Talk:Harlan Ellison

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Girlie Mags[edit]

Hello, Atomaton - I am really & truly puzzled as to why you have such a strong objection to leaving that short clause in the article. It's no different than any of the other hundreds of bits of "color" that are strewn throughout the article. Your edit summary suggests either that you are literally unfamiliar with the term -- or alternatively, that you object to its use (for some unspecified reason). I was a little doubtful that it was actually unfamiliarity -- I mean, what are the odds that someone has never heard the term, or couldn't at least infer the meaning from the context. So I figured it was time to take a look at your user page to see if there were any clues as to where you were coming from. (Did I say clues? wow, what an understatement! :)

Now, I suppose it's at least theoretically possible that you really have never come across the term -- but given your amazingly wide knowledge of human sexuality, etc. that strikes me as exceedingly unlikely! :) So, that would appear to leave us with some sort of personal objection to the term -- even though it is, in fact, precisely the correct term to use here. In which case your insistence on deleting the "offending passage" would amount to a clear case of POV pushing (or some variant of that phrase). I realize that I'm making a sort of educated guess here, so if there is some other basis for your objection, please fill me in on what that might be. (By the way, I presume you noticed that I didn't take issue with your change from "soft porn" to "erotica". Personally, I think either is acceptable, but if you think erotica is preferable, that's fine with me.)

Just in case you're not entirely clear what "girlie mags" are, here's a short essay (I found it just now thru a google search) which conveys a pretty good sense of the concept:

"Girlie Magazines" A Love Affair, Right or Wrong

In any event, I hope you can see your way to putting aside your objections. There's got to be better things for us both to be putting our energies into! Cgingold 14:01, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

HI, thanks for the discussion. I edit a wide variety of sexuality and sexology articles, and so naturally am familiar with the term "girlie magazines". As an editor I try to remain objective, rather than introduce personal issues. I frequently make and support edits that are not directly in line with my personal views on a subject. Here are my editorial opinions on this minor issue:

  • The term "girlie magazines" is archaic, and hasn't been used since the sixties. You say that using the term adds "color" to the article. I think that it looks strange, and that most of the young readers of today aren't familiar with the term.
  • The manner in which you use the term, I feel would seem to readers, as well as potentially Mr. Ellison himself, as a derogatory reference. The attempt to add color, IMO, colors it to suggest something derogatory. As this is a Biography of a Living Person, we are very aggresive about not having anything in the article that is derogatory or slanderous. If you know the names of the magazines that he wrote for, why not put them down. If you say he wrote for say, "Flame", "Confidential", or "Cabaret", then say so. (if not, why not avoid characterizing it altogether, and let the reader decide) One can't argue with the facts. When you characterize the kinds of magazines that a person wrote for as "girlie magazines", indeed you give it color. Color that could be considered negatively.

I'm interested in a factual representation of Mr. Ellison. Any rumors, innuendo, slander, or "color" are not appropriate in a biography of a living person (BLP). Wikipedias holds articles in that category to a substantially higher standard than other articles. If you say anything that could be considered to be negative, it has to have very concrete citations and references.

As for porn versus erotica. That is minor, but writing about sexuality is usually called "erotica", especially when it is what you term as "soft". "Porn" are usually visual depictions of sexuality, and usually ones that are what most people call "obscene". Given that it is writing about sexuality, and was written and published in the 60's, erotica would be the most appropriate term. I am aware that the term is mis-used, and so frequently used to mean pretty much anything that is "objectionable". I feel that, especially in these jaded times, most editors would evaluate Mr. Ellisons writing to be "erotica". Secondary, of course, is that suggesting that this author wrote "pornography" (besides the mis-use of the term) could be considered to be derogatory. To do so would require solid citations to prove your point. As "girlie magazines" were not pornographic, that might be difficult to do.

