User talk:Ludwigs2/Archive 15

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Archive 14 Archive 15 Archive 16

Golden Gate Bridge

Thanks for the update. As you say, the "collapse" aspect is a little ambiguous - and was probably inferred later by people who noted the flattening out - but there's clearly more to this than just being a reworking of the "sinking library" urban legend I had mentioned. The first link you gave looks to be a reliable source; do you think something should get added to the article? Matt Deres (talk) 23:47, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Well, if you want a really reliable source, here's the New York Times report on the event. I guess we could add it in down in the bottom section - I'll do that now. --Ludwigs2 00:12, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Examples

Would love to hear the examples you mentioned. No hurry if you have to do other stuff though, ArbComs are stressful. BECritical__Talk 17:55, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

The three quick ones I can think of:
  • QuackGuru, who has spent a lot of time trying to modify wp:V, wp:NOR, wp:RS and wp:MEDRS to institute his particular brand of literalism as policy
  • BRangifer, who tried to support a fairly bizarre misreading of an NSF document at the Ghost article by pushing it into policy at NPOV
  • Several editors at wp:FRINGE, who have tried to institute some very unscholarly ideas into the guideline (I'm thinking explicitly of the 'particular attribution' clause, which basically said that any author who had any kind of academic credentials was not only qualified as a source for critical perspectives on any fringe article, but should be taken as the most qualified source in all cases)
people are nuts, sometimes... --Ludwigs2 22:50, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Ludwigs, there are all shades in this picture, and lumping BR in with QG is a bit of nonsense. Everyone makes an occasional mistake or picks a pet interpretation which is ill-advised, but good editors stop doing that, and BR certainly speaks from a reasonable place these days. I don't see what you gain from lumping him in with others who are consistently biased and far more tendentious. That's how things look to me from 2010 onward, at least. Ocaasi c 22:55, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Look, these are just examples. I have no problem with BR - he did do this, but he seems to have changed his way of viewing things, so all's right with the world. I'd have no problem with QG if QG stopped doing things like this too.
I understand that there's a strong tendency on wikipedia to personalize everything (if only because I have my own bevy of people following me around trying to take everything I do personally). However, I make a strong distinction between what people do and who they are, and I am more than willing to overlook anything that people have done if I can get around to a place where I can work with them. Don't assume that I mean insult when I say things like this, because usually I am just presenting a factual situation for what it is. --Ludwigs2 23:50, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I thought we were talking about what happened not editors, but it's hard to separate sometimes. Which is the "particular attribution" clause? BECritical__Talk 23:56, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Things don't happen unless editors do them, but IMO everyone deserves a certain measure of grace, if they show a willingness to good faith. As I've said, despite my past differences with BR, I'm currently willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in most any dispute, because he's demonstrated that that kind of willingness. I still don't necessarily agree with him, but I don't need to agree with people (or have them agree with me) to give them their due. Face-wink.svg
For the PA clause, you'll have to look back a year or so in the archives. But really, it did pretty much what I said it did - basically they wanted to allow anyone with any sort of scientific credential to be quoted on Fringe articles without attribution (as though their opinion represented the entirety of the scientific community). This is where people like Stephen Barrett and Martin Gardner came into play: One could supposedly find a quote from a Barrett (a retired psychologist) or a Gardner (a mathematician with a lot of non-academic writing) that dissed some fringe topic - both have umpteen quotes in which they call this fringe topic or that fringe topic stupid and unscientific, though many of Barrett's are self-published and most of Gardner's are published in non-peer-reviewed contexts - and then add that quote to articles as representative of the mainstream scientific opinion without specifically attributing it or justifying it further. silliness. --Ludwigs2 00:17, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
That does seem silly. I do understand that sourcing mainstream opinion in these areas might be difficult, but the thought occurs that if these authors are the only sources which can be found to represent mainstream opinion, maybe the mainstream just hasn't noticed. These authors should be good enough sources to put in the article though. Self publication would be bad of course. Question: have the problems with sourcing in this area ever been put to the larger community, or is it just something being fought about by interested parties? It should have been widely discussed and some general consensus formed, before the pillars of WP were broken for FRINGE articles. BECritical__Talk 18:31, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Because of my tendency to avoid anywhere that QG is editing, the particular attribution issue isn't one I'm totally informed about, yet it's been hard to avoid seeing its mention. If I understand it correctly, it's been a pet peeve of QG. From what I've seen, I pretty much totally disagree with him. I believe that "when in doubt, attribute". Rather once too many times than too few. I don't see it as a negative to attribute an opinion to the author. Please inform me if I'm totally off on this or have misunderstood the issues. (BTW, I just noticed something minor above. Barrett is a psychiatrist, not a psychologist.) -- Brangifer (talk) 16:04, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
