Talk:Acton Institute

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Ideology[edit]

"Acton states that religious liberty, "virtuous behavior," an invigorous commitment to property rights, and entrepreneurial initiative as the keys to a culturally and economically prosperous world."

Frankly, the above quote from the article is simply incomprehensible. There *has* to be a better way to phrase the underlying message that sentence is trying to convey. --Cimon avaro; on a pogostick. 21:55, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

The quote has been replaced. One user has inserted and later re-inserted the characterization "conservative Christian" into the description of the Acton Institute. I don't see any documentation for this claim; and the link to the Christian Right describes a movement which does not seem to include the kind of thing the Acton Institute does. If noone objects I will remove the categorization.TheDean 17:11, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

I apologize for not responding sooner. The distinction that the article must make is between Christianity generally and conservative Christianity. Describing the worldview as merely "Christian" is too broad, as "Christian" can denote the Christian right, Christian left, or a number of other worldviews that are somewhat incompatible with one another. Perhaps associating Acton with the Christian right is inaccurate. How about "traditional Christian worldview"? I think it's much more precise. · j e r s y k o talk · 18:38, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I certainly see your point about trying to be more accurate. I see that you tried "traditional Christian" at an earlier point, and that this characterization was edited out by someone else. I have two concerns. One is that I don't see any documentation (links, etc.) that would support the more precise characterization. The other concern was the link within Wikipedia to the "Christan right" article, which I think was really not relevant. How about leaving the characterization "Christian worldview," but linking to "Conservative Christianity," which is not exactly on target either for the Acton Institute, but not as far off as "Christian right"? Otherwise, we could do more research into the philosophy of the organization. But as a think tank, I doubt that they want to nail down their worldview too tightly in advance.TheDean 21:30, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

I think the clearest indicator of the ideology of the Institute can be found by reading a paper by Robert Sirico himself entitled "The Late-Scholastic and Austrian Link to Modern Catholic Economic Thought" and available on the Acton Institute website. Since Sirico is the president of the Institute, it is very likely that the approach of this paper is indicative of the orientation of the Institute itself. It is not particularly traditional as the phrase "traditional Christian" is widely understood. The Christian theological tradition is being mined for insights into human nature, ethics, the nature of economic activity in general, and for a view of human institutions that will prevent both the Marxist and the capitalist over-simplifications of the role of government. Theological sources are used sensitively, flexibly, and in some cases, innovatively. There is none of the feeling of party-line insistence that is felt by outsiders to the traditionalist movement when they listen in on traditionalist conversations. Rather, there is a clear sense that intellectual lines should be followed where they lead, even if they lead in new directions, as long as the deep insights of the best contributors to the discussion are not ignored or subverted. I wouldn't call this traditionalist, scholastic, conservative, liberal, rationalist, radical, or relativist; such labels are too flat. The term used most often by the materials of the Acton Institute itself is "personalist." I would be open to using this, if it were understandable by Wikipedia readers, but it seems somewhat arcane, almost a technical term. How about "a Christian worldview influenced by Catholic social teaching," with a link to the Wikipedia article Catholic social teaching? My goal is to lead readers to discover more about the Acton Institute, and not to quickly pigeonhole it. I think this is in keeping with the goals of an encyclopedia and with the NPOV approach.TheDean 14:19, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your well-reasoned response. I believe the source supports your conclusion, thus, I do as well. · j e r s y k o talk · 14:34, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
OK, I have updated the text of the article accordingly.TheDean 16:39, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Now the most recent edit indicates that some Catholics say the institute is overly capitalistic. Can the editor who added this please provide some documentation?TheDean 21:50, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

In the absence of documentation, I suspect that what is really happening has to do with critics of the Acton Institute who don't like their libertarian outlook. Most non-libertarians do believe (think, feel) that libertarians are too capitalistic. If there is a critique of the Acton Institute and its overall contribution that is based in personalism, or based in Catholic social thought, or based in something other than the standard objections to libertarianism, that would be worth noting in the article (with documentation). The general objections some people have to libertarianism should be discussed elsewhere. If no relevant documentation shows up either on the page or here in the discussion, I will delete the paragraph that claims some Catholics object to the capitalistic tendencies of the Acton Institute.TheDean 14:46, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
So deleted.TheDean 14:10, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Classical Liberal surely makes the most sense, as it certainly isn't Conservative. Mathmo Talk 03:56, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

I have changed the lead to reflect the reliable sources, with alternately describe the Acton Institute as "conservative" or "libertarian." --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:01, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

External links[edit]

  1. WP:ELOFFICIAL does not give a blanket exception to WP:NONENGEL, only an exception when it "may be appropriate to have a link to a non-English-language site, such as when an official site is unavailable in English; or when the link is to the subject's text in its original language; or when the site contains visual aids such as maps, diagrams, or tables—per the guideline on non-English-language sites."
  2. Whilst WP:ELOFFICIAL gives an exception to WP:ELNO, it explicitly states that "[m]ore than one official link should be provided only when the additional links provide the reader with unique content and are not prominently linked from other official websites." It is hard to see how the addition of Twitter, Facebook and Youtube links provides the reader with "unique content" beyond the website & blog.

HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:48, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Notability & primary sources[edit]

In response to this edit summary which states: "Removed notability tags, Acton Institute itself is a valid source for this article."

WP:Notability states that a topic is presumed to be notable if it "has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject". Please note that the "Acton Institute itself" is not independent!

WP:PSTS states that "Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources." Please note that the "Acton Institute itself" is a primary source on the Acton Institute. {{primarysources}} backs this up by stating that "Primary sources or sources affiliated with the subject are generally not sufficient for a Wikipedia article."

The removal of the notability and primarysources tags was therefore wholly inappropriate, as was the reinclusion of excessive primary-sourced material. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:57, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

To date the "coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject" amounts to:

  1. A bare mention in the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) report.
  2. A page or two in Mosey(2009)

Hardly "significant". HrafnTalkStalk(P) 18:17, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

As of this revision, 12 out of the 14 sources cited for this article are to the Acton Institute itself. This is WAY excessive, and turns the article into little better than a WP:Autobiography. It also violates WP:NPOV by giving WP:UNDUE weight to the Acton Institute's self-description (over third parties' view of it). HrafnTalkStalk(P) 18:24, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Please give references to where Wikipedia states this is excessive. Vilepickle (talk) 18:43, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
WP:V, WP:PSTS & WP:Notability all emphasise the importance and priority of independent/secondary/third-party sources. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 18:53, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
At the end of the day, these policies clearly establish that Wikipedia articles are meant to be (mainly) what reliable third party sources say about a topic (not mainly what a topic says about itself). HrafnTalkStalk(P) 19:16, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

The reason the maintenance tag was removed is because it is inaccurate. Per WP:OR "Any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged must be supported by a reliable source." I find it hard to believe that Acton's periodicals, for the simple fact that they exist, are challenged and require a third party source. Vilepickle (talk) 18:36, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

(i) What was removed were templates, not "material". (ii) They were not inaccurate as (a) the article does not meet WP:Notability, as there is not "significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject" & (b) the article is almost entirely cited to primary sources. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 18:53, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Why remove "templates" if they are not inaccurate? I don't quite understand your logic there. Regardless, as DickClarkMises stated and as I believe you're trying to demonstrate with your heavy-handed edits is the article can use significant work. With that we can all agree. Why not contribute to the creation of the article rather than destroying "template" content that needs to be elaborated on? Vilepickle (talk) 23:57, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Our estimation of an article subject's notability shouldn't be based on the sources in the current version of the article. That is more a measurement of the current article's quality/thoroughness. I would agree that this article could be greatly improved and that additional independent sources ought to be incorporated. I don't think there is really any question that there are lots of such independent sources available, though. A quick Google News search excluding acton.org results yielded quite a few sources. Adequate independent sources are available to establish notability, and the acton.org sources are useful for filling out the article with non-controversial organization information. DickClarkMises (talk) 19:39, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
DickClarkMises: what you are doing is what would be described, in a legal setting, as "assuming facts not in evidence". Yes, there really is a question of whether "there are lots of such independent sources available" giving any depth of coverage on the topic of the Acton Institute. The Google News hits tend to be highly tangential, being on the topic of things like what the Pope has(n't) said about Global Warming, and the Pope's latest encyclical, rather than on the topic of the Institute itself. Third party discussion/analysis of the Institute is almost entirely lacking. You are erroneously conflating WP:GOOGLEHITS with WP:Notability. On the topic of "filling out", there is a consistent presumption throughout Wikipedia policies and guidelines that the use of self-description (and relatedly, primary or self-published sources) will be in the minority not, as is the case in this article, in the overwhelming majority. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 06:45, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

And no Vilepickle, staff blurbs of Acton Institute associates at other organisations they are affiliated with are not "third party" sources, as they carry this information due to their relationship with the people involved. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 13:48, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

I still don't see you contributing to this Wikipedia page. Are you planning on adding to it or do you plan to stalk it and nitpick about revision notes? If I didn't know any better I'd say you had something against this organization. Vilepickle (talk) 16:46, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Given that I added the ONLY material involving non-trivial coverage by a third-party source in this entire article, I will ignore your ill-mannered and ignorant comment. As far as the article currently stands, it might as well just be a soft-redirect to Acton's own website -- because it does little more than parrot that site. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:19, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Considering you removed entire sections of the article I don't think my comment is unwarranted. Instead of trashing the page so someone would later have to rebuild content you removed you could have just tagged it so those sections which have primary source information only could be expanded with third party source material as well. What you removed is information very appropriate to be listed here, once there is sufficient third party information to complement it of course. My comment still stands, if you feel passionate about it I don't see why you wouldn't work to fill in the page with third party sources so it's more balanced. This talk page is getting stuffy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.255.194.4 (talk) 19:12, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Vilepickle (talk) 19:15, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Considering I removed self-description-based-puffery, self-description-based-puffery and more self-description-based-puffery, your comment is completely unwarranted! The article is trash, and taking a chainsaw to it is completely warranted. You have simply reinserted the trash. If the information were noteworthy, a third party would have commented upon it -- all appearances are that they haven't therefore the information isn't noteworthy. Instead of whining on and on about the supposed importance of this blurb-based-cruft, why don't you do what I did and find some REAL third party sources with SUBSTANTIVE material on the topic? HrafnTalkStalk(P) 05:03, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Potential third-party publications[edit]

