Talk:Who We Are and How We Got Here

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The "reception" section is longer than the content summary. I would propose the main points made by reviewers should be summarized more briefly, avoiding {{quotefarm}}, while the main points made in the book, perhaps as chapter summaries, should be given in greater detail. --dab (𒁳) 15:07, 27 May 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm sorry to hear that you feel like that. It may be worth noting that other respected editors fly off the handle at chapter summaries, some even protesting that chapter titles are copyright, that editors ought to be able to write about books without talking about chapters, or that giving a summary (with or without primary sources) was undue, original research, primary (yeah, right), or simply inappropriate, so the alternative path you suggest is risky at best. To turn to this article: there are not many quotations here, none of them are long, and they constitute a modest percentage of the article; in each case, quotations are combined with summaries and paraphrases. It is helpful and necessary to give sufficient snippets of what reviewers actually write, as otherwise people complain that their words are being altered and false representations are being made, or that editors are just putting their own points of view across; it's far better, therefore, to give quotes as well as summaries on all sides. The main points of the book are summarized already, and the points that different reviewers found significant differ widely, a fact of importance when describing the book as it indicates that it struck multiple targets, interested differing constituencies, and aroused a range of responses, all of which are of encyclopedic interest and reliably cited. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:30, 27 May 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, I've extended the summary to provide more detail on other peoples and their migrations. I completely reject your allegations about due coverage of review opinions, which are important (and confer notability), as well as indicating the range of feelings on the subject. As for accusations of quote farming, this article is nothing at all like a mere list of lengthy, out-of-context quotations: indeed, it's exactly the opposite. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:40, 29 May 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It seems this book is a lot more controversial than I could have imagined. Perhaps it would be helpful to create a "Controversy" section in the article. And considering due or undue weight, it would make sense to point out that the book has been attacked (apparently) from different sides, most ludicrously, in my opinion, by academics and scientists who feel that the term "race" wasn't dealt with appropriately. Now that the article has opened that can of worms I feel the need to get the whole story to settle my conscience. This would require greater expertise than mine. Dynasteria (talk) 15:09, 24 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See the essay WP:CRIT for an explanation of why "Controversy" sections are generally discouraged. As to whether any of the criticism of this book is ludicrous, thankfully we do not rely on the judgment of editors but rather consider the WP:WEIGHT of reliable secondary sources, which in this case means reviews and commentary by subject-matter experts. Generalrelative (talk) 15:45, 24 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding the race issue, the article inaccurately refers to 67 "scientists and researchers". A cursory glance reveals a very large proportion of social scientists and people at administrative or post-graduate levels. Social scientists can comment all they want but do not have much validity in the field of genetics, and graduate students don't rate the same as tenured professors. More importantly, though, is that the controversy is on an entirely different level. It involves Critical Race Theory and general issues of semantics and has little to do with Reich's scientific credentials. I simply feel that if these things are going to be brought up then they should also be resolved somehow or at least the reader should be pointed toward some form of rebuttal. Jonathan Kahn, by the way, is a law professor. How reliable is BuzzFeed? It is not an academic journal. In my observation WP has shifting standards as to when to use journalism for source material. Dynasteria (talk) 16:42, 24 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Um, this response appears to ignore the fact that a substantial number of the signatories are indeed subject-matter experts who are notable enough to have their own WP articles. These are listed in such a ways as to be hard to miss. Even if we're just basing the notability of this critique on the credentials of Joseph L. Graves Jr., Erika Hagelberg, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Robert Pollack, Jonathan M. Marks, Agustín Fuentes and Alan H. Goodman, that is quite an impressive lineup of subject-matter experts in population genetics / biology who say that Reich's treatment of race is wrongheaded.
Also note that the reliability of Buzzfeed is irrelevant when we're talking about a statement that would be notable even if self-published, and which has been commented upon in reliable secondary sources like Yale Journal of Biological Medicine.
Further, I do not see critical race theory mentioned in this article. That appears to be something that you are reading into the matter, thus not germane to this discussion. Generalrelative (talk) 17:08, 24 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll work on broadening the description in the article, now that we're getting down to brass tacks. And just because something is not germane, in your opinion, doesn't rule it out of the discussion. Thanks. Dynasteria (talk) 20:35, 24 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Have made some changes that seem appropriate. It's not clear to me that Graves is an actual geneticist. Dynasteria (talk) 08:19, 25 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
1) Your changes do not seem appropriate. If need be we can discuss that. I'd like to assume that you didn't intend simply to obfuscate the credentials of Reich's critics and elevate the racialists whom both Reich and his critics heap scorn upon, but in any case that was the result. So you'll need to establish consensus before reinstating your desired changes.
