Talk:Anna's hummingbird

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http://www.wildbirdshop.com/Birding/Annas_hummers.html[edit]

Discussion copied from User Talk:Mfield#Anna.27s_hummingbird_page

Hi, I made a change and added a reference on the Anna's Hummingbird article. The reference was to a non-commercial page on my semi-commercial website which provides information on wintering hummingbirds. (http://www.wildbirdshop.com/Birding/Annas_hummers.html) You changed it to what you claimed is a more reliable link at the Portland Audubon website. If you were to go look at the two links I think you would realize your mistake. My Anna's hummingbird page is very useful and informative, while the Audubon website has one brief mention of wintering Anna's hummingbirds buried on that page of generic information. When you cite a reference, you are usually citing an authority. If you have worked within a volunteer organization such as an Audubon chapter you will realize that these chapter websites are put together by whoever is willing to do it. They may or may not be well researched or accurate, but you certainly cannot cite them as an authority. My Anna's hummingbird page was written after considerable research and real personal experience, and has been continually edited over a 13 year period. I have gradually become a non-scientific authority on Anna's hummingbirds. My web page is one of the most frequently consulted sources on the web for information on wintering Anna's hummingbirds and I generally type my fingers raw giving advice to people by email when a cold snap hits the Pacific Northwest. I get lots of real feedback from people on what works for them, how their birds are surviving, etc. We no longer operate the Wild Bird Shop as a store and I mostly keep the website around just because the hummingbird info is so widely read. If it isn't obvious by now, my concern is for the birds, not for making a buck. (You don't make money selling a hummingbird feeder here and there. They don't even pay for the website.) I try to provide the absolute best information available on them and on how to help them survive the winter. I fail to understand how that can be less authoritative than the pathetic page on the Portland Audubon site which you provided. (I might add that Portland Audubon also sells hummingbird feeders.) Anyway, I would like you to consider putting that link to my Anna's hummingbird page back onto the Anna's Hummingbird article. It will make the article more useful for people who are looking for real information. Thanks, Brian M. Godfrey FatBear1 (talk) 00:05, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I appreciate your position but the issues are this: What ever you may know, without a reliable source to say so, you are not arecognized authority. The fact that your site is well visited and you may have amassed a large amount of knowledge on the subject does not pass the bar for reliable sources. I was trying to provide a more reliable source to back the information you included, but if you dispute the reliability of that source then the information should go from the article completely until a reliable source can be agreed on. If as you say you have conducted a lot of research then you must have sources and references to back that, else it is just original research. That's the reality of the situation. You say that the birds require feeders to survive winter and a bunch of other people say that they do not. There is a dispute then which can only be resolved for encyclopedic purposes by a reliable reference, else both sides of the argument need to be neutrally laid out with sources to back each. The fact that you added a link to a commercial site that you are involved with also adds a conflict of interest issue. By this I am not implying that you are trying to make money out of adding the information, but you are trying to back up information you have added with yourself as the only source and without primary third party recognition that is obviously going to start alarm bells ringing for verifiability. If you want to add links and references to sites you are involved with to an article you should definitely be brining the matter up for discussion on the article's talk page first if you want to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest and assumptions of bad faith. Mfield (talk) 00:24, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I do not know all that much about Wikipedia rules and such. I find it rather pathetic that the rules force you to delete a useful link and replace it with a useless one, but so be it. It certainly does reduce my trust in Wikipedia information when I'm sure it is intended to do the opposite. I guess Wikipedia probably does not consider the observations and conclusions of Charles Darwin on natural selection, or the proof by Christopher Columbus that the world was round, to be valid either, so I guess I'm in good company. Fortunately, the folks feeding hummingbirds during the winter in the Pacific Northwest usually do find my page, anyway. It's really the hummingbirds that I care about. Hopefully they will survive us. I don't think we will. My addition to that article was intended to improve it, and it did, if only slightly. It was in no way intended to benefit me and I repeat that if you looked at the page in question you would realize that there is no conflict of interest. But I do not need the rather minimal information your article contains, so it is of no harm to me if you remove my info.FatBear1(talk) 01:11, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
You are missing the point slightly. The point is that your research is self published and as such has not been peer reviewed nor confirmed by any reliable third party source. I am not claiming that the Audobon society ref is any more reliable, in fact I have removed it in favor of links to published scientific papers on the subject that have themselves been referenced multiple times by experts on the subject. There's no need to cal into question the reliability of the encyclopedia as a whole, it is only reliable as its sourcing and referencing, hence the need to provide those citations and make sure facts and statements are cross checkable and verifiable. Mfield (talk) 01:30, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I checked on your newest update and it looks much better! I disagree that there are sufficient winter flowers to feed them, there are in the California end of the range, but not in the northern half. But it's OK with me if you leave that there. Most people who visit my Anna's hummingbirds website for the first time come to it because they have just seen their first winter Anna's. Your page will help them to confirm that they are not going crazy and that's a good start. Would it be OK to put my Anna's page in the External Links section in order to help them decide whether they should feed them and how? It is an important consideration because you cannot feed them casually in the winter like you might in the summer. They evaluate and decide upon their winter territory during the late fall. If they include your feeder in their calculations and then you fail to fill or thaw it when they need it most, they will die. It is not entirely true that there are sufficient winter flowers in the PNW to support them. That is true in the southern half of their range (California) but not in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and southeastern Alaska.) In fact, there are few or no flowers at all during much of the winter in that part of their range. I know it is not the position of an encyclopedia to advocate for the safety and health of its subjects, just to report on them. I advocate for their safety and health. A link to my page would really help them to survive the winter without in any way degrading the quality of your information. In fact, I now realize that I should have put it there in the first place. Last month we had 40" of snow with an ice storm in the middle of it, temperatures below freezing for about two weeks, and a day or two when the temperatures were in single digits. I had a report from one lady who said her feeder had frozen and the hummer just fell off of the feeder and lay on its back waiting to die when it discovered that. I advised her on how to bring it back up to temperature, how to feed it, when to release it, and then to keep her feeder thawed after that. The hummer survived. This is the work I do and the real purpose of my page. I keep it conversational because I want people to feel comfortable contacting me. I really hope you can help. Thanks. --Brian FatBear1 (talk) 02:23, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

