Talk:Gospel of Matthew

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We have now reached agreement:

  • WP POLICY states "Unless restricted by another policy, primary sources that have been reliably published may be used in Wikipedia;" Also it is very important that we not go beyond what is stated in the source.
  • A second way that a primary source may be used is if it is quoted in a secondary source.

Nobody is now saying primary sources are not allowed. Their argument is turning to how in practical terms this policy is allowed. Of course the Devil is in the details! Here is where our mediator will be valuable in guiding us to an agreement. I think we have done all we can on this talk page. Cheers - Ret.Prof (talk) 21:46, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Just a note, Ret.Prof. There is a policy dealing with obstructive behaviour, called WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. As is known, I have a good deal of sympathy for the idea of early Christianity as a Jewish sect, probably with its own Aramaic traditions, whose nature was traduced by tendentious polemics and book manipulation (on both sides) when the split occurred and Judaic and Gentile Christian positions crystallised into reciprocal antipathy. But you are, in my view, doing that legitimate POV a great disservice by what can only be called obtusity, and a refusal to think closely, combined with an alacrity for quips. You've had your say. Drop it, otherwise, someone will eventually make your presence here shorter than it should be.Nishidani (talk) 21:48, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
You are correct. I am suggesting we all drop it and let our mediator do his job! Look forward to the debate. - Ret.Prof (talk) 21:55, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Nishidani, my advice is to pursue truthful editing, even if it entails an occasional "bump" or "bruise." Be well.Davidbena (talk) 22:41, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
WP:VNT. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:59, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Tgeorgscu, a scholar once wrote: "Literature... depends heavily on credibility. If a text has passed through the professional hands of the author, editor, publisher, and bookseller, the readers will assume with good reason that the editorial frame and, in particular, the alleged authorship is accurate." (D. Trobisch). This does not negate, however, how that we, as editors, ought to be truthful in our reporting. If this is not clear, then none of the guidelines espoused by Wikipedia will be clear to you.Davidbena (talk) 23:13, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Policies, guidelines and essays are clear to me, see especially WP:The Truth and m:MPOV. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:21, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
This isn't going to last much longer. We have had 3-plus years of watching Ret.Prof soapbox on personal, article, and public talk pages of Wikipedia. After all that time, he has yet to produce a single convincing reliable source to back up his OR. If mediation fails to resolve the content aspects of this dispute, this is going straight to arbitration to deal with the behavioral issues, even if I have to file the case myself. Ignocrates (talk) 22:57, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Ignocrates, can you please tell us what Original Research is the Professor guilty of using/writing/making? Please inform me. Do you mean in an existing article?Davidbena (talk) 23:17, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Ret.Prof's method from the beginning has been to write OR commentary that he wants to be true and then go back and find references that sort of talk about the same subject. I will be saving those diffs for arbitration. There are literally hundreds of them over a three year period. The other editors here are well aware of the articles affected by this nonsense. I'll let them explain it to you. I have a driveway to shovel. Ignocrates (talk) 23:26, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
User:Ignocrates, I'm confused. I thought this mediation was specifically about Gospel of Matthew, or the Hebrew Gospel, and the Professor's amendments/postings in these specific Wikipedia articles. Now you tell me that it is a broader problem. I feel that I've been misinformed about the nature of this mediation.Davidbena (talk) 00:02, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
