Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard

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Alternative medicine

A current Slashdot thread [1] based on a Wall Street Journal article about ArbCom contains a lot of complaints about Wikipedia editing, but few specifics. I looked at one article, alternative medicine that was mentioned by name and it does seem far more polemic than appropriate. Here, for example, is the lede: "Alternative medicine, fringe medicine, or pseudomedicine are practices that by definition do not work, and are a form of quackery or health fraud." The accompaning cite is to a single book. The talk page is full of complaints, including suggestions that even if the goal is to dissuade users, the article's tone is counter productive. A section with criticism of mainstream medicine was removed.--agr (talk) 11:20, 14 May 2018 (UTC)

Do you want the article to say "Alt-Med is great" perhaps? We reflect what reliable sources say, according to policy. If you don't like that, try opening a section on the article talk page. Alternatively (see what I did there?) You could try to change policy so that we can use unreliable sources as well. -Roxy, the dog. barcus 12:34, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
Here is the complaint that was posted to Slashdot:

... Got into a long and drawn out debate over the definition of alternative medicine. Despite citing every single major medical organization in the world, and the definition that they use, a group of a couple users locked it down with the wrong definition in the lede, and have moderators ready to ban any person trying to put the correct definition in. This is despite a lack of consensus on the comments page, and despite a constant stream of people noting that the lede ( is inaccurate. Making edits to it, thanks to the idiocy of the arbcomm, can yield immediate banning. The talk page ( is a constant stream of people complaining the page is NPOV, but it only ever gets more biased as time goes on, not less."

I am not an advocate for alternative medicine, I'm very much a sceptic, but the complaint seems to have merit. I checked a few sources I consider reliable, e.g. the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and, the May Clinic, Merriam Webster . None of them define it the way our article does and most include a more nuanced view than our article.--agr (talk) 21:00, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
Always check who's making the complaint. Normally it's someone vested in a specific form of quackery. Guy (Help!) 07:21, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Say what? I have great trouble viewing the Mayo cinic or the USNCI as someone vested in quackery. Markbassett (talk) 21:06, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
In recent years, large health systems have been embracing alternative health methods such as acupuncture for profit reasons. Frankly, it's embarrassing to the medical community. Natureium (talk) 21:37, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
  • When I read the lede, I was struck by the words "by definition do not work" which were added on May 7 diff without any changes to the sourcing. If at all possible the source should be checked to ensure that it actually supports this change. The rest of the first paragraph seems to be unsourced.
The lede seems to be written about quackery rather than alternative medicine as a whole. "Alternative medicine" is a very wide-ranging term that also encompasses potentially viable practices that are simply untested, and certain forms of "complimentary and alternative medicine" are actually used in the medical field alongside medical treatments. The sources provided by ArnoldReinhold are reputable and support this. –dlthewave 21:45, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
The problem is that on one hand, we have WP:NPOV (a policy), which advocates neutrality, and on the other hand we have WP:FRINGE (a guideline) which advocates identifying topics as pseudoscience when they can be legitimately characterized that way. That's fine as it goes, but problems happen when certain skeptics consider those guidelines as license to disparage and engage in name calling and polemic. Typically it occurs by someone inserting a descriptive adjective in front of a noun, and other skeptics let it slide, and subsequently object when someone comes along to bring the sentence back in line with policy.
A good example I recall was alkaline diet, in which the word "belief" in the lead sentence was changed to "false belief" and then met with pages of objections and debate on the talk page (spreading to other pages) when the word "false" was removed as being non-neutral. (It is now "misconceptions", which is better.) Crap like that gets added without discussion or challenge, and then it's a long painful process to get things reading more neutral agaain. A similar thing happened in Intelligent Design, in which the adjective "pseudoscientific" was used to describe the subject, which came across as sounding like a subjective opnion, rather than using the more objective noun "pseudoscience". That persisted for years, with multiple pages of debate in the archives, until the adjective was finally changed to a noun.
Too may editors here interpret WP:FRINGE as an exception to our neutrality policy, insisting that presenting any fringe belief in as negative a light as possible is by definition neutral because WP:FRINGE says it is. In my view, policy should trump guideline, and WP:COMMONSENSE should be used to judge neutrality. Loaded language has no place on Wikipedia. ~Anachronist (talk) 22:10, 14 May 2018 (UTC)
Right. Why would we concentrate on showing the falsity of alt-med claims? It's not as if people who believe them die horribly or anything. Guy (Help!) 22:23, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
Way to mischaracterize an argument, Guy. It's one thing to show falsity using neutral and dispassionate language. It's quite another to resort to name-calling and loaded language, essentially trolling for the kooks to come out of the woodwork. That was the point of my two examples above. ~Anachronist (talk) 06:50, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
That anyone chooses to interpret "pseudoscientific" as passionate language is neither here nor there — the argument here has been about "alternative medicine does not work" — which frankly is as dispassionate as you can get.
As is explained in the article, this change of terminology is a tactic used to spread doubt — and not something that Wikipedia should care the leastest about. Complementary medicine is integrative medicine is alternative medicine is quackery is snake oil.
The fact is the kooks come out of the woodwork as soon as you say that their rubbish doesn't work. Edzard Ernst recently published a book with a 10-point list about the ways "CAM" attacks evidence against it. (p. 156-157 in More Harm than Good, Springer International Press 2018)

1. They will state that there is evidence to the contrary.
2. They will suggest that the existing evidence has been misquoted.
3. They will say that medical research is generally so fl awed that it cannot be trusted.
4. They will claim that scientifi c evidence is overruled by centuries of experience.
5. They will reverse the burden of proof.
6. They will say that a new scientifi c paradigm is required to explain how CAM works.
7. They will claim that scientifi c evidence and reasoning are not applicable in CAM.
8. They will point out how safe or inexpensive CAM is compared to conventionalmedicine.
9. They will suggest that the critic is paid by big pharma to defame CAM.
10. They will launch personal attacks on their critics.

We should keep this in mind, and not concede to irrational false beliefs simply because it is convenient to do so and avoids conflict. Carl Fredrik talk 08:47, 5 June 2018 (UTC)
The definition of alternative medicine is indeed that it does not work. If it works, it is not alternative. The term for alternative medicine that is proven to work is: medicine. I am not persuaded by the claim that we intentionally portray fringe ideas in the worst possible light. Believers think this, but they are experiencing cognitive dissonance. It's really not Wikipedia's job to manage the fact that proponents of alternative medicine routinely make egregiously false statements and promote confused and incoherent theories. Guy (Help!) 06:50, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for opening a discussion of Alternative medicine here. I've gotten nowhere with attempts at editing and talk page discussions, even though I made it clear from the beginning that I'm not an "Altmedist" (a false accusation made by another editor). After my unsuccessful attempt to put in a section on criticisms of medicine, another of the editors suggested to me that it would be more appropriate to write a separate article, and he made helpful suggestions. That article was deleted yesterday; it was proposed for deletion by an editor who claimed that it was written in bad faith (that I had a "problematic agenda").

As one editor pointed out on the talk page, the definition of CAM is an example of the No true Scotsman fallacy. The beginning of the lede is illogical, because its definition of CAM includes unproven treatments, and then it states that there is a scientific consensus that they do not or cannot work. If it is not yet known one way or the other whether something works, how can there be a scientific consensus that it does not work?

The book Harrison's Internal Medicine, written by six extremely prominent physicians and professors of medicine in the United States, says the following about the definition of CAM:

The phrase complementary and alternative medicine is used to describe a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that have historic origins outside mainstream medicine. Most of these practices are used together with conventional therapies and therefore have been called complementary to distinguish them from alternative practices, those used as a substitute for standard care. ... Until a decade ago or so, "complementary and alternative medicine" could be defined as practices that are neither taught in medical schools nor reimbursed, but this definition is no longer workable, since medical students increasingly seek and receive some instruction about complementary health practices, and some practices are reimbursed by third-party payers. Another definition, practices that lack an evidence base, is also not useful, since there is a growing body of research on some of these modalities, and some aspects of standard care do not have a strong evidence base.

I agree with Jimmy Wales and others who have said that when a type of CAM is rejected by scientific consensus, then the viewpoint of its defenders should not be reflected in Wikipedia. However, there are many alternative treatment modalities for which no clear consensus exists, including many home remedies and herbal remedies. Some treatments that are "alternative" in a certain historical period later become standard mainstream medical practice. In the 19th century U.S. physicians had not yet accepted antisepsis, whereas midwives (a part of alt med) did believe in cleanliness. A couple of decades ago mainstream physicians in the U.S. over-prescribed surgery for back pain, and rarely prescribed physical therapy, although physical therapy was often part of CAM at the time; at present, mainstream physicians do often prescribe physical therapy. It simply defies logic to say that no form of CAM will ever be of benefit.

As a relatively new editor to Wikipedia, I'm shocked at the stubbornness of some veteran editors on this issue. I don't think that the refusal to adhere to WP:NPOV helps the cause of combating fraud and pseudoscience, because scientists lose credibility when they get polemical and over-state their case.NightHeron (talk) 15:20, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

Per dlthewave's suggestion, I have requested a copy of the article's first reference via inter-library loan.--agr (talk) 20:10, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

The lede as currently written could be detrimental to public health because its polemical tone, logical problems, and skewed POV could play to the advantage of promoters of harmful forms of CAM. Many people turn first to Wikipedia for an overview of something like this; Alternative medicine gets over 1000 pageviews a day. According to data in WP:CREATELEAD, 60 percent of readers don't go past the lede. Consider readers who are generally intelligent and skeptical but who, like 88 percent of Americans surveyed and probably a similar percentage of people in many countries, agree with the statement "there are some good ways of treating sickness that medical science does not recognize." Such readers are likely to react to the lede by thinking, "This is biased and polemical -- just some angry docs badmouthing the competition." Then they are likely to turn to another respected online source, such as WebMD. Please look at what WebMD says on the subject: "What is alternative medicine?". . That article is cleverly written in a non-polemical, reassuring tone, and it undoubtedly brings many smiles to the faces and much money to the wallets of CAM promoters. This is troubling. Do we really want to drive readers away from Wikipedia to alternative sources? That's the effect of a lede that lacks credibility. This article, starting with the lede, needs to be edited so that it complies with WP:NPOV and accurately reflects scientific knowledge.NightHeron (talk) 20:27, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

I just put an NPOV template on the article.NightHeron (talk) 20:51, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

@Anachronist: I much like your analysis that some editors wrongly believe WP:FRINGE to take precedence over WP:NPOV. In the area of medicine, one has to be especially careful. It is wrong to lump together everything outside current medical practice as being fringe. What counts as evidence-based is often controversial. For example, if anthropologists report that in disparate parts of the world women of certain ethnicities have their teenage daughters drink a certain tea to help prevent unwanted pregnancy (but perhaps that tea has never been subjected to rigorous scientific tests), what do we call that? Science, protoscience, or pseudoscience? If someone (a friend of mine) says, "My mother, grandmother, and I have always used moist teabags to relieve minor eye irritations, and as far as we're concerned, this home remedy is safe and effective," should that be regarded as evidence-based, or is it just pseudoscientific nonsense, as some of the editors of Alternative medicine would claim? A second problem with the simplistic POV of this article is that a viewpoint about healing that's based on an invalid theory might still lead to a better treatment than the current standard one. Examples I have given on the talk page include: (1) Some historians believe that if U.S. President Garfield had been treated by homeopaths rather than by mainstream physicians, he might have survived. (Although homeopathy theory is pretty ridiculous, in the 19th century most American homeopaths and midwives believed in cleanliness, whereas the mainstream physicians who treated Garfield had not yet adopted antisepsis and probed his insides with dirty hands looking for the bullet.) (2) In the recent past in the U.S. someone with back or arthritis pain often underwent unnecessary and ill-advised surgery, whereas in many cases CAM practitioners would have had better recommendations. (3) The current U.S. opioid epidemic is to a large extent the fault of mainstream medicine, certainly not the fault of people who promote yoga, meditation, or marijuana. As I've argued unsuccessfully on Talk:Alternative medicine, the issue is complex, and angry polemics are counterproductive.NightHeron (talk) 03:25, 21 May 2018 (UTC)

I don't understand what a big deal is in the difference between "false belief" vs. "misconception", or in "is pseudoscientific" vs. "is pseudoscience". That's just parsing words. Also, a shorthand guide to WP:NPOV is WP:NOTNEUTRAL: even if NOTNEUTRAL is merely an essay, NPOV says pretty much the same as NOTNEUTRAL. The difference is that NOTNEUTRAL is easily understood, while NPOV is very often misread. Also, a very relevant discussion is WP:LUNATICS. Because more often than not CAM herbal remedies have not been subjected to thorough scientific research, it is safer to say those are "not proven to work" rather than "proven not to work". So, unless one has pretty damning evidence about a CAM technique, we should default to "not proven to work". Also, per Mertonian norms science is organized skepticism, so a scientific approach to medicine is inherently skeptical in nature. Tgeorgescu (talk) 03:57, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
Failure to understand "what a big deal it is" amounts to an argument from personal incredulity, and is not convincing. In fact, it is a big deal how we say things, particularly in the lead, even if there are only small differences in how neutral something sounds to a wide-ranging audience. As to the suggestion: Something that hasn't been subjected to scientific research is neither "not proven to work" nor it is "proven not to work" because "proof" isn't the exclusive domain of science (in fact, science isn't about proof, it's more about amassing corroborating evidence). For example, say I know a cure for hiccups, which works 100% for everyone subjected to it. It is proven to work, but not via any published scientific study. It would be better, more neutral, and more factual to state that something "has not undergone scientific evaluation" rather than say anything about proof. ~Anachronist (talk) 06:03, 21 May 2018 (UTC)
I meant "proven" like explained at European Medicines Agency#Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, otherwise I know that proof is for math and whisky. My point is using language that can be understood by the ordinary reader, instead of using incomprehensible technical jargon. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:51, 21 May 2018 (UTC)

What do people think of the following draft of a replacement for the lede? I apologize for its rough form (I'm not an experienced editor). My purpose in writing it is to suggest a way to rewrite the lede so as to comply with WP:NPOV:

Alternative medicine (also called "complementary and alternative medicine" or CAM) is a broad category of treatments, substances, and practices that are sometimes used in place of or in addition to those recommended by mainstream physicians. According to Harrison's Internal Medicine, the defining characteristic of CAM treatments is that they "have historic origins outside mainstream medicine;"[1] and it is incorrect to define CAM as being medicine that is not evidence based, because "there is a growing body of research on some of these modalities, and some aspects of standard care do not have a strong evidence base."[1] However, even forms of CAM for which there is some evidence of effectiveness -- such as many herbs and home remedies -- can be harmful if administered by someone who does not know the proper dosage or means of preparation or possible interactions with other medicines the patient is taking. Policies toward CAM vary from country to country, and in most countries it is unregulated, adding to the risks.
Many medical professionals have expressed alarm at the large and increasing popularity of alternative treatments. Some forms of CAM are very profitable, are aggressively marketed, and take advantage of the uneducated and the desperate. On the other hand, the use of certain forms of CAM might be a rational decision by people who have little or no access to modern medicine.
Some treatments that were once regarded as "alternative" have subsequently been tested, shown to be safe and effective, and been incorporated into standard medical practice. Some others show promise, but have not yet been adequately tested. The forms of CAM for which there is no high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effeciveness (other than the placebo effect) include: prayer, Faith healing, Shamanism, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, most of Traditional Chinese Medicine, most of Ayurveda, Biofield therapy, Bioelectromagnetics, Chiropractic, Reiki, and Mind-body interventions.

