Talk:ExxonMobil climate change controversy/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Overcite

Template:HughD, there are a lot of overcited references in this article. In cases where the weight of the reference has not been questioned please cut things down to the one or perhaps two strongest references. In cases where the reference is quoting a report such as the reports by the UCS or Royal Society, the reports themselves would be the best source. Also, you added a citation here [[1]] that doesn't make any sense in context of the statement is supposed to support. Please fix it. The work on changing the order of presentation looks good. Springee (talk) 20:28, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

Moved the reference to external links. There only appear to be a few parts where overcite may apply. Please point out which parts you take issue with. prokaryotes (talk) 16:06, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for a lot of updates and work on the article. I haven't checked all the refs but as a general rule I would say any time there are more than two references cited we should ask if they are needed. There are several places were 3-4 references are used. I would suggest looking at those and deciding which references make sense to keep. Thanks also for taking care of the ref that didn't makes sense (NYT-2007, you made it a link). I'm not sure it even needs to be a link given the limited content of the NTY article but that's more stylistic than anything else. Springee (talk) 18:23, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
I realized the 2007 article belongs to a related content part, moved it there. Well, up to 3 references should be fine. prokaryotes (talk) 18:40, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
To keep things consistent with the parent article I've removed the citation. This issue was discussed there and HughD appears to have chosen to not follow that consensus when adding it here. The sort version of why it was removed at the parent was the weight of the claim isn't in dispute thus we should really keep things down to the best source for the claim. Since the material that needs to be supported is a quote from a UCS report, the best source for the quote is the report. The NYT article in question was very short and basically just summarized the UCS report. We really should check other examples of 3 or more refs (ideally 2 or more) for similar examples. The only reason to have more than one reference is cases where the weight or validity of the claim might be questioned. In this case if people said the views of the UCS were not significant then the fact that the NYT reported them could be seen as proof of weight. When I get a bit more time I'll look at the other potential overcite examples. I would think any time the citations are meant to support direct quotes the signle best source should be sufficient. Springee (talk) 00:59, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
First off, it is better to link to a secondary source, and secondly can you link to a Wikipedia guideline which says that we should use only one reference? prokaryotes (talk) 02:35, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Please see WP:OVERCITE, " A good rule of thumb is that, except for certain controversial topics, one footnote after a sentence is almost always sufficient. Two or three may be a good way of preventing linkrot for online sources or providing a range of sources that support the fact, but more than three should usually be avoided;". Remember that the WP article had a direct quote from the report. Unless the NYT article directly supported the quote then it's not actually a valid citation. That doesn't mean it's a bad source just that it doesn't support the citation in question. Since the WP statement was that the UCS report said X, the actual report is the most authoritative source for the contents of the report. It's like citing "Old Man and the Sea" for a quote from the book vs a review of the book for the same quote. No one is disputing that the UCS said what is in the report nor is anyone claiming the quotes lack weight. Thus only one inline citation should be used per OVERCITE. Anyway, there was a previous conversation about this exact reference on the parent article page here [[2]]. Note that if we were talking about interpreting the contents of the report vs directly quoting them then I would agree with you that we should use a secondary source for the interpretation and probably also include a link to the report (perhaps as a bundled citation). Springee (talk) 03:15, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Ok, if it is clear that the exact same content is linked twice, then we need only one of those. But this is not clear, and there are parts where paragraph content depends on multiple references. And you do understand that this page indeed is a controversial topic. prokaryotes (talk) 03:21, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I do understand what you are concerned about. In that particular case the article claim was that the UCS report contained several quotes. The NYT citation wasn't used to support the larger paragraph and really all the short NYT article said was that the UCS issued a report that said X. Certainly in other cases more than one citation is going to be needed. For example a claim that says "a number of reports have been critical of EM for X". That would need links to more than one report. In the article the sentence "In 1981, Exxon's in-house climate experts raised concerns regarding developing the offshore Natuna gas field off Indonesia, which is 70% carbon dioxide, the main contributor to climate change." Probably should have more than one citation though one or two strong citations should be sufficient. But more than one is reasonable if the source(s) material is based on journalistic investigations rather than a direct company statement. On the other hand consider this sentence, "Toward the end of the 1980s, Exxon curtailed its own climate research and was a leader in climate change denial.[1][15][16][17]". OVERCITE says 4 citations is simply too much.
Another example that probably should have just one is this statement:
In 2006 the Royal Society published a letter, pointing out that of 2005 grantees of ExxonMobil, 54 were found to have statements regarding climate change on their websites, of which 25 were consistent with the scientific consensus on climate change, while 39 "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence," and ExxonMobil granted $2.9 million to US organizations which "misinformed the public about climate change through their websites."[26][27][28]
The above is basically an excerpted quote from the Royal Society letter. There is no interpretation or journalistic interpretation. If the Royal Society published the letter and we can cite the letter itself then we should not cite the other three sources. They may be good articles for other facts but not for the way they are being used. If all three support the quote and we can't find the original letter then pick one and remove the other two per OVERCITE. In this case the only reason for more than one is if there is a dispute about the actual content of the letter. As far as I can tell there is no dispute. Basically this example is the same as the UCS letter. Springee (talk) 04:04, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Yeah makes sense, regarding the gas field, it is unclear to me why this is part of the article at all. Or is this similar to Shell's Arctic exploration ambitions? However, the gas field part's first two refs seem significant, but refer to something else, in such a case we should either move these or add the missing content. prokaryotes (talk) 04:09, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
I won't argue with that. I think this article started off with a bit of a mess from the split. I'm happy to see your work and even HughD's work even if I frequently disagree with his editorial and talk page work. I mentioned the OVERCITE examples mostly because it just came up on the parent article and HughD was a participant in that discussion. It seemed questionable to immediately repeat the disputed edits on the split article. Anyway, perhaps the best way to handle most of these cases is to let interested editors work on the basic content and once that dust settles a bit go back and clean up some of the overcite examples. Editors might want to use some of the excess citations for other facts or just in the link section at the end of the article. I know you had already started down that path. Springee (talk) 04:21, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
The gas field thing was not a part of the original split-off section but was only added less than two days ago by this edit. Beagel (talk) 06:56, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your question, "...can you link to a Wikipedia guideline which says that we should use only one reference?" I also would like to see such a link. My understanding is there is no such policy or guideline. Thanks again. Hugh (talk) 07:01, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
The UCS source is more like a primary source and the NYT is a secondary source, and our project asks us to prefer secondary sources. Also, coverage by the NYT is widely considered the gold standard of noteworthiness. Citation documents noteworthiness as well as verifiability. I am glad no one of the 3 of us considers the claim non-controversial at 1 ref, but that does not mean someone else will not sometime soon. Two refs are not over cite and contribute to article stability. Hugh (talk) 07:01, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
We are asked to provide context sufficient that our readers can understand the content of our articles. Multiple reliable sources position the funding of climate denial in the context of a corporation with major scientific expertise, fully aware of global warming and integrating the consequences into their operational planning. Hugh (talk) 07:06, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Think link and statement from OVERCITE were provided. You participated in and the consensus did not agree with you regarding the UCS reference. Since the edit and talk history of the one is considered to be the history of the other it is tendentious editing to immediately act as if that past doesn't apply here. Your hyperbolic descriptions of the weight or references are hyperbole. Springee (talk) 12:38, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Of course this is a controversial topic as demonstrated by the article title, WP:ARBCC, the recent article split, and this talk page discussion, so the explicit exception in essay WP:OVERCITE applies, but you know that. Of course two or more references for content are very common on Wikipedia, but you know that. Of course two references for content, one a primary reference focussing on verifiability and another a secondary reference focussing on noteworthiness, is a very common citation pattern in Wikipedia, but you know that. Two of your colleagues have requested of you a link to policy or guideline which supports your personal preference for one and only one reference for content. Please provide a link or desist. Thank you. Hugh (talk) 15:17, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
HughD, you should not be lecturing others about respectful editing. What you are trying to do is claim that because the overall topic is controversial every citation should be treated as such. That simply is not true. OVERCITE's mention of controversy refers to the specific citation in question, not the overall article. This was already explained to you here [[3]]. It is also covered by OVERCITE here [[4]] Springee (talk) 15:39, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
  • HughD, do not edit other people's comments without permission. This isn't something we should have to repeat to you. Springee (talk) 15:57, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
  • HughD, why would you add a weak reference to support a direct quote when we already have a strong reference doing the same thing? This is against OVERCITE. Please justify this addition [5]. Are you suggesting the NYT is a better source vs InsideClimateNews? The NYT article contains only a cut from an email, not an explanation of the story. It's actually a very weak citation in this case. If you feel the reference is worth having add it to the "also see" section, don't try to force it into a reference where it doesn't belong. Springee (talk) 03:30, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Per essay WP:OVERCITE:

