Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/open tasks/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Moved from the main project page due to lack of actionable objections


Many articles are subjectively biased. That is to say, they assume one kind of observer always makes the judgement. This is difficult to spot - but for instance ask why it is that a physicist is always getting the last word in the article on physics or a philosopher on philosophy? But the fields aren't defined by the practitioners, they're defined by those who want to use or understand the knowledge that they assemble. This is a more abstract POV problem: that one is always trusting a certain type of person to resolve a certain type of dispute. The Wikipedia's famous anti-elitism does seem to allow more challenge to expert views than other encyclopedias, but this is not quite as disciplined as just seeing perspective itself as a bias.

A particularly ambitious attempt to treat perspective as a bias was the Body, Cognition and Senses bias correction project that according to one person "was censored in one of the more remarkable examples of sysop vandalism ever seen at Wikipedia".

Scientific claims to truth

Many articles on scientific topics use language that suggests that the current scientific thinking is "true" or unchallengeable; Some even smack of scientism - claiming to find objective moral truth in empirical facts. In climate change and evolution and even particle physics there is some challenge to this, but in other subject areas bald statements that claim much more than scientific method would advise, continue to exist in otherwise good articles. This is probably because there are so many students who write for Wikipedia, and perhaps more young people, who forget (or never knew) that theories change. Realize that in 1960, before the Path Integral Formulation of Quantum Mechanics, it was believed that the Principle of Least Action (from which "f=ma" can be derived) was simply "true" without any need to qualify this at all. Note that this is not to say that fringe theories, such as Creationism, should be placed on equal terms.

Requests for Review

  • Category:Pseudoscience and subcategories Category:Quackery and Category:Pseudoscientists. See the discussion page Category talk:Pseudoscience. The questions here are: (1) should we be as tolerant of category names that are inherently biased as we are of bias in actual articles, and, (2) should we allow the use of category names (e.g. racists, race-traitors, Godless Communists, pseudoscientists) that people on the receiving end perceive as derogatory? 07:20, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Bible topics that suffer from a limited (usually pro-literal-truth) point of view. Many of these articles were imported from 19th century public domain sources like Bible dictionaries, and were patched with some weasel words. A permanent revision needs to be undertaken, taking modern scientific/scholarly views into account.

Moved to: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Bible


A lot of definitions straight from military texts are used too. Often for terms that are used mostly or only in the military like command and control warfare, but also often for terms that are much more general like just command and control. This bias may be due to the fact that many U.S. military documents are in the public domain and easily turned into long boring articles that don't challenge the view of the US military at all. Heavily scrutinized articles like collateral damage or terrorism tend to be all right, but some like weapons of mass destruction must be watched constantly to make sure they remain complete and contain all the various possible definitions used by various kinds of institutions, not just militaries and governments. A related issue is that wars might well be always documented from the point of view of the winners.

I want to link Wikipedia:Africa-related regional notice board from this page. But there doesn't seem to be a logical place to put it...iFaqeer (Talk to me!) 20:58, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)

The following text was found under section "Bible":

I should be noted that this section has been
created by a user who has been banned for
1 year by arbcom from editing chiristianty related articles
Geni 21:47, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Moving it here with the following response:

While that may be the case some of the issues cited seem to hold merit (others, however, do seem confused and suggest ambiguity). These articles are not the place for exegesis, i.e. to defend criticisms to be found in other material and argue for a specific viewpoint. I just deleted an entire section from the Joshua article because of this. ---

that is as it may may be however it is quite clear from the irismaster and mr natural health cases that the arbitration comittee is oposed to this sort of activity.Geni 19:57, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

WP:NPOV is also quite clear. Did you leave a note on my talk page? ---

No I did not leave a note on your talk page. I have no problem with people viewing these artickes as POV (mostly because if there is an edit war over them then there is no way in a million years that I'm going to get sucked in). The point is that my waring was there for a reason in that care must be taken while using the listGeni 22:35, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The Joshua article, was a case in point. Quite clearly there is such bias, and your comments above, Geni, i.e. about my editing status, count as a personal attack, and do not address the issue in question. CheeseDreams 19:54, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

My statment was entirly factual.Geni 20:32, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I agree with CheeseDreams here. Such focus on "who wrote this" over encyclopedic accuracy is a major source of both systemic and systematic bias, and does not make for good editorial decisions.

Without getting involved in the debate, it's worrying that what appears to the outside reader to be an official warning from Wikipedia should be in such poor English (and use impenetrable jargon); moreover, such matters are surely internal, not for the general reader. It doesn't give a very good impression of Wikipedia. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 09:56, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Another CSB article on FAC

Lord's Resistance Army has been expanded significantly since it's listing on CSB Open Tasks. It has gone through Peer Review last month and is a Featured Article Candidate right now. Please read the article and support it with your vote if you think it's worth it. The FAC request is here. Thanks! mark 12:39, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Don't the Headings show Systemic Bias?

Just that; don't the Headings show a Systemic Bias? I just created Muslim educational institutions and I really don't want to put it under "Developing world" or "Ethnic minority" or "Geographically limited". The first characterization doesn't do it justice, besides being a label I just don't want to promote; the second seems inappropriate, because the topic is not about ethnicity, among other things; and the last is just, well, not applicable...iFaqeer (Talk to me!) 00:12, Feb 26, 2005 (UTC)

That's true. I think most of the heading came about at the beginning of the project when people were trying to get some focus about what was missing in Wikipedia. The headings could easily be seen as limiting at best, and patronizing at worst. What's missing is hard to define. It's probably worth adding a Miscellaneous or Other section- 00:31, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)
It's pretty clear that CSB is systemically biased itself, e.g. against Latin American or Central Asian topics. This is not to deny that the stuff we tend to do is not systemically biased against. It's a vicious circle.  ;-) Since I view Open Tasks as a kind of reminder of the scale of what is being missed, I would encourage people to just add another section header (as Xed states) with what you feel is the missing type of article. But if someone has a neat idea on how to make the list more flexible... - BanyanTree 06:55, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)
By definition, CSB is not going to have a whole lot of users collaborating on each subject, because we are dealing with the stuff that most users do not know enough about to contribute effectively. The bias is in no way limited to the subject headings that were chosen: more headings should be added as and when they are needed. I disagree with the statement that the headings show bias: they do exactly what they are supposed to do: they draw attention to the least well developed yet important areas of Wikipedia. I actually believe that the articles I've read on Islam (latest was Alawite) are well written and comprehensive. We could have a heading called Islam (or perhaps something more specific), but I see that Islam is served by Wikipedia articles than some of the subjects under the existing headings. That isn't to say that articles on Islamic issues are perfect, or that there is no systemic bias against them, but that they are not overlooked as much as some other areas. Gareth Hughes 13:44, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Be Bold

I really think people are spending too much time listing stuff on here when they should simply be adding to and editing the articles. Most of the stuff they describe as wrong with the articles can be immediately be fixed by them, I think the problem is they are assuming someone who is smarter then them on that topic should be the one to fix it, but that again plays right into the systemic bias. [posted by (talk · contribs)]

I, for one, do not generally try to write on topics I barely know about. I do come here to request articles on overlooked topics. Are you suggesting that I should not make such suggestions? Or that I should edit where I am largely ignorant? Both seem like bad ideas to me. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:52, Mar 1, 2005 (UTC)
I managed to write and article on a war in a country I had never even heard of proir to starting to research for the article. Sure it isn't a great article but it's better than nothingGeni 11:55, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
How did you judge the qualitiy of your sources? In particular, how did you know that you were not reading propaganda for one side or another? -- Jmabel | Talk 17:33, Mar 1, 2005 (UTC)

I think I've suggested 95% of the entries in the Linguistics section. There is no way in which I could fix all those myself. Instead, I've listed them and told others about it — and behold, Steverapaport, Pablo D. Flores, and Gareth Hughes came to the rescue and have done many great things. Additionally, I've tried to fill some gaps of my own. Listing entries is not the same as 'not being bold'. It is telling each other what needs to be done in order to be able to counter systemic bias. mark 14:28, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Yes, the first step is awareness of the problem. Some things do get listed here and are not dealt with. That's no problem: some of them are not as underdeveloped as others, others just do not do it for us (perhaps we should have Countering the systemic bias of the CSB participants!). When I am bold I like to know that there might be some support from the other good people who read these pages: that's why I list stuff here. Gareth Hughes 14:52, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Being Bold with headings

Here's a proposed scheme for changing the headings on the main page.

NOTE: This is just a proposal. Please feel free to edit this table and add/change headings.

Current New Status/Comments
1 Developing World Underrepresented or Non-Western/European Countries divided into regions Latin America, Central Asia, Oceania are so biased against they don't even have sections on CSB
2 Art and Design -
3 Women's studies -
4 Non-English language literature - Would this not fit under "Underrepresented countries"?
5 Agriculture and horticultural studies -
6 Ethnic minorities Underrepresented ethnicities
7 Labor issues
8 Linguistics Break up in (1) underrepresented languages / linguistic groups, and (2) Linguistic articles that suffer from a limited (usually Indo-European) point of view Isn't (2) under "limited geographic scope" below?
9 Bible Articles relating to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures too often take a pro-religious or anti-religious bias, but rarely a considered, neutral point of view. (I'm not sure that this is limited to Judeo-Christianity)
10 Limited geographic scope Articles that are internally biased I always thought of this as articles like Famine and Chickenpox that are universal but read like only Westerners experience them
11 Militarism Military articles too often represent the point of view of the strong, or oversimplify issues of politics, religion and ethnicity
12 Islam, Muslims, and the Muslim World Break into Islam (for religious topics) and Muslims and the Muslim World for more cultural topics?
13 Country Carousel if there is no Country Carousel on the template, these should be moved into "Developing World" or another relevant category. Do people want to keep a spot on the template reserved for countries?

iFaqeer (Talk to me!) 00:27, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)

This is evolving into a table that does more than just discussing new headings. We seem to be listing issues, too. That's nice.iFaqeer (Talk to me!) 06:32, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)

Re: Isn't (2) under "limited geographic scope" below?

In a way, yes (but not always). It makes more sense for linguistic articles that need to be improved to be included in the category Linguistics. Being specific helps to focus efforts. mark 10:19, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)

proposal: subpage system

Well, nobody has reverted the new changes, so I suppose that's a good sign.  :) Mark Dingemanse mentioned on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countering systemic bias the option of turning the tasks list into a subpage system, like that used at the Village Pump. I rather like this idea, especially if it allows easier navigation from the top of the screen.

I have another wacky idea that would take the idea further. I'm not even sure that this is technically feasible, but could the subpages templates be shared with the appropriate regional boards and projects as their open tasks list? As an example: 1. all the Latin American articles are placed on a template, 2. the template is linked to the main page here along with templates for all the other regions, so the page looks like a coherent whole, 3. the Latin American template is also pasted into the Wikiproject Latin American countries (or whatever the relevant board/project is) to form a open tasks list specifically for them. The end result would be that the Latin American specialists have a small tasks list targeted for them at their page, while the same page is available on CSB to those who may not have any particular knowledge but are willing to help copyedit, make stubs for CSB. Everyone shares in the admin burden, they get more people working on their articles, we get more work against systemic bias.

