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Eric Lerner[edit]

I notice that Lerner has been added and then removed from the list of notable speakers, reflecting the views of two of the contributors to the move debate concerning whether Lerner should have his own article, or whether only his book is notable. If Lerner's article, which has previously survived AfD, survives the move request too, then I think the implication is that he is indeed notable in terms of Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. If not... hmmm... can argue that either way. Just because you think someone is wrong isn't a good reason to regard them as unimportant. Andrewa (talk) 17:58, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

See also Talk:Eric Lerner#Google TechTalks listing. Andrewa (talk) 07:00, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

But does this article indicate notability? I don't see it.... — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:33, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Interesting question... 62,8oo ghits for "Google TechTalks" seems to indicate notability, but obviously this is one where the Google test is particularly suspect! Wikipedia:Notability (web) doesn't seem much help. Suggestions welcome. Andrewa (talk) 10:09, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
See also new section below. Andrewa (talk) 19:24, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Lerner has previously been involved in an ARBCOM case, see Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience, resulting in a ban on his personal editing of articles in the area of pseudoscience, including his own theories. Under Findings of Fact, that decision reads in part: One involved party is also a leading developer and proponent of one of the topics in question, and has a biography on Wikipedia (Eric Lerner).

The user who removed Lerner from this article was a party to that ARBCOM dispute, and received the following caution: ScienceApologist is cautioned to respect all policies and guidelines, in spirit as well as letter, when editing articles concerning some alternative to conventional science. This applies in particular to matters of good faith and civility.

In view of this, I think it's appropriate to restore the reference to Lerner to this article. Andrewa (talk) 18:24, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

No argument has been made as to why this person is a notable speaker. Just because a person's bio default survives AfD doesn't mean that every talk they give is notable and worthy of inclusion at Wikipedia. In this case, the self-promotionalism of Eric Lerner's allies is enough cause to remove mention of him here or at least establish a standard for inclusion here. No one has made any arguments as to why this particular talk is notable except to refer to other articles. WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS is not a good excuse. ScienceApologist (talk) 18:44, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
So you have now removed Lerner for the second time. I'm not going to have an edit war with you, I personally try to stick to a one revert rule. But I do point out (again) that the ARBCOM case affirms Lerner's notability, and warned you against promoting your own views (with which I may agree) in this way. Agree that the AfD isn't strong evidence, as the case was closed without consensus, but it is evidence. We do have an article on Lerner, despite a considerable campaign of which you are part seeking to excise him from Wikipedia.
The matter is not whether the talk was notable. The question is whether the speaker is notable.
Do you have any arguments that deny his notability? Andrewa (talk) 19:03, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

We'll try again[edit]

ScienceApologist has given no reason above for regarding Lerner as non-notable, either here or in a far longer discussion at Talk:Eric Lerner#Google TechTalks listing.

The edit summary of his revert of my edit, which covered more than merely adding Lerner, reads why all the plasma cosmology/aneutronic fusion pushing?, and indicates that by this edit ScienceApologist is pursuing a personal agenda concerning pseudoscience. As noted above, ScienceApologist has previously been warned by ARBCOM to respect all policies and guidelines, in spirit as well as letter, when editing articles concerning some alternative to conventional science. His twice removing a leading advocate of pseudoscience from a list of notable speakers, while giving no reason for doubting his notability, would appear to violate that warning.

Consequently, I am reluctantly reverting his revert of my latest edit. Andrewa (talk) 10:19, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

And, just BTW, the move request failed due to lack of consensus, exactly as had already been decided at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Eric Lerner. Andrewa (talk) 01:59, 9 May 2008 (UTC)


