Talk:Collapse of the World Trade Center

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Former good article Collapse of the World Trade Center was one of the Engineering and technology good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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The current version of this article does need revisions.[edit]

Some of this information is incorrect, some of the sources are outdated. Much of this information is being presented as fact, when it's really just hypothesis. The NIST itself does not claim to have all the answers. There is much dispute even among those who support the fires theory of the actual mechanisms of collapse.

My intention is not to insert what we know are alternative theories, as I see there are other places to do that. But it's important to present the existing theories on these events with all the facts or at least the verifiable claims -- information taken from the sources themselves. This is not currently the case. Some paragraphs appear to have been written off the top of someone's head several years ago, and not only has some of the information changed, but the description wasn't even correct in the first place.

I'm pointing this out to those editors who keep undoing the revisions. If you don't understand why the edits are being made, and you don't understand the notes - ASK. That's what consensus building is. If you can't improve on the edits yourself, leave them alone. If you have a better way of expressing something, and can back it up with a relevant and up-to-date source, go for it. But don't just revert the article without doing the fact checking. That's not helping anyone.--Jasne9 (talk) 18:03, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

I agree the article needs an update but numerous editors appear to have reverted you because they disagree with your edits.--MONGO 18:21, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps we can agree that anyone making edits will provide a note here for each edit. Anyone wishing to undo an edit needs to provide an improvement to the edit, or an appropriate counter argument here, backed up with relevant, up-to-date sources. This is the only way to verify that editors of this article understand the material they claim to want to protect. If someone can't or is unwilling to do this, they shouldn't be touching the edits. --Jasne9 (talk) 18:39, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Hum...while edit warring is disallowed, any effort to misinterpret information to skew the article away from the facts will lead to an automatic reversion. No body is likely interested in time consuming discussions about why we not going to water down the facts to accommodate fringe beliefs.--MONGO 18:46, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
The burden is on the editor adding text or restoring text. If the text is simply changed, then the longstanding text is considered the consensus version, and the new text must have a new consensus formed here on the talk page. Binksternet (talk) 18:49, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I am trying to move the article towards the facts, as I just explained above. If there's going to be some inner wiki cabal protecting inaccurate information based on outdated and ignorant understandings then Wikipedia isn't really doing the job it aims to, is it? Given that we agree this article needs revision, there needs to be some process where intelligent, accurate edits can be made without reactionary editors clicking 'undo' buttons willy-nilly out of their own ignorance. If an editor is accurately pointing out an inaccuracy that can be verified by the source provided, then editors need to defer to that. But that requires reading the explanation before clicking the 'undo' button. If someone isn't willing to do that much, they shouldn't be touching the edits. --Jasne9 (talk) 19:00, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Agree with Binksternet's comments above. There have been too many wholesale alterations without any reference to the Talk page. David J Johnson (talk) 19:06, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
PS: the few edits I've made so far are based on and sourced to current NIST information. If you don't understand this much, you shouldn't be touching this article. --Jasne9 (talk) 19:08, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Based partly on NIST reports which I have read multiple times.--MONGO 19:36, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Great. So you would know then, that the edits I made are factual and sourced to current NIST information. Jasne9 (talk) 19:44, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but the edit of yours that I reverted you had eliminated other information.--MONGO 19:52, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Proposed edits[edit]

Just focusing on the section I was trying to edit so far, here are the inaccuracies I see. I won't make any edits at this point. I will begin by listing what I see needs to be changed or updated. Once one starts editing, however, it sometimes becomes necessary to reorganize the structure of the article, so that might need to happen as well.

Mechanics of Twin Towers' collapse[edit]

"In both cases, the portion of the building that had been damaged by the airplanes failed, which allowed the section above the airplane impacts to fall onto the undamaged structure below."

This is self-evident and therefore doesn't need to be mentioned, but I was also pointing out that the perimeter failure was said by NIST to have begun on the opposite side of the plane impacts in WTC 1 - the south side. Not the damage side. So this is also inaccurate.

"As the collapse progressed, dust and debris could be seen shooting out of the windows several floors below the advancing destruction, caused by the sudden rush of air from the upper levels."

I edited this to: "This is attributed to air compression from the falling mass." This is not only a more concise way to express this, it is more accurate in that this is NIST's hypothesis about the dust jets observed.

"The first fragments of the outer walls of the collapsed North Tower struck the ground 11 seconds after the collapse started, and parts of the South Tower after 9 seconds. The lower portions of both buildings' cores (60 stories of WTC 1 and 40 stories of WTC 2) remained standing for up to 25 seconds after the start of the initial collapse before they too collapsed."

Who cares about free-falling building fragments? What does this tell us about the rapid descent of the buildings, which were the -defining feature of the WTC structural failures? The anomalous rapid collapses are why the investigations took place. I recognize these words are paraphrased from the NIST FAQ, but we can also provide more honest information about the buildings' collapse times from the same source. And being an information resource, we should.

