Wikipedia talk:No original research

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Peacedove.svg The project page associated with this talk page is an official policy on Wikipedia. Policies have wide acceptance among editors and are considered a standard for all users to follow. Please review policy editing recommendations before making any substantive change to this page. Always remember to keep cool when editing. Changes to this page do not immediately change policy anyway, so don't panic.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
I disagree with the definition of secondary source.
Wikipedia mostly follows the definition in use by historians, which requires more than simply repeating information from some other source or rearranging information from the author's notes. The earliest definition of a secondary source in this policy was in February 2004 "one that analyzes, assimilates, evaluates, interprets, and/or synthesizes primary sources".
WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles that are spoken on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.

Proposing changes to Wikipedia:WikiProject Palaeontology/Paleoart review[edit]

there is a consensus not to carry out the proposal, per WP:CREEP and as this area seems to be fairly arbitrary. --Mdann52talk to me! 09:04, 7 November 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 think the above discussion has demonstrated that different standards are being applied to illustrations in different areas of Wikipedia. This is generally undesirable. All information on Wikipedia should be equally verifiable. Wikipedia:WikiProject Palaeontology/Paleoart review has set itself up as an internal peer review process that, according to its own understanding, awards a sort of seal of approval to illustrations that fall into the "paleoart" category. Unfortunately, the requirement of verifiable, reliable sources supporting each illustration is not currently one of its principles. I propose that such a principle be explicitly added and observed. I am deliberately keeping this discussion here as it is a direct corollary of the above. Stakeholders will be notified. Samsara (FA  FP) 16:46, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Time of RfC formation: 18:28, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Yes, different standards are applied to images than to text. See WP:OI and WP:PERTINENCE, as pointed out above. Many do add sources for their restorations, but we should not remove images without it. I find it a bit funny you would want to change the policy of a single Wikiproject, instead of proposing to change the established Wikipedia policies that you are actually disagreeing with. The former will not be changed before the latter is. Please resolve the underlying issue before applying non-existent policies to specific cases. FunkMonk (talk) 17:08, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
Note to others: FunkMonk is the most frequent contributor to paleoart review, and by reverting requests for additional verification at Paraceratherium drew my attention to the problem outlined above. Samsara (FA  FP) 17:49, 12 September 2014 (UTC)


  • Support as nominator. Samsara (FA  FP) 22:19, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Support requiring sources Don't care how that happens. Doesn't necessarily need to go into Paleoart, because Paleoart people should be following overall WP guidelines.pschemp | talk 16:02, 15 September 2014 (UTC)