Thoughts on the subpage and tasks-web ideas? - BanyanTree 04:14, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It is technically feasible, but I'm not sure if it's too much. The number of topics that might experience negative bias are endless. I wonder if the CSB tasks should rather be distributed not by topic but by the kind of bias that is found. The major area of bias that we deal with is geographical, and that is the one that most of us want to deal with. A lot of what we are talking about could be lumped together under geographical bias. That might make sure that the project remains focused (e.g. Guatamalan marine life doesn't get a lot of attention, we could create a subpage, or we could acknowledge that it is simple geographical bias). We are positively biased towards tasks that exhibit geographical bias, so this method would raise the prominence of other negative bias, for example gender bias. Gareth Hughes 22:36, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure if I understand what you mean. As I see it, lumping together all articles suffering from a limited point of view would only make work less efficient (just because there's so much of them). As I said above, I think that grouping articles in more specific subject areas helps to focus efforts; I also think it attracts participants that otherwise would be scared away by the sheer amount of articles all lumped together. At least, that's how it works for me. mark 23:19, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I just feel that we should be quite specific, then, about the subject areas: otherwise, we may be swamped by too many. I wanted to point out that we are focusing mainly on geographical bias rather than any other kind. Gareth Hughes 23:23, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Do you want to have a procedure for evaluating what sections should be on the list and any new proposed section? I would have no problem with that in a sub-page system to avoid chaos and overlapping articles.
Anyway, going back to my initial proposal. The point of shared task templates is to avoid doubling work, or to add something to a pre-existing project. For example, the Africa-related regional notice board has a small open tasks list, and WikiProject Latin America countries has a large list that has gone quiescent. Two lists means double the maintenance work, or leads to people updating one list while ignoring the other. A shared list seems to me to be a good way to encourage cooperation, even if unconscious, between CSB and CSB-related projects. Projects like Wikipedia:WikiProject Languages have an extensive tasks list, but they might benefit from having internally biased articles pointed out to them, perhaps on a subpage. Some page templates clearly have no existing projects to be doubled to as of yet, so would only be available on WP:CSBOT. If anyone is interested in making WikiProject Women's studies, I'd be glad help out as much as I can, and might even be able to mirror a tasks template over from here if we agree to it... ;) - BanyanTree 03:16, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I'm for the idea of subpages, but against the idea of breaking everything up into Wikiprojects and duplicating lists. The subpages idea has been floated before, just after Xed left, but never picked up--nixie 00:08, 5 May 2005 (UTC)


I've placed the Linguistics section on its own subpage to make it more watchable. Also, since there are several contributors now, it might be nice to have a separate Talk page. If it doesn't work out, it's easily revertible. — mark 18:05, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I would like to play devil's advocate and argue against going too far in removing bias from the linguistics pages. Specifically, I think that if a good example exists in English then it should be used, and if not than an example from an Indo-European language should be used if available. If there are non-Indo-European examples then by all means include them, but not at the expense of the Indo-European (and especially English) examples.
My reason for arguing for this is simple; this is the English-language version of Wikipedia, and so it can be assumed that readers have some familiarity with at least one Indo-European language! And it makes sense to draw examples from those languages with which readers are most likely to be familiar. Similarly, when talking about a linguistic phenomenon that does not occur in Indo-European languages, it makes more sense to draw examples from widely spoken languages rather than more obscure dialects when possible.
I am not arguing against including non-Indo-European examples; I am merely arguing against removing familiar examples. I think the instinct when writing these articles has traditionally been to use familiar examples and to let other contributors supply other examples later, and this sounds fine to me. The content needs to be accessible to the reader if it is to be usable. Dave (djkernen)|Talk to me|Please help! 20:11, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

This page is too big

The open tasks page is really getting unwieldy. Isn't it time it was split up into Geographic bias, Art and Women sections? TreveXtalk 23:43, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

The page wouln't be so big if the lists were pruned of articles that have reached a reaosnable standard, I suggest we do this first.--nixie 00:15, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
Good idea, but this may only reduce the length of the page by a maximum of around 25 percent. I reckon we should both prune and split into sub-pages. TreveXtalk 00:32, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
Well there is also a bunch of stuff on the page that could be brought to the attention of other wikiprojects and moved off the list all thgether, for example the bible section should be sent to Wikipedia:WikiProject Bible. The discussion of pseudoscience, could be moved to this talk page, and the section on perspective shortened and added to the top of the page--nixie 01:05, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
I support nixie's proposal. - BanyanTree 01:14, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, I'm not so sure about this. The problem we're trying to combat here is Systemic bias, and I'm afraid (though I haven't checked the project out) that sending requests over there will give them just the normal biased treatment that they have always gotten. I do suggest that we simply delete all of the old, irrelevent discussion on the page to shorten it a little. --Dmcdevit 01:26, 5 May 2005 (UTC)


I'm shamefully ignorant about most of the world (I really only know about the countries that are important geopolitical players, and I'd never even heard of Benin until seeing it on CSB) and so while I think this project is important, I'm not sure how often I'll be able to contribute much more than a stub. My question is this: what is the general consensus around here about stubs? If I do a google search on Samuel Ndashyikirwa and write a four-sentence stub, is that considered useful, or does it prevent the creation of a "real" article about him? Dave (talk) 20:39, July 24, 2005 (UTC)

Being fairly new here myself, I can't speak for a consensus, but I'd say a stub would be much better than nothing; you can always write the stub and then move it from "Requested articles" to "Requests for expansion" if you think it's important enough to be expanded further. Article requests sit on this page for a long time, though (check out the history), so I certainly don't think you'd be blocking anyone from creating a "real" article. Have fun!--Dvyost 20:57, 24 July 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, I figured there wasn't much turnover, but I thought I should check before flooding Wikipedia with 4 sentence stubs. Thanks for the quick response, Dave (talk) 21:00, July 24, 2005 (UTC)
4 sentances is pretty boarderline but certainly anything longer is worth haveing.Geni 21:13, 24 July 2005 (UTC)
A stub, assuming it is accurate, is better than nothing. See Wikipedia:the perfect stub. -- Jmabel | Talk 03:39, July 25, 2005 (UTC)

Soviet History

Pretty much all articles about Soviet Union, its history, economy and politics were biased to some degree. While they do not appear anti-Soviet, they use a lot of information, which originates from anti-Soviet sources and is false.

True, but, unfortunately, those anti-Soviet sources are not always false. --Barbatus 11:59, September 9, 2005 (UTC)
  • This section on the main page seems to be neither:
  1. justifying its assertions (oh yeah? who says they're false?)
  2. or offering a suggestion of how we should improve (go to Soviet sources? which are hard to find, and quite often documentably false?)

Until that is addressed, can we abridge this section to something like "Many articles about the SU use information from anti-Soviet sources - where possible, cite the source, and try to find balance"? Otherwise we are devoting a lot of space to unconstructive complaining. GRuban 14:51, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

    • I agree entirely. I would support changing to wording to what you proposed. JerryOrr 15:12, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
      • No one else said anything for a while, so I went ahead. Better? GRuban 14:52, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Where to put these?

I came across another huge gap in Wikipedia: we have almost nothing about oral literature, story-telling, etc.

My question is: where to put these? Non-english literature is probably the best fit, but the subject it's not necessarily non-English. What do others think? — mark 11:46, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Orature exists (stubbily). Man vyi 13:01, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
Horrible neologism, but I see it gets 31,000 Google hits, so I guess it has passed into the language. I suppose oral literature, which seems more natural to me, is oxymoronic, but it gets 269,000 Google hits, so isn't that where our article should be, with "orature" as a redirect? -- Jmabel | Talk 06:17, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Orature is to oracy as literature is to literacy... but I personally don't mind where it sits as long as people can find the info! Man vyi 07:28, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Oral literature is the most common term, I think (at least for African Studies it surely is). I didn't phrase my question clear enough; I wasn't sure where to put these on the Open Tasks lists since there doesn't seem to be a fitting category for them. — mark 11:39, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Arab Socialist Union

As requested, I've strated an article on the Arab Socialist Union. This could be a decent article, but the sources are conflicting and confusing. Some of our Wikipedia articles are in a bad state. I was particularly shocked by how flimsy the article on Gamal Abdel Nasser is. Anyway, I just want to flag up that I've started this. If any other participants could spare the time to check sources and write a couple more paragraphs it'd help a lot. Otherwise it could easily languish in this undone state. --Gareth Hughes 19:01, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Question about two autoemancipation stubs

Hmm, I saw the Autoemancipation stub in the template and decided to add a couple things. Then I noticed there is another older stub at Auto-Emancipation. I suppose the Autoemancipation article has more content, but the other article has categories and other language WP links in it. So my question is, which title is right, and how would a merge be done to preserve both article's histories? Smmurphy 17:13, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

  • I'm confused: there seems to be no article at all at the one you say has more. -- Jmabel | Talk 01:20, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
    • Oh no, sorry, how embarrassing. I left off the capitalization. Umm, so the question still stands, I guess. Smmurphy(Talk) 01:06, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
      • Auto-Emancipation appears to be the proper title. I have done a delete-merge-undelete to preserve the histories, and merged the texts. If someone wants to check to make sure nothing important got lost, it would be appreciated. Cheers, BanyanTree 01:27, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
        • Wow, delete-merge-undelete, eh. I did that once, threw out my back, couldn't walk for weeks. Good thing, though, as the bed rest gave me more time to edit Wikipedia. Anyway, the chronology for Leon Pinsker (the author of the pamphlet) was confusing when I looked up the information, and that is nicely reflected in the article as it stands : ( I wish I knew more about it. Smmurphy(Talk) 05:22, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Removal of Section for Catholic Apologia

On first look, the new section titled WP:CSBOT#Catholic Apologia appears to be a content dispute rather than something suffering from neglect. Thoughts? - BanyanTree 04:49, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

  • I'd already removed it on precisely those grounds before noticing your comment here. -- Jmabel | Talk 09:19, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Whatever it is it is a major problem, please realise that systemic biasd is active as I state, ot plese yourselves. The Jmabel removal is not accurate. This is the denial of verifiability, not just content. Jmabel is of the assassination opinion, I presume, of me. I refer you to Bengalski's "Third Party Statement" on my talk page. As to neglect-I have not neglected it, but the supposeddly rational WP has, hitherto. If content is systematically occluded throughout the history, that is systemic . Please help your WP grow up and abandon hagiography .Replace the section please, BanyanTree . In fact make further reports. I object, as I generally do, because there is systemic and effectively ant-wiki bias, and I object to Jmabel's rv.EffK 12:04, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
  • I support the removal of that section. Its subject matter is not within the aims of this project as stated on WikiProject Countering systemic bias. It is a content dispute that should be discussed on the talk page of the relevant article, or taken to WP:RFC if necessary. It is also a badly written rant. 3:1 against so far. --Gareth Hughes 12:41, 10 January 2006 (UTC)
There may very well be bias there, but it isn't systemic bias as defined by WP:CSB. There are ways you can go about resolving this (as Gareth said) but this isn't one of them. Even if it was listed here it wouldn't do you any good because no-one interested in that kind of thing would look for it here.--Cherry blossom tree 13:58, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Removing Krystal Wakem from requests

I'm going to be bold and remove Krystal Wakem from the tasks list. The reason is as described a while ago in Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Krystal_Wakem - either he, she, or it is not notable, or there ain't no such animal entirely. If someone disagrees, please feel free to equally be bold and put up an article with even a one-sentence explanation of KW's notability as other than a song lyric. GRuban 14:25, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

I'd give odds that the name is a joke. "Krystal" as in crystal methedrine, "Wakem" as in "wake you up." - Jmabel | Talk 06:31, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

The name isnt a joke and has nothing to do with what you said. She is a 17 year old girl(As of March 1st 2006) from Portland Maine USA. She is freinds with Le Tigre, I believe, through her aunt who owns the record company that makes their records. Krystal doesnt even know why she is mentioned in the song. I know all this because she is my freind and I've asked her. She isn't famous so you can remove her. I just wanted to clear things up around The name "Krystal Wakem". I Hope I was of some assistance. -Anonymous- P.S. you may contact me via email if you are really interested in knowing more. email adress:

Sorry for imagining that your friend's name was a joke. But we seen to be in agreement that she doesn't merit an encyclopedia article. - Jmabel | Talk 04:54, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps a CSB userbox?

