Former good article
The Wall Street Journal was one of the Social sciences and society good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
April 13, 2007Good article nomineeListed
November 11, 2008Good article reassessmentDelisted
Current status: Delisted good article

Should editorial opinions be posted in the lede summary.

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of the below discussion is that there is consensus for adding comments regarding the editing board in regards to these topics within the body. Whilst there was some comments about not including the sourced information at all, commenting on the validity of the reliability and impartiality of the New York Times on this matter, but the vast majority of !voters concur that the information is valid to be used within at least the body of the article.

In addition, there is currently no consensus to use the cited phrase to the lede of the article. This largely seems to be a WP:WEIGHT argument, on the merits of this aspect of the Wall Street Journal and if it should be highlighted in the lede. There are also some users concerned that the direct wording being used is not accurate, that some pieces were not made by the board, but rather individual editors. Editors not in favour of adding also suggest that there isn't a significantly large amount of sources making the claim making it not suitable for the lede. However, users in favour of adding to the lede have commented that the information is relevant and negative pieces about the Journal should also be highlighted. They also suggest that just because such text isn't on other newspaper articles, doesn't mean it can't be on this one. By sheer weight of numbers (especially when considering !votes to not include at all) the proposal to include in the lede fails. However, there are also additional suggestions in the RfC for different wording, and using additional citations, or even a rewording of the text that is currently there (which would need to be pitched at another venue).

This RFC has been particularly plagued with historical information, a closure review, and calls from users for bludgeoning and canvassing. In reviewing this discussion I have refrained from giving additional weight to arguments from users making multiple comments. It is not appropriate to specifically target users for comment, nor forum shopping and inappropriate notifications made. However, looking at the discussions made, I don't believe it made a significant change to the validity of the RFC. Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 18:50, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Closure withdrawn on WP:AN's insistence
Editors were discussing whether the apparent endorsement of non-mainstream or fringe scientific theories should be covered at all, and if so, where. In my closure, I will first address the apparent consensus about mentioning such information.

In general, the policy applicable here is MOS:LEAD, which says that the lede should identify the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points, including any prominent controversies, while also roughly reflect[ing the material's] importance to the topic, according to reliable, published sources. Several editors quoted WP:DUE in their reasoning, which says that neutrality requires that mainspace articles and pages fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources. However, no participant showed that this was relevant here as no sources in the RfC were discussed that dispute the notion that WSJ was involved in promotion of dubious scientific viewpoints, and none are present in the article at the moment of closure.

Generally, the vast majority of !votes split between A and B. Those advocating for removal were basing mostly on two arguments: that the current version is a misreading of Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway, and that other articles about newspapers do not cover controversies in the lede. The first one merits more discussion. As for the second, it is not persuasive and directly contradicts MOS:LEAD in that the editors ask not to summarise well-sourced key points of the article; moreover, those articles aren't even top-tier ones in order to refer to them as examples of how the articles should more or less look like.

Merchants of Doubt is definitely a reliable source, which is indicated by the fact it has 5739 citations as of closure (Google Scholar). Some editors said that this book is dated and therefore not reliable; however, no newer sources were proposed to rebut Oreskes's claims in the book, and in fact, several more newer RSs affirming or repeating the book's conclusions were provided here. The reading of the book revealed that the fringe views were conveyed using a mixture of op-eds, editorials (by the editorial board or by other authors and put on the editorial page) and sometimes articles that got promoted to page 1 of the newspaper. There are also some views that are no longer relevant for the newspaper and are only of historical significance (e.g. acid rain or health impact of tobacco smoke).

Given the summary above, the proposals below, as well as taking into account the 2019 RfC that this discussion sought to modify or overturn,

  • There is consensus that some form of the debated sentence should still be present in the lead, along with expanded coverage in the body.
  • There is consensus, based on the sourcing provided here and present in the article, that the sentence in question remains valid with respect to climate change topics and may thus be mentioned in the lead as currently presented.
  • Rough consensus was reached that the lead should mention the editorial board's historical views on other scientific topics (e.g. acid rain, asbestos etc.) and that they should not be mentioned in the same way as the climate skepticism as these views are no longer held by the board, but there was no discernible consensus about the precise implementation (with the note that this is historical information, condensed under "health and environmental issues" with climate change singled out, or otherwise). At the same time, the sources present here and in the article give evidence of a general pattern of op-eds, which is under control of the editorial board, as well as editorials, that promoted dubious scientific theories. Therefore, the phrase "the editorial board has promoted" is accurate.

Please direct all comments about the closure here. (non-admin closure) Szmenderowiecki (talk) 13:04, 9 May 2022 (UTC)))[reply]

How should the below text appear in this article:

"The Journal's editorial board has promoted views that are at odds with the scientific consensus on climate change, acid rain, and ozone depletion, as well as on the health dangers of passive smoking, pesticides, and asbestos.[13]"

