The Signpost

Christian Ramsay and a fucking bird
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Leo Romero, still Infinitely Banned — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:304:CFD0:8D10:29E8:99D6:AF79:87EA (talk) 13:52, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


Please keep your language civil. I can't believe you included swear words in your headline. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:33, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

@Mike Peel: LMFAO. Seriously? You can ASK her not to swear, but don't TELL her to do jackshit. You're not her boss. If the Wikimedia Foundation or the ones in charge with Wikipedia have a problem, THEY will let her know, NOT you. CrashUnderride 21:40, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
"Please" indicates that it is a request. It's a shame to divert attention from the content, but <meh>. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 21:50, 19 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
Oh, SUPER civil commentary going on here. Let's get pissed off at someone who DARES decides to question someone's usage of swearing in the headline of an article. Really civil discussions going on. Grognard Extraordinaire Chess (talk) Ping when replying 00:26, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
You misread me. The language (predictably as far as I am concerned) diverts attention.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 13:27, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
I must admit that I have no problem with the use of any of the language used in this article. I agree with the view that Mike's statement comes across as a request and not a demand or some other form of tone policing that seems to be CrashUnder's concern. However I do find the strong reaction to Mike's request from some on this tread troubling. It comes across as a type of unthinging reflexive browbeating that does little to promote any real dialog. A form of negative policing in its own right.--Discott (talk) 14:13, 24 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Guess who's in charge of enwiki? It's the community! Mike Peel is a member of the community! He is partially her boss! Grognard Extraordinaire Chess (talk) Ping when replying 00:27, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@Discott:, The language I used in my reply to him was simply sarcastic in nature. I took his "request" as an order and in that regard I said to myself "Well, if he got his panties in a wad about that...*insert evil laugh*". So, slight trolling? Maybe. But was I angry? No, just annoyed at attempted tone policing. CrashUnderride 15:00, 24 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@Crash Underride:, Thanks for clarifying that and I am sorry for not picking up the sarcastic nature of your reply. However my concern remains, party because it was not really your comments that I found troubling, and partly because part of the very nature of my concern is that it is perceived/assumed to be an attempt at tone policing when I am not convinced it is that. It is the assumption, regardless of whether one is angry about it or not (I am not all that concerned about whether or not anyone was angry about it), that is part of my concern. I suppose that is a long way for me to say "I do not think it was an attempt at tone policing."--Discott (talk) 15:21, 24 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Michael, with all due respect to someone of your tenure, history and contributions to the movement:
You are an ass, sir.
I have the honor to be Your Obedient Servant,
O. Keyes Ironholds (talk) 21:43, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
You donkey. I feel that this type of language is inappropriate in this context (although there are plenty of other current situations where it is appropriate), and it was the first time I ever felt the need to remove the Signpost from my talkpage. I'm not going to object further (I have other things to be doing!), but I am sad that this happened. Mike Peel (talk) 21:52, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
That's nice. I feel that it's inappropriate it took 15 fucking years to get this content written. I feel it's inappropriate that women, particularly in the sciences, are so systemically underrepresented, downplayed and poorly treated both during their life and as part of their legacy. I feel it's inappropriate that there even needs to be an op-ed to highlight this work because we've had a decade and a half to get it right and still suck. I feel it's inappropriate to tell people expressing their totally legitimate frustration at this state of affairs that they're reacting incorrectly. I feel it's inappropriate you haven't listened to the Hamilton musical and so totally missed my excellent reference.

But, sure. The language is the problem here. Ironholds (talk) 21:54, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Wait, there was a message here? I stopped paying attention when the swear words started. Mike Peel (talk) 21:57, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Come off it, Mike. — foxj 21:58, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
And yet despite stopping at the title of the op-ed you still managed to find your way towards the comment button and despite apparently stopping at my last message you managed to reply to it! It's almost like your concern is utterly feigned. Ironholds (talk) 21:59, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I keep getting pinged as people thank me for my comments above. That's the only reason I'm returning to this page now. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:58, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@Mike Peel: Not to be rude, but do you mean the two people who thanked you? Only one of whom you edited directly after? Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 23:05, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
We anticipated objections to the language but I decided to publish it not in spite of the language, but because of it, because this language is the perfect format for this exasperated and fucking hilarious take on the issue of systemic bias. There are plenty of venues for yet another politely mannered "please, sir, correct this bias" piece, but the Signpost was perhaps the only possible venue for this one. I'm sorry you chose to ignore the underlying message because of the language, but we felt the strong language would get the message across to others who might ignore one of those more mild-mannered pieces. Gamaliel (talk) 21:57, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
^^^^ Ironholds (talk) 22:00, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
It's not "chose" it's the nature of the beast. "Bad language" is almost always a bad choice. In this case it's a form of "climbing the Reichstag dressed as Spiderman." It may get everyone looking at you, but it does not deliver the message.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:04, 19 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
The beauty of a weekly publication is that next week we can present a different point of view that might be to the liking of different people. There is generally not one perfect way to make a point to every person. Gamaliel (talk) 22:06, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict) "Bad language" is not almost always a bad choice. When employed tactically and strategically, it gives emphasis. So for example, if I throw in a shitty curse here, that's poor form. But if I say that our systemic bias is a serious fucking problem, people stand up and pay attention. Cf Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 22:09, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

You are correct "When employed tactically and strategically, it gives emphasis." This usage is neither, nor are almost all uses. And even when emphasis is required there are often better or equally good ways to do it. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 13:29, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
"systemically underrepresented". 100% white natch. In fairness this isn't exactly limited to the attempt here. Back in 2010 when they decided to give the noble prize in chemistry to some chemists (not sure why) this is Richard F. Heck and this is Akira Suzuki. Mind you the 2010 trio do also demonstrate the other issue with scientists. They are generally less interesting than their work. Heck reaction and Suzuki reaction (along with Negishi coupling) are better than the articles on the people they are named after.©Geni (talk) 05:54, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

(edit conflict) :See, and I came here to say this was the most entertaining article (and some of the most impressive content work) I've seen in the Signpost in ages. It's pretty well accepted in the community that there's nothing wrong with using "naughty words" in emphatic situations, particularly when they're not directed at any humans (and Emily's aren't). This article certainly got and held my attention in a way a dry list of article names wouldn't have, and I'm not only very glad to see someone working on systemic bias content, but rather glad to see it come with a level of frank "how in the world had this not been written yet?" incredulity that matches the improbability of these articles not having been written by now if they were about the types of people history and science tend to treat more reverently (which is to say, generally, white men). A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 21:44, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Oh, did I mention that I'm 99% sure, if they had a problem with the language that they wouldn't have published it. CrashUnderride 21:48, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
They? All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 21:49, 19 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
We were pretty fucking cool with the language. Gamaliel (talk) 21:53, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I really don't know what Lady Dalhousie would say! All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 22:05, 19 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]

I welcome the fresh, contemporary style of this article. Most entertaining thing I've read about Wikipedia in quite a while, and makes a serious point very clearly. Fair warmed my cockles reading it, so it did. LaFolleCycliste 22:28, 19 February 2016 (UTC)

This new literary approach: how does it mesh with Wikipedia being a resource for students? SteveStrummer (talk) 22:44, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Gonna peg you in the "hasn't been to a school or college in a good long while" crowd if that's a genuine question. Ironholds (talk) 23:20, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I see it as an extreme hypocrisy when complains are all over the news that women find incivility as one of their grave troubles with wikipedia, and now here we have the title, like, "into your mugs, bitches" . Very nice of Signpost free speech. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:01, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

P.S. and signed by Arbcom, no less. Unfreakingbelievable. Gendergate, my ass. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:05, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
The article is written by an editor who, among other things, is an Arbitration Committee member. It is not a statement by the Arbitration Committee. GorillaWarfare (talk) 00:07, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Accepted. But I would suppose that ArbCom members are being elected based on their general conduct in Wikipedia, so although this is not an official statement of the committee, it is kind of a personal statement by this individual member about her preferred way of dealing with some issues. --Blahma (talk) 00:25, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict) "Civility" is a whole lot more complex than this, and a robotic "does this include profanity: yes/no" assessment of whether a comment is civil will get us nowhere on the issue. To add to the list of things that will get us nowhere: oversimplifying news reports when they fit your criticisms so that you can argue on their behalf that women don't like swear words. Perhaps if we wish to work on the civility issue, we should focus our efforts on where people are actually being driven off the project by incivility from other editors, not Keilana's targetless profanity that she uses to emphasize a problem on Wikipedia and the great work people (including herself) are doing to solve it. GorillaWarfare (talk) 00:16, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Everything Ironholds said. Except I'd have been less coherent and more ranty. Thank you for putting so well and so appropriately, Keilana, and thank you for including her precise words, Gamaliel. Some of y'all tone police might want to come on into the 21st century, though — the water's nice. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 00:11, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
PS: Apparently tone policing is a redlink. Well there's a surprise(!)

Great article, but I too feel the headline shouldnt use swearwords. It is also hard to parse the headline, with 'this month' feeling out of place with the rest of it. These articles may have been expanded recently, but they were not all created this month. John Vandenberg (chat) 01:33, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

The swearing was fine for shock value but got repetitive. Other content was pretty good. Assume this (a column on articles covering under-represented communities) will be a regular feature? If so, well done in delivering on a good idea. -- Euryalus (talk) 03:53, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Oh, for fuck's sake, people will not die of hearing one goddamn bit of foul language. Excellent fucking job to those who participated in this effort. Seraphimblade Talk to me 10:36, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I agree with Mike Peel on this one. While I'm glad to hear some good editing was done by the "mind-the-gap" folks, this amateurish style doesn't sit well with me. Chris Troutman (talk) 18:27, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

The coarse language here was used for effect--to me, it showed the author's exasperation with the gender gap in Wikipedia coverage while keeping the article enjoyably humorous. You can say that you found it offensive or argue that it's ineffective or detrimental, but it's certainly not done casually. It might have lost you as a reader, but it might have piqued someone else's interest. wctaiwan (talk) 19:42, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I'd like to see certain words never used in The Signpost except in quotes when referring to the subject of the article and not in the words of the article's author. Keep the language off the main page of The Signpost. I'm just grateful I don't get this sent to my talk page. I'd have to remove it.— Vchimpanzee • talk • contributions • 16:49, 23 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • I actually found the language distracting, even though I'm known to write like this when producing ranty blog material, so it's not censorious squeamishness. This sort of thing works on Facebook, in hipster weeklies, in "WTF?" YouTube humor pieces. But it's not a good tactic on an educational site like this, especially when the point is to try to attract additional editorial collaboration.