A good rule of thumb is that, except for certain controversial topics, one footnote after a sentence is almost always sufficient. Two or three may be a good way of preventing linkrot for online sources or providing a range of sources that support the fact, but more than three should usually be avoided...

Emphasis added for the benefit of the hard of hearing. Hugh (talk) 20:11, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

The "hard of hearing" comment is uncalled for.
Note that, per OVERCITE, if the source of fact is not controversial, ie. we are not arguing that the material supported by the citation is correct, then the fact that the whole topic is controversial doesn't mater. Hemmingway might be controversial but we don't need more than one source to support he wrote "Old Man and the Sea" or it was first published in 19XX. We would need multiple sources if the article said, "Old Man and the Sea was Hemingway's most critically acclaimed work." We would need more than one source to support that claim because even if a single credible reviewer felt that way others, even a majority, may not. Suppose we had five sources that felt that way but two, say NYT and The New Yorker, that panned it. Well instead of 5 "for it" citations, we would, per OVERCITE, rewrite the section to give more detail to the 5 "for's" and separately the 2 cons. Again, I would suggest you refer to the related discussion that you were involved with on the ExxonMobil talk page. Springee (talk) 22:30, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Additional relevant excerpt from essay WP:OVERCITE:

How to trim excessive citations

If there are six citations on a point of information, and the first three are highly reputable sources (e.g., books published by university presses), and the last three citations are less reputable or less widely circulated (e.g., local newsletters), then trim out those less-reputable sources.

Emphasis added for the benefit of those who may be unclear. Hugh (talk) 20:35, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

The above applies in the cases where more than one citation would be needed at all. It doesn't mean a non-controversial statement (not article, the controversy relates to the specific bit of information that is being added to the article) should get lots of citations. Only when the specific fact/claim/etc is in dispute should we have more than one citation. Springee (talk) 22:30, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
  • HughD, please assume good faith. What you are doing is WP:tendentious. You have cut sections out of the policy in a way that removes context. I'm following the same logic that we had at the parent article (I provided links above). If I recall you stood alone in your objections to removing the excess citations. Springee (talk) 21:59, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I think as a general rule, the question should be "does this source add something to the article?" If we have a high quality academic source, then a news article from the guardian probably doesn't add anything, and we can trim it to one source. If we have two high quality academic sources that speak to the content explicitly, then including both helps our readers interested in investigating the content further. Wikipedia, at its heart, is really just a compilation of sources. Trimming sources should be done when they are redundant, not for aesthetics. Yes, 6 sources is overkill, but 2 is not. I don't see the harm in leaving 2 sources, and it eliminates the possibility someone will later complain the sourcing is weak, or the content insignificant. This seems to be in line with the intent of WP:OVERCITE   — Jess· Δ 22:58, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I understand what you are getting at but I disagree that it is within the intent of OVERCITE. The link is there to support the claims/facts/statements in the article. The "additional reading/links" section of the article is where we should put the articles that might be redundant in terms of supporting the facts in the WP article but may be of interest anyway. Springee (talk) 00:37, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Okay, let me put it this way: if we eliminate good citations, we increase the likelihood of disputes later, and make it harder for our readers to investigate a variety of sources on the topic. So that's a real harm. What is the harm in leaving two good sources for a claim?   — Jess· Δ 01:16, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Readability is part of it. Another issue is attempting to suggest weight by adding a number of lower quality citations. I would also add that in most cases I'm not removing twin citations. The ones I'm removing as a rule are ones that are weak citations given what they are actually being used to support. Take for instance this one [6]. That reference is clearly weak compared to the citations it was pared with. That one seems to have only been used to boost the number of sources. That was one of the reasons why OVERCITE exists in the first place. In other cases like this one [7] the citation is being used to support a direct quote. Well the other citation is an actual article talking about the topic. This is a throw together of some emails. Not exactly great stuff despite what the justification for the addition claims. Given the first citation fully and without controversy supports the WP article why add the readability mess? If the article contains something important yet we can't figure out how to put that important information in the WP article then put it at the end in the also see sections. BTW, this is something I point out not just here but to students I work with and in papers I review. Springee (talk) 01:32, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
BTW, here is another example of questionable citation work that HughD just added.[[8]] The claim in the article is that Greenpeace said X. Well we have a statement from Greenpeace's website that says X. How much more reliable are we going to get? Even though I agree the CSM is a RS, why add it when it's basically once removed from the actual source of the statement. It becomes an example of exactly what OVERCITE was meant to stop, dumping a number of citations in to attempt to bolster a claim. Honestly I think we are also seeing the same thing with the large number of articles which say similar things. Rather than telling a cohesive story we are getting a dumping ground of articles. But that concern extends beyond just OVERCITE. Springee (talk) 01:40, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Jess that we ought not to overapply WP:OVERCITE to an extreme as that in fact hurts an article. As a reader, i enjoy seeing two or three high-quality sources for claims. It gives some good links for a user to explore. It makes an article better, in many cases. WP:OVERCITE is an essay with a good point, but it's not a policy and it's not for people to follow to an extreme that hurts articles and removes good sources that have accumulated through the work of many good editors. Let's keep good sources that add to the article. SageRad (talk) 14:43, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I understand the concern about over applying. It seems we have only a few disagreements as to where it might have been over applied. That said, I don't think I have over applied it and as I tried to make clear I actually considered both the claims and sources before removing citations. Springee (talk) 15:34, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────I disagree that two citations make the text harder to read. I think your reading of WP:OVERCITE is at odds with its intent and usual application. See several featured articles which use multiple refs. It's common in our very best articles. Here, you removed citations to the UCS and NYTimes, leaving behind only the guardian. While the guardian is a reliable source, it is not held in higher esteem than the NYTimes for journalism or a scientific body for scientific claims. Here we had two online news sources, and you cut one leaving just the guardian, which again, invites criticism that it's poorly sourced or assigned too much weight. Here you've cut cites from the single most contentious sentence in the article, removing two scientific bodies again in favor of the guardian. Look, some trimming can be good. Here you trimmed two duplicate citations, and here we only needed the Royal Society to back up their own position. But our goal should be to present as much content and as many resources of the highest quality we can, not to barely skim by WP:V. Can we please hold back just a little more on cutting sources while the article is being formulated?   — Jess· Δ 02:15, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