"This user strives to counter systematic bias." Has it been done? Or is there some reason why it shouldn't? Nonplus 20:20, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

I personally tend to dislike most user boxes other than what languages you know, whether you are an admin, things like that. But I've seen far worse: if it turns your crank, feel free. - Jmabel | Talk 20:15, 12 February 2006 (UTC)


I note in your geography open tasks that the main focus is Africa, which I agree needs work. But a number of Pacific Island nations also need to be worked on, yet you haven't covered them. Indeed, the map of the world ignores them. CSB seems to be guilty itself of having a systemic bias. --Midnighttonight 09:02, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

As could be expected of course, seeing that CSB participants are themselves drawn from the ranks of Wikipedians. Feel free to correct! — mark 12:20, 22 April 2006 (UTC)


A minor point, but Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias open tasks should be moved to Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/Open tasks. That would make it a subpage, which is what it properly is. As it stands it appears to be a separate WikiProject with a hard-to-parse name. --Trovatore 17:36, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Agree. But we might need a bot to fix all pages that link here. — mark 19:43, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, it's really only the double redirects that need to be fixed; there shouldn't be too many of those I'd think. The bigger annoyance is that Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/Open tasks already exists and has a nontrivial history, so it'll take some admin fiddling to accomplish the move (move one page to a temp location, delete the redirect, move the other to the first location, move the temp location to the second location, delete the redirect, and don't forget the talk pages too). --Trovatore 22:19, 25 April 2006 (UTC)


I recently translated the above Indonesian article into English. I really think that with a bit of work on it, it would make a great English featured article. As a featured article, it counters systemic bias on almost every level...It's about an Indonesian woman who has a very significant place in the pantheon of Indonesian hero[ines].

Kartini wrote letters in Dutch to friends (whom she never met) which profoundly changed the way the Dutch establishment viewed their Dutch East Indian possessions and its people. She was a women with very strong opinions on the way women were treated in her culture, on the injustices of colonialism, on the hypocrises of religion. Ironically, she was also uniquely priviledged - she was allowed to attend school until the age of 12, she had a sympathetic father who allowed her to write to her friends in the Netherlands, and later a sympathetic husband who allowed her to set up a school to educate Indonesian women. She died in childbirth at the age of 25.

Would there be any interest in collaborating on this article to try and bring it up to FA status? There are so many thought-provoking strands that could come out of it that I think it is a worthy project. I will also try and raise support on some of the regional boards.--Sepa 20:33, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

She seems like a noteworthy person, and the article in its current state is a very good start. I would be willing to help improve this article. Before we get to work on it, though, I can tell you the very first thing you will hear if you put it in for peer review: it needs inline citation (see WP:WIAFA). The article cites several references, which is better than many article on Wikipedia, but in order to get featured status, it will have to have inline citation.
The <ref> element is currently in vogue (I find its the best option for inline citation), but it can be a little tricky if you aren't familiar with it. I've made extensive use of it in the Bill Haywood article if you want some examples. However, if you just use simple Harvard referencing, I would be willing to come in and convert it to <ref>.
This is definitely a good start to what could be an excellent article. Feel free to contact me personally if you want any help. --JerryOrr 12:02, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree about the inline references. Since the Indonesian version doesn't have them it could be awkward depending on what access you have to the sources listed, but it will be necessary to get it featured. Also if it is going to be featured it will need an expanded lead section (see WP:LEAD.) I've slightly reworked the article - copyediting, moving a few bits around. The biography section is still very long - maybe that could do with some subsections. That's all I can think of for now. Good article! --Cherry blossom tree 20:33, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Environmental movement

Perhaps this is covered elsewhere but I have not seen any thing about the bias in articles about the environmental movement and articles about the natural environment. For example the article logging had long sections about the impact on the environment but only one short line at urban sprawl. I didn't see anything about the automobile's impact on the environment. As another example try to find some information about the possibility of any grass-root elements at wise use. Compare to the gentle advice given at preservationist to avoid hurt feelings. This bias is seen through Wikipedia. Another example is the article at resource extraction. Most of the articles I've seen about the environmental movement or the environment are written from the point of view of those within the movement themselves. A good example of this can be see at wildlife,and wilderness. Another example, the article deer does not mention that deer thrive in suburban areas and the resulting over population cause damage to the forest. Deer is portrayed simply as a wild animal. I believe that the fact that this bias is not mentioned on this page is also evidence of the bias as it is largely unrecognized by the majority of editors.

A related bias which is mentioned, the lack of certain professions, the example of a brick layer is given. However even if a brick layer does edit if there is an edit dispute with a white collar computer professional the brick layer is more likely to give up due, both to lack of support for his view, and also lack of editing and writing skills. The white collar professionals can use superior editing and language skills to belittle and marginalize other views. A skilled writer obviously can more easily get points across then an unskilled one. KAM 14:55, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

The point of view or bias of Wikipedia specifically is that man and nature are two separate worlds. In this view nature is good, balanced and perfect unless interfered with by man. The highest good is wilderness, old growth forest and wildlife, as long as it is not ruined by the hand of man. The worse thing would be clearcutting because man "ruins" the world of nature, the forest. Urban sprawl is more of less neutral because it is just a different use for land that is already within the world of man. On the other hand land use within the sphere of man that is close to nature, is good, for example, organic farming. This view point can be easily seen throughout Wikipedia. KAM 13:22, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Bomb Disposal

Hey, I was looking over the Bomb disposal page, and it's very good if you want to know about American and British bomb disposal. While they may dominate the field in the Western world, I find it hard to believe that the Soviets didn't do a fair amount of work on this subject. Is their anyone here who knows about this field who'd be willing to work on it? ManicParroT 01:06, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

by far the most common form of b/disposal is demining which is usually in third wrld/global south countries after one of those 3 gov's or a satelite thereof have been thru. needless to say that page is a joke too, doesn't even mention afganistan, cambodia or bosnia, 3 of the most heavily mined countries in the world. hm there's a lot of work here...  ⇒ bsnowball  14:02, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Sept 11 moved to the appropriate talk page

I moved the overlong discussion to Talk:September 11, 2001 attacks. That's where it belongs. — mark 11:31, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

I expected NPOV can be judged better here. This discussion place was useless after all. And nobody thinks it is systemic bias. Therefore I suggest that Wikipedia should change its policy or guideline. Regular editor have great bias there. I do not expect it will go anywhere. Thanks.--Shoons 16:43, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Bura Gauranga River (in Bangladesh)

I have removed this from Missing geography articles. It is not a major river in the country (see Banglapedia list of major rivers), just one of 700. There is a separate bengali wikipedia, perhaps more appropriate there.--Countincr ( T@lk ) 23:08, 12 June 2007 (UTC)


I've got a few concerns about {{USAMarketingcycle}}. This template has been added to a number of articles, like Easter and Christmas that need a global focus, but the template focuses entirely on US commercialism. I think the presence of this template in articles overstates the American view. Thoughts? — Gareth Hughes 00:46, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject Judaism needs help - geographical bias concerns

The editors are currently having a dispute over the term "progressive Judaism" and "reform Judaism". Editors on both sides of the discussion have suggested that we bring in calmer eyes. We would be very greatful if some participants in this project would pop over to Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject Judaism# Concern about duplicating Reform and Progressive labels.

Two vocal editors (and an unknown number of silent editors) would like consistent use of the term "reform judaism". They insist on the following points.

  • Since the US Reform community is the largest and the UK Reform community the next largest, the name "Reform" should be the umbrella term.
  • Reform should be used because it is used more often (i.e. more google hits)
  • Only relative frequency of use matters. Arguments about frequency within specific contexts, academic quotes, organizational names, examples of popular usage and 20 thousand books in a library catalog either titled or cateloged under the term "progressive judaism" are not relevant.

Two vocal editors (and an unknown number of silent editors) object:

  • that collapsing everything under the term "reform" represents regional bias as only 2 out of the 42 countries that have progressive congregations call themselves reform. Most of the other organizations call themselves either "progressive" or "liberal" or "reconstructionist". This includes the spiritual center: the Israeli progressive movement and the country where the progressive movement belongs: The Union of Progressive Jews in Germany.
  • in some regions (e.g. UK, preWWII germany) there are two progressive movements. Both are comfortable with the common identification "progressive" but one using the term "Liberal" and the other using the term "Reform" would privilege one group over another.
  • that the term "progressive" was chosen in 1926 when an international organization was formed, the World Union for Progressive Judaism. The name chosen by an orgnaization's members should be respected.
  • the various organizations that call themselves progressive have deep disagreements with each other and with the US movement. In the real world they often insist on the term "progressive" so that they discuss shared history and mission and at the same time distance themselves to some extent from the US Reform movement.
  • verifiable notability on an academic, organizational, and popular level has been established.
  • multiple names are in use out in the real world so wikipedia should reflect that
  • any risk of POVFORK can be handled through technical means such as soft category redirects (bots automatically move pages to the "official" category).

Statement of my own bias: I am one of the editors in favor of the use of the term "progressive". I am also an active progressive Jew born in Uganda, raised in the US and living in Israel. So I may not be representing the other position fairly.