Thank you.NightHeron (talk) 01:24, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

It smacks of whitewashing. The scientific consensus that homeopathy is patent pseudoscience (meaning the extremely diluted "medicines"), many ayurvedic "medicines" are useless and toxic, biofield therapy is altogether bunk, Reiki is hogwash, etc. Tgeorgescu (talk) 05:20, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. I could add a sentence such as: "According to scientific consensus, these forms of CAM are not only ineffective but often harmful, either because of toxicity or because they delay or interfere with sound treatment options." I'd rather stay away from unscientific language such as "bunk" or "hogwash". Also, we should be careful not to confuse pseudoscientific theories with bad treatments. Sometimes someone who believes in a nonsensical theory might nevertheless recommend a treatment that is better than the advice that a patient is getting from their physician. For example, in the days when mainstream physicians in the U.S. were over-prescribing surgery for back pain, many CAM sources were recommending physical therapy instead. Similarly, in the U.S. at present for many patients there are forms of CAM to treat pain that are preferable to opioids (which are over-prescribed in the U.S.). So we can't say that CAM recommendations have always been worse than the standard ones (even if the theory behind their recommendations make no sense).NightHeron (talk) 05:48, 22 May 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b Jameson, J. Larry; Fauci, Anthony S.; Kasper, Dennis L.; Hauser, Stephen L.; Longo, Dan L.; Loscalzo, Joseph (2015). Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (19th ed.). McGraw Hill. p. 69. ISBN 0071802169. 
Wikipedia sticks with present-day scientific consensus, in the future we'd rather be shown wrong going by the present-day mainstream than shown right going by the present-day fringe, see WP:BALL. Tgeorgescu (talk) 06:08, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
Don't forget the part of NPOV that states that equal weight should not be given to all points of view. WP:UNDUE is part of the NPOV policy. If the perceived problem with the introduction is that a) a lot of people in one specific country believe in alternative medicine (which may or may not be the case) and b) many people don't read past the lede (which is very likely the case), that does not mean that we should support pseudoscience by hiding factual statements further down in the article where many people would not see them! We need to be neutral and factual in how the information is presented, and not call the alternative theories "nonsense" however much we may believe that they are so, but stating clearly that they are potentially harmful and have never been shown to work is essential, exactly because many people only read the lede. Sometimes someone who believes in a nonsensical theory might nevertheless recommend a treatment that is better than the advice that a patient is getting from their physician - if they do so to their friends over coffee, that's nothing to do with Wikipedia, but Wikipedia can't use that kind of reasoning to promote nonsensical theories.
It is also worth pointing out that there has been a discussion at Talk:Alternative medicine for some weeks where a number of editors have weighed in against this kind of rewriting of the lede. --bonadea contributions talk 07:54, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
The two categories supporters of CAM and people who believe that not everything outside of mainstream medicine is bad are very different and should not be confused. The latter group includes 88 percent of Americans surveyed, 60 percent of U.S. medical schools, health professionals working in agencies of the governments of the U.S., Cuba, and many other countries. There are also RS galore supporting the view that some parts of CAM are not bad. The lede in its current form violates WP:UNDUE because it represents only the minority position that everything in CAM is bad.
The discussion of the NPOV issue in Talk:Alternative medicine largely devolved into a debate between me and User:CFCF that was going in circles -- both of us were getting repetitious. That's why I was glad to see that a discussion had been opened here, involving a broader spectrum of editors.NightHeron (talk) 14:40, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm getting very tired of all this. I've tried implementing the Debunking Handbook, but my time is limited and I think it best to put my foot down now. The reason the "debate" is going nowhere, is that it is not a debate. Refuted points vaguely based upon (or which are at best referential to) a number of poor or unrelated sources — can only be refuted so many times, with so many high quality sources. At some point it should be fine to just drop the stick and move on.
I think Tgeorgescu hit the nail on the head when he mentioned whitewashing and "Wikipedia stick[ing] with present-day scientific consensus". There is just no debate to be had.
Improvements can be made to the article, but suggestions like the ones above impede actually improving the article — because they are never ever going to be implemented (that is without regarding how they fly in the face of each and every one of Wikipedia's pillars).
What we've been able to get out of the discussion is that we need better sections on motivation of "alt-med" usage and on epidemiology. Filling the lede with obfuscating jargon, half-definitions and half-truths; as well as hedging scientific fact with the possibility it might be wrong — is an exercise not in neutrality, but in anti-science — and it is not going to help write those sections. Searching for a WP:False middle is only going to lead us astray.
I think every editor should be obliged to read the following quote from the article on evidence of absence:

In some circumstances it can be safely assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence of it could be discovered by qualified investigators. In such circumstances it is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its non-occurrence. — Copi, Introduction to Logic (1953), p. 95

Carl Fredrik talk 16:06, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

Also agr — if you'd taken more than 5 minutes you would have seen that much of the criticism was being met, lead to changes and meant that the article was improved. The problem is when you insist on promoting what is demonstrably false — you'll get nowhere — which is as it should be. And for all means, do borrow that book — it will hopefully be very helpful reading when navigating the topic, but there are hidden sources there that support that statement, sources which have been there for years, but hidden due to previous suggestions that WP:LEDE be implemented to remove sources. So the statement that it is "only supported" by a single source is blatantly false, just look at the mark-up or go back and look at the history. Carl Fredrik talk 16:21, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

In the interest of keeping discussion civil, constructive, and mutually respectful, perhaps we could take this to mediation? Would you all agree to participate in mediation?NightHeron (talk) 16:36, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

An alternative is to acknowledge that your approach has been supported neither at the article talk page nor at this noticeboard, and to withdraw graciously rather than to press the point in yet another venue. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:11, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps you didn't notice that I wasn't the one who started this discussion on the NPOV noticeboard? Or that I wasn't the one who posted the complaint on Slashdot? So why are you accusing me of being responsible for this issue being discussed in multiple venues? In my last comment all I suggested doing was taking the discussion to a forum that has a disinterested moderator whose role is to ensure a civil and respectful tone and a discussion based on facts and policy, free of anger, namecalling, and accusations of bad faith. I would be interested in hearing a calm, rational explanation for the "anti-science" accusation directed against my suggested rough draft of a new lede; the definition that User:CFCF characterized as "anti-science" is taken from Harrison's Internal Medicine, and I would be curious to hear in what way the six authors of that book are "anti-science."NightHeron (talk) 03:27, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Please read more carefully. I did not say that you started this discussion. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 13:12, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I reject the proposed change. The issue is the usual one: constant attempts to redraw neutrality by splitting the difference between what the article currently says, and what proponents would prefer it to say. Alt-med is exploitative nonsense, very lucrative for practitioners but often highly destructive for their victims. Alt-med is at the root of people dying of untreated cancer, preventable disease and many other problems. Guy (Help!) 06:53, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

CFCF: I came to this article after reading a complaint about it on Slashdot, a widely read Website. Before jumping in to defend Wikipedia, I wanted to see what the complaint was about. What I found was a diatribe in place of an NPOV definition of the topic and discussions on the talk page that indicated little likelihood of meaningful improvement. I am not a supporter of alternative medicine, but if I were I would LOVE this article in its present state. The first thing a proponent of AM needs to do is convince a prospective customer that orthodox medicine is incapable of fairly evaluating AM claims. They will often argue (falsely) that orthodox medicine is a guild system that protects its members’ livelihood by name calling and unsupportable claims of having scientifically evaluated all forms of AM. The introductory section of our article is all the ammunition such an AM salesperson needs. I would urge supporters of the current text to show it to someone whose judgement they trust and ask if this writing would be acceptable in any scientific publication.--agr (talk) 18:18, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

We're not a scientific publication, we are an encyclopedia heavily biased for mainstream science. I.e. we don't investigate/prove anything, we merely rely upon what mainstream science has found. By its very definition alternative medicine is unscientific (if it is found scientifically valid it simply becomes medicine). Tgeorgescu (talk) 09:38, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
Both scientific publications and encyclopedias have one feature in common: they are not written in a polemical style with advocacy content. The lede to Alternative medicine is neither scientific nor encyclopedic.
Although we can't predict the future, we can be guided by history, in this case the history of medicine. Many healing modalities that were once considered CAM are now accepted medical practice -- for example, physical therapy or marijuana rather than opioids for pain relief. Using history as a guide, we can assume that some standard medical practices of today will in a few decades be regarded as idiotic. Arthur C. Clarke in the 1950s wrote that most physicians were then telling patients that it's risky and ill-advised to do strenuous exercise over the age of 40. Some CAM treatments of today (especially herbal and home remedies) have some evidence base (see the quote from Harrison's Internal Medicine) and may soon be incorporated into standard medical practice (most likely in different countries at different times). In the meantime some physicians recommend them in a complementary way. Of course, some forms of CAM are dangerous quackery. It is unscientific to lump all forms of CAM together and call them all quackery.NightHeron (talk) 15:07, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
One likely candidate for a current medical practice that in the future will be regarded as idiotic is the practice of physicians of prescribing large quantities of psychotropic drugs to American children. I'm not looking into a crystral ball here, which would violate WP:BALL. Rather, I'm guided by the writings of Marcia Angell on the subject.NightHeron (talk) 15:20, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
CAM is rife with fraud. While a small number of CAM approaches could be found to work, most of the CAM lies somewhere between danger to society and lunacy. Tgeorgescu (talk) 16:46, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
I don't disagree with that statement at all, although I would have worded it a little differently. A "small number" of CAM approaches being found to work is actually a big deal (it's also true that only a small proportion of pharmaceuticals that are proposed for testing are ever found to be safe and effective, but that "small number" plays a fundamental role in health care). I've given a few historical examples of the treatments in yesterday's CAM that are today's mainstream practice, and even though they're small in number, they're of great importance. The NPOV problem with the article as presently written is that it ignores and denies that there are any forms of CAM that could be beneficial (other than through placebo effects). This denial is unscientific and results in a loss of credibility on our part -- that is, on Wikipedia's part. As an earlier editor commented, this lack of credibility will play to the advantage of the CAM profiteers.NightHeron (talk) 20:38, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
That position is also false, physical therapy was never "CAM" and you've so far presented not a single quality source that supports any "CAM" therapy entering into conventional medicine as based on evidence that it is effective. I quoted this elsewhere, but I think it belongs here as well.

The reason we should defer to experts is not that the experts know everything. Of course they don’t. It’s just that they know more than non-experts do. It’s not that science has all the answers. It doesn’t. It’s just that astrologers, shamans, and natural healers have none of them. — David Frum

To pretend that physical therapy was ever "CAM" is to engage in what Consumer Health 9th ed describes as:

["CAM" is] "inflated by counting exercise, relaxation, self-help groups, and commercial weight-loss clinic as “alternative,”

Classifying proven therapies as “alternative” is advantageous to proponents who suggest that if some work, the rest deserve equal consideration and respect.

It strikes me as extremely concerning that you ignore these statements while continuing to press anecdote without sources. I have so far been unwilling, but now feel a strong need to move this discussion to WP:AN/I on the grounds of WP:NOTHERE.
Carl Fredrik talk 21:53, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
I'm sorry, User:CFCF, but you're the one who's forgetting or ignoring what I said on the subject. I referred to a very nice article by Steven Novella (a physician and the editor of an anti-CAM journal). His article centers around his experience with a man who wrote him saying that, even though a skeptic, he felt that one form of CAM worked for him in a crucial way. Namely, about 20 years earlier he suffered from back pain, but didn't want surgery, which at the time was commonly recommended for his condition. Instead, he read a CAM book. Most of the book didn't make sense, but the recommendation of the CAM book for back pain was certain physical exercises. That was the recommended treatment of the author (a CAM guru of some kind). The man did that, and it worked wonderfully. Novella responded that, yes, 20 years ago surgery was over-prescribed for back pain, but at present Novella would be likely to make the same recommendation to his patients who had the same condition. My conclusion from Novella's article: at one point a standard CAM book was recommending physical therapy rather than surgery or opioids, and 20 years later that treatment is part of standard mainstream practice.
I also wish you wouldn't threaten me. Once before you threatened that I would be "shown the door" (which I guess means banned) if I continued to annoy you, and now you're again threatening more or less the same thing. Please try to be courteous and comply with WP:GF.NightHeron (talk) 22:43, 27 May 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────You referred to a blog post that didn't even support your claims — sprinkled together with some anecdote. As for good faith, I have assumed it, as anyone who follows the interactions on the Talk:Alternative medicine-page can see. However in the face of evidence of the contrary — I conclude you are acting in bad faith. WP:AGF does not imply forced naïveté and we should remember that Wikipedia:Our social policies are not a suicide pact. Carl Fredrik talk 23:17, 27 May 2018 (UTC)

