Talk:Identification studies of UFOs

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Proposed merge[edit]

It has been suggested that this article be merged into Unidentified flying object.
  • Strongly oppose. There are two different articles here. Anarwan (talk) 01:32, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

*Merge which is not the same as simply redirecting. The UFO article needs the explicit definition of IFO given here. Dlabtot (talk) 01:59, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose - Unidentified flying object is already a HUGE article and could benefit from a little WP:SS and smart forking. We should take care not to create a WP:POVFORK or unintentional WP:CFORK, but there seems to be enough written about I.F.O. to warrant its own article and take some of the page size burden off of its "mothership" article. :-) -- Levine2112 discuss 02:09, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Merge per Dlabtot. Shot info (talk) 04:02, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
On the merge reason from Dlabtot. Are you aware that the current article showing is only a fraction of the article that was there yesterday. In fact, I think we can only really vote on the concept of merge if we get to see the actual IFO article. What is there at present is just a stub and does not reflect the longer version I think should stay as is. I would happily vote merge or delete on that small stub. Anarwan (talk) 18:27, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
This is the full version that I think should kept Anarwan (talk) 18:34, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
All that content is already in the UFO article, except for an explicit definition of an IFO. Dlabtot (talk) 18:55, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
As a historical note: The reason that all of the IFO content is in the UFO article, is because of an anonymous account, (talk · contribs), later identified to be either ScienceApologist (talk · contribs) or someone acting on his behalf.[1] As a side note, ScienceApologist was resultingly placed on a permanent restriction to only use one account, and to only edit while logged in.[2] Getting back to the anon though, it attempted a non-consensus merge on December 4, 2008, by copy/pasting all of the information from the IFO article into the UFO article,[3] and then redirecting the IFO article.[4] The redirect of the IFO article was reverted,[5] but the additions to the UFO article were not. This appears to be the reason for the duplication. It seems to be a bit disruptive on ScienceApologist's part to now point out that the information is duplicated between the articles,[6][7][8][9] without making it clear that he was the one who accomplished (or caused to be accomplished) the duplication. I personally have no opinion whether the merge should take place or not, but I did want to point out the reason for the duplication, since it appears to be causing some confusion. --Elonka 19:28, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Gee. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I should have known better than to try to help here. I withdraw my prior comments, as they were made on the overly hasty assumption that editors here were acting in good faith. I have nothing further to add. Dlabtot (talk) 20:11, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
LOL, typical Elonka - forgets the reason why we are here is to improve an encyclopedia, instead she dregs up a finding by a descredited ArbCom member who was recently forced to resign over reasons similar to his "finding". Why did you do this Elonka. Was it helpful, or just continuing your MO of hounding those that you don't like? Shot info (talk) 23:00, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the finding, and I am unaware of any other administrators expressing concerns about it (and I know that several routinely watch ScienceApologist's talkpage). The restriction was also logged at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Martinphi-ScienceApologist#Log of blocks and bans, which is also on several administrators' watchlists, and again, I am unaware of any objections. Anyone who still wishes to bring the restriction up for re-examination is welcome to do so. Just start a thread at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard for a wider review. --Elonka 23:09, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Of course you agree with the finding, it supports your MO. Your passion and eagerness to support your MO doesn't help the encyclopedia however. Nevertheless the process is going on regardless. Shot info (talk) 00:19, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Not the place to beat up Elonka, ok? Thatcher 00:27, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Neutrality problems[edit]

This article seems to present various conjectures as fact. I've removed one example only to find that the article seems to be entirely written from a particular model of sightings (or more accurately, to refute a particular model). Neither is acceptable on Wikipedia. Moreover the sourcing is all to pot. This needs a lot of work. I've duly tagged it. --Anticipation of a New Lover's Arrival, The 02:04, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