    If I may plug something: I am looking forward to the 2016 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon (organized locally-to-me by the California College of the Arts, and hosted at the Simpson Library, 1111 8th St, San Francisco; 5 March, 2–6pm PT; see for more info). I've already picked an article I'm going to work on.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:02, 24 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


  • Perhaps Dave might persuaded to turn his attentions to Lady Charlotte Murray, very much in the same mould as Lady Dalhousie. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 21:49, 19 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
  • Just to point out that only the last 4 of the list (I think it was) are new articles in 2016. The first ones have been around for some time, one since 2007, though certainly far shorter. But then most of our biographies of scientists are very short, regardless of gender, and many very notable scientists still have nothing. Johnbod (talk) 17:00, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Excellent article

Title says it all. Thank you for your tireless work in closing these gaps in coverage on Wikipedia! — foxj 21:57, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


For highlighting the articles, the women, and the problem brilliantly. -- ArielGlenn (talk) 22:03, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


Love, love, love this. I think the swearing is correct as some of these should have been created an eon ago. Miyagawa (talk) 22:10, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

This is great

More of this please, both entertaining and interesting. Sam Walton (talk) 22:16, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

You're in luck, I'll be writing this monthly! Glad you liked it. :) Keilana (talk) 22:19, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • Great!! This is a great article, and sometimes swearing is almost warranted given the ridiculous, biased, gaps we still have. Look forward to seeing this every month, and hope that a few African articles make the list (my African military ones are probably well down the needed list given the strength of MILHIST). Buckshot06 (talk) 08:41, 24 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Some of this is What Is (redacted)Wrong with (redacted)Wikipedia

Ms. Kurmann? Sad, yes. Notable, except in a what-might-have-been sort of way? Nope. There are probably a solid million researchers in science or engineering with her level of achievement. Most of them are invisible here. This isn't a memorial site.

Dorothy Thomas? Yup, she was just a technician...and just an editor, and just a researcher, and... She did clearly manage to assemble enough "just-as" to achieve real notabilty, but that still doesn't make her a hematologist.

Now, how Mary Amdur got skipped, that's a horse of a different redacting color. Anmccaff (talk) 22:36, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

@Anmccaff: So I thought the exact same thing when I first read about Dr. Kurmann, then I dug a little deeper. Turns out that generating thyroid follicle cells from stem cells is really hard to do, and a major achievement for a scientist - totally groundbreaking endocrinology. I wouldn't have written about her if it wasn't that big of a discovery! Keilana (talk) 22:56, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Then I'd modify it to "a solid 500,000". Most research, almost by definition, is about difficult stuff, or at least stuff that looks difficult when seen cold. Dr Kurmann might not have an article, save that she is a dead woman, who died right at the point Wiki decided to break its own rules, and right great wrongs.
I accept, btw, that there is something of a real issue here. Humphry Osmond is blue, Miriam Siegler is red. Some of that has less to do with gender directly, though. Anmccaff (talk) 00:03, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
You realise, by the way, you are literally explaining to a female biologist why her contributions lack value, those contributions being an article on a female biologist whose contributions were wrongly seen as lacking value? Ironholds (talk) 00:30, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Not at all. I am reminding a biologist that the world-at-large may not value her contribution as much as it perhaps should, and her threshold for notability is higher than in some other fields. That might be unfortunate, but it is very, very real. I am also reminding a biologist that biology is "in" these days, and someone who did equally outstanding work in in some other disciplines would have even less chance of being seen as Wikinotable. Finally, I am reminding someone -no, everyone- that research at the post-doctorate level naturally provides a higher threshold for personal notabilty, and not just to the general public. Anmccaff (talk) 01:23, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
PS: what's the plumbing arrangements have to do with it? This'd be fine, she were male, (or not a biologist)?
I disagree this violates WP:GREATWRONGS (go ahead and read it). Keilana's work, in writing this (excellent) op-ed, and her and others' work in writing these articles, is addressing an incontrovertibly-existent content gap. The content of these articles does not in any way WP:RGW: they are not arguing against reliable sources; they are not pushing a POV; they are not advocating for or against anything. They're good encyclopedic articles, and in their now existing where they did not exist heretofore, they are, arguably, righting a great wrong (the systematic undervaluation and underrepresentation of the achievements of women), but precisely not in the undesirable way highlighted in WP:RGW. Ijon (talk) 00:49, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I had read it, and have read it again. If your point is that these articles don't, by and large, fit into the other categories, like NOR, emphasized, there's something to that...but, the fact is that several of them do fit under others. It correctly notes that Wiki should follow, not lead, on research, and should roughly mirror "real" encyclopedias. If Dr Kurmann has an article, why don't her colleagues and so forth? If Lady Dalhousie's wikiable, why is the leadership of the organization she published for a vasty sea of red? Nope, this whole concept of filling in the (percieved) gaps in coverage is at best an exception to, and at worst in opposition to, NRGW. Anmccaff (talk) 01:39, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
So your argument for these people not being important is that there are other, as-important people who don't have articles? So. Fix. It. That's what Wikipedia is for. That's what this op-ed is about. If you think they should have articles write articles for them. And if you think that the existing ones shouldn't have articles put them up for AfD and come up with an argument more persuasive than "well I don't think their work is very impressive". Ironholds (talk) 01:53, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
That would not be "fixing" anything; that would be breaking it in a new and different direction. While an electronic resource doesn't have some of the physical constraints of "real books," there is still a point at which adding articles is overload. Anmccaff (talk) 02:05, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Which is why I offered you the alternative of AfDing things. If you genuinely think they're not notable, nominate them for deletion. Ironholds (talk) 02:13, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Unfortunately Dottie Thomas did violate NPOV, and probably still does. It did try to "RGW" by listing under "Awards and Honors" that she did not receive the Nobel Prize. It called her work for physicians as a haematological technician "research". And so forth.
This is a kind of boosterism which is not helpful, any more than using bad language is helpful.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 18:28, 20 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
So AfD it. How is this hard? I see a lot of complaining about the content. nominate it for deletion. And if you find you can't come up with an argument for deleting it that you buy into: maybe just fix the individual issues and stop complaining about RGW. Ironholds (talk) 18:48, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, deleting an article formed by a headline-grabbing effort about a hot-button issue is a simple matter for AfD. At least it is someplace; what color is the sky there? Anmccaff (talk) 00:49, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Of course I have fixed the article, as best I can - and the other one Anmccaff mentions. Because I am working to provide true information, not pushing an agenda. I have no problem with people writing articles about missing women, indeed I have written many myself, and am relatively active in Women in Red, and GGTF before that.
Shouting "If you don't like it, AfD it" or other versions of "sofixit" is not a valid argument though.
Systemic boosterism is a real issue, and when practised by a long-term editor over many years, as in the case of Jagged85 extremely hard to remove. I do hope that these two articles are the only ones that suffer from these issues.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 03:44, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
I don't think I'd AfD that article, there's enough there to reasonably establish at least marginal notability. However, the "did not win a Nobel prize" piece was entirely inappropriate. "Awards and honors" sections are for awards the individual did win; not to list those they didn't (and by editorial implication, "Well they SHOULD have!"). That's unacceptable editorializing. Seraphimblade Talk to me 18:06, 23 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Somewhat lacking in variety

I found the invective in the title a bit bland and somewhat lacking in variety.

I have prepared a document that you are free to use to spice up any future missives.

You can find it at [ ].

I hope this helps... --Guy Macon (talk) 22:40, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I suspect you might know my old BBS and usenet goombah, Bermuda999, or want to. Anmccaff (talk) 22:44, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


