CZ Talk:Politics Workgroup

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I think that although the articles listed in the box are reasonable, we actually need short essays which will integrate many of these ideas thematically. So, in the absence of [apparently] any other living Politics editors, I suggest a short list below --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 16:22, 27 September 2007 (CDT)

The box is unfinished, so I suggest the following additions to the list:

  • under ideologies: utilitarianism
  • under theorists: Rousseau, Mill, Pericles (for the Athenian ideal of democracy) Thomas Aquinas, John Rawls.
  • under political systems: representative government (the system we now live under!)

Nick Gardner 04:49, 15 November 2007 (CSTKleineidam)

Can I also suggest we add Technocray under ideologies as well? Andrew Alexander Wallace 05:36, 5 May 2008 (CDT)

Can I add Michael Oakeshott to theorists? Yi Zhe Wu 14:30, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Electoral College

I'd like to get Electoral College started towards approval. I'm certain that some expert eyes will find plenty of things which should be improved. So, please have at! In particular:

  1. Is there anything important which should be in this article but isn't yet?
  2. Is any of the exposition unclear or confusing?
  3. Are there any factual errors?
  4. Is the overall structure of the article sound?

Reply here or at the article's discussion page. Thanks, Anthony Argyriou 15:22, 7 May 2007 (CDT)

Some tentative attempts at drafting

In drafting an article on Politics and a linked article on Political Party, I have been conscious of the danger of stepping on the toes of people better qualified for that purpose. I was encouraged, however, by the belief that what was available appeared to be incomplete or obscure. But in drafting all-inclusive articles of that sort, the difficulty is how to hold the reader’s interest in the main issues without misleading him by over-simplification – and I am far from confident that I have got the balance right. I will readily withdraw if my drafts are beyond redemption in that respect, but my hope is that my fellow CZ writers will help by correcting what is misleading, and expanding the text where necessary, without insisting upon the inclusion of excessive detail that would better be in linked articles. Nick Gardner 16:48, 1 December 2007 (CST)

Some Updates

In the spirit of Collaboration Week (and so that Martin doesn't have to continue to feel alone here) I added the suggestions made above, which I thought were all good ones. (I assumed Alexander left a C out of Technocracy above. If that isn't so, he can add Technocray to the listing also - and explain what it may be.)

The large number of additions to the list of political theorists came straight from the TOC of Eberstein & Eberstein, Great Political Thinkers. (5th edition, 1991, I'm sorry to say!) I was delighted to see the number of listings for which there were already CZ entries, and look forward to development of the rest.

There are still a host of contemporary additions that might be made to that list, including Robert Nozick (Anarchy, State and Utopia), Benjamin Barber (Strong Democracy), Amatai Etzioni, (Communitarianism), Michael Sandel, and a host of new political economy, citizenship, civil society and social capital writers. Roger Lohmann 08:24, 27 June 2008 (CDT)

While I can't speak to technocray, perhaps technocraw is the mechanism of governance among mechanical birds? Howard C. Berkowitz 18:09, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Myanmar (formerly Burma)

Absurd name

To me. Burma seems obviously the correct name for the article, of course with a redirect from Myanmar. Domerque gave the reasons above.

I would not object much to an article at Myanmar, with Burma as a redirect. That's what we did on Wikitravel [1] [2]. It really does not make much difference which is the article & which the redirect.

I'd say, though, that the current title is ridiculous; the sooner it goes, the better.

