Talk:Fred Saberhagen/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2
  • Dracula Sequence:
    • Dominion (1997)
    • A Matter of Taste (1990)
that's not chronological - any specific reason or can that 1997 entry be moved down (or is that 1987)? (clem 19:09, 14 May 2005 (UTC))

Berserker novels history

Berserker's Star (2003) shows up as #14 & #16.

Death

If this individual is actaully dead, as an editor indicated, a reference must be found before indicating that fact in his article. Quatloo 00:34, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Gee, thanks for the tip, Quatloo. What part of "as noted on the Science Fiction Writer's Association of America Web site" did you not understand? As a member of SFWA, I've seen the announcement with my own eyes. However, to satisfy officious twitdom, I will also note reference to it on Harlan Ellison's Web site, with further comments by Ellison. Scalzi

First of all, it's not noted on the front page of that website. Second, the website may not qualify as a WP:RS. Third, why was no URL provided to the announcement, if in fact any such announcement exists? For all we know it could be some message base attached to that website, which would certainly not qualify as a reliable source. Quatloo 02:18, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
I think I can see what you're getting at here, but I haven't, so far, found any trace of death-specific rules in the maze of pages behind the WP:RS link. In particular, I can't see why the SFWA site shouldn't be considered a valid source: it's the professional trade association for SF Writers. Your third point is good, but that's a problem of citation, not reliability. In fact, your approach seems about as good as somebody pointing to the SFWA website, and leaving the reader to dig out the actual source.Zhochaka 11:42, 3 July 2007 (UTC)