Regards, Atom 15:18, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Hello again -
In reverse order: like I said, I have no problem whatsoever with your change to "erotica", I wasn't arguing it one way or the other. (Just so you know, I didn't write that passage in the first place, so "soft porn" wasn't my term of choice, in any event.)
On the subject of "girlie mags" -- well, of course it's an "archaic" term, in a sense that's the point of using it -- precisely because that IS what they were called back then. It wasn't archaic at the time! :) The person who originally wrote that passage bizarrely used the term "girlie journals", which I thought was rather amusing. I of course changed it to the correct term. As I recall (this was a while back) I checked it out first to be sure they really were "girlie mags" and verified that they were (I don't recall which ones, off the top of my head, though I think Flame was probably one of them).
In any event, the particular names are not terribly important, IMO, and wouldn't mean a thing to most readers -- whereas using the term "girlie mags" actually imparts a tiny bit of info that would otherwise go missing. That's what I meant by adding a bit of "color" -- I'm afraid you misconstrued what I meant by that. I don't see anything in the least derogatory about the fact that he wrote some pieces that were published in "girlie mags" -- and I cannot imagine that Ellison himself would either! In fact, I rather think he would be amazed at the suggestion. I mean, it's not as if he wasn't perfectly aware of what sort of publications they were.
Oh, jeezus! I've heard him on the radio so many times (years ago) that I can hear him (in my head) laughing his ass off about this discussion, in his uniquely Ellisonian way. :) Really, I am sure he would be quite amused!
Okay, on a more serious note! If you're concerned that younger readers may not be familiar with the term, I'm sure that can be remedied with either an explanatory footnote or an external link (or both). I really don't see that as an issue.
At this point, I honestly think I've addressed your concerns. So, unless you've got something else...
Regards, Cgingold 16:13, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, frankly I'm sure that Mr. Ellison would laugh at the discussion, and may even have used the term himself. The term is archaic, and as you say, does add color. If this weren't a biography of a living person, I'd agree with you. The problem is, as I said previously, BLP's have a higher standard to meet. It isn'important whether you or I view the term as favorable or not favorable, but how it might be viewed as derogatory and possibly slander by others. You are right that the names of the magazines might not be recognizable, but that's what should go there. By saying "Ellison wrote a number of erotica stories... which were later reprinted in Los Angeles-based girlie mags." is a characterization. You admit it is to add "color". Where saying "Ellison wrote a number of erotica stories... which were later reprinted in Los Angeles-based Bachelor and Carnival magazines." The first can be (and will be) intepreted by some as suggesting something derogatory. The second is factual. (well, if it had the right magazines there).

Why the hypersensitivity? Well, nothing specific to Mr. Ellison, or course. Although the article points out that he is litigous, and settled with AOL on a large sum of money just a few years ago aregarding his work reproduced on the Internet. Wikipedia has an offical policy Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons specifically to avoid problems, and to remain ethical and not take a chance at slandering people. Wikipedia takes it very seriously. Read the policy to see what I mean, it is too large to reproduce here. But, take for example

Editors should remove any controversial material about living persons that is either unsourced, relies upon sources that do not meet standards specified in Wikipedia:Reliable sources, or is a conjectural interpretation of a source.

Administrators encountering biographies that are unsourced and controversial in tone, where there is no NPOV version to revert to, should delete the article without discussion.

In cases where the information is derogatory and poorly sourced or unsourced, this kind of edit is an exception to the three-revert rule.

We must get the article right. Be very firm about high quality references, particularly about details of personal lives. Unsourced or poorly sourced controversial (negative, positive, or just highly questionable) material about living persons should be removed immediately from Wikipedia articles, talk pages, and user pages.

As I participate in the Wikipedia:Living People Patrol, I take a conservative approach, as you have seen here. If it could be views as derogatory, if information is unsourced, it should be removed immediately. Atom 23:24, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

City on the Edge of Forever[edit]

For some reason, this article lacks any mention of what is considered the most widely known Ellison controversy - his feud with Gene Roddenberry over the treatment of his Star Trek script. A full book has been published on the topic. I have added a short section about this, but it could certainly stand to be expanded. For example, my understanding is the unfilmed version of the script won a Writer's Guild award, while the filmed version received the Hugo. That has to be notable. But I need to do more research to get sources for that. 23skidoo 19:33, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

