The amount of traffic on wikipedia-l and wikien-l is getting way out
of hand, and so I'd like to propose the following voluntary
guidelines. By 'voluntary' I mean that I'm not about to start
moderating the lists or kicking people off for failing this, but I do
ask that everyone have consideration for others and try to remember
(And, I should say up front: I've been bad about this myself, and I
admit it, so don't call me a hypocrite!)
1. Wikipedia-l should be used for *policy* discussions that have
*global* implications, stuff about the general theory of NPOV, stuff
about how the software impacts our actual practices, etc. There will
often be overlap with topics on wikien-l, but we should still try to
keep wikipedia-l global in scope.
2. Wikien-l should be used for *policy* discussions that have
implications primarily on en.wikipedia.org. This includes limited
discussion of individual articles, discussion of particular disputes,
discussion of policies and practices that have arisen solely on en
rather than globally. Discussions of actual _content_ of articles is
fine, but should be tied as much as possible to a discussion of
general principles -- the place to talk about articles is the article
3. The distinction between wikipedia-l and wikien-l is sometimes
fuzzy, so let's cut people some slack if they don't do it precisely
the way we would do it.
For *both* lists, check twice before sending -- could your message be
better sent to just one or two people? Is it just a joke? If it is
just a joke, it is so funny that you have to crack it to everyone?
(Sometimes this is fine, I'm just saying let's keep ourselves under
Is your post likely to hurt feelings? Is it likely to make a bad
situation worse? Is there a way to rephrase a few words to be kinder,
and to have a better chance of swaying good people to your point of
view? Are you simply antagonizing a jerk? Are you simply being a
The main thing is: let's keep the lists focussed on our mission, and
keep extraneous junk to a bare minimum.
At some point, I'm sure, Jimbo is going to insist
that we take this to [[talk:abortion]] -- but, to
answer Christopher's question,
"Why should the state have this much say in what
goes on inside someone's body? Where do we draw
If it were legally established that inside *your*
body was another living, breathing human being with
"personhood" and a "right to life", then you would
have a degree of responsibility to avoid killing
it. On the other hand, you could not be forced
endure a process with an unacceptably high risk
of killing *you* either.
It all hinges on whether a fetus is a "human being".
Luckily for me, I have no axe to grind on this
point. So I consider myself the ideal editor for
a writing project aiming at creating a series of
neutral (NPOV) articles on the topic.
In fact, the only obstacle I can see is that I might
(as the Cunctator suggests) have too high an opinion
of my own "neutrality". But since more people come
running to me for mediation than to any other
contributor, I guess I'll have to do it :-)
----- Forwarded message from Jeffrey Fiske <jfiske(a)nac.net> -----
From: "Jeffrey Fiske" <jfiske(a)nac.net>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 23:13:23 -0500
Subject: Alger Hiss
You might want to update your information on Alger Hiss. There is now hard evidence that he was involved with the KGB.
----- End forwarded message -----
Tarquin's question raises an interesting point:
> How many "pro-lifers" support abortion for
> foetuses with say, Down's Syndrome or cerebral palsy?
The problem with the 'abortion' issue is similar to the
conflict between creationists and evolutionists: the
lack of middle ground.
For the 45% of Americans who are Creationists, there's
no way they can accept evolution in the slightest: the
[[fossil record]] has to be explained away, etc. For
the 10% or more of Americans who are evolutionists,
there's no way they can accept any supernatural
intervention that might give rise to new species. They
can't even talk to each other, without the sparks
flying. And whenever one side has had enough power,
it used the force of law to muzzle the opposition.
Used to be, teaching evolution was illegal; now, kids
who speak out in class against (what they see as)
scientific errors or arrogance can be penalized.
Likewise, many American pro-lifers equate abortion with
murder. Period. They make no exception for birth defects
(it's God's will!), some make no exception for rape and
incest, and maybe some even want women to return to the
days when women had a 1 out of 10 chance of dying in
childbirth. I dunno. I'm just glad I'm not in any such
And many American "pro-choicers" look on "anti-abortion"
advocates as some kind of medieval woman-hating kooks
who want to turn all females into unwilling baby
factories (keep 'em barefoot and pregnant).
Fortunately for me, I'm not in either camp. I know a
bit more about the arguments of the so-called "pro-life"
side, but I know how to find the NARAL website...
There, I mentioned Hitler and now we have to talk about something else.
Unless, of course, my intent (to end this thread) is a misuse of Godwin's
Law and therefore doesn't trigger the associated cessation of discussion...
You be the judge.
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their
neutrality in times of great moral crisis."
-Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321
>Poor, Edmund W wrote:
>>Ah, but "a woman's right to choose" makes a much more effective slogan
>>than "the right of a mother to kill her own baby".
>Tarquin wrote it's not a "baby" until it is born.
The only trouble, Tarquin, is that that is a point of view. Some people in
their language distinguish between what the call an 'unborn baby' (or
pre-birth baby) and 'post-birth baby'. Accepting the argument of /either/
side, that abortion is a right or abortion is wrong, that a woman has a
right to choose or a foetus has a right to live, violates Wikipedia's NPOV
The nightmare with the abortion debate is that right the way through it you
have two diametrically opposed theories on rights, on life and on language.
