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NOTE: User:Blackworm is: (1) a man, (2) technically inclined, (3) formally educated, (4) an English speaker (native or non-native), (5) white, (6) aged 15–49, (7) from a majority-Christian country, (8) from a developed nation, (9) from the Northern Hemisphere, and (10) likely employed as a white-collar worker or enrolled as a student rather than employed as a labourer. Wikipedia:Systemic bias states that the average Wikipedia editor is also all of these things, under the heading, The Origins of Bias, and in the context of its statement: "The Wikipedia project suffers systemic bias that naturally grows from its contributors' demographic groups, manifesting as imbalanced coverage of a subject, thereby discriminating against the less represented demographic groups." Please note the existence of WP:WikiProject Countering systemic bias, to which WP:BIAS apparently no longer redirects.

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ubx-5This user uses entirely too many userboxes.
♂This user is male.
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Barquette de poutine.jpgThis user eats poutine.
Mixed-handed-left.png This user is mixed-handed. Mixed-handed-right.png
Metric seal.svgThis user prefers the metric system.

theyThis user considers singular they standard English usage.
if & whetherThis user knows how to use "if" and "whether" correctly.
less & fewerThis user understands the difference between less & fewer.
“,;:’This user is a punctuation stickler.
,This user fixes comma splices. They are annoying.
,This user has no opinion about the serial comma.
its & it’sThis user understands the difference between its and it’s. So should you.
This user is addicted to ellipses and has been known to use them indiscriminately...
.  TheThis user puts two spaces after a period.
This person's California English sucks. They're probably from the East Coast.
nws-1This user newspeaks plusungoodwise.
enThis user is a native speaker of the English language.
frCet utilisateur a pour langue maternelle le français.
CAThis user uses
Canadian English spelling.
Nuvola apps display.pngThis user is a software engineer.
C++-4This user is an expert C++ programmer.
Headphone icon.svgThis user is an audiophile.

Blackworm's just this guy, you know?[1]

The Origins of Bias

The systemic bias of Wikipedians manifests itself as a portrayal of the world through the filter of the experiences and views of the average Wikipedian."

"Change the demographic of Wikipedia. Encourage friends and acquaintances that you know have interests that are not well-represented on Wikipedia to edit. If you are at a university, contact a professor in minority, women's, or critical studies, explain the problem, and ask if they would be willing to encourage students to write for Wikipedia. Contact minority or immigrant groups in your area to see if they would be interested in encouraging their members to contribute. The worst they could say is, "No". But keep in mind that immigrant groups may well have a different point of view than the majority of people in the countries they emigrated from (they may, for example, be members of a minority group themselves or may have emigrated because of a disagreement with the government not shared by the majority of the population), which introduces its own systemic bias.

Do not recruit meatpuppets. It is considered inappropriate to advertise Wikipedia articles to your friends, family members, or communities of people who agree with you for the purpose of coming to Wikipedia and supporting your side of a debate. If you feel that a debate is ignoring your voice, remain civil, seek comments from other Wikipedians, or pursue dispute resolution. These are well-tested processes, designed to avoid the problem of exchanging bias in one direction for bias in another.

— Wikipedia: Sock Puppetry (official policy)

To avoid disrupting the consensus building process on Wikipedia, editors should keep the number of notifications small, keep the message text neutral, and not preselect recipients according to their established opinions.

— WP:CANVAS (behavioural guideline)
Note: Blackworm supports encouraging women and minorities to help edit Wikipedia. He suggests talking to them everywhere they are found, not simply in places of academia or in women's studies. The suggestion to seek out people in women's studies seems wildly inappropriate to him, and cannot be justified by the suggestion that they may be found in greater numbers there -- women make up about half of all university students.[2]. If worried about de facto canvassing, Blackworm suggests that you consider anonymity (not revealing your Wikipedia user name) and consider suggesting articles that might be of interest to your friends but are of no interest to you and that you do not edit.

Few people may know that a belief is wrong, but sometimes that is because most are unaware of the evidence against it.

In general, if you find yourself having an ongoing dispute about whether a dispute exists, there's a good chance one does, and you should therefore leave the NPOV tag up until there is a consensus that it should be removed.

