Talk:Charles R. Pellegrino

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Category: Archaeologists?[edit]

Is this fellow an archeologist, or just a popular writer who is interested in archeology? --Tony Sidaway|Talk 00:31, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

-- Dr. Charles Pellegrino is indeed an Archaeologist. -Mr.Titanic—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

-- The article clearly states he is NOT a Doctor. Since you were wrong on that account, how are you so sure he is also an Archaeologist? Show some proof beyond his already questionable claims. -ShieldDane — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:59, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

-- In fact, Dr. Pellegrino does hold a valid doctorate, and it is the BLP that has (far too long) insinuated that he did not; and has unfairly defamed and discredited his reputation. I refer you to Item #8 "Neutrality..." on this page, for more details. Redslider (talk) 01:04, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

--- Anyone can claim that they are a doctor, or an astronaut, or an alien - but that doesn't mean we should consider such claims as fact. In each case the burden of proof rests on that individual to adequately demonstarte they are who they say they are.. Pellegrino and his supporters have not proven this, the institution he says he got a doctorate from has refuted his claims. All I asked was for proof that he had actually ever received an advanced degree in archaeology since his other claims of educational achievement have been proven fraudulent. However, I see in your user profile your arbitrary position towards Pellegrino has already been addressed so I won't press the issue further. ShieldDane (talk) 01:19, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Cleanup Tag[edit]

I added the cleanup tag (on February 27, 2007) because I feel that the quality of this article has diminished in recent months as more information has been added. More information is good, but the biographical sketch of Pellegrino (his list of previous and current jobs) reads too much like a resumé or a an "About the Author" blurb on a book jacket.

Furthermore, someone added a linked source in the text itself, instead of as a footnoted references, which I think would be the proper thing to do.

Also, someone added linked ISBN numbers after the titles of some of Pellegrino's books, which I think should be removed as this is not a standard Wikipedia practice.

In addition, the filmography section is not in a standardized format, though I tried to standardize it today as much as possible. Perhaps someone else can figure out the rest, so that each filmography reference is in the same format (title in italics, network, year released, etc.)

Finally, some of the text seems a tad awkward in its wording, not to mention a bit fawning toward Pellegrino. For example, someone wrote that he "discovered the truth" about Plato's description of Atlantis, or words to this effect. Are we sure he discovered "the truth"? I am sure some scholars and others would disagree. So I changed this phrase to "formulated a theory" to explain Plato's description of Atlantis (or words to this effect). This should not be an advertisement or fan club for Pellegrino, but a neutral recitation of important facts.

Let's work to improve this interesting article.

--Skb8721 04:47, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

I have to agree here. Also we should avoid putting in a specific book's excerpts and not putting other ones up. Consistency is lacking. The Atlantis post seems to be more of an advertisement. --Jbanning22 08:02, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

I put in some discussion of the controvery surrounding some of Dr. Pellgrino's claims, specifically citing one unsubstantiated event reported in Ghosts of the Titanic. Now it's gone, and I'd like to know how I can include this information again. --Mr. Titanic —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Image copyright problem with Image:JFTcover.jpg[edit]

The image Image:JFTcover.jpg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
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This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --05:56, 16 September 2008 (UTC)


I cleaned up ten or a dozen references. In many cases, entire citations were duplicated down the page, which propagates the same footnote repeatedly. Please use the name= parameter XML format.

Also, for those new to Wikipedia, a raw URL surrounded by ref tags is a start, but needs a lot more information. The Cite button may prove useful.

As a writer/researcher, I find the ISBN tags very useful, particularly for obscure books and journals– a reference that can't be located isn't a very good reference. Please continue including the ISBNs.

Kind regards, everyone. --UnicornTapestry (talk) 07:47, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Titanic - James Cameron movie (1997).[edit]

How is this in his Filmography? There is no ref about Cameron having even read Pellegrino's "Ghosts of the Titanic" and even if he had, the book wasn't written until 2000 (3 years after the movie).Originalname37 (Talk?) 14:48, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

I removed it.Originalname37 (Talk?) 00:33, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Revision to correct malicious intent of an editor(s) of Charles R. Pellegrino's biography[edit]


  • My final revisions were made in the 05:38, 15 February 2012‎ entry (history - red slider)
  • The original text I was revising can be viewed from the history at 10:51, 31 January 2012‎ (DBrennan3333)
  • My revisions were then reverted by 'Sparthorse' on the charge of "vandalism" (see below for a full discussion of 'Sparthorses' accusation.)

COMMENT ON MY REVISIONS OF THE TEXT - 05:38, 15 February 2012

I have read the text closely and concluded that some editor or editors had revised the original document to maliciously discredit the subject and to personally attack their integrity. I have a lengthy analysis of the text before I made my current revisions, and I will post, if necessary, to support my conclusions. In the meantime, I have already removed the inferences and assertions that Dr. Pellegrino was not awarded a Phd from Victoria University, NZ and replaced it with a brief statement of the true state of affairs, along with confirming citations. I note that it was one of the editors, David Brennan, who identified himself as the propagator of the false assertions both here, around the internet and to the news media, by his own account in the biography. While the University did variously claim for some years that Dr. Pellegrino was not awarded a degree by VUW, or that they didn't have a record, or they had no thesis from him and similar statements, as of October, 2011 they had fully reversed themselves, acknowledging the authenticity of Dr. Pellegrino's degree and confirmed that through its proper cataloging in both their main library catalogs and in the University research archives. That should put an end to the matter of the credentials of Dr. Pellegrino.

My finding is that David Brennan inserted the false claims with malicious intent to defame Dr. Pellegrino is based on several facts: First, when the matter first came to light via Mr. Brennan's wide distribution of the false charges which he stated were based upon a response he got from a University (from a secretary?) Mr. Brennan doesn't identify the actual person from whom he got the information), to wit: ""Although [Pellegrino] did do some PhD study, we can’t find any record of him actually completing or graduating." (see original text under 'Controversies'), Mr. Brenna acknowledges in the same section that Dr. Pellegrino made plausible rebuttal to the University's claim about his status. In that circumstance, Mr. Brennan should have known better than simply to repeat defamatory assertions from a second party (the university) that was now a defendant in a matter concerning their improper behavior. Mr. Brennan provides no source and no documentation that would even show the University would stand behind their statment, let alone that it was the true state of affairs (as it turned out not to be). Again, by the text's own assertion, Mr. Brennan is the party who then proceeded to distribute the false accusation to the media, including the New York Times and the Associated Press. The assertions were then printed, unvetted by the reporters except perhaps to check with the university again. The matter then went viral, and was generally circulated and repeated - some of which it must be presumed was due to the assertions made in the Wikipedia biography.

Finally, it should be asked, what possible motive might Mr. Brennan have for so quickly rushing to judgment about Dr. Pellegrino's status, and of promoting false claims (claims which have now been proven to be false) on such scant and unresearched information? The answer is close at hand, and one need only do a google search on Mr. Brennan to discover his connection with the "9/11 truthers" (or "9/11 deniers" depending on one's point of view). For example, read the exchanges between Mr. Brennan and Dr. Pellegrino at Here, we see that Dr. Pellegrino's refusal, as a forensic archeologist who was on-site at the WTC shortly after the collapse, to support Mr. Brennan's 'truther conspiracy theories'. We can also see how quickly Mr. Brennan's part of the dialog degenerates into sarcasm and ad hominem attack on Dr. Pellegrino. So now we have means (Wikipedia editor status), motive (Dr. Pellegrino disagrees with a position that Mr. Brennan passionately holds) and opportunity (the Biographical entry). That is generally enough to make a fairly substantial accusation about someone who has been instrumental in maligning the character of a person falsely accused, and who was also a direct participant in making that accusation. The final word on the matter is that the accusations turned out to be false, and the removal of any material that, by inference or direct assertions, continues to malign Dr. Pellegrino should be removed. The only thing that belongs in the biography is the brief note on the matter, which I made in my revisions, that sets the record straight about the so-called "controversy". That much, at least is due Dr. Pellegrino (along with substantial apologies from the perpetrators, which I suppose he will never receive).


I have just received a personal Wikipedia message from "Sparthorse", re my revisions, which I find both quite disturbing and germane. Sparthorse writes:

"Please do not introduce incorrect information into articles, as you did to Charles R. Pellegrino. Your edits appear to be vandalism and have been reverted. If you believe the information you added was correct, please cite references or sources or discuss the changes on the article's talk page before making them again. If you would like to experiment, use the sandbox. Thank you. Sparthorse (talk) 07:05, 15 February 2012 (UTC) "

First, I should mention that I made it quite clear in the history 'edit description' that citations/sources would be added soon." That should let anyone know to hold any questions about sources for a time. Second, in hundreds of Wikipedia articles I've reviewed, the usual protocol for lack of citations is just that, to mention that citations or sources are needed. I've never seen one that charged "vandalism" for a missing citation - especially not on revisions that supported the integrity and character of the subject. The charge of 'vandalism' here seems to have motive other than simply calling attention to a missing citation. More so, since the accuser didn't even bother to use it as a "warning" but hastened to revert the material as quickly as possible. Something smell fishy here?