Do what you want, Quatloo. Oddly enough, Saberhagen remains dead despite your refusal to allow Wikipedia to acknowledge it, and if you don't think Harlan Ellison is sufficiently reliable source in this particular case, you're a goddamned fool. Scalzi
A reliable source is required. Surely if someone as eminent as Saberhagen has died, a reliable source could be located. Ellison may be mistaken; he is not a reliable source by any definition. Quatloo 02:30, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Oh, for God's sake. He was called by a personal friend of the Saberhagens with the news, a personal friend who is also well known in fannish circles. Your own apparently inability to grasp who is a reliable source in this case is no reason for Wikipedia not to carry accurate information. Scalzi
A "who" can never be a reliable source. Please read WP:RS. Quatloo 03:06, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Quatloo, do you bottle your own "pointlessly officious" juice or do you have someone else bottle it for you? Harlan Ellison, aside from being one of the most notable names in history of science fiction, says that Fred Saberhagen, his personal friend, has died. He in turn has gotten this information from someone whom the Saberhagens themselves have asked to pass along the information. Just out of curiosity, from whom do you think what you would qualify as a "reliable source" will get its information? If the Wikipedia set-up doesn't recognize these sources as reliable, it's an idiotic set-up. And as I've noted before, when we discover that Saberhagen has been dead all this time, and you've been the one holding up the informaton because you can't grasp who qualifies as a reliable source, you're going to look like a fool.Scalzi
A published source, like, oh, a newspaper. Not a person, not a blog, not a message forum. I had suggested you read WP:RS, which tells you what qualifies as a reliable source in Wikipedia. Apparently you still have not. I know exactly what qualifies as a reliable source. You have demonstrated repeately that you do not. Quatloo 03:20, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Again, Quatloo, from whom do you think the published source will get its information? Possibly from the person whom the Saberhagens have entrusted to tell people about his death? Or are you somehow under the impression that information spontaneously generates out of the thin vapor? As someone who has actually worked as a journalist, and has since 1991, I can assure you that the data we put in newspapers and magazines, and in books, comes from "whos." But I think it's cute you tried to pull rank on me on this matter. However, unless you can prove you write regularly and profitably outside this little sandbox we call Wikipedia, as I can, with years of experience to tell me who is a reliable source, allow me to suggest you try not to lecture me about sourcing. You look silly doing it. Scalzi
Once it is published in a reliable source, Wikipedia can use the information. But Wikipedia cannot be the first place to publish such information. Anyway this is a moot point now that a source is available. Quatloo 03:40, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia wasn't the first place to publish the information; it was published online from credible sources, regardless of your (or Wikipedia's) opinion of them. Just out of curiosity, Quatloo, are you at all curious as to where Locus Magazine got its information? Or does that simply not matter to you, because Locus qualifies as a source and you don't have to think about it anymore? Honestly, this whole exercise has been completely ridiculous. Scalzi
It doesn't matter where Locus Magazine got its information. I don't care how sausage is made. But Wikipedia cannot publish information that is not already published elsewhere in a WP:RS. And yes, the issue is no longer a concern because Locus does qualify as a source. And when put information on Wikipedia you have to play by Wikipedia's rules, not by rules you invented yourself. There have been many cases of Wikipedia falsely reporting the death of individuals who remain alive -- these rules exist for a reason. And this rule we are discussing, it is the most fundamental rule of them all. Quatloo 04:42, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
That's a franky appallingly straitjacketed way to attempt to determine what is truthful and useful information. Wikipedia is flatly stupid for promulgating such an inflexible method of determining the value of information, and your "It's sourced, I don't care how" attitude makes me vomit in my mouth just a little. It suggests you don't actually care if the material is true, merely that it's sourced. As you say, these rules exist for a reason, but that reason seems to be to allow hall monitors types to have their officious fun, rather than focusing on publishing useful and credible information even if it's not from a specific and rather blithely trusted medium. If nothing else, that's not actually useful for Wikipedia. But since the information is now sourced, I guess you don't have to worry about that. Scalzi
"Reliable sources are authors or publications regarded as trustworthy or authoritative in relation to the subject at hand. Reliable publications are those with an established structure for fact-checking and editorial oversight. The reliability of a source depends on the context: a world-renowned mathematician is not a reliable source about biology. In general, an article should use the most reliable and appropriate published sources to cover all majority and significant-minority published views, in line with Wikipedia:Neutral point of view." -Excerpt from WP:RS
I'm sorry, are author's not whos? Is Harlan Ellison not authoritative on his friends death? Does the SFWA lack reliability on American Science Fiction Authors? Note that the first line differentiates between authors and publications, and further defines reliable publications. Harlan Ellison as an author does not need an established structure for fact-checking and editorial oversight, he just needs to be talking about something he is familiar with, like science fiction, draconian employee oversight at Disney, writing for Star Trek, or recently deceased friends. Maybe you should play by Wikipedia's rules Quatloo, instead of the ultra-restrictive set you've replaced it with. 129.49.58.67 20:02, 5 July 2007 (UTC)Jet Goodson
For biographical articles, all self-published material, such as Harlan Ellison, his personal website, or the SFWA forum, is forbidden as references per the WP:BLP policy. BLP is the overriding and most relevant in this instance, and it stricly forbids this. I haven't replaced anything. You are conveniently omitting BLP policy such as "Material from self-published books, zines, websites, and blogs should never be used as a source" (direct quote). This is the rule, I recommend you and everyone play by it instead of arguing that it somehow does not exist. Quatloo 22:25, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
Then maybe you should have cited WP:BLP from the beginning instead of WP:RS. I'm not pretending WP:BLP doesn't exist. I'm not a rule-spouting, anal retentive martinet, so I didn't bother seeking it out, I just assumed common sense would apply. More than likely you omitted WP:BLP also. You hid behind WP:RS until I quoted it and showed how it could be interpreted to not apply and then you went and looked for a regulation that backed you up. If this wasn't how things had gone done, you would have been hiding behind WP:BLP from the start, because it's the "overriding and most relevant in this instance."
I only had to cite BLP because people were claiming an "exemption" because Harlan Ellison is a well-regarded individual. WP:RS is sufficient to disallow use of the poor source, WP:Verifiability is sufficient to disallow use of the poor source. WP:BLP is sufficient to disallow use of the poor source, but most importantly, it explicitly addresses and forbids the exact "exemption" from policy that people are claiming for this article. Quatloo 02:31, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
In other words, I was correct.
And just to be clear, you direct quote, "Material from self-published books, zines, websites, and blogs should never be used as a source" actually adds "as a source about a living person, unless written or published by the subject." If the claim is that the person is dead, it is clearly a gray zone whether the source should be accepted. Your direct quote is an omission that could lead people to believe that self-published material should never be used as a source, when the relevant rule is WP:verifiability, which states:
"Self-published material may, in some circumstances, be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications. However, caution should be exercised when using such sources: if the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else is likely to have done so."
So clearly, if anyone wants to add further information about Saberhagen's death that wasn't published in Locus, but was posted by Harlan Ellison, it is allowed, because Ellison has an acknowledged insider who has had essays about his science fiction career and friends in the field published by reliable third-party publications. But Ellison isn't reliable about any living science fiction authors. Somehow.
This is not a "somehow." While self-published material is usable in limited circumstances (guideline which you cite), it is never allowed for third-party biographical information. Which this is. Quatloo 02:46, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Added reference from Locus Magazine's website. Jczorkmid 03:38, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Excellent. As the trade magazine of the science fiction world, it should be official enough for Wikipedia purposes. Although I will bet you large sums that Locus got its information from the same places I did. Scalzi
And yet the article remains locked. This kind of irrational rigidity is what makes me lose faith in Wikipedia as a repository of actual knowledge. Phil Urich 04:37, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
I had an admin come by to lock it to end the edit war. Sorry if that wasn't actually helpful. Lockdowns aren't permanent - at some point it'll stop being locked again. Nerwen 04:49, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
If I remember my high school history classes, a first person account is automatically more reliable than a newspaper ( or third person account) of a story. Sure, it may be biased with opinion, but I'm sure it's not Harlan Ellison's opinion that his friend is dead.167.206.202.139 16:39, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
If you are searching for Mr. Right, you can find him at TotaLPhark.


A couple online sources:

Nerwen 03:31, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Neither message forums nor blogs qualify as sources, and the scalzi.com blog is run by someone engaged in adding unsourced information to this article. None of those can be remotely said to qualify as a WP:RS. Quatloo 03:34, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

The point of mentioning the Scalzi.com blog was that it verifies that "Scalzi" above actually is the author John Scalzi, and therefore isn't just some random passerby. Nerwen 04:49, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Another one. Front page of a well-known Sci Fi magazine:

Nerwen 03:59, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Quatloo seems to be ignoring the actual rules. Primary sources, including "people very close to the situation being written about," are acceptable according to the policy on sources.

