aside, even bugs in that software found their use [13]. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 16:39, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, when people learn the IPA, they don't learn the whole of it. They learn what they need to know for the language they're learning, which most commonly is English. I admit I'm speaking only from personal experience, but having taught a fairly large sample of both Russians and Japanese, it's clear that they know IPA for English far better than English speakers do. It's actually an aid in learning given that English frontloads all the irregularly pronounced words, as they dominate highest frequency vocabulary. Bilingual dictionaries all use it (what else could they use?), as do large numbers of textbooks for English as a foreign language. The foreign languages native anglophones tend to learn have more phonetically regular spelling conventions than English (Spanish, German, French), so we have far less need to learn an extra system.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 16:50, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
These websites specialize in providing audio information about how to pronounce words.
Some other websites provide audio information in addition to other information.
Wavelength (talk) 16:52, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
This is definitely not in my domain of expertise, but there are a number of open source speech synthesis systems that seem like possible starting points. I believe that one of them, the Festival Speech Synthesis System, actually uses IPA as an intermediary. Other possibilities are Gnuspeech and eSpeak. Looie496 (talk) 16:53, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I would love to hear actual human pronunciation. Just as consensus is brought to bear on the rest of article content, so editors should decide on which pronunciation is most representative and audible. I'm not particularly fond of machine-pronunciation. In my opinion there should be several samples from several humans, for the simple reason that there are variations within the norm. A drawback to machine-pronunciation is the absence of variability. There is a richness to actual human voices that in my opinion can't be matched by machine-pronunciation. Forvo, mentioned above, is a great example of what I have in mind. Bus stop (talk) 16:57, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
If Wikipedia provides several variations, there might be a question of giving undue weight to rarer pronunciations.
Wavelength (talk) 17:02, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
And WP:IDONTLIKEIT would also likely rear its ugly head. Bus stop (talk) 17:10, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
No more so than people preferring one picture over another in the lead, etc. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 17:24, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
You can ask about the matter at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language, and you can check the Archives.
Wavelength (talk) 16:58, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Linguistics and User talk:Kwamikagami‎.
Wavelength (talk) 17:08, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
See Category:User ipa for a list of Wikipedians who understand IPA.
Wavelength (talk) 17:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Here are four external links which I copied from the section "External links" in the article "Geordie".
Wavelength (talk) 17:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC) and 18:07, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation.
Wavelength (talk) 17:46, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

IMHO IPA is quite nearly useless for most readers who see it as non-utile symbols telling them how to pronounce something most of them would pronounce reasonably well enough in the first place to be understood. But, as the saying goes, "But it's the only game in town." (full anecdote available on request). Would computer voices do well? Dunno - but is it a proper use of Wikipedia to be an authority on pronunciation in the first place? I would suggest that such IPA stuff be left to Wiktionary, and thus removed from most Wikipedia articles, "if I were king of the jungle." (I hope that quote does not show my age too clearly). Cheers. Collect (talk) 18:54, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

I am somewhat sympathetic to moving it all to wiktionary, but I dunno. It's a shame, really. I am a fan of learning for fun about accents, and I wish there were a better answer.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:35, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Best thing would be to improve wikipedia's sound resources to cover accents in details. Try to launch something perhaps which focuses on uploading ogg files to get people to contribute by recording their local accents. Audio is crucial to understanding accents. Admittedly the way such articles are formatted I find gibberish. I'd rather hear an explanation and examples. I remember I did propose that you launch a language learning wiki project a few years back and try to teach people over 200 languages and learning accents and regional dialects could be the part of such a project. I did not even receive a word from any of the foundation at my suggestion sadly even though I thought it would be an extremely useful project. Other than that Jimmy, listen to Ant McPartlin, Cheryl Cole, Alan Shearer and Gazza or watch an episode of Byker Grove on youtube. Try watching this! Basic stuff is that they tend to refer to themselves as "us", call somebody "pet" affectionately, and are prone to phrases like "why aye man". ♦ Dr. Blofeld 20:43, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

See IPA chart for English - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
and Famous first lines: an IPA quiz.
Wavelength (talk) 23:11, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm something of a conversation killer on this page aren't I... ♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:40, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

  • Again, use simple respellings and rhymes: The simplified respellings for English are compared to IPA symbols in:
WP:Pronunciation respelling key - short table for English, compared to IPA.
Simple respellings work for most cases, as in pronouncing "out and about" where in the U.S. it is typically said, "owt and ah-Bowt" whereas in Canada, "oot and ah-Boot". Simple respelling is not some recent 20th century shortcut; instead, respelling was used in the late 1800s to clarify dictionary entries, where there might be confusion of spoken forms. IPA has a wider range, beyond the sounds of typical English words, but simple respelling works for most English phrases, and it is quick to write. So, we can show "New York" is pronounced by the mainstream U.S. as "nu-York" but some around Manhattan say, "nu-Yawk". In the small town of D'Iberville, Mississippi, locals say, "Dee-Eye-bur-vill" rather than French "Deeh-bur-Veel". In Massachusetts, the coastal region Cape Cod is locally said more like "cayp-Qwod". In many cases, Australians would likely read the simple respellings to have the same sounds, but differences could be noted in the respelling-key page. By using both IPA and simple respellings (as italicized text from Template:Respell), then more readers would better understand the sounds. To keep the upper text of an article short, then use footnotes to contain the pronunciations, in case the local variations require longer explanations, such as for New Orleans, where the common pronunciation in the region is "nu-Or-luhns" but some outside the area say "nu-or-Leens" while some locals say "naw-lins" or even "No-Lah" (using NOLA for "New Orleans, LA"). By inserting footnotes to contain all those pronunciation details, then there would be less clutter in the upper text of the article. -Wikid77 (talk) 11:58, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
"most cases" if the reader is an American with a standard accent. We are in danger of trying to reinvent the wheel and coming up with a square. There is a reason why there has been a movement away from "simple respelling" (it has vintage, rather than modern favour) - it has too many problems, which multiply across English variants which do not share certain sounds. (How would "simple respelling" deal with WP:ENGVAR?) "nu-Or-luhns" in my best RP comes out in a Norfolk accent, and really nothing like the intention. Using something other than IPA fails - it's better to work on getting software that will pronounce the word for people. (and seriously people, it's not that difficult to learn what you need for English pronunciation if you're interested in the pronunciation of things.) VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 14:01, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Yeah it is. Readers don't have time to take a course in order to be able to read the encyclopedia. It's a general-purpose popular encyclopedia not a phonology thesis. Respelling provides a general near approximation of pronunciation in most cases. All all I want know about Sade (band) is whether it is, generally, pronounced more or less "Sade" or "Shah-day" or what. (That article handles it OK: "Sade (pronounced /ʃɑːˈdeɪ/ shah-day)..." so that's fine.) Yes the idea of putting some of this stuff in footnotes is a great idea, I think. Lede sentences on some articles are so encrusted with alternate names, names in other languages, pronounciations, and other discussions (whether a birth date is disputed yadda yadda) that the lede, which is supposed to be the simple statement of the article's subject, becomes daunting. I guess that's another subject though. Herostratus (talk) 15:02, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
As a native speaker, all you actually needed to pick up on was that ʃ means "sh" (and possibly that ː means "long") to get what you wanted to know. The other letters look similar enough to latin script so as not to cause sufficient misunderstanding. It doesn't require a course. (Did you do actually do a whole course on IPA for English? Wow.) VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 15:25, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
See International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects.
Wavelength (talk) 15:29, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Free Thinking

Just listened to you in the North East - nice one! I'm a Radio 3 listener and have heard most of Free Thinking since it started - and yours was one of the best so far. Actually kept me off the keyboard, and that takes some doing... Peridon (talk) 23:03, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks! Although with piles of Wikipedia edits, you might be a little biased in favor of finding the topic interesting! ;-) --Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:06, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
The answers made to the questions from the audience and Philip Dodd got quite far away from the routine of editing and structure. Incidentally, had I been there, I would have put a question. How do you know that 87% of editors are male? I'm out as male, but a lot aren't disclosing. Even at RfA I don't always know which variety is under discussion. Peridon (talk) 23:12, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
This study. There was one more recent study which showed an even worse gender bias, as I understand it. I think all such numbers are somewhat suspect, but the general picture is pretty clear. :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 03:02, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I too suspect surveys. All they tell you is that x percent of those who took part use SoopaDoopa XtraKreemy Flakes for cleaning their lawnmower. I'm reminded of my mother being asked to fill in a survey which included the household shopping expenditure over a week and requiring the names and occupations of 'all those living in the house'. She adhered to the instructions, and ignored the two days previous big shopping trip. This meant the shopping done in the week of the survey was a quantity of tinned cat food and three bottles of wine. And every cat was listed, along with their ages and occupational status as rodent exterminator, unemployed, retired, or whatever. They WERE living in the house (all 20 of them).... She couldn't get ages and names for the spiders. Peridon (talk) 11:00, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I just came here to say that. Found it very interesting! --Veyneru (talk) 13:29, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo, You were mentioned

[[15]] I hope the treatment you received on your first visit wasn't too distasteful. (Welcome to my wiki-life) In the meantime, I am doing my best to address a host of deletions and npov issues on several related articles. I'll try to live up to the standards you have set for all of us, while not completely wimping out :) Smatprt (talk) 06:43, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Global Editors Network

The first paragraph of the new article "Global Editors Network" is the following.

Global Editors Network (GEN) is the first non-profit, non-governmental association that brings together editors-in-chief and senior news executives from all platforms – print, digital, mobile and broadcast[1]. Its goal is to break down the barriers between traditional and new media, so that information can be gathered and shared with each other to define an open journalism model for the future and to create new journalistic concepts and tools[2].

  1. ^ "New Global Editors Network To Bring Journalism Into The Digital Era". 2011-04-18. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  2. ^ "Global Editors Network launches under former WEF leaders". Le Monde. 2011-03-29. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 

The official website is
Wavelength (talk) 19:41, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

I would like to become an Administrator

Hello! Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, I would be honored if you would nominate me for administratorship. I think that I am able to help with these protected pages and more, delete pages that are unsuitable for Wikipedia, and warn and even block users that vandalize Wikipedia. Please consider this, but I do understand that you might have doubt on nominating me. Jab7842 (talk · contribs · deleted · count · AfD · logs · block log · lu · rfar · rfc · rfcu · ssp · spi) 06:29, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Hi Jab7842, thank you for your good faith request of trying to help out. Unfortunately you have less than 600 edits, and even if Jimbo does nominate you, it's up to the community to decide. Knowing from experience, the community would most likely to decide to gently oppose your candidacy per WP:NOTNOW. You could try editor review or mentorship to help you become an better editor. Thanks Secret account 06:43, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Since, most of the pages listed here are editnotices, and currently I can't become administrator, I'm wondering if I can receive the account creator right to edit these and other editnotices that need help. Jab7842 (talk) 07:30, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps you need to start your editing career like the rest of us: start smaller; learn; grow. For example, in order to gain additional rights, you need to understand policy ... your request at WP:RFP to become an account creator advised you that those were not the correct rights, and you're repeating it above. Now you want to be an admin too! Although I admire "guts", I strongly advise you to think much, much smaller for now (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 10:07, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

This Halloween's main page FA

I know that there are other pages where this has been discussed, but the consensus decision to allow this Halloween's main page FA might indicate Wikipedia has jumped the shark. Freedom of speech and censorship aren't the issues here: the main page is the shop window for this project and key to its brand. How many current regular users and occasional contributors will now think twice before associating themselves with the brand?

I had to wait a couple of days before I posted this to ensure my initial thoughts were not just a simple knee-jerk reaction.--ML5 (talk) 13:32, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the article in question should not have been on the main page, and certainly not for a holiday that is still primarily a children's holiday. (Though I must have been so busy on Monday that I did not even see (or notice) what the main-page featured article was; I didn't even know about any of this until I read your comment.) However, I don't think comments like "jumping the shark" are necessarily productive. It was, in my opinion, a bad decision, but nothing more than that. Maybe some more scrutiny needs to be given to how these decisions are made, and maybe more people need to be participating in the decisions. One person who I am pretty sure does not make these decisions, or is likely to get involved in making them in the future, is Jimbo, though he does welcome discussion of all matters on his talk page. Neutron (talk) 15:07, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it's been discussed. The discussion and consensus for this to appear is in Wikipedia talk:Today's featured article/requests#Human Centipede. There was lots more discussion which occurred after it was featured in Talk:Main Page#I'm sick (you'll need to click 'Show' to view that section; it's been collapsed because it's concluded)  Chzz  ►  16:24, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, jeez, we can't watchlist everything. How about an RfC with pointers to it from the Pump and so forth before pulling another stunt like this, hmmn? Is that asking too much? Herostratus (talk) 16:54, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
And we shouldn't have to RfC everything either. I mean, holy crap! A horror movie was posted as TFA on Halloween! OMG! It was no worse than Haloween II in 2007. Resolute 17:10, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
It's worse. Neutron (talk) 18:53, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Far, far worse. Who decides what to feature, and what were they smoking? --Guy Macon (talk) 21:48, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
News flash, people; we have articles on gross topics. If editors put in hard work and effort so that the quality is worthy of Featured Article status, then so be it. Tarc (talk) 21:55, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it was a particularly interesting choice for the day (London Necropolis Railway is vastly more interesting and topical IMO), but as Tarc says, we have articles on this stuff :) And besides, Halloween is supposed to be disturbing, so perhaps it served the purpose :) --Errant (chat!) 22:16, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Chzz has given links to the many reasoned arguments from both sides. However, my point is that the choice to have the article as TFA was worse than vandalism as the choice was reviewed with due regard to all the correct WP procedures by registered users and admins. No mainstream media would have deliberately showcased the best efforts of its contributors to new and returning users by using this as an example. I feel there's been too much emphasis on policy and procedure and too little emphasis on the big picture - creating an online editable encyclopaedia open and welcoming to all.--ML5 (talk) 23:02, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Is that not what was done, however? I think the movie itself was beyond stupid, but to be an encyclopedia that is "open and welcoming to all", one must welcome topics such as this. As I said in one of the discussions, this article is actually a good advertisement for the project, because it helps demonstrate the breadth of our coverage. On occasion, that means listing a controversial topic. Resolute 23:31, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I love the fact that we have articles like this. What I hate is the fact that in effect, we told the world that on that day this Article is better than any other article on Wikipedia. I wouldn't have minded if a far more disturbing story from real life had been chosen. What I dislike is that a non-interesting article was chosen. Anybody can write a low-quality gross-out torture porn horror script. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:45, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
IMO a Featured Article represents the quality of the article, not necessarily the quality of the subject matter. Maybe someday the Lingerie Football League will be worked up to FA. Or the Wikipedia Review, or Jimmy Carter rabbit incident. Tarc (talk) 00:03, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
We shouldn't have to RfC everything, but we should RfC items which are apt to be broadly contentious and affect the main page. It's one thing to say "I think this is fine", quite another to say "I think this is so incontrovertibly fine that it needn't be broadly discussed". Any contention that the item is incontrovertibly acceptable for the main page is belied by the facts, such as the existence of this thread, so maintaining that shows a poor understanding of the community and its likely reaction to items like this on the main page.
I've added the relevant pages to my watchlist, which is an annoying thing to have to do since I don't much care about the main page and paying attention to that subtracts from the time I can spend on other things. I'd prefer that the editors in charge of the main page exercise reasonable judgement and that we can trust them to do that. But if they won't or can't then we will need to watch them more closely, is all. Herostratus (talk) 01:40, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
The FAs reflect the age and interests of the usual 90% of the editors, NOT the readers. As such, one can hardly expect anything else. (Ooh! Ooh! Mouth to anus! Ooh! Ooh!) 136.5k readers followed the link, more than 10 times its usual views. I don't know the numbers on how many readers spend how much time on the front page, but I expect a lot of parents are seeing red. Right or wrong, they see Wikipedia as basically educational. They expect all sorts of things to be covered, but not necessarily featured on the Main Page on a day when their kids are excited about trick or treating. Something about the history of the day in various countries and cultures would have been interesting. We seem to have some different ideas about what Featured Article means. Some think especially appropriate or especially interesting to our readers, while Tarc claims it's any well-written article about any subject, however trivial, boring, upsetting, or offensive it may be. I really don't think that's what most of our readers are looking for on the front page. I don't want to see parents put Wikipedia off-limits to their kids just because some editors get their jollies trying to shock readers, and I don't want Wikipedia to become even more known for being the home for socially inept young men stuck in adolescence. Unfortunately, that seems to be a losing battle. Deciding by consensus of asylum inmates (while the serious editors are busy doing other things) generally gives poor results. As always, the problem is defining consensus. (talk) 13:59, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
It may reflect the interests of many editors, but I expected that editors responsible for the main page would show a little more judgement. There is even apparently a "Featured Article Director" and an assistant director, which I assumed bespoke an actually functioning editorial oversight process, which would be unusual for Wikipedia. Apparently this is not the case, or else an error was made, which is human and forgivable in what must be a very busy process, but which gives one pause. At any rate, I urge other editors to add Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests to their watchlist.
I don't mean to harsh on the many editors who work and work hard (and for free) on making the main page the wonderful thing that it is. Think of it as, everyone could use a little extra help in fraught situations. Herostratus (talk) 14:51, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
"The FAs reflect the age and interests of the usual 90% of the editors, NOT the readers." And you continue by stating that the TFA under discussion had over 10 times the number of readers of most other TFAs. So basically, you are arguing that this was a good choice because for once it did reflect the interests of our readers, as evidenced by the page view stats... Fram (talk) 15:20, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
No Fram, that is NOT true, but then you didn't read my entire post, did you? And you didn't follow the 10 times reference, either. (The clue is in the word its.) You just couldn't wait to make a snarky remark after a brief skim. That also fits the usual 90% profile. But thank you for sharing. (talk) 22:24, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Then what is the importance of the fact that it got "more than 10 times its usual views."? This is somehow indicative of ... what? All I see from page view statistics is that this is always a popular page with our readers, much more so than many other TFA articles. Compare its page views (both as a TFA and on other days) with those of e.g. the recent Deinosuchus, and please explain how Human Centipede is not reflective of the interest of our readers, and much more so than many other TFAs? Fram (talk) 17:13, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
My point was that the TFA is special. There's no way of telling how many potential contributors would have been put off the Wikipedia brand by viewing this article. Also, any potential contributors encouraged by viewing the article are likely to be of the same mind that gamed the article onto the front page in the first place. However, it does appear my opinions on the matter are in the minority.--ML5 (talk) 12:26, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Obviously, there is also no way of telling how many people may have become contributors after seeing that we aren't just a stuffy encyclopedia which puts Deinosuchus on the front page, but also an open, broad-minded, popular encyclopedia which puts lowbrow trash on the front page as well. The thing that repulses one editor my well attract another, and the fact that people are interested in somethiong like this Centipede movie doesn't make them better or worse editors a priori, just probably different ones. 12:49, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

How often you check your email ?

Nothing to be done here
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

I sent you an email like a month ago about some issue that i saw as a hole on Wikipedia. I'm just wondering when you're going to see my email. I'm kind of losing patient about this. YEP, i have exhausted all the helps i can possible get but i think all the admins are on the same side, favor each other. It started about 2 months ago. It's not all about me but i think it has and is going to affect many more people, who are really want to contribute and discuss to make Wikipedia better and better, are being blocked by admin abusive. Not sure how long from now do i have to wait? Tell me when so at least i know that you will take a look at my email eventually, doesn't matter if it's a year from now. Thanks!Trongphu (talk) 17:56, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

I check my email daily (with rare exceptions when traveling) but there is a lot of it and I am often far behind. I try to answer all my email, but there are cases in which I don't answer some emails. I just looked into my email archives and see that I archived your email without answering it. You may want to read about the concept of 'tl;dr'. In any event, I have reviewed your block and it looks valid to me.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:01, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I confess. We admins are all involved in a conspiracy against this user. We were all laying about sampling imported cheeses and wines in the admin's lounge and smoking enormous Cuban cigars when somebody mentioned that we should pick a random new user and just block them for no reason. That idea got bandied around for a bit and in the meantime somebody noticed that we didn't have to pick one at random, that there was a user who was editing disruptively and maybe we should just take away his talk page and email access and ban him forever. Just then dessert arrived and we got distracted. Imagine our consternation when we finished our tiramisu and returned to the topic at hand over brandy, only to discover he had already been blocked for a mere five days. How disgraceful! Luckily he gave an excuse to go ahead and revoke that talk page for part of it anyway, so it wasn't a total loss. Well, everything had more or less got back to normal in the lounge and we were just about to discuss whether this years admin retreat should be in Bermuda or somewhere outside of Zihuatanejo, when the ghastly business of how Trongphu was allowed to edit again came up. As we pontificated on the matter, one of these new whippersnap admins came along and blocked him for a mere week for doing exactly the same thing as before. Can you imagine? A week? Flimshaw. In my day we would have dragged him behind a horsecart for at least a furlong. Of course I haven't seen the youngsters electronic telegram to you, but I daresay it must be abut how he seems to have spared when others might have found themselves in the very pits of despair. I shall bring this matter up at our weekly bridge game and see if we can't get those two lenient admins horsewhipped into shape so that this disgraceful display is not repeated in future. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:21, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
For the curious: 1 furlong (660 ft). Monty845 18:44, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Wait, there was tiramisu? I was pointed in the direction of the fruit bowl and told to help myself. Frickin' admin clique! (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 18:52, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Wait, we have electronic telegrams now? Herostratus (talk) 19:14, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Well all i can say is you guys picked a wrong guy like me. I'm not a new user at all, maybe to English Wikipedia but not overall in wiki. Everything is over now, no one can rollback in time and stop me from being blocked. I don't seek for revenge but what i'm seeking for in justice overall on Wikipedia and many other wiki sisters. I don't care if they getting any sort of punishment but what i care about is this shall not happen again on any circumstances. This can deeply affect Wikipedia reputation and when it's going down like someone already thinks bad things about it, it will be extremely hard to convince them to trust wikis. And trust me scandal does spread fast. It looks like a small thing but i'm sure there are many more incidents happen pretty often on Wikipedia than just this. At this rate, Wiki will lose trusts in those people who are being abused and their friends and people they know. At some points, Wikis will have a really bad reputation if this continues.
Here is the thing, for most new members. They don't know anything or they know little about Wikipedia. How can they know how to fight back and defend themselves when they are being abused? What can they do? Where are the justice for all? Where are the responsibility of people who were given power to ensure the prosperity of Wikis? Those new members probably will just leave and never come back again and then tell people they know about how bad and injustice Wikis are. So we created an enemy instead of a good contributor. Some of them will end up in anger and seek for revenge and started to vandal and many admins will have to waste their time rollback edits and drama stuffs. Trust me, this will cost Wikis A LOT like time = money, really bad reputation.
That's not including Admins mistakes like rollback useful info edit or speedy delete some articles that should be bring up in front of community... Those things happen like everyday i'm sure. What do you think those people who are trying to make helpful contribute feel when they saw their useful edits or articles being delete by not valid reasons? What do they feel when they got blocked for engage in discussion directly involve with them? My suggestion is we need a patrol admins, who are mentor admins actions and make sure they are on track or something like that.
At the bottom line, i think those admins who are violate their power twice should result in strip off their admin ship. Somehow inform new users enough ways that they know how to defend themselves when they are being abused. I'm kind of concerned with some admins that try to shut people up when they can't argue against them or try to provoke the some users up so when they talk back not in a polite way, they can have some reasons to block them. Admins can easily make up something or stage up or make a trap for new and inexperience users fall into being blocked. Those admins are no different than Hitler, who acting nice at first to build people trusts then when he has power, he will start to act as who he actually always has been.(i know compare to Hitler is harsh but that's a correct comparison i guess, i don't have any other good comparison anyway) Hope you can somehow ensure justice prevail on Wikis, Jimmy!Trongphu (talk) 19:15, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

To be honest, i'm tired of this issue now. I can't count how many hours i spent on arguing about this and got me blocked. It has been the longest argument in my entire life. My simply conclusion is it up to anyone to agree or not. It's pointless to argue, it's almost like tell a Christian give up on his/her faith. The argument may last for many years and end up nothing change. When i first started this i have no idea it would take 100 times more time than i expected.Trongphu (talk) 19:25, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Verifiability update

Well....... this epic video isn't "exactly" about the epic debate at WT:V, but on the other hand I have five fingers. The video is in three parts: 1) introduction/summary 2) battles 3) finale. The finale is especially touching. The webpage of the video had the following accompanying text, "After a long delay...almost a year...sorry 'bout that...the Godzilla Hand Puppet Theater Saga draws to a close, with its epic Third Act, bringing every enemy together for the final battle..." --Bob K31416 (talk) 18:09, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Snail Mail Address

Sorry to ask this here, but I've looked elsewhere and can't find it. What is the snail mail address for Jimbo? I want to send him a book. Thanks.--BenJonson (talk) 00:44, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Best to send things to the Wikimedia Foundation and they'll get it to me in due course.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:44, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

James I has reached clear consensus

Talk:James I of England has reached a clear consensus 24-10, or 23-10 if you discount new user who is not sockpuppet. This represents at least four English speaking countries. Editors who have never before voted "for" have done so and every wp critera has been reached. It has gone on almost twice the suggested time. Is it not now time to close and rename the article? Mugginsx (talk) 13:01, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

If this is true then any uninvolved admin can close the move request (I say admin only because the move, if accepted, requires admin rights to move it over the existing redirect), so you should make your request at the Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard, I think. However, the discussion is still active so I think this would likely be rejected as premature, you might want to wait a bit. Herostratus (talk) 13:58, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
The discussion is not active. It has been days since the last "vote". The rest is peripheral comments to remarks also made many days ago.Mugginsx (talk) 15:37, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Brendandh (a rollbacker FWIW) made the the move. Hot Stop talk-contribs 15:04, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I asked Brendandh to change the title. I also posted it here to let User:Jimbo Wales know. You may direct your remarks to me. It was all done properly. I cannot understand this discussion. This is the very petty kind of thing that wastes everyone's time and causes the loss of editors that has been described in the most recent newsletters. Mugginsx (talk) 15:34, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
IMO "James I and VI" reads rather awkward and clumsy, but it seems to be how it is used out in the real world, i.e. the BBC. Tarc (talk) 15:47, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
FWIW BTW, A consensus was reached and it was to move the article, and it was out to tender for a lot longer than other move requests that I have seen. Let the inevitible biting begin! Brendandh (talk) 15:49, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
At least TWICE as long. Mugginsx (talk) 15:54, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree the title now seems unlike anything you would find in an encyclopedia - I also think that an involved user should not have closed and moved such a debate. Clearly its the kind of lengthy debate that an experienced consensus decision closer would have been better its already been reverted once and the original mover reverted again. Off2riorob (talk) 15:56, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
FYI the British Monarchy's own website decription. Brendandh (talk) 16:08, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks but as per the lengthly discussion there is clearly different terms that are also used - I see the official website - refer to lizziebeth as Her Majesty The Queen - and we are using, after lengthy discussion - Elizabeth II - Off2riorob (talk) 16:14, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
An uninvolved Administrator has just closed the ANI. (misunderstood). Also the many and varied documentation that this title is now being used since the late 1990s is overwhelming and was provided by people of four countries. It was truly a collaborative effort. Mugginsx (talk) 16:12, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Its now been closed by User:Hot Stop that voted in the discussion and his name is all over the talkpage and he is not an administrator. I just have seen many times that there is no rush and it should have been left a little while longer for an experienced closer - it appears to have been closed on a head count and rushing to close by involved editors that voted is causal to de-legitimize the whole thing. Off2riorob (talk) 16:28, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I closed the discussion after it had been moved. Hot Stop talk-contribs 16:31, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Why is this issue posted here on Jimbo's talk page especially when a simultaneous thread was opened on the matter at AN/I? Was he involved in the discussions?
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► 16:20, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Only that he expressed a hope for a compromise that was either "...satisfactory to all, or which creates the least dissatisfaction..." See the article talk page for his complete comment. Mugginsx (talk) 16:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► 16:28, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
You are most welcome. Mugginsx (talk) 17:03, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

"And pretend that he just doesn't see?"

Srsly tldr
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

This is long, and mostly garbage, I expect almost no one to make it through. I hope some read the next two paragraphs, at least.

This was posted here, someone had the good taste to collapse it, thank you. Then it was ignored out of existance. “How many times can a man turn his head, and pretend that he just doesn’t see?” Dylan, right?

My class battle has been going on for a long time. I was on my way to an attack, but stopped off at an article on the way. At first I was impressed, “this is how it’s supposed to work”, but in no time “Elitism”(?) showed up. I am now argueing about Huxley. Do you people really think that your average reader turns off the tube, and talks about Huxley’s literature instead? Really?

This is where the collapse should go, the rest is clearly long-winded rant. I hope that someone will skip down to the P.S., though.

Admin abuse damaging an article?

The first part of this was posted in Jan 2011. There are two additional sections, one from Nov 2010, one from Mar 2011, and a closing. Sorry about the formatting, (losing Bold and Paragraphs):

Should Wm5200 be blocked? Here is some background, edited for length and with some words bold for emphasis. Please check the originals for accuracy.

Posted under Talk: Death of Adolf Hitler--random questions--

I am not a scholar, I read Wiki but would not think of editing it. But I was disappointed in this article, and many points in the discussion, so I am asking some questions. Perhaps someone else will read and address them... (talk) 01:27, 5 August 2010 (UTC) As to sources, the last books I have read are The Murder of Adolph Hitler by Hugh Thomas (sort of shaky) and The Last Days of Hitler by Anton Joachimsthaler (English translation, I buy much of this).

As the article lead says... This said, this talk page isn't a forum for talking about personal views or questions on a topic, it's meant for talking about sources and how to echo them in the text. I say this because the article seems to already cover, with thorough citations, most if not all of what you've brought up. Gwen Gale (talk) 09:45, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

I would like to direct people to the work of Ian Kershaw in general, and specifically to Hitler, 1939-1945: Nemesis ISBN 0393322521. Chapter 17 and the epilogue relate to this article. Please pay attention to his notes and sources. Be warned, his book Hitler: a Biography is a kind of digest which does not include these wonderful resources.

In view of this information, and hopefully with the help of Gwen, I propose edits similar to the following...Reference others may include Trevor-Roper and Beevor. Wm5200 (talk) 16:36, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Posted under Talk: Death of Adolf Hitler--aftermath--

The first Wm5200 (talk) 22:39, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Everything in that section is sourced and/or highly verifiable. Gwen Gale (talk) 14:14, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Have you read either Kershaw or Joachimsthaler? Wm5200 (talk) 14:42, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Why do you ask? Gwen Gale (talk) 14:50, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

If I had read Kershaw's Nemesis Chapter 17 note 156 and Epilogue note 1 I wouldn't have wasted your time. You can't get much clearer than that. Should be required reading. Perhaps someone else should read them, and possibly edit the article. Thank you for your time. (talk) 17:48, 6 August 2010 (UTC) The source Joachimsthaler is basically an English translation of a German's analysis of 1950's post-Soviet interviews of bunker survivors. The original transcripts must be available somewhere. There are many other bunker interviews, some with questionable intent, and not all agree. Wm5200 (talk) 16:36, 7 August 2010 (UTC) I would like to direct people to the work of Ian Kershaw Hitler, 1939-1945: Nemesis ISBN 0393322521. Chapter 17 and the epilogue relate to this article. Please pay attention to his notes and sources. Be warned, his book Hitler: a Biography is a kind of digest which does not include these resources. In view of this information, I propose edits similar to the following:Wm5200 (talk) 14:55, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Posted on Talk:Wm5200--Talk:Death of Adolf Hitler--

Article talk pages are not meant as general forums or question boards about a topic. Moreover, they are not meant as outlets for your original thoughts on topics, even if you put those thoughts as questions. Please either start citing sources (along with thoughts about how to echo those sources in the text), or stop posting to Talk:Death of Adolf Hitler. If you would like to know more about how to deal with (and skirt) plagiarism worries on en.Wikipedia, you might have a look at Wikipedia:Plagiarism. Gwen Gale (talk) 20:31, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Is this the way you were welcomed to Wiki?

