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User:Slrubenstein

Hi. I have nothing to say about myself beyond what I contribute to articles, which I hope reflects my knowledge and interests but not my biases, and to talk pages, in which I try to be honest about my biases, especially if someone asks.

Since I have been here people have posted questions and comments to my user page and talk page indisriminately. I don't much care. I will usually try to respond on your own talk page, but sometimes I respond here as well.

User:SlRubenstein (archive 1)

User:SlRubenstein (archive 2)


I resent your tone on the China talk page. I do research for a living and research anything I work on here on wiki. I have spent a ludicrous amount of time working on wiki. I ran up a phone bill of 400 euros in work for this encyclopŠdia (I have to pay by the minute). So I do not appreciate the suggestion that I don't check my facts. In the past week I have sent 6 emails to organisations for information, made 9 phone calls, sought permission from 3 sources to use pictures and worked on a large number of articles, all for wiki. So please don't lecture me on research or commitment to wiki. ╔═REman 20:08 Apr 24, 2003 (UTC)

JTDIRL, Although I admit that my feelings of frustration and anger were provoked as much by 172 as by you, I cannot apologize for my remarks, although I had no doubt that you resent them. But let us be clear ? I was not suggesting that you have no commitment to research or Wikipedia in general. I was criticizing your continuous inability to engage in a respectful and meaningful dialogue with other Wikipedians ? a good many of whom are at least as dedicated to Wikipedia, and research, as you. Believe it or not, I and others also do research, and it is personally insulting and professionally unconstructive when someone (in this case you) is utterly dismissive of other people?s work. When this whole exchange began, you wrote:

A socialist state is meaningless and not used by political scientists as a definition of the state. It may define the politics of the state, but that is a different thing entirely.

And I explained that there are political scientists who do call China a socialist state; I also cited a journal. At one point, you responded with this ? and if you want to, please explain to me in what universe you could possibly believe someone such as myself would not ?resent? the tone and content of this patronizing and dismissive remark:

It is like groundhog day here. The facts regarding definitions are explained. Then people misunderstand or misrepresent them, go off on irrelevant tangents, so the facts are explained again, people come back, misunderstand them, misrepresent them, go off on tangents so the facts are explained again, people come back misrepresent them . . . . oh God, will someone please wake me up from this nightmare!!! ╔╔══REman 23:21 Apr 23, 2003 (UTC) (Monty Python should make a film of this page. It is surreal enough!)

Let?s be very clear: I did not accuse you of ?never? doing research ? as you know from the past I have (and continue to have) a high regard for your knowledge of Irish history and politics. I did, however, accuse you for not doing research on Chinese politics, and I certainly will go so far as to qualify that now by saying that you did not seem willing to demonstrate to me or others that you had done any research, or share that research with the community. You simply made a bald assertion and refused to consider any alternative. You made a claim that no one identifies China as a socialist state, and gave no evidence. I did give evidence of people who identify China as a socialist state, and you ignored my evidence only to reassert the bald claim. I resent that.

I have checked some books published by university presses, and refereed journals, and have given examples of scholars using the term ?socialist state.? I have talked with tenured professors of sociology, anthropology, and political scientists, and have been told the following: virtually all anthropologists and sociologists classify China as a socialist state. In the past most political scientists classified it as a communist state, but most are abandoning that position. Some categorize China as an authoritarian state (contrary to the claims of some Wikipedians); some categorize it as a post-socialist state, although my own friends who are China scholars reject that; they prefer ?late-socialist state?. So you see, I do research too.

Let me continue to be clear -- I am not motivated by marxist ideology nor interested in marxist ideology, market reforms, or anything else. My only question is, how doe Western scholars describe the Chinese state -- I have done some research, and found than many if not most describe it as "socialist." How they go about classifying states, or what thye mean by socialist, is -- in this particular matter -- not of interest to me. All I want to know is how they classify China.

