Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard

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Welcome to the reliable sources noticeboard. This page is for posting questions regarding whether particular sources are reliable in context.
Before posting, please be sure to include the following information, if available:
  • Source. The book or web page being used as the source. For a book, include the author, title, publisher, page number, etc. For an online source, please include links. For example: [].
  • Article. The Wikipedia article(s) in which the source is being used. For example: [[Article name]].
  • Content. The exact statement(s) in the article that the source supports. Please supply a diff, or put the content inside block quotes. For example: <blockquote>text</blockquote>. Many sources are reliable for statement "X," but unreliable for statement "Y".
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Current large scale clean-up efforts[edit]

Large scale clean-ups/[edit]

Large scale clean-ups/[edit]

Large scale clean-ups/[edit]

Large scale clean-ups/[edit]

Partisan group self published source Destruction of early Islamic heritage sites in Saudi Arabia[edit]

The article [1] has a lot of citations from a single partisan self published source which reflects only a fringe standpoint of history. Many of the names of the graves mentioned are not even verified , here is the source:

It looks more like a blog presenting personal opinions on a matter and that too by a fringe group which accuses a Jewish conspiracy in the destruction.

Hence proof of the graves from reliable independent, non sectarian sources should be added. Relevant tag: WP:BIASED,WP:FTN (fringe theory).

partisan base self published source[edit]

[1]in article Mufaddal Saifuddin

However, Muffadal Saifuddin's succession has not been accepted by Khuzaima Qutbuddin, who claimed the title of the 53rd Dai of the Dawoodi Bohras Himself.[10] Khuzaima Qutbuddin claims that Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin performed nass on him 49 years ago, a ritual during which he appointed him as his successor in private, just before he was publically appointed as Mazoon, second-in-command in Bohras hierarchy.[11] After the death of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin he claims that the succession was not done in London as Mohammad Burhanuddin suffered from a full stroke at the age of 100, that made it difficult for him to write, speak, or move.[1] Khuzaima Qutbuddin explains that he never claimed to be the rightfull successor, as per Mohammed Burhanuddin's instruction to keep it secret.[12][13] It is further claimed that former CJI upheld the validity of Khuzaima Qutbuddin as the rightful successor.

Corexit (Rico-Martinez et. al., and synergistic toxicity of oil and dispersants)[edit]

We have a disagreement over at Talk:Corexit on the use of sources that we feel warrants outside opinions. We already have article content on a study by Rico-Martinez et. al. that asserts that adding Corexit makes oil 52 times more toxic than the oil was alone. This result has been criticized in various places by scientific community due to perceived methodological shortcomings (some of the rebuttals are written by scientists with a potential COI). Two of us would like to add this additional information to put Rico-Martinez into context. The use of these sources is opposed by others on the grounds that use of multiple sources in showing that would be WP:SYNTH, picking one idea from one place, another idea, and adding them together to create a third conclusion not found in any source. I don't think that's the case. I think Rico-Martinez is somewhat disputable and that Corexit didn't necessarily create synergistic toxicity.

The sources we'd like to use are:

(I believe this might be secondary, because it's a rebuttal of one paper by another group one step removed)

(I believe this is secondary because it's a review of the existing literature on the topic)

Media coverage:

Media coverage:

I'm hoping someone will better flesh out the opposing view. Geogene (talk) 23:45, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand all the issues here. But my first thought is that the purpose of the secondary reference rule is to show some degree of mainstream acceptance of an idea. Since this is a hotly controversial subject, neither side can be considered "fringe". So it seems unsportsmanlike to take a legalistic position on the secondary source rule to keep out opposing POVs. Nor does it serve the interests of our readers.
In any case, I'd avoid any general statements about trans-species toxicity on the basis of the Rico-martinez paper. Its behind a paywall, but the study seems restricted to rotifer egg hatching. Is the population of rotifers known to be hatch-limited? Or is it usually limited by predation or competition for food? Can one draw any conclusions from the paper other than that the dispersants "might" affect rotifer populations without engaging in OR? The EPA says that the combination of Corexit-oil is not more toxic than oil alone in the species they looked at. Large interspecies differences in toxicty are commonplace. In fact, there are large interspecies differences in toxicity of pesticides to different rotifer species, as demonstrated by "Effects of an Insect Growth Regulator on Plankton and Gambusia Affinis", Aquatic Toxicology, 4 (1983), 247-269. Strictly speaking, the direct conclusions of the Rico-Martinez paper cannot be used to show toxicity to any species not tested, even other rotifer species.
Since all are living in a glass house, it seems to me that compromise is in order.Formerly 98 (talk) 01:09, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

I'll add my two cents, as I'm the other at Talk:Corexit trying to include criticism of the Rico-Martinez study.

There are four sources in discussion:

1) Rico-Martínez et al., toxicology study (cited in Wiki article)[2]
2) Coelho et al., commentary article[3]
3) Bejarano et al., review article (proposed for inclusion, with stated conflict of interest)[4]
Secondary coverage:
4) Hodson et al., toxicology study (proposed for inclusion)[5]
Secondary coverage:

1) A toxicology study by Rico-Martínez et al.[6] claiming that Corexit made oil 52x more toxic to rotifers (which GA Tech's media center turned into just 52x more toxic[7]) was widely publicized in 2013. It is cited in oil dispersants and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including the lead paragraph of the latter. The study by Rico-Martínez was published in Environmental Pollution journal.

2) In that same journal, a commentary by Coelho, Clark, and Aurand[8] was published later in 2013 that criticized the study. From the abstract of this commentary:

"The 2013 Rico-Martínez et al. publication utilized laboratory testing approaches that severely limit our ability to reliably extrapolate such results to meaningful real-world assessments....Further, they drew real-world conclusions from static exposure tests without reporting actual exposure concentrations."

