Wikipedia talk:Activist/Archive 3

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4

True believers

Interested editors may find my mini essay on "true believrs" to be of relevance. Feel free to add it as a see also. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 01:59, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Closely related: meta:MPOV. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 03:38, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Activism is a good thing

Almost all editors here are activists. Promoting knowledge is activism. Working as an administrator without pay is activism. Giving money for the project is also activism. Quite obviously, you only want activists of wikipedia but do not want activists for other causes. This is not going to work. A typical good content contributor is an activist of his favorite subjects, whatever they might be (animals, games, scientific theories, etc.). "A genuinely disinterested editor" tend to contribute nothing unless he is paid, or in fact, he is interested in something, such as development of wikipedia. Please do not fight with activists. Embrace and politely direct them. Fight with vandals, harassers and those who create nothing but disruption. Remove all activists, and this project is dead. Biophys (talk) 18:18, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

I'd phrase it differently. The people on the other side of an editorial dispute are activists/cabal members/whatever. The people on the same side are neutral editors seeking to improve the encyclopedia. ScottyBerg (talk) 20:49, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
BINGO!! Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 20:55, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Activism is the worst thing. It is not a "good thing". Activism is always subtle. It is never blatant, though it may be called "blatant" by those opposing it. Bus stop (talk) 21:00, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Consider a university graduate who spent two years of his life to Teach For America prior to his non-teaching professional carrier. This is activism. Is it bad? Is it really different from someone spending his time to promote knowledge in wikipedia? I do not think so. Also consider activism by someone like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi... Biophys (talk) 21:41, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
An activist takes a nonstandard position and makes it standard. That is not teaching, and that is not the promoting of knowledge. In my opinion that is pulling the wool over the eyes of an unsuspecting public. "Pulling the wool over the eyes" means to "deceive" or "hoodwink" according to this source. Bus stop (talk) 21:54, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
No, not necessarily. An activist may also be advancing a standard position. As I understand the point of this essay, it is about techniques, not the content of positions. However, I think that these two editors this editor make interesting points. ScottyBerg (talk) 22:02, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Let me correct my above post. An activist takes positions. A non-activist does not. Wikipedia should not be taking positions. Bus stop (talk) 22:18, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Activism is a wonderful thing. I'm strongly in favor of those who give their time and effort (even if remunerated) to making the world a better place. But that activism should not intrude into shaping Wikipedia articles. On this project, activism is in direct conflict with neutrality. The only activism that should go on here is pro-encyclopedia activism.   Will Beback  talk  23:10, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Contributing to this project is a part of the effort to make the world a better place. Hence they are coming. Consider an activist who strictly follows all wikipedia policies and does promotes knowledge. Would that be fine? If so, let's demand to respect our policies, instead of looking at personal views of contributors. We are not thought police to decide who is "activist" and who is not. Biophys (talk) 04:09, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
What we're talking about are people who are acting like activists on Wikipedia. What they do outside of Wikipedia is (mostly) irrelevant.   Will Beback  talk  04:39, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
Policies need to be interpreted. We are "thought police" whether we like it or not. I think the term "activist" is being used in this essay in reference to an editor who wishes to turn a small part of Wikipedia into a voice for a particular message that may not be in accordance with what sources have to say on the same topic. Bus stop (talk) 04:48, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
Thoughts don't matter, only actions. Of course, thoughts lead to actions. But we can only address, and only need to address, the actions. I think this discussion is getting too philosophical to be helpful.   Will Beback  talk  04:52, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to agree with Will Beback: yes, that is how everything should be. But unfortunately, people are regularly sanctioned for the "battleground mentality" (agree with Bus stop). This essay is just another step to divide this project contributors based on their mentality: those who allegedly have strong views ("activists" or WP:TIGERs) and those who allegedly do not. But there is a better taxonomy: (a) aggressive SPAs who contribute little but disruption (those should be blocked without mercy) and (b) real content contributors. The latter should be banned only for the most serious offenses, such as harassment, outing, placing intentionally false information, or legal threats (but they almost never do it). It is important to realize that every good content contributor is irreplaceable. I saw some of them banned or leaving the project, and no one was replaced by others. Biophys (talk) 16:06, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
These issues can be easily addressed by transforming the essay into something the reader may benefit when dealing with their own identified issues, in an attempt to help them unify Wikipedia. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 16:22, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

(unindent) While I appreciate what Biosys and Hodja are saying, the rules of Wikipedia simply don't permit activism on the "pages" of the project. If they did, it would be even more chaotic than it is today. Remember that for every activist there is a counter-activist. While their comments are useful, they really are a bit off-topic, as the question is how to make this essay useful and not harmful, and also whether the effort being expended here is worth the time. ScottyBerg (talk) 16:43, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Honestly? I simply think this essay is not really helpful because it promotes confrontation, just like this essay, and should be moved to a userspace. Sorry. Biophys (talk) 20:07, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you. However it has been up for deletion without success, so the only recourse is to try to make it less harmful.ScottyBerg (talk) 20:41, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
This whole experience is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Given all the reverting by the essay's owners trying to keep it on-message, my irony meter has pegged its scale and burst into flames. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:43, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I too thought this is funny, but someone was just blocked for a week, in part for making wrong edit summary while editing this essay [1] [2]. Hence I would rather leave.Biophys (talk) 05:17, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
No, I think that whole situation was only very tangentially related to this essay. ScottyBerg (talk) 15:20, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Thanks all -- the aim is to make this a non-polemic neutral essay. This page is designed for discussions to improve the essay. Collect (talk) 06:38, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Impossible. This essay promotes certain type of conduct (fight with groups of editors perceived as "activists"). Anyone who follows this essay recommendations will be inevitably blocked, topic-banned or worse. That is what probably had happened with the first author of this essay, although I am not familiar with details.Biophys (talk) 23:20, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
I am glad that you know what is impossible. That means you have nothing to offer to improve the essay. I, on the other hand, simply wish to make it as fine as essay as possible. As this page is for improving the essay, if you can not improve it, you can be mute if you wish :). Collect (talk) 23:25, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
It tells in preface: "a lone editor who is a glutton for punishment". Yes, I would not argue with that. But he intends to punish others, and this is his real problem and unforunately not only his problem. Biophys (talk) 23:40, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, and that principle applies to more than just activists. A lone editor acting against consensus can be very damaging to the project. ScottyBerg (talk) 16:32, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
Please compare this essay with Wikipedia:Assume bad faith. In fact, the essay may go against WP:AGF because it suggest to label a part of editors as bad faith editors.Biophys (talk) 21:00, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
This concerns me too, that's why it would be best to write for a self-identified editors benefit, rather than point to another label of division. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 21:07, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
That's a good point about AGF, and that's why there's so much concern about the premise and assumptions of this essay. ScottyBerg (talk) 21:14, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
Consider someone who wrote ten articles about cats. I am sure he likes cats, and he holds "strong views" about cats. Is it bad? No, this is great, because he would not do anything in wikipedia unless he liked cats. Should he be labeled as an "activist of cats", with a negative connotation? No, absolutely not. If we do that, we threaten very foundation of this project. Same with any other subjects, whatever they might be, including pacifism, religion or communism. Biophys (talk) 16:20, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

It depends how you define activism to begin with. This essay starts with the premise that an activist will value the promotion of his own POV above all else, and WP:Advocacy does pretty much the same. So, if someone comes here to promote/improve coverage of fungi (or cats) in Wikipeia, because that's his hobby, this is surely not a bad thing (assuming they are competent enough), but can you even call that a POV? If someone comes here intent to prove that butterflies are God's creation because that's his belief (and you can cite a certain lepidopterist who believes that strongly), then that's going to cause friction with the goals of the Wikipedia. Most nationalistic editors come here to promote their POV. You can't tell me that someone like this is fine because he's promoting Ustase in Wikipedia. Tijfo098 (talk) 00:38, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Need better guidance for actual activists, not attack essays

In my personal experience I started off in fall 2006 as a mostly peace/libertarian activist (meetings/demos/internet organizing) doing a few very COI edits and beating my chest on my user page about being an activist cause I didn't know better. However a year or so later I was bored/burned out/fed up with that kind of activism for a variety of reasons. I 95% quit (except reading too many emails) and started more heavily getting into wikipedia (aiming for theoretical political and spiritual articles, usually ending up in more nitty gritty down and dirty POV/BLP disputes).

