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#1 Ted Keer

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 11:18 PM

There are several Objectivism related articles on Wikipedia which occassionally seek comment from users to determine the consensus on an issue before a change is instituted. There is a large and vocal number of anti-Randian critics who routinely block all constructive changes. You can help by adding your comment when certain issues are debated. I shall post a notice whenever such matters come up for debate.



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#2 Ted Keer

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 11:44 PM

Whenever there are two or more subjects with the same heading, and each has a similar level of interest, wikipedia adds a page with that name leading to separate articles. For instance, if you type in "Mercury" then you will be lead to a "Mercury (disambiguation)" page which links to such options as "Mercury (planet)" and "Mercury (element)" without taking you directly to either. For other subjects, however, if public interest is sufficiently lopsided, then typing in a title leads you directly to what is considered the main topic, with other possible topics noted as a link at the top of the page. For instance, if you type in "White House" you go directly to the page about the mansion and executive office of the US president, even though there are articles on the city White House, TN and many other subjects such as the executive mansion of Dubai.

Currently, when you type in "Objectivism" you are not lead the the article on Ayn Rand's philosophy, but are lead to a page "Objectivism (disambiguation)" which asks you to chose from three links:

Objectivism (Ayn Rand)
Moral objectivism
Objectivist poets

Now it so happens that "Objectivism (Ayn Rand) gets well over ten times the traffic and has ten times the incoming links within wikipedia as do the other articles. Also, Objectivist poets (a minor 19th century movement) is never even refered to as Objectivism. And people who type in moral objectivism vo straivht to that article, which wqas added only to show that in academic circles, the term has a meaning separate from that of Rand's philosophy.

Hence, the suggestion has been made that according to Wikipedia standards, the article now entitled "Objectivism (Ayn Rand)" should be renamed simply "Objectivism" saving the large majority of users from having to load an extra page every time they use the article. Those seeking, say, "Moral objectivism" will in no way be inconvenienced, since there will still be a link at the Rand related page, and they will simply go from being led through the disambiguation pave to Moral objectivism to being led there through the Ayn Rand page. The same number of clicks for them, and aclick and a page less for the vast majority who want Rand.

There are two vocal opponents to this reasonable change. Each questions whether Rand's system is even a philosophy. (But that doesn't matter according to wikipedia standards, since even if it were a fan club, or a branch of scientology, its popularity alone would justify its priority according to Wikipedia rules.) They complain that Rand can't "define what Objectivism means" - even though Wikipedia is not a dictionary - and the other articles will be just as clearly marked. And they argue that because of Rand's popularity, there is an unfair bias in her favor - as if, in other words, she really should be less popular, because it is unfair that she is so popular.

You can help the situation by adding your comment here.

Just type in

* '''Make Primary Topic'''

followed by your comments and your name or wikipedia signature if you are a registered user. (You do not have to be a registered user to edit in your comment.)

Thanks.



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#3 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 11:56 PM

Ted,

I think you should continue your efforts.

I tried for a while to edit Wikipedia, but I got into a tangle with one of their editors, who kept accusing me of trying to spam backlinks because I tried to link to the Barbara Branden corner here on OL from inside the Wikipedia article on her. At the time, he had no problem with a big honking Valliant section with a link to Solo Passion (which is still in the article on her). But even that link came and went after we started tangling (and it wasn't me doing it). This was before I even knew what value such backlinks had for SEO. (Nowadays, they do not have the value they once had because of "No Follow" tags.)

Mike Hardy, who works with Wikipedia, intervened at the time, but even he was given a hard time by that editor. And when the editor finally lost, he sabotaged the link by putting 3 slashes after the http sign so the link wouldn't work. I protested and it finally got fixed, but this experience left me with the feeling that I should devote my energies to places less complicated for a while. After all, this was a lot of aggravation to work for free. I have too much to do anyway. And I can always return later when this stuff changes. (The good thing about Web 2.0 is that things always change.)