Yes, you were courteous toward me and observed WP:GF early on, but recently not so much. What is your "evidence to the contrary" (i.e., evidence of bad faith on my part) other than the fact that I'm not convinced by your arguments, even when you repeat them multiple times? Concerning the Novella piece, I hope that other editors read it and judge for themselves whether my reading of it is correct. It's really worth the time to read it. It's a nicely written popular article/blog appearing at the anti-CAM website Here's the citation: Novella, Steven. "Why do people turn to alternative medicine?". Science Based Medicine. Retrieved 29 April 2018. .NightHeron (talk) 03:07, 28 May 2018 (UTC)
Sadly it is the result of long and bitter experience with editors who appear superficially reasonable and are terribly polite but in the end truly believe that bullshit and reality deserve parity of esteem. We know why people turn to alternative medicine. In the main it is because (a) they have "symptoms of life" and the medical fraternity doesn't have the time to sit and listen to their vague complaints; (b) they have something that can't be cured and they would rather be lied to by a charlatan than told the truth by a doctor or (c) they are True Believers in conspiracist bullshit. As Phil Hammond has said more than once, most people would be better off with a dog than a doctor, and quacks are very adept at pretending that they are dogs. Guy (Help!) 22:19, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
@JzG: Could you please clarify the first sentence. When who speak of "editors who appear superficially reasonable and are terribly polite but in the end truly believe that bullshit," are you including Steven Novella, the editor I cited? Thanks.NightHeron (talk) 23:49, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
The problem you are butting up against is years of quackery apologists who quote mine the internet looking for stuff to water down our articles on quackery. I knew practically nothing about quackery when I started editing Wikipedia, now I am familiar with most of the well known figures on both sides including Novella and Gorski. I am also familiar with cherry picking, quote mining, cognitive dissonance, farming and a whole host of other things. Wikipedia's articles on quackery have taught me a lot. They have taught me that you could mine Novella's article to support the claim that quackery's success is down to "slick marketing, relaxed regulations, scientific illiteracy, a gullible media" (undoubtedly true). You could say that while quiacks love to describe the failures of "mainstraem" medicine (the word mainstream is redundant there) "[t]he evidence that we have, however, simply does not support this narrative", or that we should be "working toward keeping and improving what works and fixing what doesn’t, not discarding science and reason to embrace fantasy as an alternative". I am very familiar with that piece, he discussed it on SGU at the time, and you can read a lot into it if you want to. But the main message is that charlatans will sell you valid therapy plus bullshit, and if it works, they will credit the bullshit, and their victims will be complicit in this deception. Which is exactly why CAM/IM is so critical to the marketing of bullshit. Guy (Help!) 07:06, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for the detailed explanation of your viewpoint. I now understand that your comment was not aimed at Novella, but rather at what you saw as "cherrypicking" his article. However, the story he tells about his correspondent who relied on a CAM book for advice 20 years before is central to the article, not a small part that I'm taking out of context. Originally I cited this article in a discussion of the alt med article as an example of something written in an appropriate style with careful arguments that most people would find at least somewhat persuasive. I also wanted to make the point that I fully support well-designed efforts to combat pseudoscience and quackery, and Novella's online journal is that. Note that Novella's tone is very respectful toward the man who told him he's a "skeptic BUT" was grateful to the CAM book for giving him good advice 20 years before. Finally, I used the Novella article to make the point that in a small number of cases treatment recommendations that come from a CAM source in one time period might 20 years later be a standard treatment in medical practice.
Assuming you'll allow me a temporary dispensation to violate WP:BALL, I'd like to give a hypothetical example of how something that's CAM today might end up 20 years from now as standard treatment. If I'm not mistaken, any recommendation of yoga for medical purposes is considered CAM. Let's suppose that in a few years researchers find that yoga can be taught to children, and that it's effective in treating ADHD with no significant side effects. (I repeat: this is just idle speculation.) Based on that, it becomes a standard practice in lieu of pharmaceuticals such as Ritalin. Wouldn't this be good? Then people 20 years from now would look back on the current common practice in the U.S. of feeding psychotropics to millions of children for a large part of their childhood as a barbaric practice of an earlier time (which would be consistent with what Marcia Angell has written on the subject). Note that positive developments of the type in this hypothetical scenario are only possible if scientists take an openminded attitude toward certain plausible things (some home remedies, herbs, etc.) that are currently classified as CAM.NightHeron (talk) 17:24, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
User:NightHeron - comment - I think Anarchist had it right in that WP:FRINGE guideline and WP:PSCI section of NPOV can and has and will be taken as a mandate that something MUST be denounced in the article content rather than simply conveying that it is a fringe view and otherwise giving due weight information of if it is viewed as dangerous. There seemed to be a fad several years back for sticking a vague pejorative "pseudo" and making it the first thing in many articles, and freedom or mandate to make the article be further insults. The articles seem to wind up with contradictory polemics that might not even explain what the thing being denounced is, and the TALK tends to be dismissive and uncivil. This is particularly problematic for AM or CAM, as those are a broad spectrum of items with some being very reputable and others being very discredited -- the use of a term as sometimes dismissive becomes in Wikipedia an always dismissive and applying to all such practices exclusive of nuance. The articles start to read as a rant, to be not informative, and in places to be contrary to actual medical practice or scientific opinions. It would be nice if folks started with "widely rejected" or "wide range of practices, with wide range of credibility". Perhaps a pump discussion to change FRINGE and rewrite PSCI would improve things; perhaps a request for arbitration that MEDRS be respected and denouncements too broad or otherwise contrary to actual expert opinions should be restrained. Those are the only other ideas I have. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 08:41, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
@Markbassett: Some good news. Within the last day, two editors User:CFCF and User:JzG, both of whom had seemed to disagree strongly with what I've been trying to do for the last two months, have been doing significant editing of Alternative medicine to "soften it." The lede still has the logical contradiction I mentioned below (in the "Problem of definition" discussion), but at least the tone of the article seems to be getting better. Maybe with a little more urging, the content of the article as well can be edited to bring it into the mainstream, with all RS viewpoints reflected. The lede particularly needs attention. I'm not the one to do that "urging" or editing, since among the veteran editors who have been defending the POV of the present lede there seems to be a consensus that they're tired of hearing from me, and some of them have threatened to block me from any editing on med-related articles (I recently got two warning messages on my userpage, one of them from an admin). One of my interests is abortion-related articles, and some of those would probably be classified as med-related, and so I'd be blocked. I don't want this. In other words, I need to back off from alt med related discussions, at least until the threat of being banned passes.NightHeron (talk) 14:49, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I continue to strongly disagree with you are trying to do NightHeron. Carl Fredrik talk 15:06, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I also continue to strongly disagree with what you are trying to do. My changes are along the lines of standard scientific evidence. Science does not say "homeopathy is bullshit", science says "homeopathy is implausible, its principles are refuted, and there is no convincing evidence it works". If you get out your science thesaurus you will immediately recognise that this means "homeopathy is bullshit". Guy (Help!) 15:55, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
User:NightHeron - If the editors are willing to call the Mayo clinic and USNCI names, I'm dubious there is appetite for something more controlled than (to use the whitewash metaphor) giant spray-painting everything black, and treating all CAM as the same thing and only allowing negatives by asserting that WP:FRINGE mandates denunciation. It may be that acknowledging that CAM is a wide category of very different things will lead to a more nuanced portrayal that some CAM is good, some is just comforting, and that other is not at all good. But it still seems stuck in ranting to me and the American penchants for dualism or oversimplification, and moralising things as good & evil. It might help to reflect that being obviously bonkers seems OK in a sort of two wrongs make an almost-right of people will know to disregard the uninformative rant and go to WebMD for help or the Encyclopedia Britannica to see the historical derivation and definition of medicine classes, and even be better aware of not blindly trusting. If the article continues to portray as urgent to denounce taking chicken soup when I'm ill and herbals of chamomile when I cannot sleep or black tea to help wake up, then I think we can rest safe that most folks will carry on regardless. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 21:55, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
@Markbassett: Yes, I really dislike the pro-CAM slant of the WebMD page that comes up on my google-search for "alternative medicine" above the Wikipedia article. Perhaps that means that people are consulting WebMD more than Wikipedia on that issue. That's not good if one wants to oppose (most of) CAM. I'm likely to be out of the picture for a while. They're moving to have me banned for 6 months. That's free speech on Wikipedia.NightHeron (talk) 22:11, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
Markbassett — I don't really get your comment about American dualism. To me it seems the opposite is true, that things that are truly dualistic and often outrageous are allowed in American discourse under the guise of "being debated". While this is only vaguely related I think it still needs to be refuted:
Sometimes Americans say "America is better because we debate things, we debate enhanced interrogation techniques. In China or Russia or Iran you get torture, but you're put in jail if you try to discuss them."
What this misses is that the preferable situation is to denounce torture, and to denounce anyone that condones it, without debate.
The same is true for anti-science and pseudoscience such as alt-med. That some American institutes promote it does not make it work — and does in any way make it evidence or science based. Edzard Ernst has done some of the best work on "CAM" these last few years, once evidence started coming in. The thing is CAM at its very best will give placebo — which is dangerous when put in relation to the damage that it done by promoting anti-science nonsense. There is in fact a lot we could update the article with, but everything that has been suggested so far by NightHeron has been to the opposite effect.
That WebMD is wrong is an unfortunate state of affairs — but frankly quite irrelevant to Wikipedia. We do not weaken our relation to scientific fact because someone else was misguided enough to do so. Carl Fredrik talk 22:27, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
User:CFCF That it has to be entirely one way or entirely the other is an example of dualism or in this case False dichotomy -- and that one must be entirely right and the other entirely wrong seems an example of the mentioned moralising. Simply try to imagine there are more than two things and none of them is totally correct or not and none of them is absolutely evil or perfect. Ignoring cites to Mayo clinic or NIH or USNCI because that does not fit the 'right vs wrong' is hardly proper science or good information. Perhaps review the topics of Multiculturalism and Pluralism of European views and politics rather than Russia and China -- and noting the United States seems OK to torture the 'bad guys', see Enhanced interrogation techniques or portrayals of 24 (TV series), this seems a poor metaphor to throw out in a discussion of dualism. In the end discussion of Alternative medicine as a range of items with varying value would be harder -- but that seems part of what it would take to make the article reputable. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 23:00, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
Markbassett — I am well aware of what a false dichotomy is, but what I exemplified was a moral true dichotomy, as much as I can express one. I frankly do not find it to be an issue of relevance to NPOV to say that torture is bad, as I do not find it an issue of NPOV to say that Wikipedia should follow science when covering medicine. I find the example apt, because both cases are only discussed on anywhere near equal terms in the mind of a madman.
Wikipedia takes a stance in its WP:Pillars for the equal rights of humans (as exemplified in the motto regarding access to knowledge), and adherence to scientific fact — to pretend that there is some from of falsehood implied by taking these tenets without debate is at the very least WP:NOTHERE. Carl Fredrik talk 23:48, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
User:CFCF - Another demonstration ... "That it has to be entirely one way or entirely the other is an example of dualism or in this case False dichotomy -- and that one must be entirely right and the other entirely wrong seems an example of the mentioned moralising." I suggest looking at the article and that this thread is about the article being named in the press as a case example of NPOV issues failure to give accurate science or follow WP principles. In some ways I can see this -- for example where the article lead is demonstrating extremism, absolutism, false dichotomy, and simply a failure to summarize the article or providing opinion adjectives instead of topical information. That the article could better convey science and better follow WP guidelines to be more reputable seems something that should be sought, but again it seems "stuck in ranting to me and the American penchants for dualism or oversimplification, and moralising things as good & evil." Meanwhile I'll feel free to have some honey lemon tea for a sore throat and so on, Google for more accurate and useful information, and to view on what I read (including wikipedia) with some suspicion. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 20:43, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
Okay so we're repeating the same argument again, please reread my post about why dualism isn't always bad.
As for whether you read science with suspicion because it does not fall in line with your preconceived notions that is neither my problem nor Wikipedia's. Carl Fredrik talk 07:27, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
User:CFCF A while ago, when you were being collegial toward me, you asked me to comment on your graphics on the article. I (and a friend) looked at them, and I got back to you with some suggestions about making them more effective. For example, I recall saying that a pill is not a good symbol for alt med, because most of the public associates pills with mainstream medicine; and I had a few other suggestions. I said that the concept was good, but it needed improvement. I don't think you took any of the suggestions intended to help you make your point more clearly. Is that because "everything that has been suggested so far by NightHeron has been to the opposite effect," that is, improved clarity would have helped the altmedists?
Concerning WebMD, I put a suggestion on the WikiProject Medicine talk page that, if anyone knows RS criticizing WebMD's pro-CAM coverage, they might want to include it in WebMD#Criticism and in the lede of that article, which at present gives no hint that WebMD might not always represent medical consensus.NightHeron (talk) 23:15, 2 June 2018 (UTC)

Problem of definition

It seems to me that a central problem here is that our article currently defines Alternative Medicine as "practices that claim to have the healing effects of medicine but are disproven, unproven, impossible to prove, or are excessively harmful in relation to their effect." Or as Guy put it above "The definition of alternative medicine is indeed that it does not work. If it works, it is not alternative." With that highly POV definition, of course no form of alternative medicine can be useful. If it's useful ipso facto it's not alternative. But that definition is not cited in our article and is not how alternative medicine is defined by the highly reliable sources I listed near the top of this thread, including the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the Merriam Webster Dictionary. This article instead places great reliance on a single source, Consumer Health, A Guide to Intelligent Decisions, 9th Edition, a health education textbook. I have checked most of the library systems in the Boston area (including the medical schools) and the best I have been able to get is the 4th edition. The closest thing to a definition of AM I could find in the 4th is "Unorthodox health care practitioners are individuals whose philosophy and methods differ from orthodox practitioners because they are not based on acceptable scientific methods." That lacks the heads-I-win-tails-you-lose circularity of our definition and is much closer to the NCI definition. Perhaps someone can provide a quote from the 9th edition that does support our current definition, but even so a single health education textbook is not a dispositive source in the face of the highly respected sources I cited. Even our articles on specific forms of AM that I've looked at start with a neutral definition and then proceed to marshal the evidence that they don't work in most or all cases. They key point that our AM article should make is not that AM can't possible work by definition, but that many scientists have tried to evaluate various AM claims and have largely failed to come up with evidence in their favor, with very few exceptions. We don't need polemics to make that case.--agr (talk) 19:43, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

As I stated to you — this definition was in the article before the addition of that source, and it does not rely on that source at all. There are other sources, including ones that are hidden in the lede. The only reason that source hasn't been hidden is that it lists the page number and is different from the defined source further down in the article. Carl Fredrik talk 09:53, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
"Of course, this is yet another example of the fallacy of “integrative” medicine, in which quackery is “integrated” with real medicine. But to paraphrase an old song, nothing plus something leaves something. Unfortunately, it doesn’t add anything to that something. As Mark Crislip once put it, “If you integrate fantasy with reality, you do not instantiate reality. If you mix cow pie with apple pie, it does not make the cow pie taste better; it makes the apple pie worse.” Sadly, CCF likes to mix lots of cow pie with its apple pie." - Guy (Help!) 22:14, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
I find the tone of the definition to be polemical. Certainly we should state outright that these theories have no empirical support. But repeating that over and over again in more emphatic terms is unhelpful. I know that the theory behind homeopathy is wrong, but may want to read about it anyway in the same way that people like to read about all kinds of belief systems. Ironically, the aggressive tone actually detracts from the message. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. TFD (talk) 00:28, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree, and I also think that something whose theory might be wrong (or even ridiculous) might still contain some good treatments in practice. Even scientific medicine does not always understand the physiological mechanism behind a successful treatment, that is, does not always have a theory to explain why it works. Similarly, some alternative medicine source might include a treatment that works (or works for some people), perhaps not as well as the recommended treatments of modern medicine, but okay (better than nothing) for someone who does not have good access to modern medicine. Some might even be safe and effective enough to be tested and eventually become part of standard medical practice, possibly resulting in better treatments than we have today. There have been such cases in the past, and, using history as a guide, it's reasonable to expect there to be more such cases in the future. I think that's why top-notch WP:MEDRS sources such as Harrison's Internal Medicine take a non-polemical, open-minded tone toward complementary and alternative medicine. Of course, most of it is worthless, but not 100% of it.NightHeron (talk) 00:49, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
In cases where "something whose theory might be wrong (or even ridiculous) might still contain some good treatments in practice" the good treatments have to show themselves to be good through double blind scientific testing. Two examples come to mind; first. there are drugs that we know are beneficial through double blind testing but we have no idea what the mechanism is. Second, if someone advocates hand washing before surgery in order to please the Gods, and double blind testing shows a decreased infection rate, then we accept the hand washing as a legitimate medical practice without accepting the bit about pleasing the Gods. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:09, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
That's an excellent example (about hand-washing), and in fact it's not too far from what actually happened in the U.S. in the late 19th century. Midwives and homeopaths were largely observing hygiene, but most American doctors (who were behind their European counterparts at the time) still did not believe in antisepsis. The theories of the homeopaths were not much better than "pleasing the Gods," but (according to some historians) U.S. President Garfield might have survived the assassination attempt of 1881 if he'd been treated by homeopaths rather than by top physicians of the time who probed his insides with dirty hands.
Concerning the definition in the lede of Alternative medicine, there's a fundamental logical flaw in saying that anything that's unproven, that is, classified as CAM "will not" or "cannot" work, and at the same time acknowledging that some treatments that are classified as CAM in one time period might be classified as standard medical practice in a later time period. Am I exaggerating in saying that the logical flaw in the lede is an obvious one?NightHeron (talk) 05:28, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
That sounds somewhat revisionist to me - one of the greater exponents of handwashing was Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., who wrote Homoeopathy And It's Kindred Delusions in 1842 based on lectures he gave. It is true that homeopaths' early success was due to the fact that doing nothing in a clean hospital was less likely to kill you than bloodletting in a dirty one. But all the key figures in the development of our understanding of germ theory (people like Semmelweiss, Pasteur, Holmes, Nightingale, Snow), were reality-based practitioners, not homeopaths, and in fact heomopathy still to this day teaches germ theory denial. The example of handwashing is illustrative not because it validates quackery in any way, but because it is an example of fact inexorably replacing dogma. Pasteur's work established the nature of germs as infective agents, and the medical establishment was unable to ignore the obvious fact that hygiene increased survival.
And remember when that happened. Holmes died in 1894, Semmelweiss in 1865. Snow died in 1858. Evidence-based medicine only really replaced eminence-based medicine in the 1950s, but it has its roots in the mid to late 19th Century with the development of statistical methods to analyse what was, until then, indistinguishable from acts of God.Lind sowed the seeds, but Snow and Nightingale were the father and mother of evidence-based practice, in my view. Flexner, in 1910, dealt a body blow to quackery. That shut down a lot of the bogus medical schools.
To compare that development with some prominent forms of alternative medicine: homeopathy was invented in 1796, was known to be incorrect by the mid 19th Century, its claims as to dilutions were definitively refuted in the late 19th and the basis of Hahnemann's original false inference also proven before the turn of the 20th Century with the discovery of plasmodium falciparum and its role in malaria. Well over a century later, it is still zealously promoted because the cult of homeopathy is immune to empirical fact. The most popular homeopathic remediy is reckoned to be oscillococcinum, a product that contains none of a duck which isn't infected with the non-existent oscillococcus bacterium that doesn't cause flu. Literally everything about it ts wrong, and extensive tests show it to be ineffective, but it is still promoted. The alt-med game is a waiting game: keep selling your bullshit and wait for postmodernism to open the door to quackery. Right to try laws, anyone?
Or consider acupuncture. Over the past few decades it has been convincingly demonstrated that it doesn't matter where you put the needles, it doesn't even matter if you insert them or not, and yet acupuncturists interpret these findings as validating the awesome power of acupuncture, which is supposedly so amazing that even fake acupuncture "works". If this was a reality-based medical product it would be withdrawn. But there's a cult of practitioners and a lot of money in it, so instead they lobby for politicians to mandate that their quackery is funded by the VA and thus legitimised through "legislative alchemy".
Or consider chiropractic, where practitioners divide into "straight" and "mixer", with the "straight" community firmly in the alt med camp, believing that all disease is caused by mythical "subluxations" disturbing the flow of non-existent "innate". The entire industry is in flat denial of the extent of its medical knowledge (seeking to be classified as primary care providers) and the dangers of upper cervical manipulation, which has a documented risk of death and no objectively demonstrable benefit. We have some historical context here, in that osteopaths followed the reality-based path and now a D.O in the States is pretty much indistinguishable from an MD. Mixers seem to want to follow that path, albeit that the lure of selling supplements from the office is great (there is a reason why real doctors do not sell drugs).
So yes, the example of handwashing is informative, but only in as much as it highlights the way that even early medicine was beginning to accept evidence in the face of dogma. It marks a fork in the road, where reality-based medicine departed from dogma-based pseudomedicine. The refusal to accept contradictory evidence is one of the defining characteristics of alternative medicine. In as much as handwashing is relevant, it is as a signpost for the fork in the road that separates medicine from quackery. Most alternative medicines are alternative because evidence based medicine discarded them, and they still exist because they are lucrative and, in some cases, they are surrounded by cult-like communities of True Believers.
As to cannot and will not, the vast majority of alternative medicine is indeed in the cannot work camp, because most of it is based on refuted theories of human anatomy or biology. Homeopathy cannot work because disease is not caused by miasms. Chiropractic cannot work because there is no such thing as innate and chiropractic subluxations don't exist. Acupuncture has at least some superficial plausibility, but the claims of qi and meridians are refuted. Hence my point about separating alternative medicine (always quackery) from CAM/Integrative (quackery plus potentially legitimate practices, consciously mixed in order to allow quackery in through the back door). It's not our job to help quacks sell quackery. It's not our job to make people feel better about having been duped. The truth is brutal: alt-med practitioners are either sincere and deluded, or outright charlatans. We're not here to sugar coat that pill, any more than we would obscure the genuine problems with reality-based medicine. Would now be a good time to mention that I have had dinner with Peter Gøtzsche? Guy (Help!) 08:01, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Your observations and analysis are interesting, and you obviously know a lot about the topic. I'd really like to discuss agreements and disagreements with you, but for the time being I cannot. As I mentioned above, I must withdraw from any alt med related discussions, because of warnings and banning threats I've received about my earlier participation in such discussions. Also, my impression is that people are impatient with long content discussions, since deciding about NPOV does not require such discussions, but only requires an examination of whether the article in question reflects all RS in a balanced way.NightHeron (talk) 22:17, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
User:JzG/help - Want modern definition. It would be good to put some of that in the history section here or the History of Medicine, showing when alternative largely referred to approaches being holistic and integrative vice partial and focused. But for the definition in current times topic I suggest a principle of looking to paraphrase from current items such as [[[User:JzG/help NIH]. It also seems good to me if it could allow that a wide and diverse set of items are under the labels. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 22:31, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
Markbassett — That characterization is absolutely false. Alternative therapies are in the vein of "spinal manipulation for everyone" which is by definition narrow. I've cited these things on the talk page of Alternative medicine. There is no support for the statement that "CAM" is in any way "holistic" beyond in name. Carl Fredrik talk 23:39, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
User:CFCF - you were writing of 1842, 1898, 1865, 1859, 1910, and "historical context", hence the remark about that is around when (in Western Medicine) the holistic approach generally split off. For the thread topic here of definition I again direct your attention to suggest paraphrase from modern items such as (this time without typo) NIH. As to whether a wide and diverse set is under the term -- well, even this article shows many (Accupuncture, Allopathy, Chiropractice, Herbalism, Meditation, Shamanism, Yoga, ...) and explicitly quotes NIH that it is "a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine". I'm suggesting that in the end discussion of Alternative medicine as a range of items with varying value would be harder -- but that seems part of what it would take to make the article reputable. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 21:11, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
Your suggestion is not based off generic NIH definitions, but specifically NCCIH, which is not nearly as reputable an organization. And there is nothing in that definition that goes against what the article currently states. Of varying value can mean varying between worthless and very harmful, which is also what it does mean, since the NCCIH has never shown anything to actually do what its said to do. The NCCIH was created through political will, it was never supported by science or scientists. If your definition of reputable is to promote pseudoscience — we aren't even going to discuss that. Carl Fredrik talk 07:25, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
My holistic healer used phlebomancy and other forms of divination to diagnose coeliac in my forties. TTGA tests, jejunal biopsy, founded on a holistic review of my health history and symptoms. The claim that quackery is holistic and medicine is not, is plainly fraudulent. Guy (Help!) 09:12, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