Only through trial and error, reading policies in a disorganized fashion, and getting criticized a dozen plus times for obvious POV and even COI issues did I learn how wikipedia works. (And I'm still learning.) I often opined at the time I wished there was a good video or some sort of a training program in wikipedia for people, but never found it. (Haven't looked last year or so.) Now I'm thinking about getting involved with real activism again on certain fairly narrow topics (merely maintaining viewpoints on others) and I'm wondering how that will affect my editing on which articles. I've declared COIs on a couple articles and just been careful in editing those per WP:COI#Editors_who_may_have_a_conflict_of_interest but not sure of other implications going forward.

The bottom line of all that is: Where can we add clearer guidelines for activists so that we don't just send them under cover, but make it clear that having your POV is fine but abusing wikipedia policies is not; that it's just as important to be a good activist for wikipedia policies as it is for whatever ones cause may be? If this Essay is to continue with this name at least half its contents should be about that and its lead should emphasize becoming a good wikipedia editor NOT why evil activists are destroying wikipedia, or whatever. So should several of the policy articles, if they do not make this point already. I'd love to have a nice guilt trip section to link to for editors who obviously are hysterical/defensive/abusive in putting their defacto activist POV above the interests of wikipedia. CarolMooreDC (talk) 15:45, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree whole-heartedly with CarolMooreDC. We should seek to educate those who may have some COI. Half the article is currently written as a 'HOWTO get activists banned'. LK (talk) 10:07, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Bold redirect

As a bold action I've tried redirecting this essay to Wikipedia:Advocacy. Please take a look and see whether it fits. Content may be merged into that essay if necessary; I think that may be more useful than trying to clean this one up. --TS 14:39, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Um, there's bold, and then there's reckless. Please undo it; not at all helpful, and zero consensus for such redirect. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:24, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I see that the previous several edits to the essay prior to Tony's were done without first getting consensus. So it looks like we're back to WP:BRD? I didn't support a redirect, but now that it's done I'm against reverting it. All the useful stuff can go into WP:Advocacy.Anythingyouwant (talk) 16:49, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree. The essay was boldly reverted to the dramatically different "AFD Version" without consensus, and was redirected based upon an arbcom member's comment at the clarification proceeding. Let's await the conclusion of that, please. ScottyBerg (talk) 17:04, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Rather sick of seeing the same people re-fight the same fight over the past weeks. Tony's actions seems like an entirely reasonable solution, especially given Cas' opinion. The fact that this has gotten worse, rather than better, as new editors jumping in (and, sadly, making the tone if anything more vitriolic than it was before) makes it pretty clear that this isn't going to solved without some seriously bold intervention. Guettarda (talk) 17:08, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I've asked a couple of times how this essay is meant to be different from Wikipedia:Advocacy, but received no answer. As originally conceived by Cla68, if may have been to discuss groups of activists instead of the single activists covered in "Advocacy". However group behavior is already covered in WP:Tag team. Could the editors who wish to keep this page as a standalone essay explain its purpose distinct from the already mature essays on similar topics?   Will Beback  talk  18:21, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
ZuluPapa5, who is taking a voluntary break from this page, informs me that he tried to answer that question in the Wikipedia_talk:Activist#Essay_purpose section, above.[3]   Will Beback  talk  19:03, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I demonstrated substantive differences above, including the reference to ArbCom, not present in any other essay. Thus this is all an attempt to gain by redirect and disruptive edits what was not accomplished at MfD. Collect (talk) 18:39, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
That's a hypothetical difference, given that ArbCom isn't mentioned until a bunch of cases are listed at the end. Consensus seems to have rejected that aspect of this essay. I don't necessarily agree with that decision, but there you have it. Maybe write an essay titled "How ArbCom has dealt with POV-pushing gangs".Anythingyouwant (talk) 18:46, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Um -- try actual. And I would note "IDONTLIKEIT" is not a valid reason for deletion of anything at all. I found no "consensus" rejecting it, by the way, unless you find the consensus of disruption to be valid. Collect (talk) 18:51, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Collect, only one of us edit-warred about the redirect.Anythingyouwant (talk) 18:58, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Given the history of this essay, perhaps another discussion of it at MFD would be appropriate.   Will Beback  talk  19:07, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

I think an RFC might be a good idea. We've tried MFD and obviously that isn't going to work. A redirect to Wikipedia:Advocacy (to my honest surprise) didn't work. A properly held discussion with uninvolved parties giving their ideas would probably be best. --TS 20:58, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

I totally agree with Tony Sidaway that the redirect was appropiate. - Aaron Brenneman (talk) 21:42, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Tony, I'm not sure what you mean by the MDF "isn't going to work." The MfD drew comments from a large number of uninvolved editors, who voted overwhelmingly to keep the essay. What's the matter with a large number of uninvolved editors voting to keep the essay? Cla68 (talk) 23:52, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
We've tried MFD and obviously that isn't going to work. I detect just a wee bit of POV in that statement; does that make Tony Sidaway an "involved" editor? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:04, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

I definitely have a strongly negative opinion of this essay and those who have edit warred on it to the extent that it needed to be protected. Involved? Well as involved as anybody else who has an opinion and has edited the essay (my sole edit was to try to redirect to Wikipedia:Advocacy, which I think is a poor substitute for outright deletion). --TS 21:39, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Tony, what did you mean by the statement "We've tried MFD and obviously that isn't going to work"? What are you suggesting here? Cla68 (talk) 22:58, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Why this essay is valuable

The WP:Advocacy essay is merely a list do "do nots", hardly more detailed the perennial and fairly hypocritical ArbCom reminder/principle that "Wikipedia is not for advocacy". In contrast, this essay lists some actual practices that activists use around here. Of course it ruffles some feathers as a result. Some of the people asking for the demise of this essay probably recognize their own practices, and so feel uncomfortable having this around. Tijfo098 (talk) 23:42, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

RFC: general content issues

General comments are invited on the content of this essay, which seems to have become rather controversial. --TS 21:24, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Comments from previously involved editors

  • What this essay suffers from is specificity, or concreteness. As I've said before I like this essay. I think it has great potential. I think its success lies in speaking about the problem. I don't think its success lies in defining the problem with any degree of precision. This should be an essay on the philosophy that should underlie Wikipedia and the philosophy that should not underlie Wikipedia. Bus stop (talk) 21:33, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I support the addition of the edit per diff [4] delineating this essay from general essays not dealing with what ArbCom has referred to in findings in a number of cases concerning collaborative editing by blocs of editors sharing specific interests in a topic, and assuredly supplying "specificity". Collect (talk) 21:35, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The MfD discussion, which attracted a large number of uninvolved editors to comment on the essay, was a landslide consensus to keep it. Cla68 (talk) 23:04, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I think the primary hallmark of activists is misuse of policy. You will never find an activist citing WP:IAR. That is because an activist never wants to appear to be using policy recklessly. An activist always wants to appear to be using policy conservatively—which they're not. Activists also tend not to articulate reasons for edits other than policy-based reasons. This is because their activist agenda would be apparent if they discussed writing the article in a way free from reference to policy. I am not advocating abandoning policy. I am pointing out the modus operandi and the hallmarks of activists as I see it. Bus stop (talk) 03:56, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Can I ask how you know what 'activists' are doing if they don't "articulate reasons for edits other than policy-based reasons"? Once again this comes down to subjective, conspiracy-theory based suppositions that those who edit against you are in league with each other, rather than dealing with the only actual evidence you have: their edits. This discussion is becoming more farcical by the minute, as absence of evidence becomes proof, compliance with policy becomes an indication of malevolence, and any possibility of accepting your own POV might actually be wrong gets buried under ever-expanding waffle. How anyone can rally think anything constructive can come out of this, I've no idea... AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:22, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
True, "the only actual evidence" I have is "their edits". That happens to be sufficient. How can you tell if it's a duck? If it quacks, it is probably a duck. 718smiley.svg Bus stop (talk) 21:47, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Your premise is mistaken; I don't follow Climate Change closely, but there are multiple instances in other articles of documented off-Wiki activism. When you have evidence, it's no longer a "conspiracy theory". I don't have to reflect long to come up with several examples, typically involving posts to off-Wiki activist message boards along the lines of "go to Wikipedia and edit <name of article>-- at least one BLP that reflects one nation's POV to improve PR, another BLP that remains seriously POV, and multiple autism-related articles. This essay clearly is aimed at similar situations, as opposed to individual advocates, who are easier to deal with. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:15, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Your premise is mistaken. I wasn't involved in the Climate Change case, and to be honest I'd have to resort to guesswork to figure out who was supporting which side. When you have evidence that people are breaching Wikipedia policy, there are methods in place to deal with this without having to discuss 'off-Wiki activism' (whatever that is - I was unaware that Wikipedia contributors had to abstain from external political discourse). 13:14, 20 January 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by AndyTheGrump (talkcontribs)
They don't have to "abstain from external political discourse"; they do have to abstain from recruiting people off-Wiki to edit with a POV against policy and consensus, and park their own POV at the doorstep when entering Wiki. See {{recruiting}}, in place on several articles I edit. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:18, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Would recruiting on partisan blogs count? Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 14:42, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Re the "landslide" MfD, as described by the essay creator above, I think that some of the sentiments of "keep" !voters should be taken into consideration. The MfD was hardly a ringing endorsement of the essay in its current permutation:
    • "Yes, it's based too much on the experiences of one author but editing can sort that out. No editors are named here, and the dodgier bits (accused of editing on behalf of a banned user) can be sorted out."
    • "Fix problems by editing. . . . Be bold in fixing them. Ideally, a project space essay will become NPOV. If the author doesn't like they way the essay is going, they can fork it to userspace. If a minority feels the majority isn't listening properly, they can write their own userspace essay."
    • "Keep, and also support merging with similar essays."
    • "the essay would only win if shortened by two thirds."
    • "Keep and edit to give a broader perspective."