  • Oppose as these are not requirements that are imposed on any other biology illustration topics, or for that matter any other illustrations at all.--Kevmin § 01:16, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
    • The requirement should be imposed on all topics, yes. However, other than the parallel dinosaur project, I'm not aware of any others that have set themselves up with the pretense that internal peer review can substitute for reliable sources. I believe the outcome of this discussion should be treated as a precedent, for all topics and all similar "review" projects. Samsara (FA  FP) 04:08, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - this is a very arbitrary place to start. Propose to change the underlying issues, which are the WP:OI and WP:PERTINENCE policies, before you try to change this. FunkMonk (talk) 10:13, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
    WP:OI says, "Original images created by a Wikipedian are not considered original research, so long as they do not illustrate or introduce unpublished ideas or arguments" (emphasis in original). That is, it requires that the ideas be published and verifiable, i.e. explicitly sourced. Samsara (FA  FP) 13:08, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Nope, that is your own interpretation. If you actually read the sourced article, you would yourself be able to see whether the images introduce controversial ideas or not. I have read the literature used in the text, and they don't. We do remove restorations once they turn out to be inaccurate, as happened at Spinosaurus yesterday[1][2], not before.FunkMonk (talk) 13:10, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose – this is just instruction creep. WP:OI is clear and all that we need. Let me declare an interest, since I have contributed a number of illustrations of reconstructions of extinct plants. We simply could not provide such illustrations in Wikipedia articles without the freedom to draw them ourselves, obviously always based as closely as possible on reliable sources. If an illustration is inaccurate, then the proper course is to remove it and discuss at the article's talk page if the removal is opposed. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:41, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
    • No, it's trying to bring a WikiProject's operation back into line with policy by changing the WikiProject's instructions to participants (there's already text there, so there's no creep - just replace the text that misinterprets WP:OI with a more appropriate line.) Samsara (FA  FP) 13:08, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The quote you keep putting up is going to destroy your points. What I, as well as many other paleoartist have to deal with is speculation. Not every single animal illustrated is known from a complete specimen, with all the exact integument and colour preserved, not even animals like Anchiornis, Archaeopteryx, and Microraptor, who are known from many specimens that preserved large amounts of colour and integument. If unpublished speculation was not allowed, than we would be forced to remove every single reconstruction of every single prehistoric article! My main point is, all paleoartists have to speculate, even if they are illustrating animals that everything preservable is known. IJReid (talk) 14:59, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
    • That's not a sound argument. Some things are outside the scope of Wikipedia, and those that are purely speculative are exactly that. Samsara (FA  FP) 15:41, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
      • Yes, but if they are completely speculative, they wouldn't pass the image review in the first place! As long as it matches all the known bones, even if only one bone is known, then it is not completely speculative. For example, see the illustration for Dromaeosauroides. It is only known from two teeth, but the image is still usable because the teeth of the illustration match those that are known. My argument is more sound than arguing that we should completely remove every image with some speculation (which is all of them!). IJReid (talk) 16:20, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
        • You did raise my concern mentioning the illustration for Dromaeosauroides - only known from two teeth. When I checked I was glad to see it clearly labelled Hypothetical restoration, based on related genera. I presume that the people working this part of Wikipedia are well familiar with the related genera. I presume they did a reasonable job reconstructing it based on available information. While this case stretches pretty far, I consider the Encyclopedia better with this approximate image than no image. It's informative. Alsee (talk) 16:53, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Just as a sidenote, I made that illustration, and I did send it to the original describer and finder of the fossils for approval, and they liked it. I made the tail straighter due to their remarks, for example. FunkMonk (talk) 17:40, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose - In a nutshell: Don't pointlessly nuke good images. I am not involved in Palaeontology or Paleoart. I oppose unless very concrete problems can be demonstrated. I certainly agree that an image with sources to support it is more valuable and more resistant to challenge. WP:OI does not currently require images to meet the proposed standard, and I believe the proposed standard would be very disruptive if it were generally applied. WP:PERTINENCE provides extensive guidance on selecting appropriate images, and it provides abundant guidance on rejecting images. An image with speculative elements, which otherwise fits known information, is often the best available image and well satisfies WP:PERTINENCE. Based on a brief examination of wp:WikiProject_Palaeontology/Paleoart_review they seem to have put in place an excellent elevated standard of review, listing many criteria for easily and firmly excluding images that would otherwise be acceptable. The best available image for illustrating an article should not be excluded on the sole basis that does not come with the proposed form of sourcing. An unsourced image can be challenged on the basis of any reasonable source indicating it fails WP:PERTINENCE, or an image can be replaced on general argument or sources indicating some other image is superior. Alsee (talk) 15:58, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose as instruction creep and also as trying to change a policy in the middle of a content dispute. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:25, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
    Paleoart review is not policy. I personally think NOR, RS and V cover what we need in terms of policy. Others are trying to make a case that policy needs to be changed, but that's not what this proposal is for. This proposal is about changing the operating principles of paleoart review, which currently claims that user created images are exempt from NOR: User created images are not considered original research, it says near the top on the project page. That needs to be changed, as it's very obvious that user created images could be used to advance original thoughts. Regards, Samsara (FA  FP) 22:10, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Agreed: Paleoart review is not policy. I see it as an excellent subject-area essay providing a heightened standard, to assist editors in quickly reaching consensus for removal of problem images. Agreed: user created images could be used to advance original thoughts, and images can be rejected on WP:OI if a reasonable concern is raised about an image. BTW, it's a really Bad Idea to start an RFC and then use the voting area to argue with every single person who don't support you. Take it to the comments section. (Oh wait, you argued with everyone except me, I'm not sure whether to be flattered that my reasoning was impervious to attack, or insulted that you didn't bother with me) Alsee (talk) 04:18, 14 September 2014 (UTC)


