Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Lists by religion-ethnicity and profession

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See Wikipedia:Lists in Wikipedia for the related proposed Wikipedia policy, guideline, or process page.

Note to visitors Please list amendments on the project page and comments under the discussion page. Durova 17:33, 5 January 2006 (UTC)


WP:AfD sees frequent controversies about how to apply the following rule to lists of people that link religion or ethnicity to profession:

From WP:NOT, Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information:

  • "Lists or repositories of loosely associated topics such as quotations, aphorisms or persons. If you want to enter lists of quotations, put them into our sister project Wikiquote. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having lists if their entries are famous because they are associated with or significantly contributed to the list topic. Wikipedia also includes reference tables and tabular information for quick reference."

This discussion attempts to establish consistent guidelines in accordance with that policy.

Initial proposal[edit]

In general, such lists are relevant when professional work reflects ethnic or religious heritage. Relevance exists when a person's religious observance affects a professional choice in a notable way or when someone's professional prominence draws attention to their religious affiliation. A list can also be relevant if its members overcame significant prejudice related to their religion/ethnicity and profession.

Suggested guidelines:

1. Keep the list when there's an obvious relationship List of Muslim theologians.
2. Edit for relevance when there's a possible relationship List of Catholic artists.
3. Keep the list if its members faced significant discrimination List of first black Major League Baseball players by team and date.
4. Edit for relevance if only certain members faced significant discrimination List of Mexican-American scientists.
5. Delete unrelated lists List of Methodist dentists.

Modifications and comments:

A. Edit for relevance situations may do well to rename the list to a restrictive title and/or include an introductory paragraph to inform future editors. Source citations, which are always a good idea, become particularly desirable to avoid possible disputes.
B. Gender based lists could use basically the same guidelines.
C. Sexual orientation based lists should be limited to self-described individuals when referring to living people. Historic attributions that might be contested should be sourced.
(revised)Self-description may carry particular importance for living people. Some individuals may choose to keep their religion or ethnic heritage as private as possible, either for personal reasons or to avoid discrimination. In most cases the relevance guideline should cover this situation. This reasoning can also apply to lists about sexual orientation. Durova 18:46, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
D.Overlapping definitions of religion and ethnicity have been known to cause Wikipedian disputes. These guidelines treat ethnicity and religion as functionally equivalent. If List of Jewish XYZ gets nominated for deletion, voters can reach a consensus about its encyclopedic value without necessarily agreeing on whether the subject represents a religion, an ethnicity, or both.
(revised addition) Editors may wish to add notes or subcategories for individuals whose presence on a list carries ambiguities. Durova 18:46, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
E. Citizenship may be a different matter. A relationship can be encyclopedic for a country's citizens that would not be encyclopedic for a related ethnic/religious group. List of Israeli chess players is encyclopedic because its members could represent their country in international competitions. List of Jewish chess players, however, has no inherent relevance.
F. Minority status is not in itself encyclopedic, but may bear a close relationship to bigotry and discrimination. These matters are situational and should be handled with common sense.

Durova 22:30, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

===Additional modification (proposed)===:G. Jewish attributions should be limited to self-described individuals when referring to living people. Durova 22:55, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Move to delete 99% of all Lists of Jews: Sixteen reasons why this should become a fixed Wikipedia policy[edit]

The following is the result of discussions between User:IZAK and User:SlimVirgin:

At the present time, 99% of ALL "Lists" AND "Categories" of Jews should NOT be allowed on Wikipedia for the reasons that will be stated very clearly below so that we can move to have the problem resolved on Wikipedia once and for all IZAK 12:50, 1 January 2006 (UTC):

1) There's no clear definition of "Jew" in use, so that people with one great-great grandparent are being called Jewish. There is NO universally agreed upon definition of who or what is a Jew. For a serious review of this subject see the key article: Who is a Jew? at [1]. This thus means that it is ludicrous, presumptuous and decidedly un-scientific for there to be lists and categories of Jews or of people of Jewish descent drawn up by anonymous editors on Wikipedia who reveal by their placing of people on the lists and categories of Jews a COLLECTIVE ignorance of the CONFLICTING definitions of who is a Jew and that they have no knowledge of the conventional scholarship or legal issues that formulate the definitions of and what a Jew is.