It was pointed out that Coelho, Clark, and Aurand work for HDR Ecosystem Management, a consulting firm that has worked for BP, Chevron, ExxonMobile, NOAA, EPA, the UN, and more, suggesting possible conflict of interest of Coelho. Furthermore, I agree that to use it to criticize Rico-Martínez et al. could be WP:SYNTH, as they don't obviously criticize Rico-Martínez; they just say their data isn't very useful, and they identify that Rico-Martínez et al. didn't report exposure concentrations. I'm sharing this as context.

3) A review article was written by Bejarano, Clark, and Coelho (same Clark and Coelho as 2). Again, there is conflict of interest, as Bejarano is another environmental consultant and adjunct faculty at the University of New Hampshire.

"Many believe that dispersants make oil more toxic, when in reality existing data generally do not support these claims."

In their paper, they reviewed a lot of studies which compared toxicity of Corexit-dispersed oil to toxicity of just oil:[9]

"The present review of the toxicity of oil ... that had been chemically dispersed with Corexit 9527 or Corexit 9500 (CEWAF), and oil physically or mechanically dispersed (water accommodated fraction [WAF]), reveals large discrepancies between studies reporting measured versus nominal aqueous exposure concentrations (329 WAF-CEWAF paired-data for individual species from 36 independent studies..."

"Most studies with reported measured concentrations (78% of paired-data) had CEWAF LC50|EC50 values greater than or equal to measured WAF values (lower or equal toxicity). .... By contrast, 93% of paired-data reporting nominal concentrations or loading rates had CEWAF LC50|EC50 values between 1.2 and greater than 1000-fold smaller (greater toxicity) than WAF values"

This is an important finding. Re-writing this in a simpler way for the Wikipedia article, I would like to include:

In the review of Bejarano et al., of studies that reported nominal concentrations, 93% found Corexit and oil together had synergistic toxicity; whereas of studies that reported measured concentrations, only 22% found Corexit and oil together had synergistic toxicity.

I do agree it would be WP:SYNTH to use this review to criticize Rico-Martínez directly. However, without synthesis, it makes a strong claim about synergistic toxicity between Corexit and oil - that it's probably an artifact of poor methodology. I think something like the italicized should be included in the article, along with acknowledgement of possible conflict of interest.

4) Finally, a recent study without any obvious conflict of interest, written by Canadian scientists at Queen's University.

"The chemical dispersant used to counteract the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 may not be as harmful to fish as first thought, says new research from Queen’s professor Peter Hodson and his team of researchers."

"The toxicity of dispersed oil could be attributed entirely to the effects of oil, and not to synergistic interactions between dispersant toxicity and oil toxicity," says Dr. Hodson.[10]

Use of this article was downplayed on two fronts: 1) Dr. Hodson says "could be", and 2) the university page only says "dispersant" and not "Corexit". First, I think it's clear the "could be" means "was" (i.e. they did attribute it). Use of "could be" in this way is common in scientific dialect. Second, I don't think it's WP:SYNTH to identify the "chemical dispersant used to counteract the Deepwater Horizon oil spill" as Corexit. At this point, it's pretty clear.

In case there's any doubt about the "could be", Dr. Hodson's meaning can be verified from his own article: "Contrary to Rico-Martínez et al. [6], neither experiment in the present study was consistent with synergistic toxicity of oil and dispersant in dispersed oil mixtures. Rather, the dispersant in the mixture increased the exposure of embryos to hydrocarbons, without changing or contributing to their toxicity." [11]

I think a reasonable addition is Canadian scientists at Queen's University found that Corexit increased exposure concentration of oil, but did not increase its toxicity.

Kjhuston (talk) 01:40, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

For what its worth, I think the level of uncertainty here is pretty high, and the debate may reflect a greater interest in the particulars on the part of the editors than the average reader. My suggestion would be: "It is unclear whether the toxicity of Corexit-petroleum mixtures is greater than that of petroleum alone" followed by a few footnotes supporting each side of the debate. Ecosystems are way too complicated to be understood in terms of experiments performed in aquaria. The risk that the mixture is overall worse for the environment is credible, but unproven. At least that's how I see it. Its an important issue, but nobody really knows the answer at this point. Formerly 98 (talk) 03:12, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
Again, fwiw, I have a response from someone working on this issue, but who is too busy to take part in Wikipedia, so I'm copying here: "Essentially the treated crude is a new animal from a chemical standpoint. One of the initial observations I made when quickly reviewing the data showed the concentration factor may be closer to -10X instead of +52X, but that is for chemical concentration versus toxicity to the biomass. Again, the problem of understanding that concentration versus toxicity is created by comparing two dissimilar characteristics.
The problem of comparisons between chemical concentration and toxicity is based on a lack of understanding of what toxicity is all about. The perfect example is the toxicity testing required by the EPA for a chemical dispersant to be listed on the NCP Approved Vendor/Product list. It uses a baseline for invertebrate and vertebrate species of small shrimp and minnows. This allows an apples to apples comparison of relative toxicity levels, but does not indicate toxicity levels that would affect humans or more complex vertebrates in the water column like large predatory fish. At lower levels of the food chain where less complex animals are affected more readily by changes in environment from anthropogenic inputs, the affect of chemicals of all sorts tend to create similar levels of toxicity with respect to concentration in the habitat of choice for those organisms." More to come, as I have asked others to weigh in. petrarchan47tc 18:25, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
Primary sources should rarely be used. Secondary sources are needed to establish their WP:WEIGHT. The review study by Bejarano, Clark, and Coelho seems fine. Conflict of interest is a problem that the publication is supposed to determine. If they think contributors are likely to falsify information for financial benefit, they are unlikely to publish them. And if they have any sort of review process they are likely to catch it before publication. And the Queen's study is a primary source. TFD (talk) 07:39, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree that the Queen's study is a primary source, and its press release is not a meaningful secondary source. I do question whether a run through the science news cycle [12] and repeating of the primary source's claim by news articles is proof of validity over another study. The process seems fairly arbitrary, except that more extraordinary claims are likely to attract more news attention faster. I think the Rico-Martínez study is given undue weight by its placement in the lead paragraph of Corexit, but I'm more interested in inclusion of opposing POV in the large Corexit toxicity section that has amassed. Speaking of which, I don't understand why what's supposed to be an informative NPOV section on toxicity has a paragraph in isolation:
"During a Senate hearing on the use of dispersants, Senator Lisa Murkowski asked EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson whether Corexit use should be banned, stating she didn't want dispersants to be 'the Agent Orange of this oil spill'."
It doesn't seem to have much information content to me, unless we're talking about fears of toxicity rather than toxicity itself. Kjhuston (talk) 21:26, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
PS Sorry, I got off-topic on that last bit. Forgot we're in reliable sources. Kjhuston (talk) 22:05, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