Look at the talk page. Did Wm5200 bring up valid points? Did he attempt to reference them? Did he try to improve the article?

It is now January 2011. Wm5200 has been permanently blocked for trying to introduce Sir Ian Kershaw to Gwen Gale. Gwen Gale has collected more stars. Kierzek and Farawayman fixed up the article some, but still no Kershaw acknowledgment by Gwen Gale.

Is this how you think Wiki should work? Should Wm5200 be blocked from improving the article while Gwen Gale is rewarded for not assisting him?

Or should Wm5200’s block be reconsidered?

This is not about outing Gwen Gale, as some say. No one cares who Gwen Gale is. This is about holding her accountable for things she has said and done on Wikipedia and signed Gwen Gale to. Hiding behind those who have a real reason to hide is a bit hypocritical, don’t you think?

Does this conflict have political overtones? Wm5200 says “Cabal” and “they” and is ridiculed. But Farawayman has been blocked, and others have been intimidated. Be careful.

In November 2010, under the heading “Lead In”, the following was posted:

That greyfalcon source is indeed trash. Gwen Gale (talk) 17:21, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Going "with scholarly books" (that are balanced and objective, as far as secondary sources/authors can be) has always been my aim on Wiki; and as to this article, specially; Farawayman, who has worked hard of late, herein, I am sure would agree. "Time" and other duties are something that keeps many of us from more Wiki editing/writing and cross-checking at a more expedient rate. So, present what you will for consensus; there is plenty of "time". Cheers, Kierzek (talk) 19:05, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

I'm not offering [1] it as a source, Gwen. Only to demonstrate that a lot is floating out there. There's enough trash being passed off as sources in this article as it stands, without any more needing to be added. What the article especially needs to do is to bring forth that seventy years after the fact, the exact circumstances regarding the event remain uncertain and are contested. Naturally the scholarly "consensus" needs to be presented. The WP article on Hitler deals with the generalities regarding his death. This article needs to also deal with the subject's controversial nature. Not cigarette smoking. Dr. Dan (talk) 20:52, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

My main worry here is that there is utterly zero, aught evidence, that Hitler or Braun were alive after the late afternoon of 30 April 1945, however they died and the lead should steadfastly echo this, one way or another. Gwen Gale (talk) 21:13, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Gwen, maybe I am missing something.... the lead currently says "Adolf Hitler committed suicide by gunshot on 30 April 1945 in his Führerbunker in Berlin..." Surely that "steadfastly echo's" death on the 30th April. Why is it necessary to pertinently state that he was dead by the afternoon? Farawayman (talk) 21:37, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

For starters, the Russian autopsy bore overwhelming evidence he not only shot himself, but bit down on a cyanide capsule. Gwen Gale (talk) 22:02, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Slow down, one thing at a time!!!! Above, you insist the lead must "echo" that he was dead by the afternoon of the 30th. Explain? Farawayman (talk) 22:06, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Can you cite any meaningful sources that he was alive after that afternoon? Gwen Gale (talk) 22:28, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

I removed the Beevor quoted cite; per points stated above; not needed, anyway. With that said, as for hearing the shot, yes, the two you mentioned are on record as having heard it, but Günsche and Linge are on record as NOT hearing anything; although Linge has changed his story on that point. In the famous "The World At War" T.V. series on DVD (originally from the 1970's), Linge stated he heard it; but in his book on page 199, he wrote: "I smelt the gas from a discharged firearm...Hitler had shot himself in the right temple with his 7.65-mm pistol..." As for the evidence of the "Russian autopsy", that bears close scrutiny through the published works. Kierzek (talk) 22:24, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

WP:OR. Gwen Gale (talk) 22:28, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Gwen, I am not talking about "original research"; I am talking cross-checking and putting forth what the published reliable sources state; as I refer to above in my reply to Dr. Dan as to editing on Wiki and this article, in particular. Kierzek (talk) 22:38, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Whatever you may be talking about, I'm talking about your own original research. Gwen Gale (talk) 22:41, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

I am NOT doing OR; I am editing an article to try and improve it; enough said. Kierzek (talk) 22:59, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

So at the very least Gwen the circumstances shouldn't be "steadfastly echoed" as they currently are.correct?. (talk) 22:31, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Your rhetoric is lacking, IP. Please cite sources or stop now. Gwen Gale (talk) 22:33, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Gwen...... The lead says he was dead by the 30th! No-one is disputing that! Who said he was alive after the late afternoon of the 30th? I recommend a good Brunello, I'm having one too! Set this aside, and lets move to a thorough copy edit of the first section. Farawayman (talk) 22:39, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

All I'm saying is, I think the new lead is not on. Gwen Gale (talk) 22:41, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

That's what I'm saying.Why the hostility?. (talk) 22:49, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Gwen, we had a grey, green, yellow, blue and dark blue (whatever) version of the lead in the above section! I agree its not perfect in terms of prose, but its factually correct! I concur, it needs polishing to make it read better, so why not give us your version - That's much more constructive. Farawayman (talk) 23:06, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

On 12 Mar 2011 , under the heading “When making large edits please be careful with citations: the following was posted:

(OD) While I agree ... This was further complicated by certain editors constantly preventing information that they objected to being placed in the article, which IMO, somewhat bordered on violating the guideline concerning ownership of a Wikipedia article. Rejecting information that was sourced and then demanding "sources" for information that was objectionable to them. Thankfully things have calmed down a bit. ... Dr. Dan (talk) 23:13, 12 March 2011 (UTC)


Using “Dr. Dan (talk) 23:13, 12 March 2011 (UTC)” is not really fair, he does not name anyone. And neither he, Kierzek, or Farawayman have been contacted or informed of this post. Gwen, either.

Unblocking the Wheelman is a moot point, he’s long gone. But we do not see where Gwen has ever apologized to Dr Dan, Kierzek, or Farawayman, either. She was clearly counterproductive to the article, but there has been no sign of accountability.

This is hardly her first dispute. Does the average admin have this amount of conflict?

Thank you.

P.S. Clearly the above is outside the rules, I expected this account to be rolled up by now. But while you were ignoring me, another person posted the same kind of crap on my favorite admis’s talk page. And once the numbers change, I’ll be back. Power to the people, not the elite.Exwheelman5200 (talk) 13:28, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

WP:TL;DR springs to mind. If you want Jimbo, or anyone else for that matter, to read your messages, you must be concise, and concise this isn't. – ukexpat (talk) 14:30, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Let me second that request from Ukexpat. I ask that this page be a relatively free and open place for people to voice dissent or complaints, but there are limits, and one of those limits is that it's really a good idea to just get to the point concisely. I'm not generally able to help with grievances from several months ago cut and pasted here without context. Better for us to focus on the future. Is there an error in an article that needs to be corrected? Do you have a specific problem that needs to be resolved?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:24, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Thank-you note for Jimbo

I don't have any Q. Thank you.

This is in regards to "Ode To Joy" English Lyrics/Hymnal I just want to let Mr. Jimmy Wales, thank you for posting Ode To Joy Hymnal version. I am learning how to play Cello to Worship and You Tube doesn't have the English Version but Mr. Wales was kind enough to POST this. Now I can keep on practising the same notes w/ Lyrics... I hope I can play this in one of the USO functions this Christmas Day for our Wounded Warriors.

Mr. Wales, May God Bless you and Keep you and your family. Shalom!

Ms. Memosa NC — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:14, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

(posted on the Miscellaneous Ref Desk, reposted here by me. Textorus (talk) 13:50, 8 November 2011 (UTC))
I'm not really sure if the original poster is referring to these lyrics on Wikisource or these assorted files related to Ode to Joy on Commons, or something else, but I'm presuming it's not Ode to Joy (album). --Demiurge1000 (talk) 14:14, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
May be Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee? Nil Einne (talk) 15:02, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
If so it appears the OP is mistaken about Youtube, e.g. [16] [17] (look under the description/show more) [18] [19] Nil Einne (talk) 15:21, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Widening WP focus on truth

Perhaps the recent awakenings about WP's focus on truth will widen, as with the name of the school in the topic "Verifiability and truth" (above, or archived in /Archive_86). Already, users have revealed they edit articles by considering truth. Although many scientists, such as myself, have edited numerous articles for "logical consistency" there could be new guidelines to focus on truth. Some issues:

  • Guidelines about comments made by users with true-identities versus pseudonym usernames (re WP:AGF).
  • Guidelines about arithmetic proofs to verify calculations.
  • Guidelines about algebraic proofs to verify mathematical conclusions.
  • Guidelines about using sentential logic and predicate logic.
  • Guidelines to base WP:ANI discussions on direct evidence, rather than mere opinions or hearsay repeating other comments.
  • Guidelines to prove when truly separate events are not one-event WP:BLP1E.
  • Guidelines to detect typos or untrue errors in WP:RS "reliable sources" as to when a source becomes too out-dated (and confusing) for readers to use an old source to verify some text phrases but not others.

As more people focus on the idea that "Wikipedia is in the truth business" then perhaps more guidelines and practices will be improved to simplify future editing. -Wikid77 22:59, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

While it is true that there has been recent focus on the idea that "Wikipedia is in the truth business," that focus consists of rejecting the idea. All of the recent policy debates about this are regarding moving the "...not truth" down a paragraph, expanding on "...not truth" etc. The "recent awakenings" you mention do not exist. See Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:46, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Guy, I think you are wrongly interpreting the discussion. There has been widespread acknowledgement that the "not truth" formulation is misleading. We are in the business of truth. It's a complex and sophisticated approach to the matter, but it is very very very far from a rejection of the importance of truth in Wikipedia.
One of the best examples has been the discussion here of Justine Thornton. No one, not one as far as I have seen so far, has argued that we should re-insert a falsehood into her biography, despite there being multiple sources for the falsehood, including a newspaper (of not great reputation to some of us, to be sure, but which is used as a reference thousands of times) as well as a book published by a reputable publisher.
There is general consensus that when we know something is wrong, we should not publish it. Where this idea got rooted that if a reliable source says it, we can't judge the reliable source to be wrong, I don't know. But it's false, it is not consistent with Wikipedia practice past, present or future.
The question, a valid question, of what to tell nutcases when they show up and claim to know "The Truth" without any evidence whatsoever is a different question. But the right answer to that question can't be "We don't care about the truth", or we are intellectual irresponsible.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 21:47, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me that the concept "when we know something is wrong" is problematical. How do we know? And how do others know we aren't making things up? There are people who "know" that Wikipedia is wrong about the Holocaust, who "know" that man-made global warming is true, who "know" that man-made global warming is false, etc. I am sure that you and I both "know" for sure some things that aren't so. We get this in the engineering articles all the time; someone has a misconception about some technical point. By citing "the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth", we move the discussion to one of whether it is sourced and whether those sources are reliable. That's a good thing.
Consider Justine Thornton. Imagine that you had to decide whether to believe some anonymous person who could not find a source or multiple reliable sources. I would "argue that we should re-insert a falsehood into her biography" if nobody had any evidence that it was a falsehood and reliable sources support it.
I do think that if someone who is well known (Mayor of Los Angeles, Jimmy Wales) and has no reason to lie claims that it is false without any evidence other than original research, we should weigh that as being close enough to being a reliable source to question the reliability of the other sources, but if J. Random Wikipedian tried that, he would be told to stop making unsourced claims.
The heart of "verifiability, not truth" is this. We don't know that something is true or false until we verify it. Other than the weight I give to a well-know public figure saying so (see above) which is a bit of a special case, I am not willing to accept as fact that Justine Thornton did not attend Nottingham High School without evidence. "Verifiability" is simply another way of saying "evidence that is hard to fake." --Guy Macon (talk) 02:42, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

  • "No one, not one as far as I have seen so far, has argued that we should re-insert a falsehood into her biography, despite there being multiple sources for the falsehood" Then it sounds to me that the system worked. Why are we trying to fix something that's not broken?
  • "The question, a valid question, of what to tell nutcases when they show up and claim to know "The Truth" without any evidence whatsoever is a different question. But the right answer to that question can't be "We don't care about the truth", or we are intellectual irresponsible." I have no problem telling fringe theory advocates that "We don't care about the truth". Whatever works, works. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 22:01, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I find your response baffling. You seem to concede that what we actually do, what our actual system is, is not "verifiability, not truth". We do care about truth. A longstanding tradition of how policy is written in Wikipedia is for it to document what we actually do. Second, there is plenty of reason to think that telling lies to people that are bound to upset and outrage them does not "work". It is absolutely false to say "We don't care about the truth" and it is not at all likely to dampen the enthusiasm of fringe theory advocates. If you can find me a single example of a fringe theory advocate who responded to a direct statement that "We don't care about the truth" in a good way, I'd be delighted to study it.
In fact, a good way to deal with fringe theory advocates is to tell the truth. "We do care about the truth, deeply. All of our policies are designed to help guide Wikipedia towards ever increasing accuracy in the sense of containing true statements about the world. If we accepted statements based on the mere say-so of everyone who shows up, or if we accepted sources blindly, we wouldn't be aiming at the truth."
I simply cannot accept as a valid position that we should lie to people and pretend not to care about the truth! Surely you can hear how bonkers that sounds. (It sounds like something a fringe theory advocate might say, honestly.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:21, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimmy, did your read the comment just before the Break section? (talk) 22:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I did. I don't see the relevance. You don't seem to be arguing that we don't care about truth. What you are saying is that when there are different sources of different degrees of reliability (i.e. truthfulness) we can and should make editorial judgments. I don't disagree, and nothing about that could lead us to the absurd position that an extreme minority have been putting forward (without thinking it through, I think) that "Wikipedia should not care about the truth". The reason for all these policies is precisely that they help a diverse community of thoughtful people eliminate errors (falsehoods).
What I see going on is a perverse reification, in which the rules are made to be more important than the much more fundamental needs that they were designed to meet.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 02:25, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
The relevance is in the italic portion at the end: sometimes we DO need to repeat prevalent and/or persistent falsehoods rather than ignoring their existence. Otherwise some readers assume we simply aren't aware of "the truth". Adding "The Daily Mail incorrectly reported she went to x school", after stating her correct school, resolves the problem. Our job is not only to state facts, but to explain and clarify to promote understanding. (talk) 03:34, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
That approach doesn't solve anything because, as a reader, I don't care that the Daily Mail incorrectly reported something. I only care what the fact of the matter is. (Plus, if we were to record every inaccuracy contained in the Daily Mail, we would probably need to double server capacity.) --FormerIP (talk) 12:05, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

There seems to be a substantial group who takes the attitude "the only way to know if something is true or false is by evidence that fits the policy. You cannot say 'the policy treats this as true but I know it's really false' because there are no ways outside the policy to know that something is really false." For instance, you cannot claim that a verifiable source made a false statement--you will be told that your knowledge of the statement's falsity didn't come from a verifiable source, so you don't really know it's false at all.

This sounds like that attitude. Ken Arromdee (talk) 19:25, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

I think that the notion of importancy is missing in this debate. The first question one has to ask is: If what you think is true is really true, would other people care enough to correct it elsewhere? If that is the case, Wikipedia must take the standpoint that they absolutely don't care about the truth: If someone thinks he has the true knowledge that god exists, that evolution is wrong, that NP=P, or that he just created a perpetuum mobile, Wikipedia's answer must continue to be: "Good for you, but please convince the rest of the world first. We won't even check your claims." Only for facts that are unimportant enough that reputable sources probably wouldn't bother to correct them, it makes sense to start thinking about "truth". --Tinz (talk) 20:34, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

This comment is to no one in particular. 90% of what I do here consists of finding false statements, correcting them, and then adding more information until a decent article starts to form. I usually work slowly and sporadically, because for me, this is just a hobby; something to do when I'm on hold or at break. Like a good many Wikipedians, I am able to do this because I have done substantial research on the subjects I edit, either secondary or original, but more often both. If I find a statement which I know to be false, I can usually come up with several sources --better sources-- to correct the information.
A good example is the dogfight article. The first time I read it, I was surprised to find that the term "dogfight" originated because WWI pilots needed shut off their engines to turn, and the constant starting and stopping during a dogfight sounded like dogs barking. That's what the Wikipedia article actually said, and it had a source. However, I knew form both secondary and original research that WWI fighters didn't even have starters. (What'd they do, jump out during mid-flight to give the prop a spin?) Knowing this, it wasn't too hard to come up with several sources that were more reliable for that particular bit of information.
That's a bit of an extreme example, but it happens all the time. Which electrode in a xenon arc lamp is more critical, the anode or the cathode? Nearly every source I have tells me the cathode, but the Wikipedia article says the anode. (Don't worry, I'll get to correcting that article soon.)
What's always been interesting to me is how similar Wikipedia policy is to what is taught in journaliistic writing classes, yet how subtly, but so drastically different verifiability not truth makes things. As I learned it, (and this can be found in multiple reliable sources, from the Scientific method to A journalistic approach to good writing), truth consists both of what is factual, and of opinions. To use synonyms, truth consists of what is verifiable, and of points of view. The real difficulty often lies in determining which is which. Zaereth (talk) 21:23, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Creating true-identities to correct text

One aspect of the WP truth-business is to allow famous people, using pseudonyms, to create an alternate true-identity username to suggest corrections to other statements made about them (or their works), but not be outed as also being the other pseudonym username. This has been a volatile problem, where such people risk multi-month blocks for WP:SOCKpuppetry, because a famous (notable) person might want to post messages using their true-identity name, but then return to editing talk-pages or other articles as a typical pseudonym username. On balance, WP should not punish users for trying to pinpoint incorrect text to state true details, so policies should allow users to create an alternate username for true-identity disclosure, but allow the "hidden-identity" to continue editing talk-pages or articles, and not force the outing of a famous person for all future edits. The goal is to encourage a person to reveal true details, without punishing that person because they were in disguise as another username. We want truly famous people to edit WP (by pseudonyms if they prefer) without fear of being WP:Wikihounded because they needed to clarify some true details, as their real identity. -Wikid77 (talk) 19:41, 5 November 2011, revised 12:30, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Any evidence that "truly famous" editors have ever been blocked for the reason you describe here? Or is this a non-existing problem? Fram (talk) 10:58, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I do not want to mention BLP names, here, and drag any public person into a potential debate over reasons for a block, especially if they have made secret arrangements to create a WP:SOCK#Legit username which might be outed by defending themselves here. I suppose if any other "famous people" wish to enter this debate, then that would be their choice. The point is to use deductive logic and forsee how the problem with using true-identity usernames does exist. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:30, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
    • I'll take that as a "no" then... Fram (talk) 12:44, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
This sounds like a "solution" without a problem. If I were a famous person, and didn't want to create an account under my real name, I'd make up a name like "Purple Lenny" and create an account under that name. Then I'd make suggestions for improvement of the article about me on the talk page of my article, providing the requisite verifiable, reliable sources. We should not be setting up a system to accept "details" that do not meet our standards from the subjects of article, since celebrities have a long and dishonorable history of lying through their shiny whitened teeth about themselves. Your suggestion seems to be offering the equivalant of a velvet-roped VIP entrance for certain privileged persons. There is no legitimate excuse for privileging fame. --Orange Mike | Talk 21:30, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
To User:Orangemike (or anyone), please edit the prior post and remove blanket statements about celebrities. Remember the adage, "In Adam's fall, we sinned all". There is no need to use insulting phrases about any people in regards to this topic. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:43, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Jimbo, for expressing reservations about the "verifiability, not truth" formulation. It has always grated on my nerves. There's simply no point to Wikipedia if we don't strive to tell the truth, even when it's laborious to ascertain. Best wishes, and congratulations on Wikipedia's success. Postpostmod (talk) 22:47, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Please review out of process RfC closure

Dear Mr. Wales, Please review this out of process RfC closure.

Please consider reversing it. Thank you. Best regards, (talk) 16:53, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Religious neutrality

A hilye – Ottoman calligraphic panel by Hafiz Osman (1641–1698), a master of the art.
Hilyeler contain a description of the prophet Muhammad's physical appearance based on the hadith and were often used as wall decorations, fulfilling a similar role to that played by images of Jesus in the Christian tradition.[1]
While containing a verbal description of what Muhammad looked like, hilyeler leave picturing the prophet's appearance to the reader's imagination, in line with the aniconic nature of Islamic art.[1]

In the context of an ANI discussion I observed how striking it is that the illustrations in our article on Jesus are fully consistent with and celebratory of Christian tradition, while the illustrations in our article on Muhammad are not only unrepresentative of how Muhammad is customarily portrayed within Islamic tradition, but actually offensive to many muslim readers.

What does this say about the neutrality that this project aspires to, and the extent to which we are able to live up to that lofty aim?

The most active contributors to the Talk:Muhammad/images page do not appear to include any muslims. How can we involve some of the world's 1.5 billion muslims in the discussion? --JN466 17:28, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Oh, shall we move the discussion here now too? Fun! I'll simply point out that titling a thread "religious neutrality" while the jist of the content is to propose ways to bias Wikipedia towards a religious viewpoint is... interesting. Resolute 17:34, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm not saying there's nothing to this, Jayen, but what types of image are you supposing might be included in the Jesus article that might be encyclopaedic but not "fully consistent with and celebratory of Christian tradition"? --FormerIP (talk) 17:37, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Maybe something like this? or the crucifixion of Brian under "Reception"? But the real issue isn't that we aren't shocking Christians enough on the Jesus article. It is that we are shocking Muslims on the Muhammad article for no good reason. Even most liberal Muslims who wouldn't mind naturalistic depictions of Muhammad in a more appropriate context (such as the article Depictions of Muhammad) will feel that this is a deliberate insult to and humiliation of Muslims. Hans Adler 20:22, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
My point isn't that we should be working harder to shock Christians, but that the two cases are not usefully comparable. To come up with images that might offend some Christians, more or less by the same token, you have to go looking for images that are simply not encyclopaedic for the Jesus article. Having no images of Mohammed in his article would not conform to our normal standards, however - it would involve making an exception. So the question, I think, is not to do with consistency. On the contrary, editors who wish to exclude images of Mohammed - to say nothing about whether they have a good case or not - are arguing for inconsistency. --FormerIP (talk) 21:43, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Displaying images drawn by Muslims is designed to insult and humiliate Muslims? You keep repeating that same bad faith argument as if doing so will make it true. You might have had an argument if the Norwegian cartoons were in the Muhammad article. The historical imagery currently employed was not created with the intent of being provocative. There is a difference, even if you willfully blind yourself to it. Resolute 20:43, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
See outgroup homogeneity bias for the scientific explanation of Resolute's accusation of bad faith. Hans Adler 20:55, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Being consistent with how groups who affiliate with a given religious tradition have depicted various aspects of their tradition is not only more respectful of those groups but also much more educational than adding fringe depictions. Those oddball depictions can be presented within the specific context that they are meaningful but should not dominate the main entries for major religious figures, etc. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 21:33, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ahh, but there's the rub. Hans' use of outgroup homogeneinty bias is rather ironic, given he is the one presuming that all Muslims are the same. As most people in favour of retaining the images will tell you, that belief is not uniform in the Muslim world. In short, they are not all alike. In fact, I would point out that commons:Category:Muslim depictions of Muhammad has over 100 such depictions, of which only five are used in the article. There are about 40 non-Muslim created images, one of which exists in the article. This is out of 23 total images in the article, including those that head the various "part of a series on..." templates. Resolute 22:34, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

I referred specifically to the effect which the atypical overuse of images must have on liberal Muslims who wouldn't normally mind such depictions: solidarisation with their extreme faithmates who reject them. Your mirroring of my accusation is therefore obviously invalid. I note that I have observed such unfounded "you, too!" reactions many times in tendentious editors. It is a typical sign of editors who try to win a debate without listening to their opponents. Hans Adler 22:54, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Resolute I assure you that liberal Muslims do not have depictions of Muhammad in their homes, in their libraries, or at their mosques. They may tolerate such images, or not find them offensive, or as offensive as some of their more conservative compatriots, but there is nothing normal about these depictions within Islam now or historically. Keep in mind that I specifically spoke of something other than the offensiveness issue, and that was mainstream practice, which has always been iconoclastic in this regard, among liberals and conservatives. It is only a matter of degree after that. So there's no rub there I'm afraid.Griswaldo (talk) 23:56, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
And yet, 100+ images in our own repository, drawn by Muslims, suggests your assessment is not quite accurate. Resolute 23:59, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
No they suggest no such thing. 100+ images is nothing. Do you know how long Islam has been around and how many Muslims have set foot on the planet over those years? Please see the Depictions of Muhammad entry for more information. Depictions of Muhammad have always been rare for this very reason. The traditional way to represent him is through his calligraphy and written descriptions. Depictions of Muhammad are not even a minority phenomenon within Islam, it is virtually fringe. For sure, given the controversy now and in the past it is important for us to have entries like the depictions entry, but that entry covers a fringe phenomenon within the tradition. It is not helpful to make inferences based on how many images we have. Instead of doing that read some books on the subject, or, heaven forbid, talk to a Muslim or two. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 00:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Depictions of Muhammed is a Wikipedia article on a topic about which people have opinions, so it is not easy to be sure how far to rely on it to resolve disagreements between Wikipedians. But I think this misses the point. How does the (supposed) fact that that a particular class of images relating to the subject of an article is rare lead to the conclusion that they should be excluded from the article? --FormerIP (talk) 00:21, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

This is a general problem. There's Genesis creation narrative while everything else is a "myth". Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 20:41, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Excellent point. Hans Adler 20:55, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Not the same. The point is to be consistent with scholarship on these subjects. "Genesis creation myth" is not consistent with scholarship, nor are depictions of Muhammad. So Seb has that backwards actually. I do agree with Hans and Jayen that we are unnecessarily offending Muslims and will reiterate that it is not consistent with scholarship either, which tends to be respectful. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 21:27, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I see nothing offensive in the current version of the Muhammad article. There are a few depictions from Islamic manuscripts that are commonly included in every article of historical figures when such images are available, plus one Russian painting in the Western views section. Asking Wikipedia to conform to the religious doctrine of some Muslims on this is absurd. What's next? Burqa for all pictures of women on Wikipedia lest they be offensive to some? ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 22:33, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Let's hope the discussion at Talk:Muhammad/images will suggest solutions to these long-term problems. -Wikid77 22:59, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
    • That page appears to be dominated by editors who have decided long ago that they want these images in the article—for no good academic reason that I can see, because they are fringe images within the Islamic tradition. (For reference, I was unable to find a single such image in the Micropaedia and Macropaedia Britannica articles on Muhammad.) To illustrate the Islamic mainstream, and actually teach readers something about Islamic aesthetics and the way Muhammad is represented in Islam, I believe we ought to be showing images of calligraphy, symbols and pictograms associated with Muhammad, famous examples of such in the masonry of major mosques, hilye (!) images [20][21], perhaps images of the various relics of Muhammad, etc.—in other words, things that are actually religiously meaningful to a large number of muslims. --JN466 01:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I've been very confused about this line of discussion both at ANI and on here. If you think the images that are being used in the Muhammad article are not properly educational or representative of appropriate depictions of Muhammad, then...propose other images to replace them? Have other alternative images been proposed? Because i'm not seeing that. SilverserenC 23:19, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
    • I'll hazard a guess that most of the editors wishing to illustrate the article on Muhammad using the same approach as is used in the article on Jesus don't actually know very much about Islam. That ignorance shows and is an embarrassment to Wikipedia. Islamic culture is simply different in that respect, and we are not showing the genuine richness of Islam's own approach, nor do we give the reader much indication that such a difference in approach exists. We could probably do with a bit of outreach to Islamic studies scholars. --JN466 03:16, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes. It makes no more sense to base what (if any) depictions of Muhammad we have in Wikipedia articles on our treatment of pictures of Jesus than the other way round. It is easy enough to ascertain that many Muslims consider depictions of the prophet in art to be inappropriate, and that is what is at issue here - not how Christians portray Jesus (or other religions portray their gods, saints, prophets and other sacred entities). It seems to me that though 'Wikipedia is not censored' implies we can show illustrations of the prophet, it doesn't follow that we have to, and any debate on the subject needs to be based on the principle that we are here to educate and inform, rather than just show pretty pictures. If a reader of our articles on Islam wonders why there are no illustrations of its founder, reading why might be more educational than any picture. Yes, we should have an article on 'depictions of the prophet Muhammad in art' or similar, to show how, in contrast to the norm, many depictions have been created, but we don't need to gratuitously include images elsewhere (which are in any case only depictions based on the imaginations of those creating them many years later) just to prove a point. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:43, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
      • That's the last thing we need, more outside advocacy and antagonism. This is a very simple situation. We have an article on Muhammad. Images and depictions of artistic value of Muhammad exist, created at various points and times in history. We place this images in the Muhammad article, because, hey, we're a visual media and we like that sorta thing.
      • There is no other aspect to consider. We do not take into account that some Muslims believe imagery to be idolatrous. This is the English Wikipedia, written primarily for a Western audience. We do not defer to religious custom, We do not render all mentions of "God" as "G-d". We do not close down on Sunday to observe the Sabbath.
      • The only leg any of your argument could stand on is if the article contained renderings from something like the Draw Muhammad Day. Those things are contemporary, amateurish depictions created with the specific aim to denigrate, and offer to value to an biographical article on Muhammad the man. Tarc (talk) 03:51, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
        • Well, I do think there is another leg to stand on. The article has 19 images in all. 6 are geographical, 4 are of buildings, 1 is of the Quran, 1 is of Mohammed's seal, 1 (the lead image) is of calligraphy, and 6 are depictions of Muhammad (of these, 4 show him unveiled, 1 shows him veiled, and 1 shows him as a flame). Those 6 images, and in particularly the 4 that show his features, are vastly undue, even completely disregarding the aspect of offensiveness, because they represent an extremely rare type of image that is simply nowhere near representative of how Muhammad is customarily portrayed. But given that they do also represent the type of image that is most offensive to some muslims, why exactly should our article feature 4 examples of an extremely uncommon and unrepresentative kind of image that causes maximum offence? --JN466 04:31, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
"This is the English Wikipedia, written primarily for a Western audience". Of all the pig-ignorant arguments you could come up with, this has to be the winner. Even ignoring the implicit assumption that English speakers are necessarily Western, and that it isn't possible to be both a Muslim and a Westerner, on what basis do you assume that Westerners are so driven by a desire for 'images' that they are incapable of understanding why others have a different opinion? Try to come up with arguments that don't insult everyone... AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:47, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Actually, Wikipedia itself has some statistics on it's editorship that support what Tarc is trying to say. Additionally, various articles on the subject (also right here on Wikipedia) support what he is trying to say. ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 04:51, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Analogy: I write a book in American English and publish it here. How many non-US English speaking readers do you think I will have? And how many say... Muslim readers from overseas... do you think will instead read the version on their Wikipedia? People keep using worldwide numbers as if every person of Islamic faith comes here, even though they live halfway across the world and have their own wiki. Hope that clarifies. Still not sure why it's relevant. The different opinion is based on religious prohibitions that do not apply, otherwise the Scientology article would have been lobotomized already. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 04:55, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Is this a competition to see who can come up with the most ignorant posting on Jimbo's talk page? Muslims don't have 'a Wikipedia', any more than Christians do - and neither do they necessarily live 'half way across the World'. Incidentally, even though I prefer British English, I am actually capable of comprehending the U.S. version - I suggest you find a publisher with a little more worldly knowledge. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:03, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry Andy, I didn't realize that.[22][23] ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 05:09, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the link to websites that aren't 'Muslim Wikipedias' - but what exactly is that supposed to prove beyond the fact that evidently you don't understand the difference between 'a Wiki' and Wikipedia. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:16, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have to agree with Andy here. The English Wikipedia is written in our current global lingua franca. English is, far and away, the most common second language learnt around the world (and a substantial number of those second language speakers are talking to each other, not to native speakers). While native anglophone non-muslim editors are in the majority, our readership extends into every country and community like no other wikipedia. Our policies and practices reflect this internationalism. While no language community "owns" their Wikipedia, this is particularly important to remember with en.wikipedia.