This really needs to be addressed as a site-wide thing, not targeted at a single Project. I will say I do support the concept that if a WP-editor's construction of a figure from otherwise text descriptions that require more than just understanding basic knowledge of that field, eg requiring interpretation or creativity beyond what is the norm, that is original research and should be removed. That is, a couple specific ideas that we would allow is the creation of a coat of arms from the text-based heraldry statement, drawing out a chemical molecule based on it's IUPAC name, or creating a map based on a list of locations that are named by a source - there is no "interpretation" in doing any of these. But I can see for the case here for paleontology that a wikipedia's attempt to draw out a creature based on a high-level description (eg "Suchandsuch is a 10 foot long 4-legged creature with a dorsal fin") is not appropriate. I would assume that there is a "language" in paleontology that describes common body parts and if the drawing was created from that type of description, that would be reasonably okay, but if one has that description to that level of detail, I would also think one could find the image provided by the researchers that determined that. This doesn't just apply to paleontology, obvious, but it is a good case of where this can go wrong. And note this only applies to images created by WPians from sourced materials, not images created by researchers themselves. --MASEM (t) 16:10, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Did you take a look at wp:WikiProject_Palaeontology/Paleoart_review? They lay out extensive criteria to reject an image if anyone can identify a conflict with known evidence. They seem to be taking good care to prevent anything from going wrong. Alsee (talk) 16:37, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
No other part of OR policy works that way: you don't write article text that is otherwise kept unless someone can prove it invalid; we require all material included to be verifyable from the start. So no, that review process is bad. (But as I said, this should be set at policy at the Wikipedia level, not specifically against one project's policy). --MASEM (t) 17:14, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Please consider your argument carefully - by that interpretation I believe a large majority of existing images would have to be stripped from articles. We simply can't use copyrighted images published in sources. wp:Verifiability says: In Wikipedia, verifiability means that people reading and editing the encyclopedia can check that the information comes from a reliable source. Wikipedia does not publish original research.. WP:Original images says Original images created by a Wikipedian are not considered original research, so long as they do not illustrate or introduce unpublished ideas or arguments. This goes directly to the interaction between images and verifiability. The proposal here is that a wikipedia photo of a Ford Mustang is "not verifiable" if the photo doesn't come with some sort of sourcing to verify that it is a Ford Mustang. The only sourcing on the file says "Source: Picture was taken by me in Arizona". Are you saying we exclude that image? The only way to actually Verify an image is by visual inspection. Someone looks at the image and says "that's not a Mustang because [detail is wrong]". In this case we're talking about images that claim to be "reconstructions of extinct animals". The only way to verify that is by visual inspection. Any reader seeing an image labeled as a reconstruction of an extinct animal is clearly on notice that the image is a best-effort reconstruction with speculative elements. --The images are what they claim to be. Alsee (talk) 05:39, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
That is absolutely not what is being said here, because you are talking about things that exist and thus others that are reasonable experts in that field can verify that: a photo of a Ford Mustang can be confirmed by a car enthusiast, while a photo claimed to be taken in Arizona can be confirmed by someone local should that been necessary. The issue is when there is no way to verify the image by any expert. Keeping in mind that the image above with the parent and its child has been shown tied to a source, take the case where there was no source at all, and the artist - not a paleontologist - guessed what the child looked like. There is zero way anyone can validate that would be correct. With a source that shows what an expert might think it looks like, then we can rest easy on the reliance of this expert source that it is correct. But if we can't, then it is unverifiable original thought and should not be used. It's the nature of the education guess that has no sourcing to back it up that is a problem. --MASEM (t) 06:13, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree on implementing the same standards site-wide. Simpler, less evasive language on policy pages might be a step towards that. However, my concern remains that there are currently two WikiProjects known to me (Palaeontology and Dinosaurs) that see it as legitimate to regard their own internal peer review as an adequate substitute to reliable sources. That's exactly the kind of thing that NOR was originally designed to prevent. And that's also the fulcrum of the debate: if the paleoart peer review were structured to ensure compliance with material published in reliable sources and then made that information accessible in file descriptions, it would be a great addition to Wikipedia. Operating as it is now, it runs counter to our purpose. Samsara (FA  FP) 17:09, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
I can go browse images on wiki commons, I can find an image labeled qqqqqq.jpg, that image can be sourced as "Made by me", and I can use that image to illustrate any relevant article in the encyclopedia. The only way to do that is based on a visual inspection of the image which leads me to believe it would would be an informative illustration for that section. We have abundant guidance on image selection, but ultimately it all comes down to visual inspection. Does the image depict something useful and appropriate to the article? Alsee (talk) 06:00, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
WP:OI would exclude speculative elements that have the intent or significant effect of advancing original ideas, but not to the extent of prohibiting reasonable good faith reconstructions where filling in details is unavoidable. Alsee (talk) 16:37, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
There's a line where that can be crossed however. Take for example coats of arms. There is room for interpretation in drawing out the symbols from the text heraldry description, such that if you asked 10 people to create a coat of arms from a text blurb, you'll get 10 very different images. But coats of arms have a very strong element definition that it's not so much the exact style that is needed but the clear understanding of what it is to represent; those 10 version may have a different version of a eagle for example, but it's the existence of the eagle on that that identifies the coat, not exactly how it looks. When people are drawing otherwise unrepresented extinct animals, there is not that same 1-to-1 in all cases between what is identified by paleontologists and the illustration. Take the case of the image in the section above, where the original drawing (which seems fine) is photomanip'd to include a child of the species. There's no source to explain what that child would have looked like, the extrapolation appears to be coming from the fact the species is compared to the hippo. There's no "obvious" way to draw the child relative to the parent. As such, we as WP editors should not be making that step. If a paleontologist made that and published it as their claim, sure, we'd be okay. --MASEM (t) 17:21, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Some features, like for example colour, are unknown, so an educated guess and decision must be made, based on available sources. Same goes for the calf. I wouldn't have drawn one myself for the reasons you mention, but I don't think the image should be removed just because it appears in it. Incidentally, it does not look much different from earlier depictions of such a calf.[3] FunkMonk (talk) 17:46, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Educated guesses fall under "unpublished ideas or arguments" of OI, so would be invalid. --MASEM (t) 18:43, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
I repeat: "based on available sources". In a sense, the documentary I linked to[4] shows a "published idea" of how a calf would look like, and it matches the one shown in the image. FunkMonk (talk) 18:45, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
In this specific case, then, that image should be fine as long as the documentary is sourced, going along w/ the fact that I would assume the producers of that show are reliable. (as BBC, I'm expecting that not to be an issue). But we're talking the very general case here; without that documentary, the drawing of the calf would be an OR educated guess and inappropriate. --MASEM (t) 19:53, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
That's why we take it on a case by case basis over at the review. Many images have been weeded out over the years[5], and many have been corrected, based on various sources. It is pretty effective, especially since most illustrators won't look at some obscure policy when they upload an image. Much of the paleoart we have has been uploaded by people we have no direct contact with. Most of it is useful and accurate, so we only remove them once something is demonstrably wrong with them. FunkMonk (talk) 20:10, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
WP:V does not work on a case by case basis. It is applied consistently to all material used in article space. There is no exception for paleoart. Reference it or risk losing it: any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation. I challenged your material. Policy says you must provide inline citations now. Samsara (FA  FP) 20:43, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Risk losing good content for no apparent reason? That is simply a stupid idea. FunkMonk (talk) 10:10, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
If we cannot verify it, including the necessary steps to get to the educated guess, it is not good content for WP. --MASEM (t) 02:26, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
And I guess that's why Wikipedia has different sourcing policies for image and text verifiability. So we don't lose useful images for no good reason. I wish we would stick to the actual Wikipedia image policies in this discussion, and not apply non-existent ones/ones that specifically only apply to text. FunkMonk (talk) 10:28, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
What's missing from your argument is how a contributor several years down the line would find out that there was once a link made between some documentary, and that illustration. How are you giving that person a chance to evaluate the accuracy of the illustration? You're not, is the simple answer. Requiring the readers' blind trust is not an acceptable option if Wikipedia wants to maintain or improve its reputation. We have the means to inform them about the sources that back up our articles. I don't see how it's a good idea to withhold this. Samsara (FA  FP) 20:33, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
As I said, an image with the sort of source information you're asking for is more valuable and more resistant to challenge than one with out it. So I agree it's not a good idea to deliberately withhold this. The disagreement is that you are asking to change policy to categorically exclude useful informative images when there is no identifiable problem with them. Alsee (talk) 03:43, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Lack of sourcing is a problem in itself. It is preferable to provide sources for images rather than remove them. However, supplementing sources that an illustration is actually demonstrably consistent with also seems to not be "allowed" in the scheme of the Palaeontology WikiProject. I've suggested a solution along the lines of "this previously unreferenced illustration was reviewed by X and determined to be consistent with the views given in Authorityman, T. H. E. 2014. Big book of knowledge. Egghead University Press." I'm still waiting for a logically coherent explanation of why this would be a bad idea. Samsara (FA  FP) 04:33, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
There is a transparency principle encapsulated in WP:V, which is that the reader should be able to verify the accuracy of individual statements without reading ALL of the sources given at the bottom of an article. Illustrations are not intended to be a loophole, so should similarly indicate the evidence from reliable sources that they are based on.
Here are some relevant passages from WP:V:
[Wikipedia's] content is determined by previously published information rather than the beliefs or experiences of its editors. Even if you're sure something is true, it must be verifiable before you can add it.
All material in Wikipedia mainspace, including everything in articles, lists and captions, must be verifiable. All quotations, and any material whose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged, must include an inline citation that directly supports the material. Any material that needs a source but does not have one may be removed.
Samsara (FA  FP) 17:36, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
However, at present, WP:OI clearly says that images are not the same as text. If you want to change this, start an RfC specifically to this end. At present you're effectively quoting selectively. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:02, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
That's incorrect. I've quoted the WP:OI passage previously. I understand that you think it means something different than what I think it means. WP:V is rather clear on what is intended and imo resolves the issue over the interpretation of WP:OI. Samsara (FA  FP) 19:16, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
@Samsara: well, we'll have to disagree as to whether WP:OI needs "interpretation" via WP:V. I don't think it does. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:32, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