  • Given that the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) lists the Acton Institute in their US Top 50, it is reasonable to suspect that they may have published something on the topic. Here is a list of their publications. I've checked out the most promising title, Think Tanks and Policy Making in the U.S.: Academics, Advisors and Advocates, via Google Books & Amazon search, but without success, but some of the other titles might yield something. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 05:17, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
  • If Acton is among the top think tanks in the Country acc. to the TTCSP, it seems improbable that it doesn't belong on Wikipedia. Let's remember the nature of think tanks like this one--to produce policy research, publish it, and then influence the making of public policy. Since Acton itself publishes its policy research, there's not going to be 3rd party sourcing for it. The 3rd party verification of Acton's influence will come precisely from media coverage of issues Acton is trying to influence, won't it? It seems a misinterpretation of WP:NOTE to decide Acton isn't notable because the influence it exerts draws focus to specific policies and not the institution itself. Soonersfan168 (talk) 14:52, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
  • The point of Wikipedia's WP:Notability guideline isn't 'notability' in some generalised sense, but in the specific sense of is there enough reliable and independent information to write a decent (and specifically, policy-compliant) article about the topic. A super-top-secret conspiracy could run the entire government, but if no reliable and independent source discussed it, Wikipedia would be unable to write an article that wasn't utterly hopelessly hearsay & unfounded speculation. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 07:44, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Point taken--I'm kind of a Wikipedia neophyte. I will continue to search for acceptable 3rd party sources! Soonersfan168 (talk) 14:21, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
Will look for a copy of this Soonersfan168 (talk) 14:52, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Balmer quotes[edit]

I have not been able to find any source for the quotations attributed to Randall Balmer outside of this article and blogs which appear to be simply repeating our text. Mangoe (talk) 15:31, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Sirico honorific[edit]

According to MOS:HONORIFIC "As with regular titles, honorific titles should be included in the initial reference and infobox heading for the person, but are optional after that." Therefore in the info box, Sirico should be listed as "Rev."Soonersfan168 (talk) 17:49, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

