Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

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Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Brian J Mingus
Hi all,

I'm not sure about the history of this article, but it it was recently
brought to my attention via Facebook.

My take on this article is that it is an abuse of Wikipedia's notability
guidelines. The article goes out of its way to cite lots of sources, but I
do not believe that being mentioned in the mainstream media is both a
necessary and sufficient condition for notability. In this particular case
it sounds like someone with a lot of name recognition used that name
recognition to get media attention for their smear campaign. This media
attention was then used to justify a Wikipedia article. This is an excellent
reductio ad absurdum case that brings a boundary condition of our notability
guidelines to light. It is, quite frankly, manufactured notability and IMO
it does deserve an article.

When you Google for Santorum's last name this Wikipedia article is the
second result. This means that people who are looking for legitimate
information about him are not going to find it right away - instead we are
going to feed them information about a biased smear campaign rather than the
former Senators BLP.

Please discuss.

--
Brian Mingus
Graduate student
Computational Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
University of Colorado at Boulder
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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Brian J Mingus
On Sun, May 22, 2011 at 7:24 PM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> I'm not sure about the history of this article, but it it was recently
> brought to my attention via Facebook.
>
> My take on this article is that it is an abuse of Wikipedia's notability
> guidelines. The article goes out of its way to cite lots of sources, but I
> do not believe that being mentioned in the mainstream media is both a
> necessary and sufficient condition for notability. In this particular case
> it sounds like someone with a lot of name recognition used that name
> recognition to get media attention for their smear campaign. This media
> attention was then used to justify a Wikipedia article. This is an excellent
> reductio ad absurdum case that brings a boundary condition of our notability
> guidelines to light. It is, quite frankly, manufactured notability and IMO
> it does deserve an article.
>
> When you Google for Santorum's last name this Wikipedia article is the
> second result. This means that people who are looking for legitimate
> information about him are not going to find it right away - instead we are
> going to feed them information about a biased smear campaign rather than the
> former Senators BLP.
>
> Please discuss.
>
>
Major typo there, sorry. It does *not* deserve an article. Thanks:)
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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
> Hi all,
>
> I'm not sure about the history of this article, but it it was recently
> brought to my attention via Facebook.
>
> My take on this article is that it is an abuse of Wikipedia's notability
> guidelines. The article goes out of its way to cite lots of sources, but
> I
> do not believe that being mentioned in the mainstream media is both a
> necessary and sufficient condition for notability. In this particular
> case
> it sounds like someone with a lot of name recognition used that name
> recognition to get media attention for their smear campaign. This media
> attention was then used to justify a Wikipedia article. This is an
> excellent
> reductio ad absurdum case that brings a boundary condition of our
> notability
> guidelines to light. It is, quite frankly, manufactured notability and
> IMO
> it does deserve an article.
>
> When you Google for Santorum's last name this Wikipedia article is the
> second result. This means that people who are looking for legitimate
> information about him are not going to find it right away - instead we
> are
> going to feed them information about a biased smear campaign rather than
> the
> former Senators BLP.
>
> Please discuss.
>
> --
> Brian Mingus
> Graduate student
> Computational Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
> University of Colorado at Boulder

Yeh, it's nuts. I thought it was a hoax at first.

Fred



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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

George William Herbert
On Sun, May 22, 2011 at 6:51 PM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> Hi all,
>>
>> I'm not sure about the history of this article, but it it was recently
>> brought to my attention via Facebook.
>>
>> My take on this article is that it is an abuse of Wikipedia's notability
>> guidelines. The article goes out of its way to cite lots of sources, but
>> I
>> do not believe that being mentioned in the mainstream media is both a
>> necessary and sufficient condition for notability. In this particular
>> case
>> it sounds like someone with a lot of name recognition used that name
>> recognition to get media attention for their smear campaign. This media
>> attention was then used to justify a Wikipedia article. This is an
>> excellent
>> reductio ad absurdum case that brings a boundary condition of our
>> notability
>> guidelines to light. It is, quite frankly, manufactured notability and
>> IMO
>> it does deserve an article.
>>
>> When you Google for Santorum's last name this Wikipedia article is the
>> second result. This means that people who are looking for legitimate
>> information about him are not going to find it right away - instead we
>> are
>> going to feed them information about a biased smear campaign rather than
>> the
>> former Senators BLP.
>>
>> Please discuss.
>>
>> --
>> Brian Mingus
>> Graduate student
>> Computational Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
>> University of Colorado at Boulder
>
> Yeh, it's nuts. I thought it was a hoax at first.
>
> Fred

Oh no, not a hoax.  Dan Savage is quite serious about it.