PA was actual ScienceApologist's baby (he and I had some wonderfully colorful discussions over it back in 2008), though I daresay it's something QG would have an opinion on. I mean, I understand the problem with attribution: presenting something with too wide or too narrow an attribution puts a psychological spin on it. We want to say "The Theory of Gravity" rather than "Newton's Theory of Gravity" because the attribution in the latter case might make it sound like someone else has a different theory of gravity that's in the running. Of course, PA wanted to work that the other way (remove attribution to make opinion seem more universal). There was a problem on this over at Astrology just recently - someone tried to change (roughly) "Astrology is a pseudoscience" (no attribution) to "Astrology is generally considered a pseudoscience by the scientific community" (attribution, but broadly) and stirred up a beehive of trouble - a number of people got blocked/banned over it. crazy stuff. sorry about the fubar on Barrett. Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 16:34, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Ah! So QG is just continuing to push SA's idea? I can see what you say about it having its place, but for matters where opinions differ, I prefer attribution. Take Barrett, for example. While most of what he says is written from an EBM and consumer protection perspective that is shared by the mainstream science and legal communities, it's still his opinion and I think attribution would often be in order. In many cases where I have cited him, I go a step further and cite non-Quackwatch sources that cite him, IOW a secondary source. That has the advantage of showing that he doesn't stand alone, but is considered an authority on the subject by other sources. I feel that is generally a wise course to follow. -- Brangifer (talk) 16:47, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Isn't astrology the uber-pseudoscience? LOL... Ludwigs, you mean like maybe... Einstein? Anyways, it seems quite strange that the general community didn't stand up and enforce the pillars of WP in these cases? As it seems, there has grown up a separate culture where the general rules of WP are openly and routinely violated when editors feel it's necessary to create a balance in articles which is not actually supported by good sourcing. There doesn't seem to be much dispute that this did and does happen. The state on the ground should be instituted in general policy if it's really kosher. Yet, I have a feeling that if I went and edited the major policies to include the exceptions which you two have described, I would be immediately shot down if not reported. Why is it still the case when everyone knows about it? And if it's necessary, why can't we just say "In an article on a FRINGE subject, you can violate RS rules if necessary to explicate the scientific viewpoint" and have that be policy? Is it because no one has been able to come up with a formulation which doesn't adulterate the pillars? Yet the community in general supports the practice? BECritical__Talk 07:14, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand you correctly. You seem to be saying that the FRINGE guideline is a violation of other policies ("the pillars of WP were broken for FRINGE articles", "the general rules of WP are openly and routinely violated", and "adulterate the pillars"). Is that really what you mean?
The goal of Wikipedia (to document the sum total of human knowledge) requires that we cover fringe subjects, but since they are often so nonsensical, pseudoscientific, illegal, unethical, etc.., they are largely ignored by scientific research and academia, but they are not completely ignored. Many scientists and physicians (including Nobel laureates) who are active skeptics still deal with the subjects, but on their own time, not in their jobs. They do it in books, on websites, in skeptical journals, on blogs, in newspaper and magazine columns, etc.. To provide an NPOV coverage of the fringe subjects, we are allowed to use such sources because they are the only ones which provide the mainstream POV on the subjects. Otherwise we'd have fringe articles, written exclusively from the fringe POV, IOW we'd have sales brochures advocating nonsense as fact. Since we're trying to produce a serious encyclopedia, we can't let that happen. Wikipedia's reputation would be totally shot.
The FRINGE guideline was put to the community and developed in full sight of the community. It's a further development in the application of V, RS, and UNDUE, IIRC. We were constantly running into problems with finding academic and scholarly sources for fringe subjects. For example, to find a national body of science that openly condemns astrology (or any other pseudoscientific or quackery related belief) is nearly impossible, but the National Science Foundation does call belief in astrology a pseudoscientific belief. That's pretty good and is better than any other lesser-than-academic source, but we still use the others because they give a more complete picture of how astrology is received by scientists and skeptics.
Do you still see a problem with the FRINGE guideline, or do you see it now as an extension and further application of existing policies when dealing with special situations where better sources hardly exist?.....or have I totally misunderstood you? -- Brangifer (talk) 07:56, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
You might have problems defining the academic community. Did you know you can get degrees in astrology in India? Peter jackson (talk) 10:55, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
LOL! Yes, I knew that. India is a rather interesting case. -- Brangifer (talk) 15:09, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @ Brangifer: You've unknowingly highlighted the real problem here, where you said: "Otherwise we'd have fringe articles, written exclusively from the fringe POV, IOW we'd have sales brochures advocating nonsense as fact." Writing a fringe article from a fringe perspective is not by any means advertising: it's simply description. when I tell you (for instance) that many cultures offer small coins to statuettes in order to increase the prosperity of their families, I am not advertising for the practice or trying to sell people small states - I'm simply saying what people do. When I get accused of advertising merely for describing practices, it's actually an effort by others to advertise the opposite point of view (i.e., by people who think it's silly to offer coins in that way and are trying to convince everyone that it's silly). It's not wikipedia's job to advertise for scientific rationalism, and while we need to keep scientific rationalism in view to keep actual fringe advertising from happening, going overboard with it is counterproductive.