and last but not least:

  • "Keep Some key points expressed in this essay are incorrect, simplistic, and misguided in my view. A good encyclopedia article will balance inclusion and exclusion of specific well-referenced content in an article-specific manner to serve the reader instead of any cause, and the essay takes the risible viewpoint that "inclusionists" are not activists but "exclusionists" are. But I want laughable essays to be at Wikipedia, so I can better understand the mentality of people who may disagree with me. In the future I may be accused of being a "WP:Activist" because I tried to improve an article by removing something that was well-referenced but just plain wrong for that particular article (or just plain factually wrong). If that happens, I'll just shrug it off because I'll understand more about the other editor's facile opinion from their use of a facile essay in their argument, and then I'll keep trying to talk about and improve the specific content. Or maybe folks will come along and improve the essay so I can take it seriously."

--ScottyBerg (talk) 15:23, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Which means that the subsequent edits aimed at making it a non-polemic neutral essay should have been allowed to stand without disruption, no? Collect (talk) 15:25, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure what edits you are referring to. There were dozens of subsequent edits. Some made the essay better, some worse. My personal feeling is that the essay is broken and needs to be merged or userified. I agree with Casliber in the clarification discussion[5], that "it reads like a manual for anyone wanting to push a fringe POV into gaming a battlefield with mainstream defenders...which strikes me as antithetical to the production of neutral comprehensive encyclopedia." I also agree with NYBrad's comment that "when an essay proves to be this divisive in Wikipedia space, the obvious solution is often to userfy it." I think we need to confront the fact that this essay is divisive, that it is broken, and that it can't be fixed. ScottyBerg (talk) 15:39, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Maybe, for NYB's purposes, we need to confront the fact that sanctions in the CC case weren't strong enough, and allow this essay to focus on the REST of the Wikipedia. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:58, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, an argument can be made that this essay is a toxic byproduct of the CC arbitration. I made that argument myself, and Cla68, the article creator, who is under a topic ban in the CC case (as are some of the other contributors/editors of this essay), insisted with some vehemence that it does not flow from that, but from his general experiences over a period of years. I think that we have to accept this on good faith, whatever our personal beliefs or suspicions. Frankly I don't see what good it does to pursue this point, and I took that position in the clarification discussion. ScottyBerg (talk) 16:05, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Merge into "WP:Advocacy" or make the title/subject "Advocates," not activists: I have a problem with the defacto slur against real world "activists." The assumption being that anyone who is active outside of wikipedia is going to bring their strong POV in and be disruptive with it, instead of trying to work within the rules. The issue is ADVOCACY on wikipedia and anyone who has a strong opinion but has never been "active" in any kind of online or real life activist group can decide that their only "activism" is going to be editing wikipedia "for the cause," including after getting email, web site or other encouragement from activist or organizational outreach. (And someone whose only organizational experience is in business or sports, for example, [added later: not to mention government or the military], can be a highly effective "team player" once they become a wikipedia "activist," and willing to violate policy "for the team.") Also, whether merged or left separate, the article's information needs to be more concise and refer more explicitly to existing policy descriptions and solutions. For example, sock puppet and meat puppets need to be named what they are and described the way wikipedia describes them, not just be more generally described, leaving the words sock puppet and meat puppet to be merely linked way down in "See Also." CarolMooreDC (talk) 11:35, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Comments from previously uninvolved editors

  • If it were up to me, I'd simplify and pare down a lot of the text, and refocus it a bit - activists don't just remove information, activists are intent on establishing a particular impression of the topic, which may involve removing, adding, or spinning material, but always involves an adamant refusal to compromise (and usually involves some strange use of sourcing). --Ludwigs2 02:53, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • And boatloads of IDIDNTHEARTHAT, where they drown out editors who use sources correctly. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:45, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The essay seems pretty true to my experiences. I'm not so sure about the course of action, but most of it is about right. It could stand with some cleanup and rephrasing, as well as a few additions here and there. For example, I've found that groups of activists often have different roles. There's often a "first responder" who does drive-by reverts but rarely interacts on the talk pages, a "picador" who makes snarky, rude, underhanded, etc. comments to undermine opponents and try and goad them into a blockable offense, and a "nice guy," who is usually more reasonable in interactions, but never fails to support fellow activists when they are reported for poor behavior. Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 16:41, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
    • All of the above, and the "nice guy" also stands by while poorly sourced edits are added to the article, keeping his/her hands clean, while encouraging poor edits on talk and discouraging well sourced edits that don't support the group POV-- effectively keeping themselves above the remit of ArbCom. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:52, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
      • Yes. They develop a good reputation, which they use as currency to keep fellow members from major sanctions. Another aspect I missed in the article is the tendency for advocate groups to gradually step into increasingly tangential articles, often BLPs, skewing and inflating the object of their advocacy in those articles far beyond reasonable. This is where they often seem to trip themselves up, as they can't help but think their issue is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING in any article. Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 18:56, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • What a great essay! Possibly best-ever on WP, even as a rough. Inspires one that there's hope yet. There is one problem: if all the evil activists get together they might still get this essay deleted first and then still be free to scatter their separate ways without editors having a great shortcut to point them to. Will be mulling this one over for some time. JJB 09:21, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Comments from editors