I think Guy's long comment above suggests a better way to structure this article, namely by beginning with a definition from a reliable source, such as the National Cancer Institute [2] or a medical dictionary, e.g. Tabers [3]. The NCI has the advantage that we can quote it verbatim without copyright concerns. The Tabers def breaks down the subject areas, which could then segway to Guy's discussion of the problems with each area. Taubers does cite the NCCIH, but regardless of any concern as to NCCIH conclusions about the value of AM, they are a reliable source for a definition of the topic. In any case we would be further relying on Tabers, a respected source. Guy's point by point rundown of the problems with each area of AM, with sources of course, is the right way to go about describing the (in)effectiveness of AM, rather than defining AM as stuff that doesn't work, a definition that enables advocates of AM to simply dismiss the article.--agr (talk)

Liberal bias in academia

A move to the neutral title of Political views of American academics was challenged and changed to the current title which appears to be a POV fork and also does not reflect the references, the larger RS literature, or article text. We could use experienced NPOV eyes there and on the article talk page. Thanks. SPECIFICO talk 20:38, 14 May 2018 (UTC)

  • The above message is not neutrally worded as it should be in accord with WP:CANVASS. I hatted it, but was reverted. I must remind any editors that if they participate in the discussion there as a result of seeing this notice, they should declare that fact in fairness to the process. I believe this message should be removed or hatted, because I've posted a properly neutral notice below which can be used instead. -- Netoholic @ 05:33, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Wow, I've never seen such a horribly biased posting about NPOV. Natureium (talk) 14:14, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Wha'ja expect? I'm an academic. SPECIFICO talk 01:57, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
This is the NPOV noticeboard. If we don’t post comments about neutrality, it will be a mighty quite board. O3000 (talk) 14:25, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, but they should be posed in an unbiased way. The poster didn't even try to hide their bias here. Natureium (talk) 17:32, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
Stating an opinion that an article title does not reflect RS is not an indication of personal bias. It is a statement that there exists an NPOV problem. NPOV is about neutrally presenting information gleaned from RS, not our own opinions. O3000 (talk) 17:52, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
Then it's a good things there are so many sources attached to that article supporting the title. Natureium (talk) 20:31, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
I haven't seen that. I see sources saying there are more Democratic than Republican professors. That doesn't mean they are biased. Is a liberal math prof going to present math in a biased manner? O3000 (talk) 20:36, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
O3000, the funny thing is that ten, twenty years ago "liberals" (read, deconstructionists, Marxists, new historicists, feminists, postcolonialists, etc.) were accused of having done away with the notion of objective truth (following De Saussure, Lacan, Foucault, Butler, and Derrida, I guess), and now the tables have turned completely: it's the "conservatives" (the climate deniers, the Deep Staters, etc.) that live in a post-truth world and seem to refuse to accept not just scientific consensus but also fact. To get back to your point: fuck yeah those goddamn liberal math professors! What the fuck? When I was young parallel lines NEVER MET! And now? It's miscegenation all over the place... Drmies (talk) 00:58, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Drmies Rochefoucauld said: "A wise man thinks it more advantageous not to join the battle than to win." I’ll learn that lesson someday. As for all the names you mentioned, I think Steve Bannon follows all of them on both sides. Now that’s a dedicated truther. There's a guy in the Mojave Desert shooting himself in the sky to prove the Earth is flat. I’m not worried about falling off the edge of the Earth, I just want to avoid falling of an end of the horseshoe.[4]. As for Euclid, he’s a bit dated. Quantum physicists say the universe may blink out of existence at any moment. Peace at last. Meanwhile, got to keep avoiding those grizzlys while swimming upstream. O3000 (talk) 01:55, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I suggest to you, Drmies, that you read this piece: First, They Came for the Biologists. wumbolo ^^^ 10:32, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
That opinion piece is a fairly despicable jumble of loaded language, half-truth, innuendo, and other PhD level dissembling. I give it a gentlewoman's B+. SPECIFICO talk 14:06, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
You might try this Guardian piece that mentions the author of your piece with some context.[5] O3000 (talk) 11:58, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
@Objective3000: The same Guardian that published a piece entitled "How dangerous is Jordan B Peterson, the rightwing professor who 'hit a hornets' nest'?"? wumbolo ^^^ 12:17, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
Wumbolo, I see your opinion piece by a disgruntled person and raise you, indeed, that Guardian article--a paper you may not like, but the article is not an opinion piece. And if you are defending this kind of article writing with that kind of sourcing, the opposite article can more easily be written with this, in an opinionated but typically reliable publication. Would you like to help out with Right-wing attacks on science and universities? But again, the very vagueness of this umbrella topic is reason enough to scrap it, and your suggestion: what do you mean with "academia"? Who are you/is she blaming? The liberal professors or the black students or whatever? No, the administration. If you do not understand the yuge cultural differences between administration and faculty in higher education, you understand nothing about higher education at all. So in addition to just freely mixing up liberal/progressive/poststructural/Democratic etc., we're now taking all of the people who are somehow active in "academia" and throwing them in the same container? And by the way, "First they came for the biologists"--sheesh. They came for her and her husband because they were biologists? (No. And who is "they"?) And isn't the very title a bit of...dare I say act of appropriation? She wasn't hauled away to a camp, was she? No, she left and got a settlement. One wonders if she was already safely vested, for instance; she's a lot better off than the Socialists, the Trade Unionists, and the Jews of Niemoller's poem. So no. I know of this case and others, and I've read this, and her case does not make me happy, but the extrapolation is just too much. Hey, I know of a case where women were systematically denied promotion, raises, and tenure (and I think most everyone in academia knows one or more of those cases), but they didn't have a right-wing machine behind them that trumpeted their case and helped them get a settlement and an editorial in the WSJ. All they have is a toothless MLA, and a toothless Faculty Senate, and possibly a toothless union. Drmies (talk) 15:12, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
@Drmies: Thank you for the reply. Obviously, the title of the article is extremely exaggerated, probably even harmful. With regards to the "right-wing machines", they are still more likely to publish stories of clear-cut discrimination than the left-wing media. And the left-wing media could talk about it if it wanted, unlike Republicans who can't get anything done. Obviously I am blaming the administration; when the right-wing professors (and speakers) go away, the university is left with left-wing professors. And the HuffPost article does not mention Heying, who wrote the WSJ article. I will respond twofold to your article proposal "Right-wing attacks on science and universities". Obviously, universities would attract the left's attention, and this would not go well with the right. With the right-wing attacks on science, would you also say that the right attacks our lives, truth, and women? wumbolo ^^^ 16:45, 17 May 2018 (UTC)

A move discussion is taking place at Talk:Liberal bias in academia#Requested move 12 May 2018 which may be of interest to editors here. -- Netoholic @ 03:08, 15 May 2018 (UTC)

The article has lost all semblance of neutrality as it has been stuffed with claims and logical fallacies from agenda-driven think tanks and authors. The title itself violates NPOV as it draws a conclusion and makes a derogatory claim about a group. We don't even do that in articles related to Hitler. (Yeah, yeah, I know, Godwin's Law.) O3000 (talk) 11:01, 15 May 2018 (UTC)
One bit of evidence is a 1955 survey in which "Lazarsfeld found that just 16% of the social scientists he surveyed self-identified as Republicans, while 47% self-identified as Democrats". No mention of political beliefs, just a weird assumption that all Democrats in 1955 were liberals, which of course anyone who knows about the politics of the American South will laugh at. It uses a number of similar polls to argue for liberal bias. Doug Weller talk 16:30, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

Yikes. Problems there and also at the related/overlapping Academic bias article, which, just starting from the top of the article, looks to say, basically, "academia is liberal and biased against conservatives and Christians... here are some conservatives publications which verify these facts." — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:18, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

@Rhododendrites: wow so conservative, that it cites The Nation and The New York Times! wumbolo ^^^ 15:34, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Well, not necessarily. The second sentence of that article is Claims of bias are often linked to claims by conservatives of pervasive bias against political conservatives and religious Christians. which immediately takes this claim about academic bias out of Wiki-voice into attributions made from the conservative press, which for NPOV is a Good Thing (TM). --Masem (t) 15:42, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
Fair enough. This just jumped out from the lead: "According to Academic Questions, a quarterly journal with a conservative point of view, evidence for academic bias includes the disproportionate percentage of academics who are political progressives[6][7] and/or irreligious.[8][9][10] Conservative activists, such as David Horowitz, have argued that this imbalance is due to academics creating an inhospitable atmosphere for conservatives". Academic Questions is, of course, a journal from National Association of Scholars that's less just a "quarterly journal with a conservative point of view" and more a journal published by an advocacy organization in order to publish material claiming there's a liberal bias in academia. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 16:07, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
The article is far from perfect; I'd put that sentence from AQ in the body, as, as you said you took it, it does set a tone for the article. But it is definitely not at the level of simply spouting a conservative view in WP's voice. --Masem (t) 16:19, 18 May 2018 (UTC)
I would exclude any group that has a political agenda and rely entirely on published academic reviews. Guy (Help!) 13:37, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
A good practice but not necessary or required. Almost silly really, as that would not be done for other similar articles. PackMecEng (talk) 13:49, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Changing the title didn't get rid of all the POV sources cloaked as "scholarly research". And lots of advocacy organizations and ideologically-oriented think tanks hire PhD's to dress up their public communications. I don't believe there's any body of real scholarly neutral discussion based on rigorous statistical methodology. Eventually, if we work through all the proposed references and their work, I think we'll find there's nothing to support either the Academic bias article or the Political views article. SPECIFICO talk 14:03, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

  • @JzG: you would rely entirely on published academic reviews about an article about Political views of American academics? Well you better find your non-American sources. wumbolo ^^^ 14:18, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Right leaning academics exist, and there's no evidence that journals would refuse to accept a properly conducted study with an uncomfortable result. Guy (Help!) 14:20, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Our policy holding academic sources as the gold standard does not change because subject is academics. Why would American academic sources be considered unreliable? Galobtter (pingó mió) 14:24, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
They are reliable, the issue is saying anything but is unreliable. That is simply not the case, even if the source is "bias" they can certainly still be reliable. PackMecEng (talk) 14:48, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
Academics acting as academics publishing in peer-reviewed media may be RS. Folks with PhD's using some of the techniques and jargon of scholarly research to promote the views of a private advocacy organization is not the same as scholarly academic research on whatever the subject. SPECIFICO talk 15:50, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Liberal bias in academia seems the proper title per WP:TITLE, WP:SURPRISE and references. The content is not talking what their Political views are or all Political views, it is talking about their bias being Liberal, regional distributions, and bias effects, plus links to bias articles and categories related to bias. This also is the title used in link to it and matches up to similar titles for secions Liberal bias in Wikipedia, Liberal bias in American media, Liberal bias sections for CNN and MSNBC. I could see some argument for making the article BE Political views, as that googles as a higher count, with Liberal bias being a subsection -- but that would be a different topic, differe§nt structure, and different content than what there is. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 07:57, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

How about the lot of you remember that this is global encyclopaedia? Any title that doesn't mention that the article is about only American academics is obviously misleading. There's also the problem of which standards those views are being compared with, purely American, or global. By global standards, American academics may well be a bit to the right. I'm not expecting the article to change, but do remember that there's an awful lot of non-Americans who read and edit this encyclopaedia. HiLo48 (talk) 08:05, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

Antisemitism in the UK Labour Party

There have been repeated claims of a lack of "balance" on this page by a few editors. They have insisted on putting the NPOV 'tag' on the page but they haven't started a discussion here, so I am. For context of the issue see:Talk:Antisemitism in the UK Labour Party. I look forward to your contributions. Alssa1 (talk) 07:39, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

They are not required to, they only have to raise concerns on the article talk page (and multiple concerns have been raised). Having said that there may be merit is having the issues thrashed out here for new eyes to see the arguments.Slatersteven (talk) 10:02, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

So I shall start


One of the issues raised is that all of this (baring recently raised "historical" examples) is that this whole issue is really about Corbyns leadership (when the accusations first really arose) and just represents anti-corbynites attempts to undermine him, rather then a real or historical problem. Thus both the tone (and the title) of the article implies this is not the case and is thus in fact POV pushing by clamming this is a significant issue within the Labour party (as opposed to any other party), rather then a few minor incidents blown out of all proportion by the media and political opponents. That the article should do more to reflect the fact this is recentism.Slatersteven (talk) 10:02, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

While this may be a recent phenomena in Labour - however British Jews overwhelmingly feel concerned by the antisemtic incidents and atmosphere in Labour.[6]. In fact - over 80% of British Jews think so.[7] Jews, who used to vote Labour, have stopped doing so - going down to 13%.[8]. So while the current crisis seems to be linked to the Corbyn/Corbynite takeover of the party - it is a bona fida crisis -thas has been on-going since 2015 or so.Icewhiz (talk) 11:49, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
Check your POV... while Labour might see the disaffection of Jewish voters as a “crisis”, I doubt the other parties see it that way. Just saying. Blueboar (talk) 12:07, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
Ah - to be precise - British Jews are quite alarmed by the rise of antisemitism in a major political party - they've had a bad experience with such sentiments within political parties which led to real world consequences. They are registering their concern quite clearly - in the polling data above. The issue here is not the votes - but rather fear for safety and well being within this new political landscape where a major party is causing concern, to Jews, for toleration of antisemitism within its ranks.Icewhiz (talk) 14:59, 22 May 2018 (UTC)
@Slatersteven:It's nice to see that you've made your position clear; but that is a political opinion, not a source-based position. It is not for us to come up with political theories and place them on WP, nor should we go about listing the opinions of fringe groups in an attempt to counteract what the sources say. It seems that some editors are calling the "balance" of the page into question simply because it does not adhere to their preconceived political notions and theories. No one has commented as to the significance of antisemitism in Labour, and the extent in other political parties is irrelevant when the topic is about its existence in the Labour party. Alssa1 (talk) 11:59, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

As this is supposed to be about fresh eyes, lets have some fresh eyes look at it.Slatersteven (talk) 12:01, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

What's been happening is that any attempt to add alternative views (by Jewish left groups such as Jewish Voice for Labour and the Jewish Socialists' Group) are immediately reversed by editors who don't seem to be interested in addressing the neutrality problem. Garageland66 (talk) 11:05, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
You believe there's a problem with the neutrality of the article, your solution to this supposed problem? Adding fringe groups and giving WP:UNDUE WEIGHT to them. Alssa1 (talk) 15:30, 23 May 2018 (UTC)
These two groups are certainly FRINGE; adding FRINGE sources is a means to UN-balancing an article.E.M.Gregory (talk) 17:48, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Nobody has yet been able to give me an example of actual antisemitism, other than pointintg and shouting "IT'S OBVIOUS! LOOK!" Guy

(Help!) 13:44, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

Pushing Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan

At East Asia, the User:PE fans keeps changing "Taiwan" to "Taiwan (Province of China)". The talk page discussion is less than coherent and not going anywhere. The editor has been going around many other articles changing instances of "Taiwan" to "Chinese Taipei" and the like (for example, 1, 2). My view is that the common English and neutral name of this sovereign country is "Taiwan" and the only reason to push the misleading "Province of China" thing is to bolster the position of the Chinese government that Taiwan is a "renegade province", contrary to our policy against political agenda editing at WP:NOT. Thanks, Citobun (talk) 03:19, 26 May 2018 (UTC)

