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In a recent answer I got 3 down-votes. If people disagree with me or dislike the content, that's perfectly fine. I understand and respect their decision.

However, seeing as it's 3 out of 7 voters, I'm wondering whether there are factual errors and the down-voters were hesitant to speak to me. Do you see any such error? If you do, please let me know and help me fix it!

2 Answers 2

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I didn't downvote and overall it looks like a good answer to me, but I'm guessing some people probably didn't like some of the conspiratorial snide asides. For example:

it could all be a big misunderstanding along with many coincidences. Or not.     [italics in original]

...and:

Over 4.5 years until they deleted it. They forgot to delete the google drive, but please don't tell them.

To be honest, I don't really understand what you're getting at here, and my number one recommendation for how to improve the answer would be just say what you mean if you think it adds to understanding the answer, or leave it out if it's merely expressing your political views.

I may well be misinterpreting you, and apologies if I am, but these comments feel like you're playing for a chorus of boos and cheers from a gallery who you expect to have already made up their mind that this organisation is made up of moustache-twirling villains who are part of a terrible conspiracy. This feels very incongruous against otherwise well-written evidence that, to me, sounds simply like the sort of thing tired and clumsy office workers do when they're fed up of (I assume) countless waves of social media outrage and repeatedly trying to contextualize a policy wonk's poorly-worded comments made decades ago.

If you think there's solid, evidence-based grounds for a different interpretation, my recommendation would be to drop the nudge-nudge-wink-wink, and say what it is (or leave it out if it's opinion-based rather than evidence-based).

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  • Great feedback, thank you. I don't know the rules, so I didn't know if I should be direct about it, hence the problematic points you correctly quoted. Please guide me. Half a century ago, very controversial practices were considered normal. From eugenics post-WW2, to experimenting with radioactive Uranium on a country's own citizens. From the context of the documents it's obvious (to me) that they are trying to distance themselves from the past. Should I say directly that or simply remove the 2 quotes?
    – Sylvia
    Mar 4, 2023 at 19:55
  • I've removed the problematic points. I'll let the reader draw his conclusions by the facts, without saying I consider it damage-control. I think it would make it more neutral than my previous version. Thanks again.
    – Sylvia
    Mar 4, 2023 at 20:42
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    I'm not an expert on the subject or this site's rules, but we do try to focus on actions and avoid speculating about motivations wherever possible (e.g. see this). So I think it'd be totally fine and relevant to point out that their actions in the given time period all appear to involve reducing their association with that memo and person. Mar 4, 2023 at 20:48
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This is a Question and Answer site, not a discussion forum. As such, every Answer should correspond directly to the Question on the page. In this, case the Question is:

Did a Planned Parenthood vice president write a memo discussing population control methods (fertility reduction)?

Obviously, we're looking for more than a Yes / No answer, and while that primarily means backing up the answer with evidence, it can also include additional context, or an outright frame challenge.

However, most of your answer currently appears to be addressing completely separate aspects of the story of this memo, such as:

  • What was Jaffe's motivation for writing the memo?
  • Was Jaffe honest in his comments during and after writing the memo?
  • Has the memo been suppressed?
  • Has the Guttmacher Institute distanced itself from Frederick Jaffe?

Some of those questions would be out-right off-topic on this site, and none of them are asked on this page.

There is also a definite feel of trying to find evidence to back up your assumptions, rather than examining the evidence and documenting conclusions. For instance, you bring in a statistic about declining fertility rates and claim that this "contradicts" Jaffe's concerns over "continued U.S. population growth". You could instead have picked a more direct measure from the same source - U.S. population growth in 1969, which was around 1% per annum - and concluded that his concerns were justified.

Finally, there is still a feel that you are trying to hint at some hidden conspiracy linking your points. So what if Jaffe was wrong to be concerned about population growth? So what if the Guttmacher Institute no longer hosts a copy of the memo? You never draw any conclusion from this, citing it as "context" ... but context for what?