2) Graves is indeed a geneticist (and evolutionary biologist) and an extremely accomplished one at that: [1], [2], [3], [4]. I thank you for alerting me to the fact that his WP article leaves this ambiguous. Generalrelative (talk) 13:07, 25 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The quote you deleted was from the letter itself. That is essentially how the writers and signers describe themselves. No better source than that. I can't get into the racialist aspect of it. Nicholas Wade got a lot of discussion in the book and that was partly why I came to the WP article, to see what was up with that. What's odd (maybe not ludicrous) is to see Reich going to great lengths to accommodate political correctness only to be told he isn't being PC enough. The writers of the letter don't own the English language and the word "race" has been used in numerous contexts for centuries. I do think that there is an important distinction between hard and soft sciences both in the book and in the critiques of it. That is one thing that ought to be clarified in the article. As for BuzzFeed, if it's important to mention The Wall Street Journal for the John Hawks paragraph then why not BuzzFeed? I'll wait to see if anyone else has an opinion in order to form a consensus. Dynasteria (talk) 16:19, 25 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There haven't been any more opinions posted so it would help if you could explain why the self-description by the authors should not be used. Dynasteria (talk) 08:38, 2 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
1) We do not typically put people's qualifications in quotations. Doing so appears to imply that stating those qualifications in Wikivoice is somehow dubious.
2) The shorter phrase "scientists and researchers" currently in use is also the self-description by the authors and is brief enough not to require quotation marks. See the very first line of the letter: "This open letter was produced by a group of 67 scientists and researchers." It is also more in accordance with WP:SUMMARY style.
3) I am frankly super put off by your contention above that this letter has anything to do with political correctness. It is about science and the legitimate ways in which science communication can be informed by the humanities. I won't be engaging in this conversation further unless I see a compelling reason to do so, but my silence should not be taken as tacit consent for your views. Generalrelative (talk) 14:24, 2 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You can't shut me out unless you get a consensus. Please watch your tone. If you had taken the time to analyze the statement you cite, you would have to have realized it isn't part of the letter but something added as an introduction probably by the BuzzFeed journalist:
This open letter was produced by a group of 67 scientists and researchers. The full list of signatories can be found below.
You'll note that it is italicized and stands apart from the letter. It is also patently a false statement given the authors' own description. From where I am looking, you appear to want to control this article unilaterally, which is not in the spirit of Wikipedia at its core, in its mission, and among its fellowship. Dynasteria (talk) 15:29, 2 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Generalrelative I've put back my original edits. You not only reverted my additions, you changed back some stylistic edits I made without explaining why. In my view, you haven't engaged in a meaningful dialogue here which leaves me no real option but to make what I genuinely think are improvements to the quality of the article. Please don't engage in an edit war and PLEASE ask someone else to step in and offer an opinion. And please do me the favor of elucidating to a greater degree your objections to my edits. Thank you. Dynasteria (talk) 14:19, 3 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Dynasteria: We are all WP:VOLUNTEERs here. No one is responsible for helping you achieve consensus for your desired changes, nor required to go over the same points again and again until you are satisfied. We might be happy to do so if you come across as kind and cooperative, but if not you'll likely find yourself on your own. In any case, the proper way to invite comment is something like this: Talk:Race (human_categorization)#Discussion at Talk:Who We Are and How We Got Here. See e.g. WP:CANVASS. Now that you know please rely on yourself for this kind of thing in the future. Generalrelative (talk) 16:14, 3 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Generalrelative No one is asking you to go over things again and again. I will follow your advice and seek other opinions. Dynasteria (talk) 18:43, 3 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here are a few follow-up articles that may be worth including in the article as well: one by Reich[5], and one by computation biologist Ian Holmes[6]. Stonkaments (talk) 01:53, 4 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. I don't have access to the Reich article without paying for a subscription. The Ian Holmes article is stimulating. It seems to support (in my opinion) how important it is to clarify the authors' credentials of critical commentaries, as with the Jonathan Kahn letter. At the risk of repeating myself, he is a law professor not a researcher or scientist. Dynasteria (talk) 06:13, 4 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If the reception to this book was broad and lively enough to justify this level of detail (which certainly seems to be the case, as spot checking the references verifies the text) then this is WP:DUE by definition. If the article somehow seems unbalanced, then expanding the other sections would seem to be the appropriate remedy. If there is not sufficient sourcing for expanding the other sections, then, by definition, the article is already balanced. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 16:08, 4 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@MjolnirPants:: You seem to have dropped in and made a broad statement of policy without actually responding to the issues raised and actively providing some guidance. I want to know what you or anyone else thinks about Generalrelative's reverting my edits. Please read my edits and give your reasoned opinion. This is not about balance in the overall article. It is about accuracy in reporting authorial credentials. This is not about race or racialism or political correctness. It is about correctness of information as stated in an encyclopedia. Dynasteria (talk) 17:13, 4 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dynasteria, My first comment here was addressing the original dispute, which is generally what one might expect from an editor responding to an invitation to participate posted elsewhere. It really wasn't a very broad statement, either, but pointing out how policy applies to your original claim that the reception section is too long.
