Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view

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RfC: Labeling people correctly[edit]

PROPOSAL REJECTED:
The proposal has not been accepted. Among the reasons for rejection: a substantial number of editors opposed it; The arguments that "Verifiability isn't the only policy" and that the proposed policy amendment "would be part of NPOV" may put us on a slippery slope that one core content policy would contradict another; The discussion largely devolved into discussing individual cases. Suggestions: not something to be hard-wired into policy; try discussing the individual cases at the appropriate noticeboards such as WP:NPOVN, WP:RSN, WP:BLPN or whichever is the most appropriate to the case; Guidance at guideline-level, or essay-level, may possibly still be welcome: proposals could for instance be brought up at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Words to watch provided that the wording is not of a nature to contradict policy. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:26, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I'm proposing a new policy that would also affect the BLP policy. I suggest that there be a policy that forbids articles from describing a living person's political views differently from how the person himself describes them in a direct statement. In other words, we shouldn't be able to call Donald Trump a liberal even though he clearly isn't one. We shouldn't be able to call Richard Spencer a white supremacist even though he rejects that label. We shouldn't be able to call MLK a black supremacist and so on. My policy wouldn't necessarily require a person to embrace the label for it to be acceptable, but if the person says "No, that is not what I am" to a certain label, we should be forbidden to call that person that. I strongly encourage any editors, before opposing the rule, to suggest how to make it better. THE DIAZ talkcontribs 21:38, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Update: I don't think that we should refrain from acknowledging that a person had been called that label, I just think that if they've rejected the label, then we shouldn't call them that in Wikipedia's voice (as a direct statement). THE DIAZ talkcontribs 12:16, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

Update 2: The term "terrorist" would not be in this rule's purview. THE DIAZ talkcontribs 21:01, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

  • Support as the maker of this proposal. THE DIAZ talkcontribs 21:38, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Some people, particularly on the far right, describe their ideology in more moderate terms than informed experts. Instead of calling themselves white supremacist, holocaust deniers, fascists, etc., they are liberals, conservatives, skeptics and free speech advocates. Vladimir Zhirinovsky for example who is often described as a fascist and is certainly populist and nationalist, calls his party the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. The center-right party in Portugal calls itself the Social Democratic Party. The terms "conservative" is considered derogatory in France and many other countries so no one calls themselves that. Current policy however allows us to mention when people reject the mainstream description of their views. TFD (talk) 14:36, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per fundamentals of NPOV, multiple areas of NOT, and principles from probably every related ArbCom. --Ronz (talk) 21:05, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose For all the reasons already stated. While I think it's important to note self-identification, and to take it under advisement, it should not trump the reliable sources. Because political views are subjective, even as to one's own beliefs, this simply cannot work. Cheers. Dumuzid (talk) 22:38, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support somewhat - as written is not a finished form and goes too far, but WP content shows clear need for some additional or more explicit guidelines. Left-wing or right-wing, mud-slinging is neither useful nor reputable. Markbassett (talk) 20:14, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support somewhat The problem is that when it comes to politics, wp:"reliable" sources are often biased and thus unreliable. But then self-assetions by the individual can also be unreliable. Probably a good middle ground is that saying that when there is a conflict between the two, you need particularly strong, quality, objective sourcing to describe someone in conflict with their own description. North8000 (talk) 21:44, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose: a number of political figures claim speciously to adhere to movements to which they do not subscribe, or that they have nothing to do with movements in which they are major actors. This has always been true: compare Alcibiades to Milo Yiannopoulos or Cataline to Mark Levin. MarkBernstein (talk) 19:43, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support (with comments): Take two cases:
  1. "Terrorist": The term is most commonly used in a legal or official capacity by representatives of the state. This is actually less subjective than "conservative" or "liberal" and I'd have no problem echoing official designation if readers would interpret it similarly. No doubt many subjects would dispute this designation.
  2. Alt-right: I detail the problems with our application of this term in my comment below and I believe we should be cautious with its usage especially when contradicted by the subject.
The difference in these two cases suggests application of this policy would be highly dependent upon the label applied, thus a list of labels to which is applies would be necessary. James J. Lambden (talk) 20:06, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - A person should be described how the bulk of reliable sources describe them. Same goes with anything in Wikipedia, which is the general gist of the NPOV policy. Stickee (talk) 02:21, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per NPOV; that a white supremacist doesn't like being called a white supremacist is not Wikipedia's problem. Their beef is with the reliable sources, not us. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 19:04, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - This would make problems for you, the Leftists who are reading this, and that's why I support this, because screw you. But of course, because this would make problems for the Left, it doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting anywhere, so actually making a legitimate argument for it here is pointless. If it was to the Left's advantage then no argument would be needed. --BenMcLean (talk) 19:06, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Actually I think there is already protection with WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV saying you can't label without attribution, WP:BLP saying you can't force in contentious material without consensus, WP:WTW saying you should be extra careful with pejoratives, WP:NPOV saying you have to balance etc. etc. but it takes long effort to explain. For example I and other editors spent multiple futile hours working on reversing 109 BLP articles labelled denier all at once). Anything that makes it more emphatic "you can't add pejorative labels just because some opponent says so and RS doesn't trump this" would be welcome. Is there a notice about this on a page related to WP:BLP? Peter Gulutzan (talk) 21:47, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Didn't oppose when I first saw this because it seemed like a non-starter. Doing so reluctantly now that, to my surprise, it has some support. (That's not to say I think the RfC is in bad faith or preposterous -- it just seems like a particular aspect of NPOV that we talk about fairly frequently). In nearly all things, if the weight of reliable sources describes a person one way and the person describes him/herself differently, we go by reliable sources (WP:PRIMARY is relevant). That said, it should be noted if reliable sources also document that the person disagrees with a particular characterization and we should reflect all noteworthy perspectives (again, based on WP:WEIGHT). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:33, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I am also surprised this proposal has garnered any support. What a person calls himself or herself deserves a mention but one's own self-image isn't relevant to the content of the article. I can come up with plenty of examples of people who call themselves "feminists" but aren't, people who are widely viewed by reliable sources as "alt-right" but never refer to themselves that way, people who call themselves "progressive" but give only lip service to that label. President Trump probably truly believes he is an honest man, yet his falsehoods and flip-flops are well-documented. I could go on and on. Bottom line, we give due weight to what reliable sources say. I do agree that a Wikipedia article shouldn't express such descriptors in Wikipedia's narrative voice, but should always attribute them to the sources. ~Anachronist (talk) 17:24, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support somewhat - include their POV with inline text attribution. The same applies to MSM's opposing view - must be compliant with WP:LABEL and WP:REDFLAG. The opinions of detractors must not be written as statements of fact in WP voice. Provide information in a dispassionate non-judgmental tone so readers can make their own determination. Atsme📞📧 11:30, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
note re:policy - WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV is unambiguously clear that biased opinions must be properly verified and attributed, and cannot be asserted in Wikipedia as if it were a fact. MOS LABEL, and REDFLAG are also very clear regarding how BLPs are described, particularly in the lede. Derogatory labels, be they political, religious or any other form of societal opinions stated in multiple RS are still opinions, so when bias or a COI is factored in, policy must be followed. Consensus does not supersede policy. Atsme📞📧 12:49, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
  • strong oppose this falls at the intersection of NPOV, V, and BLP. Wikipedia content should be based on independent, reliable sources - this is what every policy and guideline says. Those policies and guidelines also say that we can use primary/SPS sources, but only with great care. WP:BLPSPS and WP:PRIMARY (and what a person says about themselves, is going to be one or the other) are each very clear that we use statements a person makes about him or herself with care. It is OK to use them (to say, for example, that Spencer denies he is a white supremacist) but excluding what reliable, independent sources say violates just about everything we do here. The WEIGHT is given to what independent, reliable sources say. With BLP matters t is important that those are high quality sources, of course. Jytdog (talk) 18:46, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Jytdog. Knowledge in WP is based in published sources; this encyclopedia is a compendium of information found in reliable publications. I would agree that a primary source that describes what the person says about themselves and per weight, with in line attribution, could be a good inclusion and would cover the contingency where reliable sources and a person's view of themselves differ. (Littleolive oil (talk) 19:32, 13 August 2017 (UTC))
  • Oppose. We follow the sources. Many political figures describe or label themselves more moderately than their actual views would indicate, as TFD and MarkBernstein point out above. Our project needs take no part in the "brand management" of controversial political actors.
Further, I request a procedural close as WP:FORUMSHOPping. We already had an RfC on whether we should describe Richard B. Spencer as a white supremacist, just this past March, which closed by Winged Blades of Godric as "Near unanimous consensus to maintain status quo i.e. refer to Spencer solely as a "white supremacist" in the lead.In general, the terms used by WP:RS takes a preference and precedence over personal interviews irrespective of WP:BLP concerns…." The discussion was rehashed the next month, and when it went stale the proposer of this RfC revived it again, and then came close to a topic ban for referring to our use of the term white supremacist as "libel", in reaction to which they opened an ANI filing, which resulted in no action, and included in the close the text "The Diaz is advised to drop the stick on Richard Spencer…". I advise them again here. No reliable sources call Donald Trump a "liberal" or Martin Luther King Jr a "black supremacist", or James II of England a "neo-Confucianist" for that matter. On the other hand, [t]here exists a consensus that sufficient reliable sources describe Spencer as a white supremacist that it is NPOV and due weight to describe him as a white supremacist, as NorthBySouthBaranof already said over a month ago. We do not need to have this discussion a fourth time, and frankly I'm not sure why it's such a big deal in the first place, since a solid ninety-nine per cent of our readers are likely to interpret the terms white supremacist and white nationalist identically as horrible racist.
Lastly, User:BenMcLean is kindly invited to strike their clearly bad-faith notvote. Snuge purveyor (talk) 20:02, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose You basically want to invent a case in which primary sources take presidency over secondary sources. This is (another endless) request for Wikipedia's core policies to be altered to accommodate the opinions of people who want racists and racial idealists to look warmer and fluffier. Edaham (talk) 04:33, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose this often would result in false balance, although there are situations where I think attribution is good. I see at least one comment suggesting that this only matters for the left; I think that it matters to the world: people should correctly be informed rather than only being fed self-descriptions which are often misleading. We can read the public relations material and propaganda on the relevant party's web site already, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. This also implies that material contradicting self-descriptions does not merit mention unless it is notable and reported by reliable sources. And only if the person/party are notable enough to have an article. If this passed, would we also eventually include religious self-descriptions in Wikipedia's voice and stop using established theological terms to describe and categorize faiths (i.e. millenarist, etc)? The Four Deuces's comment is also very relevant. —PaleoNeonate – 06:05, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose we are here to regurgitate what reliable sources say......if there is a contradiction or opposing view also in RS this should be stated. We are here to inform readers.....not omit valid info.--Moxy (talk) 22:26, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Setting aside the POV issues, this is just a senseless hoop to make editors jump through: try tracking down an interview where Alberto Fujimori explicitly describes himself as a "neoliberal", or a clip of Narendra Modi describing himself as "right-wing". Maybe you'll find one, but what's the point of doing this rather than consulting an expert source? Nblund talk 02:47, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose This proposal flies in the face of the very ethos of Wikipedia itself. That this would completely gut the NPOV policy has been established. On a purely practical level, not only would it prevent us from labeling political theorists with their own inventions it would prevent, not stifle but flat out prevent, our ability to accurately write biographies. Take for example Josef Stalin. As far as I know, Stalin never described himself as a Stalinist. This proposal would strangely prevent us from using the label, in reference to him. Hitler probably never described himself as a fascist. Also, if we allow this hermeneutical virus to vitiate NPOV it will spread to other places. We will have chiropractors and homeopaths described as medical practitioners; creationists described as scientists; Scientilogists described as mental health experts. After all, why should this proposal stop at political ideology and not extend to all ideologies.--Adam in MO Talk 09:36, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose While laughing, just no. Only in death does duty end (talk) 09:40, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose as on WP:LABEL we already have "widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject", with my stress on "widely". Perhaps the problem is that this policy is not being applied appropriately right now, and may need clarification. --Nanite (talk) 03:44, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- suggesting that WP only "describ[es] a living person's political views differently from how the person himself describes them in a direct statement" is a bizarre requirement. WP editors are expected to follow reliable sources, not the claims by the subject's of the articles. K.e.coffman (talk) 06:23, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Absolutely not. We reflect the array of reliable sources. Where reliable sources make characterizations in their own voice, so too should we make a statement in the encyclopedia's own voice. Neutralitytalk 18:56, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose and No way - this is a very badly thought out proposal. It would be in direct conflict with our policy on reliable sources, WP:RS, which is a non-negotiable part of WP:NPOV and one of the FIVE PILLARS. Basically even if somehow magically this proposal would get support here (which it ain't gonna), you still couldn't implement it. To get this to work, you would have to change the five pillars. Good luck with that.Volunteer Marek (talk) 09:50, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
    • Also wanted to note that RfCs should be worded neutrally. The title of the section is not neutral.Volunteer Marek (talk) 09:52, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Super Mega Humungous Thundersneeze Oppose we should use the label WP:RS use and remember that a RS must be secondary which means that neither the person of the article nor anyone who is even remotely involved in the ideological conflict is not allowed to apply labels on Wikipedia. Which means that an activist academic cannot be used as a WPRS because of a vested interest in the conflict. AadaamS (talk) 10:30, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- privileging one viewpoint (the individual's) over others from reliable sources makes no sense for an encyclopedia. Shelfpea (talk) 11:54, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose favoring self applied labels over those of Reliable Sources ... Support requiring attribution of labels applied by Reliable Sources. Blueboar (talk) 12:16, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support It is not banning all mention of what sources call a person. It is stopping content having wording expressing what sources say about a person as if it is truth because a lot of sources are saying it. Because 20 sources say xxx is a bug-eyed monster from mars, xxx is described in the lead's first sentence as being a bug-eyed monster from Mars, (or a right=wing commentator, or a left-wing journalist) - a direct statement rather than a qualifying statement that would indicate it is just a subjective opinion expressed in some rs sources. And just after such labeling will inevitably come those 20 references. The proposal as I see it is to stop us, editors, from creating wording that states xxx is yyy, if yyy is in any way both subjective and controversial. It does not stop BLP appropriate content saying that sources have described xxx as being yyy, or for non-subjective content, such as nationality or profession, being worded as xxx is yyy. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 21:22, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support somewhat, I think both "versions" of a person political position should be attributed, rather then either being stated as fact.Slatersteven (talk) 12:08, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Very Strong Oppose We label people accurately, and in accordance with RS and WP:WEIGHT. Period. If you want every conspiracy theorist, Nazi, etc. to decide how they should be defined, we might as well just pack up the project and turn it into facebook/linkedin. Fyddlestix (talk) 12:16, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
Also, the RFC is not neutrally worded, and pretty obviously an attempt to do an end run around other RFCs and discussions (some still ongoing, or being constantly and disruptively re-litigated despite a clear consensus) where there was broad agreement to describe people accurately (per a vast amount of RS). This is blatant forum shopping, and has a snowballs chance in hell. Why are we wasting time on this? Fyddlestix (talk) 12:27, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
Describing a person accurately is NOT the same as describing a person based on what the greater proportion of RS say about that person. That is why there are so many editing conflicts. To avoid this, the only workable solution I see is never present subjective descriptions or labels found in sources as if those descriptions or labels were unequivocal facts, and to ban subjective descriptions and labels entirely for the first sentence in article leads. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 02:15, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Opppose WP:BLPDELETE makes sense. Giving subjects veto control over the content of their articles does not. Imagine that a creationist objects to someone saying that their beliefs contradict scientific facts. Under this policy, we would have to bend over backwards to write an article that doesn't offend their sensibilities. And, yes, creationist do believe their position is a political one, in spite of the rest of the world seeing it differently. But if you give a subject veto control, they get to decide what is political rather than reliable sources. This would run immediately counter to rules about how to describe facts and opinions on Wikipedia. People don't just object to opinions about them, they also object to facts. jps (talk) 12:34, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support with modifications In controversial areas RS are often biased, sometimes even the majority of them, but the subject's statement is almost by definition biased, so as currently proposed, this policy change would replace widespread systemic bias (which is currently a serious problem) with a more COI-like bias where the subject gets to decide how they are described (which would be a serious problem). Rather that replace bias with bias, I think we could have a rule like this: :when the subject of the article calls themselves X but is described as Y by an RS, then we say "calls themselves X but has been called Y by (source(s))" or, in cases where nearly all RS say the same thing, we say "calls themselves X but is generally considered Y" I think NPOV can be interpreted in this way or as "we say what the RS says, period" which makes wikipedia prone to whatever bias the media has, so I think the relevant policies should be changed so they cannot be interpreted as "we say what the RS says, period". Tornado chaser (talk) 14:25, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment (in addition to my Oppose above): For those who are opposed to this change, I think we need a remedy to the very prevalent edit wars over labels. Does anyone have a good idea how to clarify the existing policy to emphasize who is 'right' in these situations? If so I'd appreciate your ideas over at Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view/Noticeboard#Which_label_to_use.3F_An_eternal_problem.. --Nanite (talk) 19:26, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose The opposes, modified supports, and 'sometimes, sometimes not' statements lead me to a WP:CREEP oppose - in short, the proposal is unworkable. Alanscottwalker (talk) 03:44, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
  • This is an exceptionally poor idea which, if adopted, would immediately violate Wikipedia's basic content policies. The goal of editing is to look at what independent, reliable sources say about a topic, and to then accurately summarize those sources. This proposal would short-circuit that process. Moreover, it seems to be part of a recent effort to prevent Wikipedia from describing white supremacists as "white supremacists"—an effort which I oppose both as a violation of site policy and as an inappropriate attempt to normalize racism. The original poster's implicit equation of Martin Luther King Jr. with a white supremacist pretty much summarizes the cluelessness at work here better than I could. MastCell Talk 23:37, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose We already have policies that prevent incendiary statements about individuals that would cover the cases that I am assuming that this proposal originated from (labeling people racists, alt-right, bleeding-heart liberals, etc. when they have publicly denied it). For non-incendiary statements, I personally believe the facts (as presented by reliable secondary sources) speak for themselves. If sources have reached a consensus as to a particular person's political leanings, then that's what we report. If they have not, then we give proper WP:WEIGHT to the various points of view. Cthomas3 (talk) 04:30, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Articles must use WP:DUE material based on WP:RS. Editors have to use judgment so the fact that a reliable source described someone, for example, as a "clown" would not be sufficient reason for a mention in the subject's article. On the other hand, mentioning "clown" may be warranted if a reliable secondary source (fully independent and not an advocate) wrote an analysis of the subject's life and included a substantive section on the fact that the person was often referred to as a clown, with a discussion of the effect or implications of that label. Talk pages are full of editors arguing over many details and there is no reason for there to be a policy or guideline precluding a DUE description of what SECONDARY sources report. I just commented at ANI objecting to examples of undue labels that have been reported by reliable sources. The distinction may not be appreciated by all editors, but there are lots of similar cases of people not understanding how articles should be written. Johnuniq (talk) 10:56, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose would give a heavy mandate for whitewashers and displace several very sensible policies like WP:RS and WP:DUE. Artw (talk) 04:29, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose this seems completely un-workable in practice. Power~enwiki (talk) 00:59, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Note to whoever determines the consensus in the future:

Any editor who is voting no because of NPOV fails to realize that:

1. Verifiability isn't the only policy

2. This policy would be part of NPOV.

That's all. Keep discussing! THE DIAZ talkcontribs 21:13, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

While I support the idea in principle, I don't think this is appropriate it the right way. I think it is important to stress a neutral description of a person before going into anything dealing with labels (favorable or not, self-claimed or not) particularly in the lede sentences, but once a neutral description is established, then attributed claims can be included as long they don't otherwise violate BLP. The neutrality part of this is making sure we don't weigh subjective labels of any type over objective, neutral terms. --MASEM (t) 22:00, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

  • This proposal is contrary to several established provisions of our NPOV policy: Specifically WP:POVNAMING and WP:WEIGHT.
Yes, labels can often be seen as being pejorative... and yes, we should respect the self-identification of a BLP article subject... However, that respect can be out weighed by the identifications and labels used by reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject. If the majority of independent sources routinely apply a potentially pejorative label when describing the subject, we need to mention that... even if the subject himself/herself rejects the label. It would actually be non-neutral of us to favor the subject's self-identification and ignore over the labels used by independent sources. Sure, if the subject himself/herself has explicitly rejected a label applied by others, we can (and probably should) note that rejection in the article... but we still have to mention how others label the subject.
To give an extreme example: I doubt anyone would self-identify as a "terrorist" ("Don't call me a 'terrorist' I am a freedom fighter"), but if a significant majority of independent sources routinely apply the label "terrorist" to that person, then we can not (and should not) ignore those sources. We should apply that term here in WP, even though the subject may not like the term. Blueboar (talk) 12:05, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
Actually, for something like "terrorist", we should consider if a legal authority has made that statement, which is not a label when applied by a legal definition since it allows the legal authorities to treat the situation far differently (similar to calling someone a murdered once they have been convicted of that , but not before). I've seen RSes use the word "terrorist" for actions that are far far different than what one normally would consider as a terrorist (actions of words, rather than actions of warfare), so when used that way it is still a label and should be treated as such. --MASEM (t) 14:52, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
"Terrorist" falls under WP:LABEL anyway. I disagree with WP:LABEL stating "in which case use in-text attribution" when the term is widely supported for the individual or group. I disagree because this is a misleading use of in-text attribution since it implies that only that one source has referred to the subject as a terrorist. If the person or group is well-established as a terrorist or terrorist group, we should not be using in-text attribution. I've challenged this wording in the WP:LABEL guideline before and I've been meaning to do it again. I was reverted by an editor when I changed the text, but I never got around to pursuing the matter beyond an existing section on the talk page at that time. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:08, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
Flyer22 Agreed - I reiterated this twice below to different replies before I saw your post.
First , keeping in mind that by definition, a label is a subjective term, there are a few labels that also have objective definitions - "terrorist" is one of those. If legal authorities have cited someone as a terrorist, that's the objective version; if the NYtimes does the same but without the legal authorities corroborating, that's the subjective version. But most labels do not have any objective element, such as "racist" - there's no objective measurement of this, it is purely subjective.
To that end, whenever one of these labels are used, particularly towards a BLP, it should always be given some type of attribution. If it is a wildly-held stance by the media, then it should be stated that way "John Q Smith is considered a racist by many sources." If it the opinion of a few, more explicit attribution is needed. It's the problem when editors, though rightly identifying a widely-held label on a BLP by the media, want to state that as fact in WP's voice, which must be avoided. And importantly, this should not be pushed into the article before establishing neutral, more objective aspects first. --MASEM (t) 20:44, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
I view labeling someone a racist as different than labeling someone a terrorist. I've also seen people debate what is racist a lot more than I've seen people debate whether a certain action is terrorism. I would not support stating "John Q Smith is considered a terrorist by many sources." I would state the matter in Wikipedia's voice unless there is a valid suspicion that the general consensus is flawed. And as far calling someone a racist, I would be wary of that unless it's an analysis matter that is widely supported by reliable sources (especially if a historical matter) or is referring to one or more comments the person made. Mel Gibson comes to mind; see this section, which, in addition to what it states, points to The Passion of the Christ#Allegations of antisemitism. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:01, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
It all depends on the independent sources. If the label is applied by a few sources... then it is an opinion, and we should use in text attribution (if we mention it at all) - and not use the term in WPs voice. If, however, the label is routinely applied by a substantial majority of independent sources, then there is no need for attribution... there is a consensus demonstrated by the totality of sources which indicates that the label is considered accurate and factual (not just opinion). Blueboar (talk) 23:01, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
This is where there's problems because of how we have sliced what part of the media we consider RSes. It is very easy in the current days to find notable persons being called some type of label typically associated with the right, with the bulk of left-leaning sources - the ones that make the bulk of our RSes - using that label. We need to be aware of this media bias, and take a conservative (as in middle-ground, not political) route to use attribution for that. If the person was long since dead, and that's how sources today reported on that person, that would be different. It does no harm to WP to take this approach, while if we do repeat blindly what RSes say without considering the big picture, we get into problems when it comes to labels. --MASEM (t) 23:51, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
User:Masem - it's an old saying that one nations 'freedom fighter' is anothers 'terrorist', and really we can simply focus of state a fact, not your opinion. WP:LABEL says to state the label and attribute it. The attribution serves WP:V as well as keeping WP to an WP:NPOV, and what that label source is part of the data. If it has a legal basis like terrorist list is different from just a speech name-calling. Markbassett (talk) 20:22, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
Completely fair point and doing so (identifying which nations consider so-and-so a terrorist or the like, or saying John Q Smith was convicted of murder rather than being a murder) is better in the long run. --MASEM (t) 02:26, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
NPOV states clearly in WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV (my bold) Biased statements of opinion can be presented only with attribution. For instance, "John Doe is the best baseball player" expresses an opinion and cannot be asserted in Wikipedia as if it were a fact. It can be included as a factual statement about the opinion: "John Doe's baseball skills have been praised by baseball insiders such as Al Kaline and Joe Torre." Opinions must still be verifiable and appropriately cited. The latter refers back to inline text attribution per WP:LABEL, and WP:REDFLAG which is in WP:V policy. When BLPs are concerned, we are obligated to exercise even greater caution.
The arguments and misunderstandings I've seen with regards to WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV have been consistent with no attribution needed, or that it's ok to state it in WP voice. Attempts to define terms like "widely viewed", etc. as weasel words are also invalidated by WP:NPOV which clearly states that expressed opinion cannot be asserted in Wikipedia as it were a fact. The policy also tells us to Avoid the temptation to rephrase biased or opinion statements with weasel words, for example, "Many people think John Doe is the best baseball player." But "Who?" and "How many?" are natural objections. An exception is a situation where a phrase such as "Most people think" can be supported by a reliable source, such as in the reporting of a survey of opinions within the group. I've seen arguments for weasel word and claims of whitewashing misused repeatedly as a result of trying to use it as a standalone which changes the context for how it was used in that policy. Also stating the opinions of others (particularly biased ones) as fact in WP voice is, according to NPOV, noncompliant. Neutrality, I would appreciate your input as you have expressed a strong opinion in support of stating opinion as fact, including biased opinions in WP voice, which I find confusing. Atsme📞📧 20:20, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
That is a complete, 100%, distortion of my actual view. Neutralitytalk 20:33, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Oh my...it was not my intention to distort your actual view. My apologies if I did so inadvertently. You stated in your reason for opposing: Where reliable sources make characterizations in their own voice, so too should we make a statement in the encyclopedia's own voice. That follows in line with what you stated here, so I actually believed my question was aptly phrased regarding my confusion. It is my understanding that the word "characterization" (appraisal, valuation, assessment, regard etc.) is synonymous with "opinion", so when we use Wiki voice to state a person's characterization of something or someone, we are obligated to state it as such per the examples we've been provided in the policy. If we state it in WP voice as you suggest, then it becomes a statement of fact because WP is not a person; therefore can only express the opinions of people and not make statements of fact per WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV. If I'm wrong, please explain and help clear up the confusion, because I'm not the only editor who believes this to be true. Please also keep in mind that the policies and MOS guideline I quoted above support my position unambiguously. I have spent hours trying to find the policy that supports yours, and would be very appreciative if you would simply cite them for me as I did mine...whenever you have time, of course. Atsme📞📧 21:43, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
I've made my views clear, and the vast majority of editors comprehend them. It is not a good use of my time to be pulled into a lengthy discussion with you marked with walls of text. At the Jared Taylor article, you spent more the better part of a a week trying to get the article to downplay Taylor's white nationalist/white supremacist stance—which is literally the only thing he is notable for—despite multiple university-press published works, respected broadsheet newspapers, etc. directly and prominently describing him as such. That Taylor espouses white nationalist/white supremacist views is not contested among the universe of authorities on the subject. (In other words, it is not a "seriously contested assertion"). Accordingly, the vast majority of editors roundly rejected your view, and I'm not going to re-litigate it here. Neutralitytalk 02:27, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
Consensus doesn't overrule policy, and opinions stated in multiple RS are still opinions. Enjoy your weekend. Atsme📞📧 02:58, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
Something more is needed, because despite guidance being supportive of this generally, the failures of name-calling and vague pejoratives being given prominence are happening. I think there is guidance to be neutral in naming WP:POVNAME; that WP:LABEL as well as WP:BLP emphasizes to be conservative in wording and do so with attribution; that WP:LEAD has structural guidance that directs one to start by identifying the subject; that WP:OFFTOPIC should keep the focus of a BLP to the life of the person rather than some abstract label, and so on.
Yet WP articles do start with a pejorative (subjective opinion) being stated as WP position and as fact, and as a major part of the article. Restraint needs some more help here.
The examples given included one that diambig shows as "Richard B. Spencer (born 1978), American white supremacist" and the article starts with "Richard Bertrand Spencer (born May 11, 1978) is an American white supremacist.[9 cites]" followed by 3 paras of picked quotes and then the article itself is 11 screens of material that is not Biographical -- his daytime job is hard to see and family is barely mentioned in 3 lines at the end. This is just not giving the appearance of factual or complete biography nor a coverage of RS on the topic, this is reading like a WP:ATTACK rant of hunted criticisms by a POV group with a strong emotional investment.
I'd suggest that WP should strengthen the guidances restraining namecalling and emotionalism. Specifically I'll suggest start by more explicitly saying (1) The BLP subject must be identified in the initial line and mention otherwise made only of their birth date, nationality, or occupation. (2) Any judgemental label should be no sooner than the second paragraph, with the source of the labeling in attribution rather than WP voice, and include immediately after that any denial of the label by the subject.