Stallion55347 (talk) 03:22, 19 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]


extended discussion on age of sources and opinion articles
        • Are you legitimately trying to claim that what the Wall Street Journal said about acid rain and ozone decades ago is still relevant today?—yes, it certainly is notable when a seemingly reputable newspaper persistently publishes misinformation about science for ideological or commercial purposes. (And please, read WP:INDENTMIX.) Kleinpecan (talk) 05:39, 22 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
          • Provide a single reliable source that backs your claim that it is notable by showing that it is actually publicized and not just stated in a single book and website a decade ago. Otherwise, it is UNDUE and your ORIGINAL RESEARCH does not belong in the article on it supposedly being significant enough for the lead. If it is notable, then prove that other sources report on the WSJ "persistently publishing misinformation." Bill Williams 05:41, 22 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
            • Once again: read WP:INDENTMIX. I have no idea what "ORIGINAL RESEARCH" you are talking about—care to point it out? The references showing WSJ's persisent promotion of misinformation are contained in § Science. Kleinpecan (talk) 05:55, 22 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
              • Give me a single reliable source besides a decade old book and a decade old website that implies at all that this is relevant for the lead, otherwise it is UNDUE in its entirety. You cannot include insulting information to the newspaper in the lead if literally no reliable sources are talking about it. Bill Williams 03:35, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
                • "Literally no reliable sources are talking about it"—there are, in fact, reliable sources talking about it. Sources do not become unreliable merely because they are old. Since you are just repeating the same arguments ad nauseam, I am not going to reply further. (By the way, did you read WP:INDENTMIX? Or do you suffer from a particularly severe WP:IDHT case?) Kleinpecan (talk) 03:49, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
                  • Age actually is a legitimate reason to remove this from the lead. Over time things change and we can adjust weight accordingly. Springee (talk) 03:59, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
            • It doesn't matter if it's not still relevant today. WSJ is 132 years old, and though ozone, acid rain, asbestos and pesticides aren't major issues we hear a lot about today, they certainly were very big topics 40+ years ago. And inclusion reflects the editorial board's longstanding denial of environmental problems that require expensive remediation, which typically means regulation, which they staunchly oppose as a pro-business organization. Anyone who has read their editorial pages for a while knows it's a defining aspect of who they are. This is an encyclopedia, not a newspaper. soibangla (talk) 04:11, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
              That is completely false, not a single reliable source is reporting on this besides one website and one book a decade ago, therefore it is UNDUE and this supposed controversial opinion by the editorial board does not belong in the lead. Additionally, the editorial board never said anything about asbestos or pesticides in the one website or one book you can find that even mentions this, only a few random opinion editors did, and a few random opinion editors writing a couple articles would mean we need to add numerous things to numerous articles. Bill Williams 04:17, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
              I am not addressing whether the content is adequately sourced. Assuming it is, even with fifty year-old reliable sources, I argue it belongs in the lead. soibangla (talk) 04:21, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
              "Assuming it is" but it isn't, as I have said repeatedly, unless you can provide more sources than the one decade old book and decade old media matters web article that are NEVER covered in other major reliable sources, meaning it is UNDUE for the lead because no reliable source cares, only you and other Wikipedia editors. If you try to research the supposed WSJ propaganda the most results you will get is just this Wikipedia article, then you might find the other two decade old papers. Bill Williams 04:24, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
              You can find two sources to make literally any claim you want, but if nobody else is covering that controversial claim, it is not relevant for the lead of an article. Can you provide more than a few sources on this topic? Otherwise it is UNDUE. Bill Williams 04:25, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
              I just told you what I am arguing and what I am not. Why continue talking to me about what I just told you I'm not talking about? soibangla (talk) 04:38, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
        • a DECADE ago Did you know that encyclopedias contain not what happened yesterday or last week, but all the relevant stuff that happened, even old stuff? Surprising, isn't it? If you don't want to accept that, maybe you should join a newspaper instead of trying to stop Wikipedia editors from building an encyclopedia?
        • BTW, most of Newton's ideas, i.e. his biblical chronology and alchemy, are not used by engineers today. They are still mentioned in the article about him.
        • The WSJ's unreliability in scientific matters is still highly relevant. I suspect that if you succeeded in removing it, the next step would be to introduce denialist propaganda in articles about climate change, ozone hole, and acid rain, sourced to the WSJ. --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:58, 22 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
          Give me a single reliable source besides the decade old book and website article that implies this is "highly relevant" for the lead. A major American newspaper's supposed controversial publicizations is not relevant for the lead if literally no reliable sources are discussing it. Also, your absolutely nonsensical slippery slope fallacy is the dumbest thing I've heard all day. Nobody has introduced their alleged "denialist propaganda" into any Wikipedia article because an editorial board is not a reliable source to cite in Wikipedia to begin with, so please refrain from making baseless claims. Bill Williams 03:39, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
          Did I mention WP:IDHT? I really think you should read WP:IDHT. Also, WP:IDHT and WP:IDHT. Maybe you could also have a look at WP:IDHT. After you have grasped all that, then you should read the reasoning responding to your "decade-old" fluff and ponder on whether it is wise to repeat your already-refuted "decade-old" fluff. And read WP:IDHT. --Hob Gadling (talk) 08:12, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
extended discussion on secondary sources describing WSJ editorials
      • I re-evaluated all the pertinent sources the last time this topic came up on this very Talk page. My opinion stated here is already reconsidered. XOR'easter (talk) 16:45, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
        • And I am still asking you to provide a single reliable source that claims these are major controversies of the Wall Street Journal worthy of the lead of this article. Otherwise, one book and one website from a decade ago that were never else repeated in reliable sources is not sufficient for the lead of one of the largest newspapers in the United States's Wikipedia article. Bill Williams 16:53, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
          • I hope you understand that your incessant repetition of the same argument to almost every single user in this thread is disruptive. Kleinpecan (talk) 16:58, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