Now, as to your further question: this revert is very proper. Your edit introduced weasel-words and comprised obvious POV-pushing. And this revert of yours was edit warring.
If you have some justification for why you believe that we must specify that the letter was published by Buzzfeed without further specifying that it was actually published by Buzzfeed News, why you felt the need to claim that the scientists came from "disciplines ranging across the natural sciences, medical and population health sciences, social sciences, law, and humanities" when, in fact, most of them work in genetics, and all of them have expertise relevant to this issue, why you felt the need to put that description in quotes as if to make it seem dubious and why you felt that we needed to define who James Watson was, despite his name being blue-linked, then you should provide it.
Having read through the discussion above, I can't find anything you've said which actually justifies your edit. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:28, 4 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@MjolnirPants: I didn't say the Reception section was too long. Somebody else did. The quotation marks were used because in fact it was a "quotation". You failed to read that point above. I don't see the harm in explicating Watson's relevant credentials. I didn't do any edit warring. I waited over a week for any input then made changes. It's easy for you to make conclusory statements without engaging the material. I've given a plethora of reasons for my edits and you have failed to address my arguments. It isn't clever to throw terms around like "weasel words". I know what they are. The question is which words are they and why? You fail to enlighten me or anyone else. You fail to address my stylistic changes. You fail to notice that the reason the primary edit is important is that "scientists and researchers" is a patently inaccurate statement. If you say "most" of them work in genetics, give me a number. What percent? You don't know. I, on the other hand, rely on the authors' self-description. You failed to notice this above. Unless you want to go through and tally up the credentials on your own, you really have nothing to say. And if you did, that would be Original Research. Which you can't use. Tell me exactly what is weaselly and POV about my edits. Please. Let's stick to the truth. Dynasteria (talk) 18:32, 4 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dynasteria, This whole comment is shot through with a battleground mentality, so I'm not addressing any of it beyond pointing this out. There's no consensus for your edits, so if you continue to edit war them in, WP:AN3 will be the proper venue to resolve this. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 18:46, 4 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. Dynasteria, this is WP:BATTLEGROUND behavior. The WP:ONUS is on you to build consensus for your desired changes, and you are unlikely to do so if you can't assume good faith or afford others basic respect. I helped you by inviting comment from others at your insistence, even after you'd been quite dismissive, and then when someone shows up to offer their perspective you respond with this? We do not behave this way here. Or rather, those who do behave this way do not last. Please control your temper or refrain from commenting entirely. Generalrelative (talk) 18:55, 4 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So far the tone of my comments has been thoroughly rational. I'm not responsible for what you may be reading into it. Thanks for your assistance, though. Dynasteria (talk) 19:40, 4 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dynasteria, So far the tone of my comments has been thoroughly rational No, it hasn't.
I will lay out what's wrong with your arguments if you'll promise to read it, and take my words to heart. But if not, then there's nothing left to discuss, as you're not engaging in a productive manner. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 23:13, 4 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
MjolnirPants: Absolutely. I'm here to learn and I welcome your offer. I definitely promise to read it and take your words to heart. Thanks. Dynasteria (talk) 08:39, 5 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay then. That's a very helpful attitude, right there, and I know how difficult it can be to make a response like that. Now, first thing: I apologize for the giant wall of text. Responding to individual quotes is the most clear way of doing this, though it takes up a lot of space.
The quotation marks were used because in fact it was a "quotation". You failed to read that point above. I admit should have phrased my question better, but assuming I failed to read the discussion after I said I'd read the discussion is very counterproductive. I had read that, and the fact that it's a quote doesn't actually explain why it was included. It makes it read as if Wikipedia is making sure to distance itself from the statement, which is something we do only when the statement is dubious, but nonetheless merits inclusion (think about one of Donald Trump's numerous false claims about the pandemic, for an example).
I don't see the harm in explicating Watson's relevant credentials. It's a textbook example of weasel words. It implies that Watson's authority needs to be stressed in comparison to the authority of these signatories, otherwise, what's the point of doing so? I might note this applies to Wade's credentials as well, even though they're less impressive than Watson's. By outlining their credentials and distancing Wikipedia from the credentials of the signatories of the letters, your edit reads as if we are implying that Wade and Watson are the more authoritative side of this disagreement, when in fact, they are not. In fact, Wade's book on the subject engendered a similar letter, only this one signed by 140 faculty who directly worked in the relevant specialty. I've read Wade's book, and it's very imaginative, but has a frankly horrible grasp of the science he purports to rely on.
I didn't do any edit warring. If you make an edit and it gets reverted, and you then revert that edit, you are edit warring. Generalrelative was, too, when they reverted you a second time, but as his first revert looks proper and his second returned the page to the state it should rest in while the issue is being discussed, it's slightly more justified (only slightly though).