I'm a little concerned about the overall direction of this proposal. Let's leave aside the area of paleoart, since some people seem to have their heels dug in a bit there. Let's ask about normal pictures:

  1. I take a picture of something in a city I'm visiting. I upload the image to the article, and someone "challenges" it because he wants a published source that proves this picture really was taken in that location, or really does show what it appears to be a picture of. He's named no specific problem with it and has no knowledge of the subject. There are no published, reliable sources that say that I took this picture in that city. What do you think should be done?
  2. I walk over to my neighbor's house and take a picture of a plant. She tells me the name of the plant. I upload the image to Commons and add it to an article about the genus. Someone "challenges" it, saying that there's no good reason to assume my neighbor has any idea what she bought for her garden. Everyone agrees that the photograph looks remarkably like the plant it is alleged to be, but there are no published, reliable sources that tell us what she bought. What do you think should be done?
  3. I'm working in a medical lab, and I take a picture of a cell under a microscope. I upload the image to the article, and someone "challenges" it, because he wants a published source that proves this cell really does depict what I say it does. He's named no specific problem with the image, and it looks just like all the other (non-free) images of this kind of cell that anyone else has ever published. There is, naturally, no published, reliable source that says "on this day, this editor really did have this kind of cell under her microscope". What do you think should be done?
  4. It's the same cell, only this time I've drawn it instead of photographed it. It still looks like pretty much every other diagram in a textbook of this cell, but I didn't actually use any of them. If I'm going to say where I got it, then naming those other sources would basically be a lie: they weren't my sources. What do you think should be done? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:42, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
In all those cases, that's a combination of common sense and AGF. Importantly, these are all things that others can verify because the item (the city, the plant, the cell) all exist today, compared with the hypothetical look of a creature that died out years ago. Now, arguably, the one case that would be one to look for better info is the plant one, because by no means is "your neighbor" an expert in botany, but again, there are likely editors that are reasonable experts in biology to be able to judge if the naming was correct by the photograph alone. There's no novel interpretation going on in any of these cases. --MASEM (t) 22:21, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
So long as the photo looks like the plant that my neighbor says that it is, does it even matter if she's right? Some species can't be differentiated by looking at the plant, or require looking at parts of the plant that aren't visible in my photo. WhatamIdoing (talk)
Probably not, though if someone who is an expect comes in and challenges that the photo may not be the species shown, I would expect efforts to be made to find a confirmed photo of the species (one named by a botanist or the like). But this is a different issue from the point above. --MASEM (t) 06:06, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Yep, as my OPPOSE noted the proposal would be very disruptive if generally applied. Good images are valuable, and our policies give both good guidance and considerable case-by-case leeway in determining what constitutes a "best image" for a given article-use. Paleoart seems to have developed an excellent subject-area list of criteria. Alsee (talk) 04:41, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Assuming this did pass, it would mean having [ ref ] links hanging off of images all across Wikipedia. This doesn't bear directly on the argument itself, but it would be an ugly-as-hell consequence. Alsee (talk) 12:26, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