I find several things quite disturbing about this note from 'Sparthorse': First, 'Sparthorse' does not indicate exactly which edit(s) he objects to, which ones he expects "citations" for, or why he categorizes it/them as "vandalism". According to Wikipedia definitions,

"Vandalism is any addition, removal, or change of content in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia. Examples of typical vandalism are adding irrelevant obscenities and crude humor to a page, illegitimately blanking pages, and inserting obvious nonsense into a page."

By what stretch of the imagination can my edits be considered vandalism? Indeed, it doesn't take much in the way of reading comprehension skills to know that I not only did not "compromise the integrity of Wikipedia", my revisions specifically upheld the integrity of Wikipedia by preventing a continuing malicious attack on a living subject, and by removing the offending material. That, I would offer is in the best tradition of what Wikipedia is about. Nor, did I use an "obscenity", "crude humor", "illegitimate blank pages" or insertions of "obvious nonsense". I think, rather, it is 'Sparthorse' who has vandalized my revisions, and I insist he restore my revisions at once or give citations and evidence to support his charge.

Wikipedia goes on to say in its "vandalism policy" that:

"Even if misguided, willfully against consensus, or disruptive, any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia is not vandalism. Edit warring over content is not vandalism. Careful consideration may be required to differentiate between edits that are beneficial, detrimental but well-intentioned, and vandalizing. Mislabelling good-faith edits as vandalism can be considered harmful."

It should be quite clear to anyone that my revisions of the Charles Pellegrino's biography were absolutely in good faith, as well as properly corrective and within policy. What could be more in good faith than removing malicious and inaccurate material that inserts an ad hominem attack on someone's character?

If 'Sparthorse' does not immediately restore my revision, en toto, then I will present this matter to the community of administrators and, if necessary, formally charge him with vandalism of my text and ask that other administrators remove/block him from further interference with Dr. Pellegrino's biographical page.

Red Slider Redslider (talk) 09:30, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

You removed sourced material from a biography of a living person and replaced it with unsourced material. The sources you removed were not a single blogger, as your update claimed, but an article in the New York Times. If you have independent, published sources to show that Victoria University has reversed its position since the NYT article, then quote the sources when you make the change. A vague "I'll add sources later" is not sufficient when dealing with biographical articles about living people: please see WP:BLP. If you have proper sources that show Pellegrino was awarded a PhD, then I have no objection to altering the article to demonstrate that. The fact that he submitted a thesis is not the same as him being awarded a PhD. Sparthorse (talk) 15:42, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Reply To 'Spartahorse' Comment (above):

1) It is routine practice for editors to indicate that source material "is needed" or "will follow" - either by the editors themselves or by others noting that such sources are needed. Read nearly any history of any substantive entry on Wikipedia and you will find numerous notations such as "sources needed" and the like. However, I challenge you to show me one in which text was immediately reverted (without warning, I might add) or charges of "vandalism" leveled at someone for failure to provide a citation or source at the time of posting. If that ever happens, I am certain it is one of the rarest events Wikipedia every experiences;

2) I made no claim that all materials revised were by a single blogger (David Brennan). Only that the material sourced and attributed to him was by him. No reference to the editorship of other revisions was stated or implied. Only that all the revisions made during those session related to questions concerning Dr. Pellegrino's degree;

3) The source was given and referenced as item '[10]' - which provided links to the University Catalog accession records of both the main library catalog and the university research archives (see, e.g. Those links were provided within an hour of the textual revisions themselves;

4) Dr. Pellegrino hadn't simply "submitted a thesis" as you suggest. A thesis that is merely "Submitted" goes on another shelf, entirely. You will note, in the catalog entry for Dr. Pellegrino, the degree level is "doctoral"; the degree name is "Doctor of Philosophy"; the publisher is VUW; the grantor is VUW; and, the VUW type is an "awarded doctoral thesis". You will also note that the copyright date of the thesis is 2011-10-28, while the accession and issue dates are 2011-10-28. A Phd thesis with the schema type of "awarded doctoral thesis" is a very different kind of animal. It is one which has completed its review and been accepted; and, a very different species of document from the one the university described/dismissed as "some Phd. study."

5) Even a researcher with only rudimentary skills would be suspicious and skeptical of a statement by the university such as the one quoted on the wiki page, "Although [Pellegrino] did do some PhD study, we can’t find any record of him actually completing or graduating." As anyone with any experience in such matters knows, thesis acceptance and award is the final and completing step towards earning one's doctoral degree. Given the time gap in copyright/publication date and accession/issue date, it is the University's statement, rather than the validity of the degree that is called into question. This would be especially true in the case that assertions which would malign and impugn the character of the subject were being made on the basis of such a vague and unsourced statement ass the one that Brennan offers as the sole evidence for questioning Dr. Pellegrino's degree. The next level of "evidence" or sourcing would be to insist the subject produce a transcript of their course of studies, or a certificate from the university (which we know the university would not have offered from their delay in conceding the matter by post-hoc installation of Dr. Pellegrino's record until October 2011.)

If anything, a responsible historian would err on the side of avoiding slander of the subject based on such flimsy evidence. The articles in the NYT, AP and elsewhere are irrelevant, as they were based, in whole or part, on Mr. Brennan's precipitous alerts and similarly questionable responses from the University, which is clearly a party in the dispute. It wouldn't be the first time news media got something wrong, or didn't properly authenticate material. News articles are hardly sufficient evidence in bona fide research concerning accusatory or defamatory information (and we wonder why you didn't call the editors on that usage; rather than censoring me, though I provided much stronger, sourced evidence to the contrary). It is reprehensible that Mr. Brennan's initiation of the complaint, and your failure to demand a modicum of proof be provided by Mr. Brennan and his media "sources" that matters were not precisely as Dr. Pellegrino has described them. Your failure to regard Brennan, et. al.'s text as "vandalism", instead insisting that I produce further argument and sourcing than I have indicates to me that you are not properly prepared to accuse others of "vandalism" and deface their text. Unless, perhaps, you can show me another case where an editor's unsourced evidence (a "phone call" and "somebody at the university") is sufficient to overturn documentary evidence (a university library's documentation) were considered sufficient to impugn someone's character and integrity;

6) The New York Times articles and other media, by Mr. Brennan's own admission, were prompted and sourced to his own campaign asserting the degrees were false. To then reuse material prompted by himself, simply because they had been reported in the news, and based on very flimsy evidence is, at best, a highly questionable and conflicted interest for an editor. Again, sufficient and proper sourcing have been provided by me for the scope of the revisions I made. Your estimate of their inadequacy appears to be as baseless as your charge of "vandalism" which in no way comports with documented Wikipedia policy on the matter. Your actions, 'Sparahorse', now appear more related to some desire on your part to misconstruct some inapplicable technical argument and to maintain the malicious character assination of Dr. Pellegrino which my sourced revisions were designed to correct;

My Notice of Intent Stands (see below). I will proceed to take this matter up before the community of administrators.

(and please, unless you have something really substantive to say in reply, save it for a full review by the Wikipedia administrator community. What you offered was sufficiently shallow as to pretty much be a waste of time in responding to it. Unless, of course, you elect to simply restore my revisiona in their entirety, in which case the matter becomes moot.)

PS: I really suggest you go back and read the original title to this 'Talk' entry. Your remarks show absolutely no understanding of the care and special effort that needs to be taken when text is written about a living person (or dead, for that matter) that would malign their character and work. Then go back and ask yourself, on which side of the concern should demands for "proof" fall?

Redslider (talk) 18:29, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Notice of Intent To Charge 'Spartahorse' With Improper Application of Wikipedia Policy On Vandalism[edit]

The individual who goes by the name 'Spartahorse' has had ample time to respond to my request that he explain his action (reversion) concerning my revisions on the Pellegrino page; and that he either defend his charge of "vandalism" against me, or immediate restore all text he reverted based upon that false claim. (cf. my previous 'Talk' item on "Revisions" to Dr. Pellegrino's page)

Considering how quickly 'Spartahorse' responded by reverting good faith revisions made to the biography of Charles R. Pellegrino, falsely charging the editor (myself) with "vandalism" (see above section), I am now providing notice of intent to bring the matter before the Wikipedia community of administrators for their consideration and action. In brief, I will be requesting that the the revisions I made on Dr.Pellegrino's page which were reverted by 'Spartahorse' be immediately and fully restored; and, that the individual who uses the handle 'Spartahorse' (and by whatever other aliases he/she may be known) be blocked from doing or causing any further edits or administrative actions on the subject page.

