User talk:Smb/Archive 1

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This is an archive of past discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page. If you wish to start a new discussion or revive an old one, please do so on the current talk page.

Micheal Moore links

There is a generall balance of pro and anti-Moore links in the external links on the Michael Moore page, and there is no need for massive deletion of links to further information and opinions on the subject. ~ Kalki 02:23, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Clearly you are in error. Leaving aside the official Michael Moore homepage and movie trailer, which is standard fare, there is only one link that can be perceived as "pro-Moore" (that being a single 2004 Greg Palast piece, otherwise BBC, CNN and IMDB all provide neutral content). This is "balanced" by five links that purport to actively document Moore's so-called deceptions. As such I find the External Links section to be needlessly lopsided. And unless we can come to some arrangement, it is only fair that I start adding rebuttals and responses wherever necessary. Smb1971 03:05, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

I can hardly see that "leaving aside" the "standard fare" links is proper when one is talking about balances, and there is certainly no concerted effort on my part to either create imbalance, or to tediously tweak balances with the links. Some of the pro-Moore and anti-Moore links were added or retained, whether by me or others, because they are rather prominent, and Moore himself is attentive to at least one of the anti-Moore sites. Though I can't agree with all his stated opinions and employed strategies, I certainly do not consider myself "anti-Moore" and would say that in general terms I probably agree with him more than I disagree, and for the most part have liked his movies. I don't know what you mean by adding "rebutals and responses" whenever necessary... the quotes provided should for the most part speak for themselves as to what a person's stated opinion is, but any information that adds useful and factual context, rather than mere editorial opinon is permitted. ~ Kalki 02:46, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

By 'standard fare' I mean of course biographical information, homepages and other relevant material. Are you seriously arguing that in the name of equilibrium, Michael Moore's noted output, his very existence, needs to be "balanced" -- link for link -- by detractors who parse and criticise his every word? That seems excessive. Nor do I accept your circular claim that links are added and/or retained because they are prominent -- a couple of these links would have trouble passing the reliable sources test, and at least one other no longer serves its original purpose. If we examine the neutral sources, clearly the "BBC on 9//1" link is outdated and no longer necessary. The same can be said of the CNN and Working For Change links. And the Fahrenheit 9/11 trailer can be viewed from the official Fahrenheit 9/11 website, to which already there is a link. I am not concerned with your personal opinion of the man -- that is irrelevant, we both can agree. Dave Kopel's "Fifty-nine Deceits" has itself met with various responses. Genuine balance would be the purpose of adding 'rebuttals and responses' where necessary. smb 04:13, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

As I believe I have clearly indicated, examining, gauging and judging the precise balance of slants for or against a person or his productions at various links is NOT a huge concern of mine, but doing so at least seems to be with you. I do not seek to set myself up as an absolute judge of where some theoretically "genuine balance" should exist. I still do not see that "rebuttals and responses" are necessary, nor where exactly you intend to place them, especially if you are referring to links. Some of the links are related to Moore's previous well known works but I don't see that they become irrelevant here with mere age.

This discussion started with a wholesale deletion of all links other than the four at the top, with the comment "This page is not for the promotion of pro- or anti-Moore web links". I agree that this is not what the page is for, but I also assert that having a few such links are just as useful and convenient here as they are at Wikipedia. After your massive deletion I reverted the edit, and then removed some links that actually were obsolete.
In examining the current situation at Wikipedia, I notice that you have replaced a link to Moore's official 9/11 site with videos and other material with a link just to a "YouTube" video. I don't see that this is either necessary or useful. If we are going to quote a person here, or comment upon him and his work at Wikipedia, we should at least provide links to that person's websites and not have preferences for some third party site, though to some extent their addition should be permitted. I am not greatly concerned with aiming for some fictionally precise balance between links to laudatory sites and critical ones in regard to Moore or anyone; I am concerned that a variety of perspectives on subjects should be presented, and other than spam links to primarily unrelated material, none should be summarily excluded.