Here's a pro tip: minor edit warring (less than three reverts) is very common on controversial topics, and while it should definitely be avoided, it's not that big of a deal. When someone points out such edit warring, the best response is to stop edit warring. You did not continue to edit war after that one revert, so you did well there. If you want to read more about how disagreements should be handled, our process is called be Bold, Revert, Discuss.
I've given a plethora of reasons for my edits and you have failed to address my arguments This is untrue and unnecessary. Generalrelative has addressed your arguments above, and the ones you presented in this comment could not possibly have been addressed in the comment of mine it was in response to without a time machine being involved.
It isn't clever to throw terms around like "weasel words". I know what they are. There is no point to this other than to imply that you're smarter than I, which you really have no way of knowing. However, you can check our relative edit counts to see that I have over 47 times as much experience editing WP as you, which makes this come across as very immature. I wasn't trying to be clever, I was explaining why I thought your edit was worse than the status quo.
The question is which words are they and why? The obvious answer would be "the things I actually questioned in my comment," as I described above.
You fail to notice that the reason the primary edit is important is that "scientists and researchers" is a patently inaccurate statement. That is untrue. All but 2 of the signatories are scientists, there are several postdocs mentioned (all of whom would be considered researchers by any measure, as that's how postdoc positions work).
If you say "most" of them work in genetics, give me a number. What percent? You don't know. Here, we've arrived at a problem with my argument. I meant to say "anthropology or genetics," but owing to my own failure to proof-read my comment (and the similarities between this situation and another I've been involved in lately) "genetics" slipped through. That being said, this response isn't actually very useful. I do, in fact know how many anthropologists, how many geneticists, how many sociologists, how many psychologists, how many science historians and how many law professors are on the list, because 67 is not too many to easily count. And for the record, there are 9 geneticists on that list, 14 active anthropologists and 8 anthropologists working in sociology departments.
Unless you want to go through and tally up the credentials on your own, you really have nothing to say. And if you did, that would be Original Research. See WP:CALC, which is meant for exactly this sort of thing and is a very common exception to WP:OR. Also see WP:SYNTHNOT for an broader approach to things that might seem like OR, but really aren't. Also, I'm not suggesting that we include such a count in the article. Finally, original research is not just permitted, but strongly encouraged in talk page discussions. For example, without original research, how could we possibly know whether a source meets our criteria for reliability?
Let's stick to the truth. This is entirely unnecessary, and comes across quite disingenuous in a comment in which you denied edit warring in response to being shown irrefutable evidence that you had edit warred.
So that's the detailed look. Stepping back for a broader look, there's two things going on here which are making collaboration difficult.
1. You seem to be approaching this like a fight, to be won or lost, when in reality it's not like that at all. On Wikipedia, it's best to work with people who disagree with you. Now, I'm not trying to slam you for this. Hell, I'm not even really criticizing you for it, because this is something we all do. If you're interested, I'll tell you about the time I got grumpy with one guy and wrote a snide response that ended up starting 3-4 threads at ANI and an ArbCom case (ANI being the Wikipedia version of criminal court and ArbCom being the Wikipedia version of the supreme court, if you're not familiar). It's normal, and I do appreciate your response here, because the comment I'm writing this in response to is exactly the right way to behave.
2. You haven't yet made a case for how your edit improved the article, or at least not one that addressed the edit as a whole. You've defended using the quote by saying the existing language was inaccurate (it's not, just imprecise), and you've defended explicating Wade and Watson's credentials by insisting that they didn't harm the article (though as I explained here, it does). But you haven't made a case for how the edit as a whole improved the article. If you make that case, then Generalrelative and I will have a much better idea of what you're trying to achieve, and we might be able to work towards achieving that through edits that don't create the problems we've described here, or by finding a compromise version somewhere in between the existing text and your proposed text.
I hope this helps. Note that, the most important part of my entire comment is the second point, just above this line. Tell us what you're trying to achieve, and then we can look at that and what GR and I are trying to achieve (maintaining a neutral and factual stance), and that will form the framework for us to collaborate, instead of fighting over this. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:44, 5 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks MjolnirPants, this is a really thoughtful response to Dynasteria. A few things:
1) I've already gone ahead and WP:BOLDly implemented the compromise language suggested below, hoping that this resolves the content dispute and we can all move on. Y'all are of course welcome to keep discussing the matter but I believe that the main basis for disagreement has been resolved.
2) You do a great job of explaining why some of the other changes Dynasteria has pushed for are undue. It's also worth noting that Watson is not the "original discoverer of DNA" as Dynasteria wrote. He was rather part of the team that figured out DNA's double-helix structure. The molecule and its function in heredity were already well known. In any case, labeling him as a "molecular biologist" as the current text does is clearly what is due in this context.
3) FYI I use they/them pronouns.
Best, Generalrelative (talk) 18:29, 5 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Generalrelative, Thanks for the reminder. I'm still in the old-fashioned habit of defaulting to masculine pronouns. I'll correct my reference to you, above. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:18, 5 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Much appreciated! Generalrelative (talk) 23:11, 5 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"67 scientists and researchers"[edit]