Cheers Markbassett (talk) 21:06, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

p.s. The area of politics and controversial issues seem particularly fraught to derailing BLP into a Proxy war of Guilt by Association . For that, it may be necessary to offer the stronger guidelines of WP:BLPCOI, WP:PAID, and WP:ARBAPDS. Also may refer to Wikipedia:WikiProject Politics, or look at essays Wikipedia:Politics and Wikipedia:Political dispute Markbassett (talk) 00:10, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

@Izno: @Blueboar: @Masem: @Flyer22 Reborn: @Markbassett: @The Four Deuces: @Ronz: @Dumuzid: @North8000: Please note my explanatory update at the top that rules out any suppression of content. Hope it clears some things up. THE DIAZ talkcontribs 12:16, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the update. I understand the impetus, but I still think it's unworkable simply because I think the Reliable Sources should always hold the trump card (no pun intended). Thus, to take a silly example, say every reliable source on Earth says "Dumuzid is a far-right fascist." I say "no, actually, I am a liberal based on my idiosyncratic 19th century definition." In that instance I believe it's proper to call me a fascist in Wikipedia's voice and note my self-description. I guess in essence I believe in the power of consensus (some might say the "wisdom of crowds") and I am hesitant to embrace something as counter-majoritarian as self-description in a subjective field like this. That being said, I am wrong plenty. Cheers! Dumuzid (talk) 12:33, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
I'd rather simply be much more middle-ground, and that anytime a subjective label is used, regardless of the weight of sources, we simply make sure it is clear it is an attributed label, since by the very nature of "subjective" there's no factual way to prove that the label actually fits. It's what we do for "positive" labels, and we shouldn't change that for "negative" labels either. If nearly all RSes call something by some label, we should say "John Q Smith is considered (label) by most analysts." Where self-identification comes into play is how to frame the self-identification relative to the broader opinion towards the label as well as other factors, eg continuing: "John Q Smith is considered (label) by most analysts, but he had denied this and instead states he is (something else)." It's easier to apply evaluation of RSes and self-identification issues if you start from the stance that we should never assign a label factually in WPs w/o proper in-text attribution. It avoids tons of tone and neutrality problems, while still being able to stay true to the balance of RSes. --MASEM (t) 13:03, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
Masem... out of curiosity (and to see where you might draw the line).... would you rewrite the lead of our article on David Duke with attribution... Or is that a case where applying the labels in WPs voice is OK? Blueboar (talk) 15:20, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
No, the clarification doesn't clarify. Basically, this is an argument for a specific type of WP:SOAP, giving WP:UNDUE weight to a source regardless of it's quality, violating WP:BLP, and reducing the weight given to other sources regardless of their quality. --Ronz (talk) 15:50, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the ping. I haven't felt the need to vote, though; this is probably because I don't think your proposal will pass. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:17, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
To Blueboar: "David Ernest Duke (born July 1, 1950) is an American politician and former Louisiana State Representative (1989-1992). He was the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and is widely considered as a white nationalist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, and Holocaust denier." There would be more to change but that keeps the lede otherwise intact and addresses the label issue I'm talking about without burying the wide perception about it. --MASEM (t) 16:49, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
When commenting above, a person such as David Duke came to my mind. I wouldn't include "widely considered as." I mean, what sources are stating the contrary? Is he denying that he is a white nationalist, for example? I don't see that he is. So I'd go with what the lead currently states. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:55, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
It's not a lack of issue of contrary sources, or availability of self-statement. It is that they are subjective terms, period - that's the whole issue of labels. Even if every possible RS we find uses a certain label on a person or the like, we should not presume it is fact, and at least adding clarifying language that "widely considered as" avoids that but doesn't diminish the weight of sources using that label. Moreso, labels should not be in a lede sentence, because that affects the article's tone off the bat. We do have to get to the fact he was connected to the Klan, you can't hide that, and that's why the second proposed sentence, grouped with labels frequently applied to the Klan, works. The first sentence is 100% objective, and sets a neutral tone to start the article, while the current sentence immediately gives a negative impression, which we should not be doing at all.
I realize there are some labels, like "Holocaust Denier", which may seem obvious, but you have to remember that because it still is subjective, the "bounds" of whom gets included shift. There have been debates, for example, of what the objective difference is between a "climate change skeptic" and a "climate change denier", and you'll find commentators that like to shift people that some consider as "skeptics" to "deniers" by twisting a few words. That's why we need to be fully aware of how these subjective labels work, and outright avoid stating them as unattributed fact. --MASEM (t) 19:23, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
I disagree in this particular case (David Duke). Duke quite clearly supports white separatism, for example. Plenty of things are labels, including "runner," "feminist," "radio host," "actor," and similar. Some people have subjective feelings about what an actor is as well; for the more extreme side of that debate, see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Pornography/Archive 7#Preferred disambiguator: "actor/actress" or "pornographic actor/actress"?. But, with the exception of "feminist," which can be a contentious word, we don't refrain from labeling subjects by these terms ("runner," "radio host," "actor," etc.). I don't see that it should be any different for a number of the more controversial terms, especially if the labels are accepted as fact (not just widely accepted as fact) and the subjects do not dispute the labels, and especially if they even embrace the labels. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:40, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
And, yes, I'm aware that things like "radio host" and "actor" are occupations. Duke has made a career out of white separatism. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:48, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
I disagree that things like "radio host" and "actor" are labels. Yes, people can self-apply them, and I know there was a case somewhere on a BLP who was self-stating they were a philosopher, despite having no recognized qualifications for it. The thing with terms like "runner" or "actor" or the like is that we can actually make objective determination if that is what they do. Did they star in a film or TV show? They're an "actor". Did they regularly compete in an organized race event? They're a "runner". We have clear objective line for these. Further, these are neutral terms. ("Feminist" is a label nowadays because there are definitely different schools of thought of what feminism is, and I've definitely seen cases of people mis-categorized here). Nearly every subjective label instead is trying to guess on a person's motivations, and then how other people interpret those motivations, and that is the recipe for subjectiveness. Even if someone self-identifies with the same stance that most other RSes agree with, it's still better to give that attribution: "John Q Smith is a self-identified Holocaust denier...". A core point of NPOV is that we never should be saying for any topic "X is (subjective language)" without clear attribution of whom that subjective language is coming from. --MASEM (t) 20:17, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
I just don't see that some of these controversial terms are subjective, at least in most cases. If we are going by the WP:NPOV policy, which applies neutrality differently than we do in common discourse, then stating some of these labels in Wikipedia's voice is fine (and I don't just mean cases where the law agrees). I can't see any WP:NPOV violation with stating that David Duke is a white nationalist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, and Holocaust denier. And if a subject embraces being a white nationalist, I don't think we should use qualifiers such as "considered to be." I'm fine with "self-identified white nationalist," but I don't think it's needed. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:27, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
It's the emotional loading, and extra implicit meaning behind the labels that makes them subjective. Some labels are fine, because they don't have the emotional loading behind them. Things like White nationalist don't have the same cultural emotional loading as actor. --Kyohyi (talk) 20:41, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
I understand the "emotional loading" argument. I'm not automatically okay with a controversial label being used. I've noted my feelings a little higher up too. But a case like David Duke's? Certainly not subjective as far as "white nationalist" goes. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:47, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
Can you define what exactly are the conditions we use for a "white nationalist" label? Likely not - either you can, and it will then be relatively easy to find cases of people called "white nationalist" in RSes that don't fit that objective definition, or we agree that its definition is entirely subjective. Yes, there will be people, like Duke, that will be very much at the center of that perceived definition of "white nationalist". However, it is more recognizing that when you get to people that are at the periphery of that perceived subjective definition that are more questionable, like those cases that James Lambden is describing below. And there is no easy way to distinguish between the "easy" cases of Duke, for example, and the edge cases to make a clear call, particularly considering the modern-day media leanings, and thus it is better to simply denote clearly where subjective labels are use and give attribution. We still maintain the NPOV's UNDUE (we're not hiding that label), but just using a more impartial, clinical tone. --MASEM (t) 21:13, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
Conditions? A case-by-case matter, like many other things on Wikipedia. In these cases, we should analyze what the factors are, what the sources state, and how common it is or isn't for the subject to be described that way. One factor would certainly be any sources that disagree. Another would be self-identification. Duke's case is easy. He is a white nationalist. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:25, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
Whenever we deal with case-by-case situations, that leads to further subjective decision, now in our hands, and there's very little doubt that certain articles will gain editors that have implicit biases in either direction. Duke may seem like a case where there's no issues, but the problem exists far more often with very little obviousness elsewhere that makes the problem worse throughout WP. Again, James Lambden has identified one area where editor bias readily prevails to push highlight subjective levels chosen by editors, banking on a number of opining RS sources to be able to make these assertions. If we flat-out said that labels should be treated as subjective language and per NPOV, all subjective language should be clearly marked as some type of attributed opinion, then editors cannot play these types of games. It make seem to add a few extra words to someone like Duke where there is no seemingly apparent issues, but it also creates a simple rule that avoids the problem where the issues do arise. --MASEM (t) 13:52, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
I think it might be worth pointing out the example of Genocide on the main policy page. From the page "For example, an article should not state that "genocide is an evil action", but it may state that "genocide has been described by John X as the epitome of human evil."". I don't know anyone who would not consider genocide as evil, but the policy calls out attribution of something that seems uncontroversial to me. Further, it calls it out for a non-blp subject, whereas we're dealing with BLP's which should be held to a more conservative standard. --Kyohyi (talk) 14:03, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Masem, you know I am always open to your perspectives, but it's clear that we don't fully agree on this matter. I do not think some of these terms are as subjective as you believe them to be. There are different definitions of "terrorist," but it's pretty straightforward for the most part. And if the subject (whether it's a person or a group) is by and large referred to as a terrorist in reliable sources, I think we should do that as well. Qualifiers like "considered to be" is unnecessary WP:Weasel wording, especially when no source exists challenging the label. It's adding unnecessary doubt to the term. We don't label living people "racists," unless reporting on the commentary/analysis of reliable sources (and in those cases, we give the subject's side of things if they have argued against the descriptor). But we do label people "white nationalist," especially when they embrace the label, as is the case for Duke or Craig Cobb. All in all, I understand what you are arguing, but I don't fully agree.
Kyohyi, calling things evil in Wikipedia's voice is foregoing an impartial tone; that's why we don't do things like that. "Evil" not only has its roots in religious beliefs (and I and many others are not religious), it's relative for some things (despite the fact that many people agree on a lot of things being evil). I don't see how it goes against being impartial to label Duke or Cobb a white nationalist. What is evil is more of an opinion; Duke and Cobb being white nationalists is a fact. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 14:42, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
What I'm trying to stress is that focusing on David Duke as an example is perhaps not a great place to emphasize the issue because some of these labels he has self-identified with, and I would certainly agree that the other labels being applied to him do not seem to generate controversy; in other words, it seems to be no problem to describe him in these labels in WP's voice. The issue is when you get people at the periphery or grey area of where these labels are applied where it becomes very important to attribute those labels. Especially nowadays in areas of left-vs-right political or ideological areas; it's clear that some commentators on the left want to use terms like "alt-right" or "white nationalist" to funnel more people into these terms that, on the current moral compass, are considered "bad", just as commentators on the right like to push people to be "bleeding heart liberals", "social justice warriors", and "anti-fascists". This is a natural human behavior of trying to taint the position of an opponent by using negative-loaded terms, it's standard practice in op-ed journalism, but it has grown worse as the quality of today's journalism degrades. This is not to say we should ignore this if a reasonable proportion of commentators ascribe a label to a person (to do that would violate UNDUE) but we shouldn't presume that to be a fact stated in WP's voice. I can fully appreciate that the same natural behavior to belittle people ideologically against you would lead us as editors to want to focus on the negatives for a person or group and justify including those labels, but we need to rise above that per our neutrality to put our personal biases away and make sure that subjective and biasing language made by the media is at least attributed to the media, taking WP out of the picture of the situation otherwise. This may seem a pointless exercise for someone like Duke, but because that gray area for labeling is extremely large and continually growing as this culture war persists, we should adopt an approach that is universal that attributes any subjective term regardless if it is appropriate or not.
I will say that there are two exceptions that should be made: self-identification, and for long-dead people or groups that have long since ceased to exist, where scholars have settled on how that person/group will be remembered. But it is surprising that when I go back to look for examples in this area, on historical figures known to have "bad" qualities, we rarely touch on any labels in the lede section. So I think a lot of this is also related to editors writing too much for WP:RECENTISM and not working towards the longer-view. That is, consider how we'd right Duke a decade out from after he died? We wouldn't be emphasizing these labels in the lede if we follow the trend of other bios of deceased people. --MASEM (t) 16:19, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Masem, I'm sorry. I really don't mean to beat dead horses, and Flyer22 has been aptly representing my viewpoint. But again, I think you're on a slippery slope to the proposition that we must correct inherent errors in the reliable sources, and that to me is unacceptable. With that I'll wish you and everyone else a good day, and I'll try to mind my own business! Dumuzid (talk) 16:43, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
I never said that RSes were wrong. I said that they have inherent biases (which has gotten worse over the last decade) which per WP:BIAS we are not supposed to follow. Attributing a subjective claim to an RS does no harm (and strengthens our sourcing policy) while blindly repeating a subjective claim as fact just because an RS said it can possible be harmful to us. --MASEM (t) 17:02, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Wow, what a blatant misrepresentation. Attributing statements is not "correcting". Attributing statements is the most neutral way to say something. We're not here to adopt the viewpoint of "reliable sources" we're here to document the viewpoint of "reliable sources" (this is quoted because what counts as reliable is debatable and consensus can change) --Kyohyi (talk) 18:19, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Blatant misrepresentations are far better than the subtle variety, if you ask me! Dumuzid (talk) 19:57, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Well, believe what you will. However, in my experience subtle misrepresentations are often the result of misunderstandings. --Kyohyi (talk) 20:25, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Masem, I would state more, but I think we (you and I) are arguing in circles at this point. Like I stated, we don't fully agree. "Fully" is the key word. And, for the record, I do think we would be very clear, in the lead of Duke and Cobb's articles after their deaths, that they were white nationalists; both are mainly known for their white separatism (what others would call racism, especially in their cases). Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:43, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

IMHO, when one gets to characterizations of individuals in broadly contested political areas:

  • WP:"reliable" sources are generally not reliable on that statement, they are just biased political opinion (I.e. a primary source on their own opinion, not a secondary source on the individual that they are commenting on.)
  • Characterizations are just characterizations, in these cases they not usually encyclopedic information. When in doubt leave them out and put in actual information about the individual instead.

Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 16:33, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

  • A good example of abuse of labels is alt-right which the press (and wikipedia) has applied to: Baked Alaska (entertainer), Steve Bannon, Mike Cernovich, Charles C. Johnson, Alex Jones (radio host), Jack Posobiec, Milo Yiannopoulos and others. I don't know many of these people intimately but as far I know none are white nationalists. Yet our article on alt-right, linked in each of their opening paragraphs, defines it at a "group [...] with far-right ideologies who reject mainstream conservatism in favor of white nationalism." Through a combination of poor journalism and poor policy and application the uninformed reader would believe all of these subjects are white nationalists when most (none) of the mainstream press supports that description.
Even worse, the text: "Popular Ideas: Dark Enlightenment - White Nationalism - White Supremacism" is displayed prominently in the category box at the bottom of each of their articles.
I see the main problem in this instance as application of an ill-defined label which many of the subjects reject, as opposed to say "conservative", which is rarely rejected. A potential solution would be to create a list contentious labels not to be used unless embraced by both the press and the subject. James J. Lambden (talk) 20:06, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
This is a good example, while sources use the term, are they using the term in the same way we're defining the term on Wikipedia. If not, than the wikilink and the loaded language that comes with it creates a BLP violation. --Kyohyi (talk) 20:44, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
@James J. Lambden: @Kyohyi: these are very good points --- with evolving or ill-defined labels that are value-laden, we run into serious problems when using RS that were not even written with the reader's definitions in mind. ("White supremacist" is indeed an interesting example because many people seem to use it as a placeholder for "white nationalist".) It should be considered a violation of WP:IMPARTIAL tone and/or WP:VAGUE when a label is used in wiki voice according to its mildest definition, considering that many people will read it according to the average or strictest definition.
What may be important is an update to WP:LABEL specifying that Value-laden labels—such as calling an organization a cult, an individual a racist, terrorist, or freedom fighter, or a sexual practice a perversion—may express contentious opinion and are best avoided unless widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject, in which case use in-text attribution. Vague and value-laden labels should only be used in authoritative voice ("terrorist John Smith" or "John Smith is a terrorist" when widely used by reliable sources in the same way ("terrorist John Smith" or "John Smith is a terrorist") and when it is clear that these labels were intended to take their standard definition (which should be reflected on the wiki article describing the label).
--Nanite (talk) 04:42, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Nanite ...in which case use in-text attribution. I think there are exceptions to this and I disagree that it should be a policy to which we default - see my last post in on this notice board (far below). Attribution can potentially be misapplied to create problems of its own, namely giving the impression of a narrower range of sources than that from which a quote or term has actually been derived - or in the case where attributions are listed, giving the impression that an attack piece has been compiled from list of sources compiled to cast the subject in a negative light. In cases where use of a word is widespread, using the word without in-text attribution but with sufficient citations is preferable to maintain impartiality and encyclopedic language and style. Edaham (talk) 05:12, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Edaham - Ah yes I saw that, it was a good point. For example if a wide variety of sources say "Richard Spencer is a white supremacist" where they literally mean "Richard Spencer believes that white people are superior in many ways to people of other races and that therefore white people should be dominant over other races" then in that case we should certainly not use in-line attribution, because we are reliably informed that he's a white supremacist (no matter that it's a nasty term). By the way in this particular case I've read a few of the sources and I don't think that's what they mean, and so I think it's an equivocation error to just repeat their label. That said, I am very aware of the subjectivity of my interpretation as an editor and how much that should matter for wikipedia. ;-D   --Nanite (talk) 05:45, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
This is nonsense. For example "Baked Alaska" has posted stuff like "it's a common fact the media is run in majority by Jewish people, it's similar to observing blacks are good at basketball " on twitter, has also posted Nazi slogans on twitter and has marched with Neo-Nazis. But you don't know him intimately so you don't think he's a "white nationalist"?
See, usually there's pretty good reason why reliable sources use the terms they do.Volunteer Marek (talk) 02:43, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
Fair point, I have crossed him from the list. Have any of the others listed marched with Neo-Nazis, echoed Nazi slogans, etc.? 20:00, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
If there is a dispute about a description of a person or group then obviously we cannot use it without qualification, but when there is no dispute then we can use it. See for example Golden Dawn. The article says it is "far-right" and "Scholars and media have described it as neo-Nazi." While there is certainly that it belongs to the far right party family, there may be a question whether a group that denies links to Nazism can be described as neo-Nazi. But the distinction has nothing to do with how the party describes itself, but reporting in reliable sources.
I think terrorism is outside the scope of the discussion because it is not a political view but a tactic. It rightfully comes under guidelines which we are obliged to follow except where there is good reason not to. There is consensus for example that Abu Nidal and Osama bin Laden were terrorists and occassions when avoiding or qualifying that term would cast doubt on the consensus or require stilted language. Also, conviction by a U.S. court of something Congress has decided to call terrorism is insufficient to call someone that. That's the whole point of adding the term to WP:LABEL.
TFD (talk) 01:37, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Discussion arbitrary break[edit]