I also tried to link to the Nathaniel Branden corner in the article on Nathaniel and the guy deleted that with more accusations of spamming. So in a spirit of good will, I tried to understand him and entered a non-hostile dialog with him. I asked what they needed and asked for advice. During this discussion, I mentioned that I could provide information not easily available elsewhere, for instance, Nathaniel had recently been married to Leigh (this was around that time). The dude claimed that posting this would be a violation of their terms of service because the only source I could cite at that time was OL (my site), where it had been announced (with Nathaniel's blessing, I might add). He suggested I use an academic publication to source such news instead.

I simply bowed out. Sometimes there is no use trying to communicate.

Hopefully, this editor has moved on or whatever. Wikipedia is an excellent resource in many respects, but I was not so lucky in my editing.

Michael

EDIT: I just checked and, as of this writing, Nathaniel's divorce from Devers is highlighted in the article on him, but his marriage to Leigh is not mentioned. I'm not going to mess with it, though. I don't want to tangle over nothing again.

Know thyself...


#4 Chris Baker

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 12:16 AM

Who is Leigh? Has Doctor Branden married yet again?

#5 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 12:19 AM

Who is Leigh? Has Doctor Branden married yet again?

Chris,

Not if you read Wikipedia...

(Sorry to the good folks over there. I just couldn't waste a perfect setup like that one...)

:)

Michael

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#6 Ted Keer

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 12:27 AM

Well, Michael, I do try to pick my causes. Rather than make my own additions, I try to retain good stuff and keep out bad stuff. In this case, the more people who comment in the survey as I asked here above, the harder it will be for the obstructors to obstruct. Your comment there would help.



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#7 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 12:57 AM

Ted,

I just typed into Google

Objectivism Wikipedia

I clicked on the first SERP link (which was http://en.wikipedia....iki/Objectivist for some reason) and I got a redirect to Objectivism (Ayn Rand).

I went to the talk page you linked, but in light of there not being a problem anymore, I couldn't figure out what to comment on or where. I didn't feel like plowing through all that text with code to come up with something either.

If matters get heated, let me know and I will gladly chime in, so long as it does not entail 3 hours of figuring out what to do.

:)

Michael

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#8 Hallow

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 08:13 AM

I have never edited Wikipedia - it always seemed wrong. I have not Wikipediaed Objectivism :P

Someone earlier mentioned 'Moral Objectivism' which got me thinking. A few words to describe Objectivism would be - individualist, and no contradictions. If you are a true Objectivist(which to me constitutes as someone who only does things for himself, has an excellent thought process, and only bases his decisions on reason), then isn't the Moral Objectivism just a repetitive phrase?

Something that actually has made me sick to my stomach is the phrase 'Social Responsibility' A couple of years ago I saw it pop in some obscure place, now it seems to be everywhere. What does that excatly mean? How are we socially responsible for others? Doesn't that mean to give up something you have, or make a sacrifice? If this is where it starts(by just doing a littlle for the fellow man), how will it end? I have no problem with helping others, I just want to make sure that the person I help deserve it and that my help will go somewhere.

Neha

#9 Ted Keer

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 11:05 AM

Yes, everyone's comment is still needed.

Anyone who uses wikpedia itself to search for the article on Objectivism by typing in the word "Objectivism" goes to a blank page asking people whether they want the article on "Objectivism (Ayn Rand)" or the articles on "Moral objectivism" or "Objectivist poets". This redirection of people away from a topic of overwhelming interest is only justified according to wkipdia standards when there are two or more subjects of relatively equal interest such as Mercury (planet) and Mercury (element). In all other cases, such as "White House" even though there are a dozen articlles on things called White House - a city in Tennessee, for example, the search leads directly to the article on the US president's mansion, with a link there saying that if you meant something else, click here.

This commonsense policy, which should cut down the unnecessary searching and time spent loading extra paves by the vast majority of users, who are not interested in an obscure 19th century poetry movement, or an article which defines what the technical term "moral objectivism" is, is beinv circumvented by anti-Rand editors who arvue that Objectivism is not a real philosophy, and who offer there unsolicited advice as to what Objectivists need to do on wikipedia if they want to be "taken seriously." Such evaluative argumentation is against wkpedia policy. The only relevant criterion is what the vast majority of users are interested in when they type in a search term. It wouldn't matter if Objectivism were a club for cannibals or a new self-mutilation dance craze. Ther fact that by over ten to one (and most likely much, much more) people want to read the article on Rand's philosophy is all that matters.