I was not changing “Taiwan” to “ Taiwan (province of China)” at all. What I did was changing “The ISO name for Taiwan is Taiwan” to “The ISO name for Taiwan is Taiwan(province of China)”. I was not bolstering the position of the Chinese government, but the positions of International Organization for Standardization and in the sport case, the position of the International Olympic Committee. I want the Wikipedia be strictly same as the reliable sources, for example [9]
If the position of Chinese governments work, then Taiwan will be forbidden from attending international affairs. If the Taiwan independent movement works, then they will participate the Olympic game under the name “Taiwan”. The current neutral situation is between them. The international Olympic committee views Taiwan as an independent country called “Chinese Taipei”. The International Monetary Fund views Taiwan as an independent country called “Taiwan (province of China)”. If you ignore the opinions of the reliable sources, Wikipedia will not exist at all. Please stop pushing the change from the opinions of reliable sources to your original research. Thanks.PE fans (talk) 11:51, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
I’m not the agent of any government or organization, when I spent several hours to create the 2004 Australian Open – Boys' Singles article using the ITF data, I didn’t receive even a penny. My motivation is simply support the Wikipedia to become a website reflecting the opinions of its sources alone, independent of any political opinions. Therefore, for example, even if you think 40 is not equal to 15 times 3, as long as the convention of the tennis score has been chosen by the ITF, WTA, ATP and most tennis organizations, you should not change the 40-15 score to 45-15. The same thing applies for the “Chinese Taipei” name. Even if you think it is not correct, as long as it is widely used by ITF, WTA, ATP and most tennis organizations, then in an article related to tennis, you have to use this terminology in order to be consistent with the “reliable” principle. Please stop changing 40-15 to 45-15 or do the similar things.PE fans (talk) 13:26, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree that when choosing each score as 15 points, the common name for 3-1 is 45-15. However, in the tennis, the common name of 3-1 is 40-15. Therefore, the common name varies in different situations. I don’t agree with your proposal to change the Chinese Taipei national football team, Chinese Taipei Basketball Association or Chinese Taipei Fed Cup team because even if you think Chinese Taipei is not correct, it is the common name widely used by IOC, FIFA, FIBA, ITF and other sports organizations.PE fans (talk) 13:58, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
In WP:COMMONNAME, it says that in determining which of several alternative names is most frequently used, it is useful to observe the usage of major international organizations, major English-language media outlets, quality encyclopedias, geographic name servers, major scientific bodies, and notable scientific journals. A search engine may help to collect this data; when using a search engine, restrict the results to pages written in English, and exclude the word "Wikipedia". In the case of Chinese Taipei Fed Cup team, first of all, the major international organizations like ITF prefer the name "Chinese Taipei Fed Cup team". Secondly, when I search "Chinese Taipei Fed Cup team" with English results only and exclude the word "Wikipedia" on google, there are 3,170,000 results. When I search "Taiwan Fed Cup team", there are only 815,000 results. Similarly, there are 2,180,000 results when searching "Chinese Taipei in FIFA world cup qualification", while there are only 398,000 results when searching "Taiwan in FIFA world cup qualification".PE fans (talk) 22:26, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
You did not put quotes around the string you were searching for when you searched Google. Therefore Google was free o search for some some subset of the words - including Chinese which would allow a lot more matches. If you want to search for specific strings put quote marks round them when you put them in Google. When I put in ' "Taipei" "FIFA world cup qualification" ' Google says 34,700 results and ' "Chinese Taipei" "FIFA world cup qualification" ' gives 29,600 results which is about as close to equal as one will get with Google as it is only giving a very approximate estimation of what it would return and what would be in them. Dmcq (talk) 22:54, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
Remark that I've changed the "country (sports)" of Hsieh Shu-ying and other tennis player into the ITF official name "Chinese Taipei". In general, the "country (sports)" simply means the national team represented by the tennis player in Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Olympics Games. For example, the "country (sports)" of Monica Puig is Puerto Rico rather than USA simply because she represents the Puerto Rico in the Olympic Games. It has nothing to do with whether Puerto Rico is a sovereign country or not. Similarly, we say the "country (sports)" of Gareth Bale to be Welsh simply because he represents the Welsh national football team, while the "country (sports)" of Andy Murray is Great Britain because he represents the Great Britain Davis Cup team. It has nothing to do with whether Welsh or Scotland is a sovereign country or not.PE fans (talk) 16:03, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Sigh... sometimes I think we should just use “Formosa”... that would at least neutrally piss both sides off. Blueboar (talk) 23:02, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
    Heck, recognize it as the capital of Israel (and Palestine, to be neutral) and really throw both sides for a loop. Call East Talpiot (discussed below) a province of China and call it a day. ;-) :-J -sche (talk) 19:54, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Davao City

A user name zzz is trying to put his point of view about Davao City and his point of views, despite of him not following the manual of style in writing here in Wikipidia.

For further discussion, see Talk:Davao City for further discussion. Bumbl_loid (talk) 14:39, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

East Talpiot

A dispute has arisen at East Talpiot over how to describe it in the lead. Those in favor of is an Israeli neighborhood have said that it is factually a neighborhood and that it meets the definition of the word and that it is administered as part of the Jerusalem municipality. Those arguing against that formulation have said that while the place may well be a neighborhood it is however not in Israel, and that as it is near universally recognized as being in the occupied Palestinian territory of East Jerusalem it is inappropriate to label it as an Israeli neighborhood but rather an Israeli settlement. Academic sources have been provided for both it being in East Jerusalem and it being an Israeli settlement. The source used to justify the formulation of "Israeli neighborhood" is a Jerusalem municipal government page. Is it a NPOV violation to describe this place as an "Israeli neighborhood"? nableezy - 19:06, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

There are sources either which here in terms of labels. Please note that this particular location is special in that prior to 1967 it was neither in East or West Jerusalem - it is built upon a demilitarized zone in between the lines - and the UN controlled it. This is easily verifiable, e.g. if you goolge East Talpiot you will on google maps that this area is between two dashed lines (repreesenting the Israeli and Jordanian city lines - which in this case diverged leaving a large neutral DMZ).Icewhiz (talk) 20:00, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
Icewhiz, my question here is whether or not it is a NPOV violation to claim a place not in Israel to be an Israeli neighborhood. And the sources are pretty clear on whether or not this place is, present tense, in East Jerusalem. nableezy - 21:18, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
As many contested places it is not difficult to find sources with claims for either sides. This particular place is a special exception - it is not a normal East or West Jerusalem location, but rather it is located in a pre-1967 buffer zone or no man's land. It is not correct, in this case, to copy paste over content from East Jerusalem places - as this location is (or was) neighther east nor west.Icewhiz (talk) 03:56, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Again, I dont see why you are muddying the issue I brought here. Well I can guess, but no matter. You want to argue something else feel free elsewhere. But here I am asking is it a NPOV violation to say that a place that is not in Israel is an Israeli neighborhood. Is there anything relevant to that question you would like to add? nableezy - 04:35, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
WP:NPA please. Whether green-line no man land/buffer zone (in the approx. 2 points where this is an issue - surrounding Latrun and this point) are in Israel or out of Israel is a complex and not straightforward question - which is quite separate from areas that are beyond the line. This particular instance is quite distinct and unique. I raised this here - as your presentation above was grossly POV, and misrepresented this very particular situation - as in this particular instance this is a strip of land neither in West Jerusalem nor East Jerusalem - and it is not NPOV to state it is in East Jerusalem as you did above.Icewhiz (talk) 05:36, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
The following two maps - from OHCA and peace now - not pro-Israeli organizations - mark East Talpiot's very unique situation - as you can see on the map, East Talpiot is located (mostly - there is some very new spillover to the east, and some spill over to the west) - on the diagonally shaded area - marking the no man's land - with the green line "having a width" - or more accurately at this point there are two green lines (or city lines) - on Israeli, one Arab)).Icewhiz (talk) 05:58, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Again, nobody is saying anything that disputes any part of that. However, what is internationally recognized as Israeli territory does not include that area. That is a fact. Nobody is saying that the area of East Talpiot is in the territory that Jordan occupied prior to 1967. That has absolutely nothing to do with my question here. The issue that I am seeking outside input on, and what you have studiously avoided commenting on, is whether or not a place that is recognized as being outside of Israel can be called, in Wikipedia's narrative voice, an Israeli neighborhood. And why it should not be called an Israeli settlement when that is a common language in such sources as the BBC. Or even avoiding the issue and just removing the adjective "Israeli" from neighborhood. That is what I came here seeking comment on, not whether or not East Talpiot is in what was formerly no-man's land, an argument, once again, nobody is arguing except for you. And I dont really see a personal attack there, sorry. nableezy - 07:41, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
Whether a no-man's land is inside or outside Israel (or the West Bank, or any other entity) - is not straightforward - saying this is "recognized as being outside of Israel" is not a simple assertion. As for labels in sources - just about all variations exists for this spot. Had you we been discussing a neighborhood such as Gilo - such an assertion (in regards to most in the IC) would be straightforward - in this particular case - not.Icewhiz (talk) 07:45, 30 May 2018 (UTC)

It is really very simple. Is a city's website a reliable source for the fact that a certain neighborhood is indeed a neighborhood of that city? The answer just a factual one. Please also notice that the majority opinion on the talkpage is not in the poster's favor, and he is forumshopping here to push through his POV. Debresser (talk) 20:21, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

Posting to a content noticeboard is not "forum-shopping", it is part of DR. nableezy - 21:18, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
I won't argue about that. I only notice that you and some other editors I know come here every time you are about to loose the argument. Debresser (talk) 14:50, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
This is a content noticeboard, kindly leave your personal remarks in untyped. Thank you. nableezy - 17:08, 30 May 2018 (UTC)

White Helmets controversy

There is a relevant Request for Comment at the White Helmets Talk page. You are invited to participate!-GPRamirez5 (talk) 19:38, 29 May 2018 (UTC)


Please take a minute to review WP:NORN#802.11ax and comment there if desired. --Izno (talk) 21:20, 30 May 2018 (UTC)

Medical Aid in Dying

The page did not include Information or links to organizations that oppose assisted death or acknowledge that the term medical aid in dying represents the proponents’ specific perspective by linking to the concept of assisted suicide. Ie, assisted death is not a settled issue and both POV’s must be represented in any article about the topic. I suggest that the editors enforce Wiki’s neutrality policy, by keeping information about opposition on the page, acknowleding the phenomenon of political framing and/or by merging assisted suicide and medical aid in dying into one, more linguistically neutral article with the moniker “assisted death.” — Preceding unsigned comment added by Progo35 (talkcontribs) 16:33, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

Vaccine injury

The Vaccine injury article has received significant recent changes in the form of content removals. The changes do not appear to necessarily conform with WP:NPOV. North America1000 12:21, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

I agree. All the removals originate with an IP, so I have reverted to the last most complete state and semi-protected the page for two days. bd2412 T 13:33, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

Small Industries Development Bank of India - promotional editing

This article has been repeatedly misused as PR platform to add excessive self-sourced details and promotional puffery about the activities and financing programs of this bank (especially in the last 2 days, but also in the past - see history). The used sources are self-published, press releases, publications in associated sites, and thinly-veiled advertorials/announcements. I have tried to start a discussion at article talk, and pointed out the obvious "conflict of interest" problems from multiple SPA editors. Frankly, while some brief details could be of interest, about 90 percent of the recently added PR fluff should be deleted or needs a complete rewrite, but I don't want to start an edit-war over it and would appreciate a fresh pair of eyes from uninvolved editors on this article. I will inform the latest SPA-editor about this thread. Thank you in advance. GermanJoe (talk) 14:48, 10 June 2018 (UTC)

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is a development finance institution in India and works for the development of Micro Small & Medium Enterprises as well as entrepreneurship development in the country. While, I was searching about SIDBI, I found lot of material available in internet in form of news item and publications but very little is available in wikipedia. So I tried to edit the same. As it was my first edit, my mistake was, as an easy & lazy method, i copied it from SIDBI website. But after reading articles in wikipedia and messages from you guys, I understood the mistake and rearranged the edits as per news items available in web. Let me clarify, this is not a PR activity nor I am getting paid from SIDBI for this. In future, I will edit other pages in banking sector in India including SIDBI, as and when I find it relevant. Thanks & Regards: Vibek111 (talk) 17:06, 10 June 2018 (UTC)Vibek — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vibek111 (talkcontribs) 16:09, 10 June 2018 (UTC)

I see that the article is in very poor shape at the moment, containing lots of external links. I would suggest protection for a period of a few months. Deb (talk) 06:56, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
Also, I think a sockpuppetry report on User:Ppranava, User:Vibek111 and User:Rudra111 might be in order. Deb (talk) 07:03, 11 June 2018 (UTC)

Rape cases involving immigrants

I have a current disagreement with User:Greywin about two articles: Siegaue rape case, which Greywin has recently created by translating an article from German wikipedia into poor English, and Rape in Germany, to which Greywin has recently added three specific cases concerning rapes carried out by immigrants. I am not for one moment accusing Greywin of racism. However, I do believe that, by his actions in relation to these articles, he is putting an inappropriate emphasis on crimes committed by minorities whilst ignoring hundreds of thousands of crimes committed by German nationals. I would like to hear other editors' comments on this. Deb (talk) 06:52, 11 June 2018 (UTC)

Deb, they seem to have removed the contents from Rape in Germany, so this seems fine now. However, I do agree that there is an undue focus with regards to (alleged) crimes by minorities. This may be due to a politically charged environment which results in (IMO) excessive media coverage about such cases in relation to other crime. This results in a predicament, though, with WP policy. If such cases are reported in reliable media, with sufficient depth and persistence of coverage, they are inherently notable for inclusion. If other cases lack reporting, they are likely to fail notability. In this respect, WP would be a mirror of current public perception - rightly or wrongly. As far as the top level article is concerned, I agree with you that the best approach here is to focus on an unbiased view, e.g. using longer term national statistics without turning it into a "list of..." article which will have deficiencies. pseudonym Jake Brockman talk 00:07, 17 June 2018 (UTC)


We have an ongoing NPOV discussion occurring on {{Numrec}} that has the potential to affect the numerical values of countries that diplomatically recognise "states" with Limited recognition across hundreds and hundreds of articles across wikipedia. The discussion could affect articles with specific regards to the following "states"; Abkazia, Kosovo, South Ossetia, and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Additionally, there is potential from this discussion to directly affect (from a POV perspective) lists contained in the following three articles: International recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, International recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and International recognition of Kosovo. Participation from any editor that understands NPOV discussions well is welcomed. (See Template talk:Numrec#Withdrawn Recognition Currently not Subtracting from the Number of Recognitions) - Wiz9999 (talk) 13:30, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

Jim Morrison page is being disrupted by an unneutral editor

I am need of assistance on My edits are sound and getting reverted by an editor who is doing disruptive edits, putting in unsourced information, and not quoting who is putting forth certain information that is not widely known or agreed on. Paltryforhire (talk) 23:22, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

Don't know about non-neutral, but certainly the additions are poorly written. But I see the page has already been protected. Deb (talk) 08:15, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
And why is Paltryforhire bringing this here with no attempt to participate in the discussion which had been started on the talk page? Meters (talk) 08:19, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
Inexperience? This was never the right forum in any case. Deb (talk) 12:09, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

use of Candace Owens tweets

  • Discussion on the talk page Talk:Candace Owens regarding the use of Twitter postings to support some hot topic positions (e.g. building the wall, anti-illegal immigration, joining the NRA, anti-abortion). There are about 12 twitter links not all of which should be retained but some support basic positions of hers (although one of her tweets cited to support something else mentions a fringe theory). Should we use the tweets absent any other source? Any input would be appreciated Patapsco913 (talk) 22:44, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

Racist (Counter) History of UC San Diego

Is it just me, but does this entire article, Racist (Counter) History of UC San Diego (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views), seem, well, problematical, starting from its very title? --Calton | Talk 00:41, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

That is quite an essay and it seems like an obvious POV fork. There's not even a generic "History of UCSD" article, and yet there's a massive "counter history of UCSD" with a word count equal to half that of the main article, UCSD. Half of the article is just a list of incidents that might have been related to racism and UCSD, and most of the rest is a description of how the namesakes of each of the colleges was racist or discriminatory in some way. It appears that no page numbers are given for any of the references in the entire article, so it's very difficult to even see if the sources are being accurately represented. Red Rock Canyon (talk) 01:58, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
This looks like a class project. I peeked at another article that one of the main editors had also worked on, Compton Cookout and it was at least as bad. Much of the article was pure WP:COATRACK that I deleted. Even still, these articles are decidedly partisan and need significant work. Ravensfire (talk) 02:16, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Looking at the page history, it seems that this was a student's draft created as part of a university course that was moved to mainspace despite the numerous issues pointed out by User:Shalor (Wiki Ed) on the talk page. Red Rock Canyon (talk) 02:20, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Thank you for tagging me to this - I'm looking into the students' additions and working with them to remove problematic content​. Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 19:03, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Golden Harvest (book)

Article Golden Harvest (book), disputed content diff Mędykowski , diff Loose, diff Browning, diff Waxman. Uninvolved editor input on the following issues welcome:

1. Is it neutral to state Waxman notes that Gross has at times been accused of anti-Polish bias, and according to Waxman he at times displays a lack of sympathy to the dilemmas ordinary Poles faced, however this lack of sympathy can be readily explained by material covered as it is difficult to sympathize with those who capitalized on, and even rejoiced in, their neighbors' murder. (struck portion removed) - when the source says: Gross has of course been accused of anti-Polish bias, and it is true that he does at times show a distinct lack of sympathy for the dilemmas faced by ordinary Poles under the German occupation. This has led some to question whether the stark binary between Pole and Jew is helpful, pointing to the fact that many Jews, for example, were keen to identify as Poles. Nonetheless, in practice, as Gross shows, as much the Jews wanted to be Poles, in extremis they were always Jews. When it came to it the binary distinction was real— murderously so. Moreover, any lack of sympathy is surely explained by the material with which he is confronted. It is hard to be sympathetic to those who capitalize on, and even rejoice in, the murder of their neighbors. (bolded portion related to struck out portion - quoted is the entire paragraph).[1]

