Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where should I ask whether this source supports this statement in an article?
At Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. Don't forget to tell the editors the full name of the source and the exact sentence it is supposed to support.
Do sources have to be free, online and/or conveniently available to me?
No. Sources can be expensive, print-only, or available only in certain places. A source does not stop being reliable simply because you personally aren't able to obtain a copy. See Wikipedia:Reliable sources/cost. If you need help verifying that a source supports the material in the article, ask for help at Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange or a relevant WikiProject.
Do sources have to be in English?
No. Sources can be written in any language. However, if equally good sources in English exist, they will be more useful to our readers. If you need help verifying that a non-English source supports the material in the article, ask for help at Wikipedia:Translators available.
I personally know that this information is true. Isn't that good enough to include it?
No. Wikipedia includes only what is verifiable, not what someone believes is true. It must be possible to provide a bibliographic citation to a published reliable source that says this. Your personal knowledge or belief is not enough.
I personally know that this information is false. Isn't that good enough to remove it?
Your personal belief or knowledge that the information is false is not sufficient for removal of verifiable and well-sourced material.
Is personal communication from an expert a reliable source?
No. It is not good enough for you to talk to an expert in person or by telephone, or to have a written letter, e-mail message, or text message from a source. Reliable sources must be published.
Are there sources that are "always reliable" or sources that are "always unreliable"?
No. The reliability of a source is entirely dependent on the context of the situation, and the statement it is being used to support. Some sources are generally better than others, but reliability is always contextual.
What if the source is biased?
Sources are allowed to be biased or non-neutral. Only Wikipedia articles are required to be neutral. Sometimes "non-neutral" sources are the best possible sources for supporting information about the different viewpoints held on a subject.
Does every single sentence need to be followed by an inline citation?
No. Only four broad categories of material need to be supported by inline citations. Editors need not supply citations for perfectly obvious material. However, it must be possible to provide a bibliographic citation to a published reliable source for all material.
Are reliable sources required to name the author?
No. Many reliable sources, such as government and corporate websites, do not name their authors or say only that it was written by staff writers. Although many high-quality sources do name the author, this is not a requirement.
Are reliable sources required to provide a list of references?
No. Wikipedia editors should list any required sources in a references or notes section. However, the sources you are using to write the Wikipedia article do not need to provide a bibliography. Most reliable sources, such as newspaper and magazine articles, do not provide a bibliography.

RfC[edit]

There is consensus against adopting this wording. --ThaddeusB (talk) 19:35, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I broached this topic at the talk page for RS/N but the primary discussion should clearly be here, as the discussion now in Archive46 makes clear.


Should the following be placed in this policy:

Headlines of news articles are not intrinsically part of news articles, but should be treated separately as sources rather than being used for claims cited to the news article. Collect (talk) 14:12, 1 November 2014 (UTC)


discussion[edit]

I think this is in conformance with the discussion held previously, noting that headlines are not generally written by the authors of news articles, and may misrepresent the actual claims which the full article might support. Collect (talk) 14:12, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

  • No. We can't claim that it is always the case that headlines are written by a different author, and even if they were, it is the publisher who is ultimately responsible for headlines. The reliability of a source is not based just on the author, but on the publication as a whole. (Some sources don't event cite authors, such as in The Economist and others) - Cwobeel (talk) 15:24, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
    • Did you read the prior discussion wherein it was shown that 1. headlines are written to gain attention, and are not considered to be part of articles by journalism texts, 2. where it was shown that they frequently do not accord with statements in the article 3. are generally written by headline writers who are not fact-checked etc.? Cheers. Collect (talk) 11:54, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
  • The problem with headlines is that they can be taken out of context. Citing a headline is similar to cherry picking one sentence from a news article and ignoring what the rest of the article says. So... I would oppose treating the headline as a separate source. They must be considered in the context of the publication as a whole. Blueboar (talk) 14:00, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
    Um -- as they can (and often are) "taken out of context" (i.e. the claim in the headline does not necessarily match what the article actually says) why not support this mild wording pointing this out? It does not ban headlines from being cited, only states the obvious fact that the headline and the article are not a single cohesive and precisely equivalently fact-checked unit. Collect (talk) 14:33, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
    Because the proposed wording does not actually point out what the real problem is. That may have been your intent... but if so, you did not achieve your goal. I think the proposed wording would actually encourage editors to cherry pick sensational headlines and take them out of context (when we should be discouraging that practice). I can see POV pushers pointing to your wording and saying "But I'm not citing the article as a whole... I am citing just the headline... which is a separate source!" Blueboar (talk) 14:57, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Question What problem is this trying to solve? Can you point to a concrete example of where this is an issue? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 15:34, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
  • No. A reliable source is reliable not by virtue of being written by a single author but by virtue of being published by an organisation that has a well-deserved reputation for publishing true/accurate information. It's the organisation that matters, not the author. The fact that the author of the article and the composer of the headline might be two different people has nothing to do with anything. A publisher that stands behind an article will likewise stand behind a headline. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 16:53, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
    Actually, according to the guideline, both publisher and author affect reliability. Blueboar (talk) 17:12, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose again. The sentence makes a claim of fact ("Headlines of news articles are not intrinsically part of news articles") that cannot be substantiated in any reliable source. In fact, putting headline is the most important part of an article into your favorite web search engine should give you an idea of how many people (especially marketing professionals) believe exactly the opposite—that the headline is not only part of the article, but actually the most important part. If Collect wanted to write something like, "At larger news outlets, the headlines are often written by someone other than the journalist, and that person, far too often, doesn't know anything about the subject except what he just read", then I doubt that many (non-editor) journalist would disagree very strongly. But lets not make claims of facts that are objectively wrong: The headline is part of the article, even if it happened to be written by someone else. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:54, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
    From the prior discussion read [1], and note that journalism texts uniformly point out the problems with headlines. [2] has "Newspaper headlines are difficult and costly to write and often dangerous to publish. Headlines can mislead readers and sometimes hurt feelings and provoke lawsuits." "Randall Hines and Jerry Hilliard, in a study of editorial quality, examined the extent to which Tennessee newspapers observed established guidelines for writing headlines. They learned that dailies failed to observe traditional guidelines about 30 percent of the time and non-dailies about 40 percent.(5) Theodore E. Conover, in his book on graphics, condemned headlines claiming that "The traditional headline form is difficult to write and often it is necessary to use inaccurate or inappropriate words because of the rigid unit count."(6) ." "Headlines are error prone. In a 1964 study of inaccuracies in one week's issue of the Gainesville (Florida) Sun it was shown that headlines contained incorrect facts (42 percent of errors) and distortion and exaggeration (34 percent of errors).(7) ." " Headlines and leads are too often misleading. F.T. Marquez studied headline accuracy by comparing headline and story content. He found that 25 percent of headlines in a sample of 292 stories were misleading or ambiguous.(12) In a telephone survey by Edward Smith and Gilbert Fowler, 237 respondents were read 10 headlines and asked to describe what they thought the story was about. The respondents either failed to receive a message from the headline or got an incorrect message 42 percent of the time.(13)." "John Merrill and Ralph Lowenstein, in listing propaganda techniques they say are sometimes used in the media, claim that "So many headlines are twisted, biased, distorted, and otherwise rigged, that one is led to believe that headlines bear about as much resemblance to their stories as the stories; bear to the reality they purport to report."(17) Other Editor & Publisher articles show how accurate grabber headlines can mislead readers,(18) how headline puns mislead(19) and how headline sports jargon "... can detract from the readability and the meaning of what we are trying to communicate."(20) ." "Steve Pasternack summarized the problem saying "... a moderately sized headline can significantly damage a reputation, regardless of what the article states."(25) ." [3] " A study by Gilbert Cranberg found that of 680 stories, 128 of them (just under 19%) had inaccurate headlines or contained errors evidently introduced during editing." [4] "Factual errors also tended to be substantive: misquotations, incorrect numbers, and inaccurate or misleading headlines were among the most commonly cited mistakes." [5] "The Times has also been afflicted with the bane of all newspapers - headlines that didn't match news stories. That failing served as the basis for 8 percent of the Notes. For instance, a Times copy editor in 1997 was attempting to write a headline to match a story about America's leading colleges and universities defending their use of affirmative action in their admissions and came up with: "62 Top Colleges Endorse Bias in Admissions." It took the Times only one day to admit that "`bias,' as a term for affirmative action, was neither impartial nor accurate. It should not have appeared."(15) In 1990 the Times reported about a book by a KGB defector who said that Harry L. Hopkins, the confidant of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was an unwitting agent of major significance for the Soviet Union, but that role, the Times said in a subsequent Editors' Note, did not justify the headline: "Roosevelt Aide Called an Unwitting Spy."(16) " etc. Cheers. Collect (talk) 23:58, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
    Sure, there are problems galore with headlines. But none of that said anything like "Headlines are not part of the article", which is what you have actually proposed to put in the guideline. If you want to put "Headlines are not part of the article" in the guideline, then you need to dig up some reliable sources that say "Headlines are not part of the article". NB that "Headlines are not part of the article" is not the same thing as "Headlines are frequently misleading, erroneous, biased, twisted, distorted, incorrect, inaccurate, and otherwise just plain bad". WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:03, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment I'd suggest something along the lines of "Avoid using news article headlines as sources as they are generally not reliable." A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 00:16, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  • How about "Headlines may sometimes be simplistic or even misleading, and should not be used for contentious statements not otherwise supported by the article in question"? AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:25, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
    That would work for me. It has the advantage of being accurate and even verifiable, which makes it a significant improvement over "Headlines are not part of the article". WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:03, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  • No to the RFC's proposed wording. Collect is making a dog's breakfast of this again. The last time this came up, there was general agreement that headlines should generally be looked at with extreme caution and generally avoided as sources for fact, as they are often loose summaries of the material they are attached to. The fact that they are sometimes written by other journalists has absolutely nothing to do with anything, and is a pointless avenue of discussion. I still think something like this says all there has to be said about general avoidance of headlines: Newspaper headlines should be used with care, and only where they are directly supported by the text of the associated article. Avoid including content found only in a newspaper's headlines and not in the associated article bodies. __ E L A Q U E A T E 01:41, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:GROUNDHOGDAY and WP:OTHERPARENT. We just had a long discussion about headlines as reliable sources. The conclusion was that "headlines should, at the very least, be treated cautiously and taken 'with a pinch of salt'" but that "there is not a consensus for any sort of outright prohibition on the use of headlines as sources". What has changed since then? How does this current proposal build on that recent consensus? I can't see that it does, in any way. It looks more like Collect trying for a do-over while failing to mention the prior, recent consensus discussion. In any case, as others have pointed out, the categorical claim idea that headlines are "not intrinsically part of news articles" is dubious, if not an outright falsehood, and thus shouldn't be written into policy. MastCell Talk 05:09, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Thus line seems to make little sense at least if the intent is to point out that headline alone without the context of its associated article may not be reliable source. This is because it just suggest a separation without really spelling out its consequences. If however the intent is to establish a headline as separate (reliable) source without the context of the associated article, then that is a complete no-go as it essentially boils down to cherry picking lines out of context, which is an inappropriate handling of sources. In short the suggested either misses its intent or its intent is completely unacceptable.--Kmhkmh (talk) 13:05, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose as too weak. Can anyone point to an example where citation of an article headline, rather than the body of the article, led to an improvement of Wikipedia? (I exclude the case of famous headlines that are themselves the topic of discussion.) I've been here for 12 years and I can't think of an example. Headlines are poison; why would anyone want to allow them as sources at all? Zerotalk 00:59, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