From below: The arbcom found Lerner notable in the context of his interactions with Wikipedia. Claiming that they found him notable in regard Wikipedia is (1) outside the scope of arbcom, as determined at the time, and (2) not exactly what they said. But it has nothing to do with the notability of this article, only as to whthern Lerner should appear, if it is notable. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:35, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Agree that they didn't exactly say he was notable in regard to Wikipedia, and I hope I haven't claimed they did. They said that he was a leading developer and proponent of one of the topics in question, and has a biography on Wikipedia, and I've quoted that verbatim several times and also provided links to the section. It's exactly what they said... and the decision on that was 8-0.
Now, that certainly doesn't say that the topic is encyclopedic, which I think is one point you're making, and IMO it wasn't their place or intention to rule on that anyway, which I think is your other point. But if the topic is encyclopedic, and I think we have a rough consensus that it is, then it's hard to see how a leading developer and proponent of the topic could fail to be so too.
I'm just trying to save us some time. Do you really want to question whether Lerner is a leading developer and proponent of the topic that is the subject of his book? The mind boggles. Andrewa (talk) 15:23, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
In the absence of clear standards, any person who gave a TechTalk and who has a Wikipedia article can be listed under Google TechTalks#Notable Speakers, IMHO.
Um, agreed. So what's the problem with that?
I can't say I'd likely fight to keep Lerner here, but I (at least, in the future), won't fight to keep him out, unless standards (which he does not meet) are agreed to. The question of what arbcom said seems irrelevant.
Is that a satisfactory explanation of my position on the Lerner/Google TechTalks issue? — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:52, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
My point is just that it's unfortunate that you chose to raise the question of the notability of this subject in the context of a dispute about its content, and particularly in this particular dispute. The two issues are unrelated, and while I'm not accusing you of disruptive tactics, the wider discussion of which this is part has already been littered with them, and the particular user to whose support you came has been warned once and appears to be violating this warning. Whatever you think of my interpretation of the ARBCOM outcome, I think it's important to acknowledge this background. Andrewa (talk) 02:19, 8 May 2008 (UTC)


There appears to be rough consensus below that a list does belong in the article, and that Lerner does belong on the list. Andrewa (talk) 06:37, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Notability of this article[edit]

From Talk:Eric Lerner#Google TechTalks listing:

I suspect Google TechTalks should be deleted as being clearly not notable. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:31, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

See also comments above. I think we need to assume good faith on this, despite its having come up in the context of a program to excise Lerner from Wikipedia in ways that are arguably disruptive and have once been found so by ARBCOM.

So, how should we decide this? It appears notable to me, but that's very weak evidence. Andrewa (talk) 19:21, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

You're clearly wrong in your interpretation of the Arbcom findings, or as to the attempt to add inappropriate promotional comments about Lerner to WIkipedia, but the question of whether this article is to be considered notable for inclusion is separate from whether Lerner should be listed here. I don't really see any way to do oher than to bring the article to AfD. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:05, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
If in your opinion the subject is unencyclopedic, then of course you should nominate it at AfD. Agree that the two issues are separate; Note that you raised the issue of this article's notability in the context of discussions on Lerner's inclusion, and I separated it into its own section.
How do you think I'm clearly misinterpretting the ARBCOM findings? And what has that to do with the notability of this article? Andrewa (talk) 14:19, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
The arbcom found Lerner notable in the context of his interactions with Wikipedia. Claiming that they found him notable in regard Wikipedia is (1) outside the scope of arbcom, as determined at the time, and (2) not exactly what they said. But it has nothing to do with the notability of this article, only as to whthern Lerner should appear, if it is notable. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:35, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
In view of which, I'll reply to you above. Andrewa (talk) 15:05, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
One possible outcome would be to merge the content to Googleplex, where the talks take place, and/or to Google video, the website where they are primarily hosted. Unlike Arthur Rubin I'm finding it very difficult to assess the notability of Google Techtalks either way; The searches I devise produce lots of hits, but most of them are about specific videos rather than the site as a whole. My inclination is to see whether the stub will grow. Andrewa (talk) 02:51, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Timescale? ScienceApologist (talk) 20:07, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Of the merge? Probably never, now that this option has been rejected by the AfD you raised.
Of the growing? Depends how many people like to help. You could help by providing the searches that you imply below that you've done that have produced no independent sources. At least then we'd know where not to look. You could also tell us exactly what the two books which you say below mention the topic in passing actually say, I asked this once before.
But the notability issue has I hope also been settled by the AfD. Andrewa (talk) 02:50, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Explanation of talks and links to videos[edit]