That's well-established practice, actually. If you look at articles such as evolution and DNA, you'll find that about half the captions already include a citation. Note, though, that the primary issue here is not about including sources in captions. The primary issue is providing sources at all, whether just in the file description or on article captions as well (which WP:V already says you should provide when challenged to do so). Samsara (FA  FP) 12:48, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
We would not be required to have the ref in the caption; the file page absolutely must have the source(s) to avoid the original thought, and if editors felt the caption on the image could use it, that's fine. --MASEM (t) 13:42, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Much of this can be resolved by careful and appropriate wording of a caption. For example, if an editor has drawn a picture of animal X, then an appropriate caption would read "Artist's depiction of X". Now... the artist may have drawn a poor or inaccurate depiction... in which case, the solution is to substitute a different (better or more accurate) artist's depiction.
However, sometimes the issue isn't over the quality or accuracy of the depiction itself... instead the issue is that there is a dispute in the sources over what the animal looked like. This is where we have to have captions that directly link the image to the specific source that was used to create it. This is best done through source attribution (as opposed to citation). If source A says the animal had/has webbed feet, and source B says it didn't/doesn't... we can include two images (side by side)... the one showing webbed feet captioned: "Artist's depiction of X, according to A", and the other captioned: "Artist's depiction of X, according to B". Then both POV's on the issue of webbed feet are presented in accordance with our WP:NPOV policy. Blueboar (talk) 14:04, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
The disputed images seem to say "Restoration of some dinosaur", which I eventually concluded was probably that field's jargon for "artist's depiction of some dinosaur". My initial thought was that it was a restoration of an old or damaged artwork, i.e., painting restoration. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:23, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
I had a similar first impression. I think reconstruction might be a better term. Is restoration the standard term taken from professional/RS usage? Alsee (talk) 09:47, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
"Restoration" is most frequently used for palaoart. "Reconstruction" seems a bit more directed at man-made objects. But they're pretty much interchangeable for this purpose, and could both be used. And both make it clear that these images are hypothetical to some extend. FunkMonk (talk) 10:28, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Just found a somewhat authoritative source that makes the distinction, in "The Age of Dinosaurs", palaeontologist Dougal Dixon explains: "A mounted skeleton, as often seen in a museum, is called a reconstruction by palaeontologists. On the other hand, a restoration is a portrayal of what the entire animal would have looked like in life. A restoration can be a painting or a sculpture - or a photographic presentation, as in this book - and invariably is much more speculative than a reconstruction.". FunkMonk (talk) 05:47, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Arbitrary Section Break[edit]

It's time for a history lesson folks. When WP was first created, images and text were added all over the place, without citations and sources. WP:NOR and WP:VERIFY came out of this time as editors realized that in order to be a credible project, WP had to cite and source, and make sure copvio wasn't happening. That means a lot of text was gone through and cited, and a lot of pictures had to be re-found and sourced. Was this fun? No. Was it necessary? Yes.

Thus, regardless of who or how or even when, everything on WP needs a cited, documented source. Artists' renderings are not exempt from WP:NOR and WP:VERIFY. This information needs to be found and inserted into the restorations image descriptions, just like we did with images way back when. If any of you were around then, there were not immediate mass deletions, but a reasonable period of time set for this to be done. That is what needs to happen again. No whining about who or how, or when, or that it would be too hard is allowed. We aren't children throwing a tantrum. Those weren't acceptable excuses and behaviour for WP then, and they aren't now. Set a time period, (1 year is reasonable) and fix it. pschemp | talk 15:58, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Yet again, before that can be enforced, you need to get the wording at WP:OI and WP:PERTINENCE changed, since it makes a clear distinction between article text and images when it comes to sourcing. Nothing will happen until then. We follow Wikipedia's actual policies, not the arbitrary preferences of various editors. FunkMonk (talk) 16:06, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Yet again, WP:VERIFY and NOR take precendence. I've read OI over and over and it still requires that drawing are not just made up. Verify requires that things can be verified. To do that you need sources listed. pschemp | talk 17:48, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
pschemp, I'd really appreciate it if you would tell me how you would handle each of the four situations I listed above. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:09, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
@Pschemp: you're mixing up two very different issues here. Images do not need sources in the sense of citations; they need sources to ensure that they are not in copyright, but these sources aren't subject to WP:RS. Thus I can't write a description of a species of plant based on my own observations, but must paraphrase a published source and cite it. But I can (and do) upload photographs of species of plant taken by me. If we could only use images taken from reliable sources, we'd have very few in Wikipedia, as they will mostly be copyright. Reconstructions of extinct species certainly need to make clear that it is only a reconstruction, and be accompanied by some reference to the origin of the information used to make the reconstruction, but this can't cover every last detail of a complex image. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:40, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
And by conflating photographs with drawings, you are avoiding the issue because, photos cannot cite peer reviewed sources, drawings can, and are required to by VERIFY. They are two different things. pschemp | talk 17:48, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Of course photos could cite reliable sources; we could decide to use only photos previously published in such sources (and now copyright free of course). We don't because this would remove most available photos. The same applies to drawings. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:05, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
So where is such a distinction made? WP:PERTINENCE mentions both illustrations and photos. FunkMonk (talk) 17:56, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Citing sources is a fundamental principle of Wikipedia. Everything that has a source, needs to cite it. This is not a difficult concept. pschemp | talk 17:50, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