Whatever it is, it's correct in reporting that it's existence had a
negative effect on Santorum's political career, and it's arguably
sufficiently notable to keep if it derailed a potential credible
presidential run.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

geni
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
On 23 May 2011 02:24, Brian J Mingus <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> I'm not sure about the history of this article, but it it was recently
> brought to my attention via Facebook.
>
> My take on this article is that it is an abuse of Wikipedia's notability
> guidelines. The article goes out of its way to cite lots of sources, but I
> do not believe that being mentioned in the mainstream media is both a
> necessary and sufficient condition for notability. In this particular case
> it sounds like someone with a lot of name recognition used that name
> recognition to get media attention for their smear campaign. This media
> attention was then used to justify a Wikipedia article. This is an excellent
> reductio ad absurdum case that brings a boundary condition of our notability
> guidelines to light. It is, quite frankly, manufactured notability and IMO
> it does not deserve an article.

Lots of things have manufactured notability.  Just about every band
you've heard of for example. It's called marketing. Given the ah
extensive coverage the word and the issues surrounding it have
archived it's as least as article worthy as some of the articles on
obscure islands I've written.


> When you Google for Santorum's last name this Wikipedia article is the
> second result. This means that people who are looking for legitimate
> information about him are not going to find it right away - instead we are
> going to feed them information about a biased smear campaign rather than the
> former Senators BLP.

Google's search results are entirely their business.

--
geni

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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Charles Matthews
On 23/05/2011 03:56, geni wrote:
> On 23 May 2011 02:24, Brian J Mingus<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>> When you Google for Santorum's last name this Wikipedia article is the
>> second result. This means that people who are looking for legitimate
>> information about him are not going to find it right away - instead we are
>> going to feed them information about a biased smear campaign rather than the
>> former Senators BLP.
> Google's search results are entirely their business.
>
Yes, I agree with that comment. As Google are aware, people try to game
their "algorithm"; and their business model requires them to take action
on that. Not our problem at all.

The business of neologisms on WP was actually put into "How Wikipedia
Works" (Chapter 7, "A Deletion Case Study"). At that time the example to
hand was of the buzzword type, and the question was apparently whether
WP's duty was to keep people informed of new jargon, or to be more
distanced and only include a new term when it was clearly well established.

To be a bit more nuanced about this instance: if there is a dimension in
that article of a BLP, certain things follow at least at the margin
about use of sources. And NPOV clearly requires that a successful
campaign to "discredit" someone is reported in those terms. Here there
is a fine line between "mockery" and "smear", and saying the latter by
default omits the element of satire. In other words, there are people
who take US domestic politics very seriously, and media stories very
seriously (I think enWP tends to take the media as a whole too
seriously, BTW, which is the media's estimation of itself) , and regard
Google now as part of the media, and so come to the sort of conclusion
that Brian does.

OTOH we have our mission, and our policies, and should do our job. I'm
prepared to take the flak if our pages contribute to information  (i.e.
report within NPOV) on a "biased smear campaign" (or satirical
googlebombing, whatever you prefer); as long as our article is not
biased, and is not campaigning. Bear in mind that the COI is supposed to
limit the use of enWP for activism of certain kinds. We do have the
policies to prevent misuse of our pages.

Charles

Charles


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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Will Beback
>
> Words coined after the names of then-living people:

>
*Orwellian

> *Chauvinist

> *Boycott

> *Bowdlerize

>
and countless others. Wikipedia can't ignore significant cultural trends for
the sake of censorship and super injunctions. Nor should it be used to
promote those trends. So long as we stick to verifiably summarizing reliable
sources using the neutral point of view, with due consideration for living
people, we'll stay on the right path.