  • You might want to mention that Ellison discovered, in the course of writing his "City" book, that it was actually D. C. Fontana who wrote the final version of TCOTEOF. Sir Rhosis 20:00, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. I need to reread the book. I found my copy (and snagged the "fatally inept" quote from the jacket) but it's been years since I read the complete essay. 23skidoo 23:33, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I saw Ellison at WorldCon in Chicago address a large general audience on his Star Trek episode. After lambasting the innocent who had cried out "Your show's on tonight Harlan!" into a puddle of shivering jelly, the wacky genius disowned it, explaining that "the most important part" of the story (concerning drug addiction) had been purged entirely. After that he attempted to further disillusion the disappointed throng with other mundane self-disclosures, apparently in an effort to "wise up" the adoring fans. Part of this was a rant, apropos of nothing that I recall, about how wonderful it was to be a millionaire, and "eat steak" every day. (This was in the early years of the Republican rollback of the welfare state, so we listened dumbly but politely without understanding whose envangel he was preaching.) The only part that seemed on topic to me was his dislike of Star Wars. I guess his general message was that most fans were idiots, in his humble (ahem) opinion. But it was his tawdry taunting demeanor and directionless rage that disappointed most of all.Vendrov 06:55, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Dreams with Sharp Teeth[edit]

I added a blurb about Erik Nelson's Harlan Ellison documentary. I don't know how to add the references, but Harlan himself was heard describing the film in an interview on Cleveland's WCPL IdeaStream on 9/21, on their show "Around Noon". Also, the April 19th 2007 screening of the film is referenced here:

I apologize for my lack of completeness in this addition, but I have not the skill or time to finish it right now. Suitmonster 21:46, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

I have since completed the above reference. Suitmonster (talk) 15:10, 27 December 2007 (UTC)


The categories Category:Science fiction short story collections by Harlan Ellison and Category:Fantasy short story collections by Harlan Ellison only had a few items in them so I moved them to more general Category:Short story collections by Harlan Ellison (which is in no danger of overpopulation as he appears to be putting out less than a book a decade these days.) If anyone objects then please discuss here. Otherwise I plan on taking the two categories to CfD in a couple of weeks. Sbacle 18:49, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

A character representing 'Harlan' in popular fiction[edit]

In the recent SF movie 'War of the Worlds' there's a character, who speaks as if he may be a writer of some kind, who's named 'Harlan'. I think there's a strong possibility this character is based at least in part on Harlan Ellison.

Magicsinglez (talk) 14:55, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

In the Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated season one episode 12 cartoon, they do send ups of HP Lovecraft, Robert E Howard and Harlan Ellison. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:41, 21 October 2010 (UTC) — More than a send-up to Ellison, he plays himself in the episode. (talk) 01:09, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

Personal defense training[edit]

As I recall (don't have a cite for this handy), Isaac Asimov says in one or two places that Ellison is quite competent at martial arts/hand-to-hand/personal defense/however you want to say this. Any sources on this? -- Writtenonsand (talk) 15:42, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Civil Rights[edit]

Is there a reason that "Civil Rights" is under the controversy section? If not, I'd like to merge the content into the biography section. -- (talk) 03:59, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Not a science fiction author[edit]

I've known Harlan for about thirty years and while I've heard the rumors about his irrasible character, this is one fan and collague who wants to be put on the record as saying I've always know Harlan to be a gentleman. I first approached him in order to put some of his books in the Blair House, Guest House of the President, where I was the Librarian. We then ran across each other from year to year in science fiction conventions and shared thoughts on current politics and literature. To be honest, I've never thought of him as a science fiction author. That's too limiting. He is just a great American Author. Larry Roeder, formerly Policy Adviser on Disaster Management, US Department of State. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 03:53, 18 September 2009

I concur! I've never met Harlan, but I have friends who have and one fellow writer buddy who has spent a good amount of time with him and has nothing but love and admiration for the guy. I think Harlan gets a bad rep these days from people because of his disdain for stupidity. In today's over-politically correct/ultra-sensitive climate, someone like Harlan, who rocks the boat a bit and makes his opinions known is seen as a villain by most. Whatever people want to say about him, he makes you think, whether with his writing or his commentaries. I agree, also, that Harlan shouldn't be labeled exclusively as a "Sci-Fi" author (and Harlan, himself, loathes that title, as fans well know). I got into Harlan's work in the 90s, as a teenager, via his comic book work, and later discovered the magic in his short fiction. It is true that many of his stories use futuristic/nuts-n-bolts settings, but his characters and their motivations are so well-executed that he belongs in the pantheon of American writers alongside Faulkner, Wolfe, et. al.