@ BC: Einstein didn't challenge Newton; Einstein revised Newton. or better put, Einstein pointed out that Newton presented the limit case of relativity, where relative speed can be ignored completely.

With respect to the rest - this is standard politics in a tribal society,where you get a conflict between unconstrained individualism and rigid dogmatism. Nothing much to do about it until the society grows up. --Ludwigs2 15:52, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

"....unknowingly highlighted the real problem...." Not "unknowing" at all because I agree with you! A neutral description of fringe beliefs and practices is perfectly fine with me. That's what we want! We agree. You've just failed to notice my important qualifier "exclusively" (therefore not "unknowing"). That applies to the article as a whole, not to the neutral description. Articles aren't supposed to be written from only one POV. That violates NPOV. It's when any opposing views are excluded that we have a problem. That makes the neutral description seem like advocacy, although discerning readers (a minority!) will realize it's just a description. NPOV requires inclusion of opposing POV, and coverage of the subject from all angles. That's where the rub is. That is sadly lacking in some cases. Can we agree on that?
A fringe article can be advocacy in (at least) two ways: (a) "Sin of commission" by openly favorable descriptions of nonsense as reality; (b) "Sin of omission" by leaving out criticism that states plainly that it is considered nonsense. -- Brangifer (talk) 17:36, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
@Brangifer, "who are active skeptics still deal with the subjects, but on their own time, not in their jobs." That is a violation of our sourcing policy, since it would use personal websites etc. Maybe proponents are also being quoted, but just because there is one violation doesn't mean there should be another. As far as I know, there's nothing in the basic policies that says that you can use bad sources when there aren't good ones available. And BTW... how do you really know it's the WP:MAINSTREAM POV if it hasn't actually been vetted by the relevant scholarly community? The whole point of MAINSTREAM is to say that the academic mainstream is the mainstream of Wikipedia, but if there is no mainstream in that sense, there is nothing in WP rules that says we violate sourcing. If a thing is Notable, it should have mainstream sources, which we should use, and exclude non-RS sources. To put it simply: there is no exception to the sourcing rules which has been acknowledged by the community at large. What you seem to be saying is that we have to use bad sources to describe fringe subjects. Why is that? Why can't we stick to the RS, and not allow bad sources from either side of a fringe subject? If it were up to me, I would simply eliminate all non-RS sources, and let the chips fall where they may: if it means the article is biased toward FRINGE, toward MAINSTREAM (the usual case), or that we don't have enough sources for a fully developed article, so what? We should choose reliability first, over any other concerns. And we determine reliability by referring to our sourcing policy. NPOV by definition is a neutral description of RS, and has no meaning separate from RS. It seems to me that FRINGE is taking into consideration things which Wikipedia editors have no business taking into consideration- such as how articles turn out once you've described the RS. We should not care if an article is biased or underdeveloped. That's none of our business per WP:MAINSTREAM. BECritical__Talk 18:49, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
 ??? Actual "bad" sources would never be allowed. I'm not sure where you're getting that idea. They are writing in books, on websites, in skeptical journals, on blogs, in newspaper and magazine columns, etc.. Those are perfectly good sources. They are often considered experts on the specific subject, or on consumer protection (and can address the subject from that angle), or on science in general (and can thus point out where the fringe idea deviates from known science). There are even private websites and blogs that are so recognized for their accuracy and by the fame of the author(s) that they are considered RS here for such matters. I suspect you need to broaden your understanding of what is considered a RS. It's not just peer-reviewed literature.
As to "notability", many fringe ideas are very notable, but are so crazy that scientists don't give them the time of day. They are pretty much ignored, but are given much press on other fringe websites. It is only scientists who are active skeptics who use their free time to fight on the frontlines in the battle between science and pseudoscience, and there really is such a battle. In the alternative medicine area a war is being waged against mainstream medicine that's pretty wild. If you've ever gotten involved with the anti-vaccination area, you'll see some of the most grotesque lies being told and people actually allowing their own children to die, not just to catch a disease, but then to suffer for long periods and die, when treatment is simple and easily available. Then the rest of the antivax crowd cheers them for "standing on principle" by not allowing those evil MDs to touch them with their "dangerous drugs".
Have you really read WP:FRINGE#Parity of sources carefully?
Another problematic area is the amount of coverage (literally, in amount of bytes). An article on a fringe subject shouldn't contain more coverage of the subject than is given in independent (often mainstream) sources per WP:FRINGE#Independent sources. That is constantly violated. -- Brangifer (talk) 20:36, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, I believe I've read it well enough: "In an article on a fringe topic, if a notable fringe theory is primarily described by amateurs and self-published texts, verifiable and reliable criticism of the fringe theory need not be published in a peer reviewed journal." Translation: if you use bad sourcing on one side, you can use it on the other. The mentions of "peer review" seem to be largely a red herring: you wouldn't think much of peer review in an article such as the example, because you'd be dealing with news reports or sociological texts or government documents etc. However, the sources you describe are already spoken of as acceptable in RS: "Self-published material may be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." I doubt that we should include any sources which don't meet those criteria... do you?
I'm wondering if I'm reading into what you say. I get the impression you feel that, first, Wikipedians have to think about how an article comes out (we don't, we just follow the RS we have), and two, that the "wars" of science and pseudoscience are relevant to Wikipedia (they aren't, we just follow the RS we have). I'm serious: if RS say something, and there's no "other side" presented in RS, then that is that, and it really doesn't matter if the RS are saying that the moon is made of green cheese. Do you really disagree with this? BECritical__Talk 21:13, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
You gave me a good chuckle there Face-wink.svg In a certain sense you're right about using "bad sources", at least on the fringe side. To then call the opposing POV, which is scientifically accurate, "bad" is up to debate, but at least they are more accurate sources because they are closer to the scientific "truth" (although I don't like to use that word in connection with science). The main goal of Wikipedia is still what drives the whole thing, and if that means using lesser quality sources to document some aspects of human knowledge, then we do it. It's not so much "how an article comes out" that's the determining factor, but that NPOV and the main goal of Wikipedia is fulfilled. That's why we even have some fringe articles, even though none of their sources are "reliable" in the strict sense of the word. (Our "RS" doesn't mean the source is "true", just verifiable and it's there tomorrow.) The fringe theories don't even qualify for the strict meaning of "knowledge" (which is just like "science" - that which is proven to be true), but they do qualify for "experience" or "impression" or "belief". In that sense they are still a part of human experience and we cover it.
NPOV then requires that we cover it from all angles, even if we are forced to use lesser quality sources. Since the fringe beliefs are unproven "opinions" not based in science, then the countering sources can also be "opinions", although they are informed by scientific knowledge, so they aren't unproven and thus are not only better quality, but aren't "bad". They are just of a different quality than we'd allow for MEDRS type information. We document opinions all the time in many articles, including political, sociological and alternative medicine articles, and that's all done in the service of describing the "sum total of human knowledge". Now if you want to describe all sources we use to document opinions as "bad" sources, that's an option. Face-wink.svg
As to "the "wars" of science and pseudoscience", they are VERY relevant to Wikipedia because they are part of reality, and if we ignore them, we are violating NPOV and not fulfilling our main goal. We document controversies here all the time. Controversy happens to be one of the many human activities which we document, and they are often pretty much ONLY "opinion". Unfortunately those wars can sometimes spill over to talk pages and actual edit warring and sockpuppet attacks, just like in politics where paid sockpuppets whitewash articles on political figures. The Koch brothers socking scandal at Wikipedia is a recent example, where even admins helped them. (See an SPI here). It's one thing to just add or delete material. Anyone can do that. It's another to understand and even be involved in the real world conflicts and then try to maintain NPOV in writing articles, but it can be done. Lots of editors here do it. They are actually the ones who understand the issues best and know where the sources are, and as long as they can control their tempers and write according to policy, we value them as contributors here. -- Brangifer (talk) 02:30, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
I think I agree with BR (and L2, I think), that it's okay to use less-than-ideal fringe sources under the following conditions: 1) the sources are specific to the expertise/field, and would be considered noteworthy within that field (even if it's Science); 2) they are only used in the article where that expertise or inside knowledge is being presented directly, and less in unrelated or overview sections; 3) they are given attribution in-text if necessary, but either way it is clear that they are 'inside' sources not 'neutral ones'; 4) The issue is properly framed, as Ludwigs says (is framing OR? or CS, common sense). I'm sure there are nuances I'm missing, but my general sentiment is with BR that we should document all aspects, with Ludwigs that we should document the inside-(of the now infamous gorilla cage)-details, and with harder skeptics that we should make note of the mainstream Scientific position on the subject. Ocaasi c 03:46, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, there is the exception about "Self-published and questionable sources may be used as sources of information about themselves." I bet this has been stretched beyond the limits sometimes though. More later, I'm very busy right now in RL but didn't want to abandon the discussion (; I'm not sure where the "sum total of human knowledge" thing comes from? BECritical__Talk 04:25, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
@ Ocaasi, you're right on the money. ....and of course, keep in mind that fringe sources are always "less-than-ideal" from a scientific reality standpoint Face-wink.svg, but as "sources of information about themselves" (and their weird ideas) they are okay, just not about scientific matters. We are forced to use them if we are to document and describe what they believe. The alternative would be for Wikipedia to adopt the SPOV (scientific POV) as policy for the whole encyclopedia, a concept which I have never supported. (Right now MEDRS and FRINGE serve us fine.) It would mean we never even touched fringe subjects (thus failing to document the sum total of human knowledge), or we'd do an overkill on such articles which would just be debunking sessions. (Hey, I can do that on my website!) That wouldn't be encyclopedic. I think NPOV serves us just fine because it guarantees that each article has it all. -- Brangifer (talk) 05:46, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Peace