I would have been happy to have read an overview of great articles created last month but not in this language, thank you. I am appalled and saddened to find out this is not vandalism, nor a joke, and that people on Wikipedia find this normal. --SSneg (talk) 22:57, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I also opened the comments just to state that I oppose such language in the Signpost. I could perhaps tolerate it in the title as an attempt at informality and attention, but it was disgusting to find the same bad language again in the article's text and even in captions of often quite respectable people in which the bad words dishonor their activities or even themselves. --Blahma (talk) 23:12, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I'm sure they feel really bad about being associated with the word "fucking".
Oh wait, no they don't. Because they died in 1839. Ironholds (talk) 23:22, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Never mind. I thought the Signpost was here to discuss stuff about Wikipedia, not its content. People have very different opinions on subjects and neutrality is what this project is all about, so once you start making infantile fun of individuals, you run into the risk of inevitably offending a part of your readership and diminishing the reputation of the Signpost as a whole, which would be a pity, because it's otherwise one of the best sources regularly covering Wikipedia/Wikimedia issues that I know. --Blahma (talk) 23:31, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I feel like as a news organization, if you never offend anyone you're doing something wrong. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 23:37, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
The content of Wikipedia is the key part of our mission as an encyclopedia. If there are problems with issues like systemic bias affecting that content, it is the duty of the Signpost to discuss them. Gamaliel (talk) 23:43, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict) Discussing Wikipedia's content (and its gaps) is discussing "stuff about Wikipedia," and in my opinion is a very valuable use of Signpost space. As for your comment about "making infantile fun of individuals," perhaps you should reread the article. Keilana is using a casual (and sometimes profane) style, but she is celebrating these individuals, not making fun. GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:59, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
It's been written above that serious people won't see the point through the mist of the blowed-up language. Even when I forced myself to explore what this was all about, it took me considerable time to identify the mentioned "systematic bias" as "gender gap". I am not against articles about more notable women being created, but I would await that they are presented in the same way as those in the featured content section and the like – by citing from them or elseway writing about them in neutral language. I agree that content of Wikipedia is what we are all concerned about here, but you cannot await a calm and general discussion about the quality of content to disvolve if you start it by dividing the readership. The Signpost is not a tabloid to need to this (I hope) and what sense does it make when you perhaps get the attention of a few more people to your point, but at the same time lose reputation and wake opposition among many others? Even woman rights can be discussed and brought attention to in a civilited manner. (What comes next? Naked pictures in the Signpost to attract even more readership? If so, ask yourself what kind of readers and what their motives are going to be…) --Blahma (talk) 23:56, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Perhaps two more articles to read in your exploration: "Tone argument", Slippery slope. GorillaWarfare (talk) 00:01, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Even worse when I found out the author of this post is a woman and an ARBCOM member. In my home Wikipedia, ARBCOM members are valued for being diplomats and rude words do not fit in that definition, even if used as a joke. --Blahma (talk) 23:25, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
What does being a woman have to do with it in this situation? A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 23:34, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
+1, I hope that was just a poor choice of words... Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 23:37, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@Blahma: Fascinating that User:Gamaliel, also an ArbCom member, is not included in your criticism for using rude words in these comments. As for your implication that her wording is more shocking because she's a woman, please join the rest of us in the 21st century. If you can't do that, then at least keep your sexism off Wikipedia, where it perpetuates the very issues Keilana highlights in this post. GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:53, 19 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I have not seen any rude words from Gamaliel above, so I have no doubt in believing that he or she has all the competencies I would find appropriate for and ArbCom member. As for the "woman" argument, I indeed think that all people (men and women) should be polite when talking to others (and about others). And, in my society, I am used to meeting more impolite men than women – from whom all men should therefore learn. It might indeed be my bad habit of being more tolerant to rude words when used by a male author then by a female author, but that's the fault of all those rude men around in this world. Encouraging women to become rude as well, however, does not solve that problem, in my opinion, but you may possibly think so. One of the reasons why I estimate women is exactly that so many of them are much more kind than men – and although some gender activists may dislike me for merely making such an observation, this is what the world is around me these days (of course, I would be even more happy if everyone was kind and polite around me, but that's not the case). --Blahma (talk) 00:16, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Happy to help: [1], [2]. The hoops you're trying to jump through to justify your double standards for men and women are impressive. GorillaWarfare (talk) 00:20, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@Blahma: Oh dear me, "in my society"? Please do inform us of the indicators of said society, that may we accidentally neither enter nor need endure in such a dreadful, pettifogging, patriarchal, knuckle-dragging, uncultivated aspect as that. Averse as I am to cite the Authorised Version, ""Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." so very much does come to mind, though Mr. Lincoln's attributed beautiful version is perhaps more apt.
@Keilana:, as always, you have my esteem, my respect, and my love. Your passion, drive, and positive attitude are a beacon to us all. James F. (talk) 00:34, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
+1 I agree with james to much here. (I can also confirm that I am both a man and an arb and I curse all the fucking time.) The Mentor was wrong. The internet is not a place where people are judged by their ideas; the internet is a place where you are judged by the tone of your ideas while the actual ideas are ignored (especially if you are not a man and straight) --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 00:41, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I would so much prefer the internet to keep being a place where you are judged by your actual ideas and not by their tone! I did not know that most internet users have obviously already given up on this ideal, which is sad. --Blahma (talk) 00:52, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I do not understand what is so bad about a society where there are "more impolite men than women" – other than that those of the men who are still impolite should learn being more polite from whoever already knows it? That is exactly what I pledge for – an ideal that one half of humanity is currently closer to than the other. Merely stating this observation does not make me a sexist. --Blahma (talk) 00:52, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
GorillaWarfare: It's clear the editor-in-chief has agreed with this article being published, but at least she provides her explanation for it in this forum in a civilized form and does not immediately start calling reputed community members names (as it has happened above) just because they do not agree with the form (not the message) of the article. Between the two of us, I think it's now clear that we have differing points of view, so I would close the debate here. Thank you for your participation. --Blahma (talk) 00:52, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Random retort roulette says: That's how they fucking talk in Chicago, insensitive clods!


is the best damn thing in the Signpost this week. Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 00:04, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I think you meant "best fucking thing".--Jorm (talk) 08:54, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
+1 . Bawolff (talk) 19:36, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Stop tone policing

The complaints about swearing above are nothing short of tone policing, and should stop. Tone policing is a derailing tactic, which takes away from the very important point that women are underrepresented on Wikipedia, and suffer from both conscious and unconscious bias against them not just in how their achievements are recorded, but in how they are treated in day to day life. Tone policing is not acceptable, it privileges the complainant's comfort over the author's expression of oppression, and it acts to dismiss the very real problems identified in the article. Minxette (talk) 00:19, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

So should oppressed and marginalized peoples be allowed to express their oppression in whatever ways they wish? Grognard Extraordinaire Chess (talk) Ping when replying 03:49, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


I'm sorely disappointed in the choice of language here. With all the swearing going on, I was seriously expecting to read about a linguist or a sociologist who had studied the use of that sort of phrasing. --Carnildo (talk) 00:44, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

This is fucking superb

So ages ago, Vice magazine used to do stuff like this, and it was always sort of a litmus test for how low-brow could your packaging be and how high-brow your idealism could be. I think that this style of writing helps to identify those who discriminate against content in favor of style. Basically those who might value the superficial above the message. I'd love to see a textbook written like this. It would make 10 year olds want to read their homework. This TED talk sums it up pretty well Victor Grigas (talk) 03:03, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

@Victorgrigas: Vice has little to nothing to do with this. Their writers were employing older techniques made popular in the early 1960s with the publication of works by authors in the genres of gonzo journalism and dirty realism. This writing style is not new. (talk) 23:15, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Like Hunter S. Thompson, yes? Victor Grigas (talk) 03:36, 23 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

So many delicate flowers. How do you do it?

Specifically, those whom have apparently gone through life disliking any entertaining fare unless it is without colorful language. How do you manage without enjoying wordsmiths like Tom Robbins? How do you enjoy thoughtful comedians such as Carlin? How do your puritanical selves avoid the countless other examples of profanity-laced but worthwhile rants in existence, and how do you deal with being worse off for it? Dismissing this as not worth reading or hearing because it contains profanity is one of the more amusing ways I've seen people proudly declare their lazy wasting of brainpower. Please do not ascribe that disinterest and dismissiveness to the rest of us, as several of you have. My attention was not diverted from the message, and the language was just slang, which hardly prevented me from reading the article. Ongepotchket (talk) 03:14, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

On that note I'll just add that it strikes me the people who are the most upset with this op-ed may be conflating The Signpost with Wikipedia. Or perhaps they are simply reading it with eyes that are specialized for editing and reviewing encyclopedic writing. Obviously the articles highlighted and linked in this op-ed all maintain an encyclopedic tone, but it's quite clear from The Signpost's Statement of Purpose that "many things ... that would be blasphemy in the article space" are allowed, and with as intellectually diverse a community as we have I would not be at all surprised to hear that just as there are those who are turned off by this kind of salty rhetoric, there are others for whom it actually rather acts as a clarion call. At the end of the day it may have been a bit of a gimmick (after all the author doesn't normally speak this way), and it may cause those with more refined tastes to sniff a little, but it's nothing that an adult reader can't bear. -Thibbs (talk) 06:42, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
At least one of the articles did veer away from the encyclopaedic tone a little. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 17:23, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]


Come on. This column is barely literate. It is difficult to think of anything less imaginative or creative. The repetitiveness is tired. The attempt at irony so poor that it actually represents these articles as, well, the title says it. It's neither good comedy nor tragedy. Alanscottwalker (talk) 03:17, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Your comment, on the other hand, succeeds at being both. Bravo. Ironholds (talk) 03:59, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you. Alanscottwalker (talk) 04:08, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


Random retort roulette says: I'll take systemic bias-fighting Emily Temple-Wood over 100 MILHIST fact checking drones any time, any place. (I kid MILHIST because I love MILHIST) -- Fuzheado | Talk 20:31, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Mildly, you can also find articles that help fight systemic bias in places like Category:Female military personnel. -- Euryalus (talk) 20:58, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
👍 Fuzheado likes this.

Pointlessly divisive

This should have been a good news story that celebrated new articles about women in STEM and inspired editors to want to write more of them (though a few of the highlighted articles are marginally notable and may have better been left out). Instead it was written by and for insiders who share a particular sociological vision, using language which could have been predicted (and may have been intended) to offend large parts of the community and turn potential supporters into opponents. The "it's just humour" excuse doesn't fly because it blatantly fails the "being funny to readers" test.

Whatever editorial process led to this appearing here this week should be re-examined because it failed mightily this time around. (And before the "you're tone policing!" arguments start, tone is specifically one of the things journalists and editors should expect to be judged on.)

Thparkth (talk) 04:41, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

By which you mean it wasn't funny to you. Scroll up. You'll see some people who agree with you. You'll see a lot of people who don't. If you think this is about journalism and editing, great, but in no universe do those jobs consist of writing things literally everyone will like. Ironholds (talk) 04:44, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Why can't we have both things? Why do all pieces have to be written the same way to reach the same audience? There is room in the Signpost for both approaches. Gamaliel (talk) 04:55, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, there is room for shit as well as non-shit, but most editors would try to keep the shit to a minimum. Thparkth (talk) 05:06, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry, Thparkth, but your comment was blatantly unfunny to its readers. Perhaps you should remove it? Ironholds (talk) 05:41, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
"Shit I only noticed was missing after being an editor for nine fucking years" might have been a better title. Prevalence 06:55, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@Prevalence: someone seems kind a cranky. Get enough sleep? Maybe a missing article hit a sore spot? Either one, don't be a jerk. CrashUnderride 07:14, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
And you call yourself a misanthrop? Prevalence 07:35, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@Prevalence: You're criticizing Keilana for not noticing these articles were missing for "nine fucking years"? I don't see that you created or contributed to any of them... She's celebrating that they now exist, and lamenting that it took this long when many of them should have existed long ago. What's wrong with that? GorillaWarfare (talk) 11:10, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
No, I was parodying the style. Prevalence 11:39, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@GorillaWarfare: as for me not contributing to those: if I had known about Elizabeth Alexander, I would perhaps have added links to James Stanley Hey, who in 1942 was the first to observe radio signals from the sun at meter wavelengths, and who noticed the correlation with sunspot activity, or to George Clark Southworth who discovered waves from the quiet sun at centimeter wavelengths later that same year, or to Grote Reber who discovered the same in 1944 using a radio telescope he built in his back yard, and who was the first to publish.
The articles on Southworth and Reber don't even mention it. So I don't consider it to be "shit that should have been written forever ago" about Elizabeth Alexander; it would be rather condescending towards women, don't you think, when that same "shit" is not important enough to be included in articles about male scientists who did it before her?
Her discovery in itself doesn't make her notable, she was asked to investigate the origin of the noise, and she discovered the cause, which shows she was a competent, intelligent scientist. She is notable because of the role her work played in the development of Australian radio astronomy. With Hey's and Southworth's work staying classified until after the war, it was her report that triggered the first investigations by Bowen and Pawsey, giving the Australians a head start in the field.
The two other articles I checked: Mary Amdur: certainly needed expanding. Dottie Thomas: given the apparent lack of sources (4 of the 6 are obituaries), it's hardly surprising it didn't exist. Prevalence 00:49, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I think there is room for this kind of stuff to appear as well. I don't have any problem with it. But hopefully it won't be too common, otherwise it blunts the shock value. Kingsindian   11:08, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Article views

Systemic bias works both ways. Naturally, editors would write about topics they are more interested in. Same with readers; they read topics they are more interested in. Looking at the pageviews analysis of the articles listed, it seems that these articles have fairly low traffic other than the DYKs. Do readers actually read these articles?

