Talk:Nevillean theory of Shakespeare authorship

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Sources that help establish notability and should be incorporated for neutrality[edit]

  • Hope, Warren; Holston, Kim (2009). The Shakespeare Controversy: An Analysis of the Authorship Theories (2nd. ed.). McFarland. pp. 128-129.

Two of these I found accidentally while trying to find anything else by the publisher of The Truth Will Out, so I'm curious as to why they haven't appeared yet. @RalphWinwood: how did you not find these? Or if you did, why did you not incorporate them? Ian.thomson (talk) 03:05, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Proposal for deletion of sentence[edit]

Though this is properly sourced, it is false; there is no actual documentary evidence to support this assertion: As a boy, Neville was educated within the household of Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley.[7]

I propose deleting it unless someone knows of an independent documentary source that suggests that this is correct. Perhaps someone can give me guidance in how to properly resolve an issue such as this.

Kfein (talk) 05:40, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

I deleted the two references. It should be added back only if an independent source can be found that refers to primary documentary evidence supporting this assertion. Kfein (talk) 07:21, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

Proposal for modifying initial paragraphs[edit]

I do not think we need to go into detail on the code evidence in the introductory paragraph. It is enough to mention the initial discovery. Then the code evidence can be combined into its own separate section of the article. This will make it read better and allow the article to put more details to the forefront. Kfein (talk) 00:06, 23 October 2019 (UTC)

I moved it to the code section.Kfein (talk) 04:51, 24 October 2019 (UTC)

Clarifying who is meant by "Shakespeare"[edit]

This small amendent was originally made on 22nd Oct as part of a larger edit, which was reverted by Kfein on 23rd. I should have done it as a separate edit, because there is a good reason for amending the wording. In the SAQ “Shakespeare” is used as the name of the author but is non-specific as a reference to a living person, since his identity is what is in dispute. My amendment clarifies which living person is meant. Terpsichore47 (talk) 10:05, 27 October 2019 (UTC)

I agree the article should be as unambiguous as possible. Thank you for this edit! Kfein (talk) 05:43, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

Extending quote and citing source for its implications[edit]

My revisions/additions to this passage made on 22 Oct were undone by Kfein on the grounds that it was “unsourced original research”. However, the existing version could be subject to the same action, since unsourced original research is exactly what it was before I touched it. If any use has been made of Jonson’s Epigram 109 in extant sources for the purposes of arguing Neville’s authorship, those sources were not cited. In my new revision, I’ve done three things. First, I’ve found and cited a source. Second, in the unrevised text of the article the idea that Epigram 109 refers to Neville’s poetic muse, not Jonson’s, is merely covert. But the source’s claim is explicit, and I’ve worded my revision to make that clear. Finally, I’ve extended the quotation from the epigram. The first line is only a fragment of a complete statement covering three lines. Quoting all three puts readers in a better position to decide for themselves whose poetic muse is being referred to.Terpsichore47 (talk) 10:53, 29 October 2019 (UTC)

Thank you so much! Kfein (talk) 04:27, 30 October 2019 (UTC)
What do you think about adding in a link to the whole epigram? This source has some background info as well. Kfein (talk) 04:36, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

Proposal for adding a section on the Northumberland Manuscript Flyleaf[edit]

I propose adding a section on the Northumberland Manuscript Flyleaf. I know it is mentioned in The Truth Will Out. And this source from John Casson is relevant:

And this book is relevant:

Does anyone know any other good reference sources about the document in general or its connection to Henry Neville? Kfein (talk) 04:31, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

This seems relevant: (talk) 03:26, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

Proposal for adding information on the dedication of A King and No King[edit]

This source has a lot of information on Henry Neville's connection with 'A King and No King' Lesser, Zachary. “Mixed Government and Mixed Marriage in ‘A King and No King’: Sir Henry Neville Reads Beaumont and Fletcher.” ELH, vol. 69, no. 4, 2002, pp. 947–977. JSTOR,

The dedication can be seen here and is in the public domain:

I suggest we upload the image and include it in the article with information taken from Lesser's article. Casson and Rubinstein also reference this, is it referenced in other books about Neville?