And yet again, that applies mainly to the text, images (of any kind) follow different regulations, per Wikipedia's own policies. Repeating the same faulty argument over and over again does not help your case. FunkMonk (talk) 18:06, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
"Everything that has a source, needs to cite it" is not actually the rule. There are only four kinds of material for which sources are required. There's a quick summary of these four kinds at WP:MINREF. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:13, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually, that's exactly what WP:VERIFY says. "Readers must be able to check that Wikipedia articles are not just made up. This means that all quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation." And, restorations are material that is so likely to be challenged, that they already has been. pschemp | talk 02:35, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
And again, that applies to text. You fail to acknowledge that there are different standards for text and images again and again. FunkMonk (talk) 13:40, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
There are not. You're simply citing the same non-policy document over and over, and it doesn't add up. You cannot pull a fast one by using an illustration instead of text to convey information. There is no circumvention intended, or permissible. That should be blindingly obvious to any observer. Samsara (FA  FP) 14:07, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
"You're simply citing the same non-policy document over and over" Because it is an actual policy, and not the arbitrary opinion of a random editor. You keep arguing in circles. Again, change the Wiki policies in question before proposing to change specific projects that follow those policies. FunkMonk (talk) 14:20, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Wow that was a lot of reading. Having seen this specific discussion for the first time today I can see that there is a lot of passion involved but not all that many individuals with a vested interest.
Many others have tried to support one or the other side but the core problems do not get resolved because there is no political will to actually draw a diagram (OR) that shows the sound and flawed lines of reasoning between the various Wiki rules, policy, guidelines and recommendations. There could be boxes with solid borders and boxes with dotted borders, lines with arrows indicating flow of control and labels to put names on them and indicate the contentious ones. A diagram I believe would put the problem into a better light that might lend itself to a resolution. I do believe that the wording in quite a few policy/guideline docs could be systematically clarified and simplified and the word LOGIC used should not require advanced computer science skills, a CHILD should be able to follow the text and deduce the same consensus as the diagram I proposed. My personal opinion counts for little and consensus should be meaningful and not a result of the more decent person leaving the argument and failing Wikipedia when really the Wikipedia community has failed them. There should be a way to change the mode of argument here before anyone is driven to leave because many lines of text and frustrations have already been wasted. A thought for those thinking Wikipedia is unique or special or perfect or holy, think again, even with the best utopian intentions it cannot fulfil everyone's standards and I don't think it needs to. Also remember that encyclopaedias out there before (and since) Wikipedia routinely made diagrams if they had the ability by copying sources where they could or using the skills of the expert editors, staff engravers or even stock images in some cases, that is part of the process or preserving knowledge and not something to fear. I think an entry in a picture only encyclopaedia should be pedantic about the pictures and cite it carefully but a text encyclopaedia that has a picture to illustrate a text entry should be able to have some leeway on a diagram attribution.
That said the wording in the docs should be adjusted so that whichever policy is selected in the end it should be a clear so this kind of warring is not needed, many times I have read Wikipedia policy docs and seen ambiguous language but not been up to the fight to propose changes. - Idyllic press (talk) 21:34, 31 October 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.

Hyperlinks within a source[edit]

Alright, so this is a question about NOR policy - or really, more specifically, about SYNTH - and hyperlinks.

Say we have an article like this, something which seems to be increasingly common these days. This article notes "A friendly reporter had a suspicious syringe sent to his house." In the text, "a suspicious syringe" is a hyperlink to a Twitter post by Milo Yiannopoulos, which contains a picture of said syringe. Now, here's the question: could we say that Tech Crunch had noted that Milo Yiannopoulos had had a syringe mailed to his house? There is no other way to interpret what the article said, in the context of the hyperlink, and yet the article never actually mentions Milo's name in its text. It seems to me like this would fall under SYNTH is not just any synthesis, but original research by synthesis, but I wanted to see if others would agree. I'm not planning on using it to cite this particular fact, mind, just trying to see what people think about this. Titanium Dragon (talk) 18:51, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

I think that if it hasn't been mentioned in more detail, then it might be WP:UNDUE anyway.
(Remember that "This is your brain This is your brain on drugs" advertisement? When I see journalists write things like this, I want something similar that explains "This is a syringe. This is a needle." It's the sharp, skin-piercing needle that could actually hurt you. The syringe by itself is as harmless as a plastic bottle.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:25, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Are unsourced topic sentences in Reception paragraphs OR?[edit]

WP:VG is currently discussing whether unsourced topic sentences in Reception sections constitute original research czar  00:37, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Very mild OR[edit]