-Will Beback
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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
> On 23/05/2011 03:56, geni wrote:
>> On 23 May 2011 02:24, Brian J Mingus<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>>> When you Google for Santorum's last name this Wikipedia article is the
>>> second result. This means that people who are looking for legitimate
>>> information about him are not going to find it right away - instead we
>>> are
>>> going to feed them information about a biased smear campaign rather
>>> than the
>>> former Senators BLP.
>> Google's search results are entirely their business.
>>
> Yes, I agree with that comment. As Google are aware, people try to game
> their "algorithm"; and their business model requires them to take action
> on that. Not our problem at all.
>
> The business of neologisms on WP was actually put into "How Wikipedia
> Works" (Chapter 7, "A Deletion Case Study"). At that time the example to
> hand was of the buzzword type, and the question was apparently whether
> WP's duty was to keep people informed of new jargon, or to be more
> distanced and only include a new term when it was clearly well
> established.
>
> To be a bit more nuanced about this instance: if there is a dimension in
> that article of a BLP, certain things follow at least at the margin
> about use of sources. And NPOV clearly requires that a successful
> campaign to "discredit" someone is reported in those terms. Here there
> is a fine line between "mockery" and "smear", and saying the latter by
> default omits the element of satire. In other words, there are people
> who take US domestic politics very seriously, and media stories very
> seriously (I think enWP tends to take the media as a whole too
> seriously, BTW, which is the media's estimation of itself) , and regard
> Google now as part of the media, and so come to the sort of conclusion
> that Brian does.
>
> OTOH we have our mission, and our policies, and should do our job. I'm
> prepared to take the flak if our pages contribute to information  (i.e.
> report within NPOV) on a "biased smear campaign" (or satirical
> googlebombing, whatever you prefer); as long as our article is not
> biased, and is not campaigning. Bear in mind that the COI is supposed to
> limit the use of enWP for activism of certain kinds. We do have the
> policies to prevent misuse of our pages.
>
> Charles
>
> Charles

This seems to combine malice and political purpose. Really it is stuff
that belonged on Encyclopedia Dramatica.

Fred


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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Charles Matthews
On 23/05/2011 13:35, Fred Bauder wrote:
> This seems to combine malice and political purpose. Really it is stuff
> that belonged on Encyclopedia Dramatica.
>
I take it Fred means "this article" or "this campaign": if the latter
that's obvious enough. Given a mainstream piece of coverage such as
http://swampland.time.com/2011/05/17/please-do-not-google-the-name-of-this-undervalued-republican-candidate/ 
from a few days ago, I wonder if the article is really out of step.

Charles


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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

George William Herbert
On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 5:54 AM, Charles Matthews
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 23/05/2011 13:35, Fred Bauder wrote:
>> This seems to combine malice and political purpose. Really it is stuff
>> that belonged on Encyclopedia Dramatica.
>>
> I take it Fred means "this article" or "this campaign": if the latter
> that's obvious enough. Given a mainstream piece of coverage such as
> http://swampland.time.com/2011/05/17/please-do-not-google-the-name-of-this-undervalued-republican-candidate/
> from a few days ago, I wonder if the article is really out of step.
>
> Charles

There is a big difference between "This name-based neologism is
offensive and derogatory" and "This name-based neologism is offensive
and derogatory, but politicially and socially significant".

It's neither our doing or fault that the neologism has become
significant in some areas of society and has had a noticeable and
noticed effect on Santorum's potential future political career.
Failing to cover it would be an error of judgement on our part, and
quite frankly if we removed it we'd probably stir up enough negative
controversy related to censorship that his name would be dragged
through the mud worse than it already has been.

Santorum himself seems to have a decent level of understanding that
the phenomena is out of his control and not something he should try to
suppress, despite being personally offended.