What is needed from readers here is to visit this page and, directly beneath where it says

'''Responses:'''

type in

* '''Support: Make Primary Topic'''

followed by your comments in support of having the link go directly to the topic of interest to most users, no matter the validity of the topic in the eyes of certain critics, and your name or your wkpdia signature if you are a registered user. (You do not have to be a registered user to edit in your comment.) This will insert your comments among the others on the pave, then hit save page.

Please help.



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#10 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 01:51 PM

Ted,

I finally saw the confusion. A person has to have an account at Wikipedia and then sign in after going to the link you provided. That link takes you to the coded part. Here's what it looks like when I click even if I am signed in:

Posted Image

Once I am there, I have to sign in (and sign in again if I am already signed in), then I am able to read the page normally. I believe this should be the same for others, so if you are not getting much response, I think this might be the reason.

Michael

Know thyself...


#11 Greybird

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 02:09 PM

I don't see the problem here — though I've taken part in more than my share of Wikipedia editing controversies already, so it could also be my reluctance to pile on with another one.

"Objectivism," as I've noted at length elsewhere (see here and here), has its own severe problems as a conceptual tag. That is, as one denoting anything other than what was inside Rand's own head, or expressed by Rand herself in print.

As a historical artifact, with her having used it and others having picked up on doing so, it might merit such priority. Wikipedia is, allegedly, descriptive, not prescriptive — thus it allows, in theory, "no original research." Yet using the word by itself, without the referent of Rand, suggests the existence of a free-standing entity of a "philosophy," or a genuine school or tendency of philosophic emphasis. The former use is an assertion and a conceptual muddle, and the latter use is wildly historically premature.

We should also remember that this is, not the North American or United States Wikipedia, but the English Language Wikipedia. The other senses of "objectivism" (small "O") are still used on occasion in Europe. They haven't been swamped by references to Rand nearly as much as they have been in North American culture. A disambiguation page thus becomes more appropriate.

I'd say that the editing impetus ought to be focused on making sure that the main and subsidiary articles are accurate, free of invective, and comprehensive. Going to Wiki-war over getting priority in, or bypassing, a disambiguation page diverts such effort to a side issue, and that isn't productive. Nearly everyone who hears of "Objectivism" will have encountered Rand's name in the process. A century from now, this might have changed — though I doubt it.

#12 Ted Keer

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 06:02 PM

Thanks, Michael. I had no idea what you were talking about.


Greybird, wikipedia is, as you suspect, explicitly descriptive, not prescriptive. There is no edit war here - just a survey - which is not seeking silence or acceptance, but comment on whether or not "Objectivism (Ayn Rand)" meets the wikipedia criteria for listing as a main topic. The explicit relevant criteria are, are there two topics of the same name? No. And what do the vast moajority of users expect to find when they enter a term? The evidence is that at least by an order of magnitude, they expect to find the Rand article. Of course there is a debate even within the Objectivist community as to what Objectivism "means." But that is not the case here. The place for such navel-gazing is on fora such as this, not in a descriptive encyclopedia for the common public. There is no war between a pro-TAS article and a pro-ARI article, where even I would support a disambiguation page. But the dispute is between those who say that wikipedia's criterion of common usage is clear and unambiguous, and those who say that Objectivism is not a serious philosophy and doesn't "define" the word Objectivism, so users shouldn't find the article so easily. But even if Objectivism were a new line of gansta-rap footwear, it would merit main article status, regardless of the objections of critics that it is not a "serious" line of footware.

The disagreement here is between those who say that whatever Objectivism is, real public interest mandates treating the article on it, with more than ten times as many hits and links, as main, and those who refuse to treat it as main because it is not a serious philosophy. If people do not see a difference between those two positions, they certainly don't have to comment. But given a survey meant to determine consensus opinion, it doesn't amount to an edit war to support following wikipedia policy, regardless of the opinions of those who feel that so far as the Ayn Rand of ill-repute is concerned the regular rules don't apply.



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#13 Ted Keer

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 07:59 PM

Here is the place to add your comment in support of following standard wikpedia guidelines and routing traffic to "Objectivism" to the article on Ayn Rand's philosophy.