Also, someone above suggested separate articles for Burma & Myanmar. No! They are the same country. There might be separate articles for, say History of Burma, or Burma Road, or Myanmar junta, or whatever. However, there should be only one main article, called either Burma or Myanmar, with the other as a redirect. Sandy Harris 12:54, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Sandy, I am not renaming the country. This is the title of an article and the title is accurate both legally and historically. If the CZ search engine fails to find things properly, this is not my problem: the computer people can make it work better instead of telling others how to do their jobs. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 13:04, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Suggestion David Finn 13:12, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Actually, the current title is appalling historically. The military government renamed the place Myanmar about 20 years ago. The opposition make a point of continuing to call it Burma.
From the wiki point of view, we can use either name with the other as a redirect. Probably the best compromise is to use Myanmar as an article title, since it is the current official name. Using Burma as the title would arguably be making a political statement that does not belong here.
However, your "Myanmar, formerly Burma" appears to make the opposite political statement, accepting the junta's name without reservation. Sandy Harris 13:35, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it has had the official name of Myanmar for 20 years. Before that, it had the official name of Burma. Opponents of the current regime don't like the new name. So what? Is CZ supposed to be a platform for political dissidence? Or opposition to dictatorships? No, it has to represent the world accurately and fairly. It is a simple fact that the country is legally called Myanmar. It is a simple historical fact that formerly it was called Burma. All of these personal agendas and opinions that people are bringing up here have no place on CZ. i have my own agendas and personal opinions, which I do not even mention here. I suggest you all rethink what CZ is about, because it is not supposed to be a political forum. There is a big difference between political science and politics, as Howard keeps on reminding us. Politics has no place on CZ, other than to be reported by us. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 14:20, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
The country is legally called Myanmar? Big deal.
Do we have an article on Brunei Darussalam? No. That is the official UN name for a country, but we have an article called Brunei because that's what people call it in English.
Maybe an article called Democratic People's Republic of Korea? Nope, North Korea, because that's what we all know it as, despite the UN ruling.
Iran (Islamic Republic of)/Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic/Laos, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya/Libya, Republic of Korea/South Korea, Syrian Arab Republic/Syria, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland/United Kingdom, Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of/Venezuela.
There is no need to politicize the situation - you have Myanmar, the official name, and Burma, perhaps the more widely used name.
I say perhaps because not once has anyone introduced a reference of any kind to support their position. Is Myanmar more commonly used than Burma? Then it's a home run as far as article naming goes, it should be Myanmar. Is Burma more widely used? Then, despite anyones idea of what the official name is, and like Brunei, North Korea and all the rest, this article should be called Burma.
Myanmar (formerly Burma) has the distinction of being widely used by no-one. There are good reasons for either Burma or Myanmar, but this "compromise" is pandering to the political beliefs of individual citizens and is unencyclopedic. David Finn 14:53, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
OK, I am not prepared to discuss this any more. This is a muddled debate where non-experts are refusing expert guidance. The formal and short name co-existence is very normal across the world: there is no political controversy about those names, and no actual change of name registered in the international community. It is not a matter of how many websites refer to Burma or which languages the names derive from. All of these arguments are Wikipedia style debate, and not appropriate on CZ. I have made my decision on how to handle this, and it is up to the Editorial Council to accept or reject it. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 15:19, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Once again, and quick, I'd like to remind some objective facts, regarding neutrality policy, without any political involvement:
1. Burma is a traditional and widespread use in English. This is a fact.
2. Myanmar belongs to a recent (20 years old), formal use in English, promoted by the Burmese junta (and registered by the UN). This is a fact.
3. The new, promoted English name Myanmar has not replaced yet the traditional English name Burma. Both names coexist, this is a fact.
4. Let's talk about law. The Burmese junta has no legal power concerning language planning in the English language, since: (a) English is not an official language in Burma, (b) English has no prescriptive academy, (c) correct use in English is decided therefore by speakers and registered by good dictionaries. This is a fact.
5. In the Burmese language (the sole state language of Burma, upon which the Burmese junta has a legal power), the short name of the country has never changed officially: it was before the junta, and still is, Bama in colloquial Burmese or Myanma—without final r—in formal Burmese. This is a fact.
6. In conclusion, CZ neutrality policy requires one of the following solutions concerning the article's title:
(a) The title could be "Burma" according to common English use (Myanmar being redirected to Burma): best solution for me.
(b) The title could be "Myanmar" according to one formal use of English (Burma being redirected to Myanmar): not the best solution regarding my sensibility in linguistics, but an understandable solution from a certain point of view.
(c) The title can't be "Myanmar (formerly Burma)" since: (i) Burma is not a former name but a current name —this is a fact—, (ii) such a title is odd and non pedagogical.
7. We should avoid two articles, since the country remains the same (and since its name has never changed in Burmese).
--Domergue Sumien 17:49, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