Also, what about topics from non-Anglophone countries, and other races? These topics are also underrepresented. Why only women? sst(conjugate) 11:25, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

We welcome a discussion of those issues as well by anyone who wants to write about them. This was not intended to be the one and only article ever on the topic of all systemic bias. Gamaliel (talk) 13:27, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@SSTflyer:, you can consult (and join!) Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias to join others who are helping in those area. We can always have more people looking at our underrepresented topics! Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 00:16, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

My point is, yes these topics have comparatively less coverage, but is such coverage really needed? Do readers actually read these articles? It seems like a waste of editor resources to write articles nobody read. sst(conjugate) 02:44, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

First, it's of absolutely no business to you how other editors spend their time and what articles they wish to spend that time on if the articles pass our inclusion guidelines. Second: reader attention is not the sole metric of value and neither is it really a metric at all: and I say this as the person who wrote the definition of what a pageview is! The purpose of Wikipedia is to assemble a compendium of knowledge that has value, not a compendium of knowledge that readers immediately know to seek out. Were it otherwise we'd be a celebrity gossip site. You may want to read up on the distinction between what is in the public interest, and what the public is interested in. Ironholds (talk) 02:49, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
We are not here to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. The fact is that prior to second-wave feminism, coverage of women has been lower than men, so naturally there would be less GNG-meeting articles of women than men. sst(conjugate) 07:59, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
That is completely orthogonal to the argument you were initially making, but if you think that these articles do not meet the GNG I encourage you to nominate them for deletion. If you don't, of course, then I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make here. Ironholds (talk) 14:53, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Last I heard, we still have way more articles on men than on women. No one's arguing that we include people that don't meet WP:GNG, so if your concern is that we're about to have article on the average Jane that died of dysentry in 1853, you can still sleep soundly at night. But from where I stand, it sounds like your against writing articles on notable women because 'well, they're women, and we should spent our time writing on more important things, or things reader 'actually' care about'. And my answer to that is 1) your opinion doesn't matter, the encyclopedia is better with these articles than it was without them 2) I enjoyed reading those biographies, a lot more than I usually do when hitting the 'random article button'. It just gave me Hapoel Kafr Kanna F.C., which I couldn't possibly give any less of a shit about. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 15:02, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


If this is gonna be a regular feature per ETW's comment above, why the fuck is this shit being labeled as an Op-Ed? It's fuckin' good shit, mind you, not shitty shit. (I'm particularly entertained because I was just stuck yesterday listening to a couple banned editors from En-WP yammering about bad words on wiki constituting a "Hostile Workplace Environment" and being an example of sexist "male bonding" through bad language. Which is complete horseshit, of course! So right on for this timely headline!!!) Carrite (talk) 13:52, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Naw, I think it's fuckin' shitty shit. Which sucks because some of these articles are about cool people who deserved good articles written long ago. But I'm just an old fart, who thinks calling criticism "tone arguments" so much verbal ju-jitsu bullshit, so what the fuck. -- llywrch (talk) 19:03, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

The point being?

What was the point of this article - to shock? To inform? To entertain or perhaps to even sort the prudes from the self-acclaimed intellectuals? As it was written without humour, wit or even an attempt at satire, it merely comes across as puerile and childish. I fail to see how that is serving Wikipedia at all. I would genuinely love to know the answers to these questions because it seems an extraordinary piece of work. Giano (talk) 14:04, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Not so fast

The article says "Angela Hartley Brodie: she only discovered aromatase inhibitors, one of the most important classes of breast cancer drugs. She only saved millions of lives. Seriously, COME ON. I can’t believe we had to write this shit in fucking 2016." That topic was actually started in 2007. There are similar issues with other topics like Elizabeth Alexander (astronomer) which was started in 2009. It's good that we're developing these topics and that we're also creating new articles every day too. But there's no need to beat ourselves up for not getting this all done at once. Andrew D. (talk) 14:07, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

And actually it appears that she didn't. She developed certain aromatase inhibitors and researched their effects in animal models. Possibly she discovered those particular compounds, though I have not seen evidence for it.
This is not the first time that I have seen a medical scientist incorrectly credited.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 20:10, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]

Many women encourage systemic bias

  • Premise: Sexual Objectification of women =s Systemic Bias toward women, or at least contributes heavily toward it.
  • ok, now put on your reading eyes before blasting my assertion based upon observation; and start by noticing the word "many" (not all). Since I am reaaaly old now I can share personal observation of 6 decades of North American and European systemic bias against women and the various representations of it. And since I made my living in advertising, you'll just have to trust me that "sex sells". And when I say "sex", I mean men being attracted to females for sexual purposes. The cheerleaders ( how many male cheerleaders do the cameras pan to ), beer ads, I mean its everywhere. We used to even hide the word "sex" in the photos of liquor in a glass.
  • Let's start with this decade. Many women are encouraging systemic bias by objectifying themselves as beauty or sexual objects. Botox, boob jobs, make up, and bras which have sexual as opposed to practical features are rampant and universal in many States and big Canadian cities. Texas is the worst.
  • 2000-2010 The Great Recession made it more important for women to get/keep good jobs and use every tool in their tool kit for that purpose. One of those tools was a marked increase in sexy and high fashion workplace attire and daily attention to complete facial cosmetic application. This was the first time I saw Toronto's women gravitate towards cosmetics in anywhere near the same number as American women. Also, very few of the women here have boob jobs today, but there were virtually none 10 years ago. Also, European women who mostly had never worn any make-up, started wearing some.
  • 1980-2000 In North America, a slow consistent return of women to the acceptance of being objectified. The bra came back with a vengence, with Victoria Secret leading the way, and the idea of using sex as a way to advance in the workplace became common again.
  • 1965-1980 Women's lib movement, burning bras ( can you even imagine today? ), abandoning make up, and ferociously fighting against systemic bias and objectification as a movement and as consumers.
  • 1955-1965 Systemic role play of the "housewife"; but at least women did not get screwed by having to put in more total hours of work than men (jobs + kids usually more hours than men's jobs + kids), which is the case today.
  • Bottom line, I think that in order to have a position with integrity about systemic bias toward women, a person must not participate in the activities which perpetuate objectifying women. Many women in Toronto, young single women too, never wear make-up; not a lick, and you can actually see their facial expressions better and they look a helluva lot more interesting than the clown faces you see at the Park Plaza in NYC.
  • So,I challenge any women who actually want to do something about systemic bias to:
Stop wearing make-up...ever.
Don't wear a bra unless you need one physically
Concentrate on fighting the sexual objectifying of women throughout your locality Nocturnalnow (talk) 15:45, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
As encyclopedia editors we should focus our discussion on how we can address these issues on the encyclopedia and leave the discussion of off-wiki events to other forums. Thank you. Gamaliel (talk) 15:57, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I'm sorry, Gamaliel, I don't want to derail the conversation about this article, I honestly don't, but I feel like I can't let a section like the OP's here pass without speaking up against it, because this makes me feel objectified and marginalized at a level that I rarely do even in systemically-biased environments - it makes me feel ogled, if that's somehow possible through text - and I don't think it's fair that other women who read this page will be left with the impression that a comment like this was allowed to stand with little-to-no challenge.

So, to Nocturnalnow, I would say: your idea that women wear bras and makeup to make themselves sexually appealing to men and to somehow illegitimately manipulate society with their female wiles so they can exploit systemic bias? That's based in male-dominated society having chosen to tell itself that women are as focused on being sexual playthings as men are on perceiving women as sexual playthings. Even some early feminism bought into this, ordering women to stop doing things men find attractive because that was the only way to fight society expecting women to be attractive.

We're past that now. We, as women, and we, as a society. As a pretty standard-issue woman, one who wears underwear and makeup, let me assure you: I'm not doing it for your pleasure (nor any man's, up to and including my husband), and I'm not doing it to somehow cheat male society out of its power by "fooling it" into thinking I'm attractive. I'm not even doing it or not-doing-it to fight the patriarchy or make a point. I'm making choices about what I do with and on my body based on myself, because underwear happens to be something that makes my life more comfortable and makeup is fun as hell to use as a form of artistic expression and I enjoy being able to make myself look different ways at different times to suit my mood. I value my personal comfort and enjoyment over whether any given person-who-isn't-me thinks my grooming choices make me attractive or proper, or whether they think I'm expressing what they think I should be expressing. To speak to me and other women in a forum like this and order us to stop doing things you apparently believe we should or shouldn't be doing is to disenfranchise us further, by making sure that we know that you believe we're only here on earth for you to look at and give orders to. Please, please stop. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 16:44, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Well said. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:22, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
HEAR, HEAR Fluffernutter. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 21:34, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Random retort roulette says: "Thank you for illustrating why so many fucking badasses are required to combat systemic fucking bias."
Corrections; I did not address anyone individually and I will accept, since you are telling me, that, for some women, make-up, and/or boob jobs, and and/or bunion causing high heels are for their own artistic expression and enjoyment. One question; where does the "Real Housewives" of ... fit into your reasoning? Nocturnalnow (talk) 21:34, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
If you want to discuss a television show, please find a webpage or other forum devoted to that show instead of engaging in that discussion here. Thank you. Gamaliel (talk) 21:45, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
On that note, I'll just say that I've enjoyed Mad Max: Fury Road to hell and back, but that doesn't mean I'm advocating throwing our traffic laws and environmental restrictions on vehicles out of the window. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 00:23, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Pointless, and a bit childish

