Group 4 Preliminary Discussion Archive

From Cyberlaw: Internet Points of Control Course Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dispute ideas:

  • Is waterboarding torture? Waterboarding
    • I've just skimmed part of the dispute, but it seems like a good, ongoing dispute that goes to heart of the Wikipedia ethos. I'm going to finish reading through and then comment. Also, as much as I like the Gavin Newsom question, I think it's not universally accessible. Ac 10:47, 7 January 2008 (EST)
      • Yeah, I tend to agree on that point; I simply saw the Newsom dispute and realized I could try and give a pretty decent answer to it, and figured I probably ought to. Kratville 13:46, 7 January 2008 (EST)
        • I was suggesting IRL to Kelly and Alexis that perhaps we should come up with some internal concensus before we comment on the site, instead of just adding our two cents individually (12 cents collectively?).Vhettinger 14:02, 7 January 2008 (EST)
  • Is Gavin Newsom still Catholic? Gavin Newsom
    • I just put a comment in on this, since I happen to have my electronic version of the Catholic Catechism on hand. Kratville 23:30, 6 January 2008 (EST)

  • Should info from the Navy be included in article on Gulf War syndrome? Gulf War Syndrome
  • Should Harry Potter film entry be based on original British book name? Harry Potter Khoffman 20:00, 6 January 2008 (EST)

Group Comments

  • I think we should go with the "is waterboarding torture?" dispute. -Lciaccio 11:37, 7 January 2008 (EST)
    • This was orally seconded, thirded, fourth-ed and (I believe) fifth-ed just before class.Vhettinger 14:05, 7 January 2008 (EST)
    • Good stuff. Sounds like we have a rough consensus to move forward with the waterboarding debate. Khoffman 19:53, 7 January 2008 (EST)
  • Am I oversigning my posts? I don't know Wikietiquette. Wikitiquette? Khoffman 19:53, 7 January 2008 (EST)
  • How does everyone feel about meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon, Hark cafe? Vhettinger 23:50, 7 January 2008 (EST)
    • I can do that Kratville 01:18, 8 January 2008 (EST)
    • I've got a nice little table and everything down by the cafe Kp 12:00, 8 January 2008 (EST)

Discussion of Waterboarding Debate

  • Overview: The Wikipedia debate on waterboarding centers around whether the statement "Waterboarding is a form of torture" should be used. At this point, the discussion seems to have broken off into a more meta debate on Wikipedia's purpose and the role of sources in forming conclusions. The big question for our purposes is how we can participate in the debate in a constructive way that might lead to a resolution. Khoffman 19:53, 7 January 2008 (EST)
  • Here are a few thoughts on the issue:
    • A lot of the debate is centered on whether "waterboarding is a form of torture" is too conclusory, given the contemporary debate on whether waterboarding is torture. It seems to me that the debate itself on whether waterboarding is torture is an important aspect of waterboarding as a social institution. If we think of users looking up waterboarding on Wikipedia, they will probably want both a historical review of waterboarding and some discussion of the debate over whether it is torture. I think the article should include a section entitled "The Debate on Waterboarding as Torture" with sources on both sides of the debate. Similar to how an article on evolution should include a discussion of the debate over teaching evolution in public schools, or an article on global warming should include a discussion on the American political debate on global warming. Khoffman 19:53, 7 January 2008 (EST)
    • Currentness concerns: One of the philosophies behind Wikipedia is that the articles should be timeless and not obviously tied to current events. The waterboarding debate is very current, and ten years from now people may have forgotten the debate over whether waterboarding is torture altogether. I think a section on the debate could remain relevant, though, if it is considered a significant historical moment, rather than an ongoing debate. Khoffman 19:53, 7 January 2008 (EST)
  • How can we contribute to the discussion?
    • Should we weigh in on whether Wikipedia should keep the statement "waterboarding is a form of torture"? If so, what is our position? Khoffman 19:53, 7 January 2008 (EST)
    • Should we contribute by suggesting alternative solutions, such as adding a section on the debate? Khoffman 19:53, 7 January 2008 (EST)
      • I agree with your proposition that adding a section to the page that summarizes this debate (along with some non-wikipedian sources, as you suggest) would be a good solution. Based on your reading of the RFC so far, do you think the crowd is amenable to something like that? How might we go about implementing it? (Adding it ourselves, or proposing it in the debate forum?) Vhettinger 23:47, 7 January 2008 (EST)
        • Based on wht I have observed in Wikipedia, I think the latter option is better. Although people are generally better off jumping in and making changes, once it gets to the point where there is a RFC or otherwise a lengthy debate elsewhere on the site, it is better to reach some consensus before making direct changes. -Lciaccio 10:25, 8 January 2008 (EST)
      • How would we distinguish this from the section that already exists ("Classification as Torture -- Classification as Torture in the United States")? Are we thinking of putting in a section specifically on the wikipedia debate? Is that an appropriate point to be made in a wiki article (that's an honest question; I don't have any understanding of the variety of policies, including those cited in the talk page)? More importantly, since the first line of the article would still either say "waterboarding is torture" or it would say something else, do we think people will be mollified by the inclusion of this section, presumably fairly far down in the article? Unfortunately, having asked those questions, I certainly have no better ideas, so I'm willing to believe this may be the best solution to a bad problem. Kratville 01:16, 8 January 2008 (EST)
    • Part of the problem is that those participating in the dispute don't seem to be answering the same question, leading to a bit of chaos instead of a directed debate. From what I have read, I don't see a consensus as to what is really being debated; if we could propose a reframing of the question it might help to focus the comments. Of course, that is contingent on our question being accepted. -Lciaccio 10:33, 8 January 2008 (EST)
      • Some seem to be debating whether waterboarding is torture, others claiming the existence of a dispute makes a conclusory opinion inappropriate. My take is that the answer is between the two: the existence of a valid, informed, and non-fringe disagreement would take the "waterboarding is torture" out of the realm of fact and into the realm of an opinion (which would need to be rephrased for inclusion in the article. Under this perspective, the relevant question is a threshhold one: are the opinions on the other side significant and informed enough to put its status into valid dispute? So for example, the mere existence of Holocaust deniers does not mandate that we pepper that article with the word "allegedly", but the fact that atheists are a minority does not mean we state God's existence as a fact.
      • Once we set that threshhold, we can then determine whether the minority opinion meets it. Those opinions that seem to spring from the view that only physical abuse is torture may not count towards it if the common (mental or physical anguish) definition of torture is adopted. -Lciaccio 10:33, 8 January 2008 (EST)