New Proposal

There is some support for saying something about headlines, but not enough to constitute consensus at this time, and certainly not enough to justify any particular worded offered --ThaddeusB (talk) 19:35, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Headlines should not be used for contentious statements not otherwise supported by the article in question.
Avoiding any statement of reasoning, and using suggestions made here about the wording. Collect (talk) 23:00, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
  • If we write something like this into policy, there will be endless wikilawyering about what constitutes a "contentious" statement, and what level of "support" is required in the article body. Before we go down that road, can you supply some concrete examples of the problem this language is intended to remedy? Do we have a pattern of editors misusing headlines? If so, please present some evidence of it (in the form of diffs and/or links). We are spending an inordinate amount of time on this, and we've probably already passed the dead-horse threshold, so I think it's fair to ask why. MastCell Talk 06:26, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
    I agree about the problem with "contentious" but I disagree that there is no problem to solve. As a veteran of the Israel-Palestine section (want to see my scars?) I can tell you that it is a regular event for someone who can't actually read an article (due to a paywall for example) to cite it anyway on the basis of the headline. This practice so often leads to a misleading claim about the source that outlawing it altogether would be a big improvement. In the newspaper business, headlines are not part of articles and are frequently written by a person not involved in the writing of the article or the investigation leading to it. Even worse, headlines are often deliberately "cute" and many sub-editors prefer a good pun over precision. I would ask "what is the advantage to Wikipedia of allowing headlines to be used as sources at all?" Zerotalk 00:50, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
    Zero, I'd be happy to see some reliable source that says news heads aren't part of the story. I spent more than an hour looking for such sources, and I came up with zero. (NB that "written by someone else" and "not part of the article" are not the same thing. I want a reliable source that actually says "not part of the article".)
    The solution to the conflicts you mention is for someone (not necessarily the person who added it) to get a copy of said sources and find out what they say, rather than assuming that they're wrong. It is tolerably rare to see a head that says "Alice won the election" followed by a story that does not support it. We could even get organized enough to ask our editors who live in those areas to help us find these sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:05, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
    No, it is the same thing, at least to the extent that matters for us. The reason why we consider newspaper articles to be reliable is that they are written by trained journalists who have investigated the facts behind the story. After the story is written by a journalist, it is passed to the editorial staff who do extra things that include writing a headline. (That process is really easy to source; I assume you don't dispute it.) So the headline does not share the properties that cause us to consider the story reliable. Now, consider your example: headline says "Alice won", body says "Alice didn't win". Would you support an editor who cited the headline for the wikipedia text "Alice won"? If you wouldn't, then you agree with me. Zerotalk 07:53, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
    These problems are already covered by the existing guideline. A newspaper whose headlines don't line up with its articles is not a reliable source, because it lacks good editorial oversight. Likewise, an editor who cites an article without reading it is violating our basic behavioral expectations—we don't need to rewrite guidelines to deal with that (I'm also curious to see links to the situation you're referring to; while I don't question your honesty, I've learnt from experience not to take on faith any allegation made by disputants in the Israeli-Palestinian arena without seeing the evidence). Be that as it may, the situations you describe are already covered and do not require us to rewrite our guidelines. MastCell Talk 17:05, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
    Passing comment in case anyone ever reads this, perhaps years later: The reason why we consider newspaper articles to be reliable is that they are fact-checked by the very same editor whom you accuse of being unable to write a passably accurate headline. Check out the guideline: "written by a trained journalist" is mentioned nowhere in it. "Fact-checked" (i.e., by someone other than your "trained journalist") and "subject to editorial control" permeates the guideline. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:00, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
  • What about: Take care not to cite headlines out of context with the rest of the article that follows them... or similar wording. Blueboar (talk) 14:26, 6 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Wikilawyering about the word "contentious" can be avoided by deleting the word "contentious". If a statement isn't in the body of an article, it isn't in the article. Contentiousness is a red herring. So, to be precise:
    Headlines should not be used for statements not otherwise supported by the article in question. Zerotalk 01:05, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose As best as I can tell, this appears to be a solution in search of a problem.[6] A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 01:28, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Well I don't know if its a solution in search of a problem. And to the extent it is it's reasonable to not clutter up our rules. But AFAIK it is true that headlines are written by the editor (or the copyeditor) and not the reporter, as a rule, unless the news business has changed recently. That's the editors job. The reporter's job is to report the story. The headline-writer's job is to summarize it in the headline, and according to certain rules for headlines that the publication uses. Different people. And you do get some howlers and misrepresentations. I certainly would say that headlines aren't reliable sources for statements of fact BY THEMSELVES. If the material is not also in the body text, you certainly can't cite the headline. If people are doing that they should stop! If we need a rule to make them stop, then fine, otherwise common sense should prevail: use the body text only. Would it possible to just insert "body text" somewhere instead of adding a whole clause? How about changing "the piece of work itself (the article, book);" to "the body text of the work itself (the article, book);"? Or something? Herostratus (talk) 01:03, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - Common sense, really, for anyone who has read many articles at all and would notice that headlines often are misleading. Not sure why this is controversial. DreamGuy (talk) 04:55, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
    • Again, if a newspaper is in the habit of publishing misleading or deceptive headlines, then it is not a reliable source. I have yet to see anyone provide an example of where this has been an actual problem, which makes me wonder why so much effort is being expended to push this "solution". Recall that this is at least the third attempt to write this material into the guideline, the last two having been shot down by consensus as unwieldy or needless. MastCell Talk 17:08, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
How about WP:Reliable sources that used headlines about Jodie Foster being gay or lesbian, even though, as the sources show below those headlines, Jodie Foster never publicly stated that she is gay or lesbian? It's the same for Amber Heard and others. Headlines often are misleading or otherwise inaccurate, and this is the case for WP:Reliable sources, as well as poor sources. Flyer22 (talk) 17:23, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
Arguable. Generally, a headline is a summary (eg., when a female says she "came out" and introduces the woman she shares her life and children with - its summarized), so then the issue is, is it reasonable summary, and some outlets may be better or not better at that. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:48, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
Arguable indeed, and problematic, as Talk:Jodie Foster/Archive 3, Talk:Jodie Foster/Archive 4, Talk:Jodie Foster/Archive 5 and the current talk page of that article show. And as the Amber Heard talk page debates show, WP:Reliable sources simply assumed that she is lesbian, and used headlines describing her as such, even though her coming out speech did not use such language, and we now know that she has dated men, is open to dating men, and would rather not label herself with a sexual orientation (publicly at least). Flyer22 (talk) 18:01, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
Wait a minute—this is not a "headline" problem, since most of the sources cited in the Foster and Heard biographies describe them as "gay"/"lesbian" in both the headline and the article body (e.g. [7], [8], etc). So while I agree with you that we should exercise more care in dealing with sensitive matters like the sexual orientation of living people, the proposed change to this guideline would be totally irrelevant to the problem you've described. MastCell Talk 18:29, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
In your "18:29, 12 November 2014 (UTC)" post above, you stated "most of the sources." As you know, "most" is not "all." I'm not even sure that "most" applies in this case, since many sources simply state "comes out" to play it on the safe side regarding Foster; this seems to be because there was a lot of debate regarding her coming out speech. But either way, some of the WP:Reliable sources that reported on the aforementioned Jodie Foster and Amber Heard cases reported them as gay or lesbian in the headline only, while then talking about their coming out speeches, acknowledging or showing that these women did not state that they are gay or lesbian; these sources show their coming out speeches in full, in part, either by text or video, or both. Take, for example, this The Seattle Times source (reporting what the Associated Press stated); it uses the heading "Foster reveals she's gay, suggests she's retiring," and then, immediately under that, states, "Jodie Foster came out without really coming out." That is currently the first source used in the Personal life section of the Jodie Foster article for the coming out material. Take, for example, this The Advocate source, this Us Weekly source and this NDTV source regarding Heard. Many sources were like that for Heard. This ABC News states in its heading "Amber Heard Latest to Come Out in Hollywood," but, as this Google search page currently shows, that heading used to state "Amber Heard, Latest Star to Come Out as a Lesbian in Hollywood"; this means that the source changed its heading, likely after Heard talked about dating men and not wanting to label her sexual orientation. And this CBS source about Heard, which is currently in her Wikipedia article, is like a double heading matter to me, rather than a heading and body matter. Flyer22 (talk) 19:23, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
This is exactly my point. Unless you're proposing that we also rewrite policy to exclude the use of "double headings", the proposed change won't fix the problem you're describing. On the other hand, it will open up a huge can of wikilawyering about what constitutes a "headline", and what constitutes "adequate support" for a headline in the article body. MastCell Talk 20:00, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I would support Colin's wording above, as a very succinct indication of the problem. Personally, I would go further in specifying the unreliability of headlines, but at least this makes the general situation clear and offers a specific guideline for the most problematic cases. It was mentioned above that sources with unreliable headlines are unreliable sources; while true, even for reliable sources the headlines are very apt to reflect a matter of opinion more than the article text: after all, their purpose is to attract attention. DGG ( talk ) 00:33, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
    • I'd almost certainly support Colin's wording too, since Colin is a remarkably astute and thoughtful editor. But I don't see that Colin (talk · contribs) has contributed to this discussion. I assume you're intending to support Collect's wording? I have yet to see anyone provide evidence that this is a problem worth rewriting our guidelines to address, and I am concerned that this proposed change will impose a heavy burden of wikilawyering on the rest of us. MastCell Talk 20:00, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


