Talk:Faraday Institute for Science and Religion

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COI; Wiki guidance on how to handle[edit]

To answer Hrafn, the use is to alert others to look closely at the COI's edits. But the criteria applied in looking at their edits are precisely the same as if a non-COI made the edits. Second, if he wanted to avoid being open that he had a COI he could have opened his acct under a name that does not ID him. Third, I'm disappointed that the rest of your comment baited him, and I'm disappointed that he felt compelled to reply to your baiting, on wht Snalwibma correctly points out is a completely off-topic discussion. Its just that sort of behavior relating to this article that makes this discussion a needlessly emotionally charged one, and sucks up time from editors (all four of us) who could spend it better improving articles. At this point I think that if all of us stayed away from this article for a bit, it would be for the better. This page and the article page could IMHO benefit from cooling down. I'll seek to do my part to follow my own advice. Tea to all.--Epeefleche (talk) 16:00, 27 November 2009 (UTC)


  1. Your stance on COI is largely self-contradictory. If "the criteria applied in looking at their edits are precisely the same as if a non-COI made the edits" then "alert[ing] others to look closely at the COI's edits" serves a very limited purpose. The main thrust of WP:COI is that COI editors should not be making edits requiring close scrutiny in the first place.
  2. My point in bringing up the various stillborn incarnations of the article on 'Nicholas Beale' was to demonstrate his longstanding and deeply ingrained habit of COI editing (documented across the 4 AfDs and DRV). This is, I think, relevant to evaluating his current spate of COI editing. Given your frequent baiting of myself, I think I can endure your WP:POT and misplaced 'disappointment'.

HrafnTalkStalk(P) 16:36, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

  • In an effort to follow my own advice, I'll limit myself to the following quote from WP:COI:

    "Using COI allegations to harass an editor or to gain the upper hand in a content dispute is prohibited, and can result in a block or ban.... All text created in the Wikipedia main namespace is subject to rules covering criteria for articles... encyclopedic quality (verifiability and original research); editorial approach (neutral point of view); as well as the Wikipedia copyright policy. All editors are expected to stick closely to these policies when creating and evaluating material, and to respect the good faith actions of others who edit content to ensure it complies with these policies. Who has written the material should be irrelevant so long as these policies are closely adhered to. The imputation of conflict of interest is not by itself a good reason to remove sound material from articles. However, an apparent conflict of interest is a good reason for close review by the community to identify any subtle bias.... During debates on articles' talk pages and at articles for deletion, disparaging comments may fly about the subject of the article/author and the author's motives. These may border on forbidden personal attacks, and may discourage the article's creator from making future valuable contributions. Avoid using the word "vanity" or similar judgmental terms—this is accusatory and discouraging. It is not helpful, nor reason to delete an article. Assuming good faith, start from the idea that the contributor was genuinely trying to help increase Wikipedia's coverage. Another case can arise in disputes relating to non-neutral points of view, where underlying conflicts of interest may aggravate editorial disagreements. In this scenario, it may be easy to make claims about conflict of interest. Do not use conflict of interest as an excuse to gain the upper hand in a content dispute."

--Epeefleche (talk) 20:08, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit," but if you have a conflict of interest avoid, or exercise great caution, when:

  1. Editing articles related to you, your organization, or its competitors, as well as projects and products they are involved with;
  2. Participating in deletion discussions about articles related to your organization or its competitors; and
  3. Linking to the Wikipedia article or website of your organization in other articles (see Wikipedia:Spam);
    and you must always:
  4. Avoid breaching relevant policies and guidelines, especially neutral point of view, verifiability, and autobiography.

Those who feel the need to make controversial edits, in spite of a real or perceived conflict of interest, are strongly encouraged to submit proposed edits for review on the article's talk page along with a {{Request edit}} tag to attract users to review the edit, or to file a request for comment.


In keeping with Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy, edits in mainspace where there is a clear conflict of interest, or where such a conflict can be reasonably assumed, are strongly discouraged.