Wikipedia's mission to 1. provide a neutral point of view and to 2. rely exclusively on reliable sources are mutually exclusive goals, because sources considered reliable in mainstream press and scholarship do not provide a neutral point of view. --BenMcLean (talk) 19:12, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Very true. But until Wikipedia evolves to require actual reliable sources (those which are knowledgeable and objective regarding the statement which cited them) another good enclyclopedic article content concept helps which is, for borderline situations, provide information about the person, not opinions/ characterizations. North8000 (talk) 00:33, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
No. Your comment misunderstands NPOV policy. Some people wonder why we are called editors, it's because we are not authors of original thought, much less authors of our point of view. What is central to NPOV is we are purposefully presenting others' views -- not our own, that's the first sentence of NPOV policy. Is it difficult, surely, but your "mutually exclusive" argument makes no sense, as it is fundamentally based on a fallacy of what neutral point of view is. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:33, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
So what you're saying is that "neutral" doesn't mean politically neutral. (a.k.a. the only kind of neutrality which would actually matter for an encyclopedia) It just means written in the third person? --BenMcLean (talk) 23:23, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
This is actually a really important point. NPOV does not say to what vantage "neutral" is to be taken. There's probably lots of intermediate points but I suspect most editors read this either as being "neutral to the sources", or "neutral to a political/ideological stance". I note that NPOV does not specify either, it ends at the word "neutral"; only via interpretation of other policy do editors make a distinction. (eg With Alanscottwalker's statement above, since we can't engage in NOR and that we are not here to right great wrongs, that must mean neutrality is to what the sources say, whereas I would argue that with language like YESPOV, BLP, and LABEL that we are meant to be neutral to the political/ideological stance.) That has been a debate driving WP for many years now. In a perfectly ideal world, sources themselves would be objective and neutral on political aspects, so those two views then become one and the same. We're not in that world, and topics like this one clearly show there's an extremely large gap to try to cross, if not impossible to bridge. I'm not saying via this which is "right", but this is a way to frame the situation to understand where one side is coming from compared to the other, to understand the nature and origin of this gap, and how to deal with it. --MASEM (t) 23:33, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
  • This discussion begins with:
Any editor who is voting no because of NPOV fails to realize that:
1. Verifiability isn't the only policy
2. This policy would be part of NPOV.
Are we seriously entertaining this farce? This discussion has nothing to do with NPOV and everything to do with a select group of people wanting to have a means to exclude reliably sourced material when it suits them for whatever reason. We've expended tens of thousands of words in the last week because some people don't like the fact that the word white supremacist ended up in Jared Taylor's article, owing solely to the fact that an immeasurable quantity of text from sources we commonly use to gather information describe him in this manner. There's another RfC on his page which originally began with a disclaimer to the effect of:"If you vote for option 1 you are in violation of wiki-policy" and was followed by cajoling and threatening of anyone who voted to describe him according to RS. Any one receiving this RfC notice should take a look at article talks for talk:Jared Taylor, talk:Identity Evropa, Talk:Richard Spencer as well as This RS notice board discussion etc and take a few moments to familiarize themselves with the reasons for people wanting to invest so much time to curtail the use of terms in common parlance in reliable sources. Edaham (talk) 05:05, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
I believe you mean Talk:Richard B. Spencer. Richard Spencer is a dab page. Snuge purveyor (talk) 15:02, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
many thanks, yes I did mean that. Edaham (talk) 05:57, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
The Communist Party of China has (officially) never really deviated from Maoism. Kim Jong Un insists that his economic policies are exactly the same as Kim Il-Sung's. Gaddafi refused to even admit he was in charge of Libya, and constantly gave himself made-up titles and descriptions. This is a very short-sighted proposal that would put editors in the position of deferring to self-serving and intentionally obscure self-descriptions by the subjects of articles rather than relying on high quality sources. Nblund talk 16:03, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps the same high standards that are followed by WP:MEDRS should be applied to a newly authored guideline for WP:POLRS - disallow all breaking news within the first 5 days, place restrictions on partisan sources as we do alt med, fringe and pseudoscience, restrict the use of partisan sources, exclude bait & click and fake news, and emphasize NPOV, BLP, and V. There is no reason that wouldn't work except, perhaps, as a result of objections from partisan advocacies. Atsme📞📧 00:48, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
There's a very distinct pattern emerging in the debating style at work here... "Only vote "yes" if you're wrong", "I'm only wrong if partisan objections are an issue" - and of course the favorite - "if you object to my debating style you're attacking me personally". That aside. The issue of attribution seems to have taken center stage and the problem with attribution when a descriptive term is applied very widely throughout press and academia is that you have three options, all of which fail in some way 1) you can choose to attribute the most notable source, in which case you make it seem as if only that source applied the label 2) you can use weasel words like, "the subject has been widely described as...", which is a specific MOS issue and makes the article sound crap and un-sourced or 3) you can make a comprehensive list of attributions which makes the article unwieldy and risks making it sound even more like an attack page on which the author has scoured for negative sources and cherry picked them. The current decision is to unabashedly use the word which describes the subject best in an unsympathetic way without the intention to disparage. Someone made the point that we shouldn't be ruining this chap's life. That's true, but we also have no duty to save it if he goes and gets himself firmly and publicly entrenched in a category which evokes distaste among many people and indignation in others. Edaham (talk) 04:40, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
I think that you "The current decision is to unabashedly use the word which describes the subject best in an unsympathetic way without the intention to disparage." is the real answer, if by "describes" you mean provides information about the person. At one end of that spectrum you have "John Smith is a bad person"...., at the other end "John Smith is a professional baseball player....". In the middle are political characterizations. The idea that the answer arises collectively from wp:reliable "reliable" sources is un-usable at best. Even if one methodically cataloged what sources say and extracted an answer, such would be synthesis. In reality, it's often done by cherrypicking, finding a biased (= unreliable) source that meets the wp criteria for a "reliable" source that says what one wants to put in the article. For characterizing people, one safer route is to stick to characterizations that are informative and truly widely held. North8000 (talk) 11:32, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
That the word lies along along any kind of subjective pejorative scale is not the job of Wikipedia to discern. There are reliable sources which say the word moron is a pejorative term. As far as I know there's no such source which determines that white supremacist is a perjorative. The only thing I've been able to discern from my time researching the subject is that white supremacists don't like it and want to be called something else. All of this is noted in our articles which use this term. Synthesis would be to to treat the word as a pejorative according to the views of a fringe group and accordingly limit its use on Wikipedia without a source which clearly defines it as such. People keep bringing up wp:terrorist as an example. In this example the word casts the subject as a belligerent perpetrating violence outside the scope of a war. The word white supremacist does no such thing. It is used interchangeably with other terms like "idententarian" or "white nationalist" by the media and with distinctions by those who feel it sabotages the promotion of their ideology. Wikipedia makes this clear in several articles and I can see no reason to shy away from the term. Wikipedia isn't in any camp and doesn't need to rate this word in terms of its offensiveness. The only reason it's viewed as a pejorative by some people is because it more clearly connects meaning to action, and those actions if clearly described are distasteful to an enormous number of writers on this subject. Edaham (talk) 11:57, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Agree, but I think that you mis-understood my post and specifically the "scale" in my post. The scale was the degree that the label provided information, with "good/bad person" being the lowest. North8000 (talk) 16:17, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
I see. Your use of "bad person" as opposed to baseball player made it seem like the scale was intended to differentiate between perjorative and non perjorative. I'm glad we find ourselves in agreement despite the confusion. Edaham (talk) 17:11, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

@Blueboar There is a chilling example in the article Operation Entebbe that highlights you bracketed comment ("Don't call me a 'terrorist' I am a freedom fighter"). It is "As they did so, a Holocaust survivor showed Böse a camp registration number tattooed on his arm. Böse protested "I'm no Nazi! ... I am an idealist"." -- Wilfried Böse was a leading intellectual member of Revolutionary Cells (and clearly had the myopic view of a fanatic who had no understanding of how the rest of the world would see Germans of any political persuasion segregating people like this within living memory of the Holocaust).-- PBS (talk) 14:24, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

@user:The Diaz you write "we shouldn't be able to call Donald Trump a liberal even though he clearly isn't one"? What do you mean by liberal? Was Lloyd George a liberal was Winston Churchill sometimes a liberal? It seems that you are being American language centric. -- PBS (talk) 14:24, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

I think some of comments in this conversation shows a lack of understanding of systematic bias in news media and academic discourse (often in part due to the Zeitgeist of the time). The section "Terrorism#Pejorative use" in the Terrorism article highlights many of these problems. One it highlights is that of historical perspective, eg what reliable source written about Mandela today would now label him a terrorist -- yet that was fairly common label in the Western media prior to his release form prison). Another of how sections of the American government and media were leery of labelling members of the IRA terrorists, while the vast majority of the UK media did. I found it ironic that when the US was bombed with IDEs (a favoured weapon the the IRA) then of course the American media almost without exception labelled such attacks terrorism. How does that sort of behaviour sit with the idea that just because lots of reliable sources label someone something that Wikipedia is not contributing to a systematic bias? In that "Pejorative use" section there is a quote that includes "generally applied to one's enemies and opponents, or to those with whom one disagrees and would otherwise prefer to ignore. ... if one party can successfully attach [a label] to its opponent, then it has indirectly persuaded others to adopt its moral viewpoint". This has been going on for centuries in politics see for example the origin of Tory, Whig and Prime Minister (the latter was an accusation levelled at Robert Walpole) or the use of "Patriot" by some Americans. -- PBS (talk) 14:24, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

During the last few months of last year and the first half of this year the Labour party in the UK (particularly those that live in the intellectual bubble of the chattering classes in London), had been frothing at the mouth over alleged antisemitism in the Labour party. I am not well enough versed in the internal workings of the Labour party to know if this is a genuine problem, or a political bludgeon to attack some close supporters of Jeremy Corbyn who is in a faction of the party that has expressed anizionist views (here are a couple of sources on the issue NYT Guardian book review). However the cynic in me has noticed that since the labour party's good showing in the recent election, there has been little in the press about the issue. So does that mean that Wikipedia biography on Ken Livingstone by simply stating in the lead that "In 2016, accused of bringing the party into disrepute, he was suspended from Labour." without mentioned the reasons is being biased in favour of Corbyn and would mention of antisemitism in the lead be biased against Corbyn? Ie would the use of the label "indirectly persuaded others to adopt its [proponent's] moral viewpoint"? -- PBS (talk) 14:24, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

I think that this RfC is being approached from the wrong point of view. If there is not general consensus among reliable sources as to the political leanings of a person, then it is probably better to use the formula that is used for for contentious descriptions like terrorist, and do not use labels in the narrative voice of the article but use in-text attribution instead (per WP:LABEL) — This seems to work well in articles like Al-Qaeda. The old advise that used to be in WP:NPOV probably is the best approach "let the facts speak for themselves". -- PBS (talk) 14:24, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

From the OP: "we shouldn't be able to call Donald Trump a liberal even though he clearly isn't one. We shouldn't be able to call Richard Spencer a white supremacist even though he rejects that label. We shouldn't be able to call MLK a black supremacist and so on"

Oh, this is a whole bunch of hooey. It's actually a pretty obnoxious, disingenuous and dishonest way of framing the issue. A false equivocation if there ever was one. Let's get this straight:

There are NO reliable sources which call Donald Trump a liberal.

There are NO reliable sources which call MLK a "black supremacist"

There are a TON of reliable sources which call Richard Spencer a white supremacist.

Can you spot the difference?

This is an attempt to pretend like there's a problem ("somebody's calling MLK a black supremacist even though he said he wasn't one!") when there actually isn't. It's a dumb example and a horrible proposal, which is really a thinly veiled attempt to get a blank check to engage in POV pushing across multiple articles.Volunteer Marek (talk) 02:48, 20 August 2017 (UTC)

I consider noncompliance with policy to be more indicative of an attempt at pretense which makes it, as VM described, "a whole bunch of hooey". White supremacist is a racist statement and it is highly offensive unless of course the person wearing the label is proud to wear it, and I find the latter to be true with real white supremacists. White nationalist is also a pejorative term considering the attempts to make "nationalism" a dirty word and by preceding it with "white" it clearly makes it racist. What is black nationalism? Quite simply, NPOV is when you can use the same term for all races and it not be considered offensive to any of them. Atsme📞📧 14:52, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your argumentation. Are you suggesting it is noncompliant with policy to use reliable sources to specify what kind of racist a racist is? Snuge purveyor (talk) 17:03, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
"White supremacist is a racist statement" <-- What does this even mean??? Volunteer Marek (talk) 19:18, 20 August 2017 (UTC)
VM, how are you defining "white"? Are you using it in the sense that it simply defines a color like in a box of crayons, or in the sense of a Caucasoid or Europid which is the grouping of a biological taxon? How do you define supremacist?
Snuge purveyor, please quote the part of my statement that made you think I suggested it is noncompliant with policy to use RS to specify what kind of racist a racist is because I'm not finding it, and I want to properly respond to your question. Atsme📞📧 00:10, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
a source demonstrating that "white supremicist" (a word describing a person's ideological position on racial issues) is racist/offensive and is not a misleading and subjective piece of original research but definitely is in fact a racist pejorative, is of course forthcoming. I look forward to being enlightened. Edaham (talk) 03:42, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Atsme, you made the strange claim, you explain it please.Volunteer Marek (talk) 07:15, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Again, I'm being asked to explain policy because an editor considers it a "strange claim", so at the risk of unjustly being accused of WP:BLUDGEONING, I will explain one more time. White supremacy now wikilinked. Labeling events and/or people with terminology used to define racism when/if the (1) opposite is true or (is based on opinion) is, in and of itself, pejorative. Such labeling (calling someone a racist, etc.) in Wiki voice as fact is noncompliant with WP:LABEL, WP:NPOV, WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV, WP:REDFLAG and WP:BLP. Opinions are not fact, regardless of how many times they are expressed by RS or reliable authors, and that includes academia. Calling someone a racist or the like is one's opinion, not a fact, and opinions are subject to bias, preconceived notions, conclusions based on synthesis, and/or misinformation. When a BLP is involved, we are expected to follow the 3 core content policies, NPOV, OR, and V. Policy states that opinions must be attributed, and not stated in Wiki voice as fact. I am weary of continuously being asked to explain what is clearly stated in WP:PAGs; it smells like WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT, and not what I consider productive discussion. Hopefully you heard it this time around. Atsme📞📧 14:27, 21 August 2017 (UTC)

