Group 1 Dispute Results

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Group 1 Contact Info

Potential Wikipedia disputes that we can address

  • There's a Request for Comment as to whether or not it is appropriate for waterboarding to be referred to definitively as torture. I have no particular affection for the topic, but it's more substantive than many. On the other hand, it's also quite far along, so we would really be late to the game. There's also one about the meaning of "compete" that I find entertaining. In general, the 3R and RFC pages appear to me to be the best candidates for our participation. Jhliss 06:13, 7 January 2008 (EST)
    • I agree, and like the idea of participating on the RFC page.

Proposed Meeting

Should we try to meet face-to-face? Either just before or just after class on Monday? Cjohnson 21:44, 6 January 2008 (EST)

I vote after. In the meantime if people have areas they are passionate about maybe they can try to find a dispute on a subject matter they like. User: ttassin

I vote before. Jhliss 06:13, 7 January 2008 (EST)

Unless everyone has visited the wiki to find out about a meeting, it might have to be after. We can keep it short and just agree to do all of our collaboration here? Cjohnson 08:23, 7 January 2008 (EST)

Alright, so let's just meet right after class. Mshacham 15:51, 7 January 2008 (EST)

The Topic


Should we try to get a general consensus on how we feel about this RFC, once we're all up to speed?

  • I think the quote needs to be shortened Cjohnson 21:25, 7 January 2008 (EST)

Proposed Approach

There are a few areas that I think are worth addressing. I've tried to lay out a framework that acknowledges the merits on both sides of the argument, and will allow us to balance them and make a recommendation. Please add/subtract/modify at will. Cjohnson 12:01, 8 January 2008 (EST)

1) What value does the lengthy quote add? What are the key elements of the message it conveys?

  • I may just be showing my political colors on this, but doesn't this just seem like the wrong place to have this sort of information? I think a sensible (though not necessarily middle-ground) solution would be to drastically shorten this section and instead have the user who wants this information out there post it on the Rupert Murdoch page. It seems more in line with wikipedia's mission to make a reference to the takeover and the players and then allow people to search other resources if they are interested in Rupert Murdoch and any history of broken promises he may have. Anyway, just my two cents. Ttassin 23:10, 7 January 2008 (EST)
    • I suspect my political colors are quite different, but my initial response was that although the long excerpt doesn't show a particular point of view exactly it seems a strange inclusion on the WSJ page from a Wikipedia-as-encyclopedia perspective. I would be inclined to reference this topic with a link to an appropriate part of the Rupert Murdoch or News Corp. page. Jhliss 10:26, 8 January 2008 (EST)

2) Are such long quotes consistent with Wikipedia policies and common practices?

3) Are there external legal issues (e.g., copyright) that need to be considered?

4) Other Concerns

  • I am a fan of the WSJ and its editorial integrity. However, the encyclopedia discussion at issue centers on Murdoch's intent / trustworthiness in purchasing the WSJ - is the WSJ itself a good source to be citing? Let alone citing at such length. An outsider unfamiliar with the WSJ might question its ability to express a neutral point of view ("NPOV") on the matter. Cjohnson 21:27, 7 January 2008 (EST)
  • I am not a fan of the WSJ, especially its editorial board, and see using quotes from the newspaper as being very problematic. But, there is not one single newspaper that is viewed with uniform deference and, therefore, quoting articles at such length will always draw the ire of some. Brando starkey
    • Isn't a quote from the WSJ particularly problematic here, though? Shouldn't there be plenty of alternative sources for views on Murdoch's controversial history? On the other hand, maybe the fact that the WSJ itself ran it is especially noteworthy? (Yes, but probably not to an encyclopedia?) Jhliss 10:26, 8 January 2008 (EST)

5) Suggested paraphrase (which should tie back to #1 above and, ideally, fully appease Nbauman)

"However, a June 5 Journal news story quoted charges that Murdoch had made and broken similar promises in the past. One large shareholder commented that Murdoch has long "expressed his personal, political and business biases through his newspapers and television stations." Former Times journalist Fred Emery also described Murdoch's allegedly dismissive view of editorial independence. According to Emery, when Murdoch was reminded of his own earlier promises not to fire Sunday Times editors without independent directors' approval, Murdoch responded: "God, you don't take all that seriously, do you?""