On the same principle, muslims do not own the page on Muhammad, so we are not bound to follow majority muslim practice. We might want to avoid offence where we can. Is it not technically possible to have an opt-in "see the pictures" option so that we can manage any religious sensitivities? We're not paper, we can do this kind of thing.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 05:22, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Well, there is another point that I am trying to make here. The page on Jesus gives an accurate impression of how Jesus is portrayed in Christianity. But the Muhammad page does not do that. It is badly skewed. This is a question of accuracy, of portraying a world culture knowledgeably, and correctly. --JN466 05:27, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Just left a message on your talk page a few minutes before your post here. I'm willing to help tackle that. But not till tomorrow. I really need sleep. ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 05:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Is this an argument that the pictures are POV? I suppose one could formulate an argument that inclusion of so many pictures is undue, given their rarity. Would you get rid of all pictures of Muhammad, or simply reduce their number?VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 06:42, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely; POV and undue, as not reflecting mainstream depictions. Personally, I would considerably increase the number of calligraphy images in the article, include an image of the PBUH/SAWS symbol that is commonly printed in Islamic works after each mention of the prophet, show some hilyes (these are calligraphically executed copies of extant, quite detailed descriptions of what Muhammad physically looked like). I would have a paragraph explaining the general absence of images of Muhammad in Islamic religious art, as a point that sets the Islamic treatment of Muhammad apart from the treatment of other religious founders by their respective cultures, and I would mention that there have been some exceptions throughout history. I would add a link to Depictions of Muhammad, show the images there, and not show them in the article on Muhammad. That's if it were up to me alone. I could compromise to the extent of showing one (veiled) example image, but personally think it is undue. Cheers. --JN466 22:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Ironically, your assertion that this is POV is POV itself. The placement and number of images of Muhammad are already in a decidedly minority position on the article. This, despite the fact that Wikipedia is not an Islamic project. Resolute 22:23, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Just to put this back into perspective (as though that's going to happen…) I want to point out that this whole huge mess started because I made the seemingly common-sense assertion that Wikipedia should not offend groups of people without good reason. Doing so damages the reputation of the encyclopedia. If we have to offend people to write a good article, that's unavoidable, but offending people for silly reasons is just… dumb.

There's no real reason that those images of Muhammad need to be on that article (they are not common representations or factual illustrations), and everyone knows that Islam has a proscription against such images; any editor with a smidgeon of common sense and common courtesy would just not do it. But on Wikipedia, apparently, it is a matter of great consternation that any editor should be asked to show common sense or common courtesy.

I'm sorry to say it, but as long as these kinds of attitudes prevail on project, Wikipedia is never going to be a serious encyclopedia; there's too much Jerry Springer in the mix for that to ever happen. --Ludwigs2 05:54, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Ludwigs has proposed that the May 2011 Foundation resolution concerning controversial content should be heeded here. It urges us to pay particular attention to curating all kinds of potentially controversial content, including determining whether it has a realistic educational use. I don't believe the many depictions of Muhammad at Muhammad add to the readers' understanding of the topic in any meaningful way, and their presence may reasonably be read as gratuitous offensiveness. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 06:40, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I would argue that they actually harm the reader's understanding, because in showing them we create the impression that such images are commonplace, and fail to show the actual iconic representations of Muhammad that are the direct cultural equivalent of what we have in the Jesus article.They would look like this: [24] [25] [26] The effect of our present article is not unlike the effect the Jesus article would have on the reader if you showed them just one cathedral painting, plus 6 shock images of Christ like Piss Christ and Jesus on the electric chair (also shown in a cathedral, but hardly representative of Christian depictions of Christ). You could argue NOTCENSORED there too, but no one would go for it, because editors would realise that it would be completely undue to focus on such exceptional images, while neglecting the mainstream depictions of Christ. The problem with Islam, unfortunately, is that our editorship is generally less familiar with it and doesn't pick up on such subtleties. Yet we are supposed to educate, and provide a glimpse of that world. --JN466 07:13, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
So would you want to get rid of all the depictions, or just most of them? All would look like censorship, but most could be argued under WP:UNDUE.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 07:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
One or two images illustrating a small section on depictions of Muhammad would be educational. Everybody arguing at Talk:Muhammad/images supports that. The objections are to six artists' impressions of historical events, painted centuries after the events, that are no more informative about the events than a drawing by you or me would be. The only relevant information they convey is something about the development of historical depictions of Muhammad, which is addressed well in Depictions of Muhammad. The objections are not to pictures of Muhammad, they are to gratuitous WP:UNDUE or misleading use of such images. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 07:56, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
The problem with the discussion of "religious neutrality" is that whatever precedent we set cannot be limited to images of Muhammad. Followers of just about every religion have issues which they would prefer not to have mentioned. Would "religious neutrality" prevent us from discussing L. Ron Hubbard's military records because doing so may be offensive to some Scientologists? Would the same principle prevent an article questioning the sexuality of Jesus? What about the offense caused to Christians who dispute the divinity of Krishna? Where would it stop? While we shouldn't go out of our way to offend anyone, neither should we go out of our way to avoid offending anyone. We're here to build an encyclopedia, not a religious text.   Will Beback  talk  09:25, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You've missed the point. The discussion is about accurately representing an artistic tradition and, to a lesser extent, not gratuitously offending readers. No one's objecting to offensive content where it adds to the readers' understanding. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 09:39, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

I may be mistaken, but I thought I'd seen people here and at Talk:Muhammad/images talking about making significant changes to articles to avoid offending adherents to a religion. While we certainly don't want to offend anyone unnecessarily, that should be among the least considerations when compiling this encyclopedia. The appearance is that some think think it should be a primary consideration.   Will Beback  talk  10:38, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Will all the comments here seem to align with two important distinctions from the straw many you are presenting. 1) That offending material should be removed especially if it serves no educational value and 2) that in the case of the Muhammad depictions, mainstream education sources and scholarship do not use these fringe images making their inclusion not only UNDUE in terms of coverage in reliable sources but nonrepresentational of the tradition and therefore noneducational. Holding these opinions does not open the door to what you are discussing at all. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 11:56, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
It's axiomatic that everything in the encyclopedia should be encyclopedic. Images of subjects are encyclopedic. We always add images to articles when we can.   Will Beback  talk  04:55, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
"While we certainly don't want to offend anyone unnecessarily" -- wrong. The current state of the Muhammad article, after archives and archives full of discussions, proves that Wikipedia, as a community, goes to great lengths in order to find rationalisations for deliberately offending Muslims unnecessarily. Hans Adler 12:05, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Individual editors may make such arguments, but I don't think it's policy to either offend or avoid offending Muslims. Unfortunately, it seems that this issue has become polarized between editors who insist we cannot include any images, and those who say we should include all available images. Less dogmatism on all sides would help bring this to a reasonable compromise.   Will Beback  talk  04:55, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── No one here or anywhere else on the project in the current discussions has argued we can't include any images, and no one has argued for inclusion of all available images. The argument, at its best, is quite nuanced. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:15, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Which images of Muhammad does Ludwig2 support including in the article?   Will Beback  talk  05:24, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Any image that actually adds relevant information, such as in a section on depictions of Muhammad, which most (all?) editors at Talk:Muhammad/images agree would be a useful section. The article had such a section a few years ago but it was deleted without discussion. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 08:10, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
So are we proposing restoring that section?   Will Beback  talk  08:26, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Yep. Here. But we're all a bit distracted by various dramas. It will happen when things have settled down again. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 11:36, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
For the other readers here I would just like to highlight the statement above, i.e. " goes to great lengths to deliberately offending Muslims unnecessarily", which is a lie. We have a very small handful editors who are opposed to images in the Muhammad article, and of those only 2, Ludwigs2 and Hans Adler, who go these lengths to explicitly denigrate and assume bad faith of those who wish to retain images in the article. This behavior needs to be excised from the conversation. Tarc (talk) 12:33, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Tarc, your manner of engaging others in discussion at Wikipedia should preclude you from being taken seriously whenever you ask for another editor to be excised from the conversation based on their behavior. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 12:36, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

The difference, Griswaldo, is that I do not imply that those that I disagree with are basing their opinions on racist or ethnic hatred, as Adler and Ludwigs have done on numerous occasions. Tarc (talk) 15:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec)I could easily believe that. Certainly in this issue people are going to great lengths and making some of the most ignorant arguments I've yet seen on Wikipedia in order to keep an entry in a state that offends Muslims. Where are the expert editors on this issue I wonder? I'm no expert in Islam but I do teach religious studies courses, including large survey courses on Western religion, and I can tell you from my experience that these images are basically fringe within educational resources, and within the tradition as far as I know it.Griswaldo (talk) 12:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Hans, it's not so much about offending Muslims, it's about pampering Christians. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 12:48, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I've long had this uncomfortable feeling that the somewhat undue number of images on that page are not really about WP:NOTCENSORED and are really more of an inherent POV bias amongst the editor community; or rather, it is about resisting the idea of removing the images because we find the concept nonsensical or strange rather than rationally considering the neutral line. The argument above r.e. historical depiction of Muhammed largely centering around non-visual imagery is quite persuasive. --Errant (chat!) 13:10, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Non-visual imagery? --FormerIP (talk) 13:13, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
he means non-representative/abstract, of course. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 13:17, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I was going to link to a definition of imagery :-) (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 13:21, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
OK, well I don't think either interpretation makes for a good argument. If it is the case that Mohammed was often described in prose but there are few visual representations of him, then that would make him like Julius Caesar or William Shakespeare. If it is the case that there are two traditions, one which depicts Mohammed's image and one which replaces it with an abstract image, then surely that some something that it would be informative to illustrate in our article by showing examples from each tradition. --FormerIP (talk) 15:03, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Seb: I'm pushing for treating all such articles equally (and I believe the list I posted as the first comment here[27] attests to that) - but of course doing so will upset a ton of editors and leave an unbalanced situation (remove images from Muhammad on those grounds, ignore such policy (if interpreted that way or rewritten that way) for all the ones I listed.
Griswaldo: read the title of this thread. For some editors (some of the most vocal on that talk page), it *is* religious objections fueling their actions. That is notable by the "Policy Whack-A-Mole" game they are playing and numerous end runs around ongoing resolution processes. As one for instance, Ludwigs2 proposed we start an RfC. We all were working on one. The current RfC was proposed and many of us were against it. We've moved on to other proposals that are gaining a lot more support. Then it's end run time again. Instead of continuing in our discussions, he uses AN/I as an excuse not to and enters the RfC that so many of us were opposed to because of its bias (such as implying as fact that the images have no value, which attempts a bias at the outcome. Such as not listing a decent sampling of the articles that would be affected by such a change). It is actions such as that, disruption (which has caused me to have to restart the RfC discussions FOUR times now) and attacks (NUMEROUS, diffs to a dozen at ANI) that have warranted the ANI topic ban proposal you object to - it is NOT his opinion that caused that - it is his ACTIONS.
Errant: I'm working on some digging to support addressing the balance/bias issue on those images. Hopefully it will work. I am currently exploring (at the same time) Jayen's angle, as well as Mathsci's angle (both of which are diametrically opposed). I am also working on yet another RfC proposal for that page which may actually gain a lot more support (but we'll see). Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 16:28, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Islamic religious art is fundamentally different from other traditions of religious art. This is from the Encyclopaedia Britannica article on Islamic Arts: "For practical purposes, representations are not found in religious art, although matters are quite different in secular art. Instead there occurred very soon a replacement of imagery with calligraphy and the concomitant transformation of calligraphy into a major artistic medium." Macropaedia, Vol. 22, p. 76. We are showing typical religious art in the article on Jesus, but we are not showing typical religious art in the article on Muhammad. --JN466 16:44, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm beginning to realize there is a big difference between the two. For instance, I would posit, accuracy of the portrayals or not, various of the images at Jesus can be considered both secular and religious. There does not seem to be a divide between them. On Muhammad, there is a distinct difference. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 17:08, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
    • Do you think a painting of Jesus could ever be truly secular? Images of Jesus, crucifixes etc. are pervasive in Christian culture (just as Islamic abstract religious motifs are in Islamic culture), but I don't think that makes them secular. They are just expressions of a religious culture. Cheers, --JN466 17:22, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm aware of that. Let me clarify. Many of the images of Jesus seem to be accepted both on a secular aspect and a religious aspect. The same is not true of images of Muhammad. I'm not claiming they are secular. I'm claiming there's an acceptance of them on both sides. While, as you have pointed out, may not be true for depictions of Muhammad. Hope that clarifies things. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 17:27, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Responses to several comments above: "on what basis do you assume that Westerners are so driven by a desire for 'images' that they are incapable of understanding why others have a different opinion?" (AndyTheGrump) - on what basis do you assume that people who support retaining the images make that assumption? I would wager that every single one of us understands that a majority of Muslims have a different opinion. That is why tools like the explanation on how to disable the display of such images for people who are offended exist. (which responds to VsevolodKrolikov's argument of an opt-in tool: That would be a dramatically bad idea, placing the default position of Wikipedia to be censored. Even the proposed image filter was designed to be opt-out, and this article's treatment should be no different.) It is also why images are pushed to the bottom of the article, rather than spread throughout. Actions have been taken in the light of Muslim opposition. But we can only go so far without censoring the article for religious reasons.
On "minority position" of images. Including the various template headers, there are actually 22 images on this article. Only six are a depiction of or including Muhammad. Richard I of England, as an example, 8 of 12 images include depictions of Richard. In George Washington, 12 of 17. Pope John XXIII, 4 of 4. Lester B. Pearson, 7 of 10. Adi Da, 5 of 9. On our well developed historical bios, images of the subject typically occupy a majority position. On Muhammad, such images occupy a minority position. Numerous compromises have been made on this article in deference to Muslim tradition and viewpoints. It is, however, obvious that compromise is not what the opponents are interested in. They want the only options to be "none or none". It is time that such people accept the compromises that were already reached. Resolute 20:29, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Resolute, what you're basically saying is that common sense and simple courtesy are a form of censorship. I'm sorry, but that perspective is bizarre - asserting that no one's feelings or interests should be allowed to get in the way of what you want to do is too close to sociopathy for me to be comfortable with. Are you incapable of distinguishing between necessary and unnecessary offense? --Ludwigs2 22:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
That you disagree with my assessment does not lend validity to your personal insults. I respect that this is obviously a very personal debate for you, but you will have to respect that I disagree with you. To repeat myself, the community has already compromised on this issue in numerous ways: The ratio of images depicting the subject to overall images is far lower than one would expect given both the size of the article and the images we have available. The images have been placed in a minority position on the article, "below the fold", so to speak, rather than being spread throughout, as is typical of most such articles. Of note, the use of calligraphy rather than an image in the infobox. Something which is unique on biographical articles. An image of Muhammad in hell was removed, even though there is a very good argument that it was an accurate depiction of traditional western views, on the basis that it was felt to be unnecessarily provocative. And finally, special code has been created that logged in users can add to their profiles so as to hide the images, something that is very much a special case on Wikipedia. All of these compromises have been made in respect for the "feelings and interests" of those who might be offended. We have compromised on many occasions. That you will not acknowledge this, choosing instead to resort to repeated accusations of bigotry or sociopathy on the part of those with whom you disagree says all we need to know about your motives. I do not favour censorship, and from that position I will not budge. Resolute 22:53, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Resolute: the only thing 'personal' about this debate is that people (like you) keep talking crap about me, which is not something I can do anything about. otherwise this is all about reason and common sense for me. Your argument now seems to be: "Everyone should be happy that we're only offending people half as much as we could," which is not really a sensible position to take. I don't care how much we could be offending people; I simply want to know that we have a good reason for offending people if that's what we're going to do.
This is really where you've gone wrong all along: rather than demonstrating what value the images have, you try to bargain to keep images I consider worthless and provocative. show they have worth, and the discussion is, but if you can't show they have worth then don't haggle over how much shit we're need to have in our sandwich.
And I'm sorry that you consider all this a personal attack. You are not using ethical reasoning - that is a demonstrable fact - and I reserve the right to point it out. if you don't like it, be ethical. --Ludwigs2 23:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually, where you keep going wrong is where others have to prove to you that the images are valid and useful in the article. You don't have the right to demand that a particular article have extra hoops to jump through, if the justification for the extra hoop are vague hand-waves at some group's religious sensibilities. No one is going to bend backwards to prove or justify something when you don't really have a call to request such a thing in the first place, Ludwigs. Tarc (talk) 00:58, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
My argument is the same as it always has been: that removing the images for the reasons you champion is nothing more than religious censorship. I explained the ways in which we have compromised to show that we who prefer the retention of the images have acted in good faith in this debate. That you will not even acknowledge this reveals only the fact that you will not reciprocate. Resolute 02:43, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── actually, Resolute, it's you making the double standard here. on every article except muhammad editors can consider the value of an image and remove it if if it fails the test. but I'm sure you'll avoid this as you avoid every other rational point I make - lol. --Ludwigs2 03:12, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

If I did not find value in the images, I would not be arguing in support of them. I judge these images exactly the same as I do any other article. The problem is that you move the goalposts on images you don't like. I am under no obligation to meet your personal standards. Resolute 03:45, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
And since this is Jimbo's talk page, I will mention a comment he made regarding the image filter that also applies here: Allowing the end user control over what they see will allow greater freedom to the end user, not less.. That is my position: allow the end user to choose. Don't presume to make the choice for me. Resolute 03:49, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Good. So put Piss Christ on the Jesus page. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 03:54, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Straw man argument. You are confusing images for which the offence is incidental with images for which provocation is deliberate. Piss Christ is not on the Jesus article for the same reasons the Danish cartoons are not on the Muhammad article. Resolute 04:09, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Wrong. It's not on there because that is not how Jesus is usually depicted. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 04:11, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Actually, he's quite correct. Piss Christ and the Danish cartoons were both created with the deliberate intention of raising people's hackles, not to depict the subject in a meaningful way, which is why it's not used there. The pictures of Muhammad in the article were not; they were created (with one exception) by Muslims for Muslim audiences. Others have already stated what they add to the article, so I won't repeat that here; however, I'll say that I certainly found it quite useful when reading the article a few years ago, before I began editing here. So you have definitive proof that a reader of the encyclopedia found them useful. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 16:35, 5 November 2011 (UTC) Please take the pictures off. They do not help us understand the topic of the article. Borock (talk) 01:48, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Would you say the same of the images at Richard I of England? Resolute 02:43, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
According to WP:IUP, images should be (a) relevant (connected with and important to what is being discussed) and (b) increase readers' understanding of the subject matter. All the images of Richard, except for the first, were painted long after his lifetime, and so, like all the images of Muhammad, though they are connected with it, they tell us nothing important about the subject. So, per IUP, they don't belong in the article. But this does not reflect practice on the project. Such images abound and they are vehemently defended. I defy anyone to remove those uninformative images from Richard I.
This disjunction between policy and practice is at the root of the problem at Muhammad. Resolute has just used the argument, We do it on Richard I (and everywhere else), why shouldn't we do it on Muhammad? The answer, of course, is Because it creates offense and adds nothing important to the readers' understanding.
We have more options than (a) strip all irrelevant images out of the encyclopedia or (b) host controversial images that add nothing important to the readers' understanding. Editors argue that to treat controversial (sexual, violent, sacred) images differently in this way, excluding irrelevant controversial images while we include irrelevant noncontroversial images, is a breach of the first amendment, or WP:NOTCENSORED or something. I see it as simply being sensible and exercising good manners. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:23, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
"[I]t creates offense and adds nothing important to the readers' understanding". The first part is true. The second point is questionable - in fact, images of Muhammad may actually detract from an understanding of Islam. Given the deeply-held beliefs that such images are inappropriate, an absence of such images should lead the reader to ask why they aren't there - which in turn should lead to deeper understanding. Of course, if the only purpose of an article on Islam is to compare it to 'the default: Christianity', which seems to be the argument of some here, such subtleties are unnecessary. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:53, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
The Islamic visual tradition is simply different, and we're betraying ignorance by not reflecting that. I've added some examples of Islamic art describing Muhammad's physical appearance above. --JN466 07:58, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
What you are all saying is exactly right IMO. I think I've seen Jayen argue elsewhere that images need to be put to the same content policies that governs written information NPOV, DUE, etc. That is exactly the issue here. By providing visual information about a figure who is known 99.999% of the time without such visual information we are actually creating a distorted perception of that figure. It is, as Andy says, detracting from an understanding of [Muhammad]. Put another way I would say that when it comes to understanding Muhammad what we are currently doing is phenomenologically disingenuous. If we compare Jesus or Buddha, we have religious figures the historical perceptions of which have actually been significantly influenced by traditions of physical depiction. That is not the case for Muhammad. So providing that visual information is WP:UNDUE, as well as being offensive.Griswaldo (talk) 13:06, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Anthony - you touch on what was exactly my point above in your final paragraph. Yes, we have more options than to strip all images (that you view them as unimportant is only your opinion) or to host all (again, your opinion on value is only your POV). And that is exactly what has been done with this article. Editorially, we have restricted the number and location of images, placing them in a minority position. We have ensured that the images that are there were not drawn to be provocative. We have offered tools so that those who wish to hide images can do so. When (because we all know the Foundation will force it through) the image filter comes online, another option will be added. This article is atypical in numerous ways, all designed to mitigate the level of offence. But we cannot eliminate all of it. Wikipedia even warns you of this fact. It is out of respect for those who are unable to look at this article with anything but a religious POV that we have taken these steps. I support this, even though my preference would be to treat it exactly as we would any other historical topic. Especially one for which we have so many images. Wikipedia is not an Islamic project, and this is not an Islamic article. This is a biographical article about a historical individual. And IMNSHO, viewing it in any other way is an admission that one has lost NPOV. Resolute 15:35, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I have to agree with Ludwigs' sandwich metaphor here. The crux of this is the relevance of the images; that is, their connection with the topic and importance to exposition. An image or images of Muhammad will be mandatory in a section discussing depictions of Muhammad. No one has argued against that. What I'm asking you to do is recognize those images have little or no importance to the remainder of the article and can easily be replaced by images of similar or greater didactic value (such as the kinds of images Jayen is suggesting above), acknowledge they're offensive to many readers, recognize just how rude and ignorant it makes us look to gratuitously load up the article with offensive images, and agree that the better option is to use the alternative images. :)
(Do you think we should move this to another venue?) --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:37, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm an atheist. I could be demanding that all religious images be struck from Wikipedia, as they represent fictional characters. However, I don't make such a demand 'cuz I don't believe in censurship. If a group of people (no matter what religion they are) are upset about images? TOO BAD about them. GoodDay (talk) 17:26, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I have a thought on that, Anthony, but have to run for most of the afternoon - don't let me forget to answer. And yeah, a different forum might be more ideal, either back on the image talk page, or perhaps one of our user talk pages, perhaps to try and reduce the number of players in the discussion. Resolute 17:36, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I look forward to it. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 17:41, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Anthony (and in general, related to his comment), when you said above "All the images of Richard, except for the first, were painted long after his lifetime, and so, like all the images of Muhammad[...]" - which brings me back to my earlier point. I simply ask for a uniform application of policy. Take 'em all down everywhere... leave 'em all up everywhere (solely discussing the specific types of images you mentioned). No special case articles. That, sadly, as a "for instance" in the "leave 'em all up" camp, means depictions of historical events that would allow our readers to understand what is going on from the depictions. Alas, the images proposed above do no such thing. And on the other side of the coin ("Take 'em all down everywhere"), we know that will run into massive objections. Brings up an interesting question: let's assume the rationale for removal is correct and supported by policies... which is the correct route? (a) making a singular special case exception to the way it is being applied, (b) leaving the article to match the way it is applied everywhere else, or (c) proposing a question to the community asking whether current application on (list of NUMEROUS articles - not just one) is a proper interpretation of policies (and of course, from (c) one of two other directions will result: (1) remove all such images Wikipedia-wide, or (2) change policy to be clear and in support of the way it is being applied across most of Wikipedia). Anyway, those are my thoughts. Side note, I've been compiling each POV on this issue with points and counterpoints - I'll send you and Reso a note later (please remind me if I forget - got rather busy at work yesterday, and I'm a bit behind on what I wanted to do on here). Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 18:07, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Re: "I've been compiling each POV on this issue with points and counterpoints", add this: Wikipedia should treat a request that Muhammad's image not be shown exactly the same way we would treat a request by a Christian that Wikipedia be shut down on Sundays. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:25, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
BAD example. I'd support such a request, even in contravention to policy. I'd at least have one full day spent IRL. On a serious note, I'll work such in. Best, Rob ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 20:05, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I hope Griswaldo and the others will be taking steps to make the same complaints about insulting Muslims on the Farsi Wikipedia, whose featured article on Muhammad has 5 images of him, compared to our six (several are the same). Do let me know where the party is going next. Johnbod (talk) 21:41, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I don't read, write, or understand Farsi so it's rather doubtful that I know anything about what is on their Wiki, what type of consensus it has, or anything else about the matter. Of course most of the Muslim world are by no means Farsi speakers. I would assume that most of the denizens of the Farsi Wiki are Iranian, and hence most likely not Sunni, which makes a difference when discussing contemporary offense to these images. How many images of Muhammad are there on the Arabic Wiki John? That said, I'm curious why you singled me out, since my arguments have not really been about offense but about DUE weight and accuracy in the historical perception of Muhammad. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 21:52, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
You were the one who called such images "fringe" above - if you are concerned about insulting Muslims you should be more careful. The Arabic article has no images of Muhammad, though two other images from (you would say) "fringe" manuscripts that do contain them. Johnbod (talk) 22:07, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── What on earth does "fringe" have to do with offensiveness? Nothing at all. It simply means way outside of the mainstream. So I really have no idea what to make of your statement here.Griswaldo (talk) 22:11, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

  • From my Google Translate-based understanding of past discussions on fa.wp, the consensus view there seems to be that excluding images of Mohammed would mean ignoring an important aspect of Musllim cultural history. It should be kept in mind that most editors there will be Shia and have a less conservative attitude on this particular question, as you indicate. --FormerIP (talk) 22:00, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
    And Iranians of Persian descent meaning that many of these depictions are more culturally salient to them as well. Also, keep in mind that a Farsi speaker isn't necessarily a Muslim either, particularly if said Farsi speaker lives in the West. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 22:02, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
    It's not a case of being "conservative" in Iran - conservative traditions there mostly favour images. But one should be careful to avoid a false Sunni/Shia dichotomy here - most surviving miniatures with depictions of Mahammad were commissioned by Sunnis, mostly in Turkey. Johnbod (talk) 22:07, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I mean now, rather than historically, Johnbod. It's undoubtedly the case that the average Sunni has a more conservative attitude on this question that the average Shia. That's a true dichotomy, really.
One of the things that strikes me about these discussions is that a lot of editors opposing the images do so on the basis that they know what Muslims think about it. en.wp has Muslim editors, but none seem to have made themselves known on this topic.
I wonder how much the deletionist position is based on a stereotype of Muslims as universally hardline and inflexible. Although I wouldn't like to predict percentages, I think Muslims are capable of a lot more creative thought and less homogeneity than they are being given credit for and that, actually, the views of Muslims about this may be quite diverse. --FormerIP (talk) 22:41, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
  • There is nothing inherent in Islam that prohibits pictures of Muhammad. This is a particular interpretation by some Islamic scholars. It's like saying that Christianity doesn't accept use of contraceptives. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:15, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
    OK but who are you arguing with? I don't know that anyone has made that argument. The issue is what has been mainstream in practice, both within Islam and within the academy (for different reasons) when it comes to presenting knowledge about Muhammad, which is what we're trying to do in our entry. I think you'll find both traditions, the religious and academic, not basing building perceptions of Muhammad based on fringe traditions of Islamic art. That's the issue. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 23:21, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Why are you talking about this here? This is not an appropriate place to discuss this. How is this an appropriate place to discuss this? Go talk about it elsewhere, like maybe the Muhammad:Talk or some such. Chrisrus (talk) 23:53, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

It may be a somewhat random place, but I think Jimbo generally takes the view that people can discuss what they like on his talkpage.--FormerIP (talk) 00:07, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, I originally asked Jimbo a question about how we could get muslims involved in these debates. I am still open to ideas on how to do that. Muslims represent about 20% of humanity; yet I don't see them involved here (apologies if anyone who has posted above is, unbeknownst to me, muslim). We seem to have a very large proportion of all the figurative images of Muhammad that can be found online in Commons, but there is a comparative dearth of Islamic calligraphy. We did not have a single hilya until yesterday. For a project aimed at all of humanity, and hoping to compile the entirety of human knowledge, that is troubling. I wonder if muslims have voted with their feet. --JN466 00:17, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
You may have a point about images in Commons, Jayen, but that would be an issue for Commons. I expect they would suggest you upload something. I don't know why Muslims have stayed away from the discussion. I would hesitate before saying they have "voted with their feet", but that would surely mean that they feel a lot of fuss is being made about nothing. --FormerIP (talk) 00:42, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it really matters whether we have 1 Muslim commenting or 50, to be honest. I'd rather have people who are simply competent partake in such discussions, regardless of their ethnic background. This reminds me of the Daily Show when they have the "Senior Black Correspondent" on to opine about a black-related topic, a satire of the notion that one needs a black person's opinion to legitimize the discussion. Tarc (talk) 01:19, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I basically agree, but I think it is interesting all the same that we have multiple heated discussions going on, conducted by non-Muslims, about what should or shouldn't be done on behalf of Muslims. --FormerIP (talk) 01:38, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
That is an interesting angle, yea. Reminds me of when male politicians decide abortion laws. Tarc (talk) 02:23, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth, the article on Muhammad in the Farsi (Persian) Wikipedia, which is a featured article, has a number of images of the prophet.[28] Maybe no one has told them that they're supposed to be offended.   Will Beback  talk  00:32, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
It is not surprising that the Farsi article would feature Persian miniatures, because they're, well, Persian, and Iran, as a Shiite country, has a tolerant attitude to depictions of Muhammad. FWIW, the Turkish article contains no such pictures, despite the fact that Turkey is a secular society and Iran is not. Neither does the Arabic one of course, which is beautifully illustrated by the way, and features a lot of relevant imagery we don't show. --JN466 05:08, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
So it's an oversimplification to say that "all Muslims are offended by these images". Perhaps it'd be more accurate to say that some Sunni Muslims are offended by them, though even that seems to be an assumption rather than a reflection of the responses of actual Muslim editors or readers. Fundamentalist adherents to various religions are offended by all kinds of things, I suspect.   Will Beback  talk  03:20, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, pish tosh Will. it's a fundamental aspect of their faith, outlined in the Hadith. You might as well say that it's just an 'assumption' that Christians dislike people pissing on the Cross. This is another effort to avoid the debate by demonizing the opposition. --Ludwigs2 03:28, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I've don't nothing to "demonize" the opposition. I don't see anyone here as an opponent. I'm simply pointing out that the Farsi-language article, presumably written by Muslims or people well-informed of Muslim beliefs, contains several images of the Prophet, and that therefore the assumption that all Muslims are offended by such images is probably incorrect. More generally, I do not think that Wikipedia articles should be tailored with the primary purpose of avoiding offense to religious fundamentalists of any faith, simply because they may take offense at so many different things that trying to avoid all of them would significantly impact our ability to write an inclusive encyclopedia.   Will Beback  talk  21:03, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Will, you started from an objection to the phrase "all Muslims are offended by these images" (a statement which - true or false - is based in a generally accepted precept of the faith). You changed 'all Muslims' to 'Sunni Muslims', then minimized that by calling it an assumption, then minimized it again by asserting that it's 'fundamentalist adherents' and suggesting they are all easily offended. That is textbook demonization. You may not have meant it to be, but that is what you did. As I have said repeated to people in this dispute, if you cannot make any argument except the people complaining aren't worth listening to then you are making an ad hominem argument, not a rational one. --Ludwigs2 12:12, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
To say that it is a "fundamental aspect of their faith" is such a fundamentally incorrect over-simplification of the situation that I begin to question if you really understand what you purportedly defend. It seems like your understanding derives from listening to the protesters of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons, with a dash of "I skimmed the Islam article a bit". Tarc (talk) 03:50, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I can see how it would seem that way to you. --Ludwigs2 04:35, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't agree with your reasoning as to why this is an appropriate place to discuss this. You say it's appropriate because you are inviting Jimbo to discuss with you ways of increasing the amount of Moslem Wikipedians. Why wouldn't Wikipedia:ISLAM be a better place for that? Besides, this is not what you are talking about here. The topic of discussion is ways to improve the article Muhammad, so this should go to that article's discussion page; you are discussing ways to improve that article, so you should discuss that with the editors of that article there where they discuss that topic. The people who will decide whether and which pictures to use for particular articles are the editors of those articles and not Jimbo. He would not be allowed to remove the pictures against concensous anyway. He has nothing to do with that decision because he doesn't edit that article. The people who will decide that are the edtors of that article and the place to talk about it is there. You seem to believe that he's in control of this project and could just remove pictures against the editors wishes, but he couldn't if he tried. If he started doing that, we'd all just move to a mirror site and the project would go on without him. He doesn't have the power to remove the pictures, so your reasoning for why this is an appropriate place to be discussing this is off base. Chrisrus (talk) 05:49, 6 November 2011 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b F. E. Peters (10 November 2010). Jesus and Muhammad: Parallel Tracks, Parallel Lives. Oxford University Press. pp. 160–161. ISBN 978-0-19-974746-7. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 

what a great case study in the problems of Wikipedia

I'm going to point out (again) the bizarre and dysfunctional nature of this dispute. Note that:

  • The volume of text spilled over this on various pages is easily 40 times the length of the article on Muhammad (and that's not counting the 16 archived pages, which would bump it - I estimate - to something like 200 to 300 times the size of the article)
  • Almost none of the material discussed in this huge volume of text is represented in the text of the article (everything above about the Persians, for instance, is absent - the article only contains a handful of references to Persia, and they are all military in nature)
  • Nowhere in this huge volume of text does anyone give any real reason for including these images, except oblique references to art-historical traditions (that are also not mentioned in the article, save one reference to Ottoman calligraphy styles)

Not only do the images offend Muslims (which I think everyone agrees to, though some argue that doesn't matter), but the discussion offends common sense. What are we really squabbling over here? the retention of images that are unrelated to the text? Why are we fighting over that?