"Again, I'm being asked to explain policy because an editor considers it a "strange claim"" - I'm sorry but as far as I'm aware "White supremacist is a racist statement" is not in any way shape or form a "Wikipedia policy". To be perfectly clear, I am NOT asking you to explain any policy. I am asking you to explain your strange statement that "White supremacist is a racist statement". What does that mean? Are you saying that ... calling someone a "white supremacist" is itself "racist"? Because that's ducking ridiculous.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:49, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Well, that's the question that lies at the heart of the debate, isn't it?... must a statement along the lines of "XXX is a <insert pejorative term>" always be considered opinion? Or is there a point when a line is crossed and such a statement can be considered fact. If such statements are always opinion, then Atsme has a valid point, and we should always require attribution... but if there is a point at which such statements can be considered fact, then (once we reach that point) we can use WPs voice. Blueboar (talk) 16:12, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Going from this point, there are two cases: that we treat all such statements as opinion, or that we can sometimes say they are fact because so many sources say so. In the first case, we end up with a universal policy that all such statements must include in-line attribution (even when it is as simple as "XXX is considered a (pejorative term)"), backed up by sources. This eliminates most of the debates and arguments about this (though issues related to UNDUE will still be there). If we work with the latter, we are still then left with a point of contention, how many sources are needed to cross the line from "opinion" to "fact", and that's going to keep us in our current situation with all these various arguments already, in addition to aspects related to UNDUE. I know some editors feel that if every RS uses a label to talk about a person, then we are waffling when we use inline attribution to state that as opinion, but that's also a far less harmful situation (keeping WP's voice neutral) and one that requires less debate to get to a solution, nor dismisses what the RSes are saying in the first point. --MASEM (t) 16:26, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
All statements already must include in-line attributions if they are controversial or challenged. It is the presentation of and the weight given to subjective statements that generates the contention. I think all subjective opinions should remain just that, opinions, regardless of how many sources are saying it - the opinion never becomes a fact and must never be presented as if it were a fact. The "XXX is considered a (pejorative term)" followed by the inevitable row of refs to back it up is, imo, often the nastiest form of pov editing found on Wikipedia. It is essentially no different from saying "XXX is a (pejorative term)", and the array of refs are there to smother discussion (but in reality if a row of refs are required it is a sign something is wrong). Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 16:44, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
This should be obvious/common sense. If, in the course of "attributing a label," you find yourself typing a sentence like "according to the New York Times, LA Times, ABC News, NBC News, The Telegraph, NPR, the Guardian, BBC, and these eight academics who are experts on the subject, x person is y label," then you've reached a reductio ad absurdum and we should just state what is obviously factual in plain English. To do otherwise is falsebalance, not npov, and contrary to what RS say. People can in good faith agree about where the tipping point on this is, but it's patently absurd to argue that that point doesn't exist at all. Fyddlestix (talk) 16:41, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
(ec, also in addressing Tiptoethrutheminefield's point) I'm all for a separate discussion that when we have a list of such sources that long that there's no question that the label is frequently apply, as to how to figure out language like "XXX is considered a (label)" to be used without having to type out inline all the sources that state that, recognizing that you're still going to be needing to include all those sources in the article somewhere - I'm also for a separate discussion of what is a reasonable subset of sources to avoid reference overload to support such statements- eg if the NYtimes and the BBC say it along with 20 more sources, I'd certainly accept just including the NYtimes and BBC as sources to support that). But it's still a label and thus is subjective and should be handled that way. --MASEM (t) 16:52, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
(e/c)Turning to the more general issue - its not clear how this thing works in practice. It sounds like some are saying we would have to have long paragraphs of "According to A, B, C, D, E, F, G, . . . Z, AA, BB, CC, . . . etc. (which then has to be followed by a listings of sources much longer than the paragraph and the article). Formulations like "many say" are subject to "weasel" and "who" objections. I also have doubts a one size "rule" can be formulated since it is so context/source dependent. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:46, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Not at all, Alanscottwalker. The policies actually provide examples. Editors are misinterpreting "weasel", as evidenced by the following statement in NPOV: An exception is a situation where a phrase such as "Most people think" can be supported by a reliable source, such as in the reporting of a survey of opinions within the group. If there is such a RS available (not unlike a sytematic review in MEDRS) cite that source, possibly 2. If not, then simply quote/cite the RS or paraphrase the aggregate per the policy. Readers do not need WP editors to convince them of anything. Quotes and in-line text attribution eliminates the potential of libel and to me, the latter is an important consideration considering who gets left holding the bag according to: a court ruling that the Foundation "was not legally responsible for information in Wikipedia articles. The judge ruled that a 2004 French law limited the Foundation's liability, and found that the content had already been removed." I'm no lawyer, but I do have a 30 year career's worth of experience in this area, not that it means anything to others, but it does tend to make me a bit more cautious about what I write since my "outing" (bygones, not important now). Just some food for thought. Atsme📞📧 20:15, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
That example does not support what you argue, it says as with all RS, a statement made must be directly supported by the cite used - to say a quantification (many) the source must say many when it provides the survey, or (depending on how clear it is) just be a simple calculation from the RS survey cited. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:07, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Disagree that calling someone a racist is necessarily a matter of opinion. When someone publicly espouses racist views, this makes them racist, or at least adopting a façade of racism for some reason, and at that point it is factual to identify them as a racist. Calling someone a suspected racist or probable racist or something without any sort of facts to back up the assertion would obviously be WP:OR and violate WP:BLP (if applicable), but once someone outs themselves as a racist there is nothing incorrect about applying the racist label, even if it is seen as pejorative. Our sources are not conjecturing that Richard B. Spencer or Jared Taylor are racists: they are correctly identifying them as racists based upon racist statements they've made. I feel like we've reached a point in this discussion where we're well beyond the remit of the original RfC, and talking about whether it's ever appropriate to say anything "bad" about anybody in Wikipedia's voice. Of course it's sometimes appropriate. Snuge purveyor (talk) 19:27, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
What you just espoused without citing RS is considered OR...I was citing policy and you are citing...????...your opinion. Atsme📞📧 19:32, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
It is absolutely original research to say that if someone made a statement (or a wealth of statements) that is racist, that that person therefore must be racist. First, defining what is a racist statement itself is OR; there may be obvious cases but part of the problem with have with labels is that the definition is nebulous and subjective, and all it takes is someone reading out of context or misintepreting things to have this go downhill. But even if one can classify that a person has made numerous racist statements, that does not mean they are racist; their actions and words strongly suggest they are, but without someone stating they are racist, we (nor anyone else) can't make the final leap of logic to that. That's why labels are descriptions, not factual elements, and why they should be attributed, even if it as simple attribution that "so-and-so is considered a racist." rather than the "so-and-so is a racist.". And this applies to nearly all other labels. --MASEM (t) 19:39, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
What does your use of OR have to do with what Snurge Purveyor said, they clearly said that RS use a term, he also said they give facts for that term. Do you reject RS because you don't agree with them? You seem to argue that RS are performing "original research" but that claim is unintelligible - only editors can and must not do "original research", it makes no sense to say RS are doing "original research". Who is going to do research that we can cite, if not RS? Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:05, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Alan, you are conflating inline text attribution using RS with rejecting RS, and it simply doesn't make sense. Atsme📞📧 20:28, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
What? Your statement addresses nothing I said, nor answered the questions I asked. Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:54, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
I should have reordered my paragraph: sentences one, two, and four were in the context of sources using the term racist, then I stuck in that sentence about suspected racist and project policies and muddied the context considerably. I was trying to reply to Atsme's statements "Opinions are not fact, regardless of how many times they are expressed by RS or reliable authors, and that includes academia. Calling someone a racist or the like is one's opinion…". I believe it is definitely within the purview of sources to determine if someone is racist based on racist statements they have made, and agree with Masem that it is absolutely original research if we do it. I disagree with Masem's second statement that no one can make the final leap of logic to connect someone's racist statements and actions with the label of racist unless the person explicitly identifies as a racist. Unlike gender identity, personal philosophy, religion, &c., racism is something that can be determined adequately by observation, although not, obviously, by us. Snuge purveyor (talk) 21:23, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying, Snuge purveyor. I will simply add that we must be careful when verifying that our "conclusions" about a particular BLP or event were not determined by using WP:SYNTH. Atsme📞📧 21:33, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
The issue with a label is that it is an attempt to categorize a person's actions and behavior and is always subject to personal opinion, the court of public opinion, and biases of the observers, and can shift and transform with time. There may be a few very bright line cases, as perhaps is for Spenser, but when you get away from them, labels and how they are used can become very very blurry, encompassing views that were not normally associated it with before, and the way we've seen editors fight to keep certain labels in use on articles shows that we need to be absolutely clear that labels cannot be presented in a factual tone in considering the long-term goal of WP. That is, I would agree that there are probably a handful of people we could call in WP's voice as racist, but there are far many more where that label must be used with discretion, and because where that line is crossed is difficult to find and to come to consensus on, it is better to take an overall cautious approach and make sure all labels are spoken in attribution and outside of WP's voice. --MASEM (t) 21:54, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Relating to the other, more general discussion (Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view/Noticeboard#Which_label_to_use.3F_An_eternal_problem.). I would ask a very general question. We take journalists to be reliable sources for reporting objective facts. But are they reliable sources for subjective labels used authoritatively (without attribution)? Objective labels I can handle: for example Enc Britannica calls David Duke an "avowed white supremacist": this is an objectively testable fact. But just labelling him a "white supremacist" does not seem encyclopedic at all, even if all the journos use that language. --Nanite (talk) 23:34, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't think it's quite correct to say that we regard journalists as reliable sources. We regard specific journalistic outlets as reliable sources, because they have reputable and responsible track records and processes in place to ensure accuracy and fairness. If these sources describe someone as a "white supremacist", then they are doing so with the knowledge that it is a pejorative and potentially defamatory term, and they would not do so unless there was clear evidence that the label was accurate and appropriate. If a bunch of these reputable, reliable sources describe someone as a "white supremacist", then it's appropriate to do so here, for the same reason that we reflect reliable sources when they reach other conclusions. If we choose to selectively ignore or disregard reliable sources based on our personal philosophical disagreement with their content, then we're contravening site policy. Moreover, in the situations under discussion, it's not just journalistic outlets applying the label; there are reputable organizations which study and track hate groups, as well as academics who study such groups, and there seems to be agreement from those sources as well. MastCell Talk 23:45, 21 August 2017 (UTC)
Fair enough about the cases David Duke et al., I'm not so familiar with the sources there.
I guess I'm just frustrated at the present label-happy style of media publications (compare NYT 1989 vs 2016 in describing Duke), as there is a danger of using political labels as they pigeonhole and presume to 'sum up' the entire person by their ideology, not by their actions or expertise. I just don't like the idea that, if wikipedia were alive during the Red Scare, we would be labelling people 'communist' willy-nilly in following the media. Or that when the media constantly labels Bob Smith a "convicted criminal", then all over wikipedia he shall be referred to as "convicted criminal Bob Smith". Adding these labels everywhere just adds a certain ... non-encylopedic colouring. Just because non-encyclopedic sources decide to use colourful labels, does that really mean the encyclopedia has to as well? Maybe it's not even an NPOV problem we're facing, rather, a debate over the use of WP:IMPARTIAL tone. I like my encyclopedias dry and boring. ^_^ --Nanite (talk) 01:20, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────What you're saying was true at one time, MastCell, but not since 2011 with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. That, coupled with the repeal of the Smith-Mundt Act, the landscape of broadcast journalism and public dissemination has changed dramatically with the growth of the internet. Newspapers and magazines are being replaced by internet journalism which has become a free-for-all, bait-click industry. Pay-walls are going up, and other forms of revenue are still being discovered. The fact checkers we once trusted are now part of that landscape, all vying for the same bait-click revenue, and whatever advertising dollars they can attract. The journalistic ethics and scrutiny I worked under in the broadcast/publishing industry back in the 80s & 90s are not even close to the same today; the changes have been dramatic. It would be unreasonable for us to expect internet publishers/broadcasters to police themselves in light of the competition. I think the AP still maintains some sense of neutrality because of paying clients & end-user diversity. The broadcast industry itself no longer requires neutrality, which has become quite evident now that it is legal for RS to publish/broadcast one-sided views and propaganda, and disseminate "news" using pundits whose political leanings are quite clear. Our policies don't say to ignore RS, in fact, they state quite clearly to attribute RS using inline text attribution and to not state derogatory labels or exceptional praise in Wiki voice as statements of fact. Atsme📞📧 01:40, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

The Fairness Doctrine was effectively done away with in 1987, FYI. It hasn't been enforced for 30 years. The Smith-Mundt Act was about state, not private media activity. So neither of those things is remotely relevant here, and rather obviously so. I hear what you're saying about click bait, etc., but no one is suggesting we source stuff like this to BuzzFeed. That's a straw man. We're talking about extensive coverage in the highest quality RS. Fyddlestix (talk) 01:49, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Are you disputing this article? And do you really believe the government doesn't use media to disseminate propaganda? Atsme📞📧 02:01, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Read your own link: While the commission voted in 1987 to do away with the rule — a legacy to a time when broadcasting was a much more dominant voice than it is today — the language implementing it was never removed. It has not been in force since 1987. Google this and you will find many sources that confirm that. And I have no idea what you're trying to suggest about government propaganda. Are you saying the feds are telling the NYT to call Richard Spencer a white nationalist? That's crazy, and something that there is zero evidence of. Fyddlestix (talk) 02:25, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
I see where the misunderstanding might have occurred...I'll restate it so the emphasis is placed where I intended...Since 2011, the landscape of broadcast journalism and public dissemination has changed dramatically with the growth of the internet together with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and Smith-Mundt Act. This article actually defines it well. It was a combination of all, but the internet was the catalyst. Atsme📞📧 02:33, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
For an idea of what the repeal of Smith-Mundt has done/can do, I grabbed this link. Atsme📞📧 02:41, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Atsme if we take it for granted that the quality of our best journalism RS is in decline, what do you propose as a simple policy clarification to maintain wikipedia quality? It sounds like you want all journalist's-opinion labels to have required attribution. Precisely what rule might you propose to separate opinion-labels from fact-labels? Keeping in mind that any vagueness in such a rule would lead to edit wars... --Nanite (talk) 03:37, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
The policies actually provide examples for proper inclusion of opinions, particularly those which may be relevant to WP:QS and WP:Exceptional because of a COI - challenged claims that are supported purely by primary or self-published sources or those with an apparent conflict of interest;[8] - scroll down to WP:V#cite_note-COI_SOURCES-8 to the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, and the following statement: It is important to note that a conflict of interest exists whether or not decisions are affected by a personal interest; a conflict of interest implies only the potential for bias, not a likelihood.
Labeling a BLP with a contentious label because several sources used the contentious label in passing (a single sentence in the entire article) is particularly suspect. In such a case, follow WP:LABEL (re: calling an individual a racist) which is best avoided unless widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject, in which case use in-text attribution. Right here, WP:NPOV, it states: Avoid stating opinions as facts. Usually, articles will contain information about the significant opinions that have been expressed about their subjects. However, these opinions should not be stated in Wikipedia's voice. Rather, they should be attributed in the text to particular sources, or where justified, described as widespread views, etc. For example, an article should not state that "genocide is an evil action", but it may state that "genocide has been described by John X as the epitome of human evil." That is what policy states, not me. Atsme📞📧 04:15, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Well, exactly. We don't say that white supremacism is evil. We do say that white supremacists are white supremacists. In accordance with our policies and guidelines. And I agree with Marek; this is getting tendentious and just plain silly. MastCell Talk 17:49, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

Ok this is ridiculous and tendentious. We follow reliable sources. If there are only a few reliable sources which label someone as something then we attribute. If there is disagreement among sources then we note the disagreement and attribute. If it's a ton of sources (as with Richard Spencer or Jared Taylor) we just say it. That is policy and pretending that there's some kind of problem (there isn't) with Martin Luther King Jr. being labeled a "black supremacist" or Donald Trump being labeled a "liberal" is just phony and in no way justifies revisiting our long standing and well working policy.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:53, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