Please comment in support of this common sense move.



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#14 Ted Keer

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 02:34 PM

Leonard Peikoff's supposed title of Intellectual Heir is at question at Wikipedia. I believe Robert Bidinotto commented at RoR that the title was never granted. (It may have been Ed Hudgins, but I'm pretty sure it was Robert.) Can anyone point me to that comment or point to or make any other statement?



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#15 Ted Keer

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 06:42 PM

Michael answered my question here.

Following his link I found and for the first time read Peikoff's Fact and Value:

"NOW TAKE THE CASE of Ayn Rand, who discovered true ideas on a virtually unprecedented scale. Do any of you who agree with her philosophy respond to it by saying “Yeah, it’s true”—without evaluation, emotion, passion? Not if you are moral. A moral person (assuming he understands philosophy at all) greets the discovery of this kind of truth with admiration, awe, even love; he makes a heartfelt positive moral evaluation. He says: Objectivism is not only true, it is great! Why? Because of the volitional work a mind must have performed to reach for the first time so exalted a level of truth—and because of all the glorious effects such knowledge will have on man’s life, all the possibilities of action it opens up for the future. And this latter applies whether Ayn Rand herself actualized these possibilities or left that feat (as she had to) to the generations still to come."

My sole comment will be that if this were a Papal Bull it would have been entitled "Plene congruo."



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#16 Ted Keer

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 08:11 PM

Please help stop an editor from deleting valid quotes of NB and from conflating BB and NB as one "monster" - "THE BRANDENS"

An anonymous editor, (IP 72.119....) has been repeatedly editing the Ayn Rand page of wikipedia to remove any statements which he sees as smears against Rand. This includes his deleting Nathaniel Branden's published statement that his wriiten statement to Rand for which she repudiated him in TWIMC "was a tortured, awkward, excruciatingly embarrassed attempt to make clear to her why I felt that an age distance between us of twenty-five years constituted an insuperable barrier, for me, to a romantic relationship."

The same editor also removed a qualified published quote by Fred Seddon as to a claim of NB's which that editor found to be a "partisan smear."

The editor seems to be a zealous protector of Rand's virtue. He has in fact made some helpful additions to the article. But he refuses to engage in discussion with other editors. And since he seems to feel that it is a FACT that "the Brandens" (he repeatedly conflates Barbara and Nathaniel, and has repeatedly changed references to NB to references to both Brandens, citing PARC if he gives any reason) are immoral, he feels that any padding of the article which supports this FACT, or any censoring of inconvenient quotes, is justified. I am overwhelmed just trying to keep references to NB and BB as individuals, rather than one monstrous portmanteau.

If you edit wikipedia, and would like to help or comment, please watch this editor's future changes, especially to the ==Objectivism movement== section of the ==Ayn Rand== page, and add your comments to the ==Avalanche== section of the Ayn Rand talk page.



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#17 Ted Keer

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 11:45 AM

Articles which currently merit attention are:

Ayn Rand

List of schools of philosophy

Acording to the editor Snowdd Ayn Rand cannot use the name Objectivism, and it isn't a school of philosophy. Please undo his action on the List of schools of philosophy pave if you believe that Objectivism is a the name of a school of philosophy.



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#18 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 01:44 PM

Ted,

With a dude like that, don't cite printed books or popularity. Cite JARS, which is indexed in the academic world.

...now abstracted and indexed in whole or in part by Arts and Humanities Citation Index, CSA Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, Current Contents/Arts & Humanities, IBR (International Bibliography of Book Reviews of Scholarly Literature in the Humanities and Social Sciences), IBZ (International Bibliography of Periodical Literature in the Humanities and Social Sciences), International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, International Political Science Abstracts, The Left Index, MLA International Bibliography, MLA Directory of Periodicals, The Philosopher's Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, Sociological Abstracts, Social Services Abstracts, and Women's Studies International. Also linked to EpistemeLinks.com, The History Journals Guide, Intute (Social Sciences), and Literature Online.

He will not be able to argue against that by his own standards. (Sorry for not joining in. I don't have the time or stomach.)

Michael

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