What's happened here is that some editors have recognized a particular and real threat against the project - censorship by religious groups trying to enforce their particular worldview - and reacted to it in an extreme and uncompromising manner. They are insisting that these images remain on the article solely and precisely because they are offensive - not because they want to offend, mind you, but because they are engrossed in battling censorship and have lost the ability to discriminate censorship from normal editing. Nor is this problem restricted to this article (you can see it play out in multiple areas of the project: fringe articles, political articles, cult-related articles). It's depressing.

I'm tempted to say we should just scrap this discussion and start a new debate on how to encourage/enforce common sense on project. As things stand, discussions on any controversial subject end up falling down this same Carrollesque rabbit-hole, where every point is warped to the service of some idée fixe, and most participants are more concerned with chopping off the heads of their opponents than making any collaborative effort. It's dumb.

But, I suspect such a new debate will make even less progress than this one. C'est la vie... --Ludwigs2 18:19, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

It is a shame that an editor is allowed to lie...and lie and lie and lie again...about others with whom he disagrees. In all the forums and all the discussions that this topic has sprawled across in the last few weeks, I do not recall a single editor who stood up and said "I want to keep these images solely and precisely because they are offensive" (italics are Ludwigs2' words). He couches the above in pretty "I didn't mean to..." verbiage, but this line has been repeated often enough elsewhere that the meaning is clear; we're all a bunch of Muslim-hating bigots who use the Muhammad article as our personal Everybody Draw Mohammed Day platform, to actively humiliate and denigrate a group of people. In this fantasy, Ludwigs2 is the sole defender of decency and morality, battling us with both hands tied behind his back, blindfolded, pants on fire, while dangling from one toenail from a cliff. I hope the end is in sight to these drawn-out debates, as defending oneself from one who so freely and cavalierly misrepresents others' opinions is getting tiring. Tarc (talk) 01:07, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, with respect, he didn't call you or anyone else a Muslim-hating bigot. He said that his opponents are doing what they are doing "not because they want to offend, mind you, but because they are engrossed in battling censorship and have lost the ability to discriminate censorship from normal editing". If you translate that into "Muslim-hating bigots" out "to humiliate and denigrate a group of people", because that's what you hear him as really saying, then that's precisely what you accuse him of doing. It's probably best if both sides take each other at their actual words, rather than leaping to conclusions. Cheers. --JN466 01:24, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Jayen, not in those specific words. Instead, he's used terms such as "(we who object have) deep-seated anti-Islamic prejudice"[29], implies we are being racist.[30], states our rationale is "entrenched in racism",[31] implies other editors are acting unethically by not applying ethical reasoning[32] and so on. Don't want to fill the page with tons of diffs, but I can provide them to you on your or my talk page if you would like. So, I'd say, when you combine the few dozen such statements about other editors, it seems he is indeed calling us that. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 21:43, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Ridiculous...--Ludwigs2 22:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree, such conduct truly is - yet not a single apology has been forthcoming from you. :-/ Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 00:02, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
lol - even more ridiculous… --Ludwigs2 00:16, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I have been reading these words for 3-ish weeks now, and know precisely what is meant. Diffs can be provided if you like, though I'm sure most can be found in the ANI thread regarding Ludwigs' topic ban. Tarc (talk) 02:08, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
(Personal attack removed) --Ludwigs2 02:35, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Despite the fact that you've made reference to one of my very favorite books that final jab doesn't help ratchet down the tension. A bit more self-restraint from all concerned would be really good. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:42, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
yes, you're absolutely correct. I'll strike it. it's my worst flaw - I just can't control my tongue. --Ludwigs2 02:47, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The argument that the images aren't useful except to offend Muslims is absurd on several levels. First, not all Muslims will be offended. Second, the majority of the world isn't Muslim, thus rendering the overall argument questionable and hampering the ability to inform all people interested in the topic who are not offended by these images. Third, not all Muslims read English, have an internet connection or can access English wikipedia through filters and censorship and thus can not be offended by viewing the images. Fourth, there is now an option such that any reader can hide these images if desired. Sixth, this assumes, quite insultingly, that Muslims are so zealous and unreasonable that they would object to nonbelievers viewing historical images as part of an educational work. Seventh, unlike images of suffering, violence, sexuality or nudity, for which there are cultural taboos or an inherent disgust, offense or emotional harm at the sight of an image of a person is a learned, and strongly culturally-bound phenomenon. It is not comparable to images of pornography, torture, dead bodies or illness.

As for the specific idea that the images are not educational or useful beyond insult, this is also absurd. First, the images can be used to demonstrate different depictions of Muhammad in different cultures, time periods and artistic traditions - including the tradition of Western art as practiced by non Muslims. That is the most obvious use for images, in particular those coming from different Islamic traditions. Second, it has been argued that the images demonstrate nothing educational because they are not truly pictures of Muhammad, only artistic impressions or ideas of him, therefore there is no reason to include them. This argument is also invalid. To start, this argument would prohibit the use of any artistic image of any historical figure before photography on any wikipedia page since none are "really" the page's subject. Indeed, this would prohibit the use of any images, period, since the image itself is not the "thing" itself (see The Treachery of Images). No pictures of fruit, the Pyramids, shoes, buildings, etc. because none are equivalent to being in the actual presence of the object. Images are never "things", but still serve to illustrate the subject. They give context within the artistic (and hence cultural) tradition within which they were created, but also break up a monotony of text (incredibly useful) and capture in a small space the literary tradition of the "thing" being depicted - such as who was believed to be present and the location where the event occurred. Images exist throughout the world, in all cultures, at all times, because they are illustrative even if they are not exact. Merely because an image does not exactly represent a specific event is not a reason to remove it from any page.

There is no reason to suspect that the images on Muhammad exist solely to give offense. There is no reason to believe that all readers, or even all Muslim readers, would take offense. There is no reason to believe the images of Muhammad on Muhammad are any less educational or informative than they are on any other page. There is every reason to apply the same standards on Muhammad as we apply on every other page - insist the images are relevant, carefully selected and appropriately placed. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 15:59, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Sorry to be a pain but you went from fourth to sixth. Tivanir2 (talk) 20:31, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Edited my last post to move it to the right spot. Tivanir2 (talk) 20:33, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Has what occurred what you want for Wikipedia?

Please check to see if the treatment over Joe Faust and related articles each are what you want for Wikipedia. Thank you for your moment, Jimmy. Joefaust (talk) 15:36, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Not sure what you mean. Can you be more specific?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:17, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Jimbo. I was bullied in PGForum and then followed by the two into Wikipedia recently; in the efforts on Paragliding and on possible disambiguation of Paraglider, the Triangle control frame article was fully deleted and I was topic banned over hang gliding and paragliding. My politeness, on-topic effort seemed to only bring ire. Is the reduction that has occurred your wish? The broad work for years for Wikipedia seemed to vanish and be counted as naught. Joefaust (talk) 16:51, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

For convenience, the relevant ANI thread. Looie496 (talk) 00:50, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Part of the concern seems to be the unusual style of wording in text written by User:Joefaust and the notability level of parts of paraglider equipment, plus concerns of WP:COI in promoting certain ideas in articles. Meanwhile, there are too few copy-editor people willing to rewrite and adjust text for mainstream English word-flow, and so authors with unusual text-phrasing are met with resistance. In articles about towns in India, I try to rewrite awkward phrases (such as "Is this the problem you be having"), but I understand how many people have little patience for unusual phrasing and that could contribute to a topic-ban for some users. Some authors should perhaps slow down, take time to reword phrases, check facts, and make fewer edits to some articles. People who write very quick, but awkward posts, with numerous errors or incorrect links, can cause frustrations for other editors who feel too busy to handle those issues. Slow down and write more carefully. I hope all that makes sense. -Wikid77 (talk) 02:44, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Just FYI

Apparently I had been banned but did not know it. I appreciate your interest in noticing what has been reverted from the page. Nishidani stated that those who objected to the merger should contribute to the page, so I did so. Then I was told that I had been banned and could not do so, and Tom Reedy reverted what I had written. I have resupplied the reverted content to the talk page under the assumption that I am still allowed to talk although I am not allowed to edit. I hope this assumption was correct, as I am not trying to be completely banned. I am, however, trying to stand for some principle. The miscarriage of comprehension is deep in this instance. Thank you for your consideration. --BenJonson (talk) 05:02, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

The original notice was pretty clear: User talk:BenJonson#Topic ban are hereby banned indefinitely from all articles, discussions, and other content related to the Shakespeare authorship question, William Shakespeare, or Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, broadly construed across all namespaces. You may appeal this topic ban as provided in Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions#Appeal.

There was also a discussion at User talk:Nikkimaria#Requesting Status on "Ban". Johnuniq (talk) 07:58, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

It also seems difficult to claim ignorance of his topic ban when he posted at the enforcement proceedings. A deep miscarriage of comprehension? Tom Reedy (talk) 16:03, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

But, Tom, am I banned from mentioning or discussing this ban on Jimbo Wales' talk page?--BenJonson (talk) 17:43, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Not unless I ask you to stop. This is a bit of a diplomatic safe haven. I do sometimes ask people to stop talking about some things on this page - some discussions have no point and no end. But in general, I like to make sure that this page is a "safety valve" for discussion of issues that have gotten thorny elsewhere.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:47, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Richard Chartres, Bishop of London

I find it hard to believe there are no images of this hugely well known man available for us to use. --Kittybrewster 16:43, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

I had the pleasure of meeting him a few months back, and I think I have his card somewhere. If I can find his email address, I'll contact him and ask him.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:03, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
(e/c) Given that the chap is alive and well, perhaps all that is needed is that one of us who is geographically near and who has a modicum of talent at portraits should give him a ring and propose a quick session? I very much doubt that it would pose a significant issue beyond a few moments of his time. — Coren (talk) 17:04, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Or ask some users on Flickr - there's some creative commons licensed ones on there, but unfortunately not for commercial use. Polequant (talk) 17:14, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
[Update] I have emailed him to ask if he has one he'd like to donate. If he doesn't have one, I'll try to dig up a local photographer (maybe Allan Warren will be willing).--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:22, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
  • How is "Chartres" pronounced, as a French form or as "Char-terrs" like the street in the New Orleans French Quarter (one street behind Decatur Street along the Mississippi)? -Wikid77 04:24, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Staff number

In your personal appeal on main page you are writing that: "We have 400 servers and 93 staff.", but in Alan Sohn's appeal we can read, that "We have 400 servers and 73 staff." Small mistake but not unimportant, I think.. Danim (talk) 21:28, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like a typo in his. I'm not really involved in putting these up, so I wonder where the best place is to let people know about this!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:07, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
The "official" number is being kept up to date by the Foundation's human resources department at wmf:Template:STAFF-COUNT.
On m:Talk:Fundraising 2011/Jimmy Letter 002/en, the Fundraising team has replied to a similar question.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 23:19, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Financing of Wikipedia

Hello Mr Wales,

This question is a little private, but I am curious. Should you prefer to answer somewhere else than on Wikipedia, please feel free to email me at pierre (at) pierrepaquette (dot) net.

I am always happy to send my financial contribution to Wikipedia each year around this time of the year, when we see the appeals to send some money to finance Wikipedia. As I am not rich, I do not contribute much, but it comes from the heart. Should I ever be able to afford a larger contribution, I will be happy to add a few zeroes to the amount!

However, I was wondering about the contributions of the owners and staff of Wikipedia. Can you please inform me about that?

Best regards, CielProfond (talk) 02:30, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia doesn't have owners. It is owned by the Wikimedia Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose highest authority is the Board of Directors, who are not the owners and who are not compensated for their work. The Board has a tradition that everyone contributes, but specific donor amounts are generally kept private at the option of the donor. You'll probably find this an interesting read.
Similarly, for staff contributions, I'm sure many of them do donate, but I don't know how much.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:18, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Hello Jimbo, I like the tone of your appeal of this years. It's less "Give 5$ or the knowledge of humanity will collapse !¡1!" and more "give 5$ so we can keep it free of publicity and such". It's factual, accurate... Really more in the tone of wikipedia than what I saw in the past few years. It might not be as much appealing, but at least it's much more coherent with the beliefs you pretend to protect. Thanks for all. Iluvalar (talk) 20:14, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

"Pretend"? Is there any particular reason you are being rude to me?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:44, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimmy, I doubt he meant to offend. He most likely meant to say 'intend to protect' or 'claim to protect'. English is not his first language - see User:Iluvalar. Now go enjoy the rest of your day. :-) (talk) 18:30, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I am sorry I misunderstood.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:39, 10 November 2011 (UTC)


Hello, someday the world will recognize the extraordinary good that you did to us. Thank you very much.(César Martínez, Venezuela). --RASECZENITRAM (talk) 05:49, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Why you are saying that for? --Mohamed Aden Ighe (talk) 14:49, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
He's saying thank you to Jimbo for Wikipedia. That's all. (talk) 02:34, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Donations contact

Jimbo Wales, someone wanted to contact you regarding the fund-raiser, but was frustrated at the lack of links on the donate page [33].

If you wanted to respond, then given their comments and noting they've set up an email address, it might be best to use Special:EmailUser/Impossibletofindone.  Chzz  ►  06:55, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia's Neutrality in Religion?

mostly useful, partly not - I hope we can be more civil in the future
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

My understanding of "Neutrality" with respect to religion is that it means Wikipedia should not make any attempt to tell readers of any widespread religious persuasion that their beliefs are correct or incorrect, true or false. "Neutrality" to me means describing their beliefs impartially, using language letting the readers decide what religion to follow if any, instead of trying to decide for them, or worse yet, demonizing them for their beliefs.

Unfortunately there is a certain type of editor attracted to wikipedia that can never be satisfied with this understanding of neutrality. They are never satisfied and strive relentlessly to make wikipedia correspond with their own view of reality or spirituality. There are many competing views of reality in the world (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism have all had official state approval in various countries, not to mention China's current official view of reality, "Scientific Development Concept") No two religions in the world have the same view of reality or spirituality, and nobody yet to my knowledge has determined to everyone's satisfaction that his own view of reality and spirituality is what everyone else must be forced to subscribe to. It seems trivial to point these facts out, yet again despite the compromise on "Genesis Creation Narrative", leaving this compromise alone could never be good enough for editors who militantly feel that the article title needs to reflect their POV that Genesis is a "MYTH" and they are back now militating to abandon the previous compromise and retitle it "Genesis Creation Myth" to back up their POV.

No other word beside "myth" will ever be acceptable to them, until Wikipedia officially declares that their POV is correct and Genesis is a MYTH, and all other POVs are wrong. Any amount of reliable sources demonstrating that "MYTH" has always been seen as a polemical and prejudiced term when applied to the Quran, Bible, Book of Mormon, or Mahabharata, etc. are summarily dismissed by these bigots. Because in their circular view, only the sources that agree with their POV are correct and reliable, and all sources no matter how prominent, that suggest any other POV might exist on what "myth" means besides their POV, are inadmissible to them, says them. This is the kind of orchestrated anti-religious attack I see on Wikipedia that makes me want to throw up and never use it again. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 11:42, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't see how describing something a myth is necessarily an attack on any system of beliefs: it merely means something held to be true by tradition, but placed in doubt by a philosophy/a science. To say that a traditional narrative is in doubt is accurate: after all, not even the most committed proponents of, say, the Book of Genesis will tell you that everything in there is literal (not if they're reasonable, at least). To say that some points are metaphors or require a special understanding of the text is a recurrent type of argument in religious literature; scientific or philosophical literature tends not to use that kind of justification, simply because it doesn't and cannot operate with belief (or at least shouldn't). "Myth" is another one of those words that have a clear and self-evident purpose, actually resulting from a dialogue between religion and science, and it is hijacked in entrenched communities to make it sound like it's an attack on something (like the word "liberal" or the word "conservative").
It is those communities which proceed to push their (often sciolistic) interpretation on the rest of the world, attempting to reuse an old tactic of the politically correct left of the 1980s and '90s - that is, to pollute words that are at worst stupid until they become offensive buzzwords in the mind of John Q. Public. Whether we are or aren't religious, that kind of sophistry doesn't help anyone make sense of the complexities of the world. Your crusade against the very use of the word "myth" is part of that simplification process, and I hope no one here takes it seriously.
And let me add an essential point that you seem to be missing: the description of ideas as "mythical" can in no way be limited to religion. It has been used by the same scholarly communities to refer to most lay ideologies (notoriously so for fascism and communism), to advertising, to modern (wo)manhood, to life on other planets etc. What this means is that the critical mind, which we all supposedly possess, needs to differentiate between what is certain, what is probable, and what is esoteric. In the public sphere, these need to be distinguished for everybody's benefit, but privately you can believe in whatever you want to believe. From Cthulhu to phrenology, from the Immaculate Conception to From each according to his ability... Regards, Dahn (talk) 12:40, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I can't speak for others, but 'myth' to me implies something about an account not being 'Truth'. This comes across oddly to many people of belief who do not contend that the Genesis story is a historical account. It would be like calling The Rime of the Ancient Mariner a myth - the label just doesn't make sense. Christians will no doubt hold other beliefs about what the story means, in terms of the character of God or humanity, but that is a philosophical/theological point of view not a historical one. Polequant (talk) 15:03, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
The contrast between the dynamics at Talk:Muhammad/images and those at Talk:Genesis creation narrative is striking. On a central article for the topic of Islam we are using numerous culturally inappropriate semi-relevant pictures in spite of significant protest from Muslims, whereas at a somewhat more peripheral article for the topic of Christianity and Judaism we have already censored the title because of fringe sensibilities and are now supposed to censor the lead as well, removing the actual classification of the text. Meanwhile, the Islamic version of the myth remains located at Islamic mythology#Islamic creation belief without any opposition. Looks like a significant pro-Christian, anti-Muslim bias to me. Hans Adler 13:24, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, "culturally inappropriate semi-relevant pictures" is a product of your own opinion, not fact. Second, "significant protests from Muslims" against the Wikipedia's portrayal of Muhammad? Would you care to point out just where this happened? Tarc (talk) 13:34, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Tarc, I think your views on those pictures being anything other than "culturally inappropriate semi-relevant pictures" is the mere opinion here. And if you aren't aware of the ongoing protests against how we handle this issue, you've just not been paying attention. (That doesn't mean the protesters are right, of course, but putting our heads in the sands and pretending that objections don't exist isn't right at all.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:19, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
The images aren't "culturally inappropriate". They are "inappropriate within a single culture" - and not everyone within that culture (which is never monolithic) can access the images or will be offended by them if they can. Wikipedia aims to educate and inform all cultures as neutrally as possible. By refusing to host these images because it might offend a minority of the world's population, the much greater majority of the world has their ability to learn about a topic substantially impaired. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 16:11, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
That isn't what I mean. I mean I am persuaded by the argument that we have chosen very fringe images to illustrate Muhammad giving the reader an absolutely false impression of an important cultural issue. By "culturally inappropriate" I am not using coded language to refer to people's potential offense, but rather meaning those words quite literally. If we chose to illustrate our article on Wagner's ring cycle with images from a particular famous performance of parts of it, that would be culturally inappropriate, not least of which because they would misinform and mislead the reader.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:21, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Just to be clear, do you mean the present image selection on that article might lead the reader to think depictions of Muhammad are common, not exceptional? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:48, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
"Very fringe" is highly inappropriate language and should be avoided in this discussion - such images, and their modern equivalents, which we don't cover because there are none uploaded, are part of Shia iconography, as the 5 images on the Farsi WP article on Muhammad show. Shias are a minority in Islam, but the majority in Iran, Iraq, Bahrein, Lebanon, Azerbaijan etc, and a significant minority in Pakistan, India, the Gulf states, Afghanistan and Turkey. The images are especially objected to by Sunni Muslims from the Arabic-speaking world, and form an issue in Sunni-Shia tensions and conflict. We should avoid appearing to take sides on this. No doubt the illustrations to our Christian articles might give Muslim readers the impression that evangelical churches are decorated with paintings of Madonnas and saints. Johnbod (talk) 17:19, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Regarding "ongoing protests", I will ask again; where? I certainly hope you can point to something better than the waxing and waning IPs and WP:SPAs that show up form time to time to demand removal, the anonymous and uncertifiable petition from in 2009, or waving a vague hand at general protesting in the world, e.g. the Danish cartoon protesters. Tarc (talk) 17:49, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

If I can take a stab at the more general point here, we have a significant confusion on project about the definition of the word 'Neutral'. Roughly it put, many editors confound 'neutrality' with 'truth'. In other words, you get this split in understanding:

Neutrality as Truth
Wikipedia's purpose is to seek out and present what is true while removing or minimizing what is false. All information can be compared to objective reality (generally through skeptical methods), and the encyclopedia must actively oppose influences which seem to promote 'non-true' positions.
Neutrality as Balance
Wikipedia's purpose is to accurately portray topics in their proper real-world contexts. All information is valuable in its own right without regard to its objective facticity, and the encyclopedia must balance viewpoints to achieve a fair and unprejudiced description of the topic.

The oddest thing about this confusion is that it's not a problem on big issues: 'Neutrality as Truth' and 'Neutrality as Balance' are perfectly aligned when we're discussing, say, the theory of gravity. But the distinction becomes deadly on little issues. Skeptical methods, unfortunately, have a strong tendency to inject truth into vague areas, producing a kind of synthesis that's very difficult to deal with, because the editors actually think they are defending the truth. For a few examples (chosen from both current and past debates):

  • the Muhammad images, where editors assert that Wikipedia is a 'secular' encyclopedia, injecting an anti-religious perspective as 'truth' and actively denying any religious participation on religious articles
  • alternative medicine articles, where editors consistently insist that articles need to be written from the perspective of modern medicine - because modern medicine is 'true' - and as much as possible only allow the inclusion of critical sources in order to paint a negative picture of the topic
  • fringe articles (like creationism), where the main goal of many editors is to debunk the topic rather than describe it
  • religious minority articles (like Messianic Judaism, or the Myth issue that Til raised above) where editors take pains to inject the idea the mainstream ideas are 'proper' and the minority is 'abnormal'

In short, we end up with a sort of 'Tyranny of the Mainstream', in which off-beat topics are actively trounced rather than properly contextualized. It produces some very embarrassing articles, and a whole lot of pointless conflict.

In my view we should not be engaging in this kind of 'skeptical synthesis' - which boils down to the odd assertion that anything not proven by science is false and must be opposed - anywhere on project. But I've never been able to get this argument across anywhere I've tried. it's a problem. --Ludwigs2 16:25, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps the reason the argument doesn't get across is the fact that an encyclopedia is an epistemological context in which it doesn't make sense? "Neutrality as balance" as you define it is entirely incompatible with the idea of constructing a collection of knowledge. By definition, anything that is known to not be true has no place in any sort of balance; neutrality is reporting on the existence of the belief (and its prevalence, or social context, and so on) but not in pretending that it holds credence it does not in order to assuage (a subset of) readers. — Coren (talk) 16:36, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
What defines a fringe image? Muhammad is a historical figure for more than just Muslims, selecting only images from a particular slice if time and culture is inappropriate, but selecting multiple images is (particularly if they illustrate different slices of time and culture). In the "Ring Cycle" metaphor, it would be inappropriate to lead with images of Bugs Bunny dressed as a Valkyrie, but it would be appropriate to include such an image in the "cultural impact" section; however if Wagner disliked pictures of his opera being shown, we would still, within the limits of copyright, include such images on our pages despite his dislike.
"Neutrality" means "as represented in appropriate sources." Images are not sources, making it tricky to conclude about their use in terms of neutrality. For the most part, regarding images we are limited to whatever pool we can draw from and must make choices based on that. While the most "culturally appropriate" image makes sense for {{Muhammad}} (a calligraphy of Muhammad's name) because it represents the majority of the faithful within the culture, we should not be limited to solely that image for the entire article. Images should be educational and relevant, "neutrality" doesn't really apply.
The distinction isn't between "big" and "little" issues, it's actually a distinction between scientific and nonscientific issues. While all articles should describe the topic, when it comes to effectiveness of medical topics or the historical accuracy of the bible the description should clearly and immediately be followed by an indication that science doesn't support it. This is particularly exacerbated when political movements like creationism and complementary and alternative medicine, which assert based on antiquity or subjective appeal without testing or proving. These articles should cite scientific research when discussing whether it works, and whether there is any scientific validity to its premises. Arguments about scientific theories can not be compared to arguments about religion - science is predicated on seeking an objective truth which does exist and is supported by data. Skepticism is irrelevant to religion. Religion lacks objective truth, pays little attention to empirical evidence, and is little more than opinion within a specific cultural framework (and sometimes within a logical one if you're talking about theology). The issue of images in Muhammad isn't one of skepticisms/atheism versus faith/religion. I don't think images of Muhammad should be included in the page because I am an atheist. I think images of Muhammad should be used because they are educational and illustrative. Ludwigs2's statements may apply to other areas I have disagreed with him in such as acupuncture and astrology, but they don't apply to Muhammad.
As far as "tyranny of the mainstream" goes, even in articles on minority viewpoints the mainstream viewpoint should be clearly expressed. Wikipedia is based on the tyranny of the mainstream, as demonstrated in reliable sources. That's what NPOV means.
This is expanding beyond the ostensibly religious subject that heads the page. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 17:09, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec) I think Ludwigs2 goes a bit too far occasionally and I don't agree with him abstractly on how Wikipedia should be neutral, but in practice he usually puts his finger on real problems even if he often overstates things a bit. To stay in his framework, I think we need to find the right balance between neutrality as truth and neutrality as balance. We want neither walled gardens that describe religious or fringe topics as if the outside world didn't exist, nor debunking pieces that impart no information about a religious or fringe topic other than the various ways in which it is objectively false. A good encyclopedia article on such a topic looks as if written by a non-believing scholar on the topic. It is not necessary to believe in Islam, alternative medicine, creationism or messianic Judaism to become an expert on such a topic, but any real expert will love his or her field of speciality with all its quirks. An expert may say very explicitly that transubstantiation or homeopathy has no shred of evidence for it, but will then proceed to share and explain all the interesting cultural constructs that have been built around it. This is what distinguishes sceptical experts from assembly line sceptics, who don't even want to know more about all the rubbish they are debunking.
As a practical example, if adherents of pseudoscience A practise rituals B, C, D, E and F for no good reason but consider them of the utmost importance, then it is our job to document rituals B, C, D, E and F in detail in our article on A, even if there isn't much intelligent that we can write by way of debunking them -- as is usually the case due to lack of sources. A small, sometimes tiny, amount of framing as pseudoscience is enough. (As some old Arbcom case said: It's enough to describe someone as a medium (spirituality). This makes the pseudoscience context amply clear, and any debunking that isn't related specifically to the person should happen at the main article.) Hans Adler 17:15, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Exactly. A perhaps more topical example might be Christianity: there is no question that it has been one of the primary shaper of most of Western culture for the past two millennia; its institutions and beliefs have had tremendous influence in every sphere of endeavour, in our laws, in our societal constructs, as well as arts and intellectual pursuits. I don't think you will find anyone to argue that it should not be covered in detail. This does not translate to any kind of necessity for "neutrality's" sake that that coverage presupposes the "correctness" of any of those beliefs, or that article contents should obey the tenets of that religion.