The reason that these policies have generally worked well in the past is because we didn't have to worry about the press not being mostly objective - there was separation of news and op-ed, and they weren't trying to influence public opinion. These policies all work with only few exceptions when the press is truly independent of the topic. That's changed in the last several years while our policies haven't change, the media has and I would argue that there are very few media sources that are independent of the topics that they are covering (particularly on political and ideological issues), in that their goal is to sway public opinion; whether if it is because they want to be the Fourth Branch of gov't, or they need to draw in more readers, or lack of control due to higher workloads and competition from clickbait or citizen journalism, or a combination of these factors, I don't know, but media today is not what is was 5-10 years ago. When that happens, strict reading of our policies break down, because they all start on the assumption of independent objective reporting.
We're still bound by WP:V and WP:NOR, so we can't exactly ignore when a multitude of sources cast a label on someone, and this is not a call to put every RS into question. But we're not bound by any policy to presume that what RSes publish is fact - verification that they published it is core, but whether this is truth or not we are not required to accept if we recognize that there may be issues with that. That's all this attribution situation on labels resolves - we meet WP:V, avoid WP:NOR and stay within WP:NPOV, regardless if the RSes are independent and objective, or dependent and opinionated. Everything else remains as it is, and it is not like this attribution langauge is coming out of nowhere, it's been part of LABEL and BLP for a good while.
Attribution also keeps us as a summary work, looking at these type of debates and arguments from a high-level view rather than as a bystander. We distance ourselves from these by attributing claims (even with the simple "X is considered a (label)." statements). We aren't endorsing or protesting any view, but simply documenting the situation. That's how we stay impartial and remain clinically neutral in writing. This can be difficult if editors feel strongly either way about a topic but this is a necessary requirement to put away those biases in writing about such people they might disagree strongly with. --MASEM (t) 15:10, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Masem, respectfully, I disagree with most of this. Of course the media have changed this decade but in the main I don't think they've torn down the separation of news and op-ed, and disagree that independent objective reporting is a thing of the past. Certain publications have well-known biases is particular topic areas, and most have unspoken and unexamined biases common to nearly every established enterprise in our current civilisational structure, but I feel most of our reliable sources are mainly reliable. I would also argue that academic publishing has changed much less than the news media have.
You say "we're not bound by any policy to presume that what RSes publish is fact - verification that they published it is core, but whether this is truth or not we are not required to accept if we recognize that there may be issues with that." But fact and truth are not identical terms. Facts are verifiable: truth is always subjective. We publish facts, and questioning the truth value of RS-reported verifiable facts, without the support of other RS-reported verifiable facts, is original research.
When there actually is a debate or argument, of course it is proper to use attributive language to summarise the disagreement between our sources, but when the debate can be reduced to (for example) "reliable sources call Richard B. Spencer a white supremacist, but Spencer does not like being called a white supremacist and sources like to use loaded terms to increase readership", then using the language "is considered a" is inappropriate, and an example of WP:FALSEBALANCE. Snuge purveyor (talk) 16:49, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Actually they have - there are many published stories that the "walls" that kept news and op-ed editing departments separate have been eliminated as cost-cutting measures (including at the NYTimes), among other steps to hang onto their readership. Independent objective reporting is not dead nor a minority of the coverage (hence why I agree that we're not saying RSes are no longer RSes for most topics), but it is losing ground to opinionated reporting that we have to be aware of increased bias in political and ideological debates.
True, "fact" != "truth" and we deal in facts. But what is argued is when even an RS says "X is a (label)", this is not necessarily a statement of truth. It is fact that the RS made that statement, and that is how we should present that, which is what presenting with some type of attribution does. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using "is considered a (label)" rather than "is a (label)", and in fact makes our writing more professional and clinically neutral, which should be our goal here. It only seems to be waffling on an apparent fact if you allow personal bias to judge that. I can totally agree with the urge to call out Spencer as a white supremacist in WP's voice based on his own actions and the volume of sources that also do that, but I put that bias on hold to judge the fact that it's still a label, frequently used, and should be still attributed to be neutral and impartial on this. --MASEM (t) 17:51, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Because you're proposing changes to a bedrock Wikipedia policy, I'm going to be blunt: this is a load of misguided nonsense. I've been here for more than 10 years; Wikipedians have always claimed that reliable sources were biased when they got in the way of their personal views, just like you're doing now. It's not a recent development.

The central conflict is simple, and timeless: reliable sources say X, but you (for whatever reason) don't agree with them. There are typically 3 ways that editors resolve that sort of dissonance: good editors put aside their personal hypotheses about the media landscape and follow the high-quality sources. Bad editors cherry-pick, ignore, or misrepresent the sources to match their personal beliefs. You're in the third category: those who attack the very concept of reliable sources. There are a bunch of variations on this theme: "media bias" is the most common one, but we've also heard that the scientific community is biased (because some aspects of objective reality contradict partisan orthodoxy), and so on.

(Incidentally, there are many well-documented systemic biases in the mainstream media—hype-driven coverage of scientific or medical "breakthroughs", missing white woman syndrome, false equivalence for purveyors of fringe nonsense like anti-vaccinationism, differential coverage of tragedies affecting the English-speaking vs. non-English-speaking world, the bias in favor of horse-race political coverage rather than substantive policy analysis, and so on.

In the end, the approach you're using is the most damaging to Wikipedia, because it attacks our foundational policies. MastCell Talk 18:15, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

Once again, you're casting aspirations at me (which were removed before I could add this) by suggesting my only interest is defending alt-right. I'd be all over the same issues if we had to deal with extreme-left-based labels. The problem is, the situation implicitly affects those on the right because our RSes are principally on the left, so nearly all cases are going to be that way. Show me an inappropriate statement-as-fact of a left-leaning label and I'll be right there to defend that with the same vigor.
I'm not trying to attack the core nature of reliable sources, because for the most part, they still are reliable. I am in no way proposing that RSes should be treated as biased to promote fringe science or other places where objective research has made conclusions that far outweigh fringe views, and our policies handle these situations just fine. But when it comes to politics and ideological aspects and controversies, which cannot be proven out through any type of objective study, RSes can and will falter. Nowhere near enough to throw them out, but enough that we should be writing about what RSes say in these circumstances as subjective claims, with attribution. We want to document the controversy, not be part of it. And for the most part, all that requires is the tiniest bit of inline prose for that attribution, and in other cases, reordering of information to affect tone, to have the WP voice step back and provide an impartial take regardless if there's a question of media bias or not. --MASEM (t) 20:03, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't agree with the person who edited my post, because I think context is important here; this push to amend fundamental site policy is rooted firmly in a content dispute about whether to call a white supremacist a "white supremacist". Let's not pretend otherwise. It's rule #8 in action. If you believe that reliable sources are inherently "leftist", then I think we've identified the problem, and it has nothing to do with the wording of this policy. MastCell Talk 00:25, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

comparison of quoted PAG and article lede[edit]

  • PAG wp:label relevant quote: Value-laden labels—such as calling an organization a cult, an individual a racist, terrorist, or freedom fighter, or a sexual practice a perversion—may express contentious opinion and are best avoided unless widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject, in which caseuse in-text attribution. Avoid myth in its informal sense, and establish the scholarly context for any formal use of the term.
  • Article Samuel Jared Taylor Lede: (born September 15, 1951) is an American white nationalist and white supremacist. He is the founder and editor of American Renaissance, a magazine often described as a white supremacist publication. Taylor is also an author and the president of American Renaissance's parent organization, New Century Foundation, through which many of his books have been published. He is a former member of the advisory board of The Occidental Quarterly, and a former director of the National Policy Institute, a Virginia-based white nationalist think tank.[4] He is also a board member and spokesperson of the Council of Conservative Citizens. Taylor, like many of the organizations he is associated with, is often described as promoting racist ideologies by, among others, civil rights groups, news media, and academics studying racism in the U.S.

1) Labels such as racist.

  • Is he or are organizations he is associated with widely described as such? - Yes
  • Does the lede directly call him this? - No
  • Does it call him this in wiki-voice? - No
  • Does the lede establish scholarly context for the term? - Yes

2) A description of an ideological position like White supremacist.

  • does MOS/WTW mention this term explicitly as a 'value-laden term'? - no
  • Is it widely used to describe the subject? - yes
  • Is there a reliable source stating that the label is explicitly pejorative? - maybe

Returning to the debate. Regarding labels like 'racist', I think we've done a good job in the example above. Regarding the term 'White supremacist' I think it is arguable that it falls under the same umbrella as the word 'racist' as racism is implied in its meaning, but it is also up to us as editors to form a consensus on its usage as it is not explicitly mentioned. I would first have a look at the leading sentence of MOS/WTW which reads: There are no forbidden words or expressions on Wikipedia, but certain expressions should be used with caution, because they may introduce bias. I don't think that calling him a White Supremacist introduces bias, because 1)It's very accurate and 2)It's used in a preponderance of sources. Mine is not the only opinion here, I am aware. atsme you are quoting policy regarding a wide reaching variety of terms, not just the word racist. In many cases, I think the usage of the terms you are contesting are already well within Wikipedia guidelines. In some cases you have a point of contention which is arguable, but you cannot relinquish all burden onto those supporting the current version of the article. Certain labels like 'white supremacist' are arguably the most accurate term to describe the subjects of some of our articles and to not use it in the face of such widespread usage would be to sway the balance grossly in the favor of the minority who wish to distance themselves from it. Attribution is necessary if you can demonstrate that this term goes beyond what is necessary to describe the ideology of people who hold certain views by adding a derisive political slant. My argument based on sourced definitions of the term in our articles, dictionary definitions and its usage in the text sourced in our articles is that it doesn't and it merely describes an ideology pretty much plainly according to what the people who practice it espouse. Edaham (talk) 03:57, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

NPOV policy disagrees unambiguously in the first bullet point, first section of the policy. My position has not changed. When/if the policies change, my position will change but not until then. 😊 Atsme📞📧 04:29, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
No, no it doesn't. Checking whether an organization is "described as such" in reliable sources is just a matter of verifiability, not opinion. Quit it with the obfuscation.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:56, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
(It seems like "white supremacist" is a particularly strong variant of "racist", no? I mean, you can't be white supremacist and not racist. So, arguably it is equally or more value-laden as 'racist'.)
One of the frequent arguments against using attribution is from NPOV : Avoid stating facts as opinions. Uncontested and uncontroversial factual assertions made by reliable sources should normally be directly stated in Wikipedia's voice. But what counts as "uncontested"? If we can find various articles that instead use the label "white separatist" or "white nationalist" or that use more precise, non-labelling language "JT has white supremacist views" / "JT's views are white supremacist", does that lack of consistency in labelling mean that it is a matter of opinion how to classify JT? (for the record, I don't really care about the JT article, just about the general principle)
Urgh, it would be so much easier if the journos would just read some guides on why they should be precise and substantive instead of just drive-by labelling. --Nanite (talk) 05:40, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
It seems like "white supremacist" is a particularly strong variant of "racist", no? I mean, you can't be white supremacist and not racist. So, arguably it is equally or more value-laden as "racist".
That is an incorrect assessment. A word contains information. "racist" is definitely contained within that word, also contained within that word is a specific definition of an ideology. The discussion as to the level of its impact is irrelevant. It's sourced, its brief and it's accurate. atsme You've made the point in several of your posts that you see NPOV (and several core policies) as having been designed to protect the subjects of some articles by curtailing the use of language. That's not what they're for. They're to ensure that we don't mislead our readers. In no way whatsoever does that quoted lede mislead anyone as to the available information on the subject. Edaham (talk) 06:10, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Edaham, I quoted policy, it has nothing to do with my opinion. You are forming an opinion based on your personal interpretation and preconceived notions, which actually serves to further support policy and why attribution is required. Nanite, perhaps this article will help explain the difference between fact and opinion. Atsme📞📧 06:36, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
What policy did you quote? Best I can see all you did is just quote... yourself.Volunteer Marek (talk) 06:55, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
I'm forming a response based on the fact that in previous posts you made it clear that your objective was to defend the subject by stating that it's not our job to "destroy this guy's life" and then expended a further hundred thousand words or so enforcing your unilateral application of several policies to prop up the idea that the word "white supremacist" ought to be expunged from descriptions of people. I don't agree with you because I understand the policies differently. I don't have opinions. I'm a Wikipedian. Edaham (talk) 07:16, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Edaham, you need to focus on content and policy, and above all, stop making assumptions about me because you are wrong, and your comment about me actually exemplifies why WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV, WP:NPOV (first bullet point), WP:REDFLAG, and WP:LABEL are needed. The fact that you don't understand BLP policy is an indication that you should not be editing BLPs, WP:CIR, specifically since BLP policy states: the possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment. STOP with the allegations about me. I have grown weary of your allegations. Atsme📞📧 19:03, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

Screw it, might as well go all Goodwin here (since, you know, we are actually talking about actual white supremacists). According to Atsme's interpretation of NPOV policy the following first sentences from our article on Hitler:

Adolf Hitler (German: [ˈadɔlf ˈhɪtlɐ] (About this sound listen); 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was a German politician who was the leader of the Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP), Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and Führer ("Leader") of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. As dictator, he initiated World War II in Europe with the invasion of Poland in September 1939, and was central to the Holocaust.

should rather be rewritten as

Adolf Hitler (German: [ˈadɔlf ˈhɪtlɐ] (About this sound listen); 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was a German politician who, according to some historians was the leader of the Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP), Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and Führer ("Leader") of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. Referred to as dictator by some historians, commentators and his critics, he is accused by some, for example Johnny Lennon, of having initiated World War II in Europe with the invasion of Poland in September 1939, and, it is claimed by some sources he was central to the Holocaust.

We're sort of dancing on the edge of the disc of absurdity here.Volunteer Marek (talk) 07:03, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