I understand what you are saying but you need to look at the actual article content, not just the source of the article. Take your first example. What was the WP article statement that we needed to support? " Exxon's in-house climate experts raised concerns regarding developing the offshore Natuna gas field off Indonesia, which is 70% carbon dioxide, the main contributor to climate change." This is a simple statement that Exxon did X. The Guardian article contained quotes from the internal communication that said exactly that. The other sources also quote the same internal message. So they are all saying the same thing. None are adding an interpretation to the message. That falls into the "quote the book" example I have talked about. Now look at the three citations which were provided. The Guardian article was a full article on the subject and contained the needed quote as well as other information on the topic. The NYT article was just a collection of passages from various company internal communications. It doesn't contain any context for those passages. Yes, the NYT in general is a good source but in this case this isn't a top quality article. In this case it is certainly weaker than the Guardian. The third source is a UCS press release for a report. It is not the report and it actually doesn't support the 70% claim. So by itself it couldn't support the passage in question. So in this case we have one good RS, one that contains minimum needed information but no context or journalism and one that is a press release for a report and doesn't contain enough information to support the claim. Only one was needed here. Perhaps if the full USC report supported the claim it could be used as well but again, this is just a passage that effectively quotes EM itself. Why have extra citations if the quotes aren't in dispute? I think you will find I actually put similar thought and consideration into the other removals as well. If you notice I did not strip all cases down to just one citation. I only did that in cases where we were either dealing with, in effect, a source quoted fact (Greenpeace said "X" doesn't need a second quote if we have a link to Greenpeace saying it), or other claims that aren't in dispute. I did not do it to the subjective claims (ie more than one journalist reaches a similar conclusion).
Quickly hitting your other examples, #2, I removed a short Reuters blurb article. Look at the actual article and it should be clear it was a weak source next to the other one and again we are talking about using the article to quote something EM said. It's not a controversial claim.
3, That one was 4 citations which is too many. I removed the Royal Society one because the link was bad. The UCS was removed because it was a press release for a report, not the report. Note that the report is cited elsewhere so the actual report isn't lost. If you think the report would be better please link it instead. Note that I didn't cut that down to one.

Again, if we think those trimmed sources just need to be in here then add their unique content to the article or add them to the further reading stuff at the end. Springee (talk) 02:44, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

I'm not trying to get into a whole content discussion about every change. I plan to get in and do some writing, myself, but haven't had the time yet. I'm just asking that you hold back just a little on cutting valid sources from the article. You're citing an essay (I believe incorrectly) to support the cuts, and the end result is to weaken the article and make it harder to expand on our content. Again, some of your cuts have been good, but in cases where we have a couple different sources which discuss the topic independently, it would be helpful to let them stay for a bit while the article gets improved. The article was created very recently; we have some time to work on it. Further reading isn't the place to put extra refs (none of the sources we're discussing would be appropriate there, including the ones you left in the article) so that's not really a great option.   — Jess· Δ 04:02, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't see any issue with the refs I've removed but I appreciate that you are discussing it in context and you are discussing edits. Since you asked I will hold off a bit. Perhaps in a week or so we can go back through and try to clean things up again. Currently the article really looks like a one or a few people just searched the web for an negative story about Exxon and then dumped it into the article in roughly chronological order. It is understanding that the sentences have yet to be meshed nicely together. However a bigger issue I see is their seems to be little effort to really understand all the accusations. If there are legitimate sources that say "Greenpeace's claims are wrong" or "it's not as straight forward as all that" we should absolutely put them in. In the short term, with so many sources I saw (and still see) nothing wrong with removing the weak links. When you actually look at the list of citations I removed perhaps half were still used else where in the article. Of those that were actually removed, some were press releases (or the MJ pointer blurb) to the real sources which are still here. A few were very short articles with no unique content and of limited quality compared to most of the stuff here (I'm still wondering why Rollings Stones, a source that is also anti-Vaccine has made it to the article). We also have the NYT collection of memos. It's not a strong source in this context regardless of what one editor claims. Springee (talk) 04:20, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Jan 30th, new OVERCITE issues

Some recent edits have resulted in more issues with questionable sources and OVERCITE. In each of the instances below the claim that the facts in question are "controversial" is wrong. While the overall topic may be, the points in question each time were not.

  • This makes 3 citations for a single, no-controversial claim [9]. The facts of the claim have not been disputed so there is no justification for adding a 3rd reliable source. However, the added source is not a good source to back the claims in question. The HP article is sourced almost entirely from one of the ICN articles already used in this WP article. So it's not an independent source reaching the same conclusion. OVERCITE specifically mentions such sources as less than ideal. So we have more sources than needed for a claim that isn't in dispute and the HP source just retells the ICN information. Really, this is sloppy work.
  • This is another example of not looking at the new source very carefully [10]. The Independent is reporting on what The Guardian said in this article [11] which is already part of the WP article. Again, a quick reading of the source would make it clear that this was just repackaged information. This in addition to being an unneeded citation.
  • This one is almost justified.[12] The added citation was the Guardian which would be a good source. The Independent should have been removed since it just refers to the article that was just added. So, assuming the extra source is needed at all, at least the new one is better than one of the old ones. Springee (talk) 19:33, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Adding additional reliable sources, with excerpts, is a reasonable, measured, collegial approach when sources are challenged, an approach well supported by policy and guideline. Use by others is a legitimate aspect of sourcing as per policy. Agreement on content across sources is due weight. In recent days when arguing for removing sources, you argued that the supported content was not controversial, then the next day began challenging those sources you left. I am confused. You are misapplying essay WP:OVERCITE. May I respectfully suggest you pursue your views on the appropriate number of citations per sentence to essay talk. Thank you. Hugh (talk) 22:35, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

You are getting ridiculous with OVERCITING. Here for example[13] you claim an extra citation is needed because people are questioning the reliability of ICN. So you add a second ICN article by the same authors?! Are you serious? How can you honestly claim that addresses the concerns? Your edit here is almost as ridiculous [14]. The HP article you are using as a 3rd (and thus totally unneeded source) is re-reporting the ICN article. Thus in both cases you have done NOTHING to add reliability to claims that didn't need them in the first place. Springee (talk) 22:51, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

