User:Robertinventor/RfC Draft

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Trying this out as an RfC instead after seeing the example of the Hinduism talk page RfC. It is just a try out to see if it works in this format. Just a thought at this stage.

RfC - Should we roll back article Four Noble Truths to its state before the recent major edits?[edit source | hide | hide all]

There has been a major rewrite of the article Four Noble Truths. The question is whether to accept this rewrite, or to roll back to the previous version, or to use some intermediate solution.

This has to be one of the most central articles on the Buddha's teachings so the outcome of this RfC is of importance to anyone editing in the Buddhism topic area. Please compare both versions of the article and make your decision. Thanks!

Note, the editors concerned have also edited many other articles in the same way, which may also need full or partial rollback. These include:

and probably many others (haven't attempted a complete list here).

We feel that the first, the Four Noble Truths, has highest priority as the central teachings in Buddhism. So to keep this discussion focused, please vote on the Four Noble Truths at this point. To help keep the RfC focused, there's a separate section #Discussion of other articles and sections for any discussion of the other articles. Robert Walker (talk) 10:17, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

Background[edit source | hide]

The original edits were done by Joshua Jonathan, assisted by Victoria Grayson and Jim Renge (including: [1], [2], [3], [4]).

Dorje and I are asking for a rollback on the basis that these major edits were not reviewed to confirm that they were consensual to all concerned editors Help:Editing#Major edits - and also violate many wikipedia guidelines on WP:NOR, WP:NPOV, WP:FIXTHEPROBLEM, WP:MOSINTRO and so on.

Main Issues - Guidelines violated by the edits[edit source | hide]

We are asking for a rollback because in our view they violate:

For details of these violations (in our opinion) - see Main issues.

In addition to these issues, we have two major differences of opinion to resolve. A Difference of opinion on quotes, and a Difference in opinion on use of bikkhu scholars and other scholars trained in Eastern traditions as primary sources. There has been extensive discussion of both these points on the talk pages, and the second also discussed in an RfC, and it is clear that there is no consensus on these matters. However, JJ has just gone ahead and done these major edits as if a consensus was achieved.

We also have a difference in view on the motivation he gives for the rewrites: To rewrite the articles based on ideas in a book by Carol Anderson. Indeed, Carol Anderson herself makes no attempt at presenting simpler "earlier teachings" in her later 2013 book "Basic Buddhism" introduction to Therevadhan Buddhism. And in her 1999 book she makes it clear that it is a purely scholarly search for the "ur texts" of the Buddha and that she has no wish to undermine the authority of the Pali Canon for Therevadhan Buddhists. [13]. In our view his use of her 1999 book to motivate rewrites of articles on basic teachings of the Buddha is WP:OR and WP:POV and goes against the views of Anderson herself.

Goes against guidelines on major edits[edit source | hide]

In our opinion JJs recent major rewrites of these articles go against:

  • Help:Editing#Major edits - "A major edit should be reviewed to confirm that it is consensual to all concerned editors. Therefore, any change that affects the meaning of an article is major (not minor), even if the edit is a single word.".

    Indeed, it was already clear at the start of his major rewrite for Four Noble Truths that other editors objected, see for instance: [14]. Indeed right at the start of his major edit, User:Dorje108 reverted Joshua Jonathan's edits and asked for discussion, but he just reverted again with BRDR and kept going, see Attempt at BRD and request for rollback

Faced with so many issues to resolve as a result of his major edits, a rollback seems the only way forward.

A rollback would solve all these issues. It would be followed of course by careful consensus based editing, with a section by section, issue by issue discussion of the many changes he wishes to make.

Rollback Priorities[edit source | hide]

In case a full rollback is not acceptable, these would be priorities for a partial rollback of Four Noble Truths (or for the other articles later on).

  1. Restore the lede. The guidelines in WP:MOSINTRO are clear, that the lede should be substantive and stand alone as a short version of the article itself. The new versions are generally too short. They are also POV, and in some cases, including Four Noble Truths, highly OR. The guidelines also make it clear that the lede of an article needs particular care, and should be based on consensus
  2. Restore ALL the deleted sections. The guidelines are clear, removing content from a well-researched and well-sourced article should be based on consensus decisions, except in clear cases. If there is consensus that any sections need to be removed, it would be easy to do this after the originals are first restored for discussion. WP:FIXTHEPROBLEM.
  3. Restore original versions of controversial sections. I.e. if the rewrites are regarded as controversial by other editors. That's on the basis of the guidelines for major edits, that in case of controversy you start with the existing state as the basis for discussion, not present a new version as a "fait accomplis". See: "A major edit should be reviewed to confirm that it is consensual to all concerned editors" in Help:Editing#Major_edits) and "Boldness should not mean trying to impose edits against existing consensus or in violation of core policies, such as Neutral point of view and Verifiability. Fait accompli actions, where actions are justified by their having already been carried out, are inappropriate." in Wikipedia:Editing_policy#Talking_and_editing
  4. If we retain the new POV sections on the views of Anderson, then following the guidelines, they have to be rewritten so that they are WP:NPOV. In our view, they have to mention and cite criticisms of her ideas. Also they must mention all the other views in this complex debate following the model of Pali Canon#Origins.

