Talk:Social engineering (political science)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

the first paragraph is blatantly contradicted by the second paragraph. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:06, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

WikiProject Philosophy (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
Additional information:
Taskforce icon
Social and political philosophy

Outlandish Bias[edit]

The following sentence actually appears currently in this article: "Social engineering without consent is a violation of the culture, and constitutes an assault tantamount to a rape, or seizing by force of that culture raptio."

It goes on like that for a bit actually stating at one point "In defense of the comparison to rape, ..." This is argumentative, purely opinion, in bad taste, is tonally wrong, and does not belong in an encyclopedia. Argument by analogy should not be in an encyclopedia and comparing things to rape really shouldn't happen anywhere.

As it currently is the history section of this article is full of anti-engineering moral grandstanding and is in need of major revision to achieve an appropriate non-biased scientific tone about the phenomenon. (talk) 16:32, 30 August 2018 (UTC)

Blatant Bias[edit]

This articles start, if not its entirety, is clearly biased toward the governments position. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:07, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Agreed, saying that the War on Drugs has had "far-reaching" success is complete bullshit. (talk) 19:58, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

The introduction already introduces bias before the content is reached. Comparing social engineering to laws against rape and murder is preposterous. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:22, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

I always thought, that USSR communism was brainwashing and brutal terror - and if social engineering is killing and torturing it's own citizens, then we have a lot of social engineering going on from the Dawn of Man, as a social animal. Mentioning US copy-right and patent policy is not really social-engineering, because it more and more looks like old ways of trade policy and monopoly, because patents are not only about creating something new, but restricting others to use their own creations and a chance for someone to come up with the same ideas. Also "War on Drugs" looks to me like a failure - from the news Mexico seems controled by narcodealers, than government... And all in all this article was mentioning only dictators and totalitarian systems doesn't give any positive example of social engineering - if I really understand it correctly, then woman suffrage, education for everyone and free were early samples. Right now - one example could be legalization of same sex marriage, that is succesful, though it clearly undermines real definition of marriage as a institution, that joins two families and make them relatives. I came for definitions and examples to this page to understand why some people think that social engineering works in internet and that it targets all minds.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:06, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

Socially Engineering the Free[edit]

It is important to socially engineer citizens of democracies. Even low-level social engineers have the wisdom to carry this out if they follow the guidelines provided. Were we to try to create societies of noble and free individuals by non-coercive means such as education, example and authentic discussion it wouldn't work anyway, so none of this is cynical. (The question whether or not it is Orwellian is not to be addressed--cf. "doublethink.")

The article as it stands plunges into totalism right from the second paragraph, starting with the petifogging tactic of regarding law and education as inherently social engineering functions when in truth (as the article itself goes on to point out) this depends upon intent.

Article is negative[edit]

Consideration of "social engineering" need not be restricted to its negative implications. For instance, the discipline of practical interventions in intergroup conflicts propose manipulating group dynamics, cognitive processes, situational variables, economic rewards, and other macro level factors to moderate the negative outcomes of intergroup behavior (e.g., stereotyping, prejudice). Indeed, one could argue that some social engineering attempts, such as affirmative action programs in the US, actually produce benefits for the society at large.

In a democratic society, social engineering is a tool of governance, and it can be a particularly powerful one. The use of the tool to achieve specific ends is typically driven by policy, and its impacts interpreted according to values. As G.W. Allport noted in his 1954 volume The Nature of Prejudice:

Democracy ...places a heavy burden upon the personality, sometimes too great to bear. The maturely democratic person must possess subtle virtues and capacities: an ability to think rationally about causes and effects, an ability to form properly differentiated categories in respect to ethnic groups and their traits, a willingness to award freedom to others, and a capacity to employ it constructively for oneself. All these qualities are difficult to achieve and maintain. It is easier to succumb to oversimplification and dogmatism, to repudiate the ambiguities inherent in a democratic society, to demand definiteness, to "escape from freedom" (pp.. 477-478).