Many thanks in advance, Egfrank 08:50, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Egfrank: Have you informed other users at WP:JUDAISM (by posting some sort of notification) that you are making this request here or that you even intended to make it? What are you up to? Please clarify ASAP. Thanks a lot, IZAK 10:19, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Most certainly. Please see just above "Deep Concern" - the posting was done immediately after I posted this request. If there is a template that should also be used to make it more apparent, do fill it in. Many thanks. Egfrank 11:06, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment Wikipedia's WP:Naming conventions guideline says to use the most common term in English when there is a dispute, prefering generalist sources like dictionaries to specialist sources like academic journals. The guidelines explain why. It should be noted that this guideline, by preferring the terminology of English-speaking countries, itself implicitly introduces geographical bias to terminology decisions. Following this approach, if the term Reform Judaism is the most common term in the English-speaking world while other terms are more common elsewhere, the most common term in the English-speaking world would appear to be the better term. I understand the U.S. and the U.K. are not the entire English-speaking world, but they would appear to represent the bulk of English-speaking Reform/Progressive Judaism. I am more familiar with the term "Reform Judaism" myself but don't have a personal preference for either term. Best, --Shirahadasha 13:54, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
    • Comment I understand the guidelines apply to different terms for the "same thing", not necessarily to different constituent units of an umbrella organization. One difficulty is that other Jewish denominations tend to refer to Reform Judaism in a general common-noun sense of "reformers" (something like the way Protestant in the sense of "protesters" is used in Christianity), to refer to a generic umbrella concept rather than a distinct denomination. It should be noted that there is a need to talk about (lower-case "r") reform developments prior to 1926, when the Union for Progressive Judaism came into being. That said, I'll leave it to others to decide when to use "reform" in this generic, analogy-to-Protestant sense and when it is better to use specific denominational terminology.Best, --Shirahadasha 14:12, 29 October 2007 (UTC) The answer may not be the same for all articles. Best, --Shirahadasha 16:16, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
    • Data on usage of terms. Like Shirahadasha perhaps, I believe that the key questions (below) concern relative notability and naming guidelines for common terms. By every measure, "Reform Judaism" dwarfs "Progressive Judaism" in the sources. I've checked Google, Google Scholar, Nexis (i.e., major news media), JSTOR (academic database), Harvard Library, British Library and WorldCat. "Progressive Judaism" is notable, but its usage is minor compared to "Reform Judaism." The point is that Wikipedia's readers and our sources are using "Reform" much more, in general, so I would expect Wikipedia to do the same. (Granted, as explained below, specific articles should use "Progressive Judaism" in titles and as needed within articles about Reform Judaism.) HG | Talk 15:24, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Explaining the question. I'd like to ask all discussants to help clarify the question and info for newcomers to our conversation. Egfrank has made an excellent opening above. I'd like to try to add something here. I welcome neutral corrections to the Historical Background, below, and either slight changes in the Key Questions or add your own questions. Thanks. HG | Talk 15:13, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Historical background (HG). The reform (liberal/progressive) movement in Judaism began primarily in early 19th century Europe. This movement changed the face of Judaism and Jewish history in the modern period. Aside from its intellectual and cultural work, it gradually resulted in the largest denominational organizations and memberships among Jews. This movement is the subject of enormous amounts of scholarship and popular coverage by reliable sources, in such fields as history, theology & ethics, religion, and sociology. For about 2 centuries, this movement has been and is still described primarily as "Reform Judaism" with one notable subset using different nomenclature, i.e. "Liberal Judaism" (UK).

During the growth of reform Judaism, an umbrella federation met in 1926 using the term "Progressive." I'm not sure it was very active as an organization until, say, the 1970s. (Coincidentally, I created the article for Solomon Freehof, the WUPJ President in 1959.) The WUPJ exercises little or no authority over its biggest affiliated organizations and its staffing is insignificant compared to those affiliates. The WUPJ claims to have 1.7 million constituents and 1.5 million (88%) belong to the "Union of Reform Judaism" in the US. Of the remainder, many belong to Reconstructionist Judaism.

Since maybe the 1970s-1980s, efforts have been made to change the nomenclature of the reform movement. Proponents of "Progressive" wording have had mixed results. For instance, a reform/progressive Judaism affiliate in Israel recently adopted the name Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ). Nonetheless, even the IMPJ website (history) describes two Kibbutzim and some congregations as "Reform". There is some tension and conflict about how to name throughout the movement and its affiliates. The UK Liberal movement has been renamed Liberal and Progressive. The vast majority of WUPJ-affiliated Jews (88%) renamed themselves in 2003 from Union of American Hebrew Congregations to Union of Reform Judaism. Some major leaders continue to talk about the worldwide "Reform" movement, e.g. Eric Yoffie in 2001.

The Key Questions (HG).' As one of the active participants in this discussion, I'd like to clarify the editorial questions that I am addressing. At the outset, let me say that, as stated in our Project discussions, I fully support the inclusion of articles about "Progressive Judaism" under the category Judaism (among others). "Progressive Judaism" is a notable phenomenon within Judaism. In my view, this phenomenon may be located primarily in the contemporary period. Thus, I endorse articles such as those entitled Progressive Judaism and World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and a category (and the current articles under) under a label such as "Affiliates" or Organizations in Progressive Judaism. I suspect the dispute will soon address individual leaders and I expect to support the inclusion of articles of notable leaders of "Progressive" Jewish organizations, such as the Israeli Progressives. However, there are two editorial questions at stake here:

Question #1: Should the main article(s) describing the history of the reform movement, its leading figures and beliefs, its social history and culture, etc. be described in terms of "Reform Judaism" or "Progressive Judaism?"

HG response: Currently, the main article for this purpose seems to be Reform Judaism. I believe the mainstream view (in WP terms) is to name this Reform Judaism. (In WP policy, the point of view that would call this "Progressive Judaism" historically is at best a significant minority POV.) "Reform Judaism" is the preferred name -- arguably within the reform-progressive-liberal movement and certainly outside the movement -- for the history, sociology, thought, etc of this movement in Judaism. (That said, I'm undecided and not adverse to the possibility that there is a uniquely "Progressive" POV narrative that may differ from the mainstream article. Such a narrative could be located in the Progressive Judaism article. I myself started such a subsection, but now I'm concerned that it could be a POV fork of the main article unless handled quite carefully.) Thanks!

Question #2: What should be the main WP category that we apply to associated articles?

HG response: Again, I believe that "Reform Judaism" should apply. Certainly, the reformers and their beliefs and communities throughout the 19th and most of the 20th Century should continue to be categorized as Reform. My main reason is that "Reform Judaism" is by far the most common term used to describe the historical overall movement, as well as about 9/10 of the contemporary movement. I don't think this is a major problem of systematic bias, since I support the inclusion of articles for self-identifying entities, including the Israeli and other notable "Progressive" organizations. HG | Talk 15:59, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

IMO, the most practical reason for calling the umbrella article Progressive Judaism (and corresponding categories) is to look at mess at the current article at Reform Judaism, which is forced to disambiguate three different meanings - 19th century German Reform, current U.S. Reform, and current UK Reform -- which all understand substantially different meanings by the term "Reform Judaism".

In contrast all three fall naturally into the scope of Progressive Judaism, and all three persperctives agree with each other about what they mean by the term. In addition, Progressive Judaism also includes movements like UK Liberal Judaism, which sees itself as something noticeably different to UK Reform; and movements like U.S. Reconstructionism, which sees itself as something noticeably different to U.S. Reform.

It's true, the biggest Progressive organisation in the world is the U.S. Union of Reform Judaism; and most material with a U.S. centred focus will use the term "Reform Judaism".

But Wikipedia has a worldwide focus. For an article treating this outlook on Judaism internationally, it's appropriate to use the term used in international scholarship, and the term that all the different groups use to self-describe their own international organisation. Jheald 16:35, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

If I may comment briefly. Wouldn't any article on the overall phenomena, whether Reform or Progressive by name, have to explain and disambiguate the different terms, meanings, and movements? Since I've already cited rather strong evidence that major sources and scholarship overwhelmingly rely (eg Google Scholar, JSTOR, libraries, see above) on the term "Reform Judaism," what countervailing evidence supports your claim that scholarship uses "Progressive" as its term? (Checking now course syllabus against the disputed terms: "Reform" gets 6 times as much. Checking the terms now in ATLA Religion academic database: "Reform Judaism" gets 7 times as many article citations. Checking RAMBI, Index of Articles on Jewish Studies, "Progressive Judaism" has 368 (searching anywhere), "Reform Judaism" has 2547 = 7 times) What data on scholarship could be more convincing? Thanks. HG | Talk 18:16, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
I would contest that. My claim is that when the position is talked about from an international viewpoint, the term "Progressive" tends to be used. I suspect that most of the hits you are citing are discussing either purely U.S. Reform from a U.S. context; or UK Reform from a UK context.
The key thing, which I think is crucial, is that whether writers are coming from a context of talking about C19 German Reform, current U.S. Reform, or current UK Reform, the meaning they will give to the term "Progressive" is likely to be strongly convergent; but their use of the word "Reform" is likely to strongly divergent.
That means that you can write an article giving an overview called Progressive Judaism much more smoothly, organising the material in a much more natural development, rather than all the chopping about that can be seen at the present article Reform Judaism. And all the minuatiae of various American platforms can be allowed to find a much more natural home, in an article Reform Judaism (United States). Jheald 19:18, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
HG. Perhaps the difference between Jheald and me here is that Jheald is focused on the "current" context. As I noted in my 2 questions, above, I think the salient dispute here is, as an encyclopedia, how to describe the whole ~200 year movement in main-spinoff articles (its category, infobox, etc). Contrary to your suspicions, I think most of those hits, esp scholarly sources, go beyond the current (fluid) situation. The dominant field here is Jewish history and awareness of the history is what favors the "Reform" terminology.
In terms of Jheald's concern about how to write a good article, I'm sure "Reform Judaism" can still make for good encyclopedia articles. Let's see. Now checking the new Encyclopedia Judaica (Eds. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. 22 vols.). Ok, title is: "Reform Judaism" (v.17, p165-183) "Progressive" term not used until p.179, under Contemporary Trends: The Issue of Homosexuality. Next, p.181, it says: "Over the past three decades, the World Union has devoted much effort to building up the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), which was incorporated under Israeli law in 1971. The Israeli leaders chose to refer to themselves as the movement for Yahadut Mitkademet, Progressive Judaism, avoiding the use of the term "reform." By doing so they hoped to minimize the negative associations that many Israelis have of the American Reform movement." (emphasis added) Ok, Brittanica. "Reform Judaism" is mentioned in 35+ articles, including a main article. The Brittanica "Reform Judaism" 1-page article starts w/1809, goes thru Geiger, Holdheim, Wise and other Americans, fails (my view!) to mention "Progressive" at all. Conversely, "Progressive" gets only 5 mentions, including this telling sentence under "Judaism" -- "There is also a worldwide body of Reform or Liberal Judaism — the World Union for Progressive Judaism." Here the WUPJ is described as a unit of Reform or Liberal Judaism. Ok, Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. "Progressive Judaism" 0 mentions, "Reform" in 7 articles, including long coverage (incl Israel) under Judaism. Next, The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia: "Progressive" 0 mentions, "Reform Judaism" in 13 articles, including its own (which notes "Liberal" but fails on "Progressive"). In sum, encyclopedias lightly cover "Progressive Judaism" if at all, and focus instead on "Reform Judaism" -- and manage to write decent articles, esp in case of the new Encyclopedia Judaica. Really, I am neither a proponent nor antagonist of the movement, no matter what we call it, I seek to be a neutral non-POV editor. It's just the secondary and now tertiary sources clearly demonstrate that "Reform" is by far the major operative term in discourse about the overall, historical phenomenon. "Progressive Judaism" is much smaller in the sources. Technically, it's "Progressive" is the adjective used for an umbrella corporation/federation and for key local movements (e.g., Israel and now partly UK) at the current time, but "Reform" remains the proper term for the main encyclopedia article (and category). Thanks. HG | Talk 22:23, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
PS I endorse Jheald's suggestion that the American scene should be detailed in a spinoff Reform Judaism (United States) from the main article, which I'd keep as Reform Judaism. HG | Talk 22:28, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
There must always be one lead article about a subject, so splitting articles up by regions can become self-defeating if that is all there will be, see Wikipedia:The perfect article. This would be like suggesting that Football should be moved to Football (United States). Quite frankly, at this time, to create an article like Reform Judaism (United States) would be a violation of WP:POVFORKing because, as the vast majority of the world's followers of Reform Judaism are in the United States it disfigures what the Reform Judaism article should convey as a lead article. Historically, the first center of Reform was Germany and then with the migration of the Jews to the new world it became the USA. Also note, that no-one has ever suggested that articles such as Orthodox Judaism should become Orthodox Judaism (United States) or Orthodox Judaism (Israel) because the notion of defining the principles of a movement by "geography" are utterly fallacious (only at such time when there is enough sourced material for new good articles then spin-offs based on geography may be created.) As an example, no-one would suggest studying a known ideology, such as Communism or Liberalism by first looking up articles named by geography, such as Communist Party of Cuba or Liberalism in the United States as it would make absolutely no sense. Sure, down the line, when you have specific information for that, create articles about Reform Judaism in the United States and Progressive Judaism in the United Kingdom which would be fine, but please do not even think of destroying or down-sizing key lead articles by replacing them with artificial "geographical criteria" when it is ideas we are dealing with here. Thanks, IZAK 03:28, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I've been following this debate both here and at the Judaism WikiProject from the sidelines. This is my first comment.