Redslider (talk) 15:55, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

See my reply above. Sparthorse (talk) 16:10, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Your huge deletions of sourced material and otherwise and subsequent replacement with unsourced material can easily be labelled as vandalism.Curb Chain (talk) 09:10, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
There were no "huge deletions" of material, only the two paragraps sourced to false and misleading material (news articles, etc) concerning the status of Pellegrino's degree, and other minor edits in places where doubt about his degree was implied (e.g. "claims to have...") were removed. Those revisions were narrowly constrained to text that cast doubt on the matter or would tend to defame or cause harm to a living person. Nor can any charge of "Vandalism" be supported, neither in the intent, content or quantity of revision. We suggest 'Curbchain' read the Wikipedia page on vandalism and challege him/her to find any thing in that definition that would qualify my revisions as "vandalism". If not, we invite him/her to apologize for his/her remark. We also suggest that 'Curbchain' read the Wikipedia policy on the biographies of living persons, especially those paragraphs referring to causing harm to a living person, victimizing, etc.. Or does 'Curbchain' contend that falsely casting doubt on a person degree (or using news articles and other sources that are merely repeating or slanting such information) does not cause serious harm and defame the character of the living person to whom it is directed?. If so, let Curbchain say so. (I will shortly post a separate talk item "re: Neutrality and Dr. Pellegrino's degree" dealing with this matter in more detail) Finally, does 'Curbchain' contend that the removing the presence of text (sourced or otherwise), if there is any shred of doubt that the text is not entirely true and completely verified in all particulars that can continue to do serious harm by discrediting or impugning the character of a living person, does not take precedence over all other considerations? If so, let him/her say so (and I again refer 'Curbchain to the BLP page and numerous other cautions throughout Wikipedia. Redslider (talk) 20:42, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree that your edits probably should not be characterised as vandalism, but I also suggest that you remember that Pellegrino does not claim to have a PhD. I don't see anyone agreeing with you that there is a BLP violation here. We do have WP:BLPN but you've already been to dispute resolution already and didn't get support there. Everyone, let's stop discussing editor's behavior here please. Dougweller (talk) 21:59, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Dougweller, You apparently haven't reviewed much of the material surrounding these matters. Good idea if you do, before commenting. Dr. Pellegringo certainly has stated that he holds a valid Phd. from VUW. Even the text of the reverted BLP states that much (as well as his website, sourced references, hundreds of online references, his books, his employment history and any other place where he might specify his educational status. As far as what you "see" about agreement in support, you appear to make the same mistake as others who have maliciously constructed his BLP. They assert,if it cannot be proven that something is true, it must be false (and, re the degree, it has been proven the degree is valid). Indeed, I've seen support, so go read again. In fact, read your own statement here. If you agree that the " edits probably should not be characterized as vandalism", then you have supported a very real and serious charge against the editor who used that excuse to entirely revert my revisions; revisions intended (and proved valid) to prevent further harm in a BLP. I also point out that "dispute resolution" is only one of the first and modest venues for complaint - and that my primary question to them, in any case, was to obtain the proper venues for serious consideration of my charges of 'abuse of authority' on the part of an editor, preparatory to seeking disciplinary remedy. You don't seem to understand that these matters are precisely about "editors" and their behavior on Wikipedia. Indeed, the first thing required is to end the harm being maliciously done to the subject by editors. Not less, however, is the question of editors who cause that harm and then attempt to prevent it from being corrected (and there is much more to come, in the proper venues, than what has been discussed so far). So please stop telling "everyone" else what to do, or not do, when you, yourself, don't seem to appreciate the facts or the issues involved in the matter. This is not a popularity or support contest, 'Dougweller' Redslider (talk) 00:12, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
This is a BLP issue and you've now removed reliably sourced statements you don't like, including one from the university, and edited the article so we are now claiming that he has a PhD without any source. Dougweller (talk) 06:31, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

re "Neutrality" of the Biography and Preventing Further Continuing Harm To a Living Person[edit]

The biography, post-reversion by 'Sparthorse', continues to suggest that there is doubt about the validity of Dr. Pellegrino's degree. 'Spartahorse' persists in his/her contention that the catalog entry for Charles R. Pellegrino applies only to matter of his thesis shelved in the library and says nothing about the status of his doctorate. In this, we can presume that 'Spartahorse' does not have a doctorate and knows little or nothing about the process, nor the meaning of having your thesis acknowledged by a university library as an "awarded doctoral thesis". In light of his/her ignorance in such matters, 'Spartahorse' then continues to insist on retaining material that is defamatory or maligns the character of Dr. Pellegrino. Permit me to enlighten 'Spartahorse' and any others who think we should persist in including any material that might doubt the validity of the degree, or employ sources which merely repeated such claims or have improperly vetted such claims and merely repeat and circulate them.

The Meaning of an "awarded doctoral thesis

In the parlance of doctoral candidacy procedures, as anyone who has gone through the process knows, the installation of one's thesis in the University library of record as an "awarded doctoral thesis" (or variants of that designation, depending on the university) is the full and legal equivalent designator that the degree has been conferred. University libraries are held to very strict scrutiny of these records and have established processes to insure the accuracy and validity of their catalogs of student theses as legal documents. Charles R. Pellegrino's Phd. thesis record and thesis is held in both the main catalogs and Research Archives at Victoria University, Wellington. Lest there be any doubt about the meaning of that installation of record (and for the enlightenment of those unfamiliar with the meaning of them) the following communication from the Digital Initiatives Coordinator of Technological Services at the Wellington Library, should be helpful

In response to my question, "That is, given the follow catalog descriptors and information,

"vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Doctoral Thesis en_NZ Zoology en_NZ Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ Doctoral en_NZ Doctor of Philosophy en_NZ
along with VUW publication designation, accession dates, etc.
can one presume the student has gotten their degree?"

The Co-ordinator replied with the following statement,

In answer no Thesis is included in the Research Archive that has not already been awarded.
All degrees are conferred. Some recent ones may be in before actual graduation, but they have
all been passed. The process is that after a Thesis is passed the student must deposit a copy
with the library before graduation.
You can accept the Awarded Doctoral Thesis at face value."
Michael Parry
Digital Initiatives Co-ordinator
Technology Services
The Library
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 3438, Wellington, New Zealand"

I call your attention to Mr. Parry's statement: All degrees are conferred. For those who are familiar with these processes, that is nothing new. For those who are not, it should settle the matter. And, for those who would cling to some notion that Dr. Pellegrino's degree was not conferred, like an Obama birther who will not accept any evidence on any grounds, we would be inclined to suspect that their real agenda was to defame and discredit Dr. Pellegrino, rather than any mask such as "valid sourcing" or "verfied" they might choose to cloak themselves with.

The matter should be settled now. Since October, 2011, Dr. Pellegrino's conferred degree of Doctor of Philosophy has been established. There does remain the puzzle of a publication/copyright date of 1983; and the library accession date of 2011. It does tend to discredit Vice-chancellor Pat Walsh's statement that,

"Accordingly, Pellegrino was never awarded a Ph.D. from Victoria and therefore could not have had it stripped from him or reinstated at a later date.”

In any case, the matter of the date discrepancy is separate and unrelated to the validity of the degree itself. No part of the Wikipedia BLP on Dr. Pellegino can even suggest the degree might be invalid, without violating Wikipedia's policies on avoidance of harm in BLPs.

On the matter of "Neutrality" and the current BLP, it is appreciated that a few editors have now begun modest attempts to render a more neutral document. However, given the evidence that any prior inferences of its "invalidity" or, that it was never conferred, turned out to be inaccurate, "neutrality" has no bearing. The claims are simply false and a neutral BLP would not even introduce the subject (as it does not when treating education in thousands other Wikipedia BLPs), but merely indicates, under 'Education' references that a subject earned their Phd at wherever &so forth....