-chris edwards: singer/songwriter/poet/wanderer — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

-Agreed that he should be categorized as American Author and not Science Fiction author in particular.QueenofRods (talk) 04:09, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Reference in fiction[edit]

Section 10, "Parodies and Pastiches of Ellison" contains this paragraph:

Robert Silverberg's 1955 novel, Revolt on Alpha C, a thinly-disguised retelling of the American Revolution set on a distant planet, features a character named "Harl Ellison," who is the first cadet (of a group that has been sent to restore order) to switch sides and join the revolutionaries.

I'd have thought that there's a problem with that being a pastiche of Harlan Ellison, as his first major publications were in 1958, and were teenage-gang related rather than sci-fi.

I could be wrong; Silverberg and Ellison both lived in New York in 1955, though Ellison moved there in that year, according to the article.

If there is evidence that this is an actual pastiche of Ellison, perhaps it could be cited; if there is a possibility or probability that the name is coincidental, this could be stated, if only to help those like me who were confused as to how Ellison could be parodied before he'd published a book. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:34, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

I see your point, and have added the appropriate tag to the article. Hopefully, someone will come up with a citation for that someday (definitely interesting if true). —Aladdin Sane (talk) 18:35, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

In one of the archives there was a query by someone about a Science Fiction story featuring parodies of various Science Fiction authors in which that of Harlan Ellison was a character named Helen Arlison. On the off chance the querant is still wondering, the story in question is called "Harmless Illusions" and is by Felix Gotschalk. Given that it was published in one of the major SF magazines of the time (Amazing, I think), the story apparently works as an in-joke, but it certainly doesn't work very well as a story. (talk) 01:08, 5 September 2012 (UTC)


This article is totally unbalanced... I'm not an expert on Ellison but I know enough that we can do a lot better than an article 3/4ths of which consists of a list of quarrels he's had with people. Burpelson AFB (talk) 02:59, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

This is totally balanced - he's at least as well known for his quarrels as he is for his writing. In fact, much of his non-fiction writing is about his quarrels. There isn't even any mention in the article of the infamous gopher incident:

Nope. It was the comptroller of a certain publishing house that bound
a cigarette ad into one of Harlan's paperbacks, breaking a stipulation in
Harlan's contract. Although better related in Harlan's essay "Driving in
the Spikes", suffice to say that after trying nicely to get the book
rights reverted back to him, as per his contract, and getting blown off,
Harlan mailed 213 bricks postage due to the man (this was back when the US
Postal Service would mail anything postage-free, making the recipient
pay up), had a Luthuanian hit man friend of his have a talk with him, and
then mailed the dead gopher, along with Ted Cogswell's recipe for braised
gopher stew, fourth class mail, where it stank up the mailing room for quite
a while.

(from ) Enon (talk) 21:47, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

The entire "gopher incident" is told in great detail by Ellison himself on the CD On the Road with Ellison Volume 1 --Powerofshark (talk) 03:08, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

is this worth adding to this section? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:47, 2 October 2011 (UTC)


Ellison apparently believes that he is terminally ill, and that an upcoming public appearance in Wisconsin may be his last one.[1][2] (talk) 18:40, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Someone should snap a photo of him. --Soppakanuuna (talk) 22:26, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Does anyone have a source for this[edit]

At a panel of old geezers from the original fan generation, after a gentle jostle, Harlan came back at Frederick Pohl about his brains turning to mush. I am not bothered if there is no quotable sourses, but it happened... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:51, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Science Fiction Hall of Fame[edit]

Harlan Ellison was in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame class of 2011, selected -04-06? and inducted -06-25. These resources will be useful.

--P64 (talk) 16:36, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

bias in description of the Hugo event[edit]

The minute Harlan heard the reaction he saw his actions from that point of view, realized how very wrong he'd been, and issued a full and detailed apology. It was ripped apart as being a non-apology. To say "and complained that Willis had not called him to discuss the matter" is a perfect example. What he actually said was -

"For me to grab Connie's breast is in excusable, indefensible, gauche, and properly offensive to any observers or those who heard of it later.

