Talk:Dwarf planet/Archive 3

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Prime Plutoid Candidates Table

This table was originally from the Tancredi paper. The lead into it mentions 10 candidates, but there are now more. Do we want this table to reflect the Tancredi paper, or should it be a more general collation of plutoid candidates information?

If the former, the recent additions should be removed from the table, and any numbers restored to the Tancredi figures. Add a separate table for Brown's (or others) data, with a lead-in paragraph.

If the latter, the lead-in should be changed to separate the table from the Tancredi paragraph, and other references (like Brown) appended to the table title. The numbers should be updated to match the main article for the object, and I don't think we need the columns for the diameter estimates, since new estimates will just make for too many columns (anybody wanting the references can get them from the object's article) -- just one column encompassing the range. This table would also duplicate the ones in list of dwarf-planet candidates, already referenced in the section. If we must duplicate the tables, limit it to just the very best candidates.

I favour the second approach. In fact, the preceeding Tancredi paragraph can be dropped, and the paper just used as a reference for the table. It is a bit dated now, given the pace of developments. The first paragraph of the plutoids subsection is way out of date, too, with "as of August 2006". Tbayboy (talk) 16:46, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Done. — kwami (talk) 05:26, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Center field

Maybe there's an esoteric point I'm missing, but IMO bringing Jupiter & Sol into this is a bad idea. It introduces confusion (in me, anyhow, & I doubt I'm alone), & begs the question, "Does this also apply in other bodies orbiting?", such as the Earth-Moon system. I suggest deletion. Let's concentrate on the Charon-Pluto binary & link out to binary planet as needed. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 03:46, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Is being a DP dependent on magnitude?

Serendipidous has reverted the DP status of some of these bodies (the ones Brown says are "virtually certain" to be DPs, that "must be in hydrostatic equilibrium even if predominantly rocky"), with the argument that they do not meet the absolute-magnitude requirement set by the IAU, giving me this ref. He said I need to start a discussion for this, so I'm starting a discussion. Reading that ref, it seems obvious to me that magnitude has nothing to do with whether a body is a DP, but only with who gets to name it: the CSBN if the mag is over 1, a joint CSBN–WGPSN committee if under 1. We can certainly mention which body approved the name, but I don't see how that overrides the IAU's own definition of a DP. — kwami (talk) 05:33, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

You're basing your entire argument on the evidence of Mike Brown. Admittedly he is a very good source, but he is just one person. That hardly represents astronomical consensus. Serendipodous 05:40, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Unless you provide evidence to the contrary, that's what we have to go on. I have not seen any RS's that these bodies do not qualify as DP's. They all obviously meet the 2nd requirement (except maybe for Sedna, but not meeting the 2nd would mean that it's a planet, and AFAIK no-one claims that). So the question is the 1st: do we have any RS that these bodies are not or may not be round?
You speak of Brown's activist position. But his activist position is that these are not planets. From what I've read, the concept of DP means little to him. He says that whether s.t. is in equilibrium or not tells us nothing about the nature of the Solar system, and so isn't of much importance. (That's why, BTW, he didn't want his discoveries classified as planets.)
For me, equilibrium is simply a practical measure to differentiate major objects from rocks. (Including moons: everyone should know about the Galilean moons, or Saturn's main 7, but after that "a bunch of debris" is good enough for most purposes.) But I don't see how who gets to name what has even that much relevance, and AFAICT that's all we're talking about here. — kwami (talk) 06:18, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Brown just headed a blog post with "Free the Dwarf Planets!" and this produced a call to the IAU EC. The EC is likely to rule against Brown, as Brown himself noted on Twitter. Given that, basing our inclusion of dwarf planets on Brown's say so is premature. At least wait until the EC has ruled. Serendipodous 07:53, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Ruled on what? We use the IAU definition. These bodies are DPs per the IAU definition. If I'm wrong and they are not DPs under the IAU definition, please produce your evidence. The only thing that matters is whether they are in hydrostatic equilibrium. That's the IAU criterion. The rest is opinion and OR. — kwami (talk) 08:48, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Mike Brown's sayso isn't enough to say that those four objects are spherical. Their sphericity needs to be based on overall astronomical consensus. The voice of astronomical consensus is the IAU. Serendipodous 10:05, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
I can't find support for your view in the link you gave. If you find a source where the IAU disputes that these are in equilibrium, let me know. Likewise if you know of any astronomer who disputes Brown's conclusion. Otherwise it's merely speculation on your part.
We have one RS that these are in equilibrium. You have repeatedly failed to provide any evidence to the contrary. Yet somehow in your mind no evidence trumps evidence. — kwami (talk) 10:18, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I must agree with kwami here. Kwami has an RS saying that these must be in HE. When wishing to contest this, one must bring in an RS explicitly saying that these are not, or may (well) not be, in HE. Alternatively, if you have a source saying that some refrain from calling these DPs because the IAU has not explicitly recognized them as such, this could be used to note this in these articles. --JorisvS (talk) 12:19, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm on the fence, here. Brown might be reliable, but the venue (personal web page / blog) isn't. If his claims were in a peer-reviewed article, I would have no concern over following him, in the absence of any RS claims to the contrary. So I would prefer a bit of a hedge wording to indicate that the classification is not formal or consensual. For example, "Quaoar is a likely dwarf planet", or "probable". Kwami's right about the IAU H reference, though -- it's clearly only intended for IAU naming purposes, not for classification, so I don't think it's relevent to the argument.
It really comes down to Brown's assertion in his blog: Has the IAU declared itself as gatekeeper? Brown claims their press releases imply that they have, in which case we do have a RS (and an authoritative source) claiming (by the lack of official acceptance) that Quaoar et alii are not yet DPs. Which brings us to the strange situation that if you accept Brown's blog as a RS, you also have to accept the IAU declared DPs as an official list and conflicting RS. Tbayboy (talk) 13:10, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
I think that comes down to what the blog is used for. WP does accept blogs and such as RS's when they come from reputable people in the field. Brown is a RS for these objects, one who has established academic cred through many peer-reviewed articles on the subject. However, he is not an expert on the sociology of the IAU,—if I remember correctly he isn't even a member,—so he is not a RS as to the internal workings of that body. For that we would go to the IAU itself, and I see nothing to suggest that the definition of a DP includes the IAU formally accepting or declaring a body a DP. The IAU has established the definition: a body in HE, and Brown is a RS as to whether a particular body he or his team have studied is in HE. — kwami (talk) 14:32, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
What about Marc Buie? What about Alan Stern? What about David Jewitt? What about Jane Luu? What about Meg Schwamb? What about Allessandro Morbidelli? What about Neil Tyson? How can we base the in-house policy on the observations and opinions of a single astronomer? Serendipodous 14:59, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Have any of them voiced disagreement? --JorisvS (talk) 15:01, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't know. But we'd need to examine all their opinions before we decided whether Brown's views constitute consensus among astronomers. Serendipodous 15:12, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Basically WP:VNT. The statement that these are DPs is verifiable and can be included as such, except if there is verifiable disagreement. We don't have to go through every possible expert's opinion first in search for disagreement. Of course, you could search for disagreement on this topic if you'd like, and if you find that we can adapt the article(s) accordingly. But until that time you have nothing with which to dispute the assertion. --JorisvS (talk) 15:40, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia is currently taking a position that is not taken by any other information resource. I'd prefer not to be so rebellious based on the views of one astronomer. Serendipodous 16:01, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

arbitrary break

[reset indent] I have reworked the changes to be in line with the IAU's official position. (I'm not married to the exact wording, but the principle.) No matter what Mike Brown might say, we have consistently used the IAU as our guide for what is officially listed as a planet and what is a dwarf planet. We can certainly indicate differences of opinion in the scientific community, additional information, strong candidates and so on - but we cannot take liberties by using our own analysis and opinion to speak for the IAU. --Ckatzchatspy 08:41, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