The thought of you sitting quietly in contemplative worship, made me chuckle out loud. Not that you couldn't. Ocaasi c 21:37, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Lol... it's highly doubtful you (or anyone) would recognize me from my on-project persona if we met in person. In fact, half the reason I get as frustrated as I do at times is because I have to adopt a brutally hard-nosed attitude that's very unnatural for me. It's an unfortunate necessity: the articles I work on project are places where calm, reasonable, thoughtful opinions are either ignored or met with hysterical outbursts and blatant political manipulations. In the real world I can chill those kinds of things out with a raised eyebrow and a surprised, thoughtful comment, but non-verbal cues don't work here, and thoughtful commentary usually just compounds the hysteria. As often as not I'm reduced to the old insano-rationalist paradigm (making sure that people know that I can hold my own in a monkey-style crap fight, so that they might think twice before tossing crap at me). That works about as well as it does in the real world - i.e., not very, but better than doing nothing.
I actually like Quakerism a lot, and went to a lot of meetings when I lived on the east coast. I used to have a regular meditation practice (no particular style or sect, just quiet sitting - an hour or two on the cushion is a great curative for intellectual burnout over some theoretical piece), but I've fallen off on that in the last few years. ought to get back to that sooner or later, but... to every thing its season. --Ludwigs2 22:54, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

AE Sanction Case

I am going to ask you to stay off of the AE sanction case for at least the next twenty-four hours while I confer with other clerks on what action will be appropriate to take to settle this thing between you and Mathsci. NW (Talk) 00:52, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Not really a problem, since there's not much more to be said on this case, barring questions from the arbs (the discussion with brangifer and tom - not all that much on point to begin with - is petering off into senseless griping) and RL has some necessities that need attending to. let me know when and what you figure out. As I said, at this point Mathsci has nothing pleasant to say to or about me, and I have no respect for him as an editor or a human being. I will happily disengage from him entirely (as I have generally been trying to do) and count that as a blessing, if something can be arranged to keep him from trying to stir up fights with me. thanks. --Ludwigs2 08:22, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Ludwig, I’m not sure where the best place is to mention this, but I guess I’ll mention it here because I’d like to make sure you see it. I would really prefer that you not request for Mathsci to be banned from interacting with you. Not because I don’t think Mathsci’s behavior warrants it, or because I don’t think such a ban would be beneficial to you, but because I think this benefit might come at the expense of a lot of other people.

It’s important for you to remember that you’re only one of at least ten people who have been the targets of Mathsci’s desire for Wiki-vengeance, and the incivility and hounding that tend to go along with that. You’ve probably had to deal with more of this than anyone else has, but I also think you’re more resilient about it than a lot of the rest of us. At least three of Mathsci’s past targets have quit Wikipedia entirely, and specifically mentioned Mathsci’s behavior towards them as a reason for doing that. But I don’t think there’s a danger of him having that effect on you, and more importantly, as long as his attention is focused on you he generally isn’t attacking anyone else.

Basically, I’ve come to think of you as the antidote to Mathsci’s battleground behavior. The way a lot of antidotes work is by causing a poison to chemically bind with them, instead of attacking what they would normally attack in someone’s body. That’s more or less the effect I’ve noticed you having on Mathsci. If there isn’t a way to change Mathsci’s battleground attitude, and I don’t think there is, the best way I can think of to limit its effects is for it to stay focused on someone who seems more able to tolerate it than most of the people he’d be attacking otherwise.

I really appreciate this about you, by the way, so thanks. I think of Mathsci’s recent vendetta towards you as being the biggest reason why he’s pretty much left me alone since February, along with Ferahgo, Vecrumba, and all the rest of his past targets. I also know this is unpleasant for you, and I feel bad for you about what you have to put up with in this respect. But I hope you can still understand what a benefit this has been for the rest of us, and why I’m kind of concerned about possibly losing that benefit. --Captain Occam (talk) 18:28, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