Likewise, parts of Islam have a prohibition against showing images of Mohammed. It would be stupid (and more than a little ridiculous) to go out of our way to offend those who hold that belief, but neither should religious dogma dictate the contents of our articles. Avoiding those illustrations because of the religious rule against them makes no more sense than rewriting the lede of psychiatry to describe it as false and evil to conform to other beliefs. — Coren (talk) 17:32, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

The argument is indeed not that we should let dogma dictate the content of our article, but that images which are against the "dogma" (to the extent that one can be said to exist) are entirely overrepresented. Cf. [34] / [35], also [36] / [37] (and note that the latter, despite its humorous title, is written by a top religious scholar). --JN466 01:08, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Neutrality to me means using logic. Logic trains us to view things impartially and to eschew emotional arguments which are not neutral. Lack of neutrality can generally be traced to emotional arguments that fit the pattern of logical fallacies. I see a logical fallacy being promoted known as 'slippery slope' which is common in questions of ethics: "if it's ok to offend Muslims who object to depictions of Muhammad, then therefore it is equally ok and neutral to antagonize adherents of any other belief system for the same reason, without having to remember what that reason is". That is not a logical argument at all; that is a fallacy of emotion. Logic and neutrality both demand impartiality. I wasn't asking for help with the Muhammad image problem, and I don't see wisdom in turning to that dispute for authoritative answers on how a distinst dispute should be handled. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:20, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

On wikipedia, neutrality is demonstrated with sources, not asserted by editors. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 17:40, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Two separate comments.
Firstly, I would agree that there are differences in the way in which we treat different religions on Wikipedia which might be considered unfair. But my take would be that the problem lies in us being too tolerant of material that represents a Judeo-Christian worldview. We carry quite a lot of material, for example, which treats the Bible as a legitimate source for historical fact. That's a semi-legitimate function of the way we work, because there are intermediary reliable source which do the same thing, and we have an inescapable editorial bias (we are overwhelmingly from a Christian or Jewish background). I don't think the answer to that is to lower our standards in terms of incorporation of religious viewpoints generally. "Creation myth" is just a standard academic term for religious stories about how it all began ([38]). What's happened recently is that we have taken a decision that this terminology is unacceptable regarding only one religious worldview - the one we are most familiar with. IMO this is highly problematic. Is the logical extension for us to decide that there is no such thing as a "myth" and that each one is instead rightfully a "narrative"?
Regarding the controversies over images of Mohammed, I would note that Muslim wikipedians have do not seem to have taken part in recent discussions, for whatever reason. I worry that some editors may be taking for granted the idea that Muslims generally find the current situation with the article intolerable and will not be able to appreciate different shades of opinion on the matter. I think this may be based on stereotyping. I wonder if the idea that we need to treat Muslims with kid gloves may be as problematic to many Muslims as the images. --FormerIP (talk) 17:24, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Agreed re: FIP's statement about Muslims taking offence, I've made this very point part of my analysis here.
Hans, how does one "debunk" a religion? Or a ritual? A specific religious belief that contradicts what is scientifically know, this can be debunked (because it's an empirical claim) and any article discussing it should point out that it is, to the best of our knowledge, wrong. I would agree that an article about a "psychic" such as John Edwards doesn't need an extensive discussion about how all mediums are frauds - but it would warrant a discussion of specific predictions or claims that this medium has made that turned out to be wrong, or that James Randi has pointed out is an example of cold reading.
The bible (or the Iliad for that matter) can be used as a historical document when discussing topics like ancient Jewish peoples and cities, though any corroboration or contradiction within archeology should be present as well. It can't be used as a factual document for empirical claims regarding the creation of the world, or the origin of species. The bible and other religious texts would be starting points for discussions like these, and would play a far less prominent role than the relevant archaeological papers.
This discussion seems to mix up multiple issues - religion (a cultural issue), science (an empirical issue), images of Muhammad (a specific cultural/religious issue), scholarship and in particular minority scholarship (a wikipedia-specific sourcing and reliability issue). WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 17:40, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I wish Wikipedia were more neutral in relation to religion. Most of our articles relating to religion are biased towards that religion's viewpoint. That isn't surprising but it is certainly a problem. And they probably are biased more towards a conservative view of that religion. I doubt that Til, for instance, would claim to speak for all Christians. He's characterising the situation in any case, Genesis is technically a creation myth (note that Til doesn't mention that argument is about using the term 'creation myth', not about calling Genesis a myth), but that is not all it is, although this isn't the place to go into that in detail. And it's surely pov to insist that 'Genesis creation myth' is the only acceptable title for the article. Dougweller (talk) 18:09, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Section break

(massive edit conflict)
@ Coren: This statement will pain you (sorry) but epistemologically speaking, 'truth' is a red herring. We do not have access to the ontos underpinning reality, and no scientist will ever claim that we do. What we have is theories that are correct within the limits of our ability to measure the world. 'Science' is nothing more than a set of elaborated beliefs backed up by strongly structured observations, and it can't be more than that without turning it into a belief in its own right and sacrificing its empirical underpinnings.
For example, let's take a fringe page I worked on a long time ago: Orgone. Now, anyone who thinks about orgone scientifically recognizes that as a scientific theory it's a load of crud. it's a grandiose hodgepodge of Freudian psychology, religious mysticism, and pseudoscientific ideation with no more than a shred of replicable evidence to its name. That being said, it's not false, it's just a wildly bad theory. It hasn't been refuted the way the phlogiston was, or exposed as a scientific hoax like Piltdown man, and there are still people lurking in odd corners of the world who use it (by their own lights) meaningfully. Trying to say that it's false goes well beyond what science can or has said about orgone - we can only get there on-project by using one form or another of synthesis. Yet it's precisely this distinction - orgone as bad theory vs. orgone as false - that caused trouble on the page, for exactly the reasons I outlined above.
No editor in their right mind would allow Orgone to be added to physical cosmology - as a cosmological theory orgone is just plain bad, and doesn't deserve a place there. But what about a reader who is interested in Orgone in its own right, as part of the history of ideas? I doubt such a reader needs or wants to wade through wiki-editor opinion-mongering about how stupid and crazy the concept of Orgone actually is. The badness of the theory is self-evident is an unbiased presentation of the topic; it doesn't need to be debunked as ontologically false; it just needs to be described as what it is in a balanced manner.
It's this arena of the 'History of Ideas' where the neutrality-as-truth concept starts to unravel. Many ideas in the history of ideas are wrong, yet still need fair presentation and explanation. Why should they be treated less dispassionately than other ideas?
@ WLU: I actually suggested that we create a section on Muhammad called 'art historical depictions' which would be a home for images of the prophet - such a section (as I explained) would have provided a justification for having the images there which would have quelled any objections. The idea was unceremoniously and vocally shot down (you'll have to ask the other editors why - I never got a good reason for it).
Aside from that, I'm troubled by a couple of your points:
  • are you actually suggesting that images should not be covered by NPOV? As I've said elsewhere, that opens a huge loophole for POV-pushing - find the right controversial image, push it onto the page, and laugh as the 'other side' squirms because they can't remove it. That should not be encouraged.
  • 'big' vs. 'little' (while maybe not the best terms) are not 'scientific' vs. 'nonscientific'. it actually marks the difference between where science is applicable and where science is not applicable. science is a very powerful tool within it's established demesne - where it can build theories and subject them to empirical observation - but outside that it's not particularly useful. Science can tell us that there is no empirical evidence that God exists, but it can only infer that God does not exist, and is of no use whatsoever in telling us what we should think about that. My concern is that we restrict science to saying what science actually says, and not try to infer more.
  • NPOV means "representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources", as it says in its first line. that is not a statement that supports the claim that wikipedia is a tyranny of the majority.
You seem to be arguing against inclusiveness, as though there is some singular 'neutral' perspective that we should find and always use in all articles. That seems to me to be about as far from the spirit of NPOV as it is possible to get without actually ignoring the text. --Ludwigs2 18:21, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Except that "fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias" very specifically does not mean "uncritically, and from a sympathetic point of view". Your own example, orgone, is especially illustrative: it makes no attempt to defend the concept as anything but a thoroughly discredited pseudoscientific hypothesis. It details its history, explains the underlying beliefs, and even discuss some of its adherents. It makes no attempt to validate the hypothesis, and the article isn't written "in-universe" begging the question of the validity of the underlying beliefs. Exactly everything our articles on religion tend to fail at.

And no, I said nothing along the lines that images are not bound by NPOV. Indeed, I've stated the exact opposite: selection of images should very specifically not be dictated by a religious POV – whatever that POV is. Oops, that wasn't directed at me! — Coren (talk) 19:34, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

As for your point on knowledge, well, solipsism might be an interesting intellectual exercise but it won't write an encyclopedia. Absolutely every reasonable definition of knowledge has "justified true belief" as its foundation, and "nothing is really knowable" may well be a common rallying cry of apologists for "faith-based" way of thinking but it's not what we do here. We're working towards "[...] freely share in the sum of all knowledge." — Coren (talk) 19:04, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

If a section on depictions of Muhammad existed, it would be a great place to discuss the history of iconoclasm, key images demonstrating how depictions of Muhammad have changed within the culture if Islam (such as showing his face to veiling his face to replacing his face or body with a flame) and an image related to modern controversies such as the Dutch one (I would suggest this one). It would not be appropriate to use that section of the page as a "holding pen" in which all images are shoved and the rest of the page empty. Like most pages on historical figures and events, if we have paintings that illustrate specific periods of his life or actions taken, we should use them - we have many to choose from covering his birth, infancy, youth, call to prophecy, first revelation, preaching, trip to Mecca, night journey, conquests, death and even time in heaven. If this were any other page, this would be without controversy bar the decision of which to use. Again - a section on depictions is valuable and I would argue necessary. Using that section to hold all images is inappropriately censoring the rest of the page to the detriment of the article.
I'm not suggesting images be covered by NPOV simply because they are not sources and NPOV covers content; bar one line in WP:UNDUE images are not mentioned and can easily be handled, like most POV disputes, by editors discussing and accepting consensus.
Has any editor suggested the use of science to prove one religion is true at the expense of any other, or that science can determine which image of Muhammad is appropriate to use? If not, I'm not sure why we're discussing it. I'm well aware of the distinctions between science and religion and why science is inherently superior in virtually every field. Science should not get absolute say over all articles on wikipedia, but when religion attempts to make empirical claims, science should carry equal (sometimes more) weight.
Regards your third bullet, the key for me is the word "proportionately". In this regard, wikipedia should be a tyranny of the majority in that the most weight and the most text should go to what the most scholars believe, and that this opinion should appear first, and be given "right of rebuttal" where possible for minority viewpoints. However, those minority viewpoints should be included up to a certain threshold, and tiny minorities (such as the idea that satanic ritual abuse was real) should only appear in lesser articles.
I hope this demonstrates that you are misunderstanding my points. Wikipedia should be inclusive, but not indiscriminate. Those wishing to assert a majority view should do so by reference to the best, most reliable sources they can find, in quantity. Those who wish to include minority views should use the best, most reliable sources they can find. Those who can't justify their inclusions with reference to reliable sources should not be supported in their effort to add text. I don't find this to be controversial, it seems quite squarely in keeping with NPOV.
Regards Muhammad, the discussion of iconoclasm and depictions of Muhammad in Islam should be supported with sources. The page itself should be peppered with images relevant to the text they accompany. The idea that Muslims are unable to contain their offense at the idea of a non-Muslim seeing an image of their prophet is infantilizing, offensive and ultimately irrelevant. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 19:06, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@ Coren: I was pointing to Orgone for its past conflicts, not its current state. The current article is mostly my writing (the editors I had that long-ago dispute with are not currently active on project, for differing reasons), and - setting aside some tweaks and expansions it could use - I'm reasonably content with it. It was not always that way; you should see some of the heavy-handed language that had to be discarded to get it to this state.

With respect to your other point: the epistemological/ontological divide is not solipsistic, not unless you consider the process of scientific induction itself to be solipsism. Because that is the basic premise of induction: we observe individual cases, we infer general rules, and those general rules are always subject to revision by further observation. justified belief is not truth; In fact, a big part of the development of science was an effort to get away from proclamations of prima facie 'truth' and base scientific authority in the justification of theories through presented evidence. The problems I'm pointing out above occur because some editors present a secular, scientific viewpoint as a prima facie 'truth' in its own right, one that applies anywhere and everywhere. That is science used in an unscientific way.

More to the point, though, 'knowledge' is more complex than you are allowing. This isn't a 'faith-based' vs. 'science-based' dichotomy; There are many things to 'know' about faiths that are utterly unrelated to science, but we shouldn't think less about that knowledge just because it's a-scientific. I think we all get to caught up in the 'special case' scenarios like Creationism (where faith confronts secular science directly in an absurd effort to reassert religious authority). Most of the time, faith and science are orthogonal domains, and trying to subsume either into the other is misguided. --Ludwigs2 20:31, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't think it is. Ultimately, we need some operating understanding of what knowledge is if we are to collect it, and no school of though I am aware of strays far from "justified true belief" even though there are caveats with too literal an interpretation. The distinction isn't science vs. not science, it's reality vs. faith; that science is currently the most successful method for gathering knowledge about the world is a side effect (and an objective) of the method, but it is in no way the only method. Nevertheless, nobody can know something that is false or unfalsifiable for any meaningful meaning of "knowledge". — Coren (talk) 23:09, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Coren: You and I both know exactly what unicorns look like and how they behave, and we even have an article on them. That is certainly knowledge about something that is false. You and I both know that Christians and Jews have a God they sometimes call Yahweh and Muslims call God Allah, and in all three cases that God has definable characteristics (omnipotent, omniscient, etc…) That is certainly knowledge about something unfalsifiable. You are presenting a simplistic view of knowledge in which only 'simple facts' exist and all information of cultural relevance is excluded, and I suppose within that simplistic worldview it is meaningless to talk about anything false. But if we wrote Wikipedia from that worldview it would be a very limited and mostly useless encyclopedia.
We are dealing with a faith that contains hundreds of millions of people. Do we have knowledge about the tenets of that faith? We sure do. Are those tenets unfalsifiable? Yes, clearly. Do we ignore those tenets because they are unfalsifiable? No, clearly not. Unless you are able to state categorically that all religion is false (which you can't - that's a secular belief which is also unfalsifiable), then NPOV insists that we account for all significant perspectives. This does not mean (obviously) that we let religious viewpoints run rampant over the project, but we do not exclude them on topics of importance to their faith any more than we would exclude a physicist from working on physics articles.
You are trying to narrow the focus of the project down to that smallish segment of human knowledge that is covered by scientific authority, and dismiss the rest as irrelevant. You might as well suggest that we delete all our articles on poetry because there are no mathematical models for producing it. Or maybe you'd suggest that we replace all the sample poems on those pages with really bad poetry, because allowing good poetry is 'poetic advocacy', and that can only lead to mobs of aesthetes overrunning the project making everything prettier. Ghastly prospect… --Ludwigs2 17:54, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
No, I know no such thing and neither do you. I know unicorns do not, in fact, exist and that they almost certainly never did. What we know, is what fictional accounts of that imaginary creature are, what they describe it to be, and so on. They have cultural and artistic influence and our article sets out that knowledge. I'm not narrowing the focus of the project, you are simply trying to play semantics to stretch it to fit your agenda, and I'm calling you on it.

That said, this is now veering off-topic and your descent into attacking a position I have never held (where in blazes did you pull that poetry argument from?) shows you are no longer interested or capable of discussing this rationally. — Coren (talk) 01:45, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

First off, the 'poetry' thing was a little bit of humor. If you've been paying attention, you'll see it as a riff on the very common (if hysteria-ridden) argument that if we remove any of these images we'll have muslim editors removing images from all over the project. smile and relax, it's all good. Face-smile.svg
Second, you seem to be doing that peculiar wikipedia thing where you agree with what I said while making it sound as though we are in violent opposition. We know what unicorns look like, we know that they do not exist: that's all I was suggesting. Knowledge is not restricted to what we know is 'true'. but there's no sense in getting tangled up in this epistemological puddle-jumping contest any further here. If you want to discuss it more, let's make a new section here or move it to some other page. --Ludwigs2 05:09, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

@WLU: actually, my response is simpler than I feared. I don't actually disagree with you for the most part; we're just using words differently (what you're talking about is what I consider NPOV; Tyranny of the Mainstream, for me, is a much harsher position that actively suppresses non-mainstream views). The main point we're miscommunication on is apparently the whole religion thing, which isn't 'science' per se but rather 'secularism' (or if you want to be uber-precise, the cultural bias in the west towards science-based secularism). The problem on Muhammad (and on other religious pages) lies in editors entering the discussion with the ultra-secular premise that all religion is valueless. In fact, it is the case, I think, that religion is largely valueless for scientific claims. But faith has a value of its own for a lot of our readers, and I don't see the purpose in ignoring that value programmatically. The whole conflict over the Muhammad images started because I asked that we evaluate the purpose of the images in the article with respect to their potential offense (on the assumption that editors would naturally feel that offending people without cause was a bad thing). That assumption proved to be mistaken, obviously, but the point still stands: our reader's religious preferences may not have a lot of impact on our decisions, but it ought to have some sway. forbidding it to have an impact in even the most trivial cases seems perverse. --Ludwigs2 21:09, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Having read many thousands of words on Talk:Muhammad/images and having just re-read your initial comments, I find your statement at odds with your initial posts. I don't recall any editors saying extra images should be placed on the page to piss off Muslims. I recall numerous saying the images should not be removed because of a particular religious faith's beliefs about images of Muhammad [39], [40], [41]. If we were on the same page, then there probably wouldn't be thousands of words sprawling across half a dozen pages and no assumption that editors are advocating for images of Muhammad purely out of spite. Drawing in the purported conflict between science, religion and by implication atheism seems to read a rather lot into the situation. If we are truly on the same page, you probably would have ceased advocating for reducing the number of images on Muhammad, particularly based on the WMF resolution. Either that or someone changed your mind during the discussion - in which case why is this conversation continuing across so many pages? Our readers preferences regarding images, religious or otherwise, are already strongly accounted for to the limits of software vis a vis the numerous means of filtering out whole classes of images. Merely because we do not actively pander to a minority of an already minority religious group in the world does not mean active efforts to offend. That assumption is itself quite offensive. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 21:34, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Ludwigs tends to get a bit tangled up when making these arguments. Some days the rest of us are being accused of intentionally insulting Muslims by using images in the Muhammad article, other days it is ok to use images are long as they are relevant to the subject matter (though he feels that threshold isn't met for this article), and then there's days like today where the argument is a fallback on "religious preferences ought to have some sway". I cannot overstate enough to the 3rd that "no, it shouldn't". Tarc (talk) 22:15, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I usually try to avoid discussions like this, but I tend to disagree to some extent. I do not think that religious preferences should hold sway but, at the same time, I think it is possible to have respect for the subjects we write about. When writing about a religion, we are ultimately writing about the people who believe that religion, and I don't see how it hurts to show them some basic human dignity.
When writing about religion, I try to keep in mind that it is a belief held by people and should be treated with care to accurately define their belief. I find it helpful to look at how other encyclopedias treat them, like the Encyclopedia of religion and society or other such publications. I think it is important to remember that, to the believer of a religion, it most certainly is the truth. Above it all, I think we also have a responsibility to define the religion accurately for those who are interested in finding out about it, but without preaching it or proclaiming it to be the only "truth."
On the pictures of Muhammad, I would also have some consideration for the people who believe. I would seriously ask myself if the pictures are absolutely necessary to define the subject. Don't get me wrong, I really like pictures, especially if they assist in visualizing the text, but I would really question if they are necessary. I've never understood why it is offensive, but I can still respect the fact that it is. To use an analogy, if I was writing an article about, say ... a rape, I would seriously ask myself if revealing the name of the victim is really necessary. I may have the name, maybe even a photo, but I would seriously have to consider whether I should publish it, simply because I can, or if the subject deserves a little respect for privacy. Zaereth (talk) 23:32, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
The problem is, to write articles that take religious restrictions or beliefs into account, you're making a bad or incomplete article for the rest of the readers that are not adherents of the faith. That's where the "not censored" concept comes in; we can't prohibit or water down material just because a small group of people find it objectionable. Doubly so if it cheapens the experience for the rest of us. Tarc (talk) 01:03, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
WLU - I'll tell you, I find it incomprehensible how many editors on this topic cannot keep cause and effect straight in their heads. so let me be absolutely clear: I do not know what causes editors to insist on having these images on the article. I can't see any sense to it myself, and every time I ask the question I get a mouthful on why the images can't be removed but nary a peep on why they're there in the first place. However, the effect is unambiguous and clear: including these controversial images makes Wikipedia look like it is snubbing a major world religion for no appreciable reason. Now, my friends over on Muhammad (like Tarc here) are doing a great job spinning out weaselly ad hominems to make me look like the bad guy (see Tarc's snide little post above), and who knows, maybe they'll succeed and I can count my days left on project in single digits. whatever… But my argument has always been the same, and it's always been about the project itself rather about the people involved. Using these controversial images without some overriding justification sends an en clair message, one that's impossible to miss: Wikipedia itself is telling the Muslim community that they are not worthy of any respect. You can spin that any way you like - I've heard them all, so no surprises there - but I'm telling you it's a piss-poor attitude for an encyclopedia to take. But again, whatever: at the end of the day you're going to have to sit down with your own conscience and make your own choices.
It aint rocket science...
If you want to talk more about the Muhammad thing, post above; let's not turn every durned thread into a rehash of the same ridiculousness. At any rate, I'm not going to respond to anything more about it in this thread, so... --Ludwigs2 23:24, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
What causes editors to "include images on the page"? WP:IMAGE and their unambiguous usefulness on pages. The idea that wikipedia is telling Muslims they are not worth of respect (and again, the idea that Muslims are so thin skinned the can't tolerate the thought that non-Muslims might look at an image of their prophet is insulting) is untenable, considering the specific instructions on how to remove these images from your personal preference, including these images explicitly. And if this ground has been trod repeatedly (and it looks like it has), I can see why editors, faced for the fifth, tenth or fiftieth repetition of the same argument, might be abrupt. Previous consensus should not be revisited unless there is something new. Arguably the WMF's new resolution is worth discussion, but only to the discussion whether the new resolution alters things. Looks pretty clear that it doesn't, both in the discussion and in my own analysis. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 23:58, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Ludwigs: You say "including these controversial images makes Wikipedia look like it is snubbing a major world religion for no appreciable reason". But, on this central point, I just don't think there good evidence that you are correct. And that's something I find dismaying about the whole campaign. On the one hand, it seems to me to be just based on pure assumption about what Muslims think. On the other, it fails to take into account the possibly disastrous effect on Muslims of being perceived as being fanatical and blinkered. This is something that disempowers them and gives strength to organisations such as the English Defence League.

I seriously suspect that if you were to put a group of Islamic scholars in a room and ask them to debate this issue, they would do do for an extended period, not reach a definitive conclusion and express opinions representing every shade of opinion you can think of. Just like us. Because people have diverse opinions and Muslims are no exception. And because it is a complicated issue. Sharia does not tend to simplify real-world issues into neat certainties. (BTW, the group of scholars I tried this with escaped, so I can't be entirely sure). --FormerIP (talk) 01:05, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Frankly, the issue is not that we have pictures of Muhammad in Wikipedia (no one in this discussion e.g. has argued against having an article on Depictions of Muhammad that includes examples). The issue is why we have so many in the article on Muhammad, given that scholars tell us that such images are rarities—that they form a special, always controversial category in Islamic art that is neither iconic nor representative of how Muhammad is portrayed. --JN466 01:58, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe your take of scholarly opinion on the matter is accurate. Some may feel that way, yes, but once again we're back to dealing with a minority opinion. Though I do not feel it would gain much traction, your position at least invites dialog. The problem is that we've had users..or a user...who came to the Muhammad article making demands, demands that echo about 95% of the IPs and SPAs that have hit the article talk page for years. Demands on top of insults and denigrations of the editors who disagreed made a perennially-tense topic area pretty much explode. Tarc (talk) 04:34, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
It is not scholars that say they are rarities; wikipedians are claiming that they are rarities, that they are "fringe" and have no educational value. But scholars, after events like the fatwah against Salman Rushdie, 9/11 and the Danish cartoons, have given careful explanations of the historic use of images in Islamic art. Scholars like Omid Safi, Jytte Klausen and Timothy Winter have written extensively on the historic images; as has the late Ernst J. Grube, the first curator of the Islamic collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Safi, born in Iran and now Professor at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, has produced the book "Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters", which explains in great detail the historic images. Much of what he writes contradicts what Jayen466 has been claiming; many of the Persian miniatures were painted by Sunni muslims. Safi wrote an article for the Washington Post on this.[42] The Medieval images have the same status as Books of Hours in France, i.e. they were produced for a small nobility. Both Britain and to a much larger extent France have significant Muslim populations. Apart from institutes/museums devoted to the Arab/Islamic world, the two national libraries, the British Library and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF), have extensive collections. These have been on display in exhibitions devoted to understanding the history of Islamic art (still viewable on the websites of the Fitzwilliam Museum [43][44] and the BNF [45]). The Metropolitan Museum has also recently reopened its Islamic collection after remodeling on 1 November 2011.[46] (note the illuminated manuscript of the Prophet Muhammad's Night Journey on Buraq). The purpose of these exhibitions is educational: to explain the history and diversity of Islamic art and culture to the general public. At a time when wikipedia/wikimedia is begging art collections to make available digital images of their older works of art, it would seem odd that they would contemplate taking a stance so much at odds with the directors and curators of those collections. It's hard to tell why people started using the wiki-word "fringe" in this case. It is worth remembering that some of the Persian miniatures under discussion date from the same period as the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. Mathsci (talk) 07:19, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Ernst J. Grube, writing about these images, said, "Yet for many reasons, a fully developed Muslim iconography – in the sense that the West would understand it – never emerged in Islamic culture, although representations of Muhammad comprise a special category of Muslim religious painting that developed within the framework of Islamic art. They too, often appear in the larger context of a general world history. And however unexpectedly the image may appear, there are also illustrated Muslim texts that deal specifically with the life of the Prophet and, even more astonishingly, with the metaphysical and highly mysterious mi'raj, the journey made by the Prophet during the course of just one night through all the Heavens and into Hell. Such paintings bear comparison with the cycles of the Life Christ in Christian churches or manuscripts." Comparing Islamic religious art to Christian religious art, he writes nevertheless, "... after the acceptance of Christianity by Rome in the fourth century under Constantine, the change from pure symbol to unmistakably Christian imagery was fairly rapid. Islam, by contrast, never officially adopted a figural religious iconography; indeed, the very lawfulness of images was hotly debated in the early Islamic centuries. In mosques there are no cycles of paintings illustrating the prophet's life and deeds comparable to those of the life of Christ or the saints in Christian churches or, for that matter, the life of the Buddha in Buddhist temples. Thus, that one of the most extraordinary images of the Prophet's Night Journey should appear in poetic texts written in Persian, where it is apparently "out of context", suggests that such pictures comprise a highly elusive form of religious imagery ..." (Peerless Images, p. 133). This is not a description of mainstream Islamic art, but expressly identified as a description of a special, geographically and temporally limited subcategory of it. --JN466 08:01, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
These are from the texts that accompany the images of the Night Journey in his 2002 book. The images are taken from the 1436 Timorid manuscript from Herat in Afghanistan in the BNF in Paris. I provided links to images from the book in the discussion on Talk:Muhammad/Images where each of the 30 or so plates has an individual description. The images are quite representative of art of the period, with their inscriptions in several languages. The depictions of hell are considered to be derived from artistic traditions from the Far East. Here is one of those images that I uploaded yesterday.File:Miraj-BNF-1436.jpg A whole book devoted to the Night Journey is uncommon, but then so is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Mathsci (talk) 08:37, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
The text I quoted is from the introduction to the section "Religious painting in the Islamic period", within Grube's chapter "The primary themes of Iranian Imagery" in the book Peerless images: Persian painting and its sources. (Neither the section nor the chapter are focused on the Night Journey.) No one says that such images aren't of interest to art historians, or that they are unworthy of coverage in Wikipedia. They're simply not good examples of the mainstream portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic religious art, to the extent that they should overwhelm other, more iconic visual imagery in our article on Muhammad. --JN466 09:11, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
You have made your personal point of view quite clear. You are attempting to marginalize and dismiss works of art which are currently being displayed prominently in leading international museums and libraries and on their websites. No historian of Islamic art has indicated that these works are marginal or insignificant. No director or curator considers that these historical Muslim-created masterworks could cause offense. (See the link below to an illuminated page from a museum in Tehran.) Sensibilities and levels of tolerance or intolerance vary from country to country. Had any such plates been left in Herat in Afghanistan during the Taleban uprising, there is a chance that they might have been destroyed. Mathsci (talk) 10:58, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
I am not attempting to marginalise great art. I am pointing out that authoritative sources describe this art as marginal within the Islamic tradition. --JN466 11:25, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

I posted some sources above, by acknowledged experts on Islam: Cf. [47] / [48], also [49] / [50]. More could be added: [51], [52], [53], [54], [55], [56] I am willing to entertain the idea that there may be other sources that say something else. And I am aware that in Iran popular depictions of Muhammad are and were tolerated. But I have seen no sources indicating that figurative (rather than calligraphic) representations of Muhammad have ever played a significant role in public religious life in Islam (let alone indicating that this view would be a majority opinion). Even authors focused on the images describe them as an anomaly restricted to the narrow niche of miniatures in books made for the private enjoyment of wealthy Persian patrons at certain times and in certain locales. If you are aware of sources containing a different characterisation of the Islamic mainstream, please show them to me. --JN466 07:44, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── "Islam for dummies" is hardly a scholarly source. Jayen466 continues to make subjective and unscholarly statements which contradict what experts like Omid Safi write. His arguments are anachronistic and ignore the whole question of patronage in the arts. (The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry were likewise also produced for a tiny noble elite.) Illuminated manuscripts of Persian poetry often had a frontispiece depicting the Night Journey of the Prophet Muhammad. Jayen466's arguments are undercut by current scholarship where many major museums and libraries in the West are displaying illuminated manuscripts of this type. Did Jayen466 wave a copy of "Islam for dummies" at the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum when a Night Journey from the British Library was on display a year ago? Mathsci (talk) 08:15, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Islam for Dummies, despite the jocular title, is published by John Wiley & Sons, which is a scientific publisher, and written by Malcolm Clark, a professor of religion (A.B., Harvard College; B.D., M.A., Ph.D., Yale Divinity School; Post-doctoral study at Hebrew University, Israel Biblical Studies, Islam, Religion and Gender, American Religion). It is a best-seller and required reading for American army officers—a good general source that gives a useful overview to inform our talk page discussion. Besides, it is certainly not the only such source I have brought forward. --JN466 08:26, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
It is in exactly the same series as "Everyday math for dummies." [57] I think Omid Safi's writings are more reliable, although obviously harder to carry around on the battlefield. Mathsci (talk) 09:11, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
To get some idea of scholarship in this area, the Shahnama project coordinated by the University of Cambridge is recording all images from the Persian Book of Kings, including less accessible manuscripts in Tehran. Here for example is the page depicting the images of the Prophet Muhammad in the Parable of the Ship of Faith. [58] This includes this image from 1480 in the Malik National Museum of Iran in Tehran.[59] Mathsci (talk) 10:37, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Mathsci, this is all well and good. I love Sufism. I like this art. It is fine art. Our articles on Depictions of Muhammad or Persian miniature painting should be sumptuously illustrated with it. But these are specialist sources on this specialist topic. They are sources about Persian art, not generic sources about Muhammad. --JN466 11:30, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

It's just amazing how much emotional energy this 'images of muhammad' issue brings up on project…

I don't want to dispute what Mathsci says - he's merely pointing out what we all know, that there are clear examples of full-face depictions of the prophet in Islamic history. However, as Jayen points out, in part, the whole argument is somewhat beside the point:

  • The images are not common presentations, but non-representative artwork from particular historical periods, and moreover artwork largely restricted to small wealthy segments of the populations of their time.
  • This article is about Muhammad, not about Persia, Persian art, art history, or any other topic in which referring to the art-historic value of the images would make sense

Really, Mathsci's argument fails both WEIGHT and COATRACK: he is overstating the prevalence of this style of iconography, and trying to use that art-historical exaggeration to hook in images that are otherwise of no particular significance to the topic. He may be right that using the term 'Fringe' is an exaggeration (though I'm not certain anyone except him has called this a fringe issue - maybe he was confused by my generalized statement above where I talk about fringe topics), but wp:UNDUE certainly applies here.

@ FormerIP: this is not a mere assumption about what Muslims think.[60] It is a precept of their faith not to show images of the prophet, there are countless sources in the real world that discuss this, and there are countless complaints about these images in the Muhammad archives. Your statement is incomprehensible. and you go on to suggest that not showing images of the prophet would make Muslim's look fanatical (apparently to convince us that we ought to show pictures of Muhammad if we want Muslims to look reasonable)?

