Wikipedia talk:Civil POV pushing/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


Problem

I agree, its a problem (See WP:GIANTDICK). To the list of characteristics, I'd add the tendency to bloat articles with information on the grounds that "is verifiable, so it should be in" William M. Connolley (talk) 19:50, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. If they cannot get round the main points of the science, they try to add irrelevant information to essentially hide the inconvenient needle in a haystack of irrelevancy. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:06, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Or "facts" which no reliable sources connects as being important, but which can be strung together to yield some sort of "point". --Haemo (talk) 01:55, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Examples

I think it might be useful to include some concrete examples of the problems described here. I think they are real problems, and I've certainly experienced them, but those who don't have direct experience with them may grasp the problem more readily if the descriptions are backed with specific examples. I'll look for some. MastCell Talk 20:43, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

This might be a good start for you. Ditto for editing warring on an article without even reading it first. Raul654 (talk) 21:05, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
This has also recently occurred here which then I asked the user to please not blindly revert and participate in Talk first [1]. 3 minutes later, without even acknowledging my concern it happened again which triggered an edit war and the page in question to go into protection (again). CorticoSpinal (talk) 20:52, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Because POV-pushing, uncivil, anti-science editors have no standing. Sorry dude. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:28, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for proving my point with a beautiful illustration. CorticoSpinal (talk) 21:36, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
You're welcome. I love proving a point that anti-science editors should be blocked permanently. I'm still trying to figure out who removed your permanent community ban? OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:39, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Please, Orangemarlin, stop refering to be as an anti-science editor. Just because I'm a DC does not make me anti-science. Also, scientific chiropractic is not an oxymoron; it's very real and follows the principles of evidence based medicine. I've asked you this several times now over the past month, please refrain from making personal attacks against me and at least try to pretend to comply with WP:AGF. For the record, there was no "permanent community ban" so it's probably best to not make up facts that can be easily checked with diffs. CorticoSpinal (talk) 21:58, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

J. Scott Armstrong debate

I think this is an interesting case. J. Scott Armstrong is an economist working on "forecasting". His work is frequently cited (by economists), he has founded two journals and an institute, and seems to be a reasonably successful academic. He has now, under the auspices of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-wing think tank, applied himself to the field of global warming[2]. His paper has been published in the classic sceptic mill Energy and Environment. For someone with a decent scientific education, his claims are obviously empty (see [3]) - he has no idea about physical models. As far as I can tell, his critique is essentially ignored by scientists. However, we have User: RonCram, whom I believe to be honest, but who has not an inkling of scientific understanding, and who tries to push Armstrong's work as the latest and greatest into J. Scott Armstrong and global warming controversy. He has some support from some of our long-term sceptic contributors (of whose honesty I have mixed feelings), but even they are rather quite. Discussions are at Talk:J. Scott Armstrong and Talk:Global warming controversy. Any suggestions? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:52, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

I just modified that section. I'm more liberal than most editors here when it comes to including controversial information. In this case, what I've done is to mention that A&G ignore the fact that climate models are based on physics. At least I tried to say that in a sentence :) Count Iblis (talk) 17:45, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
What kind of remedy can the arbcom pass that would eliminate this problem in the future? Raul654 (talk) 16:36, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
It's a tough problem. It goes to MastCell's observation that one can selectively mine the literature to promote almost any POV. Maybe one criterion could be that an independent authoritative source has discussed the relevancy of an article. In the present instance, A&G's relevance is based mainly on their aggressive self-promotion (which includes their admitted manipulation of Wikipedia), abetted by a few of the usual partisan think-tanks. On the other hand we could include A&G if the IPCC or the U.S. Climate Change Science Program or other body of similar stature says A&G are relevant. Overall, I'm beginning to warm to the idea of consulting tertiary sources. Perhaps that could form the germ of an arbcom remedy: when editors disagree about the relevance of a source, the dispute should be guided by the presence or absence of citations to that source in authoritative tertiary sources. (A bit long winded here; sorry for thinking out loud.) Raymond Arritt (talk) 17:48, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
I've gotten bogged down in applying primary/secondary/tertiary to peer-reviewed sourcing. Still, it's an important point. I think common sense tells us that selectively citing the literature to undermine clearly expressed expert opinion fundamentally violates the spirit of WP:NOR and WP:WEIGHT. But it's a fairly common problem, and a very challenging form of POV-pushing to deal with since it leans heavily on WP:V (at the expense of the other two core policies) and can thus be wikilawyered to death.

I dunno if ArbCom is the right venue, since this is really a policy thing, but it should be absolutely clear that individual studies (peer-reviewed or not) are not to be selected and employed editorially to undermine, rebut, or contradict a reliably sourced expert interpretation of the data. Example of the problem: "A Cochrane Library review concluded, as did the CDC and WHO, that there is no evidence that thimerosal causes autism. However, an article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons pointed out numerous flaws in these analyses, and noted that... blah blah blah." MastCell Talk 21:00, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Remedy removed

I removed the following suggested remedy:

  • Editors who regularly edit in a topic area either to promote or oppose a point of view instead of seeking consensus on how best to achieve an encyclopedia compliant with the core content policies may be topic banned from that area by any administrator who has not themselves edited within the scope of the topical area. Suggested by GRBerry

This is a bad idea for several reasons. First, the arbcom already does this to some extent, and the remedy has proven largely ineffective. Second, this has the potential to be used against the very people we should be helping. The third problem (related to the second) "by any administrator who has not themselves edited within the scope of the topical area" - by doing this, you are automatically excluding the people most qualified to understand the problem and make a good decision. Raul654 (talk) 21:29, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

The second cause is there for a reason, and none of the suggestions will fly as policy without something very close to it. We don't let admins block where they are in a content dispute, and we have admins who have strong points of view who would be happy to apply sanctions to those with the opposing point of view. The Matthew Hoffman ArbComm case is a recent example, but you've been around long enough to know of plenty other cases.
As to the bit about editors who "we should be helping", some of those you would name in that category I would name in the category of "editors that are the problem". And this disagreement will exist broadly, not just between you and I, and not just in any one topic area. GRBerry 21:42, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I see what you mean, GRBerry. I certainly would put you in the category of "editors that are the problem", for example. And there is evidence in my block log that you would categorize me the same way. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:54, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I think we need to be clearer about what constitutes POV pushing. All too often in arbitration cases, the parties will describe other users as POV pushers and cite something as evidence which shows that the users concerned have a particular point of view. Having a point of view does not imply pushing it, necessarily. Pushing a point of view in that sense can only be discovered after looking more closely for:
  1. Editing restricted to one specific topic.
  2. Removal, or significant toning down, of content outlining opposing or different points of view.
  3. Reluctance to engage in debate on the talk page.
  4. Frequent appeal to procedure and attempts to sanction opposing editors.
  5. Opposition to any aspect of fundamental Wikipedia policies either in general or in specific application.
Two or more of these are normally indicative of POV pushing. Sam Blacketer (talk) 22:15, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

POV-pushing cannot be determined by behavior alone. It's simply impossible. Let me show you point-by-point:

  1. Indeed, most POV-pushers refuse to edit outside their own peculiar little domain, or do so only nominally. However, sometimes these POV-pushers go on wiki-stalking expeditions. Likewise, some people who stick to one subject are not POV-pushers, but are simply experts.
  2. Sometimes removing so-called "opposing" points of view is "N"POV-pushing (as JzG describes it). For example, when I removed all the homeopathy references from plant and chemical articles, I was N-POV pushing in order to get Wikipedia to align with WP:WEIGHT. To date, these removals have stood, despite some very loud shouts from a lot of opposed individuals calling me a POV-pusher. I persisted because I knew that the sources for homeopathy were simply worse than the most reliable sources about chemicals and plants.
  3. Sometimes "NPOV-pushers" are reluctant to engage in talk page discussions for fear of being bogged down with redundant comments. Other times, they are afraid to comment because they'll be carted off to sanctioning by the POV-pushers.
  4. I haven't done a study, but I'm willing to bet I have attempted to sanction a boatload more editors than most other people in my editcount range. Procedure is appealed to by lots of people who aren't POV-pushers. I'm a fan of WP:IAR, but other people who are not POV-pushers are not. In any case, not a good discriminant.
  5. I am in opposition to certain interpretations of policies. So are a lot of people who aren't POV-pushers.

I think the best way to determine who is a POV-pusher is by looking at the content they advocate for and the content they try to remove. Oftentimes, POV-pushers totally misappropriate sources in favor of unreliable sources. Then, when someone like myself comes in with a direct quote from a professor of some related academic subject, they remove it claiming that it isn't a good source. The judgement of who is "POV-pushing" has to be done at the source/content level. It cannot be judged by behavior alone.