If I understand things correctly, the phrase "Progressive Judaism" is being mis-used. It is being used both as a proper noun (an international movement by the name "Progressive Judaism", see below) and as an umbrella term (i.e., "progressive Judaism") for the progressive Jewish movements: US Reform Judaism, the UK Liberal Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Humanistic Judaism, and several other groups/movements.

The Progressive Judaism article doesn't help. It uses the phrase "Progressive Judaism" in places where I think "progressive Judaism" is appropriate. For example, "The Progressive Movement has a long history dating back at least to the early 19th century." That's not really true. If "Progressive Judaism" includes non-Reform movements, then the correct statement is "The progressive Jewish movements have a long history dating back at least to the early 19th century."

The fact that there is an international group of "progressive Jewish" movements that uses the name "Progressive Judaism" in its name seems to have confused some people into thinking that there is a single "Progressive Judaism" movement, but everything I have read in this discussion seems to suggest otherwise. Or have I completely misunderstood things? — Malik Shabazz (Talk | contribs) 00:18, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I commend Malik for these comments and I agree. Indeed some users have suggested that even Orthodox Judaism thinkers, should be included in the Progressive Judaism "campaign" (I'm not sure by now if its present proponents are actually dissecting the concept or are pushing for a POV, so the jury is out) but to suggest as they do here Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Progressive Judaism#Article vs Category: Capturing the intellectual influences on Progressive Judaism: "...There are, BTW, many thinkers that have influenced research, dialog, and rhetoric in all streams of Judaism from Orthodoxy to the most tradition denying universalistic segments of Progressive Judaism. Abraham Joshua Heschel, Joseph B Soleveitchik, Leopold Zunz among them. By extension of the definition of "Progressive thinker" offered above, these would also be members of Category:Orthodox Jewish thinkers and Category:Conservative Jewish thinkers..." hence the problem of making a fatal logical mistake that: "If Progressive = Reform" and "Progressive = Orthodox" then does that mean that "Reform = Orthodox"? This would then be a totally nonsensical "conclusion" for a so-called "syllogism" because Reform does not equal Orthodoxy and Orthodoxy does not equal Progressivism as understood here or by most scholars. So we will have to get an intellectual and practical grip on things and tighten up the arguments and categories in order to avoid appearing silly based on flawed conclusions. Thanks again Malik, IZAK 03:47, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Malik, I think you make a very helpful and interesting point in asking us to distinguish between the concept of a denomination and the movement. In Christianity, for example there is an evangelical movement, but there is no evangelical denomination, per se. There is a protestant movement, but no one protestant denomination. On the other hand there are Presbyterian and an Anglican and a Baptist denominations, but no Baptist, Anglican, or Presbyterian movement.

Progressive Judaism, however, is a movement, not a denomination. Organizations affiliated with the movement have many names, and don't always feel the need to include the term "progressive" in the name. For example, the international progressive Zionist association, is called Arzenu (Our land). It is a sub-division (Brit) within the World Zionist Organization with board members on the Zionist Executive of the WZO and the board of governors of the Jewish Agency. Although it clearly shares common interests with the World Union for Progressive Judaism, it is an entirely separate organization.

The manner in which it describes itself, also should give those of us who want to collapse all things progressive under the title "Reform". Note here the care it takes not to conflate the two terms, even though all Reform members of Arzenu are organizations affliated with the Progressive movement. This (I think) reflects the need for sensitivity raised by some of the discussion participants:

ARZENU is the umbrella organization of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists. Founded in 1980 as an "ideological grouping" or Brit Olamit within the World Zionist Organization, ARZENU has constituent groups in ten countries and represents the interests of these groups and of Reform and Progressive Judaism world-wide in the governing bodies of World Zionist Organization and in the Jewish Agency for Israel.

The World Union for Progressive Judaism is somewhere between an organization and a denomination. There are many denominations (e.g. Reconstructionist, UK Reform, US Reform, Dutch Liberal, UK Liberal, Israeli Progressive, German Progressive, Australian Progressive) who belong to this organization. However, in areas where there are only isolated progressive congregations, the regional branch of the World Union for Progressive Judaism acts as the sole "denominational body" for those congregations. Thus the world union is in a gray area between "denominational umbrella organization" and "congregational umbrella organization" (i.e. denomination).

However, denominational umbrella organizations are often an indicator of a common history and set of beliefs. TThe World Council of Churches is an umbrella organization of Protestant congregations. The fact that there is an umbrella organization with multiple denominiations does not make the Protestantism any less of a movement. It is both correct to say that Luther is the father of Protestantism and Luther is the father of Lutheranism. Similarly it is both true to say that Abraham Geiger influenced German Reform Judaism n the 19th century, German Liberal Judaism in the pre-WWII 20th century, German Progressive Judaism today, and the progressive movement worldwide.

Similarly, the World Union for Progressive Judaism reepresents a collection of denominiations, not a movement. However, it was formed because these organizations see themselves as having a shared history and set of beliefs. Among those beliefs are the idea that

  • Judaism has developed over time and will continue to develop.
  • Ethics and values must drive action even at the expense of traditional halakhah. Those ethics and values are captured by the prophetic tradition and all later rabbinic, philosophical, and ethical reflection on that tradition
  • The overriding goal of Judaism is tikkun olam - repairing the world. This obligation extends beyond the Jewish community to the world at large. Jews are responsible for addressing and working to correct injustice and suffering wherever it may occur.

As IZAK notes, these beliefs are quite different from the orthodox perspective and have in fact lead to deep and abiding conflicts between Progressive Jews and significant parts of the orthodox community.

The organizations themselves see their history in terms of a movement and usage tends to vary depending on the region doing the writing. Not surprisingly those regions that prefer the term progressive for their local organization talk about the history of the progressive movement - for example, see Our Place in the World - thirty questions about Progressive Judaism and What is the relationship of Progressive Judaism to Zionism - both from the Union for Progressive Judaism (Australia). Those in regions that prefer the term reform use reform. HG is right that terminology is in the process of change: as the internet and easy plane travel, and most importantly Isreal brings Jews from around the world together, individuals and academics have become increasingly sensitive to local bias, those writing towards a world wide audience have been increasingly careful to use the more inclusive term, "progressive". However, the term progressive has a long history of being the more inclusive term. I believe that this usage actually pre-dates the formation of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

Egfrank 06:35, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I had a look at the lengthy discussion there. I believe it should be Reform Judaism with a subsection on Progressive Judaism as a newer term, possibly with its own slant. Reform Judaism is the historical movement begun in Europe, and Progressive came later. I don't think there should be two articles. My personal view is that all these new names - Progressive, Reconstructionist, etc. - are attempts to dissociate from the bad image of Reform Judaism and bring back some aspects of tradition that Reform Judaism spurned. --Gilabrand 09:21, 30 October 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gilabrand (talkcontribs)
I suuport Gilabrand. The movement is best known in English as "Reform Judaism", though we should note that some groups within it have begun to call themselves "progressive". Beit Or 10:01, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Gilabrand and , that is an interesting point. I agree that some of the preference for "progressive" does reflect a desire to distance. I'm wondering though what exactly all this distancing is about. If this is about tradition vs. spurning, how you would explain two points that have been raised here and in the other discussion:
  • UK Liberals agree with US Reform on almost every point but they still don't like the name Reform. In fact the reason they don't like it is that UK Reform is too traditional for their tastes.
  • US Reform has re-embraced tradition in a big way, but it really likes the term Reform, even to the point of imposing it on progressive jews in other countries (see citation above about Eric Yoffee (USA) discussing "world-wide Reform".
Kol tuv, Egfrank 10:07, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I'd also like to remind everyone here (myself included) that the core question under discussion here (at least originally) was whether or not the use of "Reform" was an example of geographic systemic bias towards US Reform, i.e. naming the whole from the geographic perspective of the part. Egfrank 10:07, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

"Progressive" should be the umbrella term, and all the articles on particular movements should be marked with this category: it would be absolutely wrong to use "Reform" as the generic term to include, e.g. Liberal Judaism in England and Reconstructionist Judaism in the US. On the other hand, the historical part about nineteenth-century Germany should be in the article on "Reform Judaism", as this is the oldest of the progressive movements and the umbrella term "progressive" had not been invented at that stage.
If there is to be an article on "Progressive Judaism", it should be confined to those movements that actually call themselves by that name, while noting briefly that the name can also be used as a generic name for all the other movements.
To say that some Orthodox thinkers can be regarded as "progressive" with a small p is a complete red herring. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 10:22, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Good point -- while "Liberal Judaism" is often put under the generic "Reform" in scholarship and tertiary sources, "Reconstructionist" is typically differentiated from "Reform". (I'm not agreeing w/either usage, just reporting it.) So I'll concede that either the "Reform" category should exclude "Reconstructionist" or a new "Progressive Judaism" category would include it. For the historical overview, I think we'd still want -- besides the "Reform Judaism" article -- the 19th c Germans and any subarticles of intellectual/theological history under the "Reform" category. Sir Myles na Gopaleen, thanks. HG | Talk 11:18, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I sense we have two issues here: a present day geographic one and a historical one. The historical one, e.g. how thinkers should be categorized has been raised by User:IZAK, User:HG, User:Sirmylesnagopaleentheda and explicitly discussed on the Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject Progressive Judaism page.

Proposal: Get history off the table

A strange thought (how's this HG for flipping sides?): I'm not so sure its such a good idea to assign the post-Mendelsohn Jewish religious reformers to any denominational label whether Reform, Liberal, Progressive, or Reconstructionist. All these terms are pretty loaded to someone somewhere.

  • with the exception of some extremists most of these thinkers influenced at least two and sometimes all movements to some degree or another. The historical-critical school has impacted just about everyone except may be the Haredi. Almost everyone uses Marcus Jastrow's dictionary when they study the Talmud, but Jastrow was (really!) a rabbi of a Reform congregation in Philadelphia. Samson Hirsch's commentary is often found in the pews of Conservative Synogogues.
  • often the figures that get assigned to movements didn't themselves want to create a movement. They get assigned after the fact, usually by authors interested in the historic influences on one particular stream. This includes almost all of the early German Reformers and even some new ones like Mordachai Kaplan (he quite strongly objected to a new movement - he was trying to unify people not divide them)
  • most importantly of all, these thinkers influenced and reacted to each other. The world we live in today is a product of their interaction - what do we gain by trying to separate them into denominational silos?

I wonder if the attempt to categorize thinkers by movement is really a form of over-categorization. Do we really want to go and spend time slapping five or six or more denominational category labels on members of the historical-critical school? A solid argument could be made for assigning many of them to any of these: Reconstructionist, UK Liberal, Dutch Liberal, US Reform, UK Reform,... And even if we lumped all the organizations that call themselves progressive together, we would still have: Progressive, Conservative, Masorti, Modern Orthodox, Renewal - where will it stop?