List of scammy academic journals[edit]

Hey guys - I just came across this list of possibly predatory open-access journals after reading this article on scam scholarly publishing. Is there anywhere on a policy or resource page that it would be good to link it? –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 02:17, 24 November 2014 (UTC)

A link and short discussion was added a year ago to WP:MEDRS (under discussion of biomedical journals), though I suspect it would be helpful here too, perhaps to the section about questionable sources? Yobol (talk) 00:34, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Yes check.svg DoneRoscelese (talkcontribs) 18:18, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Demur. The language would open up a lovely field for Wikilawyers to play in regarding "reputation for fact-checking" for sources in general. We already have WP:RS/N where such concerns as may be reasonable may be raised. Collect (talk) 19:11, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

But sources in general are supposed to have a reputation for fact-checking, that's part of the policy. I don't understand your objection - could you clarify? (The addition isn't meant to supplant or supplement existing policy, but rather to head off some of these disputes at the pass by warning users to check before adding material.) –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 20:10, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
And RS/N can handle questions. The "list" in the source given includes a large number of absolutely reputable publishers of peer-reviewed journals - and the proposed language could be used to remove them even though they meet WP:RS. Adding such quibbles on this page is, IMHO, less than wise. Cheers. Collect (talk) 20:48, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
I would concur with the logic of Collect. I think the place for the centralized discussion is RS/N, rather than on a lot of various subpages all over the diverse English wikipedia. N2e (talk) 22:15, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
I think you're misunderstanding the purpose of adding this language, N2e. Collect, which sources on this list do you believe have unfairly been labeled predatory? –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 00:40, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
(We could also cite the same language to this page, which is a guideline for identifying scam journals.) –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 00:47, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
A spot check of the nearly 300 publishers shows most are, indeed, "peer-reviewed journal publishers." We already have WP:RS/N where a source may be questioned - but indirectly tarring a great many legitimate publishers is the wrong way to proceed. And "open access" is most assuredly not "proof of scam." "Peer-review" generally does not operate as a "scam" last I checked. Cheers -- let WP:RS/N do its job. Collect (talk) 00:52, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
Do you mean that they are peer-reviewed, or that they claim to be peer-reviewed but in fact are perfectly willing to publish a paper consisting entirely of "Get me the f--- off your mailing list" for a fee? Serious question here, since this is the entire point of adding this section –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 01:02, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
That is the key distinction, and it's a pity that other editors don't see it. This is a necessary clarification of existing policy, and we can't have bone-headed objections getting in the way. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 23:13, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
We have WP:RS/N and it does not seem to be overrun with the horrid journals you seem to think only bone-headed editors defend. Perhaps you can tell us precisely how many RS/N discussions have been held on the journals being discussed? If the number is small, I suggest the massive change is not worthwhile. (Note to MC -- snark about editors being "naïve" is not necessary here or anywhere on Wikipedia - I now have had more than three decades on-line, and more than fifty years working with computers, and I note that being "naïve" is not one of my qualities) Cheers. Collect (talk) 00:02, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Those are odd qualifications to emphasize. I've found that people who spend huge amounts of time online and working with computers tend be more, rather than less, naive about the way the real world operates. In any case, I'm not sure that personal experience is relevant here. Predatory journals exist, and they feed off the naivete (and hubris) of people who assume that a journal which describes itself as "peer-reviewed" cannot possibly be a scam. MastCell Talk 02:38, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
There has been numerous related discussions in Talk:Predatory open access publishing. Quoting my own opinion, succinctly: "Beall's list is a one man's list, run by a self-appointed individual, with no committee oversight." It lacks transparency, because it's not disclosed how each journal/publisher fares with regard to the criteria set forth for categorizing predatory; it claims to have review board but the members are secret. It's notable enough to deserve a Wikipedia article, but it should not become a Wikipedia guideline -- general or medical -- for the reasons above. Fgnievinski (talk) 00:54, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
  • I think the addition in question is reasonable. Predatory open-access publishing is a fact of life, as numerous reliable sources attest (e.g. New York Times, Nature, etc). Obviously not all open-access journals are predatory, but some are. These journals play off the naive attitude expressed by Collect above—the idea that a journal which claims to be "peer-reviewed" cannot possibly be a "scam". Since these naive attitudes appear prevalent among Wikipedians, even those who frequent WP:RS/N, I think it's reasonable to add some language to this guideline (as already exists at WP:MEDRS) deprecating the use of predatory journals. The objections to such an addition don't make a lot of sense to me, at least as they're expressed here. MastCell Talk 06:32, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
Consulting Jeffrey Beall's list can be one of many useful ways of evaluating the reliability of a given source and we would do Wikipedia's editors a service by making knowledge of and access to this list accessible. I support an addition to this guideline which warns Wikipedia's editors of the existence of low quality "predatory" journals and providing a link to Jeffreys Beall's list. -- Ed (Edgar181) 01:06, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
The problems with predatory publishing has received increasing attention in academic circles for years, and is a particular problem for Wikipedia as most lay editors will just look at the publisher website, see the words "peer-review" and assume they are reliable, when it could not be farther from the truth. An article published in Science found that many of these publishers in fact do not do any true peer review at all, and that "the results show that Beall is good at spotting publishers with poor quality control". Given these facts, I do not see why we would not want to prevent poor quality journals from being cited here. Yobol (talk) 05:11, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
@Yobol: In Wikipedia articles about publishers/journals that are alleged predatory, we should rely only in allegations published in peer-reviewed literature (Beall authored several of such articles, check google scholar). Expert-authored blogs should be cited with discretion (WP:SELFPUBLISH). Even one false accusation would be too many, and who knows how many border cases exist -- I wish it was all black-and-white, predatory or not. Fgnievinski (talk) 18:25, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
In all articles, we have to equip our editors with the best information to edit and give reliable information. The purpose of WP:RS is to give our editors the information they need to decide what is and what is not likely to be a good source to use. Predatory journals are particularly insidious in this regard because they have the outward appearance of reliability ("Hey, this is an academic peer reviewed journal!") when in fact they are not. Predatory journals are a growing problem, and we now have objective data that suggests Beall's list is a decent place to start to have that conversation about which publishers are and which are not reliable. I have no particular interest to edit articles about the journals themselves, but I would suspect Beall's blog would qualify as an "expert" exception to the prohibition against self published material. I don't think anyone can say with a straight face that this is a not significant and growing problem, and we have to be able to equip editors with the information that is necessary to best select good sources, which the vast majority of these journals clearly are not. Yobol (talk) 18:33, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
@Yobol: I agree that predatory publishing is a problem that should be mentioned in WP:RS provided that we can word it in a way that doesn't give a false impression of certainty regarding the status of predatory or not; being included in Beall's list is becoming a sentence/verdict/condemnation but no one has checked the list in its entirety! Fgnievinski (talk) 18:59, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
@Yobol: I disagree that Wikipedia pages about publishers/journals should be allowed to make such serious accusations based on a blog post, expert-authored or not. In any other decent Wikipedia page, multiple peer-reviewed publications would be minimally required for such extraordinary claims. We're being led to give someone a free pass just because he attracted a lot of media attention. Fgnievinski (talk) 18:59, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
I have little interest in editing articles about journals themselves, and a discussion about that topic is not particularly relevant to this thread, which is about how to use Beall's list in the context of this guideline. I think the original wording as discussed in the questionable sources section was an adequate place to start, though it has been pointed out below that this is already discussed in the scholarship section, so I doubt it would be appropriate to duplicate. I would instead expand discussion in that section, with an explicit link to Beall's list and a caution against (though not outright prohibition) when using sources on that list. Yobol (talk) 19:12, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Have a look at this report about a peer-reviewed journal and the scrutiny they give the papers they accept for publication. As for Jeffrey Beall, he's a widely respected librarian. And personally, I have yet to see a single "absolutely reputable publisher" on his list and challenge Cirt to provide us with an example. Also, please note that Beall does not equate OA with predatory. There are many respectable OA publishers (PLOS, BioMed Central, etc) and those are of course not on his list. Unfortunately, I regularly encounter editors who misunderstand issues in academic publishing, including one person a while ago who wanted to classify all OA publishers as vanity presses because authors have to pay for the cost of publication of their articles... --Randykitty (talk) 12:15, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
  • This is already briefly covered in the "Scholarship" section last bullet point but I would support a link to Beall, and the other RS articles on the subject of these questionable sources. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:23, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
  • This discussion isn't about what language to put in an article, so whether or not Beall's research on scams has been peer-reviewed is irrelevant, surely. It's more about whether we as the WP community trust his research. Thanks for the Science article, Yobol. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 20:03, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