ScienceApologist (talk) 22:30, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm unclear on the advantage of identifying people as "POV-pushers". Isn't that a step removed from talking about content? I've been under the impression for some time that once you start trying to pin a label on a person, the discussion veers off-course and is difficult to get back on topic. Am I wrong about that? -GTBacchus(talk) 02:09, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
That's a chicken-and-egg question from where I sit - did the discussion veer off-course because someone was labeled a POV-pusher, or did the POV-pushing drag the discussion off course, with the naming just being a response? I would agree, though, that we can do this without calling anyone a "POV-pusher" - we can describe these disruptive behaviors, and suggest ways to deal with them, without recourse to labeling specific editors. MastCell Talk 02:21, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree with ScienceApologist, GTBacchus and MastCell. The focus of the discussion can be on article content and on specific problem behaviours, rather than labelling people. I believe that Newton's third law applies to POV-pushing: for every POV push there is an equal and opposite POV push in the other direction. Ways to improve a situation include: concentrating on basing content closely on reliable sources; bringing more people into a discussion; and avoiding any systematic inclusion or exclusion of people with similar POV's in a discussion (e.g. WP:CANVASS). Coppertwig (talk) 13:38, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Deft observation, Coppertwig, with equally good suggestions. CorticoSpinal (talk) 18:06, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

a very poor idea

The dialog of people with different points of view is how we attain objectivity. Myself, I am prepared to edit on equal terms with those who want to claim that there is some reality behind pseudoscience or outright mysticism. I am convinced enough of the weakness of their arguments that I see no need to arbitrarily exclude their sources. Any reasonable presentation with NPOV will inevitably lead anyone not already prejudiced against it to the scientific understanding of the world. If I doubted the validity of scientific evidence, but had a bias towards it, only then would I want not to meet the opponents head-on. At present, though, I avoid these topics primarily because i dislike the over-pushy editing behavior of the "SPOV" people when they work on these topics. I can deal just fine with opponents. My friends are the ones who make me embarrassed. I find it hard to believe that they actually want to prescribe a list of a small number of the only permissible sources. I cannot see why people who I know do understand science very well, and can argue for it effectively, think they need to suppress the extremely ineffectual arguments of the opposition. Do they doubt their abilities, or their science? We already deal very well with the objective presentation of material at Wikipedia. We would deal even better if we worked on articles instead of multiple attempts at enacting biased policy. DGG (talk) 03:55, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

With all respect, I think you've managed to completely misunderstand the point. This essay doesn't object to inclusion of information on a particular topic. Instead, it objects to things like "frivolously requesting citations for obvious or well known information," insisting on the inclusion of dodgy sources, and so on. In other words it's fully in accord with your call for "any reasonable presentation with NPOV." The problem is with pressing an agenda without regard to NPOV (or with a deliberate attempt to pervert it by ignoring WP:WEIGHT and so on). I'm fascinated by weird stuff and think Wikipedia should have well-written, well-sourced and neutral articles on those topics. But not badly written promotional articles with crap sources, as the targets of this essay would prefer. Raymond Arritt (talk) 08:53, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Well said. KillerChihuahua?!? 09:06, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
(Deleted by Baegis, as this is not a forum to attack other editors through the proxy of an IP address)
Hiding behind an anonymous account in order to violate WP:CIVIL? That way this person can keep editing under their POV-pushing account without being taken to task by administrators. I believe this is either User:Anthon01 orUser:Levine2112, by the way. Isn't one of them from Chicago? ScienceApologist (talk) 15:11, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
(Deleted by Baegis, as this is not a forum to attack other editors through the proxy of an IP address)
No, this IP has all the MO of Davkal. Shot info (talk) 04:30, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

With all due respect DGG, as I have said on the Raymond arritt Expert Withdrawal pages,[4] I believe your experience with "civil pov pushing" and controversial articles is extremely limited. Your Wikipedia contributions, while extremely valuable, have almost completely avoided the more trying areas and the more difficult behaviors. Until you have had an extended argument over weeks or even months, in which you make several hundred edits, you have not been really involved with something that this proposal is meant to address. You cannot edit a talk page twice or even 10 or 20 times, and then leave for another talk page, and say you have no problem meeting your opposition head on and think that rationalist and science-oriented editors are being unrealistic or are essentially just crybabies.

The reason I produced the User:Filll/AGF Challenge (and have another 25 or so exercises to present to interested parties eventually), is exactly this difficulty. Those who argue most vehemently that everything at present is fine (except that we have too little wikilove and AGF perhaps), have minimal experience in this area. Those with experience pretty much are in agreement that we have to modify our approaches a little or be willing to experiment with new approaches. Many of those without experience express the same sentiments that DGG does above. Interestingly, some of the biggest internal and external critics of how Wikipedia handles CIVIL POV pushing, who often call for more leniency for CIVIL POV pushing and more tolerance for their edits, when confronted with the exercises based on real situations as in the User:Filll/AGF Challenge, often call for far more harsh responses to those causing difficulties than is common on Wikipedia at present. I think this is because they possibly have little experience with these sorts of trying situations.

Here is a partial list of the kind of complaints one might get, from multiple editors who have a FRINGE agenda on a controversial article, and often in a CIVIL fashion:

  • To disagree with an editor with a FRINGE agenda is claimed to be unCIVIL, a personal attack (violation of NPA), a violation of BITE or a violation of AGF
  • It is claimed that any sources that disagree with the FRINGE POV cannot be used since they violate NPOV
  • It is claimed that sources that disagree with the FRINGE POV cannot be used if they reflect poorly on any living people that are proponents of the FRINGE POV (such as critical book reviews, etc)
  • It is claimed that the "N" in NPOV means that no negative or critical or mainstream material can appear at all in the article, since it is not neutral
  • It is claimed that any critical or negative material cannot appear in an article since it is biased
  • It is claimed that it violates WP:SYNTH or WP:OR to include any negative or critical material in a FRINGE article
  • It is claimed that NPOV or NOR are faulty and must be changed or reinterpreted for this particular article. For example, recently someone on a controversial article claimed "If we follow WP:NOR, our article will be exactly as divorced and ridiculous as the reliable sources".
  • It is claimed that only the proponents of the FRINGE position understand NPOV or NOR or RS, not the experienced editors with tens of thousands of edits, and FAs and GAs to their credit.
  • It is claimed that there is a conspiracy against the FRINGE position and anyone who opposes an uncritical article about the FRINGE position is in on the conspiracy, has been bought off, is breaking the rules of Wikipedia, is just plain evil, etc.
  • There is wikilawyering to try to redefine a FRINGE position as nonFRINGE, or the mainstream position as the FRINGE position instead.
  • Some claim that sources with negative views are forbidden since they are unencyclopedic, or that an article containing critical material is unencyclopedic
  • It is claimed that any negative or critical material is unusable since it is just opinion and not fact. Of course the sympathetic material in sources is usable since that is not opinion and is factual.
  • There are attempts to use mainly primary sources and to reject secondary and tertiary sources, or to redefine the preferences for secondary and tertiary sources in policy.
  • It is claimed that any source that has not written articles that are supportive and uncritical of FRINGE positions are not suitable as tertiary sources. For example, recently at a controversial article, someone argued "Actually, those really shouldn't be used as sources on this topic because (to my knowledge) they haven't written anything pro-X, and hence really can't be considered third party."
  • There is a lot of evidence of WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. Arguments that are rebutted and dismissed, sometimes with extensive references, are repeated over and over and over, sometimes just with a cut and paste approach. Sometimes they are presented by the same person dozens and dozens of times spread out over days and weeks and months.
  • It is claimed that any critical material in an article is unfair, or violates Fairness of tone.

Often CIVIL POV pushing is done by a group that support each other and egg each other on. The mainstream NPOV position is assaulted using a variety of the arguments listed above, over and over and over and over. It is done in a perfectly CIVIL fashion, but if a nonFRINGE editor has to answer these kinds of comments dozens of times per day, in talk pages that might garner 100 kilobytes or 200 kilobytes or more every day or two, it can be extremely frustrating. Most nonFRINGE editors will just give up and leave out of exhaustion.

Until someone has had an experience of answering these kinds of complaints over and over and over on a controversial article talk page, possibly 400 or 500 times, it appears that many do not really appreciate the problem we are discussing. We need to think carefully about it. We need to be creative. We need to be prepared to experiment with new approaches.--Filll (talk) 11:18, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Another one for Filll's list:

  • Attempts to curtail lengthy discussion of off-topic or settled issues, are claimed to be censorship and/or incivility.

HrafnTalkStalk 15:37, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Here's one which I have been encountering rather recently.

  • Writing material using facts in the same context as reliable sources do violates NPOV since they are following a "narrative". We must instead choose facts which no source describes as relevant to allow our readers to decide which "narrative" should be chosen.
  • There are no facts. If a fringe minority, not present in any reliable sources, disagrees with a widely accepted fact it violates NPOV to state it as a fact in the article. Every statement of fact should be attributed, no matter how universally accepted.
  • Reliable sources claims to know certain facts which I believe are impossible to know. Thus, they are not reliable sources.
  • Common sense dictates that we should ignore core policies like WP:V or WP:UNDUE.