David, this mediation is about Gospel of Matthew and whether it should more fully include material on the Hebrew gospel of Matthew as mentioned by Papias. The current problems began about January when RetProf proposed an edit - one that was in fact a reversion of an edit I made some months earlier, which was in turn a reversion of an edit he'd made even earlier than that. This pattern of edits by RetProf and reversions/deletions by others stretches back perhaps three years. I became involved about 2 years ago maybe - I haven't checked) at a point when the conflict between RetProf and others had become really impossible. By mutual agreement they allowed me to rewrite the entire article. The others approved what I did, RetProf I don't think liked it, by he said he was withdrawing from the article. But he didn't - he kept coming back. So we have two problems, the immediate one (the mediation, which is a content dispute) and the much longer-running one of what other editors see as RetProf's disruptive editing pattern. RetProf holds that Matthew wrote a gospel in Hebrew that stands behind the modern Matthew. He's been editing that idea, often longthy edits, into a whole range of related articles, not just this one, over the years. That's the behavioural dispute that Ignocrates is threatening to take to Arbcom.PiCo (talk) 00:16, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
And that doesn't even include the articles that Ret.Prof has attempted to add to the encyclopedia that admins have deleted as inappropriate. Ignocrates (talk) 00:22, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, User:PiCo, and thanks User:Ignocrates. Now the matter is clear to me. Ultimately, it all comes down to less-experienced editors knowing when to give-in, and allowing for the more experienced to make the appropriate changes, if at all called for. This is where editors must study their subject matter very, very well. We all must become like academicians, but we all must have a mind to work together whenever possible, and, definitely, never to impose our ways or views upon others without their consent. It was precisely for this reason that I withdrew from offering suggestions on how to improve the article, Gospel of Matthew. I had actually added a few lines about its authorship and composition which were quickly deleted. I gave up. I would suggest here that the Professor do the same. He can always suggest, but not impose a view, unless it is agreed upon by the editors at large.Davidbena (talk) 01:00, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
To be fair to RetProf, suggesting is what he's doing. This mediation will, one hopes, settle the matter. PiCo (talk) 01:52, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Just a reminder: WP:PRIMARY and WP:SYNTH are not optional policies: Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation. A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the source but without further, specialized knowledge. For example, an article about a novel may cite passages to describe the plot, but any interpretation needs a secondary source. DO NOT analyze, synthesize, interpret, or evaluate material found in a primary source yourself; instead, refer to reliable secondary sources that do so. and Do not combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources. -- (talk) 11:13, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
WP:CONSENSUS is also a core policy, and we seem to have a clear consensus here, except for two editors. Note that Consensus on Wikipedia does not mean unanimity. -- (talk) 11:18, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
If I might add here, there should always be (in my humble opinion) a general inclination amongst the good editors here on Wikipedia to uphold all policies outlined on Wikipedia, and not to just select those policies which best fit one's own whims and fancies. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody, may God forbid. We also find outlined in WP policy what is called WP:UNDUE, according to which: "Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the main space fairly represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources.[3] Giving due weight and avoiding giving undue weight means that articles should not give minority views as much of, or as detailed, a description as more widely held views, etc." Based on this, there is still a place here for the representation of the views on Matthew held by at least some of reputable secondary source authors provided here and who espouse that the Gospel of Matthew was originally composed in Aramaic. IMHO Davidbena (talk) 14:51, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
To be fair, there is some ambiguity in deciding how to apply WP:WEIGHT and WP:FRINGE. Although the policies are clear enough, in practice, someone has to decide where to draw the line, and that line can only be determined by community consensus. In this case, the community consensus is overwhelming that an autograph Hebrew Gospel of Matthew is fringe scholarship. One or two dissident editors won't change that, no matter how long and loud they scream about it on the talk page and in public forums. This issue has had its day at FTN and it should be considered a dead issue by now, per WP:DEADHORSE and WP:WIN. Ignocrates (talk) 18:21, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