That is an entirely false representation of what I've said. To begin, it is not according to me, it is according to WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV, WP:REDFLAG, WP:NPOV, WP:BLP, WP:LABEL. Editors who are unable to grasp the context of our PAGs should not be editing BLPs or any other topics which may have controversial undertones. Our PAGs are designed to protect the project against libel, lessen disruption by POV pushers and maintain some sense of order and encyclopedic value to BLPs, political articles and the like. WP is not a tabloid, it is not a person with an opinion, and it is not a lot of other things some editors seem to think it is because they have no anchor with which to relate except perhaps political pundits, biased journalism and biased academics. My position is and always has been, regardless of the subject/topic, to follow PAGs and if there is justification to IAR, go ahead but if others dispute IAR, then respect the opinions presented and revert to following PAGs. The derogatory labels have been disputive or we wouldn't be having this discussion so any editor who disagrees with policy I say, go ahead and do what you can to change policy - but in the interim, stop trying to denigrate other editors who disagree with your position because all that does is provide more evidence as to why we need to adhere to BLP policy...and BLP also applies to fellow editors. Atsme📞📧 19:03, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
"The derogatory labels have been disputive or we wouldn't be having this discussion" - complete baloney. These are not "derogatory labels", this is information based on reliable sources. And they are not disruptive - what we have instead is a bunch of editors who want to push their POV by white washing some nasty characters and sanitizing them in their presentation of Wikipedia, with complete disregard for our policies of WP:NPOV and WP:RS. So it's not the "labels" (sic) that are being disruptive, it's the editors, such as yourself, who are trying to WP:GAME our policies for the sake of their WP:BATTLEGROUND.Volunteer Marek (talk) 20:59, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Absolutely absurd for sure, as those are facts and we want to avoid stating facts as opinions. But what about this: take the original one and change it to "Adolf Hitler was an antisemitic, white supremacist German politician ..." (or whatever labels people like to use). The labels are completely true and yet it doesn't really seem helpful to add the label there. Or you can go over to Oswald Mosley, or George Lincoln Rockwell, and slather on the personal labels that non-encyclopedic sources like to use. But why? More encyclopedic to focus on the facts of what they did. --Nanite (talk) 08:26, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Two comments on Marek's Hitler example... 1) the Adolf Hitler article is not a BLP, so the concerns about POV labeling are not the same as they are for a living political figure. 2) the current intro to the Hitler article does not contain any labels (except, perhaps, "dictator") that would need attribution.
I think Nanite's counter-example is more apt... I think it important that we don't start the Hitler article off with labels... The lead of that article doesn't start: "Adolf Hitler was an antisemitic, white supremacist German Politician." And I think it appropriate that it doesn't. Note that the Hitler article doesn't ignore the fact that Hitler was antisemitic and a white supremacist (the article covers both facts well)... the point is that we don't put his abhorrent views in the lead sentence. His abhorrent views are appropriately raised later in the article. Blueboar (talk) 12:20, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
The point is that over-attribution, of information that is widely represented in sources, can become ridiculous very quickly. Do you think the word "dictator" should be attributed in the article on Hitler? The reason we don't put antisemitic in the sentence on Hitler is of course because that's part of the shared background knowledge. The same isn't true of lesser known people.Volunteer Marek (talk) 13:50, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
With regard to Mosley and Rockwell, our job is made easier by the fact that they headed organizations that had the words "fascist" and "Nazi" in them. But fascist and Nazis have gotten smarter since then, and knowing that their views tend to put some people off have purposefully named their organizations "neutral" sounding things like "National Policy Institute". If Mosley hadn't been the leader of something called "British Union of Fascists" we most certainly WOULD want to put "fascist politician" somewhere and ditto for Rockwell if he hadn't headed the "American Nazi Party". It's a counterfactual but the above discussion strongly suggests that if Rockwell had led instead "American Workers Party" or something, there'd be somebody on Wikipedia whining about the fact that he's referred to as a Nazi in the article.Volunteer Marek (talk) 13:54, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Obviously with those two examples, the label pre-exists in the actual work, so these are exceptions. Take Jared Taylor as the counter example. to meet with what we're saying here, the lede should be written as:
  • Samuel Jared Taylor (born September 15, 1951) is an American author, editor of the magazine American Renaissance, and president of the New Century Foundation which publishes the American Renaissance. He is a board member and spokesperson of the Council of Conservative Citizens, and was formerly a member of the advisory board for The Occidental Quarterley and former director for the National Policy Institute. Taylor, as with several of the organizations is associated with, is considered to be a white nationalist and a white supremacist, and promotes racist ideologies, though he denies that he supports these viewpoints.
All key points from the current lede hit, the labels are still there, but the tone is much more improved for a neutral approach, we're putting the facts first (what he actually does without contest), and then hit the fact that he's better known for these ideologies, plus make sure to include the fact he's actually denied this (whether that's true or not, that's not our place to figure out, but to ignore it in the lede is biased). --MASEM (t) 14:29, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
you are applying a sort of generic template (which you made up) based on some other articles, to be fair, in a pretty logical way. What you've actually come up with is a proposal which lists the things for which that subject is known in reverse order. What you've demonstrated here is that arbitrarily applying a format to the lede of an article is less optimal than summarizing the aspects of a subject in the order for which they are most notable. Edaham (talk) 14:50, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
There is no requirement that the lede needs to list things a person is known for in the order of notability. What they are notable for needs to be included at some point in the lede, no question, and no one is suggesting burying how Taylor is frequently labelled as such. But to put those first and foremost over basic, un-contestable facts biases the tone of the article from the start. --MASEM (t) 14:57, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
There is 'no requirement because you are one of the big kids now and eat with a knife and fork instead of a spoon and are allowed to write encyclopedias. One of the things that editors know is that sometimes people don't read all of a thing and just get the salient facts from the first few sentences. That's why pyramid style trim-from-bottom-up editing is sometimes useful. Were I to skim your proposed version of the article, trimming from the bottom, I might be left with the impression that T. is a carebear who craps sunshine love and that could mislead some readers into thinking he might be a good guy to call to babysit their children. Edaham (talk) 00:51, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
I have a different view. I think that your effort to downplay Taylor's white supremacism—which is what he is actually known for—creates a biased article. You're substituting your personally preferred emphasis for that of actual reliable sources, which is a direct violation of WP:NPOV/WP:WEIGHT and pretty much the definition of editorial bias. MastCell Talk 17:35, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
The difference between Masem's argument and yours is he wants this to apply equally to all biographies. Your contribution history suggests your main concern is preserving the ability to attack people on the right. It's unfortunate you're (again) questioning his motives. D.Creish (talk) 18:49, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
If you think that accusation's on the same level as accusing an editor of supporting white supremacy then sure, go ahead. D.Creish (talk) 15:25, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
OK. Drmies (talk) 18:04, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
Oh please. Go peddle that somewhere else on the internet.Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:07, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
":There is no requirement that the lede needs to list things a person is known for in the order of notability" - I don't know if there is such a requirement but it's pretty common sense. And your lede is, sorry, awful. It provides no information to the uninformed reader until the very last phrase. It is the opposite of encyclopedic and illustrates the folly of this approach perfectly. If someone doesn't know much about Jared Taylor already, they'll walk away with the impression that this is some legitimate scholar who runs prestigious institutes. No way we should write it like this.Volunteer Marek (talk) 20:56, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
No it's not common sense. A person with a rather complex biography may need two or three sentences to establish what their position was before getting to why they are notable. Pick almost any BLP at random. Most of our BLPs start off with "(Name) is a (Nationality) (profession or career list)." regardless of the importance of those career elements otherwise. None that I can find when doing random hits address anything like their political viewpoints (save when it is essential for their position like politicans) or controversies in that first sentence even if that is a major part of their bio later. And I emphasize again that we are to write in an impartial tone. Listing organizations associated with a person with judgement is standard practice, and listing them out is not given any credence that these are prestigious institutions. There's a reason that I ended on the line about his views and the organizations he is with are seen as white nationalist/supremacist so that you catchall all the issues related to these by the end of the lede, which still captures the generally dislike the media has for him. --MASEM (t) 21:24, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Sigh. As has been pointed out numerous times, in the cases of the individuals under discussion, their political viewpoints is precisely what makes them notable. The only reason you or I have heard of Jared Taylor or Richard Spencer is BECAUSE they are white supremacists. If they weren't ... well, then I guess they'd work at Taco Bell or something and no one would've ever heard of them. So yes, putting their political viewpoints up front is not only common sense, it's pretty much essential.Volunteer Marek (talk) 04:02, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
No, not really. What if Jared Taylor was a line cook, and otherwise held the same views, would he be notable? No, obviously not. Conversely, if he held the same type of positives but for magazines/publishers that were not at all linked to white supremacy, would he be notable? Possibly, depending on the influence of the magazine/publisher. The reason he is notable here is that he runs at a relatively high position on a publisher that publishes controversial material, and his own views have been considered controversial. It is not just his political views that are why he is notable.
But this also leads to a serious issue in regards to particularly anything alt or far-right. I in no way support white nationalism or white supremacy, but just holding that political or ideologist is not a crime (at least, currently) in the US. It is considered morally repugnant in the public opinion, moreso after the last few weeks, but we have to be aware that - as best we know - people like Taylor holding an opinion on political beliefs is not anything to treat as a crime. Unfortunately, the popular approach in media is to treat these as thought crimes, and thus they are written in this way. (And the same can be seen, far less frequently but it is there, with right-leaning media prosecuting those on the extreme left with similar thought crimes). Yet too many of these articles on en.wiki are trying to smear them in WP's voice for these, and the use of such labels is part off that. I'm not saying we need to be apologetic to these people or bury the public opinion, but we have to treat that as public opinion first and foremost, and so should be structured into articles with attribution to show it is public opinion, and as part of criticism sections. Unfortunately, editors that seem to work on these pages have every desire to paint these people in a negative light as poorly as they can using the RSes. Labels are a major point, but it is only a start to dealing with this issue. If a day comes that US passes laws that say that being a white nationalist/white supremacist is a crime, or if these people are found guilty of existing laws related to hate crimes/etc., then that changes everything, but just as we cannot presume guilt of an arrested person, we cannot be passing guilt on people that hold beliefs that are counter to current morals - as long as they don't act illegally on those, we need to be more impartial on these articles. We can capture the public/media's anger towards them, but it has to be framed appropriately. --MASEM (t) 12:43, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm having trouble taking seriously this line of argumentation. You've equated labelling a white supremacist as a white supremacist with smearing and treating them as a "thought criminal"? You've made no attempt to distinguish between public opinion and sober analysis by reliable media outlets, and further seem to be arguing that United States law is somehow critical to how we describe the subjects of our encyclopaedia articles. As for your fantasy about the US criminalising white supremacy, from everything I've been hearing the opposite seems to be the case: you may as well argue enwiki editors are not so much trying to smear Jared Taylor as earn him a promotion to some cabinet position. Neither is true: we are describing him as our sources do. And white supremacist is not an in se derogatory term like whore or lunatic: the only reason it's considered derogatory is because people don't like white supremacists. Snuge purveyor (talk) 14:18, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
In many many cases, when labels are applied by media outlets, they are not accompanied by "sober analysis"; they are just used (aka "Label-dropping"). Furthermore, the definition of most of these labels are not objective, and the definition will change to fit whatever definition that the writer feels is needed to convey their point; I pointed the example of how "white supremacy" can include many many things that are not normally associated with white supremacy in one media writer's view. Labels are value-laden, and are used in identity politics and the current culture war to discredit people and statements that they make, particularly if the label describes a position far outside the current publicly accepted values. The public will do that to cast aspirations on people they disagree with, and the media will likely get caught up in that and reflect that, but we need to be neutral and ignore this, or at least not get similarly caught up into it. And that's done simply by recognize it is a label and attributing it. Regardless of whatever reasoning to why that label is applied, this keeps en.wiki out of whatever situation that created the need to use that label towards that person or group. It is a KISS principle rule that avoids endless discussions on individual cases where editors think a label should or shouldn't be used by simply stating the label. (And I would agree that every place where I would consider editors trying to force a label into place, there's usually also a contingent of editors trying to strip that label away; however, nearly all the time, this is a edit war between well-established editors (wanting the label) and new editors/IPs (trying to remove it), and that usually means the first group is going to prevail in these discussions. The middle ground is to use that label with attribution.) --MASEM (t) 18:35, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

What is a "label"? Is a label content, or is it a substitute for real content? As a reader I have little interest in reading an article, and even less a lead, full of pigeon-holing subjective labels followed by an array of refs. I want to see content that details what an individual has done, and the reactions which has given rise to those response labels. I want to see more than a crude repetition of labels used by sources - I want content that deals with what the sources have written to justify those labels. If a source does nothing more than state xxx is yyy, how can that be a credible source to justify the subjective yyy label appearing on Wikipedia? To be usable, a source should contain justification for its yyy assertion if yyy is a subjective label. So, if all a source is saying is "white supremacist John Doe", without any explanation as to why the source thinks John Doe is a "white supremacist", then it should not be a source for that label. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 14:56, 22 August 2017 (UTC)

I think you're arguing against a strawman. The articles in question indicate in the lead that their subject is best known as a white supremacist, and then go into more detail in the article body about the subject's activity, writings, beliefs, &c. which led them to be so labeled. It's not an either-or. MastCell Talk 17:38, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
MastCell, while I agree with you in some respects, this is not one of them. Labeling him a white supremacist has been disputed in multiple RS, including The Guardian, Inside Sources, and ABC News, so labeling him as such in the lede is not compliant with at least 2 of BLP's 3 core content policies (V & NPOV). The claim has been debunked by his stated views of Asian supremacy as evidenced in the aforementioned Guardian article, and in The Daily Caller, to name a few. He is not the mainstream definition of white supremacist - he's not a skin head, KKK member, or member of any other white supremacist group that is looked upon with disdain around the world. He founded what has been referred to as a white supremacist publication. A few RS have referred to him as a white supremacist but they neither say why nor take it beyond passing mention. The derogatory label has been disputed by other RS who use and define him in other ways in far more detail than simply passing mention, which debunks the use of white supremacist. Atsme📞📧 19:52, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
for those of you who have (understandably) given up checking Atsme's sources: predictably, none of those sources in anyway whatsoever dispute the application of the term white supremacist to anyone, and one of them even reinforces it by applying it in the title of the news article. Edaham (talk) 01:02, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
I keep forgetting how my comments are taken out of context by the few who appear to have a very narrow focus on how words are/can be applied...such as "dispute" referring to not definitely decided. Misunderstandings tend to give rise to conspiracy theories and fallacious allegations regarding the sources I cited. If those sources supported the white supremacist allegations, they would have elaborated on it - drawn it out in article after article to the umpteenth degree - but they didn't. All I've seen to date was passing mention or no mention at all. Regardless, Taylor isn't/shouldn't be the entire focus of this NPOV discussion; rather, it's about all derogatory labels that are based on opinions and how our policies say to include them. We're supposed to be writing quality articles, looking for consistency and separating ourselves from all biases and POV. Our focus should be on the policy itself, not these sidebar attempts to make everything political beginning with the 2016 presidential election and attempts to associate Trump with white supremacists, Russians, and whatever else. Stay on point. Consensus doesn't overrule policy. Atsme📞📧 04:24, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
"Labeling him a white supremacist has been disputed in multiple RS, including The Guardian" - oh, bullkaka. The Guardian is most certainly at not disputing the "white supremacist" label, that's a blatantly dishonest reading of the source. All they do is report that he uses a cute little label of "race realist" (sic) for himself. That's it. They ain't disputing shit, so please stop lying to us that they do. Likewise for Inside Sources, which just says that Taylor tries to hide the label ... and then Inside Sources goes on to name him explicitly that in their headline (1 point Inside Sources). I didn't even bother looking at ABC News with this track record.
"The claim has been debunked by his stated views of Asian supremacy" - this too is completely stupid. The "let us say a couple nice things about Asians so we can move on to hating on the blacks and browns is a pretty common strategy of the far-right which tries to deny that it's racist to the core.
"A few RS have referred to him as a white supremacist". Another weaselly falsehood. A TON of RS have referred to him as a white supremacist. These have been presented to you repeatedly in multiple venues, yet you still choose to engage in WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT.
So Atsme, thank you for clarifying what this is really about and what the actual agenda here is. You, and some of the other users pushing for this change here, don't actually give a fuck about "labels" or "BLP" or NPOV. It's really all about white washing white supremacists and hiding the fact they're white supremacists.Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:07, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
Your PAs against editors along with falacious accusations of an "actual agenda" when the named editors are simply citing PAGs is very disturbing. If you cannot grasp the context of what our PAGs are stating, that is your problem. I am confident that consensus does not supersede policy, regardless of whether it's politics, a BLP, mathematics, or anything else. Policy is policy, and policy prevails. Atsme📞📧 23:14, 22 August 2017 (UTC)
That wasn't really a PA, despite the language, which could be a shade more civil. Anyway related to this debate are the efforts of Nanite, who is asking Atsme to help craft an essay on the subject of censorship neutral language. This essay can be found here and represents an imaginative reworking and restructuring of how we write ledes on BLPs with the goal to coalesce the argument for avoiding subjective labels in wikivoice even when widely used by RSes.. I can't wait till it becomes a fully fledged piece of WP policy and ends this debate with the result that anyone deserving of their support can be called only A) a kitten or B) adorable wonder princess. Edaham (talk) 01:38, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
@Edaham: You're welcome to help as well. The reason I'm writing it is mostly out of frustration seeing the same arguments appear over and over and over. I'd like to also see the opposing arguments coalesced in one place. And between these two essays, hopefully whichever one wins can lead to a clarification of policy so that these debates can (to some extent) be settled --- one way or another. (addendum: I hope you don't mind, I've quoted your "adorable wonder princess" :-D) --Nanite (talk) 01:52, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
@Nanite: - I'm reading your essay and I noticed that. I also noticed some other text which seemed to have been derived from one of my posts. I Don't disagree one bit with your taking the time to construct an essay on this subject. I think it's a very good way of trying to pin down some of the points which have been raised in this ongoing effort to reach a consensus. I'm not sure how alerting other editors to your open call for effort to be given to the project could be considered disruptive and am a little worried about the berating below, however I stand by my post and don't think I did the wrong thing by letting other involved people know about your open call to contribute on the work. Edaham (talk) 02:35, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
What is the purpose of your comment, Edaham? It smells a lot like "baiting" which is highly disruptive. I don't understand your purpose in misrepresenting what other editors have stated because the majority of editors I've collaborated with over the years were focused on creating quality articles that could be promoted to GA or FA, and not on disparaging a BLP based primarily on the opinions of biased detractors, especially when those opinions have been disputed. My goals are not political - I rarely edit political articles but the hatchet jobs I've seen of late have attracted my attention. I have always strived to edit in a neutral and dispassionate tone by stating facts rather than trying to force our readers to accept highly contentious opinions about a highly contentious person/topic. I have included RS that dispute the claims being made in an effort to justify derogatory labels stated as fact in Wiki voice in the lead of a BLP; the latter of which I find rather troubling, and I don't care who it is. My position is unambiguous, and one that I believe will prevail under the most rigorous scrutiny if taken to the community at large. I have cited specific statements from WP policy, and I've provided RS that prove the claims have been disputed, yet all I'm seeing from opposing arguments is opinion with not one specific statement quoted from policy to support the claims. If you truly believe your strawman arguments can supersede PAGs, good luck. I consider it a waste of editor's valuable time which could be better spent doing productive things for the project. Please focus on PAGs and content and stop targeting individual editors with useless rhetoric in an attempt to strengthen your extremely weak argument for inclusion of unsupported derogatory labels. Policies do matter. Atsme📞📧 02:10, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for asking Atsme! As I've said before, I disagree with what I see as your attempt to enforce policies to have disputed terms removed from articles and I also think that your sweeping inclusion of certain widely used words as "derogatory" is erroneous and designed to have selected terms black listed for the sake of keeping language you don't like out of articles. This is an impression myself and several long standing editors have arrived at over the course of the debate and you are welcome to probe their views (as well as my own) on the subject. I couldn't give two hoots what my posts smell like - although I marvel at the creativity of one who attempts an olfactory method of dissecting the written word - but my reason for citing the essay in this debate is to give other editors quick access to what ever relevant proceedings are in progress, in order to maintain the spirit of openness which is fundamental to what is supposed to be a public debate. The constructing of an essay on this subject, and particularly the fact that you were called specifically to help on it, is something which should happen inside of the sphere of attention of those involved here. Edaham (talk) 02:26, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, this discussion is pretty much pointless since there's no chance in hell that the proposal will receive support to pass (for a very good reason) and right now it just serves as a vehicle for Atsme to beat a dead horse. Or a whole harras.Volunteer Marek (talk) 03:36, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
But I can't help noting that I think it hilarious how in the essay the practice of applying labels is being blamed on "Marxism" (because you know, nobody ever applied a label to somebody else before Marx and those wacky critical theorists came along).Volunteer Marek (talk) 03:39, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The only one doing any beating is you, VM, but instead of a dead horse, you have been targeting live editors and that really needs to stop. If more editors would practice good writing skills, we wouldn't need derogatory labels that make our encyclopedia look more like The National Enquirer than a real encyclopedia. Good writers should be able to engage readers with factual information; thereby, creating quality articles with substance that protect the integrity of the project. You should try it sometime. Atsme📞📧 03:15, 24 August 2017 (UTC)