The editors advocating for these images (not just FormerIP, but most of them) have a distinctly unpleasant tendency to trivialize and fanaticize Muslim viewpoints. We are not talking about some small group of wild-eyed, hair-shirt Islamists; this is a basic part of the religious understanding of millions (tens of millions, hundreds of millions) of people. Some of them (obviously) are more invested in it than others - there are fanatics and people who don't much care - but that's irrelevant. I mean, imagine a charitable organization that responded to a famine in Israel by sending them 50,000 pounds of pork chops, and then justified it by saying: "Well, most Jews don't really care about that 'pork' thing, and those few fanatics who do don't have to eat it." That kind of justification is in itself reprehensible.

We can have a decent discussion over whether Wikipedia needs/wants to offend the religious beliefs of all these people, but please stop trying to make the fact that we are offending their religious beliefs 'go away'. That kind of intellectual dishonesty gets in the way of a reasonable discussion. --Ludwigs2 14:17, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

After reading the epos above ... that Wikipedia ought not include derisory material about any religion is likely according to the WMF vague principle of "least astonishment." Non-derisory images of unquestioned historic Islamic origin should not likely fall into that category, and the claim that they do fails. Wikipedia can not and ought not obey every stricture of scripture for every religious group -- IIRC, all images are forbidden by the Qu'ran according to some groups, not just images of Muhammed. If we seek to "offend absolutely no one" we really should jut remove all images entirely, as that is the only way to fully satisfy those groups. This is not "intellectual dishonesty" is is known as "reality." Cheers. Collect (talk) 14:56, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Framing this as an all-or-nothing choice was never likely to get us further. But we don't need 6 images from a small minority tradition of figurative representation whose presence in such numbers does astonish (Omid Safi's article linked above is quite informative in that respect), and gives a skewed image of how Muhammad is generally represented in Islam. It's his name and words (Quranic quotations) that are omnipresent in public contexts. Pointing out that figurative images exist, along with an example, is enough to inform the interested reader, point them to where they can find more, and put us above suspicion of including such images gratuitously. NPOV means representing minority viewpoints in proportion to their prominence. --JN466 15:38, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
The argument "we shouldn't include so many images because they all come from a very limited artistic traditions" is untenable. If we had as many images of Muhammad to chose from as we do the late, great zombie known as Jesus, this is a valid discussion to have. Having a very small number of images to draw upon means we will probably have to choose images first based on what scene they depict, then based on whether we have different artistic lineages to draw from. "We shouldn't use so many Sunni images" is a valid statement if we have an enormous number of Sunni, Shi'ite, Christian, Chinese, Indonesian, African, Bah'ai, Sufi, contemporary and atheist images to draw upon. If we only have one image of Muhammad's birth, and it happens to be Persian, and 7/10 of the images on the page are Persian, we are faced with a choice of another Persian image, or no image. Given that choice, I would rather have an image and a section explaining why there are so many images from Persia.
"We are not talking about some small group of wild-eyed, hair-shirt Islamists; this is a basic part of the religious understanding of millions (tens of millions, hundreds of millions) of people." Actually most of us are talking about the billions of people who aren't Muslim; some are talking about how the millions of Muslims who might not want to see depictions of Muhammad have numerous options that would prevent them from seeing said images. I can't see that as anything but reasonable acommodation. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 16:29, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
There are plenty of more mainstream images we could use that would add significant educational value (cf. the Arabic article). For example, we don't have any images of relics of Muhammad. These are culturally important parts of Muhammad's reception. At any rate, recent comments at the images talk page tended towards the view that if anything, we have too many images for the text to flow cleanly. --JN466 17:00, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
More to the point, the convention in Islam is not to show depictions of the prophet at all. In this case we have to treat all of the 'non-depictive' forms (Muhammad as a flame, calligraphic representations of Muhammad's name, etc.) as though they are depictions of Muhammad - because that is how Muslims mostly depict the prophet - and thus we have a very large array of non-depictive images to draw from. Please keep in mind that this is not some random absence (as though no one thought it was important to refer to Muhammad in art), but rather a studious avoidance. we shouldn't treat the instances where the rule is broken as though they are the norm. --Ludwigs2 17:15, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Quite. We also don't have a single calligraphic quotation from the Qur'an, despite the fact that they're ubiquitous throughout the Islamic world and are the direct cultural equivalent of Christian iconic art. --JN466 17:33, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
@ Collect. No one is arguing images should be removed simply because they are offensive. All of the arguments here and at Talk:Muhammad/images against naked-faced images of Muhammad address either the excessive number of such images compared to usual image use in similar sources or compared to the frequency with which they occur historically (I find these arguments unconvincing), or the fact that the present use of such images in our article is gratuitous.
It has been stated above that to remove them from the article would deny readers information important to their full understanding of the topic. This is a mistaken view. All images of Muhammad presently in that article could be removed without negatively affecting the reader's understanding of the topic in any significant way. They are decoration.
Would most Muslims find the gratuitous liberal peppering of Muhammad with depictions of his naked face insulting? Undoubtedly. You may doubt it but how many Muslims do you know? I know lots, have lived among them for years. Even very liberal Muslims are insulted by gratuitous offensiveness.
There are, by the way, places in that article that could justify such images. The section on Western reception would be significantly improved by inclusion of one of the many Western medieval depictions of Muhammad as a charlatan or demon. That, coupled with a picture of Muhammad among history's great law-makers in the frieze surrounding Washington's Supreme Court building would demonstrate the shift from contempt to respect that occurred between medieval and modern times – the essential message of that section. I proposed this but editors on the page felt it best to avoid the deliberately offensive medieval image and apparently we've had complaints about the frieze picture before.
So, on that page, offensive decorative "illustrations", uninformed often misleading artist's imaginings from centuries after the events depicted, that tell the reader nothing that isn't clearly conveyed in the text, are being defended tooth and claw, while offensive images that would actually exemplify an historical trend that is the very essence of a section of the article, are being excluded on the grounds that they're offensive. The former images, mere illustrations, are an insult due to their gratuitousness; the latter, as examples of the topic of the section, though nominally more offensive, would be no insult because they have undeniable, obvious, genuine didactic value. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:20, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Sigh. How many times do you and Ludwigs need to be reminded that "All images of Muhammad presently in that article could be removed without negatively affecting the reader's understanding of the topic in any significant way. They are decoration." is not fact, but opinion? And the opinion of a negligible amount of editors at that. Tarc (talk) 17:23, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually, it's a proposition supported by a good argument. The images of Muhammad presently in the article have no didactic value because the only thing they tell us that is not already in the article is something about the historical development of Islamic art, which is not the topic of the article. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 17:54, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
If the images were only in the article to show the development of Islamic art, then they should be removed for irrelevance. However, the images in the article are showing Muhammad performing the major actions in his life: receiving revelation, preaching his revelation, putting the black stone in the Kaaba, and leading a campaign. I think that these are just as relevant to his article as are images of Paul Revere on a horse in his article, Laurence Olivier acting in his article, or Hannibal crossing the Alps in his. —Arctic Gnome (talkcontribs) 20:02, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
The importance of the events depicted and the importance of the illustrations of those events are not the same thing. The events depicted are sometimes important to the topic - though one naked-faced image remained in the article for three years after the event described was removed from the text, apparently due to its unimportance. The illustrations of the events are not. "Relevance" means both connected to the topic and important to the discussion. The images of Muhammad in the article are irrelevant to the discussion. Though they needn't be: as I said, some images, used as examples of the section topic, such as in a yet-to-be-written section on depictions of Muhammad or in the section on Western reception that discusses his evolving portrayal, would be highly relevant, but there is no section on depictions of Muhammad and relevant images are actively kept out of the Western reception section. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 02:04, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Arctic.gnome: The problem with that argument (which has been raised multiple times elsewhere) is that these aren't actually depictions of anything - they are artistic representations of events for which the artists had no first-hand experience or independent second-hand descriptions. No one knows what Muhammad looked like, and there are no secondary texts; these images are on the same level as (say) da Vinci's The Last Supper as far as accuracy goes (which is to say, not at all...). That makes them of little concrete value as direct sources of information. And so we're left with the question that I've been asking all along: are these non-representative, non-mainstream works of art honestly of sufficient importance to the article to justify offending the beliefs of millions of Muslims?
If there were a current precept in Christianity (as there had been at a couple of points in history) that depictions of Christ should not be made, I'd be making this same argument at that page, because the images of Christ we have are also artistic fabrications. But there's no such precept in Christianity, so the issue doesn't arise there. It does arise on Muhammad, and it's something that needs to be considered for the sake of the reputation of the encyclopedia. --Ludwigs2 20:50, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Round and round and round and round and round we go. Resolute 21:00, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Again, your argument has no merit, and Mr. Gnome here has it right. First off, you don't get to speak for "millions" of people. You aren't them, you aren't their spokesman, and as MANY others have pointed out in the course of these discussions, many Muslims are quite likely deeply offended by being coddled to and victimized in this way., By you. Secondly, again, we use historical images of Muhammad in the article to depict the person we're covering. The idea that the image use is invalid because the artists didn't have a sitdown with the subject himself is quite frankly asinine. It is a new argument from you, I'll give it that. So we're upto, like, 4 different ones now? Tarc (talk) 21:01, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Alas, the problem, as I stated elsewhere, is use of such images is actually covered in both policy and Guidelines. Here's one tiny section (relevant and in context on its own) to demonstrate that: "Consequently, images should look like what they are meant to illustrate, even if they are not provably authentic images." - and an image of a depiction of Muhammad (clearly captioned as such) indeed looks like a depiction of Muhammad, even though not provably authentic. Best, Rob ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 21:05, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── (edit conflict) The discussion of images is no different from the discussion of textual content, We have to rely on secondary sources, in this case, historians of Islamic culture and art. Even if an editor happened to have expertise in this area, they should probably not use their personal knowledge to make unsourced or subjective statements on wikipedia. Particular images have to be viewed in a historical and an academic perspective. As far as medieval images from Persia are concerned, all indications so far are that modern-day Iran does not find this part of their cultural heritage offensive; quite the contrary, it was a golden period. Are ther any specific countries or Islamic scholars that have objected to these Persian images in print? Mathsci (talk) 21:14, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Ludwigs2, regarding your question "are these non-representative, non-mainstream works of art honestly of sufficient importance to the article to justify offending the beliefs of millions of Muslims", I don't think that the premise of your question is valid. Wikipeadia does not make content decisions by weighing importance against offence. If it introduced such a policy, it would radically change the nature of the encyclopedia, and such a policy could only be introduced through a community-wide discussion. Until Wikipedia's rules change, the only question that can be asked for this specific article is: "Are the images relevant to the article given that they are not mainstream representations?". I personally believe that how mainstream an image is does not affect its relevance. If we were talking about the history of religious art or the history or idolatry, then a common image—like Moses and his tablets, the Madonna and child, or the meditating Buddah—would be more relevant than an image of Muhammad. However, when we are talking about an historical person or event, then I think that any image which depicts the key details of the event are relevant. —Arctic Gnome (talkcontribs) 21:48, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Non representative has been discussed many, many times. The main point we should be addressing about all these images is "do they fit" not "do they offend someone." As pointed out we don't approve of pictures that are gratuitously offensive. Tivanir2 (talk) 22:35, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with the principle of looking at secondary sources, Mathsci. But, if you start out by looking at sources about Persian miniatures to find out how to illustrate the article on Muhammad (rather than the article about Persian miniatures), that is obvious selection bias. The aniconic nature of Islamic art, including its preference for calligraphic representations of Muhammad's name and Quranic verses in literature, art and architecture, is well attested in secondary sources.
  • Though pictures of Muhammad exist, they are rare and often Muhammad's face is hidden behind a veil. More important are the (calligraphed) descriptions of Muhammad that recall the object of their veneration and denote a mysterious beneficial presence of the Prophet.[61]
  • Muslims have largely rejected the representation of human and animal forms in deliberately religious art. But calligraphy, ideally suited to transmitting word of God in a beautiful physical form, was the religious art par excellence in Muslim cultures. In this way, it was possible to have symbolic reminder of the presence of the Prophet Muhammad without creating any kind of "graven image" that would be unacceptable to Muslim sensitivities. [62]
  • As we shall see, most Muslims have refrained from making images of the Prophet, preferring instead to focus on depictions through calligraphic representations and narratives. Their concern has been that, given Muslims' deep affection and reverence toward Muhammad, images of him could lead people to confuse the worship of the God of the Prophet with the worship of the Prophet of God. We shall also see, however, that a miniature tradition, admittedly a courtly legacy, flourished in medieval times, especially in Iran, South Asia, Central Asia, and the Turkish lands. [63] (Omid Safi)
Rather than looking at sources about Persian art, we should be looking at secondary sources that are written about the topic of the article, which is Muhammad. --JN466 00:53, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Comment I see Mathsci breaking out the perennial claim that Jayen and others are trying to "marginalize" Islamic art. Really, because Muhammad is not about art. It isn't Islamic art nor is it Depictions of Muhammad, it is the main content entry about the founding prophet of Islam. The only sources we ought to look to if we want to know how knowledge about Muhammad is usually transmitted are mainstream sources about Muhammad, and not art history sources that are de facto about art only. The reality is that these depictions are extremely uncommon within the mainstream secular, academic portrayal of Muhammad. There may be may reasons for that, but one important one is that Muhammad has not been known through visual representation for most of history, unlike Jesus or Buddha. Jayen is correct in that regard, and the source he quoted above, by an art historian of Mathsci's championing no less, also makes this point clear in terms of comparison. I've tried on the relevant talk page to suggest several times now that the best way to resolve the issue of what is representational of scholarship is to go to the sources used in the entry. What do they do in this regard? My money isn't on Mathsci here, and I say this because I am a scholar of religion and my experience with Islam as an academic subject (not one of my specialties admittedly) tells me so. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 02:45, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Also, I should add, that the "Genesis creation myth" issue was indeed correctly settled on that talk page based on scholarship and not as some have claimed above, in favor of a religious POV. I don't want to get into this argument here because it is too long, but what we do now is correct. We clearly identify that a prominent classification of the narrative is as a creation myth, but as in scholarship it is not most often dealt with in that context for a variety of reasons and therefore is better identified as a narrative in the title. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 02:49, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Our sources can be a good indicator of which images are relevant, but that's assuming that our sources have the same criteria for inclusion as we do. If our sources use images for all other historical figures of whom all images are second-hand, but do not use images of Muhammad, are they doing so because they feel that images of him are not academically or encyclopedically relevant, or are they doing so because of self-censorship? —Arctic Gnome (talkcontribs) 04:06, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
I've probably said this before. We aren't working on an article on Persian art. We aren't working on an article on Depictions of Muhammad. We aren't working on an article on Islamic art. We are working on an article of Muhammad. When looking for images of how he was perceived to look (ie: what he looked like via worldwide historical perceptions - not how what he was thought to look like was changed for whatever reason), then we need images that portray a person and images that portray a person in related historical settings. We are not seeking images for the "Depictions..." article. Religion, society, country - none of that applies to proper use of IUP and application of MOS\Images. Think about it... please. We shouldn't (except as required for a specific section) be looking for depictions that "say" this isn't what anyone perceived Muhammad to look like - it's simply an allowable depiction because some sects of Islam aren't permitted to make such. So many great arguments have come up - but they seem to apply to the "Depictions" article or the little sub-section that was in this one. Anything else creates a bias. I've even pointed out (earlier) the sections of a policy and guideline that state this. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 04:27, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Several of the images under discussion appear in the 2009 book on Muhammad by the Islamic scholar Omid Safi, "Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters".[64] The book has received positive reviews in various academic journals. The illustrations used in the book are listed at the end under "art credits": the cover image of Muhammad with the angel Gabriel from the Topkapi Palace Museum; 3 illustrations from the Qisas al-Anbiya; 3 images of the Night Journey from the BNF in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum in New York. and the British Library in London. In the owrds of one reviewer [65] (Mary Hossain of Queens Universi[ty, Belfast): "This book provides a new approach, or a new combination of approaches, to the familiar story of the life of the Prophet. It combines the historical and the spiritual, giving, for example, the pre-Islamic background and relating several crucial episodes of the Prophet's life, but also showing how these are interpreted in a spiritual way by Muslims, showing both the ‘historical Muhammad’ and the ‘Muhammad of grace’. In this way Omid Safi communicates to the reader the Muslims’ love for the Prophet as well as addressing and assessing the historical evidence for certain events." This is a source by an academic Islamist which uses the same type of historical image currently in the wikipedia article. Mathsci (talk) 05:24, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Safi is from Iran, where images of the Prophet are tolerated. He also reports in his book that he is wary of telling his non-Iranian friends that the image in his home is of Muhammad, because he finds they react badly to it. [66][67] Cf. the discussion on pages 184–186 in the book by Carl W. Ernst ("While Muslims in other countries might find this objectionable, it seems to cause no comment in Iran."). It is a question of proportion. Safi takes the view, as an Iranian muslim, that images of Muhammad are okay. They're part of the culture he grew up in. It's a significant minority view in Islam, but far from a majority view, nor representative of how Muhammad is most commonly portrayed. --JN466 06:10, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Ok, let's do a logic round-up of the arguments that have been presented today in favor of the images (ordered in descending order of credibility):

  1. We need depictions of the person the article is about (Tarc[68], Robert[69], arctic.gnome[70], Robert[71])
  2. We must use the images because they are sourced, even if they are not directly relevant to the topic (Mathsci[72])
  3. Considering offense to religion would "radically change the nature of the encyclopedia" (arctic.gnome[73])
  4. The effort to respect well-defined precepts of the Muslim faith is offensive to Muslims because it coddles and victimizes them. (Tarc[74])
  5. Assorted argument by innuendo - e.g. snarky comments (Resolute[75], Tarc[76])

now let's consider them point-by-point

  1. This is the most credible argument that's been presented, but it's still not a good argument, for the following reasons:
    • there is noting in policy anywhere that requires an article to have images - images have advantages over text on certain topics and certainly make articles more enjoyable to read, but it would not be against policy to have an article on Muhammad that had no images whatsoever, much less controversial ones.
    • the preference for images that 'look like' their their subject is being applied bizarrely. these images do not 'look like' the actual Muhammad (who's appearance is unknown); these images do not 'look like' the standard depictions of Muhammad (which are calligraphic or otherwise abstract). The best you can say is that we have a prejudgement that an article about a person needs to have a 'person-like' image on it, but that is a weak, goofy reason to begin with, and is certainly not a justification for offending someone's religion.
  2. Jayen has effectively refuted Mathsci's argument via sourcing; the best we can take from this (per wp:UNDUE) is maybe one Persian image in a section that discusses Persian art forms. Sources show that the most common depictions are abstract or obscured, and the urge to have a person-like image is covered in point 1 above.
  3. I might give more credit to arctic.gnome's concern, except that he hasn't actually specified how considering offense to religion would 'radically change the project'. I don't see it, and I'm concerned that it's just another hyperbolic claim that the project will come to a horrible end if we don't aggressively defend our borders. I'll wait to see if he has a better explanation for it before saying more.
  4. I see no way to discuss the flaws in Tarc's logic without causing him insult, so I'll just let it slide on the assumption that everyone else sees it.
  5. These last are not really arguments - just random ad hominem statements - and I'm only including them because I wish they'd stop doing it.

In other words - arctic.gnome's concern aside for the moment - there really isn't anything like a solid argument being made by the supporters. The positive arguments they've given (the ones for using the images in the first place) all fall apart under examination, and the negative arguments (the ones for keeping the images from being removed) all rest on a highly questionable anti-religious preconception that I don't think is even marginally justifiable under policy. But let's wait to see what their responses are… --Ludwigs2 06:24, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

I find this level of denial in Ludwigs' TL;DR diatribe to be quite frightening, honestly.
Regarding "The effort to respect well-defined precepts of the Muslim faith", (which is a gross misrepresentation of reality) what this was getting at was several editors who have pointed out to Ludwigs that many Muslims are actually quite offended by the vitriol of, their fellow Muslims who protested violently against the the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. This is the problem; people like Ludwigs who stereotype and denigrate a billion+ people as hapless victims who need his personal protection on the Wikipedia. They don't. They don't monolithically, unilaterally, categorically oppose images of Muhammed. SOME do, yes. Not ALL. I'm sorry, but what this entire anti-image affair boils down to is a bit of bleeding heart sentimentality by people wholly removed from a culture who think they know best. They don't. Tarc (talk) 06:43, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

(ec) This source, Omid Safi's book on Muhammad, does seem to contradict Jayen466's subjective world-view. Omid Safi is an academic, specializing in religious studies. The book was written for a general international readership. Safi is in fact an American citizen; he was born in the USA but raised in Iran. I'm not not sure in what capacity Jayen466 is assessing a living academic. In the article from the Washington Post he tells an anecdote about the icon that he personally brought with him from Iran; the icon is reproduced on page 34 of the book, where it is briefly discussed. It is not a Persian illuminated manuscript, so somewhat off-topic. I am not sure that it is really within BLP policy to make negative statements about academics: that is going a little too far. Along with the way we discuss textual content on wikipedia, it would seem that discussions of the book should be based on its reception in published sources. The book has been reviewed by all sorts of reviewers. Here for example is a review by Nagihan Haliloglu, who is a young Islamic scholar of Turkish origin.[77] I am unaware of any negative reviews or specific criticisms of his use of images. Mathsci (talk) 07:31, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Ludwigs2's summary does not seem to reflect anything I have written. The Night Journey of Muhammad with Gabriel is part of Islamic tradition, There is already a reference to this mystical episode in the article and there could be more detail. Adding an image to illustrate the current text would also be appropriate. Mathsci (talk) 07:52, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Allow me to explain point #3. Currently, Wikipedia does not test for offensiveness when deciding whether to include a piece of content; it only tests for notablity and verifiability. If you want Wikipedia to establish a new rule saying that we will remove something that is notable and verifiable because it causes enough offence to outweigh its notablity, then that test will be applied (whether successfully or not) to far more articles than this one. It will be applied to hundreds of articles about religion. It will be applied to articles about human anatomy and sexuality. It will be applied to articles about evolution and abortion and flag-burning. It will be applied to articles about popular celebrities with controversial pasts. If you want to introduce a rule saying that Wikipedia takes offence into account, we can't just unilaterally create that rule when talking about one article. We would have to have a community-wide discussion about the rule and then describe it in writing. So if you want to make the offence argument, go to WP:VP/PR. Otherwise, lets stick to discussing whether the images add encyclopedic value. —Arctic Gnome (talkcontribs) 08:03, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

@Mathsci: You seem to be missing the point, on several fronts:
  • No one is questioning that there was a style of Persian art that depicted Muhammad. However, Jayen has produced several sources that demonstrate that it was not a common or widespread practice even in its own time and place, and is far less common in all historical periods than non-depictive calligraphy or obscured images. Per wp:WEIGHT your source is valid, but a distinct and small minority worldview.
  • BLP does not apply on talk pages in the way you are using it. It is perfectly acceptable to point out that Safi is an Iranian-American academic who is likely to have an atypical perspective for a muslim, if only because you yourself are trying to assert that he has a typical perspective. That doesn't discount his scholarship; it merely contextualizes his scholarly POV for the purposes of our discussion.
  • A scholar is free to take liberties with his subject that are not granted to an encyclopedia. Safi's use of a controversial image is his prerogative: he knows the images cause offense (per Jayen's quote), and seems willing to make a bit of a stand on it, but that's between him and his publisher. We don't have that luxury as an encyclopedia.
If you're arguing that the style of art existed, we all agree with you. If you are arguing that the style of art is relevant to the Muhammad article you have not made an effective case.
@ Tarc: The fact that many Muslims find the behavior of muslim radicals disturbing does not mean that their religious beliefs are not being offended. It only means that they are embarrassed by the fanatics of their faith. It is a precept of Islam not to depict the prophet, and that fact that most Muslims are reasonable about it does not make the precept any less real. You keep trying to divide the world into foam-at-the-mouth fanatics and people who don't care, and that is an entirely unrealistic perspective. As I keep saying, efforts to fanaticize the opposition are not helpful or welcome.
On a side note, can an admin please caution Tarc about his language use? I mean seriously, it's such a pain to dig through stuff like:
  • "I find this level of denial in Ludwigs' TL;DR diatribe to be quite frightening, honestly."
  • "people like Ludwigs who stereotype and denigrate a billion+ people as hapless victims"
  • "... boils down to is a bit of bleeding heart sentimentality…"
Just to get at the occassional level-headed point he makes. As it stands he is contributing far more to the atmosphere of hostility than he is to the discussion itself. --Ludwigs2 08:16, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
@ arctic.gnome: Actually, we do test for offensiveness, all the time; however it's usually handled as a matter of common sense and good taste. For instance, our article on Jews does not have any of the Nazi propaganda images that were so prevalent in the run-up to world war two because editors largely have the good sense not to include such (or to remove them if they get added). Nor do the Jyllands-Posten cartoons end up on the Muhammad article (even though they are as good a depiction of Muhammad as any that are currently there) because even on that conflicted page people recognize that there are limits. What's happened on this article is that good taste and common sense have been suspended over concerns about censorship, and that's just bass-ackwards. I find it highly doubtful that there is much of a change to be had here. Most articles already take a good-taste/common-sense approach to images, so no changes will be seen on them, and on other pages where good taste and common sense have been suspended they will reassert themselves, and that will only work to the project's benefit.
Really, I just don't buy the hyperbole: You seem to be saying that we cannot give even one single inch to Muslims, because if we do the project will be ravaged by fanatics. being open to good taste and common sense is not going to open the door to hordes of barbarians, and if you think it will you are stuck in a BATTLEGROUND worldview that is just no good for the project. A little fair perspective on the issue, please.
I'll add as an afterthought that you single-handedly added the bit about not paying attention to religious beliefs to NOTCENSORED in April 2010 [78], so please don't criticize me for single-handedly challenging it. it was a pointless, combative revision. --Ludwigs2 08:39, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Those are not tests for offensiveness. The reason we don't include Nazi propaganda images in the article about the Jewish people is that it is not notable enough to their culture over the course of 3000 years to warrant inclusion. The reason we don't include the cartoons in the Muhammad article is that they do not depict any events in the life of Muhammad. Those are both tests of notability, not offensiveness. And the line that I added to notcensered was clarifying a long-standing rule, not creating a new rule. Maybe there is no cause for concern if we start testing for offensiveness, but that is not for us to decide, it requires a community-wide discussion. —Arctic Gnome (talkcontribs) 17:06, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Omid Safi, who is chair of Islam in the American Academy of Religion, is more reliable than wikipedians for statements on Islam. Looking at the reviews of Safi's book (including the images) in print and on the web, I can find only positive reactions from non-Muslims and Muslims, from all parts of the Muslim world. Before he writes anything that he might regret, Ludwigs2 should check wikipedia policy more carefully. BLP does apply on all pages of wikipedia. I'm also not sure that it's helpful attributing statements to me that I haven't even suggested. As for sources on wikipedia, Safi's book is a WP:RS and we don't get to interpret it. We can summarise it in producing content, but personal commentaries should be reserved for blogs. Mathsci (talk) 09:04, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Safi himself writes,
  • "As we shall see, most Muslims have refrained from making images of the Prophet, preferring instead to focus on depictions through calligraphic representations and narratives. Their concern has been that, given Muslims' deep affection and reverence toward Muhammad, images of him could lead people to confuse the worship of the God of the Prophet with the worship of the Prophet of God." [79]
  • "It is true that Muslims do not produce graven images to be displayed in places of worship, such as mosques. In place of pictorial representations, there is a rich tradition of calligraphy, and ornate arabesque patterns, and natural designs." [80]
And he writes in the same piece that he avoids telling Muslim visitors to his home – depending on where they're from and whether they belong to the majority Sunni tradition – that the image of Muhammad he has there is in fact an image of Muhammad, for fear of offending them. At no point does he state that his view on Muhammad images, formed by his Iranian upbringing (he himself makes that linkage in his piece), is a majority view among muslims. The fact that he shows images in his book does not make him the majority view or the only view worth considering; in fact, he is quite clear about the fact that he wants to break new ground and foster a new attitude. Is that not so? If not, where do you differ in your reading of Safi? I agree that Safi and Grube are good sources, but we need to listen to what they are telling us. Both Safi and Grube describe the images as a minority tradition, a "special category" within Islamic art. --JN466 10:23, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
@Mathsci: RS does not nullify UNDUE; BLP does not prevent us from discussing a source's use and value under NPOV. Please don't use policy to undermine policy.
Also, you have not yet acknowledged the sources and quotes that Jayen has provided, despite the fact that Jayen's presented them 2 or 3 times now. it would be helpful if you addressed them. --Ludwigs2 14:13, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
I haven't seen anything to suggest there is really support for changing any policies, or that most editors have been convinced. It looks to me as if. like myself, the editors who disagree have said what they wanted to say and see no need to repeat in the face of inaccurate summaries, IDHT and TLDR posts. In order to ensure silence doesn't indicate consensus, I'm just noting that this is my last post here and I still see no reason to remove the useful and informative images whose presence is supported by WP:IMAGE and WP:IUP or replace them with less literal ones that feature calligraphy rather than actual pictures. The issue of which image to chose is something determined by the images available and should be discussed on the talk page. Attempting to impose a general principle based on alleged offense is not appropriate here, and hasn't succeeded in convincing me at least. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 15:53, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Ludwigs2: A little bit of a history lesson for you. Muhammad is dead. Has been for a very long time. So... with that history lesson concluded, please explain to me which part of "Biographies of LIVING people" applies. Also, no policy says we have to have images isn't any rationale for or against them. And I believe you will find that (if you read policies and guidelines) images are suggested. I'm hoping you will spend some additional time reviewing these policies before making such erroneous claims. It would save you a lot of typing and us a lot of responses. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 17:16, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Did Ludwigs just really try to pull a "efforts to fanaticize the opposition are not helpful or welcome" attack, when that is precisely what he has been doing for the last month or so. I cannot believe that he has just blatantly lied, again, about those with whom he is in disagreement. Tarc (talk) 17:19, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
@WLU: If you wish to stop discussing the issue, that's you're prerogative, but please note that you haven't actually made an argument: you've just avoided all of the reasoned arguments for removing the images to restate your opinion that they should remain.
@Robert: Please pay attention - Mathsci was using a BLP argument with respect to a current source, and I was disputing that. We cannot have a proper discussion if you just make random comments without reading the material
@Tarc: ridiculous… again, can a sysop caution Tarc? If we cannot get administrators to ensure civil discussion on Jimbo's own page, then WTF... At the moment he's just trolling me with mindless insults, and I'd like someone to put a stop to that. Thanks. --Ludwigs2 17:48, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
An accurate description of your behaviour is not a personal attack. Resolute 18:20, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
That's just what I was about to say as well, it is not an attack and I am quite tired of being lied about by this editor. We have a diff-full ANI report on Ludwigs that details this behavior already. Tarc (talk) 18:30, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
So, instead of addressing the current, reasonable, civil discussion, the two of you are solely focused on bringing up past conflicts so you can manufacture some type of administrative sanction. I think that's all we need to know to dismiss both of you out of hand. --Ludwigs2 19:59, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
You are doing this at present, is the problem. Tarc (talk) 21:10, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Doing what at present, Tarc? having a reasoned discussion? I've done nothing here except try to discuss the issue (that's really all I did on the Muhammad page, too, though I wasn't quite as even-tempered there as I've been here). And yet, when I (or Jayen, or Anthony) make a reasoned argument, you and Robert and Resolute et al ignore what we say, repeat the same refuted party-line opinions over and over, toss out rude, snide, belittling commentary... You're seem to be trying to make a fight here, where one doesn't exist. What do you expect me to do with that?
Here's what I know, for a fact. You, Resolute, Robert, WLU - You don't have much of an argument. Period. If we were to discuss this issue in proper consensus style there are a couple of good points you all can make (I know, because I've heard you make them), but the bulk of rational argument is on our side of the fence. In a reasoned discussion most of the images would ultimately go - and I expect (ultimately) that that will be the eventual outcome of this debate, because reason usually does hold its own on project in the long run - but you don't even seem to try to use rational argumentation. You rely on emotional politics: demeaning those who opposes you; making hyperbolic, hysteria-ridden claims; shouting down opponents by demanding that your position is correct and inviolable. How are we supposed to have a discussion with someone who tells us that nothing we say will ever make any difference, and then calls us bad names for trying to make a difference anyway? --Ludwigs2 22:46, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
You have not brought any new "reasonable discussion" to this debate in many days. Instead, you keep taking us in circles in an effort to fatigue your opponents. And I will admit, I am quite tired of this debate. Others have far more tolerance for this nonsense than I do. Putting all of your tendentious aside, consider this to be my standing objection to any and all of your arguments. The reasoning behind each can be found in the archives of the appropriate talk pages, where they have been listed more than once. I do continue to monitor, however, and those who are actually engaged in good faith debate have my utmost respect. They are far more patient than I. Resolute 22:29, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Part of the Night Flight of the prophet Muhammad
Resolute: again, Jayen and Anthony and I have been making a set of reasoned arguments. If you would address the reasoning, this would be over fairly quickly. Your choice. --Ludwigs2 22:51, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Anthony and I have had reasonable discussions on this topic. I have long since realized that you are not capable of such, despite all of your false pretenses. Resolute 23:18, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Ludwigs2: Jayen, Anthony and myself (and numerous others such as Reso, Tivanir2, Tarc, and so on) have been engaged in constructive discussions that have been going rather well. As a matter of fact, in our discussions, there is only one difference. Someone is absent from them. Amazing how smooth such discussions go under those circumstances. Regardless, as your accusations against us continue, I for one will continue to press the issue at AN/I, since behavior and accusations are a big part of it - definitely not going to let that AN/I issue "fade away" when such is still ongoing. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 23:26, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Neither Ernst J. Grube nor Omid Safi have made the statements ascribed to them by Jayen466, who still seems intent on marginalising various aspects of Islamic art. Both Safi and Grube have written books or chapters in books accompanied extensively by precisely the images (see opposite) which Jayen466 has described at various times as insignificant/unrepresentative/uneducational/controversial/offensive. This type of assessment seem to be based on Jayen466's personal views rather than anything that can be found in scholarly texts. Mathsci (talk) 23:46, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