It's a great list to initiate discussion, he's caught a bunch of dodgy rackets and journals with bad scholarly reputations. But I don't think we should add a mention of the list in any way that makes it seem like we believe the list is authoritative, complete, or necessary to any particular discussion. It's one person, publishing his own views in his own space, and he's might get tired, or he might have biases we haven't seen yet. It's good on a here's educational examples of the kind of things to watch out for or in a Further reading kind of way, but the list is not a functional replacement for community and editor judgment in context. This is also similar to a "complete list of all known spammers" in that there will always be more instances than can ever be catalogued. Ultimately it is better to emphasize the better qualities in what we require in a good source, rather than giving editors the idea they can uncritically reference a "no-fly" list or blacklist compiled off-site.__ E L A Q U E A T E 21:50, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

I do not see the value of the list, since it does not meet rs. Presumably editors who respond to RSN research the sources before commenting on them. TFD (talk) 22:12, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Actually, at least one version of his list have been published (this was published in The Charleston Advisor) and would therefore meet WP:RS itself. I'm kind of perplexed that people keep bringing up WP:RSN. The point of this guideline should be to give editors guidance without the need to go to WP:RSN, and nothing in the proposed addition would preclude taking it to RSN in any event. It might, however, keep bad sources out of articles by well intentioned editors who don't know what a bad journal/publisher looks like. Yobol (talk) 22:59, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm also puzzled at the idea that this would somehow preclude RSN. My goal in adding it was to make the list, or failing that Beall's guidelines for identifying a scam, easily accessible to editors, as a resource. If people who oppose its inclusion here have other suggestions as to where on WP it could be linked - either the list of journals or the guidelines, or both - definitely let me know, per my initial comment. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 02:13, 30 November 2014 (UTC)
With the improvements being made to DOAJ, it becomes more useful as a whitelist. Beall's lists remain useful as blacklists. There's no real reason for ignoring either. An OA journal that is not on DOAJ should be questioned, just as one that is on scholarlyoa.com should be questioned. In either case, there should be ample citation evidence that highly-trusted independent publishers consider it worth citing before we consider accepting so-questioned journals as reliable. LeadSongDog come howl! 18:41, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that seems like a very sensible approach. MastCell Talk 19:17, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. Dougweller (talk) 11:05, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
So then, what we need is to link those with brief explanation in this guideline, perhaps a footnote. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:54, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
If we want to use it as an educational example in the notes or the "see also" section of how some journals are questionable, that's one thing. We shouldn't be adding a specific self-published "whitelist" or "blacklist" to the principles in the main guideline text itself. There's no such thing as a whitelisted reliable source for any type of claim on Wikipedia, and, while I think Beall's doing great work, I don't feel confident giving one blogger essentially a permanent future veto on reliable sources on Wikipedia. __ E L A Q U E A T E 20:13, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
Also note the list has been modified over time, with some entries removed. Using it as a blacklist goes against Wikipedia policies and guidelines at that point. Collect (talk) 13:31, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
Talk of making a list on WP of reliable and unreliable sources is getting off my original point, which is that it would help to alert editors to the problem of scam journals and to a list of questionable ones. Nowhere would we be taking away the ability of editors to decide, through consensus, that an article might still be reliable despite being published in one of these journals, or that an article is questionable despite being published in a journal that's not on this list. I'm just not sure why we would want to keep editors in the dark about this resource. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 02:53, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Editors don't have to be kept in the dark, but this seems like specific advice better suited to an essay, something like Identifying Non-Predatory Journals and Academic sources, that could be linked to in the See Also section, with other good, specific advice. The main section of Identifying reliable sources is general in-house principles, not links to specific blogs we like.__ E L A Q U E A T E 03:20, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Yobol pointed out above that this advice was already part of MEDRS, and I think it's a good advisory to put briefly in RS as well. It seems tedious for a user to have to click through to an essay and from there to a list, when we could just add a sentence. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 21:13, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
So - can we go ahead and add some wording that indicates that this is an issue users should be aware of and provides Beall's list as a resource, without suggesting that it's the, er, be-all and end-all? –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 21:15, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
What are you proposing beyond: Some publications that appear to be reliable journals are instead of very low quality and have no peer-review. They simply publish whatever is submitted if the author is willing to pay a fee. Some go so far as to mimic the names of reliable journals. There's also a citation to Beall's list there already. I think it would be helpful to expand the description in the footnote, and explain where the list could be helpful. I don't think we should name-check the blog in the main body text though. That's not something we're even doing for specific citation indexes which are more clearly long-term helpful across more articles. __ E L A Q U E A T E 21:43, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I think the text added originally is fine and would be happy to add it again, but other users seem to have been concerned about it. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 23:51, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
  • There seems to be a vague general feeling that something of the kind can or should be included. I've restored the original text I added; feel free to edit in light of the discussion here. –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 18:31, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Source bombing[edit]

What to do against articles with conflict involved and one side (like mainstream press) using the "reliable sources" definition to skew the viewpoint of the article by making articles and citing each other? Examples would be grassroots movements against the mainstream media. --Artman40 (talk) 17:37, 4 December 2014 (UTC)


I think aspects of the "reliable source" concept are obsolete. Any time I try to work on something subjective, I see something like this:

  • There is an objective truth to what happened. Your article may not have that, but the ones I work on do.
  • Multiple opinions have been expressed in "reliable sources." Necessarily, one or more of these resembles the objective truth.
  • I want to include an objective statement from a primary source. Necessarily, the statement supports one or more opinions.
  • This objective statement is identified as original research and speculation by editors who disagree with the opinion supported by the fact.
  • The fact can't be included in the article until a "reliable source" decides it's relevant, wraps it up in speculation and puts a political spin on it.

