>Well, it's not the only issue. There's also the fact that
>Canadians, whom the Wikipedia also serves, in general
>say Inuit; and also the fact that those Inuit who speak
>English use the term Inuit. I would prefer that it remain at
Yeah and the article about the people would remain at [[Inuit]] while an
article about the /term/ "Eskimo" would be at [[Eskimo]]. But only if there
is enough text to transfer to [[Eskimo]].
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)
> Yeah, why not? The only issue right now is that there is not enough extent
> Wikipedia text about the term "Eskimo" to move from [[Inuit]] to
Well, it's not the only issue. There's also the fact that Canadians, whom
the Wikipedia also serves, in general say Inuit; and also the fact that
those Inuit who speak English use the term Inuit. I would prefer that it
remain at Inuit.
I think that Erik's suggestions here have great merit, and I'd like to
open the floor to a discussion. Obviously, he's given a fair amount
of detail, and I may not want to adopt all of the detail that he's
suggested, but I think in broad outline we're going to have to move to
something like this.
Erik Moeller wrote:
> > It seems likely that he's angry enough to never come back anyway, in
> > which case we can all just talk about how to best avoid this sort of
> > thing in the future.
> Ban faster? :-)
> Seriously, I don't see how you can avoid dealing with problematic persons,
> and I don't see how the persons attacked by RK should have acted any
> differently, and I still think that a temporary ban was the best action in
> this case. There are some people who believe that I am somehow working on
> a grand strategy to usurp power on Wikipedia, which is kind of funny,
> because the first thing I would do it if I had it is democratize
> everything ;-).
> We should avoid developing too much of a behavioral double standard. RK
> was tolerated because he contributed good material. But how much good
> material has not been contributed because of his well documented
> behavioral problems? In my opinion, we need to set clearer rules on
> Wikiquette and be serious about enforcing them, with a well-defined
> protocol of warning, temporary banning, permanent banning etc. Maybe there
> could be a 5-10 member Wikiquette "committee" where violations could be
> reported and decisions would be made by voting. By making it proprietary
> (totally unwiki, but so is reporting directly to you) we can avoid having
> the lists and talk pages cluttered up with these complaints and can make
> sure that users will not have to fear repercussions for reporting
> Wikiquette violations.
> Implementation wise, this could be a mailing list with non-member posting
> rights (perhaps with a web-based submission interface to avoid spam --
> this could actually be done inside Wikipedia by creating a fake user with
> that email address and using the "Email this user" feature, how about
> [[User:Mediator]]?). Right now, it's really difficult for users to deal
> with insults and personal attacks. I would love to be able to say in 5-10
> years that the discussion climate on Wikipedia is the best anywhere on the
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> We can't win, because each point of view
> defines the baseline assumptions of the
> other as being unworthy of consideration
> or discussion. Therefore, any article
> that merely includes terminology and
> ideas from each POV is inherently wrong
> according to the other.
On the contrary, we can use your penetrating analysis to *label* those
assumptions as the POV of the activists in question.
On one side, there's this:
* It's my body, I'll do whatever the hell I want with it. Get out, you
damned cancerous growth!
On the other, there's:
* Oh, what a cute baby! Surely you wouldn't murder your own son?
Note that both views take a human rights perspective. "You can't make me
harbor this monster" and "You dare not murder another human being".
If we can pull this off, it will be the PR coup of the century!
Mark (Delirium) wrote:
> The basic tension is between opponents of
> legalized abortion, who want the descriptions
> to be as gruesome and detailed as possible,
> and between supporters of legalized abortion,
> who want the descriptions to be as detached,
> clinical, and jargon-filled as possible.
> Hopefully we can avoid doing either.
You hit the nail on the head. The debate over abortion has definitely
been polarized around loaded terminology.
I bet we Wikipedians will be able to reach a consensus on describing
abortion procedures using medical terminology - even at the cost of
using "detached" jargon.
I have fainter hopes that we'll be able to reach consensus on the
neutrality of any article exploring the moral aspects of abortion.
Extremists from both "pro-life" and "pro-choice" camps may very well
insist that nothing short of fully embracing their POV is "neutral".
Which is why I've avoided the issue like the plague (to use a clinical
and gruesome metaphor). Not to mention that it will take dozens of hours
of my time...