2. Is it neutral to say Browning also notes in regard to the photograph which motivated the book that it is unknown who took it, when and why? Text in source: On the one hand, the visual evidence of a photograph—such as the image of the “harvest” scene of postwar “diggers” or “gleaners” and militiamen or soldiers on the site of the Treblinka death camp that is a centerpiece of the essay—captures only a single moment in time, and key information about such photos (who took them, when and why were they taken, who is in them, etc.) is seldom known. On the other hand, written evidence...[2]

3. Is it neutral to say Medykowski also refers to the photograph which was supposed to have inspired Gross, saying that actually it was taken by an "unknown photographer at an unknown time in an unknown place and depicts unknown figures" as opposed to Referring to the photograph that was the departure point for the book, Medykowski notes it was taken by an "unknown photographer at an unknown time in an unknown place and depicts unknown figures", however according to the Treblinka museum it is representative of the "Kopaczen" (gravediggers) who combed the area. According to Medykowski the "treasure hunt" in Treblinka is only the starting point for a wider discussion of robbery, looting, and appropriation of Jewish property.. the source discusses Treblinka museum's in the next setnence: Sein Ausgangspunkt ist eine Aufnahme eines unbekannten Photographen, die zu einem unbekannten Zeitpunkt an einem unbekannten Ort erstellt wurde und unbekannte Gestalten abbildet. Nach der Information des Museums in Treblinka stellt das nach dem Krieg aufgenommene Bild die sogenannten "Kopaczen" [Gräber, Sucher] dar, die das Gebiet durchkämmten, auf dem sich bis 1943 das Vernichtungslager Treblinka befand.. Following discussion of the photo, the source in a new paragraph says it is but a departure point for a wider discussion.[3]

4. Is it neutral to omit Medykowski's conclusion According to Medykowski Polish society is not well informed of the past, but rather is informed on myths of the past. Medykowski sees the reviewed works as appropriate "shock therapy", destroying myths about Polish rescue of Jews. while retaining only the points he was critical of? diff. The conclusion is in this final paragraph: Es scheint, als sei in diesem Falle eine Schocktherapie angebracht, die die Mythen über die Rettung der Juden durch die Polen zerstört. Auch wenn das Bild der Okkupation, das in den einzelnen Arbeiten dargeboten wird, fragmentarisch sein mag, so zeigt es doch die dunklen Seiten der polnischen Gesellschaft in den "Randgebieten der Shoah". In den kommenden Jahren werden weitere Arbeiten erscheinen und die Diskussion über die Einstellungen der besetzten Gesellschaft gegenüber den Juden befruchten. Eines ist sicher: Diese Arbeiten ändern die bisherige Sichtweise des Holocaust als alleiniges Projekt und Werk der Nazis. Hingegen wird der Beitrag der Bevölkerungen in den okkupierten Ländern größer eingeschätzt. Sie haben in hohem Maße an der Vernichtung mitgewirkt, was auch Gleichgültigkeit gegenüber den verfolgten Juden einschließt sowie deren Existenzvernichtung durch Raub, Erpressung oder Denunziation. Deswegen setzen sich Judenjagd und Złote żniwa mit der Beteiligung der Landbevölkerung auseinander, die von den Verbrechen profitierte und sich so moralisch in die Vernichtungspläne hineinziehen ließ...

5. Is it neutral to include Loose's criticism of the photograph, while omitting his criticism of the critics and his description of the photo? Loose notes the starting point of the essay, a photograph of Polish farmers with bones and skulls piled in front of them, was taken near Treblinka where there was a "gold rush" atmosphere at the end of the war with locals looking for valuables in the pits that the Germans overlooked. Loose notes that there has been a public debate regarding the photograph and that Gross has been accused of misinterpreting the image, pretending to known exactly what is depicted. However, according to Loose critics of Gross make the same mistake as Gross by purporting by know exactly what the picture does not show. as opposed to Loose also notes that there is no reason to think Gross and his wife are correct in their interpretation of the photograph?"[4]

6. Is it neutral to translate anders formuliert - sind die Schlussfolgerungen an verschiedenen Stellen wohl zu forsch to its jump to rash conclusions as opposed to sees some of the conclusions in the book as probably too rash.

7. Is it neutral to omit Christopher Browning's views on the current state of research on the subject and comments on the reception of the book in Poland? diff

8. It is neutral to omit Zoe Waxman's summary of the key point of the book? Gross sees the Polish obsession for Jewish property as a crucial point for understanding the persistent and brutal Polish antisemitism. While Gross stresses the German overall responsibility for the Holocaust, many people enjoyed the spoils of Jewish property, and this was particularly true of villagers near the death camps in Poland. . source: For Gross, the Polish obsession with Jewish property is the key to understanding the brutality and persistence of Polish antisemitism. The Poles, he argues, wanted whatever the Jews had, from their homes to the gold in their teeth. .... Although Gross is careful to reiterate that it was the Germans who perpetrated the Holocaust and were ultimately responsible for the persecution and destruction of European Jewry, there were many—not only the Poles— who enjoyed the spoils of that destruction.... Gross writes of the villagers living near the death camps in Poland: “Plundering Jewish property was an important element of the circulation of goods, an element of economic life, and thus a social fact, not an incidental behavior of demoralized individuals.” Even as the Jews were on their way to the death camps local villagers traded cups of water for their few remaining coins.


  1. ^ Waxman, Zoe. "Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust. By Jan Tomas Gross with Irena Grudzińska Gross." Jewish History 28.2 (2014): 245-247.
  2. ^ "Review: Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust, Jan Tomasz Gross with Irena Grudzińska Gross (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012)," Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Browning, Christopher R., 2013, Volume 27, Issue 3, 1 December 2013, Pages 498–500
  3. ^ Probleme der Interpretation der 'Shoah am Rande', Sehepunkte, Witold Mędykowski, issue 11 (2011) Nr. 7/8
  4. ^ Judenmord im nationalsozialistisch besetzten Polen. Neue Forschungen zu den Beziehungen zwischen Polen und Juden im Generalgouvernement 1939-1945, Sehepunkte, Ingo Loose, issue 11 (2011) Nr. 7/8

A bit TLDR - but much of it is the sources/text in question. Thank you.Icewhiz (talk) 07:26, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Richard Noble (activist)

The articles appears to have promotion and conflict of interest issues. This concern seems to have been voiced before by TruthTellerPalmSprings (albeit in a disruptive manner [10][11][12][13]). The article has also been edited by SPA IPs, specifically (talk · contribs · WHOIS), (talk · contribs · WHOIS), (talk · contribs · WHOIS) and (talk · contribs · WHOIS). The subject himself, whose user is Richardhnoble, has apparently edited directly in his own biopgrahy; he has included his biography in his user page [14] and has created before the article Richard Noble Day. The user has also uploaded five pictures of himself in Wikimedia Commons, including one where he explains that "I gave someone my camera and I asked them to shoot this picture for me. It was with my own camera and I own this picture.", three of which are being used in the article. --Jamez42 (talk) 19:15, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

A nomination for deletion was started. --Jamez42 (talk) 13:46, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

Tom McKillop's article has been tampered with and is not objective

Tom McKillop (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

Chairman of a bank that lost 60 billion dollars in value, the entire page fails to describe his career in any way relative to the bank, glances over his questioning by MP's as a side-note, and is an obscure defense of his reputation as a chairman of a bank that lost 60 billion dollars in value after he sought work there.

His previous company Astra Zeneca was also poorly run, and was heavily involved in lobbying and misinformation in order to maximize share price and arranged to sell dangerous products by circumventing pharmaco safety procedures.

The page has been written as a staunch defense of an entrepreneur with an overall wealth creation record of negative 59.5 billion dollars, it is biased and motions only to his favor. It should be supervised by Wiki to avoid future covert editing and to present a clear picture of the subject. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lifeinthetrees (talkcontribs) 04:05, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

It would appear that Lifeinthetrees has a personal BigPharma axe to grind over and above any management incompetence we may have reliably sourced regarding RBS. -Roxy, the dog. barcus 09:36, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Definition of "trans woman"

The trans woman page currently starts with the following sentence:

A trans woman (sometimes trans-woman or transwoman) is a woman who was assigned male at birth.

This is problematic for various reasons, mostly relating to neutrality. The question of how exactly 'woman' and 'man' are defined, and as such whether transwomen and transmen respectively are truly included under those terms, is a rather contentious topic. Common dictionary definitions of 'woman' and 'man' are based on biological sex, and a 2017 Pew Research poll unsurprisingly shows that 54% of US adults are of the opinion that whether a person is a man or a woman is determined by their birth sex. Opinions split significantly among Democrats and Republicans, indicating that the topic is political. Even the Wikipedia article woman, which is linked in the sentence starting the article, starts out by defining women as female people, presumably because this is what most reliable sources state. It adds at the end of the lede that "woman" may also refer to one's gender identity.

To make the article neutral, I've proposed the following wording:

A trans woman (sometimes trans-woman or transwoman) is a person who was assigned male at birth but identifies as a woman.

This proposal was struck down repeatedly by several editors based on what I cannot see as substantiated reasons. I think it's most likely to be the strong personal views of most editors who keep watch over transgender-related articles, that makes them reluctant to make such articles neutral. This is part of a more general problem I've faced repeatedly while editing such articles, although most of the time we have been able to reach a compromise, or reluctantly accept one another's position after served with sufficient evidence. This time it seems I've hit a wall. (This is not an accusation of bias on part of any individual editor, but seems to be more of a group-level problem.) I think that it's unlikely to be coincidence that I've had the biggest problems with this particular edit in my months of editing, and that "trans women are women" is at the same time a core slogan (if not the core slogan) of transgender political activists.

Disclaimer: I unconditionally support the human rights and dignity of all people who don't conform to traditional gender norms, which includes people who identify as transgender, lest anyone doubt it. Taylan (talk) 17:44, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

I agree for the purposes of an article that does not attempt to identify any person, that for clarity and neutrality, the second passage should be used, it's more precise (given that we are a global encyclopedia). If we were talking about any specific individual or identifyable group, then I would completely agree for respect of the subject that the first approach is more proper, but in talking in broad general terms for an encyclopedia, the second is proper form to introduce the topic. --Masem (t) 18:53, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
As an editor uninvolved with the discussion, I think the main problem is the difference between transgender and transsexual, which as far as I can see isn't explained in the lead section of the article. Personally I think both forms should be included since, to the best of my knowledge, both are correct. --Jamez42 (talk) 20:59, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment - I frankly don't care a whole lot between the two proposed wordings, but prefer the first one a bit. However, the OP has been rather relentless on this, despite no consensus for such changes at the article's talk page and this amounts to POV-pushing, FORUMSHOPPING ([15]), and equine carcass abuse. They often cast aspersions on editors who disagree with them, claiming (as said above) that we are "reluctant to make such articles neutral", unreasonable ([16]), and "lose [our] shit" ([17]) (see also [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23]). EvergreenFir (talk) 21:08, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment The first is potentially confusing, especially for readers from parts of the world where perhaps the gender debate is not occurring. The second version is an indisputably factually accurate statement and to the point so it gets my vote. To be honest though I question whether gender can actually be an identity, because an identity is a social construct whereas transgender people claim their gender is innate rather than constructed. Personally I think "A transwoman (sometimes trans-woman or transwoman) is a biologically male person whose gender is female" would be even better. Given a choice between the two versions above though the second is superior IMHO. Betty Logan (talk) 21:14, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
    • An issue I see with this is that it seems that "transwoman" can be used by a person that may have been biologically born as a man but have gone under gender transition operations to become female, in addition to persons that are biologically male but have not undergone transition operations, and simply have a female gender identity. Also we get into the tricking meaning of "gender" here. This is a case to be extremely precise to avoid terms that have multiple meanings in this context , like standalone words "woman" "man", and "gender". --Masem (t) 22:12, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
    • Support Betty Logan's suggestion I was going to say that I think the second sentence above is better because this terminology is confusing for people who are from areas where this isn't common, but I think this version is even more clear. I'm imagining trying to explain this to my grandparents, both the ones from America and from another country, and I think this is the best way to go. I don't see how any of these 3 lead sentences are non-neutral POV though. They aren't indicating anything anti-trans (or explicitly pro-trans for that matter). Natureium (talk) 01:50, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Before we can define "trans woman" we surely have to define "trans". I don't know what it means. Is it an abbreviation of something? If so, what? HiLo48 (talk) 23:04, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
I don't think it can be defined in isolation. It is generally a component of a another word (e.g. transform/transfer/transfusion/translate) which has no direct meaning of its own. You can see from those examples there is a common theme though. Betty Logan (talk) 23:20, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
To me the common theme is the creation of neologisms, whose meaning the inventors and other people in the same grouping are certain of, but which are totally unclear to those a little removed from the centre of the action. HiLo48 (talk) 01:32, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
English prefix trans- is derived from Latin preposition trans, meaning "across". Both trans·fer and trans·late derive from trans + fer[re] (ppl. latus) "carry", thus "to carry across". Trans woman is a shortening of transgender woman, a woman who is transgender. Transgender is from 1965, and trans woman was first used in 1996. But although decomposing words into parts is the basis for their etymology, it doesn't always help you see what they mean, otherwise trans·late would mean "carry across", and "under·stand" would mean something different than it does. You have to consider how a whole word is used, irrespective of its component parts. Mathglot (talk) 08:28, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
I don't see any discussion of sources here. Such matters should be decided not by editors' personal opinions or opinion polls or what editors think may be confusing but by reference to reliable sources.Smeat75 (talk) 03:10, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
  • On a procedural note, that the OP started this discussion because every other edtior (AFAICT) on the article talk page opposed their POV, and that the OP failed (AFAICT) to give notification/a link to this discussion on that talk page, would seem to add to the question of whether this is forum-shopping, as I see another editor has already noted. -sche (talk) 04:17, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
    • Should a talk page message have been left? Yes. However, I read the talk page and do see some issues there where editors seem to be taking the stance on the lede sentence from the "respect for the trans women" side, while the OP here is logically arguing towards the possible confusion of the term "woman" (not "trans woman") within the context of a global encyclopedia where English is not clear in context (the point Betty Logan makes). WP is not a safe space, we have to be clear about what the term is considered to mean, even if this might offend those that align with the term. As long as we're not directing this to anyone specific or not, this should not be a problem in terms of WP's neutrality. That all changes if we're directing that towards any one or group personally identifiable, at which point respect for that person/group takes precedence. --Masem (t) 04:52, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
      • Re your second sentence, yes, I have noticed that a few editors may be basing their views not as much on WP policies as we would all like. I also notice other editors (there and in the related discussions on Talk:Trans man) appearing to be doing likewise in the "discredit the trans women" direction. But it has seemed like, for the most part, policy-based arguments have been prevailing. This article's body does need to more fully explain the topic ... I would guess it is relatively short at the moment because editors have mostly focused on [[Transgender]] (which is four times this article's size). -sche (talk) 19:46, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Betty Logan's suggestion, which runs counter to the the spirit and the letter of MOS:GENDERID and introducing contentious concepts ("biologically male person") which are irrelevant to the article in question. The article is about a gender identity, and apart from sex assignment, I see no reason to invoke terminology about biological sex. Newimpartial (talk) 06:10, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
    The current version of the article states that a transwoman is somebody who "was assigned male at birth". How is that not "invoking terminology about biological sex"? After all, saying someone was "assigned male at birth" is simply a euphemism for saying someone was born with male anatomy. Betty Logan (talk) 07:19, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
    But "biologically male person" is not a helpful term since it includes the phrase "male person" which factually incorrect for a transwoman. "Assigned male" is a neutral and preferred term. --bonadea contributions talk 07:32, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
    "Assigned male" is a euphemism and obfuscates a fact. These designations are not handed out via a lottery. If you object to the term "biologically male person" that can easily be converted to a "a person born biologically male" or something along those lines. I disagree with with Newimpartial that this article is about gender identity; it is actually about gender and biological sex because both are defining traits of transgenderism i.e. you cannot be transgender if your gender matches up to your chromosomes. Betty Logan (talk) 07:46, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
    It's not a euphemism, it's technical jargon. Also, the last statement above is incorrect. See for example, an XY trans man with androgen insensitivity syndrome and typical external female anatomy.
    Also, you say that the term "biologically male person" is "not handed out via lottery". If by this you mean to say that babies are pronounced "biologically male" (or female) based on a biological test, you would be mistaken. In no case that I am aware of are biological tests performed on infants presumed healthy at birth; instead, a birth attendant merely observes the neonate's genitalia and assigns them a gender by saying "it's a boy" or "it's a girl" without performing any test at all. This observation (which may or many not match chromosomes, hormones, or internal anatomy) goes on the birth certificate and becomes the basis of legal gender, even though it may be wrong, as in the example of the AIS trans man. Mathglot (talk) 09:18, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
    No animus directed at Betty Logan, but this disiscussion is a perfect example of why articles on trans topics should be edited by people who have read and understand the literature and not based on the POV and OR of all arrivals (perhaps especially from the noticeboard).
  • "Assignmed male" is not a euphemism and is in fact the virtually universal term used in recent RS. The conflict in these terms is not between "biological" sex and "subjectively experienced" gender but between the gender identity socially assigned at birth and that experienced and affirmed later. As pointed out by others, chromosomal tests are seldom administered at birth, but rather gender is assigned by nurses or midwives by anotomical observation. So, for example, for someone whose anatomy at birth does not represent their chromosomes, they are not transgender if their socially assigned gender corresponds to their gender identity even when the latter might conflict with their chromosomes: a chromosome test could not suddenly make them a trans woman. Similarly, if a person in this situation were to experience a gender in conflict with that assigned at birth, they could identify as trans even if their identity matches their chromosomes. (There is however no requirement that gender discrepant and nonconforming individuals identity as "Trans Men" and "Trans women" - these are identities rather than "objective terms, which Betty Logan's appears not to understand.)
    Since the terms "Trans woman" and "Trans man" do not make reference to "biological sex" according to the RS, it would be misleading to readers (and apparently also to editors) to use the term in the respective articles - in fact, it represents what I have called elsewhere "the worst KIND of POV OR". Newimpartial (talk) 12:46, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
    No, it's actually a good sign why this area needs uninvolved eyes. Our goal is clarity for a global readership, many who may be from areas of the world where LGBTQ is culturally suppressed, or face hostility, or just not considered at all. While most of us are likely from Western countries and readily understand that terms like "woman" and "man" when talking about this area generally mean how the person identifies, this is in no way a clear fact in other parts of the world. We have to have to bite the bullet, recognize that we might have to step on sensitive terminology issues so that for a generic article not specific about any person or group (eg, GENDERID does not apply) that we need straight-forward, clear and simple language that cannot be confused with other terms to define the topic. That's a simple, factual starting point that every English reader cannot be confused about regardless where they came from. After that, then I would fully expect the article to delve into the sensitivity around the issue, how trans women are considered "women" in most of the West, etc. The attempts based on the talk page to try to obfuscate the plain, basic definition that would be understood worldwide is an issue here. I fully agree that fight must be done where GENDERID applies, but this specific article is not that case. --Masem (t) 13:04, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
    The threading here is already horribly mangled, but I wanted to make a second reply to Masem's comment here that has, I think, continuing relevance to this discussion. There aren't "talk page efforts to obfuscate" and certainly "biological sex" would not be part of the "plain, basic definition". I think the reliable sources show that worldwide, the term "woman" is used not to indicate xx chromosomes but to mean something like "people accepted as women within my culture". From where I stand, it is the chromosome folks that are obfuscating... Newimpartial (talk) 12:49, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
    (bringing this in as to keep some threading elements). You are talking about a very narrow section of RSes that apply to women and gender studies. When we look at all RSes throughout time, "woman" remains defined as "a human female". (Oxford, MW, Cambridge). And a good related discussion I found in trying to search on other examples is from Salon here about the issues lexicographers have with the new meaning of these terms. As that article points out, they are trying to stay middle-ground conservative and thus not yet changing those definitions. And that's only considering the English language. If/when sources like Oxford and MW actually do reflect the fact that the primary definition of "woman" should be "one that identifies as a human female", then we can use that version. Basically, the core issue here is that we know that there is a cultural push to respect how some people identify as gender, which requires a new approach to the vocabulary. Where we can on, we will respect that new vocabulary and what identities known persons and groups want to use, as long as we can stand key notable facets without this play on the language (eg at one point, Caitlyn Jenner completed in sports as a man, we can't hide that at all). But when it comes to the general terms, where there is no single specific individual group of discussion, we need to be direct based on the meaning of the words that everyone else in the world would understand, not just those that are deep into the reading of gender studies. But we are dynamic, so if there is this shift that the world (outside of gender studies) is shown to accept the definition of "woman" as "identifies as a human female", then great, we will adapt to. Unfortunately, right now, we have to follow where the English language is now to stay neutral rather than favor a small minority of sources. --Masem (t) 13:21, 17 June 2018 (UTC)