The far larger concern about the page that is a glaring one to me is it's general formatting mess, as careless editors add new material here and elsewhere that regular editors interested in creating neat and interesting presentations have not the time to thoroughly address. I might get around to cleaning it up eventually, but I currently have a backlog of many articles I am generally much more interested in.

I also don't see the need for continuing this discussion on the [aforementioned] talk page, since you now have an account. This initially confused me into posting my first response to your recent comments there, rather than here. ~ Kalki 06:11, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

You are correct: concise balance may not be a huge concern of yours, but I happen to believe it is very important. Moore attracts a great deal of criticism -- some of it perfectly justified, some of it misplaced, and some of it unequivocally unjustified. These criticisms are summarised and sourced at Wikipedia. Indeed, the main page already notes that Wikipedia has an article about Michael Moore. On that page, one can access various criticisms of his work. I do not see value in Wikiquote propagating links that specialise in, and devote themselves to, disparaging the main subject (that applies to any individual). But if we are to plunge this slippery slope then it is important to strike a balance.
This brings me back to my original objection. The external links section is patently lopsided. It largely serves as a platform to badmouth Michael Moore, without any recourse for reply, if not you permit me to delete some links or include key responses. (As my first edit to the page indicated, I would rather not bother, instead opting to start the link section afresh.) You have expended over six-hundred words defending your revert, without adequately addressing this fundamental point.
My edit at Wikipedia is irrelevant, but I am quite happy to explain it to you. I removed a direct link to the official Fahrenheit 9/11 website because it was preceded, immediately above, by a link to Moore's homepage -- all of his works (old and new) can be readily accessed by visiting that first page. Moreover, I did not insert a link to just any old third-party YouTube video; I replaced it with a link to Michael Moore's YouTube account ("mmflint" is his official username). smb 17:28, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I am currently doing extensive cleanup work to a text file of the Moore page, in between other tasks, but don't expect I will be done with it for at least a few hours. On this file, I have just added the YouTube link you mentioned to the top links. I had seen some of Moore's videos there previously, but had not noticed the link you made at Wikipedia was to his specific account.

I do not think it careless of me to not be intensely concerned about attaining some "exact balance" of links. Frankly, talk about establishing or imposing some supposedly precise and measurable balance in anything having to do with human opinions, strikes me as more than a little presumptive and authoritarian. It is enough for me that there is at least a range of notable pro and con links provided — people can investigate further discussions of the matters as suit their own interests. I know that there are inaccuracies and distortions on many sides of the discussions about Moore, his opinions, and about many things generally in life. I don't see the reality of most people or their divergent opinions as things that are easily reducible to simplistic pro or con judgments about them, which is something that both Moore and his most vehement detractors regularly encourage. There are usually at least some elements of truth involved on many different sides of any issue, and the presumption that there can be some accurately precise "balance" obtained in the presentation of diverse opinions is one that I find quite delusional.

I am certainly not indifferent to matters of having a range of opinions presented; I am rejecting the notion that some "perfect" balance can be precisely and absolutely defined and measured, or that links to sites that might have some inaccurate or skewed presentation of information on the subject should be simply swept away and removed entirely from consideration. Were that the case we should not examine anything Moore or many of his opponents have to say at all. Whether a person is predisposed to like or dislike Moore's opinions and works, I think the general designation of the links as "Anti-Moore" is quite sufficient to indicate the nature of their commentary. I am moving the "59 Deceits" link that has been posted here somewhat lower in the list, but I don't accept that the issues, distortions and unfair bias that might be presented at any of the links to any site, pro or con, upon any matter, need to be explicitly addressed by any extensive commentary here.