Edit clash

@User:Masem who wrote "The reason that these policies have generally worked well in the past is because we didn't have to worry about the press not being mostly objective". What makes you think that the press is any less objective today? If that were true why was in the 1970 through to the 1990s all most all of the British news media called members of the IRA terrorists while many in the the US news media did not? Could it be a case of systemic bias?

In Britain we are used to the press being biased, it goes along with adversarial politics. Do you ever listen to Prime Minster question time? The shape of the chamber (with the parties face to face) encourages it. Did yo know that there are two red lines on the carpet two swords lengths apart)? If one does a web search on Brexit site:uk it is very easy to see which newspapers support Brexit and which ones oppose it. It is not just what they say it is also what they choose to include and exclude. Also just as in the past labels, like Tory and Whig were used by opponents so today remoaners (for remainers) is used in a similar way. So if a politician is in favour of Britain remain in the EU and those, newspapers who do not call that politician a remoaner, as it is used in lots of reliable sources (but not mentioned by those who support the politicians views) would it be OK to label that politician "remoaner" in a Wikipedia article?

I think that articles like Red Army Faction (RAF) are indicative how this issue can be resolved using labels within the letter and sprite of the content policies. That the RAF was a "West German far-left militant group" is not disputed by any reliable source or the members of the group. What is disputed is that it was a terrorist organisation. That is handled by searching for the most authoritative source who state that they were "The West German government considered the Red Army Faction to be a terrorist organization.

Two BLPs that I think handle controversial labelling well are Ward Churchill and David Irving. So, drawing from those three examples: In BLPs, if everyone agrees on a fact (including the subject of the article), or it has been found to be so in a court of law, then report it as such (convicted murder), but if the subject of the article disputes it, then choose the most authoritative source that asserts it, or other wording such as "political opponents have stated that ...", but do not use contentious labels in the passive narrative voice of the article. -- PBS (talk) 13:50, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

Asking for attribution for using any label, which is what PBS suggestions, is all that this basically comes down to. As I said, a separate discussion on how to present attribution for a label when nearly every RS uses it to minimize citation overload or bulky wording should be had , as long as we're still talking including that attribution or at least avoiding the label directly in wiki-voice. It just needs universal application. It avoids having to ask if the press is biased and how much their biased, and how that bias changes over time. --MASEM (t) 18:09, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
Just "asking for attribution for using any label" is NOT what PBS suggests - he is, on my reading of his above post, against contentious subjective labels being rendered in a passive narrative voice with wording implying such labels are facts. Tiptoethrutheminefield (talk) 21:30, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
Well "against [...] wording implying such labels are facts" is the notion of attribution I support, even if that is just "X is considered a (label)". The two examples - one where the person has self-identified as a label, are in alignment with my stance. I think I agree to both, just how we see that spelled out differs. --MASEM (t) 22:27, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
I agree with PBS - and I'm ok with closing it if we can all agree that consensus does not overrule policy and in particular, that the ledes of contentious, controversial or politically charged topics/BLPs must comply with BLP, NPOV and V which means opinions cannot be stated as fact in Wiki voice rather they must be attributed per policy. The focus of this discussion has been the lede in Jared Taylor, and while 3 core content polices have been presented that support the no Wiki voice sentiment, I have not seen any policy-based argument for inclusion. In fact, WP:BLPREMOVE requires removal of contentious material specifically when it, #4: relies on sources that fail in some other way to meet Verifiability standards. Ok, that takes us to WP:V and the first titled section states: Attribute all quotations and any material whose verifiability is challenged or likely to be challenged to a reliable, published source using an inline citation. SPLC has been successfully challenged on NPOV/N which also includes all the sources that cite them (a large #). I also provided valid reasons the sources cited in the Taylor lede have been challenged. The Neutrality section in V states: If there is disagreement between sources, use in-text attribution: "John Smith argues that X, while Paul Jones maintains that Y," followed by an inline citation. I've provided a few sources that disagree as well. I will not challenge a lede that summarizes what multiple RS have said about any BLP or topic per WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV using prose that defines the topic/BLP as was done in so many other quality encyclopedic BLPs and bios, such as Ward Churchill and David Irving as pointed out by PBS above. Atsme📞📧 23:19, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
Nice try, but there's very obviously no consensus for any of that in this discussion, or in any of the other related discussions, you and Masem's wall-of-text spam notwithstanding. Fyddlestix (talk) 23:42, 23 August 2017 (UTC)
Since you're done here and apparently don't have anything helpful to contribute at this point, you can always move on to another project where your input might actually prove beneficial. Atsme📞📧 00:39, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Fyddlestix is not acting as a time sink at an important noticeboard. Please stop adding homilies—there is no proposal with anything like a consensus, so it is time to respect WP:NOTFORUM. Johnuniq (talk) 04:41, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

Can we close this yet? The proposal is obviously not going to pass, and the "discussion" above has devolved into the same 3-4 editors continually posting the exact same arguments over and over again. It seems incredibly unlikely that there's going to be any consensus/progress here. Just sayin. Fyddlestix (talk) 13:29, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

My last commemt FWIW: I think this discussion has raised at least two issues that cannot be settled here, as they are so narrow or specific content dispute: 1) to what extent and in what context is white supremacist a "label", instead of description of what someone has said/done, and 2) various particular articles leads which a contents and source dependent. Perhaps there are some subsidiary issues. Good luck and happy editing (perhaps try WP:DR). Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:47, 26 August 2017 (UTC)

Comparison of PAG with article's text[edit]

1)a. - Example text from PAG "John Doe is the best baseball player" - An example of a sentence which would contravene the recommendation not to write like this would be: "Jared Taylor is the most prominent white supremacist". Cleaning up this sentence would involve replacing "the most prominent" with "a"
1)b. - Example text from PAG specify or substantiate the statement, by giving those details that actually are factual. For example: "John Doe had the highest batting average in the major leagues from 2003 through 2006." - Example of text which could be improved by substantiating: "Jared Taylor is a White supremacist". Improving this sentence would involve adding "Jared Taylor is a White supremacist who has founded a balls load of organizations which promote the idea that only nice white people should be his neighbors" (but you know, in actual language)
The question with this one is shall we attribute the label "white supremacist" because it might be contentious? The PAG clearly advises use to use the term in the article as it is well sourced, but asks us to turn to the "attribution page" as advised here ("...best avoided unless widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject, in which case use in-text attribution"). Let's examine that page blow by blow, because you know, we just love having to do this three times a day.
stating opinion as fact
right John Rawls says that, to reach fair decisions...
wrong To reach fair decisions, parties must...
Not a relevant guideline. This concerns a statement of opinion not a label. if we are citing a statement it needs attribution but we're not. It might still need an attribution for some other reason though, so let's move on.
demoting the validity of the text through attribution
wrong According to The New York Times, the sun will set in the west this evening.
right The sun sets in the west each evening.
An important issue. attribution is made difficult because everyone and their aunt describes our subject as a white supremacist. suggestions welcome. I advised attributing the label to the organizations he founded to avoid BLP issues
cluttering with attributive text
wrong In an article published in The Lancet in 2012, researchers announced the discovery of the new tissue type.[3]
rightThe discovery of the new tissue type was first published by researchers in 2012.[3]
a valid guideline. Any number of the links in the article can establish an interested reader as to the veracity of the article's text.

I politely request that I be allowed to add to this post as I have more time to go through the MOS and PAG and add to this when I have time. Edaham (talk) 05:14, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The reason you keep repeating it three times a day is because what you're attempting to define is total nonsense and what appears to be a complete misinterpretation of policies. If you want to discuss Jared Taylor, do so at the article, not here. If you want examples, use the articles that actually do comply with NPOV and add the derogatory labels to them - that way the presentation will accurately reflect the proper perspective; i.e., compliance with NPOV vs noncompliance by changing it to include derogatory labels in the lede. Atsme📞📧 13:34, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

Jesus tap dancing Christ, whatever. You actually thanked me and publically agreed with me for my earlier post regarding attribution which I just reiterated here. The only reason you are here arguing is because you couldn't get any joy back at JTs page. You've one by one shot down all the people who actually partially supported you including me. You're requirement that certain words be considered derogatory is synthesis and you plough through attempts to accommodate your proposals without even stopping to consider what you are reading. I'm not misatributing anything. Wikipedia policies are not rules for a reason. Part of that reason is to prevent them being used to censor the project. Another reason is that multiple people can have different ideas about their application based on the aim of arriving at a consensus, which is something you're not willing to consider despite your previous implication that you'd be willing to entertain an alternative kind of attribution. You keep accusing people of not bringing policies to the table to support their arguments. I've done that. Now you bring a reliable source to the table to demonstrate that your original research regarding boo boo words you don't like are as inflammatory as you say they are. Your words concerning my interpretation of policy are worth precisely bugger all. I'll be happy to have my views regarding them corrected by someone a little less maligned because I am genuinely open to persuasion and tuition on this subject - just not from you. Edaham (talk) 14:17, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
First, settle down and stop the PAs. I don't care about JT but I do care about how our policies are being applied. Answer this one question - do you at least agree that race is a morality/ethical issue? If not, explain why you don't agree. Atsme📞📧 14:32, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
that's not a reliable source. Edaham (talk)
That is not a cognizant response to a valid question, or perhaps it is because you already know racial issues are moral/ethical issues that are based on opinions and specific POVs; therefore, cannot be statements of fact. Isn't it ironic how those who profess to having an open mind are usually the ones who establish conditions under which they will open-mindedly discuss a topic. :) Atsme📞📧 15:31, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

Would agree with Fyddlestix that the survey is clear and the discussion is producing nothing of worth, this should probably be closed. Artw (talk) 14:55, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

I agree that the RfC could have been presented differently and wouldn't object to closing it with the reminder that consensus does not overrule policy. I don't agree that discussions are producing nothing of worth. I believe that discussion relative to the misinterpretation of NPOV policy should continue in a civil manner, of course. There is nothing wrong with a thorough discussion that may help resolve some of the issues that have plagued GF editors and created confusion as a result of strong political and moral POVs, the latter being primarily focused on the misuse of derogatory labels in the ledes of BLPs as statements of fact in WP voice. The following essay addresses this issue well: Wikipedia:NPOV_tutorial#Moral and political points of view and is actually included in the top margin of NPOV policy as suggested reading, For advice on applying this policy, see the NPOV tutorial. Atsme📞📧 15:23, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
The clear consensus is that the change to policy in the RfC is Opposed. No further action is required by it. Artw (talk) 15:34, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Article Evaluation[edit]

Is the article neutral? Are there any claims, or frames, that appear heavily biased toward a particular position? The information included in the article is neutral and there are no signs of bias present. Latriceetheresa (talk) 04:11, 31 August 2017 (UTC)

What article? Tornado chaser (talk) 03:06, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
I'm going to throw out a guess based on the contents of the above user's sand box: Is this the article you are talking about @Latriceetheresa:? If so, what specifically prompted you to use this notice board? If there's a specific issue with the article, the talk page for the article would be the place to address it. If you are setting a class assignment (again, just guessing) then directing your class to look at the questions in your sand box would be more than sufficient. Edaham (talk) 08:43, 6 September 2017 (UTC)

Steel City Derby[edit]

Why have you permitted somebody to post inaccurate statistics on this page?,not only post them,but he has protected them. GaryS (talk) 10:57, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

@GaryS: what stats are wrong? Tornado chaser (talk) 15:52, 20 September 2017 (UTC)

Adding another clause on the controversial subjects section[edit]

It seems this is a good place to suggest an edit on the "Religion" section of this article. I was thinking about adding the following wording to this article or something like it: "Some articles involving religion can be controversial by nature such as articles specifically linking religion, or non-religion; with morality, culture, gender, criticism, science, etc. Due to the controversial nature of such articles, where groups of people from one belief system/worldview are compared and contrasted with other groups of people from other belief systems/worldviews, some degree of neutrality and balance may be achieved by providing introductory-type sections that provide background context of religion, or non-religion, and the variable(s) embedded in the article (e.g. morality, culture, gender, criticism, science, etc) based on reliable sources. Adding such introductory-type sections in a controversial article, would help establish the complexity of religion, or non-religion, people, and also the sophistication of interactions between variable(s) embedded in the article (e.g. morality, culture, gender, criticism, science, etc). This would limit the reductionism of people's beliefs with their actions in real life especially since correlations do not necessarily mean causation."

I am thinking about articles like Criticism of Islam where a formal and short introduction section to Islam would be beneficial to readers since it would be important to have some context as to what Islam is understood as, before the criticisms sections. Especially since there are diverse understanding of Islam among the Muslim community. Any comments on this? Huitzilopochtli1990 (talk) 06:23, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Too much detail for policy-level guidance; Also, not sure whether this is at all practical. The quite unintelligible "This would limit the reductionism of people's beliefs with their actions in real life especially since correlations do not necessarily mean causation" seems to give advice on what people should be doing in their real life: if so, it doesn't really fit in Wikipedia guidance – such guidance is about how we write an encyclopedia, not about how people should be organising their lives. Possibly start it out as an essay (without the "real life" advice then probably)? And see where it goes from there? --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:06, 17 October 2017 (UTC)