HughD, this addition is illogical at best and also runs counter to OVERCITE.[[15]] You claim that you are adding a third reference because people on the talk page are saying ICN may not be a 100% source. OK, then why add ICN as the third source? If your claimed reason was honest you would add some other source. So let's look at the sources for the claim in question. Frontline said, "was produced by FRONTLINE in association with the InsideClimate News report." So Frontline is not independent of ICN in this case. It's involvement can add credibility to ICN but they would be considered a common source of facts. The copy of the Black papers are primary sources and as you should know we aren't to use such things. Basically this is again a case where the only source we actually have is ICN. ICN can link us to the documents. Frontline is repeating the same information and thus you have only one source. Springee (talk) 04:51, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Of course PBS is independent of InsideClimate News. Frontline (U.S. TV series) and InsideClimate News have completely independent ownership, staffs, and editorial processes, so in terms of Wikipedia sourcing they are independent. Two editorial boards, two independent sources. It happens sometimes, in investigative journalism, that one agency breaks a story, and others follow, and the best recognize their colleagues. That Frontline acknowledges ICN is not some kind of strike against Frontline, in fact in Wikipedia it is strong point in favor of ICN WP:USEBYOTHERS. Frontline did not turn off all their editorial processes and mindlessly reprint a story from a dubious source. Frontline was not "duped" by ICN. When multiple reliable sources are saying the same thing we call that due weight on Wikipedia. But you know this. You are determined that this article be stripped down so as to be sourced solely to ICN, and then you want to argue ICN is unreliable, I get it, but that's not how we do, sorry. Hugh (talk) 06:06, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Your removal of sources that support article content, while at the same time arguing that the sources you leave are not reliable, is tendentious and disruptive. Your colleagues have asked you to stop. Again, please stop. Hugh (talk) 06:13, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Hugh, please stop creating strawmen for other editors. First, at least once you added a second ICN article by the same authors in order to add credibility to an ICN claim. I hope even you can see that sort of additional citation is not independent and thus counts for nothing more than the first one. Second, no one has claimed Frontline didn't review the ICN claims. However, if you want to justify adding second and even third sources (and third should almost always be unnecessary) then you should have a good reason. If all those sources are reporting the same thing as ICN then OVERCITE says stick with the best of the bunch since they are reporting the same facts. This is especially true when no one is claiming the statement is false. Things go down hill with the HuffPo. HuffPo doesn't have the strong editorial standards that PBS has and they made it clear that they were sourcing much of their article from other news articles. That should be a red flag. Use them to get ideas but go to the sources when adding content to the article.
You are accusing me of bad faith in my editing and plans for the article. It's a load of BS "but you know this". Please AGF. Your colleagues have asked you to stop adding bad citations and start discussing your changes to the article and motivations before you go to the article page. Please listen to their requests. Springee (talk) 06:23, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Hugh, can you justify this additional citation? [16] The sentence that it supports is, " Since the Kyoto Protocol, Exxon has given more than $20 million to organizations supporting climate change denial." The source you added, does not support the $20 million claim so why add it? Perhaps if you want to change the sentence to just say "millions
it would work.  I'm not sure why you think we needed this extra source given the first one and given no one was challenging the claims.  Anyway, either make sure the source really supports the claim in question or edit the claim to be less specific.  Springee (talk) 00:37, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Lobbying against emissions regulations

This section has 4 citations all bunched together to cover all but the last sentence of a paragraph. Is there a way those can be better distributed? If not which is the least important. The first two sentences seems to have just two claims. One is about a letter and recommended personnel replacement. I would assume that could be supported with one, possibly two citations. The other says a member was IPCC member was replaced (not controversial) and was seen as more industry-friendly. That last part seems like it probably does need more than one source. We should also see if there are articles that put some substance behind the comments. Industry-friendly isn't a bad thing so long as "concern for the environment" is also part of the deal (that was OR on my part). So we should see if this is just an accusation by those who don't like EM or if this really impacted IPCC recommendations. One of the general problems with an article such as this is you have a lot of accusations but often they are just that. To use my Ford Pinto example again, people accused Ford of making a car that was a death trap based on a preceived design flaw. However, the historical record shows that the car's safety record, even in terms of rear impact fires, was typical of small cars of the time. In this case, even if EM did advocate for a different member was their motivation really to be allowed to damage the environment or did they have a legitimate grievance/concern with the ousted member. Springee (talk) 05:34, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

February 2016 OVERCITE issues

  • Yet another needless citation addition. HughD, please remember that when facts are not in dispute we don't need lots of citations. I understand and appreciate that you want to use more than just ICN for facts. However, it really wasn't needed in this case. As you have pointed out ICN has a Pulitzer so presumably they can be trusted for a basic statement of fact, especially one that EM's own statements confirm. Still, if you think the NYT is a better source for this fact that is fine. To complete the edit we should remove the ICN reference. Springee (talk) 19:40, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Hugh, I see you edited the citation again. [17] However, it looks like the NYT reference doesn't actually support the claim. The claim is more than 50 papers. "Dozens" is not sufficiently accurate to support "more than 50". Why would we want to add a sloppy reference, ie one that doesn't support the claim, for a fact that isn't disputed? Springee (talk) 21:39, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Why would you take to article talk to argue against a reference to the New York Times on a controversial topic? Please support article stability. Please support fact-based editing. Please accept the paramount importance of reliable sources on Wikipedia. Respectfully, please stop your tendentious article space editing and talk page behavior. Thank you. Hugh (talk) 21:51, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
The NYT article is:
  1. A bad reference for the article statements because it does not support the 50+ claim.
  2. An example of OVERCITE because the article statements in question are not controversial. Both EM and ICN agree that EM has published over 50 papers on the topic.
You are falsely suggesting I am claiming the NYT in general or even this article isn't a RS. That is not the case. The NYT article is a RS for the statements and facts which are actually in the NYT article. The 50+ fact is not and thus the NYT article is not a RS for that fact. You asked for fact-based editing, well that means making sure the citations support the claims they are asked to support. Springee (talk) 22:17, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
You removed a contribution from a colleague, a citation to The New York Times, but left your own contribution, to an ExxonMobil self-published source, because three citations too many? Hugh (talk) 00:42, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I removed a citation that didn't support the in article statement it was associated with. That the cited article is from the New York Times (thanks, we don't need the links here) doesn't mater. What maters is the WP article had specific statements of fact. ICN and EMP both support the factual claims. Furthermore, despite their editorially adversarial positions ICN and EMP agree on the claim of 50+ papers. Also, EM is the source of the list in question and linking to an EM cite verifies that EM agrees what the list means (ie it's not being used/shown/taken out of context). The NYT article simply doesn't support the 50+ fact in the WP article. You can tell us how many Pulitzers the paper has won, you can tell us how respected etc the paper is, it doesn't mater if the specific article you added as a citation doesn't contain the facts needed to back the claims it is meant to support in the article. Springee (talk) 01:11, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Between 1980 and 2015, Exxon and ExxonMobil researchers and academic collaborators published more than 50 peer reviewed papers on climate research and climate policy.

  • Banerjee, Neela; Song, Lisa; Hasemyer, David (September 17, 2015). "Exxon Believed Deep Dive Into Climate Research Would Protect Its Business". InsideClimate News. Retrieved January 25, 2016. In an email, Exxon spokesman Richard D. Keil said he would no longer respond to inquiries from InsideClimate News, and added, "ExxonMobil scientists have been involved in climate research and related policy analysis for more than 30 years, yielding more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed publications."
  • Cohen, Ken. "When it Come to Climate Change, Read the Documents". ExxonMobil Perspectives. ExxonMobil. Retrieved Jan 31, 2016.
  • Gillis, Justin; Schwartz, John (October 30, 2015). "Exxon Mobil Accused of Misleading Public on Climate Change Risks". The New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2016. Company scientists have contributed to dozens of scientific papers that supported this view and explored the extent of the risks.