I, too, think that "Myanmar (formerly Burma)" is a bad choice. It has to be one name. Following the arguments above there are two arguments that lead to the same name:
  • "Myanmar" is the official international name for the current state (as recognized by the UN).
  • "Myanmar" is (and was) the (formal) name used in the native language.
Choosing this name is a logical and systematic choice, not a political statement. The facts above can and should be explained in a section on the name.
Redirects with definitions should point to "Myanmar" from Burma (= traditional English name of Myanmar.) and "Bama" (= informal short name of Myanmar in Burmese.)
--Peter Schmitt 18:30, 13 October 2010 (UTC)


Just to make sure we are all clear, then, as another Politics editor not involved in the discussion let me attempt a brief recap of this issue: 1) There seem to be two principal positions over naming the Myanmar (formerly Burma) article: a) Call the article Myanmar; b) Call the article Burma. At the present, the article is under the sole authority of the Politics workgroup, and as the Politics editor overseeing this article Martin has endorsed the former (Myanmar), and there doesn't seem any rationale at all for keeping "(formerly Burma)" in the title. There does seem to be a case for redirecting searches for Burma to this article, and there is a good bit of useful information in this discussion (particularly with reference to controversy over what the country is called in English) that still needs to be incorporated into the article. As another Politics editor, Howard's concern seems to be with content issues, and not with the name question. Thus, it appears the matter can be resolved without further need for discussion, and it looks to me like Martin should proceed with the steps necessary to rename the article (cutting out (formerly Burma) and overseeing the inclusion of the additional content.

Is that about it? Roger A. Lohmann 19:41, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

P.S.: Adding material from the talk page will add considerably to the present length of the article, and I hope someone involved in the debate will do so. Also, the Bot has suggested what appear to be a number of inappropriate items on the Related Articles page, and someone should cull them. Roger A. Lohmann 19:45, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
This debate is dragging on and on. The naming of the article was made as a compromise between two factions after some discussion on the Forum, and to be frank it is also informational. I am not opposed to renaming the article Myanmar which is its formal and legal name. However, I do not accept the principle that the name for a CZ article on a country has to consist solely of the country name; nor do I accept the possibility of other articles with alternative names for the same country. Of course, there has to be a redirect from Burma to the page. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 20:13, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Update: there are two pages redirecting to Myanmar (formerly Burma) -- namely, Burma and Myanmar. The article cannot be moved to Myanmar without deleting its page history. Quite frankly, I wonder if it is worth all the effort. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 22:09, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Both have never been anything else as redirects. It is not a problem to delete such redirects. But, if preferred, the page histories could be merged instead. --Peter Schmitt 22:25, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

(undent) Let me recap. I have no objection whatsoever to an article on Myanmar. At the same time, there is good reason for an article on historical events that took place under the name Burma, especially when Burma is embedded in names such as China-Burma-India theater.

There is, however, no country named "Myanmar (formerly Burma)". For reasons that are mostly technical/user-oriented, this is a bad article name. An article name is frequently different than the topic name in the lede, for several reasons. Some special characters can be incompatible with titles. In other cases, for the lede sentence to make sense, it may be necessary to insert connector words within the article name.

My objections would be satisfied if:

  1. Myanmar (formerly Burma) moves to Myanmar, merging page histories as needed
  2. There is a Burma article for things that took place before the change of name to Myanmar.
  3. No assumption is made that a ruling on one article sets CZ-wide policy, although I suppose the objecting editor could rule under every occurrence of the term. In that case, I await China-Myanmar-India Theater or the Myanmar Road and Ledo Road, the actual titles of articles including "Burma"
  4. The Myanmar and Burma have mutual seealso, perhaps with an explanation
  5. The idea that there cannot be multiple names for a country is not accepted. Consider Dai Viet, Vietnam under the Nguyen Dynasty (or perhaps Annam), French Indochina, Republic of Vietnam and Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

I don't really see that as content, except marginally so in article names, which must reflect technical constraints. We don't have the customary 9/11 attack, because a slash cannot be in a title.