          • (edit conflict) The statements in Merchants of Doubt were indeed repeated in other reliable sources elsewhere, e.g., [13][14][15]. It's an influential book, cited in excess of 5,000 times on Google Scholar, and a few hundred of those results mention the WSJ explicitly too, so there are plenty more possibilities to dig through than I have time for today. As for other discussions in the same vein, a casual news search find the following: [16][17][18][19][20]. XOR'easter (talk) 17:08, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
            Not a single one of these sources can be used for the lead. Forbes contributors are not reliable sources, one of your "sources" was literally just the book I already mentioned, and the de gruyter doesn't even talk about what the actual editorial board has stated, making that source irrelevant as well. The Scientific American article says nothing about the editorial board, only that one random man published one article in an opinion piece, once again a single opinion piece of irrelevant for the lead, which is the same thing for the houston article talking about the same one opinion piece, the new republic article is again not talking about the wall street journal editorial board, but a single man who wrote a single opinion article, and then you cite the guardian twice when again it mentions a different, but still single opinion piece on the issue, and mentions how the Wall Street Journal has published similar opinion pieces in the past. Not one source states anything about the editorial board publishing all the things claimed in the lead of this article, including ozone, acid rain, second hand smoking, asbestos and pesticides, besides climate change specifically, and even that was only mentioning specific opinion articles and not the editorial board "promoting" anything. Please provide actual sources relating to this claim. Bill Williams 17:26, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
            The particular Forbes item I provided would be admissible per WP:SPS. I did not suggest Merchants of Doubt itself as a source, but rather commentaries upon it. All of the other sources are indeed relevant to the topic at hand, i.e., the views promoted by the newspaper. If tweaking the phrasing from "the editorial board" to something else would clarify matters, then we can discuss that, but honestly, it sounds like special pleading; somebody has to decide what opinion pieces they will run. XOR'easter (talk) 17:35, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
            That is not some minute difference. The Journal promoting these random things is completely different from them publishing opinion articles by people, since this would be like saying that The New York times promotes abolishing or defunding the police just because they have published opinion articles on the matter. Again, the sources are all referring to random different opinion articles, which is not noteworthy for the lead, because opinions of the articles are not the opinions of the company, as stated in literally every newspaper editorial section in existence. Bill Williams 17:38, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
            Yes, the official position of the corporation is not legally the same as the opinion voiced in any given column. But a documented pattern of what the corporation is willing to associate itself with is itself worthy of comment. XOR'easter (talk) 17:44, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
            Noteworthy according to whom? Has there been significant coverage on second hand smoking, asbestos, pesticides, ozone, and acid rain pseudoscience by the Wall Street Journal? There is some minimal amount of coverage on the opinion articles on climate change written by WSJ opinion editors, but all those other topics are almost never covered by reliable sources. And again, "a documented pattern of what the corporation is willing to associate itself" is still false unless you have some quote of them saying they agree with the opinion articles. Does the New York Times promote abolishing or defunding the police just because numerous[21][22][23][24] opinion articles of theirs have supported this? Bill Williams 17:50, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
            If we had the same kind of documentation that the NYT were giving time and space to people with a particular view (whether that's "defund the police" or "Send in the troops"), then yes, it could in principle become lead-worthy. XOR'easter (talk) 18:19, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
            What "documentation" is there about the WSJ "promoting" these views? Do you have a single source that states this? Again, opinion articles is not equivalent to the Journal promoting anything. You cannot use the word "promote" without a source because that is highly misleading. Bill Williams 18:20, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
            How is it misleading to talk about the views that the WSJ puts in front of people's eyeballs? Yes, there's a difference between an op-ed column by a guest contributor and a signed statement by the editorial board, but both count as bringing attention to a viewpoint. Should some of the places where this article says "editorial board" instead say "editorial board and pages"? Possibly. Given the content of the relevant sections in the body, the lead should perhaps say something like, "The opinion and editorial pages are known for...". But that's a comparatively minor detail of phrasing. XOR'easter (talk) 18:27, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The board decides which columns and op-eds to run, so referencing the board should be understood to mean anything in the last three pages of section A. soibangla (talk) 18:33, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
That is completely irrelevant to the board promoting something. Give a single source stating that the board promoted these second hand smoke etc. things. Numerous articles are allowed to be published that literally oppose in opinion. Does the board both oppose and support Donald Trump and Joe Biden because they have published different opinion articles on these issues? Bill Williams 18:35, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Once again, you are talking to me about something I was not discussing, in my specific response to XOR'easter's specific comment. I find your behavior here to be badgering and disruptive, which Kleinpecan has also observed. soibangla (talk) 18:43, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I am simply commenting on the facts of the situation. You have repeatedly gone on talk pages to reply "HAHAHA" when you disagree, so please refrain from trying to claim that I am badgering and disruptive when you have been constantly. Bill Williams 18:45, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
You want to discuss only the facts you choose to discuss in a multifaceted topic as you badger others to focus only on what you want to focus on. I have done nothing of the sort comparable. soibangla (talk) 18:49, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Bill Williams's question is legitimate. If RSs summarizing the WSJ don't emphasize this point then how can we justify that we are giving DUE/UNDUE weight to topics about the WSJ per RSs? Editors here are deciding this is a critical topic vs the weight of external sources describing the paper. Springee (talk) 18:44, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The ideal way to go about it would probably be to write the article body text first, basing it on appropriate RS's, and if that text becomes sufficiently lengthy relative to the rest of the page, it probably deserves a summary in the lead. Of course, actual editing is apt to be much sloppier than that ideal, with changes in one place not always reflected elsewhere, etc. XOR'easter (talk) 18:51, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Nowhere Any newspaper or publication will have questionable editorials throughout its history. The New York Times has infamously covered up the Holocaust at the time [25], and collaborated to the justification for the invasion of Iraq, or falsely accused someone for the anthrax attacks based on absolutely no evidence [26] . These aren't mentioned in their lede, nor pretty much anything negative is, why should the WSJ article be any different? Loganmac (talk) 18:53, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Arguments on NYT are pure whataboutism.Cinadon36 18:57, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