I posed a question at WP:V yesterday regarding minor analyses of primary source materials. The basic idea is that I'd like clarification on the citing of primary source materials as references for claims regarding their unstated elements (e.g. citing an image of a person as reference for the claim that the person has brown hair). The conversation has now shifted to OR. If this is OR then it's clearly very mild OR evocative of WP:BLUE/WP:MINREF/WP:CALC, but WP:OR's language leaves little room for interpretation when it speaks of "any analysis" and "stated by". I'm not interested in being overly pedantic but these sorts of references just don't seem encyclopedic to me. If anyone has any views on the matter, please join the conversation at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability#Citing objects rather than claims. -Thibbs (talk) 14:24, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Continued confusion about whether it is a source (or "material") that is OR or editing actions that are OR[edit]

This issue has come up before on this Talk page and in my view will continue to come up until it finally gets clarified. This discussion on an article Talk page where an editor says, mistakenly in my view, "an external source can be WP:OR" and "The term 'OR' (original research) does not refer to the process of adding material but to the added material" is typical of the ongoing confusion. The way to resolve this is to 1) purge this policy of all references to reliability/source quality and simply remind editors that this policy is supplementary to WP:V, the first test is WP:V and only if WP:V is satisfied but a problem remains do we have a OR issue, nothing about OR should be interpreted as implying an exemption from WP:V, and 2) ensure that all language describing something as OR describes editing (the actions of an editor) as opposed to anything external to Wikipedia.--Brian Dell (talk) 04:59, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