I plan to revise the document accordingly, Or some other neutral party can do so, provided there are no more credible objections here. I think this should end the matter, concerning the degree except for false charges of "vandalism" and other issues that might have arisen incidental to my attempts to correct the record. But those are subjects to be addressed in other venues. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Redslider (talkcontribs) 22:17, 16 February 2012 (UTC) Redslider (talk) 23:23, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

So you are suggesting that a statement by a "Digital Initiatives Co-ordinator, Technology Services, The Library, Victoria University of Wellington" is to be assumed to be more authoratitive then that of a Vice-chancellor of the same institution? This seems somewhat implausible to me. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:24, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. The Co-ordinator didn't authenticate Pellegrino's record. The Library did; and they are the principle authoritative source (and legally bound to be so) to confirm credentials and proper installation of the student record. Go argue with them, if you disagree with their judgment. The Vice-Chancellor actually is a poor source as an authority on student status; it is not within his job description. It was a photo-op response for a series of transgressions that the university made at that time and was trying to cover up (in fact, six students were given the same after-graduation treatment as Pellegrino.) The university has had to cover its ass on this. Simply because some Vice-Chancellor or some NYT article or some other so-called "authority" says something, doesn't make it true. And, where there are other motives that these "authorities" may have for their statements, it suggests to any half-conscientious biographical researcher that the "authorities" may be wrong. In this case the evidence goes not with the Vice-Chancellor, nor to the Coordinator (who only specifies, and is authorized to specify, what the designators mean; what library policy is). The evidence goes to the record of fact; and that record is the library catalogs of the university. The principle issue here is that there is harm and injury being done to a BLP (as well as sufficient evidence that it is completely false.) It is Wikipedia policy as well as common decency not to cause harm or cause to propagate harm and defamation in the BLP. That should trump all other arguments considerations. Or do you disagree with Wikipedia's policy, too? Redslider (talk) 23:23, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, libraries may have holdings and have security mechanisms to screen entries into their databases but that does not give the library authority to award Ph.D degrees to Ph.D candidates. As AndyTheGrump, I agree that it would be implausible to have a library award a Ph.D.Curb Chain (talk) 01:17, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
1) Are you suggesting that the library record for Pellegrino may have been tampered with to reflect his degree acquisition? I know of no one, at any time, who has suggested that rather wildly speculative notion. If you have some kind of evidence that may have happened, please present it. Otherwise the introduction of 'library security' is irrelevant fantasy. 2) Even a cursory reading of my remarks would tell you that there wasn't a single suggestion that the library somehow 'awarded the degree' to Dr. Pellegrino. If you can find one, please let me, and other readers, know. Otherwise, please stop pretending something was said that wasn't. 2) The library's role in the matter is to receive student theses, to confirm they are authorized and certified by various people in the School and the Department of record, that the student did their work; there are faculty and advisors and other university staff that must first approve and sign off on these matters. There is a permission slip thst goes to the library with numerous items that are all verified and signed-off before the record is created. A whole lot of things happen before the library creates the catalog item and establishes the record of a "conferred degree". I take it you and AndytheGrump are totally unfamiliar with such processes. A library, in this case is not simply a "database" that passively receives information. It is the certifying step in a long process. So when you say something like, "I agree that it would be implausible to have a library award a Ph.D." you are really just showing your ignorance in these matters and, this is really not the place to instruct you in the practice of Library Science. Redslider (talk) 03:30, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Even if the library were to be "the principle authoritative source (and legally bound to be so) to confirm credentials and proper installation of the student record", you haven't given any evidence that they were asked to do so in the particular case of Pellegrino, if I understand correctly - instead they were apparently asked an abstract question, to which they gave a general answer - or rather, a 'Digital Initiatives Co-ordinator, Technology Services' did - do you have any evidence that this person is a 'principle authoritative source' when it comes to the particular issue we are discussing? And as for defamation, we report what the cited sources say - the NYT, quoting the vice chancellor. Is there any evidence that Pellegrino has asked either the NYT or the vice chancellor to withdraw their statement? AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:51, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
User:Redslider, you also seem to have a problem with the sourced content of the article. Might I suggest WP:OTRS or WP:OFFICE if you have a problem with the defamation of the person in question.Curb Chain (talk) 02:17, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Again, AndytheGrump, the library is the principle source of this information; they are the ones who verify and archive those records. There is no "if" about it. Is that really so hard a concept for you to understand? And I do wish you would read the comments I make, rather than just substituting your own text for my actual statements. The question I asked the senior library staff member (who actually handles these processes, for your information) was the very specific question that, given the catalog designators which I provided (and which were copied directly from Dr. Pellegino's record), "can one presume the student has gotten their degree?" There is nothing "abstract" about that at all, it is quite specific. And the applicability of the answer was equally specific (for any record containing that information) then, for the record in which that information appears, "all degrees are conferred." Since the information supplied was from the record of interest (Pellegrino's), and the answer given was for the information supplied there is nothing abstract at all in the matter. Pellegrino's record shows that "all degrees are conferred." If you're having trouble with understanding that, then I can only suggest that several courses in logic would be your only recourse.

To others, these endless specious dodges, such as the ones from AndytheGrump and Curbchain (above), as you can see, hardly amount to more than transparent attempts to evade the real matter and preserve the BLPs obvious defamatory and harmful remarks about a living person. What their motives might be, I have no idea. But that they either cannot understand the issues or simply wish to deliberately misunderstand them is patently obvious. The important issue in the matter is that a man is being harmed by unfounded claims (directly and from unreliable sourced material) and insinuations in the text of the BLP. This is in direct violation of Wikipedia policy (regardless of the evidence otherwise, and even if there should be only cause for doubt that the defamatory material is true.) That is the overriding issue in the matter, and that the defamation, discrediting and maligning of Dr. Pellegrino's character must cease immediately. That is what Wikipedia requires of all of us; and, it should be what we require of ourselves. The continuing evasion and attempt to preserve the reverted text is an insult to all of us as well as to the target of the attack. Redslider (talk) 03:30, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

ps. as far as your comment on sourcing goes, you will need to specify exactly what sourcing you are referring to and why you find it inadequate (if you wish to be helpful, you can also provide suggestions to improve it). Redslider (talk) 03:25, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Ok, I saw there was an ongoing issue here, and tried to get to the bottom of it - and for my pains I get insulted? I'm quite capable of replying in kind, but frankly can't be bothered. Redslider, your unsourced assertions as to the relative merits of 'Library Science' vs university vice-chancellors are just that - unsourced, and of no relevance to the content of our article. We have a statement in a published source to the effect that Pellegrino never got a doctorate, and nothing whatsoever to indicate that he did beyond your opinions. Wikipedia policy is to go by the sources, not to conduct our own investigations into the 'truth' - and then become out own judge and jury on the 'evidence' we find. Nothing you say is going to affect Wikipedia's stance, which is that we can cite the NYT as quoting the vice-chancellor to the effect that Pellegrino has no PhD. End of story. AndyTheGrump (talk)
No insults intended. My remarks are entirely directed at your arguments, which hold very little validity and show considerable misreading, and very faulty logic. Your last remarks show similar misconstruction. 1) my talk remark on the validity of the degree is quite well sourced. I included the name, title and address of the senior official at the Library who provided the information. This may be verified and resourced by anyone who cares to do so. I am sure they will get the same answer. 2) I would also remind you, the item that began the assault on Dr. Pellegrino's reputation was the pasage in the Controversies>doctorate section of the reverted BPL in which David Brennen sourced himself as "the blogger" ("Doubts about Pellegrino's doctoral degree were initially investigated by a blogger.[7][8]"), and then goes on to allegedly quote an unsourced university person. The passage in the BLP continues, "When asked, Pellegrino's purported university responded to the blogger, "Although [Pellegrino] did do some PhD study, we can’t find any record of him actually completing or graduating." (quote of an unsourced, unidentifed "university person", which David Brennan then finds sufficient reason for spreading a story about Pellegrino not having a degree all over the net, the media and here at Wikipedia). To whit, The passage goes on to state that "the blogger", enlisting some (unsourced) veteran's organization (and one might ask what an (unsourced) veteran's organization has to do with Pellegrino's degree?) circulated the (unsourced, and untrue) information to the media, where the story was recirculated. The only additional sourcing seems to be of the Vice-Chancellor, whom as we noted is not really charged with the job of maintaining student records. Contrast that hatchet job on a man's reputation, to my having checked with persons (sourced by name, title, address) in a position at the university that is directly responsible for the interpretation and application of library records about student degrees and their status. That should be sufficient source, in itself. However, in addition, I gave plausible reason why VC Walsh (who is qouted in the secondary, derivative news accounts) is a less reliable source (student status is not in his portfolio; it is in Mr. Parry's portfolio), but also pointed out a glaring contradiction in Walsh's statement that there was no further action on Pellegrino's record. There certainly had to be, unless one wishes to conjure up a record that mysteriously disappears In 1983 and then suddenly reappears in 2011 without any intervening action or event to make that happen. That would be the equivalent of action-at-a-distance (and I note, Dr. Pellegrino's degree was not in quantum mechanics, so don't even try to go there.) All to say, you would criticize my evidence and sourcing when the sourcing that began the matter is missing or doubtful ("the blogger?" "Veterans?" ...) and the derivative sources (NYT etc.) are riddled with contradiction? But you continue to evade the most critical issue of all; even presuming that my evidence was less than it ought to be for a perfect case, do you question the Wikipedia policies that forbid defamation and malinging of a BLPs character where even the slightest doubt of its truth might exist? That is what most puzzles me. Your argue the matter on split-hairs of evidence and yet fail to get that what is being done to Dr. Pellegrino's reputation is forbidden by policy (not to mention decency and the protection of Wikipedia's reputation). Is that the scale you would weigh the matter upon? Some nit-pick over some species of evidence? I sincerely hope not. This is no longer a case where the target of the attack, or me or anyone else needs to prove that Dr. Pellegrino has his Phd. Rather it falls to his detractors to prove that he doesn't. And we see no evidence for that, other than the questionable remarks of a university official, somewhat removed from actual status of the student and contradicting himself in his own statements; and a Wikipedia editor of the malicious BLP who has clear extra-biographical motives in attacking Dr. Pellegrino (see, e.g. "September 11th Conspiracies" ) Are you saying you'd like to keep hanging a man on that kind of evidence? I've got a vigilante group you might like to join. Redslider (talk) 05:13, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Nobody is hanging anyone. But why does Pellegrino's reputation matter more to you than the vice-chancellor's does? Why are you so intent on proving that someone who you assert was 'defamed' by the NYT but seems to have done nothing about it is somehow a victim of some sort of vendetta on Wikipedia? As fas already been pointed out, if Pellegrino himself considers this to be a matter of significance, he can contact Wikipedia directly through channels that don't involve public discussion (WP:OTRS, WP:OFFICE), but otherwise we can only go on what the source we cite says - and the fact that a blogger said it first is neither here nor there. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:35, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
When you cast doubt, without real proof, on the validity of someone's assertion that they have an earned Phd. you are hanging them. you are defaming their reputation, their integrity, and the very thing they have spent years to obtain (not to mention beaucoup dollars on). Do you lack sufficient empathy to get that? I guess so. As far as who's reputation is worth what, that's not the point. One of them is unjustly being assaulted (I understand the other is embroiled in a scandal of their own making, but that's the VC's problem). It's really none of our business what Pellegrino has done or not done about this. Its what editors here have done or not done to Pellegrino that matters. (Why some of them have done it, is a matter for later, but that will come out eventually). Your role seems to be just blindly understanding little and talking a lot and fawning over authority - as if VC were somehow more worthy of justice than an ordinary biologist or a chimney sweep. If that is really your value system you really have no business being here. It sounds like a personal problem to me, and I can't really help you with that.