One of the folks over at the Fringe NB said the article might should have a look at it from the NPOV board, because it was kind of weird. But as far as how we can use sources, and since we're talking about Rico-Martinez, we have:

"In 2012, a study found that Corexit made the oil up to 52 times more toxic than oil alone,[5][6][7] and that the dispersant's emulsifying effect makes oil droplets more bio-available to plankton.[8] The Georgia Institute of Technology found that "Mixing oil with dispersant increased toxicity to ecosystems" and made the gulf oil spill worse.[9]"

This is how Rico-Martinez is presented in the article's lead. (We mention it twice, actually, in consecutive sentences.) My mention of plankton was a major compromise that went through a number of bold:revert cycles. There were accusations of greenwashing and sugar-coating just to get to this point. But it's still misleading as we have it, don't you think? Geogene (talk) 22:58, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

[edit conflict] :::We generally don't second guess why so many reliable sources cover a particular study, we simply try to reflect this coverage in our articles. The study is mentioned by Susan D. Shaw here. Again on the Australian 60 Minutes' coverage of Corexit here, and as has been expressed, in many news articles. In general, the idea of increased toxicity by the combination of oil and Corexit has been discussed by scientists from EPA's Hugh Kaufman to Wilma Subra, to Riki Ott. This finding is not fringe by any stretch. petrarchan47tc 23:13, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
Geogene, it is preferred to stick with the wording as summarized by RS, and they all state the same thing, which is what was added to the article originally. When it was changed it became too technical for general readers to understand and did not make the results of the study more clear. The body is a better place to add details of the study, which was that plankton was used in the tests. The change deviated from the title and subtitle of the study [later edit: and by this, I meant review - my mistake], and from what RS said about the study, in such a way that 'whitewashing' seemed the only motive. It came on the heels of a months' worth of similar POV editing to BP oil spill articles which has been very disruptive. The study is in the Lede because it truly is the most widely cited Corexit study to date, as there is notoriously little research on the dispersant and dispersed oil. petrarchan47tc 23:13, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
Can you name the title and "subtitle" of the study? Preferably with a link? Geogene (talk) 23:35, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
The secondary review of the study to is titled Gulf of Mexico Clean-Up Makes 2010 Spill 52-Times More Toxic with the subtitle Study shows mixing oil with dispersant increased toxicity to Gulf’s ecosystems.
Your change was to In 2012, a study found that Corexit's emulsifying effect makes oil droplets more bioavailable to planktonic animals, increasing their toxicity to plankton by up to 52 times. The longstanding version read "In 2012, a study found that Corexit increases the toxicity of oil by 52 times.", so as to stay as close to the source material as possible, understandable to laypersons, and to keep it concise for the Lede. petrarchan47tc 01:36, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
That's the title of Georgia Tech's press release, which is unfortunately the reason we now have a sentence in the Wiki article:
The Georgia Institute of Technology found that "Mixing oil with dispersant increased toxicity to ecosystems" and made the gulf oil spill worse.
Do we really want to say Georgia Tech found that adding Corexit to oil made the oil spill worse, and they figured this out based on a single experiment in a lab? Forget all those oceanographers out in the field, studying the effect of dispersed oil on the marine ecosystem. Forget all the complexity and uncertainty involved in assessing effects on the marine environment. Georgia Tech decided adding dispersant made the oil spill worse. We can shut down all the research now - our environmental policy questions are solved. I don't think we want that.
The study is titled "Synergistic toxicity of Macondo crude oil and dispersant Corexit 9500A® to the Brachionus plicatilis species complex (Rotifera)" [13].
But anyway, we may want to discuss a bigger question (not on this noticeboard), which is whether we want the Corexit article to be a hodgepodge of toxicity studies, claims and counter-claims, or if we want the more general conclusion that it is difficult to assess the damage of dispersing oil to marine environments, particularly in deep water, studies are ongoing, and that some have claimed the EPA didn't have sufficient information to decide whether dispersing oil had a net benefit over not dispersing. Kjhuston (talk) 02:56, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
Both. WP articles are generally a bit of hodgepodge, as the encyclopedia is meant to chronicle information. But the claim that a "general conclusion is difficult to assess" has RS backing it up, so it should be included as well. The issue of WP:WEIGHT is an important to look at as you learn the ropes of building a neutral article based on WP's guidelines. To argue that Georgia Tech got it wrong, besides being WP:OR, is quite fruitless given the rules here. petrarchan47tc 07:28, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
OK, I haven't followed this as closely as some. But there was an EPA study that reached the opposite conclusion. Are we then arguing that "The EPA got it Wrong"? What was the basis for concluding that the EPA is wrong and "Georgia Tech" (I doubt the entire university was involved in this study) is right? Thanks!Formerly 98 (talk) 14:44, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
The EPA may not be the most reliable source when it comes to BP oil spill science. They also lied during the 911 tragedy telling workers there was nothing harmful in the air during cleanup. They've done a similar thing during the gulf crisis, although I'm not arguing we shouldn't include their findings, but an awareness of the facts is imperative. Here is one example, and I left a list here.
For instance, whistleblower and current employee of the EPA, Hugh Kaufman: MSNBC video of interview "Some of the toxicologists who have experience and education, were trying to get [EPA] management to pay attention to the data that EPA had and has had for decades, but to no avail. 'There was a political decision made to let BP take the lead as opposed to the government being proactive'. He alleges that his agency (he was one of the founders) has known all along how toxic Corexit is, and that the EPA lied about it. He also says that the EPA has known that the toxicity is increased when oil and Corexit are combined. petrarchan47tc 19:28, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
The "52 times study" (Rico-Martinez) is in effect arguing that the EPA's toxicity studies are "wrong" in the sense that they underestimated the combined effect of oil + Corexit on small organisms, using rotifers as a model animal. From what I gather, by breaking the oil into smaller droplets, you get more surface area, there more exposure of oil to planktonic organisms. Rotifers were the model animal but I think what they're really getting at is "plankton", and some of the better media coverage emphasizes that, the article tends to de-emphasize that we're talking about plankton and emphasizes vague "damaged ecosystems" and "made the oil spill worse". Note that I may have misused the term "synergistic toxicity" at the top and this may be causing some confusion. Geogene (talk) 15:56, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Compromise OK, as my last comment on this, I'd going to say that it seems pretty clear that 1) there is a lot of controversy regarding the overall beneficial vs. negative effect of applying dispersants, and 2) this controversy exists because aquariums are woefully inadequate models for actual ecosystems. (WP:OR doesn't mean we have to assasinate our brains SYNTH is original research by synthesis, not synthesis per se. Good essay here WP:SYNNOT#SYNTH is not just any synthesis Therefore the article should reflect the uncertainty among experts on the larger point of whether the use of dispersants is overall harmful or helpful. Formerly 98 (talk) 16:09, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