That divergence is implicit even in the two key words of the protagonists;
'life' and 'choice', implying that the other side are 'anti-choice' or
'anti-life'. The biggest problem of all is that /both/ sides imply the
existence of absolutes where they don't exist. The 'right to life' isn't
absolute; society accepts that sometimes the taking of life is acceptable in
some extreme circumstances, (hence armies, executions, etc.) Nor is there
simply a 'right to choose', as society operates on the principle of the
right to restrict choice; libel and defamation laws deny the 'right to
choose' to say what you want; laws deny a 'right to choose' to kill someone
except in extreme cases; laws deny people the 'right to choose' to
discriminate on the basis of gender, race, orientation etc etc. So both
sides speak of absolute /rights/ in society that should be reflected in
abortion, in a spin that deliberately hides the fact that even if one
accepts that a foetus has a right to life, it doesn't mean an /absolute/
right to life, that even if women have a right to choose in many areas, it
does not automatically mean a right to choose the continuation or
termination of a pregnancy.
Society /chose/ to define a right of choice as applying in the area of
pregnancy, a 'right' of choice denied in many other areas of society. Some
believe in that instance it was a right that deserved to be awarded. Others
argued that in that area, like others, no such right should exist.
Wikipedia has to be careful in dealing with a complex issue like abortion
not to accept, in implicit or explicit language, that one or other side of
the argument is /of course/ right and to understand the underlying
principles and perspectives that shape both sides of this divisive and
controversial debate. The only trouble is that if one takes out the loaded
terminology of both sides, is there actually language that is
agenda-neutral? Even the medical community, depending on its views on the
issue, loads phrases with meanings to support their agenda, in the view of
one side 'sanitising' the procedure, in the view of the other 'emotionally
loading' the procedure, a case in point being whether one can use 'partial
birth abortion' without appearing anti-abortion/pro-life. But as many
wikipedians in the past experienced, any attempt to neutralise terminology
in the abortion article can at best lead one to be attacked by whichever
side feel the language being removed told the 'truth' (ie, /their/ side of
the article, or at worst leading to attacks from both sides who revert any
changes because the article isn't pro-choice/pro-life enough in a neutral
form, if one could find a neutral form.
No wonder one of the first bits of advice I got when I joined wikipedia was
to feel free to edit anything /but the abortion article/, the longstanding
wikipedian telling me that touching that article was the ultimate nightmare,
with "bigoted fanatics" (her words) standing guard like centurions over it,
screaming 'right to life'/'right to choose' rants if a comma was out of
place, lest a comma in some sentence be seen to be a 'pro-life' comma or a
'pro-choice' comma, ie that one wrongly placed commas would lead the
fanatics on both sides to see a hidden agenda in the edit and accuse you of
'defending baby murdering' or 'attacking women's rights'.
While wikipedia has many strengths, I doubt if any open edit sourcebook
/can/ achieve NPOV on this topic with so many people passionately biased on
the topic, convinced that their side are /of course/ right, and determined
to use abortion as a plank in a wider ideological debate, whether it is the
'decline of the family' or the 'undermining of the liberation of women'.
Abortion I fear is one topic that is beyond wikipedia, and has the potential
to place rows of the name of Gdansk, Mother Teresa, anti-semitism, the
Middle East and everything else in the halfpenny place, making them look
like minor, easy to heal squabbles compared to the dreaded, divisive and
daunting a-word, 'abortion'.
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Martin Harper wrote:
>An entry about the /term/ "Eskimo" should be at
>Wiktionary. An enrty about the /term/ "Inuit" should
>be at Wiktionary. Meanwhile, [[Eskimo]] should be an
>orphan redirect to [[Inuit]], where we should have an
>article on the people who live in the North, \
>with links to the relevant Wiktionary articles.
No - Wiktionary is not an encyclopedia so encyclopedic
information about the term (NOT word!) Eskimo would
not be appropriate there. For example the history of
the term's use and the controversy surrounding its use
and how Inuits feel about its use /would not/ be
appropriate for Wiktionary.
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Vicki Rosenzweig wrote:
>There is a legitimate medical term for this procedure,
>which goes back to before the anti-choice movement
>politicized it: intact dilation and extraction. That some
>people haven't heard the term doesn't mean we can't
I agree. "Partial-birth abortion" simply is too POV for us to use because of
the use of the word " birth." This negates our "common use" naming convention
in a similar way as "Eskimo" is depreciated in favor of the less widely-used
"Inuit" ("Eskimo" is a derogatory term meaning "eaters of raw fish" while
"Inuit" means "the people"). Might was well also swap the word "abortion"
with "murder of the unborne" since "birth" has very clear baby-related
connotations. "Intact dilation and extraction" is an accepted medical term
that is dryly descriptive.
So if I can't say that Pol Pot was a genocidal maniac responsible for the
murder of over 2 million of his own people and have to instead dryly state
that "During his rule up to two million Cambodians were killed", then I don't
think we can use "partial-birth abortion" as an article title about the
procedure (maybe, if we get enough material, we could have an article at
[[partial-birth abortion]] about the term and the controversy surrounding the
use of the term).
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)
I can't resist one more parting shot:
Think about how many times will a pregnant woman be asked this:
"So, when is your baby going to be born?"
"So, when will that fetus growing inside your body turn into a human
("Oh, it's not human yet -- just a blob of biological tissue.")
Uncle Ed ==> thinks those blobs are real cute, anyway
"Daniel Mayer" <maveric149(a)yahoo.com> schrieb:
> [[Eskimo]] would be about the /use/ of the word and
> the controversy surrounding its use (not really about
> the word itself). Similar to our article [[fuck]].
The use of a word is still dictionary rather than encyclopedic.
The controversy indeed not, but I still would not think an
article about that to be in place. On the other hand, the current
mentioning on the [[Inuit]] page I completely agree with.