If you want to take this on, you'll have to change Sedna, Orcus, Quaoar and OR10's articles as well. Serendipodous 08:44, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
What - did those get reworked as well? --Ckatzchatspy 08:53, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Geez, they did. I've reverted per your changes, Serendipodous, and barring any official announcements from the IAU I cannot see any rationale for Wikipedia to be making such statements. After all, we've had situations where some of these objects were announced as planets upon discovery, and we certainly didn't reword our articles to make such claims "official". --Ckatzchatspy 08:59, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
In the case of your planet example we have a good deal of sources saying they're not planets. As I have said above, so far I haven't seen any source saying these are not or may (well) not be DPs. Wikipedia goes for reliable sources, not blindly following one specific "authority" (that has kept silent at that). The IAU has not made a claim about these objects either way, so are no source with which to dispute a DP claim. --JorisvS (talk) 09:49, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

The IAU set the definition. We have a RS that they fit the IAU's definition. Therefore as far as we're concerned they're DPs. I fail to understand what's so difficult about that: If some zoological authority which we use sets the definition of "mammal", and a new species is announced which a RS says fits the definition of mammal, and no RS comes along to contradict that, then we report it as a mammal. That's all we need: do RS's back up the classification? Is there any disagreement about that? What we have here is a RS that these bodies fit the def of a DP. You have not demonstrated any disagreement among other RSs. QED.

BTW, there are only two demonstrated DPs: Ceres and Pluto. If we're going to go on what's demonstrated, we have only two. Eris, Haumea, and Makemake are only assumed to be DPs, but there's little doubt. Likewise Sedna, Orcus, Quaoar, and OR10 are assumed with little doubt to be DPs. The only difference between the two sets is that for naming purposes the IAU treats bodies differently depending on magnitude. That's not a judgement that the others are not DPs. Or, if it is, you have failed to demonstrate it. You justify denying DP status by saying "the IAU [...] have *not* expanded their list". That argument has already been debunked: the definition of DP does not depend on them appearing on a list, it only depends on HE. — kwami (talk) 10:56, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Where has it been "debunked"? The IAU created the category, the IAU announces when new members are added. This is not complicated; prior to the addition of Haumea and Makemake, there were three, now there are five in the category. As explained repeatedly, we can indicate there are objects with a good possibility of inclusion in the category, but we cannot just go ahead and declare them as officially included. --Ckatzchatspy 14:55, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I'd say a reasonable compromise is saying these are DPs (with Brown's ref) along with saying that these have not officially been included in the IAU list. In fact, this is exactly what the sources tell us (as far as I have seen). --JorisvS (talk) 15:04, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Honestly, we would have to say they "have been identified as probable dwarf planets" (or something similar). We cannot state they are dwarf planets. This is Mike Brown' posting on his web site that he objects to how the IAU is handling the matter. While he is most certainly a very important contributor in this field, we (Wikipedia) cannot simply rewrite our articles based on his blog posts. Reading through the blog and the associated comments, Brown himself states quite clearly:

"I have spent some time putting together what I think is currently the best list of possible dwarf planets out there"

"There currently **is** an official dwarf planet list with the IAU as the list keeper. I am simply proposing that we honestly deal with the question of "how many roundish minor planets are there in the solar system" by using science."

"since the definition exists, the number should at least be accurate!"

It is clear that he has a differing opinion form the IAU; it is also clear that he views the IAU list as being official. --Ckatzchatspy 16:00, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
It's relevant to note that we had similar issues back in 2008, when Kwami was rewording the articles for Haumea and Makemake to state that they were dwarf planets/plutoids prior to the official designation as such. There is no harm done in using wording such as what The Tom added to Haumea back in 2008 prior to its formal designation as a DP: "2003 EL61 is widely believed to be large enough to meet the definitions of a dwarf planet and plutoid, but has not yet been formally classified as such." Now, as then, we need to err on the side of caution and base our statements on what is official. --Ckatzchatspy 16:37, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I was thinking about something very similar to that. I'd like to remind you that "official" has no meaning in science. (But yes, we can say that the IAU has not formally recognized them and made themselves the gatekeepers.) I would like to quote Brown, too:

Near certainty: We are confident enough in the size estimate to know that each one of these must be a dwarf planet even if predominantly rocky.

This is basically saying these have to be DPs (note also that Pluto is in this category). So I'm proposing: Brown's statement combined with no official recognition from the IAU, in our own words. --JorisvS (talk) 17:08, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
We still cannot state "is a dwarf planet"; the parallel to 2008 is important here. DP is a formal category, inclusion in which is to date overseen by the IAU. (Brown even acknowledges that.) We would have to write from that perspective ie:

"xxx is a [insert known category such as TNO here] etc etc etc. It [has been described as/is thought to/etc] meet the definitions of a dwarf planet and plutoid, but has not yet been formally classified as such.

and not in the form of:

"xxx is a dwarf planet, but has not yet been formally classified as such.

I have no problem with the idea that there are more - the more the merrier - but I do take issue with Wikipedia attempting to interpret and define the category. --Ckatzchatspy
It's not a 'formal' category, but a scientific one: HE + not cleared neighborhood (which makes it so strange that the IAU has adopted a gatekeeper role). We're certainly not going to define the category; defining the category has already been done, in 2006 by the IAU. Next, scientists pick up the definition and use it (in our case Brown has done this) (here is where it is important to understand that it is a scientific definition). All we do is take what has already been said. Basically, what the sources tell us (no interpretation beyond understanding the words and syntax!) is your second phrasing:

"xxx is a dwarf planet, but has not yet been formally classified as such."

But if you insist, we could make it something like:

"xxx is a [TNO blah]. It must be a dwarf planet ['given current knowledge', or something similar], but has not yet been formally classified as such."

--JorisvS (talk) 19:40, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Yes, Ckatz, where is your evidence that this is a formal cat? The IAU doesn't say that AFAICT. They specifically spell out a physical and dynamical definition. If a body fits the definition, it's a DP. Period. Unless you have contrary sources, we go by what we do have, which is that these fit the def.

Jorisv, I would object to your compromise wording, at least for now, because I don't know any are "formally classified" as DPs. Three of them are type specimens, if you will, but that's not quite the same thing. Basically, three were accepted as fitting the def beyond a reasonable doubt at the time the definition was promulgated, so they were given as exemplars. We now know of several more that fit the def beyond a reasonable doubt. We can say that two of them went through a formal DP naming process, but that's just for the purposes of naming, not of classification. And if we're going to use the "must be" language, that would apply equally well to Eris, Haumea, and Makemake, none of which have been shown to be DPs. — kwami (talk) 23:32, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Evidence that it is a formal category? Would the IAU be official enough for you?

"The IAU Resolution means that the Solar System officially consists of eight planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. A new distinct class of objects called dwarf planets was also decided on. It was agreed that planets and dwarf planets are two distinct classes of objects. The first members of the dwarf planet category are Ceres, Pluto and Eris, formerly known as 2003 UB313."