Additionally, I would contend that he's simply not using common sense. Spherical Time 04:50, 4 July 2007 (UTC)


word travel's fast. this litle exchange could become the laughing stock of the internet. thanks for the lolz

Hi, I was the original source for the info about Fred’s passing and sat here yesterday wondering how I could “Verify” myself. I am a close friend of the Saberhagens and they authorized me to get the information out. They are understandably busy with other stuff right now. I figured with time and other more famous names than mine chiming in that eventually someone would take the news as fact. We did not contact the Albuquerque paper until today and there will be a story in tomorrow (04July). Harlan (for the record) has been a good and kind friend to them and me. When I did post - it was not like I was using a web name – I signed my full real name to everything and put in a contact email address. No one has ever tried to contact me and verify who I was. Oh well – It is out there now correctly but how do you prove that you are real? I guess this is a philosophical question – huh. –Patricia Rogers

Patricia, thanks for posting here. The answer to your question about how to verify your identify for Wikipedia purposes is... you don't have to. Since we don't have the resources to routinely verify the identity of people who edit Wikipedia (although it can be done in extraordinary cases), our policy is to rely on published sources that we know to be trustworthy, rather than directly on people who may (or, alternatively, may not!) know the facts surrounding the events covered in articles. The identity of those sources are easy to verify, by going to a particular URL, watching a TV channel, or picking up a printed newspaper: we know who we're dealing with. And we tend to believe them, because they've been truthful in the past, and they have an editorial process for determining what level of verification of a news story is sufficient to be published under their name. That's the whole rationale behind the policies regarding verification and reliable sourcing.
So please don't be offended that no one contacted you or used your personal account of Saberhagen's death. It was not intended as a personal slight, nor was removing information that had only appeared on Harlan Ellison's blog and similarly self-published sources. Wikipedia is not a news source, and we're not at all embarrassed to be "scooped" by other online media. What may appear to be "common sense" (like accepting a blog of a famous person as verification for an article) has led to problems in the past. It's embarrassing to Wikipedia when we get things wrong. It's not embarrassing to Wikipedia to be a few hours or days late on reporting the death of an article subject, to make sure we have the facts right. --MCB 05:19, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Hi, Thank you for the answer. I’m not offended and I appreciate your time to reply. I knew what I was saying was true and that Fred’s friends knew that any info from me was fact. I can understand your position. Here is a link to the story that originated in the Albuquerque Journal yesterday and was picked up by the AP.

http://www.lcsun-news.com/latest/ci_6297837

Thanks again. –Patricia Rogers


OT: Quatloo, I wish you'd take a look at the bio on C.S. Lewis. Last time I looked, it was full of unsourced tabloid level gossip which really should be removed. - Bemusedoutsider

Protection?

Quatloo, I think there needs to be a better discussion somewhere about "trusted sources" vs. "untrusted sources." Frankly, I'm much more likely to believe what people tell me who bother to use their own names rather than people who run through Wikipedia pell-mell using pseudonyms. Saberhagen is dead. He was dead yesterday, too. He was dead when I updated his record, and then when John updated his record.Lauriemann 16:33, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Why is this article protected? What dispute is unresolved? --Chronodm 04:36, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

The argument was over whether or not the article should note Saberhagen's death. Read above for details. Nerwen 04:39, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
The argument was over whether his death can be noted without a reliable source. Now that there is a reliable source, the issue is moot. Quatloo 04:44, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Reading the argument, I think you're missing a few clues about science fiction writers. Whether you intended insult or not, you were dissing people who knew Fred Saberhagen, not some random Wikipedian sicko who might think it funny to start a false story. Yes, I know it's a Wikipedia Policy. It does make sense. But in cases such as this instance, with the emotions surrounding a death of a friend, I don't think you have the necessary social skills to enforce it without provoking offence. Zhochaka 06:09, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
No social skills would be sufficient to not provoke offense of those involved. When the reaction to policy is "I don't care", or worse yet, "I don't care and I'm not going to be bothered to even read the policy", there is little more that can be done. Quatloo 06:24, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Since as someone else here has pointed out your own reading to the policy leaves something to be desired, I'd be careful about calling pots black, there, Quatloo. More to the point, the sources noted would definitely have been perfectly cromulent in the real world of journalism and research, and also, here in Wikipedia. As far as social skills are concerned, It'd be nice if you had them but I'm rather less concerned about them than a general competence in assessing what is a credible source of information in this context; your comment that Harlan Ellison was not a credible source in this instance, for example, indicated a significant lack of knowledge about the field, which cast doubt on your ability to credibly assess the data. Which is to say occasionally others here will know more than you. Scalzi
And as far as I can tell from the history log, the dispute was already resolved at the time the article was protected. What am I missing? --Chronodm 04:55, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Multiple simultaneous things happening at once, basically. By the time I got hold of an admin to look into it, I guess someone else had found the Locus announcement, but I didn't know that at the time because I was trying to find a non-paid-subscription obituary from Albuquerque. Nerwen 05:06, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