— Wikipedia NPOV dispute

Introduction: Male circumcision is the surgical removal of all or part of the foreskin of the penis. It is one of the oldest and most common surgical procedures worldwide, undertaken for religious, cultural, social or medical reasons. Male circumcision has now been assessed as a potential means to limit the spread of HIV.

— Male Circumcision Information Package, United Nations (UN) Inter Agency Task Team (IATT), consisting of UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank.[1]

Circumcision is also practis'd on Women, by cutting off the Fore-skin of the Clitoris; which bears a near resemblance, and analogy to the Praeputium of the Male Penis.

— Cyclopeaedia, 1728. Circumcision[3]

Most probably, however, circumcision (which in many tribes is performed on both sexes) was connected with marriage, and was a preparation for connubium.

— Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 1911. Circumcision[4]

circumcise Pronunciation: \ˈsər-kəm-ˌsīz\. Etymology: Middle English, from Latin circumcisus, past participle of circumcidere, from circum- + caedere to cut. Date: 13th century. 1 : to cut off the foreskin of (a male) or the prepuce of (a female) 2 : to cut off all or part of the external genitalia and especially the clitoris and labia minora of (a female)

— Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2010[5]

Another mainstream dictionary. 2010. Another one. 2010. Another. 2010.

Female circumcision is a term applied to a variety of procedures performed on the female genitalia.

— Wikipedia, Dec. 2005 Circumcision[6]

Circumcision. This article is about male circumcision. For the practice sometimes referred to as 'female circumcision', see Female genital cutting.

— Wikipedia, Dec. 2006 Circumcision[7][8]

Circumcision. This article is about male circumcision. For female circumcision, see Female genital cutting.

— Wikipedia, Jan. 2010 Circumcision[9]

In the Philippines, where circumcision is almost universal and typically occurs at age 10-14, a survey of boys found two-thirds of those surveyed choosing to be circumcised simply ‘to avoid being uncircumcised’ [...].

— UNAIDS, Male Circumcision: context, criteria and culture [2]

Eventually, while undergoing electroshock torture, Winston declared that he saw five fingers when in fact he only saw four ("Four, five, six - in all honesty I don't know"). The Inner Party interrogator of thought-criminals, O'Brien, says of the mathematically false statement that control over physical reality is unimportant; so long as one controls their own perceptions to what the Party wills, then any corporeal act is possible, in accordance with the principles of doublethink ('Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once').

— Wikipedia article 2 + 2 = 5.[10]

There's not a man I meet but doth salute me
As if I were their well-acquainted friend.

— Antipholus of Syracuse, in The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare)[11]

Would the following be NPOV? Is marriage commonly used to mean heterosexual marriage? Discussion welcome here.[edit]


This page is about heterosexual marriage. For gay marriage, see same-sex marriage.

Is this an appropriate characterization of the abortion debate?[edit]

HARM ___________*___________|________.________|___________%____________BENEFIT

At one end of the line are actions that are extremely harmful. Most people would recommend against these, and there is a point (marked with an asterisk) at which the degree of harm is so great that most people would be in favour of making such actions illegal. At the other end are actions that are clearly beneficial. Most would recommend in favour of these, and there is a point (marked with a percent sign) at which the degree of benefit is so great that there would be support for making these actions compulsory. At the exact centre of the line are actions that are completely neutral, and surrounding this point is what could be described as a "fairly neutral" zone.

Discussion welcome.

Some opinions I currently hold[edit]

I believe editors vary greatly in their tolerance for pedantry from other editors based largely on "gut feelings." When this gut feeling arises, and an editor still feels an edit should or should not be made, that editor may make an accusation of "wikilawyering," or "trolling," or "failure to assume good faith," accusations which all essentially amount to failures to assume good faith, but whose merit is sometimes judged by the community level of respect of the editor making the accusation. A license to ignore all rules, perhaps. A new editor would have no defense in that case.