Might it not be a better idea to have an article (and companion category) on Jewish religious reformers? Once its written we can link to it as needed all over the place and individual movement articles can offer synopsises that reflect the parts that most influenced them. Egfrank 11:52, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

  • No! Firstly, what other kind of "Jewish reformers" are their besides "religious" ones? Secondly, the name could also imply that the "reformers" were "religious" when many of them were decidely anti being (traditionally) religious -- which is why they tried to "reform" it in the first place! Thirdly one must be sensitive to not fall into the trap of Revisionism and a violation of WP:NOR. Wikipedia is not in the business of re-writing history! Fourthly, a problem with the name "Jewish religious reformers" is that it will by-pass the serious and very importnat reasons and consequnces behind many of those "reforms" -- Jesus and his followers tried to "reform" Judaism and look what happened there. Similarly, the Karaites tried to "reform" the Judaism of their day and look what happened to them. And, one cannot deny that the founders of Reform Judaism etc did do it and created a movement, so what is the point of whitewashing and airbrushing the ugly facts out of Jewish history when the Schisms among the Jews cannot be glossed over, nor reframed, nor given new cheery-sounding names to cover-up the differences. IZAK 11:22, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Proposal: Keep Reform Judaism as umbrella article for past and present

Listen, Egfrank, a compliment & friendly criticism: you are thinking about this way too much. The point isn't how we analyze the situation, it's what secondary sources do. We don't need more original analysis, we need to describe what's said in the major sources. There are numerous secondary sources on the topic of the movement's history & culture & thought, and the topic is overwhelming known as "Reform Judaism" (history & thought etc). Please don't blame me, blame Jacob Katz, (or the Americans, eg David Ellenson, Michael Meyer), etc. If you could accept this, if we clarify the distinction between current org's vs. the movement as described in 2ry sources, then I think we can resolve the dispute to your partial satisfaction. It wouldn't satisfy IZAK entirely either, but I think either he can be persuaded or he'll be willing to learn to live with it. Here's the kind of thing I would propose (here or on the project page):
  1. Reform Judaism remains the main article on the history, culture & thought (etc) of the 200 year old reform movement (small 'r'), with spin-offs as appropriate. Should describe the relationship of various denominations (incl Reconstructionist) to the reform movement. Good location also for some discussion of relation with Conservative and Orthodoxy, too. Including good and balanced coverage of progressive and Progressive.
  2. Articles on each notable Progressive affiliate, already in place, i.e., the URJ, IMPJ, WUPJ, etc.
  3. A category, including Reconstructionists and any other affiliates, called something like: "Organizations in Progressive Judaism" (i.e., clarify "Progress Jewish communal orgs" category)
  4. An article on Progressive Judaism as a movement, similar to what currently exists. Focus primarily on the WUPJ, the use and shift to "progressive," etc. This article can either give a summary style synopsis of the main article history/thought, or add verifiable differences betw "progressive" and "reform" Judaism, if any
  5. "Reform Judaism" remains the main category.
  6. UK-related (e.g. Liberal Judaism) stays the same. We defer discussion of a spin-off "Reform Judaism (US)" and first focus on improving all these articles up to better quality...
I won't try to recapitulate the reasoning behind all this. Plus, you and I should sit back and let other folks -- esp those outside the Judaism project comment here, we can pursue this proposal elsewhere. HG | Talk 15:40, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
  • I am not the only editor who thinks Reform Judaism is a poor choice of umbrella term. A proposal also needs to address their concerns.
  • Michael Meyers is not a source to support your conclusion that it should be used as an umbrella term.
    • As previously mentioned, Michael Meyers in his book "Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism" is quite careful to talk about "progressive Judaism" in Chapter 11 where he discusses the internationalization of the movement. The reason his book as a whole is called "Reform Judaism" is because its focus is on explaining the US movement. Four chapters out of ten are dedicated to the US movement, including the final chapter 12. This sounds to me like pretty strong evidence in favor of a (present day) definition of global=progressive, local=whatever is historically and currently valid.
    • Michael Meyers also uses the term progressive Judaism in article titles. Example: "Rabbi Dr. Baeck’s Legacy to Progressive Judaism.” By Michael Meyer.
  • IZAK's concern was not *just* the name, but also the characterization and any proposal needs to address that. I think part of what he was reacting to was that the characterization of Reform/Progressive was so different in the two articles. Ideally, a proposal needs to address that issue as well.
    • In the Reform Judaism article any commitment to torah is treated as an after-thought, as if Reform Jews should only get respect because now they are turning to tradition. The discussion of modern Reform is also buried deep into the article where someone has to hunt pretty hard to find it.
    • In the Progressive Judaism article, sketchy as it is, great pains have been made to express the commitment to Torah (Jewish commitment) without reference to practice (e.g. the do they eat pork question) and to focus the description on process and values. This is *not* the way most orthodox view progressive/reform/liberal Judaism, but it is the way it views itself. Again this is not OR - it can be cited in numerous sources. The mission statements included in the Progressive Judaism article citations are but some examples. But there are also countless books that discuss this.

Egfrank 17:06, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Fair enough, my proposal isn't intended to endorse the current reform Judaism article and its flaws, and if anti-reform POV has messed it up, let's fix it. I welcome IZAK to object or propose amendments to my proposal, but otherwise I'll assume that he just want a neutral and solid description of these matters, and I hope the proposed arrangement would facilitate that. As far as Meyer, well, I stand by my view that like most scholars he focuses on "reform Judaism" and there's a reason for the choices he makes about the book title, chapter distribution of topics, etc. Like him, my proposal would also make space for "progressive/Progressive" in article or section headings. HG | Talk 18:40, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
HG, have you actually read his book Response to Modernity? Or are you just going by the title? How do you account for this excerpt if Meyers thinks "reform" is the normative term when talking about the world wide movement? The phrase "Reform Judaism" appears no where in this 3 page excerpt, not even in the ...'s:
Just before the war [World War I], the German Liberals invited their counterparts in France, England and America to send representatives to their regular conference ... But the war and residual tensions following it prevented that union [until 1926] ... The most significant achievement of the 1926 conference was organizational ... After a lively discussion on the differeing meanins of the terms "Reform" and "Liberal" in various countries and languages, the delegates voted to call their new organiation the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ)...From the first the WUPJ was a shoestring operation... What funds it did have ent mostly into exploring the possibility of spreading Progressive Judaism into those countries where it had not taken firm hold but where some interest had been shown. (Response to Modernity, pp. 335-337)
Best, Egfrank 21:37, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
As has been said previously, the overarching history and culture of the movement are handled by Meyer and others predominantly in "reform/Reform" terms. Nobody's denying that WUPJ is notable and aims to spread "Progressive Judaism" worldwide. It is "An International Movement" says Meyer and he covers it in 18 pages (335-352) of his 386p book (yes, I confess! I haven't actually read the whole book, you nailed me on that!). Indeed, the first paragraph of the book begins: "Well over a million Jews in the world today identify themselves religiously as Reform, Liberal, or Progressive. ... They represent that branch of Judaism...." So, what does he call that branch of Judaism? Well, from pp. 1-224 he describes the history of European reform. At the very least, in this European retrospective, he could have used 'progressive' terminology but he chose not to. Why doesn't Meyer use "Progressive" to describe the overall branch or its history, even though he himself describes it as a worldwide movement? He explains this upfront in the Preface -- and it is not because of a biased focus on American Judaism at all. I don't have time to type in the whole passage, maybe later:
"The methodological difficulties that confront the historian of Reform Jduaism begin with the name itself. "Reform Judaism" designates a particular position on the contemporary Jewish religious spectrum represented by a broad consensus of beliefs and practices and a set of integrated institutions. .... Not all Jews who advocated significant religious reforms during the last two centuries identified their position as Reform Judaism. ...
"Clearly another term than "Reform Judaism" is therefore preferable, one which broadly encompasses the modern effort to bring about Jewish religious reform and its not limited by self-designation or insitutional boundaries. To go the other extreme, however, and deal generically .. etc. .... It therefore seems adequate to speak of a "Reform movement," which eventually produced Reform Judaism. The capital 'R' in this case does not at the beginning represent institutional identity but simply a unity of purpose." viii
Meyer has the perfect opportunity here -- "another term than "Reform Judaism" is therefore preferable" -- to choose "progressive" but he does not. Instead, he sticks with 'Reform' for this broad branch of Judaism. Why? Because r/Reform is how scholars write about this topic. I'm not trying to be confrontational, I respect you both as editors, I respect "Progressive Judaism" and I know that some folks use it to describe the whole branch. All I'm trying to say is that the discourse of secondary & tertiary sources mainly use the term "reform" Judaism. Please, there are many dozens of books about reform Judaism. How many scholarly books are there with a title "History of Progressive Judaism" or the like and that covers the 200 year worldwide history? Can you identify one such book? HG | Talk 23:01, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Mayer is the standard work, eg on university reading lists, yes. But it did strike me the other day, when I looked at it, that a mere 18 pages on the rest of the world post-war was a little bit weak. Jheald 00:38, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, there are fair number of books on the contemporary UK branch (Liberal and Reform), though maybe more quasi-scholarly books by insiders. Overall, J historians seem more oriented to 19th century. HG | Talk 01:03, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
And so what? It doesn't matter how many times Meyer uses the word Reform - it is still only one part of Progressive. Meyer isn't writing about UK Reform (which has nothing to do with Reform Judaism and began in London, or Reconstructionists (which has nothing to do with Reform Judaism and started out associated with the US Conservatives) or Humanists, etc. - he's writing specifically about those groups who trace the evolution of their theology back to Germany in the nineteenth century. Is the Reform Meyer writes about a worldwide movement? Well, that can be concluded in the affirmative since the movement that began in Germany now has adherents internationally. But it is still just one part of Progressive Judaism. (bangs own head against wall) A Sniper 19:03, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
HG, I think the key phrase here is from pp. 1-224 he describes the history of European reform (your comment above). No one but no one has contended that pre-1926 there was a formal common progressive identity and those pages only cover the pre-1926 period (i.e. the period before these movements met and organized around their common beliefs). The remainder of the book either focuses on the US (where he does use Reform) or on the international movement (where he uses the term Progressive Judaism). I think we all acknowledge that the use of the term "progressive" during the pre-1926 period is anachronistic.
However categories such as Progressive communal institutions or Progressive higher education or Progressive thinkers only include people and organizations that are part of present day Judaism, not pre-1926 history (at least last I checked). Also, the desire for an umbrella article called Progressive Judaism reflects a desire to have movement articles describe the movement today and avoid the current tendency to have those articles be dominated by discussions of ancient history. So the relevent issue for umbrella terms and geographic bias is not pre-1926 Europe but post-1926 worldwide. Egfrank 22:02, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
  • My head is spinning from this entire discussion. Reform Judaism - that movement started in Germany in the nineteenth century and currently referred to as Reform in North America, Liberal in the UK, and Progressive everywhere else - is but a PART of Progressive Judaism, which contains denominations that have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with what I have just called Reform Judaism. Case: Reconstructionist is a distinct denomination of Judaism that has nothing to do with Reform Judaism, but classifies itself as part of Progressive Judaism. Case: Humanistic Judaism and its adherents have nothing to do with Reform Judaism but consider themselves part of Progressive Judaism. Case: UK Reform has nothing to do with Reform Judaism (as described above as originating in Germany) but considers itself as part of Progressive Judaism.
In other words you have denominations that DO NOT use the word Reform or have anything to do with Reform Judaism that, like Reform Judaism, find themselves all calling themselves Progressive. NOBODY is insinuating that any Orthodox denomination or group should be included as being a part of worldwide, international Progressive Judaism, and I believe the only person saying that Egfrank suggested this is IZAK.
The bottom line is that to try and claim that Reform Judaism is actually the umbrella, worldwide term is spurious nonsense and not supported by any facts - and from what I've read above and on the project page, is maybe more than slightly influenced by prejudice and bias. Best, A Sniper 11:25, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
I've spent alot of time documenting the relative notability of "reform" and "progressive" Judaism. Calling my analysis "spurious nonsense" is not constructive; it may undermine your own credibility more than mine. SHOUTing your repeated arguments is also not advisable. HG | Talk 18:40, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Just as a point of clarification, Reconstructionist Judaism is a lower-case-r reform movement, but is not and has never been part of capital-R Reform Judaism. It didn't call itself Reconstructionist to "dissociate from the bad image of Reform Judaism"; in fact, it started as part of the Conservative Jewish movement. There are some significant differences between Reconstructionist and Reform Judaism, especially the way the two movements approach halakha (traditional Jewish law).
Mentioning Reconstructionist Judaism in the Reform article, as some have suggested, is inappropriate. Likewise, Reconstructionist Judaism shouldn't be a subcategory of Reform Judaism. The relationship between them is that they are both lower-case-r reform Jewish movements. If there is a super-category (Progressive Judaism or Jewish reform movements), both would belong as sub-categories. — Malik Shabazz (Talk | contribs) 17:32, 30 October 2007 (UTC) [Due to an edit conflict, my comments duplicate some of what A Sniper wrote. I think his time zone is wrong.]
For clarify, the main article Reform Judaism is small 'r' "reform movement" and should include Liberal and it's fine with me if Reconstructionism goes there. Heck, the article should address the relationship of Conservative and Orthodoxy too, however these relationships need to be described. Thanks Malik and I'll amend my proposal above. HG | Talk 18:25, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for that Malik Shabazz re: Reconstructionist. I believe that this highlights the problem with the Reform Judaism page that another user had mentioned days ago: namely that, as it stands, the page could be said to represent upper case 'R' Reform (read: the movement started in Germany and currently active in North America) other than the fact that it has a section on UK Reform, which is an entirely different denomination with separate roots. That should be on another page, perhaps called Movement for Reform Judaism (UK). Why stick Reconstructionist on a reform movement page when they don't like to even be associated with the very word reform? Again: all of these denominations (North American Reform, UK Liberal, North American Reconstructionist, UK reform, Israeli Progressive, Australian Progressive, various European Progressive, etc. ALL consider themselves PROGRESSIVE, not REFORM. To stick Reconstructionist under anything related to reform (lower case 'r' or otherwise)is incorrect and would be disputed by any member of that denomination. Cheers, A Sniper 12:38, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Sniper, that is just your opinion. The fact of the matter is that Reform Judaism has and remains the most widely used and comprehensive name for all the movements you have described in terms of world media, books, Jewish history, Jewish historians, academics, rabbis, Jewish studies and the the world at large. When one -- anyone -- wants to point out that over-arching branch of Judaism that is neither Orthodox nor Conservative nobody says oh, it's the "Progressive" or "Liberal" -- it's always the "Reform" -- and this is actually so self-evident that it's very surprising to see the fuss that you and Egfrank are kicking up about it. It's all very well that some organizations put Progressive over Reform and put it on some letterheads, and admitedly the British Jews may use the word "Liberal" a lot, but the term Reform is not considered perjorative for any of those movements by anyone (if it was, I too would oppose it's usage on Wikipedia, since Wikipedia does not promote perjorative terms as a rule and if the term Reform Judaism was in any way negative for what it is meant to convey and connote, there would have been a huge outcry by now -- but there is not and never has been, unlike the bad press you guys are giving it here.) So why confuse matters in a manner that seems to be one of Revisionism when you go overboard with pushing the "Progressive" label over all others when the facts of life scream out it just aint so. IZAK 11:48, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Less common does not mean non-notable. There is little doubt that "Progressive Judaism" is a notable term. Only notability is a requirement for use in article title and categories. Egfrank 12:03, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Of course Progressive Judaism is notable. That is not even the question. The only question is what to call the parent category. Maybe as the ultimate compromise there should be Category:Reform Progressive Liberal Judaism denominations as the parent category, with the three main sub-categories being Category:Reform Judaism, Category: Progressive Judaism; Category:Liberal Judaism. How does that sound? Is it logical to you? IZAK 12:12, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Proposal: leave it up to/trust the active editors