I have unprotected the article, as the edit war regarding a reliable source for Saberhagen's death is presumably moot at this point with the confirmation by Locus. As a policy matter, though, Quatloo is quite right: no matter how well someone may have known the subject of the article, and no matter how famous Harlan Ellison is, their personal accounts of events are not sufficient for Wikipedia purposes. No one was "dissed", and no one should take offense that their personal knowledge of events is not considered a reliable source for Wikipedia purposes. There are a lot of things that I know from professional contacts in law or publishing, but I wouldn't think of putting them in Wikipedia without proper attribution to a published source. That's how we do things here. --MCB 07:04, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Oh, bah. The problem with the Wikipedia policy is that Harlan Ellison could have written exactly what he had written on his site, had it published on the Locus Web site, and then suddenly and magically it would be acceptable to Wikipedia. The data are the same; the author, too. The only difference is that Ellison would have to have taken the intermediary step of e-mailing the Locus Web editor. We're not talking about things we "happen to know" from other people; we're talking about a credible person credibly talking about a factual event. There's a difference between these two. Wikipedia should have the ability to utilize the latter. Scalzi
Again and again you demonstrate that you have not even read the policy you're aguing about. Yes, venue is everything. What Ellison posts in a private forum is not usable. If he writes for a qualified source, it's quite usable. Quatloo 07:22, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
And again and again, Quatloo, you demonstrate that you are patently incapable of understanding that I am saying Wikipedia's policy is stupidly flawed, and a blind adherence to it is foolish. Which, incidentally, is different from not having read the policy, and I wish there were some way you could be made to understand the distinction. Scalzi
Wikipedia policy may be flawed in many places, but the fact that reliable sources are required, that is no flaw -- any policy may be jettisoned except that one. Your complaint is that you couldn't wait a few hours until a proper source came around, which indeed it would if the information were true. Oh, calamity! Quatloo 07:40, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Quatloo, you are clearly not qualified to decide who is reliable. Are you perhaps a Vogon? As Douglas Adams once said "Of course you can’t ‘trust’ what people tell you on the web anymore than you can ‘trust’ what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants. Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do. For some batty reason we turn off this natural scepticism when we see things in any medium which require a lot of work or resources to work in, or in which we can’t easily answer back – like newspapers, television or granite. Hence ‘carved in stone.’ What should concern us is not that we can’t take what we read on the internet on trust – of course you can’t, it’s just people talking – but that we ever got into the dangerous habit of believing what we read in the newspapers or saw on the TV – a mistake that no one who has met an actual journalist would ever make." Kevin Marks 08:03, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Quatloo, what is your interpretation of this bit of WP:PSTS? "Primary sources are documents or people very close to the situation being written about." (Emphasis added.) Chronodm 08:08, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
I point you to this sentence on the very same page, two sentences later: "Primary sources that have been published by a reliable source may be used in Wikipedia, but only with care, because it's easy to misuse them." You are right that a person is indeed a primary source, but as such it cannot be used unless published by a reliable source. Quatloo 08:20, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Locus Magazine is a reliable and primary source, end of story. please use judgment, not maniacal skepticism, when considering the merit of sources. Note that publishing something does not change its reliability, nor citability. --Buridan 10:28, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
His argument is carried over from the time prior to Locus Magazine publishing the information in question. He wanted to know if Harlan Ellison (the physical person by himself) can be used as a source for Wikipedia, and the answer is of course, no. If a primary source is used at all, it can only be used for first-person information, and only in limited cases at that. Harlan Ellison The Individual cannot be used as a source for the death of Fred Saberhagan. Quatloo 11:02, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Actually harlan ellison was fine too, published on his blog or website, or even in personal communication, so long as it is publishable and verifiable. --Buridan 11:13, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
False. See WP:RS and WP:Verifiability. Quatloo 11:17, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
True, see wp:rs and wp:Verifiability. --Buridan 12:27, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Can you clarify? (Both this and your response to Buridan.) WP:RS is a guideline, not a policy. To the extent that Ellison is himself a primary source in the case of the death of a personal acquaintance (something that I'm not sure how or why one would dispute), Ellison's personal website would seem to be a reliable, verifiable source for statements Ellison has made, if not necessarily for information about Ellison. WP:PSTS prefers secondary to primary sources, but doesn't insist on them:
An article or section of an article that relies on a primary source should (1) only make descriptive claims, the accuracy of which is easily verifiable by any reasonable, educated person without specialist knowledge, and (2) make no analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims.
That would seem to me to be a fair description of Scalzi's original edit. Furthermore, even if Ellison's personal statement were not considered strictly reliable, in WP:Verifiability I see: "Editors should provide a reliable source for quotations and for any material that is challenged or is likely to be challenged, or it may be removed." This doesn't seem to fall into either category, and I don't understand why deletion was more appropriate than {{Verify}}. --Chronodm 11:48, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
WP:RS may be guideline but WP:Verifiability is policy. "Material that is challenged or likely to be challenged needs a reliable source, which should be cited in the article." I challenged it. It therefore requires a reliable source. Not a primary source, but a reliable source. That is policy. Harlan Ellison, an individual, is not a WP:RS, by any reading of that guideline. In this case, the sentence I quoted in policy mandates that the guideline be followed in such cases. Remember also that the "source" being called "Harlan Ellison" is not actually Harlan Ellison but a private forum to which the general public does not have access. A completely unverifiable situation. I find it preposterous that otherwise intelligent individuals are arguing that a BBS posting somehow qualifies as a reliable source. Deletion is the only appropriate answer for negative information, per WP:BLP (the negative information being, of course, potentially false reporting of death.) BLP policy requires deletion any unsourced and contentious material: "Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material — whether negative, positive, or just highly questionable — about living persons should be removed immediately and without discussion from Wikipedia articles." Quatloo 12:02, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. What was your basis for the challenge, other than the fact that the original post was unsourced? By that argument, it sounds like any editor can delete any unsourced statement at will, simply by choosing to challenge it (thereby making it "challenged") or even thinking about challenging it ("likely to be challenged"). I agree that would be within the letter of WP:V, but it does make me wonder what the purpose of {{Verify}}, {{Unreferenced}} and so on is, and seems likely to lead to capricious deletion. I don't see the applicability of the "negative information" rule in this case -- reporting that someone's dead is not slander or libel or anything of that sort, except to someone who has a problem with dead people. :) At worst it might be a bad prank in poor taste, but I'd think one should take the credibility of the editor into account before assuming that.
Also, I'm still not following your argument about Harlan Ellison. The forum in question isn't private; it's right up there on the Internet, here, for anyone to see. I don't see why a statement posted by Harlan Ellison on Harlan Ellison's own web site is not a reliable source of the information "Harlan Ellison says X", and I don't see why Harlan Ellison, as a personal acquaintance of the deceased, doesn't count as a primary source. Can you clarify what purpose you think the primary source discussion on WP:PSTS is meant to serve? --Chronodm 19:20, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