There is probably a cleaner way to do it, but I fleshed out the information with the subject and date of the presentations. ABlake (talk) 14:00, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Looks good to me. But what we really need are some references... links to magazine articles and the like mentioning Google Techtalks would be ideal. If these don't exist then Arthur may be right, the whole topic may be deletable. I suspect that they are there, but I'm still puzzling how to find them. Andrewa (talk) 01:42, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
The video links in the reference section looked wrong, so I took them out and left the link after the speakers. It is much cleaner, and the reference section isn't a redundant laundry list now. ABlake (talk) 13:40, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

Not notable except having been hosted by Google[edit]

These talks are not mentioned by any external sources except having been mentioned and indexed by Google. Therefore the page is now redirected. ScienceApologist (talk) 17:55, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

While it is certainly still a stub, the article already contains encyclopedic content. At the very least, this material should be merged, as discussed above.
Suggest that as this is a controversial matter, deletion, merge or redirection should be discussed here first. Meantime, the page is now restored. Andrewa (talk) 00:24, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
And how did you come to this conclusion? You may be right, but I'm fascinated to know how you searched for these sources. I'm having great trouble coming up with searches that will tell me either way. Andrewa (talk) 01:33, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Okay, to see what all the fuss was about, I watched a couple of the "references" on this page. Although I fell asleep 4 times watching them, they are How-tos with specific disclaimers about their association with Google preceding them. This disqualifies the entire reference section, except for the first reference, which is in fact a reference. The presence of the disclaimers also raises questions about the maintenance of a list of people who Google wishes to be associated with. In fact, I do not know the answer to this one, but have noticed that wikpiedia does not normally link to videos, carry video transcripts, or override the normal functioning of a publicly traded company's marketing of something like a "talk". Jok2000 (talk) 13:16, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
How about this? Try this or this. Or, look at this and this, or this from Information Week which refers to the Bussard video. How about this? Maybe this counts too. ABlake (talk) 13:29, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Feh. The citations seem to indicate either no notability outside of Google as a "corpo-movement" or are blatant promotionalism and, in the more eggregious cases, soapboxing. I don't think that this establishes anything in the way of notability for the TechTalks themselves. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:47, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
The one ABlake singled out from Info Week called them an "academic wonk fest". Most articles on Wikipedia wouldn't normally receive such a classification. Jok2000 (talk) 15:08, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Category:Academic wonk fest. Hmm... ScienceApologist (talk) 15:15, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, at least you two have actually bothered to read the article in question, unlike another contributor who has repeatedly described it as a press release. But your point escapes me. Do you really think that this reviewer's rather lighthearted comment has any bearing on whether the topic is encyclopedic? Bit of a stretch, isn't it? Andrewa (talk) 01:34, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
The articles from New Scientist and InformationWeek are just the sort of thing we need, and a few more would be good. I couldn't find the connection to the Washington Post article. The two from Google aren't useful for establishing notability IMO, although they may be useful for verifying information. Unsure about the arstechnica and treehugger ones. Andrewa (talk) 12:20, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Articleissues tag[edit]

ScienceApologist has added an articleissues notice to the article, citing four issues. One is IMO undoubtedly justified, but I'm doubtful about others. So let's discuss them here. Andrewa (talk) 05:40, 10 May 2008 (UTC)


It reads like an advertisement and needs to be rewritten from a neutral point of view.