I'd like to note that we went through this same issue three years ago, Kwami, when you were insisting on renaming Haumea and Makemake as plutoids before they were officially added to that category. Then, as now, your actions had to be reverted several times until after the IAU made the change official. --Ckatzchatspy 04:18, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I'd also note that these changes are clearly controversial, and also contested by at least two members of the Astronomy project. It is certainly not appropriate for you to be repeatedly reverting them back in until the matter is properly resolved. --Ckatzchatspy 04:57, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Brown himself clearly indicates that he considers the IAU list to be official, and he also indicates that his post is intended to shake things up. We are rewriting our articles based on his "shake-up", which is about as appropriate as continuing to label Pluto as a planet because Alan Stern says it still is one. --Ckatzchatspy 05:02, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Again, I don't care how many DPs there are - I've no attachment to maintaining the status quo "just because" here, just as I was vigorously involved in transitioning Pluto's article five years ago. However, we have a situation where the IAU has created and populated the category/class. There has been no indication that they had ceded that responsibility, and Brown himself even believes that they maintain the official list of members of the category. --Ckatzchatspy 05:05, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Ckatz, you demonstrate here a profound ignorance of the scientific process. Bodies are not DPs because the IAU says they are. The are DPs because they fit the definition, as determined by researchers and their peers. Terms are not scientific facts, so there's nothing wrong with setting up a body of standards like the IAU to define terms. But physical reality is not determined by fiat, neither by the IAU nor by some Kansas school board legislating that pi = 3.15. And as far as I can tell, despite your repeated claims, the IAU has never set itself up as the arbitrator of reality.
You repeatedly make claims without supporting evidence. When you finally do provide a source, I find that it doesn't support you after all, as with your IAU claims. As for Brown, he's a RS on DPs, not on the IAU. Yes, he has expressed the opinion that the IAU has set itself up as a gatekeeper, but where's his evidence? It would appear to be unsupported opinion, opinion which you're taking more seriously than scientific findings. I've asked you over and over to provide a citation of the IAU setting itself up as the gatekeeper, and you have failed to do so. Meanwhile, what we can verify from the IAU says that being a DP does not depend on their say-so. Until you have some actual, verifiable evidence on your side, your opinions are nothing more than that, and worthless for establishing claims in our articles. — kwami (talk) 06:01, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm going to skip the insulting material above, since responding would give it more attention than it deserves. I think what we really need to address is the Wikipedia tendency to change things immediately, instead of allowing sufficient time to assess the matter. For what it's worth, I feel that you are using sources selectively to support changing the articles to reflect your personal feelings on the matter. Note how you've single-handedly rejected Bluap's compromise proposal at Ceres, for example, because you didn't agree with it. I've also tried to word the four articles in a way that I feel addresses both perspectives, yet you appear to want to reject that as well. --Ckatzchatspy 06:14, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I bit hypocritical coming from someone who said I'm "dishonest" for disagreeing with you.
You don't compromise sources. That's like saying we should give equal time to astrology. If we have conflicting sources, then of course we need to reflect both. This is so blindingly obvious I find it hard to believe you don't understand it. If you provide reliable sources that these are not DPs, or it's not certain they are DPs, then of course we need to reflect that. But you have not. No evidence is no evidence. We don't write articles to reflect POV's that have no evidence to support them. — kwami (talk) 06:21, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
In an effort to cool this down, I have added Brown's assessment to the lead section of each of the four contested articles. An example of the wording is as follows:

"(225088) 2007 OR10 is a trans-Neptunian object with an absolute magnitude of 1.7.[4] It has been estimated to be between Sedna and Quaoar in size, and is the largest body in the Solar System without a name.[10] It is thought to be "nearly certainly" a dwarf planet,[11] although the IAU has not yet formally designated it as such."

I would hope that this can address both perspectives on the matter; it directly integrates Brown's position in the lead, yet avoids us making the assertion that the object is a DP. Note that I still maintain that - per Wikipedia's policies - we should have resolved this here before the initial changes were made. Repeated reverting in significant changes of this nature is not appropriate, just as it was not appropriate to arbitrarily and prematurely recategorize Haumea and Makemake three years ago. Also note that the IAU lists only five DPs on the official "dwarf planet" section of the "Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature" from the . I'm not sure how much more reliable you can get with respect to this matter. --Ckatzchatspy 05:49, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Ckatz, you still don't seem to understand that "official" has nothing to do with it. You can't legislate reality. Sure, the USGS has taken the IAU list of DPs and listed them. So what? That doesn't demonstrate anything except that they were put in a list. The USGS has also published lists of named craters. If a crater does not appear on their list, does that mean it isn't "officially" a crater? This is ludicrous.
There are two problems with your compromise: (1) the IAU does not "formally designate" bodies as DPs. When it promulgated the definition, it gave the three bodies thought at the time to fit the def beyond a reasonable doubt. Later, because there was conflict between two naming bodies, it legislated that which body would get to name a TNO would depend on its albedo. That's it: no formal recognition, no gatekeeping role anywhere in anything you've presented as evidence.
(2) Eris is also only "nearly certain" to be a DP. Therefore, if we add this proviso to OR10, we need to add it to Eris, Haumea, and Makemake. I don't want to make that edit, because I'd consider it pointy. Will you? Either be even-handed and add it to all undemonstrated DPs, or remove it from all.
kwami (talk) 06:10, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
With respect to (1), I'll quote the IAU announcement regarding Haumea:

"The International Astronomical Union (the IAU) today announced that the object previously known as 2003 EL61 is to be classified as the fifth dwarf planet in the Solar System and named Haumea. The decision was made after discussions by members of the International Astronomical Union's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature (CSBN) and the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN). This now means that the family of dwarf planets in the Solar System is up to five. They are now Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Eris and Makemake."