  • An external source that is OR is really a primary source. We should avoid primary sources, but they can be used selectively, see WP:PRIMARY and WP:USEPRIMARY. -- P 1 9 9   18:57, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, and that's being obscured when the language suggests that it be the text itself (taken from a source) that may be OR as opposed to what the editor did with that primary source.--Brian Dell (talk) 04:01, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
  • The issue of editing actions being considered as OR came up recently here, and then in this forum here. The problem was the intended scope of WP:CALC. The editor in question claimed that summarizing mortality data as an average was simply basic arithmetic and therefore not OR, although no reliable sources had used the term average in this context. Among other things, the data points involved were non-independent and highly skewed, and so the editor's introduction of the term average was certainly OR and not at all representative of the actual situation. jxm (talk) 01:42, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Brian Dell, although WP:Primary sources are original research, sources are not usually called WP:OR; the WP:OR policy is clear about what is and is not WP:OR, including in its WP:Synthesis section; its lead currently states, "Wikipedia articles must not contain original research. The phrase 'original research' (OR) is used on Wikipedia to refer to material—such as facts, allegations, and ideas—for which no reliable, published sources exist." And it has a reference note after that stating, "By 'exists', the community means that the reliable source must have been published and still exist—somewhere in the world, in any language, whether or not it is reachable online—even if no source is currently named in the article. Articles that currently name zero references of any type may be fully compliant with this policy—so long as there is a reasonable expectation that every bit of material is supported by a published, reliable source." And continues with, "This includes any analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to reach or imply a conclusion not stated by the sources. To demonstrate that you are not adding OR, you must be able to cite reliable, published sources that are directly related to the topic of the article, and directly support the material being presented. (This policy of no original research does not apply to talk pages.)" Flyer22 (talk) 02:34, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe "original research' (OR) is used on Wikipedia to refer to material.. for which no reliable, published sources exist" is, or ought to be, true. If it's true, then if I add a quote from an unreliable source, the only sources available being unreliable, the material is OR by this definition, which makes no sense as the reliability issue may have nothing to do with originality. What I've violated is WP:V, not WP:OR. I've done nothing remotely "original" there if I copied a quote. Material which fails to satisfy Wikipedia's requirement for being found in a reliable source is material that is prohibited because it does not satisfy WP:V and that's it: there is no necessary correlation with original research. A source cannot be guilty of OR, it can only be guilty of not being reliable. It's editors who are guilty of OR. That's the conceptually sound understanding of what OR is, yet it is confused with reliability in the way this policy is currently written.--Brian Dell (talk) 03:56, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
The WP:OR policy has referred to "material.. for which no reliable, published sources exist" and WP:Synthesis (presenting material in a way that the WP:Reliable source(s) don't support) for a long time now. Some editors misuse the WP:OR terminology to mean "unsourced," or in a case such as the one you cited above (the part that states "[t]he term 'OR' (original research) does not refer to the process of adding material but to the added material"). I don't fully grasp your objection to WP:OR meaning "material.. for which no reliable, published sources exist." If the sources are unreliable, they should not be used, per the WP:Verifiability policy and the WP:Reliable sources guideline...except for a few instances (named at that policy and at that guideline). Flyer22 (talk) 04:10, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
The chosen example is poor: all publications are reliable sources in terms of quotations of their own contents.
You are correct in the overall conclusion, because a source cannot be guilty of OR. Only editors can be guilty of OR. In resolving the apparent contradiction, I suggest that you not focus too much on the literal meaning of the jargon phrase "original research". We've defined the term: "The phrase 'original research' (OR) is used on Wikipedia to refer to material—such as facts, allegations, and ideas—for which no reliable, published sources exist". The term might as well be foo or Wikipediable or akghwlkvd. Whatever you call it, this policy prohibits the addition of material for which no reliable source exists.
As for its relationship to WP:V, you're not the first person to notice it, and I'm sure you won't be the last. Unfortunately, the proposal to merge the two failed. You can read the proposed unified policy at Wikipedia:Attribution. In many respects, it was an improvement over maintaining the separation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:21, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, are you replying to both me and to Bdell555? If you are speaking of my example (I gave more than one example from the policy)... Well, if it is a poor example (which I don't agree), then perhaps it shouldn't be in the WP:No original research policy, especially in its lead. Your statement that "all publications are reliable sources in terms of quotations of their own contents" is not how Wikipedia generally treats sources. Flyer22 (talk) 06:06, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Clearly all publications are reliable sources for quotations of their own content – but that's not the issue. The issue is whether they are reliable sources for how the information in their content in used in Wikipedia. Thus Russian media are reliable sources for the way that Russian media treated the crash of a Malaysian plane over the Ukraine, but are unlikely to be reliable sources for what actually caused the crash. Anthropology texts are generally reliable sources for how traditional medical practices were carried out, but not for the efficacy of those practices. Purpose is all here. I do agree with WhatamIdoing that a unified account would be an improvement. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:17, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
When I stated, "Your statement that 'all publications are reliable sources in terms of quotations of their own contents' is not how Wikipedia generally treats sources.", I was taking into account unreliable sources in addition to reliable sources. Something being a publication does not make it WP:Reliable; that was my point. We go by WP:Reliable sources, preferably secondary WP:Reliable sources. Flyer22 (talk) 09:29, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
My reply is to Bdell555, who gave an example: "If it's true, then if I add a quote from an unreliable source, the only sources available being unreliable, the material is OR by this definition, which makes no sense as the reliability issue may have nothing to do with originality."
Flyer, "all publications are reliable sources in terms of quotations of their own contents" is exactly how Wikipedia treats reliable sources. That's what we mean when we say that reliability is not some inherent characteristic of the source, but rather depends on context, i.e., the exact statement you are trying to support. A blog at is a worthless source for most purposes, but it is the single most reliable source possible if your goal is to write, "On this date, the blog at this named website contained the following words: 'The queen bee is an alien lizard". (Good luck proving that this statement would ever be DUE, but it's definitely verifiable by a reliable primary source.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:47, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, I did not state that "all publications are reliable sources in terms of quotations of their own contents" is not how Wikipedia treats reliable sources. I stated that "'all publications are reliable sources in terms of quotations of their own contents' is not how Wikipedia generally treats sources." The word generally is in there. I am well aware of WP:QUESTIONABLE, which is the exception to the general WP:Verifiability and WP:Reliable sources rules. Flyer22 (talk) 16:25, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
I apologize for the confusion. "All publications are reliable sources in terms of quotations of their own contents" is exactly how Wikipedia treats all publications. To the best of my knowledge, there has never once in the history of Wikipedia been anyone so foolish as to say, "Here is a true and authentic copy of this publication, and it contains these exact words, and I claim that this true and authentic copy of this publication is completely unreliable for the purpose of supporting a statement about whether or not this publication contained these exact words, even though any idiot can see that these words are, indeed, present in it."
See the FAQ at WT:V. That item about 'Are there sources that are "always reliable" or sources that are "always unreliable"?' addresses it, and direct quotations are the canonical example of a source that would normally be considered unreliable for most purposes, but being highly reliable for the specific purpose of supporting the existence of a quotation from it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:19, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
I was going to state that I am not sure what confusion you are speaking of... But the word quotations and what you are getting at with that has sunk in for me. As for the FAQ, yes, I'm already aware of the FAQ at the WP:Verifiability talk page. Flyer22 (talk) 02:07, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
It's pretty simple: A source is never "OR". It is an edit (or proposed edit) that may be OR because to verify the statement you need to take fact A from here, and fact B from there, then conclude that A + B = statement. The lead of the policy says that OR refers to material (a statement) for which there is no RS. If a statement is verified in a RS then the question of OR never arises. OR occurs when an editor claims that an analysis of what the reliable source says shows that the edit is verified, but the analysis is more than a "routine calculation" (WP:CALC). Johnuniq (talk) 09:48, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it's "simple" (and clearly correct) that it's edits that are WP:OR, but experience shows that it's not simple to explain what it means in practice. Separating out WP:V, WP:OR, WP:SYNTH, etc. may be fine for "WP policy wonks" but not for new or less experienced editors. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:23, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 30 October 2014[edit]

This entire site is "Original Research" and does not meet the NOR standard. All articles should be marked for deletion. (talk) 13:41, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done - You have not cited a reliable source to back up your request ;-) Arjayay (talk) 15:15, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Paris is not the capital of France[edit]

I humbly suggest that a different example is used to describe the lack of need to attribute as this may be one of the worst examples to use. Paris (disambiguation) is so much other than the capital of France (most notably to all the inhabitants of other cities with that name) it is almost embarrassing to have this kind of irony (if accidental) or mischief (if deliberate) in a policy document. Such cute or well meaning wording and examples are often the cause of policy warring of the nature one can see in the bulk of this talk page. - Idyllic press (talk) 21:46, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

I've made an edit that I believe addresses this problem. Samsara 01:08, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

Template:Primary sources[edit]

Please see the initiative at Template talk:Primary sources#Other issue for a proposed update of {{Primary sources}} --Francis Schonken (talk) 14:24, 7 November 2014 (UTC)