It's not, it's basic style consistency. We can't have totally conflicting style differences for no apparent reason on comparable articles. Loganmac (talk) 23:30, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The reason is entirely apparent. Different articles have different contents and thus different introductory sections. And even if the two ought to read the same, perhaps it's the other page that should be brought into alignment with this one, rather than the other way around. It's also a bit misleading to consider only articles about newspapers and not news more generally. The leads of Fox News and MSNBC both include remarks about accusations of political bias, for example. XOR'easter (talk) 00:34, 24 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

During the 1920s, 1930s and early 1940s the NYTs provided cover for Adolf Hilter and the Nazis party. Their very first article on Hitler was written in 1922 and even then they dramatically downplayed his anti-Semitism. While they did cover some of the negative aspects of what was happening in Germany during that time, they deliberately buried those articles in their newspaper. They admitted they engage in a coordinated anti-Semitic effort for over 2 decades and deliberately mislead the American public that entire time. The 2005 book "Buried by the Times" by Laurel Leff covers it all. It’s one of the most morally objectionable things any media organization could ever do. Yet, this is not in the Lead. The stuff we’re discussing, questionable opinions made by mostly guest op eds, doesn’t even remotely compare to this. In the body, not lead. I'm honestly shocked that were still discussing this. Stallion55347 (talk) 22:17, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

they engage in a coordinated anti-Semitic effort Says here the book found the actual reason is that Jewish publisher Arthur Sulzberger did not want the paper to appear to be championing a Jewish cause. So there's that.[27] soibangla (talk) 22:43, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  • You are correct, the publisher did not want to appear to be championing a Jewish cause. I’m not sure what your point is here? Are you actually stating that everything the Times did was “Ok” because they had a Jewish publisher? Stallion55347 (talk) 01:54, 24 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    • I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that they engage in a coordinated anti-Semitic effort and were thus on Hitler's side is highly dubious. soibangla (talk) 02:25, 24 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
      • I never said they were on Hitler's side. That's a straw-man argument and completely missing my point. Do you believe what the NYT did was bad or not? If you do, should it be mentioned in the lead? Stallion55347 (talk) 03:28, 24 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
You could say the editorial board allowed for opinion articles on climate change to be published to appear neutral to readers, considering it has also published opinion articles that state climate change is a threat. Numerous other "controversies" like the NYT one mentioned by Stallion would have to be added to various leads of articles according to the reason they are in this article. This is not a whataboutism comparing WSJ to NYT specifically, but to every single newspaper article on Wikipedia, none of them mention editorial controversies in the lead. Bill Williams 23:13, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
And yet again, nothing you just said has any bearing whatsoever on what you responded to. You continue to badger and bludgeon. soibangla (talk) 23:36, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
You mentioned something about the NYT, and I stated how that is comparable to the WSJ. Do you disagree that the NYT mentions nothing about its editorial board or other controversies in the lead, same with every other major newspaper article besides the WSJ? Bill Williams 23:43, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I mentioned a specific clarification about the conclusion Stallion55347 asserted about the book and you responded with a total non sequitur to bludgeon the same argument you've made ad nauseam. soibangla (talk) 23:49, 23 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Soibangla and Kleinpecan, I get that you both have a lot of passion for this topic. But I still don't understand your logic around putting a statement in the lead with 6 separate accusations (are at odds with the scientific consensus on climate change, acid rain, ozone depletion, health dangers of passive smoking, pesticides, and asbestos) all from a single source that’s referencing information that in many cases is over 20 years old. These are not all opinions of the Journal's editorial board as some are from guest op eds. A few of these topics aren't even covered in the body of this article or are just using the same single source used here.

At this point it's up to you to prove to everyone taking part in this discussion that this statement, as it’s constructed today, deserves placement in the lead of a highly reputable publication with over 132 years of history. I’m looking forward to your thoughts. Stallion55347 (talk) 01:54, 24 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

