My talk page
In general I'd prefer to keep discussions together, so if you write to me here any response will be found here. If I delete your message, that means I've read it. If I write to you on your talk page, I'll be watching for a response there so please do not leave the accursed and useless talkback template on this page; it will be deleted and my opinion of you will be irredeemably lowered. Thanks. BrideOfKripkenstein (talk) 17:27, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
RfC about quantifier variance
I've just become aware of your analysis here of the Snowded-Brews debates in which you say:
- Brews' insistence on using a melange of citations from primary sources, to advance a novel presentation without citations or references to other, secondary sources supporting this presentation. This runs afoul of Wikipedia policies of No Original Research and avoidance of Synthesis.
I take this as the observation of a disinterested party, and so take it seriously. I would myself agree that my practice is often to present an opinion, for example of the status of Quine's arguments against Carnap, citing primary sources, such as journal articles and book chapters.
I don't agree that I have advanced anywhere ‘a novel presentation’, if that means that I have presented my own personal views or some original argument about the subject. Perhaps you would undertake to consider how you arrive at this idea?
To digress into generalities, there are questions of substance about how certain matters are to be presented. Of course, where there is an encyclopedia article stating a point, one might take the view that the opinion stated by the author of that article is a balanced perspective. My own opinion, having written a number of encyclopedia articles myself, is that this notion depends entirely upon the belief that the editor of the encyclopedia has used good judgment in selecting their authors. That belief is crucial. Encyclopedia entries frequently are given only cursory non-specialist review, if any at all, unlike journal articles that usually are subject to two or three expert opinions. Both kinds of articles may advance opinions without giving the contrary views a fair hearing.
Given this situation, my view (and I'd like to hear yours) is that balance can be reached (a NPOV) by stating the various schools of thought with citations to papers and books by their various proponents, even if these are all primary sources. Of course, some authors may be better or more prolific writers than others, and so be more successful in presenting their opinions. But as a WP editor I think the best that can be done is to offer the various views with links to their supporters' works. That has been my guiding policy.
The defect of this approach, of course, is that some opinions might be be missed, or their most eloquent supporters not cited. One can only hope other editors will pick up on these failings and supplement the material for a better balance. I don't think blanket deletion is helpful.
I can understand that my approach might appear to you as a 'melange'. That might be the complexity of the subject or the lack of my eloquence. But it is not an attempt to skew the presentation, or to develop 'original research', or to make a 'synthesis'.