Feel free to rethread or insert an arrow.

Thing is, we are not talking about the article for Woman, we are discussing Trans woman. So the OED definition of"woman" is not even tangentially relevant here (and q.v. NOTDICTIONARY). The existing text AFAIK represents the majority of current, reliable sources and any reference to "biological sex" clearly would not. The article Trans woman is an article on gender identity, and if readers don't understand what that is, the article should explain it. What the article should not do is to apply misleading simplifications e.g. with appeal to the red herring of "biological sex". What's more, this is not a gender studies article but one about the lived experience of millions of people. MOS:GENDERID suggests to me that we should not violate the language in which that experienced is described without very good reason. Newimpartial (talk) 14:56, 17 June 2018 (UTC)

It is relevant because while this is a topic that would fall within women's/gender studies, it is not a technical article about it (where we're introducing a uncommon English word that requires background knowledge to understand), nor written in a manner that identifies this as a women's/gender studies topic as to set the expectations for what some words might mean. It is a "top level" article, written for 100% of the audience. Take a person from Russia or China with English-as-a-second-language, they are going to take what is currently there to assume that "transwoman" only applies to those that have transitioned gendered, because the meaning of the word woman they know, and what is first in the blue-link, is "human female". That misses out on those men that haven't transitioned gender but identify as a woman.
Which is the other problem is that you're insisting on a definition that is from the RSes that are cleared favored in this area. There's volumes more outside that, and I'm sure some very critical and opposed to that definition (I personally do not hold their opinion), that are likely RSes too. Using a biased set of RSes without considering the larger context is a problem too. That's why JARGON comes into play, we're not writing for only readers interested in gender studies but all readers. We need 100% crystal clear language, and whether that is to say "now identifies as a woman" or "is a woman by their gender identity" or some aspect to make it clear we're talking about the secondary definition of "woman" is needed. And again GENDERID does not apply, because we are not talking about a single individual who could state their preference but by a broad category that lacks any singular voice. --Masem (t) 15:16, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
We are taking about the group of people who identify as Trans women, and we can be reasonably certain that they identify as women and not as male. The whole reason we are having this discussion is that the OP doesn't believe that they are women and has edited the article repeatedly based on their POV, including the current attempt to be "neutral" about whether they are women or not. And this particular subthread is about Betty Logan's proposal, which is objectively worse in that it makes an entirely unnecessary appeal to "biological sex" that is unsupported by current RS and seems to be a throwback to 1980s transsexual discourse. Newimpartial (talk)
  • In what sense are the articles Trans man and Trans woman not articles about groups of people to whole MOS:GENDERID would apply? I am at a loss to understand what Masem means here. Newimpartial (talk) 17:36, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
    It's the difference between a specifically identifyable person or named group (where we are giving some type of Proper Name that leads to clear identification of an individual or group), rather than a general category of people. For example, if the article was about GLAAD, we would very much likely respect GENDERID in talking about trans-women/-men within that, since people can be identified from that group name. But in the broad category of trans-women, we're not identifying anyone specifically. GENDERID does not apply. --Masem (t) 18:52, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
    In this case wouldn't anyone who identifies as a trans woman clearly belong to the group trans women? Also unclear on the reasoning for why GENDERID should be taken to apply to trans people when they are only referred to singularly. Rab V (talk) 19:11, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
    It's a broad category, it is not a specially named group. There's a significant difference here. --Masem (t) 20:13, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Yeah, I'm not convinced by Masem's reasoning here. The relevant paragraph of the MOS is: Any person whose gender might be questioned should be referred to by the pronouns, possessive adjectives, and gendered nouns (for example "man/woman", "waiter/waitress", "chairman/chairwoman") that reflect that person's latest expressed gender self-identification. I don't see how it is restricted to "Proper noun" identification as Masem suggests. People quite literally and publicly identify themselves as individual Trans women, and indeed the article has a section on "Notable trans women". It seems evident to me that the current text is fully compliant with GENDERID, while Betty Logan's "biologically male" is incompatible (quite apart from being nonsensical in context). Newimpartial (talk) 19:32, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

What's up with the scare quotes, Masem, at trans women are considered "women"... above? Just because someone may have uninvolved eyes, doesn't mean those eyes are unbiased. For all the good will in the world you may have, uninvolved sometimes implies uninformed. Mathglot (talk) 20:15, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Keep in mind we are writing an encyclopedia aimed for the "uninformed". Given the world population, it is a minority that know about the sensitivity here. Trying to promote that minority view in light of generic article is a problem. --Masem (t) 21:29, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict)You are exactly right, that is who we are writing the encyclopedia for. However, you probably don't want the uninformed writing the articles about complex topics, or at least, not just off the top of their head without referring to sources every step of the way. Mathglot (talk) 23:40, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Biological context is not nonsensical. Biological sex is a fact. XY-sex determination is a fact, albeit with a few atypical cases. What is nonsensical is the idea that "sex" is arbitrarily assigned: it is not. Take the case of David Reimer for instance; after a botched circumcision as a baby he was castrated and given a sex change i.e. he was born biologically male (i.e. with male anatomy) and then designated female as a result of a sex change. As he grew older he rejected the female identity assigned to him and embarked on hormone therapy to restore his male characteristics. Having a female identity forced onto him did not make him a transgender male, by merely being assigned female shortly after his birth. If this is the criteria then it makes the whole transgender definition arbitrary. Sex designations are not random: they are distinguished by distinct biological features, and it is the mismatch between these biological features and gender that gives rise to transgender people. If you want a clear definition of what a transgender person is then it is impossible to avoid the biological context. Betty Logan (talk) 22:29, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
The DL;TR for the above interention is simply ICANTHEARYOU. For goodness' sake, if Davis Reimer now has the gender identity of a man but not a trans man, it is because he identifies as a man but not a trans man. Chromosomes only enter into it if they enter into David's process of identification. I feel like I am hearing from Betty a transsexual politics and science of the 1980s; those sources are simply no longer reliable. Newimpartial (talk) 23:24, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Newimpartial, Love that initialism; can I steal it? Assuming it stands for "desultory logorrhea; tough read", but wasn't completely sure. Mathglot (talk) 01:05, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
LOL. If there's a word for a Spoonerism of an initial ism, I don't know that word. Newimpartial (talk) 01:27, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
1.6% of the population being intersex is not "a few atypical cases". The lack of basic understanding of what it even means to be transgender (to not identify with the gender assigned at birth) is astounding. EvergreenFir (talk) 23:29, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Betty, you are correct: XY-sex determination is a fact; it just never happens at birth, except in the most extremely rare of cases. However, you don't seem to understand the difference between genetic, anatomic, and biological.
The Reimer case is a complete red herring here, since Reimer was never trans, and he was never DNA tested. DNA testing didn't even come into existence until he was already 20, and by then he had already been living as a male for six years. But I find it interesting, even amusing, that you raised it. If you accept the Reimer lesson you are proposing, namely that gender identity is innate and cannot be altered, then you align yourself with the transgender activists criticized by some here, who say precisely the same thing. You make an odd couple, to say the least. Mathglot (talk) 23:42, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
I bear transgender people no animosity, and have no problem with sharing facilities etc. I do believe that gender is largely innate, simply because I have never met anyone or heard anyone talk who feels like they "switched" gender. I have a transgender colleague who tells that "in her mind" she has always been female and I don't see how you can really dispute somebody else's sense of sentient self. Dual-gender people may exist out there, but I suspect gender is overwhelmingly static even in transgender people. I also don't see how you can divorce the concept of transgenderism from biological sex, male anatomy or male physiology or whatever you want to call it. If you were to randomly assign sex designations then pretty much half the population of the planet would be transgender (following the definition currently installed in the transwoman article), which seems like a logical fallacy to me. Betty Logan (talk) 00:17, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • If the article has a section on "Notable trans women", meaning we know they were born biologically male but identify as female, then that means that trans- aspect better be covered by sources and essential to the person's notability per GENDERID, so that the fact that they were male at birth should be part the BLP article and thus on the list (eg like Caitlyn Jenner). Thus, there's no incompatibility there. Its the case where the person's notability has little do with them identifying as "trans"; that is the case that GENDERID was written towards, to prevent things like deadnaming, etc, where their earlier life has present little impact on their current notability. In such cases, we're not even support to call out to this transitional nature. We'd call them a "woman" or "female" and that's it, and act like the trans part was not there; these people should definitely then not be on the list in the current article to prevent calling out an aspect that is not covered by their article. That's the type of respect that GENDERID aims for. But when we are talking the broad category of these people, we need to weight precision of the English language over sensitivity. --Masem (t) 20:13, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Masem, you are skipping a key step here. They are notable trans women if they identify as trans women; we don't have to know anything about a person's chromosomes or anatomy in RS to know how they are identified in RS, so the sex (as opposed to gender) aspect is quite irrelevant to this as other sections of the article. Newimpartial (talk) 23:24, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

If they have clearly and publicly identified as a trans woman, that better be sourced in the article. (I would readily assume there's trans women that are activities for supporting other trans women, so establishing they were that before via self-identification makes a lot of sense). What we don't want are people that through word of mouth or bad journalism (the likes of TMZ) identifying people as trans-women without self-identification or clear past notability on their previous identity. That's the who point of GENDERID. --Masem (t) 23:51, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - The proposed wording seems perfectly factual and doesn't run afoul of MOS:GENDERID, despite claims above. The OG wording might be confusing to those who are just now learning about the subject and we need clarity for those readers. — Insertcleverphrasehere (or here) 07:53, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose both – Why use a decidedly non-neutral expression such as "assigned male"? We would be clearer for readers of all backgrounds if we simply stated "born male", or "born a biological male", to avoid any ambiguity between biological sex and self-identifying gender for the word "male". My suggestion would be:

A trans woman is a person who was born a biological male and identifies as a woman.

Note this proposal also avoids opposing biology to identity with "but", rather using "and" to show both are not contradictory. Sounds a lot more neutral imho. — JFG talk 08:30, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Maybe because it doesn't correspond to sources or reality? Nobody is born "biologically male" except a tiny minority of babies who have to undergo chromosome or other tests. Everybody else is just presumed male (or female) based on appearance. And where's your source that "assigned male" is non-neutral, or is that just an opinion? You did add "imho", so maybe that answers that. Mathglot (talk) 09:31, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Slightly more than 50% of people are born biologically male. Natureium (talk) 20:23, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Nature in, "biologically" is still a nonsensical term here. By it, you seem to be conflating anatomical and chromosomal sex, which are (1) imperfectly corellated and (2) strictly irrelevant, since it is the social gender label applied at birth (or shortly after) that is relevant to the article.
Also, completely unsourced factoid. Noice. Newimpartial (talk) 12:26, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Comment: A while ago I felt uneasy with "assigned sex" terminology also, as I agree it's used euphemistically for trans people so as to avoid offending them, but a compromise I made with myself was to improve the sex assignment article to clarify that 1) in most cases, sex assignment is accurate with regard to biological sex (as revealed by studies about the frequency of disorders of sex development [DSD]), and 2) intersex/DSD issues (where sex assignment is indeed inaccurate) are separate from gender identity issues. So long as the sex assignment article makes these points clear, I think it's a good compromise to use "assigned female/male" terminology when referring to trans people, linking to the sex assignment article. As a bonus, it includes the tiny minority of people who are both intersex and identify as transgender. Taylan (talk) 12:31, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I agree with Taylan's point 1; in the vast majority of cases, sex assignment most likely aligns with biological sex. (Tough to find data on this, but I concede the point. Williams Institute says 1.6% of one population identify as trans, implying 98.4% cis, but this is an identity statistic, not a biological one.) However, there is a small minority of cases in which they are not in alignment, and the locus of this discussion resides squarely in that sliver, or we wouldn't be having it. (As Taylan pointed out, intersex issues are an independent variable, and orthogonal to this discussion.) Mathglot (talk) 20:42, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Support this optional also. Very clear, neutral, and doesn't include any euphemisms that might be confusing for anyone reading this overview article on wikipedia because they aren't familiar with the topic. Natureium (talk) 20:23, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose As already stated, a blatant case of FORUMSHOPPING. The OP has not presented any concrete evidence that the existing wording is POV. Denying "transwomwn are women", despite governments, NGOs and academics working towards acceptance of this, could well be interpreted as transphobic and in support of the POV of minority groups such as Anti-transexual feminists. --John B123 (talk) 09:36, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment on WP:FORUMSHOP concerns and a related question: Firstly, apologies for not linking this section from the trans woman talk page. I don't like bureaucracy and haven't used the ANI before; I just read the banner on top of this page to get the basics. It should be clear from the talk page that there was no intention to hide this discussion. Secondly, the principle of forum shopping seems to be to use forums where one is likely to gather people who sympathize with one's position. I decided to use the ANI not because I hoped to fish for people who are antagonistic to trans issues, let alone who support radical feminist gender abolitionism(!) like I do outside of Wikipedia; I came here hoping that people would be more unbiased. I find it very noteworthy that the only people here who opposed my proposed change to the trans woman page so far are those who come from the talk page of that article. Everyone else either supported my proposal or asked for more radical rewording which I wouldn't have dared to suggest, such as to bluntly call transwomen "biologically male." This supports my idea that trans-related articles are often kept in line with a certain POV by groups of editors who are probably naturally drawn to such articles through their interests in life. (Again: not an accusation towards any individual, or an accusation of intentional bad faith.) As such, a question (if I may ask it here): how to best deal with such a problem on Wikipedia? (I imagine it affects many other groups of articles also.) In my experience it takes an undue amount of patience and resilience to bring neutrality and/or fair representation of oppositional positions into trans-related articles by discussing things on the talk page. Surely I shouldn't be using the ANI every time? How else do I best get impartial editors to join in on a discussion? Taylan (talk) 13:09, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
As, by your own admissions, those who disagree with your POV are biased, your question "How else do I best get impartial editors to join in on a discussion" boils down to "How do I get editors who agree with my point of view to join in the discussions". As the OP has been trying unsuccessfully trying to change this wording since 19 February 2017, I think it's time to draw a line under the matter once and for all. --John B123 (talk) 15:06, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per John B123. Rab V (talk) 19:03, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
(Following up on my comment earlier in this section,) I remind everyone that we're talking about the first sentence of an article that continues on for another ~30,000 bytes, so pace the user who didn't know what trans meant, if you go to any article with no prior knowledge, you may need to read more than one sentence; even WP:LEDE says the whole lead is summarizes the article. This article's lead is very short, though, and could use additional sentences, including perhaps one better explaining (rather than just linking to the article on) transgender, but the current wording of the first sentence seems broadly like a good summary; everything after it goes into the details. There is always room for improvement, but we should be wary of switching to language that casts doubt on what reliable sources say about this topic / that reduces it to "identifying".
(People will always find imperfections in comparisons, but one I made on the talk page is that the first sentence of the article on Barack Obama does not say he "is a politician who identifies as an American", nor does the first sentence of the article on Donald Trump say he "lost the popular vote but won the electoral college and identifies as the 45th President of the United States" or indeed that he "identifies as having won the popular vote". There are guidelines against wording that casts doubt on the veracity of things reliable sources report; the lead sentences of those articles just say that Trump "is the 45th and current President" and Obama "is an American politician".)
I also agree with those who oppose this on the grounds that it may constitute forum-shopping. -sche (talk) 19:34, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
The issue is that, at least in context of speaking of a person, "American" is clearly well defined, being a person that resides or is a citizen of the US; there's no other definition to worry about. The phrasing presently use uses "woman" but in a version (generally to be a person that identifies as a female) that is not synonymous with the normal definition of the word that the whole world uses (being simply, a biologically-female human). There's ambiguity that we need to be more precise about in the lede of that article to meet the needs of the global world readership. Until there's near worldwise acceptance that "woman" would mean the identification rather than the biological meaning, we need to be very precise on this terminology article. --Masem (t) 20:18, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This keeps getting run up the flagpole and finding no one saluting, so now it has been brought to a different flagpole so that well-meaning users with little or no understanding of the topic might, without having read the discussion, be more likely to salute it. (Surprise, so far it's working!) I'm not going to reargue this here, but in short: the established wording is consistent with relevant WP policy, is not in conflict with recent reliable sources, and is clearly written in such a way that is unlikely to confuse readers. The discussion that spawned this noticeboard thread is a textbook example of IDHT. (Other letters worth fishing from the alphabet soup and examining include SPA. The soup may have a hint of MEAT in it, too; I can't be sure, but recently there have been uncannily similar efforts at related articles.) RivertorchFIREWATER 20:23, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