The salvageable material from this article really needs to be merged with the UFO article. This is, to a greater or lesser extent, a POV fork. Antelantalk 03:51, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Skeptic2 is the only editor opposed to the move based on content. Maybe we should go ahead? What would be salvaged? kwami (talk) 21:57, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
We have all the content already at Unidentified flying object. I just instated the redirect. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:19, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
There is nothing like consensus for this merge. Never has been. Anarwan (talk) 01:24, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
In spite of the obvious canvassing done above that has been eliminated, the obvious consensus across Wikipedia is that this article was simply UFO believer propaganda. Now merged. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:32, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Where is this consensus? It's certainly not noted above in the list of votes. Anarwan (talk) 01:35, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Vote counting is NOT how we determine consensus at Wikipedia. Since ALL THE CONTENT is already at Unidentified flying object, there is NO POINT in having it here too. Take it for how you like. I just removed the redundancies. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:38, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
So the consensus equates to your opinion and nothing more.Anarwan (talk) 01:41, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Read the comments before mine. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:42, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Read the ones before that. Anarwan (talk) 01:43, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I see a lot of single purpose accounts trying desperately to preserve their UFO propaganda. Then I see editors with legitimate arguments state the obvious in this section. Done and done. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:45, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
If I was a believer in the ET hypothesis,I would want my propaganda to exclude IFOs, rather than have an article specifically devoted to all the fact and figures of how many sightings turn out to be nothing. That is,we could have the brief statement in the UFO article that 90ish percent of sightings turn out to be x, y and z and then say no more about it. This way, a level of detail about the identified stuff gets covered in a level of detail that wouldn't be possible in the UFO article without swamping the stuff that makes the topic warrant an article. The unexplained cases. The ones that put the U in UFO. Anarwan (talk) 23:24, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
That sounds right on to me. This is an article about "I" while UFO is about "U". Per WP:SS, the information about "I" should be summarized and then moved en masse over to this article. -- Levine2112 discuss 23:27, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Merge, suggested compromise[edit]

I have suspicions about this article and the motives of some of the people who want it kept separate. I see the lede which says This is in contrast to an Unidentified flying object, or UFO, which has not been identified following investigation and I think, "Aha, this was written by someone who wants an article about lights in the sky which are identified so there can be a separate article about lights in the sky which are not identified and might be LGMs or something really cool instead of boring old swamp gas." Personally, I think the UFO article should be about the phenomenon and cultural aspects of UFOs, including the fact that some can be identified and some can not be. Now, it may be that the identification material is too long and should be forked, but it can be forked in a more responsible manner. Changing the lede is critical, and the title is terrible too. Good forks explain in more detail some concept from the main article because there is too much info. So I'd put a paragraph in UFO summarizing the identifications studies and listing main article Identification studies of UFOs or something like that. Is that an acceptable compromise? Thatcher 02:28, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

This is pretty much what I am saying above. I don't think that this article should be a POV fork, but rather a smart fork per WP:SS and a place to discuss identification studies of UFOs. Regardless of what this article is called, I think that people searching for "identified flying objects" should be directed to this page. -- Levine2112 discuss 02:42, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
A redirect is fine and would be created by the move anyway. I think the problem is not the content necessarily but the title and the lead paragraph. Thatcher 03:53, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I tend to agree with the Thatcher's solution even if I don't think the cause is quite so conspiratorial. Anarwan (talk) 18:30, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
That's fair. I was looking at it as saying "80% of UFOs are identifiable but 20% are not" and thinking that someone wanted to emphasize the 20% that are not. Thatcher 03:00, 28 January 2009 (UTC)


As a general reminder to all editors here, edit-warring is not an acceptable practice on Wikipedia, and if there are further revert wars on this article, some editors may find their account access blocked. Instead of edit-warring, please work things out through normal steps of dispute resolution instead, via polite discussion about what is best for this article, and what is best for Wikipedia. If there is disagreement on whether or not to perform a merge, consider filing a request for comment, or file the request at Wikipedia:Proposed mergers. --Elonka 02:36, 27 January 2009 (UTC)


Though I started the deletion process, I wouldn't mind a redirect for the purpose of retaining GFDL. Redirect isn't bad in any sense and may even be helpful. Wandering Courier (talk) 08:14, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

The question is how to do a merge and redirect in the best manner. Yesterday there was a revert war between Anarwan and ScienceApologist over the merge concept. I'd like to wait for both of them to come on line today and see what they think about my suggestion above. Hopefully this can be negotiated over the next few days without more edit warring. Thatcher 11:56, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Analysis section[edit]