But given your pompous and disrespectful attitude towards your colleagues, I am sure you will ignore this and simply respond by asserting once again, ?No one calls China a socialist state? and accuse me of going off on tangents and misrepresenting or misunderstanding you. Believe it or not, at this point I can live with that. Slrubenstein 21:20 Apr 24, 2003 (UTC)

Yet again, you continue to misunderstand the point I and 172 have been making over and over and over and over again. We are talking about a FORMAL ENCYCLOPĂDIC DEFINITION, not an analysis of the nature of the political system. There IS NO SUCH THING as a FORMAL ENCYCLOPĂDIC DEFINITION called 'socialist state'. China's political system may be classed by some as a socialist state, but that is a generalised assessment of the nature of Chinese politics. But we are talking are talking simply about the FORMAL CATEGORY, repeat formal category, nothing more. 'Socialist' is an alward title because it means something different to US-based political scientists (who view it as far left), to northern Europeans (who view it as a form of social democracy), to southern Europeans (whose understanding of the term differs in Spain, Portugal and Italy), to Eastern Europe (where it is seen as everything from social democrat to moderate communist) to different parts of Africa (where it veers between hard left to middle of the road). Some see Tony Blair as a socialist, others call him a social democrat and call Tony Benn a socialist. Some called Francois Mitterand a socialist, others a number of different terms. Some think Gorbachev a socialist, others don't. So 'socialist state' means almost anything or nothing depending on whether the wiki reader comes from a British political culture background, a US political culture background, a French political culture background, a South African political culture background, an Australian political culture background, an Eastern European political culture background, an Asian political culture background etc. THAT is why no such universal term exists and why as a formal encyclopŠdic definition it is not used.

In addition it tells us nothing about the system of government, which is what a formal encyclopŠdic definition is supposed to do. Communist state does. It tells us that it is a left wing one party system in which the state and the party are embedded in each other, in which power resides not in the state institutions (the norm in liberal democracies) but in the party, with party officials who in reality may not hold state office holding power in a manner that would be restricted to a state office holder in a liberal democracy. That is what is meant by communist state; nothing more, nothing less, and 'socialist state' doesn't clarify whether it is a one-party or multiparty system let alone the relationship between party and state institutions. There is a narrow range of formal encyclopŠdic definitions for states; from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy/popular monarchy, federation, confederation, federal republic, etc. Communist state features on that list as a formal type of state. Socialist state does not.

By all means debate the nature of the political system and how communistic or socialistic or any other -istic Chinese politics is. But that IS NOT WHAT WE ARE DISCUSSING. We are talking SIMPLY about a FORMAL ENCYCLOPĂDIC DEFINITION, slotting in the description of the constitutional system into a known category. It is pain having to constantly repeat this. Everytime it is repeated you come back, completely miss the point and start arguing about classifications of the politics of China. Then it is repeated again that we are discussing the formal encycloŠdic definition or classification, and you come back, go off on another tangent again about classifications of the politics of China. Please please please understand the issue being discussed and stop going off into debates to do with an analysis of the system of politics when all we are discussing is the system of government. ╔═REman 00:04 Apr 25, 2003 (UTC)

I have no idea what you mean by "FORMAL ENCYCLOPEDIC DEFINITION" as an appeal to authority -- it is precisely the definition of the CHinese state that we are trying to establish. The question is, how does one go about establishing a formal encyclopedia definition? I have stated my method: survey scholarly literature. Slrubenstein


I'm such an admirer of your contributions, it's a shame that I had to be involved in a long protracted edit war with you over a single word. Do you want to go back to more constructive endeavors, like the history of the Soviet Union?

Sorry for the contentious nature of the debate.

172


Sometimes I wonder why I bother arguing with you,
I didn't know you had ever argued with me. I certainly do not recall ever arguing with you.
I might as well argue with a rock.
If you say so. I do know know what your experieinces of having argued with rocks has been like.
You seems to have a concept of "mighty is righty".
hmmmm. I will have to think about it. At least here at Wikipedia it does not matter; no one (with the arguable exception of administrators, of which I am not) here does anything through "might," or has more "might" than anyone else...
By the way, you are right.
Uh, thanks. Not sure what you are talking about.
So stop exporting your righteous.
Don't worry! They recently revoked my export license for "righteous." I actually stopped exporting "righteous" a year and a half ago, when the price started to drop!
Wikipedia does not belong to you.
Well, it doesn't belong to anyone, does it? Or does it belong to all of us?
There are 6 billion other people on the planet.
Oops -- I think it just went up to Six billion and one. No, two. Dammit!
Or do you claim to speak for them as well?
No, so far you seem to be the only one making that claim (that, or you are writing from the world's most crowded internet-cafe!)