What Artman40 mentioned describes a new barrier to entry, a barrier to participation in Wikipedia itself. You need to have "reliable sources" to include objective material that supports an opinion, so you can't add it. Before Wikipedia, you had to (figuratively) own a newspaper to get your opinion heard.

The reliable sources requirement can re-build that old barrier. The example is a good one; if a movement has limited ability to get its opinion covered in "reliable sources", it's back to the way it was when you had to own a newspaper. Roches (talk) 13:25, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

Quick thoughts:
  • I'm guessing that you two are in a dispute. In that case, go to WP:RSN.
  • If the "objective fact" is published in a source, then copying that fact to Wikipedia cannot be WP:OR. OR = stuff not found in a source (by definition). If you want to include "an objective statement from a primary source", then that's not OR (assuming that the statement is actually in the primary source, and that the source is published, e.g., not Great-Grandma's old letters that you found in the attic after she died).
  • There are dozens of reasons why said source and said material might be unwanted (e.g., copyvio, plagiarism, various subsections of NPOV, unencyclopedia nature, etc), but if it comes from some published source, then it's not original research.
  • You might want to read WP:Secondary does not mean independent and WP:USEPRIMARY.
Good luck, WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:07, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
There is an objective truth to what happened - Wikipedia is not about reporting a "truth"; we report significant viewpoints of what happened as described in reliable sources.
The fact can't be included in the article until a "reliable source" decides it's relevant, wraps it up in speculation and puts a political spin on it. - Tough. That is the way we edit articles.

- Cwobeel (talk) 22:45, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Also, note that WhatamIdoing offered in WP:Secondary does not mean independent and WP:USEPRIMARY, these are essays and not policy. For policy refer to WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:NOR the three core content policies of Wikipedia, to which all material in articles is expected to be compliant with all three. - Cwobeel (talk) 00:20, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

Cwobeel, I'll also suggest that you read WP:The difference between policies, guidelines, and essays. I notice that you have cited WP:BRD in your contributions, which is "just an essay, not a policy", too. The tag at the top of the page doesn't tell you whether the page is applicable, accurate, or accepted. (And in the case of PGE, the material could have been in WP:POLICY—much of which I've written—but I thought it would clutter up the main policy page (and require a more formal tone, which I didn't want to bother with). WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:42, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
I am well aware of the differences. WP:BRD is an accepted mean for achieving consensus nonetheless. - Cwobeel (talk) 00:46, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

My reply, which is mostly about Shooting of Michael Brown[edit]

Thanks. The two of us aren't in a dispute with each other. I added my comment below because I've faced a lot of the same use of "reliable sources" to justify reverts. Here's an example from Talk:Shooting of Michael Brown:

On a table comparing "typical grand jury hearings" with a specific hearing: "I have added a table indicating the differences as reported by the NYT. I will not respond to the above if it was nefarious or not, as it is irrelevant to what we are trying to do here, which is reporting on what reliable sources said about the subject. - Cwobeel (talk) 18:20, 1 December 2014 (UTC)" I contend that facts about grand juries do not need to be reported in the New York Times to be incorporated in an article.

On a witness who supported the police officer's account: "I don't think anyone will oppose such, but need to find WP:SECONDARY sources that discuss that testimony rather than relying on our own WP:OR interpretation of the WP:PRIMARY Gaijin42 (talk) 01:27, 6 December 2014 (UTC)" The article has more content from eyewitnesses with opposing accounts. I contend that it would not be OR to quote/paraphrase/discuss the account itself to address this.

In the section "Summarily inaccurate" an IP editor mentions the use of biased secondary sources, and another user objected:

"we report what reliable sources say" is not an accurate or useful summary of WP policy, but I suppose we can just put a pin in this until/unless you go ahead and violate some more policies. Centrify (f / k / a FCAYS) (talk) (contribs) 14:58, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

I'm capable of using primary sources to write NPOV and objective content. But I spend too much time composing replies to editors on talk pages and comparatively very little time improving content. Part of my experience is that at least one, if not two, people are actively enforcing the idea that Wikipedia is their blog, in the sense that they are using it to report things they read in secondary sources, rather than reporting facts directly from the primary sources. I'm assuming good faith, but I think people want to protect their content.

I don't see how a collaborative effort to write fact-based articles on ongoing events should require that sources be politically biased, or that a fact cannot be taken from a primary source until it's noticed by a secondary source.

Thanks for your time in reading this. I only have one question that needs addressing: What do I do when I get slapped with WP:SPECULATION WP:OR WP:SECONDARY?

Added: None of the quotes are disputes I'm involved in and I don't want to address those, just the overall idea that "we use reliable sources." Roches (talk) 15:15, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

You are welcome to attempt changing Wikipedia policies by engaging in a discussion such as this one. But you are not welcome to start editing articles in which you dismiss Wikipedia core policies and do whatever you want in contradiction with key policies. You are deleting well sourced material. You are also deleting key reporting, just because you believe journalists got it wrong. This is totally unacceptable and disruptive. - Cwobeel (talk) 22:39, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
None of the quotes are disputes I'm involved in Really? As for your arguments about using primary sources instead of secondary sources, it is exactly the opposite of what we do here in Wikipedia. You have a lot to learn. - Cwobeel (talk) 22:42, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
Roches, I don't really want to go through the article history to look for examples, so it's hard to know how well the question you've written lines up with the actual problems you're encountering. Your question about whether grand jury details need to be mentioned elsewhere makes me suspect that WP:DUE is more relevant than NOR. My dilemma is a bit like tech support, when the customer asks a very specific question, like, "How do I re-format my hard drive?", rather than saying, "I want to make my computer faster. What do you recommend?" I'm going to take a page from tech support and just answer what you've asked.
  • WP:SPECULATION isn't really appropriate for most disputes of this type. The most relevant bit is the line about people extrapolating from the sources, and you shouldn't do that. If it's not actually, undeniably in the published source, then it doesn't go in. If you "deserve" that complaint, then what you should do is to remove any content that extrapolates or speculates or otherwise says something "more" than what the source said. If you don't feel like the complaint is relevant, then you should ask the individual to explain in more detail and/or to quote to you the exact sentence out of that section that is relevant.
  • WP:OR in general is about writing things that aren't in the published reliable source. If you "deserve" that complaint, then what you do is to remove any content that isn't actually, directly present in the reliable source. If you don't feel like the complaint is relevant, then you quote the exact sentences that you added to the article, quote the exact sentences out of your source that obviously, directly, and completely prove that your reliable source already published all of this information, and tell the other editor that this quotation proves that the material you added has already been published elsewhere and therefore (by definition) cannot be OR. Note: OR is also the home for SECONDARY, which I admit is confusing. You may have to ask for more details to figure out whether the other editors mean the normal OR parts or the WP:PSTS part.
  • WP:SECONDARY is probably going to be the biggest problem for any article about current events. This is because all early news reports, and many later ones (with the major exception of 'news analysis'), are actually primary sources. (See WP:PRIMARYNEWS for more details.) I'll spare you the explanation about why SECONDARY exists, but that is a policy, and you should do your best to respect it, even if it means that the article cannot contain every possible detail that interests you. Articles are supposed to be encyclopedia articles, which means brief summaries, not 13,500+ word tomes with 286 cited sources (including many primary sources; for example the second ref on the page, which is a partial transcript of the grand jury testimony, is unquestionably primary). To give you some perspective about what it means to be an "encyclopedia article", here is the entire text of a very famous murder as published in a real encyclopedia:
    On the evening of the 14th of April he attended Ford's theatre in Washington. While seated with his family and friends absorbed in the play, John Wilkes Booth, an actor, who with others had prepared a plot to assassinate the several heads of government, went into the little corridor leading to the upper stage-box, and secured it against ingress by a wooden bar. Then stealthily entering the box, he discharged a pistol at the head of the president from behind, the ball penetrating the brain. Brandishing a huge knife, with which he wounded Colonel Rathbone who attempted to hold him, the assassin rushed through the stage-box to the front and leaped down upon the stage, escaping behind the scenes and from the rear of the building, but was pursued, and twelve days afterwards shot in a barn where he had concealed himself. The wounded president was borne to a house across the street, where he breathed his last at 7 A.M. on the 15th of April 1865.
Good luck, WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:18, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for that. In this issue the media reports are heavily biased, which doesn't make them unreliable but might not make them NPOV. I thought primary sources might help with NPOV, but I've come to the conclusion that all the "admissible" primary sources have already been used. My issue is that we are using biased secondary sources and not trying to present them in an unbiased way.