Great subject, and yes, something that needs to be written, but the language used is a bit pointless and childish. Invective is great when used sparingly to make an impact, but the overuse of it here defeats the object, detracts from the whole point of the article, and ensures that many are not going to bother reading it in full (I gave up part way down the first blurb and skim read the rest). LESS IS MORE and if the subject of article is repeated again I'll start reading again until I see the same childish use of language (unless there is a point). It's a shame, because you do the article writers (and those articles) a disservice by being so needlessly divisive. – SchroCat (talk) 17:31, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Well, I'd argue there is a point; to express the (understandable) frustration at the underrepresentation of women in STEM and in our corpus of knowledge. Ironholds (talk) 18:23, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I agree to a limited degree, but as I've said above, less is more: one or two can be effective when used properly. A constant stream is off-putting, divisive and comes across as an uneducated and illiterate rant that puts people off, stops them reading. It will alienate people who you are trying to encourage, educate and entertain. That's fairly counter-productive to me, and if such pointless language is used in the next column, I'll just not bother reading it, along with many others, probably. – SchroCat (talk) 18:52, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Women are over-represented in STEM. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 05:08, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
@Rich Farmbrough: ...huh? GorillaWarfare (talk) 05:15, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
UK figures [3] (last page of spreadsheet) All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 05:20, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
You mean the one labeled "qualified scientists and engineers in the labour force by gender, three months ending december 2013: Great Britain, not seasonally adjusted"? My emphasis. You might want to consider some other data sources, because some disagree. Opabinia regalis (talk) 05:35, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
The Guardian is misleading. They compare, for example, 52% of boys studying STEM with 40% of girls. They don't factor in the significantly smaller number of boys in higher education than girls.
Both articles are based on reports by advocacy groups.
Consider the figures on the 2011-12 cohort published by the Guardian on Higher Education back in 2013 (when they reported 55% of undergrads were female, compared with 45% male, a disparity which has increased since):
Subject areas Number of students obtaining degrees % female % male Female undergraduates Male undergraduates
Medicine & dentistry 10140 57.6 42.3 5845 4290
Subjects allied to medicine 67960 82.1 17.9 55785 12175
Biological sciences 42040 60.8 39.2 25570 16470
Veterinary science 900 79.4 20 715 180
Agriculture & related subjects 4490 63 37 2830 1660
Physical sciences 17975 42.6 57.4 7650 10320
Mathematical sciences 8895 42.2 57.8 3755 5140
Computer science 20060 17.4 82.6 3500 16560
Engineering & technology 30500 14.3 85.7 4355 26145
Totals 202960 54.2 45.8 110005 92940
The Guardian comments that the disparity is greater than it seems, because there are more males than females in this cohort.
In law, another traditionally male preserve, the majority of graduates have been female for decades.
Conversely we find boys doing better at A level in modern languages, where I believe girls used to do better.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 15:28, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
Your argument is still, however, exclusively based on UK figures, and still probably not something for this venue. If you want to argue back and forth on whether or not women are under- or over-represented in STEM I suggest you go somewhere like Quora. Ironholds (talk) 15:34, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I am interested you think that you can make unchallenged assertions of fact here, while you continue to challenge other people for having an opinion.
You must have a reason for thinking that, but I cannot imagine what it is.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 17:26, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
You've already posted a lot of statements challenging my assertions of fact, they're just unconvincing. I've got no problem with people doing that, but I do think that at the point where it's gone down a rabbit hole of digging out a ton of ONS data it's veered right of the tracks. If you want to have this conversation, have this conversation, but the talkpage of this entry is not a great place to do it. It's a lot of energy and prose being spilled on data normalisation and UK gov versus non-gov sources and many, many, other things that are utterly unrelated to the op-ed. Ironholds (talk) 19:09, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I am unhappy that the following comment has been removed on the most dubious of grounds. If writers of Op-Eds can't face a critical comment, then they need to think about whether to post or not. I'll point out that this comment is now made by me, not any other user, so there is absolutely no excuse for anyone to revert. If you don't like the comment below, you can open an ANI thread, but I will not put up with my comment being deleted on spurious grounds: "Privileged white woman promotes articles about privileged white women, so progressive. Please tell us how hard you have it white woman, my blackness prevents me from understanding your suffering."SchroCat (talk) 20:57, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

@SchroCat: Seems like an obvious troll to me? Especially when it's from an account specifically created to post on this page? Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 21:12, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
No proof? Just deletion and blocking on spurious grounds. The comment has some validity – it's a perfectly good opinion that makes a very valid comment. "Don't feed the trolls" doesn't mean delete all opinions people disagree with: way more dramah has been created with the continual deletions. – SchroCat (talk) 21:20, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
You created the drama by grandstanding and edit warring on behalf of an obvious troll. WP:DFTT. If you disagree with the decision of two administrators to block an obvious troll, please take it to ANI and not here. Gamaliel (talk) 21:23, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Bollocks. Pointless deletions, threats and blocks without evidence created the dramah. Time for you to drop the stick, move on and acknowledge that people have differing opinions that do not need to be deleted. – SchroCat (talk) 21:28, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
This page and hundreds of other Signpost talk pages are full of differing opinions that somehow have gone undeleted. I regularly solicit op-eds from people with many different opinions. You are welcome to submit one yourself. Stop pretending this is about censorship and not about trolling. Gamaliel (talk) 21:32, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
See my comment below: I do not believe this is trolling: it is as valid as the point made in the Op-Ed, and yes, blithely deleting it is censorship (and has pointlessly led to more dramah. – SchroCat (talk) 21:48, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Regardless of whatever merits you personally see in that comment, the user was blocked for trolling by two different administrators. We regularly remove the trolling of trolls all over the encyclopedia, and we don't make exceptions for trolling you personally happen to like. You restoring the trolling of a blocked troll is the source of the drama here and the fact that it was trolling is why those comments were removed and comments by many many many other users expressing a wide variety of options were not. If you want to object to the decision to block the troll, then ANI is the place for that discussion. If that blocking decision is found to be in error, then the comments can be restored. To edit war to restore trolling by a blocked user in the name of fighting censorship is inappropriate Wikipedia behavior and weakens the case of those who are actually in the trenches fighting real cases of censorship. Gamaliel (talk) 22:00, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I've already pointed out that your rationale here is deeply flawed, so there is no point in you carrying on banging the same old drum. The deletions of a valid comment have led to dramah, despite the origin of that comment, for,which I've remembered what AGF is, even if you choose to ignore it to censor something you don't like. Time to move on and do something useful. (– SchroCat (talk) 22:09, 20 February 2016 (UTC) And as a minor correction, the user wasn't blocked by two admins for trolling: they were blocked by one admin for trolling (the dubious one) followed by blocks on the subsequent sock accounts (technically correct). – SchroCat (talk) 23:10, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
So you won the argument because you said so? Good to know. Gamaliel (talk) 22:36, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
No, it's just that there is nothing more to say, as your comment indicates. – SchroCat (talk) 22:41, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict) WP:AGF is not a suicide pact, SchroCat... surely you of all people recognize that? I mean, just read what was written—do you really believe that's not someone trying to troll the article's writer? A writer who receives more hate mail per day than I have in my life, some of which is similar to this, much of which is worse? I do respect you, Schro—we've had very positive interactions before, as I recall—but I think you're wrong here. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 21:32, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not convinced they were a troll. (A sock, very probably, but not a troll). Their point has merit: yes, great to expand or create our articles on women, but there is another bias in operation here. (It's why in Britain we remember the excellence of Florence Nightingale, but have forgotten—until recently—Mary Seacole, despite both being equally worthy and worthwhile subjects. The comment was extremely valid and shouldn't have had to go through the pointless deletions: that's not trolling: it's a bloody good point to make. IF the person socked because they didn't want to say that openly, I do not know why they should have hidden in order to make such a valid point, but I'm going to AGF that their intent was good. – SchroCat (talk) 21:44, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

It's true that this list consists mostly of white women. Perhaps we can help remedy this by writing some articles about notable black women (and women of other racial minorities) so Emily has more content to celebrate for the next column. GorillaWarfare (talk) 00:49, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I'm currently working through a book of biographies of women artists of colour in the Americas. Would it be helpful for me to jot down a list of missing names? Ironholds (talk) 02:31, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
That would be fantastic. I'm working through an encyclopedia of women social reformers, but unfortunately Wikipedia is not the only source that suffers from unbalanced coverage of racial minorities. GorillaWarfare (talk) 04:08, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Cool! I'll throw it into the systemic bias link store tomorrow *scribbles into to-do*. Ironholds (talk) 04:09, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Interesting approach,

... as it pertains to the state of Wikipedia in 2016. Taking perhaps the two most divisive topics (on wiki) and attempting to address them both in a single op-ed is a massive undertaking. Civility and gender are both hot-button items here, and Emily's attempt to make a statement on both items in a single piece certainly does give me some insight to her individual thinking. The articles chosen are good choices and I hope people will take the time to read through those items. "Shock and Awe" may be a bit cliche in this day and age, but it still tends to gather attention in a very noisy environment. I'd urge folks to think beyond the black-and-white text, and consider the things implied by this column. — Ched :  ?  18:24, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Let me echo Ched's assessment of the size of the undertaking and the 'interesting' approach. There's no doubt that our coverage contains bias and we ought to be more than happy to see attempts to highlight those issues, as long as it doesn't become disruptive. As for the approach, some have opined that they found the language used off-putting, while others have found it funny and apt. I just thought it was a 'device' designed to draw attention to the topics - and I doubt that anybody reading this page could deny that it worked at that level.
Oliver: you mule, Mike isn't an ass; he's just as entitled to his opinion as you are. If he found it a little offensive, that's fine, he's entitled to; we get that you found it acceptable, as did many others (myself included), but you don't have to beat other editors over the head because their opinions differ from yours.
Emily: well done! You've ignited quite a debate - most of it off-topic, admittedly, but if even a handful of editors take to heart the underlying message, it will have been a net gain. --RexxS (talk) 01:48, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Too Emotional

Too emotional.--Catlemur (talk) 23:25, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


@Emily Temple-Wood (NIOSH): For an op-ed it was self-indulgent and childish; not thought provoking, not a parody, not healthy social disruption for a cause. Historic women's biographies are great examples of what we should be doing more for, especially encouraging editathons in Universities and schools. As an organizer of the first UK LGBT editathon, supporter of several women's editathons and a creator of many basic women scientist biographies, I find this an off-putting let down. You are trusted as the paid Wikipedian in Residence at NIOSH, I doubt this type of embarrassing chaff aligns well with the goals of that position. -- (talk) 23:55, 20 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