The framing of this RFC reflects Tony Sidaway's POV added "is incorrect". What is an "involved editor"? Is Tony Sidaway referring to Climate Change, or to those who have edited this essay (I have exactly "one" edit here-- does that make me "involved" or does my extensive editing with other topics where activists edit make me "involved"?) Just about any editor who has spent any time on Wikipedia has dealt with activists, this essay has a purpose (laid out on talk), and this essay has already survived MfD. Work was underway to improve the essay, and it should continue, based on consensus and discussion, not edit warring and attempts to redirect the essay away. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:07, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Sandy has hit the nail on the head. Without looking at the history of this essay, there's no way to know the positions of its original authors — people from all positions on the climate change question can agree with the points being made by this essay. It's an essay, after all — there's no good reason to prohibit people from expressing their opinions in a non-disruptive fashion like this one. Nyttend (talk) 04:35, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
By the way, commenting here because I wanted to respond to Sandy; I've never edited this page, and I don't expect to. Nyttend (talk) 04:35, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to, but it's protected, c'est la vie, et vive le difference... Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 06:13, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
FYI, I'm the one who added the "involved editors"/"uninvolved editors" headings. RfCs are intended to bring in new views, and often the already involved editors overwhelm the discussion. I've seen similar divisions in other RfCs help to keep the outside views from being drowned out. Blame me for that part of the RfC.   Will Beback  talk  08:10, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, struck above (I noticed his POV in the preceding section, so thought it was his). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:53, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Back on topic: the "POV" expressed by Tony Sidaway above seems to be that this article should be merged to WP:ADVOCACY. The differences between dealing with individual advocate editors and blocks of editors who are activists and overrule (or stall) consensus editing are seen at Wikipedia:ADVOCACY#Dealing with advocates; dealing with advocates is much easier than dealing with entire blocs of editors who contravene Wikipedia policies. I would like to see some of those against this essay address that difference. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:37, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, this is what consensus building looks like; let's try some of that here. Ongoing discussion to tweak the text involving multiple editors, without (yet) a single edit to the article, to avoid multiple changes is how it's done correctly. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:36, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Focussing this essay on the toxic brew of WP:Advocacy combined with cabals and/or tag-teaming seems like a legitimate thing to do. Which is why I don't understand the reluctance (or more pejoratively the intransigence) to say at the top of this essay that that's what this essay is for. My experience is that setting the scope and tone can very usefully be done in the title, in the lead sentence, in the caption of the lead image, et cetera, and yet efforts to do that have been met with assertions of "battleground" editing and the like. First and foremost, if this essay is about blocs of editors then why have a singular title that signals the opposite? Also, a common concern about this essay is that it could be used to go after editors who are actually trying in good faith to uphold policy, so why not be more clear in the lead why that should not be a concern? Instead, the lead begins by casting suspicion on anyone who is attracted by Wikipedia's high Internet traffic, as if that's some kind of sin. Groups of editors having a stranglehold on a category of Wikipedia articles is definitely a problem, and I'm sure most Wikipedians would like that to stop. But the concern is that we also don't want to make the problem worse by giving those groups yet another slur to throw at people "actively" trying to stop them.Anythingyouwant (talk) 15:58, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
So follow the model I linked above and propose some wording that all can discuss here: I don't often write original text in essay or policy pages, because my prose stinks, but I'm glad to discuss any proposals and help tweak them. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:06, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
We ought to start with the title. No reason why it should be singular. And if we want to focus on groups of those people described in WP:Advocacy, then "advocate" ought be in this title too. So I'd suggest "Group advocacy" as a much better title for this essay.Anythingyouwant (talk) 16:18, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
If we're suggesting title changes, "Advocate groups", or maybe just "Advocates", might be better. Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 18:45, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
"Advocate groups" would be fine by me. "Advocates" might be easily confused with "Advocacy".Anythingyouwant (talk) 19:22, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
If no one objects, I'll do the move when the essay unfreezes.Anythingyouwant (talk)<

By "uninvolved parties" in my comment of 20:58, 19 January 2011, I meant the kind of people who, not having seen the essay before and having no preconceptions about it, might be attracted by an RFC notice. This isn't a controversial idea and I'm rather surprised to see it attract negative comment. --TS 21:45, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Read up, to see why your statement attracted negative comment (POV expressed that the MFD "didn't work"). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:05, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Well it didn't. The essay is still here, and it's still attracting topic-banned editors, and it's recently been protected twice because of edit warring. Yes, I do have a point of view on whether this essay should exist in the circumstances, and I expect you do too. --TS 23:31, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Rewrite proposal on a suggested text by Ludwigs2

Alright, I'll bite - I like writing original text. I suggest we rewrite the lead as follows (which I think is cleaner, and also focuses the problem correctly)

Wikipedia is - first and last - an encyclopedia, and as such aims to be informative about a wide variety of topics without rendering any opinion or judgements. However, Wikipedia is also a prominent internet site, freely editable by everyone, and because of that it is often taken to be a promising site for online activism. Unfortunately, activism is inconsistent with the core purpose of the project, since activism always aims to render an opinion or a judgement about some topic.

Activism can take many forms: the suppression or removal of information, the creation of new articles or sections dedicated to a point of view, spin-doctoring or otherwise skewing articles, excessive defamation or excessive praise. It can involve a single editor, or a set of editors implicitly or explicitly collaborating, or separate sets of editors warring against each other. It usually aims to control the message presented by given articles, but may sometimes simply destroy the quality of articles, rendering them useless as information sources, or tangle talk page discussions so thoroughly that editing becomes all but impossible. Not all activism is problematic - every editor has their own point of view, and good articles are often written where editors work together to make sure their own point of view is expressed in a clear and balanced fashion - activism becomes a problem when it subverts or destroys the collaborative process.

This essay explains how to recognize activism on-project, how to steer editors away from activism back towards encyclopedic editing, and how to cope with particularly virulent forms of activism where they occur.

comments? If you like it I can start mapping out the body as well. --Ludwigs2 19:28, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

I like it. ++Lar: t/c 21:52, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
This looks like a good start. --TS 21:55, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Agree. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 22:06, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Looks good to me. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:52, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Concur. Cla68 (talk) 23:07, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Suggest a few changes, mostly cosmetic:
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and as such aims to be informative about a wide variety of topics without rendering opinions or judgements uninformed by Wikipedia's sourcing policies and reliable sources. However, Wikipedia is also a prominent internet site, freely editable by everyone, and because of that it is often taken to be a promising site for online activism. Activism is inconsistent with the core purpose of the project, since activism always aims to render an opinion or a judgement about some topic.

Activism can take many forms: the suppression or removal of information, the creation of new articles or sections dedicated to a point of view, spin-doctoring or otherwise skewing articles, reliance on marginal sources, excessive defamation or excessive praise. It can involve a single editor, or blocs of editors implicitly or explicitly collaborating, or separate blocs of editors warring against each other. It usually aims to control the message presented by given articles, but may sometimes simply destroy the quality of articles, rendering them useless as information sources, or tangle talk page discussions so thoroughly that editing becomes all but impossible. Not all activism is problematic – every editor has their own point of view, and good articles are often written where editors work together to make sure all reliable mainstream points of view are expressed in a clear and balanced fashion. Activism becomes a problem when it subverts or destroys the collaborative process.