Now at BLPN[edit]

Since Redslider has ignored evryone else here and at DRN I've taken this to WP:BLPN. Dougweller (talk) 06:32, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Very glad you did. My ignoring people who falsely or maliciously do harm to someone's reputation is an act consistent with best traditions, intent and policy of WP. The proof of accuracy is not in how many people weigh in on the matter on what side, but the correctness of the argument. In that, the detractors have only made specious arguments based, at best, on questionable sources. I suggest you read the page on BPL Biorgraphies linked at the top of every edit page. It says, "the possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment. " Not one of the detractors has even mentioned that consideration, or taking it into account in their arguments. It will be fair to charge anyone who removes a living persons earned degree (as recorded in official documents of the school where it was earned) with injuring a living persons reputation and committing malicious vandalism. this is not a popularity contest nor a quest for splitting source-hairs to see if we can continue to impugn a man's character. The written record of the university is the official record in the matter (not second source news reports and Wiki "blogger" hearsay). It pretty much trumps anything anyone else has to say about the question of Pellegrino's degree. Redslider (talk) 07:24, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Would you care to enlighten us as to why you consider this to be an 'official record'. Downloading the supposed thesis [1] reveals it to be a document of 28 pages. As much as I'd like to believe that one could theoretically get a PhD from 28 well-argued, condensed pages of enlightened prose, I'm less than convinced that this is plausible in this case, given that it seems to be a statement of the blindingly-obvious: that crabs, having evolved in the sea, are maladapted to living on land, but that bigger ones can boldly scuttle sideways further before their ancestry catches up with them, on the basis that their surface-area to volume ratio makes them dry out more slowly. Who'd of thunk it? Isn't science wonderful... AndyTheGrump (talk) 08:07, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I've seen the BLPN notice. I will very firmly agree with those who take the view that we would need a source meeting WP:RS to support the PhD claim, and a library record won't cut it, particularly if there's a good secondary source that contradicts the primary (library) source. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 08:28, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)(@Redslider): WP:BLP states if something is unsourced and does impugn the character of a livingperson, it can be immediately removed. You have gone past consensus and started to edit war. I see a block in the future from further editing if you continue to do so.Curb Chain (talk) 08:32, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

'Curbchain, are you sure you haven't got something backwards. Like it impugns someones character if you say someone doesn't have a degree and they say they do. (& I'd say you'd better have very strong proof if you do - a few news reports sourced to a Wiki editor with an axe to grind (D. Brennan) and a self-contradictory VC statement, second-hand from a columnist, don't cut it.) If you say someone has a degree (even if they don't) that doesn't impugn them. Do you get that? you've turned the WP:BLP entirely around if you think my editing impugns anyone. Its the detractors that defame and impugn. Got it? As for sourcing, read again - impugning or harming someone is the operative term, not 'sourcing' (nice if the sources are lined up, but more important that we are not ruining someone's reputation.) Its a biography, not a shooting gallery. (talk) 11:18, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

I've now reviewed the deleted material discussing the PhD issue, and it's quite obviously well-sourced and belongs in the article. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 08:37, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Good Nomosk..., then we can now officially include you as one of the editors who is maligning and impugning the character of a living person? So noted, thank you. (talk) 11:18, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

What is interesting in these final comments is that none of you seem to know what a Research Archive really is, or what the thesis catalog is about. You seem to think it is like some kind of little library card index, down by the teachers lunchroom, perhaps; or some kind of 3x5's of titles that "don't cut it" as an offical record, or a "database" perhaps that some entry clerk sits at all day, endlessly put in long titles. It is none of those. It is an official record of a very expensive and laborious course of study that includes an original contribution at the end of day; and it is the only record, at the end of that day, that employers, publishers, colleagues, foundations, and a dozen other places rely on to certify the authenticity of the credentials of someone. In short, its a process that students pay dearly for and which validates their labor. It has hundreds of legal, archival and other compliance regulations attached to it. In short represent the official status of one's educational achievement and a hell of a lot of work. Consider what it means to the individual, and you can see how silly your dismissive remarks are. What? You think people who get their Phd.s walk off some stage with a sheepskin rolled up under their arms? That's what it sounds like you think. Even more ignorant are AndytheGrumps remarks, trying to pass judgement on someone's doctoral thesis are you (got your doctorate in biology do you?), and equating length with acceptance. Geesh, I'd sure like to have you on my thesis committee. I could just write all day for a few weeks and get passed on quantity by you. The doctoral thesis is a work that makes an original contribution to the field in which it is applicable. What part of 'original contribution' is so hard to understand? If you can do it in 3 pages, its as good as if it takes 500, my friend. Obviously you don't understand a paragraph of Pellegrino's thesis or you would know what its contributions are. Plenty of reputable biologists who still use his methods do. For now, its enough to say that you are hardly the person to judge it and that any judgement is entirely irrelevant to the discussion - way off-topic. Its enough that VUW accepted it and cataloged it and granted a degree based on it. You judgment doesn't matter. Judge your own life if you like.

That's really it. You folks haven't had much real to say. A few bad sources (false ones) and one really bad one, the originating deal by Brennan that wasn't even sourced at all, some idolizing of authority figures, as if truth comes with titles like 'VC'. What else, oh yes, library security and the possibility of break-ins, and catalogs that some of you think are made to store 'Dick&Jane' 3x5's. Yes that's about what your arguments amount to. What's it look like boys, a solid platform to keep up your violation of WP:BLP policy? (talk) 11:18, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Please don't edit logged out. And stop making attacks on other editors. Dougweller (talk) 12:36, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Amusing. You've obviously never worked in an academic library. Paul B (talk) 18:23, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Just received the following email from the media contact at VUW:

Hi Garrett,
Please excuse the delay in responding to your email. The University library catalogue was incorrect and the references have been removed. Sorry for any confusion.