Consider: "even if that means that the article cannot contain every possible detail that interests you." This is a major issue in the article now. There seems to be an idea that any point of view reported by a reliable source, even if it is opinion, must be included, and cannot be removed. Thanks again, though. I'm not sure how much I'll work on this article, but your comment has important ideas for all the editors of the article, not just me. Roches (talk) 15:06, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Encyclopaedia Britannica[edit]

After recently being rapped over the knuckles for using Britannica as a source, I thought I'd read this article to see what I had done wrong. I found this:

Tertiary sources such as compendia, encyclopedias, introductory textbooks, obituaries, and other summarizing sources are helpful for overviews or summaries, and in evaluating due weight, but should not be used in place of secondary sources for detailed discussion

I am just as confused as before.

  • What are "summaries" and "overviews" in WP. Are there summary/overview articles where I could use EB, or are there parts of an article (eg. the lead) where I could use EB?
  • How could EB be used to "evaluate due weight"? I can't see anything obvious in the due weight article.
  • How can I tell that EB is being used for "detailed discussion"?

It seems to me that articles in EB, given the way that articles there are produced, are easily the equivalent of academic articles, or books. Myrvin (talk) 07:50, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

I have read Wikipedia:WikiProject Encyclopaedia Britannica, but this doesn't seem to help. However, if EB isn't to be used, how come there's a WP project on how to use it? Myrvin (talk) 09:14, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

"Overview" means that a different encyclopedia entry might give you, as an editor, a good mental picture of how other people have summarized the topic. They are useful for editors to read while editing, to get a sense of the topic, even if we don't cite them for detailed material. They can help editors decide if certain information is worth investigating in less tertiary sources.
The "evaluate due weight" means that if we find that some piece of information is covered in a tertiary encyclopedia entry, it's probably likely that secondary sources have noted the information as well. Presence in a tertiary source is a helpful indication that it's probably also been noted by secondary sources and is probably worth including in our article, (but it's not a replacement for actually finding some of those secondary sources). __ E L A Q U E A T E 14:43, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
The WikiProject is part of Wikipedia's absorption of some public-domain tertiary sources wholesale. This type of use is usually clearly marked within articles where we're basically reproducing a whole article not wriiten by Wikipedia editors. It's not a model for building new articles, written by editors, out of disparate sources. It's not a model we can use for any of the tertiary sources that are currently under copyright, either.__ E L A Q U E A T E 16:28, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
You may have encountered one of our many made-up rules. Rumors like this get started and passed around for years. We don't actually ban the use of EB (or any other source, for that matter; see the /FAQ at the top of the page). In fact, if your information actually comes from EB, then you are required to state that fact, per WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT. EB is cited in more than 10,000 articles.
However, the person who complained is correct that a tertiary source is not an ideal source for most purposes, and it is especially inappropriate for detailed, complex, or contentious matter. Whether a source is "reliable" depends on the statement that you're making. If it's uncontentious, almost sky-is-blue material, then an encyclopedia is an okay source. You don't need a gold-plated academic journal article to say that Abraham Lincoln was a US president (unless your main goal is to look like Wikipedia Iz Serious Academic Bidness, which is not a view I subscribe to). If you are supporting complicated material, though, like exactly what happens to protons inside a nuclear reactor, then you should look for a more appropriate (e.g., more technical) source.
By the way, in case it comes up, by supplying EB as a citation, you have met your WP:BURDEN. There is no requirement that you fulfill requests for "better" sources (no matter how "better" is defined). If the other editor wants a better source, it's his job to find it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:28, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Hello WhatamIdoing, nice to see you again. Perhaps this particular made up rule comes, in part, from this RS guideline. I came to this article because I was looking for reasons why, or why not, EB could be cited, and I know that I should only cite reliable sources. However, it looks to me as if the words I quoted above are not to do with sources to be cited, but sources for research - which is what I think ELAQUEATE is saying. It can easily be read to say that tertiary sources should never be cited, because in WP articles we are always putting in "detailed discussion" and never summaries or overviews. As you know, I'm having problems with GA reviews. Does your advice go for GAs too? Myrvin (talk) 07:43, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it can be read that "WP articles we are always putting in "detailed discussion" and never summaries or overviews" because WP is a tertiary source - and so a general purpose of WP is summary and overview. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:14, 16 December 2014 (UTC) As for GA, well the strength and draw back of that system is that you are submitting it to the reviewer for them to declare it "good". It is inevitable that some demand they make may seem (and even be) whimsical or capricious. So, only you, as submitter, can decide if it is worth it. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:30, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I see that. I was trying to think from where these whimsies might come. I have given up completely on GANs for that very reason. A nominator can spend hours and hours doing requested changes, only to find that the article is not good enough, because - inter alia - the article cites Britannica. Myrvin (talk) 13:03, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, the only solace maybe - take the 100,000 foot view - generally, an anon on the internet making some evaluation of another anon's work - it is what it is. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:50, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I think that some of these "whimsies" do have a reasonable origin. Our years-long telephone game often causes us to lose nuance.
What do you all think about adding a bit in the guideline about "the kind of source to use for general research" vs "whether this particular source is reliable for that particular statement"? We focus mostly on the latter, which might make our occasional statement about the former be confusing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:06, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
The rest of the section, and article, is about citations. So I think this should be too.Myrvin (talk) 20:13, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Instead of the words quoted above, how about:

Respected tertiary sources such as Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Judaica, and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, may be cited, as long as such citations are not in the majority in an article.

Myrvin (talk) 12:47, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
I think that those exact words might result in needless complaints about stubs (which often have only a single source). But perhaps we could add something like it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:15, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Ah yes, I see that, WhatamIdoing. I added the 'majority' thing to reinforce the guideline's statement about articles being "based mainly on reliable secondary sources". Since it already says that, I guess it doesn't need to be repeated. How about:

Respected tertiary sources, where articles are written by experts in the field and have editorial panels, such as Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Judaica, and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, may be cited.

Myrvin (talk) 18:10, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
How about just "Reputable tertiary sources, such as lower-level school textbooks, almanacs, and encyclopedias, may be cited"? If you wanted to be more specific, you could add something like "especially for uncontroversial or general statements". WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:59, 28 December 2014 (UTC)
I've put in your first set of words. Myrvin (talk) 08:02, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
I changed the wording a little, by removing "lower-level; I asked, "What is 'lower-level' in this case, and why are we singling that out?" Flyer22 (talk) 08:30, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
Alanscottwalker, regarding this edit you made, I think that the reason the policies weren't linked for those parts is because the top of that section already points to the policy definitions. And if you notice, the policy definitions point to the Wikipedia articles for a better understanding. Flyer22 (talk) 21:50, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
In general, overview sources are not optimum, because the content they contain isn't originally from them. The general idea so far as I can tell is that we try to use the sources which either first proposed or most notably advanced certain content, and, pretty much by definition, most encyclopedias don't meet those criteria. There will be exceptions. I remember one, short, encyclopedia article relating to the philosophy of religion which gave as references exactly two other sources, both of which were, you guessed it, articles in other encyclopedias on the same topic. In some cases, like that one, we would certainly want to use the cited sources as the required indicators of notability of the topic, if it were to have a stand alone article. And, yeah, in some cases, if the material in an encyclopedia is based on some obscure book in Urdu not available in the West, they can be the only sources we have readily available, as that theoretical Urdu source probably isn't available to us. But I think those tend to be the exceptions rather than the rule, and if we have secondary sources other than overviews available, they would be preferable, except perhaps in the rare cases when the encyclopedic content itself more or less qualifies as a secondary source. John Carter (talk) 21:59, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I apologize for the lateness of my replies:

  • Flyer, I included the phrase "lower-level" because upper-level textbooks (approximately the level you might seen in graduate school, but it depends) are usually secondary sources, not tertiary. We don't want to have this guideline "define" all textbooks as being tertiary sources.
  • John Carter, the main point of this guideline is to tell people what the minimum standard is, not to help them find the best possible source. Overview sources are not optimal (for many statements), and they are not even reliable for some, but they are acceptable if the specific claim being made is suitable to being supported by an overview source. Whether the source that either first proposed or most notably advanced an idea is a good one depends on your subject. In some areas, especially hard sciences, the goal is often to provide the most recent high-quality source rather than the historically important one. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:31, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
You reverted; I don't mind since you've explained. Flyer22 (talk) 02:42, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

Lorna Tolentino[edit]

she has never done a movie titled Dugo ihuhugas sa kasalanan...the correct title of it instead is Sa Putik Ihuhugas ay Dugo with Philip Salvador and Elizabeth Oropeza

also the movie Huwag Mo kaming Isumpa under Seiko films with Christoper De leon and Rio Locsin was not shown or done in 1969 it was shown sometime in 1986 before the award winning Maging akin Ka Lamang. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 180.191.93.161 (talk) 16:45, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Unexpectedly low degree of certainty in medical examiner findings.[edit]

Consensus is against the proposal. Following extensive debate both here and at other venues there is no benefit to be gained from further discussion. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 03:17, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

We were discussing the reliability of a medical examiners cause of death finding over on the RS noticeboard, and we all or almost all, thought that an official medical examiner would be a reliable enough expert primary source to establish the fact of a cause of death, at least in the case of an uncontroversial finding. But then when I went looking at information about typical degrees of certainty in medical examiner findings, I found a document at the National Association of Medical Examiners website thename.org, A Guide For Manner of Death Classification (under General Info, Death Certification): https://netforum.avectra.com/Public/DocumentGenerate.aspx?wbn_key=38c0f1d2-11ec-45c7-80ca-ff872d0b22bc&SITE=NAME That states:

"In general, the certifier of death completes the cause-of-death section and attests that, to the best of the certifier’s knowledge, the person stated died of the cause(s) and circumstances reported on the death certificate. It is important to remember that these “facts” only represent the certifier’s opinion and are not written in stone or legally binding."