This essay explains how to recognize activism on-project, how to steer editors away from activism back towards encyclopedic editing, and how to cope with particularly virulent forms of activism where they occur, while avoiding becoming tangled in the non-policy-based editing and perceived as part of the problem.
SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:20, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Amended per MastCell. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:29, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Amended per Anythingyouwant. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:44, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • A quibble: first of all, Wikipedia does of course render judgments - those of reliable sources. We need to avoid rendering editorial judgments, or superimposing them over the content of reliable sources. When people don't understand this, they make silly arguments like: "It's not Wikipedia's place to take sides on whether HIV causes AIDS or not." It's worth clarifying. MastCell Talk 23:26, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The addition of "reliance on marginal sources" is very helpful. I'm still concerned about vague constructs like "implicit collaboration." For example, the aforementioned AIDS denialists could make a strong case that the many editors who resist their attempts are "implicitly collaborating." Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 23:33, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
    • I understand the concern - I phrased it that way because I didn't want to restrict things to explicit collaboration (to cover 'prominently contentious' issues where a number of independent people might feasibly engage in the same kind of activism without actually planning it out). maybe we could just leave it at 'editors collaborating', and be more specific in the body of the essay; wold that work for you? Otherwise the changes look good to me, too. --Ludwigs2 23:48, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
      • I recommend giving it a bit more time before adding it, Ludwigs2 ... remember that consensual discussion I linked above from Autism? It's still going :) And still improving. If you want to add wikilinks etc to my version, go ahead and edit it here, no problem from me. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:53, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
        • Sandy, I think you lost me - do you mean 'add this to the article'? If so, I agree - it's a good thing to hash out the wording here in talk before trying to move it into mainspace. Next thing I'm going to do, in fact, is start working on the body structure. look for that below in a bit. --Ludwigs2 00:12, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Looks okay to me, Sandy, but I would add at the end "without getting one's self in trouble". My experience has been that, since groups of activists have the strength of numbers, those numbers can also be used to show a consensus for blocks or other sanctions against editors who are not part of the group.Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:41, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • whoops, one quibble: The phrase beginning: "every editor has their own point of view, and good articles are often written..." I'd meant to suggest that a good article could be written by each editor presenting their own point of view, but using sources and collaboration so that the separate points of view balance. They way it reads now suggests that editors should each consider all points of view, which isn't what the paragraph is taking about. This is an essay about activism, and I think we need to make it clear that people can still argue for a perspective so long as they are respectful of the encyclopedia and other editors. There's no sense setting the bar at pure, detached, scholarly universalism, because that's not a bar most editors can master. Can we rephrase as "where editors work together to make sure all their points of view are expressed in a clear and balanced fashion"? This is just an essay, and we can always fall back on UNDUE to deal with fringe issues, so no need to play the 'mainstream' card here. --Ludwigs2 00:05, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I think we have to make sure UNDUE is covered in any wording, because that's quite frequently where the POV problems occur-- I'd say not to leave it out, rather to specifically link and discuss it. We can't say "all their points ov view" as if all points of view are worthy of mention-- we frequently battle pet theories based on primary sources in medical articles, so they become dumping grounds for every whacko theory ever studied. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:22, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
  • "I think we have to make sure UNDUE is covered in any wording, because that's quite frequently where the POV problems occur." Sandy has nailed one of the biggest problems with the current form of the essay: it is written from the point of view of someone who utterly despises WP:UNDUE. Every single reference to that bit of policy is negative: "Activists will routinely cite UNDUE WEIGHT "... "A variety of reasons will be used to justify the removal. The most common are WP:UNDUE and FRINGE"... "Citing UNDUE allows material to be dismissed as a tiny-minority view..." "The frequency with which UNDUE is cited is one of the most prominent markers of activist editing"... "The activists will delete large swaths of material and sources from the article you posted almost immediately, citing vague policy violations or for other reasons, such as UNDUE, SYN, BLP, or V." Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:42, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
I have an idea: Wikipedia should have another policy. There should be a policy that all arguments that cite policy also have to provide at least one reason for that argument that is not policy-based. My premise is as follows: activism is always an abuse of policy. The way to pry loose the abused policy from the determined activist is to require the activist to provide at least one reason for his/her intended edit that is not policy based. This is to say that a component of all dialogue in contentious situations must be non-policy based. This is actually an implementation of WP:IAR except that rather than being a suspension of rules (policy), it is the compulsory introduction of reasoning that is articulated without reference to policy. Bus stop (talk) 01:57, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, i wouldn't say activism is always an abuse of policy, and I wouldn't say that the essay itself is anti-UNDUE. The problem is that activists have a much stronger motivation to learn and use policy than normal editors: Activists need to apply policy to circumvent reason and common sense. The first thing that will happen when an activist tries to move article content towards a biased viewpoint is that some editor will object (rightfully) on sheer common sense grounds (usually by making edits that temper the text back towards neutrality or opening a talk page discussion suggesting the viewpoint is a little off the mark). Any normal, civil discussion would ultimately force the activist to compromise or back down - common sense always wins in civil discussions. By instantly reverting and throwing out a string of supposed policy violations, the activist can throw the reasonable editor on the defensive and set up a context where the activist can indefinitely stall any modifications to the biased page. frankly, activists don't give a damn whether the policy accusations are accurate, they simply have to be good enough to throw sand in everyone's eyes so that they can keep the page as it is and (with luck) convince the reasonable editor that it's just not worth the effort of trying to edit the page.
Unfortunately (and Boris, I suspect this is what you're concerned about) a number of more or less decent editors have taken to using those particular tactics - call it 'the policy barrage' - as a tool to use against people whom they perceive as activists. the majority of fights I get into on-project are when some editor who really does have Wikipedia's best interests at heart treats me the same way as the activists do, and I end up having to get heavy-handed with both the good guys and the bad guys to make any headway at all. If I could have one wikipedia wish, it would be that those editors who have the project's interests at heart would never, ever, ever resort to POV-warrior tactics. ruins the project for the rest of us...
An activist leans towards a political mindset, they will use political gambits to get their way, and on wikipedia political gambits mean using policy in a fast-and-loose sort of way. it's the nature of the beast. Part of getting around that problem (IMO) is allowing a constructive outlet for activism while discouraging destructive ones. I'd like to avoid mainstream/UNDUE stuff here because I'd like this essay to work (in part) as a guide to activists on how to be better editors, but throwing in the mainstream/UNDUE stuff will telegraph as an effort to silence minority opinions (which is what that language is for, after all) and the whole essay will lose credibility. --Ludwigs2 03:48, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm, intesting, well another tactic is to try to tarnish the Wikipedia-reputation of anyone who takes them on at ANI (a tactic which often works, considering the experience, knowledge and maturity often evidenced at ANI, and keeps good admins away from the articles). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:10, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
"common sense always wins in civil discussions". Only if there's a sufficiently large number of sensible editors involved. Otherwise WP:IDHT & gibberish can keep going indefinitely. Peter jackson (talk) 11:54, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
It could be noted in the essay that activism poses a bigger problem for Wikipedia than does vandalism. It could be noted that activist editing is inherently stealthy, whereas vandals rarely go to great lengths to conceal their intents to misdirect the encyclopedia. Bus stop (talk) 17:53, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Do you actually have any evidence to show that "activism poses a bigger problem for Wikipedia than does vandalism"? I'd say this is rather a subjective statement to make. It also rather presupposes that the average reader can't spot a slanted article on Wikipedia when they see one. Subtle vandalism (e.g. changing dates, numbers etc) is a lot less easy to detect, and probably more common than most of us would like to acknowledge. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:59, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm wondering why anyone would take a pollyannaish approach to a serious problem. This essay is being written, I think, to address the most serious and intractable problem that besets Wikipedia. I don't see any reason to look at the problem through rose-colored glasses. I like the basic premise of this essay and I don't see it as a writing exercise but rather as a way to articulate the particular problem of attempting to use Wikipedia to project what is really just a personal message. As an encyclopedia it should be written by editors who leave their personal biases at the door when they enter the realm of editors of Wikipedia. I think broadcasting this message is the purpose of this essay. This is just an essay. Essays can be written with alternative or even opposite messages. No, I don't have "evidence to show that 'activism poses a bigger problem for Wikipedia than does vandalism". Do essays require sources? Articles are not even thoroughly sourced. Bus stop (talk) 18:58, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
People get defensively serious about activism while ignoring their own role. The mature level is Defense_mechanism#Level_4_-_Mature is where this essay could benefit all. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 19:03, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
The proper perspective from which to perceive activism is that it is an abstract concept; it could be applicable to oneself. Bus stop (talk) 19:20, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
"It also rather presupposes that the average reader can't spot a slanted article on Wikipedia when they see one." Often that's true. Obviously, if someone just writes out their own personal opinions as an article, that may come through. But if they're more sophisticated, imitating encyclopaedic style and citing sources, reliable or not, supporting their POV, the reader can't tell. Peter jackson (talk) 18:29, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, however, the essay was reverted back to original issues without consensus. It was being developing to meet what has been proposed here. Support, picking up from pre-blanket revert version. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 18:07, 25 January 2011 (UTC)


Per the discussion above (in this RFC) between me and Sχeptomaniac, it seems appropriate to move this essay in order to install the title "advocate groups". I think that will better describe the essay, help editors focus, and distinguish the essay from other essays. Anyway, I'll wait awhile more to see if there are objections.Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:25, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Are you now suggesting that being part of a 'group' is necessary to be an 'activist'? I'd point out that if you do, not only will you need to define 'activism' (I've not seen a clear definition yet), but you will need to define 'group' as well. Not likely to be hlepful. AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:30, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I think it is fairly evident that any damage done to WP is generally more likely to be major when done by several coordinated editors than when done by a lone editor. And that the damage is likely to be greater when that group asserts it knows the "truth" on any topic, making it more likely to be unwilling to accept that they, too, may be fallible. Collect (talk) 23:36, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
No, Grump, I'm not suggesting what you suggest I'm suggesting. One need not be in a group to be an activist. Notice that the new title would not use the word "activist" but rather would use the word "advocates". The title would merely indicate the focus of this essay, without in any way suggesting the non-existence of individual advocates, who can be discussed in the Advocacy essay.Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:44, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