For the record, Davidbena has considered by argument above and decided to withdraw from this discussion, per his note on my talk page. This is a wise move on his part, in my opinion. Ignocrates (talk) 04:55, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Post Mediation[edit]

I see that Ret.Prof has retired again. The mediation page has identified some compromise wording, but that wording seems merely to summarise what's already in the article at Gospel of Matthew#Composition and setting, and hence adding it would, in my opinion, only be confusing.

I have taken the liberty of adding a reference to Irenaeus, who provides an older example of the "Apostle Matthew" tradition than Eusebius (i.e. the tradition doesn't begin with Eusebius). However Irenaeus is even more cryptic than Papias, so I have used as few words as possible. -- (talk) 00:25, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Recent edits and the mediation outcome[edit]

Some recent edits by an anon ISP have disrupted the text added as a result of the rather long mediation process. I've made some edits of my own towards returning to the spirit of the mediation wording, but I want to clear it with other editors: is anyone unhappy with what's there now? PiCo (talk) 07:57, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

The version at the moment at which I write seems OK, but I do object to stating things like "All four gospels, plus the Acts of the Apostles, Revelation, and a number of the epistles, are products of the second generation of Christians" as fact. StAnselm (talk) 08:05, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Since I was specifically excluded from the mediation process, I don't accept the result. In any case, a "compromise paragraph" that got approval from just three of the twelve participants doesn't seem to me to constitute a consensus of any kind. However, I think normal editing processes are now working fine, and the article is steadily improving. I must say, I'm completely in agreement with StAnselm on the kind of oversimplification that states the majority view as if it was undisputed fact. I think that breaches WP:NPOV. -- (talk) 08:11, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't terribly happy with the outcome myself, but should we now so lightly overturn it? Anyway, I'll withdraw from this and concentrate on what interests me at the moment, the theological questions relating to Matthew. PiCo (talk) 08:14, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
As I said, three out of twelve was hardly a consensus; I don't think there was any "outcome" to overturn. In any case, things are in my view going very well now via ordinary editing processes. -- (talk) 08:18, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Welcome, user Since you are so new to Wikipedia, you need to know at least that you should not take personally your exclusion from the mediation. There is a lot to know about how work is accomplished here, but as you can see, you are not excluded from making contributions, nor are constructive edits rejected out of hand. You do need to be able to accept that sometimes you may be overruled by other editors. That is a part of any collaborative activity. But no one (including the mediator) has excluded you. Another of the things you should know is that there are some people who deliberately act in violation of Wikipedia principles and policies. Quite often, the sources of problems come from edits through an IP address. If you would like to continue here, you will present a better face to other editors if you have arranged for a Wikipedia account. It's not required, but it tends to work better that way, at least when you encounter others for the first time. Just a thought. This comment actually belongs on your user talk page (do you know about those?), but you haven't created one yet, so I wanted to be sure you would find the message. Evensteven (talk) 10:13, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I assure you, Evensteven, I'm not exactly new to Wikipedia. I prefer not to have an account. I'm more than happy to be overruled if a majority of involved editors disagree with me. And yes, the mediation page was protected specifically to stop IP editors from participating. -- (talk) 12:02, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
New users don't typically hand out trouts or even know what a WP:TROUT is. I'm guessing you may possibly be a banned (or vanished) user. Anyway, none of the editors involved in the mediation asked that it be semi-protected; that was a decision made by the mediator. No one is discouraging your contributions here. Ignocrates (talk) 13:05, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
All the same, your edit history seems unusual to me (multiple IPs over a long period of time). Therefore, I have requested a check to see if you are banned from editing. Ignocrates (talk) 17:08, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Very well then,, you will understand that I am assuming good faith. If you prefer to edit from an IP, that's fine with me. It was only a suggestion for someone who may not have known much about WP doings. I will now assume that you do actually know what a mediation is, why they take place, and why an IP might be banned from participating. I will also assume that you understand the nature of agreements reached there, and what that means in the formulation of consensus. Thus, it really ought to be clear to you by now that characterizing the outcome as "3 out of 12" is quite a reach, and that petulancy about being excluded from the mediation is misdirected here. If you really know better, what is your issue? I tend to agree with Ignocrates that something does not smell right here. Evensteven (talk) 20:07, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Nevertheless, you will note that I have no objection to your recent edits to the article. Evensteven (talk) 20:55, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps I should strengthen that. I agree in principle that "oversimplification that states the majority view as if it was undisputed fact" is undesirable and can sometimes even be POV. I don't think anyone felt that the mediation resolution resulted in hard-and-fast wording that had to remain entirely as it was. I consider that as being obvious on the surface and expected you to see it. My opinion is that your article editing and others' has been a proper continuation of activity. But your prior complaints tended to be disruptive, and I agree with the mediator that you should have been banned for that time. The mediation was principally about restoring a pattern of normal editing activity - making that very thing possible. So take care of that positive outcome. Evensteven (talk) 21:27, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ret.Prof has recently stated on his talk page that he is recusing himself from further editing on the Gospel of Matthew article, see diff. Therefore, I think the mediation can be viewed as a successful end to a prolonged content dispute and a return to normal editing. Ignocrates (talk) 02:13, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

Design of references[edit]

A now-reverted edit from earlier today, mistakenly placed on the article page, does bring up an issue with references and use of the Harvard system. I agree the system makes the set of materials in bibliographies and references very orderly and neat, but on WP, it also distances those materials from the reader, requiring extra clicks of links to access, in a manner that is not particularly intuitive, especially for a casual reader. When the material is not available online, the system also makes that fact unobvious, by just silently having no target for a click. The mobile edit we got today is evidence that I am not the only one who has been struck by these non-print-media effects. Though I have already (earlier) had one discussion with another editor who disagrees with me, it is my opinion that if online references are not available in one click, or by popup, they are therefore devalued. As a basis of that opinion, I would claim that references are not only important to editors who want to check up on sources (and can be presumed to have experience and more perseverance), but that they can be of equal importance to simple readers, on all sorts of devices, who just want to look up more information (or also to check up on sources), but who then require a fully intuitive way to do that.