HG, despite your offer of a Progressive Judaism article and your gracious acknowlegement that the Reform Judaism article might have been "messed up" by bias, I'm afraid this proposal is a no-go. It simply does not address many of the issues that have been raised. You can stand by an opinion, but for it to be accepted by others you need to explain it.

The bottom line is this:

  • The term Progressive Judaism is "notable enough". There are 315 books cateloged under progressive judaism in an academic library (about 20% of the books keyed by either progressive judaism or reform judaism).
    • This 20% is especially notable when one considers that the academic library(HUC) is in the USA where one would expect a focus on US Reform and hence a high number of books specifically about US Reform. The presence of local bias in those figures can be shown by comparing the catelog finding in the combined US HUC libraries with the Jerusalem campus library. Whereas in the US there is a 1:4 ratio of books cataloged under progressive vs. reform judaism, the ratio in the Jerusalem campus library (which educates students from around the world) is only slightly less than 1 to 1 (848:1014) see link. Despite the fact that the Jerusalem campus is but a small fraction in size of the combined US HUC libraries, it has over 2x more books in English cataloged under "Progressive Judaism".
  • The term is popular enough - 2 million Google hits proves that. And "popular enough" is good enough to justify use. The "popular" rule of thumb is only there to make sure that some obscure specialist term doesn't bump a common term. It isn't meant to eliminate all but the most popular term. Example: Wikipedia has article for both "stomach" and "abdomen". They mean roughly the same thing and are often used interchangeably even though "stomach" is only a part of the "abdomen". Guess what? abdomen only has 18 million google hits compared to stomach's 45 million. This most popular argument is specious. There are and always will be multiple popular names for things - that is what redirects and disambiguation pages are for.
  • Several users have provided and documented with outside citations a definition (reform PART of global progressive WHOLE) that can be used to prevent POV forks and resolve disputes. POV fork is not an issue here.
  • The association between the term Progressive Judaism and a common history, mission, set of beliefs, shared rabbinic institutions, regional exchange of rabbis, and multiple communal organizations, both local and global can be amply documented.

I therefore see no cause to delete, merge, or otherwise restrict the use of the terms Reform and Progressive. It seems to me therefore that we should leave be these two articles, Reform Judaism and Progressive Judaism and various associated categories, and leave the decisions about the arrangement of the material to those users who are willing to take the time to carefully read, write about, and cite material related to the topic. Egfrank 21:39, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Amen and Amen. Well put... A Sniper 22:07, 30 October 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by A Sniper (talkcontribs)

Motion to remove progressive/reform as systematic bias task

The discussion (above) mostly talks about the question of whether to call a branch of Judaism by 'reform' or 'progressive' terminology. The discussion was placed here in CSB as an open task because of a concern about "geographic bias" in Wikipedia against the adherents to the 'progressive' term. However, is this really a question of systematic bias?

  • From what I can tell, the main point of CSB is to counter systematic bias that, even unintentionally, works against the coverage of subjects in Wikipedia. Such bias occurs mainly because certain groups do not have the same proportion of education, access to info technology, and access to mainstream media and scholarship (i.e., reliable sources). Such bias in Wikipedia reflects bias and disadvantages facing people in the real worlds, such as women, people of developing nations of the Second- and Third worlds, the poor people of industrialized countries, the disabled and aged, aboriginal peoples, ethnic and other minorities.
  • However, I see nothing to suggest that "progressive" adherents face a genuine systematic bias in Wikipedia. Though I don't have demographic data at my fingertips, both "progressive" adherents tend to be well-educated people of American or European origin, who have excellent access to information technology and quite good coverage in reliable sources. Granted, some of these people live in Israel or outside the First World, but I'm quite skeptical that's a "geographic bias" of significant import. (Of course, the Israeli reform / progressive branch Jews may experience bias within Israel, just as the Orthodox and Conservative branch Jews also claim to experience bias. But that's an unrelated matter.) Instead, I'm fairly confident that the access to Wikipedia and to secondary sources for this branch of Judaism, call it what you will, is extremely disproportionate -- in favor of this branch -- compared to groups facing real world systematic bias.
  • In addition, by bringing our terminology dispute here, I think we do a disservice ('injustice' would be hyperbole) to those trying to counter serious forms of systematic bias as they are reflected in Wikipedia.

Therefore, I recommend that we close this task as a question of systematic bias. We can pick up the question (how to name the articles and categories for this branch of Judaism) elsewhere, probably at WikiProject Judaism. If you disagree, please make a stronger and lucid case for why this is a matter of systematic bias and not a discourse/rhetoric dispute among Jews. I invite veterans of CSB to comment, too. Thanks very much. HG | Talk 14:30, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Have we resolved the geographic issue?

I guess HG, the question is have we resolved the question of geographic bias? I see only two ways this can be true:

  1. there is agreement to let this issue be decided by the people working on the articles, rather than the Judaism project trying to command on high the choice of names. In that case, there is no issue, because the active editors on those articles have a consensus: progressive=world-wide, local=whatever is right for that region (I'm assuming, HG, that you do not intend to research and edit the articles yourself - if you do, that is a different matter - BTW you are most welcome :-))
  2. we get the following opinions to come to a consensus:
    • Progressive is neutral, Reform is geographically biased as an umbrella term: User:A Sniper, User:Egfrank, User:Jheald (all editors actively studying and editing the topic) plus User:Sirmylesnagopaleentheda have presented some strong reasons why "Reform" as an umbrella term is geographically biased.
      • Mix of Names. organizations claiming common cause under the banner of progressive Judaism have a mix of names Reform (US, UK), Liberal (Dutch, UK), Progressive everywhere else. Thus the name privileges those in the US and UK over those in other regions.
      • Causes confusion and incorrect assumptions about world-wide commonalities. Reform is confusing because it implies more world-wide commonality than exists: US Reform and UK Reform are very different and it is inevitable that people will conflate the name reform with the views of either the US or UK movement and apply them to the whole. This (a) privileges the viewpoints in the US or UK depending on whose version of Reform is used (b) implies that progressive judaism in other regions is wholly in agreement with either the US or the UK (not true - agreement is only partial) and (c) when people do impose the part (either US or UK) on the whole, it creates a term that has two possibly somewhat contradictory meanings since the US and UK Reform are significantly different from each other.
      • Neglects regional needs for neutral terms In the UK there is both a Liberal and Reform Progressive movement. The liberal movement explicitly associates itself with "Progressive Judaism" and disassociates itself with "Reform Judaism".
      • Reform=umbrella mistates the position of Meyer. Attempts to use Meyer (considered one of the top experts on the history of reform/liberal/progressive Judaism) to support the umbrella use of Reform are invalid because in the 11 pages where he talks about the world wide movement post 1926 he almost exclusively uses the term Progressive Judaism.
    • Reform is geographically neutral as an umbrella term or its neutrality doesn't matter: User:HG. Claims not interested in editing BUT has spent a lot of time and effort on researching his views in this particular discussion.
      • Progressive=umbrella mistates the position of Meyer. History not just present needs to be taken into account.
      • Progressive causes confusion. Not enough people would recognize the term progressive despite 2 million google hits and a significant number of academic works using the term "Progressive Judaism".
      • The above two issues are sufficiently important so as to make the geographic bias issue irrelevant
    • Geography is a red-herring:
      • User:Gilabrand and User:Beit Or think that Progressive is a way to escape the "bad" reform rather than a geographic issue, but when inconsistencies in that position were pointed out provided no response.
      • User:IZAK feels that this is just a way to have a POV fork, rather than being a geographic issue. A definition that would avoid that has been provided and no active editor agrees that this fork avoiding definition would be a problem.
    • No comment on geographic issue:
      • User:Malik Shabazz's position on the geographic issue. (He cast a vote against Reform Judaism as the main article for other reasons (Reconstructionist and Humanistic Jews are also progressive).