With respect to (2), Eris, Makemake and Haumea are officially classified as dwarf planets. This is per the IAu's release quoted above, and also per Mike Brown himself ("There currently **is** an official dwarf planet list with the IAU as the list keeper", from his web page). --Ckatzchatspy 06:18, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Okay, good. So the IAU has been keeping count, if sporadically. They accept the classification of those five, which means those five have good peer-reviewed support for their classification. That does not, of course, mean that the other bodies are not DPs. A bit like your USGS lists: if a crater appears on one of their lists, we have a good ref for saying the crater exists. If a crater does not appear on a list, that doesn't mean it is somehow not a crater. If it's not on the list, we can always turn to other sources for confirmation.
Cue DPs. The IAU has accepted the classification of five. They have not addressed the issue of numerous others. So for those we turn to other sources. Brown has a list of maybes, probablies, likelies, and certainlies. Now if we have another RS that says hold on, Brown's not justified in claiming such certainty for the big four (Sedna, Quaoar, Orcus, OR10), then we have a conflict in sources and our articles need to reflect that. If the IAU says that Brown has not proven his case, then again we have a disagreement in the academic community which our articles need to reflect. But we don't have that. We have Brown and we don't have boo from the IAU. Therefore we go with Brown. That's it. That's how sourcing works. You're paying way too much attention to bureaucracy and forgetting that our articles are making scientific, not legal, claims. — kwami (talk) 06:35, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, I was under the impression that the IAU created a (formal) gatekeeper/listkeeper role (despite this being rather weird scientifically), but now I can't find this anywhere. --JorisvS (talk) 12:37, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
It's an inference from the above quote (according to Brown, on his blog), where Haumea and Makemake are referred to as the Nth dwarf planets, and the listing of them at the end. If there's no official list, there would be no N, and no list. He thinks that they implied it, and that has been Wikipedia's operating position prior to Brown bringing up the issue. Hence the whole irony of Wikipedia (if we follow kwami) now no longer accepting IAU as gatekeeper, prompted by Brown's comment, while rejecting his argument that they are gatekeepers. (I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just weird!)
I think there should be a section in the DP article about the issue, and object pages should be neutral about it (e.g., "Quaoar is a TNO and likely DP", with "likely" linking to the controversy section). Unless, of course, somebody presents some good references (beyond those we've used so far in the debate) to establish a ruling or consensus in the professional astronomy community. Tbayboy (talk) 17:05, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
If it's just an inference by Brown, then having our articles make such a claim about the IAU would be problematic at best, I'd say. Tbayboy, I don't think you really understand what science is. A ruling in the professional astronomy community? Science doesn't work via rulings or anything of that kind of legal stuff; it would violate the very nature of science. As for consensus, science doesn't care much for it. There's debate, and many may become convinced of a certain position, even up to a point of true consensus, but it's not like scientists will be very interested in keeping a tally because it cannot teach them anything. Moreover, determining consensus in the world 'out there' is very problematic, which is why WP goes for RSs. --JorisvS (talk) 20:40, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
By "ruling" I meant a declaration/statement/vote/whatever by the IAU, and "consensus" as the usual scientific, peer-review process, and "establish" as in "demonstrate the existence of ..." for Wiki purposes. I tried to shorten it to save typing a tortuous sentence, assuming it was obvious enough what I meant. It never is ... :-( Tbayboy (talk) 03:48, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
Part of the problem lies in the rushed nature of K's changes. Why are we racing to rewrite our articles simply based on Brown's blog post? After all:
  • Wikipedia has, for at least the past five years, used the IAU designations for what objects are labelled planets and what are labelled dwarf planets. There was no discussion with regard to changing this convention;
  • Brown himself indicates that he considers the IAU list to be official, even if he disagrees with it in spirit;
  • Brown has stated that he made the post to mark the five-year anniversary of the 2006 decision, and to "stir the pot" with regard to the category;
  • We have not found any reactions, pro or con, from the scientific community with regard to his statement. Why rush to rewrite based on only one source?
  • This is not even the first time Brown has made such a move. There are pages, still linked from his site, where he makes similar statements with regard to the number of dwarf planets (including one from 2007 when there were only the official DPs). We did not rewrite the articles at that time to match his position, but instead waited for the official word from the IAU before categorizing Haumea and Makemake. Again, why institute such changes (repeatedly) without first gaining consensus?
In a way, this is not much different from the way we handled the change in status for Pluto. The article presents Pluto as a dwarf planet - per the IAU decision - while adding a section about the controversial nature of the categorization. Similarly, we should describe the objects in the lead based on what we know:
"Eris is a dwarf planet" (because scientific consensus has labelled it as such, and the IAU has added it to the category)
"Quaoar is a rocky trans-Neptunian object in the Kuiper belt... current observations suggest that it is nearly certainly a dwarf planet, but it has not as yet been categorized as such." (based on Brown's and other observations, but also considering the fact that the IAU has not added it to the DP category)
--Ckatzchatspy 21:33, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

arbitrary break 2

This is all quite simple. This is a scientific article, not a legal one. If any of you can find anywhere the IAU actually proclaiming itself as the arbiter of what is and is not a DP, then we can include that in the article as you have proposed here. Otherwise such claims are speculation, OR, and SYNTH.

Even if the IAU has proclaimed itself as the sole arbiter, that's not part of their definition. The definition (assuming we all agree these are not planets) depends solely on whether a body has achieved hydrostatic equilibrium. Ckatz, when you say Eris "is" a DP because the IAU said so, you are simply wrong. You are claiming that it is in HE because the IAU has declared it to be so, but reality does not reflect IAU dictat. Eris has been accepted as a DP because there is no reasonable doubt. But this has not been demonstrated. The only two bodies demonstrated to be DPs are Pluto and Ceres. Granted, the fact that the IAU has accepted Eris as a DP is good enough for me, and we don't need to say it's "virtually certain" to be a DP any more than we need to say the Earth is "virtually certain" to be round. But note that the IAU has not claimed anything is proven here: it's gone so far as to say that if it turns out that these bodies are not DPs, then they will nonetheless keep their names. That is, being a DP does not depend on being classified as a DP, it depends on whether the bodies fit the definition.

And yes, this is similar to Pluto. Pluto is not a DP because the IAU has said it is. "DP" is defined by the IAU, and Pluto fits the definition. That's why it's a DP. Again, this is science, not a legal decision. (The fact that the term was defined with Pluto in mind is irrelevant to it fitting the definition.)

In the unlikely event that it turns out that the IAU definition actually includes acceptance by the IAU, then we need to change this article to read something like, "dwarf planet is not a scientific category. Rather, a "dwarf planet" is anything included in a list maintained by the IAU. Bodies which meet all the physical and dynamical requirements of being a dwarf planet which are not on the list are therefore not dwarf planets. The term "dwarf planet" is therefore purely a formal one and has no physical meaning."

So, do these other bodies fit the definition? That's the only relevant criterion. We have a RS that they do. You have been unable to provide any RS to the contrary. WP is based on RS's, not on speculation or OR. We go by our sources, and our sources say DP. Therefore as far as WP is concerned these bodies are DPs. Unless and until you can provide evidence to the contrary. If our sources say Sedna etc. are DPs and you maintain they are not, then we need to modify this article to say that the term DP is scientifically meaningless. — kwami (talk) 22:59, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Kwami, you've convinced me that Ckatz is right. You're the one engaging in speculation and synthesis, and I even agree with it. However, this is Wikipedia: Wikipedia:VNT. Ckatz gives the IAU's statement above, which is easily read as gatekeeper (Wikipedia has been doing so without any disagreement until now), and the only sourced interpretation presented so far is Brown's. You may not think Brown is a RS in this matter, but, as a professional astronomer who has dealt with the IAU, he's a lot more reliable than we are. Your whole argument about "scientific article" and the IAU's role is your speculation and your synthesis. Until somebody else writes on the matter, I think we have to go with what the only verifiable source says: the IAU is a gatekeeper.
I hope the IAU promptly responds to Brown's challenge, so we can end this one way or the other. Tbayboy (talk) 01:27, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
My point is that it doesn't matter whether they're the gatekeeper. (And if they are, can you give me an IAU publication where they say it?) When we define "dwarf planet", we use the IAU's definition of dwarf planet. Whether something is or is not an dwarf planet depends solely on whether it fits the definition. As to whether it fits the definition, we go by sources. The IAU is silent on the matter, and so is not a source. Brown is a source. You're of course welcome to find other sources.
Sedna: DP? (one source). Not a DP? (zero sources). So 1-to-0 for Sedna being a DP. Same for the others. Since WP follows sources, for our purposes Sedna is a DP. — kwami (talk) 03:43, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Please stop reverting in your text until this is resolved. Per WP:BRD, your changes were rejected and now need to be discussed. I think we need an RfC here. --Ckatzchatspy 08:05, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
We need sources here. — kwami (talk) 09:03, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Ckatz block-quoted above one of the IAU statements where they declare themselves as gatekeepers (the press releases declaring Makemake and Haumea as DPs). The interpretation and relevence of those press releases (i.e., as a statement of gatekeeperhood) is sourced to Brown. Where's a source for the non-gatekeeper interpretation? Tbayboy (talk) 14:17, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
The source is the IAU. Their def of DP is dynamics and HE. It does not depend on any body declaring it to be a DP. Again, if we have RSs that a body fits the def, then we have RSs that the body fits the def. That's all that's required. The IAU hasn't addressed the issue for years now, so they're irrelevant re. recent conclusions. Claiming an object is a DP is a scientific claim, and needs to be treated as science, not legislation. Why should this be different than any other scientific enterprise in the world?
If we're going to go with Ckatz's claim that the category DP is not a scientific one but a legalistic one, then we need to modify this article to say that there is no such thing as a "dwarf planet" in any scientific sense. That would be OR, of course, but that's what Ckatz is pushing. It would be like saying that a mammal is not an animal with mammary glands, but anything in a list kept by some zoological organization. Scientifically meaningless. — kwami (talk) 15:15, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
It's not OR, it's Brown's research. He's complaining because it's scientifically meaningless and wrong, while asserting that that's the way it is. Tbayboy (talk) 15:46, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
If it's not OR, then we should change this article to say that DP is a meaningless concept, and it should therefore generally be removed from our various articles. Pluto, Eris, and Ceres, for example, can say that the IAU counts them as DPs in their classification section, but the word should be removed from their ledes. I don't think that's a productive approach. Brown doesn't say that DP is a meaningless concept as the IAU defines it, he says that it's meaningless to define DP as something on a list. As long as actually we use the IAU definition, we have no problem. — kwami (talk) 01:56, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
You need to stop reverting in your material; this is under active discussion, and your changes are clearly controversial. Please stop and allow this to be resolved on the talk page. --Ckatzchatspy 07:46, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, Ckatz, but no. No pseudoscience in scientific articles. It would be different if you had provided sources, and we merely disagreed on how to present or balance them.
If DP is an unscientific concept, then we need to stop pretending it's science. If it's a scientific concept, then we need to treat it as science. Science isn't a democracy, and neither is WP. We base our articles on sources. I'm sorry you don't understand that, but until you provide sources for your claims, they have no place in our articles. — kwami (talk) 10:33, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
Kwami, in my last post I was originally going to mention that your persistent reverts were becoming disruptive, but I took that out in the hope that you would be reasonable and wait for this to resolve. Please tell me that wasn't overly optimistic. "Pseudoscience"?!? Why on earth do you feel the need to make statements that are both ludicrous and needlessly provocative? --Ckatzchatspy 20:13, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
If DP is not a scientific concept, as you seem to claim, but presents itself as scientific, then it's pseudoscience. I don't think that's the case, but if it is a scientific concept, we should present it that way. We don't claim a newly discovered galaxy is only a "candidate" galaxy because it's not listed in an IAU database. — kwami (talk) 00:09, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