*Support a shorter statement in lead, such as "The Journal's editorial board has promoted fringe views on scientific matters, including views in contradiction to the scientific consensus on climate change". Sourcing and content definitely justify the inclusion of something in the lead. Saying that the Board has BS scientific views is warranted. As for the specific topics climate change seems like the only issue for which a mention in the lead is warranted in light of the body's content and sourcing. Oppose IP's compromise: the topic warrants a standalone sentence in the lead and not just an en passant mention. It's especially contestable to link it in this way to American conservativism; as if—in my reading, at least—it would be "normal" or "expected" for a conservative publication to promote these views (which is not an argument that's stated in the body). JBchrch talk 04:51, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Withdrawing my !vote. Apparently, the sourcing may not be as clear-cut as I thought. I don't have the time to look at it in detail so I prefer to withdraw my !vote and let the people taking a closer and more careful look weigh in. JBchrch talk 15:37, 11 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Minor correction re what I said about page 213: Oreskes and Conway didn't provide a cite saying where the Marshall Institute contribution was, and Rohrabacher (whose name I spelled wrong) could have been reacting to something else. Also, where I wrote "224-225" I should have written "244-245". Peter Gulutzan (talk) 18:22, 18 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The people who want to include accusations against the WSJ in the lead either use their original research, which is irrelevant, or claim that anti-science publication in the WSJ is well sourced. In reality, the Merchants of Doubt does not even accuse the WSJ of what the so called citation claims (if you check the pages cited), and the other sources are few in number and decades old, referring to things that are irrelevant or outdated. And the claim that the editorial board promoted anything by allowing editorials to be published is unproven and false, NYT editorial board does not support abolishing or defunding the police just because it has allowed plenty of editorials to be published on the subject. Find some actual recent and relevant sources or these claims belong no where in the lead. The part about asbestos, pesticides, and second hand smoking is completely unproven and not cited, while the acid rain and ozone stances changed years ago, and their climate change stance has not been covered in a decade and isn't notable. Bill Williams 13:53, 11 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • It most certainly does matter how it comes across to WP editors - we make decisions relative to what should or should not be included based on our editorial judgement relative to material published in RS. Nowhere does it say that we must include material simply because it was published by numerous RS. It's why we have RfCs to reach consensus. No one can absolutely positively confirm that a prediction will come true that far in the future, and to argue that it will definitely happen becomes a WP:CIR issue in my view that not only defies science, it denies that possibilities exist. See WP:ONUS which is one of our core content policies. I do hope that you have not been discouraging IPs, or new and experienced editors based on what you relayed to me above. When media bias plays into the equation, we use editorial judgement to gain consensus and should never blindly accept what any online source publishes about other online sources - we check it out. If you want to include material that you cite to multiple academic and/or scientific sources, research papers or reviews that have made such claims about WSJ, I may very well modify my position, or maybe I won't, depending on CONTEXT. Accusing others of Wikilawyering is not helpful, and neither is bludgeoning every editor who disagrees with a particular POV. If other scientists disagree or maintain a different position about a prediction relative to climate change that far into the future, then our obligation is to provide those views for our readers – let them make their own determinations – we should not be doing that for them, much less contradicting scientists that have different predictions – so yes, CRYSTALBALL is extremely important. As a retired journalist/editor/publisher, it is very clear to me that the WSJ did not deny climate change in the example I provided – CONTEXTMATTERS. They are doing what every responsible journalist and RS should be doing; i.e., presenting all substantial views from a NPOV as we should be doing. Possibilities do exist. Atsme 💬 📧 15:29, 17 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    It most certainly does matter how it comes across to WP editors Not that part. Yes, we decide what is included. But you do not get to second-guess reliable sources by denying that something is denial when RS call it that.
    Repeating the bad reasoning denialists use, such the following two lines, will not help your case.
    1. other scientists disagree You are cherry-picking a tiny handful of experts out of many thousands because only that handful agrees with the WSJ's far-out position about climate change which is motivated by market fundamentalism.
    2. No one can absolutely positively confirm that a prediction will come true that far in the future The judgment of how reliable a prediction is must be left to the scientists who make the prediction because they have very reliable methods to judge that reliability. Nobody says, "it will definitely happen", but scientists are pretty sure it will, and they have the data to back it up. WP:CIR is indeed relevant here, but not the way you are using it. Amateurish reasoning along the lines of "I know that I don't know anything, therefore scientists don't know anything either" does not cut it. Climatologists understand climatology better than WSJ editors and better than Wikipedia editors, and you will not win that one.
    the WSJ did not deny climate change in the example I provided This is silly. For every outlet accused of propagating a certain position, is extremely easy to find text by that outlet where that position is not propagated. Reliability is not defined as getting it right sometimes. You cannot undo the instances where secondary sources found WSJ got it wrong by finding a primary source where they did not. Why do I have to explain this rookie mistake?
    neither is bludgeoning every editor who disagrees with a particular POV I am refuting the specific bad reasoning you used. That is not "bludgeoning", it is "not letting pseudoscience defenders getting away with egregious bullshit". --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:48, 18 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Neither I nor the WSJ is denying the scientific consensus of anthropogenic climate change in the example I provided, so you're getting off-topic and moving the goal post. The overall problem appears to be an attempt to boldly state that a single percentage of scientists in the majority actually represents the many nuances in a range of opinions that scientists have expressed in their research and predictions about anthropogenic climate change over time. Journalism, environmental concerns, the natural balance in aquatic ecosystems, conservation, endangered species and public dissemination have been a big part of my 40+ year career, and while I'm enjoying retirement, it behooves me to think science predictions and good journalism are being misrepresented, inadvertently or otherwise. A minority view does not automatically make it pseudoscience – possibilities exist – there are many nuances in the opinions of scientists, and we're talking about nuanced opinions on a very large scale. If you've read every single research paper that's been published on the topic, you will see that what the WSJ published is supported by that nuanced research. I'm not changing my position, and I doubt you'll be changing yours so we'll just have to agree to disagree. I'm only one iVote, and I am concerned about what Peter Gulutzan stated above in his iVote, 22 April 2022. That's where our focus would be better served because if the claims are not supported by the cited source, the material should not be included. Over the years I've seen quite a few sentence comprehension issues and Use–mention distinction issues, which may or may not be the case here, be that as it may. Atsme 💬 📧 14:18, 18 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]


Here's the compromise I'm proposing: *The editorial pages of The Journal are typically American conservative in their position, and the editorial board has published views that are at odds with the scientific consensus on several health and environmental issues.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in this discussion. It has been informative and very extensive. Unfortunately, we have not made nearly enough progress to build a consensus and finalize a decision. At some point the investment in time and energy becomes prohibitive. The last thing we want is for this conversation to become unproductive, combative, or spalling to the point of spinning out of control.