I agree wholeheartedly.

I've called Connie. Haven't heard back from her yet. Maybe I never will."

Several days later he reverted to his 'Harlan Ellison' persona, I expect as a result of the way his personal apology was taken. I in no way approve of his actions but this section needs to be entirely re-written.

--Kovar (talk) 20:46, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Controversy neturality tag[edit]

I have removed the controversy section neutrality tag. After reading all the sections and checking the material and refs it seems undoubtedly accurate in its depiction of events and opinions, and so is neutral in its own right.

As for the section affecting the neutrality of the article as a whole, it is not justified. The section is a very small part of the whole article, and each of the points mentioned there is notable in its own right. It is not really possible to introduce these topics into the body of the article and, imho, should be left where they are. Chaosdruid (talk) 17:54, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

The quotations were accurate; they were also taken selectively. I've corrected that but, unfortunately, in trying to keep Ellison's paragraph spacing the section is now too long. --Kovar (talk) 21:29, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

See Above?[edit]

If something is mentioned that has already been addressed earlier in an article, there is no need to write, "See above." It can be assumed that the reader has already seen the reference. "See below" is appropriate when more information on a topic is given later in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:38, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Why is this a 'Controversy'?[edit]

Please forgive me I am a wiki-amature, but I don't understand what is 'controversial' about the following entry under the 'controversy' section:

"I Have No Mouth And I Must ScreamEllison's iconic short story about "AM", a global AI (Artificial Intelligence) which unleashed its fury on humanity by extinguishing all human life down to a handful of trapped victims wandering in its world-spanning interstices, and subject of its mordant whims and inventive, Old Testament-like torments, has been turned into an early video game, and was purchased by a Hollywood studio for adaptation to the screen, but no script has been forthcoming thus far. The storyline is a combination of The Book of Job meets The Canterbury Tales transmuted into a Lovecraftian cybernetic realm."

It seems like a rather straight forward recap of his story, what was the controversy that it caused? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:14, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

  • I would guess that the contributor made a mistake, as adding it to the controversies section makes no sense. It was added by, removed 3 weeks later by, and then quickly reverted back in by MikeWazowski. I'll remove it, it duplicates some of the text in the Hollywood and beyond section anyway. -- (talk) 20:09, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

From first to third wife?[edit]

In the text, we read about the first wife and then a little later the third wife. Perhaps a word or two about the second wife would be good. Phiwum (talk) 12:41, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

ellison in fiction[edit]

There's a persistant rumor that Richard Dreyfuss based his character in the film The Goodbye Girl on Ellison. Would be good to mention and verify or disprove that if possible. (talk) 09:17, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

book buy back[edit]

There's one of his books that was so badly mangled in the editing process that for years Ellison would buy any copy of it offered to him in order to destroy it. Would be good to know which book that is. (talk) 09:17, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

You're thinking of "Doomsman," but its because he was unsatisfied with the story itself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Thefocusingblur (talkcontribs) 03:05, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

worldcon in an rv[edit]

An anecdote perhaps worth including is that Ellison was guest of honor at the Phoenix worldcon in 1978, but because Arizona had not ratified the equal rights amendment, Ellison didn't want to contribute to the state's economy, so he stayed in an RV during the convention. (talk) 09:17, 9 May 2013 (UTC)


The matter of sections 6.12 (memoir by HE), 7 (doc film about HE), and 9-10 (parody of HE) is all related. I think it should precede the list of works, perhaps in three subsections rather than three sections because subsections are used heavily here.

Section 6.11 (audio recordings [selection]) does not indicate the nature of the works. Where is Ellison the speaker/reader/interviewee/etc? Where is the material his previously published writings? Insofar as 6.11 and 6.13 (contemporary publications) cover later editions of Ellison writings, the material probably belongs in a distinct section.

--P64 (talk) 20:54, 17 June 2013 (UTC)


{{Infobox writer}} no longer supports the fields influences and influenced. Its template documentation now instructs (twice): "No longer supported. Please move cited/citable instances into prose."