my position is that ellison, if verified, is fine and it would be fine, it need not be published, and i think that conforms perfectly well with guidelines and policy. now we have ellison+locus, both verifiable, both published. the delete policy is fine and good, i support it, but I think Quatloo was a bit too strong after there were verifiable and reliable sources, which is why I chimed in. remember verifiable and reliable sources are judged as such by the consensus, not by one editor, once there were many editors on one side and Quatloo on the other, then Quatloo should have reconsidered his/her position in light of what the editors present accepted as verifiable and reliable sources. Wikipedia should not be held up to one person's standards, but it must follow wikipedia standards, but not as interpreted by only one person, but interpreted by the community. --Buridan 12:25, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Umm, after there was a reliable source (Locus Magazine), I made no edits whatsoever to the page. And no, consensus is not mentioned in WP:BLP and is not necessary. Poorly or unsourced contentious material must be deleted, end argument. No reliable source equals poorly sourced. These are not "one person's standards" -- sourcing is the fundamental, core policy of Wikipedia. If several editors do not understand or do not want to understand the importance of sources, it does not matter. The material may be deleted without discussion, per WP:BLP policy. Quatloo 12:43, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Ellison is in most people's opinion a reliable source, and once there was verification of the truth of that source, the matter should have been settled. The continuing debate on standards is just egocruft as best as i can tell. I agree with the delete until there was the ellison citation, afterwhich I think there was consensus that it was reliable and verifiable.--Buridan 13:27, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Your opinion of whether Harlan Ellison seems like a reliable source does not matter. What matters is whether Wikipedia's requirements of what constitutes a reliable source are met, and they are clearly not. You are confusing what the words "reliable source" sound like -- what you think they ought to mean, versus what they actually mean on Wikipedia. The two are very different. Quatloo 13:40, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Aye, and see there's the thing because it is not my opinion, if you read above, it is a general opinion of which you are the only one asserting the 'ought to mean' in dissent. What they mean is whether it is reliable and verifiable, and it was both as clearly demonstrated by other sources. I think that there was consensus that Ellison was reliable and verifiable, you dissented and kept deleting, that is where the failure of the system happened, sometimes we just have to step away and let the consensus determination of reliability/verifiability hold because sometimes our individual construction of rules and policies might not be broadly held. reliability is a guideline, verifiability is the policy, this was verifiable. as to reliable sources: "Reliable sources are authors or publications regarded as trustworthy or authoritative in relation to the subject at hand.", such as Harlan Ellison, now you should turn to the principle of exceptionality, which is remedied as I note with 'verification' once you had one reliable source and a verification, the discussion should have ended. That you do not think Ellison is reliable is no reflection on him, it is merely your opinion, which then must be remedied against consensus opinion which I read as opposing yours. --Buridan 13:56, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Per policy, it is impossible for an individual to be a WP:RS, a reliable source. In this case, per WP:BLP the policy requires the guideline to be followed, so the guideline is policy. It is not a consensus issue. It does not matter what the consensus is. Again you're using words with what you think the meanings are and not what they specifically mean in policy. WP:BLP requires that the information be deleted unless there is a reliable source, with reliable defined in Wikipedia terms, not Buridan terms or "consensus terms." If you read WP:BLP (and I recommend you do, as you clearly have not), it does not even require a discussion, much less consensus. It says the information must be deleted. Period. Quatloo 14:03, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
wp:rs says it can be an author. blp says nothing about reliable sources beyond they must be verifiable. once it was verified, it was done. harlan ellison is an expert in this field, a reliable reporter of events in this field, and a person of significant reputation. if you can provide some evidence that people like him should not be considered reliable sources in blp, then i'd be happy to consider it, but as best as I can tell you are merely extending the admonition against zines and blogs beyond it's scope. you could delete it before there was a citation from an expert that was verified, heck you can still delete it, but you should not have once a reliable source. Also keep in mind that we are dealing with a fact, not a matter of opinion or libelous information, we are dealing with whether or not a person is dead. It should have been deleted up until reliable, verified sources were provided, I agree. What I disagree with is that you are constructing reliable/verifiable sources beyond the scope of the policy, and acting on your interpretation of what those terms are in regards to wp policy and guidelines. once you had reliable and verifiable or claims to that fact, you need to be careful about blp. --Buridan 14:35, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
WP:BLP says any poor or unsourced information must be removed. Information derived from a non-public BBS/forum that nobody can verify except members of that BBS, which is where this came from, is clearly poor by any definition. Any admin will concur with forums being unreliable sources. Forums are explicitly not permitted as reliable sources. There is no argument that makes a forum a reliable source. Furthermore this is a very simple application of policy -- the most simple in fact -- I am not going "beyond the scope of the policy", as you ineptly suggest. Here, a direct quote from WP:BLP policy: "Self-published sources should never be used as third-party sources about living persons, even if the author is a well-known professional researcher or writer; see WP:BLP." That is as unambiguous as it gets, and addresses Ellison's situation directly. Quatloo 14:39, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm right there with you until the ellison was verified by another source, then your reasoning fails. do you see why? --Buridan 16:17, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Right. it's fine once there was a reliable suorce. Once that occurred I had no problem. with it. Quatloo 20:28, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Quatloo, you have misquoted WP:BLP. What WP:BLP really says is "Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material — whether negative, positive, or just highly questionable — about living persons should be removed immediately and without discussion from Wikipedia articles,[2] talk pages, user pages, and project space." Do you see how the word "contentious" is important in that sentence? Any definition which results in every unsourced statement being contentious is clearly wrong -- there would be no need to specify "contentious" in WP:BLP in that case. The word "contentious" is there to limit the application of that piece of policy to information that is being disputed. -- Dd-b 16:25, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
You're claiming that this material, which was re-added over and over without sources, was not somehow "contentious" at the time? It was exactly that: Contentious. VERY contentious. Quatloo 20:28, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Claiming the data are "contentious" merely because you've unilaterally arrogated to yourself the power to decide what is a legitimate source of the data does not, in fact, make the data contentious in the slightest, Quatloo. Scalzi
Quatloo.. I pulled the following from your guidelines link. "Self-published material may be acceptable when produced by a well-known, professional researcher in a relevant field. These may be acceptable so long as their work has been previously published by reliable third-party publications. However, exercise caution: if the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else is likely to have done so.". The source is a well-known professional in a relavent field that has been previously published by reliable third-party publications. As far as third party sources being used about a living person. The person isn't living anymore. Bhcompy 16:46, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Quatloo seems to have decided that the "contentious and unsourced" passage defines any unsourced report as contentious. I suggest Quatloo checked the Wikipedia article on "Boolean" for help. Chrisweuve 16:50, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Someone needs to report this Quatloo for abuse.
I could not locate the policy that says discussing policy is abuse. Quatloo 20:29, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