And here's a scholarly paper from Cornell saying that Sedna, Orcus and Quaoar are not dwarf planets. We could swap sources all day, some saying they are, some saying they aren't. But ultimately the issue is this: Wikipedia cannot make the news. However obvious it may seem, Wikipedia cannot say "All objects in hydrostatic equilibrium are dwarf plents; objects x, y, and z are in hydrostatic equilirium, ergo objects x, y, and z are dwarf planets." That's unpublished synthesis. And no, Brown's personal website doesn't count, because science also requires peer review, and you won't find peer review on a personal website or blog. Serendipodous 12:07, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

I think you have the wrong reference linked there. It's not from Cornell, and there's no mention of Orcus or Quaoar, although Sedna is not called a DP. Aside: They call Pluto and Sedna "asteroids", and refer to TNOs as "asteroids". Tbayboy (talk) 16:03, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
OK, how about this one? Serendipodous 16:14, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
Yeah. I think that's the one you meant. It's LSU/Yale, not Cornell, but I think you got the Cornell from the abstract site that it's stored on. Tbayboy (talk) 17:02, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Just noticed footnote 2 of the IAU definition of planet: "An IAU process will be established to assign borderline objects to the dwarf planet or to another category". Tbayboy (talk) 17:02, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes. Couldn't that be where the confusion over the IAU being the gatekeeper comes from? --JorisvS (talk) 18:07, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
And if they do that, then of course we reflect their decision. (And disagreement, if it exists.) But until they address these objects, we're left with non-IAU sources. Again, WP reflects sources, not what might be some day. — kwami (talk) 00:35, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Serendipodous, yes, if you have a RS that these are not DPs, then that is an entirely different matter. But I can't verify: could you quote the passage where it says that? All I can find is that Sedna is an "obvious candidate" for being a DP.

As for Brown, WP does allow citing web pages of noted authorities when published sources are not available. We do that all the time. — kwami (talk) 00:09, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

The second source I linked to (the PDF) contains a list which defines the classic five as dwarf planets but excludes the contested four. Other sources agree, other sources don't. My point is it really doesn't matter. It's not Wikipedia's job to be ahead of the curve. We report the news, we don't make it. When the IAU and thus the wider media start referring to those four as DPs, then so will we. Science is always in contest, and it's not our job to take sides. Serendipodous 07:12, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
But it doesn't say what you claim it does. Yes, they list as DPs those objects the IAU had said at that point were accepted as DPs, but they also say, "The inclusion of other large bodies in this class is possible with Sedna, Charon, and Haumea being the obvious candidates." In other words, they're not excluding other bodies from being DPs. And of course a short while after that article was published, Haumea was accepted. So we're back to square one: we have a RS that these four are DPs. We have no source that they're not. Therefore, as far as WP is concerned, they're DPs. — kwami (talk) 07:44, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Note the phrases: "inclusion... in this class is possible" and "obvious candidates" (emphasis added). No-one is saying that the inclusion of other bodies is not possible. We're simply reflecting the reality that they have not yet been formally adopted into the category. When they are - which, for all we know, could be next week or next decade, we'll update our articles accordingly. --Ckatzchatspy 08:52, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Again, you're missing the point. If and when the IAU ever addresses the issue, they will be a RS. Until then they are not. So, again, we have a RS that these are DPs. We have no source that they are not. Therefore for our purposes they are DPs. That's how sourcing works. To override RSs based on what might happen is OR. See WP:CRYSTALBALL. — kwami (talk) 09:16, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Asking for a reliable source for a negative is unreasonable. One can imagine many untrue negative statements that would be hard to contradict by reliable sources. Rothorpe (talk) 00:18, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

It's not at all unreasonable. People debate categories all the time. If people claim that objects are DPs, and others disagree, they're not going to keep quiet about it just because it's a negative claim. We have refs that Pluto is not a planet, that Tartessian is not a Celtic language, that Taiwan is not a country. We have sources that Eris is bigger than Pluto, and now sources that maybe it's not. Nothing unusual about that. — kwami (talk) 00:32, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