I do not perceive that I have failed to address a truly fundamental point in my responses. There is often unfair bias at nearly any link one could make to sites offering exposure to human opinions. I find it far better to encourage humility and fairness in examining things than to pretend or even believe that some mathematically calculated balancing of opinions is always fair or even possible. The absurd notion of establishing "equal time" provisions for all the countless possible "evolution vs creation" theories and opinions in the teaching of the sciences comes to mind. In nearly any subject of study one should be familiar with at least a few major ideas about it, and be willing to explore and examine at least some of the most prominent and obscure of these, and to embrace, reject, or defer judgments upon them to the extent which seems most reasonable based upon what one actually knows or perceives to be most likely. It is also usually very wise to at least occasionally question or doubt much of what one assumes one actually knows, and this has become all too rare a trait in many people. I now have to leave briefly, but will be back soon, and work further on formatting and sourcing quotes on the Moore page. ~ Kalki 22:59, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

This is Wikiquote, not a peer review journal. Quickly examine Ann Coulter's external links section. This is more appropriate than the rubbish we are present with here. The balance that I seek only goes so far as the links that are presented here in this table. An official homepage is a perfectly sound starting point, plus any newsletter links. A section full of anti-Coulter/Moore/Limbaugh websites adds little or nothing. I reject your straw man authoritarian argument (funny how you frown at the idea of including additional links one moment, then express your distaste for anyone who would curtail peoples' understanding the next). You are attacking a point I have not made, while once more ignoring the original point I have made. I submitted to you (above) that we leave it to sites of similar and immediate interest to thrash out and publicise such controversies. To this end, the Wikipedia box is a good idea.
You assert: "It is enough for me that there is at least a range of notable pro and con links provided". Must I remind you there is only one pro link that is unequivocally supportive of Michael Moore -- that is, as I said at the start, a 2004 Greg Palast piece. What you erroneously describe as pro links is neutral content. We see a mixture of biographic information, three mainstream network pieces, and the rest is unambiguously anti-Moore. There is no sub header that reads "Pro-Moore sites", filed with third-party support. I have looked, and there is nothing wrong with my eyes. Please in your next post address this very concern. Stay well. smb 00:25, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
If I might jump in here, one problem I see across Wikiquote is that we don't really have much in the way of standards for external links, other than including the standard Wikimedia project box links, including a few regular genre links (like IMDb for film/TV), and avoiding commercial link spamming. I believe we tend to delete many links that would be appropriate for Wikipedia articles because our task is not to gather subject information, but only quotes, and other quote websites are typically so useless as to be a detriment (and a potential source of copyvio). We already have far more policy work on our community plate that we can readily handle, but at some point we should do some serious brainstorming about what our community wants in Wikiquote "External links" sections. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 05:41, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
It certainly needs to be addressed because, absent good judgment, things can get out of hand. The main page is proof of that. smb 18:52, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I currently am trying to finish a cleanup of the Moore page but I would like to state that there seems to have been confusion on a few matters, throughout this dialogue.

I have never once, at any time "frowned on the idea of including additional links" — this discussion began after I reverted a deletion of links, and I have repeatedly stated that links to people with opinions either for or against Moore should not be summarily excluded, but also have stated that it is of not a great concern to me to attempt to maintain some supposedly precise balancing of opinions (in response to the specific accusation that it was, and to indications that I considered the links as they existed to presently be such). If there are useful and informative links to pro-Moore articles I do not have any objections to a posting of a few more of them. If that is all that was meant by "rebuttals and responses" then it certainly wasn't clear. "Rebuttal" generally means something more specific and elaborate than that. I should be finished with the basic cleanup on the Moore page soon, as I am simply rearranging most things into order at this point and only have a little more source-checking to do. ~ Kalki 06:04, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Kalki: "I have never once, at any time 'frowned on the idea of including additional links'." Allow me to refresh your memory. When I first called attention to your error and stated my objection to the excessive Fahrenheit 9/11 Controversies and Anti-Moore sites external link sections, proposing to append further reading and counter responses, you said: "I don't know what you mean by adding 'rebutals and responses' whenever necessary", and later, "I still do not see that 'rebuttals and responses' are necessary, nor where exactly you intend to place them". These are your words.
The Fahrenheit 9/11 movie controversy is no longer prominent, contrary to your earlier assertion, so why retain it? Are you waiting for enough criticism to emerge of Moore's latest film to be able to replace it with a SiCKO Controversies section, and so on? No, that's quite unfair, and I withdraw it -- I'm just frustrated with your convoluted defense, which is to maintain imbalance while simultaneously deny that you are doing anything of the sort. Otherwise you would have answered my questions, so far ignored:
1. Do you think Moore's noted output, his very existence, needs to be balanced -- link for link -- by detractors who criticise his every move?
2. Why one thousand five hundred words later, after your "cleanup", is there still link spam in the Anti-Moore links section?
3. Why is there no "Pro-Moore sites" link section?
4. Have you considered including a single link to the directory at Yahoo! Movies, which contains all of these links and more?
If people want to learn the truth about someone's politics, this is not the place to come. And so I firmly stand by my edit (from this [1], to something like this [2], plus one or two changes). smb 18:37, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I have attempted to be as considerate of many of your stated concerns as time has permitted me to be.