I wish I knew the right way to phonetically write the sound a cat makes when it's coughing up a hairball, because that would be really appropriate here.
You seem to be suggesting that I am doing the community a service to the extent that Mathsci gets so hung up on his less-than-successful attempts to crawl up my ass that it distracts him from trying to crawl up the asses of other editors where he would generally be more successful. While I can't help but think that there's a certain truth to that, and can't help but note that Mathsci is not the only editor on project apparently intent on crawling up my ass at the moment - what's one more in the such a crowd; I should sell tickets - I do need to point out that I'd rather not have anyone at all trying to crawl up my ass on project, ever. I put up with it because I really do believe in fairness for both editors and topics, and recognize that fairness is a lightning-rod for people with righteousness issues (people who believe they are right in an absolute sense cannot tolerate fairness, because fairness hamstrings the whole complex of cognitive identifications about the relationship between ideology and personal character that righteousness depends on). However, I don't want to put up with it more than I have to, because putting up with it makes me angry and frustrated and interferes extensively with my ability to do even minor constructive editing. Contrary to popular opinion, I don't like conflict. I mean, I have the moral and philosophical high grounds for the most part, and am not at all shy about using that position for tactical advantage where I need to, but I don't like it.
I'm still looking for a general solution to this kind of problem (well, that's not quite true: I know the general solution, but the issue as always is getting the project reactionaries to see the bigger picture rather than lash out blindly against changes they perceive as threatening). The specific tussle with Mathsci is not relevant to solving that issue or that problem; It's nothing more than an aggravating annoyance that I would like to be rid of. I'd ask you to trust in the bigger picture, but I know per some of our previous discussions that the bigger picture isn't really your thing either (a good part of the reason you're in the boat you're in now is that you don't let go of the little things when you ought to). But I'll ask you to try anyway. --Ludwigs2 19:50, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't know Ludwigs, I think Occam's onto something. You can be our troll-magnet, our martyr, our wiki-jesus. All hail Ludwigs, binder to evil, distractor of heathens, black-hole of injustice. Ocaasi c 20:27, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, I totally understand how you feel about this. I figured you might be bothered by my mentioning this, but it really is something I’m worried about: that as soon as Mathsci gets banned from interacting with you, if he does, he’ll immediately be back at Ferahgo’s and my throats again, and maybe also the throats of a few of his other perennial targets.
I also would like there to be a long-term solution to this general sort of problem, but I think I’m a lot more cynical than you are about things like this on Wikipedia in general. I think you’ve seen what I had to say about this in my letter to the Economist, about how the people who are in positions of power here tend to support one another even if it’s at the expense of everyone else. I’m very pessimistic about that changing anytime soon. And as long as this problem isn’t changing, I think the most we can hope for is to just be pragmatic, and find ways for problems like these to do as little harm to the project as possible. So in this case if Mathsci is always going to be up someone’s ass, as you put it, from a pragmatic perspective I think it does less harm to the project if that person isn’t someone who will quit the project because of him, rather than it being someone who will.
But anyway, now that I’ve expressed this concern to you, I won’t try to stop you from requesting an interaction ban. It’s certainly reasonable for you to want to avoid this as much as possible, and an interaction ban is probably justified in this case. But if you’re going to request one, I’d appreciate you considering whether there’s anything else you could request that would address the root problem of Mathsci’s behavior towards everyone he hates, and as much as possible avoids the risk of just pushing this problem off onto all the rest of us. You suggested something along these lines here when Mathsci tried to get me site-banned two months ago—if you think something like your proposal there has any chance of being implemented, it would be a much better way to address the entirety of the problem. Do you think there would be any value in considering a proposal like that in this case? --Captain Occam (talk) 20:55, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
@ Ocaasi: Gee thanks. Do I get union wages for this, or am I considered an independent contractor? and I suppose there's no point in asking about health benefits... Maybe I should edit my user page and encourage people to recite the following: "Yea, though we walk through the valley of shadowy attacks we will fear no evil, for Ludwigs2 is among us, and he's a much better target."
@ Occam: Don't worry, I'm not unaware of that approach, and I rarely do things without considering the fullness of the situation.
@ both of you, as a long standing pet peeve: could you guys figure out what the proper balance between the letters 'c' and 'a' should be in a user name, and modify one of your names accordingly? the Occa/Ocaa thing makes me nuts. Face-grin.svg --Ludwigs2 21:09, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
A clever mnemonic should help. Ocaasi is a-a, because his (my) insight is refreshing like an ocean. a-a. And Occam is c-c, because Occam's razor is sharp, like a razor. c-c. Can you tell I've done SAT tutoring? (that will be $75, which I can deduct from your recurring monthly martyr fee). Ocaasi c 21:16, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Just to confuse things, I think the place William of Occam is named after is now spelt Ockham.
You "know the general solution"? I'd be very interesed to hear it. I take it you're not simply claiming that the town sheriff will solve all Wikipedia's problems. Peter jackson (talk) 10:49, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Reading this thread, well someone better start adding difs to the claims about being a troll, revenge and edits like this, "So in this case if Mathsci is always going to be up someone’s ass" (partial quote) needs refactoring immediately. Listen people, we can't say things here that aren't supported by difs and we definetely can't say things like that quote because it's a civil matter. Please, play nice here. The case going on now doesn't seem to agree with what you all are saying here. Sorry but this is what I am seeing. Thanks, --CrohnieGalTalk 12:17, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Crohnie, I suggest you go back and read the R&I arbcom case in full, any of the extended discussion pursuant to that about Captain Occam and Ferago the Assassin, or any of mathsci's communication with me over the last 6 months. You'll find the following:
  • That Mathsci is relentlessly personal, focusing on editors' (purported) off-wiki interests, their (purported) off-wiki and on-wiki association with other editors, their (purported) POVs, their (purported) personal characters or characteristics, and etc. He focuses on sanctioning others almost exclusively, and rarely attempts anything remotely like rational compromise.
  • He does not substantiate his claims in any meaningful way. He inevitably does one of the following:
    • Makes an assertion using a vague policy referent (SPA, sockpuppetry, fringe advocacy, or some more specific claim that whomever is in direct violation of some point of policy or some administrative judgement), and repeates it endlessly without evidence.
    • Makes a personal judgement against an editor followed by a long list of diffs. Half of these diffs will have no relation to the personal judgement he made whatsoever, they will simply be more-or-less random diffs that he's added to make the claim look supported. Most of the remaining diffs will only support the judgment he made by such an extreme stretch of the imagination as to be utterly worthless. In the R&I arbitration, Mathsci had linked to something like twenty user subpages (now deleted, I think) filled with personal statements against the other editors in the case. he had at least two subpages dedicated to me, and the one I remember clearest had something like 50 or 60 claims (and over 100 diffs) designed to make me look like a piece of crap. I went through all of those diffs and found no more than 3 that were even remotely credible. You'll find that documented extensively in my evidence there.
  • He is excessively and offensively officious: He does not talk to editors he is in disputes with, he repeatedly accuses them of policy violations; threatens them with blocks, bans, or other sanctions; tells them that he's sending private communications to admins; warns them that 'people like them' are likely to get in trouble.
  • He is preening and hypersensitive to criticism: suggesting in any way that he's ever done something wrong - accusing him of violating policy or of lacking common sense, suggesting he should focus on content rather than on editors, even providing diffs about his previous problematic behavior, or in any other way behaving exactly the way he habitually behaves himself towards others - will produce an immediate storm of whining about what a good editor he is and complaints and angry condemnations about how unfairly he's being treated.
In other words, he's a classic bully: He decides that he owns a particular arena, sets out to assert his ownership through intimidation and punishment, and jealously defends his ability to unilaterally intimidate others as though it were his god-given right to do so. it's disgusting.
If you want extensive diffs I can give them, but I'd prefer to reserve that for a more official venue. You should be able to find sufficient evidence that what I say is correct just by a quick inspection of some of Mathsci's edits in the places I've pointed to. Keep in mind, however, that I am not setting out to get Mathsci in trouble here; I just want to muzzle his bullying nature so that he and I and everyone can get back to regular content editing. Whether or not you agree he's a bully, I expect you to recognize the sense in that: if he's not a bully, muzzling his non-existent bullying side will have no effect on his editing; if he is a bully, muzzling it will be a distinct benefit to the project. --Ludwigs2 17:15, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
The only possible consequence of Ludwigs2 making sustained and unsupported personal attacks on me as above, unsupported by diffs, is that he will be reported on a noticeboard and cautioned or possibly blocked as a result. Mathsci (talk) 17:21, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
lol - thank you for providing yet another diff that validates my position. I mean, seriously... Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 17:27, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Enough

Please stay off the workshop page until the proposed decision comes out. That should be sometime today or tomorrow, so you probably won't have to wait too long.NW (Talk) 21:14, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