Next steps: if we can't come to a reasonable consensus by EOD Tuesday, I'm going to move this issue to an outside impartial resource for dispute resolution. Hopefully this is unnecessary, and we make significant progress over the next few days. Until that time, thanks again. Stallion55347 (talk) 01:26, 29 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

What "outside impartial resource" is there? Too many people have been involved for it to fit at DRN (and moving it over there might be considered forum-shopping). It's a content dispute, not a conduct one, so WP:ANI is not suitable. Notices have already been posted on the appropriate noticeboards (WP:FTN and WP:NPOVN). The Talk page attached to an article is the appropriate place to discuss an issue specific to that article, and the thread was opened 10 days ago, which is only a third of the time that many RfC's typically run. XOR'easter (talk) 16:33, 29 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Let the record show that I have previously reverted removals of the lead content even though the content looked silly to me: [35] I did solely based on the 2019 RFC. If there is a clear consensus against removing the content, I will restore the text, even if it goes against my arguments in this RFC. If someone takes an issue with that, they are cordially invited to my user talk page. Politrukki (talk) 21:07, 29 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I've started an ANI thread on Bill Williams' bludgeoning in this RfC: Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#Bill Williams bludgeoning and WP:IDHT. Kleinpecan (talk) 21:13, 1 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I'm going to move this issue to an outside resource for dispute resolution. We have a passionate group with strong opinions so I’m optimistic that outside assistance will help move this along. Since it would be difficult for everyone to contribute, I am asking for volunteers to represent both opinions. 2-3 people on each side would be great. If you are interested in contributing, please comment below and I'll include you in the discussion. Individuals who wish to participate should do so in good faith, be open minded to the process, and willing to advocate for the decision, even if they don't wholeheartedly agree with it. The goal would be to submit the dispute resolution request over the weekend. Stallion55347 (talk) 03:37, 2 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

So, which "outside resource" did you pick? XOR'easter asked you before. Your reluctance to answer, your wording "a passionate group with strong opinions", and your request that people buy a pig in a poke and volunteer for a potential kangaroo court makes me suspect that your "outside resource" is either a free-market think tank, a gaggle of Republican politicians, or the editorial board of the WSJ.
And you overemphasize the importance of your contributions. Maybe you have misunderstood the "bold" part of WP:BOLD. --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:05, 2 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Stallion55347, I don't think DRN would be productive at this time. We have an open RfC which is generally considered the correct way to handle this sort of content dispute. The only other thing we should do is tone thing down. I don't think any editors have crossed a bright line of uncivil behavior but I think there is a clear level of hostility and repetition in may of the comments. Neither are helpful. If there are other noticeboards/projects that should be notified that is an option (please review WP:CANVAS if you choose to do so). If no other editors weigh, and absent a 3rd party closure of the RfC, I would consider this a no-consensus result thus the content (in some agreed form) stays in the lead per NOCON. Springee (talk) 20:56, 2 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

My observation is that, after 17 days of exhaustive and intense debate, no consensus has been reached on this RfC, the discussion has reached a stalemate, and I recommend it be closed with the existing longstanding content remaining unchanged. soibangla (talk) 22:54, 5 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Half of the editors want no mention of this in the lead, meaning the "longstanding content" should not be left unchanged. The RfC at least necessitates better wording, such as:
"The Journal has published opinion articles that are at odds with the scientific consensus on multiple health and environmental issues."
The various individual issues, e.g. asbestos, are currently stated as if they were written about or as controversial as the ones on climate change for example, which is not true, and the acid rain position was later reverted, differentiating it from the others, and mentioning the editorial board when many of the articles in question were just random opinion editors and not related to the board, since many editorial boards allow op-eds that directly conflict (e.g. defunding the police or funding them more), means that mentioning the editorial board would also be inaccurate, so this should be an improvement. Bill Williams 23:01, 5 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
This wording loses the information that the fringe-pushing is consistent. They do not just, as other papers will, sometimes have a random article supporting astrology and sometimes one supporting some quackery or other because somebody managed to squeeze their hobbyhorse into the current issue (maybe when the fact checker was on vacation), which is the primary meaning of this wording and which would be pretty ho-hum. That sentence is something that could really be in every lede to an article about a newspaper.
No, they always "err" on the side that is good for short-term industry profits (by short term, I mean, it is profitable until the shit hits the fan, and then the costs, although they would far outweigh those profits, are covered by everybody, so, net gain! Ka-ching!). You know, "Wall Street". This is not incidental, not random, and that is the reason it has been noticed by reliable sources.
It is not acceptable to water down their special status to something which would also fit any other newspaper. --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:48, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
My suggestion is not watering down, but instead the reality of the situation. Not a single reliable source states that the editorial board "promoted" views on anything but environmental topics, since all of the other ones were covered by random opinion editors, and even editorials are still simply opinion articles. Every single newspaper publishes random opinion articles from different sides that conflict with their own view, so unless you have a single reliable sources stating that the editorial board agreed with second hand smoking, pesticides, asbestos, etc. topics that section has nothing to do with the board. Bill Williams 14:26, 16 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Soibangla, RfCs typically go for 30 days. There is no hurry here and no reason to close this one early. Springee (talk) 03:54, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Based on feedback from numerous users, lets continue the discussion we’ve been having. We will leave this RfC up for a couple more weeks and see where it takes us.