So as with any article, we include all relevant opinions, findings and sides. We have studies on both sides and they will continue to be offered to the reader. We came here to see whether the Coelho opinion was RS, and it passes. We can't however use that piece to throw out the study, which has been attempted. Now the argument at the talk page is that since we just don't know yet whether dispersants hurt or helped, we should only say that and not offer the reader a look at the various findings to date. I believe this line of reasoning goes beyond "what is RS"? and verges heavily into agenda territory. petrarchan47tc 19:05, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm going to retract my statement about not saying anymore about this and suggest that you carefully review WP:GF. I think it would be good to consider the idea that when people continue to try to deal with you in a constructive manner after you insult them and question their motives, its not because they find you less frustrating than you find them, but because they are behaving more graciously. Formerly 98 (talk) 02:07, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
I find it interesting that you didn't choose to comment on the more substantive issues related to this noticeboard, like the addition of Hugh Kaufman's comments above showing your fallacious assumption that the EPA is automatically reliable. I find it strange that anyone would bring an essay (promoting the allowance of some SYNTH) to a noticeboard meant to focus on guidelines. Before commenting on my behaviour, you apparently did not do much of an investigation into those you call gracious. This comment from Geogene on my talk page sounds to be written by a 12 year old, and was based on lack of understanding of WP guidelines: This is POV wording you added here [14]. Ott claims that Corexit use continued, it is not an objective fact that it did. Your tendentious editing is detrimental to these articles. If you want to write propaganda, get a blog. The SPA's first edit to WP a few weeks back, was to remove the Rico-Martinez study because it was "misleading". Then we visit this noticeboard twice, and both times it is revealed that the study has sufficient RS for inclusion, but the argument immediately switches to seemingly find another way of removing the study. In other words, it is difficult for a thinking person to see this as respectful towards WP and the time editors have spent at noticeboards assuming GF... ie, assuming that the reason we are here is to figure out and abide by the guidelines. petrarchan47tc 22:17, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Um, certainly it's understandable if this generates no further comment, but if anyone's willing to comment or has a suggestion for another forum, we have a disagreement over two possible sentences in which we might refer to Rico-Martinez in the Lead:

"One study has shown that the addition of Corexit made the oil up to 52 times more toxic, and that the dispersant's emulsifying effect makes oil droplets more harmful to plankton."


"One study has shown that the addition of Corexit made the oil up to 52 times more toxic to plankton."

I prefer the latter, but previous "compromise" versions of the first had a "because" instead of the "and", to establish that this is only one study and it applies to plankton (though the model organisms were rotifers). That keeps getting changed to the first version above, with the "and", which is a statement with different meaning, for reasons I don't understand, but the edit summary in the last change told me to "stay closer to wording in secondary sources". So it's still a source disagreement. I think that it goes against higher principles than the primary/secondary RS guidelines to use them to include using misleading statements. I thought this had been settled but I think we put it aside to focus on other questions. Geogene (talk) 17:07, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

I think what is important in these cases is to accurately report 1) what the authors demonstrated, and 2) what they concluded, without conflating the two. If the authors hypothesized that the toxicity increase would be general due to increased bioavailability of the oil, I think it would be fine to state something like "The study demonstrated that the toxicity of oil to some plankton species is increased 52 fold in the presence of dispersant. The authors argued that this increase was due to an increase in the bioavailability of the oil, and that similar effects may be seen in other species." But my understanding is that they only demonstrated the former. It shouldn't be written up as if they proved their theory, all they have proved is that it is more toxic to rotifers in an aquarium.
Making broad claims about greater environmental destruction based on this paper would be very closely analogous to claiming toxicity in humans based on studies done in cell culture, which MEDRS does not permit for the very good reason that this sort of extrapolation is fraught with hazard.Formerly 98 (talk) 05:07, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
  • This appears to be a terribly convoluted discussion over a relatively straightforward issue, which is the widely reported study indicating that Corexit makes spilled oil more toxic. It has been reliably reported in secondary sources. If there is criticism that has been reliably reported in secondary sources (not including college press releases, for instance) then that belongs there too. Coretheapple (talk) 15:51, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
I examined the so-called "media coverage" cited at the top of this section. One is the "featured research" column of a trade website, and requires interpretation and original research to become comprehensible. The other is a rewrite of this press release which would not count as a reliable independent secondary source. Coretheapple (talk) 16:16, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
I have 2 secondary references that show that grapes are toxic to dogs. Should we add a sentence to the lede of the grapes article along the line of "The consumption of as few as a dozen grapes is sometimes lethal within hours"? Toxicity is species specific. Formerly 98 (talk) 20:18, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Dispute as to who Sheb Wooleys Children[edit]