You're right, of course. But such a negative statement is especially unlikely given that the objects probably will be declared DPs eventually. I'm puzzled as to why you're in such a hurry. Rothorpe (talk) 00:48, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Unlikely because it's unlikely to be true? Then shouldn't we reflect that?
Doesn't seem to be a hurry to me. It's been obvious for years that at least the larger objects were going to turn out to be DPs, but we didn't have the sources until now. If I've overlooked s.t. in Serendipodous' source and there are people who are saying these are not DPs, then I retract my position and will support saying they're candidates, with the addition of providing sources pro and con. But if there's pro and no con, then our guidelines demand that we present the pro and not invent a con. We need to reflect our sources, and as far as I can see, that means at least these four are DPs, with others likely.
This is merely my opinion, but I suspect that if someone calculated that one of these was not a DP, or was even unlikely to be, the first place we'd hear about it would be Brown's website, since it would force him to rethink TNOs yet again. — kwami (talk) 00:54, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
All I would need would be a source that specifically claims that one of these bodies might not/could possibly not be in HE, which is still substantially weaker than "is not" or "unlikely to be" (but stronger than just not saying these are DPs). --JorisvS (talk) 11:43, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
The article says "virtually certain", which makes it perfectly clear it's unlikely to be true.
And you yourself say "four are DPs, with others likely". Rothorpe (talk) 01:04, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, and that's all I want to say.
Really? I thought you wanted to say Sedna &c were dwarf planets. Rothorpe (talk) 12:04, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's what we're talking about: these four [Sedna &c] are DPs, with others likely. (I agree that saying the others "are" DPs at this point would be premature. If the size estimates are too high and the bodies rocky, they may not be.) — kwami (talk) 05:56, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
It is, of course, possible that they are not DPs, just as it's possible that in 2015 we'll discover that Ceres and Pluto aren't DPs either. Even the IAU says that it's only virtually certain (or words to that effect) that Eris is a DP. In such cases we just say it "is", and leave the nuances to the refs. We state, for example, that 500 (or whatever the tally is now) exoplanets have been discovered. Of course, we can't really be certain about any of them, but since there is no reasonable doubt expressed in our sources, we make it a factual statement. That's what I expect here: reflect our sources. — kwami (talk) 01:27, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Note Brown's description of "virtually certain": We are confident enough in the size estimate to know that each one of these must be a dwarf planet even if predominantly rocky. This description sounds like "certain", but with the qualifier "virtually" simply added out of scientific stance. --JorisvS (talk) 11:43, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
And quite right, too. It is, after all, language we are concerned with here. Rothorpe (talk) 12:04, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
Meaning? — kwami (talk) 05:59, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Kwamikagami, why do you insist on reverting in your text when this is clearly contentious, clearly under active discussion, and clearly challenged? Once again, please stop. --Ckatzchatspy 07:52, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Ckatz, note that wording like "with four others thought to be "nearly certain"." contradicts the source used for this statement, because Brown has put Eris, Pluto, Makemake, and Haumea in the same category. Also, just saying these are "virtually certain" without also saying what Brown means by this descriptor (i.e. "these must be in HE", see above) misrepresents what the source says. --JorisvS (talk) 10:59, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
If you have better wording, please by all means suggest it. My big concern here is in the manner in which Kwamikagami is trying to push through changes and "engaging in speculation and synthesis" (per another editor's comment above) without proper discussion, while utterly ignoring the concerns presented here. --Ckatzchatspy 16:23, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
"xxx is a dwarf planet, but is not yet included in the list maintained by the IAU.", or more verbosely: "xxx is a [TNO blah]. Given current knowledge, it must be a dwarf planet [(even if predominantly rocky)], but is not yet included in the list maintained by the IAU." All parts of these sentences can be properly referenced with RSs and we have no RSs disputing these. --JorisvS (talk) 11:13, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

arbitrary break 3

So far I have not seen a single source that actually challenges Brown's position on Sedna, Quaoar, Orcus, and 2007 OR10 being dwarf planets. Let me add another that says they are (with the exception of 2007 OR10 just because it was not analyzed): Which are the dwarfs in the Solar System? or the short version for those who can't access the full-length version. --JorisvS (talk) 10:59, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

To the contrary, this paper confirms and supports the IAU in gatekeeping! From their abstract:
In a footnote, the resolution says: “An IAU process will be established to assign borderline objects into either “dwarf planet” and other categories." In order to contribute to the establishment of this classification procedure ...
Tbayboy (talk) 12:03, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
And again, that is utterly irrelevant. If and when the IAU actually follows up on that, we will cover it. But until then, no WP:CRYSTALBALL.
Meanwhile, we now have two sources that these are DPs, and no source that they are not DPs. Therefore, per our sourcing policy, these are DPs. If you don't like that conclusion, then present some evidence. — kwami (talk) 12:19, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
That is in no way "crystal ball", and to make such a claim serves no purpose other than to distract from the discussion at hand. We already have evidence of a "gatekeeper" role simply through the fact that the IAU is the only body making formalized announcements with regard to DP status. Brown has his ideas, Tancredia et al have theirs, but each is clear to indicate that they see the IAU's role. Tancredi's abstract clearly states "In order to contribute to the establishment of this classification procedure... we propose classification criteria for “dwarf planets" - not "these are dwarf planets". Furthermore, they propose 13 objects for inclusion. Are we thus to label all 13? --Ckatzchatspy 16:37, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes. I think perhaps the articles should state whether the DP status is IAU official or unofficial, then attribute the unofficial support to specific astronomers. This would let the readers make up their own minds. Regards, RJH (talk) 17:08, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
RJHall, to clarify, are you suggesting that we say something along the lines of:

"Quaoar is a rocky trans-Neptunian object in the Kuiper belt that is thought to be a dwarf planet"


"Quaoar is a rocky dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, although this has not been officially stated by the IAU."