This RfC has attracted a considerable number of posts and opinions and is now almost 10,000 words long. To help everyone quickly get up to speed with the most relevant points discussed, I consolidated as many of the talking points as I could to provide a quick recap showing major arguments supporting both sides along with points supporting a revised statement. As much as I tried to include all relevant arguments, I’m sure there are points I did not adequately convey, I apologize for that in advance.

Given that, feel free to revise this summary below for anything I missed. Just keep in mind, it’s a summary.

RfC Summary (12/5/2021):[edit]

Put the statement In the body:

  • WP:UNDUE for the lede.
  • There should be consistency of lede styles between major Newspapers (New York Times, *Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today), there is no mention of their editorial boards
    • Editors need to stop using WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS as a rationale for ignoring inconsistent presentation of similar topics. We are editors, not propaganda artists. Editors SHOULD strive to present material in a similar manner so readers can compare apples to apples.
  • Editorial pages in newspapers are designed specifically to provide viewpoints outside the mainstream, especially from guest writers. Even if you disagree with them, they are put there intentionally to drive conversation and discussion.
  • The source concerning asbestos and pesticide isn't even referring to the editorial board but instead individual guest columnists, and therefore "the editorial board has promoted" is not accurate
  • How does information from 30 years ago warrant inclusion in the lead?
    • Acid rain and ozone depletion are based on 31+ year old articles
    • Second-hand smoke is from articles from 27+ years ago
  • There is already a statement in the lead that summarizes the viewpoints of the WSJ editorial pages: "The editorial pages of The Journal are typically American conservative in their position." Anything beyond that is an unnecessary elaboration in a lead section.
  • Wikipedia suggests trying to keep the number of references to a minimum, if used at all. Keeping references out of the lead makes it easier to read and keeps it free of clutter and easier to edit.
  • Just because information is listed in the Body of an article, does not make it lede worthy
    • Wikipedia suggests we should look to the outside world to help understand weight of a topic. For example, the Encyclopedia Britannica makes no mention of this topic whatsoever. It's not as comprehensive an article as ours but the fact that it didn't make it to the body of that one suggests that our editors might be out of touch to put it in the lead. The same is true if we look at
  • Outside of climate change, the information contained in the article does not warrant being in the lead.

Keep the statement In the Lede:

  • WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS / WP:OTHERCONTENT is not a reason in itself to remove information form Wikipedia or the lede.
    • Different articles have different contents and thus different introductory sections.
  • Just because something is “old” does not mean it’s not relevant
    • Ignoring controversies just because they may have happened a few years ago is Wikipedia:Recentism
  • In July 2020, more than 280 WSJ journalists and Dow Jones staff members wrote a letter to new publisher Almar Latour to criticize the opinion pages' "lack of fact-checking and transparency, and its apparent disregard for evidence", adding that "opinion articles often make assertions that are contradicted by WSJ reporting."
  • The reason other MAJOR NEWSPAPERS does not having similar statement in the lede is because they, unlike WSJ, have not repeatedly promoted anti-science nonsense.
    • There is no rule that says articles have to be "consistent"
  • The current version is specific and clarifies to readers what kinds of issues that the WSJ editorial board has misled readers on. The compromise version makes it unclear what kinds of issues that the WSJ editorial has misled its readers on.
  • There is considerable content from many sources not listed in the WSJ article that paint a clear picture and ongoing pattern of anti-science positions. If anything, the current text of the article downplays criticisms of the WSJ.

Work on a revised statement:

  • The sources regarding the board's views on climate change are much more recent, and therefore that portion can stay included.
  • Perhaps the section needs updating but that doesn’t invalidate it being mentioned in the lead.
    • What’s in the lead is almost an exact restatement of what’s in the body.
  • The ideal way to go about it would probably be to write the article body text first, basing it on appropriate RS's, and if that text becomes sufficiently lengthy relative to the rest of the page, it probably deserves a summary in the lead.
  • A In the lead but summarized a bit more as: “The editorial pages of The Journal are typically American conservative in their position, and the editorial board has promoted views that are at odds with the scientific consensus on a number of health and environmental issues.”