Here are the current parameter values (cut and paste except bullet points):

See Talk: Ray Bradbury#Influences/influenced for some more explanation with cross-references.

--P64 (talk) 18:46, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

re recent short story collections[edit]

An editor is wanting to remove the following entries from the short stories collection of the Works section and is insisting, so let's talk about this. The challenged material is:

If I understand correctly (I could be wrong) the removal is because this material is not sourced. If the material is false and there are no such books that's different of course. But a spot check on Honorable Whoredom at a Penny a Word shows references to the work -- here for instance, and Google gives others.

So I guess the objection is to the entries not being sourced, based on the edit summaries removing them. But little or none of the other material is the Short-stories collection subsection, and indeed in the entire Works section is sourced, at least with inline citations. So by that standard we should blank the entire Works section and it's inconsistent to pick just some items. And there's a lot material in the Wikipedia that isn't sourced and if we removed it all just for that reason we'd be removing an awful lot of material. All material should be sourced eventually of course, but when an editor comes across material that isn't sourced but is otherwise appropriate for inclusion (it's not defamatory or misleading or undue weight or otherwise problematical) and there's no reason to believe that it's not true, the recommended procedure is:

  1. Source it.
  2. And if you don't want to do that, tag it and wait a couple years or so and see if someone else will.
  3. And if you're not willing to do that, then leave it alone.

So I restored the material but this puts me at 2RR so I've fouled out. The burden is on the editor to come here and make his case why this particular material needs to be removed. Herostratus (talk) 14:47, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