Just a few. --Haemo (talk) 20:14, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Careful to qualify when you say "(e)very statement of fact should be attributed, no matter how universally accepted." There are facts which are so universal (generally or within the article/field) that they don't need a source. This might promote spurious tagging which is just a hassle for all involved. Baegis (talk) 20:19, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
No, see, not only is the argument here that the fact needs a source, even when it is universally accepted, but it also needs to be attributed. So, for instance, instead of the "The 9/11 attacks were a series of terrorist attacks" you'd have "According to the US government, German government, UN, Canadian government, French government, Japanese government, ABC, CNN, BBC, NBC, FOX News, PBS, Le Monde, The Economist (etc) the 9/11 attacks were a series of terrorist attacks" followed by literally hundreds of sources. It was just ridiculous that this was a serious suggestion — and solely because those suggesting it were trying to push their fringe theory that it wasn't a terrorist attack. --Haemo (talk) 19:01, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Actually, it was "suicide attacks", not "terrorist attacks" -- to say that they were suicide attacks assumes the state of mind of the attacker. That's not a fringe theory, it's a legal precept. What source are you prepared to offer for the state of mind of the attackers? It's a rhetorical question, since I won't be coming back to this page to read your answer. If you want to talk about me, carve yourself out a spot on my talk page, just keep it civil. User:Pedant (talk) 07:34, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

An idea

Since it is difficult for outside admins to keep track of what is going on across many talk pages and article pages and user talk pages, maybe we can help by categorizing the CIVIL POV pushing. For example, I have begun a partial list above, and Hrafn has added an element to it. Raul654 and others have given other examples above. Anyone who spends much time dealing with this problem on controversial pages sees the same behavior over and over and over. If there was a way to warn an offender or catalogue their behavior clearly as it is being committed, or keep track of it, then just as the clear signs of CIVIL violations, or 3RR violations, this sort of CIVIL POV pushing can be documented, and recognized and dealt with. Comments?--Filll (talk) 16:28, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Here's an idea I floated [5]; I think it would prevent a lot of edit warring and drawn out POV battles, especially on controversial pages. It would be a new form mediation. Thoughts? CorticoSpinal (talk) 20:02, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

  • I suggested something very similar on the arbcom mailing list a few weeks ago. I think it's *by far* the idea with the most potential to solve the problem. Raul654 (talk) 20:03, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
    • I have been involved in many, long-winded, unncessary drag out edit wars and POV disputes at Chiropractic which definitely would benefit from such a remediation mechanism. I've only been editing here for 3 months and have already obtained many battle scars in the process but would love to make a meaningful contribution outside my area of expertise so that other new and experienced wikipedians don't have to go through my initiation here, which has been essentially a trial by fire. Should we dedicate a section to advancing this proposed remediation mechanism for controversial articles; I think it could quickly gain traction and consensus and be set an important precedent in resolving content disputes amongst other things. CorticoSpinal (talk) 20:17, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Designating a "lead editor" is not a bad idea at all. I think this already happens, effectively and practically. But it would not be a bad thing to recognize someone officially to deal with troubles and settle disputes. I like it.--Filll (talk) 13:18, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

It's very practical, IMO and would provide Wikipedia with a much needed mechanism that would deal with these adverse situations with professionalism and class. An issue would be how to nominate a "lead editor" and how to we evaluate their expertise? Also, I still think that lead editors should also be able to receive "input" from their respective POV community so that good suggestions don't get overlooked or missed. It would also effectively negate complaints that a reached consensus "missed" a key element that might have been raised after the "deliberations" began. CorticoSpinal (talk) 17:39, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Idea 2

What does the community think of placing controversial articles or sections (CAM, for instance) under a low-grade editing lock that prevents anonymous IP edits while the pages are under probation? It would prevent a lot of abuse by potential sock puppets and force users to sign in or get an account if they wish to *regularly* edit those types of pages. I'm just trying to think outside the box a bit, but IMO the status quo could be changed for the better with a bit of creativity. Thoughts? CorticoSpinal (talk) 22:23, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

I am not sure that anons are the main source of problem. My experience is that long term users that tend to be WP:SPAs are the main problem in these controversial articles like CAM. And what I have observed is that there is a fundamental misunderstanding, intentional or otherwise, of WP:NPOV and other Wikipedia policies. For example, I see over and over people claiming that NPOV means the article must be "neutral", and therefore contain no mainstream, critical or negative information. I also see all kinds of other wikilawyering and creative interpretation of the rules of Wikipedia, but it all amounts to the same thing; they believe if they just spin the rules the right way, they should be allowed to write whatever they want in Wikipedia to promote their views, and no one should be allowed to tell them any different or include any contrary information. --Filll (talk) 22:35, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Why not just base all scientific topics on peer reviewed articles?

There are also many POV pushers who usually edit some of the articles on political topics. The wiki politics articles are often in permanent state of war. Some of these warrior editors occasionally come to the politically sensitive scientific pages (e.g Global Warming) and bring their bad habits with them. But in case of Global Warming, they can't do any harm, because we have made very clear agreements about the nature of the sources that can be used. In most wiki physics articles, we don't even automatically allow peer reviewed articles, e.g. if it gives too much weight on certain fringe ideas.

I'm not sure how to deal with topics like Homeopathy. But it is a fact that all the claims of water having a memory are strongly disputed by scientists. Also, it is in conflict with the known laws of physics. These are also facts that must be mentioned. If we can't find a source of some obvious statement, then I suggest making an appendix and reproducing the rigorous proof. Count Iblis (talk) 18:03, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

That works well for topics that are explicitly scientific, i.e., working scientists are publishing research on that topic. For topics such as Electronic voice phenomenon, it's more difficult because working scientists don't really address claims that ghosts speak to us through radio static. Do there exist peer-reviewed studies refuting every pseudo-scientific claim? I don't think so. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:19, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Or the 9/11 attacks. There are vanishingly few peer-reviewed works on the subject. --Haemo (talk) 20:05, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Homeopathy Chiropractic medicine is definitely a gray zone which needs we need to tip-toe carefully, as it may establish a precedent for other alternative medicine disciplines. An issue I'd like to get feedback on, is the weight of "mainstream" scientists (say an MD/PhD) vs the weight of non-mainstream scientists (say DC/PhD). I have encoutered a lot of arguments which suggest that orthodox medical "science/research" trumps non-orthodox "science/research" on AltMed disciplines. Is there some kind of policy or precedent for this? Where could this be discussed (or has been discussed) so I can get familiar with some of the more salient points of wikipedia policy involving this topic. CorticoSpinal (talk) 20:25, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Homeopathy is not a gray area. A great deal of editors want it to become a gray area, but it is certainly not in that zone. Chiropractic occupies that zone much easier than homeopathy. At least with chiro, there exists work on either side of the aisle. Homeopathy, at least when it comes to scientific evidence, exists so far on the fringe that there really is not any work on the science side to counteract what the homeopaths claim to find in studies. Much like when dealing with creationism claims, a large part of the scientific community just ignores these things because they are so implausible (for a great many reasons) that studying them would be a monumental waste of funding. While I have no idea on the reliability of the journals used by chiro's for studies, there is no way that they are lower on the ole totem pole than the journals that a lot of these tiny pilot studies are published. Some of these are so small and fringe that they might be sold from some guy's trunk in a rough part of town. Baegis (talk) 20:37, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
To avoid COI, I didn't want to specifically mention Chiropractic, but we might as well get it out of the way. Switch chiropractic for homeopathy in my above edit and we can continue this discussion if you feel it's warranted. CorticoSpinal (talk) 20:44, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
This is not a good idea. Peer review is not a guarantee of quality, and enshrining peer review only invites editors to mine the peer-reviewed literature to advance their POV - an extraordinarily simple task for any moderately sophisticated editor. For example, I could quite easily create an article on HIV/AIDS, citing only peer-reviewed literature, which would draw the conclusion that HIV is likely harmless and not the cause of AIDS (in fact, I've considered doing so as an exercise). A current ArbCom case involves an editor who selectively cites the peer-reviewed literature to advance her POV and circumvent WP:WEIGHT. Peer review is probably necessary for a serious scientific source, but alone it's not sufficient as a guarantee that a source cannot be abused to violate WP:NPOV or WP:WEIGHT. MastCell Talk 20:56, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Point noted, MastCell. What about developing an "expert panel" on given topics (i.e. a "medical panel" could include an MD, DO, DC, PT, DDS, DVM, etc." and consensus opinion could develop and provide a guideline at first, if the guideline (which allows for a degree of flexibility) is abused, it could become a policy which does not allow for interpretation. CorticoSpinal (talk) 21:20, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
The idea of expert panels has been floated in various forms since long before I came to Wikipedia. I doubt it will ever be adapted in any form, because the idea of appointed "expert" editors goes against the "anyone can edit" ethos at Wikipedia's core. (To say nothing of the problems involved in determining who, exactly, qualifies as an "expert" in a given field). Citizendium is an attempt to rely more on people with demonstrated expertise. MastCell Talk 03:31, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
I think the idea could have more legs if we were to have some kind of policy that formally addresses a few key issues you've raised above:
  • Editing wikipedia should be a privilege, not a right. Hence, we could always so "anyone can edit responsibly. Right away that implies that Wikipedia is not a "free for all" and puts the onus on the editor to "do it right". A wikipedia constitution might be a thing to start if we don't already have one to "enshrine" the rights and privileges of editors. It's also good PR, IMO.
  • A need to determine more effectively, if an editor is a net asset or a net liability, based on their contributions to the project. Problematic net contributors should have topics bans as "punishment" since they are good contributors but may have run into a subject or article where, for whatever reason, their best judgment left them. A block would be a detriment to the project, especially if their contribs demonstrate that the editor has regularly/consistency made meaningful contributions elsewhere.
  • Developing and implementing a decision-making algorhythrm that is easily available and diseminated to admins could also prove to be very beneficial. This would help develop more consistency in "sanctioning" editors and would would give, IMO, Wikipedia a much needed mechanism that provides a step-by-step evaluation which would standardize and streamline things and make it a lot easier on admins.
  • As per a suggestion above, controversial topics should have a dedicated "stable version" (that had achieved consensus by the "lead editors" in cases of DR or page that could easily be reverted to and locked in situations where an edit war, vandalism, or significant changes are made.
  • Above all, when in doubt, AGF. If there is a borderline call, Wikipedia should always AGF, but this obviously can change, especially given a long history of recidivism or topic abuse by certain editors. I myself find myself (Austin Powers, anyone! ;) routinely being civil baited in a disruptive fashion by an editor who I would make a very strong argument is a net liability. I had already "quit in disgust" in the spring of 2007 where I came to edit and left within 2 weeks (the previous account has already been disclosed to admin MastCell). I've been more resilient this time around, but as demonstrated already elsewhere on this very talk page, I still deal with editors who try to make me look like a straw man and use bite tactics (at the very least!) CorticoSpinal (talk) 16:38, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree with MastCell about peer reviewed sources being necessary but not sufficient. However, the remaining problems MastCell mentions are minor. It is then an undue weight issue which is far easier to deal with. GTBacchus mentioned that scientists usually do not investigate paranormal claims. But then there are good reasons why they don't. In most cases the claims violate the laws of physics. So, what we can do in these articles is explain exactly why and how these violations come about. Also, a positive result can usually be interpreted in many ways, the parnormal one being a priori ruled out if you accept the basic laws of physics.