At what point does WP:BLP no longer apply to a person? Is there a policy governing transition from a biography of living person to biography of a no longer living person? Pardon my new-ness if i misedit this. GodaiYuhsaku 17:31, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Quatloo's position is simply stupid. Statements of known acquaintances like friends and family published online, for all to see, about whether or not a person has died is as good as it gets. If Quatloo wants to be consistent with his brain-dead policy-think then he should remove notice of Saberhagen's death in spite of Locus, etc. After all, Locus undoubtedly based its death notice on the exact same basis as the person who originally edited the Wikipedia article. If that reasoning is not valid then the Locus article is not a reliable source and should not be used. Harlan Ellison's public statement (and verifiably by him his friend and colleague is dead is definitive in the real world. MichaelSH 20:08, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Wrong. My arguments were made prior to Locus Magazine surfacing as a source and should only be read in that context, as I have said repeatedly. My dispute was in the time prior to that, when the article was being edited only with Ellison as a source. This situation is exactly addressed in policy: "Self-published sources should never be used as third-party sources about living persons, even if the author is a well-known professional researcher or writer; see WP:BLP." Using Ellison as a source is explicity forbidden, as is using any of his forum posts, or his website. Quatloo 20:28, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Nothing is explicitly forbidden, just discouraged. Shouldn't, not can't. Bhcompy 21:38, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Except in this case BLP says that poorly sourced information must be deleted, and then goes on to say that self-published sources should not be used for BLP-qualified people. That makes any self-published sources poor as a given, and requires deletion of the information. Taking the policy as a whole, there is no way self-published information can be used in a BLP biography. Quatloo 22:04, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
And the BLP works with the IAR policy, which states that(essentially) you should use common sense when considering the application of a policy/guideline. All that was wanted was applied common sense, which is something that is allowed under the basic guidelines of Wikipedia. Especially considering how overzealous modding hurts the perception of Wikipedia as a credible source of information, which is the reason the IAR exists in the first place. Bhcompy 22:31, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
WP:BLP says that poorly sourced contentious information must be deleted. There's a difference. (And I'd find this more compelling as an explanation of your actions if you'd cited WP:BLP initially. See also Wikipedia:WikiLawyering.) --Chronodm 07:14, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Initially, I thought it was vandalism. Frankly there are so many policies or guidelines that disallow the original uncited information from appearing that it was difficult to know which one applied best. Any of WP:RS, WP:Verifiability or WP:BLP are sufficient on their own. It's not supposed to be up to the person removing to defend removal of uncited material, it's up to the person adding the material to defend the addition. Yet somehow that table got turned. Quatloo 09:06, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