Dear SlRubenstein,

I am grateful for your frank comments regarding my abstract Zionism article. I wonder if you can help me resolve some confusion:

"An article on African-American separatism or nationalism can discuss "Zion" used as a metaphor -- but put it in its context, in its proper place. I do not know of any African-Americans who have used Zionism as a metaphor, but if any have -- again, put that in its apporpriate article."
Zionism as a metaphor
"it isn't a metaphor"

Does this mean that if I create an article entitled 'Zion as a metaphor" as opposed to "Abstract Zionism", you will work together with me on getting this the way it should be? If you'd rather discuss this by email, I have no problem with that. user:ericross


Which talk page do you want me to read, then? Since I checked both yours and mine... -- User:172.150.241.163
Sorry, I meant the talk page for the article in question; I also just posted a note to your user page. Slrubenstein
Great, thanks for the explanation. -- User:172.150.241.163

Hi Sirub, sorry for not getting back earlier. I can offer little sourced help on the article on PM of the US. While I have certainly seen the term and had two books that mentioned it, both were in a box of books that got lost in a house move some years back. The fun of house moves, eh! The earlier one from 1931 did talk about widespread belief that the speaker would become effectively a type of pm at the end of the 19th century. Unfortunately, not alone do I not have the book, given my frighteningly large library, I'm damned if I can even remember the name of it. The second one I think was by Howard Baker and criticised the imperial presidency, etc. It too was in that damned box. I think I have its name somewhere in some academic article I did about a decade ago. Sorry I can't be of more help. ╔═REman 23:52 May 14, 2003 (UTC)

Mr. User:Slrubenstein - Thank you for your reply, sir. It is unfortunate that there is a chance you may have misinterpreted the situation and/or forgot some of the Wikipedia policies and rules for contributing. (They are a lot of pages to read so I sympathize!) I understood that the policy of Mr. Wales in providing us the use of this site is that all users are respected equally irrespective of any claim as to education, skills, race, creed, or color made by some person logging in under whatever name they wish to use with whatever credentials they wish to claim. Ms. JHK arbitrarily and without just cause, deleted my work then when I pointed out the facts and Mr. Bauder concurred, they were restored. Ms. JHK of course has every right to research the matter and make any corrections if and when she can substantiate her changes to my work that shows I have made an error. Or, also, if the research I used draws different conclusions than the research she uses, we would discuss normal divergences of opinions and come to a mutually satisfactory answer in the best interests of Wikipedia as we are attempting to do on the List of French monarchs. Editing to improve, enhance and expand upon an article, is what the process is all about. I support that fully and would encourage Ms. JHK or you sir, to do that so as to improve upon anything I write or add to any article. It is the collective coming together of diverse experiences and the like that makes Wikipedia quite extraordinary, don’t you think? What is not done by users at Wikipedia, is the arbitrary reversal of any work posted by someone solely without foundation on the basis that someone “knows more than another and someday will get around to proving it.” As far as I know, Mr. Wales has not bestowed Ms. JHK with special status that allows her to override contributors without just cause because she claims to have certain knowledge. As a consequence, I would believe that Mr. Wales has not granted you special powers to set Ms. JHK above others. If he has, please advise me immediately so that I and other contributors will know what might happen to our efforts at Wikipedia. I’m certain you agree that special status based or not based on unproven claims of knowledge would quickly drive away any person wishing to make a contribution to Wikipedia and defeat the entire purpose of us ordinary people being here. I am sure Mr. Wales would agree that all contributors respect each other using reason and good dialog. I am trying very hard to cooperate and be a valued contributor but if you think I am out of line, or that it is your contention that it is the policy of Mr. Wales that some users are to be subordinate to certain others for any reason, please let us take up the issue with Mr. Wales. And please, if you can improve whatever little bit I was able to add to Clovis I, please do, improvements to the article are greatly welcomed. Now, I am not good with a computer. I have no idea how to revert things, so I would ask that you be kind enough to restore my work that you reverted for which I sincerely thank you in advance because I am continuing my Clovis research and want to add more to my work. And please Mr. User:Slrubenstein, have a very enjoyable and positive experience here at Wikipedia. Triton


Slr-- thanks for your kind words on my Talk page. I only wish we could collaborate on a revamped Race article-- I think we have the makings of a really excellent article and a few hours' effort from each of us would get us there. Unfortunately, I never know in advance when I'll have the time *and* energy... Anyway, as a reader of Wikipedia, thanks for all your contributions. JDG


SLR, I appreciate very much the good faith and civility with which you are approaching our discussions at Talk:Scientific Method. At the same time, I would like to tell you that with each of your recent posts I have experienced a tiny provocation. I will not respond on the Talk page itself to your last post (in which, prudently I think, you invite others to weigh in), but I will say something about it here. What I have to say at least is pertinent to you and me and I think it might be pertinent to how you interact with others on Wikipedia as well.

