Talk:International Committee Against Mars Sample Return

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Rationale for article creation[edit]

I think this content is notable enough to be included in Wikipedia. The reason is because the group is cited quite often in news stories about Mars sample return. Readers of those stories may wish to know more about the group cited. Have added a few of the news stories as references. It is a small group of scientists and the news stories I've found so far have all been by or about its director Barry DiGregorio, a science journalist who wrote a book about Gilbert Levin's experiment on Mars. The other scientists have material on the group's website included with their permission. Some of the contributing scientists are notable.

I think it is borderline notable, but enough to have a page in Wikipedia. Am open to suggestions for other ways of dealing with it. For instance, would it be better as a paragraph in a larger article? If so, where? I didn't feel it was appropriate to have a section on it in the article on Concerns for an early Mars sample return. Don't think it fits the criteria for proposal for deletion, at least, not as immediate deletion without discussion, so have removed the tag. Robert Walker (talk) 08:26, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Deleted last sentence[edit]

Hello Robert: I deleted the last sentence "This is a concern shared with some scientists outside of the group [9][10]" because of the sources you cited, Lederberg expresses concern over back contamination, but doesn't specifically call for any action, as far as I know, and Paige is against MSR, but not because of back contamination concerns, but because he thought (over 10 years ago) that MSR wasn't a cost-effective use of limited funds. Warren Platts (talk) 21:40, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Warren, that's fine, yes. Thanks! Robert Walker (talk) 21:54, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Notability of ICASMR[edit]

This article reads like an advertisement. Do we really need a Wiki article for every website on the web? And I see that the article was once nominated for deletion. I wonder what happened with that... Warren Platts (talk) 14:11, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Warren, it wasn't nominated for deletion to my knowledge. I don't think it could have been either. If it did, it would have a banner across the top of this page with the details of the dispute and with the outcome of it.
I have given my reasons for including it, that there are enough news stories that mention it to be notable and readers may want to check wikipedia to find out about it, also it means you can just link to this page from any other article that mentions it and not keep explaining in detail what it is each time. So say clearly it is a minority advocacy group.
It could alternatively be a paragraph in a larger article, thats fine too but I couldn't think of a good place for it, wasn't suitable for the concerns about an early MSR article.
Am not sure about restoring that last para. The thing is, it is not part of their charter or petition.
So - is it a ICAMSR policy or is it just incidental that the main organizer of the site has that as something that he is keen on and he feels supports their cause? I think it is the latter. For instance if the Viking labelled release experiment was shown to be non life, the ICAMSR would surely continue with its current policies.
It is a minor point, also felt that the article was long enough anyway Robert Walker (talk) 15:50, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
If you think it reads like an advertisement - in what sense? An advertisement usually has a "call to action" - at the end it says "Buy x" or some such. So presumably you feel that the article in some way encourages the reader to join the ICAMSR. If so how and why, and have you got any suggestions about what can be done to fix it? Generally "reading like an advertisement" is a reason for a rewrite of the article. But there is hardly anything here to rewrite, so not sure what you do next. Robert Walker (talk) 15:55, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
Just realise what you mean about nominated for deletion. It was proposed for deletion which I forgot about. That's a different process from AfD, meant for uncontroversial deletion. It is a one shot quick deletion tag meant for a situation where no-one is expected to object. If your page gets tagged in that way, then you are recommended to review the reasons given in the proposal, and then, if you disagree with the proposal to delete it, you can simply remove the tag, and no-one can put it back again.
You are recommended to fix any issues mentioned in the tag, and that is what I did, that's the reason for the remark at top of this talk page. But that's not a requirement, just a recommendation, if your page gets tagged in this way and you disagree with the tagging, you can simply remove it. For that reason it is often added to a page by editors who dont' do a huge amount of research into the article.
Actually, I used to patrol wikipedia for proosals for deletion and a reasonable proportion of the articles tagged after a bit of research turn out to be notable enough to be kept. They are often articles by newbie authors who write about topics notable enough for inclusion, but don't know that the tag can be removed so easily and are unaware of the processes needed to establish notability in wikipedia. In short, it is reasonably common for a new page to be tagged in this way and not a big deal. Wikipedia:Proposed deletion

I think the coverage of this group by CNN and in the book by Arnould are satisfactory for WP:GNG. Someone not using his real name (talk) 20:31, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Last para[edit]

Just realised, coming back to it last para is OR. It's not their stated aim to promote the labelled release interpretation. They just have several pages about it. To say that they promote it, would really need some third party source or citation that says "the ICAMSR promote labelled release" or a statement from their own site that that is their aim. Otherwise seems to me it is OR to say that. And presumably if some future mission were to prove the Viking labelled release experimental results to be caused by non life processes, it wouldn't change their charter, so it is a side issue really.

On the other hand the article doesn't mention their charter at all so needs a brief mention.

So have added short statement of their charter, and removed the last para. It could be added back in again if more neutral in tone so not as an implied criticism of the organization, or if you can find a third party source who make this point as a criticism of the ICAMSR and attribute it to them. The issue I have with it is that it implies a criticism of the ICAMSR - no problem with that - but that the criticism is also attributed to wikipedia itself and is based on a form of OR observing that they discuss Levin's results favourably and also of course Levin being a member, and assuming from that that their aim is to promote his results.

It is natural that they would mention the results and him being a member to have material on the site in favour of his results, but it is OR to conclude from that that that is their aim, to promote Levin's conclusions, especially if not a stated aim. Seems to me entirely possible that they would also publish material by members who are against MSR but critical of Levin's results, e.g. using the modern habitability of Mars research to suggest high probability of life on Mars instead - and just haven't had such material submitted yet.

If you think it should be included, let's discuss it here, and try to come up with a neutral way of saying it. Robert Walker (talk) 09:32, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

The sentence is neutral. It clearly states that the ICAMSR website promotes Levin's controversial theory. The next sentence merely points out the obvious, that it is not a mainstream view. You wrote it originally. Revert. Warren Platts (talk) 13:51, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Agreed what you have just written is neutral and is much better than what I wrote on the same subject. I have no strong objections to it now. Perhaps some other future editor might like to take a look at this again. The only thing is I am not sure it adds value to this article to mention it especially as it is not a stated aim of their organization. But won't revert your edit. After all I put that sentence in myself originally and deleted it on second thoughts because I thought it was a bit biased and irrelevant. So can't really object to you putting it back in again :).Robert Walker (talk) 15:48, 22 June 2013 (UTC)


He is quite possibly their inspiration, but we need a cite to ICAMSR materials saying that, or to some otehr WP:RS saying that about them. Citing Sagan's book written well before ICAMSR was founded does not prove anything about ICAMSR. Someone not using his real name (talk) 20:23, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Okay good point. I'm the one who wrote that. Certainly Carl Sagan didn't belong to or know about the ICAMSR as it formed after he died. I think is clear that they were inspired by him, as many people were with many different POVs.
But as far as synthesis is concerned, better to just say this:
Historically, Carl Sagan was first to voice concerns about a Mars Sample Return, and his writings feature prominently on their website.
Describes exactly as is, reader can draw their own conclusions as they like. I think the rest of your edits on this page are good, and hope this fixes the synth tag, as I think it does fix it have removed it. Robert Walker (talk) 23:48, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Please note that determinations such as "was first" require secondary sources (because there may have been others). Presumably you mean to say he preceded ICAMSR. Someone not using his real name (talk) 10:16, 16 July 2013 (UTC)