Template talk:Primary sources

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Template-protected edit request on 8 January 2014[edit]

Will you please change the fix section? It should be changed from:

Please add references to [[Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources|secondary or tertiary sources]].

to:

Please help out by adding references to [[Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources|secondary or tertiary sources]].

Rovio Never (talk) 13:13, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

 Additional information needed – what is it that you want to accomplish? It seems that the "help out" part is a given and should go without saying. Also, my early grammar days remind me verbs that end in "ing" show a weakness in the writing. Is there a better way to put it? – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 14:17, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

WP:ABOUTSELF/WP:BLPSELFPUB caveat[edit]

I'd like the "issue" of the template, currently:

 '''relies on [[Wikipedia:Verifiability|references]] to {{#ifeq:{{{BLP}}}|yes
  |[[Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Misuse of primary sources|primary sources]]
  |[[Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources|primary sources]]
 }}'''

to be rewritten as:

 '''relies on [[Wikipedia:Verifiability|references]] to {{#ifeq:{{{BLP}}}|yes
  |[[Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Misuse of primary sources|primary sources]]
  |[[Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources|primary sources]]
 }}''', not covered by {{#ifeq:{{{BLP}}}|yes
  |[[WP:BLPSELFPUB|the provisions for self-published sources by the subject of an article]]
  |[[WP:ABOUTSELF|the provisions for self-published sources as sources on themselves]]
 }}.

...in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Thoughts? --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:39, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Added BLPSELFPUB with a switch for the BLP articles --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:14, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
Twinkle notified: Wikipedia talk:Twinkle#Courtesy notification. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:06, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
Why alert WP:Twinkle users to your proposal? Why not simply notify editors at the Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons talk pages, since WP:About self concerns the former and WP:BLPSELFPUB concerns the latter? Flyer22 (talk) 10:07, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
Re Twinkle: see content of {{Twinkle standard installation}}, as shown on the template page. Just obliging to the courtesy they asked.
I'd have no problem inviting further participation by whatever WP:CANVAS approved means. Thus far I only mentioned in passing at WT:NPOV (in a huge discussion that also spread to Jimbo's talk page) as far as I remember. A bit surprised this didn't seem to have attracted further attention yet... feel free to add further invitations... and to comment on the content of the matter if you feel like! --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:25, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

Other issue[edit]

After encountering yet another wikipedian believing the popular misconception that primary sources are anathema in Wikipedia ([1]), I was wondering how much of that is due to the current wording of this template which is, to put it mildly, a bit of a deformation of the WP:PRIMARY policy, that doesn't disallow use of primary sources, so I propose this further update, closer to the actual wording that can be found in the policy:

issue:

 has '''substantial content exclusively [[Wikipedia:Citing sources|cited]] to {{#ifeq:{{{BLP}}}|yes
  |[[Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Misuse of primary sources|primary sources]]
  |[[Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources|primary sources]]
 }}''', and/or has content cited to questionable primary sources that seem to fall outside what is permitted for {{#ifeq:{{{BLP}}}|yes
  |[[WP:BLPSELFPUB|self-published sources by the subject of an article]]
  |[[WP:ABOUTSELF|self-published sources as sources on themselves]]
 }}.

fix:

 Please help improve [[Wikipedia:Verifiability|verifiability]] to [[Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources|secondary or tertiary sources]]{{#ifeq:{{{BLP}}}|yes
  |. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced '''must be removed immediately''', especially if potentially [[defamation|libelous]] or harmful.
  |, or help by updating content if that is not possible.
 }}

BLP version:

--Francis Schonken (talk) 14:17, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

WP:NOR people invited: [2] --Francis Schonken (talk) 14:25, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I oppose such a long and detailed text. Just change "Please add" to "Please improve this article by adding", or change "relies on references" to "relies too much on references". Debresser (talk) 16:58, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

Short version[edit]

Following Debresser's suggestions:

issue:

 '''relies too much on [[Wikipedia:Verifiability|references]] to {{#ifeq:{{{BLP}}}|yes
  |[[Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Misuse of primary sources|primary sources]]
  |[[Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources|primary sources]]
 }}'''

fix:

 Please improve this article by adding [[Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources|secondary or tertiary sources]]. {{#ifeq:{{{BLP}}}|yes
  |Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced '''must be removed immediately''', especially if potentially [[defamation|libelous]] or harmful.
 }}

I suppose this is quite uncontroversial, 100% of the participants in the discussion seem to agree (agreed, only two after two weeks), but we can see for further improvements later. So, proceeding with edit request... --Francis Schonken (talk) 19:07, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

Template-protected edit request on 8 November 2014[edit]

replace content of "issue" (what follows after "| issue = ") with:

 '''relies too much on [[Wikipedia:Verifiability|references]] to {{#ifeq:{{{BLP}}}|yes
  |[[Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Misuse of primary sources|primary sources]]
  |[[Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources|primary sources]]
 }}'''

replace content of "fix" (what follows after "| fix =") with:

 Please improve this article by adding [[Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources|secondary or tertiary sources]]. {{#ifeq:{{{BLP}}}|yes
  |Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced '''must be removed immediately''', especially if potentially [[defamation|libelous]] or harmful.
 }}
as it is now in the sandbox [3] --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:48, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

Reasons: see prior discussion starting above at #WP:ABOUTSELF/WP:BLPSELFPUB caveat --Francis Schonken (talk) 19:07, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg DoneMr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 06:02, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

People vs. persons (not related to the 8 november consensus edit request to bring the template in line with WP:PRIMARY policy)[edit]

I have created the suggested version in the sandbox, with the addition of a full-stop, and changing "persons" to "people". Testcases here. HTH. All the best: Rich Farmbrough21:22, 10 November 2014 (UTC).
Rich, the "p" in WP:BLP stands for "persons", not "people", so here too it should be "people". Debresser (talk)
Updated sandbox version accordingly [4] --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:48, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
That is only because we were feeling a little pretentious when we wrote the policy. The plural of person is people, certainly in modern English. We want to communicate with readers/editors, not preach to them. Of course one can say "The Thinking Person's Wikipedia" (the strap line for my inevitable fork) or "having no chalk about their persons, they marked the wall with a fruit pastille" though this is terribly old fashioned, and there is the inimitable "Murder by person or persons unknown." Persons is deprecated by both the AP Stylebook (The word people is preferred to persons in all plural uses. Persons should be used only when it is in a direct quote or part of a title as in Bureau of Missing Persons.) and The New York Times.
The Economist style guide says
Use the language of everyday speech, not that of spokesmen, lawyers or bureaucrats (so prefer let to permit, people to persons, buy to purchase, colleague to peer, way out to exit, present to gift, rich to wealthy, show to demonstrate, break to violate). Pomposity and long-windedness tend to obscure meaning, or reveal the lack of it: strip them away in favour of plain words.
I really think we should avoid coming across like the policeman in Hancock's Half Hour "I was proceeding in an Eastery direction, towards the big numbers". (And indeed we should change it at BLP, because the term "persons" can be assumed to include legal persons, corporations, trusts, etc. as well as actual people.)
All the best: Rich Farmbrough22:59, 12 November 2014 (UTC).
Really, Rich, this is *not* about the "people" vs. "persons" terminology. If you have an axe to grind about that: WT:BLP. The edit request above has a consensus, your later addition to it regarding "persons" and "people" hasn't, and this isn't really the forum for it. Don't stall a highly needed update to the template for this other discussion. --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:00, 13 November 2014 (UTC)
I'm not stalling anything, I fixed your error and another that has been there for some time. If you object to my fixing of the older error, then it need not go live. All the best: Rich Farmbrough00:26, 16 November 2014 (UTC).