Sheb Wooleys Wikipedia says that he had two daughters ; when in fact he had ONE LEGALLY ADOPTED daughter Christi Lynn Wooley who was his ONLY CHILD and a step daughter ( never legally adopted) Shauna Dotson . Wikipedia states that Sheb had two daughters ; when in fact he had one legal daughter and one step daughter[edit]

Are the online magazines at considered WP reliable sources. If this is not the right place, where can I find out? Hmains (talk) 02:31, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Well the way how it is written here [15] probably not. The source in Wikipedia indicates that he was born in 1923, yet on History net it says 1922. I personally wouldn't trust it, looks more like Kids Discover to me.--Mishae (talk) 03:09, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
If you mean THESE magazines — I wouldn't hesitate to use those. Bear in mind that the key thing is to get things right, not whether the source itself has the cache of the New York Times or the Times of London or Time magazine... Carrite (talk) 16:29, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Is the Glottolog website a reliable source on Meroitic or Rilly's assessment of Meroitic?[edit]

1- Source: 2- Article: Meroitic language 3- Content:

It has come to my attention that one editor added the glottolog website opinion on Rilly's assessment of Meroitic. But glottolog is not a reliable source on Meroitic or on Riley's assesment of Meroitic. I tried to reverse the edit made by kwami but my edit was undone by kwami. When I tried to ask for proof and reference demonstrating the glottolog website is a reliable source on Meroitic, I was responsed with "sure it is" and "the rest of us disagree" without such proof and references ever demonstrated.

Let's recall the WP:CONTEXTMATTERS guideline stating "The reliability of a source depends on context. Each source must be carefully weighed to judge whether it is reliable for the statement being made in the Wikipedia article and is an appropriate source for that content.". There's no doubt in my mind that the glottolog website can't be considered a reliable source on Meroitic or on Riley's assesment of Meroitic as it is referenced by no other source beside Wikipedia.

I read some academic works on Meroitic and none of them mention the glottolog website. I did a google book search on glottolog and didn't see any works using glottolog as content source at all in general, much less about Meroitic and Rilly's assessment of Meroitic. In fact, I never heard of glottolog before kwami created a wikipedia article about it on the 17 of Mars 2014 and proceed to link (almost plugging) the glottolog website in many Wikipedia articles.

My main contentious is that the glottolog website is not used as a reference on Meroitic or Rily's assesment of Meroitic by any source beside Wikipedia. So the glottolog's website point of view on Meroitic shouldn't be added to the Wikipedia page. It's not a reliable source on Meroitic or on Rily's assessment of Meroitic. DrLewisphd (talk) 07:23, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Glottolog is a 2ary/3ary source, and so is not likely to be ref'd in specialized lit. But as others have pointed out to you, it's run by a prestigious university and edited by a panel of well-respected linguists. For obscure topics like this, it's hard to find published evaluations of claims, and we use the principal editor of Glottolog, Hammarström, for evaluations of many classifications of obscure languages across WP. In this case, what I've heard by p.c. is that Rilly contains such methodological flaws that his conclusions are not supported, but the only published evaluation I'd been able to find up to now was by the author of a competing classification. That leaves open the question of COI. It's significant that someone with no stake in the issue has come to the same conclusion that she did (that Rilly translates words based on what's needed for his classification, and then bases his classification on those translations). — kwami (talk) 07:34, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
For the record, no "others" have pointed out to me before how "prestigious" the glottlog website is. You're the one doing it right now. You're the one who created the glottolog article on the 17 of Mars 2014 and you're the one plugging it in many wikipedia articles. I've never seen the glottolog website mentioned in any academic work related to Meroitic. We can't consider your personal communication as reliable source. In fact, even on a google book search, the glottolog website is rarely mentioned and never used as a reference as content source for anything, much less on Meroitic or Rilly's assessment of Meroitic. The glottolog website is not a reliable source on Meroitic and constitute original research never referenced by any other sources beside Wikipedia. DrLewisphd (talk) 08:06, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
To add to Kwami's statement, the assessment of Rilly's work on Meroitic by Glottolog is recent. Glottolog was first announced in March 2012 [16]! Of course, there will be no mention of Glottolog in academic articles concerning Meroitic before March 2012. Claude Rilly has been the most prolific publisher concerning Meroitic throughout the 2000's until now. Kirsty Rowan has published 4 articles (all before 2012, the latest in 2011). Three articles are freely available to the public and 1 (2011) is available through a journal subscription/ order (the whole 393 page journal [Lingua Aegyptica_19]...cannot get just one article). Her doctoral thesis (2006), which according to Google Books is 778 pages, is not yet available. Rilly, by comparison, has numerous published articles and one book in English (2012). Again, there will be no mention of Glottolog's assessment of Meroitic for obvious reasons in all academic articles before March 2012. Glottolog is a reliable source, that is unquestionable. - A.Tamar Chabadi (talk) 06:12, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Great Book of Bulldogs Part 1[edit]

1. "The Great Book of Bulldogs, Bull Terrier and Molosser: Part I Bulldogs & Bull Terrier" by Zwettler, M Publisher=epubli GmbH, isbn=9783844239225 No page numbers that I can see in the Google view. A search for Leavitt Bulldog will lead to both the Olde English Bulldogge and Leavitt Bulldog section.