"Styles and honorifics related to clergy and royalty, including but not limited to His Holiness and Her Majesty, should not be included in the text inline but may be discussed in the article proper." It expands on this with "An example of "discussion in the article proper" would be listing the official, spoken, and posthumous styles for a pope within an infobox. (See for example, Pope John Paul II)." I.e. the honorific can be discussed in a list of correct ways to address the Pope, in an infobox about the Pope, in an article about the Pope. It is not' suggesting that that honorifics can be used anywhere else. So if you want to include a discussion on how to address Sirico in Robert A. Sirico, you are welcome to do so -- but it is not appropriate to do so here. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:59, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
It's not correct to say that MOS:HONORIFIC "is not' suggesting that that honorifics can be used anywhere else," since above, it says "Where an honorific is so commonly attached to a name that the name is rarely found without it, it should be included." The question would be, is this particular man rarely referred to as "Robert Sirico," and it seems that the answer to that is yes: a quick google search reveals that about 90% of references to him include Fr. or Rev., and whenever his name appears in print journalism, the "Rev." is included. As much as Mother Teresa's identity is wrapped up in her being a nun, or Father Damien's is wrapped up in his being a priest, Rev. Robert Sirico's is linked to his priesthood. His name "is rarely found without" the honorific.Soonersfan168 (talk) 18:31, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
It is not correct to state that Sirico's "honorific is so commonly attached to a name that the name is rarely found without it" -- he is also commonly referred to using an alternate honorific "Fr. Robert Sirico"[1][2], as you yourself admit, and not-infrequently with no honorific at all.[3][4][5][6][7] The point is not whether his identity "is wrapped up in his being a priest", but whether it is wrapped up in the honorific itself -- most would not recognise Jozef De Veuster as Father Damien, would not recognise Agnes Bojaxhiu as Mother Teresa, but would certainly recognise Robert Sirico as Father/Reverend Robert Sirico. Baring this inapplicable exclusion, honorifics may only be "discussed", not simply "included in the text inline". HrafnTalkStalk(P) 19:21, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
First of all, a handful of references to "Robert Sirico" do not constitute "not infrequent" references--that is a relative term which you have attempted to apply by reference to an absolute number. Second, the point of allowing honorifics is to ensure recognition of a person's name. Your citations of Jozef De Veuster and Agnes Bojaxhiu have of course no bearing on this discussion--those people changed their names entirely. A case more closely analogous to the one we are discussing, and one that may therefore cast some light on our dispute, is that of "Father Coughlin." An integral part of Father Charles Coughlin's public persona was his priesthood--it was so central, in fact, that his name is not easily recognizable without the honorific attached. Rev. Robert Sirico's case is the same--his notability since his ordination is due entirely to his contribution to public discourse as a Roman Catholic priest. He brings Catholic social teach and thought to bear on otherwise secular issues. That is why, except for the examples you cited earlier, which we have dealt with in the first sentence of this paragraph, he is addressed as Rev. or Fr. To call him either "The Reverend Robert Sirico" or "Father Robert Sirico" is to accomplish the same thing--to give recognizace to his name. Farther Coughlin happens to be referred to almost always as "Father," not "Reverend." That both terms are used with reference to Robert A. Sirico does not diminish their association with his name. Soonersfan168 (talk) 20:13, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I prefer "Robert Sirico" to any other iteration, and I think it is more in keeping with Wikipedia style. DickClarkMises (talk) 06:02, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)(i) So how many do I need to cite to demonstrate non-infrequency? (ii) You were the one who brought up Mother Teresa & Father Damien -- so you can hardly object to me distinguishing Sirico from them. (iii) I am not particularly familiar with Coughlin, but from his article it would appear that he is known from his radio broadcasts, that ubiquitously identified him as "Father Coughlin", without any Christian name attached, such that few would recognise him as "Charles Coughlin" (and even so the article only uses "Father Coughlin" once -- for an illustration caption, except in a direct quote). This does not appear to be the case with Sirico, who is very frequently identified using his Christian name, so can easily be recognised with either an alternate honorific, or none at all. (iv) You have completely failed to distinguish Sirico from thousands of articles on religious figures who likewise are notable for their contributions to public discourse as representatives of their religions, but who per MOS:HONORIFIC, do not get given their honorific unless that honorific is under explicit discussion. (v) "That both terms are used with reference to Robert A. Sirico" clearly demonstrates that no specific honorific is needed to identify him, and thus that the normal convention of MOS:HONORIFIC, of omitting the honorific, can be applied without creating confusion. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 06:14, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I vote we ask for a WP:3? Soonersfan168 (talk) 14:08, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Searchtool-80%.png Response to Third Opinion Request:
Disclaimers: I am responding to a third opinion request made at WP:3O. I have made no previous edits on Acton Institute and have no known association with the editors involved in this discussion. The third opinion process (FAQ) is informal and I have no special powers or authority apart from being a fresh pair of eyes. Third opinions are not tiebreakers and should not be "counted" in determining whether or not consensus has been reached. My personal standards for issuing third opinions can be viewed here.

Opinion: The terms Fr., Father, Rev., or Reverend should not be used, at all, in reference to Sirico as is made clear by MOS:HONORIFIC. Since those terms are honorific prefixes, not honorific titles, they should not even be used in the infobox or in the first reference to Sirico. At the same time, if Sirico's status as a priest is relevant to his connection with the Institute, and if both that status and that relevancy can be documented with reliable sources, then they can be discussed in the article, but the prefix should clearly be omitted.

What's next: Once you've considered this opinion click here to see what happens next.—TransporterMan (TALK) 16:13, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. That all makes sense--I'll make the edit. Soonersfan168 (talk) 17:19, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Calvin Beisner[edit]

Calvin Beisner may at one time have been connected with Acton, but he is not to be found on the staff page of the website--there are in fact no "adjunct scholars" listed at all. The sentence of the source (Thy Kingdom Come) that identifies him as such seems too be erroneous in other ways too. It refers to Acton as "neoconservative," which, according to WP:Neoconservatism, is not an accurate use of the term. The above conversations on this talk page wouldn't lead anyone to think Acton was neoconservative, whatever it may actually be. If there aren't any objections, I'll remove him from the Policy Section, since that sentence seems to be a mischaracterization. Soonersfan168 (talk) 19:54, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Alright, I've deleted it. Soonersfan168 (talk) 18:46, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

The sourcing for the article's statement on environmentalism is also to this book, but I've got the book now, and it doesn't say what the article said, so I've taken it down. It's not accurate to refer to Acton as dominionist--for one things its two founders aren't evangelical. What the book says of Acton's position on the environment is simply a quotation of Acton's own position, which says nothing pro/con the scientific consensus on global warming--only that Acton Inst. believes progress and private property aid in protection of the environment. Since there wasn't backing for what was said, I've removed that section from the policy heading Soonersfan168 (talk) 16:42, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

I noticed the Balmer book was still referenced in the article--I've removed it because it's simply not a reliably NPOV source. The factual errors alone show that the author lacks elementary knowledge of the institute--it's mainly a screed. Soonersfan168 (talk) 14:23, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Notability/3rd party sources tags[edit]

I think we've pretty much taken care of the 3rd party sources problem. There's still stuff that could use better sourcing, and I'm working on that (including getting the encyclpedia that Hrafn mentioned above), but it seems to me we've now established the notability of the Acton Institute via 3rd party sources? Soonersfan168 (talk) 17:47, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