WP:V says that inline citations are mandatory after information has been challenged, Herostratus. WP:BURDEN is absolutely unequivocal: it is the responsibility of the editor restoring the information to provide the citation. No one else's. That makes it yours. Not mine. Not anyone else's. Yours. So go to it. Add the citation, and never restore information that has been challenged without providing an inline citation again.—Kww(talk) 15:07, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
No, I think you're misunderstanding the situation. The burden is on me if the material is challenged as false (or as there being a reasonable suspicion that it's false, or if there are other problematic aspects, such as that it's defamatory or misleading or gives undue weight to some unimportant material and so forth). Simply noting that a passage is unsourced is not a challenge to the material itself. If you're saying that the material is false or might be or it's trivia or there's some other problem and it's unsourced, fine; that's different, and make your case on that basis.
But no, you cannot go through the Wikipedia and remove material only because it's not sourced (unless it's been tagged for a good long while with no response) and lay it on other editors to stop what they're doing and go and get sources. You could remove over half the material in the Wikipedia in one stroke if this was allowed. Apparently you really really think this material needs to be sourced and it's important to you, so go source it. My time is not necessarily less valuable than yours. If you're not willing to do that, why is my problem? If you don't want to do that, then tag it and wait a good while. Otherwise, move along.
I don't know the details of all the various rules here (some if which contradict each other), and it may be that you are being mislead by reading a rule that is not an accurate description of how things are done in practice. Don't worry about it, we are not rulebound here. Use common sense. Herostratus (talk) 00:53, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
It certainly is legitimate to remove unverified material. I'm sorry that you think you have the right to decide when a removal of unsourced material is legitimate or not. You don't. WP:BURDEN makes no exception for "I disagree with the reason for it's removal" or "I found a source but didn't feel like adding myself, so I just restored the material without providing a citation". A list of redlinks is most certainly material that is "likely to be challenged", so, if you want it to be present, find the supporting citations before adding it back. —Kww(talk) 01:31, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
WP:BURDEN makes plenty of exceptions. You're not reading it correctly. It says several times some variation of "Attribute all quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged to a reliable, published source" (and the bolding is in the original in at least one place. It does not say "Attribute all quotations and any material to a reliable, published source". See the difference? It could have been written with just "any material" rather than any "any material challenged or likely to be challenged". Maybe it should have been written that way. But it wasn't. If you want to go to WP:BURDEN and make a case there for changing the rule, do that.
So what is meant by "any material challenged or likely to be challenged"? It doesn't mean just "challenged as unsourced". Because if that was what is meant there's no need for the clause.
It also says this: "Editors might object if you remove material without giving them time to provide references; consider adding a citation needed tag as an interim step. When tagging or removing material for lacking an inline citation, please state your concern that there may not be a published reliable source for the content, and therefore it may not be verifiable. If you think the material is verifiable, try to provide an inline citation yourself before considering whether to remove or tag it."
So you you think it would not be possible to find out whether or not the book Honorable Whoredom at a Penny a Word written by Harlan Ellison and published in 2013 does or does not exist? Did you try? I didn't have any trouble finding it. Generally speaking, the existence or non-existence of a book is easy to determine because most books are commercial commodities and so there's usually someone wanting to sell it and generally on the web. "If you think the material is verifiable, try to provide an inline citation yourself before considering whether to remove or tag it".
(BTW commercially published books are among the entries least needing verification, because the reader can most likely verify whether or not the book exists (and was written by the author we say it was and so forth) by going to or someplace like that. An inline citation is just going to point to amazon probably, so there's no great practical benefit.)
Anyway, you then say "A list of redlinks is most certainly material that is likely to be challenged", and now we're getting somewhere. You have an objection to including those entries to the list because there are not articles about them. That's fine! That's a reasonable position: "In a list this long, let's pare it down only to those works which are notable, with 'has a Wikipedia article' being a fair (and easily ascertained) standard for which are notable". People might or might not agree with that, but it's a reasonable proposition. This explains why you are wanting to delete just those entries and not the entire list, which also lacks inline citations.
But then you should say that. If you object to some material, you should take the time to figure out where your real objection lies and communicate that. Don't use "unsourced" when you mean "not encyclopedic" or "trivial". Herostratus (talk) 06:00, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
All of the above is the absolute Poster child of the reasons I left Wikipedia years ago after having initiated and written a couple of hundred articles in the relatively early days of the project. Gar! Hayford Peirce (talk) 13:05, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
You want me to be a jerk and remove the entire list? I could do that. I recognize that sloppy article writers frequently use blue links as substitutes for citations, so I didn't remove unsourced, blue-linked material. As for tags, : "editors might object if you remove material without giving them time to provide references; consider adding a citation needed tag as an interim step". I've considered the idea of adding tags, and reject it. Now, you object. Fine. So find the citations, add them, and everyone is happay and everyone has followed policy. I notice that you seem to have located a source for one, you just seem to think it's reasonable to restore the material without using it. It isn't. Consider the material formally challenged. I don't think any of those redlinks actually exists. Go find a set of inline citations that supports their existence, and do so before adding the material back to the article. I'll give you a couple of days to correct your WP:BURDEN violation before removing them again.—Kww(talk) 13:35, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I think you're mistaking me for your employee. It's not my fault if you're too lazy to do the work yourself. I could do it, but as a matter of principle I'm not gonna be your errand boy, especially since you haven't been particularly friendly. You have the problem, you fix the problem. "I've considered the idea of adding tags, and reject it". Really.