Disagree. What wording in particular is adspeak? What wording is POV? Andrewa (talk) 05:40, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Agree, in part. All the sources seem to be press releases, so, if course, it looks like a press release. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:22, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
Curious that you say in part. No, not all the sources are press releases, although I'd hope that the writers of the magazine articles we're gradually finding would have read the release in question.
There are press releases and press releases. Some read like advertising, and some are quite encyclopedic in tone. The issue is: Does this article read like an advertisement? Andrewa (talk) 20:03, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
And we might similarly ask, did this press release read like an advertisement? When you say below that The external source appears to be a press release (your emphasis), I guess what you're claiming there is that the InformationWeek article is similar in tone and content to the press release, which is a bit of a stretch, see below. But even if it were true, wouldn't this indicate that this was one of the better press releases, and should be regarded as information (and potentially encyclopedic) rather than advertising (and ipso facto not encyclopedic)? And in fact, I think the press release was a good deal more informative than the article! Andrewa (talk) 01:31, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Advertisements are informative. That's not the issue. The issue is that the article reads to me to be like an advertisement for all the talks. It doesn't talk about the history, goals, or reasons behind the talk, for example. There's no analysis, no systematic evaluation, no suggestion of notability. Simply a statement that calls attention to the talks. Not a good writing, IMHO. ScienceApologist (talk) 13:41, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
It's a stub. Of course there are things missing. Feel free to add them! But thanks for agreeing below to the removal of this tag. Progress! Andrewa (talk) 01:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC)


It may have been edited by a person who has a conflict of interest with the subject matter.

Unsure of this one. The wording is sufficiently vague that it could really apply to any article at all. But there haven't been all that many contributors to this article, so I'm curious as to whether SceinceApologist has anyone specific in mind. Andrewa (talk) 05:40, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm sure he's referring to me, since I am an associate of Eric Lerner. Read over my talk page for more background on that issue. It's a weak card, but he plays it often against me in his attempts to wipe Lerner off of Wikipedia. However, I could be mistaken. The person who added Linus Torvalds may have been a Linux user. :) By the way, I also edited the article on socks, and I wear socks, so maybe we should put this COI notice there too. Oh, and the article on water too since I went swimming yesterday with my family, and it rained. ABlake (talk) 12:04, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
That makes sense. But we don't prohibit people who are drummers (me) from editing articles on cymbals although all of us have our favourite and not-so-favourite sizes, models and brands, and most of us are pretty passionate about it (strange as it may seem). Rather we assume good faith. Hmmm. So how do we resolve this, I wonder? Perhaps ScienceApologist should tell us which specific edits they regard as reflecting this COI. Andrewa (talk) 12:31, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Those edits don't seem important, unless it was Lerner or a close relation who added him to the article. I don't think ABlake has been established as a meat-puppet, although he may be a WP:SPA. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:17, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
Aaron Blake is employed by Lerner: [1]. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:28, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
That only applies to adding Lerner to the list of "notable" speakers. If we have the list, and we don't have a definition of "notable", then it has to apply to any person with a Wikipedia article, no matter how questionable. Unless he added the list in the first place? — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:32, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
He added Lerner in particular. That looks like soapboxing to me. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:44, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
Adding Lerner to the list may have looked like soapboxing to SA, but his immediate revert without discussion and subsequent innuendo look to me like assuming bad faith. I added Bussard for the same reason I added Lerner. They are both notable people who spoke at Google TechTalks. I added verifiable facts without propaganda. I'm very open about my COI, which is why I am so cautious to be neutral in my edits. So far, my COI hasn't presented a demonstratable or disruptive problem, unlike SA's paranoia and heavy-handed editing. If anyone has something negative to say about me or my edits, based in reality, please head over to my talk page. Otherwise, let's focus on the article and its content. ABlake (talk) 15:51, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
OK, so this concerns a particular edit, the adding of Lerner to the list of notable speakers. Since I also added him, and have no COI, this specific edit can be credited to me rather than to ABlake, and the tag removed. Solved? Andrewa (talk) 20:34, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
Are you saying that if ABlake hadn't added Eric Lerner you would have? ScienceApologist (talk) 22:20, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
Assuming I'd somehow found out about the article and Lerner's talk, of course I would have. You don't seem to understand. When I added Lerner to the list, it was because I thought it improved the article. Andrewa (talk) 00:12, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
So, apart from the obvious point that ScienceApologist doesn't want me to remove the tag that he put there for no reason other than that some of the information in the article doesn't serve to promote his personal POV, is this one now resolved?
If not, what can we do to resolve it? Or, to put it another way, how can this tag help us to improve Wikipedia? Andrewa (talk) 01:41, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
If you could get someone else to respond to the issue who is not categorically opposed to the comments of those in opposition to the text you love, then I'd say we could move forward. ScienceApologist (talk) 13:38, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Done... except that I didn't need to get anyone else to do anything. Tag gone, with your approval, see below. Please stick to the issues. Andrewa (talk) 01:09, 23 May 2008 (UTC)


It needs sources or references that appear in third-party publications.