Now, there is no requirement that we must cite a peer reviewed article that explicitely points this out. Obvious facts do not require citation. And by definition, something is "obvious" if pointing that out in an article will lead to that article to be rejected for publication by the editor precisely because it makes trivial statements. Count Iblis (talk) 14:23, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

So, what we can do in these articles is explain exactly why and how these violations come about. -- If ONLY that were the case. Remember Talk:WTBDWK? I pointed out that a statement in the movie that "quantum mechanics allows you to move backward in time" was in opposition to xyz physics text on quantum mechanics. The community decided that doing so was original research. In many cases these ideas are popular in the culture but ignored in the scientific community and therefore do not receive the scrutiny that an encyclopedia article here would like to shine on them. We cannot just say that magnet therapy exposes humans to less magnetic energy than most electrical outlets because doing so is immediately cast as original research unless you find some reliable source who says thus-and-such. This is the problem. It's a never ending battle. Experts should be allowed to speak extemporaneously on subjects that are straightforward, but Wikipedia in refusing to vet experts clings ridiculously to notions of sourcing that are well beyond reasonable in such situations. Then the POV-pushers have a field day as they did (and do) at WTBDWK. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:37, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Very true. This is an example of how WP:NOR actually hurts the mainstream and rationalist cause. It should be written more carefully or relaxed a bit in certain cases.--Filll (talk) 14:41, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm, perhaps we should write some new wiki articles which focusses exactly on the limits posed by physics on anomalous phenomena and then wikilink those from the paranormal wiki articles. The article WTBDWK contains a wiki link to skepticism in general but not to Scientific skepticism. And even the scientific scepticism article does not give any hard facts. There are rigorous limits to any new forces, on violations of conservation of energy and momentum, violations of causality etc. etc. that wikipedia should mention somewhere. Count Iblis (talk) 17:02, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Giving up in disgust

No, I'm not, but I'd like to add a point that seems missing on the main page, which is that there area lot of pages that are such a battle ground that good-faith editors wandering in get rapidly repelled when they realise that they've wandered into a snake pit, and that there is no way that sanity is going to prevail unless it goes all the way up to arbcomm, which is way overweight as a solution William M. Connolley (talk) 20:50, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

I have to agree that this happens more often than people realize. We lose lots of talent from difficult articles and sometimes even from Wikipedia itself for this very reason. We need to be more effective and efficient and productive, and this means solutions that are not too onerous, such as going to RfCs or Arbcomm or Mediation or even AN/I and other noticeboards.--Filll (talk) 21:43, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Actually, you both gave me a good idea. Perhaps on the current ArbCom case, we need to highlight the drain of editors who have left the project or do not edit these articles anymore because of how everything becomes a battle. I can think of a few that left these areas or the project all together because of the warring (just within the homeopathy articles). By highlighting these problems, we can show how poisonous this environment is to building an encyclopedia. Baegis (talk) 21:51, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

The body count is quite high, I suspect. It might take some work to add it up though. I rarely edit that article any longer for that reason. Tim Vickers is the same. Peter morrell has even distanced himself quite a bit. Wikidudeman is another.

What is interesting, is that contrary to the wikilove chorus worries about us driving away newbies and FRINGErs etc by not being more open and accepting and "letting the FRINGE advocates feel dignity" ( paraphrasing something a wikilove person told me), we are hemorrhaging experienced users, mainstream users, users who understand the principles of Wikipedia and can work within it and assorted expert users. And frankly, although I have not yet seen any estimates of the relative "value" of an experienced user and a newbie, or of other kinds of users, I think that the loss of potential productive value to the article, the subject area and sometimes even the entire project is far far greater when we weight the loss of these experienced mainstream editors against SPAs and newbies of various sorts.--Filll (talk) 13:15, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, you are absolutely right. This indiscriminate wikilove is in effect telling me to fuck off. If I prefer to see talk pages with editors discussing interesting content issues rather than the rants of pov-pushers, then I have to fuck off. I made a query on Talk:Objections_to_evolution#Dubious, and I received competent responses by two regular editors there. Some guy was posting stuff about Talk:Objections_to_evolution#Hitler_belived_in_Evolution. Now what exactly is he adding that those two people, who answered me, could not write. Maybe he is going to write the next FA, but surely, if those competent editors there didn't have to babysit these trolls and answer the same questions again and again, they could write 20 FAs already. At least that guy was nice enough to post obvious trolling, civil POV-pushers are much worse. --Merzul (talk) 14:09, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Re: bodycount, add myself, Minderbinder, and BillC to the list. In my case, I finally realized that WP was unable/unwilling to prevent some very, very dedicated and tireless users from successfully gaming the system to fashion articles that treat paranormal/fringe concepts as real. For me, it made more sense to avoid those articles and the surrounding drama altogether. - LuckyLouie (talk) 14:12, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
I refuse to be a bodycount; I won't let civilly-disruptive editors -- particularly net liability editors -- drive me off. In an interesting twist, I'm having to deal with editors who treat scientific, peer-reviewed literature as fringe. Specifically, research published by chiropractic scientists (DC/PhDs) in indexed journals is considered fringe at Chiropractic. So, I'm dealing with a situation where robust, indexed, peer-reviewed, published in a medical journal (no less!) literature is being tendentiously and civilly "blocked" or "obstructed" for lack of a better term from being included. I would very much appreciate comments on that particular development because I think it's a rather unique situation that, IMO, is a precedent setting case. I declare my COI, I'm dual registrant, a DC and a CK. CorticoSpinal (talk) 18:24, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

may be warned, restricted, or ultimately blocked by any uninvolved administrator

Time to start a major flamewar I think. may be warned, restricted, or ultimately blocked by any uninvolved administrator... is a problem, in that only the people involved understand the issues, have followed what is going on, and can issue blocks in a timely manner. Yes I have some obvious examples in mind, and Allegations of state terrorism by the United States is the most recent one. There should be some way for admins to block people they are involved in disputes with. There also need to be some safeguards on it, I suppose William M. Connolley (talk) 20:50, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

"Uninvolved" is generally fairly narrowly construed. Still, this is probably necessary as a safeguard, and I seriously doubt that the community would stand for a provision allowing admins to use the tools against editors with whom they're involved in an active dispute. MastCell Talk 20:59, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Should it be the ethical, moral obligation (not to mention we could set a policy) that admins actively engaged in a dispute should recuse themselves and let an arbitrating 3rd party decide on the appropriate remedial actions? Another issue which gets highlighted are the "buddy buddy" system of admins who share the same professional background, sympathies or that could be reasonably demonstrated to be friends/acquaintances/pals or whatever legal lingo editors may describe such "affiliations". CorticoSpinal (talk) 21:17, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Ah, you're attempting to tighten the noose a bit too tightly here I'm afraid. If we only allowed action by admins who had never had any contact with any of the editors involved nor with other admins, there'd be no one left. Raymond Arritt (talk) 21:23, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
[edit conflict]Thanks for the context, Raymond. A multidisciplinary panel could be an alternative, the point I was trying to make was than an admin shouldn't shop for another admin and if there's a way to minimize this it should be considered. CorticoSpinal (talk) 21:32, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
I was liking the stuff going on here, but once I saw CorticoSpinal involved, who is one of the most anti-science, POV_pushing editors on the project, and trying to get his POV pushed, I'm done here. Again, why isn't he permanently blocked? Who unblocked him? OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:29, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Sigh. Does this even deserve a rebuttal? CorticoSpinal (talk) 21:32, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Pretending to be civil. Perfect example of the anti-science POV warrior who infests the fringe theory articles. Case closed. Why aren't you still blocked? Who unblocked you? OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:36, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
The latter two questions are off-topic for the present context, but see WP:AN#Multiple identity syndrome. Raymond Arritt (talk) 21:40, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

A better solution

Williams past blocks and recent "flamewar" in which he only booted certain editors who disagreed with his mass deletions, is the reason Wikipedia:BLOCK#Disputes forbids admins from blocking users who they are in edit wars with.