No, activism here can well be performed by single individuals with enough time on their hands, assuming that the topic is esoteric enough that opposition is sufficiently disorganized/disinterested. Defeat in detail applies. Tijfo098 (talk) 23:49, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Why do we need one essay about "advocacy" and another about "advocate groups" (and another about "tag teams", for that matter)? Doesn't it seem logical to merge the two advocacy essays? Do we have one policy on incivility by individuals and another on incivility by groups of people? MastCell Talk 23:50, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
The content of this essay is primarily directed toward groups, and just like with articles there is enough material to justify a separate sub-essay. Groups present special problems. If we don't limit this essay to groups, then we ought to pick some title that distinguishes this essay from the Advocacy essay. Why have two essays with titles that don't enable anyone to pick one or the other?Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:58, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I think "Group activism" (WP:GROUPACTIVISM) would be ok as a possible title. Cla68 (talk) 00:09, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Why? The word "advocate" already has a well-understood and well-defined meaning at the Advocacy essay. What do you see as the difference between an advocate and an activist? If there's no big difference, then we ought to stick with a word that's already well-defined and well-understood.Anythingyouwant (talk) 00:23, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
While anything with both group and advocacy is a big improvement over "activist," I think it would be more useful to merge such info into Advocacy and be very specific about exactly what tactics (with wikilinks) are used and concrete examples of what kind of groups have tried this before, including as has been covered by WP:RS. Better one useful article to two vague and easily ignored ones. I certainly have had enough trouble in very different areas of editing with what seem to be well organized groups, some possibly paid or getting major off-wiki benefits from their editing, and would like to see a good essay I could refer people to. CarolMooreDC (talk) 00:17, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Actually, propagandist would be a more suitable title given the practices this essay describes. Or if you want elaborate: "spotting propagandists (for dummies)". The pro edition is here. Tijfo098 (talk) 11:35, 27 January 2011 (UTC) The word activist here is used with the narrower meaning as in "party activist" [6] Tijfo098 (talk) 15:10, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

"Here" meaning "here in this essay" or "here in the linked book"? "Narrower" than what? By "party" do you mean a political party?Anythingyouwant (talk) 15:17, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Propagandists really is good!! Barring that Advocates (singular or plural) is most consistent with WP:Advocacy (and should be a subsection of it). Let's end the "guilty without trial" bias against anyone who has been active in groups, ignoring the "team spirt" that people from business/sport/govt/military can bring to articles where they have a strong POV. (And it ignores that there are some people who, whatever their backgrounds, do become activists for wikipedia policy in general, though obviously you'll see them more in admin roles and working mostly on articles way outside any personal interest of their own.) CarolMooreDC (talk) 15:26, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
"Advocacy" as used in WP:Advocacy is just wikijargon, just like WP:Notability. The fact that ArbCom repeatedly used the word without considering its dictionary definition is just one more example of groupthink in Wikipedia. After all, the ArbCom is advocating too in all of its decisions (the principles part), but for the five pillars. Tijfo098 (talk) 15:37, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, "advocacy" is wikijargon, but using "activist" in the particular way of thus essay would be wikijargon too. Why expand wikijargon if we don't have to?Anythingyouwant (talk) 15:56, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Start another essay, if folks don't like the title. This title is fine and simple. Zulu Papa 5 * (talk) 17:31, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
What do you see as the difference between an advocate and an activist? If there's no big difference, then we ought to stick with a word that's already well-defined and well-understood. If you want simple, though, we could rename this article "X". Seriously, though, I don't think it would be appropriate to start another essay with the exact same content but a different title.Anythingyouwant (talk) 17:40, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
This essay is best titled either "Activist", as it is, or "Activism", which I think is equally acceptable. An "advocate" would be a Wikipedia editor that "advocates" for something. They have a "goal". They have an end result that they would like to achieve. Their "mission" can be defined. "Activism" more generally refers to a frame of mind that habitually fails to leave bias at the door. Activism is more of a generalized behavioral problem than is "advocacy". I think this article is about defining a frame of mind that everyone should endeavor to avoid. This article is a hopeful sign. It is addressing a more general principle than merely the principle that one should not exploit Wikipedia to promote one's political vision or goals. Bus stop (talk) 23:08, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
If that's what the main authors of this essay are trying to do, and if consensus supports doing it, then the lead ought to say so. It should say that "activism" includes WP:Advocacy as a special case, but also includes other forms of bias. Moreover, I would then suggest having a section of this article that deals with solitary activists, and another section that deals with groups of activists.Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:17, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be tied into another essay. It is just an essay. It can take on any form its editors think it should take on. It could be as long or as short as its editors decide it should be. I tend to think it could be pretty short. We are just saying, in the best words we can find with which to say it, that Wikipedia editors have to be idealists. They have to have the reader's interests in mind. A Wikipedia editor can't have such a sense of self-importance that they can think that it is OK to bend the truth a little. Bus stop (talk) 23:30, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
That's right, this essay doesn't have to do or say anything. Does that mean that you disagree with my suggestion?Anythingyouwant (talk) 00:20, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't disagree. But I perceive your suggestions as hobbling this article to an extent. My sense is that requiring this article to distinguish itself from the WP:Advocacy article is unnecessary. I am not sure what references should be made to "group" activism verses "individual" activism. Bus stop (talk) 00:43, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Well I am certainly not trying to hobble anything, or to require anything. All I'm suggesting is that we establish the scope of this essay so that people who read it can quickly understand what it is about and what it is not about. If we do that, then I suspect one of the incidental benefits will be that fewer editors will want to delete this essay, because they will see that it is not going to do what they're afraid it will do. Dozens of editors have pointed out above that there are special problems associated with groups of activists. If this essay is going to deal with both groups and individuals, why not aggregate the group stuff in a section under a descriptive heading? That way, people who are more interested in the group stuff can find it more easily. Also, if new wiki jargon is introduced here, I think it hobbles this essay to not say what it means. Anythingyouwant (talk) 00:55, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
You say, "Dozens of editors have pointed out above that there are special problems associated with groups of activists." Isn't the problem with "groups of activists" really a problem associated with consensus? Bus stop (talk) 09:40, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
No, I suspect that Wikipedia could be improved by relying more on consensus rather than less. In particular, a Wikiipedia-wide consensus should be able to overturn a consensus about content at a particular article, but that's almost impossible presently. For example, ANI and ArbCom don't generally get involved in content disputes, and instead almost all content decisions are left to the editors at a particular article (including whoever they can attract there using RFCs and Noticeboards). I'd like to see a Content Committee set up that can make content decisions enforcing Wikipedia's content policies if and only if the Content Committee is unanimous (including blocks for POV-pushing even if there's no edit-warring). I think that would be a great way to combat the influence of groups of activists who glom onto an article and try to push their POV. And the requirement of unanimity would hopefully prevent the Content Committee from becoming oppressive, so the Content Committee would only act in clear cases of abuse. So, I'm for more WP:Consensus, not less.Anythingyouwant (talk) 12:34, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree except on unanimity. Elect them for a modest period & you shouldn't need to worry about oppression unless there's WP-wide community bias, which no system could deal with. We need a system to deal with all disputes, not just more. Peter jackson (talk) 15:22, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Round-earth activists

  • For example, if your position is that the Earth is flat while opposing editors hold the position tha the Earth is round, editors willing to cooperate, collaborate, and compromise may reach an agreement stating "some say the Earth is flat, while others say it is round." Activists, on the other hand, usually won't do this, as they hardly ever write for the enemy. As mentioned previously the round-Earth activists will likely invoke WP:UNDUE or WP:FRINGE, seeking to dismiss the flat-Earth proposal as a tiny-minority view not worth including.