Agree. Andrewa (talk) 05:40, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

But, while IMO it's an issue, perhaps it's not as much of an issue as some fear. From Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Google TechTalks:

Comment. The one independent source (no longer in the article), the New Scientist article, only has one paragraph about the subject. The Infoworld source is a press release. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:57, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

To which I replied: While I certainly agree that more independent sources are desirable, I think you're overstating the problem. I don't know about Infoworld coverage, there's never been such a link in the article, but there has long been one to an InformationWeek article [2] which is completely different in style and content to the Google press release [3]. While the New Scientist article only has one mention of the topic as you say (one sentence, in fact), it's relevant and should not have been removed from the article IMO. There are two other independent sources mentioned on the talk page; I haven't copied them to the article because I'm unsure of their citeability, but one of them does have a Wikipedia page of its own. Andrewa (talk) 15:12, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

This same line of argument, that there are allegedly no independent sources, is also pursued below in discussing the refimprove issue, to which it seems less relevant. Andrewa (talk) 15:25, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

The InformationWeek article is essentially a press release with two-to-three comments editorialized on top of it. Hardly a good source. The fact that so few sources for this thing exist make me wonder what the people hoping to keep this article see the article becoming. ScienceApologist (talk) 13:42, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
This has been discussed at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Google TechTalks, the AfD which you raised, and the result was keep. Why isn't InformationWeek a good source? Andrewa (talk) 10:17, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
And is it really a fact that so few sources for this thing exist? The searches I've tried all return thousands of unwanted hits, that's the problem. Whether there are independent sources in there too is hard to tell. Have you managed to devise a good search? If so, please tell us what it is.
And if you'd done so in the AfD, it might have succeeded. But all you seem to be offering here, once again, is speculation. Andrewa (talk) 01:29, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Hmmmm... and can anybody shed any light on the other two independent sources claimed above? Just to spell it out:

Others welcome of course! Andrewa (talk) 01:37, 23 May 2008 (UTC)


It needs additional references or sources for verification.

Disagree. The existing references are quite sufficient to verify the content... probably better than 90% of Wikipedia articles, in fact. Andrewa (talk) 05:40, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Find sources: "AtGoogleTalks" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference —Preceding unsigned comment added by Firefly322 (talkcontribs)

Agree. The external source appears to be a press release. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:14, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
There are actually thirteen external references at present, all of them useful for verification of some part of the article's content. I think you may be confusing this issue with the primarysources issue above... which is a valid one, as I've indicated there. Andrewa (talk) 19:45, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
By "external", I mean "not part of Google". There (was, as I wrote that) only one, it was almost certainly a press release. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:23, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
OK, so you're saying that you won't accept anything Google says as being relevant? I think that's unreasonable when it comes to verifying content. There's no reasonable doubt that the article contents are accurate, given the references. Andrewa (talk) 01:15, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
No, I won't accept anything Google says as evidence of notability, only as evidence of content. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:32, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. But this particular issue is over the verifiability of content, so can we accept the other twelve references? Andrewa (talk) 01:42, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
I assume that the one that was not part of Google was the InformationWeek article by Thomas Claburn. It's hardly the press release, although it is based on it. Claburn says in part These are not the Top Five PC Productivity Tips. They're hardcore academic wonk fests. If you're the sort of person who watches Nova on PBS and recognizes the researchers as colleagues or former students, Google Tech Talks are for you. Hmmm, now that reads like an advertisement, sort of... But it's certainly not what Google said! Andrewa (talk) 01:42, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Regarding the {{find}} template above... Google News gives no hits, not surprisingly. Google Books give two, both seem worth a follow up. Google Scholar gives twelve, nine for Google TechTalks and another three for Google Tech Talks. Andrewa (talk) 15:35, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
The two book references mention Google Tech Talks in passing. Not enough to establish anything for the article. ScienceApologist (talk) 13:44, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
What do they say? Andrewa (talk) 10:10, 22 May 2008 (UTC)