I believe that should settle the issue. (P.S. - Madeleine Setchell is the contact listed on the webpage, but she's on parental leave, which is why the email above is signed "Maria".)--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 14:16, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Obviously, this is evidence that the university is engaged in a cover up. Gamaliel (talk) 16:49, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, realised we need to sort out the sources before we can determine whether there is a BLP violation[edit]

All these accusations distracted me from focussing on the fact that until we determine which of the sources are reliable and which not we can't say that there's been a BLP violation, so I've started a thread at WP:RSN and noted at BLPN that the discussion should continue there. Dougweller (talk) 12:38, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

WP:DRN case closeed[edit]

In case anyone missed this, I'll copy it here: ""Consensus is clear that we cannot claim that Pellegrino has a PhD with the sources we currently have. If Redslider continues to edit against this consensus then a request for comment on user conduct may become necessary. Best regards, Mr. Stradivarius (talk) 7:22 am, Today (UTC+0)" Dougweller (talk) 14:52, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

WP:BPLN,RSN,&mediation NOT CLOSED[edit]

Warnings and threats such as this one:

"Please stop adding unsourced content, as you did to Charles R. Pellegrino. This contravenes Wikipedia's policy on verifiability. If you continue to do so, you may be blocked from editing Wikipedia. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 08:05, 19 February 2012 (UTC)"

have been made to editor Red Slider, on his user page and elsewhere. The surfacing of considerable information regarding the status of Pellegrino's degree have been posted at active discussions here and at WP:RSN and other venues. In addition, the editor note on the Pellegrino history page of my recent revisions to correct the record as appropriate, make clear the foundation of the revision, for which no contrary evidence or policy has been give. The serious questions about the sources used to make the allegations that Pellegrino's degree is invalid are now highly questionable (WP:RSN), plus the posting on the RSN that gold-standard, secondary sources have comfimed that his degree "has been conferred" WP:RSN and in other discussions. [ WP:BPL] states:

"Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced—whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion.[2] Users who persistently or egregiously violate this policy may be blocked from editing."
"Biographies of living persons (BLPs) must be written conservatively and with regard for the subject's privacy. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid: it is not Wikipedia's job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives, and the possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment. This policy applies to BLPs, including any living person mentioned in a BLP even if not the subject of the article, and to material about living persons on other pages."

A mediated resolution has also been requested from WP:mediation. In the interim, the overriding concern should be that no further harm be done (and even the absence of mentioning his conferred degree is a form of injury and discrediting of the subject) Redslider (talk) 09:47, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

The following reply (also posted on Redslider's user page) applies to any further attempts to intimidate me:

In addition the WP:BPL policy further states: "The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia rests with the person who adds or restores material." - in this case, it is the reverting parties (eg. 'Sparthorse', et. al - see history) upon whom the burden of evidence falls (which is in agreement with the cautions above about causing harm to a living person, which was the intent of the subsequent revision). It also, though unnecessary, has been shown that passages casting doubt on Pellegrino's degree were unsourced or poorly sourced (per sources given above and in other sections of this Talk page. The overriding consideration should be 1) to cease any further harm to the BPLs personal or professional reputation; and 2) To treat the matter of his degree no differently that it is in hundreds of other similar BPLs (see source examples below]

Given the serious doubts that have been raised about the validity of sources and allegations questioning the validity of Dr Pellegrino's degree; and the new evidence and reliable sources that indicate those allegations to be false; and, given the discussions that have been opened in Talk, BLPN, RSN, et. al. and that mediation has been requested, the revisions that were made to normalize his degree status are quite in order. The inclusion of Pellegrino's degree does not require any further sourcing, verifiability or treatment different from the those in numerous other Wikipedia BPLs. I refer you to the BPLs of Isaac Azimov or [ Carl Sagan], for example. The editorial note in the history section plainly described the foundation of the revisions made.

NOTE: The messages, here and elsewhere, threatening blocks, charges of "edit war" or "vanalism" and so forth are being saved and may be used as evidence of deliberate attempts by the posters to intimidate an editor from taking proper steps, consistent with WP policy, to prevent injury and prevent harm to the subject of a BPL. If you continue to make such threats, you may face disciplinary actions. It is strongly recommended that you cease such improper and inappropriate threats, or reversions of proper edits immediately. Redslider (talk) 09:47, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Look, it's not a good idea to throw WP:BOOMARANGs in the house. I've brought this to Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#Other threats from User:Redslider. Mangoe (talk) 14:49, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Dead people do not have BLPs[edit]

BLP means biographies of living persons. Sagan and Azimov are sadly not living. And anything contentious for a BLP does need sourcing, and that includes any claim that he has a PhD which is clearly a contentious claim. If he claims a PhD on his website we can say that he states that he has a PhD, but he doesn't go that far. And the mediation case is closed, please don't keep saying it's open. Dougweller (talk) 10:30, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

ok, Doug, then lets try Hoffman or Steitz or maybe one from the IgNobel list Perry. but then i think you knew what the normal protocol was all along, yes? How many do you need? 10? 50? 100? Come on, stop wasting time.
As for "contentiousness", there's nothing contentious at all about the degree. The claim and sources that he didn't have it are proving false. The only thing contentious, perhaps, was the initial source for starting the claim, and that was unsourced (the first 'original research' to the university, if you remember). Now that story might be interesting in the biography someday, in a special section called "False Accusations" or something. A side-bar, maybe. But in the main biographical section? Nothing needed there but to treat Pellegrino like everyone else; "He Received his Phd. from Victoria University, Wellington in 1983." Why are you so reluctant to do that - to simply unring the bell that should never have been rung in the first place? That's the part I don't understand, if truth is the intent of the exercise. Redslider (talk) 13:25, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
oh yeah, about mediation. I didn't get any notice on that. I'll have to mosey on over their and see what happened. Strange though, I thought mediation would be a good way to take care of this thing. Well, I tried.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Redslider (talkcontribs)
The sources show pretty conclusively that Pellegrino does not have a PhD. We are indeed interested in "truth" here (though see WP:V for some clarification), and so we would not want his article to claim that he has a PhD when in fact (per the sources at our disposal) he doesn't. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 13:29, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Nomo..., have you been reading WP:RSN on this, or following any of the discussion? The sources that were used to pillory Pellegrino were pretty much getting trashed, the last time I looked. And, the head library archivist at VUW who confirmed "all degrees are awarded" seems to be moving right up to the gold-standard secondary source category. So where do you think that puts the truth? Redslider (talk) 13:46, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Of course, if you've got "sources at our disposal" that prove Pellegrino doesn't have his Phd., well then bring them on. Because all the sources that were given look pretty "poor" (BLPG), "unreliable" (RSNG) or downright fishy. Some are even beginning to edge into bold-faced lies. But if you've got others, that's really important, do cite them, please.Redslider (talk) 13:56, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh, and just one more thing. Who is this royal "We" that you and a few others seem to refer to quite often (as in "We are indeed interested....")? Are you part of some kind of group, and you all have agreed to speak for each other? Is that it? Something behind the scenes, perhaps? Another WP acronym I don't know about? Redslider (talk) 14:02, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
It's precisely because I've been following RSN quite closely that I posted as I did. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 14:21, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Contentious or likely to be disputed, and it's clearly both or we wouldn't be having this discussion. I can't understand why you say it's not contentious. So far as I can see, everyone but you has agreed we can't use the library page as a source. And your language is getting more and more uncivil. Dougweller (talk) 19:32, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm very troubled by your behavior on this page: threats, characterization of the discussion at the RS noticeboard, and now you seem to be implying that there's some kind of organized conspiracy to edit this article. This needs to stop. Gamaliel (talk) 21:25, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

RfC: PhD issue[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Consensus seems to be in favour of restoring the material, but looking at the weight given to it. There is also consensus somewhat to shorten it, so this should be considered, maybe be removing the long quote from the Uni, as suggested below. --Mdann52talk to me! 13:57, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Should this edit (performed by an OTRS volunteer), removing the section on his PhD claim, be reverted? 08:56, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