@: Keilana wrote this in her volunteer capacity; don't implicitly threaten to have her fired. We don't need another Ecoleetage. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 00:24, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
+1. As an organizer of the first UK LGBT editathon and supporter of several women's editathons and a creator of many basic women scientist biographies I'm surprised to see you acting in a way that is quite so transparently and obviously chilling towards someone writing content in this area, whatever you may think of their op-ed. Ironholds (talk) 02:34, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Actually, Ironholds, this article gave me pause in my intention to participate in an edit-a-thon focusing on women artists in a few weeks. Not all of the artists are dead, and I'm quite sure a fair number of the living ones would be rather horrified to see articles about them discussed in this way. I certainly don't want articles I write to be discussed in The Signpost this way. Mostly, this page just reminded me of what high school teachers wind up saying all the time: "Use your words, you have better ways of saying the same thing." Keilana could have done so much better than this. Risker (talk) 03:37, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
This is a fair point, and I respect your opinion on these issues. But that opinion - on the article as a whole - is unrelated to the topic of a user quite blatantly using another editor's emplyoment as a weapon. Ironholds (talk) 03:47, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Yes and no, Ironholds. I personally try to conduct myself in a way that would not bring disrepute to my employers if my actions were to be connected to them, even when there is no obvious connection between my personal activities and my work activities. People get fired all the time for their off-work behaviour, particularly if that off-work behaviour is directly related to their work activities. People don't get past first screenings on job applications because of their publicly visible off-work behaviour all the time, too. That is neither here nor there; whether or not this "article" is something covered in Keilana's employment contract is between her and her employer. I have had the pleasure of meeting Keilana on several occasions. She is well-educated, articulate, and could easily have made this a celebration of the creation of these articles in an inspiring tone. Instead, she made me wonder if this is how she will routinely communicate about women who are the subjects of newly created articles. I am very much NOT supportive of writing about article subjects in such a disrespectful way. Risker (talk) 04:26, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Why speculate on how this could affect her job and then say that this is between her and her employer? It should be left between her and her employer, not used to frighten (or even threaten, depending how you read Fae's comment) her out of writing things like this by people who have no input on her employment status. GorillaWarfare (talk) 04:37, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Hey, I'm not the one swearing about article subjects. I didn't raise the issue of employment, although when Ironholds insinuated that I was, I pointed out reality. As a Wikipedian, I'll simply say that if these had been living persons, this "article" would be one massive BLP violation. Risker (talk) 04:58, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
How? Granted a subject might object a little to the tone, or request clarification, but there are worse things a biographer can say about you than "it's a crying shame that we haven't written your bio before," even if the language around it is a little rough. Anmccaff (talk) 05:03, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Risker, insinuating that you brought employment into this was the precise opposite of what I said. What I said was that your comment, while interesting and valid and a perspective worth discussing here, was utterly unrelated to the initial subject of the section, which was a totally different user trying quite clearly to push for employment implications. Ironholds (talk) 05:11, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Disrespectful? "Badass", "kickass", "made a bigger discovery than most of us could dream of", "hella great", etc. - I think I'd be more than happy to be "disrespected" that way if I had the misfortune to be notable enough for an article. On the other hand, most of the commentary on this talk page serves as an excellent illustration of the fact that swearing and respect are not that well correlated at all. Opabinia regalis (talk) 05:21, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Correlation or consequence? Because everyone who has any experience on the internet knows the flaming is lit with just such insouciance, which is one reason why the project stresses self-control in communication. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:08, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I had a similar reaction to Risker, having written about women who have done stuff, and other things not white or male, I see discouragement in future writing that they (the article and the subject) could be subjected to such a trivializing or juvenile in-house review column treatment, regardless of whatever good intent. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:46, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]


I don't mind causal f*word in a causal conversation, but I simply could not force myself to read a text about articles about possibly awesome women, written so. There is a Russian say "a teaspoon of shit spoils a barrel of honey". - üser:Altenmann >t 03:42, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Wiki Finger Wagging

Can everyone here stumbling over themselves to serve as self-appointed finger-wagging etiquette patrol please just lighten the **** up? <-- See what I did there to make this more palatable for you folks?

None of the invectives in the piece were aimed at people or Wikipedians. Go back and check. I’ll wait here while you re-read it. Those who have met and worked with Emily know what an incredibly prolific member of the community she is. The piece reflected the passion for fixing Wikipedia’s shortcomings and the implication by critics that we all have to march in lockstep with the same style and attitude towards the task is folly. Any criticism that is essentially, “Why can’t you be more like me?” deserves a trip to the bit bucket. — Fuzheado | Talk 05:34, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

That's rubbish, and if you take your head out from your arse for more than 30 seconds and actually read what people have written, you may take on board the fact that the message of this article has been utterly lost because of the purile vocabulary selection. The fact that most people above say exactly that appears to have been utterly lost on you, but you carry on ignoring that and hearing what you want to hear. It's a shame, because the articles all seem to be about very worthy topics, but it's a shame you've lost most of the readership of the page, so the links won't be clicked on as much as they should be. - SchroCat (talk) 09:53, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Finger wagging, Fuzheado, is what you are doing. You want everyone to be just like you, and apparently know the people you do. But regardless of your failure to self examine, anyone with any forethought (writer, editor) knew exactly what this comment section would turn into: commentary on the writing, and secondarily whether it advances whatever cause, and not on the cause, itself. Why anyone thinks one should know the writer, to judge the writing is an unwiki idea, this not being a social network and all. More importantly, if one knows the writer, one should hope that one's opinion of the writing would be the same, otherwise, it is dishonest. It just so happens I am familiar with the author's work, having done research in voting for her in a recent election, but that does not change my opinion that this column is mediocre writing at best and self-defeating rhetoric or gimmick at worst, nor should it. Preaching to a choir of personal friends may be fun but it's hardly meaningful, here. One can only hope the column writer learns and grows, as a column writer, since it is a planned regular activity. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:49, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you for reporting on important work

Keilana, this is great stuff. It's an important service to the movement to report on article building and the thinking and organizing that often goes into it. I look forward to your column.

To Mike Peel et al, I would encourage you to take up editorial decisions at WT:SIGNPOST so this page can be used to engage with the substance of this article. It may be too late for that...but I hope not. -Pete (talk) 07:58, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Historical perspective and recentism

The articles highlighted here (and I am deliberately not focusing on the language used to present the topic) are good examples of how difficult it can be to write about people until there is sufficient distance to allow a proper assessment of their notability and their impact in their respective fields. Two articles stand out in this respect: Mary Fernández and Anita Kurmann. The former is someone whose career is still in progress and it is not (with the best will in the world) possible to write about them in an encyclopaedic manner until their career and achievements are further advanced. This would apply to the same kind of article written about a man and in fields other than science. The same can be said of the article about Anita Kurmann, whose career was cut short so tragically.

For the record (though the article itself should have made this clearer), some of the articles were started much earlier, though most of them were created in February 2016 (or in the case of Christian Ramsay in December 2015). The ones that were (presumably) expanded recently but had been created earlier were: Mary Amdur: created in December 2010; Angela Hartley Brodie: created in January 2007; and Elizabeth Alexander (astronomer): created in December 2009.

I'm going to add two suggestions here for articles that could be created (I had hoped to start work on these myself, but have not had time yet): we have an article on Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, but not on her husband Sergei Illarionovich Gaposchkin. They are both covered in Uneasy Careers and Intimate Lives: Women in Science, 1789-1979 (1987). It is an example of the inversion of the more common relative notability of a husband-wife pairing. There is also Vera Fretter - an omission I highlighted back in August 2015 on Keilana's user talk page here. She is relatively obscure, but IMO it would have been better to focus on people where substantive articles are possible (i.e. where published obituaries detailing an entire career are available), rather than dilute the message by including borderline cases.

The op-ed piece would also have been improved by including some details and statistics on number of articles we currently have on female scientists, and celebrating the number that we already have and looking at how their number and quality compare with that of the articles on male scientists. Are such statistics and details available? Carcharoth (talk) 11:46, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Not a full set of stats, but you can take a look at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2011-01-31/The Science Hall of Fame. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 15:07, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
We were also missing Ernest Noble, Harry Brodie, Charles Coombes, Herbert Hartley and Sheldon Murphy to name but a few redlinks discovered by working on some of these articles.

Stephen Fry

Both of you, please drop the stick and stop feeding into each others snarkiness. Ironholds (talk) 19:30, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

If I had a large amount of money I should certainly found a hospital for those whose grip upon the world is so tenuous that they can be severely offended by words and phrases and yet remain all unoffended by the injustice, violence and oppression that howls daily about our ears.

— Stephen Fry

It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?

— Stephen Fry

Swearing is a really important part of one's life. It would be impossible to imagine going through life without swearing and without enjoying swearing... There used to be mad, silly, prissy people who used to say swearing was a sign of a poor vocabulary -such utter nonsense. The people I know who swear the most tend to have the widest vocabularies and the kind of person who says swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary usually have a pretty poor vocabulary themselves... The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or a lack of verbal interest or -is just a fucking lunatic... I haven't met anybody who's truly shocked at swearing, really, they're only shocked on behalf of other people. Well, you know, that's preposterous... or they say 'it's not necessary'. As if that should stop one doing it! It's not necessary to have coloured socks, it's not necessary for this cushion to be here, but is anyone going to write in and say 'I was shocked to see that cushion there, it really wasn't necessary'? No, things not being necessary is what makes life interesting -the little extras in life.

— Stephen Fry

The Quixotic Potato (talk) 15:21, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

You've missed the fucking point entirely. When the medium of delivery detracts from the message then it's a badly written article. That sems to be what most people have said here, but you appear to have missed that crucial point. - SchroCat (talk) 15:48, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@SchroCat: Please read WP:INDENT. You wrote that: "When the medium of delivery detracts from the message then it's a badly written article.". That is nonsense. Even in cases where that happens (not this one) it doesn't necessarily mean that it is badly written. Maybe you should re-read the quotes above, because you seem to have missed the fucking point entirely. And just because you shout a lot doesn't mean you are in the majority (or minority). The Quixotic Potato (talk) 15:56, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
No, I've not missed the point, but it appears you think quotes out of context somehow prove you are "right". That's fine: just keep telling yourself that, and don't worry about alienating the people you're trying to communicate with. – SchroCat (talk) 16:02, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I am sorry that Stephen Fry has hurt your feelings. At least you've learned how to indent! The Quixotic Potato (talk) 16:04, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

He hasn't, obviously, but the crass attempts at shock tactics failed here, despite your inability to be flexible in thought. – SchroCat (talk) 16:10, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Read Law of holes. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 16:11, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Again, how childish: I'm not in a hole, trying to celebrate an article made divisive not by its subject matter, but by the language employed, but you carry on, missing the point entirely. – SchroCat (talk) 16:19, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Sing it with me! The Quixotic Potato (talk) 16:19, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Bye bye. – SchroCat (talk) 16:22, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Ah, you decided to stop digging. Good idea. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 16:23, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

The Quixotic Potato (talk) 16:31, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

In today’s modern galaxy, there is of course very little still held to be unspeakable. Many words and expressions which only a matter of decades ago were consider so distastefully explicit that were they merely to be breathed in public, the perpetrator would be shunned, barred from polite society, and in extreme cases, shot through the lungs, are now thought to be very healthy and proper, and their use in everyday speech is seen as evidence of a well-adjusted, relaxed and totally unbleeped up personality. So, for instance, when in a recent national speech, the financial minister of the royal world estate of Qualvista actually dared to say that due to one thing and another and the fact that no one had made any food for while and the king seemed to have died and most of the population had been on holiday now for over three years, the economy had now arrived at what he called “one whole jujuflop situation,” everyone was so pleased he felt able to come out and say it that they quite failed to notice that their five thousand year old civilization had just collapsed overnight.