Three of the four tags have now been resolved by consensus. Even ScienceApologist has agreed with his chief supporter's summary to this effect. Therefore I have removed the multiple issues tag, and replaced it by a specific one. I suggest discussion of this one outstanding issue should continue below in another section. Andrewa (talk) 20:59, 23 May 2008 (UTC)


I have not read all the ugly mess above but am amainly concerned to keep the article in a presentable state during its AFD. The tags are unnecessary since we have active discussion driven by the AFD and the article is being actively edited. They just add to clutter and so I am removing them for now. Colonel Warden (talk) 16:17, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

It's clearly inappropriate to remove the tags while discussion is going on. Restoring. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 16:19, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
Hmmmm... I'd prefer that we just remove the ones for which no rationale has been provided. The coi one is the difficult one, see discussion above. Andrewa (talk) 19:55, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm fine with the COI tag, since it's factual. ABlake (talk) 19:59, 14May 2008 (UTC)
What are the delete rationales for a tag, anyway? I'm with Colonel Warden on removing the tags that unfairly bias the AfD, but in light of other editors undoing his contributions I want to discuss it here first to avoid the appearance of pettiness on the edit history. --Firefly322 (talk) 20:02, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
{Sigh} That's one of the problems with Wikipedia at present. I'd suggest that any tag which is added without a rationale should be removed on sight (probably by a bot), but that's not policy at present... such a policy would have instantly cleaned up all of these.
I don't think that the messiness of the article will prejudice the AfD, possibly it may even work in favour of a keep as it raises questions about the behaviour of some of those involved. The editor who raised the AfD is also the one who posted the tags, and has previously had an ARBCOM warning which this may violate.
My suggestion now is, contribute to the discussion I've started above regarding the merits of these tags. Only one of the issues has any merit IMO, and that's the notability/primarysources one, which is being addressed by the AfD. The function of these tags is to help us to improve the article; Once we've exhausted the possibilities of that, that's when the tag should be removed. (And as I said above, IMO if no rationale is provided in the first place, that should be immediately. But we're past that stage now.) Andrewa (talk) 20:23, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
It's certainly better to have the COI out in the open. But I think we may have resolved it without changing the article, so it didn't achieve anything in directly improving Wikipedia. Andrewa (talk) 20:58, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm accusing you of acting as a shill due to your prejudices against certain other article writers. Therefore, I'm insisting you keep it in until we establish the notability independent of the COI concerns. ScienceApologist (talk) 13:37, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
I'd advise you to drop the matter. If we have a list of notable talks, we should list anyone with a Wikipedia article unless there's a consensus for a different selection method. Although I don't think the article should be kept, and the "references" to the list are pointers to the actual talks, rather than commentary about the talks, there's no justification established for excluding Lerner, even if it was originally entered improperly. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 13:47, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm wondering if there should be a list at all. Even if the article stays, why should it act primarily as a listing clearinghouse with links to the talks? See my problem? It's beyond simply linking or unlinking to Eric Lerner. I'm over that one (and I agree with your assessment about all-or-nothing-ism). What I'm saying is that the very act of listing is an issue: External linking writ large, so to speak. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:01, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
We can't win, can we? You tag the article saying among other things that there aren't enough external references. Now you say there are too many. Andrewa (talk) 10:40, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Independent sources, anyone? ScienceApologist (talk) 14:48, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Valid issue, but different issue. All of these are useful in verifying content, which is the refimprove issue you raised. None of them help in establishing notability, and nobody ever claimed they did. Andrewa (talk) 01:00, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
What exactly are you accusing me of, and why? Andrewa (talk) 10:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Hmmmm... but perhaps we don't have the format quite right. All of the external links do help in the verifying of the list content, so they should go somewhere. But where? Andrewa (talk) 01:00, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Where to from here[edit]

The AfD was relatively easy to deal with, as there was a clear process for closing it. But I'd like to remove the articleissues tag eventually too. The four issues raised have all been discussed at some length, and it's not obvious how to satisfy the critics... other than by either deleting the article completely, which is what the AfD rejected, or perhaps by just deleting Eric Lerner from the list of speakers, which seems to have been what brought the article to their attention in the first place but which doesn't seem to have much support either.