If we can resolve this geographic issue, I will be happy to join you in a motion to a Judaism related venue. Egfrank 22:31, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Oh Egfrank, so only if everything is done on your terms will you agree? Very funny! That is not called negotiating AFAIK. IZAK 11:46, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
IZAK, I do have a right to decide what will change my mind. I think the geographic issue is important. So do others. If we've really reached a stalemate among ourselves, I'm more than happy to request comment or arbitration. But we can't pretend something is resolved when it isn't. Egfrank 12:10, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Egfrank: This whole "geographic" diversion that you have introduced is one of the biggest red herrings that I have seen thrown into a serious discussion for a very long time. Especially when dealing with a concept, or notion or ideology how on Earth could anyone suggest that it is "geography" that has determined the name Reform Judaism but that Progressive Judaism is "above the fray" and is somehow a more "universal term" when it just aint so? Anyone who has ever taken a Jewish history or a Jewish studies course (and I am not talking about what they do in Orthodoxy or in their yeshivas) but just about anyone anywhere, Jewish and non-Jewish who has ever read a book or an article or taken a course in Judaism knows that the name "Reform Judaism" is the most important name for that movement which broke away from Orthodoxy and established itself as a rival denomination. Yes, as it trickled down and settled down in various locales it took on various names in some places over time, such as Liberal and Progressive, but the main core concept and movement is and remains Reform Judaism, so that no amount of lobbying, obfuscating, personalizing of arguments, editing and whatnot will change those facts, not on Wikipedia and not in the world. If anything you are disproving your own case because as you show it was the geographic splintering of Refom that has brought about the names of Progressive and Liberal (maybe) in other places so that "Progressive" is the child of mere geography and is most certainly not the core concept, but the historical, philosophical and theological source of these is and remains Reform Judaism, in spite off all the backwards summersaults and flip-flops to deny it. See also my response to User:A Sniper: The fact of the matter is that Reform Judaism has and remains the most widely used and comprehensive name for all the movements you have described in terms of world media, books, Jewish history, Jewish historians, academics, rabbis, Jewish studies and the the world at large. When one -- anyone -- wants to point out that over-arching branch of Judaism that is neither Orthodox nor Conservative nobody says oh, it's the "Progressive" or "Liberal" -- it's always the "Reform" -- and this is actually so self-evident that it's very surprising to see the fuss that you and Egfrank are kicking up about it. It's all very well that some organizations put Progressive over Reform and put it on some letterheads, and admitedly the British Jews may use the word "Liberal" a lot, but the term Reform is not considered perjorative for any of those movements by anyone (if it was, I too would oppose it's usage on Wikipedia, since Wikipedia does not promote perjorative terms as a rule and if the term Reform Judaism was in any way negative for what it is meant to convey and connote, there would have been a huge outcry by now -- but there is not and never has been, unlike the bad press you guys are giving it here.) So why confuse matters in a manner that seems to be one of Revisionism when you go overboard with pushing the "Progressive" label over all others when the facts of life scream out it just aint so. Thanks again, IZAK 12:06, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
IZAK, did I hear red herring? I think I might have actually summarized your opinion correctly for once? :-) Egfrank 12:13, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Very funny Eg, the only herring I love is pickled herring. Did you see my proposal above: The only question is what to call the parent category. Maybe as the ultimate compromise there should be Category:Reform Progressive Liberal Judaism denominations as the parent category, with the three main sub-categories being Category:Reform Judaism, Category: Progressive Judaism; Category:Liberal Judaism. How does that sound? Is it logical to you? IZAK 12:21, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
And perhaps the lead article should be Reform Progressive Liberal Judaism? What sayest thou? IZAK 12:34, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
This is starting to look like a debate about married and maiden names where many modern women cannot come to terms with their new husbands names and opt to hold onto their original family surnames as they come to terms with their new marriage names. So should it be "Progressive Judaism Née Reform Judaism"? Personally my vote is to stick with the original ("family") name of Reform Judaism for the lead article and Category:Reform Judaism for the parent category, but the other options I have outlined above may allow for the views you have introduced, as long as you will do the hard work of filling them with good informative articles. IZAK 12:42, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
The umbrella, worldwide category should be Progressive Judaism, which includes various Jewish denominations, and Reform Judaism should ONLY refer to the North American denomination that has its roots in the classical nineteenth century German reformers. There should also be individual pages for UK Liberal, Reconstructionist, Humanistic, UK Reform (which has nothing to do with North American Reform, either histroically or theologically), and the various progressive organizations internationally. The rationale for this has been deomonstrated perhaps a dozen times now on this and other pages. If the current Progressive Judaism page is unclear or ambiguous, it needs to be fixed. To make Reform the category or international umbrella is inaccurate. Thank you. A Sniper 08:58, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Sniper, hi. You are wrong. Nothing has been clarified to anyone's (except to yours and Egfrank's) satisfaction about how Reform differs from Progressivism and Liberals. Can you perhaps create a little chart or table that would clearly illustrate the ten key theological differences between all three, and not just say, well one is in Australia and one is in England and the other is in America, like regional sports teams. After all, this is religion we are talking about and not the regional chapters of a movement. That is just not good enough for an intellectual discussion. Of course there should be as many good articles as possible and no-one is disputing the topics you mention. But please take note, that there are three different "levels" in a sense. Articles, Lists, Categories and they function differently. There can be articles, lists, and categories for all the topics you mention here. But whereas with article pages one can create a balance between rival articles and on list pages one can even have groupings by any sort of factors, the real problem to solve is how to deal with the categories, see Wikipedia:Categorization. Wikipedia has had Category:Reform Judaism as the main parent category for all the above topics for the past four years, now you and Egfrank come along and say no, that it is not correct and that Category:Progressive Judaism should now be crowned the "real" parent category, and that is where this entire impasse has been for a long time. I have thrown out a rough suggestion of Category:Reform Progressive Liberal Judaism as a neutral grouping for a new larger parent category (it would be perfect for articles which cannot be clearly put into one or the other of Reform/Progressive/Liberal) which will have equal and probabaly overlapping sub-categories and articles in it, of three sub-categories: Category:Reform Judaism; Category:Progressive Judaism; Category:Liberal Judaism and these three will in turn be the parent categories for articles directly related to them. How much better can one do? IZAK 06:26, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
IZAK, the married-maiden name issue is actually a good way to look at it, except that it is more like someone who, once married, uses the maiden name in business contexts and the married name in social contexts. That is a much better way to think about it then "Reform" opposed to "Progressive" as if they were somehow two different haradi sects arguing with each other.
As for your category proposal, I think this main-sub category issue is a bit of a chimera. As Wikipedia:Categorization likes to point out "Categories do not form a tree". They are supposed to network and overlap with each other.
The second point that we need to remember from Wikipedia:Categorization is not to overcategorize. We should focus on category names that either (a) list things discussed in an article in an easy to scan format (b) reflect search terms that people might use. In terms of what people might use to search:
  • Well, we certainly know that people are going to search for things named "Reform ...."
  • We also know that people are going to search for things named "Liberal ..."
  • We also know that people are going to search for things named "Progressive ..."
  • Its probably unlikely that people will search for all three terms at once, so a name using all three may not really be all that useful (from the reader's point of view)
The third point is over categorization: if having three separate categories Reform, Liberal, Progressive really helps people sort through stuff, that is a great idea. If all they really care about are a single list that has the things that (depending on POV) get called Reform/Liberal/Progressive, then we should take advantage of the wonderful wiki technology and pick one of the three as a main category, and the rest as soft redirects.
Since, as you pointed out, this is really just a case of maiden/married name, then I think no one is really going to care very much about having separate lists.
Which brings us back to the main category problem, but with a different twist - Reform, Liberal, Progressive all point to the exact same set of pages. We just need to decide which is the "real" page and which is the redirect.
So my question is: would you be terribly fussed if we did that: I mean have Reform=Liberal=Progressive and redirect our "fight" to which one actually gets the article list? Egfrank 15:33, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Hi Egfrank: You need to tighten up the terminology because Wikipedia:Lists and Wikipedia:Categorization are two entirely different methods of organizing information on Wikipedia. And I am glad that we are finally down to talking about this stuff rather than haggling over worldviews and philosophies. Now here is one critical difference between Lists and Categories: Lists are articles in listified form and they are much more malleable and very easy to change and redirect, and allow for the easy flow from one topic/page to another topic/page effortlessly. BUT, not so with categories because redirect pages of categories are clumsy and they are static. They just have a message, see for example how this happens when you try to look for Category:Gay and the message that comes up on that page, so is that what you would want a category redirect from Category:Reform Judaism to Category:Progressive Judaism to look like? Is Reform judaism that much of a lesser notion/label/movement/theology/philosophy/religion/concept/idea than Progressive Judaism that it now has to become the sidekick of Progressive Judaism? It's just not in the cards. There is nothing wrong in creating an overall parent category that will serve as an umbrella for the three movements of Reform/Progressive/Liberal. As I said, since the system of categories was introduced about four years ago, no-one has disputed that Category:Reform Judaism should be the one and only parent category for Reform/Progressive/Liberal articles so it is very strange to hear your adamancy when many editors have never disagreed with it for so long. IZAK 06:26, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Silence is not an argument. Who knows why no one said anything?
In any case, the category issue is a side issue and it is my bad for not politely saying reminding us to stay on track. The only thing I will say is that if and when we we have this discussion there are some related technical issues and solutions you may not know about (and yes I am well aware of the differences between categories and lists).
The main issue is resolving this issue. I really think though we are wasting our time here. There are three editors who have an active interest in Reform/Liberal/Progressive articles and are editing them on a regular basis have a consensus about names - we certainly aren't interested in messing up our work with POV forks or any other such silliness. We all have access to sources, are careful and responsible editors, communicate well with each other (and we have a even establish a way to do it that isn't on our user pages!!! -- the dreaded Progressive Judaism project :-)). Why not just trust us to do a good job. And spend *your* time on articles whose content you really care about studying and editing?
Do you *still* really believe we're out to destroy the Judaism (or Reform Judaism) articles? I'm really not sure I understand. Egfrank 14:28, 2 November 2007 (UTC)