From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is a stub and thus not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
To learn how to fill out this checklist, please see CZ:The Article Checklist. To update this checklist edit the metadata template.
 Definition An Islamist and Shi'a group, centered in Lebanon, which has conducted terrorism there and worldwide, but also acts a shadow government and provides public services [d] [e]


Howard--a pre-emptive strike (groan)...the reason for "Hezbollah" is very obvious: it is the common name in English. This should be our starting-point. If you want to argue, heroically, that it should be "Hezballah," be my guest, but we are going to start the article as "Hezbollah." --Larry Sanger 21:41, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Larry, please cite an authority for that it is the most common single transliteration in English. I am trying to create an article, to which there will be multiple redirects for every transliteration I know; I'm not trying to provoke naming arguments.
If you want the correct English name, it is Party of God, which then can be transliterated Hezb Allah. That being said, there are multiple transliterations. Can we try to get the article written with appropriate redirects and not stop the content from being written over transliteration arguments? When I worked for the Library of Congress, one of my projects was the multilanguage, multialphabet computer interface. Although that was before this group was formed, I am intimately familiar with both the problems of transliteration and the need for cross-indexing.
Now, if you were to go, for example, to the Library of Congress Subject Index, I would be happy to use whatever it considers the primary indexing term for this organization. Honestly, I don't know what they use. You will see, in my citation to Globalsecurity, a very well respected resource in politicomilitary affairs, that they use four different transliterations and explain the derivation. Please do me the same courtesy of citing the use of the name, and at least stop changing until I can get the redirects in place. I'm not trying to pre-empt anything. Howard C. Berkowitz 21:57, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
I know that everyone except stupid old me absolutely deprecates the use of Google as source for referencing how common some word or usage is (except, of course, when Google agrees with their own particular assertion), but I just did a Google for both "Hezbollah" and for "Hezballah", fully expecting that it would overwhelming support Larry's assertion. To my surprise, however, Google shows 5,610,000 hits for Hezbollah and 5,650,000 for Hezballah. That's really astonishingly close. So I'll leave it up to you gentlemen and any others to argue this particular one. Hayford Peirce 22:24, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Hayford, my point is that is there is no single spelling or "common usage" of many of these terms, especially across languages and orthography/transliteration. If one wanted to title the article "Party of God", and then have every redirect possible to it, I'd be absolutely fine with it. For user accessibility, the best we can do is lots of redirects, and, for that matter, to supplement with less common names in text, which Google, etc., will find.
No, I can't say I agree with Google as a source of usage. There are, in many fields, authoritative naming criteria, such as Medical Subject Headings; I'll check if the Library of Congress subject heading index is on the Internet (when I worked there, I had in-house access). Howard C. Berkowitz 22:29, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually, Hayford, if you do the search again and enclose the search terms in quotation marks you'll see that "Hezballah" garners 85,500 hits vs. the 5.6 million for "Hezbollah". Google evidently has some algorithm that equates Hezbollah and Hezballah (when not in quotes) and gives you mostly the same results, in slightly different order. When you put the words in quotes, it bypasses the algorithm and gives you something closer to the tally of pages that use the exact spellings.
There is, of course, a more common spelling of the word in English, and it is, of course, "Hezbollah." And a 5 million-to-80 thousand difference in Google results does indicate that one spelling is more common than the other.
A relevant Citizendium policy does exist--duly passed, on CZ:Romanization. But it doesn't really give us any advice here, as far as I can tell. (It does say, "Don't give every possible transliteration, or even a large number of them, in the lede; if a lengthy treatment on names is required (e.g. for Beijing), it should go in a separate section.") But CZ:Naming Conventions tells us to use the most common names, as long as they are not actually incorrect from a scholarly point of view, and so I think using the common spellings is also in keeping with the spirit of that rule.
Perhaps we should settle the matter more definitively in the Editorial Council. I would be in favor of a general rule that we follow the common spelling, unless we have some compelling reason not to (which we don't, in this case). --Larry Sanger 01:45, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
More data points. Check Google Books: "Hezbollah" in book titles (187 hits) versus "Hezballah" (one) and "Hizbollah" (29) and "Hizballah" (29). Come to think of it, one thing Howard has never explained is why he insisted so adamantly on "Hezballah" when, as he has said, there is no common spelling. So why prefer "Hezballah"? --Larry Sanger 01:52, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation, Larry! I really was puzzled by the Google results! I really should have thought of putting the two words into quotation marks -- I certainly will in the future if I ever do a similar search. Hayford Peirce 02:13, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
As for the name to use, I have *long* been a champion of the "common sense" and "most used" etc. version of names and titles, no matter *what* more learned persons than I, such as Howard, obviously, and also Prof. Jensen, may fulminate about the wanton usage of the masses. I'm not a certified CZ "expert", of course, or an editor, but I submit that for a poor old guy with just an ordinary BA in English, my own judgment of these matters is just as good as theirs. It just seems to me that frequently there is a lot of "angels dancing on the head of pin" stuff here. I know that we want to be an *exact* and *reliable* encyclopedia, but I really don't think the whole enterprise will sink or swim on the basis of using some excruciatingly precise article title here and there as opposed to the more common usages. To me, the whole business brings to mind the almost certainly apocryphal story of the learned professor who devoted his life to proving that Homer did *not* write (recite) the Iliad and Ody. -- another man named Homer did! Hayford Peirce 02:13, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Point of personal privilege: Howard was not "adamant" about any specific name, in that he expected to have redirects for all common spellings. Howard actually fails to see why there is so much fuss about the primary article title, when there will be redirects; Howard would much rather have spent time working on content of the article about the Party of God, which is the correct English translation as opposed to transliteration.
I repeat: I agree things should be accessible, but we seem to differ about redirects achieving the purpose. Does Google not make hits on redirects? If so, why are people arguing about the original title of the article? Did the lede not contain every one, and more, of the transliterations and translations, all of which would be found by search engines?
Howard was adamant about having some name to create the page, and then make the page as accessible as possible. He really would have preferred dealing with the complex relationships of the Party of God, the official Lebanese government, Iran, and Syria. He really would have preferred dealing with the warfare between the Party of God and Israel. He simply wanted a name to enter so he could edit the body of the article. At this point, he suggests Party of God, with redirects. He doesn't understand the fervor about the primary page name -- when he identifies as a programmer, he thinks of it as a file name. When he looks at his library science expertise, having spent a good deal of his career working with the world's largest library, he knows that the items in its collections have unique catalog numbers, analogous to primary page names, a Library of Congress call number, and then many index entries in subject and author catalogs.
Howard would still like to work on content, not arguments. Indeed, he might even, as a subject matter expert, might want to work on the tactics and weapons of the military wing of the Party of God. He really doesn't regard the name as a first priority, but hesitates to work on content when the naming remains so emotional. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:03, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
"Howard would still like to work on content, not arguments" -- I would like to meet that Howard. --Larry Sanger 19:04, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Neutrality and "best known"