I wish to take the time to thank those who responded to my attempt at a
neutral replacement page for the current one dealing with the D&X abortion
procedure. The responses have made the methods and purpose of Wikipedia much
clearer to me.
I was laboring under the false impression that the purpose of Wikipedia was
to present factual information in an encyclopedic form. The answer I
received from Delerium/Mark makes it abundantly clear that I was mistaken in this
evaluation. These two paragraphs sum up his point succintly.
>>In both these cases, the problem is that there is no entirely neutral
terminology. Using strictly medical terms is considered biased by the
anti-abortion community, as they see it as an attempt to cast a moral issue as a
strictly sanitized medical issue; using non-medical terms is seen as similarly
biased by the pro-abortion community. My preferred solution would be to use both
sets of terms interchangeably--both "womb" and "uterus" and both "birth
canal" and "vagina/cervix/vulva"). In particular I don't really see anything
wrong with "birth canal", and have seen it used in pro-abortion literature as
well as anti-abortion literature.
As for the term "Partial Birth Abortion" itself, there's no good solution to
that either that I can see. Certainly there some be some discussion about
the controversy over terminology, but simply adopting an alternate term would
be biased as well. The only other term in reasonably widespread use is "late
term abortion", but as you pointed out some of these procedures do not
actually occur in the last trimester, so can't really fall under that heading. So
I'd say keeping the term PBA with the qualification that some abortion
supporters object to the term is the best solution.<<
The medical terms I suggested (which were also linked) **ARE** neutral and
are well understood by both the lay person and the medical professional. Your
preferred choices are in fact **NOT** neutral terms but deliberately loaded
terms intended to subtly present a particular POV.
Furthermore the propaganda term "Partial Birth Abortion" is not a medical
term and ** HAS NO DEFINITION ** according to the rulings of a number of State
Supreme Courts, the US Supreme Court, the ACOG who are most qualified to
discuss abortion procedures, and the AMA representing in excess of 35,000 members
of the US medical profession (Dec. 2002). It is neither a medical procedure
NOR a lay term for any abortion procedure because it has no unequivocal
description even in the current S3 bill.
So it has become obvious to me very quickly that the "edit" function on your
articles in Wikipedia is open to exactly the same type of "stacking the
deck" abuse that online internet polls are and thus the entries in Wilipedia are
less than useless if the purpose is to find reliable information.
Fred Bauder suggested I just jump in and edit liberally but this, I have
absolutely no doubt, would simply lead to a pissing contest between those who
want the propaganda retained and those interested in factual information. I
have neither the time nor the inclination to engage in such an exchange.
It is for these reasons that I will retain the answers I have recived to
this query as background and support of my position and will simply refuse in
the future to accept any citition from Wikipedia as a reference to a legitimate
authority but will put it in the same class as a letter to the editor in a
small local newspaper.
I appreciate the thought put into the responses by Jimmy Wales and Daniel
Thank you all for your responses,
Cada niño un niño querido.
Chaque enfant un enfant voulu.
Jedes Kind ein gewünschtes Kind.
Cada criança uma criança querida
Ogni bambino un bambino desiderato.
Every child a wanted child.
PS - If anybody is interested in viewing the suggested D&X entry as I
revised it I will leave it temporarily at
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>Presumably, though, we should have an article "Eskimo"
>about the word, linking to "Inuit" the people?
Yeah, why not? The only issue right now is that there is not enough extent
Wikipedia text about the term "Eskimo" to move from [[Inuit]] to [[Eskimo]].
When that changes then [[Eskimo]] can be changed from a redirect to an
article. This will require, however, some degree of future maintenance to
make sure references in other articles meaning to link to an article about
the people are changed accordingly.
>> 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",
>Is that a specific example?
>I don't think that there would be much controversy
>in attributing those deaths to Pol Pot's decisions and
>policies, would there? Even Noam Chomsky would
>likely admit that much.
Yeah, perhaps the text should be modified a bit. But my POV on this issue is
perhaps a bit too strong against Pol Pot, so I can't trust myself to be
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)
Here's a proposal to try to achieve something reasonably neutral.