But it gets worse. It goes on:

Because the cause and manner of death are opinions, judgment is required to formulate both for reporting on the death certificate. The degree of certainty required to classify the manner of death depends sometimes on the circumstances of the death. Although such issues will be discussed in further detail below, a general scheme of incremental “degrees of certainty” is as follows:

  • Undetermined (less than 50% certainty)
  • Reasonable medical or investigative probability (Greater than a 50:50 chance; more likely than not)
  • Preponderance of medical/investigative evidence (For practical purposes, let’s say about 70% or greater certainty)
  • Clear and convincing medical/investigative evidence (For practical purposes, let’s say 90% or greater certainty)
  • Beyond any reasonable doubt (essentially 100% certainty)
  • Beyond any doubt (100% certainty)

Seldom, for the purpose of manner-of-death classification, is “beyond a reasonable doubt” required as the burden of proof. In many cases, “reasonable probability” will suffice, but in other instances such as suicide, case law or prudence may require a “preponderance” of evidence—or in homicide—“clear and convincing evidence” may be required or recommended.

Notice that a finding of homicide MAY require a heightened standard of 90%. But that means that the finding MAY NOT require even 90% certainty. A medical examiner may well be using the 70% "Preponderance of medical/investigative evidence" or possibly even the 51% "Reasonable medical or investigative probability" standard. A medical examiner may well have found a higher certainty in a particular case. But until we know, it seems clear to me that we can't state the examiner's opinion of the manner or cause of death as fact in Wikipedia without establishing what degree of certainty the medical examiner is claiming. And we should warn readers that medical examiner's findings may be determined to a surprisingly low degree of certainty, if we don't know the degree of certainty.

I think we need to modify the reliable sources guidelines to warn other Wikipedia editors that medical examiner findings may be only 51% certain, and that if greater weight is to be attributed to such findings, then the medical examiner's degree of certainty level must be verified on a case by case basis. Mindbuilder (talk) 10:33, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

? People decide on what is likely true all the time, especially when, as here, they have a choice to say they cannot state what is likely true (undetermined). Same with, it is likely true it was a homicide (that is, a volitional act by a person causing death to another), and at any rate, the notes make clear that the examiner in a homicide case would have a higher degree of certainty than likely true. The notes also state that after "manner of death" (eg. homicide, accident, etc.) it is then followed by a clarifying note on circumstances (eg gunshot, hanging, etc)Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:56, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
We're not just talking about homicide here. Wikipedia editors also need to realize in non-homicide cases that the findings may be only to the "more likely than not" degree of certainty. And any following clarifying note may also be established only to a 51% degree of certainty. But even if the degree of certainty is at least 90%, I don't think even that is nearly high enough to establish something as a flatly true fact to be stated in Wikipedia's voice. Something closer to "beyond a reasonable doubt" is a more appropriate standard for establishing a fact. If there is a reasonable doubt about a fact, then that is worth alerting the reader to, and taking a neutral point of view. Especially for a derogatory fact in a BLP scenario. And also remember, these are suggested guidelines. We just don't know what particular degree of certainty an examiner is using in a particular case even in homicide. Some examiners might use a 51% standard to establish cause and manner of death in all cases, because criminal cases often become civil cases, but simply include a separate comment to warn when their findings don't reach a higher degree of certainty. If we don't know then we have to find out first. We can't just assume reliability. Mindbuilder (talk) 17:24, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
We do not assume they are wrong - they state what they have concluded ("manner of death") and we relate it. They are obviously certain enough to state what they have concluded. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:39, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
If you do not know if something is wrong or right, you should not assume it is right, just because you do not know that it is wrong. Nor should you assume that it is wrong, just because you do not know that it is right. The wise thing to do is not to assume it is right or wrong, but to just reserve judgment, and say you just don't know, unless you have sufficient evidence one way or the other. It was the assumption, thought to be obvious to almost all of us, that medical examiners would not declare an opinion unless they were certain enough to know the facts. But now it is clear that medical examiners will issue an opinion when they are not certain, and not even close to certain. If the degree of certainty does not exceed "more likely than not", then that degree of certainty means NOT certain, merely probable. According to Merriam Websters, certain means "not having any doubt about something" "Indisputable". A conclusion that may merely be "more likely than not" is nowhere close to indisputable. Mindbuilder (talk) 18:59, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
This is not a forum. If you have an issue with the way medical examiners word their findings, take it elsewhere. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:10, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm seeking consensus for changes to the guidelines for identifying reliable sources. I thought this was the place to do that. Is there somewhere else I should go to discuss proposed changes? Or should I just be bold and make the changes?
If I was suggesting medical examiners should word their findings differently, I would go make that suggestion where medical examiners congregate, not here. I'm just saying that I and many other Wikipedia editors were mistaken to assume that the expert findings of medical examiners were reliable. We now know that those "official" findings may be based on merely a "more likely than not" level of likelihood. Editors and readers need to be warned of this surprising fact. Mindbuilder (talk) 19:38, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
No, you're not "seeking consensus"; you're trying to avoid acknowledging it. You've already heard a consensus, that medical examiner findings are reliable sources for cause of death (for example, at RS/N). You don't agree with that consensus, and you're forum-shopping relentlessly to find a way around it. You're well into I-didn't-hear-that territory. While I can only guess at the motivations behind your crusade to discredit the M.E.'s findings in the Garner case, your behavior is disruptive and tendentious and will be grounds for being blocked from editing if it continues. You are free to raise questions or concerns about source reliability, but you are not free to disregard all input you disagree with, nor to keep asking the same question in different venues hoping for a different answer, particularly when you've omitted to link to other relevant ongoing discussions. Especially, you are not free to try to change a fundamental sourcing guideline to fit your personal agenda, when you've already been told by an overwhelming number of other editors that you're off-base. MastCell Talk 19:51, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
I was not the one initiating the previous forum changes related to this issue. That was Dyrnych. Previously I was following his forum changes. And I'm not suggesting his forum changes were unreasonable. I only changed forum once to this forum because I thought it was a more proper place to discuss, not just the reliability of a single source for a particular article, but a change to the reliable sources guideline page with respect to medical examiner findings in a wide variety of cases, both civil and criminal.
Furthermore I think my discovery that medical examiner opinions may be based on no more than a "more likely than not" level of probability, dramatically changes the vast majority of our previous discussion. Previously even I had agreed that they could be considered reliable when they were not disputed.
But lets get things perfectly clear. Is it your opinion that it is acceptable for a medical examiner's finding that is established to a level of "more likely than not", or for which we don't know the degree of certainty, to be flatly stated as a fact in Wikipedia's voice? Mindbuilder (talk) 20:35, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
? Apart from the medical examiners conclusion, there is nothing else that states the medical examiners conclusion. It goes into the mortality and statistics books that way. - Alanscottwalker (talk) 20:53, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
@Mindbuilder: It's my opinion that you're inappropriately trying to alter a fundamental guideline here in order to win a content dispute where consensus has gone against you. That's disruptive behavior.