The little provocations I perceive, which I imagine must be inadvertent, involve you 1) paraphrasing an intent or idea of mine in a way that makes it more simplistic and less astute than it was (both in my reckoning and in yours at times, as shown by #2), and on the heels of that 2)expressing all or part of my intent or idea as if you are elaborating on or criticising my post, and hence as if you were the first one to articulate the idea and hence as if I would benefit from hearing it from astute you. Now, I am very willing to accept at least some responsibility for such turns of events, because I know I am sometimes far from explicit and at other times unclear. Also, I can't characterize your approach to my posts as faulty in a general sense: In a classroom context, I expect it's best to assume that people need a lot explained to them, and I doubt that the particularly sharp undergraduates in the lecture hall resent a professor's implicit assumption that his listeners are less sharp than he or she (knowing that the lecturer wants to reach everyone). Yet the sharp student is liable to resent the assumption that he isn't sharp in office hours. In any case, I myself am no longer an student, and I find myself resenting the assumption that I'm less than sharp when I sense it being made--in particular when the possibly obscure wording of my post that led to the assumption reflects not just my laziness and not just a poor rhetorical choice but in fact a conscious decision on my part to address my readers as if they are as smart as I am.

So just to take the latest example, first you quote me "...that scientists are conscious of or have access to the model they are using, so that by just asking any one of them we could know what that model is. I think that would be a bad assumption." Then you say "I think this is a fine point...although as I said I am sure your point is often valid, it isn't universally so." I can see you bent over backwards to be polite, commending my point twice, and yet I hope you will be able to see that inadvertently you insulted me in ways 1 and 2 above: If you read carefully, my point was that it would be bad to **assume** that "by just asking any **one** of them we could know what that model is." I didn't say _no_ scientist could tell you what their actual model is, which I take you to be telling me and the world that I did when you say that the point does not apply "universally."

I think in my past reactions to things like this I have infuriated you by responding aggressively and without acknowledging your intention to be polite and to give me the benefit of the (unfortunately misestimated) doubt. I apologize for that. On the other hand, I'd like to ask you to either a) start pretending than I'm smarter than you currently seem to think I am and/or b)start assuming I have a writing disability and start pondering the intent of my posts extra carefully before responding. I will try not to be so irrascible, but given our history and my own psychology, I don't have much patience for the sort of slights I've described, even when they are unintended.168... 03:21 29 Jun 2003 (UTC)

SLR,

on my talk page you said in the context of "clarfication" that you suggested was directed to me personally

"I really thought it was evident from what I wrote -- and how I wrote it -- that I thought the preceeding comments (i.e. yours) were exceptionally intelligent. I am not sure what else to say.... it is possible that our personalities (and communication styles) are simply incompatible."

You might notice that above that in the post that you were responding to I wrote

"I can see you bent over backwards to be polite, commending my point twice" and "given...my own psychology, I don't have much patience for the sort of slights I've described."

Do you see how I may not have been in need of those specific points of clarification, having just expressed very similar points myself? (i.e. I credited you with paying effusive respect to my intelligence in a certain way, and I proposed psychology [just as you proposed "personality"] as an explanation)

This was hardly any irritation to me (in fact, I appreciated the spirit of your reply mostly), but I wanted to show you that whatever the communication issue is, it does not disappear when you address me personally. 168... 02:22 4 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I think we are now on the same page...

Yes, I think so. Thanks for being open to this dialogue and for taking my last post well. Of course, I meant it only to be constructive, and I did hope that you'd take it that way, and yet I know a lot of people would have reacted with pure rage. My compliments. You're right that e-mail is diabolical and can sometimes seem more trouble than it's worth. 168... 18:57 4 Jul 2003 (UTC)



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