Suggestions? Andrewa (talk) 10:40, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I think the COI issue has been dealt with, although it was clearly a problem. The questions I see remaining are:
  1. Should there be a list? (References to (not about) the individual talks on Google don't strike me as either external reference nor encyclopedic content.) I objected to removal of the list during the AfD in order to protect the AfD process, but the question of whether there should be a list is a separate one.
  2. We nned more sources about the subject. Only references 2-4 qualify as "external" (to the subject) sources. There should be more IT press coverage about Google TechTalks in general, rather than about individual talks (slashdot).
  3. As for the tags:
    1. advert has been resolved. I think only SA thinks it reads like an advertsiement.
    2. coi, although real, seems to have resolved.
    3. refimprove or primarysources seems appropriate, as we have at most one secondary source about the subject as a while whole.
    4. notability has been resolved (implicity) by the AfD result.
Arthur Rubin (talk) 13:43, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Arthur. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:55, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
OK, in the light of that I've replaced the articleissues with a simple primarysources tag. Andrewa (talk) 00:30, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Primarysources tag[edit]

As noted above, three of the four issue raised on the articleissues tag have now been resolved, so I've replaced it with a simple primarysources tag. This expands to a rather more detailed description of the problem compared to the primarysources parameter of articleissues.

Specifically it reads: This article or section needs sources or references that appear in reliable, third-party publications. Primary sources and sources affiliated with the subject of the article are generally not sufficient for a Wikipedia article. Please include more appropriate citations from reliable sources, or discuss the issue on the talk page.

There's much it doesn't say. Primary sources and sources affiliated with the subject are generally accepted as references in practice. You can make a case in terms of policy that they shouldn't be, but in practice they are. But they are not accepted as sufficient. So it's not a matter of rejecting or removing any of the existing references, rather it's a matter of finding more.

Normally, the main reason that this is necessary is the question of the notability of the subject. In the case of this article, this has been dealt with to some degree by the failed AfD, but it's still a weakness of the article IMO, even if it's not as critical a weakness as some have suggested.

Personally, I think all that's missing are pointers to some of the online articles that I'm guessing do exist but which are hard to find by way of search engines. The problem is that word Google. If you don't exclude it (let alone if you search on it), you get thousands of false positives. If you do exclude it, obviously you won't get many relevant hits... and you don't. That doesn't necessarily mean they're not there. It may just mean the search excluded them.

Suggestions welcome. Andrewa (talk) 06:35, 26 May 2008 (UTC)


Made some changes. Since this article is a former battlefield I wanted to document the rationale.

1. Renamed the article to AtGoogleTalks to encompass not only the Tech Talks but all talks in the series. Tech Talks has about 1000 talks and everything else is about 600. If this article gets big enough to justify splitting off a separate Tech Talks article, it can be done when there is enough content to justify a split. Till then for notability reasons and to avoid another AfD it should be part of the mother ship.

2. Removed the indiscriminate list of Tech Talks. Somewhat random and not needed. There are over 1000 tech talks, why list 10 here? If they are to be re-added, it should be done in prose/narrative form, describing why they are notable/significant, and not just an indiscriminate list that one editor found interesting.

3. Re: notability, this seems resolved, but this series is indeed the largest of its type anywhere that I know of. It's not just another lecture series. In less than 2 years they have put up over 1700 40-70 minute lectures by the worlds leading thinkers, authors, experts.. it's really remarkable and out of the ordinary. The problem is as another editor above pointed out, it's difficult to Google search for 3rd party sources that talk about the series as a whole -- if anyone has ideas for a search strategy or knows of journalism articles that talk of the series as a whole, that would be very helpful. Green Cardamom (talk) 03:45, 13 February 2009 (UTC)