9/13 affiliated sources is not "pretty much taken care of" -- we've made some progress, but we're not there yet. And the volume of coverage from these few unaffiliated sources isn't exactly high. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 19:42, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Where is the 9/13 number coming from? I count 7/10 sources being 3rd party before we get to the list of associated individuals. (1,6, and 7 affiliated; 2,3,4,5,8,9, and 10 unaffiliated) The associated individuals section is mostly sourced to those people's biographic pages, which seems to me an appropriate standard of proof for that section, but not for any broader statements, or to establish notability. Soonersfan168 (talk) 19:59, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Sources for this article now satisfy all three primary criteria for WP:Notability (organizations and companies). (1)Several sources satisfy the WP:CORPDEPTH req. in that they exhibit "a level of attention that extends well beyond routine announcements and [make] it possible to write more than a very brief, incomplete stub about an organization." (2)The audience of these publications ranges from regional (Western Michigan) to international (Poland). (3)These sources are independent. Soonersfan168 (talk) 15:56, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

This is obviously on hold until the below dispute is resolved. Soonersfan168 (talk) 16:05, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

The sources for the article are either:

  • The Acton Institute itself
  • Organisations to which its "Notable individuals associated with the Acton Institute" are affiliated to
  • The local press in its home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan (a number of which were missing vital information like date of publication)
  • An anonymous piece in a Polish portal (not a WP:RS)

These do not satisfy WP:Notability criteria. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 16:07, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

  • Every newspaper source I added included a date. It's in parenthesis toward the beginning of the citation. & if a citation is unclear, that is not grounds for deleting the entire section of the article it's in.
  • The Polish piece is sourced to KAI, a news agency. Would an article by AFP or Reuters on AOL or HuffPo not be a reliable sources? Sorry I forgot to include the author credit in the citation--again, the responsible thing to do I believe would be to look at the article I linked, see that it's from a news agency, and add that to the citation, not revert the entire section of the article.
  • The non-3rd party sources in this article do not DETRACT from Acton Institute's notability. Surely that argument is not being made? Soonersfan168 (talk) 16:35, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

The article is now replete with 3rd party sources. I'll take the 3rd party source tag down if there are no objections.

As for notability, there are now local, regional, national, and international sources cited. I'll remove the notability tag also if there are no objections. Soonersfan168 (talk) 19:14, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

Conferences & Events section[edit]

3/5 sources for this recently added and then reverted section were reliable, 3rd party sources: all three were from news organizations. Hrafn says "none of this appears to have any reliable third party sourcing -- in fact much [of] the sourcing isn't clear at all)"--I'm not sure where that's coming from? Full citations are provided as far as I can tell. Let's make sure work on this page doesn't descend into WP:EW. If there's not a cogent response I'm going to revert the article in a few hours. Soonersfan168 (talk) 16:03, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

And in the future, such immediate and large-scale reversion needs to be explained: if there's not room in the edit summary, please leave a note on the talk page. Soonersfan168 (talk) 16:04, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
  1. www.deon.pl -- no indication that this is a reliable source, and the piece is anonymously written
  2. "[au.acton.org/ "Acton University"]. Acton Institute." Not third party & citation completely mangled
  3. Deiters, Barton (October 2002). “Fed president preaches to Acton choir.” ‘’The Grand Rapids Press.’’ -- a month given as the date for a daily newspaper? Something's wrong here
  4. East Grand Rapids Cadence -- no indication that this is a a reliable source
  5. Toward a Free and Virtuous Society". Acton Institute. -- not third party

In summary, very poor sourcing. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 16:17, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

  1. deon.pl addressed above
  2. let's not quibble about my difficulties with wikipedia style. As I have said, I'm not an expert. The responsible thing to do here would be to help me and the article by formatting the citation correctly if I mangled it.
  3. again, sorry I neglected to add that date, (23 October 2002).
  4. the East Grand Rapids Cadence is a newspaper. The date of that article is (16 June 1993). Sorry again. Soonersfan168 (talk) 16:42, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
I have addressed all these points in the latest revision of the article. Primary sources assist in filling out the section, which is allowed, I believe? Soonersfan168 (talk) 17:23, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

  1. I still find it odd that an American conference would be solely reported in a Polish news agency. Regardless, the source in question only verifies the existence of the conference -- not any of the other claims made about it.
  2. A newspaper source needs an exact date -- otherwise you've got no chance of verifying it. This is particularly important when you provide no form of URL link to the article.
  3. The 'East Grand Rapids Cadence' appears to be a very small, apparently advertising-funded, community paper -- and these do not tend to be particularly reliable sources.
  4. And you didn't explain why we have two further citations to Acton itself, in an article that already has too many of them.

HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:23, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

The East Grand Rapids Cadence appears to be a regional division of Advance Newspapers. Advance and Cadence are featured on MLive. Vilepickle (talk) 18:58, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
(i) I'm not sure how MLive verifies that the 'East Grand Rapids Cadence' is a reliable source. (ii) Mlive.com does not appear to list the article in question. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 19:18, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Oh and DO NOT embed links in the middle of sentences (per WP:MOSLINKS#Link titles) and DO NOT cite youtube (it is nothing like a reliable source)! HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:28, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the info about embedding links. Please be patient--I didn't know that rule. There's no need to use bold text--I'm not trying to break rules. I included the link to the youtube video of Tony Sirico at the Annual Dinner. If that's added at the end of the sentence, it is acceptable? It wasn't intended as a reference.
It's my understanding that according to WP:Selfpub it's fine to have some links to Acton pages, as long as they help to fill out the article, and the article is not based primarily on them. It seems to me an overreach to delete all parts of a new section not sourced to 3rd party sources, especially in a low-quality article that we are trying to improve incrementally. Soonersfan168 (talk) 17:49, 18 July 2011 (UTC)


  1. What part of "DO NOT cite youtube (it is nothing like a reliable source)" did you fail to understand? If youtube is the only source for his brother's attendence, then he needs to be removed.
  2. WP:SELFPUB: "Self-published and questionable sources may be used as sources of information about themselves ... so long as: ... the article is not based primarily on such sources." The citation of Acton sources in this article (as well as other affiliated sources) is already extensive.

HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:54, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

  1. I'm looking for verification outside of Youtube right now that Tony Sirico did attend. It is clear from the video that he was there, and that he spoke. That IS NOT, of course, to say that that fact belongs on Wikipedia UNLESS there is an acceptable source for it. But since it does seem clear that he was there, I think it's reasonable to wait a few days and look for acceptable documentation before deleting that bit.
  1. "extensive citation" is not in and of itself "primary" basis. We must be clear on that logical point. As the article stands right now, there are 2 citations of Acton sources, one of which is for a quotation of the Institute's mission statement, and the other of which lists its board members at the end of the article. The article is not primarily based on those two things. Removing the list of board members at the end especially would not affect any other part of the article. As for the quotation of the mission statement, I am in the process of looking for a quotation of that mission statement in a 3rd party source. Almost all other think tanks have their mission statements quoted in the Wikipedia articles--it seems to be something people think important to include--is it not reasonable to source that statement to the institution itself?
It is not clear from WP:SPS that "affiliated sources" are to be included in a consideration of SPSs, but if they are, again, those sources only support lists of people affiliated with the institute--the article would stand perfectly well if certain names were removed because the connection to Acton is sourced via individuals personal webpages.
I conclude that the article does not have it's "primary basis" in Acton links, and would not if the sources from the Conferences & Events section were re-included. Soonersfan168 (talk) 18:12, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Also the Polish source definitely confirms more than just that Acton University happened. It provided plausible confirmation of the information sourced from the Acton webpage. Soonersfan168 (talk) 18:27, 18 July 2011 (UTC)


  1. It was, until very recent heavy pruning, based "primarily" on Acton sources -- see this version of a week ago, for example.
  2. Lacking third-party notice of the 'Toward a Free & Virtuous Society Conferences', there is really no reason to include them -- they quite simply aren't noteworthy. To quote WP:IINFO "merely being true, or even verifiable, does not automatically make something suitable for inclusion in the encyclopedia." WP:SECONDARY sources should establish noteworthiness, and WP:PRIMARY sources only serve a subsidiary role in filling in the details.
  3. "The Polish source" may confirm "more than just that Acton University happened" -- it does not however confirm any of the specific information contained in the article -- it was purely on the specifics of that particular conference not on the general information about conference series as a whole contained in the article.

HrafnTalkStalk(P) 18:46, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

  1. The version of the article you cite as being based primarily on Acton sources is one that has been cleaned up mostly by my editing. As a matter of fact, 5/6 references in the top sections were to Acton webpages until I edited the section. Now, 4/5 links in the top sections are independent sources, and the 5th link serves appropriately to flesh out the information given by quoting the institute's mission statement from its webpage. This is to say that I am working very hard to improve the article. Furthermore, I think you know that what the article looked like 1 week ago has nothing to do with whether or not it meets certain criteria right now, unless those criteria are temporal, which they are not. This kind of argumentation has to stop on this talk page: we cannot have productive discussions about improving the article while an editor is making obfuscatory arguments that the others have to respond to. In the future I think it will just make the most sense for me to delete patent sophistry from the talk page, with an edit comment explaining the logical fallacy indulged in. It does not aid efforts to improve the article to force unconstructive arguments on the talk page. Thanks very much for understanding.
  2. The description of Acton University and its goings on in the Polish source, limited though it might be to this conference, certainly establishes that the statements made about the character of the conference according to the Acton source are reasonable. This is precisely the kind of the use of primary sources that is allowed--the existence and general tone of the conference are established in a reliable, 3rd party source, and then the details are filled in from the institute's website. If the polish article confirmed the specific information which I had cited w/ reference to Acton, then there wouldn't be any reason to cite the Acton page, would there? Again, in order to move forward with this article and help to improve it, we need to cooperate. That certainly means having debates on the talk page, but when arguments made by editors are facially invalid, but other editors have to respond to them to avoid deletion of properly sourced material in the article, then that necessary cooperation is missing.
  3. More than uncooperative behavior, the above behavior constitutes WP:EW. Editors have to respond to the arguments made, one-by-one, or else things get deleted from this page: just look at the history. That's normally not a bad thing, but when patently invalid arguments are being made--consistently--the effect on the progress of the article is no different from mindless reversions: editors have to waste time dealing with attempts to change the page by users who do not subjugate themselves to the rules of reason.
Soonersfan168 (talk) 14:31, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true.