The first version maintains our convention of using the IAU as the guide for formal inclusion in the category, while introducing additional perspectives. The second means that we would be changing that convention and using our assessment of sources to decide what is in the category. (bold for clarity here, not for in the actual articles) --Ckatzchatspy 17:29, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I think option #1 is the better, "thought to be a dwarf planet". -- Kheider (talk) 17:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Are you willing to apply that convention to all of them? — kwami (talk) 18:24, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Almost. What I'm suggesting is that the article say something like, "Quaoar is a rocky trans-Neptunian object in the Kuiper belt. Astronomer X suggests this object is a candidate dwarf planet" or "In 2011, astronomer X suggested this object is a candidate dwarf planet". "Thought to be" likely falls under WP:WEASEL wording. Regards, RJH (talk) 15:14, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
The "candidate" part is crap. There are many-many DP candidates. There is a list here on WP, Brown has his list. The discussion is about those few that with current certainties must be dwarf planets, i.e. are not properly candidates. --JorisvS (talk) 16:40, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Isn't an unofficial dp a dp candidate until declared a dp by a major astronomical institute? Some asteroids are potentially dormant comets, but they do not get listed as comets until they are seen to outgas. -- Kheider (talk) 17:34, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I hate this. To me the answer is very simple. It's not about science. It's not about definitions. It is not about what one source says over another. It's about what Wikipedia can and cannot do. Wikipedia is not a scientific journal, and it isn't an authority. Wikipedia cannot be ahead of the curve; it cannot take sides; it cannot make the news. Ultimately, it must follow and report. Right now, Kwami is demanding that Wikipedia take sides in a debate. And yes, Kwami, there is a debate; if there weren't, the IAU would have declared these objects dwarf planets by now and we wouldn't be having this discussion. These objects are almost certainly dwarf planets, but the IAU refuses to allow them official recognition. A good analogy for this situation is Kosovo; it has declared independence, and has all the necessary accouterments of an independent nation, but it has not yet been formally recognised by the majority of nations in the UN, and so is referred to in Wikipedia as "a region in southwestern Europe" rather than a country. Kwami may argue that anything that apparently fits the definition of dwarf planet should be considered a dwarf planet, but, as he himself has said, nothing is known absolutely in science, and ultimately it is the IAU's job to come down on one side or another. It is certainly not Wikipedia's. Serendipodous 17:49, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Of course it's about science!
I'm not advocating taking sides. I'm saying we need to follow sources. If you can show the sources are on two sides, then we of course need to reflect that. But so far the sources are all on one side. You can't just invent opposing sources for "balance". That's the definition of OR.
You need to provide evidence for you claims. Sorry, but that's a basic requirement.
We follow our sources. So far we have two sources these are DPs, and no sources to the contrary.
Yes, the IAU said they will address this. But they haven't. When they do, we will include them.
You are mistaken if you think it's up to the IAU. The IAU may peer review research. And that would certainly be a RS. But if they don't peer review the research, all that means is that they haven't peer reviewed it.
Your Kosovo analogy is bewildering. A state is a human institution, and international recognition doubly so. But that's not science. You're substituting bureaucracy for science. Are you actually advocating that we define DP as "international recognition"? Because that's the logical consequence of your position: "A dwarf planet is an object accepted by the IAU as fitting the following definition". Can you show me another WP science article like that?
And of course it's not WP's job to decide this! My God, how many times must it be said? We follow our sources. That's all. We follow our sources. So far our sources, if they say anything at all, say these are DPs. Therefore we say they're DPs. If the IAU wants to chime in, great. Until they do, we use whatever else is available.
We follow our sources.
We follow our sources.
Very simple.
We follow our sources.
kwami (talk) 18:21, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Kwami, let me ask you this hypothetical question. If Mike Brown had stated that he felt his observations of Sedna indicated that it met the criteria for the definition of a planet, and the IAU did not comment on his claim, would you then advocate rewriting our articles to say there were again 9 planets in the Solar System? --Ckatzchatspy 18:38, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Good question.
The reason is that the IAU already knew about Sedna when they defined what a planet was, and they said that only the big 8 qualified as planets. What I'd do in that case is what we do with Pluto: some people count it as a planet, but the IAU and the majority of astronomers do not.
DPs are different. The IAU knew there would be many of them. It created a definition knowing that as our knowledge of TNOs (and possibly asteroids) improved, more and more would be recognized as DPs. They started to set up procedures for recognition, but never finished.
A comment of yours on my talk page is illustrative I think of our differences: "the IAU has not officially identified anything other than Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris as dwarf planets. Based on that, we cannot name other objects as being dwarf planets. Strong candidates, sure, but not officially part of that category."
The sticking point is "officially". Personally, I think it's unencyclopedic to say an object is "officially" a DP. Rather, we should say it's recognized by the IAU as a DP. The reason is that the IAU's own definition of what constitutes an DP has nothing in it about anything being "official". According to the IAU, an object is a DP if it meets the physical and dynamical criteria for being a DP. Those are their only criteria. Pluto isn't a DP because it's "official", it's a DP because it meets the criteria.
What we have are a large population of objects which may fit these criteria. The IAU has accepted some of them as DPs. They are a RS, and (apart from Pluto) no RS says otherwise, so for our purposes they're DPs. Brown has accepted others as DPs. He is also a RS, and since no RS says otherwise, for our purposes those are also DPs. Tancredo lists 12 as DPs. However, here we have disagreement among our sources: Brown states that those are "very likely", but that we cannot yet be certain. If they are rocky and at the lower end of the size estimates, they may turn out not to be in HE. Since our sources do not agree on them being DPs (and we don't have 2ary review to toss out the outliers), we cannot present them as being DPs.
If you can find a RS like that for Sedna, Orcus, Quaoar, or OR10, the same standard would apply. That's why we keep asking you for sources to support your POV. While "official" may carry weight in legal enterprises, such as the recognition of Kosovo, it means little in science. The only official element of this subject is the definition of a DP: definitions are human constructs and so can be "official". TNOs are not.
kwami (talk) 19:09, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Let me expand on your hypothetical, though: What if a new body were discovered, and the discoverer claimed it was a planet? In that case I would expect some reaction from the astronomical community, either pro or con or both, and we would reflect that. If, however, no-one bothered to offer an opinion, we'd be left with an extraordinary claim without extraordinary evidence, so we'd to be cautious. There's nothing extraordinary about a new DP, however: the IAU expects there to be more. And voilà, we have a RS saying there are more, at least these four. — kwami (talk) 19:32, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Coming in late, & not following every nuance, can I suggest a 3d choice? "thought to be a DP, but not yet officially classified as such"? (With actual wording improved as needed...) It seems to me the views of a single astronomer aren't enough, here, not when there's a body (more/less) all astronomers more/less agree will be arbiters, & it hasn't said anything... It's not like IAU is Bernie Ecclestone, or the Supreme Court, I know, but... TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 18:44, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Please, by all means, any suggestion for wording is most definitely appreciated. My preference lies in avoiding having Wikipedia declare outright that "X is a dwarf planet" when the astronomical organization that administers the category has not made any such pronouncement. --Ckatzchatspy 18:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) See my comments for why I think "official" is a bad idea for science articles. Eris, Haumea, and Makemake are also only "thought to be" DPs, yet we do not use that wording. If we did, I wouldn't object to it here. — kwami (talk) 19:11, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Kwami, the sources are telling us that it's not about science, that DP is an administrative category. Tbayboy (talk) 19:07, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Then we need to rewrite this article, and all of our articles that mention DPs, because we currently present as if it were a scientific concept.
However, I do not see that in our sources, and I suspect it would be OR to claim that. If people are convinced this is the case, and we find the sources to back it up, I would accept things being "officially" DPs, as long as we're consistent about it. Pluto, for example, would be a KBO, "classified by the IAU as a dwarf planet". We couldn't say Pluto "is" a DP, because it's a scientific article, and that would not be a scientific claim. — kwami (talk) 19:12, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I am fine with IAU having the final word of what dwarf planet is. The IAU created this definition and should be the final authority on what bodies are classified as dwarf planets. This question is political, not scientific one. This is like Planetary nomenclature—the official names and classifications of surface features (fossa, chasma etc.) are decided by the IAU.

Anything else is an original research as there is no reliable method to establish that a particular (very remote) body is in hydrostatic equilibrium. Even more, no celestial body existing in nature is, in fact, in a perfect hydrostatic equilibrium: not even Sun, Jupiter and Earth. So, when someone says that, for instance, Qaroar is in hydrostatic equilibrium, it means only that it is so close to the equilibrium that the deviations from the equilibrium can be neglected. However, IAU has never set any criteria as to how close a body should be close to a perfect equilibrium to be considered "being in equilibrium". Therefore any statement like "Qaroar is in almost certainly in hydrostatic equilibrium and therefore is almost certainly a dwarf planet" is just a personal opinion of a person who makes it. Ruslik_Zero 19:21, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

But as long as those opinions are from RS's, what does it matter? The same is true about any scientific claim. We can never really be sure.
Planetary nomenclature is different. AFAIK there is no practical definition of what are "fossa" or "chasmata". No-one argues about whether a feature is one or the other: they're just names. (If I'm wrong, then we should of course report it.) "DP", however, is not a name.
But yeah, if we get consensus that DP is not a scientific concept, and stop saying that Pluto, Eris, and Ceres are DPs as if it were a scientific concept, then we would be consistent and I wouldn't object to that. — kwami (talk) 19:27, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Status of IAU does affect the wording, IMO. Most readers will tend to take IAU as a governing body, & not an assocation with no de jure authority. (If it has any, I withdraw this.) IAU's pronouncements may give the appearance of authority, but I'm not sure we should be relying on that, if it doesn't have actual governng body status. The mere fact there is debate among the professionals about what a DP is, & isn't, suggests definitively calling anything a DP is a mistake, until the argument is settled. So what about something on the lines of "is a [type of object] in [location]; its exact nature is [link pointing to header further down page|debated]"? TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 20:00, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Fossa is a long, narrow, shallow depression. This is a definition, which is not better or worse than the definition of dwarf planet. Ruslik_Zero 10:55, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but "long", "narrow", and "shallow" are all subjective descriptions. How shallow is "shallow"? "Hydrostatic equilibrium" is not. Notice the IAU did not define DPs as "round". Big difference. — kwami (talk) 23:47, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

arbitrary break 4

The footnote in the IAU definition reads "An IAU process will be established to assign borderline objects into either "dwarf planet" and other categories.". Note the word borderline. The objects we're debating over are not borderline cases. With our current knowledge only Vesta and possibly Pallas could considered that, but no TNO is known to a sufficient degree for it to be "borderline". --JorisvS (talk) 20:41, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I would say no TNO is known to a sufficient degree for it not to be "borderline". Ruslik_Zero 09:33, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, our knowledge is often so limited that that is borderline. That doesn't mean, however, that the objects are borderline cases, i.e. that they are just in HE, or almost but not quite in HE. We simply have too little knowledge to be certain about many that will turn out to be clear-cut cases, let alone to know whether an object is borderline-HE. --JorisvS (talk) 10:23, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Ruslik, that is your opinion, and therefore irrelevant. The IAU did not define what they meant by "borderline". According to our single source, these are clearly not borderline. We follow our sources. — kwami (talk) 23:44, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Moving On

I'm starting a new section for suggestions on how to edit things to everyone's acceptance, if not satisfaction. Please keep this section limited only to suggestions, what (if any) aspects you find acceptable, and how to improve them.