2) The argument that is used by some Wikipedians that if the lists and categories of Jews were to be deleted than all the other lists and categories of ethnicities such as Italian-Americans, and people by religion, should also be removed is actually a "red herring" argument because who is to say that the lists of "Italian-Americans" is accurate, or that the people themselves view themselves as such or that the world has either an interest or has always known this "fact" about them? Furthermore, Jews and people identified as being of Jewish origin have historically been the victims of crimes against humanity committed against the Jewish people by using such lists and "categories" (i.e. "non-Aryans"), the Holocaust being the strongest example of this. So that it may well be that by drawing up massive lists and categories of Jews, Wikipedia may God forbid be setting itself up as an accessory to a crimes against humanity by setting up enhanced data-bases of human beings who may or may not be connected to the Jewish people. Does Wikipedia want to be a de facto venue for online APARTHEID because, unfortunate as it may sound, in millions of people's eyes, to be classed as a Jew means to be somehow an "inferior" person?

3) These are the kinds of lists the Nazis used to keep. Lists or Categories of Jews or people of Jewish descent should be stopped and removed from Wikipedia because they unfortunately have the stench of being associated with the Nazis who used such lists to seek out and murder Jews as part of the Final Solution in the Holocaust (1939-1945) during World war II.

4) When the defense of such lists or categories about Jews is made by certain Wikipedians that there are other lists and categories of ethnic groups, it must be understood that in the case of the Jewish people, Jews cannot be compared to other ethnicities or religious groups because being identified as being Jewish has been proven to result in horrendous discrimination against the people identified as Jews such as in the former Soviet Union when people suppressed their Jewish identity since being identified as Jew often meant denial of access to higher education, the loss of one's job, and expulsion from governmental and military positions. Or, if one is known to be Jewish then that person is FORBIDDEN by present well-known Saudi government laws from entering Saudi Arabia or being present in the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. There is also the threat of identifying potential Jewish targets for Islamic terrorists or suicide bombers, God forbid, among those Jews on Wikipedia lists who are alive, and may wish to stay so !!!

5) There are at the present time anti-Semitic websites on the Internet that prove that the collecting of Jews' names and having them published on the Internet is not an innocent undertaking and is meant as some kind of "warning" to the people identified as Jews and to the Jewish people as a whole no matter where they may find themselves. The most notorious of these sites is "Jewwatch" which is the top site that pops up when doing a search for the word "Jew" on Google (and only Wikipedia's article on Jew serves as a serious counterweight.) Somehow or other there are people on Wikipedia who are in effect aping the notorious anti-Semitic "jewwatch . com" website (and there are others) that is a frightening example of "trouble -- and even tragedy -- waiting to happen". See the Wikipedia article on Jew Watch at [2].

6) Wikipedia should NOT lend itself in any way, even unwittingly, to the furtherance of anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred. Unfortunately the uncontrolled growth of lists and categories about Jews is surely playing into the hands of the world's anti-Semites. We're inadvertently aiding and abetting anti-Semites who will find a way to use these lists against the names on them. For example, in the UK, the politicians loyal to Tony Blair are called the "Jewish mafia" and opponents are always interested to work out who is, and who isn't, a Jew among his supporters.

7) The obsession with the ethnic and religious origins of peoples' ethnic and religious roots and background is a phenomenon inspired predominantly by cultural trends in the United States where pride in one's ethnicity religious or non-religious attitudes is of interest to only a small minority of people. It is time for Wikipedia to formulate a formal policy regarding "Lists" and "Categories" of private citizens in the United States as being un-encyclopedic and a misrepresentation of how the people concerned would wish to be viewed and named. Are the living "Jews" in those lists and categories being Emailed for permission to list them as Jews? We worry about the copyright status of photos and maps on Wikipedia, but surely one should worry a lot more about the rights people have to their own personal information being published on so prominent a site as Wikipedia (one of the Internet's top twenty sites!), especially in this day and age of identity theft.

8) See: Wikipedia:Citing sources!!!: A lot of the names are added without SOURCES (a violation of Wikipedia protocol), so there are accuracy problems. Often, the sources are very dubious. This means the lists are a violation of Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research, both of which are policy.

9) Wikipedia is probably "outing" may people who don't see themselves as Jews, and almost certainly want to keep it to themselves, because there's a lot of anti-Semitism in some countries. This then means that Wikipedia is violating people's rights to PRIVACY in acting more like a snooping "paparazzi tabloid reporter" on the lookout for sensationalism and a desire to "create news" and not merely to "report" it.

10) There is a growing concern about Wikipidia editors and user familiar with the topics of Jews and Judaism about the motivation of some of the people who've been working on the lists and categories. This concern is re-enforced when he/she/they steadfastly refuse to produce sources, and become very rude about anyone who tries to get them to do so. The tracing of alleged or supposed Jewish ancestry on Wikipedia is beginning to appear to many editors as more like a worldwide "digging up dirt" or even a "witch hunt" for Jews very similar to form of McCarthyism see [3] when the search for Communists was a rage. And often, the articles attract the WRONG kind of attention from vandals and sockpuppets who want to attack these lists more than anything else. So it's ultimately going to be a lose-lose proposition for Wikipedia to allow them in the first place.