Twenty-first century democracies leave little time for the average citizen to maintain a "maturely democratic personality."

Just as with any other tool, persons applying social engineering in governance are ultimately responsible for the ramifications of them. The complex and chaotic nature of society complicates forecasting these ramifications beyond the overt and immediate. A practicioner of the science of social engineering ultimately relies on his or her own values, and of those groups they represent, to direct the application of their craft to serve what he or she considers desirable social policy.

Therefore, even though social engineering can be used to manipulate individuals and groups for selfish gain (e.g., demagoguery), it can also be used to encourage behaviors for a greater good (e.g., conservation and pollution control). Our conviction must be that if we can control the forces of society, we must also practice mature democracy. User:DrCotton (sig added by Sam Spade 16:01, 5 May 2005 (UTC))

I agree that the article is less than neutral in its presentation of the subject. it also focuses overmuch on a large quote. Sam Spade 16:01, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
I also agree that the article is much much too negative and one-sided. Added NPOV tag. The general quality and detail of the article also needs significant work Bwithh 14:11, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
I agree too, more that the article is of poor standard, as I believe that countering civil liberties will inherently give a bias regardless of the views of the author. -- 10:18, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

It still reeks of POV in 2019 Zezen (talk) 06:21, 26 June 2019 (UTC)


I've cleaned up the page formatting slightly and changed the cleanup for an expand tag. It doesn't need a cleanup as so much as a lot more info. - FrancisTyers 12:24, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

I have attempted to clean up, structure and neutralize the content on this page without adding a lot of information. I think from this point it will be easier to streamline, update and expand the information. - User:hartfordshawn 2:09, 04 January 2006

I have attempted to make the page more politically and ideologically neutral by clearly naming both sides in the political debate over who is accused of attempting which social engineering programs. - User: sstaley 12:42, 19 October 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Social engineering of Jews in Imperial Russia[edit]

Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia (2001) by Benjamin Nathans quotes Terence Emmons (himself cited in Russia's Great Reforms, 1855-1881 (1994), p. vii), who describes Tsar Alexander II's domestic policies as "the greatest single piece of state-directed social engineering in modern European history before the twentieth century" (p 69).

The term social engineering is used here with particular reference to Alex. II's use of (1) policies that promoted the political and geographic integration of Jews, their commercial markets and social lives into the Russian mainstream, and (2) the selective use of these policies toward Jews deemed good for the Empire, i.e., university graduates, successful merchants, highly proficient artisans or retired Russian soldiers, so as encourage scholarship, commerce, and military service.

Social engineering? Please comment.

Omphaloscope » talk 22:06, 8 February 2006 (UTC)


First it fails to capture the real essence of the term and it's commonest connotation which is literally the engineering of society, i.e. as a particular social structure. Second, it fails to capture the fact the term was coined as a right wing reaction specifically to the directives of the U.S. Judiciary to enforce racial integration. Finally, and a result of the first, it ignores specific real conscious attempts at social engineering. like those of Skinner and others. For the en:wp to indicate that the common connotation of this term is social engineering (computer security) is a glaring fault. Lycurgus 02:38, 16 November 2007 (UTC)C)

Comment placed on dab page - for consideration to be included in article[edit]

The following was left on the disambiguation page for Social engineering, and may prove useful in relation to this article:

"We've come to understand that almost any high impact media event is going to be used as a social engineering tool for malware," said Dave Marcus, security research and communications manager at McAfee. "It's such a horrible event, but at the end of the day, it's a very good social engineering tactic."Malware Sites Exploit Bhutto Assassination