Separating a subsection on how to characterize the signatories to the letter.

Buzzfeed's description, 67 scientists and researchers is inflated and to some extent misleading, but passable in their article because the list of signers and their positions is included. For this article, the standard is to describe those who signed by WP:COMMONNAME and not to rely on readers fact-checking things at the source to learn the true distribution of expertise. "67 academics", or "67 scholars" as they described themselves (later using the words "scientists and scholars", indicating a distinction), is accurate, "dozens of scientists and researchers" might be OK if it really is that many after excluding the people not in a position to opine on Reich's scientific accuracy. Sesquivalent (talk) 00:31, 5 June 2021 (UTC)

(Specifically, the problem with using Buzzfeed's formulation out-of-context, and to an extent also in-context, is that "scientists and researchers" is likely to be understood as "science professors plus science researchers working in scientific institutions and laboratories". Buzzfeed used "researchers" in the non-COMMON sense to mean "anyone paid to publish academic papers no matter in what subject". Sesquivalent (talk) 00:51, 5 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm happy to go with "scientists and scholars". Seems like a fine compromise. Generalrelative (talk) 02:56, 5 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Who We Are and How We Got Here/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Jaldous1 (talk · contribs) 19:14, 11 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Many thanks for taking this on. Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:23, 11 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written. I performed a grammar check and copy-edited a few areas.--Jaldous1 (talk) 19:48, 11 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    a (prose, spelling, and grammar): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable. Good use of notable and verifiable sources.--Jaldous1 (talk) 22:01, 11 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    a (reference section): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR): d (copyvio and plagiarism):
  3. It is broad in its coverage. It passes this requirement. --Jaldous1 (talk) 19:49, 11 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy. It passees this requirement. The book is controversial and the article covers both sides well. --Jaldous1 (talk) 19:49, 11 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable. There was one issue raised which article author addressed.--Jaldous1 (talk) 22:01, 11 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate. Yes. --Jaldous1 (talk) 22:01, 11 June 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:

John Derbyshire[edit]

John Derbyshire is a self-described alt-right figure and has toyed with self-describing as a white supremacist (and has explicitly defended white supremacy) (see here: He is the most heavily cited source in this article, his review of the book gets five full paragraphs devoted to it, and the guy is described merely as a "science writer." I'm inclined to delete any mention at all to him or his review, following Wikipedia's policy on balance being to weight sources in proportion to their prominence, but at the very least, any mention should be relegated to a short comment about alt-right figures criticizing the book for not being racist. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jlanef (talkcontribs) 00:14, 19 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. The guy is a full-on racist internet crackpot and I don't see justification for his views to almost take over the article. At most, his opinion on the book deserves a single sentence. Most of it should be deleted. --Hibernian (talk) 05:39, 23 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Since you think it's undue, I have cut the coverage down to a brief paragraph. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:06, 23 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've also found and added a new review (Meisenberg 2018). We now have 6 favourable reviews and 4 unfavourable, representing a wide range of opinions (and Derbyshire is one of the briefest). Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:08, 23 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ok, but there should not be a criticisms paragraph in the introduction, especially not one giving weight to a biased non-scientist decrying its "political correctness". It's fine to have that opinion in the reviews section, so long as you explain to the reader who the person is who is making this statement (in this case a known racist who is writing for a white supremacist website) and explain their bias. --Hibernian (talk) 22:11, 23 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hadn't thought of checking there! Fixed it using other reviewers. Chiswick Chap (talk) 06:39, 24 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Portrayal of Razib Khan review may violate neutrality requirements[edit]

In the introduction Khan is cited for the statement "It has also been criticised for its writing style" the only part of the review which mentions writing style is this section:

"If you read the prose it’s hard not to hear his precise and careful words echoing in your mind. Who We Are and How We Got Here is not rich with the same 
stylistic flourish and engagement as one might find in a popularization by Steven Pinker or Richard Dawkins. And I don’t think that was its intent, judging 
by how much space is given over to the four-population test! This is a serious book that is earnest in focusing on the substance of the science first, 
second, and last."

To summarize this paragraph as being 'critical of the writing style' seems inaccurate to the point of being false, deceptive or in violation of the neutrality requirement.

In the Reception section Khan's review is listed under the header "Unfavourable".

 "I’ve talked to plenty of people who work in evolutionary genomics who are not totally up-to-speed on the ancient DNA revolution. They too would benefit 
 from reading Who We Are and How We Got Here front to back. I know people who work in the field of cultural evolution, who would also benefit from reading 
 Who We Are and How We Got Here. I know behavior geneticists who would benefit from reading  Who We Are and How We Got Here. And so forth."

To conclude from this or any other paragraph that Khan has an "unfavourable" view of the book seems inaccurate to the point of being false or not neutral. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:11, 6 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bold Edits by IP Editor[edit]

I wonder if Doug Weller (talk · contribs) or Snowded (talk · contribs) might like to review the bold edits today to this article by an IP editor from Toronto. -- Sirfurboy (talk) 22:12, 9 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I doubt if that's necessary. The changes are reliably cited to pages in the text. Chiswick Chap (talk) 23:26, 9 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see what you mean, same style as our recent multiple sock, same subject area. Best to keep an eye on it, or pull in the blocking admin to do a quick check -----Snowded TALK 04:54, 10 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've reverted the last edits, semi-protected for a month. WP:DUCK if nothing else. Alert me for any further possible socks please. Doug Weller talk 06:06, 10 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks both. Although I don't think you did revert the changes, Doug. Chiswick Chap I will defer to your thoughts on this one, but I would note that the sock puppet who was banned (again) a couple of days ago has something of a WP:SOAPBOX about ethnic groups and their distinctiveness. I think this book is primarily about the mixture and similarity of people (as well as the fascinating story of migration). The edits yesterday, as you say, are sourced and not obviously wrong, but these words in the lead do concern me: "... followed by periods of isolation and genetic drift." The effect is to give prominence to genetic difference in the article lead whereas isolation is not always a characteristic of populations, and drift is small and often exists in statistical probabilities rather than actual unique difference across a whole population. My recommendation is that you remove the addition to the lead and consider whether you want to expand and rewrite the addition to the main to ensure it is consistent with the writer's hypothesis, rather than a gloss on it. Nevertheless I will leave it up to you. The semi protection given by Doug Weller (talk · contribs) will ensure that any edits you decide on are not instantly reverted as has happened on a large number of similar articles. -- Sirfurboy (talk) 08:40, 10 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, the edits were not necessary to the article (or indeed to its GA status). Of course I had no knowledge of the sockery. To turn to the biology: drift is of course possible but it is not the main, er, drift of Reich's argument: I didn't believe it should be in there when I brought the article to GA, and I don't think we need it now. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:31, 10 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. I have therefore removed the words he had reinserted into the lead once again. -- Sirfurboy (talk) 10:23, 10 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Racists Any Comfort?[edit]