[12]

This reference is from 2006. There is a more current NIST FAQ page.

"While the buildings were designed to support enormous static loads, they provided little resistance to the moving mass of the sections above the floors where the collapses initiated. Structural systems respond very differently to static and dynamic loads, and since the motion of the falling portion began as a free fall through the height of at least one story (roughly three meters or 10 feet), the structure beneath them was unable to stop the collapses once they began. Indeed, a fall of only half a meter (about 20 inches) would have been enough to release the necessary energy to begin an unstoppable collapse.[50]"

This paragraph presents theory as fact. I edited it to clarify that this was one theory. It is not presented by NIST as the explanation, but as a possible explanation among others. It has also been contested by many, including in peer-reviewed publications. The International Journal of Protective Structures being one. The wiki entry can be much more honest and accurate about this. And what is with the hyper-detailed citation? Jasne9 (talk) 20:33, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

So you want to incorporate conspiracy theories into this article?--MONGO 03:03, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
So you haven't read anything I've posted here? --Jasne9 (talk) 06:45, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Mongo, I notice you've been involved in maintaining this article since 2006. That's a really long time to care about a subject that you nevertheless haven't bothered to stay current on. Are you really in a position to make good decisions here? --Jasne9 (talk) 06:58, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes...I am smarter than the average bear.--MONGO 11:27, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Pancake theories of progressive failure due to dynamic impacts of the floors were ruled out. --DHeyward (talk) 06:13, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, DHeyward. Hopefully the others will understand this too. --Jasne9 (talk) 06:45, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Of course the "pancake theory" doesn't really exist out-side of the "truther" community. Good luck finding any source that are relevant to this article. — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 04:15, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Ad hominem arguments are unlikely to persuade anyone. As far as the edits go -- it's-only-NIST's-hypothesis; dust jets; the focus on free-fall speed and collapse timing -- these seem on balance have the effect of slanting the article in favor of the conspiracy theories. That's not something I'd support. Tom Harrison Talk 10:53, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
There are no ad hominems in any of my remarks, Tom Harrison. Not sure why you are claiming this. --Jasne9 (talk) 01:40, 20 April 2014 (UTC)