One means some new editors may find to minimize these feelings and actually AGF is to attempt to match and exceed the level of pedantry of opposing editors. Sadly, this may then become a game of "which side will accuse the other of bad faith first." Almost anyone neutral left in the discussion by then has no idea what the remaining discussing parties are talking about, making the end result again a simple calculation of how many editors are on what side. Is that consensus?

Increasing an article's status (Good Article, Featured Article, etc.) increases its distribution, which is natural; people want to read and respect good articles. Recklessness is not a way to get there, thus expressing the possibility of increased status in debates about article content is to be strongly discouraged.

In a formal logical argument, the word "and" means the same as the word "but." Choosing which word to use in an article can be tricky as far as proper adherence to WP:NPOV, since it often involves a judgment call on the part of an editor.

Editors concerned that the terms used in reliable sources are shocking, and seeking to minimize or eliminate these terms in articles, but facing significant opposition, seem to only have the option of convincing opposing editors in Talk; perhaps by providing an argument, using reliable sources where possible, suggesting that the terms may be shocking to many or are otherwise inappropriate. Failing that, one compromise solution may be to quote the source more directly, perhaps in the form, [Source] states: "[allegedly shocking language]." That form transfers any error of shock or sensationalism from Wikipedia, to the source, satisfying WP:NPOV (since the reader is deciding whether the source is sensationalistic or shocking -- we are not being sensationalistic or shocking). It has the distinct advantage of putting the source's reputation on the line, not Wikipedia's. In these latter cases, where it's clear some editors are shocked by the terms and some editors consider them neutral, the compromise solution allows the editors shocked by the terms to stop Wikipedia from implicitly condoning their use (e.g., it's the sources using them), while allowing the editors who consider the terms neutral to have the concept expressed in those terms. It allows the reader more room to decide on whether the sources are being sensationalistic or shocking, rather than a stance on that question implicitly being made through Wikipedia's choice of words or other organization of material. Note also that Wikipedia is not censored.

Studies suggested that breached births were associated with an increased rate of complication when performed vaginally. [...] The new approach was prompted by a reassessment of earlier trials. It now appears that there is no difference in complication rates between vaginal and cesarean section deliveries in the case of breech births.

— The Globe and Mail, Wed. June 17, 2009[3]

In this article, the later assessment of trials (presumably years later) apparently seems more accurate on a matter of quantitative measure (percentage of complications), than what the trials suggested to the researchers who performed them, to the point of influencing public policy. It is thus important that assessments of studies we cite from reliable sources attain a high standard of peer review, such as that found in articles published in scientific journals. Any opinion not so-reviewed may be relevant, but must to attributed solely to the author. Letters to reliable sources likewise should not be given the full weight of the reliable source in the citation -- this can usually be accomplished by adding (Letter.) to the visible citation -- if they are to be considered reliable sources at all, which seems a point of dispute. (I say they aren't.)

Featured Archived Genital Cutting Discussion[edit]

This section will hold some of my favourite archived article discussions related to human genital cutting. The first is:

Featured Essays[edit]



Wikipedia:HONESTY: "An honest Wikipedian: [...] Does not say things they know to be untrue simply to support their argument. [...] Withholding of information that contradicts other information, or filtering out data-points that do not match one's assumptions, is dishonesty by omission."

Random Quotes[edit]

"The most popular reason for docking dog breeds is to prevent injury to working dogs. For instance, it has been stated that a vermin's bite to the working dog's flop ears can lead to a systemic infection, a serious medical problem that wouldn't occur were there no flop ears to be bitten." - From Docking (animal)


  1. ^ Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Zaphod's just this guy, you know?
  2. ^ Charles, Maria (2002-08). "Equal but Separate? A Cross-National Study of Sex Segregation in Higher Education". American Sociological Review. 67: 573–599. Retrieved 2010-01-19. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "Circumcision". Cyclopaedia.
  4. ^ "Circumcision". Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 1911.
  5. ^ "Circumcision".
  6. ^ "Circumcision".
  7. ^ "Circumcision".
  8. ^ "The edit that changed it all".
  9. ^ "Circumcision".
  10. ^ Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. A novel. London: Secker & Warburg. Part Three, Chapter Two.
  11. ^ The Comedy of Errors, William Shakespeare, Act IV, Scene 3 (1594)