Pardon my ignorance and inability to fathom what is apparently very clear and obvious to you, but when people speak of "rebuttals and responses", I am inclined to think of actual commentary and argument, such as we have engaged in here, and NOT the mere posting of links. From the first I clearly stated that I did not understand what you meant by that expression, and only in your last 2 posts has it become definitely clarified that you actually were referring to the posting of additional links.

The whole page contains many links to particular essays on Moore's own site, which I have made more clearly evident in my recent work on the page. I expect more to follow, as his site has a wealth of material to quote from. I do not think that "Moore's noted output, his very existence, needs to be balanced — link for link — by detractors who criticise his every move" and never have implied that I did, but if we were to be absolutely anally "PC" about establishing as precise a balance on the page as possible, we might indeed consider a link to some anti-Moore site for every one of these. I am not actually proposing so asinine an extreme, nor would I support anyone actually engaging in such measures, but your talk of this page being atrociously imbalanced against Moore seems to me to be similarly asinine.

Though there are some criticisms, some of them vehement, and most of them added by some of the more recent editors other than myself, the page as a whole provides a broad sampling of Moore's opinions and many points of access to his site and to articles generally favorable towards him:

It additionally provides links to Wikipedia or Wikiquote articles about him and his works:

Roger & Me (1989)
Stupid White Men ...and Other Excuses For the State of the Nation! (2001)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Dude, Where's My Country? (2003)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

And finally in the "External links" section there are links to generally favorable articles or sites, or those which are neutral in their presentation of his works or opinions:

There is at least one link to page with mixed opinions criticizing both him and his critics:

Among these copious quotes from his sites or general news articles and links to further information on his works are also a few links to sites or pages intensely critical of him (and often these have been used merely because the neutral or pro-Moore sites which have been cited as once containing the quotes for which they are being used as citations no longer do so):

If having a separate subsection clearly designated as "Anti-Moore" sites without one clearly designated "Pro-Moore" sites so offends you, would it be any less disturbing to the fragile sensibilities of some if the designation were removed and people left to discover entirely for themselves that the following five sites which are listed there are intensely polemical in presenting their contempt for Moore and his opinions?

You site a link to Yahoo as a better alternative to specific links. I would much prefer links in general to be as specific as possible, and if a link to a page of links is made by someone, I much prefer that such are to entirely non-commercial page, and not to a commercial site such as Yahoo.

I cleaned up the mess on the page to an extent I might not otherwise have done for months, and just discovered a few errors and omissions in my recent editing that I have now fixed in gathering up these links to illustrate my own contentions that this page is certainly NOT imbalanced against Moore, so at least to that extent, the time spent responding to you has not been entirely fruitless.

In summary of the above presentations, and to be concise on the matter, I perceive we have both made much ado about little, and there has been and probably remains some confusion about what has been intended.

To be more elaborate upon things, I would state that I am usually intensely interested when my own integrity or motives are casually called into question. You have used some words and made some statements in ways that are not actually valid, and others in ways that might be valid, but only obscurely so, and presented arguments and contentions in which I perceive very little validity in ways that I have only gradually been able to decipher, and others that I confess remain quite mysterious to me. It is apparent that you have also failed to either understand or acknowledge some of what I have said: I mentioned concerns for some theoretically "precise" balance as being unworthy of my attention, I still am not confident that I understand what you thought I meant in referring to it as a disregard for "concise balance" which is certainly a term I had never used. You have in fact continually cast unwarranted aspersions upon my honesty, my motives and my interests in this matter.