  • Yes -- the section was supported by excellent sources, and the removal seems merely to cater to the preferences of the subject, such that the article does not now conform to core policies, in particular WP:NPOV and WP:V. To see the version that included that claim (and the relevant sources): [2], using references 1, 8, 9, 10, and 11. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 08:59, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
  • OTRS note I would strongly discorage reintroducing the material. There are issues with the whole event, including with the background of the informatino in the sources used, that I am unable to publish on-wiki, so I would recommend the material is not restored. based on new sources sent to me, this is not as clear-cut as it first seemed. I think I will leave this up to the RfC to decide - but I would advise that is there is a level of uncertainty, we take care as to what content is retained in the article--Mdann52talk to me! 09:40, 10 June 2014 (UTC) modified 14:16, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
    • Having been in contact with Mdann52 by email, I have to say that I found the explanation to be entirely unpersuasive. I encourage other editors who are genuinely interested in this issue to make the same sort of inquiry and evaluate the response for themselves. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 10:16, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Restore. There is a significant controversy about Last Train; publication was stopped. Pellegrino claimed to have a PhD; the article covers the claim. The article sources Pellegrino's further claim that his PhD was "stripped" (suggesting he possessed the degree at some point). The vice chancellor's statement is a coherent explanation of what happened; although the source is a blog, it is the NYT blog of the NYT reporter who wrote earlier articles. None of the statements are in Wikipedia's voice; WP has reported the PhD controversy, and the PhD controversy is relevant given the Last Train controversy. Glrx (talk) 20:27, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support OTRS As noted, where there is contention and uncertainty, the goal is to prevent hard to any person. It is not our task to show how bad any living person is - it is our task to fairly present determinable facts, and it certainly appears that this handling as previously done was likely to harm a person. Cheers. Collect (talk) 20:35, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I have examined the OTRS correspondence and I am convinced that the temporary removal of that section by Mdann52 was the correct decision. That said, I think the RFC is worded poorly. The issue should not be binary; it should not yes to this section or yes to OTRS. Editors should consider issues of whether this should be mentioned at all and how to weigh it appropriately if it is. Given the short length of the article, I am inclined to think that having a dedicated section to this issue crosses the line of WP:UNDUE. But given the fact that this issue is amply and excellently sourced, I don't think it would be inappropriate for the article to discuss the issue briefly. Gamaliel (talk) 21:27, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Agree with Gamaliel. Restore and shorten. The information is important and well sourced, but should not take up as much of the article as it did before. A named subsection and three paragraphs is too much, given the relative importance of the incident in the subject's career. (He's a writer, he can go on writing books with or without a degree.) I'd keep it at a single paragraph, one to three sentences or thereabouts, maybe avoiding the named subsection. Keep the citations for people who really want to read more about the details. --GRuban (talk) 22:02, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Restore and shorten Having read the OTRS ticket and delved further into the matter I don't see the OTRS correspondence as sufficient to remove the material, but it does take up a disproportionate amount of the article. Dougweller (talk) 08:35, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Restore. The extra information provided by MDann52 was too vague to convince me otherwise at this point, but I appreciate this editor's concern when it comes to a WP:BLP. SueDonem (talk) 20:08, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Restore and Shorten per Due weight per Gamaliel. I was leaning towards agreeing with Collect, given the recent EU ruling about an individual's right to pull content from the Internet. But then I read the NYTimes piece and feel that if the University says he never received a PhD, then he didn't. University records exist even down to the programs handed out at commencement that list the graduates, so if someone received a degree, they likely would still have the actual degree in a frame somewhere. And I imagine there would be one heck of a court case over it. Perhaps just the separate article on the controversy with a link in the BLP would be more appropriate? The bit about the fraudulent flight engineer can be sourced and then the controversy over the PhD would be put in context and due. If I'm wrong about any of the details, please ping me and I'll amend. Thanks. One other thing I forgot to mention, I do think having so much about the book controversy in the BLP is undue, especially the quote box. That whole bit could be pared down to one paragraph since the link to the article would be there. SW3 5DL (talk) 02:26, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment. Several above say the material should be shortened, but as it stands, the controversy is expressed as two short paragraphs (2 sentences and 3 sentences) and a long, authoritative, comment from the university. (Much of the text seen in the diff is reference material.) The paragraphs have a progression: doubt, digging a deeper hole (the "stripped" claim), and apparent resolution. Those steps are relevent. Sadly, Pellegrino may be better known for the controversy than his other efforts. It's not often that the NYT does an about face. Consequently, the material need not be shortened. Glrx (talk) 00:54, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Restore, do not necessarily shorten From what I read, the material was plenty short enough. Perhaps re-factoring it might help, perhaps removing the quote and replacing it with a summary of its contents might be a good idea, but making a specific effort to shorten the information as a whole doesn't strike me as a good idea. It's an important factor in his credibility, and if it's relegated to a footnote that would suggest that it's not. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 12:39, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Tags for WP:OR and WP:RS were added in June. However there's no section here on the talk page indicating the specific nature of the concerns. If nothing is posted here in the next couple of days to explain the concerns, I will remove those tags. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 07:07, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

I have gone ahead and removed those tags. Kevin Nelson (talk) 09:28, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

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PhD issue in lead section[edit]

It is my belief, after reading the RfC on the PhD issue above, that the mention of the PH.D issue in the lead section is a case of Undue weight. Because if this I removed it in this edit. Doug Weller promptly reverted it in [ this edit. Therefore, in accord with WP:BRD I am opening a discussion here. I acknowledge that there is a section on the issue in the article, although that may also be excessive weight. But not every topic with a section needs to be mentioned in the lead section. The PhD issue was largely a spin-off of the controversy over the book The Last Train from Hiroshima, which is already mentioned in the lead. Note that WP:UNDUE says "Undue weight can be given in several ways, including but not limited to depth of detail, quantity of text, prominence of placement, and juxtaposition of statements .... An article should not give undue weight to minor aspects of its subject, but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight proportional to its treatment in the body of reliable, published material on the subject. For example, discussion of isolated events, criticisms, or news reports about a subject may be verifiable and impartial, but still disproportionate to their overall significance to the article topic." I think this is a case in point. WP:LEAD says: "According to the policy on due weight, emphasis given to material should reflect its relative importance to the subject, according to published reliable sources. ... Significant information should not appear in the lead if it is not covered in the remainder of the article, although not everything in the lead must be repeated in the body of the text." DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 19:01, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

It's 9 words, 47 characters. But I guess you are arguing that doesn't matter. This was added in January 2016 by User:Glrx and tweaked by User:John Foxe and has been here since. And I see User:Collect has changed it again, but just the wording so the issue is still in the lead. I'm not sure if you're happy with the new wording. Doug Weller talk 19:14, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
I was arguing that the placement in the lead section gave it undue weight, and that that mattered more than the number of words. The softened version just put in place by Collect is something i can accept. Thank you for your comments. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 19:38, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
No hard feelings if you want to change this back. "Educational background" just struck me as calling a spade an entrenching tool.--John Foxe (talk) 20:19, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Nomoskedasticity's edit is an improvement over mine.--John Foxe (talk) 15:53, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
Contrariwise, I find that edit to fall far afield of my attempt at compromise language here. The detailed claim is dealt with in the body - adding stress to it in the lead is improper, and violates the rationale of WP:BLP. I will thus stand with Mr. Siegel on this one. Collect (talk) 18:19, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
At least that statement calls a spade a spade. I don't think it gives "undue weight to minor aspects of its subject." Falsely claiming to have earned a PhD and then, when called on it, falsely claiming to have had the degree "stripped from him" speaks both to personal character and the trustworthiness of everything Pellegrino has written.--John Foxe (talk) 19:45, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
He certainly tried for the degree - only to have his thesis rejected at the last minute. Many folks assume that after orals, the acceptance of a thesis ends the process, and I see no reason to ascribe any sinful motives here once we see the entire colloquy, and the fact that he no longer asserts that Ph.D. degree on his c.v. In fact, the extended material about the relatively minor matter (the university says he did seek the degree, and only the thesis rejection belayed the degree as I read the actual sources.) Collect (talk) 22:37, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
If you're caught plagiarizing, it's sensible to remove the offending material; but you don't get any credit for doing so. In fact, in the case of Stephen E. Ambrose, folks looked harder at his earlier work. Even eight years after his death, a journalist publicized a whooper about his claimed interviews with Dwight Eisenhower. I expect Pellegrino and all his works to be similarly (and correctly) compromised by his dishonesty. And dishonesty it was, pure and simple.--John Foxe (talk) 14:55, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
Someone who assumes that producing a thesis will automatically result in the award of a PhD is lacking some significant understanding. I've seen plenty of students string together 80,000 words... Nomoskedasticity (talk) 19:52, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
The University stated that is, as a corporate entity, rejected the thesis. Many people feel that acceptance of the thesis by the thesis advisor is important, but we do not have any source on the statement of rejection to work with. Clearly the thesis had gone beyond initial submission for any normal process. And clearly it made some people angry. Saying that a person who had has initial acceptance of a thesis is somehow dishonest is, alas, beyond the competence of Wikipedia editors, no matter if Nomoskedasticity has actually vetted numerous Ph.D. theses as imputed here. Collect (talk) 21:12, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
Anyone who falsely claims to have been awarded a PhD is dishonest. It matters not why, or by whom, the thesis was rejected.--John Foxe (talk) 21:54, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── (e/c) The current lede, "Aspects of Pellegrino's book The Last Train from Hiroshima have been disputed as has Pellegrino's claim to have earned a PhD" is a muddled whitewash. It sounds like "aspects of Pellegrino's claim to have earned a PhD have been disputed". Nonsense. Pellegrino flatly claimed to have a PhD. That was printed. In the subsequent fallout, Pellegrino claimed he had a PhD but it had been stripped because a disagreement over theory. That does not fit the facts. The university has stated the thesis was inadequate in the "unanimous opinion of the examiners" (a RS quoting the vice chancellor is a "source on the statement of rejection to work with"). That's a failed thesis. A statement by the University is authority. Nobody ever handed Pellegrino a diploma for his thesis. Furthermore, what reliable source says his thesis advisor accepted the thesis? For my PhD, there were three professors on the committee, and one of the professors was my thesis advisor. Consequently, I can read "unanimous opinion" and speculate that even if the thesis advisor once thought it was good enough, the advisor no longer thinks that way. I remember one thesis advisor who thought his student had done fabulous work but later learned the thesis had been plagiarized.

What's more, the university investigation and the appeal to the Crown shows Pellegrino knew that there was no PhD. Pellegrino went through a lot of unusually steps trying to reverse his committee's decision. And he lost at each round.