Convinced, with no basis in policy, guideline or essay, that three citations is much too distracting to our readers, you removed The New York Times, and kept Exxon? Really? The New York Times does not support the content? Really? Hugh (talk) 01:40, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Hugh, the policy that applies here is Verifiability. Specifically the WP:PROVEIT section. It says, "All content must be verifiable. The burden to demonstrate verifiability lies with the editor who adds or restores material, and is satisfied by providing a citation to a reliable source that directly supports the contribution." (Emphasis mine). The NYT article that you want to include and added after the fact doesn't contradict the article claim of 50+ publications but it also does not directly support it. It (and the other two) would support a claim of "dozens" but the WP article says "more than 50". Springee (talk) 03:22, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I understand you are unimpressed with Pulitzers, but most editors, were they to discover the content they are defending disagrees with The New York Times, would change the content. Hugh (talk) 06:22, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
You wrote: "...an EM cite verifies that EM agrees..." I agree sourcing our article to e-mails from ExxonMobil spokespersons, and postings on an ExxonMobil website, would tend to result in an article that ExxonMobil might approve of. But while we are discussing the appropriate application of policy, may I respectfully ask, what is your basis in policy or guideline that a goal of ours is that ExxonMobil agree with our content? May also ask, are you aware of the distinction in sourcing policy between primary and secondary sources, and, to your knowledge, does policy specify a preference for one or the other? Thank you. Hugh (talk) 06:22, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Your arguments are bordering on the absurd. You are falsely attributing views to myself and other editors. That is clearly not civil editing. Your "can I ask game" is pointless because the question will be repeated until you get the answer you like. Your above questions are simple BS. The verify policy says that citations must directly support the claims in the article. The NYT article, regardless of it's quality and due to no fault of it's writers or the editors of the paper, does not support the WP sentence in question. Springee (talk) 06:44, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
May I respectfully ask, at any point, did you consider that modifying the content slightly to concur with The New York Times, might be what’s best for our project? Why is Exxon's claim of "50" so much more preferable to you than The New York Times' "dozens"? Thank you. Hugh (talk) 07:56, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Funny you should ask that. Yes, I did consider such a course of action. In fact, there was a previous instance when an unneeded citation was added to the article. Like this case, the citation didn't actually directly support the WP article claim that it was associated with. Rather than remove the citation I edited the article to be less specific [[18]]. However, another editor felt that we shouldn't make the claim less specific just to include a new citation given the old were reliable with regards to the uncontested article statement [[19]]. Thus, rather than make the article text less specific to include an unneeded citation tacked on to the claim after the fact, I simply removed the citation. Springee (talk) 14:40, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
This is a very young article, actively being edited. When a colleague leaves multiple citations on content, they are inviting colleagues to read the sources and evaluate the summarization across sources. When an editor edits a young article under active editing by removing citations, to improve the visual appeal of the page, or motivated by an interpretation of an essay, or whatever, whether intended or not it frustrates future participation and improvement. Anyone who might have an idea needs to rediscover the ref first. Hugh (talk) 17:49, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
There is no policy that says young articles are allowed to have citations that fail verifiability. There is no reason to add citations after the fact that don't support the passages in question. The sources that was added was already used in the article (prominently I would add) so you needn't fear a loss of source for other editors to review. Springee (talk) 18:48, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
  • HughD, here is another example of bad citation work[[20]]. The IBN article is basically a short article that quotes a few lines from three LA Times articles. All three LA times articles are already in our list of sources. The material cited to IBN, is a section that IBN openly sourced from... What Exxon knew about the Earth's melting Arctic (LA Times). That LA Times article happens to be the other citation. Really we should probably remove all references to the IBN article and anything that references it should reference one of the three LA Times articles that is the actual source of the information. WP does encourage us to use the more direct, more authoritative source. The other place IBN is cited is here, "ExxonMobil funded organizations critical of the Kyoto Protocol and seeking to undermine public opinion about the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Exxon was a founding member of the board of directors of the Global Climate Coalition, composed of businesses opposed to greenhouse gas emission regulation.[29][30][31]" In that case TBN makes it clear they are sourcing their information from the LA Times, Exxon's Climate Concealment. If the 3rd reference is really needed perhaps we should switch it to that one. Springee (talk) 17:38, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
We have talked about this above, WP:USEBYOTHERS. Of course International Business Times is independent of the Los Angeles Times. In investigative journalism, one agency may break a story and the highest quality sources acknowledge their debt. Multiple independent sources saying the same thing is what we call due weight or noteworthiness. You do not hear, and I repeat myself. Is that your goal? It is my failing but I begin to entertain competency concerns. Hugh (talk) 18:00, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Sigh is correct, we have talked about this before yet it is still a problem. The IBN article in this case is one step above a republished story. You are correct in that the credibility of the NYT article is bolstered by IBN's recounting of the article. However, I don't recall anyone questioning the reliability of the NYT so that argument is pointless. What IBN is NOT is an independent source of the same facts. All of the information in the IBN article is from three of the LA Times articles which are already part of the reference list. I'm sorry you are having competency concerns. Springee (talk) 18:48, 3 February 2016 (UTC)


  • Problematic sourcing, error in source? In the Early Research section there is a sentence with a quote attributed to Black, "Black wrote, "In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels."" This quote has 3 citation, ICN, an Exxon report and Scientific America. Scientific America is simply requoting ICN so it's not a good source for quote attribution. What is more problematic is that the quote DOESN'T exist in the cited Black report [21]. If anyone disagrees please cite the page and paragraph. Anyway, if we are going to take a quote from the report then I think we should include the report summary or conclusion. Later in the Early Research section other quotes from an Exxon report were included and it's clear that Exxon was correct, they were taken out of context. It's impossible to decide that here given the reported source doesn't support the article quote. One accusation Exxon made was that ICN used a draft rather than final report. Perhaps that was the case here? Springee (talk) 12:35, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
The closest quote I see in the source PDF is "Although carbon dioxide increase is predominantly attributed to fossil fuel combustion, most scientists agree that more research is needed to definitely establish this relationship." That is a lot different than what ICN reports. Springee (talk) 16:38, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

HughD, do not falsely attribute positions to other editors in your edit summaries. In this edit[[22]] you suggest that an editor suggested expanding the quote in question. No editor made that suggestion. Please see the section of false attribution here WP:TPNO (Do not misrepresent other people). Springee (talk) 17:35, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

So. If I do not reply to this comment, am I to be accused of not communicating at talk? Page contribution metric tools are available, I haven not checked, but my impression is I may be an (admittedly distant) 2nd on this talk page. I feel I have been extraordinarily patient here on this talk page. At some point I need to worry about enabling a wall of text. In order to preserve my enjoyment of my volunteer experience of contributing to Wikipedia, I will adopt a personal discipline of repeating myself to you just three times on a given subject, and note here only that I feel yet another reminder of WP:FOC and the availability of DS is not necessary. Hugh (talk) 19:11, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Hugh, knowingly falsely attributing views, statements etc to other editors is against WP:TPNO. I'm not the only editor who has asked you to spend more time discussing the article. While your enjoyment of editing is important it does not excuse violations of the civility guidelines nor adding material that fails verification. Springee (talk) 20:05, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
  • This recent expansion of Black's quote is problematic from a citation POV. The actual quote can only be sourced to Black's report. How the ICN and CSM sources should be used is not clear. Those sources do not contain the block quote and thus can not be used for citation purposes. The ICN could be used as a source to explain why we should quote the Exxon report. However, this appears to be a clear editorial error in the ICN report. That hurts it's RS standing. The CSM article is repackaging the ICN report so it adds no validity to the quote even if it adds weight to ICN's interpretations. Springee (talk) 17:46, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Attributing to InsideClimate News