NW - if you're suggesting that I should allow Mathsci the privilege of talking shit about me with impunity, let's take that up with the arbiters directly, because I'm not likely to accept that. rein him in and we don't have a problem; don't rein him in, and I'll start posting requests on the arbs talk pages now. which is it going to be? --Ludwigs2 21:27, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
You're free to take it up with ArbCom if you wish. NW (Talk) 19:50, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Unless I have missed something important, you really have balls to side with a bully in this way. So Mathsci is allowed to continue his unconstructive anti-Ludwigs2 posts on the case pages, but Ludwigs2, who is actually an official participant, is not allowed to respond? And that's basically the response to Ludwigs2's request for a mutual interaction ban? Please tell me that I missed something, and what. Hans Adler 19:54, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
It's based on my analysis that Ludwigs was primarily at fault, and also on my assumption that ArbCom would be done with their deliberations by yesterday. If the latter is wildly off (though it shouldn't be), then I'll reconsider. NW (Talk) 19:59, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Then your analysis was clearly wrong. I doubt that it is the job of a clerk to anticipate Arbcom decisions in this way. Hans Adler 20:29, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, he's clearly wrong, but it's not worth getting annoyed about. If Mathsci uses this as an opportunity to smear me, then I'll give NW a chance to rein him in. if NW doesn't, then i'll take it up with the committee, and we'll be off on a new round of this silliness. People are entitled to be wrong every once in a while; they are not entitled to be wrong continuously.
Mathsci I will deal with at Arbitration Amendments as and when I feel up to it. --Ludwigs2 22:26, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

A friendly drive-by suggestion

I've been following the arbitration case you've been involved in with some interest, as it features the sort of players I like to watch yell at each other. But, as this is the first time I've read one happening in real time, I figured I'd drop by and make a short suggestion. Several times on that workshop page, I've noticed that you suggest a certain "eye for an eye" mentality; you even suggest on the notice on this editing page that rudeness will be met with rudeness. And, indeed, you've followed through on this in every available venue, which, no matter how justified, will inevitably result in an administrator seeing your actions as a violation of WP:CIV and blocking you. Regardless of how justified you are in your annoyance, "eye for an eye" doesn't play well at Wikipedia.

One gets the impression from reading these case pages that you might escape sanctions despite the fact that several arbitrators have made comments suggesting the original block was a valid, if muddled, AE action. Further fanning the flames by targeting Mathsci will only invite further scrutiny into your own actions. Do yourself a favor and skip all that. Skip the drama, the mudslinging, and the silliness. I'm not sure that you'll take advice from a mere IP, but I have every reason to believe you're a reasonable, decent person behind that screen name. So do yourself a favor and disengage entirely, send out some apologies to anyone you think you might've even slightly offended, and try to avoid even the appearance of incivility in the future.

Hopefully I've been helpful instead of annoying, but regardless, I wish you the best of luck. Regards, 71.114.203.158 (talk) 17:33, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

You're probably right, but there are two factors here which make implementing it pragmatically difficult:
  • I have a personal dislike for bullying that is not strictly rational. Lots of ancient history there that we don't need to go into, but bullying makes me see red, and brings out a really nasty streak of moral righteousness.
  • I have a strict rule that proper scholarship comes first in content, and a lot of editors aren't really *up* on the ramifications of proper scholarship. I'm quite firm about that on articles, which annoys some editors (to the extent that scholarship doesn't actually support the things they want to say), which leads them to bullying, which leads back to the first bullet point.
Vicious circle...
I repeatedly tell people that if they deal with me in calm, content-oriented ways they will find me calm, rational, and utterly respectable in everything. Few listen, for reasons I can only attribute to path dependence and project history. I'm not exculpating my own irrationality here, but I do say what I need and I don't get it from some people, so I'm not taking full responsibility for it either. If people were high-minded enough to respect civility rules there wouldn't be a problem; they don't, and there is. such is life. --Ludwigs2 18:02, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
You do realize that bullying the bully is bullying as well, don't you? I say this because I do think you could become a truly great editor if you could just stay away from all this pointless wiki-drama. aprock (talk) 18:16, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Bullying a bully is bullying. But defending yourself against someone who is bullying you is not, and if you have what it takes to do that it is normally the only ethical response. It may not be your intention, but you are blaming the victim. Turning the tables on a bully is not bullying in any sense of the word. See bullying. Imbalance of power is a defining element of bullying. Some other interesting bits from the article:
  • "In many cases, it is the bully's ability to create the illusion that he or she has the support of the majority present, that instills the fear of 'speaking out' in protestation of the bullying activities being observed by the group." – As Ludwigs2 has observed before (something I missed at first), Mathsci is working on this illusion all the time.
  • "In such groups where the 'bully mentality' has been allowed to become a dominant factor in the group environment, a steady stream of injustices and abuses often becomes a regular and predictable group experience." – This mentality is clearly a dominant factor in the environment of pseudoscience articles.
  • "It is the general unwillingness of bystanders to expend these types of energies and to undertake these types of risks [i.e. those required to reverse the 'bully mentality'] that bullies often rely upon in order to maintain their monopolies of power. Until or unless at least one individual who has at least some abilities to work with others, opts to expend whatever energies may be needed to reverse the 'bully mentality' of the group, the 'bully mentality' is often perpetuated within a group for months, years or even decades." – Very clearly observable in the Arbcom case.
  • "Should an intended target exhibit a 'defeated attitude' in response to chronic bullying, then the bullying is likely to continue." – This is why Ludwigs2 must not cave in. Hans Adler 18:36, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree entirely. That said, Ludwigs2's "eye for an eye" approach is predictably, understandably, and in many cases correctly seen as bullying. aprock (talk) 18:47, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Can you point to an example where he has followed that approach out of a position of strength? Note that this would have to be strength in the sense of power and alliances, not having the better arguments. Hans Adler 18:52, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I'm not going to allow myself be dragged into this on Ludwigs2's talk page. As I note above, there are better things to spend time on than wiki-drama. aprock (talk) 18:57, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── lol - well, here we touch on the matter of 'not strictly rational'. I'm happy to own up to my own issues, but as Hans says it's a dynamic. observe the facts:

  • Someone has to work hard to wake that demon in me, because I resist it.
  • They have to keep working at it, because it's not naturally a long-lived state.
  • They have to ignore/avoid numerous request from me to back off or let go, because I always try to detach and defuse the situation before it turns nasty.