Despite the fact that I think our commentator is biased in the opposite
direction, upon re-reading the article I do agree that something should
be done about the problematic terminology (though I don't think the
article as a whole is particularly bad). The basic problem is that both
terms are considered biased by the people who use the other term: the
disagreement is over whether this partial removal of the fetus from the
"womb" (or corresponding term if you prefer) properly constitutes
"birth". Those who say yes call it "partial birth", while those who say
no refer to it simply as "extraction". Many "pro-choice" advocates find
the former biased, implying as it does that it's a baby being killed
rather than a fetus being aborted; many "pro-life" advocates find the
former biased, implying as it does that it's merely some tissue being
Since I think perhaps some citations will help our credibility here
(since it's so contentious an issue), I've been casting around for who
to cite as neutral enough. So far the best source I've come up with is
the Journal of Applied Ethics, which seems to take a fairly neutral
stance on these issues, and consider all points of view more fully than
the medical journals do. A quick survey of articles I could readily
identify as "pro-choice" or "pro-life" indicated that they're
numerically biased slightly in favor of "pro-choice".
They primarily use the terminology "partial-birth abortion", written in
one of the following ways:
* Partial-birth abortion
* "Partial-birth abortion"
* "Partial-birth" abortion
Some commentators further qualify it, as in "The loosely-defined
'partial-birth' abortion has featured prominently in the recent
political debate over legalized abortion in the United States ...".
Use of the term "partial dilation and extraction" is fairly sparse,
often also put in quotes; it's used now and then to identify a specific
medical procedure when the details of the procedure are relevant to the
argument (but not to refer to the entire issue). A typical sentence
would be along the lines of "The most widely used 'partial-birth'
abortion procedure is 'partial dilation and extraction', in which
With that in mind, and expanding on Ed's proposal, what do people think
of the following:
[[Partial-birth abortion]] - A discussion of the legal, moral, and
related issues, and a link to specific procedure(s) that commonly are
held to fall under this heading. An introductory sentence (well, two)
might be along the lines of
"The term '''''partial-birth abortion''''' is used by some to refer to
abortion procedures such as [[partial dilation and extraction]] in which
the fetus emerges partially from the uterus during the procedure. Note
that some supporters of legalized abortion consider the term biased, and
there is controversy over which procedures it covers; the remainder of
this article [...some sort of disclaimer...]."
a second article
[[Partial dilation and extraction]] - Dicsuss only the specific medical
procedure, and mention that it features controversially in the debate
over [[partial birth abortion]].
As for terminology within articles, it'll just take some careful reading
to try to balance it. The basic tension is between opponents of
legalized abortion, who want the descriptions to be as gruesome and
detailed as possible, and between supporters of legalized abortion, who
want the descriptions to be as detached, clinical, and jargon-filled as
possible. Hopefully we can avoid doing either.
Does that sound reasonable?
>> I disagree. An article that basically is arguing both sides of an
>> issues extensively is NOT how I see the ideal, NPOV article.
>Well, I do not think articles should "basically argue both sides of
>issue". It should not be arguing for or against anything.
>But omitting details -- why? There's plenty of room on the hard
For me it's not about drive space, it's about writing encyclopedia
articles instead of debate summaries. The end result just has the
completely wrong tone. This is exactly what I was talking about recently
on the Pump:
So many articles consist of person one saying: Some people believe <my
POV>. Then person two adds: Other people, however, believe that <my
POV>. What a mess. An article filled with this kind of
POV-in-NPOV-clothing reads like a debate, not an encyclopedia article.
Axlrosen 13:53, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)
* How else do you present alternative points-of-view? Some people
believe that Mother Teresa is a saint, others that she is a witch.
Perhaps you would prefer only one author per article? Actually, Adam
Carr -- a single author -- wrote an alternative version of the MT
article with exactly that structure. And it reads like a ''real''
encyclopedia article. -- Viajero 14:10, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)
** I guess my point is that a ''real'' encyclopedia article would spend
90% of its time on the facts of her life, her work, etc., and 10% of its
time on the controversy surrounding her. On Wikipedia this often gets
reversed, because everyone has to make sure that their own POV is
represented (prefixed of course by "some people say..."). If you try to
trim down the excessive debate in an article, then people accuse you of
surpressing opinions that make you uncomfortable or whatever. (I'm not
talking about the MT article specifically because I haven't been
following that debate, but about WP in general. For example this is what
happened on PETA recently.) Axlrosen 18:07, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)