2. Leavitt Bulldog


It is one of several breeds developed in order to overcome the genetic problems in the English Bulldog breed

The source makes statements along these lines under the Olde English Bulldogge section, but not within the Leavitt Bulldog section. The Leavitt Bulldog section states he renamed his original breed to avoid association with "other alternative breeders" using the same name for their dogs. I think my larger question is how valid is the source in the first place? It doesn't seem to be self-published, but it is only available as an ebook and by a German publisher I have no information on aside from their website. The grammatical errors make it obvious that the writer was not a native English-speaker who had no editorial support and/or used translation software that didn't do such a good job. I have identified a couple of factual errors within the two sections of the book referenced as well.Ss 051 (talk) 13:42, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Please verify this source and comment on the related article talk pages[edit]

Hmm... The writer's name is Hasan Celal Güzel. There is an article about him in wikipedia. Maybe it might be helpful. Yours faithfully. Lamedumal (talk) 23:10, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Claiming "hidden agenda" as a fact[edit]


Nominated source #1:

Nominated source #2:

Article: 2013-14 Thai political crisis


a hidden agenda: the royal succession

I am having trouble dealing with one of the page I am editing. I am not sure I am heading to the right direction anymore in the talk page so I would like to seek some opinion here.

In short, the claim is that the leader of the ongoing protest in Thailand is having a hidden agenda for (or against? they did not tell) the royal succession. The writer put it in in the form of factual statement and claiming that the specified source, among other sources, is a reliable source for this fact. When I opened the discussion, they nominated more sources as I specified and tell that those sources are reliable sources to support the claim.

My argument against this is those are opinion and conjecture and does not directly support the content, hence not the reliable source for the content. They are only reliable source for their opinion.

They also claim the news author cannot provide concrete evidence for that claim because of Thailand's lese majesty law, and I would object that incomplete information is incomplete no matter what the reason is.

Any opinion support or against my argument are welcome. Thank you. --Biglobster (talk) 17:57, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

  • The statement is too vague and difficult to understand. It should be clarified or removed. — Petr Matas 05:19, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Opinions from experienced editors please, Elton Mayo article[edit]

On the Elton Mayo article a recent discussion has taken place regarding a 2004 edit, here: [18] which appears quite correct, based on a number of reliable sources, that Elton Mayo was indeed a psychologist.

In fact, specifically the reliable sources say an Australian born psychologist. I cited these sources below as examples. But there are many more. However the other editor again deleted them, see here: [19] and so here we are. Australian Cultural History (1988) edited by Samuel Louis Goldberg, Francis Barrymore Smith (page 95)

A brief discussion has ensued on the Talk:Elton Mayo page, however it has got nowhere, and rather than even get close to edit warring on this issue (I have not reverted again), I'm posting it here instead to get a wider perspective from some independent editors. The other editor has instead added the terms "researcher" and "organization theorist"? without any reliable sources as far as I can tell?

Hopefully some experienced editors can take a look please, and decide on whether the placement of this "Elton Mayo (Australian born) psychologist" statement in the article lead is justified based on the reliable sources provided? I'll accept whatever outcome is decided on this RS issue. Thanks.Mrm7171 (talk) 06:45, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Two sources indicate the Mayo earned a BA in philosophy and psychology at Adelaide. One source is Cullen, David O'Donald. A new way of statecraft: The career of Elton Mayo and the development of the social sciences in America, 1920-1940. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses; 1992; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text. The other source is Richard C. S. Trahair, Elton Mayo: The humanist temper. Transaction Publishers, US. 2005. The Trahir book indicates that Mayo was awarded an MA about 16 years after he was awarded the BA. His mentor at Adelaide did the paperwork to award the MA in view of research Mayo conducted in a Philadelphia textile plant, and after Mayo obtained a job at the Harvard Business School. Cullen noted that when people who did not know Mayo personally called him Doctor Mayo, Mayo expediently did not correct them. At HBS Mayo was a professor of industrial research, not psychology.
I write this note to take nothing away from Mayo. His research was influential. I write this note in the interest of accuracy in our encyclopedia. Just because the Britannica is wrong, does mean Wikipedia has to be wrong. I also note the Britannica hedges by calling Mayo "a leader in industrial sociology" although he was not a sociologist.
I am reminded of the old article in Nature (Giles, J. (2005). Internet encyclopedias go head to head. Nature, 438, 900-901.) that indicates that the accuracy of Wikipedia compares well with that of Britannica. I think we can do better than Britannica. And when Britannica is wrong, we don't have to repeat its errors. Iss246 (talk) 15:58, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Above are 7 reliable sources stating Mayo was a psychologist. There are many more reliable sources which state the same thing. Have you got any reliable source(s) please iss246, actually stating that Mayo was NOT a psychologist. I am trying to assume good faith here.Mrm7171 (talk) 23:39, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

As far as i remember, we mentioned Elton Mayo as a "psychologist" in industrial and organizational psychology lecture at university. But i am going to check the notes. Maybe it helps. Lamedumal (talk) 00:09, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Thank you Lamedumal. I also thought it was pretty standard knowledge in psychology training.Mrm7171 (talk) 02:46, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I have checked my notes. There are no labels such as "psychologist", "researcher", "organization theorist" etc. The only thing about Mayo is that his "light experiments" that explored the effects of lighting on worker productivity. Lamedumal (talk) 21:16, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Note: Contributing the psychology does not mean being a psychologist or, in other words, does not make one a psychologist. Lamedumal (talk) 22:35, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

I agree Lamedumal, I think your point is that a lot of people might study psych 101 at uni, for instance, but that does not make them a licensed Psychologist. But my question posted here on the reliable sources noticeboard, relates to policy only and I am seeking input from experienced editors regarding Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources and Wikipedia:No original research. My specific question is this:
If the 7 reliable sources provided above, all clearly state that Elton Mayo was a psychologist at some point in his career, my understanding at least, of Wikipedia policy, is to go with what those 7 published, reliable sources state. Especially if no other published reliable sources actually state that Mayo was not a psychologist? It is a reliable source question I posted here, to try and resolve a minor dispute in a civil way, rather than edit war?Mrm7171 (talk) 00:09, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, you are right. ln addition, he could be a psychologist and at the same time an organization theorist. For instance, Sigmund Freud was a psychologist but at the same time, he was also a neurologist, physician. Lamedumal (talk) 07:37, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Lamedumal, that makes sense.Mrm7171 (talk) 08:48, 19 April 2014 (UTC)[edit]