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  • Thank you for your answer. I didn't know much of what you wrote. However: "most of your answer currently appears to be addressing completely separate aspects of the story" - that's 20% of my answer actually. The part showing the fertility drop (?). IIRC there were comments expressing disbelief by the OP, which were deleted by a mod, hence its relevance. I could be wrong. Could you explain which parts exactly you consider to be off-topic?
    – Sylvia
    Mar 9, 2023 at 19:59
  • "So what if the Guttmacher Institute no longer hosts a copy" - a % of people clicking the link will see it leads to no where (404) and will think I was lying. Hence the need for evidence and an explanation of what happened. Is that correct?
    – Sylvia
    Mar 9, 2023 at 20:01
  • @Sylvia Let's go through: first heading and first quote, very relevant; "He was described as ...", unclear relevance; "Their Google Docs contain...", relevant, although ownership of the Google Docs account isn't clearly demonstrated; "He also sent..." and graph, I don't see the relevance, and challenge your logic; "Deleting the document" section, unnecessary, a simple note "the page has since been deleted but is visible in archives such as this one" would do; last section, relevant context, but labours the point a bit, not clear who says they're not; final screenshot, not sure why it's there.
    – IMSoP
    Mar 9, 2023 at 21:12
  • @Sylvia In conclusion, your answer could be reduced to a similar length to the other two answers: a description and quote of the Guttmacher Institute discussing it; a note that the page in question is now deleted, with a link to archive.org; and a sentence or two establishing that this is a credible organisation, and that the website in question is really theirs. Maybe add some research about who owns that Google Docs account, if you can find a way to prove it; all I can see is that the writer of their FAQ felt comfortable linking to it, and the account is in the name "Dave Jaffe".
    – IMSoP
    Mar 9, 2023 at 21:17
  • "He also sent.. [+graph]" is the 20% I mentioned. You claimed "most of [my] answer" (that is >50%) which is not accurate. Google Docs are very relevant, since they are the very documents in question. "Deleting..." section is factual and necessary in its current detail. Websites can be hacked and backed up. The evidence in this section proves this did not happen. The last screenshot is an effort to maintain as much evidence as possible as to prevent any denial efforts when the Google Docs are deleted.
    – Sylvia
    Mar 9, 2023 at 21:44
  • @Sylvia Online content becomes unavailable all the time, mostly for no better reason than someone commissioning a new website and not caring to migrate old content. If you're really worried someone will think it wasn't genuine, just give the date range: "The page is no longer available, but it was captured by archive.org multiple times between Jan 2017 and July 2022." No need for more words than that.
    – IMSoP
    Mar 9, 2023 at 22:02
  • @Sylvia As for the Google Docs, they're not particularly great evidence on their own anyway - the fact that the Institute's FAQ linked to them is the only thing that gives them any more reputability than if I posted them on imgur.com. Far more interesting is that the covering note with them claims, as other comments on the page have suggested, that the Rockefeller Center Archive holds a copy.
    – IMSoP
    Mar 9, 2023 at 22:06
  • "all I can see is that the writer of their FAQ felt comfortable linking to it" - It feels like you are implying that the Google Docs can't be trusted and that Guttmacher Institute didn't know/approve of what exactly was written or linked. I don't think GI with a $19 million budget had a random person write an article which was up for 5 years.
    – Sylvia
    Mar 9, 2023 at 22:15
  • @Sylvia That sentence was in reaction to you describing it in your answer as "their Google Docs". There's no evidence that they operate that Google Docs account, only evidence that they trust it, in that they chose to link to it, rather than to any other copy floating around online. I'm not saying the content was faked, just that it nowhere says "this Google Docs account is owned by us". It seems like they were just too lazy to copy the images onto their own website, which would have saved us a whole lot of time discussing something entirely inconsequential.
    – IMSoP
    Mar 9, 2023 at 22:36
  • If it's inconsequential why did we start discussing it? Besides, either it's "their" as in "owned by GI" or "their" as in "owned by their employee" makes no difference. I guess I ll keep it as is. We wouldn't want a small % of readers getting the false impression the link content is not credible. Small as it may be.
    – Sylvia
    Mar 11, 2023 at 14:09
  • @Sylvia It's inconsequential in the sense that I think you're dedicating too much space in the answer to discussing it; in fact I find the whole question rather inconsequential, and the answer from December perfectly sufficient. And no, there is no concrete evidence that it is owned by either GI or any of their employees; the name "Jaffe" on the account is suggestive of some family connection, but that's pure guesswork. I suspect someone was sent the link to download the files from, whether by a colleague or not we have no way to know, and just put the link into the page instead.
    – IMSoP
    Mar 11, 2023 at 14:31

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