I am interested in accuracy and precision to the extent that it is possible, which is why I often tend to use more words than others might in expressing myself, but I am not prone to pretending that precision is possible where it is not, and I believe that an exact balancing of contending opinions is precisely one of the areas where it is a largely fictitious ideal.

That I am interested in concision is evident by my interest in quotations, but I have no great interest at this time in being either a critic or a defender of Michael Moore; I am merely interested in seeing that a broad range of views are available on many matters and that none are summarily excluded by editors whose interests seem to be more intensely focused upon some particular matter.

You state that "If people want to learn the truth about someone's politics, this is not the place to come." and that you stand firm in your regard for an edit that wipes away all links in the external link section to any arguments with Moore's opinions. I believe that a page of quotations by a person is actually often a far better place to come to get accurate indications of a person's actual opinions and ideas on many matters than articles written about them, and the criticisms, whether valid or invalid that are made of a person's ideas should not be absolutely excluded.

If you actually examined the links on the extreme mess of a page on Ann Coulter which you sited as an example of a better arrangement you would find that one of the links is a dead link, and that "The Wisdom of Ann Coulter" is actually sarcastic in its use of the term "Wisdom":

I believe wisdom includes letting many ideas be presented about things, and not absolutely excluding a group of them from consideration merely because they might might be polemic and invalid on many points or unpleasant to some people's sensibilities. I can agree that many critics of Moore tend to be even more loose about their facts and skewed with their presentations than Moore himself is, but that does not mean that I can agree with excluding links to their sites any more than I would exclude links to Moore's. ~ Kalki 23:38, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

The purpose of my single edit to the Michael Moore page was to cut back the 'External links' section (hence the edit summary reads: External links). You posted a short note of explanation justifying why the external links were restored. My stated objections, concise and completely unambiguous, all related to the state of the 'External links' division. When I said "the external links section [is] needlessly lopsided [and] unless we can come to some arrangement, it is only fair that I start adding rebuttals and responses wherever necessary", what, may I ask, did you think I was proposing to insert -- whole swathes of rebuttal text into the main page itself, fouling it completely? That would be unprecedented and inappropriate. (And if that is what you thought, why didn't you knock the idea on the head to begin with?) If something else, why waste so much time and energy arguing without once ever seeking clarification?
You agree that Moore's output should not be paired, link for link, by detractors who parse his every word. But then proceed to say, "if we were to be absolutely anally 'PC' about establishing as precise a balance on the page as possible, we might indeed consider a link to some anti-Moore site for every one of these." It obviously has escaped your inattention but the external links section is precisely stacked this way. (And, yes, I am therefore bound to agree you are being anal about it.) I have no solid idea why you reproduced all of those unrelated main body sources, though suspect you are now trying to create confusion to relieve your intransigence.
After much armwaving you finally break down the 'External links' section. Let's test your reasoning. You say of the first section, "there are links to generally favorable articles or sites". Plural. And yet when one actually examines the links, the only approving item is a 2004 piece authored by Greg Palast, third from the bottom, entitled "Gagging Michael Moore". The single CNN article "Disney blocking film about Bush" and two BBC notifications "Moore's 9/11 trailer goes online", "Moore fires Oscar anti-war salvo" merely report, and do not support. The "Post Oscar Press Conference" audio link is dead (not that you seem honestly to care). What remains is biographic information. So clearly you are in serious error, as I first asserted at the top of this page.
Your next paragraph is similarly breathtaking. In absence of a 'Pro-Moore' subsection, and believing you have made a satisfactory defense, you (not altogether seriously) suggest that we remove the 'Anti-Moore' header so not to offend the "fragile sensibilities" of, well, me; and to let each visitor discern for themselves which link is pro- and which is anti-Moore. There is just one gargantuan problem with this: Apart from a single Greg Palast link, there are no pro-Moore links. To repeat, what you erroneously describe as pro-Moore is in fact neutral and biographic content. (If Michael Moore was to make his next film about himself, and acknowledge all of his faults, would you seriously place a link to his movie in the 'Anti-Moore sites' link section?)
You reject the idea of a single, neutral link that contains all of these anti-Moore sites and more, because you "much prefer links in general to be as specific as possible, and if a link to a page of links is made by someone, I much prefer that such are to entirely non-commercial page, and not to a commercial site such as Yahoo." Non-commercial sites like MooreWatch, Michael Moore Hates America, Bowling For Truth, Moore Lies, Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11? Your explanation for dismissing this idea is wholly unsatisfactory, if not insulting.
And there's more. You actually troubled yourself to check the page on Ann Coulter. Aparently it contains a dead link. Snap! But what is worse -- spotting a dead link on a page I cited fleetingly as an example of how an 'External links' section might look like, or failing to identify the dead link and commercial spam on the page you purport to have "cleaned up", and have spent so much time defending? What nerve! smb 04:35, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I have moved this discussion to the Talk:Michael Moore page, as it entirely concerns that page, and other users can more readily participate in the discussion and provide their opinions there. ~ Kalki 07:14, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