It says "consider" the idea of adding tags because we generally soften our rules with terminology like that because our rules are supposed to be leavened with a good helping of common sense. We say "consider adding adding a tag" rather than just "add a tag" because the latter is overly strict and could be read as "add a tag, in all circumstances and all cases with no exceptions" and we just don't roll like that. If the material is problematical, fine, maybe you shouldn't add a tag but remove it instead. If there's reason to believe that tag will never be acted on, like if it's an extremely obscure and unvisited article, fine, then maybe you shouldn't add a tag but remove it instead. If there's good reason to believe that nobody will ever be able find any references, fine, then maybe you shouldn't add a tag but remove it instead. Or whatever. However, "I just don't feel like it" is not, I think, one of the intended exceptions.
One of the reasons your general attitude is annoying, and one of the reasons all this gets my back up, is that it's very unwelcoming and unhelpful to new editors. In fact that material was added by user as her fifth edit. Well of course it's not sourced. It was her fifth edit. Deleting perfectly good contributions by new editors, rather then building on them by sourcing them yourself if it's so all-fired important or else tagging them so that someone else can build on them, is not the way to make new editors feel that their contributions are valued.
Heh, you cannot say "Consider the material formally challenged" for no reason. You have to have a reason. So then you say "I don't think any of those redlinks actually exists". But that's not true. You don't have any reason to believe they don't exist. I know this because you would have brought it up before if you did. So you not only have to have reason, you have to have a reason that is an actual reason that you actually believe.
Well anyway, we sure do seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot here. It's too bad. As a pro tip, engaging editors on the level of "never contradict me again" is maybe not the best way to get things going in a collegial manner... just a thought. It would be shame to continue in this manner. So why don't you do the right thing and source the friggin' items, tag them, or move on to more fruitful pastures. Herostratus (talk) 04:35, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Good grief. In just five minutes, I found all four of the redlinked texts on Amazon. Do I need to cite every single one of them? Aristophanes68 (talk) 03:52, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Heh. You could. Kww isn't gonna and I'm not gonna, strictly because we've got our backs up. I'm trying to help Kww to get more relaxed and more collegial about this sort of thing (probably not doing a very good job cos I'm getting kind of mad) and if you do add the cites he might learn the wrong lesson about how helpful trying to order other editors to do his work is going to work out for him in the long run. On the other hand it sure would end the conflict which I guess is getting kind of sterile, so if you're up for it, go for it. Herostratus (talk) 04:35, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
It's not a matter of ordering other people to "do my bidding". I'm perfectly happy to have Wikipedia be missing those items. What I'm not happy with is random collections of unsourced material pretending to be articles, and yes, Herostratus, intentionally violating clear policy as you did is disruptive. As a "pro tip", intentionally violating policy and then giving an admin as sanctimonious lecture about how confused he must be is also not a good way to get anywhere. When material is challenged, it can't come back until there are inline citations. Completely unambiguous, black-letter policy. Your perspective has been argued on the talk page of WP:V numerous times, where editors have attempted to make tagging mandatory and have tried to set minimum thresholds of implausibility before material is removed. They've lost the debate every single time.—Kww(talk) 05:07, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm not perfectly happy to have Wikipedia be missing those items. (I'm reasonably contented to have Wikipedia missing these items since there's a reasonable argument that they don't belong on the merits, although a better solution IMO would be keep them but explain what they are rather than just listing them, which again would be building on the previous editor's work... but all that is tangential to the discussion we're having here about sourcing.)
"random collections of unsourced material pretending to be articles"... again, to me it sounds like we are mixing together two things. Whether a thing is part of a random collection has nothing do to with whether it is unsourced material. "What I'm not happy with is random collections of unsourced material pretending to be articles" is different from "What I'm not happy with is unsourced material, period" which is your actual point, so why not be clear, especially since the construction you used could be interpreted by the unkind or suspicious to devolve to "What I'm not happy with is random collections of material pretending to be articles, and playing the 'unsourced' card allows me to get my way without tedious interference with people who have a different vision" which of course you wouldn't want people to misinterpret you in that manner.
Maybe I'm missing something though, and anyway I've said this before so rather than go round in circles let's see what other people think, so let's meet at the WP:V talk page presently. According to you it's all cut-and-dried and so there I will presently be corrected, and if that's so then problem solved.
(By the way, there's a error in your entry above. You wrote "giving an admin a sanctimonious lecture about how confused he must be is also not a good way to get anywhere" when you ought to have written "giving an editor a sanctimonious lecture about how confused he must be is also not a good way to get anywhere". All editors, admins or not, are equally protected from (or subject to) sanctimonious lectures.) Herostratus (talk) 16:49, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to agree with Herostratus here that the original deletion of the material was unnecessary, as there were several more reasonable options (which Hero. listed) that could have been used and that would have avoided this entire argument. Material should not be simply deleted unless it looks implausible, like "Ellison went to dinner with Toni Morrison once and she said he was hot"--> That kind of edit is something I would delete immediately. But to delete plausible sounding book titles -- especially when you yourself could have verified their reality in 2 minutes using Google -- was too rash an edit. And then, once you made that edit, you can demand that the remaining rules about sourcing reverted edits be followed. Next time, I advise you to choose a simpler path when you see unsourced material unless it it seems highly unlikely to be legit, especially when dealing with book lists, which are in my experience rarely sourced in the first place and which--once again--take all of 30 seconds to verify thanks to the magic of Google and/or Amazon. Aristophanes68 (talk) 03:29, 28 July 2014 (UTC)