  • The above paraphrase was suggested last night. I am happy to endorse it because:
    • (1) It captures important elements of the original quote: That Murdoch has allegedly broken promises (with the egregious quote to back this up), and that he uses media to express his personal biases.
    • (2) Even if the long quote would likely be protected as "fair use" and therefore not constitute copyright infringement, there is no need to test this theory.
    • (3) Shortening the quote has several advantages
      • (a) As with any news source, not everyone will agree that the WSJ represents a NPOV. It is probably best not to rely so heavily on a single source.
      • (b) This is especially true here. Using the WSJ to make a point on the WSJ Article, about the WSJ takeover, seems suspect. The WSJ is an interested party and its neutrality is questionable at best
      • (c) As Nevin noted, the point being made is speculative rather than factual (Will Murdoch's purchase lead to bias?) - an encyclopedia should not spend so much time dwelling on issues of this nature. Cjohnson 09:31, 8 January 2008 (EST)
  • One minor concern - the original WSJ quote indicates that Emery is "a former Times assistant editor." Should we be switching the language here, to call him a "Former Times journalist" ? I would change the suggested paraphrase to be consistent with the WSJ piece.
  • A couple of points:
    • (1) I agree that we should hew as closely as possible to the language of the June 5 story with regards to Emery's title, especially since there have already been some disagreements on this in the Talk Page. Thus, I propose: "Fred Emery, a former assistant editor with the Times of London, also described..."
    • (2) We should make sure to put in a footnote to the Journal article (as someone on the Talk Page did in his/her proposed edits)
    • (3) I made a small change to the proposed language above, from "Claimed Emery" to "According to Emery"
    • (4) It may be useful (although this is probably obvious from context) to add that Murdoch purchased the Sunday Times: "when Murdoch was reminded of his own earlier promises not to fire editors of the Sunday Times (which he purchased in 1981)..."
    • (5) I don't think copyright would be an issue with the use of this quote, so it's probably not worth mentioning. However, I agree that we can pitch our addition on the grounds that it fits more closely with the Wikipedia style (not to mention that having such a long quote in the middle of the article is not aesthetically pleasing), it balances the concerns of providing adequate detail without going overboard (thus addressing Nbauman's concern), and, most importantly, it presents a NPOV.
    • (6) On a separate point, I think we should propose omitting the paragraph that follows this quote in the article ("In 1993, according to the June 5 story, Mr. Murdoch focused on building a television-satellite business in Asia...") I think it's very interesting, but it is apropos only in a very indirect way. The purpose of the assertion, from what I can tell, is to illustrate an example of Murdoch allowing his own bias to influence an editorial decision, thus going back on the promise he made when purchasing the Times. I think this is too far removed from the topic at hand. We should propose either that it be omitted, or that it be moved to a different section, or that someone clarify the connection between the quote and the primary topic. Mshacham 11:02, 8 January 2008 (EST)
    • I agree with all of Mshacham's points above. My copyright comment was an attempt to tie in elements of the law, perhaps to add legitimacy to our posting from HLS - I agree that it is likely unnecessary / inappropriate. I suggest addressing (6) in a way that is clearly separate from the rest of our contribution (ie, a separate paragraph, indicating that it is a separate point, similar to Mshacham's structure above.) I think doing so is necessary because (6) does not directly address the RFC, which is specific to the WSJ quote. On a side note, I will likely be late to today's meeting - my thoughts are all documented above. Cjohnson 11:39, 8 January 2008 (EST)

Draft of Text that we will Contribute on [The WSJ RFC]

I agree that the solution proposed by Tony Sidaway and modified by RIO3 makes sense for the following reasons:

  • (1) As a tertiary source, part of Wikipedia's strength is in aggregating information; quoting one source at lengths does not add to this, but distilling the source and providing a link to it does.
  • (2) The short paragraph proposed seems more in keeping with this encyclopedia's general style and just seems better from an aesthetic perspective.
  • (3) Giving such a long quote from the Journal verbatim seems potentially problematic here, since the Journal is an interested party in this transaction.

I propose the following slight modifications to the paragraph suggested above: However, a June 5 Journal news story had quoted charges that Murdoch had made and broken similar promises in the past.[1] One large shareholder, James Ottoway, Jr., was quoted as saying Murdoch has long "expressed his personal, political and business biases through his newspapers and television stations." Fred Emery, a former assistant editor with Times of London, was quoted describing conflicts with Sunday Times editor Harold Evans. According to Emery, Murdoch considered sacking Evans; when reminded of his own earlier promises not to fire editors without the independent directors' approval, which he made when purchased the newspaper in 1981, Murdoch responded: "God, you don't take all that seriously, do you?"'

This change corrects Emery's title and adds a bit of background about Murdoch's purchase of the Sunday Times, which seems relevant to the point raised. It also clarifies who James Ottoway, Jr. is. Mshacham 13:38, 8 January 2008 (EST) Eroggenkamp 13:46, 8 January 2008 (EST)

Here is the change posted: diff. Mshacham 13:55, 8 January 2008 (EST)

No response on the talk page as of now. Mshacham 21:54, 8 January 2008 (EST)
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