I have a much better solution, as prescribed by the Arbcom in the case Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Great Irish Famine quote:

"Remedies: The article Great Irish Famine is placed under the mentorship of three to five administrators to be named later. All content reversions on this page must be discussed on the article talk page. Further terms of the mentorship are contained in the decision and will be amplified on the article talkpage."

Imagine if 3 to 5 uninvolved admins were mentoring a select group of the most controversial articles. These editors would not have to mentor many pages, because wikipedians tend to edit in groups of articles with the same theme.

For example: someone editing Global Warming would probably also over time edit Controversies of Global Warming. So mentoring is only necessary in Global Warming, not all of the Global Warming articles.

The disruptive editors, including not only the disruptive socks, but those passive aggressive veteran editors and edit warring involved admins would, ideally, be quickly sanctioned.

I think the amount of incivility and edit warring would drop, and new editors wouldn't be bitten as much. Inclusionist (talk) 04:16, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

I suspect that having to get together as many as 5 admins is too heavyweight to work. But past blocks is worth a look at, to demonstrate how unworkable the current policy is William M. Connolley (talk) 22:41, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Examples (pov)

(Moved to talk page Raul654 (talk) 22:55, 19 April 2008 (UTC) )

Does this consitute a civil POV push? It looks as though it might head to WP:DR anyways, and getting objective, 3rd party neutral observers to comment on this situation could be beneficial in highlighting some of the more salient points (tactics, behaviours) used to civil POV push which could be used to set up future policy on such a topic. CorticoSpinal (talk) 21:01, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

If you really want examples, try Talk:9/11. --Haemo (talk) 03:54, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Getting back to WMC's original point, I think the arbcom needs to more clearly define "may be warned, restricted, or ultimately blocked by any uninvolved administrator" so as not to preclude people who have edited on the topic (which automatically excludes the people most competent to make the block). Suggestions for how to word it would be appreciated. Raul654 (talk) 17:07, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

"In absence of a demonstrable conflict of interest that would bring either the project or the administrator into disrepute, an administrator shall fist issue a warning that should, if possible, contain certain restrictions/suggestions to prevent a subsequent offence. If a subsequent offence recurs, restrictions including a formal topic ban (length subject to discretion of administrator provided there are no prior precedents) would be triggered; with specific sanctions or terms probation issued to the disruptive editor. Further actions by the editor whilst in probabation could result in an indefinite block or community imposed ban." Does this cover the gist of it, Raul654 or did I miss WMCs point? CorticoSpinal (talk) 17:35, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
I think such a safeguard could be easily dealt with by limiting a block by an involved admin to editors who have been warned but carried on straying from WP:RS, WP:WEIGHT and WP:OR, along with allowing another admin to unblock (in response to an unblock request) without it being taken as wheel warring. Gwen Gale (talk) 18:29, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
The idea is to avoid idiocy like this frivolous complaint. Just because an admin has edited on some topic before does not automatically mean that that admin is not allowed to block people who have also edited on the topic. "Involvement" with another user needs to be defined more clearly than it currently is, so as not to preclude the people most qualified to tell civil POV pushers from good guys. Your suggestion does not address this. Raul654 (talk) 18:35, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that one was far beyond the pale (and any editing/repairing through protection will sooner or later be worked out by good faith, general interest editors if need to be). Gwen Gale (talk) 19:15, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

I like the idea of the mailed fist of the admin issuing a warning (thats a joke, folks, see above...). I think there should be a way of distinguishing admin actions for articles in which the admin is very heavily involved (me in GW, for example) vs occaisions when an admin steps in to try to produce sanity on a heavily disputed page (e.g. Allegations of state terrorism by the United States). CS's text is plausible, but warning are probably better issued per-page rather than per-user: stepping in to declare a brief 1RR restriction on a page, for example; or warning that a certain page has seen too much reverting/conflict and that broadly-defined "tendentious editing" will attract blocks William M. Connolley (talk) 19:44, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

What kinds of worries would be stirred up if involvement simply wasn't applicable to SPA blocks? I ask this because in my experience, SPAs tend to be either utterly uncontroversial and helpful or wholly corrosive. Gwen Gale (talk) 19:47, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Related proposal

If properly applied, Wikipedia:Flagged revisions/Quality versions has the potential to solve some of the problems discussed here. The reason I think it would help is that once a controversial article, such as intelligent design, reaches FA status, then it would be flagged. Editors can continue editing, but whether the publicly visible version is updated (and which changes are incorporated) would be decided via some monthly or so FAR process. If there are editors, who only push their POV on a small set of articles, their efforts will be in vain, because the FAR is attended by many editors dedicated to Wikipedia's content policies. Wishful thinking maybe, but I do believe it would create a less stressful editing atmosphere. --Merzul (talk) 03:56, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

The resistance to ever achieving for some article like WTBDWK a "quality version" and getting the POV-pushers to agree that the consensus of the community is that it is a "quality version" even though their precious ideas are dutifully explained for the charlatanism that they are, is an event I cannot see in my future light cone. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:40, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
True. Quality versions would not help for many fringe article, especially where it would not be enough NPOV editors there to push these to anywhere near FA status. On the other hand, quality flagging can also be used in other ways, e.g. by appointing a trusted NPOV lead editor, who does the reviewing, while anyone can still freely edit. --Merzul (talk) 15:13, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

I got algorhaeythm

The recent addition "a decision-making algorhythm for administrators should be implemented..." strikes me as inappropriate. In particular, it violates WP:IAR and WP:BURO. My impression is that administrators need more discretion to deal with these matters, not less discretion as would result from application of a strict algorithm. Raymond Arritt (talk) 17:14, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Algomelodies are much preferred and less bureaucratic. --Merzul (talk) 17:19, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
[Addendum] That flew right over my head initially. Touché, sir! Now I shall never mispell algorithm again. It's like grade 3 spelling bee all over again. Must... not... cry...she meant well.... ;) CorticoSpinal (talk) 18:02, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Don't worry, I'm laughing with you... :P And "mispell" does score some irony points in my book, although some people would consider it kind of cliché. "Algomelodies" on the other hand, although incredibly lame, was utterly original and in its own retarded little way quite ingenious, so I hope you don't take this personally. It's time for me to sleep, don't you think? Good night, Merzul (talk) 18:25, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
The suggestion was made to a) standardize the process to b) ensure consistency. It also removes a lot of the subjectivity involved at times and makes the process more clear. I'm not familiar with WP:IAR or WP:BURO but decision-making algorhythms are used in the medical sense, clinically to help stream line the decision making process to cover the salient points. CorticoSpinal (talk) 17:23, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Decision making algorithms are fine, but spelling them out in a rigid fashion is bureaucracy. Also, please do familiarize yourself with WP:IAR, it is one of the most important policies, when properly understood. --Merzul (talk) 17:30, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Agreed; rigidity was not what I was going for as I don't think that would be in either parties best interest. Notwithstanding, I think an algorhythm could be a good idea in helping streamline a decision making progress while allowing enough flexibility for discretion and interpretation to make it not violate WP:BURO or create a separate set of headaches. Whatever decision is reached, it should simplify things and make the process more efficient for both the accused and the admin overseeing the case. CorticoSpinal (talk) 17:56, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
I think an algorithm is too rigid, but if perhaps it would help if Arbcom could identify a few benchmark cases/examples against which to compare future civil-POV pushers. They could say "here are some less than WP:GIANTDICKs that we did ban (or should have banned) even though they didn't technically violate policy, and here are some other problem editors who we didn't (or in retrospect shouldn't) have banned." And then future cases could be WP:DUCK tested against these, perhaps by a consensus of uninvolved admis. Yilloslime (t) 18:31, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Once again, an admin makes a dumbass choice