--Risker (talk) 06:12, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

I placed this quote because the Social engineering page requested citation and confused me, that the actual page is Wikipedia:Disambiguation. I will look at how to incorporate the quotation ny McAfee engineer into the actual article. Thank you, Igor Berger (talk) 07:19, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Engineering: the systematic use of science by a group of people to mold physical reality to the greater benefit of a third party. Common definitions insists on the use of physical sciences for the benefit of a group of people, see for example Disciplinary Definition Chemical Engineering is the profession in which knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied with judgment to develop economic and safe ways of using materials to benefit mankind. Occupational Definition Chemical Engineering is a broad discipline dealing with processes (industrial and natural) involving the transformation (chemical, biological, or physical) of matter or energy into forms useful for mankind, economically and without compromising environment, safety, or finite

An action to be considered social engineering must be based on scientific knowledge; it must have a specific measurable goal and be a group action. The rules of law evolved over millenia in an ad-hoc manner, it is questionable whether it constitutes engineering although engineering may be applicable. To give a comparison, Cairo and London are partial products of urbanism but not fully.

Social engineering may be seen as evil when it crosses the line between molding on one hand relationships between members of a society, whether flesh-ware or paper-ware, and on the other hand, molding those members directly and systematically, that is whether it the relationships between people are regarded as a material or the people themselves.

Palmipede (talk) 23:13, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with File:1984first.jpg[edit]

The image File:1984first.jpg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --01:19, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Major Revamp Needed[edit]

This article is far from reaching its potential, I believe it needs much work. A lot of the information here seems to be misunderstood as social engineering when it is in fact describing political engineering. I've made some changes but don't want to make too many until receiving feedback and differing points of view. Thanks everyone!

--FusionHalo 05:36, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Since this article descibres social engineering in political science, that is the right notion. What you are looking for is a different kind of social engineering (related to sociology), and is not in scope of this article. Therefore this article needs to be reversed to its previous state. (talk) 22:32, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Removing possible vandalism[edit]

I will remove the secction "The O'Brien and Gandon theory" because:

A) It was included -without sources o references, by an IP, according to whom: "This theory was unveiled at Dublin Institute of Technology on the 10th of March 2010."

There is no data regarding any such "unveiling" in the new's archive of said institute - see Newsroom Archive 2010

The only reference in google about "the theory" is to be found in here or mirrors.

There are no reference en Google scholar about the alleged authors.

No other reference can be found in any academic literature.

All that makes me believe it was vandalism. If you know better, restore and add references. Cheers Lnegro (talk) 23:25, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Social engineering (political science). Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

As of February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{sourcecheck}} (last update: 15 July 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 15:38, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

History of the term[edit]

There is a blatant contradiction between this page, which affirms the term appeared in the late 19th century, and the French page, according to which the term should be attributed to Frédéric Leplay, who used it first at the beginning of the 19th century. There needs to be a harmonization. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:21, 28 May 2016 (UTC)

Social Planning is not Social Engineering[edit]

I am very disappointed to have been redirected away from "Social Planning" to "Social Engineering". These are not comparable concepts. Social Engineering has the connotative meaning of being something that is done TO people from above via manipulation and authoritarian means. Social Planning is something which is done primarily at the local level with a high degree of public participation whereby a Local Government or a United Way organization allocates its resources to develop and fund programs of community service. I was involved in Social Planning for many years and we never ever attempted to "engineer" people.LAWinans (talk) 05:34, 29 June 2017 (UTC)

See Social Planning Toronto in WIKIPEDIA[edit]

I recommend reading Wikipedia's own entry on social planning in Toronto to get an idea as to what Social Planning involves. Also the WIKIPEDIA entry Community practice identifies Social Planning as an activity within the Social Work subfield. A quick read reveals that Social Engineering is NOT what is involved as part of Community Practice. LAWinans (talk) 05:40, 29 June 2017 (UTC)

Pov on Egypt and maybe India[edit]

See these passages:

The video was shared on social media Facebook and viewed by 1.5 million viewers. It is believed by many Egyptians it is an act to imprint on children in order to shift their behavior... 

And then Godwin's law in action. Zezen (talk) 06:19, 26 June 2019 (UTC)