External links

In reference to the Michael Moore page, do I have a point or am I being completely unreasonable? My objection might appear narrow, but I am arguing from a point of principle. Wikipedia should not become a dumping ground for website links that produce only negative sentiment. That applies to Ann Coulter, Al Franken, Bill O'Reilly, or any other political commentator and social critic. I am probably being a little too aggressive about this, though my opinion is strong. I have proposed a compromise, to jettison the external 'Fahrenheit 9/11 Controversies' and 'Anti-Moore' websites and replace them with a link to Michael Moore at the Yahoo! Movies Directory. As you can see, 18 such sites are listed in the 'Anti-Michael Moore' category. User:Kalki has rejected this proposal on what I believe are flimsy grounds, saying the directory is "commercial" and not "directly related to the subject of the page" (other links that have advertisements like IMDB and YouTube do not seem to generate the same concern). For these and other reasons I am forced to conclude that Kalki's rejection lacks consistency. I would be grateful for your considered opinion. Thankyou. smb 20:02, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm not really interested in the specific situation for this article, only the general problem I raised earlier. In my opinion, "External links" sections should not be used to prosecute ideology wars or to promote commercial, political, or other promotional interests. IMDb is a standard link to aid identification of TV/film subjects. YouTube is almost never an acceptable source of links. If editors of an article can't agree on how to provide a select set of link appropriate for a quote article on the subject, my reaction is typically to delete them all, using the following rationale:
  • The obligatory Wikipedia article link should provide more than enough external links, and they are welcome to fight this battle for us.
  • Given WP, our best EL filter is to provide only links to reliable quote sources not already cited.
This usually invalidates all but the IMDb or similar standard neutral genre-related links, especially since most quote websites are not reliable by Wikimedia standards. If after all this, you and Kalki still have a disagreement that is not resolvable on the talk page, I suggest you ask for more community participation on the village pump. By the way, you should use the much simpler form of wiki page linking, which for the Talk:Michael Moore page looks like this:
[[Talk:Michael Moore]]
More editing tips and other useful information can be found in the links provided in the welcome message on your talk page, especially Wikiquote:How to edit a page. I hope this information is of some use to you. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 20:22, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I can see where you are coming from. Perhaps my disagreement with Kalki will be useful as a case study if/when you get around to the policy work. The links in question are of little or no genuine value, yet highly provocative. Kalki denies that there is any underlying political motive for retaining them, and I am willing to assume good faith, but at the same time he/she justifies the retention on incredibly shaky grounds. Nor is this user willing to compromise. The episode is quite discouraging. I will ask Kalki to reconsider one more time before troubling the wider community. Thanks for the editing tips. smb 03:17, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Archive
This is an archive of past discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page. If you wish to start a new discussion or revive an old one, please do so on the current talk page.