I think at some point the article should note some of the information attributed to ICN. The source seems largely legitimate but as some of the sources I've found have pointed out, the group's funding is somewhat cloaked and the potential of an activists group acting as a news source creates a large potential for bias/COI. I had attributed a comment to them but it was undone [23]. I see nothing wrong with that particular edit but I think somewhere early on the article needs to identify that source. They aren't the NYT after all. Springee (talk) 19:59, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

This article's sourcing is clearly documented for all to see through thorough citation as per policy and guideline. Multiple noteworthy reliable sources clearly document that Exxon's lobbyist wrote to the Bush administration and tried to replace the US delegation to the IPCC. Clearly we may summarize across multiple noteworthy reliable sources and then in-text attribution is not necessary. Earlier on this talk page you claimed your zealous "one ref per sentence" deletions of noteworthy reliable sources were in good faith and justified because the content was not controversial. Hugh (talk) 20:15, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
However, ICN appears to be at least a semi-controversial source. Since so much of the article references that source it does make sense to include a link. When discussing groups funded by conservative billionaires you have felt that was highly relevant information. In this case we have a news source that is the environmentalist equivalent. Regardless, I've added the link to a fact that isn't supported by other sources. Please assume good faith. Springee (talk) 20:50, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Is the claim controversial, that Exxon was among the founding members and had a leadership role in the Global Climate Coalition, comprised of businesses opposed to greenhouse gas emission regulation? If so, then attribution is useful. If not, then it's extraneous, in my opinion. I recommend attribution for claims that are reckonings or opinions, or for controversial claims. Otherwise, if it's factual and not challenged then attribution might clutter the text, and brevity is key to readable articles. SageRad (talk) 20:05, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

ICN isn't neutral and shouldn't be judged as particularly reliable; in particular, not for "throwaway" remarks; only for things it has clearly sourced. It isn't reliable for anything it states without a clear source William M. Connolley (talk) 20:48, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Some of that I think can be addressed by referencing Exxon's replies to some of the ICN articles. I added a link to the Exxon company blog in the Potential References section. Springee (talk) 20:54, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
@William M. Connolley: Sources need not be neutral, but you know that. Blacklisting InsideClimate News in this topic area is extraordinarily non-neutral. InsideClimate News is cited in this article for facts, not views. Everything in this article cited to InsideClimate News is more than adequately supported by additional citations to other reliable sources, primary documents, and extensive use by others WP:USEBYOTHERS. You may consider raising your concerns regarding InsideClimate News at WP:RSN. Don't forget to mention their Pulitzer! Hugh (talk) 21:32, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm posting this here but the issue is described here [25]. ICN attributes a quote to an Exxon employee (Black). The ICN article states Black wrote, "In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels." I have been unable to find that quote in the referenced Exxon report. [26] Springee (talk) 16:58, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Jess, thanks for reversing the crazy quotes. I do have a few concerns with how this early research material is being presented. It seems Exxon was correct to accuse ICN of selective quoting. For instance this section, """In 1982, Exxon's environmental affairs office circulated an internal report to Exxon's management which indicated that a significant reduction in fossil fuel consumption would be necessary to curtail future climate change, and that the consequences could be catastrophic. It concluded: "Once the effects are measurable, they might not be reversible."" I see two issues here. First, this is certainly an example of ICN selectively quoting. Exxon has mentioned the selective quoting because they saw that ICN was presenting some of the worst case predictions as if they were the agreed fact while not printing the clear statement indicating uncertainty, the need for more information and the concern with over reacting. Also, and this is now a WP edit, I think the "It concluded" is certainly not fair. It makes it sound like that was a concluding statement of the report rather than a sentence from a middle paragraph which said:

The "greenhouse effect" is not likely to cause substantial climatic changes until the average global temperature rises at least 1C above today's levels. This could occur in the second to third quarter of the next century. However, there is concern among some scientific groups that once that once the effects are measurable, they might not be reversible and little could be done to correct the situational in the short term. Therefore, a number of environmental groups are calling for action now to prevent an undesirable future situational from developing.

The overall tone of the report was clearly cautionary in terms of actions the company should take. If we are going to have an early research section then we should be fair to Exxon and not quote things out of context even if ICN does. From a bigger picture POV, this section claims to be about background research. In that case we should present the information fairly. We should not follow the lead of ICN and selectively quote. It certainly reads like Exxon was well versed in the state of knowledge and the state was highly uncertain. Presenting it as if Exxon already knew things for certain is a way of unfairly damning the company. Springee (talk) 19:59, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

It is important to understand how scientists generally communicate scientific data. It is distinct from how journalists, or encyclopedias, would be expected to communicate the same results. You are correct that the paper does not "conclude" that passage, which was my error in paraphrasing. I've amended it to use a more precise quote. That said, I don't see anything in the original report (and more importantly, in any significant secondary coverage of the report) that would compel us to say that Exxon was not informed of the scientific consensus, or that the scientific consensus was uncertain on greenhouse gasses and their contribution to climate change. Neither appear to be true, even based just on that report alone.   — Jess· Δ 20:24, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree with your comments about how scientists communicate the data. That is one of the big issues with how ICN has presented the reports via selective quotes. In reading the 1977 report I think it is clear that the scientists were cautious but they made some very clear statements regarding needing more information and not reacting too quickly. I'm working on looking at some sources that talk about this. The problem is they aren't as prominent as sources like the NYT. However, if they and Exxon are saying the same thing then I think it should be given weight in the article. Also, as I pointed out earlier I was worried about a quote that ICN indicated was from the Black report yet my key word search didn't find it. Perhaps that has been corrected in the article through editing but if ICN is falsely attributing a quote then I think we shouldn't use that quote even if we still use their general statements around that quote. Springee (talk) 21:55, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Propose trimming the background and operational sections

Per WP:Concise, the background and operational sections are simply way to long. Much of the material that has been added simply belabors the purpose of the sections. The intent of the sections is to show that Exxon was researching and had an up to date understanding of climate change as early as the 1960s. It also is to show that Exxon operations considered CO2 output. However, the core topic of the article is the controversy around Exxon's climate change denial etc. It is NOT as article about what Exxon knew or did. That is only background material. Per this edit I took the bold step of reducing the section length.[27] Note that WP:AS suggests a page of between 30-50k. I removed ~6k though most sources were retained. Currently the article is 60k. So it is already too long per WP. How should at least 10k be cut? Springee (talk) 19:27, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