This seems like a bad example. We shouldn't include in our article on Earth any statement like "some say the Earth is flat, while others say it is round." If there is such a thing as "flat-Earth activists" then we should endeavor to keep them from inserting their totally disproven theory.   Will Beback  talk  05:46, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Why should we keep them from inserting their theory? Are you going to argue WP:WEIGHT and WP:UNDUE, as specifically deprecated in this essay? Remember: cooperate, collaborate, and compromise regardless of how strong your feelings are on this issue. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 06:01, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
The purpose of Wikipedia is to write an encyclopedia. If someone wants to insert mumbo-jumbo then we shouldn't compromise with them, though we might cooperate with them to create an article to describe their fringe view.   Will Beback  talk  06:18, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
That's not what the essay says. The essay says we should always seek to cooperate, collaborate, and compromise to include all viewpoints. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 06:46, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
All reliably sourced viewpoints. Cla68 (talk) 07:05, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, even fringe views appear in reliable sources. The essay now says, Always act, however, with kindness, patience, forbearance, calmness, and with continual attempts to cooperate, collaborate, and compromise. Perhaps there's a limit to how much compromise should be made with advocates of fringe views.   Will Beback  talk  07:17, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
If fringe views are appearing in reliable sources, then what's the problem with having them mentioned in Wikipedia articles? Because they're fringe? The guideline states that they shouldn't be made to appear as equal in validity to mainstream views. This essay appears to be trying to say that groups of activists don't take this approach, instead they try to keep any mention of the views out of the articles altogether, no matter how reliable the sources are that are being used to support inclusion of at least a mention of the fringe view. That's one of the differences between activists and good faith editors. Cla68 (talk) 07:35, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
WP:NPOV says: 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. Generally, the views of tiny minorities should not be included at all. For example, the article on the Earth does not directly mention modern support for the Flat Earth concept, the view of a distinct minority; to do so would give "undue weight" to the Flat Earth belief.
This essay seems to be saying that those who promote the "flat-Earth" view should be accommodated in the main article on Earth, and that those who disagree with their view should be condemned as activists.   Will Beback  talk  08:02, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think this essay is saying that unsourced views should be included in Wikipedia articles. It's saying that activists will try to remove views that challenges the authority of their position, even if the alternate view is sourced according to Wikipedia's policies. The activists will try to use UNDUE, FRINGE, or other guidelines to justify complete removal of the alternate view, whether it's adequately sourced or not. Cla68 (talk) 08:07, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
There are several issues here. First, this essay would seem to label the "round-Earth" editors as activists for removing material, while the "flat-Earth" editors who added it are not labeled the same way. That seems incorrect. Activists are just as likely to add material as to delete it.
Second, activists on either side use the full range of Wikipedia policies to justify adding or deleting material to advance their position. This essay seems to be particularly pointed at attacking those who cite WP:UNDUE: The frequency with which UNDUE is cited is one of the most prominent markers of activist editing. In this regard the fact that WP:UNDUE is a part of our neutral point of view policy is unfortunate. If it is indeed "one of the most prominent markers of activist editing" then can we provide five or ten examples of its use by editors widely acknowledged to be advocates? There's a list of such cases at Wikipedia_talk:Activist/Archive_1#Arbitration list. I looked at the first five cases and the ArbCom specifically affirms the importance of DUE in three of them, and does so less directly in a fourth case. So focusing the use of DUE seems to be exactly the wrong approach to dealing with activists. In the cases on that list, one or more editors were trying to give their pet issue more weight than it was due, not less.   Will Beback  talk  08:54, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It's not a good example because it is too unrealistic - it's obviously in a scientific mode where no one is currently promoting that view and it's only of historic interest where it is relevant to mention it. Why not as I first mentioned here get down and dirty and mention that three or four most aggressive real life examples of organized activism. The only one's I know for sure are Church of Scientology and pro-Israel (as covered in this list of issues/outside media.) Or at least say "for example a religious group tries to push so and so" or "supporters of a nation state try to suppress such and such." CarolMooreDC (talk) 11:20, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Reductio ad absurdam is valuable. The essay says Always act, however, with kindness, patience, forbearance, calmness, and with continual attempts to cooperate, collaborate, and compromise (my bold). The flat-earth example is a useful example of why the motherhood-and-apple-pie breaks. If you find the flat-earth stuff unacceptable, then you need to remove the always-compromise language William M. Connolley (talk) 11:28, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Write an essay then on "Motherhood and Apple Pie does not work on Wikipedia." Collect (talk) 11:35, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
You have deleted the points that I made. As the essay says, editors operating in good faith should find some way to cooperate, collaborate, and compromise to retain the substance of the text at issue. (Referring to deletion of substantive points as a "copyedit" isn't altogether helpful, but let's leave that point aside.) Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 14:31, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I think that the round earth/flat earth example reflects very well the spirit of this essay, which is essentially to thumb its nose at WP:UNDUE and WP:FRINGE. ScottyBerg (talk) 14:52, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I had trusted that the puerile edits of the past on this essay were behind us totally. Adding argumentative (and, indeed, edits designed to push the essay into absurdity) is not helpful to Wikipedia in any manner at all. Collect (talk) 18:08, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Please assume good faith -- referring to other editors as "puerile" and "argumentative" is hardly in the spirit of cooperation, collaboration, and compromise, and may cross the line against personal attacks. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 18:54, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Please refer to a dictionary - I referred to the edits, not the editors. Collect (talk) 18:59, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Put-downs such as "please refer to a dictionary" aren't conducive to a collegial editing environment. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 19:05, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Let's get back to the issue. The essay says that: The frequency with which UNDUE is cited is one of the most prominent markers of activist editing. In this regard the fact that WP:UNDUE is a part of our neutral point of view policy is unfortunate. That's a strong statement of fact. Can we substantiate it? Is citing UNDUE really one of the most prominent markers of activist editing? If so we should be able to point to many examples in cases that have been identified as involving advocacy. There is a list of them here: Wikipedia_talk:Activist/Archive_1#Arbitration list. Which of those involved activists citing UNDUE?   Will Beback  talk  20:57, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Can we substantiate it? - doubt it, it looks like something someone just made up, most likely because they just got WP:UNDUE quoted at them, rightly or wrongly so ... they went to this depository of sour grapes and put their own sour grapes in it.Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:03, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Look, I used to spend a lot of time getting angry at this essay. It's not worth it. If it's not to be deleted (which it should be, but won't), there's no point bothering with it. It's so bad that I doubt very much that it can do much harm. If people start actually citing this drivel, it's another matter entirely. ScottyBerg (talk) 23:15, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
It's been cited several times.[7]   Will Beback  talk  23:29, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
But as for content discussions, the only instance of seeing it cited is in a talk page post by the originator of this mess. ScottyBerg (talk) 02:59, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Not really, but that's a side issue.   Will Beback  talk  03:05, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Will, if you have evidence of actual harm to the project by this essay, please bring it up here. If so, perhaps another AfD would be warranted. Right now I'm not seeing it, but perhaps I overlooked something. ScottyBerg (talk) 18:51, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Like any article or policy, this page can be improved. Deletion isn't the only alternative.   Will Beback  talk  22:57, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
That's been tried. ScottyBerg (talk) 23:23, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Unless there's evidence that "The frequency with which UNDUE is cited is one of the most prominent markers of activist editing" is true, I'll delete that assertion of fact.   Will Beback  talk  03:05, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

I believe it was SV who added that, so you might invite her to participate in this discussion before you do so. Cla68 (talk) 04:08, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it was added before the essay graduated from the sandbox.[8] I'll alert her to this thread. I take it then that you have not attachment to this text. Any assertions of fact should be verifiable.   Will Beback  talk  08:34, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Essays are not encyclopedia articles. Opinions in essays do not need WP:RS sourcing. Making essays into citation pits would be an error. Collect (talk) 08:51, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
If an essay makes a factual assertion then it should be correct and verifiable. We all know that essays get cited as if they were policies or guidelines. I don't see how erroneous essays can help the project. "Activitism" is an actual problem on Wikipedia, so an essay which incorrectly describes the problem is counterproductive. If this is genuinely intended to be one person's view of a situation ( a true essay) then it should be userfied and renamed. While it remains in Wikipedia project space, and with an evocative title, it should reflect the actual reality.   Will Beback  talk  09:05, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Judging from the nature of the discussion on this talk page over time, there are a number of opinions on what the "actual reality" is, just as there are a number of essays in the essay category giving alternate opinions, for example, Wikipedia:Wikipedia is succeeding and Wikipedia:Wikipedia is failing, which obviously give two views on the Wikipedia "reality." Based on the precedent presented by those two essays, don't you think it would be more productive, if you disagree with what this essay says, to write your own counterpoint essay then link the two together? Cla68 (talk) 09:56, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
How many essays does Wikipedia need on Activists? We already have this essay and WP:ADVOCACY. Rather than starting yet another essay it'd be better to improve this one. This essay makes a number of categorical assertions. We can either re-word those to say something like, "In Cla68's opinion..." or "According to SlimVirgin...", or we can make them more fully representative of the community's views. Which do you think would be the better route?   Will Beback  talk  10:06, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
The dueling-essay solution might not be a bad idea if properly and honestly implemented. The present essay could be headed with a statement "This essay is written from the perspective of those attempting to emphasize fringe or small-minority views" and the other essay could be tagged "This essay is written from the perspective of those who emphasize majority and widely-held views over small-minority views." Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 15:25, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that might work. We could move it to [WP:Fringe view activists] or something like that. However I doubt that the involved editors would agree.   Will Beback  talk  23:01, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I was asked to comment here. It's hard to see what the focus is, but the opening remarks at the top clearly undermine the essay. No one has argued for "on the one hand, the earth is flat; on the other hand, round."