I see the insistence by one Editor that all defer to him as a behavioral problem. Nothing in CZ rules makes an Editor in one workgroup infallible and not subject to challenge, especially by other Editors of the same workgroup. --Howard C. Berkowitz 04:20, 14 October 2010 (UTC)


Article 39 of the Charter states "An Ombudsman is available to mediate any dispute. Agreements worked out through mediation shall be binding but may be appealed."

I've been asked to look into this dispute. As the elections haven't yet taken place we have no official Ombudsman in post, but if there are no objections I will act as Ombudsman in this instance.

The intent of the post of Ombudsman is to come to a swift resolution of disputes. I do not expect anyone to think that I am wiser or more knowledgeable than anyone else here, and I do not expect to find a solution that everyone agrees with. However, what I do expect is that my decisions will be respected even by those who disagree with them, in the interests of getting past a dispute with minimal animosity and moving on.

As far as I can see there has been a lot written already, here and in a small flood of e-mails to me that I haven't yet read. I haven't yet formed any sort of judgement on the merits of the dispute. As far as I know (without having read anything) I have no conceivable conflict of interest and certainly no preformed judgements. If you're willing to accept dispute resolution with me as mediator, then

  • Please stop writing about this, here or on the forum or on the Talk pages. I can't keep up with a constant turbulent flow. If there is anything you wish to say that is germane to this dispute, beyond what has already been said, e-mail me, but keep it very concise and to the point. I am not interested in personal disagreements. I will begin by reading all that has already been written, if I need further clarification I will ask for it. I will work in strict accordance with the Charter and fundamental principles; I am not infallible, but I will explain the grounds for my decision.
  • Please refrain from any actions or any writing that is likely to add heat but not necessarily light.

I ask the Constables to promptly remove any potentially disruptive text or any pre-emptive editing, pending resolution; I ask them to use their good judgement in this, and expect them to err on the side of deleting if in doubt; this is my request in the interests of calm, and no complaints should be addressed to them. Please regard this topic as frozen - of course minor editorial work can continue on the article, but do not change the nature of the article in a substantive way.

There's no need to register your agreement to my role here, but I think there is a need to register your unwillingness to accept binding mediation in this case.

I'll try to proceed as swiftly as possible; you will have to accept that I have other pressures, and there will be some delay.Gareth Leng 08:45, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

On a first reading of the dispute, and on my reading of the Charter it seems that my role should be to a) identify any specific points on which policy decisions are required from the Editorial Council and Management Council, and interim decisions from the ME, and b) effect an interim solution to dissipate the present dispute pending those decisions, in accordance with Article 24 - minimal bureacracy.

I can proceed with a). You can also ask me to propose an interim solution (b). I don't at present see much point in seeking a solution negotiated through multiple bilateral discussion as the issues are likely to be reviewed by Councils anyway. The alternative to inviting me to propose an interim solution would probably be to freeze that article and discussion pending an interim decision from the new ME. I don't see any point in me proposing a solution without general agreement that it should be binding pending Council and ME decisions. I invite brief comments as to whether you want an interim decision from me in the interests of simplicity and speed. If there's general (not necessarily universal) agreement that's how I'll proceed. Gareth Leng 12:07, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

As I am not opposed to changing the current title to Myanmar, since the current title was my attempt to compromise, then there is no point in opposing an interim solution. The only question in my mind is the appropriateness of an article with this title, as opposed to an article title consisting solely of the country name (Myanmar): this is covered by your point (a) as an issue of CZ policy. Therefore I am happy with both (a) and (b). Martin Baldwin-Edwards 13:35, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Constables ready

  • I ask the Constables to promptly remove any potentially disruptive text or any pre-emptive editing, pending resolution; I ask them to use their good judgement in this, and expect them to err on the side of deleting if in doubt; this is my request in the interests of calm, and no complaints should be addressed to them.