See this. AngryChristian (great name) stands up to the bullshit in an article that is filled with POV pushing and POV warriors. he gets blocked. Stupid admin decides he is the ruler of all civility and blocks him. Wikipedia is beginning to seriously suck. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 19:14, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Worse yet, Nightscream is a certifiable fundie. Outstanding block. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 19:19, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
I've asked him to consider unblocking, and I think dave souza has as well. Let's discuss this calmly. MastCell Talk 19:34, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
This follows the pattern I have seen dozens and dozens of times before. CIVIL POV pushing drives some mainstream editor over the edge, who is dealing with multiple attacks from sock puppets meat puppets, etc. The same arguments are repeated over and over and over and over and over and someone trying to defend NPOV eventually just gets frustrated and slips up. And gets sanctioned. A case is in front of Arbcomm right now that is similar. I am sure we have all seen this over and over. It is predictable and regular. So, this needs to be recognized and dealt with. After all, one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. And that is what we are doing. I have an interesting exchange related to this issue on my talk page here.--Filll (talk) 19:53, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
He's been unblocked with wide support after a discussion at WP:AN/I. The more we're able to deal with these things calmly, the more likely they'll work out properly. MastCell Talk 22:25, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
We can chalk this one up as a bad block that was rightly overturned. That's good news, and it will serve to discourage future blocks of this nature. -GTBacchus(talk) 22:41, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Long-term consensus

From time to time, a larger number of people than usual turn their attention to a page and develop consensus (or supermajority) decisions. The question is: how to make these decisions stick during the long in-between times when fewer people are present and the proportion of pro-fringe people tends to be higher?

Strategies:

  • Improve the rhythm: Since there is a limited number of extra pairs of eyes, arrange things so that, although each page may get extra attention less often, when it does, it's a plentiful number of people.
    • A Wikiproject can choose one "page of the week" (or "page of the day") to focus attention on. Beforehand, the major questions on the page can be laid out for people to comment on.
    • Use RfC, the Pump, etc.; but not too often, or not many people will come each time.
    • Other – ?
  • Express the results clearly and concisely: People should be able to see at a glance what the consensus decision was and how we know that's the genuine group decision. (As opposed to the usual claim of consensus with a link to a long, rambling discussion.)
    Models to emulate in terms of clear, concise presentation of results:
    Is it possible to move towards clear presentation of results for quick reference without getting more vote-like?
  • Enforcement strategies:
    • 3RR exemption, as for the Gdańsk (Danzig) Vote.
    • 1RR for edits that go against the established group decision
    • Peer pressure: just expecting people to abide by the group decision, with a threat of quickly bringing in more people to help enforce it if necessary
    These methods may just naturally happen, without any explicit changes in policy, if the consensus results are presented neatly as described above.

I believe it's best to avoid labelling individuals and that strategies such as the above can be implemented with no labelling. The response to complicated arguments by pro-fringe people can be just "I'm not convinced by your arguments. Let's stick with the consensus decision." Coppertwig (talk) 22:11, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

I think the whole issue is that they won't. One of the most serious issues is that they will inevitably bring up the same point over and over again, claiming there is no consensus for the current version. Or, if they acknowledge that sentiment is against their changes it's because of a "gang" suppressing minority opinions and this situation must be overturned in order to "restore NPOV". --Haemo (talk) 01:18, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
You forgot to mention censorship. By pointing out that their views are being censored they are certain to gain sympathy, as recognized in Antandrus's observation #1. Raymond Arritt (talk) 01:28, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
That observation doesn't say anything about being "certain to gain sympathy". When I hear someone moaning about censorship, I don't tend to believe them, per that very observation. -GTBacchus(talk) 16:19, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
...zoooommm..... Raymond Arritt (talk) 16:47, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't always catch sarcasm. Online, it can be hard to tell sometimes. I've heard some unrealistically pessimistic statements made by editors in and around this dispute, and I actually couldn't tell whether or not you were being straightforward. Now I'm assuming you weren't, because of your helpful "zooom" annotation. Consider, if you will, that it wasn't obvious to me at first, and I'm not completely illiterate. -GTBacchus(talk) 20:16, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
It was meant as irony rather than sarcasm, but OK. And I'm not a complete idiot (some parts are missing). Raymond Arritt (talk) 21:33, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't think of you as any kind of idiot. Like I said, in the present climate, it's hard to say when someone's using hyperbole, or irony, or what have you. -GTBacchus(talk) 22:52, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
In many cases, the censorship is actively due to the intervention of malign external forces, such as Big Pharma or the CIA, intent on silencing them or their views. This often leads to personal attacks — up to an including helping to "cover up" the truth about mass murder. --Haemo (talk) 01:30, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Those sound like problems that could be well-addressed by widening the scope of the discussion. The more light that's shined in a corner, the harder it is to hide behind nonsense there. Would it help to have a better system of bringing outside eyes to a discussion - something more effective than content RFCs? -GTBacchus(talk) 16:19, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Here's an idea: more advanced watchlist software. If it's beneficial to have many people converge on an article around the same time, then watchlists could be designed to alert people when certain articles pass certain activity thresholds (number of edits in a day; number of editors in a day; or increase in number of editors from one day to the next). That way, when there's something happening, more people could join in. An alternative might be to have polls that run for a long time, e.g. for a year, to collect broader community input on articles that get less attention. Coppertwig (talk) 22:57, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
(It doesn't have to be watchlists as such in the Mediawiki software. Could be information compiled by a bot or script or something.) Coppertwig (talk) 23:43, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Examples

(Moved from page Raul654 (talk) 00:50, 22 April 2008 (UTC))

I turn your attention to Talk:Augustus at subheadings "Death" & "Augustus died in 10 CE! Not in 14 AD." This user's edits comprise of pushing personal theories (original research), and massively long replies. Logical reasoning or counter arguments are futile. I believe, however, that current policies can be applied in this situation. Legis Nuntius (talk) 09:49, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, I prefer CE for dating. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 04:22, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Incompetent admins

So, where is the section to deal with useless admins, those admins that prefer POV pushing to nearly everything else. We have admins that unblock racists and block individuals who are are fighting the tendentious editors. We have admins who unblock anti-science, pseudo-science pushing editors. The quality of our admins have gone downhill--I doubt some of the admins who are writing on here would have any chance of being an admin. So what do we do there? OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 04:32, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

How about nominating good admins? I'm aware of some good candidates who have passed lately, so there's hope. Raymond Arritt (talk) 05:10, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, the problem is some of the good candidates will never win because the usual crowd will come in and overrun the oppose section. As much as I know this goes against the principles of the project, having people edit science and medical articles when they clearly have a minimal, at best, background is troubling. One undergrad class in, say, physics isn't enough to go messing around with the Big Bang article (bad example, I know). The same goes for the whole lot of these articles. I know it's the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, but some edits do carry greater weight. I hate to quote a TV show on this, but they put it best on Scrubs when Dr. Cox said, in reference to a patient forgoing treatment for bone cancer because the WP entry claims the raw food diet will help:
"What would I know, I've only been a doctor for 20 years and the guy that made that article also authored the Battlestar Galactica episode guide."
What makes the problem worse is when admins who clearly don't know nearly enough to weigh in on the topic swoop in and make the easy civil block, which seems to happen to the NPOV people because you eventually snap if the same thing is brought up over and over and over and over and over and over and over. Baegis (talk) 08:10, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I have been surprised (pleasantly) several times at RfA's where an admin candidate who had actually edited controversial articles and been involved in disputes made it through with a minimum of fuss. I would strongly suggest identifying and nominating such people, because RfA is truly a crapshoot - some days, common sense will prevail. (Other days not so much). But if we just say, "Well, so-and-so would never pass RfA so why bother", then we're left just to complain about the admins we get without trying to effect a positive change in the situation. Do you know of good candidates who you believe will be shot down by "the usual crowd"? MastCell Talk 16:47, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm a good candidate and would be shot down. ScienceApologist (talk) 13:40, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
With respect, I think most editors who have been the subject of multiple ArbCom findings of fact and remedies would find it hard to pass RfA. I'm not sure that's a failing of the system. MastCell Talk 21:58, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Why wouldn't I make a good administrator? ScienceApologist (talk) 17:07, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
I didn't say that you'd be a bad administrator. It's essentially unheard-of for an editor who's subject to ArbCom sanctions to pass RfA. In general terms, I think this is reasonable. MastCell Talk 19:07, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

The criteria for choosing admins has to be altered a bit.--Filll (talk) 13:47, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