end copied discussion

The real problem is that any link to a site of a commercial nature (whatever amount of money the owner makes) is liable to be be removed as inappropriate per WP:EL unless the information contained in it is:

  1. highly reliable
  1. unable to be included directly in the article itself for some reason

The External Links guideline sets out why Wikipedia should be including content rather than sending users off site for it. In the absence of strong compelling reasons for it to be an EL, the other option is for the site to be referenced, but see WP:RS, your site is a self published site and, and when I state this I am not being mean or spiteful, you do not meet the criteria of an author who is a noted authority on the subject.

What this all leads to is that we need to try and intergrate the content in your site into the article itself, and that means sourcing the information somehow. There must me more referncing that can come from non self published sites, books, magazine articles, Google scholar etc. to back some of the facts you would like to see included. Let's try and do that first.

In the mean time, what do other editors think about the notability/appropriateness of an EL to the discussed site? Mfield (talk) 03:47, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank you. I wish I could just give you all of the citations on which I built my Anna's hummingbird page, but it predates Wikipedia and the very concept of Wikipedia by quite a few years I would guess. It started out as useful information for our customers - back when we had a store - and we were the authority in their eyes. That is a tough thing to live up to. It's one thing to be an anonymous authority, but when you have to face them when they tell you you got it wrong, well that makes you try REALLY HARD to get it right. But your customers don't ask you for citations, so I never thought to save them. And some of the information there is certainly "original research" in Wikipedia terms. Ways to hang a feeder so it will not freeze and such are not things you will find in scientific research. I would urge anyone who is going to pass judgment on this issue to look at the page first. (http://www.wildbirdshop.com/Birding/Annas_hummers.html) As I have said earlier, the site is semi-commercial in that there are still a few residual things listed for sale on it, but the page in question is informational and does not promote any product, though it does have a link to where someone can buy a feeder. I was just looking at my statistics. I have served up that page about 1300 times in December and January. That's not astronomical, but nearly every one of those viewers had just seen an Anna's hummer and wanted to learn more about them. Looking through my sent items I see dozens of emails sent during that same time frame in answer to people's questions. Most of them had feeders that they purchased from someone else and many of those were of poor quality or inadequate. In some of the emails I had to make suggestions how they could make their junky feeders work better, but in not one single email did I suggest that they replace them with one of mine unless they specifically asked about them. That is not my purpose. Three of those people did buy feeders from me, but that is incidental. I am publishing this information on this public page to help you decide your risk in publishing my link. I am as ethical as I can possibly be even when nobody is watching. The information on my page is valuable and useful. If you can find a way to incorporate it into your page directly, then I will happily withdraw my request. But I don't see how tips on hanging feeders above a porch light or next to a drop light in order to keep them from freezing would fit into an encyclopedia page.FatBear1 (talk) 04:31, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

FatBear1, the Wikipedia entry for Anna's Hummingbird is not Mfield's "page." Anyone with internet access can edit a Wikipedia entry, even a Wikipedia newbie like me, so the Wikipedia entry for Anna's Hummingbird belongs to everybody and nobody. Regarding the external link request: FatBear1 has useful information that I agree would be nice to include in the Wikipedia entry. FatBear1's information currently resides on a webpage that has commercial aspects. If FatBear1 creates a different webpage (for the external link) that has the information but has no links to or references to his business, I think that would allow the external link under Wikipedia's rules regarding external links. JohnSmithbubba (talk) 07:47, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I took a look at the site in question. To this third party, it's clearly non-commercial, the author is sincere and seems well-informed, and it looks like useful information. Arguably (borderline) conforms to WP:EL. I've seen lots worse links stay in WP articles.
I've added the site back to the EL section, with an invisible comment linking back to this discussion. Thanks, Pete Tillman (talk) 00:18, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

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