The only change to the article that is pertinent to this debate is the title. There are no edits within the article that are disputed. The main thread on the fora concerning this article is located at Burma/Myanmar. Since forum discussion does not have a history, I hesitate to delete relevant discussion as some has editorial value. I have previously removed what I perceived as personal attacks that add no value to the discussion at hand. All deletions have been moved to the Constable wiki. D. Matt Innis 12:45, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Ombudsman statement

I have the agreement of Martin above and Howard by e- mail that I may make a swift decision that will be binding pending future Editorial Council decisions. This matter has been relatively straightforward given the very lucid helpful and insightful text from several parties above. My decision is simple:

The disputed article should be titled “Myanmar” with a redirect from “Burma” pending a decision from the Editorial Council on Citizendium-wide policy. Additional workgroups should be added to the article if and when material is added to the article that, in the opinion of editors from those workgroups, requires expert guidance from those workgroups.

More importantly, I am placing before the Editorial Council requests for them to address two relevant areas where possible changes of policy should be considered. You may view those here and add comments as appropriate.Gareth Leng 16:37, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

The Myanmar (formerly Burma) has been moved to Myanmar and a redirect remains from Burma as directed. D. Matt Innis 16:47, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
I cheerfully accept that ruling. If I may, could you clarify two things:
  • Where should pre-Myanmar historical information go? Example: more than one person has mentioned expanding, for background, the discussion of Burma vis-a-vis WWII history such as the China-Burma-India theater or Burma Road and Leto Road. Perhaps a subarticle History of Myanmar?
  • This ruling does not dictate the changing of Burma to Myanmar in existing articles. I think redirects will solve that.
--Howard C. Berkowitz 20:56, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
It seems very clear to me that when the country was actually known as Burma, then historical articles on it can be called that. But there should be careful links made with the existing main country article. Maybe some of them would be appropriate as subpages rather than separate articles. I don't think we need a ruling on this, because we agree on it. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 21:04, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Again, I'm glad we are in basic agreement. Yes, any historical articles need both redirect and at least {{seealso}} For the case that is reasonably at hand, would Burma in World War Two work for you? Howard C. Berkowitz 22:44, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

I suppose so. I always write World War II in published work...Martin Baldwin-Edwards 23:02, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't disagree. Nevertheless, my History colleagues, in a pleasant enough discussion, outvoted me on my similar preference -- well, I actually prefer Second World War -- so we have World War Two in the Pacific and I'm trying to stay consistent. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:15, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

Well Played!

It appears a resolution to this issue has been achieved. A hearty three cheers to all the Constables, Editors and Authors who contributed to this issue and saw it through to a resolution. Viva la Republic of CZ! Roger A. Lohmann 11:45, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

The loudest cheers should be for our new Ombudsman! Martin Baldwin-Edwards 13:04, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Hear hear! I think, Roger, that only the Brits get to say "Well Played!" Howard C. Berkowitz 17:26, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. Sandy Harris 04:27, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
Next, you're going to tell me I can't drink Guinness because I'm not Irish? ;-) Roger A. Lohmann 17:50, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

I am more than happy to see the better British habits taken up elsewhere. Sadly, the UK itself tends to import the worst aspects of the USA which gives a very poor impression of Yankees to those who have never visited the US. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 18:36, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Ya'all come back now, hear? ;-) Roger A. Lohmann 18:56, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Standardizing aspects of country naming

I note that we have several different reasons to refer to a name of a country in article titles, as well as in subordinate articles. Some standardization would be useful; I am not wedded to any exact wording although I think it is worth noting the classes of article. I'll happily stipulate the UN name when one exists.

For main articles, we have:

There will be subordinate articles, which can inherit the UN name where applicable. THese blur from Politics into Military.

--Howard C. Berkowitz 17:41, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Please wait until the EC is in place for a proper discussion of this. For the moment, just do the best you can with the naming.Martin Baldwin-Edwards 17:50, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
In no way do I want to usurp the EC; I merely suggest that some thought now would help them. Just as a practical issue, I'm trying to decide if, for example, Burma (colony) or Burma in WWII is a better name and how it should work with the redirects -- I'm increasingly thinking that a disambiguation page might be a good idea. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:06, 19 October 2010 (UTC)