We don't exist to fix the real world - we exist to report on it
accurately.  Many of the things we report on are unfortunate.  An IMF
candidate who alledgedly raped a hotel maid, a tornado that killed 89
plus people, a terrorist attack in Pakistan and several ongoing and
incipient wars, these are other unfortunate things that make the
neologism Santorum pale in comparison.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Carcharoth
On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 4:47 PM, George Herbert
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Many of the things we report on are unfortunate.  An IMF
> candidate who alledgedly raped a hotel maid

<snip>

Candidate? Last I looked, he was Managing Director of the IMF at the
time the story broke (he is now former head). Anyway, I'm surprised
that the situation with Twitter and a UK footballer hasn't been
discussed more on Wikipedia, but maybe I'm missing the discussion and
that is happening somewhere.

Carcharoth

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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Carcharoth
On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 4:58 PM, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> that the situation with Twitter and a UK footballer

I was looking at the wrong article.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_British_super-injunction_controversy

This one is more specific:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CTB_v_News_Group_Newspapers

Carcharoth

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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
> On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 4:47 PM, George Herbert
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Many of the things we report on are unfortunate.  An IMF
>> candidate who alledgedly raped a hotel maid
>
> <snip>
>
> Candidate? Last I looked, he was Managing Director of the IMF at the
> time the story broke (he is now former head). Anyway, I'm surprised
> that the situation with Twitter and a UK footballer hasn't been
> discussed more on Wikipedia, but maybe I'm missing the discussion and
> that is happening somewhere.
>
> Carcharoth
>

It was discussed on the Foundation list in the thead, "Interesting legal
action". Seems to be pretty much over now, with massive violations,
including us. However it is still in effect.

Fred


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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

The Cunctator
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 11:47 AM, George Herbert
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 5:54 AM, Charles Matthews
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On 23/05/2011 13:35, Fred Bauder wrote:
> >> This seems to combine malice and political purpose. Really it is stuff
> >> that belonged on Encyclopedia Dramatica.
> >>
> > I take it Fred means "this article" or "this campaign": if the latter
> > that's obvious enough. Given a mainstream piece of coverage such as
> >
> http://swampland.time.com/2011/05/17/please-do-not-google-the-name-of-this-undervalued-republican-candidate/
> > from a few days ago, I wonder if the article is really out of step.
> >
> > Charles
>
> There is a big difference between "This name-based neologism is
> offensive and derogatory" and "This name-based neologism is offensive
> and derogatory, but politicially and socially significant".
>
> It's neither our doing or fault that the neologism has become
> significant in some areas of society and has had a noticeable and
> noticed effect on Santorum's potential future political career.
> Failing to cover it would be an error of judgement on our part, and
> quite frankly if we removed it we'd probably stir up enough negative
> controversy related to censorship that his name would be dragged
> through the mud worse than it already has been.
>
> Santorum himself seems to have a decent level of understanding that
> the phenomena is out of his control and not something he should try to
> suppress, despite being personally offended.
>
> We don't exist to fix the real world - we exist to report on it
> accurately.  Many of the things we report on are unfortunate.  An IMF
> candidate who alledgedly raped a hotel maid, a tornado that killed 89
> plus people, a terrorist attack in Pakistan and several ongoing and
> incipient wars, these are other unfortunate things that make the
> neologism Santorum pale in comparison.
>
>
Well said. It's a dirty word, it's politically motivated, but it fits all
valid criteria for inclusion on Wikipedia. The only reason to delete it is
personal political or cultural bias.
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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 4:47 PM, George Herbert
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Santorum himself seems to have a decent level of understanding that
> the phenomena is out of his control and not something he should try to
> suppress, despite being personally offended.

I suppose he could change his name? To his mother's maiden name or
something. Apparently Ryan Giggs was born Ryan Joseph Wilson.
Something I never realised before. Giggs is his mother's maiden name.

Fred, thanks for pointing out the thread on foundation-l.

Carcharoth

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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 8:58 AM, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 4:47 PM, George Herbert
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Many of the things we report on are unfortunate.  An IMF
>> candidate who alledgedly raped a hotel maid
>
> <snip>
>
> Candidate? Last I looked, he was Managing Director of the IMF at the
> time the story broke (he is now former head).