Please note that it says that the material has to be published by a reliable source -- not that the reliable sources merely makes the claims "reasonable". The webpage that you cited did not verify any of this information. All it says is:

Acton University is a unique, four-day exploration of the intellectual foundations of a free society. Guided by a distinguished, international faculty, Acton University is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate rigorous philosophy, Christian theology and sound economics.

At Acton University, you will:

Build your own curriculum. Choose from more than seventy courses ranging from the theological and philosophical, to the policy-oriented and practical.

Learn from world-class faculty. Meet leading authorities on economics, theology, public policy, globalization, the environment, and other disciplines.

Network. Interact with people from diverse backgrounds who share a concern about issues at the heart of faith and freedom.

Equip yourself to engage in the debate. Better articulate your understanding of the Judeo-Christian view of liberty and morality and its application in a free and virtuous society.

Also, I would suggest that using a third-party source for the bare existence of something, then swapping over to a primary source for all the information about it is against the spirit of WP:DUE.HrafnTalkStalk(P) 14:47, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

As I have explained above, the 3rd party source confirms more than the bare existence of the conference. To deny that, without giving any rational, is not reasonable. Soonersfan168 (talk) 14:58, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Really? What part of "Acton’s annual conference in Grand Rapids is its largest and most international event. Philosophy, theology, and economics are integrated. The conference is focused on the convergence of philosophy, theology, and economics in the intellectual foundations of a free society" is contained in the Polish source? I certainly couldn't find any of it. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 15:29, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

The entire article is a discussion of goings-on at the conference that deal with philosophy, theology, and economics. There is nothing in the Polish source other than that. Thus, it seems reasonable to me that when the Acton Institute website says that the conference integrates "rigorous philosophy, Christian theology and sound economics" they are not lying. I removed the advertising-like language, but the existence of the conference and its general character have been established by a 3rd party source that describes the agenda of the conference. The primary source is used to provide a concise statement of that. Please explain specifically how this violates WP:SPS Soonersfan168 (talk) 15:44, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

WP:Complete bollocks:

  • The Polish article appears to make no direct mention of theology or philosophy -- let alone that "Philosophy, theology, and economics are integrated"
  • If it is self-description, it should be clearly labelled as such, per WP:ATRRIBUTEPOV.
  • Neither source makes makes any mention at all of "its largest and most international event"

HrafnTalkStalk(P) 16:01, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

What is the article about if not religion and economics??? Soonersfan168 (talk) 16:05, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

(i) Religion is not the same thing as theology (the latter is a subset of the former). (ii) I said philosophy, not economics. And you've done nothing for "its largest and most international event" HrafnTalkStalk(P) 16:07, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

(i)Subset is most certainly not the term to describe the relationship between theology and religion. But I am not going to nitpick here: any unbiased party that read the Polish source and then the Acton source would conclude that I have used them appropriately. If you think that is not the case--that somehow the Polish source does not support the characterization of Acton University as a conference dedicated to intellectual inquiry into religion and economics and their interplay, you may certainly request further comment. Your argument is, however, entirely semantic, and your editorial approach to this section of the article comes close to WP:GAME. Soonersfan168 (talk) 17:27, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Your interpretation of the Polish source is fairly blatant WP:Synthesis -- and more than a little of a stretch. The Polish article does mention economic issues, social issues and, rather tangentially, religious issues, but does little to tie the three together. It makes no mention of either philosophy or theology. And you still have done nothing to substantiate the "its largest and most international event" claim. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 18:58, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Working on largest & most international... I'm aware of your concerns--n'inquietez pas!
  • there is no synthesis going on. What is going on is that information from a primary source is being used to flesh out part of an article. I am not synthesizing two sources as far as I can tell, but please explain how I am if that's what's going on. Soonersfan168 (talk) 19:15, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
There is no blanket prohibition on primary sources in articles about themselves. – Lionel (talk) 22:06, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Source on funding[edit]