My suggestions: Add a new section to DP mentioning the confusion re IAU as gatekeeper, i.e., whether or not DP is a scientific or administrative category. For individual bodies, lead with TNO, and then indicate how it is a DP. E.g., Eris is a TNO and an IAU-listed DP. Quaoar is a TNO that satisfies the criteria of DP. Orcus is a plutino that likely satisfies the criteria of DP. "IAU-listed", not "official", and "satisfies the criteria" rather than "is". Both phrases link to the confusion section of the DP article. I think that keeps our butts on the fence with a leg on either side. Tbayboy (talk) 19:50, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I think that might be an acceptable compromise. I do wonder though about the table I set up for this article: would the section header have to be changed from Dwarf planets to Objects that satisfy the criteria of being dwarf planets? Wouldn't that seem a bit silly? — kwami (talk) 20:14, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, silly. Simply because "Objects that satisfy the criteria of being dwarf planets" are dwarf planets. --JorisvS (talk) 20:21, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
For the table, we could use a footnote/asterisk or background colour to indicate IAU-listed. Maybe a sortable column for a "certainty code", IAU-listed as 1, the other "nearly certain"s as 2, and so on. Tbayboy (talk) 21:06, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
So it would be okay to call the section Dwarf planets? Is that because the context is already established, unlike the lede for, say, Pluto or Sedna, where we couldn't be so cavalier? — kwami (talk) 21:10, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm okay with it. We would have the preceeding context of the issue, and the table itself would have some distinction between listed and unlisted, so I think the status is clear (and interprettable either way the reader is inclined). However, please let others comment before proceeding. Tbayboy (talk) 22:28, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
No, it would not be ok. This would be OR. Ruslik_Zero 10:02, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Is it just the section header you're objecting to? If so, how about "Potential Dwarf Planets"? Or some other adjective. Tbayboy (talk) 12:12, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
No, 'some adjective' is exactly what I object to. The aren't "potential" DPs, they're just DPs. Now, for the other big ones, such as Varuna, there's reasonable doubt. That's what our sources say. We follow our sources. Unless someone comes up with a contradictory source, but so far no-one has. I really don't understand Ruslik: reporting our sources is "OR", but inventing information is evidently factual. He's got it exactly reversed. — kwami (talk) 23:38, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Bad idea to limit to "confirmed DPs"? Or is that a pretty short list? Or a meaningless distinction? TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 23:58, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
It feels as if we are getting hung up on what it means to be declared a DP. This is a category that objects are placed in, defined and created by the IAU and based on certain physical characteristics. Whether or not Sedna (for example) is declared formally to be a DP doesn't change what it physically is, just as Earth is very different from Jupiter even though they're both in the category "planet". Moreover, the category could change - if more objects are deemed to fit the criteria in the asteroid belt, it is not outside the realm of possibility that we could see the DP idea sidelined in favour of having X plutoids and Y "ceroids" (or whatever term is created). We have a category that, since its inception, has been populated by declarations from the IAU, and we have a number of other objects that new observations have decided are likely candidates to be added to that category. Let's just word it accordingly, which would be very similar to what we're already doing. Eris is a DP, Sedna is an object that is thought to fit the requirements but hasn't been added yet, etc. Thoughts? --Ckatzchatspy 06:30, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree, but I don't think that's any different from the situation we have now. Serendipodous 08:16, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
It's fundamentally different than what we have now. Currently we say that a DP is an object that has certain physical/dynamical characteristics, but in practice we use the word as a bureaucratically defined category. What Ckatz says is fine by me, as long as we're honest about it. And that means changing this article from a physical account to a bureaucratic account, a complete change in approach, and changing all other mentions of the word DP so that the reader is clear that it isn't a natural or scientific category, but merely a label. — kwami (talk) 09:48, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I would greatly object to that. The term "dwarf planet" is not defined bureaucratically, but as, as we currently say, an object with certain characteristics, i.e. a scientific category (per the resolution). And it is not claimed to be just a bureaucratic category by the sources, even when they're talking about IAU procedures. So to claim that it is just bureaucratic would be dishonestly misrepresenting the sources. Can we talk about IAU procedures? Sure. Can we talk about the list maintained by the IAU? Sure. But only if we neutrally stick to what and only what the sources tell us. --JorisvS (talk) 10:53, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Well sure, if we go by sources. But we have at least three editors saying we can't go by sources because that's OR. If we're going to invent our own definitions of what a DP is, we should at least have the honesty to apply it consistently. — kwami (talk) 12:46, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Should we let Mike Brown speak for the entire professional astronomical community? We did not allow Alan Stern to speak for the professional community when he and NASA went against the IAU definition of a planet. (But all of this comes down to rather Wikipedia is going to call a probable dwarf-planet a dwarf-planet. The trick is in the wording.) -- Kheider (talk) 15:53, 22 September 2011 (UTC
That's a strawman's argument. Lots of astronomers (Brown among them, and the majority at the IAU voting) disagreed with Stern's opinion on Pluto, while no-one seems to contradict Brown's (and Tancredi's) assertion on these objects being dwarf planets. --Roentgenium111 (talk) 16:14, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Ok. Let me ask this another way, how low are we going to go? Is my old test subject 38628 Huya now a dwarf planet? -- Kheider (talk) 16:35, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I would go there with Brown's classification as well (unless you have other contradicting sources), i.e. Huya is "likely" a dwarf planet, but it's not yet certain. I wouldn't mind listing it here as well (together with the other "likely" dwarf planets), with this adjective as a "disclaimer".--Roentgenium111 (talk) 16:47, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────These are all still candidates, but I guess we are trying to use Mike Brown to expand the list. When should we decide something is worth linking to the dwarf planet article instead of the dp candidate list? -- Kheider (talk) 16:57, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

When it is "virtually certain" the way Eris is "virtually certain". When it "must" be in HE even if rocky the way Haumea "must" be. Of course, with further discoveries it may turn out that Eris and Haumea are not in HE and so not DPs, but we'll deal with that if and when it happens. — kwami (talk) 19:22, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

How about 20000 Varuna and the unstable centaur 2060 Chiron? Should I update the 2060 Chiron article and mention that if Chiron turns out to be a icy dwarf planet, it could be the first dwarf planet classified as a comet? -- Kheider (talk) 17:06, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

"it could be the first dwarf planet classified as a comet" Personally, I would find that really interesting... TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 18:09, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I would find it interesting also. But I am curious just how far we should open the flood gates. Chiron could easily become a NEO in the next 100k years. -- Kheider (talk) 18:18, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
It's quite simple, Kheider. We go with our sources, which only support four additions to the list. For Sedna, OR10, Quaoar, and Orcus, we have a source that says they "must" be in HE even if rocky, that they are "virtually certain", the same wording as for Eris, Haumea, and Makemake. So, according to our sources, they are DPs. That's where it ends. Varuna, Ixion, etc. "may" be DPs, but if they're rocky and at the lower side of the size estimates, they wouldn't be. So we certainly can't put them in a list of DPs. They should stay in the list of possible DPs where they are now. As for Chiron, I'm not aware of anyone even mentioning the possibility. Therefore we wouldn't either.
Why is it so difficult for people to understand that we go by sources? Has no-one read our sourcing policies? — kwami (talk) 19:13, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
That's what has me wondering too, why no-one seems to understand "going by the sources". FYI, Brown lists Chiron as a 'possibly'. Also, don't forget the light-curve source I have provided above, just after arbitrary break 3. --JorisvS (talk) 20:06, 22 September 2011 (UTC)