11) In the majority of instances references and citations are not given by contributing editors, but then when NPOV editors attempt to do the work of researching and searching for information about the "Jewish-ness" of the people listed, they feel as if they are doing not just editorial work, but truly DIRTY WORK, because it's a frustrating and questionable task that induces shame and horror in many editors who feel they are essentially being hoodwinked into "doing the Devil's work" by pinning the label "Jew" to people AND PERSONALITIES who have had no connection to Jews, a process which has, in effect, the connotation of being tagged with and becoming the victim of the hated Yellow badge [4].

12) The fact is that for a few of the names, the only online sources for them being Jews are extreme blatant anti-Semitic sites such as Stormfront, Islamist sites, and Wikipedia and its mirrors. This is something we NOT should be doing on Wikipedia.

13) Wikipedia should NOT exceed the conventional very LIMITED norms of common ACCEPTABLE and RESPECTABLE and RELIABLE secular and TRULY SCHOLARLY and ACADEMIC usage when it comes to identifying people as being Jews. Thus, for example, there has always been an honest historical and cultural interest in NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS of Jewish descent, as well as listing ONLY very SMALL numbers of EXAMPLES here and there of some famous secular Jews that traditionally get noticed by scholars such as Freud, Einstein, Marx (although his father converted the family to Christianity), as well not more than a sprinkling of some PROVEN Jewish in other fields.

14) See: Wikipedia:No original research !!!: In Wikipedia parlance, it is "ORIGINAL RESEARCH" writ large when lists and categories of Jews are invented and created that would not meet the standard criteria of the known scholars and scholarship in these fields. Historically, as far as Jews themselves are concerned, ONLY proven and reliable universally accepted Jewish scholars of Jewish law itself who at the end of the day have always been the ones to determine and apply the definitions. It should be noted, that because there are so many conflicting and contradictory opinions, in an any case, it is very often an act of pseudo-scholarship for the editors behind the lists and categories of Jews to create and add names to these lists creating the FALSE IMPRESSION that Wikipedia "knows" who belongs on a list or category of Jews, when in actual fact there is DEFINITELY no such consensus in the real world.

15) See: Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not !!!: It is also a violation of the rule that WIKIPEDIA IS NOT SOAPBOX or a tool for possibly nefarious PROPAGANDA which is the net result of identifying growing numbers of people as being Jews or somehow partially Jewish, when it is common knowledge that this is a matter of great concern and sensitivity (both positive and negative) to many people.

16) Obviously, lists of famous Jewish religious figures, Israelis and rabbis are not included in these concerns because they are KNOWN and identifiable VERY famous people and teachers, often through their written books and reliable conventional known sources, of who is a Jew and what being Jewish is all about in the first place as they are inherently and openly part of Judaism.

Thank you. IZAK 12:50, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Discussion has been moved to the talk page.

Hebrew Wikipedia model[edit]

יהודים מפורסמים באומות העולם lead paragraph reads:

ברשימה זו כלולים יהודים או אישים ממוצא יהודי ששמם נודע בעמים ואינם ישראלים. כאשר אדם מנוי ברשימה ללא כל הערה, משמע אדם זה הוא יהודי לפי חוק השבות, שהוא גם הקריטריון המקובל במסורת ישראל ובציבור: אם יהודיה או התגיירות. עם זאת, הערך יזכיר (עם הערה מתאימה) גם דמויות ממוצא יהודי (כלומר, אב יהודי) וגם אנשים שהיו יהודים ונטשו את היהדות.

Which roughly translates into this:

In this list appear Jews or persons of a Jewish background who are notable and are not Israeli. When an individual is listed without comment, this indicates that this person is Jewish according to the Law of Return, which is also the accepted criterion in Israeli tradition and [its] public: a Jewish mother or convenrsion. Alongside this, the entry will also mention (with appropriate commentary) figures of a Jewish bakcground (that is, Jewish father) as well as people who were Jews but abandoned Judaism.