If you look at the reference provided here by Jasne9, it's called, "Some Misunderstandings Related to WTC Collapse Analysis" and published in the Inernational Journal of Protective Structures...now examine the authors and a quick search on them will show they are sometimes in the fringe category on this matter. There is no worse science than when an a priori premise leads one to not leave their box.--MONGO 11:06, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't matter what corner they come from if their analysis is correct. It's not up you to decide which peer-reviewed analyses will get exposure on Wikipedia. If it's a valid counter-argument to Bazant (and there are many) published in a reputable journal, it needs to be included here. You're not the arbiter of information on 9/11, and if you're behaving as such, you need to step aside. I would strongly suggest to those commenting here that it is, in fact, you who are pushing a point of view here. You have been safeguarding not only outdated but technically inaccurate information on the WTC collapses. You haven't established your own credibility here, let alone neutrality. You have already disregarded input from another editor right above. With the inaccuracies that you are protecting here, I don't think you've demonstrated the knowledge or the objectivity to declare yourselves the gatekeepers of this article. Moreover, Mongo's long-time involvement with this article does not suggest an appropriate level of impartiality and detachment. The article needs updating and you will need to co-operate on this. If you're not up to evaluating the information being presented, then you should step aside. --Jasne9 (talk) 01:40, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Some Misunderstandings... does not seem to be widely cited. Tom Harrison Talk 11:22, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I am not in favour (favor) of basing everything on the NIST hypothesis, because that is exactly what it is - just an hypothesis. Using this as fact is only furthering conspiracy theories. I would also appeal to Jasne9 to stop strident criticism of other editors contributions. We are all here to contribute by consensus. It would also be nice to see a User Page created, so that other editors could learn a little about you and your motives. David J Johnson (talk) 11:40, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
David, the NIST hypotheses are the only current official explanation we have for the WTC collapses. Furthermore, NIST does not advance any conspiracy theories beyond the al Qaeda conspiracy theory, so your objection appears to be based on paranoia. This also demonstrates that you don't understand the material being presented here. Yes, we should all work together on this, but editors should have some basic knowledge about what sources are appropriate here. --Jasne9 (talk) 01:40, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Once again Jasne9, you haven't answered my points? We still know nothing about, but some of your motives? Please do not make assumptions and insults about other editors ie; "paranoia". I well understand the material and sources presented here and your quote "al Qaeda conspiracy" confirms your agenda. Could I respectively suggest that you use one of the many sites on the internet that further your views and not an encyclopedia dealing in factual and well sourced material? Thank you, David J Johnson (talk) 11:16, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
NIST did not provide a hypothesis, they provided a detailed series of reports based on the evidence which involved dozens of engineers, architects and other specialists not all of which were in the direct employ of the U.S. Government. "NIST does not advance any conspiracy theories beyond the al Qaeda conspiracy theory"...least now we know what your objective is, quite clearly.--MONGO 04:42, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, they did, and they called it Probable Collapse Sequence. They also did not provide a collapse progression model, instead summarizing those of others commissioned to do so. There are several collapse progression models. The Wiki article assumes and presents that of Bazant's to be fact. At the very least, Wiki should be noting that this is the theory of one author, otherwise you are pushing a point of view. And I stated where I was coming from from the beginning. I would like to see the NIST report's analysis accurately described here. The current version is inaccurate. I am trying to help the article present this in a neutral, disinterested manner. I am not trying to insert controlled demolition theories. PS: The al Qaeda 9/11 narrative IS a conspiracy theory. It's just not one that people associate with conspiracy theories. --Jasne9 (talk) 17:10, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Oddly, the evidence does not support your thesis.--MONGO 17:44, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
My thesis? What thesis do you think I am asserting here? And for that matter, what "evidence" are you citing? Sorry, but if you can't follow this conversation and provide intelligible replies, you're not demonstrating that you can make good editorial decisions here. --Jasne9 (talk) 18:02, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
And the most appropriate sources for factual information would be,
The views expressed in our article will be "in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources (the relative prominence of each viewpoint among Wikipedia editors or the general public is not relevant and should not be considered)." I.e., shall follow WP:NPOV.
For example, the article, Some Misunderstandings Related to WTC Collapse Analysis published in the International Journal of Protective Structures—a journal with no ranking that I could find—has approximately zero citations, is not authored by any recognized authorities in the field, thus carries precisely zero WP:WEIGHT on the topic at hand. — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 06:21, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
See my note above. You have been informed by several contributors now that progressive collapse is not the model NIST endorses for the Twin Towers' collapses. Yet you haven't changed this in the article. The only element NIST has kept from Bazant's model is his energy analysis which was derived to explain the top-down failure dynamic (also debunked in articles refused publication by the JEM, but never mind). Yet you're presenting progressive collapse as the collapse model. You're presenting it as fact, and it's not. Do you understand this part? If you do, then you'll agree it needs changing. --Jasne9 (talk) 17:10, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Regarding the sources that ArtifexMayhem wants to cite for this article: where models and explanations differ within those sources, Wiki needs to be transparent in what analyses it's presenting. For example, the FEMA and NIST reports are not compatible on several issues, so you can't describe both as being correct. You can present both views and credit them to their sources, but you can't present both of them as fact. Currently the article is presenting a mish mash of contradictory explanations, and presenting it as fact. And this is what I have been objecting to from the beginning. --Jasne9 (talk) 19:23, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Who was refused publication by the JEM?--MONGO 18:59, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
FEMA did get some things right and NIST corrected what FEMA got wrong. The article surely needs an update but that doesn't mean we're going to add conspiracy theory stuff to it.--MONGO 20:29, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Mongo, you are either ignoring or are simply not understanding the nature of the edits I'm suggesting. Which is weird, since I'm typing them out in plain view directly above. Most of my edits are or can be sourced to your preferred authoritative bodies. Yet, based on either ignorance of the content in question, or on some personal bias about "conspiracy theories" (the subject of which you keep raising) you are shutting out legitimate revisions. Can you really not tell the difference? If not, you should not be attempting to exercise editorial authority here. --Jasne9 (talk) 21:26, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Sorry but I don't have time to read all the crap you are suggesting up above. So tell me again what the NIST says DID lead to the collapse of the WTC? I have a short attention span so keep it simple without all the theatrics please. JOJ Hutton 21:48, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Potential editors should not be asking others to spoonfeed them information that has already been provided. If you don't have time to read 20 lines of text, you don't have time to comment here. --Jasne9 (talk) 23:38, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Then if you're going to write out long, hard to follow postings, then don't expect to be taken seriously by anyone here. Thanks for playing. JOJ Hutton 00:03, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
I can't see how the editor could know the answer. They obviously haven't read the NCSTAR or ASCE/FEMA reports (Of course that could have been the point of your first question. Sorry if I'm being redundant.) — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 04:06, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Citation[edit]

I'm not sure if the citation, referred to in its removal, should or shouldn't be kept. User:ArtifexMayhem maintains that the source should not be shown, but I differ in opinion. Any third-party thoughts? Epicgenius (talk) 00:54, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

If it's not used as a reference, it seems like it shouldn't be in the references section. Is there a point I'm missing? Tom Harrison Talk 10:22, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
That is how I usually approach it.--MONGO 12:06, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Same here. — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 13:58, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
Okay. If there's no opposition, I'll move the unused cites to a new section called "Further reading". Epicgenius (talk) 13:41, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

I'd like to do some ref cleanup this weekend... Are we done here? — ArtifexMayhem (talk) 22:55, 6 August 2014 (UTC)