The answer to your "more likely than not" question is mu. Seriously, spend a few minutes actually thinking it through. We report that the shortstop Omar Vizquel committed only 3 errors in the 2000 baseball season. But whether a particular play constitutes a hit or an error is a subjective judgement—an opinion—rendered by the official scorer. The threshold is for calling a play an error is "more likely than not", or 51%. But we report it as a matter of fact, in Wikipedia's voice, that Vizquel committed 3 errors. We don't include some sort of ridiculous, contrived nonsense about Vizquel's fielding percentage being a matter of opinion. Right? MastCell Talk 04:47, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

Changing a policy to try to win a dispute is the lowest of the low. Hipocrite (talk) 14:08, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

I intend to get the policy changed even if I do win the dispute. And if consensus is found that the policy needs to be changed, and that wins the dispute, then the dispute should be won, and there is nothing low at all about winning a dispute by improving the quality of Wikipedia. More on MastCell's baseball errors example later. By the way Hipocrite, do you think that a source that establishes its conclusions to a "more likely than not" standard should be considered a reliable source for statements of fact? Mindbuilder (talk) 21:11, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
I think you should be topic banned from this topic for failing to hear. I'll probably suggest that in a few more cycles of you not hearing. You lost, get over it. Hipocrite (talk) 21:40, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
That you dodged my last question is noted. It is understandable though, as your position is indefensible. And you act as if you have a strong consensus. By my last count it is only 6 to 4 against me since I made it known that medical examiner findings may be established to a mere "more likely than not" standard. And that changed the debate dramatically, so the previous opinions should not be relied upon unless they re-assert them.
In the baseball errors example, anyone that cares about the exact accuracy of the error number is likely to quickly find out that the true number of errors depends on some close calls by the official scorer. They're going to know that the precise value is not a highly reliable number. And even if for some reason some people don't figure it out, it doesn't really matter much. The precise true and fair number matters to the particular player as far as negotiating his salary, but anyone negotiating the salary of a baseball player most certainly knows the official number is not precisely reliable. And they know that Wikipedia will be reporting the official number, not Wikipedia's own finding. And they can do their own video confirmation of each error if they care to. Furthermore, for most purposes, a wrong close call or two probably doesn't mean much to the over-all reputation of the player. Few fans will probably care about a slight error in the exact number of errors. The cited Omar Vizquel article doesn't even mention Vizquel's career or yearly error numbers. Also, it's just a game. If Wikipedia's misses letting people know that the official baseball statistics aren't perfect, the omission is not that big a deal to the credibility of Wikipedia. And there is nothing wrong with Wikipedia flatly stating as fact what the official stats are. MLB probably has an official process that establishes the errors, and then probably that is the organization's final declaration. A medical examiner's finding is official, but it is nowhere near final. It can be easily changed upon new evidence, or overruled by a jury.
On the other hand, with medical examiner findings, I think few people will realize that they may be determined to such a low degree of probability. And people may be unlikely to find that out even when they look into a case deeper, as we have done. Finally, life and death findings can be very important to society and the parties involved.
@MastCell - Since you answered my question in the negative, that apparently means it is NOT your opinion that it is acceptable for a medical examiner's finding that is established to a level of "more likely than not" to be flatly stated as a fact in Wikipedia's voice. So what are we disagreeing about? Are we disagreeing about the situation when we don't know the level of probability the medical examiner found? Mindbuilder (talk) 21:55, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
  • This is nothing less than forum shopping and disruptive. Maybe ANI should lead the way for this editor.TMCk (talk) 00:14, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
  • As the initiator of the RS noticeboard discussion and one of the parties involved in the content dispute, I'm kind of shocked that I wasn't informed that this discussion was going on here. That smacks of forum shopping to me, especially when my initial change of forum is being brought up as a defense for moving the discussion to this page; I notified every editor involved in the discussion and posted a link in the previous discussion, neither of which has happened here. Also, can someone explain why we should accept the section of document that Mindbuilder has cherry-picked as authoritative and discount this statement from the "Preface and Caveats" of the document (page 2) as irrelevant? "This book is a Guide. The recommendations contained herein are not standards and should not be used to evaluate the performance of a given certifier in a given case. Death certification and manner-of-death classification require judgment, and room must be allowed for discretion on a case by case basis" (emphasis mine).
Mindbuilder's notion that there is not a robust consensus for accepting an ME's report as a reliable source for fact (unless disputed by equally qualified experts) is laughable. Not one of the editors opposing the acceptance of an ME's report as an RS has cited Mindbuilder's rationale for doing so; their objections mostly boil down to the fact that an ME is fallible, which is true but (in my opinion) irrelevant in the absence of expert dispute. We are not qualified to assess whether they have erred or not, and stating the mere possibility of error is not anywhere near enough to raise doubt about an ME's conclusion. On the other hand, most editors—both before and after the "bombshell"—have accepted the argument that in the absence of qualified dispute, an ME's report should be accepted as a reliable primary source for a cause of death. Dyrnych (talk) 01:04, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment (reposting from RSN): I can't believe it took me this long to notice this, but the fatal (if you'll pardon the pun) flaw in Mindbuilder's reasoning is that the excerpted segment applies to manner of death, not cause of death. Mindbuilder is conflating the two (whether from carelessness, ignorance, or whatever other reason), but they're entirely different; cause is a medical determination, while manner is not. So even accepting that this cherry-picked material has any application to this matter (which I don't), the thesis is that a medical examiner may require as low as 51% certainty before deeming a death to be one of the following: suicide, homicide, accident, or natural causes. That has no application whatsoever to the degree of certainty of the determination of the cause of death, i.e., the medical circumstances that ended the life of the decedent. That is the question: whether the medical examiner's report is a reliable source for the cause of death, not the manner of death. Dyrnych (talk) 03:01, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Using otherwise reliable sources that (without directly saying so) borrow details from Wikipedia[edit]

Obviously this page already rejects using Wikipedia and its derivatives as sources, but recently on Talk:Akira Toriyama someone tried to argue in favour of the status quo because an several external sources had copied minor stylistic details ("The subject is known for this and this") from Wikipedia. I've seen people do this in requested moves and the like as well ("X-source spells his name the same way we do on its title-page because that is the more familiar spelling of this very obscure person's name solely as a result of English Wikipedia. Therefore we shouldn't change the title.")

In my experience when it comes to minor stylistic details like this, otherwise reliable sources quite frequently copy Wikipedia just because the Wikipedia status quo is currently prominent online. When it comes to romanization and order of Japanese personal names, I know the Iwate Prefectural Government does this from time to time since I, on discussion with my other non-Japanese colleague, was the one who proposed it.

Anyone else think we should include a proviso warning against this kind of potential circular sourcing when defending the status quo?

Hijiri 88 (やや) 09:44, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

(By the way, while there have been a few such RMs, the one that jumps to mind is at Talk:Emperor Jimmu, where the majority of piecemeal mentions of the figure's name are in books written by people outside the field, and who therefore likely copied their spelling from either Wikipedia or the other source available for free online about the topic -- a 130-year-old public domain translation of the Kojiki. Such books are obviously of minimal value in defending the Wikipedia status quo. My recent comment on WT:MOS-JA cites another almost uncontrovertible example of an essay someone no doubt considers a reliable source on economics, written by someone who obviously consulted Wikipedia while writing. Hijiri 88 (やや) 13:28, 16 January 2015 (UTC) )

Slide shows as sources[edit]

Dear editors: I came across [9]] which is being used as a reference in a newly created article Boundary (company). "Network World" sounds like a magazine or news website name, but the content is a slide show. Is a slide show considered to be an article, and if so, is Network World a reliable publication? —Anne Delong (talk) 13:35, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with it myself. I'm very leery of using programs as refs for various reasons and I'm pretty sure that's not even allowed, because of proprietary-format and searchability issues for a start. However, a slideshow is more just a slightly different way of presenting pages. It'd maybe be different if the user didn't control it, but she does, with a -> same as a regular paginated article. It requires javascript to be enabled, but that's common enough not to be a deal-killer.
As to Network World, dunno, but they look to be a real (online) publication with a real professional staff and so forth. Whether they just parrot press releases or whatever I don't know but I don't see any indication of that right off. They are part of International Data Group which is large entity, which is not the same as being reliable or even truthful, but on the other hand just making stuff up or at any rate not caring of their stuff is true or not would probably not be a good long term business strategy for International Data Group, so they probably have some reliability, or at least would aspire to that. Herostratus (talk) 16:43, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Correction to 'List of the oldest schools in Sri Lanka'.[edit]

Hartley College, Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka. Rev. Thomas Hall Squance got a plot of land near the beach at Point-Pedro from a person named Nagappar for a land named ‘Thenny’. The Mission built a Health Bungalow and School Room in 1815 (according to Rev. Peter Percival ) or 1817 ( as written in the Methodist Mission records). This later evolved into ‘Mission School’, ‘Girls Bilingual School’ – 1823,was destroyed by a fire. Rev Peter Percival in 1838 purchased an adjoining land with Pounds four-hundred obtained on a personal loan, and put up buildings in 1838. He named one section of the buildings as ‘Point-Pedro Wesleyan Mission Central School’. This was renamed Hartley College by it’s Principal Mr. C.P.Thamotheram in 1943. This was in gratitude to Rev. Marshal Hartley, Foreign Secretary of the Methodist Mission in England. The latter visited the school in 1917 and laid the foundation stone for the science lab. Source ‘Tales of an enchanted boyhood’ by Dr.Philip G Veerasingam –ISBN 978-955-1723-29-3 Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).

http://imagessrilanka.blogspot.com/2012/04/mghs-and-hartley-point-pedro-sri-lanka.html Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).

The Girls Bilingual School continues as the Methodist Girls High School to the present day.

Submitted by Dr.Philip G Veerasingam - email <philipv203@gmail.com> — Preceding unsigned comment added by 61.245.163.120 (talk) 02:19, 25 January 2015 (UTC)