Thoughts on this type of framework? El_C 13:49, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Proposal to make Jewish lists historical only[edit]

I understand the concerns about the inclusion of living persons in Jewish lists so I am proposing that living persons should not be included and that the lists be made historical in nature only, i.e. to only include deceased people or people who died before a certain date. I am personally only really interested in Jewish British history so I am really only interested in the historical figures relating to this. However, I strongly feel that while people may argue about Who is a Jew?, that should not mean we should not have any lists or categories pertaining to Jews. People argue about the definitions of who or who is not English, Welsh, British, Russian, Ukrainian etc., but we still have lists or categories relating to those identities. To claim that Jewish identity is just related to religion or how strictly it is observed is misleading and perhaps somewhat biased in a strict Orthodox perspective. Jewish culture encompasses numerous things, experiences, humour, music, literature, philosophy. Whether someone is or is not strictly religiously Jewish should not disregard these other aspects of Jewish culture. I do agree that many of the categories or lists that have been created are unnecessary divisions (i.e. List of Jewish Fellows of the Royal Society, List of Jewish Nobel laureates, List of Jewish members of Academies of Sciences, Humanities or Engineering) and, in some cases, frivolous (Category:Jewish chess players, Category:Jewish_anarchists) and these should be put for deletion via AFD and CFD. Arniep 22:53, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

New proposal on general principles for lists by religion-ethnicity and profession[edit]

As suggested above by User:Vulturell, we should come up with a set of common principles for all lists by religion/ethnicity and profession. Once such principles are establsihed, they can be applied to lists of Jews as to a special case.

First, let's identify the issues on which there seems to be a consensus among Wikipedia editors:

  1. There is nothing wrong in lists of people by nationality (e.g., List of Bulgarians or List of Swedes) or by ethnicity (e.g., List of Kurdish people or List of Inuit.
  2. There is nothing wrong in categorizing such lists of people by profession.
  3. There is nothing wrong in creating lists of lists, e.g. when the original list became too long and was split into several lists.

We can conclude from the above points that it may be acceptable to create separate lists with a cross-section of people by ethnicity/nationality and profession, e.g. when the original list of people by ethnicity/nationality becomes unmanageable or unwieldy. In this case, separate lists may be created for navigational purposes only as an extension of the subdivision of the original list, not because the intersection of ethnicity/nationality and profession is of any encyclopedic value.

The application of this conclusion to the List of Jews is that it is acceptable to preserve both the list of Jews as a list of lists and the subsidiary lists of Jews by profession. Part of the confusion regarding Jews seems to be terminological because in English there is only one term "Jew" that denotes both a person of ethnic Jewish origin and a follower of the Jewish faith who observes the commandments. Some other languages have two different words, e.g. in Russian yevrey denotes a person of ethnic Jewish origin, while iudey stands for a follower of the Jewish faith. Due to the ambiguity of the English language, it is acceptable to include a person into the list when that person is Jewish either by ethnicity or by religion, pretty much as it is done now. At this point, I propose to end all Jewish-specific discussions regarding the appropriateness of lists.

However, there seems to be little agreement on Wikipedia as to who should be included in the list of people by religion. The criteria range from very stringent on List of Christians, which includes only people "who are notable due to their professed Christianity or for their influence on the popularity or development of some group of professed Christians" to very lax on List of Muslims, which "takes a wide definition of a Muslim by including most individuals who might be in some way identified as Muslim". Thus, the generally acceptable criteria for lists of people by religion are yet to be worked out. The lists of people by religion often also includes a classification by profession, see List of Lutherans, for example.

To sum up, my proposal is as follows:

  1. To allow creation of lists by religion/ethnicity/nationality and profession whenever the original list by religion/ethnicity/nationality becomes too long to be feasible. The original list may become a list of lists in this case.
  2. To establish a standard for inclusion of people on the list of people by religion. I propose to restrict lists of people by religion only to those people who professed their religion openly and unambiguously.

--Pecher 08:41, 5 January 2006 (UTC) Discussion on talk page

Proposal for all ethnicity-based lists (and by "ethnic groups" I do also means Jews)[edit]

Simple. We list 1. any person at all who is "fully" of that ethnicity 2. any person at all who has a parent of that ethnicity 3. any person with a grandparent of that ethnicity who has explicitly identified with that ethnic group above others (so any person with a random grandparent, like Yul Brynner, would not be listed because he didn't explicitly identify with Swiss/Jewish in his background). I would, as such, include "people with a grandparent only" such as Robert DeNiro in Italian-Americans, Tyrone Power and Harrison Ford (feels "Irish as a person and Jewish as an actor", despite only having an Irish grandfather) in Irish-Americans, Kate Hudson (raised Jewish) and Robert Downey, Jr. (identifies self as "half Jewish" despite only having a Jewish grandparent). Howabout it? Your reponse should not have any references to any possible religious rules, as they do not apply (and frankly do not even claim to apply) to the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of individuals. Thank you. Vulturell 00:36, 7 January 2006 (UTC) Discussion on talk page