This situation is exactly addressed in policy: "Self-published sources should never be used as third-party sources about living persons, even if the author is a well-known professional researcher or writer; see WP:BLP." Um, no, because he WASN'T a living person. That seems to be a big difference, and if you're going to get so fine-grained on other things, then you can't just gloss over living versus dead.

You are quite wrong. See this statement by Jimbo Wales. BLP coverage is extended to the dead: [1] Quatloo 21:01, 3 July 2007 (UTC)


Ladies and Gentlemen, further proof that Wikipedia is just plain retarded. Congratulations.

In this recently decided ArbCom case, the arbitrators rejected the principle that BLP applied only to those who are alive; the majority supported the interpretation that it covers the recently dead also. Honestly I'm disgusted by the treatment that Quatloo has gotten here. Those responding to him need to spend time familiarizing themselves with this site's basic policies and guidelines, and how they have been interpreted. If you disagree feel free to take it up on the various Administrators' noticeboards or talkpages of the policies and guidelines in question, and you will see who is correct. - Merzbow 20:58, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
By reading the IAR policy, and the meaning of it, it seems to support the fact that the guidelines are just that, guidelines. They can be wrong at times, and when they are, they don't have to apply. It specifically mentions that everything is a case by case basis, so the "case law" you mentioned has no binding effect here. You are also not required to know the guidelines, or how they are interpretted, based on the IAR. It also mentions that we should apply the spirit of the law instead of the letter of the law. Basically, what I derive from it is that if a reasonable person could accept the source, then it should be acceptable regardless of source guidelines. Reason wasn't adequately applied here, perhaps because the specialty of the moderator/editor isn't extended into the realm of science fiction authors. Perhaps that is the biggest problem of all, moderators should have a grasp of the field in which they are moderating. Bhcompy 21:24, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
The argument that IAR can be used as an excuse to skimp on sources isn't going to fly. Quatloo 22:04, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. In practice IAR has only been accepted for use in extraordinary cases where it is clear that bypassing a particular process was necessary (to improve the encyclopedia). Multiple admins have been desysopped for abusive behavior they attempted to justify under IAR. Reporting on someone's death five hours early based on hearsay, I daresay, would not apply. - Merzbow 22:18, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
There wasn't a lack of sourcing, just a lacking of sourcing that you consider adequate(from what I understand). But using the IAR and the other guidelines you provided, a reasonable person with knowledge in that area could consider the source adequate. Bhcompy 22:31, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Extremely doubtful considering the many BLP controversies lately. Anyone invoking IAR to add otherwise unacceptably sourced information to articles covered by BLP is guaranteed to receive a very poor reception in policy circles. Trust me on this. - Merzbow 22:39, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
I can understand that, but the source is acceptable under most conditions listed on the Verification policy. It does have an excemption to it when speaking of living people, but said person is dead. There was mention of existing policy decisions on this, but the IAR states that each case should be taken on a case by case basis(which I don't think is using the IAR as a blanket to do whatever you want, instead meaning that circumstances should be taken into consideration and common sense be applied). Thats my main beef. The source is generally acceptable because the person is a qualified expert in the field in question, except in the case of a BLP, which is a flaw in multiple opinions on this page. It is both an insult to the "expert" and can damage the credibility of Wikipedia, which is unfortunate and a reason the IAR exists. Bhcompy 22:55, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
As stated before, per both arbitration rulings and Jimbo Wales himself, BLP does not apply to merely the living. It applies to recently dead, particularly those who have yet to assume room temperature. Verification policy is important here but it is not the overriding policy in this instance. BLP is. Quatloo 23:26, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Be disgusted if you like, Merzbow, but Quatloo has earned his moment of Internet fame. It's very kind of you to keep him company in his unenviable position.
Quatloo seems to have a lot of trouble with challenged and controversial. In normal reference work, the former would properly describe a situation where one source had reported that Fred Saberhagen was dead, and then another source had contradicted the first, asserting that Saberhagen was in fact alive. The latter would describe a situation where there was a long history of arguments about whether Fred Saberhagen was dead or alive. In those circumstances, it would be appropriate to be extra-careful about one's sources.
Reports of Saberhagen's death were neither challenged nor controversial. Quatloo, who knows nothing about the subject, arbitrarily deleted John Scalzi's update. It was wrong of him to do so. He nevertheless defended his position against all comers, in the process making such a perfect dunce of himself that he became an object of general interest. That interest would never have developed if readers didn't see Quatloo's participation in the discussion as a clear example of a certain kind of Wikipedian dysfunctionality.
Being able to quote Wikipedia's regulations is no substitute for general expertise. For that matter, it's no substitute for understanding the point of those regulations. 72.225.217.252 22:58, 3 July 2007 (UTC)TNH