I'm not going to ask for its immediate removal, but a 1992 Capital Research Center report is both a rather old, and rather partisan, source. Replacement with something more recent & more neutral, when possible, would be preferable. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:12, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it certainly would. But that's what I have so far. The other sources for funding information are equally partisan, it ought to be noted. Soonersfan168 (talk) 17:43, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
They're required to submit a Form 990, so that information should be a matter of public record somewhere (unfortunately it's been a while since I've had to track such information down, so I've forgotten the best places to look for it). HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:57, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Copies of 990s are available from www2.guidestar.org, with free registration. EIN # for Acton is 382926822. I'm currently look through the 2009 form. I'd forgotten how verbose and uninteresting they are. ... And it seems it contains only information on what Acton spends, not on who it receives it from (which will presumably be on its donors 990s, assuming they have them). :( HrafnTalkStalk(P) 18:24, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh gosh, probably not worth it! Soonersfan168 (talk) 18:40, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

research & publications section[edit]

I have substantially improved this section of the article, and included one thing sourced to Acton itself. The change from a few weeks ago is dramatic--now the only things refering to Acton's site are the mission statement and the board. Thus it seems perfectly within the bounds of WP:SPS to source the blog information to Acton while I look for alternate sourcing. Soonersfan168 (talk) 15:45, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Good work!!! There may be a misconception that self-published sources are prohibited. In general they are considered reliable sources when they speak about themselves per WP:SELFPUB. If you want to include content from Acton itself, e.g. from their website, go ahead and add it. Note the caveat that primary sources should not dominate an article--but in this case there is ample 3rd party coverage to offset using Acton. – Lionel (talk) 22:04, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Lionel! Soonersfan168 (talk) 13:59, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Acton Affiliates[edit]

There's not really any 3rd party sourcing for the 4 Acton affiliates--they're small operations in foreign countries--one doesn't even have a website (it's in Zambia). Maybe we could fold them into the Notable Individuals associated with Acton and make it sort of an Associated People and Organizations section? Soonersfan168 (talk) 14:46, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

The expand tag isn't necessarily for the affiliates. The section should be expanded with info about their operations in general. E.g. do they have a legal arm, or a PAC, background on the executive staff, etc. Check out similar sections in more developed articles for idea.– Lionel (talk) 21:22, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Newsletter and blog[edit]

The fact that an organization has a newsletter and blog is rarely sufficiently noteworthy for inclusion. At a bare minimum we would need reliable independent secondary sourcing demonstrating notability. We don't, so these bullets should be removed from the "Research and publications" section. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 19:31, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

POV tag[edit]

I have added a POV tag in good faith. The article reads as too pro-subject, too much promotion of trivia, soapboxing, some of the language is too affectionate. Please do not remove the tag until these issues are resolved. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 16:11, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

COI tag[edit]

I have added a COI tag in good faith because the article has a pro-subject slant (see discussion above) in part because of paid COI editing by Vilepickle, who, according to his own Twitter page, is the web coordinator for the Acton Institute. (This is not outing because Vilepickle has already voluntarily outed himself.) Please do not remove the tag until the POV issues are resolved. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 16:14, 29 October 2014 (UTC)


I don't believe this tag is added in good faith but should be noted on the talk page. Your accompanied POV tag is also highly debatable and is pure opinion based on your own POV and edit history. I am removing these tags from the front article, you can put them on the talk page all you want until another party agrees with your assessment. I'd argue that your recent edits are borderline WP:Vandalism due to deletions and undue sourcing requirements on valid blog and newsletter publications that would not require second or third party sourcing. Yes, I am employed at the Acton Institute and do monitor this page for trolls such as yourself. --Vilepickle (talk) 19:08, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the disclosure. Tags should not be removed until the issues are resolved. I added these tags in good faith, and if you wish to have them removed you must either fix the problems or establish a consensus that the tags are invalid. (Calling me a vandal and a troll isn't a good start; please assume good faith, be civil, and explain why you think the tags are erroneous.) On top of that, as a paid COI editor you shouldn't be removing any tags, especially the COI tag. Please add them back, or I will take this issue to the appropriate noticeboards. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 19:47, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
As for why these tags seem inappropriate: I am not the sole editor of this page, for one. If you take a look at this talk page there is clear conflict among editors in the past on similar content that has been added and modified in the last few days. Among those includes funding information from Exxon by the 2005 sourced Motherjones website, publications being notable (or not notable), and overly strict third party sourcing requirements. Those with negative views of Acton have been editing this page in order to add or remove content that conveniently suit their special interests while hiding behind Wikipedia guidelines (as they should, and I encourage). Facts like funding are important to know, but Acton is funded by much more than just an oil company. Other public funders should be added by an editor (perhaps even myself), but drive-by additions meant to affect public perception in a negative way should be discouraged on Wikipedia. I'd like to see some specific examples of overly POV language from the page instead of your opinion, as well, so it can be fixed instead of branding the page with the tag. I also think a COI tag is important, but keep it on the talk page like it is currently. I did not contribute most of the content to this page and COI is not appropriate for the content on the main page. See my explanation about trolling: a COI tag is going to invalidate the article for those seeking a neutral piece on Acton (which the article is, largely). If you'd still like to take the article and issue at hand to a noticeboard, be my guest. --Vilepickle (talk) 17:16, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
So we have a dispute, which is exactly what the tags suggest. Put them back and I will engage. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 17:26, 30 October 2014 (UTC)