I wanted to be an admin. Then I realized I had to be nice to those whom I think are destroying this project. But I'd vote for SA in a second. Levine2112 would probably blow a cerebral artery. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 03:29, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
BTW, Kudos to Baegis for not only quoting Dr. Cox, who is my personal standard for civility, but also providing the best Wiki-quote from that show. I need to go back into medicine and treat interns and residents with all the respect I give cockroaches.  :) OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 03:31, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Why, I thank you OM. I think that SA would be a great admin. Filll would be a great admin. OM, Hrafn, WLU would all be great admins (I would be terrible). But something tells me, out of those 5, WLU is the only one who could possibly be elected. I do acknowledge that some of the people I think would be great admins would be a little rough on the civility front but thats ok. JzG is a fine admin, despite being a favorite target of some people. We need more admins, who like JzG, are blunt and to the point. If you get your civility feathers all in a kerfluffle, take your ball and go home. If you get offended when you get called out for wasting peoples time, you probably are guilty. I wonder what these people who constantly whine about civility do for their occupations. Most of them must sit in little plastic balls not ever interacting with people. That or maybe we have a great number of elementary school teachers. I remember getting the "play nice" speech when I was little. But we all aren't communists. We all aren't equal. If you struggled with passing calculus, don't go mucking about with the taylor series article. Don't go to that article and block someone for calling an editor who claimed taylor series' are a tool of the devil a nutter. This hasn't actually happened, to my knowledge but I apologize for rambling a bit there. Baegis (talk) 04:14, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
There's an interesting dichotomy you seem to be making here, Baegis. Apparently, one is either blunt to the point of incivility, or else one gets "one's feathers in a kerfluffle". I think there's a vast area in-between, populated by people who are willing and able to express themselves in a professional, even-handed manner, and who expect the same in return. In fact, I would put most people with whom I have real-life professional interactions in that middle area. In the middle zone, one doesn't get one's feathers ruffled, nor is one easily offended. However, one resists the urge to throw insults around as if they're somehow useful. Is that really something to argue against? Do we prefer admins who behave in something other than a cool, professional manner? -GTBacchus(talk) 00:53, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Civility to the point of it being the only reason that an admin applies a block is a problem. If we really want to build a quality encyclopedia, as I hear that is a goal of the project, I would rather have 100 admins who disparage editors who obviously deserve it and summarily boot them from the project than 10000 who only want to issue civility blocks and can't competently apply policy. There are people who occupy the middle ground, but, when push comes to shove, will they pull the trigger and issue the block that is needed? Will they actually use the tools that they are given, since being an admin is a big deal or will they just run gaily about and give barnstars out. I don't mean to offend the good admins (of which there are a good number), but they know who they are and they know this doesn't apply to them. But this is all wildly off the main topic of addressing civil pov-pushing. Baegis (talk) 01:09, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
"Civility to the point of it being the only reason that an admin applies a block is a problem." So... is the problem civility, or is it that we're not sufficiently enforcing our content policies?

I'm an admin, and I've never issued a block for incivility, nor have I ever given a barnstar (maybe one, for good humor). I've issued plenty of blocks, but I've never felt the need to take a rude or scornful tone with anyone I was blocking. I don't think it would help.

The idea of "disparaging editors who clearly deserve it," I would also take issue with. Is our goal here to write an encyclopedia, or to give people what they "deserve"? If disparaging people gets a better encyclopedia written, then I'm all for it, but I'm rather convinced that it doesn't. Would you prefer 100 admins who disparage those who "clearly deserve it", or 100 admins who issue blocks as necessary without disparaging anyone?

I would also point out that "clearly deserve it" is not nearly as clear as one might suppose. Not everyone agrees that people "deserve" to be disparaged, or indeed that we have any place deciding what people "deserve". (I put the word in quotes, because I consider it an entirely spurious concept.) -GTBacchus(talk) 01:53, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

That's a good point; I've placed around 660 blocks, and I cannot recall ever once blocking someone solely for incivility. I see very few experienced admins issuing civility-based blocks to established editors; such blocks are always controversial and are often overturned, even in the extreme setting where an editor is under an ArbCom-issued civility parole. That doesn't mean that the policy is not or cannot be abused as a club, but I don't think we have a situation where admins are running around issuing civility blocks left and right. At least, not from where I'm sitting.

As to disparaging people, I've dealt with quite a few difficult editors, but every time I've given in to the temptation to disparage them, it's been counterproductive. If people are acting idiotically, they'll make fools of themselves without you saying, "Hey, you're an idiot and I reverted your idiocy." MastCell Talk 03:35, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Here's the issue. The newer admins are just block-happy, they don't actually help out. How can an admin possibly understand what is going on at Expelled or Chiropractic or other articles with POV pushing if they're not participating in the discussion. But once they participate, everyone gets their panties all twisted if the admin does anything. I contend that an uninvolved admin is mostly a useless admin. So they default to the "I'll block the one that calls the other one a name." OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 19:27, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
I often wish that brand-new admins would be a bit more respectful of the steep learning curve associated with the tools. Still, no one's perfect, and bad blocks by newish admins tend to be overturned in short order. I agree that an admin who has participated on a topic often makes decisions that are better than an uninvolved admin who randomly jumps into a complex, long-simmering dispute. In practice, I've seen a fair amount of latitude in terms of acceptable levels of "involvement". MastCell Talk 20:51, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Role of admins in content disputes

Let me try to explain myself more. Admins should do more than just block. They should help build consensus. they should really understand the NPOV of an article. And yeah, they might have to participate in the discussion. What use is an admin coming over to the Alzheimer's disease article and blocking someone who is trying to keep out CAM cruft from the article. Now, that doesn't happen often, but just enough to be highly annoying. We need admins who are more than just janitors.OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:06, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

When it comes to building consensus and helping to really understand NPOV, how is an admin different from any other editor? I agree that anyone who wants to be involved in a discussion should help build consensus and understand NPOV, but why do you say that we need admins in particular who will do that? It sounds as if there's a complaint about admins who block over civility and then go away without helping further, but I'm not sure we can ask that a passing admin will also be able to do the job of an expert editor. Do we need admins enforcing NPOV, or isn't that better done in the usual manner? -GTBacchus(talk) 21:15, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
I second GTB's remark: building consensus is everyone's job. Working for a neutral article is everyone's job. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:18, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it's everyone's job. But I wonder if we might benefit from admins taking a more active role in some cases.
Here's a common situation. Editor X wanders into a scientific article and makes a contentious edit supported by Lousy Partisan Source #1 (maybe the transcript from a Glenn Beck show, just to put a face on it). The gist of the statement is a common talking point in some political circles that is utterly at odds with established scientific knowledge and cannot possibly be correct. Someone reverts, asking him to use better sources. He restores the material from LPS#1 with an edit summary of "do not remove sourced material." A couple of people calmly note on the talk page that LPS#1 isn't a suitable source for developments in molecular biology (or climate, or high-energy physics). After a couple of rounds the usual accusations of censorship and such begin to fly. Eventually, someone says "look, you really do need a better source than that" and reverts the material. Editor X goes off in a huff and returns a couple of days later with the same material but now from Lousy Partisan Source #2. People explain that this just won't do as a refutation of a National Academy of Sciences report on the topic. Editor X says "I gave you LPS#1, and now LPS#2. It's confirmed in multiple sources." More back and forth ensues, with more accusations of censorship and a tightly-knit group controlling the article -- all the usual stuff. Finally, someone reverts. More back and forth, on and on. Repeat with new "facts" and LPS#[i...N], where N is too large for everyone's patience. An article RFC is called and a couple of people show up, making random comments. Editor X goes back to doing more of the same. And so it goes.
I think it could be helpful if admins were allowed to step in to a situation like this so that Editor X doesn't tie the article in knots by wasting everyone's time dealing with contentious material. Thoughts? Raymond Arritt (talk) 00:23, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
Amen, Raymond. These are exactly the problems that are hurting a good number of articles. And of course, the admin most capable of making this block is probably tangently involved in editing the article, through minor fixs or something of the like, so they can't intervene without someone raising a fuss about blocking during a content dispute. It's amazing how its rarely ever a content dispute but an editor (or group) who refuses to yield their thoughts about a couple of sources so bad, most message boards wouldn't use them. Baegis (talk) 04:35, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the phenomenon Raymond describes is one I witness on a near-daily basis. I'm thinking of writing up my experience in dealing with a particular editor's behavior over 6 months, culminating in a recent ArbCom case, as a case study in how our systems fail miserably to efficiently handle such behavior. I feel somewhat attuned to this problem and I try to deal with it where possible. The problem is that admins' tools are not particularly sophisticated. If someone just doesn't get WP:WEIGHT and WP:V, at what point should they be blocked from editing? I would suggest that we should be a bit more creative with intermediate solutions like 0RR/1RR, limited topic bans, etc - these can be enforced without recourse to blocks (ideally). WP:SHUN is also excellent reading, though I find in practice it's hard to accomplish since no matter how obvious the bait, someone in this large community will fail to ignore it. MastCell Talk 06:44, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
(de-lurking) I love case studies. Over at the WorkGroup wiki, I've been filing daily field reports on my experiment, which have been really helpful as we look at what goes right and wrong. Please proceed.  :) --Elonka 09:35, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
WP:CONSENSUS obliges us to pay attention to minority views, but do we have to pay an infinite amount of attention to them? (I don't know the answer.)
One idea: think of sharing a talk page like sharing a pie: with a presumption that people will get approximately equal portions. The precious resource is editors' time, but this can be approximated by number of bytes on the talk page. When an editor brings in LPS#4, you can just tell them "I'm sorry, but a lot of space has already been taken up with discussion of LPS#1–3. Please wait until several other editors have each used about as much space on the talk page as you before expecting this proposal to be discussed."
Another idea: When an editor brings in LPS#1, tell them "explain to me why you consider that to be a reliable source", read their reply, and then just say (if true) "Sorry, I'm not convinced." Is this a fair and reasonable way to proceed, consistent with WP:CONSENSUS? I think so but I'm not quite sure. Coppertwig (talk) 12:32, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

<undent>It is very difficult for uninvolved admins to contribute anything sensible to a long involved dispute that might go on for hundreds of kilobytes over many pages. This is a place where the current policy is a bit weak and fails. And who on earth wants to waste the time to research all these issues? Also, I agree with Coppertwig and others that when someone wants to push some minority position, they can waste a very large amount of time on the talk pages by repeatedly bringing up low quality sources and wasting the time of others in silly discussions. Many people just stop visiting the page.