I could not find anything about "nothing it says should give racists any comfort" in the Peter Forbes article. Am I just missing it? Truth Is King 24 (talk) 03:36, 22 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Editing out of Chapter 11 Reference[edit]

To Doug Weller, who reverted my entry concerning chapter 11, thank you for taking an interest. I wonder if you could direct me to someplace in the Wikipedia guidelines that states that a properly referenced, true statement, in an existing article must have a secondary source cite to show its importance. For an article, importance should be shown. But a verified statement introduced as part of an article?? If that were the standard, articles would be a lot shorter. It seems to me that there is no standard like this, but if you can show me that there is, I will revise my view. But even if we were to need a secondary source cite, it seems to me that the open letter, signed by Kahn, the first citation in the article, serves admirably well in this capacity. Chapter 11 certainly drew the attention of those letter signers, showing its importance. Truth Is King 24 (talk) 21:27, 22 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Truth Is King 24: WP:UNDUE for starters - not everything is encyclopedic. @Chiswick Chap:, do you concur with its removal? Doug Weller talk 09:24, 23 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:38, 23 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Doug Weller,Chiswick Chap Wp:undue does not support your proposition. Your proposition was that I would need to show the importance of the statements in the book, by reference to a secondary source. There is no standard that contributors must show the importance of a fact that is contributed, by reference to a secondary source. This is not done for 99.9% of contributions and could not be done for 90% of contributions (at least). Please, show another case where an editor has been called upon to show the importance of a verified fact, by reference to a secondary source. If it is true, and verified, and relevant to the topic, that is enough. My contribution meets all three criteria. As for undue weight, which is actually a separate point, this applies when there is some debatable proposition, and there are at least two sides that disagree about it. But what I added, the fact that the book says that, is verifiably true. There cannot be and are not two sides to that question. This is an article about a book, and the things that the book says are legitimate entries to the article. To me, the opposing point of view seems strange - what commentators say about the book is important, and is acceptable to include, but what the book actually directly states, is not. In an article about Jane Eyre you can't mention Mr. Rochester??!!! How could that possibly be the case? Truth Is King 24 (talk) 13:34, 23 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's undue in the plain sense that it's unreasonably long for the amount of coverage it's given in the book, and for the matter's importance to Reich's thesis in the book (to which it's frankly tangential). Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:54, 23 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(edit conflict)::::This isn't meant to be a fictional book, there's a huge difference. Nor is it a band, a movie, etc. I thought as you did when I was new, that I could just write what I wanted about anything I could verify. Between User:Chiswick Chap and me we have 400,000 plus edits, vs your 64, who because of that have had the opportunity to learn more about Wikipedia works, often by being told by other editors. And in any case, you don't have WP:CONSENSUS for your edit. I see that you also had a problem when you were given advice by User:SounderBruce, another experienced editor. A major issue is that if we allowed editors to decide what was encyclopedic in a non-fiction book they could (and I admit I did when I was brand new) choose the bits that suit their point of view. To prevent this we try to use secondary reliable sources discussing the book. Doug Weller talk 14:05, 23 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Doug Weller,Chiswick Chap First, Doug, with all that experience, all those edits, surely you can cite to policy and guidelines, which you should know pretty well by now, to make your case. That is what I have been doing. With respect to User:SounderBruce I responded with references to policy and guidelines, and he stopped reverting me, which he should not have done to begin with, at least not without a specific reason. With respect to the point made by Chiswick, also, please cite to policy and/or guidelines to make your case. My contribution took all of 149 words. How could that be unreasonably long? Are you stating that Reich has only a single thesis in the book? If so, what is it? To my way of looking at it, he has several theses, and the passages I referenced represent one of them. There is a general policy in Wikipedia against reverting, unless some guideline has been violated wp:revert only when necessary. I'm only adding true and verifiable information, in a rather succinct manner. How does that, or could that, damage Wikipedia? It is true, I have not achieved consensus, but I'm hoping we can have a reasonable discussion, addressing the issue at hand with Wikipedia policy and guidelines.
Policies and guidelines, but not essays such as the one you've quoted. Doug Weller talk 17:42, 23 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Doug Weller,Chiswick Chap Surely, most contributions that are supported by a primary reference do indeed represent the decision of an editor that the information is encyclopedic, and there is nothing wrong with that. In an article about a book, one editor might enter a contribution regarding a portion of the text that is significant to him, and another editor might enter a contribution regarding text that is significant to her. That is how it should work. That is how an article can get built over time, fully reflecting the significance of the work to a each one of group of editors. As long as a contribution violates no guidelines or policies, a revert is not appropriate. Please see wp:editing policy and particularly the sections on "Adding material to Wikipedia" and "Problems that May Justify Removal." Based on the "Adding material ..." section I was well within my rights to add the material I added and based on "Problems that May ... " section there was no problem that justified the removal. Further the "Adding Material ... " section states "exercise particular caution