Douglas Adams makes the point better than I could. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 17:00, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]

I can show you a Southpark episode where a plague caused by swearing is unleashed upon the world in a similar scenario as described above... but it contains many swearwords. If you refuse to read/watch/listen to something just because it contains swearwords then you are missing out on a lot of good stuff. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 17:07, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@Rich Farmbrough: The wiki article describes it as "broadcasting a record-setting amount of profanity". The Quixotic Potato (talk) 17:12, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@The Quixotic Potato: Thanks for the brilliant quotes. If only the community could get this up-in-arms about the legitimately offensive personal attacks and incivility that occurs on Wikipedia on a daily basis, albeit without any swear words. Kaldari (talk) 17:21, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you. I love Stephen Fry. I think the incivility offwiki is even worse! The Quixotic Potato (talk) 17:29, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Quite likely! That episode is about bad language, just as is the Douglas Adams extract I provided, the appropriate Vagina Monologue and Derek and Clive's Critics Forum sketch.
Let me be clear, I am not offended by swearing or bad language - even on the behalf of others.
It seems to me, though, that:
  1. there is a sociological and psychological value for bad words, which is debased if they become common currency
  2. some people are offended, and on these sorts of media we do not know our target audience intimately, therefore we do not know the effect such language will have.
  3. from recent events on Wikipedia we do know that bad language does bring distraction
  4. if there is no intent to distract form the content of the article such excessive amounts of bad language was a poor judgement call.
It doesn't matter in the slightest if you blame those who don't like the bad language, Emily or Galmaliel. The fact is that the message has been obscured, if the bad language had been limited to the headline, perhaps that would not have happened. (Incidentally it seems I was not the only one who read it as "Shit! I can't believe we actually had to write this month!")
And that is a shame, because there are serious points arising from the article which are being lost.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 18:10, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
  1. I agree. That is why we keep inventing new ones, and some of the old ones seem to "lose value". My father uses different swearwords than I do (far more mild), and his father used different swearwords than we do (usually bowdlerized versions of stuff my father would say). This also happens the other way around. I think the word retarded is a good example. There are also many ethnicity/race-related words that have become swearwords over time.
  2. True, although we can make reasonable predictions based on past experience.
  3. I agree, but I would like to point out that the distraction comes from those who insist on talking exclusively about the swearwords instead of talking about the content as a whole, which causes a Streisand effect.
  4. I disagree. This stylistic choice by the author is a vital part of the authors communication to us, because it helps me as a reader understand the mindset and feelings of the author. If you would remove the swearwords then I would miss out on one very important piece of the puzzle. I am not sure if I am explaining this correctly (not a native speaker, sorry), but I think the swearwords are a part of the content.
I think a good solution would be to make a censured version, and post a link to it. That way I can read the complete uncensored message, but those who are likely to get offended can chose to read a version without any swearwords. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:38, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I actually made one, but my PC crashed horribly and had to rebuild the disk or something, before I saved. Despite having read the first article, I got more information from the clean version. It would be interesting to set both version before a random set of readers and test for comprehension.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 18:56, 21 February 2016 (UTC).[reply]
I have no problem with the people who disagree with a particular use of language, only with the manner in which a few of them have chosen to express that disagreement. I do take issue with the idea that the language is obscuring the message, as those who feel that way have failed to grasp the message of this article. The message is not "systemic bias should be corrected"; that message can be and has been expressed in a myriad of ways by many people. It's ridiculous to put the failure for delivering that particular message on Emily when there are plenty of other messengers out there and when that was not even the message of this piece. The actual message is one of exasperation that in 2016 we are still having to fill obvious gender-based content gaps that should have already been filled. In this case, the medium is the message and the sedate, swear-free piece that many commenters are imagining delivers a different message entirely. Gamaliel (talk) 18:20, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
You are not seeing the evidence before your own eyes: long quotes and discussion on "fucking, etc.". Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:30, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Evidence of the fact that using a couple of swearwords is a great way to get attention? Yep. You don't have to be a marketing genius to figure that one out. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:45, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Which is why it is uninteresting and not a revelation that "fuck" is used in frustration, and "fuck, etc." is your focus. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:55, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
If "the actual message is one of exasperation that in 2016 we are still having to fill obvious gender-based content gaps", then it's failed in that aim, I'm afraid. That's partly because some of the articles date back some time (to 2007, in one case), and partly because the focus of comments has been on the language: that should be screaming to you that the message has been lost in the translation, not that this is a roaring success. Less is more, and that's especially true of swearing. The impact of one fuck can be much, much greater than a long and pointless catalogue of swearing, which just looks crass and purile. – SchroCat (talk) 18:30, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I was under the impression that you stopped digging, but feel free to continue. I will check my music library for digging-related music. You wrote: "partly because the focus of comments has been on the language: that should be screaming to you that the message has been lost in the translation". Again, that is nonsense. Those who aren't offended aren't very likely to leave a comment. This article has received a LOT of extra attention because it uses a couple of swearwords, and that helps spread the message. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:43, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

? I'm sure there's a village missing you somewhere... – SchroCat (talk) 18:48, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I once ate someone like you. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:49, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
No you didn't, now grow up and stop acting like some petulant child. – SchroCat (talk) 19:14, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I did. I wasn't even hungry. Anyway, 654 results for "dig". Words like digital don't count, so no Digital Underground and no Bobby Digital et cetera. But there is lots of stuff left:
  • Black Moon - Diggin In Dah Vaults
  • Digable planets
  • Diggin' in the Crates Crew
  • Gravediggaz
  • EPMD - Gold Digger
  • Lord Digga
  • Loop Digga
  • Sick Digger & Dj Vinoss
  • John Digweed
  • Stu Bangas & Vanderslice - Diggaz With Attitude
  • Rah Diggah
  • Lord Finesse - Dig on That
  • The Coup - Dig it
  • Screamin' Jay Hawkins - Dig
  • Lootpack - Crate Diggin'
  • Quasimoto - Return of the Loop Digga
  • The Jaz - I Can Dig Rappin'
  • CunninLynguists - Kno's Diggin
  • DJ Krush - Dig this vibe
  • MC Lyte - Can You Dig It
  • People Under The Stairs - The Dig
  • MC Serch - Can you dig it
The Quixotic Potato (talk) 19:21, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Enjoy your time in kindergarten tomorrow. – SchroCat (talk) 19:24, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Ooh yet another failed attempt at an insult. Well, keep practicing, maybe it will be more effective when and if you grow up. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 19:30, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Stopped reading

I stopped reading this after the third gratuitous swear word. Shame because it could have been quite an interesting article. I have no idea what you thought you were doing by writing this article like this. Was it effective? Did it work? AndrewRT(Talk) 16:46, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

@AndrewRT: I have read the entire article and it is pretty good. You should try reading it. Aren't you afraid that you are missing out on a lot of awesome stuff? I can show you some things that are full of swearwords and awesome. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 16:49, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
No, I have no FOMO. I have a short life and little time and try to use it to focus on the things that matter to me and those I care about. I have no intention of wasting my time on someone who clearly has no respect for me or other readers like me. AndrewRT(Talk) 16:57, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
For those who don't know what FOMO is (I had to look it up): Fear Of Missing Out. @AndrewRT: Are you claiming that the writer doesn't respect you? I am not sure what that claim is based on. Just because the writer has used a couple of words that you consider to be taboo? Or do you have another reason for claiming that the writer has no respect for you? I am confused. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 17:03, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

A regular dose of unnecessary expletives? No thanks.

A regular column on the important subject of systemic bias and how it is being tackled would be most welcome. But unnecessary, gratuitously excessive profanity for no discernible reason whatsoever is most definitely not, especially if this is to be a regular thing. I have no desire to be sworn at at all, let alone routinely. If I see that kind of thing in The Signpost again, I will unsubscribe and avoid the publication in future. If that means I lose touch with what's going on on Wikipedia, so be it. If that results in me feeling alienated and wishing to cease my work here, again, so be it. I know the Signpost is short of volunteers but I wasn't aware that the existing editors were so short of sound judgement. Is this a plea for help in disguise? Whatever it is, it certainly distracts from the supposed subject. Serious issues like systemic bias deserve better than this puerile treatment. WaggersTALK 20:59, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

@Waggers: Hello! Why do you think the profanity has "no discernible reason whatsoever"? I think the author was using profanity to express the authors feelings, and communicate a message. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 21:16, 21 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not sure how the meme has arisen that gratuitously excessive profanity is going to be a regularly scheduled part of Signpost. Are we to inform the Guinness Book of Records that the contributors here have broken the world record for conclusion-jumping? Given what we know of Emily's background and prior contributions, what's more likely?:
  1. Emily employed a gimmick to cause a bit of a stir and draw some attention to some issues that she thinks deserve some attention. Next time there will be a completely different tone. or
  2. Emily is incapable of ever stringing together a paragraph of text without dropping in multiple expletives. Next time will be another profanity-fest.
Just to make it more interesting, I'm willing to take any bets that anyone wants to lay on number 2 being the case. All my winnings will be donated to Womankind. Please give generously. --RexxS (talk) 00:27, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Funny how everyone is up in arms about the title here, but when the Signpost published "Wikipedia's cute ass" it was nothing but high-5s all around. A double standard perhaps? Kaldari (talk) 00:59, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