For the record, I absolutely agree the Party of God uses the tactic of terrorism. As Francis Fukuyama put it, declaring a "war on terror" has the semantic rigor of declaring a "war on submarines". Terrorism, to any serious military analyst, is a tactic/doctrine. It is different than many organizations using that tactic in that it holds territory and provides governmental services; it is not limited to clandestine attacks.

Is the U.S. Army a "AirLand Battle" organization? The Royal Navy a "Sea Dart and Amphibious organization"? Agreed that that there are organizations that conduct terrorism. Nevertheless, the most important thing about this one starts with its reason for being: it is Islamic, Shiite, anti-Western, and anti-Israel, with alliances with Iran and Syria. Do I have to make an Editor Ruling that "terrorist organization" is not professionally accepted as a descriptor, although the media and politicians love the term? Might CZ: Neutrality Policy come to mind? When changing something I was actively editing, to the point of edit conflict, was that "writing sympathetically?" Howard C. Berkowitz 22:18, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

(BTW I was not the one who added the above template.)
Howard, I know you didn't actually ask my advice, but I'll give it to you anyway. The best general strategy to avoid conflicts when working on a wiki is to show a spirit of collaboration by giving way on minor points (in other words, choose your battles wisely), and then proposing, or accepting, reasonable compromises on the more major points.
Also, nobody "takes over" articles. This is a wiki. Hence, this article was never "yours" to begin with, so that someone else even could "take it over." --Larry Sanger 23:55, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Take over? No. When active writes and saves are in progress, I consider it courteous to give the writer an hour or so of work time, just to avoid edit conflicts. No, it's not mine. I'm just not going to work on it any more. My own sense of courtesy is such that I like to try to give an author a chance to get his first set of words in place.
Some of the naming points are not, to me, minor. If anyone seriously wants to characterize an organization as terrorist, without addressing why they commit terrorism, that's not minor to me. I have been told repeatedly that I need to write for the enemy. The Party of God is not my friend, but when I tried to state their self-identification, it was changed. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:04, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Oh -- I think a {{nocomplaints}} might be warranted for groans and allegations of preemptive strikes. But that's just me, of course. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:05, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, I was referring to my pre-emptive strike on this talk page (i.e., starting the inevitable debate, you see), and the "groan" was a lame attempt at humor...relating to how the U.S. has dealt with terrorists-supporting regimes... --Larry Sanger 00:36, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
What, objectively, is a terrorist-supporting regime? Not all terror, incidentally, involves the U.S. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:41, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
So you do understand that I was not intending to complain about you, right? I was hoping you understood that. As to your insight that not all terror involves the U.S.--yeah, I kind of already knew that. --Larry Sanger 02:53, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
As for the first, no, I did not understand that you were not intending to complain about me. Second, I did not understand "how the U.S. has dealt with terrorist-supporting regimes" related to the points under discussion. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:41, 9 March 2009 (UTC)