Which would of course, be followed by section by section and proposal by proposal discussion of all of JJ's changes, as before.

POV sections on Anderson's views[edit source | hide]

These need to be NPOV. A good starting point would be to summarize the three main scholarly views on these matters presented in Pāli Canon#Origins which incidentally doesn't mention Anderson. If we add mentions of Anderson's view at one end of the spectrum of views - that there is hardly anything deriving from the Buddha in the Pali Canon, we could also add Prayudh Payutto's article on his views on this matter at the other end of the spectrum of views from her, that many of the earliest sutras are preserved pretty much word for word like the Vedas[15].

For more on this, POV that the original teachings of the Buddha were much simpler

Here is a list of some of the POV sections on Anderson's views recently added by Joshua Jonathan:

and probably others as well.

Compare them with

which presents the full spectrum of scholarly views on the matter.

To keep this focused, please discuss the POV sections in other articles in #Discussion of other articles and sections

Why editors haven't been able to resist his edits[edit source | hide]

  • Joshua Jonathan used BRDR instead of BRD
  • His edit summaries present major edits as minor edits, and he summarizes major edits as "Cleanup" on talk pages so it is not clear to other editors that a major rewrite has taken place.
  • There are thousands of articles on Buddhism, and comparatively few editors, and most editors won't put apparently mature articles on their watchlist.
  • He has support of Victoria Grayson and Jim Renge, and it is hard for one, or even two editors to resist three editors who support each other in this way.

See Why editors haven't been able to resist his edits

Comments on other editor's votes[edit source | hide]

Please keep all comments on other editor's votes to the discussion section, and don't add threaded replies to the survey section.

We expect to get a fair bit of interest in this RfC. If there are many votes, and long multi-page comment threads on some of the votes, the voting section will become unreadable quickly. In this we are following the guidelines here: Separate votes from discussion.

Also, for similar reasons, please don't comment on the RfC statement itself (these sections) or it will soon become unclear what the RfC is about. If you have issues with the statement of the RfC, please discuss in the Discussion section again, or mention issues in your own vote. Thanks!

Support: full rollback of the Four Noble Truths[edit source | hide]

(no threading)

  • Support. Full rollback of the Four Noble Truths. It will be far easier to fix the older version than the new version, which is highly OR and inaccurate. Joshua Jonathan should never have continued with his major edit after Dorje108's attempt at BRD as it was clear he didn't have consensus support of the other editors. His section on Anderson's book can be reintroduced, but it needs to be NPOV, it needs to accurately reflect her own views as well as criticisms of them, and should cover the full spectrum of views on this matter. Robert Walker (talk)

Support: partial rollback of all the Rollback Priorities for the Four Noble Truths[edit source | hide]

  • Restore the lede, all deleted sections, and any controversial sections
  • Remove or rewrite the POV section on Anderson's ideas.

Then use normal procedures such as RfCs etc to resolve the issues. See #Rollback Priorities for details

(no threading)

Support: partial rollback (other) for the Four Noble Truths[edit source | hide]

(no threading)

Please give details of what you think should be rolled back - e.g. particular sections.

Support: keep the Four Noble Truths as is[edit source | hide]

(no threading)

Discussion of the Four Noble Truths[edit source | hide]

Discussion of other articles and sections[edit source | hide]

Do you think the other articles should be rolled back or the POV sections be rewritten? This is for discussion at this stage, but could be a subject for a future RfC or RfCs. Please keep the main discussion focused on the Four Noble Truths, and discuss the other articles here, thanks!

Again, no threading, please discuss in #Discussion of the comments, otherwise it will be hard to have a clear idea of what everyone's views are on the matter.

Comments[edit source | hide]

(no threading)

  • Comment I support full rollback of Karma in Buddhism and Nirvana (Buddhism) as well. It would be far easier to fix the old versions, and introduce improvements to them, that to fix the new versions. In particular I think it is especially important to restore the old sections 2 - 8 of the Karma in Buddhism article, as Andi attempted [16]. Also I support a rewrite of all the POV sections recently added to many articles on Anderson's book. Robert Walker (talk)
  • Comment In the cases of Anatta and Dzogchen, the original articles did have many issues to fix. For those, I support restoring the original ledes, and deleted sections for discussion. In particular the section on Modern Thai movements covering the important Anatta / Atman debate in Thailand in the Anatta article needed to be fixed, not removed. Similarly for the section on Trungpa Rinpoche's introduction of the Sanskrit term Maha ati for Dzogchen, in the Dzogchen article. It didn't have any citations to back it up, but these are easy to find. See for instance [17] and [18], Maha Ati and google scholar search [19]. For another example, in my view, Anatta in western Philosophy is an excellent section in the old article which should never have been deleted. So I support restoring all the deleted sections for discussion. Since the Anatta article was rapidly reduced to a fifth of its original size, over two days [20], a full rollback might be the simplest way to achieve this. Robert Walker (talk)

Discussion of the comments[edit source | hide]

  1. . doi:10.1061/~ASCE!0893-1321~2005!18:3~188!.  Missing or empty |title= (help)