Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pedophilia whitewash at Wikipedia

As some of you know, I regularly edit wikipedia articles. Just for fun. Occasionally, I get dragged into articles far outside my own field. In the recent weeks, while being incapacitated with a replaced hip, I ended up in the discussions related to pedophilia. The Wikipedia article about pedophilia is pretty much a wet dream for lawyers. It is so unilaterally focused on the medical operationalization used by the DSM IV of the term, which by definition will leave out many cases that I would consider pedophile's. For example, if a person has many sexual explicit fantasies about how he has sex with a 11 year old, but those fantasies do not cause him either distress of interpersonal difficulty, guess what, he is not a pedophile.

But it gets better. If you have to believe the people of the Clarke Institute, he would not have been a pedophile even when it had caused him distress, because the child is too old. James Cantor, an active wikipedia editor who not always knows the limits of self-promotion as in this edit where he links to an interview with himself related to the topic, regularly comments on the talk page of the article. In and by itself, that is a good thing. Wikipedia needs expert editors. The reason you want expert editors is that they often know the field much better than the lay editors that are the bulk of the workforce at wikipedia. When you have such an expert editor, you see it in the width of the sources they use, the nuances they can express, and the skill with which they put in words the controversies, differences of opinion, and unresolved issues in the field. So, when someone added a so-so source, James proposes to replace it with....... You guessed it, an article of himself. A primary source as well. if that had been the ONLY article available, o well, than I understand, but when there are multiple second and tertiary sources available, this is not acceptable.

This provides us with some idea why this article is so biased towards the medical operationalization of the term as used in the DSM IV, and not towards the more general usage of the term which generally is defined as something like:
"sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object" Merrian Webster online

"a person, especially a man, who is sexually interested in children", Cambridge Dictionary online

or how many more examples can be given.

To illustrate how US biased the article is, lets look at the World Health Organizations definition in the ICD10:
"A sexual preference for children, boys or girls or both, usually of prepubertal or early pubertal age", ICD 10 F65.4

Lets see, if we use this definition, our pedophile friend example in the beginning would be properly diagnosed as a pedophile, even when his interest was in somewhat older children. As it should be.

The pedophilia article at wikipedia makes a classic error. It goes completely overboard by focusing on the medical operationalization of the term at the cost of common sense and general definitions that are far more generally used. A good article would start with the general term, and then work towards the more specialized definitions. Wikipedia does it the other way round. When you start reading the wikipedia article, you might think that most people we normally would label a pedophile are just not that. And that is wrong. Medical operationalizations are necessary for research, but they should not eclipse the more general used term and basically free many pedophiles of the label they despise and would like to get rid of. Thanks to wikipedia, an ever increasing primary source of information, they are no longer pedophiles. Good job!

Disclaimer: I tried to change some things for the better, but one editor specific, and several more in general pretty much block any improvement of the article that is not in line with the medical operationalization of the term.


Ethical Mind said...

What a self-indulgent, self-absorbed pile of crap. I can see why James Cantor thinks you are harassing him. Why don't you get the hell off wikipedia, nutcase, and find something more worthwhile to do with your free time?

Unknown said...

Ethical Mind, have some balls and stop hiding behind a pseudonym. Then we discuss. Until then, I will assume you are James.

Ethical Mind said...

My real name would only be relevant if I were a well known person. I'm not. Although the full version of my name is unique so far as I know, the shortened version I normally use is relatively common and shared by numerous other people (including a former governor of Oklahoma, would you believe), so it would be a pointless act for me to reveal it - I'd have to explain which of the various different people who use that name I actually am.

My real name definitely isn't "James Cantor", however. It adds a wonderfully paranoid touch that you'd assume I'm him. I don't know that I specially care for James Cantor and I don't think he cares greatly for me, but god, your behaviour is so obnoxious that I'm rooting for him this time.

Unknown said...

Well, looked like my response worked wonders. AS for your suggestion that I do not edit WP anymore, though luck!

Anonymous Woman said...

Cantor is a misogynist.

When he isn't attempting to forcibly 'convert' potentially transsexual children into 'the gays that they *really* are', he's attempting to twist and distort the new brain studies that show our minds *are* female.

Specifically, he tried to argue that the studies simply show that we are 'deviant'. Which means all women are deviant. He didn't even have the right area of the brain in his refutations.

During his debate with another Wiki editor, he attempted to lecture her on the sex of a baby being determined by the presence or absence of a penis.

She corrected him, and pointed out that it's determined by the presence of a penis, or the presence of a vagina.

Don't ever let up on this ass.

Sock puppet operatives attempting to support various quack theories do in fact exist. i've had a conversation with one.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my fellow Heathen!

I hope you're doing well, and enjoying respite from the subtle ironies of pseudonymous "editors" casting slurs upon your character… poorly written, to boot!

NOW IN MY NUT-CASE those imprecations might be thought apropos, but seriously - when they vector in from the wrong sector of the insult compass - it just gets me ticked off!

AT ANY RATE, hugs to you, hon!

- bonzie anne

PS: "Am I WP:N yet?" - lol