when considering removing sourced content." We seem to be at a bit of an impasse, although I fail to see how any of the guidelines or policies support your revert of my contribution. I wonder if at this point it would make sense to broaden the discussion a bit. Doug, you asked Chiswick to chime in. In a similar vein I'd like to see if dab has any input. BTW, Chiswick and Doug, I'm impressed by your many contributions. As a Wikipedia user, I thank you.Truth Is King 24 (talk) 22:21, 23 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Snowded I would just like to add a little bit more, even at the risk of appearing overly argumentative. You may not like it that the book says what it says in Chapter 11. But it says it. That is an indisputable fact. As to a requirement that it be "encyclopedic" there is no requirement that contribution to an article be shown to be encyclopedic, and if it is properly sourced, and does not have any other ostensible problem, it should not be removed wp:editing policy#problems that may justify removal. Notably, purportedly not being important or encyclopedic is not listed as one of the problems that could justify removal. But, even if it was required to be shown to be noteworthy, the open letter by Kahn, which is the very first reference, shows that it is noteworthy. Otherwise, what you are saying is that the criticism of the Chapter 11 statements is noteworthy, but the statements themselves are not. Excuse me, but that is simply not logical. It is like Stalin, complaining that the aid that America did not give him, fell short.Truth Is King 24 (talk) 14:25, 30 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You've been clearly answered above and having reviewed it I agree with the other two editors. By the way, lobbying editors you think might agree with you is not permitted on Wikipedia. If you want more involvement raise an RfC or post a note on an appropriate project page but do not approach individuals. -----Snowded TALK 04:49, 30 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Snowded Chiswick Chap Doug Weller 1. No I was not clearly answered; 2. Doug Weller had earlier asked Chiswick Chap, so I only did what I had seen him do. And it seems to me that in this case the editor that I notified had not taken a clear position on the point under dispute, but had participated on the talk page, making it an appropriate noticing and not canvassing. 3. I've put this up on the dispute resolution noticeboard.Truth Is King 24 (talk) 14:25, 30 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You were clearly answered, you just don't agree with the answer. You are canvassing if you approach a single editor you think might agree with you. You are wasting your (and other people's) time at the dispute resolution process. -----Snowded TALK 07:55, 31 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Snowded That is just a contradiction. You are not saying when or how I was clearly answered. Please, explain and support your contention with facts - you have the full discussion to take facts from. How can I direct you to the point where you are wrong if you do not support your argument with facts? The fact is, there is a section wp:editing policy#problems that may justify removal that lists the problems that may justify removal. OK - which one fits my case? What is the problem that justified the removal of my contribution? I would argue there is none, but one thing for sure is that neither Chiswick nor Doug told me which one of the listed problems fit my contribution. So, they did not clearly answer me. You can look above, and see the point I made, and there is no response.Truth Is King 24 (talk) 03:54, 1 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Snowded When you say I'm wasting my time with the dispute resolution process, are you saying that process is a sham? If that is the case, then I think more people should know about this. If there are sham procedures on Wikipedia, only designed to give the appearance of fairness and impartiality, that is something that I think a lot of people would be interested in.Truth Is King 24 (talk) 03:57, 1 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Snowded So, I would like a little explanation. Why am I wasting my time with the dispute resolution process? Is it a fair process? Is it based on the policies and guidelines? How did Doug and Chiswick answer me about the problem, listed in the "problems that may justify removal" section of the editing guidelines, concerning which problem justified removal of my contribution? How did they answer my point that there is no requirement that an editor provide a secondary source to show the importance of a contribution to an article? How did they answer my point that the Kahn letter was just such a secondary source, if one were needed, which is not the case, but even if it were, there is your secondary source. How did they answer my point that the "adding material" section of the editing guidelines made it clear that I would be free to add the material I added? If they answered me clearly, how did they answer these points?Truth Is King 24 (talk) 04:42, 1 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One last attempt but after this I doubt I will respond again. You have been given links to policy on what is and is not included by two experieced editors, Doug expanded on that to help you out. Another experienced editor (me) has reviewed those exchanges and agreed with the conclusion that the material should not be included. The dispute resolution process reqires participation by the parties to a dispute, it is not for a pretty trivial content issue. I suggest you go and get some advise from the Teahouse (referenced on your talk page) where editors volunteer to help newcomers.-----Snowded TALK 05:00, 1 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Once again you refuse to engage on the actual issues, how the policy and guidelines relate to my contribution, and so very, very sadly, you pull rank. Oh my goodness. It's almost comical. You have not even reassured me, an admitted newcomer, that the processes on Wikipedia are fair and impartial. But, hey, I will go to the Teahouse as you suggest. It is true, I'm not experienced here and I have a lot to learn.Truth Is King 24 (talk) 14:16, 1 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Request for Comment[edit]

Should the following summary of Chapter 11, which has been contributed but has been repeatedly reverted, be permitted to be published, without further reversions: favor.

If you feel it should continue to be blocked: oppose.