Someone who puts that much effort into calling out my dark side has absolutely no right to complain when they find out how dark my dark side can truly get. If a mugger jumps someone, and that someone turns out to have a black belt in karate, the mugger doesn't get to say "Hey, no fair!" You're right that I probably shouldn't respond that way, and you're right that it probably looks bad, but on a certain fundamental level (at least once I'm pushed into that 'dark' mindset) I simply don't care. In that mode I'm inclined to say 'screw you' to the whole damned universe. If you don't like that... --Ludwigs2 19:00, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Back to editing from my account (the IP above was me at a coffee shop). The simple fact of the matter is that "If you don't like that..." or that "I...say what I need and I 'don't' get it from some people, so I'm not taking full responsibility for it either" is not the way that anyone sticks around Wikipedia. It's a battleground mentality, and it's the sort of thing that will result in further run-ins with the administrative corps. Why not just choose to disengage? What do you get if you "win" these arguments, if anyone can be said to win at all? If the game has no winners, why play only to lose? Regards, Archaeo (talk) 19:28, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Who's playing? This is not a game, and I don't expect to win anything.
You've made your point, and I understand it, and idealistically I even agree with it. Unfortunately this is currently beyond my control. If you don't want to see me defend myself against bullies in the heavy-handed ways that I am capable of, your best bet is to convince bullies that it is not a good idea to try to bully me. I am simply not interested in hearing you tell me I should be nice and kind and reasonable towards people who try to piss on me. Do we understand each other? Say yes, and drop the conversation. --Ludwigs2 19:45, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Certainly, as it's clear we have understood each other, even if we've failed to agree. My sincere apologies if all I've managed to be is offensive, as that was not at all my intention. Best, Archaeo (talk) 20:04, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Break

Hey, want to look at something different? Not in any way to invoke your recent conflicts, but I just whipped together an interesting biography profiling a person who underwent a sudden break in her conscious awareness of her psyche. Famous in spiritual literature and profiled in psychological writing as well. Neat story. Article probably needs some work. Suzanne Segal if you feel like stepping outside of yourself for a bit. Ocaasi c 03:48, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Hah. Different would be good right about now. Most I can probably do is copy edit (I've never heard of this person), but I'll take a look and see what I can see. --Ludwigs2 04:46, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

?

I'm confused. Prodego talk 18:37, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Crap! Sorry, I'm guessing I accidentally hit the undo link in my watchlist. I'll fix it now. --Ludwigs2 19:05, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
oh, you did already. sorry about that. Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 19:07, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

FYI

Hi, I just want to let you know that I responded to you here. I tried to be fair in my opinion there. Have a good night, --CrohnieGalTalk 19:50, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Crohnie, you're usually fair, and I am sometimes an ass. I wish I didn't get quite so POed by wikipedia shenanigans... Face-sad.svg well, i'll go take a look at it. --Ludwigs2 20:36, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
Hi, I just want to say that I for one understand when RL problems makes one a little more emotional than normal. I can usually tell by someones editing when they are under new stresses by the way the edits change. Sorry I didn't catch it with you, it would have made my comments a little more sensitive. Now that I know this it makes a little more sense with your strong aggressions you have lately. When stresses in RL are too much the last thing you need is stresses here yet you seem to go after the stressful situations instead of avoiding them. May I suggest that when life has you on your toes that you find a quiet place here to edit and stay away from the articles that are totally stress magnets? I don't do stress which is why I avoid different places on the project and some editors. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you think about calming down your edits. Remember we are supposed to be working on an encyclopedia not fixing others behaviors. That usually happens naturally from what I've seen. Sometimes it happens quickly and sometimes it takes time by it does happen. I hope in the future we can discuss things without fear of anger or stress. Take care and if I can help please don't hesitate, --CrohnieGalTalk 12:12, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:WikiProject Common Sense

Hi there,

I'm looking to close the above MFD as delete, but it is the WikiProject that you created and no-one has notified you of it's MFD. One suggestion is that it be moved over to an essay in your userspace, can you please look at the MFD, comment and copy as necessary so that I can close the MFD?

Kind Regards,

The Helpful One 12:17, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Your explanations of your behavior

Is it proper to lower your behavior when interacting with others whom you feel is behaving poorly?

Sorry that I was less than diplomatic with my comment which you removed [1]. But I do think it would be helpful for you to clarify your position on this, since you were the one that brought it up at Arbcom, and others have noted it since. If it has already been discussed, my apologies, but could you indicate where? --Ronz (talk) 22:46, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Let me point out that this is a really oddly phrased question, and cold use some clarification. the question seems to imply that I am better than other editors - how else could I lower my own behavior when confronted with poor behavior from others? If we assume that as a premise, then it seems more pertinent to ask why other editors don't raise their behavior when interacting with me. If you want to set up a dichotomy where I am somehow better than other editors, ok, but the conversation is going to get very confused when we start discussing what the proper standards for behavior should be.
I am aware that conversation often takes place on different levels under different contexts. When I go to a dive-bar and I see a couple of drunk guys puff out their chests and get in each other's face over some triviality, I recognize that as a valid and functional form of communication. Not a particularly high or smart form of communication, but more often than not a few moments of chest-puffing and monosyllabic yelling will get their friends to pull them apart, and they will both have established whatever it is they need to establish and turn around and buy each other beers. It's no different here: different people communicate on all sorts of different levels, and most of the levels are functional in their own way (if not optimal). I prefer a highly discursive level - one where discussions are based on reasoned discussion and thoughtful consideration - and I think that's what the project originators had in mind when they conceived of the project's core principles. But I recognize that there are editors who prefer other levels - authoritarianism, hegemonic power politics, teleological political manipulations, rough equivalents of realpolitik, surveillance tactics that would have made Stalin shiver in delight... I acknowledge whatever conditions confront me, and generally adapt myself to the goal of raising the conversation to a discursive level, but where that's impossible with the lower goal of making sure that things don't get decided by less savory means.
That's not really a problem, though. The only real problem here is that I lose my temper - I have a nasty temper, if someone can push me that far. But I give plenty of warning that I'm about to blow my top; I do my due diligence, other people can do theirs. --Ludwigs2 00:49, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Ludwigs, you are better that most at being able to analyze complex subjects. That is why your (not so) in kind responses make little sense sometimes. I note the saying that one should not mistake ignorance for malice. Not doing so requires one accept other people don't know what you know, which can be a trying concession. How's that for palatable medicine. Ocaasi c 03:31, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Ocassi: I can deal with people not understanding me - pretty much the story of my life, and I'm very patient about explaining what I think. I can deal with people rejecting my viewpoint out of ignorance - sometimes I can't get across an idea no matter how hard I try, and that's just the way it is. I do not deal well with people who ignore what I say and attack me personally. Someday, maybe, I will come to be a better man, but that day is not today. --Ludwigs2 06:23, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Let me try again. This isn't about communication methods, but behavior. It's not about just losing your temper either, at least as far as I can tell.
You've repeatedly pointed out other editors behavior when confronted with your own. In general, you try to equate your behavior with that of others, and you blame your behavior at least in part on that of others. You've done so in the current and past ArbCom. This seems completely at odds with what you claim to be your preferred behavior where "discussions are based on reasoned discussion and thoughtful consideration." --Ronz (talk) 20:08, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
I have no idea what you're getting at, Ronz. If you have a point to make, make it, I'm not here to play guessing games. --Ludwigs2 21:57, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
You rationalize your poor behavior by comparing it to others', equating it with others', and claiming that you've changed your behavior to a point where it's problematic in response to others'. You've done so even in Arbcom. Correct? --Ronz (talk) 19:35, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
Again, this isn't twenty questions. Please make whatever point you're trying to make, and stop talking to me like I'm a hostile witness in some television courtroom drama. --Ludwigs2 20:10, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
Ronz if you need to blow off steam, you are invited to do so on my talk page. You already have so many comments there a few more probably won't matter and at least you won't be cluttering up anyone else's talk page. Lambanog (talk) 21:01, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
@Lambanog: two things: (1) just so you're aware, user page harassment is against policy. I had to take Ronz to ANI a while back because he was bombing my talk page with aggressive comments, so you have that option if you need it. (ii) if you'd like, I'm happy to set up your talk page for automatic archiving - I see you have threads there from all the way back in 2009. Let me know. --Ludwigs2 21:25, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the info and kind offer. I think the page is still manageable although if it gets more unwieldy I should be able to easily figure out how to set things up for automatic archiving. If I have any trouble I'll be sure to holler. Face-smile.svg Lambanog (talk) 06:28, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This explains a lot about what you have been doing and your questions to me, Lambanog. Oh an just some more information, some editors have a hard time downloading a page over 350K. I don't know if you are aware of this fact so I thought I would share it with you so you know about it now. I'm not going to say a word about your behaviors towards Ronz other than you both should know better. --CrohnieGalTalk 13:14, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Can you perhaps step in here?