I am sorry, Mathsci, I have given links and page numbers for these quotes. They are verifiable.
  • Grube: "Yet for many reasons, a fully developed Muslim iconography – in the sense that the West would understand it – never emerged in Islamic culture, although representations of Muhammad comprise a special category of Muslim religious painting that developed within the framework of Islamic art. They too, often appear in the larger context of a general world history. And however unexpectedly the image may appear, there are also illustrated Muslim texts that deal specifically with the life of the Prophet and, even more astonishingly, with the metaphysical and highly mysterious mi'raj, the journey made by the Prophet during the course of just one night through all the Heavens and into Hell. Such paintings bear comparison with the cycles of the Life Christ in Christian churches or manuscripts." Comparing Islamic religious art to Christian religious art, he writes nevertheless, "... after the acceptance of Christianity by Rome in the fourth century under Constantine, the change from pure symbol to unmistakably Christian imagery was fairly rapid. Islam, by contrast, never officially adopted a figural religious iconography; indeed, the very lawfulness of images was hotly debated in the early Islamic centuries. In mosques there are no cycles of paintings illustrating the prophet's life and deeds comparable to those of the life of Christ or the saints in Christian churches or, for that matter, the life of the Buddha in Buddhist temples. Thus, that one of the most extraordinary images of the Prophet's Night Journey should appear in poetic texts written in Persian, where it is apparently "out of context", suggests that such pictures comprise a highly elusive form of religious imagery ...""iconography", p. 133
  • Safi: "As we shall see, most Muslims have refrained from making images of the Prophet, preferring instead to focus on depictions through calligraphic representations and narratives. Their concern has been that, given Muslims' deep affection and reverence toward Muhammad, images of him could lead people to confuse the worship of the God of the Prophet with the worship of the Prophet of God." [81]
  • Safi: "It is true that Muslims do not produce graven images to be displayed in places of worship, such as mosques. In place of pictorial representations, there is a rich tradition of calligraphy, and ornate arabesque patterns, and natural designs." [82],
  • Safi: "Now when Muslim friends come over to our home and ask about the image, I try to surmise from what I know about them whether I should reveal the identity or simply state: “It is an image of a holy man who is exceedingly dear to me." [83], [84] --JN466 00:45, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes Ludwigs, I'm sure you do find comfort talking with Jayen and people that share your general disposition. We all do. But the measure of a man comes when they must interact with those of differing..sometimes diametrical...points of view. And as I and others have pointed pout on several occasions, you have characterized the image-keepers as bigots, as stubborn, as obstacles, as being utterly incapable of understanding policies and guidelines relevant to images. You have gone to ArbCom, to WQA, to here, to WP:NOT. You have thrown every wiki-acronym under the sun at others, from NPA to IAR to IDHT to NPOV as you try to beat down the opposition with walls of text. And through all this there's really not a thing you have done to advance the conversation one iota towards your goal. Others have actually initiated productive dialog, such as the recent one on the black stone on the Muhammad talk page. Tarc (talk) 23:58, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

An aside before my post; I apologize for not seeing this prior to now but it seems like this is the fifth area this has spilled into and i didn't find this until today. Now on to the actual response. The images of muhammad provide educational benefits by depicting scenes noteworthy in his life. They are used to visually represent and support the passages describing major events that were essential to understanding who muhammad was. Thus once again I point out they are perfectly suited in the article unless of course the text it supports is now absent (i.e. the black stone picture that is under review right now.) As pointed out we are willing to revisit areas where pictures no longer make sense just like any other article. Asking for summary deletion for the we are offending someone argument once again goes into policy merry-go-round. Cheers Tivanir2 (talk) 00:05, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think anyone is asking for summary deletion, just that they be represented in proportion to their prominence in the article on Muhammad. These images are rare; they are not the rule, but the exception to the rule, and the reader of Muhammad should not come away with the opposite impression. --JN466 00:35, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
I would contend that (a) rarity is irrelevant or (b) rarity adds a tiny bit more relevance. And here's why: this article is not "Depictions of Muhammad" or "Islamic Art". It is a biography. And it is one where we have visual representations of how Muhammad was perceived to have looked, as well as such representations of how his actions in various historical events was perceived. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 01:45, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think it's clear that the description "rare" is disputed. It's a relative term. Depictions of Thales are far rarer. Should they be excluded from his article? --FormerIP (talk) 01:50, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
If there is a particular kind of depiction of Thales that is rare, vs. another one that is very common, then it is the common one that should predominate in our article on him. It would be inappropriate for the rare one to predominate. --JN466 02:03, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

@ Tarc, Robert: Ok, so (per this and this) you guys are officially out to get me, rather than to solve the issue at hand. Got it.

@ Tavinir2: That's actually not a half-bad rationale. However, I question how much value these images have as depictions of "scenes noteworthy in his life". They are not particularly accurate or true-to-life. So we come back to the basic question: do these images add enough value to justify offending the beliefs of millions of Muslims? Please be aware that I understand the nature of this problem for you: if you so much as allow yourself to ask this question then the obvious answer is 'no'; this is why so many people are putting so much effort into trying to preclude the question from being asked. Are you really trying to suggest that these images have that much importance to the article? --Ludwigs2 02:59, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Wrong. I'm out to see you stop continued attempts at character assassination of other editors. Blocks are preventative, not punitive. If you stop, I'll be the first to change my !vote to "Oppose block" - but recent comments such as stating or implying we have "deep-seated anti-Islamic prejudice" most definitely isn't stopping doing such. So, since you won't stop, it's time to prevent it from continuing. If you do stop before the AN/I report runs its course, I'll change my !vote to oppose. So tell me, am I out to get you, or does that make sense? It's funny, though I disagree with your opinions, I could be your staunchest ally - if actions like the one I mentioned above (or like you just now mischaracterizing what I know I said very clearly) stopped. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 03:15, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Robert - please tell me what it is I've done here that you consider 'character assassination'. I haven't talked about you as an editor or a person much at all in this thread, except to point out that you don't have a valid argument, and that's not character assassination, that's proper discussion. I can't say you've shown me the same grace: half of your posts to this page are about me rather than about the topic. Really, when you say things like: "I for one will continue to press the issue at AN/I, since behavior and accusations are a big part of it - definitely not going to let that AN/I issue "fade away" that sounds bad faith, like you're determined to drum for administrative sanctions as long as it takes for you to get them.
Why don't you tell me what I've said here that you don't like; maybe that will clear things up. --Ludwigs2 03:51, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I am not necessarily discussing your actions solely on this page. I am discussing such actions by you - regardless of where on Wikipedia. Such as[85] - or once again (above, today)[86] claiming our motives are anti-religious (at least this time you didn't claim they were Anti-Islamic or prejudice against Muslims). There are more, as I am sure you are aware. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 04:08, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Robert: This page is the only place I've been discussing this issue recently - you don't have any other pages by which to evaluate my recent behavior. that aside, I don't understand what specific problem you have with the first diff you gave (it seems fairly straight-forward to me - what specific problem do you have with it?); the 'anti-religious' statement is a direct response to a number of editors (Kww, Tarc, even yourself, if I remember correctly) who have stated that wikipedia is a secular encyclopedia that specifically rejects all religious viewpoints. This is a factually anti-religious perspective; that's a description, not an insult. Now, if I've misinterpreted, and you do not believe that wikipedia is a secular encyclopedia that actively opposes religious viewpoints, then the statement is wrong and I'll retract it. The important point is to be clear about what positions we are each actually presenting so that we can move forward in the conversation. understand? --Ludwigs2 04:26, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  • "The editors advocating for these images (not just FormerIP, but most of them) have a distinctly unpleasant tendency to trivialize and fanaticize Muslim viewpoints." We do? I thought we said that as long as Wikipedia is secular, they simply don't matter - followed by us pointing you to village pump to try to change that.
  • And then you get back to the core of your argument: "We can have a decent discussion over whether Wikipedia needs/wants to offend the religious beliefs of all these people[...]" We could, but we shouldn't. We follow policies and guidelines to justify the text, images, links, whatever based on relevance and (where applicable) educational value - but again you seem to imply it's about us thinking we need or want to offend Muslims. That is definitely not in my character (nor others) - it is something I deem irrelevant until policy is changed to address religious offense. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 05:00, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  • With respect to the first point, some of you do have that tendency, above and beyond the secularity argument. I've pointed this out on several occasions. Usually it starts from a more-or-less reasonable claim and then implodes, e.g.:
    • The images offend Muslim religious beliefs (fair statement, whether or not one believes it)
    • The images offend Muslims (personalization, so that it's an emotional claim rather than a religious precept)
    • The images offend some Muslims (reducing the size of the group)
    • The images offend fanatical Muslims (much smaller group, with irrational overtones)
I've seen this process play out a dozen times. Do you disagree that you make these arguments? The point of such arguments - as far as I can tell - is to present 'offense' as the property of a small, fanatical, irrational sub-population so that it can be dismissed without discussion. Again, if that's not what's intended, you should explain what the aim is; all I can see is what actually happens in the logical progression.
  • With respect to the second point: that's a really odd spin on my perspective. What I have said repeatedly is that we do offend Muslim religious beliefs. I don't think anyone questions that (I don't remember anyone saying that we don't, at any rate), and my concern is over why we are offending Muslim religious beliefs. We don't seem to have a valid encyclopedic reason for doing it I mean, I'm sorry, but you put me in a difficult position - I don't know whether have personal reasons for wanting to do this or whether you simply don't understand the ramifications of your own actions, so I don't know the best way to educate you about the issue. All I know is that from the perspective of wikipedia there is no valid reason to offend religious beliefs on this page. We're just doing it gratuitously, and that does not seem right.
When it comes right down to it, you are making a huge stand (four years and 16 archives worth of conflict) over images that are at best of trivial importance to the article. I cannot imagine why you would do that, or why you continue to do it. It makes no sense. Maybe if you could explain that to me we could make some progress. --Ludwigs2 05:52, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Wait wait wait. For you? Implications I am yet again prejudice against another person for whatever reasons you state. Stop trying to assign me values that don't exist. I am not prejudice towards anyone on any grounds, I couldn't care less if they had 8 eyes and lived on pluto. Now on to your points, yes the images offend some muslims. I don't have any information on how that may be and if someone else has numbers please let us see them. I want actual concrete proof from somewhere that this is a major issue not just assuming it is on someones behalf. These images aren't gratuitous (no controversial images in the fact that it is controversial just because it is muhammad not dantes inferno muhammad) so that argument gets nowhere. And once again back to marginalizing images that we have pointed out reasons for. The merry-go-round is chugging along. Tivanir2 (talk) 14:37, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Second section break

It depends what you mean, Jayen. If you mean calligraphy, that already predominates in the article 9:5. If you mean other depictions such as veiled, abstract or more recent, it is for editors to propose the inclusion of those images in the article if they want them there. --FormerIP (talk) 02:08, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Jayen, no one has proposed another depiction of Muhammad that is more common. Therein lies the problem. Calligraphy is not Muhammad or a depiction of how he was perceived to look. No one would look at calligraphy and say "yeah, that's what he looked like!" Nor is "flame and veil" - that is simply a depiction of specifically how he does not look in order to have something that does not violate religious rules. A biography has pictures of (a) how someone looked, or (b) failing the availability of such, how others perceived him to look. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 02:21, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
I added a number of calligraphic images a week or so ago, because we had practically none. Muhammad has many names, and there is very common calligraphy of those; we don't have a single example. Quranic inscriptions (let's not forget, the Quran is a record of actual words spoken by Muhammad) are on mosques all over the world; we lack a single example. There are important relics of Muhammad that we have images of; none are in the article. Generally speaking, Muhammad has not been received visually. Unlike some antique depictions of Caesar and so on, none of the extant images were made in Muhammad's lifetime; they are purely imaginary pieces of art which do not claim to depict what Muhammad looked like. There are in fact very detailed verbal descriptions of Muhammad's phyisical appearance recorded by people who physically met him, and these are important in Islam; again, until about a week ago, we did not provide any of them in our article. In general, Muhammad's reception has not been visual, but word-based. There is a nice explanation of this here:

For Christians, Jesus, who is represented to them by a repertoire of images literally from the cradle to the grave, is something like a fully realized film star, every trait etched in the public's shared visual memory. The figuration of Muhammad more resembles that of a radio personality, a voice heard from afar whose features each can only imagine for oneself. Muslims must individually picture the Prophet as the voice behind the Quran or as a figure emerging from between the lines of the Sira or from the concrete but often generic traits—“neither too tall nor too short”—described but never portrayed in the hilyeler or elsewhere.

Islam is logocentric. It's Muhammad's words that matter – endlessly studied, memorised, analysed, calligraphed and inscribed. Unlike Christianity or Buddhism, images or statues of Muhammad have never played a significant role in the public life of Islam. Our article should reflect that. Best, --JN466 02:54, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Hi Jayen, I think you misunderstood my points. I have no problems showing how Muhammad is represented using either calligraphy or "flame and veil". But I'm not discussing or debating those (when used for those purposes). I am discussing how he looked or was perceived to look - and stating that neither of those others qualifies. No one thinks he looked like calligraphy. No one thinks he looked like flame and veil. Thus, a representation on how people thought he looked would be a depiction of Muhammad - not of calligraphy or of "we cant depict what he looked like, so here's what he doesnt look like via flame and veil". Hope that explains what I was trying to say. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 03:02, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
The images that do exist are entirely fanciful, and conform to the visual language of local artistic traditions. No one actually thinks Muhammad looked like that, and those images never shaped public consciousness about Muhammad. Again, there is a difference here with Jesus: there is an iconic image of Jesus – a young man with a beard, long hair (and a halo) – that pervades Christian consciousness. The miniatures have no comparable significance in Islam. They were not part of public life, but restricted to a private, courtly setting. The vast majority of Muslims would have been unaware of them (indeed, as Safi points out, many still are) and they never shaped public consciousness in the way Christian iconography did. Islam is focused on the words of Muhammad, because to Muslims they are the words of the messenger of God. --JN466 03:28, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict)Even assuming that to be entirely true (and there are points I disagree with), it is covered and permitted in both policy and guideline - namely IUP and MOS\Images (I've quoted the relevant sections 3 times already, so I will not do so again). Therein lies the problem - back to Village Pump to change or amend those. But I disagree on the Jesus comparison. No Christian who is educated in their religion believes Jesus looked like that. As for the "fanciful", etc part, if you can find a cite from the artist stating that was their intent, I'll give you that - otherwise, as we both know, it's OR. And significance in Islam isn't relevant. A picture of Tesla has little significance in anything in this country - except to those who perhaps are knowledgeable in the correct areas of science. How can we impose the significance of a religion or other country on whether something is relevant to the article? And again, what you say holds true for the articles on Islam and Depictions of Muhammad - this article is neither. Best, Rob ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 03:36, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Robert: again - permitted is not the same as required. We are permitted to do many things on project that we choose not to do; the question here is whether this is something we want to do. --Ludwigs2 03:58, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
    • Robert, I don't understand your reference to the Depictions of Muhammad article, because clearly these images are relevant in that article. I don't wish to impose the standards of a religion or another country on Wikipedia. We are looking at how Muhammad has been received by humanity; and most of that reception has naturally occurred among Muslims. What I am against is imposing the artistic sensibilities of a very small minority of these Muslims on the article, over all the rest of Muslims, and the rest of humanity. Best, --JN466 04:03, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes. in Muslim culture Muhammad is generally not depicted in human form. This is the way that Muslims perceive him. I can't understand why Robert is asserting that the article needs to have a person-like image. Maybe he's afraid our readers don't know what a 'person' looks like? They certainly won't learn anything else about Muhammad from these images.
If Muslims generally depict the prophet as calligraphy, or as a dancing flame, why should we reject those as proper depictions of the prophet? That's like rejecting the animal-head imagery you find in Egyptian and Indian mythos because it's not 'realistic' enough. But realistic or not, Muslims overwhelmingly depict Muhammad in abstract forms, and our article ought to reflect that. --Ludwigs2 03:32, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
The Wikipedia does not write articles for Muslim culture. After a month of discussion, why is not sinking in? Tarc (talk) 03:40, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Tarc: that wasn't a 'Muslim culture' argument, that was an NPOV argument. If the most frequent and prominent images of the prophet are abstract forms, then per NPOV they should have proportionally larger representation in the article. Or are you suggesting we don't write articles for NPOV? --Ludwigs2 03:55, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Er, no, writing for NPOV would mean that we would not favor the religious demands of a handful conservative Muslims, and instead write the Muhammad article neutrally and fairly, i.e. with images. Your interpretation of policy is so wrong on such a basic level. Tarc (talk) 05:43, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Tarc, NPOV means presenting viewpoints in proportion to their prevalence; does it not? It does not refer to any abstract notion of neutrality, or non-religiousness, or whatever. "In proportion to their prominence"—no more, no less. And we have good sources agreeing that these early Islamic images are rare, that they form a special category within Islamic art, were a courtly tradition of miniatures, were never used in public places of worship, and are not representative of Islamic art generally, which eschews figurative images, and especially figurative images of God and Muhammad. That is true, is it not? Then how do you justify giving these images such prominence in the article on Muhammad? How does it represent them in proportion to their prominence and cultural significance? These images are rarities in Islam. They are so rare that many Muslims are unaware that they exist, and incredulous when you tell them that yes, they were made by Muslims. --JN466 12:08, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
As with Ludwigs, that is a very unfortunate twisting of NPOV to suit your needs. An Wikipedia article that capitulates to an outside religious minority and removes images to appease their religious beliefs would itself violate NPOV. Tarc (talk) 14:00, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
It is a rather unfortunate twisting of NOTCENSORED to say we have to stick more Muhammad images in than NPOV justifies, just to prove to the world that we are not "capitulating to an outside religious minority". I don't feel the need to prove anything, other than describing Muhammad's reception accurately, but if its proof you're after two images (one Islamic, one European, which no one has argued should be removed) will already do that. --JN466 15:57, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Ludwigs, because he was in human form. That is not questioned by anyone. As for your Egyptian analogy, it doesn't hold water. Wherever possible, we use "human form" representations in conjunction with the rest. Which is also why I am for Jayen's recent work - they bring balance in showing what he was perceived to look like (the images we've been debating) as well as how he was represented (the calligraphy and the flame & veil). Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 04:00, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Robert: I'm not following your logic. Obviously he was in human form - we don't need an image to tell us that. You seem to be suggesting that we pick a more-or-less random image of a human just to indicate that Muhammad was a human. That's a little silly as logic goes, but not problematic in itself - it becomes problematic because doing it requires that we fly in the face of both NPOV and the precepts of Islam. Do you have a more sophisticated rationale than "we need to indicate Muhammad was human"? --Ludwigs2 04:36, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Ah yes, you aren't following me. Apologies, I will try for more clarity. He was human. He looked human. We have images of how he was perceived to look. I would posit that how the subject of an article looked or (failing that being possible) was perceived to look provides a great deal of understanding of the societies and cultures who had such perceptions. I am also for the images Jayen has added because they show how he was represented (which is very different from how he looked or was perceived to look). My post got EC'd a bit below your post, so to reiterate, you brought up the Egyptian stuff - I mentioned that when possible, we did our best to provide portrayals of how the person looked (or was perceived to) - not just abstract representations. And I believe the same should apply here. Such things fascinate me, and I find a lot of educational value and relevance to such (images, perceptions and abstract representations - ALL three - alas we have only two). And the six or seven discussions about this in the last 6 or 7 months seem to indicate that the vast majority of those who have responded see such value and relevance as well. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 04:45, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
well, as long as you're willing to abide by NPOV and UNDUE (limiting the person-like images to appropriate proportions with respect to abstract representations and contextualizing them to a proper art historical context) then I don't really have a problem with what you've said. Again, there is no rule or policy that say we must have images of any particular type on the article, so we do not need any person-like images, but I'm not averse to the idea so long as there is a clear encyclopedic reason for using such. --Ludwigs2 06:00, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

A brief summary

I am arguing the images of Muhammad at Muhammad lack significant educational value relevant to the topic – the life, thought and impact of Muhammad. Jayen is arguing that figural portrayal of Muhammad is over-represented in our article compared with the vast bulk of current and traditional portrayal. Jimbo, above, is arguing that the images we have used are not what a reader would expect to find in this kind of article. Ludwigs argues that, though we may pay little attention to Jimbo's, Jayen's and my points in most articles, because of the controversial nature of this content we should on this occasion.

That is, he is echoing the Foundation's May 2011 resolution on controversial content where it urges Commons

to pay particular attention to curating all kinds of potentially controversial content, including determining whether it has a realistic educational use and applying the principle of least astonishment [content on Wikimedia projects should be presented to readers in such a way as to respect their expectations of what any page or feature might contain] in categorization and placement.

Jimbo, a member of the Foundation board, has said about that resolution

I'm unaware of any discussion at the board level that would suggest that the resolution applies only to commons.

(To be clear, no one's arguing we have to do what we're told by the Foundation in this regard, I'm pointing out they also make the point.) The onus is on the includers to justify the presence of this controversial content in terms of real educational value and reader expectation. So far, they've failed. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:40, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Anthony, I disagree. Please state why you don't find them relevant and educational. Not simply that you do not. State why. Be fair. We've had to repeat our reasons numerous times. I'm only asking for you to state yours once. Anything other than "they offend" please. That does not answer why you do not find them educational. It's totally unrelated (and perhaps now you can see why that "answer" trotted out by others (PLURAL) over the years has upset so many - since it is not an answer to the question at all).
Here's a small portion of the reasons I think they are:
  1. Many readers find depictions of how people perceived the subject matter to be informative and educational (I can point to multiple RfCs, consensus, etc where this has been pointed out).
  2. Many of us find the changes in perceptions to be very educational as it shows (a) differences in how different societies perceived the subject, or (b) how a particular society's perceptions changed over time. (Jesus and Thor also fit this -and this is something I find overwhelmingly interesting. How much of a story is myth, how much is legend and how much is reality? And how do the depictions through those ages compare/change?)
  3. Numerous entities deem the images are of educational value to Islamic topics and have included them in galleries on Islam and art related to Islam, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Topkapi Palace Museum, The British Library in London, and the building for SCOTUS - along with numerous works on art and Islamic history. My opinion is of far less weight than those who are deemed far better sources than I.
  4. I (and others) find it educational to have (in order of preference) (a) a photograph of the subject of an article, (b) a sitting portrait (or portrait based off a photo), (c) a depiction of how the subject was thought to have looked or (d) a depiction of how the subject was perceived to have looked. In my case, even with (a) and (b), I'd still be interested in seeing (d) if there was some sort of divergence that would gain me a better understanding of cultural and societal influences (such as Euro-Jesus and Blond-Scandi-Thor)
  5. And counter to the argument that they dont look like him, policy and guideline specifically permits depictions intended to be of the subject even if they are not accurately representative (which again, if there were photos, I'd say they should be assigned prominence - but I know I am not the only person who is also interested in perceptions).
There is no reality for humans. There is only perception. Often they coincide. Often they do not. To fully understand anything, understanding others' perceptions is often more important than just understanding reality. Perceptions are reflections into what people believe, how they think on certain subjects and more. Since so many of us are vastly different, knowing how others perceive things (to me) is vitally important if I am going to learn to understand their thoughts, opinions and feelings.
Finally, that brings us back to this one point (that I made to someone else earlier): this has been hashed out six or seven times in the last six or seven months, and overwhelmingly, it was determined that the vast majority of those who responded thought the images educational and relevant. So... even when you do answer why you think they are not educational, it still reverts back to what the community feels (not what you or I feel), and no matter how many times it's brought up over the past few years, the community has ended up indicating they feel the same - they are educational and relevant. Side note, we have brought up these and other reasons before. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 04:54, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually, one more note: EVERYTHING in that resolution is already covered in policy and guideline. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 04:54, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Two points that need to be made, without prejudice: (1) logic dictates that it is impossible to prove a negative, so it's irrational to ask someone to prove that the images have no educational value. The burden is on you to demonstrate they have positive educational value. (2) Argumentum ad populum is a logical fallacy even on wikipedia. I personally will place one good reason above a thousand casual opinions, and I'd recommend that perspective to everyone. --Ludwigs2 06:10, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  1. Yes they are examples of how Muhammad was portrayed (in an extreme minority of instances) in the past. But that is not relevant to this article. Relevant means related to the topic but also important to the discussion. Clearly how he was (rarely to the point of exception) depicted figuratively in the past is related to Muhammad, but it is not relevant to Muhammad, except for a brief mention which I have inserted at Muhammad#Depictions of Muhammad. A depiction is relevant in that section, and it contains a depiction.
  2. Those images in that article do not explain (a) differences in how different societies perceived the subject, or (b) how a particular society's perceptions changed over time. To say anything clear on those points will take a whole article: Depictions of Muhammad. In this article, they are meaningless examples without explanatory text.
  3. See #1.
  4. You may like to see anachronistic, unrepresentative images in an article, but that isn't an argument for relevance.
  5. Such images are tolerated. They contradict WP:IUP with regard to relevance and educational value in this article - and many others. Toleration is not compulsion, though. When other editors object on reasonable grounds - educational value, relevance, reader expectation - the onus is on you to justify inclusion.
With regard to your last, unnumbered point: Yes policy covers this well. The Foundation, Ludwigs, I and others are urging you to follow policy concerning relevance here. I know that policy is routinely ignored on many articles but, because of the controversial nature of this content, I think we should pay particular attention to educational value and reader expectation here. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:47, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
I would argue:
  1. It is not in a minority of instances. Calligraphy is not in any way akin to perceptions of how one looks. Neither is "we can't portray his face so we'll use a white spot or veil and use flame as well". MathSci had a lot more on this as well. Thus, this is a point of disagreement - brings us back to consensus. We know what that is.
  2. Earlier, people were arguing they were of various sources. They are also from various time periods. Both argues against your opinion on this. As opinion (both of our points) we turn to consensus again.
  3. See my number 1 ;-)
  4. As noted earlier, policy and guidelines explicitly state it is permissible. I've quoted them even. That aside, once again, while you do deem the images fit those categories and are not educational, I disagree - thus we turn towards consensus.
  5. Tolerated? Why? What tolerance is involved? Also they do not necessarily contradict IUP. You see, that's your opinion. My opinion is they have relevance and educational value. And thus, we turn to consensus.
See where it returns again? Let's do that RfC and see what happens. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 06:03, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec) (1) Muhammad is almost universally portrayed in text or calligraphy, not figurative portrayals. (2) So what? What's the relevance to this topic that justifies the number of them. This is not Depictions of Muhammad. (3) Nobody argues that figurative portrayal is typical, currently or historically. (4) Policy specifically discourages use of irrelevant images (See: Wikipedia:Image use policy#Content). (5) "Tolerated", because of #4.
Is it time for an RfC? This kind of wide-ranging and inclusive discussion is, I think, a necessary preamble to an RfC, if only to save the community's time by refining the various arguments first. But maybe we're there. If we go to an RfC now, I'd like it to be open-ended, i.e., no formal question, no !vote, at least for the first few weeks, to canvass new perspectives. What is the issue? Muhammad or a wider question about controversial content?
Jimbo, I'm sorry this has taken up so much of your page. But, knowing you're watching, knowing your intolerance for inappropriate behaviour, and, I suspect, simple respect for your experience and position, have all worked to make this the most focused discussion of this issue I've seen. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 06:38, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  1. You can only make this argument if you refuse to acknowledge multiple scholarly sources which state that Muslims used calligraphy in place of physical depictions. Look at Jayen's sources, above; that's what they say. are you explicitly rejecting wp:RS?
  2. None of these 'interesting points' are actually discussed in the article (at least they weren't a week ago); there is no clear educational value to the mere presentation of these images. One cannot merely slap an image on a page and assume the reader will dig out the subtleties of historic variation over time; that needs description
  3. Yes, the images clearly have value as works of art in a historical context. However, the article Muhammad is not an art-history article, so that is irrelevant.
  4. We don't write articles to satisfy the whims of editors; we write them so that readers find them useful and informative. When the whims of editors get in the way of that, the whims of editors don't count.
  5. 'Permissible' is not the same as 'necessary' and is not the same as 'desirable'. There's no dispute on the first point, but much dispute on the second two. please focus on the correct issue.
You are falling back on the 'subjective relativism' defense - where one asserts that reason cannot be used to evaluate the issue so everything is just a conflict of opinion. It doesn't really work here because this is not a matter of mere opinion; You're simply not engaging the reasoned arguments that are being made. That's fine if it's all you can think to do, but the failure to acknowledge an argument doesn't make it any less powerful. --Ludwigs2 06:30, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  1. Don't care. Doesn't matter. Wrong article. This is not the article on "Depictions of Muhammad". This is not the article on "Islamic art". This is not a religious article. This is an article about Muhammad, where I fully expect, for various educational reasons, to see how he looks or how he was perceived to look. If this were one of those other articles, I'd agree. It isn't.
  2. Other than the black stone, (which WAS in the article and removed), the rest of the historical scenes were in the article text.
  3. Check the books mentioned (that Math listed). If not for those, I'd concede this point.
  4. This has nothing to do with whims. I find the images useful and informative. You claim not to. Hence we turn to the community to see where the community falls. We already know that answer.
  5. Correct, permissible does not mean that. Now that we've cleared up that policies and guidelines actually specifically state that this is permissible, I am hoping no one ever claims it says otherwise. That was the point of my comment - it was not a "permissible means we should do this" point. It was "no, the policies and guidelines don't forbid it like people keep claiming - they most specifically state it is permissible".
No, I'm not falling back on such an argument. You're positing that your opinion on the matter trumps mine because you think your reasoning is more valid. I, on the other hand, am saying two things (1) you cannot deem what I or others don't find educational. Period. Full stop. We do, sorry. And (2) you're positing that your "facts" trump what the community has decided (over a half dozen times in recent months) is (a) opinion, and (b) tiny minority. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 06:48, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
lol - Robert: that is a perfect example of a 'subjective relativism' defense. You're basically saying that you feel really strongly that these images are important and relevant, and no amount of reasoning will convince you otherwise. Add that you've dismissed RS, you've dismissed NPOV, you assert I have no right to even question your subjective assessments, and you back your position up with pure ad populum reasoning… If this were a high-school debate society your forensics coach would be on the verge of an apoplectic fit. This is an ostrich move, the textual equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah… so the you can't hear what others are saying.
Just with respect to your one substantive point, Mathsci doesn't actually have 'books': he's got one book (by Omid Safi) and a short list of museums and art-history sources that use the images. And even with the one book he has, he is cherry-picking quotes (ignoring quotes that Jayen has provided which tend to dispute the position he's trying to advance). I don't want to discredit Safi, who seems like a respectable academic, but using Safi to advance a position that Safi himself seems to dispute is textbook wp:synthesis. --Ludwigs2 14:42, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Muhammad is a biography. In every biography I could find on WP, there is either a depiction or a placeholder for a depiction. While WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS is not an argument for a specific case, surely "all the other similar stuff exists" is. It establishes the preferred format for articles about people. In some cases, WP uses modern photographs; in others, portraits painted either in the lifetime of the subject or many years later. In yet others, like Shakespeare, for example, we have a suspect portrait and in still another, we have an "imaginary" depiction. For Heroditus, we have a photo of a "purported" bust. In other words, for every person whose life is the subject of an article, we have the best depictions we can locate.