An early version was: "Editors operating in good faith will usually try to find some way to cooperate, collaborate, and compromise with almost all other editors. Instead of seeking just to remove the information, good faith editors will work with other editors to find a way to resolve the dispute and try to retain some substance of the text at issue. Activists, on the other hand, usually won't."

I added the sentence about UNDUE often being cited—"The frequency with which UNDUE is cited is one of the most prominent markers of activist editing"—and I think that ought to stay, because that's absolutely my experience of it. I think it rings true with others too. That's not to say that every time UNDUE is invoked there's an activist issue, but activist editors frequently invoke it. It's the frequency that's the issue. It seemed to become one of a number of tools that were used to keep out minority opinion, even when it was well sourced. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 23:16, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. Wikipedia_talk:Activist/Archive_1#Arbitration list is a list of arbitration cases in which "advocacy" was one of the principles, so presumably cases in which activism was an issue. In several of them that I spot-checked, it was the activists who were violating DUE by adding fringe material beyond its proper weight rather than the other way around. If the assertion that citing UNDUE is a clear sign of activism, then it should be possible to point to cases in which it occurred. Because this is presented as a clear statement of fact, rather than an opinion, we should determine if it's true or not, and remove it if it isn't.   Will Beback  talk  00:36, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Will, at the top of the essay is a banner stating, "This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints." Cla68 (talk) 00:57, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Nobody seems to be able to find any examples at all of this behavior. Do you think it's true, Cla68?   Will Beback  talk  01:02, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Will, you have two people involved in this discussion who say they've observed this behavior. Several editors in previous discussions on this talk page say it accurately reflects what they've experienced. I've seen another editor link to this essay on someone's talk page and say that it reflects what they've observed in a topic area they were involved in (I'm not going to link to the diff because of ArbCom restrictions). Furthermore, several editors in this discussion say that the essay reflects their personal experiences. Cla68 (talk) 01:22, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I think that it's a reasonable request. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In this case there is none. ScottyBerg (talk) 01:28, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Essays are not encyclopedia articles. They are, to be precise, opinions of one or more editors. There is thus absolutely no reason to demand "evidence" or "citations" for essays. Collect (talk) 01:30, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Linking to specific incidences of user behavior risks making this essay appear to be an attempt at dispute resolution. That is not what it is or what it should be. Instead, as it says at the top of the essay, it's a statement of opinion by one or more editors (in this case, more) designed, at least in part, to stimulate discussion, reflection, and critical thinking with the ultimate goal of improving Wikipedia. Cla68 (talk) 01:34, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting adding links to the essay, just this talk page. Can anyone name even three cases in which the activists overused UNDUE?   Will Beback  talk  01:42, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Collect, that's a statement of fact, not of opinion. ScottyBerg (talk) 04:03, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Offering examples would involve a lot of hunting for diffs, and would also mean personalizing things, which is not a good idea. This is an essay, not a guideline or policy. It should count for something if experienced editors say they have often seen UNDUE used in that way.
The people who originally wrote UNDUE clearly meant well, and it was intended to keep out rubbish. But it has morphed into "IDON'TLIKETHAT" to keep out even significant-minority views for political reasons, not for editorial or source-based ones. In fact, I've even seen it used to keep out or minimize the majority view. All policy can be misused, but it's becoming increasingly unusual to see UNDUE used properly. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 21:13, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
You're right- all policies can be misused. Activists misuse all of them. It's just not clear that they misuse UNDUE any more than the others. Based on a review of ArbCom cases, it appears that they are more likely to violate UNDUE than to mis-cite it. In any case, the language in question has been removed in a recent rewrite, so unless someone wants to add it back we can let this part of the thread go. If there's is interest in it, then it might be better in a standalone section, or even as part of a review of how various policies are misused or violated by activists.   Will Beback  talk  22:31, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
RE the "it's only an essay" defense to fixing this mess: if this essay merely reflects the opinions of editors, why not reflect the opinions of editors who don't agree with its creator's? As I've said earlier, I've come to the view that this essay is not worth the effort, and should only be a source of concern if it is being actively used to promote fringe views. If that happens, or if this becomes too much of an embarrassment than it already is, another AfD may be warranted. However, if other editors want to beat their heads against the wall trying to fix this mess, they should be permitted to do so and the essay should not be owned by editors with only one point of view on the subject. ScottyBerg (talk) 15:45, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
It would be a teeny bit less disputatious for those who demur with the entire premise of the essay to write a contrarian essay. I would suggest, indeed, that that is "best practice" for editors who seek a collegial atmosphere as a general rule. There are many essays with which I dsagree - I do not feel in any way compelled to deconstruct them. I suggest, in fact, that feeling compelled to deconstruct an essay is contrary also to the five pillars in the first place. Cheers. Collect (talk) 13:55, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
Nonsense. If editors feel that an essay is harmful, they have every right to fix it, if they wish to devote hours of wasted time to a fruitless effort. ScottyBerg (talk) 17:06, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, some of the behaviors which have been on display here by editors who apparently disagree with this essay have included personal attacks, revert warring, advocating editing against consensus, unilateral redirects, and additions of mocking text. I think if the editors who disagree with this essay were to write their own, counterpoint essay, I don't think any of the editors who support the language of this essay would engage in any of those behaviors in relation to the new essay. In fact, I predict that you would see us helping with copyedits and formatting and ensuring that the essays were linked together. I don't think I need to explain on the talk page of this essay why this is so. Cla68 (talk) 22:48, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think anyone who's contributed here disagree with the core principle of this essay: However, when activists band together with other like-minded editors, they can overwhelm one article and skew an entire range of articles related to their common topics of interest. The particulars of how to identify and deal with activists are still being worked out.   Will Beback  talk  01:42, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I have serious reservations about the "you write yours and let us have ours" approach. That's somewhat defensible for material in user space but not for material in project space. Such an attitude is ironic given the essay's support for the inclusion of alternative views. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:52, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

It's factional behavior of the most appalling kind. This essay needs to either reflect the views of all interested editors or it should be deleted. ScottyBerg (talk) 00:57, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
You guys don't seem to be having very much fun. Editing Wikipedia is supposed to be enjoyable. Perhaps this, or some other essay, should point that out. Cla68 (talk) 01:14, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
This essay is not the "fun" part of Wikipedia. It is the "rubbish" part of Wikipedia. ScottyBerg (talk) 01:16, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
The essay should not be deleted. Activism is an evolving thing. If it is not WP:UNDUE it will be WP:BLP. The project itself is evolving—what makes anyone think the methods of activists would not evolve too? I think a general statement relating to the use of policy to ends that it was never intended for is in order. Activists know policy quite well. I am sorry to get back again and again to my same point—but activists will never cite WP:IAR. Not that many editors do. But a hallmark of activists, in my opinion, is rule-boundedness. A non-activist will be more willing than an activist to explore new avenues of dialogue relating to an issue that is proving to be a sticking point. An activist has a more limited bag of tricks, so-to-speak. In the final analysis, as has become blindingly obvious, it is hard to define activism. Another point: activists are more likely to throw temper tantrums: a non-activist will be more flexible; an activist, when he feels he has run out of tricks, will get theatrical. I have done that myself. And I don't think I am an activist. But I think theatricality is more likely to emerge from an activist than from a well-tempered (non-activist) editor. Bus stop (talk) 01:29, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Oh please. There are plenty of arbitration cases involving activists, and they are constantly being penalized for ignoring the rules, edit warring, ignoring NPOV. Look at the Israel-Palestine case, which I perused recently. Those cases wouldn't have gotten to arbcom if people were sticklers for rules. If this essay is to have any usefulness, and I admit that I have given up on that ever occurring, it has to be grounded in reality and there has to be evidence presented when questionable statements are challenged on the talk page. I think that the people controlling this essay in its present form have made a serious error by saying "lighten up, it's just opinion," when what's being presented is sometimes laughable. ScottyBerg (talk) 01:55, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, I'm considering writing a follow-on essay to this one on the nature of activism itself and how/why it manifests itself the way it does in Wikipedia. That essay, if written, would be sourced, because it should be possible to do so without identifying specific Wikipedia editors. I haven't searched for any sources yet, but I would need to find some that go into the psychology of activism. If the topic seems viable, I may use it as a base for my (hopefully) upcoming PhD research. Cla68 (talk) 02:03, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
I think sourcing this one, or at least making an attempt to justify the statements made here, would be equally desirable. ScottyBerg (talk) 02:22, 1 March 2011 (UTC)