Trimming it way down. This is the part that reads most like original research and speculation. And it doesn't need all the percentages which are also in the table. And the conclusions sections is gone. An encyclopedia article is not a class essay (which this reads like) or even a research paper. An encyclopedia article has a different format and conveys information differently. Thatcher 01:57, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Note that I generally agree with ScienceApologist's changes (at least so far). A lot of the comments he removed may very well be true (such as relating to the significance of military vs non-military witnesses) but to include them one would need to find a reliable source (such as a published expert on UFOs) who compares and analyzes the two studies. Thatcher 02:44, 28 January 2009 (UTC)


I removed the warning tags, which were many months old. If you feel there are still problems, please try and fix them. If you can't (or don't want to) you can re-tag but please leave a detailed reason on this talk page so someone else can work on it. Thanks. Thatcher 02:18, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Fixed the article[edit]

I made a first pass through the article, removing all the original research and other problems. We still need a section on ball lightning, weather balloons, and will o' the wisps, but we're moving right along.

ScienceApologist (talk) 02:50, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Hmm, once the article has more UFO-like objects (ball lightning, meteors, etc.) and is no longer mostly about the BBSR and Hendry studies, it should probably be moved again to Identification of UFOs. Thatcher 02:58, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
I think they are good jumping off points, but obviously what is interesting is what UFOs have been identified as. There isn't much written about the studies themselves, but there is a LOT in the literature about things that people think are UFOs. I think I would agree to a move to such an article title. ScienceApologist (talk) 03:01, 28 January 2009 (UTC)


I've removed the "however" from the following sequence of sentences:

The USAF-sponsored Condon Committee study reported that all 117 cases studies were or could probably be explained. However, 1971 review of the results by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics concluded that 30% of the 117 cases remained unexplained.

The result is:

The USAF-sponsored Condon Committee study reported that all 117 cases studies were or could probably be explained. A 1971 review of the results by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics concluded that 30% of the 117 cases remained unexplained.

The classification of cases in a UFO study depends on the criteria used. Tighten the criteria on the same data and you'll get different results. Using "however" here makes it sound unexpected but it's actually quite normal. --TS 23:50, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

The reason the AIAA noted that 30+% of the Condon cases were remained unidentified (and thus the "however"), is because they examined the actual case reports written up by Condon investigators themselves, in which they could not come up with a conventional explanation in about a third of the examined cases. Incidentally, the Condon Committee was staffed by mostly skeptical scientists who already used very stringent criteria--including dismissal of some very good cases on flimsy grounds--and yet there were still the unsolved cases that these scientists could not knock down. They stood up to all tests.
The statement that all were ultimately identifiable was in Condon's summary chapter (written by Condon himself, BEFORE the investigation was even done), in which he often misrepresented the investigations and case reports of his own staff members. (E.g., their chief photo analyst concluded two of the photographic cases were definitely real and evidence of something anomalous--Condon wrote there were no unexplained photographic cases.) The AIAA subcommittee, though reaching no conclusions about the unexplained cases themselves, nonetheless felt the evidence compelling enough to recommend further investigation of the subject. The "however" points out the obvious contrast between Condon's inaccurate summary and the AIAA review. Others who have reviewed the Condon Report, such as astrophysicist Peter Sturrock and a panel of scientists he assembled in 1997 (Sturrock Panel), have likewise concluded that Condon lied about the contents of his own study and about a third of the cases were actually unsolved. For starters, I suggest you read the Wiki article on the Condon Committee for criticisms of Condon's obvious bias. E.g., there's the famous "trick memo" where Condon's aide wrote that the "trick" was to make it seem like they were doing an objective report while still arriving at a negative conclusion. When that was made public, it caused quite a scandal.Dr Fil (talk) 00:18, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I think when two sets of results diverge to the extent that these two do, something has to be be said to distinguish them. Maybe "in contrast" rather than "however", but to just run the two together makes it sound too much like they are in some sort of agreement, or one is an extension of the other.
Dr Fil also makes a good point about the nature of the Condon report. If it was an alleged sighting it would now be regarded as a confirmed hoax! Such a report should, IMO, be treated with extreme caution whenever it is mentioned. Anarwan (talk) 17:20, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