Chapter 11 is entitled, "Fear of Race and Identity." At the beginning of this chapter Reich describes the hostile reception received by his work on prostate cancer, which showed that the higher rate of prostate cancer previously observed in African American men is largely genetic in origin. In a section of this chapter, entitled "Real Biological Difference" Reich further notes, "an orthodoxy that the biological differences among human populations are so modest that they should be in practice ignored ... ." He then states that the genome revolution is producing results that are "making it impossible to maintain the orthodoxy ... as they are revealing hard evidence of substantial differences across populations." He also observes that "traits shaped by many mutations (as is probably the case for behavior and cognition)" are "targets" of natural selection, just as are traits that are determined by fewer genetic differences, like skin color.[1]

Truth Is King 24 (talk) 22:58, 1 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ Reich 2018.

Comment - Summoned by FRS bot. Since the summary isn't currently broken down by chapter, there's no reason to cite a specific chapter when adding additional info. I haven't read the book, but if you integrated your additional info into the current summary, and made it flow seamlessly, I don't think you'd see as much objection. If Chapter 11 is particularly controversial, then if you have an example of it being discussed in a review, that could instead go in the reception section with the review. TimTempleton (talk) (cont) 00:01, 2 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Favor I noticed another editor who submitted an RfC weighed in, so I will too. I have been given no legitimate reason why my contribution should be removed. The first reason I was given was that I needed a secondary source to show the importance or encyclopedic quality of my contribution. In fact, there is no such requirement. But, even if there were, there is an article reference to a public letter by a man name Kahn, and having more than 60 other signatures, that criticizes the book based on the exact part I summarized, thereby showing its importance. The next reason I was given was that my summary gave the chapter undue weight. But my summary is all of 149 words long. Seriously, that is undue weight?? If that is undue weight, everything is. There is a policy against removing well sourced material, and the source for this material is unimpeachable. It is the book itself. It is unarguably true that the book says what I say it says. And that is all I'm saying, that the book says this. So if you weigh in with an "oppose" perhaps you can give me a reason, based in policy and/or guidelines, because I would really, and very sincerely, like to know what the legitimate reason is for removing my contribution.Truth Is King 24 (talk) 21:49, 2 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Truth Is King 24: You ignored my suggestion. I haven't read the book nor am I overly familiar with genetics, but this is what I'd write: Writing about race and identity, Reich also describes the hostile reception received by his work on prostate cancer, which showed that the higher rate of prostate cancer previously observed in African American men is largely genetic in origin. Reich further notes, "an orthodoxy that the biological differences among human populations are so modest that they should be in practice ignored ... ." He then states that the genome revolution is producing results that are "making it impossible to maintain the orthodoxy ... as they are revealing hard evidence of substantial differences across populations." He also observes that "traits shaped by many mutations (as is probably the case for behavior and cognition)" are "targets" of natural selection, just as are traits that are determined by fewer genetic differences, like skin color. If the synopsis is incorrect, then others who have also read the book can challenge it, but I don't see it as being out of place in the current summary. You can also reference the criticism in the letter you mentioned, if it got coverage. That would be even more balanced. TimTempleton (talk) (cont) 22:03, 2 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Timtempleton I did not mean to ignore your suggestion, which I would like to thank you for. It makes a lot of sense to me, and I would certainly agree to your suggested summary and even accept a reference to the criticism. I'm concerned, however, that it won't be enough to convince the editors who have been reverting me, and I wanted to wait to get more comments/votes, perhaps over the weekend, before trying again to reach agreement with them. And the truth is, I wanted to get my two cents in for future commentators/voters. Truth Is King 24 (talk) 22:18, 2 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Truth Is King 24: Fair enough - I recommend you wait for others. If there's consensus to add it, it won't be reverted. TimTempleton (talk) (cont) 22:39, 2 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Reject per previously stated reason it is undue ingiving to much weight and also (the latest rpoposal) seems worded to use wikipedia's voice. -----Snowded TALK 11:09, 3 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just two points here. First, wp:undue relates to debatable assertions. My contribution is indisputable. Anyone who wants to can easily check the book and verify its accuracy. Accordingly "undue" is not just wrong, it is actually irrelevant. It could not apply here. There is nothing in my contribution that states that Reich is right, just that he says it. The contrary opinion would be that the book does not say that, and, hey, it does. Second, it is all of 149 words long. How could it make sense to say that such a brief contribution could, somehow, constitute undue weight. It summarizes a whole chapter. And the assertions I summarize have received a lot of attention as the Kahn letter referenced in the article, shows. Truth Is King 24 (talk) 00:14, 4 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose at least in its current form. It would have more chances to be considered WP:DUE if supported by secondary sources that focus on that chapter and writing a shorter text based on the interpretation of those sources. The other chapters are not covered this way and if you look at the article very little is sourced to the book itself (primary source). —PaleoNeonate – 23:23, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
PaleoNeonate,snowded,Timtempleton OK, I'm going to leave this up, and see if I get any more comments, but given PNs position, I won't take it any further without further supportive input.Truth Is King 24 (talk) 01:27, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Figures off topic[edit]

All figures are misplaced here, because from outside sources, and thus not out of the book. This is completely misleading and the figures must immediately be removed!!!2A02:8108:9640:AC3:F518:E6AD:604F:3B95 (talk) 06:24, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]