First off the article has a medium size, Secondly, unclear what you mean with trimming. The article appears to be just fine. Link to the content you like to trim directly. prokaryotes (talk) 19:41, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
By trimming I mean we don't need all the direct quotes and what are essentially off topic facts. For example, how does a 1970s sensor equipped supertanker add to the discussion of the controversy? The background section should get to the point rather than add so many extraneous details. Perhaps the better way to handle it is combine and condense the material as a series of edits that we can discuss. Springee (talk) 19:49, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
What exactly is the background section?prokaryotes (talk) 19:54, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
The body of the article are the sections talking about Exxon's efforts to spread disinformation, lobby etc. "ExxonMobil engaged in research, lobbying, grassroots lobbying, advertising, and grant making, some of which were conducted with the purpose of delaying widespread acceptance and action on global warming." Material that doesn't directly support the subject of the article should be included sparingly and only when really necessary. "Funding of climate change denial" is the start of the main body of the article where we address the reason why the article exists. No where in the sections I edited do we see Exxon engaging in behavior we would see as controversial. Hence that is background material. That Exxon had researched CO2 and climate is relevant. The details of how are not strictly relevant and given WP:AS are good candidates for removal. Note that the information is still linked via the source articles. What I was doing was quoting/paraphrasing less information from the source articles. Given that I'm not the only editor who things this is too long perhaps HughD can explain why the material is needed/makes the article more encyclopedic (an issue raised by another editor). Springee (talk) 20:06, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Seriously, i looked now at the article, it is certainly not to long. I think your "concerns" are unfounded, and maybe disruptive, looking at the frequency of your comments here at the talk page (yes the talk page indeed is to long). prokaryotes (talk) 20:10, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

The Los Angeles Times is a highly noteworthy source, and InsideClimate News is a highly noteworthy source in this topic area. Our article's content drawn from them from summer-fall 2015 is obviously due weight in and of itself. Additionally, working backwards, coverage of the most recent developments, the ongoing investigations from fall-winter 2015, is unanimous in covering ExxonMobil's climate expertise and operational planning. Every reliable source that mentions Exxon and climate change, after summer 2015, covers ExxonMobil's demonstrated climate expertise. If your concern is due weight, you must welcome additional supplemental citation to noteworthy reliable sources, including vast use by others. But I repeat myself, is that your goal? Your attempt to apply WP:SIZE is unfounded. Your section blanking, including removal of numerous noteworthy neutral reliable sources, is extraordinarily non-neutral and disruptive. Hugh (talk) 20:27, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