No. I don't see any expletive-riven text running throughout. Indeed, that makes my point entirely: less is more. One "ass" to grab attention and nothing more is needed. The message wasn't lost in a subsequent stream of invective. – SchroCat (talk) 07:36, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@The Quixotic Potato: Simple: there's no explicit reason given, and there's no good reason I could discern from the text. What you think the author was trying to do is just your opinion, but whatever message she was trying to communicate has been lost amidst her swearing so if that was her strategy, it hasn't worked.
@RexxS: I know nothing of Emily's background; why should I? The Signpost is divided into sections that appear regularly - News & Notes, Technology Report, etc. The first paragraph of this article indicates this is also going to be a regular feature. There's nothing to indicate the future columns won't be written in the same way.
@SchroCat: I beg to differ; there was more than "one 'ass' to grab attention" in this article. I do agree that nothing more is needed, and less is more. Sadly in this case we were given more, and it resulted in the impact being much less. I'd rather this comments section was full of people discussing the issue of systemic bias, and if there was just "one 'ass' to grab attention" I suspect that would have been the case. Instead, here we are, discussing the use of profanity instead. Surely that indicates it was overdone. WaggersTALK 09:36, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@SchroCat: Apologies, I see you're replying to Kaldari and we're actually in agreement! Darn this wikitext, bring on WP:FLOW. WaggersTALK 09:42, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • LOL - I was (edit conflict)ed posting the following, so I'm glad we're both on the same page: "I'm not sure we do differ, actually: I agree with everything you've said, that the very good message has been utterly lost amidst the poorly chosen method of delivery. Cheers" - SchroCat (talk) 09:45, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  • @Waggers: before you start making assumptions about how an editor is going to write in future, you would do well to find out a little bit about her previous contributions, don't you think? Or do you make a habit of shooting your mouth off without any prior research? Don't bother to answer the second question - we all know the answer to that. You'll note, by the way, that neither is there anything in Emily's first paragraph to indicate that it will be written in the same way. Jump to conclusions much? --RexxS (talk) 17:37, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
@RexxS: No, there should not be a requirement for every Signpost reader to look into the article author's history before they're allowed to comment on it. The article is clear that this is the first in a series. In other words there hasn't been an article of this kind before, so regardless of what style the author has used for other columns in the past, so far 100% of the articles in the regular column on systemic bias have been written in the style of this one. WaggersTALK 08:53, 23 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Fuck 'em, keep up the good work. ---an IP editor. (talk) 07:15, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

⭐️ Lovely. (talk) 10:13, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

@Waggers: You wrote: "there's no good reason I could discern from the text. What you think the author was trying to do is just your opinion, but whatever message she was trying to communicate has been lost amidst her swearing".

I could discern a good reason from the text. And no, that is not "just my opinion", because writing an article is a form of communication. The claim that the message the author was trying to communicate was lost is demonstrably false. Just because you got distracted by the swearwords doesn't mean everyone did. WP:FLOW is a failed experiment. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 14:05, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Big fucking deal

It's not the cursing, it's the implication that these bios were not created because of the subjects gender. So Kelina created or fixed up a few articles about some little known scientists. Good for her I suppose, this being an encyclopedia and all. Are there hundreds or thousands left to go for both genders? Probably, but who fucking cares as long as a bunch of assholes get to pat each other on their self-righteous backs. That man from Nantucket (talk) 13:50, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

@That man from Nantucket: "... study after study has shown that women report higher rates of anger and...feel it more intensely, more persistently than men. And the reasons for that anger, modern science tells us, are hardly abstract: women feel most enraged by condescension, neglect, and rejection. One researcher found that overwhelmingly "women tend to be angered by the negative behaviors of men, whereas men tend to be angered by women's negative emotional reactions."[4] (talk) 23:37, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
These articles not existing are a sign of neglect? Seems rather childish.That man from Nantucket (talk) 06:50, 23 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
So, what then? We should only discuss gaps in Wikipedia's content, and the attempts to address them, when we're done writing the encyclopedia? As for your implication that Keilana wrote this to boast about her own work, please note that she wrote three of the eight articles mentioned here. Given her work in creating women's biographies, it's fairly remarkable she even left five for the rest of us to write. GorillaWarfare (talk) 10:13, 24 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think she's boasting over her work, but I do think her sarcasm that it took 15 years for these articles to be created is childish. Judging from the comments above, some feel making a point that women are being neglected (all white women btw) was more important than making the articles. That man from Nantucket (talk) 09:20, 25 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
sarcasm is indeed dangerous around Wikipedia; soon after I began, I was urged not to use it at AfD, not just because too many WPedians were literally minding and would misinterpret it, but because those unable to respond effectively would feel left-out and resentful. DGG ( talk ) 17:11, 26 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Inappropriate register

We are writing Signpost articles, in a manner and register suitable for the reader- and this one does stray somewhat from our implied Manual of Style. So much so- that the language has become the subject and the subject forgotten.

Would it possible, to have a synopsis removing the regionalisms so we can enjoy the substance of the message. Clem Rutter (talk) 23:54, 22 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

@ClemRutter: as other editors have already mentioned, this op-ed is not an encyclopedia article, so no MOS applies. In terms of style, the author is employing the well known technique of gonzo journalism and dirty realism which is an appropriate and established register in its own right. To your point, the question is therefore one of audience, but in the context of writing and journalism there has always been a necessary tension between the writer and the reader. Readers have been known, for example, to both celebrate and criticize pieces which challenge their values, assumptions, and politics. Investigative journalism, muckracking, and adversarial journalism in general, do not depend on the proper register to communicate their message. Your assumption that an op-ed must be written in a certain way negates its very purpose. I hope you see the problem. (talk) 00:10, 23 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
No one needs a lecture on what the idea was; we all get it, and we're all rolling our eyes. This was cool in 1968; today it's beyond trite.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:05, 24 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
The actual manner of discussing in WP is to ignore the use of the conventionally taboo part of language when it is used routinely, as part of the speech of those who are in the habit of employing it without it marking any special emphasis, just as part of the way people like them normally talk. It's weird that here where it is used as a perfectly appropriate headline to call attention to a situation so biased as to defy the basic assumptions of fairness that we pretend to follow--that's when it is objected to. It's so weird, that perhaps it's because of the message. DGG ( talk ) 17:19, 26 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
That's pale blue owlshit. Or, to change register, that's begging the question. Looking at the list of names topping this piece, there's only one of them that is jarring, Mary Amdur. One was written up because of a minor incident in their career that went nowhere, even though it was good science, completely ignoring their real career in geology and education. One's "because...DEAD!!!!" One's completely on her husband's coattails. Good work, and a career, but not a separate one; there really should only be one article. One ascribes all of the work of team to one member because...gurl!. One's part of the nest of amateur scientists out in the frozen colonial waste...Canada. Few, maybe none of her fellow authors in her publications cited have their own articles, possibly because they suffer from too many types of chromosomes.
This article is tendentious, sloppy bilgewater, and up to neither Wiki's low standard's nor the author's generally higher ones. Anmccaff (talk) 17:48, 26 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I believe you have just proven the point that there is indeed prejudice here against the biographies of women scientists. Especially in the perception that when a man and women work together, the women is always the less important. True, that the woman is apt to hold the lesser position in the formal academic system., but that comes from the same prejudice. DGG ( talk ) 07:19, 27 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
You can't have some things both ways; your last sentence contradicts the first. The second sentence is a straw man. If you want to argue it, find someone who raised it, and somewhere its been raised; that ain't me and it ain't here. Anmccaff (talk) 10:29, 27 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
The rank also reflects the social bias against woman, and can fail to recognize the actual scientific contributions. This contributes to our failure to recognize the quality of their work. DGG ( talk ) 18:18, 27 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
"One's completely on her husband's coattails. Good work, and a career, but not a separate one; there really should only be one article." Those are your words. This is no strawman. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 13:39, 27 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
I'm also quite puzzled at why you'd want to slag Lady Dalhousie as "part of the nest of amateur scientists out in the frozen colonial waste...Canada." Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 13:40, 27 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Radio astronomy, indeed.

According to Chief Fuck Sayer Keilana, the Senior Physicist and Head of the Operational Research Section of the Radio Development Laboratory in Wellington, New Zealand in 1942, Elizabeth Alexander (astronomer), was a key figure in the emerging radio-astronomy science. Perhaps our CFS should introduce her into the Radio astronomy article ? Pldx1 (talk) 10:01, 23 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Done. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 14:39, 24 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
...and undone, for reasons rather obvious if you read her talk page. Anmccaff (talk) 15:23, 24 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]
"The tragedy is that Elizabeth Alexander’s interesting little paper appeared in the inaugural issue of a New Zealand-based journal titled Radio & Electronics, which at the time had virtually no international visibility, and certainly never came to the attention of radio astronomers—or indeed those researching the history of radio astronomy—until very recently."[1]


  1. ^ Orchiston, Wayne (2005). The New Astronomy: Opening the electromagnetic window and Expanding our View of Planet Earth (PDF). Dordrecht: Springer. p. 81. Retrieved 24 February 2016.

Great work

One of tenets of many of us hasten-the-day Wikipedians, at least in my case, is that WP's administration is hopelessly broken and trapped in a rut of bush-league behavior. The fact that a WP admin thought it was ok to approve an article with this kind of language for inclusion in WP's newsletter helps prove that point. Great work, WP's leadership. Keep it up and lets see a quicker end to this shambles of a project. Cla68 (talk) 14:51, 23 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

I really thought you Wikipediocracy folks were made from sterner stuff than this. Getting the vapors over a few swears! Gamaliel (talk) 16:58, 23 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you!

Emily, thank you for this new column, the tireless work you do for unrepresented and underrepresented communities on Wikipedia, and your courage for posting it with such fierce honesty. Jami430 (talk) 18:30, 23 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Journalism is messy

Kudos to the author and editors for drawing so much attention to this subject. Creating a huge controversy to draw attention to a subject is a time-honored tradition of journalism. In the 1874 Central Park Zoo Escape, for example, the New York Herald ran a huge false story (they disclosed it was false at the end, but few read that far before freaking out) on an escape of animals from a zoo, to really highlight problems in zoo animal handling. Hopefully this op-ed will go down in Signpost history just like that one.--Milowenthasspoken 13:41, 24 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

just who is creating the huge controversy? I don't think it's the author or the editors. I'd like to believe those raising objections are doing it because they think that their ludicrously overly strenuous protest at strong language is appropriate for the purpose of attracting more people to write articles on under-covered groups of individuals. DGG ( talk ) 16:56, 26 February 2016 (UTC)[reply]

This is brilliant

This is absolutely fucking amazing and huge kudos to the author! It appears there's quite a few people who aren't fond of the use of profanities but honestly it was refreshing to see a piece that was written in more casual language, the harsh formal language usually found elsewhere can get hard to understand at times. MapleSyrupRain (talk) 21:50, 11 March 2016 (UTC)[reply]


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