More of ScienceApologist's article vandalism[edit]

I rewrote the "Venus" section to reflect what the statistics in the rest of the article actually prove. Venus DOES NOT make up a "majority" of UFO reports, as Phil Plaitt has CLAIMED (but can't substantiate with any UFO study that has ever been done). Hendry: bright stars and planets make up only 29% of cases (% Venus unspecified, but clearly less than 29% and not 50+%). Similarly, BBSR: 22% astronomical objects of ALL types, again % Venus unspecified, but again obviously less than 22%. In addition, BBSR was certain about only 12% being astronomical, the other 10% they themselves considered somewhat questionable identifications.

So I was doing what encyclopedias should do, namely stick to the FACTS. Plaitt makes an unsubstantiated claim; the actual studies, cited in the rest of the article, contradict him. End of story. Either delete Plaitt's nonfactual, ANECDOTAL claim or point out the contradiction.

So what does ScienceApologist do? His usual. Instant, total deletion--no discussion, no nothing. His "rationale"? "Original research" What's he talking about? Did I do the BBSR studies or Hendry studies, then write up my own results? What utter nonsense.

It's kind of funny, because ScienceApologist is supporting what he claims he is opposing, namely using appeals to authority instead of facts. Using astronomer Plaitt is an obvious appeal to authority, but no actual study backs him up. If there is one, let ScienceApolgist produce it.

The other modification I did was to point out that just claiming something is "Venus" doesn't necessarily make it so. The Portage County case, e.g., has a heavily disputed "Venus" explanation (and so does the Jimmy Carter sighting, BTW). Shouldn't this be mentioned for a balanced article balance POV?Dr Fil (talk) 02:00, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Nope. Your attempt to use a selection of studies to "disprove" Phil Plait's statement is the very definition of original research. Plait could be referring to reports to observatories of UFOs (we field such reports all the time). Plait's claim is verified and attributed properly to him. If you find another published book of a professional astronomer who disputes his claim, we can include that too. However, I have sseen none. "Balance" is not the name of the game. NPOV demands we write without credulity or incredulity. In this case, we report Plait's verifiable claim and the verifiable claims of other experts on the UFO topic. Nothing more. ScienceApologist (talk) 04:03, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia has a policy against personal attacks. You should probably revert your claims of 'vandalism', or face the consequences. Too bad for you that Wikipedia policies do not permit the acceptance of your own appeal to websites run by fellow credulous people. Nevard (talk) 05:17, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Do you have a link to the Phil Plait article? It's hard to assess the cite without a link. Searching I find:

"In fact, the vast majority of reported UFOs are mundane things in the sky. The planet Venus is incredibly bright; most people don’t believe me when I point it out to them. They think it’s a nearby airplane, or some other bright earthbound object.


That's a later article from 2011, but I expect he's saying the same thing as before, will assume that unless there is a cite to show otherwise. And anyway as most recent, it is more up to date.

That might seem to suggest that the vast majority of sightings are Venus, but read it carefully, it just says the vast majority are mundane things in the sky. Venus is an example only.

He is a careful science blogger and I don't think he would say that the vast majority of sightings are Venus without a cite to back that up. And then you could include that cite here.

I suggest we remove this sentence about vast majority of reported UFOs are Venus. Since this is an old conversation, I'll just "be bold" and remove it after a few days if there is no reply. Robert Walker (talk) 13:06, 31 January 2016 (UTC)


How do people mistake VENUS for a UFO?! Venus doesn't move. UFOs do. What the heck. TrollGlaDOS (talk) 04:45, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

WP:NOTAFORUM. This isn't the place to discuss UFO stuff in general, it's for discussing how to better improve the article or find consensus in content disputes. Sergecross73 msg me 13:50, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
I think it is relevant myself, as a natural question anyone would ask themselves reading the page. The reason is that Venus is often spotted from a car, and if the car is moving, then it may seem to be moving relative to the buildings or countryside or street lights nearby due to parallax effects. Example here. Perhaps that could be mentioned in the article somewhere? Robert Walker (talk) 12:51, 31 January 2016 (UTC)