All "challenged" means in this context is that an editor has questioned the fact. That did indeed occur. But I will say this, fighting against the core tenet of Wikipedia -- good sourcing -- is folly. Quatloo 23:26, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Though a self published qualified expert is a valid source under most conditions. Bhcompy 23:29, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Wrong, Quatloo. You've still got it backward. Did you by any chance notice that the rest of the Saberhagen entry didn't have backup citations? Yet you didn't challenge that information. You had no reason to. You likewise had no reason to challenge the information about Saberhagen's death. It just caught your attention because it was a recent edit.
I did in fact notice this, and that is why I put a {{sources}} tag on the article. Sources for other information in the article probably did exist at the time. However none of the other information was as egregious as the unsourced death notice, for which no source at the time existed except a private forum posting inaccessible to the general public. The other unsourced material has not been immediately contested; if it remains there after a full month without having been addressed, I may prune the article down to a stub. That will give sufficient time for editors to locate sources. Quatloo 00:19, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
John Scalzi's information came from two quite respectable sources. I've been a professional science fiction editor for many years. Prior to that, I was a reference book editor. I wouldn't hesitate to give credence to a death notice that appeared on both SFWA's site and Harlan Ellison's site. They're solid sources. I'm sorry you weren't clear on that point.
Both SFWA forums and Harlan Ellison's website sources are forbidden under WP:BLP as self-published material. According to policy any information relying on them for a biographical article should be deleted immediately. Policy is unambiguous in this regard. Quatloo 00:21, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm not fighting against good sourcing. I've never been fighting against good sourcing. I'm saying you don't know what good sourcing is. 72.225.217.252 23:57, 3 July 2007 (UTC)TNH
WP:BLP says "do no harm". There is no harm in waiting a few extra hours for sources of unquestioned reliability to report on someone's death. That's the bottom line. Consensus up and down and across Wikipedia among long-time editors, admins, board members, and Jimbo himself is the same - "BLPs must be written conservatively, with regard for the subject's privacy." If anything, IAR should be applied in favor of an even more conservative implementation in cases where something would otherwise be allowed, to flow with the spirit of BLP. You are tilting at windmills here. - Merzbow 00:06, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm not tilting at windmills. I'm arguing with two pseudonymous dunces whose entire notion of engaged argument consists of repeating the same points over and over again. Let your commentary be its own monument. I've said what I have to say.
Oh, and congratulations on getting Farked. You've succeeded in making Wikipedia look ridiculous yet again. 72.225.217.252 00:59, 4 July 2007 (UTC)TNH
Quatloo is, of course, 100% correct in his statements about policy (theWP:BLP is quite specific on the use of self-published material on these kinds of pages: "Self-published material may never be used in BLPs unless written by the subject him or herself" - that is as cut and dried as it comes) and those who assume that Locus simply takes the word of people for its news are incorrect. Unlike self-published pages, Locus has fact-checkers, and so is in a different category of source than someone's private web page. John Scalzi did himself no good by Farking this page; he only linked readers of Fark to an exchange in which he clearly demonstrated that he was unfamiliar with the policies he was criticizing, and the reasons for them.
First, there's no "of course" about Quatloo's correctness here, otherwise there wouldn't be this long a thread about it, so you can stuff that rheotorical nonsense right back into your hole, anonymous unsigned person. Second, I didn't Fark the thread, someone else did. Self-Farking is lame. Someone else Farked it because it was yet another case of a Wikipedian being pointlessly bureaucratic, and people love watching Wikipedians being stupidly pedantic. Third, like Quatloo, you appear to making the assumption that I'm unfamiliar with the policies because I don't have the same interpretation of them as he has. This is wrong. I've read the policies well. I think in general they can be improved, and specifically I think Quatloo's interpretation of them is incorrect, the latter of which, at least, appears not to be a thought held only by myself. Scalzi
Your entire premise is that Harlan Ellison gets a pass when it comes to the policy prohibiting self-published material because, well, he's Harlan Ellison. Seriously, that's your whole argument. But this was already foreseen and explictly addressed in that very same policy -- that type of material is prohibited as sources for biographical articles even if the author is a well-known professional researcher or writer. There simply isn't any way to interpret the policy in a way that allows the use of such self-published sources -- and that is by intentional design. Quatloo 14:10, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
No, Quatloo, that's the self-justifying argument you've imagined in your head, which why you've been so spectacularly wrong about it all the way through this, and will most likely continue to be so. Others here have corrected you sufficiently on the matter, and suggested to you that might that you might try using common sense, but inasmuch as it appears to be a point of pride to you that your interpretation for the polices can't possibly be wrong, I don't imagine you'll listen, so I don't imagine it's worth discussing the matter with you any further. On the principle of not trying to teach a pig to sing, I'm done with you. Scalzi —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.76.242.29 (talk)
And that's the whole point. Policies and guidelines are not set in stone for Wikipedia. They are subject to exemption, even when they try to say they aren't. Common sense is the best principle, and a lack of it is what causes Wikipedia a bad rep from the internet community. That's what policies like IAR and Common Sense are here to combat and that overzealous mods always write off as unusable excuses. Bhcompy 23:47, 5 July 2007 (UTC)