I think something like this happened to homeopathy; the talk page became so poisononous that most reasonable editors just took it off their watch lists, or stopped reading the page and contributing. And even now as we are slowly removing assorted malcontents from that talk page, it will be a long time before mainstream editors return to that article, if ever. And that is a loss for the article and the project.

I get the impression that some believe it is enough to keep disruptive editors from editing the article itself, but still allow them to post to the talk pages. Actually, the talk pages are as important as the article pages and in some cases even more so; if people are not able or willing to engage in reasoned discourse, do we want them on the talk pages, wasting time and driving others away?

I recently came across the case of a banned user who frequents Wikipedia Review who is still griping about how unfair we are. He had as an example a video we describe in the article as being 75 minutes long. He obtained a copy and watched it and reported it was 51 minutes long. Amazon.com states it is 75 minutes long. It was used in the Dover trial and in the trial transcript it is described as 75 minutes long. All our sources state that this video is 75 minutes long, but he personally timed it and found it was 51 minutes. This banned editor was livid, months later, that our Wikipedia article states that it is 75 minutes long and not 51 minutes. Obviously this is a WP:OR and WP:V issue, and there can be different cuts of a video of different lengths. Yet this editor wasted huge amounts of time arguing over the length of this video. And months later continues to argue about this, and wants to have access to Wikipedia again to continue this argument. If he was allowed back on Wikipedia, he would easily waste days and weeks on this ridiculous issue, irritating other users and driving them away. --Filll (talk) 13:28, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

On second thought, I suppose just saying "I'm not convinced" wouldn't fly, because per WP:CONSENSUS I suppose you'd be required to continue to discuss until the issue is resolved (though I think the talk page portioning idea is reasonable).
Here's another idea: If two (or more) editors are discussing an issue and other editors find the discussion disruptive because it's lengthy or for some other reason, they can suggest that the discussion move to user space or to a subpage of the article talk page, even if the discussion is about article content. Coppertwig (talk) 23:12, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

General rule

Is it always true that the civil POV pushers edit on a much narrower range of subjects than those who try to deal with them? Does this give possible remedies (just added a couple of ideas). --BozMo talk 09:15, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I've found that civil PoV pushers do tend to be SPAs (though some SPAs are helpful and knowledgeable editors who don't disrupt at all). So far, the suggested remedies could go a long way towards helping identify civil, PoV warring SPAs and deal with them in ways that allow helpful single purpose accounts to edit like anyone else but more swiftly break the loops of worry civil PoV warriors stir up. Gwen Gale (talk) 15:33, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Not just science

This behaviour is not limited to science-related topics. Edmund the Martyr has been under attack by a single purpose account since last August. The editor insists that St Edmund, not St George, is the rightful patron saint of England and demands that this fact and related crank-ary be included in the article. He insists that his lone opinion can - and will - prevent consensus from ever being reached. He avoids any discussion that could produce a resolution to the issue. Whenever the discussion is going to produce an unfavourable result for him, he responds by disappearing for weeks or months at a time, only to re-emerge later to state that all agreements are void as he wasn't involved in the discussion.

The editor has gotten the article delisted from GA (after two attempts to do so). Let's look at the profile:

All of the above. What ever can we do against such people? -- Secisek (talk) 19:47, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

It's not just science, naturally — it refers to basically any issue about which there exist fringe opinions. It could be the moon landing, it could be patron saints, it could be election fraud. These issues — where a vocal and organized fringe group actively seeks to use Wikipedia as a forum to advance their views — are the most vulnerable part of Wikipedia, and this problem is probably the biggest threat to the integrity of the project which exists. It abuses the "wiki" aspect of editing to advance fringe theories — and there's no recourse. The "eventualism" which prevails on Wikipedia simply does not apply to single purpose accounts with unending amounts of time and the ability to argue, Wikilawyer, and edit war indefinitely until they get the changes they want. --Haemo (talk) 21:53, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Speaking of which...

Important aspects of WP:CIVILITY are being discussed and changed by a small and, ah, not necessarily representative group of editors. A consensus is forming that to call a civil POV pusher a civil POV pusher would be "actionable" (in the words of one participant there). Editing the policy pages is as much fun as a colonoscopy but it would be useful if a wider cross-section of editors could drop by. Raymond Arritt (talk) 01:57, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't want to :( Those places are bureaucratic knife fights, and I get enough of that on the pages we're discussing here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Haemo (talkcontribs)
In order for it to be "actionable", there would have to be admins who believed that acting on it would be useful. It's unusual for policy to prescribe what is "actionable" and what is not, as this is usually a matter of community and admin discretion, but I don't think it requires extrasensory perception to understand what's going on in this case. MastCell Talk 04:18, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

September 11 arbcom decision

What do you guys think of the September 11 arbcom remedy? I'm starting to come around to it - I think it might be a workable solution where some other areas are concerned. Raul654 (talk) 03:46, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Too soon to tell. As you can already see, it's being pushed even when it shows a chance of working. --Haemo (talk) 04:03, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
It does seem to be working or at least there's a start. I've issued a couple of topic bans for blatant offenders (I've never edit those articles and political squabbling bores me, so I feel I'm a genuinely neutral arbiter). For such remedies you need outside admins who are willing to act. Raymond Arritt (talk) 04:16, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I think it has potential to make those articles more stable. I am glad to see that the admins applying sanctions are admins who understand the project and capable of making tough calls. But it does need more time to see how well it will work. Baegis (talk) 04:18, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
It's a fine idea, and I've seen it work well in several individual cases. The problem with the proliferation of discretionary sanctions and any-uninvolved-administrator remedies is that adminship is now officially A Very Big Deal. It's not a matter of a few tools anymore - the recent ArbCom decisions have expanded the individual admin's discretion dramatically. For the most part it works out well - there are a lot of good admins out there - but one could imagine that ever-increasing discretion plus vandal-fighting-admins-without-actual-experience-editing-controversial-topics-or-resolving-disputes-promoted-because-adminship-is-"no-big-deal" is a potentially dangerous combination. MastCell Talk 04:23, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I do think we passed the "Adminship is no big deal" idea a long time ago. Baegis (talk) 04:31, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Or we get nonsense like this AE request where people try and get admins topic banned for the sinister crime of ensuring NPOV is used and getting disruptive editors banned. Absolutely deplorable. --Haemo (talk) 08:23, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
(Note, I removed the AE section Haemo was referring to) ....except that that request came to nothing, ultimately. Raul654 (talk) 16:38, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Where disputes are unending (and moreover where SPAs are involved) yes, I think this kind of remedy could be helpful in other areas. Gwen Gale (talk) 20:00, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Heterogeneity vs Homogeneity of the same topic

One of the inherent problems at having an encyclopaedia where egalitarian principle suggests that "anyone can edit" makes it difficult to achieve homogeneitic (is that even a word?) articles. However, floating around here I'v noticed that at times there are drastic differences in the quality, content, POV and citations in certain articles of the same topic/claim. That leads to the question why wikipedia doesn't have a "expert consensus" version of a topic, that is used in other related articles. No need to have vastly different literature (if any!) and versions on a given topic, especially one that's incredibly well written and cited appropriately. This type of thing is probably more readily applicable to medical related topics, but it should be food for thought as an effective approach at a) reducing the heterogeneity of the same topic while b) being an effective mechanism at increasing the quality control and content of the project whilst c) preventing stupid POV wars and disruption. Thoughts? CorticoSpinal (talk) 05:10, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

You are a self-proclaimed expert of all things Chiropractic. And I do not want you being the so-called "quality control" expert, especially with your anti-science attitude. So, your proposal has little usefulness. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 19:29, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your feedback, OM, but I did not mention anything about chiropractic above. Could you also please refrain from calling me anti-science? Contemporary (evidence-based) DCs are just as scientific as any other PCPs; we just approach the same problem from a different angle, that's all. Cheers. CorticoSpinal (talk) 02:01, 26 April 2008 (UTC)