Template proposal[edit]

Previous related archived discussions: Primary Sources, REWORD, Primarysources = Unsourced?, Wording misses the point?, Reliable sources, "Primary sources ...", Secondary does not mean third-party, Template_talk:Primary_sources/Archive_3#Let.27s_work_out_what_it_should_sayLet's work out what it should say, This template does not make me happy, Propose making the contents match the title

Pinging previous participants @BesigedB: @Danielfolsom: @Jeepday: @Centrx: @HJ Mitchell: @Skier Dude: @MSGJ: @Str1977: @Debresser: @LeadSongDog: @WhatamIdoing: @Jinnai: @Hrafn: @North8000: @Joy: @Jc3s5h:

I would like to propose that, once an article title has been chosen in reference to the more reliable amongst the sources available to us and once a topic has been proven to be notable, then there is nothing wrong with many uses of Primary sources. I'd also propose that in many cases the use of primary sources may even be preferred. Obviously some primary sources, perhaps being put together by a webmaster or similar, may contain some of the errors that may be generated through the use of secondary or tertiary sources but, in general, a primary source of information will be closer to the source of information.

The template text currently states: "...relies too much on references to primary sources. Please improve this article by adding secondary or tertiary sources."

Here "primary sources" is a link to WP:OR. How does that figure? An editor might just be going to a primary source for a basic information that the primary source might be more likely to get correct.

I would prefer content to read as something like: "...relies heavily on primary source references. Please improve this article by validating or correcting its content through an addition of secondary or tertiary sources." I would also be happy if the entire "primary source references" linked to WP:verifiability. I think that a different "original research" template should be used on articles with those specific problems. gregkaye 22:49, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure that addresses the basic problem of wp:SYN in the selection of specific primary sources. This is the underlying reason we must rely on secondary sources to establish the "good" primary works upon which we can rely. It isn't just how to verify statements, but how to maintain NPOV: not just which papers are correct, but which papers are important in understanding the material. In biomedical topics this is a very frequent issue that wp:MEDRS tries to address. The wording "Please improve this article by validating or correcting its content through an addition of secondary or tertiary sources" leads one to the idea that neutral perspective can be grafted on after the fact, but it can't. One starts from secondary sources, then only if they show it to be necessary does one expand using primary sources that they have cited. This outsources the choice of perspective to the experts who wrote the secondary sources. LeadSongDog come howl! 23:08, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with your points in the first paragraph, and I also agree that the link to WP:OR is better removed. I oppose changing the text of the template, as I find the current wording to be more correct and precise than the proposal. Debresser (talk) 00:10, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • A couple of quick thoughts:
    • The link to NOR is because WP:PSTS is still part of NOR (for better or worse). It probably ought to be a link directly to PSTS (the shortcut, not the section heading, because that shortcut will always get updated if the section heading is changed).
    • The content policies require that articles be primarily based on secondary sources. This tag accurately reflects the policies in that way. If you disagree with the policy (and it sounds like Debresser might, too), then you need to change the policy first.
    • Also, from several comments on this page: "primary" does not mean "self-published". WP:Secondary does not mean independent. There are three different axes in operation here: primary vs secondary; self-published vs traditionally published; and independent vs affiliated. This tag should only be used to deal with the first. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:16, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I've retired from editing (just happened to notice this because I happened to log in, and thought it important), so probably won't be around for any extended discussion. I would however like to make a few points:
    I emphatically disagree that "once an article title has been chosen in reference to the more reliable amongst the sources available to us and once a topic has been proven to be notable, then there is nothing wrong with many uses of Primary sources." Turning primary sources into a coherent account is an inherently synthetic process, of determining what is important for the exposition of the subject, and of creating a narrative out of this. This synthesis can either come from secondary sources or from the editor's own original research, and Wikipedia's policy is emphatically WP:NOR. The purpose of primary sources in Wikipedia articles should be to 'flesh out' a skeleton provided by secondary sources. If this secondary source skeleton does not exist, then either the article becomes an unstructured blob of random PS-based material, an artifact of the editor's own WP:SYNTHESIS of these sources (or often something in between). HrafnTalkStalk(P) 13:30, 14 December 2014 (UTC)