I'm sorry everyone but his conversation has become far more confusing than the original problem appeared to be. People are using and trying to justify language that is (politically?) "correct" in their own cultural niche, but that clashes with that used by others. Using different language does NOT imply criticism or negative views. It is a difficult topic because it is relatively new, and the English language does not have certainty in the area. As others have said many times, our audience is global, and includes many who are not close to the politics of the evolving language in this area. We need to be able to write about this in ways that are clear to readers who don't know any transgender people, and who have not kept up with the latest in what is considered offensive or non-offensive by those close to the world where these issues arise. HiLo48 (talk) 22:30, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

The idea we need to dumb ideas down for our readers is farcical. We are not writing like Judith Butler. No language used is any more complicated than an intro to women's studies book. EvergreenFir (talk) 23:32, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
I said neither that we should dumb things down nor that the language is too complicated. Your contribution is unhelpful. It suggests you either didn't read or didn't understand my comment properly. HiLo48 (talk) 00:16, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Apologies HiLo48, that comment was more directed at Masem. But your last sentence does seem to suggest that this is somehow too confusing for folks As to what is offencive or not. EvergreenFir (talk) 05:57, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
If "trans woman" was a term only used in woman's studies, so that the likely reader of such an article would be expected to be familiar with that, you're right. But this term is being presented in a broad, global society context. We have to ignore the specialization of terms until we can establish enough context to explain the term, especially since it overlaps with a very different meaning that is much more common in the world. Once you have context established, then you can use the word as it would mean in the field. Think about how this would work for readers with English-as-a-second-language, or people using translation tool, or people from Eastern countries where LGBTQ are prosecuted; we are not just writing for the Western audience where the context may seem clear. --Masem (t) 00:00, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
I think using language similar to that found in RS while explaining any terms that may be too technical is a fairly common way to deal with this. Rab V (talk) 00:05, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
That makes a lot of sense. The problem is finding the language to explain technical terms. This thread alone demonstrates that people cannot agree on the language to do that. HiLo48 (talk) 00:16, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Masem, I grant your good faith on isues of ESL, foreign readers at en-wiki, or translation, and you will find me an extemely sympathetic audience in anything having to do with those topics as I spend a good deal of my time with them. In thinking about this problem, however, the last thing you want to do in this article (or any article) is cater to users using a translation tool. This is not the venue to go into details about that, but come over to WP:TRANSLATION or WP:PNT if you are interested, and I'd be happy to discuss that further. I absolutely support using clear English here, or anywhere. Nevertheless, the realities of certain topics are such that they are not easily conveyed to those who do not have the vocabulary for it or unfamiliar with the jargon, and that includes not only ESL folks, but also native speakers who haven't been exposed to the topic and the vocabulary before. I remember wandering into a Philosophy article, and getting slapped on the wrist, because I assumed a word was used in the normal, everyday, English sense, and "fixed" it, but actually it meant something else very specific in that context. So, now I know. Anyway, when the jargon is complex but clearly supported by reliable sources, then we should use it, and then wikilink it, and possibly add inline or footnote type explanatory notes[a] if further clarification is needed. We should not try to explain something assuming the lowest common denominator; for one thing, there would never be any agreement about "how simplified" it should be. After all, the "trache shave" article is not called Trache shave, is it? And tell me how many people know that word, even including those who have had the operation? Best to stick with the proper words, and explain as needed. Mathglot (talk) 01:27, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
The core point is this: The word "woman" that, without any other context, has a meaning that 100% of the world understands without question (a biological female), and has a rather centuries-long meaning. The argument being used here is to use on the first instance of the term (lede sentence) to use a meaning of "woman" that a small fraction have come to use it over only a few decades. We cannot override common sense, common meaning, and long history here to favor a small group, at least to make our encyclopedic article perfectly clear to the rest of the world. Let's put it this way: it is not so much what RS define "trans-woman" as, but what RS define "woman" as, and the clear overriding meaning of RS in that sense is the biological female meaning. It may seem that we're not being sensitive, but WP is not censored nor a "safe space" for ideas. The reality of what "trans-woman" means to the rest of the world outside of women's or gender studies has to take precedence to make sure we don't confuse our readers. This is basically, MOS:JARGON, understanding that "woman" as "identifies as woman" is jargon at this point in time. --Masem (t) 02:10, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
@Masem:, you raise an interesting point by linking MOS:JARGON. At the link, they make this observation: For unavoidably technical articles, a separate introductory article (like Introduction to general relativity) may be the best solution. The fact is, articles about Trans issues are about unavoidably technical topics, as many of the "Support" voters here have taken some pains to point out. I don't disagree, but I don't think unwarranted simplification for an inherently complex topic is the answer. The {{Transgender sidebar}} links over 100 topics, and the Nav template links even more. It could well be that what is needed here, is a new, Introduction to transgender topics article, which speaks directly to these issues of what the words mean, and what the topic is about. This may not be an immediate solution to the current question at issue, but then again, this section alone is now 47,518 bytes, a decent size for a non-stub article. Maybe we should have all been collaborating there, where every one of these viewpoints could be accommodated, instead of spending this much time on one line. I dunno; just a thought. Mathglot (talk) 03:40, 17 June 2018 (UTC) update by Mathglot (talk) 03:42, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Call it what it is and make it basic reading rather than some convoluted gender studies text.Marketless (talk) 01:38, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Masem that is a terrific comment and sums it up. This is not a gender studies article.Marketless (talk) 02:18, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
@Marketless, congratulations on your fifth day at Wikipedia, and thanks for your contributions at Fleshlight, Artificial vagina, and Testicles as food. I notice you have four warnings on your talk page and a block already, but you managed to find WP:NPOVN well enough. Again, welcome. Mathglot (talk) 02:32, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Oh thank you very much but I didn't know this was the place to be sharing congratulatory messages. What have you been up to this weekend. any plans for your summer vacation. How's the family?Marketless (talk) 03:47, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per John B123, FORUMSHOP, IDHT and other arguments. As far as technical jargon, call it what it is at first, wikilinked for those who want to follow terms they're not familiar with, and then explain as necessary in footnotes or explanations in the body of the article. Terms used should be those used by reliable sources. Mathglot (talk) 03:18, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Technical gender studies terms should be reserved for gender study classes. I do not oppose the change.Marketless (talk) 03:35, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
How is A trans woman (sometimes trans-woman or transwoman) is a person who was assigned male at birth but identifies as a woman not an improvement. It is easier for people to read. this not a gender studies class.Marketless (talk) 03:38, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Marketless, no need to make the same point four times. Everybody here reads English. Mathglot (talk) 03:56, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
They are different points I've made. Sorry to disagree with your point of view but no need to get nasty now.Marketless (talk) 04:08, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Neither. If we are going to stuff around with the lead, let's get it right. Why a mention of assigned male at birth. Who did the assigning? Isn't it simply a random outcome during conception? Moriori (talk) 03:49, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
That's actually a good point Moriori. The current one is not good and needs to be made easier for people who are not trans or from the LGBT community to understand.Marketless (talk) 03:56, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
@Moriori: you'll kindly notice the wiki links in both bold texts in the OP whereupon you may investigate the meaning of the term assigned male at birth for yourself if you are unfamiliar. EvergreenFir (talk) 06:01, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
@EvergreenFir: What a snarky response to a legitimate post.Furthermore you totally missed the point. I asked why we mention assigned male at birth rather than random outcome during conception. I have three children, and we knew the gender of each one months before birth (as do millions of other people). They weren't assigned gender at birth. They weren't assigned anything at any time. Their sex was decided randomly at conception. Moriori (talk) 22:31, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
You mistake a sincere post for snark and had you not, you'd understand what sex assignment is. As for your own children, I don't think it very appropriate to bring up their anatomy in this forum. EvergreenFir (talk) 00:09, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose on procedural grounds. A FORUMSHOP proposal from an SPA who has spent the last 18 months arguing from the POV that Trans women are not women and has even recently EW on this basis deserves a DENY response. Newimpartial (talk) 13:20, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose procedurally, per Newimpartial. Start an RFC at Talk:Trans woman if you're determined to argue this or if there's reason to believe other editors support your view, otherwise you should simply drop it and do something else. power~enwiki (π, ν) 22:47, 17 June 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ Explanatory notes can be added if something needs explanation, but you don't want to mess up the running text by including it in line.

Straw poll for "assigned male at birth"

This debate seems to have lost a lot of focus. One of the main contentions throughout is this notion that sex is "assigned at birth". I am interested in finding out whether a consensus actually exists for the phrase "assigned male at birth". If a consensus exists then we can move on, but if one does not exist the phrase should be removed and replaced by a (yet to be decided) alternative. So, do you support the phrasing of "assigned male at birth" in the opening sentence defining at "trans woman"? Betty Logan (talk) 23:16, 17 June 2018 (UTC)

  • Oppose As myself and other editors in this discussion have pointed out, the sex is not "assigned". It is determined via a biological process and to state it is assigned is WP:JARGON at best, and a WP:EUPHEMISM at worst. It is worth noting that Encyclopedia Britannica defines a transgender person as somebody "whose gender identity varies from that traditionally associated with their apparent biological sex at birth." That cuts to the chase and does what an encyclopedia is supposed to do: it explains a confusing topic in clear terms for a general readership. At the moment the Wikipedia article is not achieving that. Betty Logan (talk) 23:16, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Clear and unambiguous. We don't want to say that trans women actually were men (not only as opposed to women in general, but as opposed to women with the wrong body) before their operation, do we?? Georgia guy (talk) 23:46, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Procedural oppose this is a content issue which should be debated at some other forum. Regarding that content issue: the sex chromosomes of transgender person are generally not in dispute, but whether that is the appropriate criteria to determine the gender of people (who are minors) in a social construct is disputed. I abstain from that discussion. power~enwiki (π, ν) 23:50, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Objection this is not a forum to debate the use of a widespread term that forms the very basis for the definition of transgender. If you need educated on the term, ask at the ref desk, visit related articles, and then discuss on the articles' talk page. This has nothing to do with NPOV. EvergreenFir (talk) 00:06, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia reflects the consensus of reliable sources. That means we don't discount decades of science for the whims of far left social activists who earned their PhDs with theses like Dating violence in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga. Male and female are biological categories and biology, an actual science, isn't subjective or "assigned." This trendy new religion has no more basis in reality than the old ones. (talk) 00:25, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This has everything to do with NPOV and preventing Wikipedia from looking foolish. If anyone needs to be educated re this they need only read Wikipedia, which states, "A baby’s sex is determined at the time of conception.". Thank you for that Wikipedia. It is not assigned nine months after the event where it had already occurred randomly. Millions of parents know that already. Thanks for opening this Betty Logan. My beef is not with trans, but the assigned claim.Moriori (talk) 00:40, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Procedural oppose (the poll); this noticeboard is, as others have noted above, not a forum of first instance for a content question that should be decided based on what reliable sources say, and not on the opinions of commenters. -sche (talk) 04:26, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support the language and Oppose the poll. No !votes should count when posted by editors unable to distinguish sex from gender, for frack sakes. Newimpartial (talk)

Can we state that the Torah was compiled from the writings of Moses?

At Timeline of religion and editor has added "The first five books of the Jewish Tanakh, the Torah (Hebrew: תורה‬), are compiled from the writings of Moses." I've tried to explain to User:Jh1276 (when he posted to my talk page that we can't, a response that he deleted, now restored) but he doesn't seem to get it. The talk page is dormant so bringing it here. Doug Weller talk 16:42, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

The current state of the document is admittedly better than before. Thanks for the improvements, Doug, and for trying to uphold the guidelines of Wikipedia. My additions and changes to Timeline of religion were made in response to what seemed to be an imbalanced viewpoint. One that, unlike the rest of the document, seemed to belittle the religiously esteemed, and scholastically-credited account of the 'traditional' Moses. Words like 'lawgiver' were used instead of prophet (though prophet was used in reference to the found of Manichaean Gnosticism), with the the subtly-injected statement (which was re-added by you after revision), 'according to legend', when referencing the giving of the Ten Commandments from Moses. Whereas other sections of the document make statements concerning religious teachers in a positive and neutral light, I found that those concerning the most internationally-renowned prophet Moses to be lacking. Rather than giving a detailed explanation for why the 'traditions' of the 'legend' Moses are simply that, the sentence was confined previously to short line that read more like the description for a Netflix Scifi / Fantasy movie than an actual academic document, discrediting without evidence the thousands of years of doctrine and archaeological evidence that supports the historic timeline of the life of Moses.

I hope all of this makes sense, and that you understand my point of view. As originally stated when my addition was first removed, Wikipedia is a place of diverse viewpoint and opinion.

Thank you again for taking the time to review my changes.

- @Jh1276 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jh1276 (talkcontribs) 17:46, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

I would dispute the timeline there too, some of the Torah is 10th century. My 2cents - either you say "according to tradition god given at mt. Sinai" and/or you go with actual bible scholars whose consensus seems to be that the Torah (and Joshua writtren along side it) was written by several individuals/sources over the course of a few hundred years and finalized in the 6th century BCE. "Compiled from the teachings of Moses" does not jive with either the religious or the scientific view. There are quite a few doubts over the histioricity of Moses (and the out of Egypt narrative, as opposed to organic development in the Canaan highland).Icewhiz (talk) 18:09, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
The statement in the timeline is when it was "compiled", not "bits written". The mainstream view is that it was ~probably~ compiled during the babylonian captivity, which - happily - britannica (the source cited there) gets right. Jytdog (talk) 21:55, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
I'm not to sure about this line either: "The biblical Israelite and Islamic prophet[17][18][19] Moses gives the Ten Commandments.[20]". Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 23:09, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Most biblical scholars believe the Torah was promulgated around the mid to late 5th century. This doesn't deny that it grew from/was based on earlier traditions - Deuteronomy in particular had reached something close to its final form by the late 7th century, and there's an interesting theory that King Jehoshaphat (the one who followed Solomon in the late 10th century) was the first to draw the exodus tradition into a national foundation myth (but it's generally considered unlikely, given that a king would surely want to stress the role of kingship, which the exodus story does not do in any way). Anyway, I'd remove that line.PiCo (talk) 07:00, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
And it stills states as fact "The biblical Israelite and Islamic prophet[17][18][19] Moses gives the Ten Commandments." Doug Weller talk 09:56, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
That line should be deleted. PiCo (talk) 10:35, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
Deleted. Something like "Babylonian captivity and likely composition of..." might fit. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 11:38, 17 June 2018 (UTC)
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