I commented above. The fact we somehow need two sections to discuss article length is indicative of the real problem, which is the length of the talk page. WP:Concise is an essay, and does not apply here in any case. WP:PAGESIZE is a content guideline, and it indicates this article is small, and we should never remove content for the purpose of reducing page size.   — Jess· Δ 20:42, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
WP:NOT#JOURNALISM (Wikipedia is not written in news style) and WP:NOT#NEWSREPORTS (While news coverage can be useful source material for encyclopedic topics, most newsworthy events do not qualify for inclusion) are highly relevant here. And this is a policy. Beagel (talk) 20:57, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Also, WP:TOPIC applies here, although one could argue that we should ignore an essay. Beagel (talk) 23:02, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
At least we are now having a discussion about it. Note that was not my intent in the trim. However, it is telling and perhaps disturbing that HughD has been so active in adding material yet does NOT participate in the talk page to the point that he didn't even notify the talk page that he opened a RSN discussion retailed to the article. Jess, I actually don't mind the subject at all. I don't like how the article is being handled. I think there is too much packing of unneeded information such as the background. I also think that the main body seems too focused on short quotes rather than depth. That does fit with the WP:NOT#JOURNALISM and WP:NOT#NEWSREPORTS. Also WP:CONCISE should be considered. Much of this article is long but without value. Perhaps that is what is really bothering me and I was approaching the issue in the wrong way. This again suggests that we need to be talking about content more rather than throwing up yet more random content after people have objected. Springee (talk) 21:53, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
"HughD...does NOT participate in the talk page" What??? Hugh (talk) 22:08, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
"the main body seems too focused on short quotes" I will lengthen the quotes per your suggestion. Thank you. Hugh (talk) 22:08, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Several editors have expressed concerns yet you only reply after people take action. Perhaps if you discussed and took the views of others into consideration upfront we won't have long talk page issues. Certainly you didn't consider the talk page when you added a RSN discussion about this topic without notifying the talk page.
Your comment about increasing the length of quotes is tedious at best. It clearly misrepresents my concerns and suggests that you are not behaving in good faith. The article really needs fewer quotes and more depth. Additionally it needs to include articles that discuss some of the views that if not agreeing with Exxon, raise concerns about some of the attacks on Exxon etc. For example, you have added a number of articles discussing the proposed government legal actions against Exxon but nothing from sources (some I've added here) that raise concerns about the potential political motives behind public statements. Springee (talk) 22:23, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I am free to decline to reply to you, especially if I don't want to repeat myself over and over in each of your multiple threads. Hugh (talk) 22:43, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
@HughD: Unfortunately it is true that you have ignored some valid concerns raised by other editors not only in this thread but also in other threads at the talk pages. Also your answer above to Springee does not help to have a constructive discussion. Beagel (talk) 23:12, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I would agree. Additionally, edit summaries such as this one [28] "expanded quote as per talk" are WP:tendentious editing. The editor in question SHOULD know better. Springee (talk) 23:43, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment There is no consensus and no Wikipedia guideline to support the conclusion of editor Springee, and supported by editor Beagel to remove content from the article on grounds that the article is to long. Editor Jesse, above even pointed out to you that removal of content on grounds of "article is to long", is against Wikipedia guidelines. Please stop edit warring, and disrupting edits with bogus claims. See WP:PAGESIZEprokaryotes (talk) 23:37, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Several editors have also said the material is off topic. That IS a justified reason to remove it. Springee (talk) 23:43, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Then make a RFC, there is clearly no consensus here for your removal campaign. prokaryotes (talk) 23:50, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Actually there was, if only a small group, consensus. You and Jess and now added your oppossing view so there is no longer consensus. "Removal campaign" is unfair phrasing. Removing material that was seen as off topic is not a "campaign" so much as cleaning up. Again, I think this begs the question, and this is one I and others have asked but HughD has not constructively contributed to, what is the scope of topic? Springee (talk) 00:58, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
@Prokaryotes: Based on your edit summary and your comment above, you did not understand the reason of my revert, so I kindly ask you to undue your revert. At least, if concerns are raised, it is not constructive behaviour to ignore this and continue making edits violating WP:NOT#JOURNALISM, WP:NOT#NEWSREPORTS and WP:TOPIC. You suggest to have RfC, but what is the question in the that case? Question "Should we follow the policy Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not?" seems relevant but is it really the way how Wikipedia works? Of couse, we could have RfCs by paragraph after paragraph and quote after quote but do you think that having 20+ RfC will work? I don't think so. Therefore, please try to discuss instead of continuing adding questionable additions. Beagel (talk) 06:36, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I think that the peer review process may be more productive than Afd. Beagel (talk) 21:00, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────What part of WP:NOTNEWS do you feel applies here? Quoting: "Wikipedia should not offer first-hand news reports on breaking stories." I see nothing in the article that is less than several years old, and nearly everything is cited to secondary sources. Are events that occurred in the 1980s "breaking stories"? The only recent first-hand event we cover is Exxon's PR comment in November. Are you suggesting we cut that? I don't know what else you could be referring to.   — Jess· Δ 18:50, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Please see my original post from yesterday somewhere above in this thread. What I mean is While news coverage can be useful source material for encyclopedic topics, most newsworthy events do not qualify for inclusion, and by this I referred to all these quotes and out of the main topic details added to the article. Beagel (talk) 20:16, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
@Beagel: Thank you for your collaboration. I enjoy collaborating with you. Respectfully, may I add my voice to question the application of NOTNEWS, and to sincerely suggest a formal peer review process may not be necessary at this time. To expand, of course newspapers such as those used in this article, including The New York Times, the The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, are individually reliable, and as you know when multiple sources say the same thing, that constitutes due weight. NOTNEWS does not outlaw newspapers. Instead of peer review, may I respectfully suggest you identify one specific content of concern. I would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you on resolving your sourcing and due weight concerns, by providing additional citation, here at article talk or in article space, and I feel confident our colleagues can convince you of the due weight. What do you think? Thank you. Hugh (talk) 22:05, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Beagel, that whole section is about "breaking news" that doesn't warrant lasting coverage. For example, if Will Smith went on vacation, it might be printed in several newspapers, but it won't receive lasting coverage next year. WP:NOTNEWS does not apply to events which occurred in 1980 which received significant coverage even years after the event. I don't know what "out of the main topic details" you're referring to. A specific example would be helpful.   — Jess· Δ 22:20, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
No, you are wrong limiting WP:NOT#NEWSPAPER and WP:NOT#JOURNALISM only to the current event, as WP:NOT explicitly says: The examples under each section are not intended to be exhaustive. It is also about these out of focus details like it was in the case of Natuna, which were added to the article but at the some time did not provide the full context. WP:NOTEVERYTHING says: Information should not be included in this encyclopedia solely because it is true or useful. An encyclopedia article should not be a complete exposition of all possible details, but a summary of accepted knowledge regarding its subject. It is also about the style how we using these sources. Newspapers may be a good sources if used in encyclopaedic style. However, if you look at the current article here, do you think it looks more like an article in encyclopaedia, e.g. Britannica, or does it looks more like a journalism, e.g. story in ICN or The New York Times? This is my concern with the current state of this article. I accept that I may be wrong and you are right, but this is that kind of issue where is very hard to formulate a RfC question which will result with a deep discussion instead of brief yes/no. Therefore, peer review may give more in-depth feedback how to develop this article here. Beagel (talk) 09:02, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your comment. Thank you for suggesting a specific content example for discussion, our coverage in this article of the ExxonMobil's application of climate modelling in the evaluating the Natuna gas field project, and ExxonMobil's documented conclusions from that modelling regarding impact on climate. With your permission to repeat myself from earlier on this talk page, may I respectfully disagree that a one or two sentence summarization of this is as you say "out of focus." This is relevant and due weight, and we can tersely add sufficient context that it can be understood by our readers. I look forward to continued collaboration with you above. To your question, I think the article looks like an encyclopedia article, and progressing toward a good article. What do you think? Thanks again. Hugh (talk) 19:46, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
The current sentence about Natuna summarize everything what is needed to be summarized here. For the rest there is a specific article about that field. And what you added was far more than just "a one or two sentence summarization", more like four or even five sentences taking account that the first very long sentence was actually two sentences. And direct quoting usually not referred as "summarization". Another example of that kind of addition is about Esso Atlantic. It was raised at least twice at this talk page here; however, you just ignored and re-added it to the article without discussing it first. It is not exactly edit warring but it is also not constractive editing. As for moving towards a good article; well, we probably have quite different definitions what is a good article. My understanding of good article is based on WP:GACR, and this article has to go very long way before satisfying these criteria. If you don't believe me, just nominate it for a peer review. Beagel (talk) 20:12, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I though you might respond with an expansion on how NOTNEWS may be applied to the Natuna related content. Your impression that I do not participate at talk is counter-factual; perhaps you are misreading my reluctance, relative to some, to repeat myself over and over in multiple threads. Please let's discuss the Natuna and Esso Atlantic related content in their respective threads. Here, some of your colleagues are seeking a better understanding of the application of NOTNEWS to specific content in this article. Thank you. Hugh (talk) 20:31, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Please provide diffs where you discussed Esso Atlantic before re-adding it. Thank you. Beagel (talk) 20:46, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I would be in favor of peer review if it got some additional eyes on the topic. The article just doesn't read like I would expect an encyclopedia to read. Part of this is much of the content has been coming from one editor. We need to discuss a bit more about what the sections should look like and what goes into each one. Instead we have a dump of quotes with no substance. Simply extending the length of the quoted text isn't fixing the problem. Citing additional sources that reference back to the original ICN reports also doesn't help since it doesn't add free perspectives. It adds weight to the views of one group but doesn't add alternative, legitimate views. To some extent I can see this shaping up a bit like the Pinto case. When scholars look back with 30-40 years of perspective they might say Exxon wasn't good but much of the furry directed at Exxon was based on things like politics rather than cold hard rationed analysis. Anyway, I would support outside help here. Springee (talk) 22:48, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Meaning of "grassroots lobbying" in the lede?

I am curious as to the meaning of the reference to grassroots lobbying in the lede. I don't see the word "grassroots" anywhere else in the article. I would prefer to remove this and leave simply "lobbying" in the lede as it would cover all kinds of lobbying, and it would simplify the language. Would everyone be okay with this change? SageRad (talk) 20:37, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Agree. I haven't (yet) seen this in any of the sources, so I removed it for now. If anyone is aware of a source that discusses it, I'd be interested, and we can incorporate it in the body.   — Jess· Δ 20:44, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm indifferent on the issue. I think people could see "grass roots" in the funding of say a think tank which then produces a report etc. Thus the source (Exxon) and the result (Think Tank report) are not obviously linked. However, I still see no issue with removing it from the lead. I would prefer to simplify more, the article has way to many off subject and rambling bits. Springee (talk) 20:54, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
No objections to remove this. Beagel (talk) 20:59, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
@SageRad: Lobbying is accepting pay from at third party to represent the third party's interest in legislation to government. Grassroots lobbying is appealing to the public to appeal to government to influence legislation. Our article covers both activities by ExxonMobil, lobbying and advertising. Both lobbying and grassroots lobbying were wikilinked in the lede. I can add brief in-text definitions for clarity. I can add specific subsections for lobbying and advertising for clarity. BTW I would welcome your collaboration on the body. Thank you. Hugh (talk) 21:00, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, i look forward to helping more with the body as i get substantial time to dedicate, Hugh. I understand the nature of what grassroots lobbying is but i didn't find direct reference to it in the body, nor to appealing to the public to directly lobby government, but if you could point to the specific source or passage i would appreciate it. I do understand that ExxonMobil sought to influence public understanding about climate change science as well as policy so in that sense, they sought to change public opinion which could have been expected to cause grassroots to lobby government, but that is my OR and although i think it's correct, i was checking to see if there was a source in the article that speaks to it. SageRad (talk) 01:06, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't know of a handy direct reference to the term "grassroots" in RS. My thought was that "advertising" alone does not encompass pubic speechmaking such as the several noteworthy speeches of executives. Thanks. Hugh (talk) 18:12, 9 February 2016 (UTC)