This is also a current issue for me as an editor, as I have it in mind to clean up references at the Eastern Orthodox Church article, and have been considering the merits and drawbacks of the Harvard system. I expect I am not the first editor (or even community) that has dealt with the problem. Since the editors of this article have chosen the Harvard direction, which I am shying away from, I wanted to ask why, to hear comments about that decision, and reactions to my opinion and the experience of the reverted editor. I also want to ask if anyone thinks it would be best to discuss this matter at project or inter-project levels, with a mind to introducing a more consistent approach for handling references across a whole class of articles. Anyone interested? Evensteven (talk) 18:03, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Not to be obtuse, since I don't totally understand "The Harvard System", but are you suggesting ditching all ref's that aren't available on-line? This is my interpretation of what you saying. Ckruschke (talk) 18:50, 17 April 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
Oh, no, certainly not. It's about how they're structured internally, and what that means for clicking to get at anything that does happen to be available online. Evensteven (talk) 19:15, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
The reverted editor did not know what the hypertext links in the References section were. Because they look a lot like internal wiki-links to other articles, she reasonably supposed that that's what they were. They are supposed to be in-page links to the full entry in the bibliography, but many of them did not work because the ref=harv parameter was not in the templates. This should fix all of that.
To clarify terms: In the "real" world, "Harvard referencing" refers to using in-line parenthetical author-date referencing, e.g. "The Gospel of Matthew is anonymous (Duling 2010: 298)." Of course, here on Wikipedia we have to confuse every issue, so now "harvard" is also used to refer to a template-based mechanism such as on this article which automatically links shortened references to citation template entries, whether they are parenthetical or footnotes, and using a wide variety of citation styles. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 19:20, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification on Harvard referencing. Yes, I'm sure you're right about the confusion of the editor. My point centers on the fact she couldn't get to what she was looking for intuitively, and in one click. Actually, though, that's two points. I would agree that omission of "ref=harv" amounts to a bug that is readily fixed. Do you feel that fixes the intuitive part? I'm not entirely sure of that myself, but would find it hard to argue against either. As for one click, well, that's my ease of use issue with Harvard references here. Do you see that as significant? I've seen references in the general technical media that indicate if you can't get to the result in one click, people won't generally go further. I don't follow that stuff closely though, and have no idea where I've seen it. Am I on track? Can anyone verify? Evensteven (talk) 20:02, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I think what you're saying is right: People browsing the internet don't generally dig deep, because they are just casually reading. We probably have the same oft-repeated reports in mind on that point.
But let's ask: How would this consideration apply here? So, there's a first choice to make: You can use parenthetical referencing, or you can use footnote referencing. Parenthetical referencing would address the issue you mention, because it usually uses links which lead directly to the full citation. Parenthetical referencing is definitely the less popular option, however. The reason is because people feel that it disrupts the flow of the displayed text. Also, footnotes are necessary for actual, non-citation notes anyway, so there is more consistency. Footnote referencing instead puts those little superscript footnote markers in, which people feel do not significantly disrupt the displayed text. For footnote referencing you can go many ways: 1) You can go for short citations throughout (as this article does) with a list of full citation at the bottom, 2) you can go for long citations throughout, 3) you can go for the first citation to a work being long and following ones being short, or 4) you can do a mix. Only 2) would fully address the issue you are talking about: One click from the footnote marker and the reader would be presented with the full citation every time. I don't think 2) is common at all, however. There's at least three reasons for this: i) It's almost never done by any other publication. ii) It creates a lot of completely useless clutter in the wikitext. iii) It creates a lot of clutter in the displayed text of the footnotes.
In the end, there's no perfect system. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 22:08, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
And to clarify more: Even though there is the confusion with the term "Harvard", that doesn't mean you should continue it! I didn't mean to imply that "Harvard" only refers to the sort of parenthetical referencing off-wiki. It does mean that on-wiki when it is being used correctly. The use of "harvard" along with the shortened footnotes system is I believe just a vestige of how that system of templates was built out of the old properly Harvard system templates. It's still better just to limit the use of "Harvard" to parenthetical author-date referencing. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 22:25, 17 April 2014 (UTC)