— WP:COI (bolded emphasis original, italics mine)

HrafnTalkStalk(P) 02:55, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

The extent to which COI applies clearly depends on the extent of involvement with an organisation. I am an associate of the F.I. and I have spoken at a couple of events that they have sponsored/co-sponsored (as have many of the UK's leading Christian experts in Science and Religion). But by no stretch of the imagination is it "my organisation", and I'm a member/fellow/freeman/liveryman of several other organisations. You tried your luck on WP:COIN and got nowhere. I suggest you drop this. NBeale (talk) 06:04, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Friedrich Engels would have had difficulty editing the Karl Marx article, because he was a close friend, follower, and collaborator of Marx.[1] Any situation in which strong relationships can develop may trigger a conflict of interest. Conflict of interest can be personal, religious, political, academic, financial, and legal. It is not determined by area, but is created by relationships that involve a high level of personal commitment to, involvement with, or dependence upon a person, subject, idea, tradition, or organization.

Closeness to a subject does not mean you're incapable of being neutral, but it may incline you towards some bias. Be guided by the advice of other editors. If editors on a talk page suggest in good faith that you may have a conflict of interest, try to identify and minimize your biases, and consider withdrawing from editing the article. As a rule of thumb, the more involvement you have with a topic in real life, the more careful you should be with our core content policies—Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:No original research, and Wikipedia:Verifiability—when editing in that area.

The definition of "too close" in this context is governed by common sense. An article about a little-known band should preferably not be written by the band's manager or a band member's spouse. However, an expert on trees is welcome to contribute to articles on that subject, even if that editor is deeply committed to the subject.

— 'Close relationships', WP:COI#Examples (my emphasis)

HrafnTalkStalk(P) 07:11, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Precisely. No editor apart from you thinks my edits have been in appropriate in the context of the mild and declared COI and The definition of "too close" in this context is governed by common sense. ... an expert on trees is welcome to contribute to articles on that subject, even if that editor is deeply committed to the subject. End of discussion - at least as far as I am concerned. And please remember WP:NPA. NBeale (talk) 07:53, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't remember any editor (other than yourself) stating that you didn't have a substantial COI. You are not "an expert on" the Faraday Institute, you are a member of it (and the co-author of a book with one of its Advisory Board) -- which puts you easily as COI as "the band's manager or a band member's spouse". HrafnTalkStalk(P) 15:40, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Ah I see your confusion. I am not a "member" of the F.I. - merely an "associate". It must also be obvious to everybody that "co-author with member of Advisory Board" is completely different from "band manager's spouse". NBeale (talk) 06:10, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I am proposing that Denis Alexander be merged here for the following WP:MERGE rationales:

  • 2. Overlap: this article already has all the information contained in that short stub (that Alexander is this institute's director and that he edits Science and Christian Belief.
  • 3. Text: that article "is very short and is unlikely to be expanded within a reasonable amount of time"
  • 4. Context: Alexander is notable mainly (solely?) for his work for the Institute, so it makes more sense to discuss him in the context of it, rather than in isolation.

HrafnTalkStalk(P) 13:55, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

I expanded it substantially within what I consider a reasonable amount of time, and it was readily apparent that Alexander is considered notable and has been so for quite some time by CNN, the New Scientist, Nature, and others. So, uh, no. And please no more stealth redirects. Sumbuddi (talk) 17:19, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
The article still lacks non-overlapping material that isn't either (i) sourced to Alexander's Faraday Institute bio or (ii) a simple quotefarm of statements he's made. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 05:10, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
No, he's a multiply-published author of some quite considerable books, and also did significant scientific work (Google Scholar seems to give over 300 scientific papers. (I do know him but I this is NPoV) NBeale (talk) 19:42, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
The bedrock standard is (depth of) third party coverage -- "multiply-published author of some quite considerable books" is irrelevant, unless and until covered by third parties. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 05:12, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
That is relevant to notability. We should only merge if there is so much overlap between the two articles that there is no relevant information in A that is not/should not be in B. eg Alexander's book "Rebuilding the matrix" has had a number of reviews in reliable sources(eg here, here NBeale (talk) 22:42, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
So why haven't you added material to Denis Alexander based upon this & all the other reviews you state are out there? HrafnTalkStalk(P) 03:25, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

<(a) I know Denis and it might be considered CoI. (b) I'm very busy, esp with a cosmology paper being sent to me that was inspired by a remark in Questions of Truth on top of my day-job work. Sorry. NBeale (talk) 21:06, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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  1. ^ Isaiah Berlin:
    In his own lifetime Engels desired no better fate than to live in the light of Marx's teaching, perceiving in him a spring of original genius which gave life and scope to his own peculiar gifts; with him he identified himself and his work, to be rewarded by sharing in his master's immortality.

    From Berlin's Karl Marx, 4th edition, p. 75. This description covers several aspects of what it might be to stand too close to a subject.