Stallion55347 (talk) 01:03, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Great job on the summary, and I agree that we should work on a revised statement, which I believe could be:
"The Journal has published opinion articles that are at odds with the scientific consensus on multiple health and environmental issues."" I think the sentence should stay separate from the one on the editorial board, since many of the opinion articles in question were not written by the board itself. Bill Williams 01:42, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I've collapsed this discussion per WP:NOSUMMARIES. It misleads participants into thinking the RfCs is closed and makes the whole section absolutely unreadable. JBchrch talk 04:57, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

The Wall Street Journal editorial board, reliable? Not convinced. GoodDay (talk) 05:42, 8 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Reviewing this disaster area of a discussion, three thoughts occur. The first is that, if I came across it without having been involved, I'd consider it a failed process from which no trustworthy result could be extracted (fruit from a poisoned tree). The second is that having a footnote attached to the sentence in the lede may be a distraction. The mention in the lede isn't based on that citation alone; it's based on multiple paragraphs of the body which are cited to multiple sources including that book. Indeed, this is a pretty good example of how citations in a lede aren't necessarily a good thing. The third thought is that the lede is rather short for the article's length, and if the disputed line seems like it emphasizes part of the main text too much at the expense of other sections, the better solution would be to expand the lede with summaries of those other sections. XOR'easter (talk) 04:27, 11 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Possible canvassing[edit]

Just as a note of possible canvassing, Stallion55347 has been sending talk page notifications to (overwhelmingly, though with one exception) people who previously removed the disputed text from the article directing them to this RFC. ([36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44]) It seems like jarringly obvious canvassing to me, so if any of the canvassed individuals contribute to the RFC, be certain to tag them with Canvassed. --Aquillion (talk) 03:28, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Notifying previous editors who have argued for the removal of this content is appropriate so long as editor's who have previously argued for inclusion are also notified. I would suggest pinging previously involved editors to avoid the issue of improper canvasing.
I have notified the projects associated with this article that this is an active RfC. Example of the notification is here [45]. Springee (talk) 03:52, 6 December 2021 (UTC) corrected, this should be plural Springee (talk) 20:58, 6 December 2021 (UTC) [reply]
I've observed that, in addition to the Newspapers WikiProject, WP:WikiProject Conservatism was similarly notified: [46]. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:49, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I perceive some potentially problematic activities regarding this discussion. soibangla (talk) 20:55, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Such as? Springee (talk) 21:00, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict)Sorry, I missed the "s". I notified all projects (other than project NYC(?)) listed above. All received the same notification and were notified at the same time. [47][48][49][50][51]. Springee (talk) 20:58, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
As I stated on Stallion's talk page:
"I checked the entire edit history of the article's talk page, and only Noteduck and Sro23 actually edited it, with Noteduck voting against Stallion's stated position and Sro23 commenting on something unrelated. I did not search through the article itself's history, but if these individuals edited the sentence in question, I think Stallion was just notifying the concerned users to participate in the RfC. It seems like criticizing his notifications is selection bias, since anyone who would wish to keep that information in the article would never edit the sentence, only people who wish to remove it, meaning those are the only people he would notify." Bill Williams 06:33, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
No, that's not true. Multiple editors have restored the disputed text to the article and Stallion55347 did not contact them. I stand by what I said; this was clear-cut inappropriate canvassing. If anything, your observation that most of these people have never edited the text is even more damning - it is absolutely not standard practice to go over an article's history and contact people who have previously edited the text. To do so one-sidedly is obviously canvassing. --Aquillion (talk) 07:29, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Szmenderowiecki, I think your closing is problematic in light of Peter Gulutzan's review of what Merchants of Doubt actually says. It does appear that the weight given to that source is UNDUE given the actual claims being made by the source. Additionally, by weight of numbers I do not see a consensus for content in the lead. At best this should be a no-consensus and probably a remove from lead based on possibly failing wp:V (I think that last one should have more discussion before concluding it's a WP:V problem). Springee (talk) 13:44, 9 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I've restored my comment. While I appreciate Szmenderowiecki's comment to address concerns on their talk page, my comment shouldn't have been removed without comment. That said, please direct further comments to Szmenderowiecki's talk page discussion here [52] Springee (talk) 14:50, 9 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

More canvassing

Since I don't see it explicitly mentioned anywhere, and since there are other allegations of canvassing, an editor canvassed users to this discussion through campaigning (see WP:INAPPNOTE) here. Had they posted an appropriate notification to FTN, this wouldn't be so bad, because this was mitigated by notifying NPOVN (and later others), but the canvassing also included violent threats – delivering "milkshakes" – against editors who didn't support including the proposed text in the lead. Politrukki (talk) 10:28, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

"The canvassing also included violent threats ..."—even if you treat those two offhand sentences as genuine "violent threats" (which would require an asininely hyperliteral reading of them), it's quite obvious from the context that those "threats" were directed at a single user rather than "against [all] editors who didn't support including the proposed text in the lead". I suggest you strike this ridiculous aspersion. Kleinpecan (talk) 13:19, 21 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
You are misrepresenting what happened in several ways:
  • by confounding the original posting (which you call "canvassing") with the reaction to subsequent provocation,
  • by interpreting an obvious metaphor as literal, and
  • by substituting an explicit refusal to react to the provocation by "milkshaking", by its very opposite, a "threat" of doing so.
Also, the RFC is closed, and this page is for improving the article. Stop it. --Hob Gadling (talk) 05:02, 22 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The original post to FTN was a violation of APNOTE because it wasn't neutral in who it notified. Notification of various noticeboards in general is acceptable notification but should be done in a neutral fashion. The later posting to the same noticeboard violated APNOTE by both being selective/not neutral and the text was not neutral. The metaphor was obviously not meant to be taken literally regardless of questionable civility. The original selective notification was addressed to some degree by notifying other appropriate noticeboards/project pages. The latter, non-neutral notice was not but by that time I think the non-consensus was clear so it would be hard to claim it swayed the outcome. Springee (talk) 11:51, 22 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]