I hate to rely on your oversight here, but I believe this kind of behaviour is marring the mediation's progress. I can overlook the general stroppiness, but baseless accusations of "POV pushing" are unconductive to the proceedings. Can you take a look at this? Am I being unreasonable to demand good faith? Nightw 21:15, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Measuring rod and Megalithic Yard

Do you see OR problems in these? Dougweller (talk) 04:34, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

well, an OR tendency is there. I mean, I personally have no doubts that ancient peoples had standardized units they worked from - one can't engage in massive engineering projects without rough standardization of some sort, and ancient peoples were not particularly stupid. I don't like the implications that get thrown out about some uber-standardization (from Egypt to Britain, for heaven's sake) because that starts to sound awfully fringish. Again, doubtless there was foreign contact, but more likely there was just functional convergence (e.g., the reason why doors are roughly the same size from Asia to Africa to Europe to the New World is that doors are sized to the needs of people and people are all roughly the same size). I don't want to go whole hog and commit myself to saying they are ORing. It's borderline; it could certainly use some rephrasing and pruning, and some careful reading of sources. --Ludwigs2 06:12, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm not sure about the maths either, we can say 2+2 = 4 but I'm not sure about more complicated stuff, and we can't use it to draw conclusions. The MY article seems to assert that it is accepted but I don't think that's the case. Certainly one source I looked at didn't say that at all, Ivimy is not a reliable source, and I'd like to see what Ruggles actually said as everything I've read by him has been skeptical. And Measuring rod has had, and may still have, a lot of stuff not about measuring rods but about measurements. Dougweller (talk) 07:34, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
(ec) Compare that article to Alexander Thom. Units of measurement change under pressures analogous to those that make languages change, so it's plausible that at some point far enough in the past huge areas used basically the same unit of length. But it makes no sense at all to suggest that an Egyptian unit of length was 1/5 of an ancient unit. There is no particularly plausible reason for this suggestion, so we can't treat it as a hypothesis that can be tested by checking the numbers. In this area you just can't do it the other way round because starting with two random numbers of the same order of magnitude you will always come up with simple numerical connections of this kind that approximate one in terms of the other pretty well. And the claim that this unit was 8.2966 m, i.e. that it can be determined up to 0.1%, is obvious fringe. Even granting that the prehistoric cultures may have had metrologists who could preserve such a level of precision over many centuries and thousands of kilometres, it's very unlikely that construction workers would have worked so precisely – or, for that matter, whoever measured the prehistoric sites. Hans Adler 07:39, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
well, hmph. maybe we should consider merging the megolithic yard article in as a section on the Thom article - it seems to be solely his semi- or pseudo- scientific idea picked up and extrapolated on by some real fringe authors. Cover the MegYa material in Thom's bio, and cover any notable fringe theories that draw on it in separate articles where they can clearly be contained as fringe. That way we don't sully Thom (who apparently was not happy about his theory being picked up by the fringe crowd). Of course, if you guys think this is the plan we should bring it up at the talk page.
Also, did you notice that there's some monkey business going on here? I'm not sure who did what or why, but we have Megalithic Yard and Megalithic yard which point to very different places. we ought to rationalize that, but where there's that there's probably other page-name monkeyshines going on (it's like potato chips - no one stops at one). Unfortunately, this topic is kind of out of my bailiwick: I have no idea what articles might be related to this one (though I think Doug or someone posted some of them in my talk a while back - 366 degree circle or some such?) --Ludwigs2 08:29, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
P.s. just as a matter of humor, did you realize that that the yard is within a 5% variance of the meter? a meter is 39.37 inches, and yard is 36 inches, so each is roughly 1.5 inches (<5%) from their presumed common mean. I will leave the obvious conclusions as an exercise to the reader. Face-wink.svg --Ludwigs2 08:48, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
They were both redirects until a couple of days ago to Pseudoscientific metrology, until the MY one was changed. That was presumably to aid readers who weren't sure about capitalization, which seems reasonable. Dougweller (talk) 09:25, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
The relation between yards and metres is well known. On British roads they are already using the metre, and labelling it as a yard for practical and cultural reasons. Apart from significant opposition to use of metric units the problem is that the metre's abbreviation "m" is already taken by the mile and we can't have people thinking that a dangerous obstacle is 500 miles ahead, or that it's only 73 metres to Glasgow. Did you realise that the inch is precisely 2.54 centimetres? Similar attempts to simplify conversion are documented for units in the Middle Ages. E.g. the English/Scottish ell was three Rhenanian feet, apparently because the main market for Scottish wool was in Cologne. Hans Adler 11:01, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Guys, the yards/metres thing was a joke. Your cursed, relentless logic is interfering with my pseudoscientific humor. Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 20:28, 22 April 2011 (UTC)