I've been seeing efforts by various IPs and a seemingly connected user to add references or external links to (e.g. [20] [21] [22] search). Is this considered acceptable for references/external links? If not, can someone do the needful? Thank you, –xenotalk 15:06, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

  • Ditto [23]xenotalk 18:16, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Nothing on their site about editorial staff, and the handful of stories are all sourced to other news agencies with the author stripped out. It looks like a news aggregation site. This is not something we should be using in Wikipedia for anything, including an external link. If it's truly multiple IP/accounts, probably a candidate for the blacklist. Ravensfire (talk) 18:22, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
  • is a self-described social network. I don't think it's reliable and fails WP:ELNO#10. Ravensfire (talk) 18:25, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Armenian Mitanni[edit]

Source :Mitannian (Armenian) origin

Article : Aleppo

Content : Parshatatar, king of the Hurrian Armenian kingdom of Mitanni

Case : this claim and source was discussed in the Talk:Mitanni#Regarding Petrie source in Historical Context, it was refused and the Mitanni page doesn't mention mitanni as an Armenian country, is that source reliable and enough to support the claim that Mitanni is an Armenian state , does the source mention this as a fact and does it mention specifically that mitanni is Armenian?? and if it does, is it consistence with academic consensus about mitanni ?? Thanks --Attar-Aram syria (talk) 15:53, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

(edit conflict)The issue as I see it is that Aleppo had a sentence that started "Parshatatar, king of the Hurrian Armenian kingdom of Mitanni," and was sourced to a book by Leonard William King which IMHO is not a reliable source for this claim that Mitanni was an Armenian kingdom. There has been a problem with an IP hopper recently over this so I suggested RNS not as a solution to an IP hopper but just as a check. This is a contentious area (I mean articles relating to Armenia) and we would need very good sources starting with a similar statement at Mitanni saying it was an Armenian kingdom. Note also that Parshatatar doesn't claim it was Armenian. Dougweller (talk) 16:15, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Idolator (2)[edit]

I opened a discussion recently regarding the reliability of this website; no consensus was reached, actually. This website I'm mentioning is called Idolator (can be found here) and is published by Spin Media (to which I have mixed considerations, as they publish some decidedly reputable works and sites, such as Spin, AbsolutePunk and PopMatters however they are also the publishers of Under the Gun Review and other Kardashian websites which are considered unreliable). Relatively to the writers—95% of the articles used in my article Trouble (Natalia Kills album) are written by their associate editor Sam Lansky which also works for Time and MTV while he has also written for New York magazine and The Atlantic. Two of the sources used in my article are from that website as well but written by Mike Wass (who I believe only works at Idolator however I have no problem with his writing style). Idolator is used in a lot of GAs however people tend to remove those sources when trying to make them FAs.

Well, the problem with my article is that it addresses an album which was not recognized by the general music press (I'm talking about websites like MTV, Rolling Stone, etc.); it also had a weak commercial performance. Basically, the only reputable sources that address the album are (aside from Idolator) AllMusic (review), Digital Spy (vaguely, just an interview with Natalia Kills), Billboard (vague coverage as well) and The New Zealand Herald (review as well). In January, I promoted the article to GA-class and my goal is to have it go FA-class, however I would not be able to further promote its class without the Idolator sources as they would remove a lot of valuable information from the article. Thank you for reading and please comment. ( @WikiRedactor, XXSNUGGUMSXX, Tomica, STATicVapor, , JennKR: Could you guys please comment here? Thanks :) ) prism 17:41, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

Tributary Relations in East Asia[edit]

There are a few historical articles about dynasties in East Asia titled as "tributary states." In addition to being mentioned largely in the article, is it necessary and accurate to mention that on the description bars? Or is this misleading? Camouflaging the states as political reliant/tributary states. Academics and historical literatures, however, have described these states politically independent and the tributary relations as a form of diplomacy.

What do you guys think?


Hi, this question is about how to use reliable sources, rather than about any particular source. Must a sentence in a Wikipedia article be fully supported by each of the footnotes at the end? Or is it enough that the combination of footnotes at the end supports the sentence (e.g. the first footnote supports the first phrase, the second footnote supports the second phrase, et cetera)? I am pretty sure what the answer is, but another editor (Lightbreather) seems to have a different view.Anythingyouwant (talk) 00:08, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

I think a lot of variables go into the answer, if I understand WP:CITE and WP:OR. The reliability of the sources (except maybe for one) isn't the question. It's how they're used. The sources, article, and content are in this discussion. [24] Lightbreather (talk) 00:22, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
Those are big policies. Can you quote a sentence or two that you'd like to rely upon in the present case? WP:Cite seems to contradict your position quite directly: "Bundling [of footnotes at the end of a sentence] is also useful if the sources each support a different portion of the preceding text...."Anythingyouwant (talk) 00:43, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
For one, I made a bold edit that I can live with. [25] I think it's a pretty good paraphrase of what you wrote, and the cited source (one of the original four) supports it.
As for WP:BUNDLING, it says, "when there are multiple sources for a given sentence, and each source applies to the entire sentence...." That's where the sentence under discussion had synthesis issues, IMO. Lightbreather (talk) 01:28, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

WP:SYNTH would lean towards the first interpretation, but if you break the phrases into sentences, that issue goes away. Making a conclusion not supported by a source is WP:OR. Providing the evidence and having the user come to that conclusion on their own is not. If at least one source supports the entire thing, then there is no WP:SYNTH - at that point sources that do not support the whole thing may be used to buttress the individual points that they do support, but the "conclusion" or linking must be supported separately by at least one.. Gaijin42 (talk) 01:22, 19 April 2014 (UTC)