A neutral summary for the lede would be "Pellegrino falsely claimed to have a PhD." There are no "aspects" to the claim. Pellegrino made the claim but has not produced a diploma and a high-ranking university official has disputed the claim.

The Last Train controversy has Pellegrino claiming that he was duped, but further investigation called that claim into question. The PhD controversy is a parallel story with "stripped" excursion. I can look at those episodes and make some stark conclusions about his credibility, but we cannot put such WP:OR into a BLP article.

The facts are Pellegrino wrote a book, but the publisher halted publication of that book after factual inconsistencies were uncovered. In addition, Pellegrino claimed to have a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington when he did not have that degree.

Toning those statements down (disputed "aspects" rather than disputed facts; what is a disputed "aspect"?) is as bad as overclaiming them.

Neither statement is WP:UNDUE. Both statements are sourced. WP:BLP requires NPOV, V, and NOR. The statements "should be in a dispassionate tone, avoiding both understatement and overstatement." State the facts; don't use weasel words to soften it or synthesize to harden it.

The PhD issue is a big deal because Pellegrino doubled down on it. He could have backed off and said he was just a PhD student at university, but instead: "In an interview earlier this week, Mr. Pellegrino said that he had completed his dissertation and was awarded a Ph.D., only to have it stripped a few years later by an ad hoc tribunal convened by faculty members because of a dispute over evolutionary theory." (Ref 1.) Such a narrative makes no sense. Doubling down can be human nature, but the guy claims to be a scientist and writes nonfiction books.

Glrx (talk) 23:16, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

I note your seeming personal interest. As far as I can tell, very few dissertations are "rejected by a committee" after the thesis advisor accepts the thesis. Perhaps you can cite the number of people who have had a thesis accepted by an advisor only to have a committee reject it? There is no question that a thesis was submitted, presumably with the approval of an advisor, and that a university committee rejected it - but I suggest that ascribing evil intent to the person who was rejected after submitting the thesis is not borne out by the facts as the cites provide. Do you have any real source for ascribing such wrongful intent to the person? Say - that his thesis was rejected as plagiarism or such? Thank you. Collect (talk) 14:05, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Pellegrino said he had a PhD when he did not. When called on this lie, he claimed he had been "stripped" of the degree, another lie. Whether his thesis was plagiarized or just shoddy is immaterial. Pellegrino never had a PhD.--John Foxe (talk) 16:26, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't have a personal interest in this case. IIRC, it's on my watchlist because it came up on WP:RSN. Somebody found a catalog entry for his thesis at the university library and wondered if that was proof a PhD was issued. I don't remember if the library copy was signed by the thesis advisor, but it really doesn't matter. We have RS that say Pellegrino was not awarded a doctorate. Even if the thesis advisor thought it was worthy, the committee could overrule the advisor. The catalog entry may have been removed after some inquiries were made, but we don't have any sources about that.
If your committee rejects your thesis, then you don't get a doctorate. I don't see any sources that say writing a thesis entitles one to a doctorate.
In a doctoral program, the defense is a big deal. Failures at the defense happen, but they are rare. Defenses are not scheduled unless there is a belief about success. Failure at that stage reflects badly on the advisor and committee. The committee should know all about the work before the defense is scheduled. All the doctoral students I knew thought it was a big deal and knew they could go down in flames at the defense.
Committees are not for show. I went to a friend's thesis defense, and his university required that the chairman of the committee be from a different school. The chairman was the smartest guy in the room.
But we don't even know if Pellegrino scheduled a defense. You have a source for that?
At my grad school, only 1/3 of those entering the PhD program exited with a doctorate. There are a series of exams that cause many to exit early. Some get to the "AbD" (all but dissertation) and exit there.
But there are many screwy cases. One of my contemporaries quickly finished his thesis and defense and left (we were in awe), but he had not completed the required course work. The school would not grant the degree. He finally came back, did the course work, and got his degree.
Pellegrino's case is an aberration, and I am reluctant to make any assumptions about it. He wrote a thesis. I don't know if his thesis advisor signed it. WP would need a source for that. It's possible that the thesis advisor would not sign it or that the advisor reversed his position; that's why I speculated about the "unanimous decision" language. We do know that Pellegrino appealed to the University and later to the Crown. That's an atypical path. I could see the committee and others looking at the work and deciding that Pellegrino did not belong in the doctoral program. There are many story arcs, but BLP does not let us speculate.
Pellegrino may no longer claim he has a PhD on his CV, but Harper-Collins didn't get the memo.
* "Pellegrino has a Ph.D. in paleobiology and is one of a small number of scientists who brought forensic science methods into the field of archaeology."[3]
* "Dr. Pellegrino lives in New York City."[4]
There are some fantastic statements about Pellegrino by his publisher:
* "Charles Pellegrino has been known to work simultaneously in entomology, forensic physics, paleo-genetics, preliminary design of advanced rocket systems, astrobiology, and marine archaeology."[5]
I don't think the publisher pulled those claims out of thin air.
Neal Conan of NPR interviewed NYT reporter Motoko Rich shortly after Holt pulled Last Train.[6] Rich identifies several points that unraveled. Fuoco wasn't on the flight and there was no accident on Tinian. (Fuoco died in 2008. The bomb, as shipped to Tinian, was incomplete. USS Indianapolis (CA-35) delivered the last of Little Boy's uranium.) A priest could not be found; Pellegrino subsequently claimed the name was a pseudonym; the publisher was not convinced by Pellegrino's explanation. ("So when some questions were raised about the existence of these priests, of course, people who were starting to do checking could not find any reference to either of them because allegedly these were not their names. He provided some documentation. He told me that the publisher was not convinced. And other historians that I've talked to were not convinced by his claims.") The NPR interview goes into fact checking the PhD. Pellegrino told Rich to check with Dr. Eric Stover about Pellegrino's academic persecution, but Stover did not remember Pellegrino.
I'm not seeing any reliable sources that claim Pellegrino should have been awarded a doctorate for his thesis. There are reliable sources that say the work was not worthy of a doctorate.
I'm not claiming the elements of fraud. For all I know, Pellegrino may have believed he had a PhD and that it was stripped. His claim to a PhD was false. I'm not putting scienter on it. One could argue that the misrepresentation is not material; most people would have bought the book whether or not he had a PhD. Consequently, the initial claim to have a PhD would fail the intent-to-deceive portion of a "lie". The misrepresentations do go to credibility and objectivity.
How often does a publisher stop publication of a book?
Glrx (talk) 22:52, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Long before Last Train, Michael Parfit criticized Pellegrino's scholarship in Parfit's book review of Ghosts of the Titanic ("At Sea with a Sunken Ship: The author revises the recent history of the Titanic", New York Times, 27 August 2000):
For instance, a section about the Titanic's location begins with the authoritative-sounding statement: "The Grand Banks are a cold wilderness, covered by two and one-half miles of sunless water." In fact, the Grand Banks are a system of reefs from 120 to 600 feet deep, northwest of where the Titanic lies in two and a half miles of water. Within a few sentences Pellegrino writes with equal authority of the abyssal plains -- the floor of the ocean -- as if that is also where the Titanic lies. In fact, the Titanic landed on the continental rise, a slope leading upward from the Sohm abyssal plain, which, in this area, is more than 15,000 feet down. On the same page, Pellegrino says that among the "dominant conditions" of the abyssal plains is the presence of life. In fact, those depths are noted for the relative scarcity of living things.
The review is prescient. Glrx (talk) 22:32, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
I suggest you read the latest papers indicating a wide variety of life forms in the abyss. Most people use "Grand Banks" to indicate a large surface area of the ocean near Newfoundland, by the way, where fishing is extensive. The Titanic lies just off the Grand Banks. The Wikipedia article on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland (not a source here) clearly notes the "proximity" thereof. states: "A new article shows that blooms of algae or animals near the sea surface can deliver as much food to deep-sea organisms as would normally arrive over years or even decades." and "The muddy seafloor at Station M -- 4,000 meters (13,100) feet below the surface -- is home to a variety of deep-sea animals, from sea cucumbers and sea urchins to grenadier fish. In addition, a myriad of smaller animals and microbes live buried within the mud." Scarcity of living things? Not. is a "reliable source" on this. "Until the late nineteenth century, abyssal sediments were believed to be azoic deserts owing to a lack of sunlight and primary production. This view changed dramatically with the British Challenger expedition (1872–1876), which found deep-sea life throughout the world ocean." "Species turnover rates along the transect suggested that the number of species at the deep-ocean floor may rival that of tropical rainforests. " Scarcity? Not.
In fact, we find extraordinary creatures "down there" seemingly every week. "Prescient review" alas is a tad far from the mark. Collect (talk) 14:47, 27 July 2017 (UTC)