Braino on my part.  Yes, he was the IMF Managing Director.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by George William Herbert

> We don't exist to fix the real world - we exist to report on it
> accurately.  Many of the things we report on are unfortunate.  An IMF
> candidate who alledgedly raped a hotel maid, a tornado that killed 89
> plus people, a terrorist attack in Pakistan and several ongoing and
> incipient wars, these are other unfortunate things that make the
> neologism Santorum pale in comparison.
>
>
> --
> -george william herbert

I think you miss the point. Malice can make even publication of true
information about a public figure actionable. Participation of a
nonprofit corporation in political activity poses problems. I'm not sure
what happened here but we need to look at it carefully and evaluate our
level of participation in creation and dissemination of this "word".

Fred


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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

George William Herbert
On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 11:52 AM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>> We don't exist to fix the real world - we exist to report on it
>> accurately.  Many of the things we report on are unfortunate.  An IMF
>> candidate who alledgedly raped a hotel maid, a tornado that killed 89
>> plus people, a terrorist attack in Pakistan and several ongoing and
>> incipient wars, these are other unfortunate things that make the
>> neologism Santorum pale in comparison.
>>
>>
>> --
>> -george william herbert
>
> I think you miss the point. Malice can make even publication of true
> information about a public figure actionable. Participation of a
> nonprofit corporation in political activity poses problems. I'm not sure
> what happened here but we need to look at it carefully and evaluate our
> level of participation in creation and dissemination of this "word".

The word was created in its neologistic sense, propogated, and became
popular / infamous without Wikipedia's help.  Google was a large part,
and blogging, but we really weren't.

I don't discount that Wikipedia is at times used promotionally,
sometimes with negative BLP impacts, but in this case it was a real
world phenomenon not something driven by WP editors.  The article
seems balanced to me, particularly presenting Santorum's objections in
a responsible and reasonably positive light.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by geni
I'm skeptical that we should have an article.

The reason: Wikipedia is on the Internet.  If Wikipedia has an article
about something whose promoter specifically intends to spread it on the
Internet, it is impossible to separate reporting from participation.  It's
a loophole in the definition of neutrality that doing things which help
one side of a dispute doesn't break neutrality, simply because our
intentions are neutral--even though our effects are not.

This brings to mind GNAA.  GNAA is a troll group who intentionally gave
themselves an offensive name so that even mentioning them helped them troll.
Wikipedia had a hard time getting rid of the article about them, because
we can't say "by using their name, we're helping their goals" in deciding
whether to have an article.  It was finally deleted by stretching the
notability rules instead.

And in a related question, I'd ask: Should we have an article "Richard Gere
gerbil rumor"?  (As long as our article describes the rumor as debunked, of
course--otherwise we would be directly violating BLP.) Some of the
justifications for that and for this sound similar.

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Re: Wikipedia article on [[Santorum (neologism)]]

The Cunctator
I agree. Let's remove all content on Wikipedia about the Internet.

On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 4:56 PM, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm skeptical that we should have an article.
>
> The reason: Wikipedia is on the Internet.  If Wikipedia has an article
> about something whose promoter specifically intends to spread it on the
> Internet, it is impossible to separate reporting from participation.  It's
> a loophole in the definition of neutrality that doing things which help
> one side of a dispute doesn't break neutrality, simply because our
> intentions are neutral--even though our effects are not.
>
> This brings to mind GNAA.  GNAA is a troll group who intentionally gave
> themselves an offensive name so that even mentioning them helped them
> troll.
> Wikipedia had a hard time getting rid of the article about them, because
> we can't say "by using their name, we're helping their goals" in deciding
> whether to have an article.  It was finally deleted by stretching the
> notability rules instead.
>
> And in a related question, I'd ask: Should we have an article "Richard Gere
> gerbil rumor"?  (As long as our article describes the rumor as debunked, of
> course--otherwise we would be directly violating BLP.) Some of the
> justifications for that and for this sound similar.
>
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