In what way are the artistic renderings of the visage of Muhammad any different? That a subset of the peoples of the world does not like/approve of their use at all is of concern to them, but cannot be the concern of WP. The Bahá'ís would dearly love to have the photographs of their prophet Bahá'u'lláh removed from his article, for the same reasons the Muslims give. The photographs remain for the same reason the Muhammad renderings should remain -that these are the best (however anachronistic, imperfect, even imaginary they may be) we can find of the person who was Muhammad.

For all of the examples I have given, the subject is known for his words, and while these words are not usually considered holy (Muhammad and Bahá'u'lláh excepted), they are certainly important and highly regarded. And yet what these great thinkers and writers might have looked like is also important to our readership. Where the flame and the veil help us to see the perception of the divinity of Muhammad, and should also be included, the visages help us to see the perception of his humanity. Therein lies the educational purpose. Bielle (talk) 07:25, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

@Bielle: I agree that there is a preferred format here. I am suggesting that a 'Wikipedia formatting preference' is not a valid reason in itself for including controversial images that offend readers' religious beliefs. The very idea is bizarre, like suggesting that we should not stop a threshing machine just because some silly worker got his arm caught in it. Formatting preferences are not part of article information; they are rubrics we apply, not rules we have to obey.
I'll add that I am perturbed by the logical inconsistency in your second paragraph. You say "That a subset of the peoples of the world does not like/approve of their use at all is of concern to them, but cannot be the concern of WP," while in fact you and other editors have demonstrated that you are yourselves very concerned about the issue. what you're basically saying is this:
  • Group Q is concerned about X
  • Wikipedia cannot be concerned about what group Q thinks
  • Therefore Wikipedia must contradict X in all cases
The conclusion does not follow from the premises. The 'proper' conclusion would be "Wikipedia must ensure that X does not exceed its proper proportionate representation." We're Not Concerned By… is not equivalent to We Must Actively Oppose…, and I don't understand why you've made the leap from the first position to the second.
I'm going to add - just because of the gross misrepresentation - that Muhammad is not considered divine in Islam. In fact, part of the rationale behind the precept against depicting the prophet is to keep people from fixating on the image and associating that with Allah. It's not a huge point, but it's better if you don't misrepresent the beliefs while discussing them. --Ludwigs2 14:16, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
@Bielle: Certainly, if we had a photograph of Muhammad, no one involved in this present discussion would object to its inclusion. That other biographies contain uninformed artists' imaginings of the subject is a matter for the editors at those articles. Many here are arguing that we should apply policy with regard to relevant educational value and take account of readers' expectations in this case, rather than do what other articles may do. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 14:22, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually what Bielle is trying to point out is Group Q is offended by X. Wikipedia does not consider offense to Group Q because then it would have to weaken dozens if not hundreds of articles because "people take offense". Therefore when Group Q complains about X we need to use policies to make sure that wikipedia continues to provide the best articles available. Once again we aren't trying to be needlessly antoginistic since we don't include controversial images (outside of the fact they are about the people named above.) Like I have pointed out numerous times if we actually wanted to offend people we would have bomb hat muhammad as the first picture not the calligraphy of his name (which won the spot as most common associated.) Tivanir2 (talk) 14:54, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Again, Tivanir2, you miss the point: these images do not help to make "the best article available," they simply antagonize people needlessly. You are making the absurdly hyperbolic claim that being reasonable on this article will cause commotion on hundreds of other articles. Being reasonable doesn't cause commotion; it resolves it. --Ludwigs2 16:12, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
So the images antagonize people, big deal. GoodDay (talk) 16:19, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
To be honest, reducing the number of figurative images is the right thing to do because not to do so misrepresents Islamic culture. Offence in itself would not be enough. The photograph of Bahá'u'lláh for example would seem to be a different kettle of fish. Firstly, it actually is a genuine historical photograph, one used in the movement itself for special religious purposes. As such it has an undeniable educational value with respect to Bahá'u'lláh. We have a similar situation with Xenu. I would not be able to argue in good faith the Bahá'u'lláh image or the Xenu article should be removed because Baha'is and Scientologists feel strongly that their presence in such a public context as Wikipedia is inappropriate. Wikipedia is indeed not censored, and the offence in those two cases is not needless. --JN466 16:54, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Bielle, the difference is that, if we aim to show representations in proportion to their prevalence, figurative depictions must come a distant fourth place in the article on Muhammad, because they are rare, completely unknown in many Muslim cultures, and have never been used to decorate public places of worship anywhere in the world. Calligraphy of Muhammad's words, names or descriptions of his physical appearance is used instead, and present in mosques all over the world.
Look at the article on Allah. They are no images of a white-bearded gentleman in it (unlike the article God). There are only images of calligraphy, because that—along with passages from the Quran, which is believed to be God's word—is the only way God is represented in Islam. There simply are no images you could use; the stricture against images of Allah is absolute. The difference with the article on Muhammad is only a matter of degree. The stricture against figurative images of Muhammad is the second-most emphatic such stricture in Islam, which generally deemphasises figurative art. While the stricture against representations of Allah is never broken, the one against images of Muhammad has on rare occasions and in certain limited contexts been broken, as we've seen.
Now, the point is that the conspicuous lack of images of Muhammad throughout the history of Islamic art is itself an important educational point here. Visitors to our article should understand and learn how Muhammad is portrayed. They should notice and learn that unlike other figures like Jesus, Krishna or Buddha, Islamic places of worship do not contain images and statues of Muhammad. Conveying that understanding is part of our basic educational brief. So the absence of a great number of figurative images in the article will itself teach the reader something of great importance: that in Islam, Muhammad is overwhelmingly portrayed through his words rather than through images. The article will then accurately present the visual aesthetic associated with Muhammad in Islam. If we show lots of images of Muhammad, just like we do in the article on Jesus and Buddha, that point will be obscured, and that actually detracts from the educational value of the article. An important message that our readers could have come away with will be missed.
There is of course another, somewhat less central educational point to be made as well: we should make clear to the reader that there have been such images, in limited contexts; usually showing Muhammad as a flame or veiled, but occasionally also with a depiction of his face. The many Muslims who are unaware that such images exist will learn what Omid Safi, himself a Muslim, is trying to make Muslims aware of—that in various periods of history, Muslims in certain parts of the world created such images, out of love and deep respect for Muhammad, the messenger of God. We could include an example in that section—preferably a veiled or flame one, as these are the most common types—and we are already pointing the reader to the Depictions article, where in-depth information and further examples of this special category of Islamic art are given. What we should not do is treat Muhammad like Jesus, Krishna or Buddha, because doing so will mislead the reader about the nature of Islam. Our job is to do the opposite. --JN466 15:40, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
We already don't treat the Muhammad article like we do those others, so your final argument is already invalid. As I have noted at least three times in this very discussion now, there are already numerous compromises in place. You (and Ludwigs) have no right to expect anyone to listen to new demands if you are incapable of acknowledging this fact. Resolute 17:33, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Here's a brief summary: The images of the article-in-question, will not be deleted. Censurship is unacceptable on Wikipedia. GoodDay (talk) 15:33, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

WP:NOTCENSORED fanaticism gets really old. We make editorial decisions all the time for a variety of reasons, and sometimes those include deleting content or adding other content. Indeed "editing" requires that we do so. I say that people who repeat this mantra with such religious ferver ought to reexamine their roles here. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 16:11, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
GoodDay, I have to agree with Griswaldo here. I 'get' that you don't want these images to be removed, I 'get' that you don't think they will be removed, but you don't get to demand that these images will not be removed. You can make an argument and discuss the issue - that will be welcome - but blasting out absolutist declarations in pointless. No one cares how domineering your presentation is (except for the irritation factor); if you don't have an argument to make, then you don't have an argument to make, and your mere opinion is just an opinion.
Now, do you have an actual argument to make, or are you going to continue with the "Resistance is useless!" approach?--Ludwigs2 16:30, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not censured. GoodDay (talk) 16:35, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
lol - okie dokie, Resistance is useless! is where you're going to stand. too funny... Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 16:38, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
You wanna have the images deleted, because you believe it offends people? then get the censurship repealed or at loosened or open a RFC. GoodDay (talk) 16:41, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Indeed; at the end of the day, that is really all one needs to foil the desires of religious extremism. The encylopedia will present a fair and neutral view of religious figures, free of censorship. Ludwigs and a handful of hangers-on have now tried... 1) Talk:Muhammad/images, 2) WT:NOT, 3) WP:WQA, 4) Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case, 5) WP:ANI, 6) the humorous WP:NOTSOLOMON. What else is there? Tarc (talk) 16:44, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Holy smokers, there can't be much left to the dead horse. GoodDay (talk) 16:48, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
[87] --JN466 16:59, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Grammar Police, Jayen, really? Has the discussion deteriorated to such a degree that this is what we're at now? Tarc (talk) 17:07, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
GoodDay - when it comes right down to it, I see no reason to let the project's reputation be damaged by senselessly literalistic misinterpretations of policy. Jayen, Anthony and I are making intelligent points. The fact that you and several other editors don't want to hear it (and that some of those editors are very adamant about the fact that they don't want to hear it) is a failure on your side of the debate. The fact that you can so effectively stonewall intelligent discussion is an epic failure of the project. I see no reason to stop trying to have an intelligent discussion; do you see a reason to stop stonewalling?
Again, make an argument or don't, but either way stop being a mere obstruction to intelligent discussion. --Ludwigs2 17:24, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
You're the one who wants to change Wikipedia's censurship rules, not me. The onus is on you to make an argument & right now "it offends people" is a weak argument. GoodDay (talk) 18:05, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, then it's a good thing that's not my argument. you might try reading the discussion. --Ludwigs2 18:37, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
You may continue with you campaign, but you'll get no support from me. GoodDay (talk) 18:50, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
ok. --Ludwigs2 19:27, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Since when has 'Wikipedia is not censored' been a valid argument for inclusion? It is a statement about what may be permitted, not a reason to add include something. I sense a failure of logic here... AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:29, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

I haven't seen any proposal to add something, though. --FormerIP (talk) 17:35, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
It isn't. It is being used as a valid argument against removing content in a specific bid to introduce religious bias. Many people have opined many times on the reasons for inclusion. We can't help the fact that people like Ludwigs are willing to push the goalposts as far as they need to ensure they are never satisfied. Resolute 17:37, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
It isn't 'a valid argument' (regardless of whether you are talking about new or existing content). It isn't an argument at all. And please lay off the 'religious bias' comments, per WP:AGF - they don't convince me (and I'm an atheist). AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:41, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
It is, you are just falling into the falsehood that people like Ludwigs wish to present (and which GoodDay exemplifies, though he is not typical of those involved in this debate) that this is the only reason why there is opposition. NOTCENSORED is being used to counter one argument: "we need to remove these images because Muslims are offended". That's it. And AGF has nothing to do with the fact that this argument is a bid to introduce a religious bias. It may be well meaning, but it is still an argument that we should not change something because the adherents of a religion don't like it.
But there have been several discussions introduced on which images are most appropriate, where they should go, how many of what type we should have, etc. Those are all editorial discussions that have been handled as such. However, pre-existing consensus was to use the images, and that is the default position from which this debate began. It is up to those that favour removal to build a new consensus, and thus far most of their arguments have been unconvincing. Resolute 17:51, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I think that, to be brutally honest, the 'religious bias' is if anything working the other way, and that some people are are actually supporting the inclusion of the images because they offend Muslims. If one wishes an article about Muhammad to be 'educational', as opposed to a political/religious polemic about why 'Muslims are wrong', an explanation for why portraits are rare will tell the reader a darned sight more than a few images possibly can. Evidently though, abstractions about 'censorship' are more important than encyclopaedic merit - and we mustn't offend the free-speech-idolators. AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:05, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
I see your love for AGF went out the window rather quickly. You should probably look at the article. Rebuilding a section on how Muhammad is depicted is one thing that has been agreed on and re-introduced. And I defy you to find a quote from any of us saying that we think "Muslims are wrong". If we thought that, we would not have provided a tool to hide the images for users who so wish (while the image filter, whenver WMF pushes it through, will certainly provide another tool.) Nor would we have compromised on the number and location of such depictions, both of which make this article atypical to that of your normal well developed biography, and both of which ensure that such depictions are placed in a minority position on the article. Resolute 18:20, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
I'll shoot that suggestion down, right now. I'm an athiest, personally I'd like to see every religious article deleted (let alone images) from Wikipedia - because they represent falsehoods. However, such a move would be censurship & so I don't seek such action. GoodDay (talk) 18:11, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec) My suggestion would be to change one of the historic images to one of the Night Journey. Looking at sources, the actual content of our article on Isra and Mi'raj is not particularly well written or accurate in describing the episodes of the journey. The article on fr:Isra et Miraj is more accurate and much better written. That article uses one of the images (veiled, from the British Library) that can be found in contemporary WP:RS on the Prophet Muhammad (e.g. the book by Omid Safi already mentioned). I think that there is a place for these images in these articles on Muhammad, but with some slight rejigging, which might slightly change the number of images one way or the other. Mathsci (talk) 18:01, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
What is including that image going to tell the reader, that isn't already in the text, about Muhammad... not art history, what will it tell the reader about Muhammad? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:12, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Just as much as can be found in other illuminated manuscripts of that period, such as the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. Omid Safi's book contains a detailed account of the Night Journey and the images complement his account (his grandfather BTW was an Ayatollah in Iran). In the same way, when I wrote Clavier-Übung III, I used images of the Trinity from 16th century Lutheran hymnbooks to match the music. Perhaps those images do not help understand the music or the musical iconography as much as the midi sound files, but at least to me they seemed helpful in evoking the spirit of the period. As another response to your question, I think the illustration in the French article is marvellous: it conveys the mysticism surrounding the Night Journey (presumably one of its original purposes); the prose in our English article is poor and uninformative writing which is far inferior to the French image. Somebody could try to write a more accurate version, with better prose, using one of the sources already mentioneed. I think illustrations help in historic articles. Here's an example in another article that I wrote: Guy of Ibelin, bishop of Limassol.
In response to AndyTheGrump: we know that the Islamic world is made up of many different parts, and attitudes have changed with history. There are many sources describing modern trends in Islam, for example this one by Abdullah Saeed.[88][89] Mathsci (talk) 18:38, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't see any comment on images of Muhammad in that document, so I'm unsure how it applies. Just to be clear, my argument is not based on any purported offensiveness of these images, nor the brief passage in WP:NPOV policy that tells us to avoid causing unnecessary offence in matters of religion. It's based on due weight. It's a matter of accuracy in our religious scholarship. Miniatures of Muhammad are a minority practice in the historical reception of Muhammad. They're rare. Most Muslims throughout history have refrained from making images of Muhammad. Such images as were made have never been displayed in public places of worship. There are a thousand mosques that have Muhammad's words from the Quran inscribed or displayed on their walls for every figurative image of him in a Persian manuscript. According to NPOV, "Giving due weight and avoiding giving undue weight means that articles should not give minority views as much of or as detailed a description as more widely held views." If the "tyranny of the mainstream", as WLU called it above, should be our guiding light, then these images are not part of it, and we should reduce their number. One example in the relevant section is enough. Best, --JN466 19:18, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
This is essentially my position as well.Griswaldo (talk) 19:51, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
If we want to give an example of an Islamic depiction of Muhammad in the relevant section, I agree that that image of the Night Journey would be a fine choice. Night Journey images are notable within that field, and this one is a visually stunning piece of art. --JN466 19:22, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm fine with that image sitting in Muhammad#Depictions of Muhammad. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 19:39, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
That seems completely reasonable. As I have said before the text on the Nght Journey is very poor both in Muhammad and in the main article Isra and Mi'raj. I would include probably the BL version (veiled) or the image appearing above as the main image of Isra and Mi'raj and the veiled BL one in the section of depictions of Muhammad. A brief improved text for the Night Journey could be added there and its use as a frontispiece in Persia and elsewhere explained. As I've already said, I see no reason for keeping the same number of images. An early medieval image (the Black Stone) and a later one of the Night Journey might be all that is needed. My personal view is that historically these images were intended to glorify Muhammad. (I have hunted around to see whether any Islamic scholars from Indonesia have made any comments or written reviews of Omid Safi's book on the Prophet Muhammad. One problem is that the reviews might not have been written in English. One such scholar could be Azyumardi Azra [90].) Mathsci (talk) 03:33, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

First, I apologise for mis-writing that Muhammad was himself thought to be divine. He was, rather, perceived to be "an agent of divine action" and, in that role, not to be the subject of "idolatry" as defined by Muslim belief. And thus, the flame and the veil are appropriate to this depiction and to this belief. They have weighty historical significance and need to be well represented in images and explication within the text of the article in respect of Muhammad's role as "the messenger and prophet of God." He was also a man, and as a man, had a face. The fact that only a few depictions of him with his face showing have survived makes them more, not less, important, to include in a biography.

Strong arguments have been made in this discussion for a POV and a WEIGHT that reflect the historical treatment of images of Muhammad. What puzzles me is that the arguments are, in large part, "in universe" treatments of the subject, as if Muhammad's physical existence can only be portrayed or examined within the context of Muslim belief. "In universe" is always a mistake, except as a "plot summary". It would be a mistake here, and one only made worse by eliminating all the images showing artists' perceptions of his face.

While I believe here is the first place I have commented on this matter, it has been discussed at great length and with many considered, knowledgeable opinions expressed for variations on the theme of keep/remove. So far, consensus is against removing the images and for keeping them. It is clear that a small group strongly believe, in good faith, that the current consensus is wrong. However, to continue to argue in support of removal, in spite of the weight of opinion against removal, is bordering on the tendentious, and good faith is not a sufficient excuse for belabouring points already presented at great length, and found wanting. Come back in a year. Consensus can change. Let it go for now. Regards, Bielle (talk) 19:35, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Bielle: I need to take issue with this phrase: "The fact that only a few depictions of him with his face showing have survived". In truth, no known images of Muhammad have survived. what we have is artistic representation created long after Muhammad's death. If these were actual pictures of Muhammad they would have great value, however they are nothing more than the imaginings of Persian and Ottoman artists. As such, they are of little informational value about Muhammad himself.
I'm sorry that you think this is an 'in universe' argument. In fact, there are two main arguments being raised against the images, neither of which is a 'Muslim' argument:
  • That wp:NPOV (and wp:UNDUE in particular) are being violated by overloading the article with historically rare and anachronistic 'personified' images, instead of the ubiquitous calligraphy or abstract images that have been the norm throughout world history.
  • That NOTCENSORED is being misapplied to protect images that are highly controversial but of little realistic value to the article.
You'll see a lot of editors here who are dead set on casting this as a 'Muslim' issue, because that allows them to dismiss the discussion as fanaticism. Don't be fooled by it. There's no consensus on this issue at all, just a small but energetic group that puts NOTCENSORED above every other policy and does their best to chase away anyone who tries to discuss it. Wikipedia at its… errr… what's the word I'm looking for? Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 20:52, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  • GoodDay are you honestly trotting out the fact that you'd like to see every religious article deleted (let alone images) from Wikipedia in an attempt to prove that you aren't religiously biased? It has the opposite effect in case you were unaware of that. It is not uncommon for editors to drag ideological positions that they have staked out for themselves generally into Wikipedia disputes. The NOTCENSORED mantra is a clear example of this, and in this case there are obvious real world debates about images of Muhammad and censorship that nail the fact home. Do you all honestly expect us to believe that there aren't editors here who are treating this as an issue to stake out a more general position about censorship on as opposed to a practical dilemma with its own contextual difficulties? It certainly seems like there are editors here doing so, and they give themselves away when they just say ... "Wikipedia is not censored." Once again, we make decisions all the time to include and exclude content. We do so as "editors" in order to produce the best educational content about any given subject that can. I have no problem with genuine concerns about the educational value of the Muhammad entry if it were to lose these images. I don't agree that we should be so concerned in that regard, and indeed think we'd have a better entry with less of these images, and only pertinent ones placed in the appropriate sections. However I respect these arguments, because they at least have an objective that is in keeping with creating and maintaining a quality encyclopedia, as opposed to making a political statement about the evils of censorship.Griswaldo (talk) 19:51, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Ludwigs, you need take no "issue" with my wording. I make no claim that the surviving depictions of Muhammad are anything except artistic perceptions, or interpretations or entirely imaginary (as is the depiction of Ovid as I noted above). None of this, however, negates their significance, just as the purported portrait of Shakespeare by Chandos -another depiction- remains significant, in spite of its dodgy history. (Artists are, in general, iconoclasts. What I find amazing is that so few depictions survived, or that so few artists dared. I am sure there is a PhD in there somewhere.) That these depictions are rare is a significant educational, encyclopedic point.
As for your remark that this is being "cast" as a Muslim issue so that it may be dismissed as "fanaticism", it is misleading and unworthy. It is a Muslim issue. There would be no discussion about removal if there were not a strong belief that keeping the depictions is offensive to Muslims. Your own words from above confirm this: "The whole conflict over the Muhammad images started because I asked that we evaluate the purpose of the images in the article with respect to their potential offense (on the assumption that editors would naturally feel that offending people without cause was a bad thing). That assumption proved to be mistaken, obviously, but the point still stands: our reader's religious preferences may not have a lot of impact on our decisions, but it ought to have some sway."
Many biographies have depictions of their subjects that are unverifiable or even known fakes. Nonetheless, the depictions stand because their very existence is of historical interest related to the subject of the biography. To argue otherwise with respect to the Muhammad biography is be to argue for a special case, a Muslim case.
Having read almost everything current on this discussion, I believe we disagree thoughtfully on one main point: the educational merit and weight of keeping the depictions as perceptions of Muhammad as a human being against the perceived offense to some (few? all? most?) Muslims. It is solely a matter of opinion. Whenever this has been put to the community, the merits of keep have been assessed to outweigh the merits of delete. The few voices here, however articulate, annoying, knowledgeable, argumentative, philosophical, or what have you, are just that: a few voices setting out opinions. Nothing has changed. Bielle (talk) 21:43, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
By all that is holy, I really need to learn from Bielle. Anyways as the retreads go lets go through them: The pictures aren't actually OF muhammad. Answer before the invention of the photograph there is no way of proving anyone's image is of that individual, hence to remove on this grounds we would have to go through and remove every picture that isn't actually a photograph. Two: They offend people. Answer yes things on wikipedia offend people that is why we have a disclaimer and things like NOTCENSORED, we do not use gratuitously offensive images per wikipedias offensive materials guidelines. Three: There is no good argument to keep them. Answer visual representation of noteworthy events in a historical figures life are important the images help us understand the writings and are essential for visual learners. I still challenge this entire thing because people are focusing on offense which we don't do in any other article. Simply put in the article if it were of any other entity there would be no argument for the removal of the images. Tivanir2 (talk) 22:23, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Bielle: It certainly does lessen their significance - it may not render them meaningless, but it does minimize their intrinsic value. As I've said, the images are not really depictions of anything expect in an art-historical sense, and while I don't deny that there's some value in that, they are clearly not important to the article in any content-meaningful way. And please note, it's not that so few survived, but that so few were ever made - this was really a practice of upper-crust Persians of a particular period, one that never extended to general use. It's pretty much the same reason why classical Western art has nudes - you'd never see nudes hanging in a local tavern or a public square of venice, but in the halls of the Medicis and the Borgias different standards apply.
The reason I said this is being cast as a 'Muslim' issue is that I keep trying to address this as a matter of general practice - e.g., how should we deal with controversial content of any sort, where the content adds little of value to the understanding of the topic - but I keep running across editors who refuse to allow it to be a general issue: they insist it's about Muslims, then insist that I am some sort of fanatical Muslim advocate. It's a painfully obtuse attitude that I've had to deal with many, many times. That problem spans multiple topic domains on project: from religious objections to gratuitous nudity to odd and unnecessary additions of other sorts. Obviously this particular issue involves Islam (the precept against depictions is Islamic), but it could as easily be about Bahá'í, or about gratuitous nudity, or about images included solely for their shock value - I've had the same basic argument on all those topics on different pages.
NOTCENSORED was never intended to protect gratuitous imagery, and using it to do so is just dumb.
You're wrong when you suggest this is just opinion. If you've actually read all of the discussion here then you have to recognize that there are no credible reasons to be using these images in the first place. Even your own argument is (pardon my saying so) silly - you suggest that we must include material that offends Muslim religious beliefs because we happen to use similar material in places where no religion is offended? That makes no sense: the use of such images on other pages is not required (do you think I'd get any complaints about removing non-representative artwork from any page except Muhammad?), and articles are supposed to satisfy the needs of their topic, not conform to some universal standard. You and others are the ones making Islam into a special case by denying the article the kind of editorial discretion that would apply on any other page of wikipedia. You are preventing these images from being removed specifically because Muslims would like them to be removed; there's no other reason that's been given for retaining them. That's simply perverse.
I still disagree that there's s general consensus that NOTCENSORED should be used this way, but I honestly don't care all that much. NPOV is a core principle that NOTCENSORED can't overturn, and we have a responsibility to our readers - as a respectable encyclopedia - not to offend their beliefs without good reason. If you don't think that's true, then I suggest to you that you haven't really thought about it. Honestly, I see this whole extended kerfluffle as a 'teaching moment' for the project, one where (maybe, with luck) we can all get past the kind of pugnacious adolescent snobbery that defines certain controversial articles and develop a more mature, responsible attitude towards the encyclopedia. so far it's rough going, but still… --Ludwigs2 23:05, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Ludwigs, one of the reasons there is so much controversy about your arguments is that you push the words of others into extreme statements they did not make, and then make light of the extreme. This is dishonest. Never have I claimed the images should be kept because Muslims wish otherwise; rather, I believe that there is educational merit in keeping the images as reflective of perceptions of Muhammad, the person, in history. That is my opinion; you don't agree. Fine. It is also your opinion that there are no credible reasons for keeping the images; Robert LI alone has done a fine job of listing what, in his opinion, are credible reasons. You don't agree. Fine. Far from being "gratutious", which is your opinion, they have been justified and asserted with good grounds, which is my opinion. We disagree. Fine.
None of the differences of opinion make mine or others "dumb" or "silly" or "a kind of adolescent pugnacious snobbery", and such name-calling is unworthy of a serious discussion. Calling it a "kerfuffle" does not diminish anything except, perhaps, my view of your opinions (which is neither here nor there.) A "teaching moment" for one is an unwarranted assumption of superiority to another; all opinion.
I have said my piece, more than I intended. (I am inclined to agree with Collect's Law, below.) I will trust that others can read what I have actually said, as opposed to what someone else claims I have said, and understand my opinion on the matter. The floor I now concede to others. Regards, Bielle (talk) 00:04, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
Bielle…(sigh…) Many of the advocates for the images have explicitly and directly made that claim; that is what the oft-repeated phrases in the vein of "Wikipedia does not cater to religious viewpoints" literally mean, that the mere fact that it is a Muslim precept keeps us from removing the images. If you do not share that viewpoint, my apologies (you're the fist I've seen who doesn't, so forgive me for making the assumption). But I will tell you frankly that if this were any other article I could simply say "I just don't like these images; let's replace them with this other set", and I'd have a decent chance of succeeding. Everyone would recognize that the images are not that important. On this article that normal editing practice is prohibited specifically because it's seen as catering to the Muslim proscription against these kinds of images. That is perverse.
That aside, I don't know what to tell you. You made a logically unsound argument and I pointed it out. You could try to strengthen your position by making a better argument or you could acknowledge that you made a bad argument and let it go, but there's no sense getting mad at me because I noted that you made an error in logic. The everyone has their own opinion perspective is a guaranteed path to never resolving this issue; we will only make progress by examining the flaws in our own reasoning.
I will tell you what I have told Robert and others previously: You don't get to fly on some 'gut impression' that the images have value. Either you can list out the concrete values that you think the images provide to the article or you can't, and if you can't list them out then you don't have a leg to stand on. Or do you think we should be offending the religious beliefs of millions of people because we 'feel' it's important to do so? I've read Robert's lists - i even agree that some of the values he assigns are credible - but when you add it all up there is nothing that mandates the images remain. The article would be just fine without any of the images - a little colorless, perhaps, but a perfectly good article. So again, the question is: "What do the images add to the article that can justify offending the religious beliefs of a major world religion?" That is the question that needs the be answered; can you do it?
I disagree with your assessment of why people dislike my arguments, though I don't suppose the 'why' of it really matters. So let's let that drop. --Ludwigs2 02:28, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually every time we are willing to sit down and go point by point on each image to decide value you have declined insisting every image needed to be removed. The only reason to do that would be to not offend a religious group and has been rejected each time it was presented. If you notice the other editors in the page that want to do the reviews and actual have people decide if they should remain are getting support since it has been pointed out that some images no longer have a purpose. Also the common mentality I find is that people have no issues changing images as long as they hold the same value. Normal editing is to come to the table to discuss if images serve a purpose and not unilaterally trying to declare them trivial to immediately remove them so we stop offending people. And as for the article being fine without images that is true of every article just we would need to lengthen some to include in depth descriptions of what we are using images for. I would also like to point out there is no mandate that says the images need to go so arguing that we don't need to keep them offers little. Tivanir2 (talk) 06:41, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Collect's Law

The person who posts the greatest amount of repeated verbiage to a discussion, is least likely to be correct. (first proposed as such at [91] on 17 April 2011. It is past time for Jimbo to hat this IMHO. Cheers. Collect (talk) 23:25, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Face-smile.svg ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 10:05, 13 November 2011 (UTC)