If I understand you, then we agree. It makes for clunky reading, but with controversial stuff, rather than try to write one sentence that says, "Advocates say..." it's better to have two or three sentences that say, "Smith says," and "Jones says," etc. Lightbreather (talk) 01:33, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
There seems to be a workable compromise in place now, we'll see if it holds.Anythingyouwant (talk) 04:04, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
A small but important point: splitting things into individual sentences does not always guarantee that something is not violating WP:NOR or WP:SYNTH (although it might help avoid it). The paragraph, article, etc still has to avoid advancing a position not found in sources. An article shouldn't state things as It is illegal to steal candy in Maryland.(Sourced) Mr Green was seen with candy on Sunday.(Sourced) The police are looking for candy-thieves.(Sourced) or something like Mr Green's goldfish died.(Sourced) Mr Green said "I am very happy." (Sourced statement not about his goldfish.) It's about whether an original idea not advanced in the individual sources (Mr Green steals candy, hates goldfish) is being insinuated rather than whether the ideas are separated by periods, semi-colons, or the word "and". As Gaijin says, any "conclusion" advanced must be supported by a source; this is still true when the conclusion is strongly and clearly insinuated with juxtaposed sentences. (And to be clear, I'm not saying that every juxtaposition of sourced individual sentences are WP:OR, just that some are.)__ E L A Q U E A T E 12:34, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
Generally I would never use separate cites for different parts of a sentence. The best approach is to read rs and summarize what they say. The worst approach is to write an article then seek sources to support it. If one uses the first appraoch, the issue is not likely to come up. TFD (talk) 23:07, 20 April 2014 (UTC)


Looking for email address or phone number for ‘Phillip Taylor': Serviced US Embassy as Vice Counsel in Medellin Colombia in 1970"s moved to DC after leaving Medellin Colombia, his sister Kathy was living in New York city in the middle of the 1976’s-1979’s etc.



Source: Lawfare is Published by The Lawfare Institute in Cooperation With


Ascertaining the legitimacy of the interim government in Kiev is quite tricky. According to Article 111 of the Ukrainian constitution, the President can only be impeached from office by parliament through “no less than three-quarters of its constitutional composition.” On February 22, 2014 the Ukrainian parliament voted 328-0 to impeach President Yanukovych who fled to Russia the night prior. However for an effective impeachment under constitutional rules the 449-seated parliament would have needed 337 votes to remove Yanukovych from office. Thus under the current constitution, Yanukovych is still the incumbent and legitimate President of the Ukraine. This constitutional oversight puts the interim government in legal limbo as the bills that are currently being signed into law by acting President Turchynov are not carrying any constitutional authorization. This problem of legitimacy also undermines Kiev’s dealings with foreign governments, as the government appointed by Turchynov does not represent the de jure official government of the Ukraine. As such, foreign governments who are willfully recognizing and thereby trying to confer international legitimacy upon the interim government in Kiev, are indeed breaking international law by violating (1) the sovereignty of the Ukraine and the law of the land (constitution), (2) the principle of non-interference, (3) and the practice of non-government recognition.

Other sources supporting the argument:

However, it is not clear that the hasty February 22 vote upholds constitutional guidelines, which call for a review of the case by Ukraine's Constitutional Court and a three-fourths majority vote by the Verkhovna Rada -- i.e., 338 lawmakers.

However the user Львівське sees the source as unreliable --Wrant (talk) 12:41, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Burma Army's death toll in Kachin conflict[edit]

In The Irrawaddy article [26], the magazine stated that "The UK publication(IHS Jane’s Defence), which specializes in military and defense industry issues, also cited blogs that claimed the Burma Army suffered a staggering death toll of 5,000 casualties during the conflict". In this case, I don't want to discuss the reliability of The Irrawaddy and Jane's Intelligence Review and I just want know if it is reliable of death toll because the Irrawaddy and Jane cited unnamed blogs.

Another thing I want to know is Kachin News [27] and Shan Herald [28] can be considered as reliable sources in the article Kachin conflict because Kachin News don't have contact address and printed newspapers, and because of the objectives and activities of Shan Herald. [29] Laurence Watcher (talk) 12:56, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Origin of the word "Easter"[edit]

I have proposed three English-language publications as reliable sources for the statement that derivation of the word "Easter" from the name of a supposed Germanic goddess of dawn is not the only theory held by scholars:

  1. a statement in Encyclopaedia Britannica article;
  2. a statement in J. Gordon Melton, Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations (ABC-CLIO 2011 ISBN 978-1-59884205-0);
  3. a statement in Michael Kunzler, The Church's Liturgy (LIT Verlag, Münster 2002 ISBN 978-38-2584854-5), p. 397 (the English version of a book that has been translated into other languages also).

On the grounds that "you need linguists discussing language. These scholars do not have the required background", User:Bloodofox has deleted the statement based on these sources that there is also a view among scholars that the word "Easter" came from an Old High German (mis)interpretation of the description of Easter Week as in albis. Bloodofox has qualified as "particularly bad and unreliable" the Encyclopaedia Britannica article.

There are also German-language sources that explicitly reject the goddess theory and mention the in albis theory and indeed a third theory that links the word "Easter" with a North Germanic word referring to baptism. Take Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde, Volume 6, p. 523; Die Anfänge von Weihnachten und Epiphanias, p. 47 (footnote); Ostern: Geschichte Eines Wortes (which opts for the third of the proposed theories); Brockhaus Enzyklopädie in zwanzig Bänden, Volume 14, p. 15; Das Kirchenjahr: Feste, Gedenk- und Feiertage in Geschichte und Gegenwart, p. 90; cf. the French-language study in Orbis, vol. 9, p. 434, summarizing a more detailed work in German. Bloodofox has objected to citations of German-language sources in the English-language Wikipedia and I accept that, if English-language sources are available, these should be used instead. So my question is: Do any of the three English-language sources that I cited count as reliable sources for the existence among scholars of the in albis theory of the origin of the word "Easter"?

By the way, the German-language sources support the statement by the first two of the English-language sources that I have cited that the goddess theory is no longer the majority view among scholars. Out of deference to Bloodofox I chose to be silent about this matter. Esoglou (talk) 08:45, 21 April 2014 (UTC)