Talk:Mitt Romney

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Ad vulture capitalist

See here. Really? All we can say about that guy is throw out that he is a vulture capitalist? And the only article we link to actually takes great pains to explain why he isn't a vulture capitalist?

I don't like that guy, but anyone stumbling upon this article would naturally conclude that the whole wiki is heavily biased and unsupported by evidence. We can certainly do better. Show, don't tell - show where he is wrong, ideally by linking and/or quoting from articles that criticize him, instead of just blankly stating a personal opinion. If someone says he is a vulture capitalist (particularly Austrians), say who and link to where. If there's anything else to criticize, even better. Pestergaines (talk) 00:42, 18 November 2012 (MSK)

I don't view vulture capitalism as bad, any more than I view vultures as bad. Someone has to eat the dead animals; otherwise they just sit around doing no one any good. As Wikipedia notes, "Vultures seldom attack healthy animals, but may kill the wounded or sick. . . . These birds are of great value as scavengers, especially in hot regions." Romney scavenged companies that were unhealthy and needed to die, thereby creating wealth for himself, his employees, and all others who benefited from those assets being put to more productive uses. "Vulture capitalist" needn't be a term of opprobrium.
A healthy person needn't worry about getting attacked by vultures, any more than a healthy company need worry about an investor liquidating the company. Even vulture capitalists do not destroy for the sake of destroying; if it were more profitable to keep the company going, they would do so, perhaps by selling it to someone whose specialty is keeping companies going rather than taking them apart. The vulture capitalist, like the creditor, slumlord, and short seller, is one of those groups in our economy that people dislike, despite the beneficial services (including, especially in the case of the short seller, market signals) that they provide.
There is a circle of life in which ending the life of the terminally ill sometimes benefits others. The vulture converts dead bodies into droppings that become fertilizer for plants that may feed other animals. In the words of Cato's Letter No. 56, "Much less can it be any service to society, to keep alive by art or force a melancholy, miserable, and useless member, grown perhaps burdensome too by age and infirmities." There seems to be a superstition in our society against death, whether of a living being or a company, to the point that people believe in pointlessly dragging agony out as long as possible, at whatever expense. That's probably one of the reasons Romney lost. Nathan Larson (talk) 05:43, 18 November 2012 (MSK)
Ahhh, now I know what you are talking about - and taken that way, there is indeed nothing wrong with vulture capitalists per se. This would in fact be a perfect topic for a wiki page - what vulture capitalists are and what exactly they do, how negatively they are perceived, and why is that perception wrong. Perfect wiki material!
But that is something that was badly missing from the article - if you mark someone as something that is generally seen as negative, without providing any notion that it actually may be a positive thing, then it will be seen as a negative descriptor. If you want to go into that discussion, by all means do that - say who he is and provide some detail on what he is called, whether that is true, and whether it is actually a bad thing. Romney the vulture capitalist may be something positive, if you frame it right - instead it was only Romney the vulture.
Which brings me back to my real beef with the post. This is what happens when we editorialize and don't source our posts. For starters, is Romney a vulture capitalist? How do you know? How can anyone know? It is bluntly stated without anything to confirm it. And the only article you linked to disputes this very notion. So one big problem was that it was contradictory. The other remains - anyone reading it would conclude that the whole wiki is heavily biased and unsupported by evidence, even those sympathetic to our views on vulture capitalists. See the page on Paul Krugman for a good example - it can be still improved, but it nicely shows all the criticisms heaped against him by the Austrians.
This is not about pages being perfect the first time - it's about not dissuading potential readers right from the start and holding up our standards. Pestergaines (talk) 15:33, 18 November 2012 (MSK)
Well, okay. The question remains, What is the minimum quality article that should be posted? Wikipedia will simply speedily delete an article that falls below a certain threshold of quality, and in practice, that often includes unsourced biographies of living persons that are written in a "non-neutral" tone (i.e. either overly sympathetic or hostile). So, you have to be careful to beef up that first revision. I don't think it was always that way; earlier in their history, they focused on expansion, and only later upped their standards to where they are now.
Maybe it's not so great that new wiki articles appear on the main page? Our own Main Page doesn't include articles shorter than 900 characters in its random selection of articles, because the presumption is that anything that short is probably not very high-quality yet. It provides instant gratification for someone looking to immediately publicize his work, and it gives readers easy access to the very latest articles, but it also puts pressure on those who create those articles to beef up that first revision, and it also gives spammers a way to attract traffic to their linkspam. New, unvetted articles aren't supposed to be showcased like that; perhaps we should get Dave to change that.
The only reason a short article like the former Mitt Romney article would be high-traffic, other than its appearing in the "In the Mises Wiki" showcase, is that it's a highly important topic. Fortunately, highly important topics are already covered at Wikipedia, so in the future copying and pasting might not be such a bad idea, at least in the short run. So maybe the question of what is the minimum-quality article isn't that important after all. Nathan Larson (talk) 20:10, 18 November 2012 (MSK)