Kfein (talk) 04:41, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

Found a new RS about Neville books at Audley End[edit]

The sidebar of this:


Hoby’s books came to be at Audley End because of his connection with the Neville family, who owned a house in Berkshire called Billingbear. Hoby’s family seat was also in Berkshire, at Bisham Abbey, a property which he inherited on the death of his half-brother, Sir Philip Hoby, in 1558. At some point, Hoby’s books were moved the short distance from Bisham Abbey to Billingbear, and then, once its owner, Richard Aldworth Neville (1750–1825), second Lord Braybrooke, had inherited Audley End in 1802, they were taken across to Essex.

Kfein (talk) 04:51, 30 October 2019 (UTC)

Discussion of sources for this page[edit]

I have posted a question about the sources used for this article at the Wikipedia reliable sources noticeboard. Tom Reedy (talk) 01:06, 7 December 2019 (UTC)

Stuart Kells recent book Shakespeare's Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature has a great deal on the Nevillean theory that would be a good source to start with to update the article.Kfein (talk) 01:57, 15 December 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that is a good source that passes WP:RS. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:42, 16 December 2019 (UTC)
  • Noticed this at WP:RS/N. There is way too much fringe sourcing here and so I'm placing a POV tag until the article can be rebuilt with decent sources. Alexbrn (talk) 00:41, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

Additional Possible Sources[edit]

This is apparently not a RS: Bard blood between the Princes April 28, 2014 | Courier Mail, The/Sunday Mail, The/QWeekend Magazine (Brisbane, Australia) Author: DAILY MAIL | Page: 14 Kfein (talk) 04:48, 16 December 2019 (UTC)

Unexplained removal of content[edit]

@RalphWinwood: you are removing[1] well-sourced content with no edit summary. What's going on? Alexbrn (talk) 13:04, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

@Alexbrn: No Alex. YOU are removing well-sourced content. This page was published in 2016. Some editors with a Stratfordian bias tried to have it removed but an adjudication resolved to retain it. It will be clear to anyone who investigates your edits (removing verifiable facts) that you are trying to impose your own bias on this article. Please undo them.RalphWinwood (talk) 13:18, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia must have a "Stratfordian bias" as it mirrors respectable mainstream scholarship. This is what we call neutral. I shall raise a query at WP:FT/N. Alexbrn (talk) 13:26, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

@Alexbrn: Please Google Tonm Reedy and you'll find he's the most outspoken defender of the orthodox view of Shakespeare authorship on the web. He was also the prime mover in the failed attempt to have the article deleted in 2016 (please see discussion [2]). Ian Thompson also participated in this failed attempt. The article has not materially changed since that time. This is not about neutrality.RalphWinwood (talk) 14:05, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

It's been poor for a while then. This is common enough on Wikipedia, but what has that got to do with anything? The article was a horrible WP:PROFRINGE mess and now that consensus is widening following the WP:RS/N thread it's going to get improved by dumping the original research and fringe sources, and using good RS in line with the WP:PAGs. That will be progress. Alexbrn (talk) 14:25, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
Obviously these edits were introduced with the intention of changing the neutral stance of the article. They do not give an unbiased and fair description of the Nevillean theory, which is the purpose of the article.
Tom Reedy is not just a highly interested partisan in this debate, he also has personally and publicly attacked me on the Oxfraud Facebook group where he is an administrator, and another administrator of that group, Mike Leadbetter called me "schizophrenic" on the same post. This happened within the last two weeks. Go to the Shakespeare Authorship wiki entry for more discussion of previous personal attacks on me.
This has nothing to do with Wikipedia standards of editorship, it's a coordinated effort to push a specific agenda. Look at the Wikipedia discussion of the reliable sources for this page, created by Tom Reedy, the foul language used and the ridiculous bias involved in that discussion.
What's happened here is the Wiki article has been rewritten as a summary of a book review written by a biased person 13 years ago. David Kathman is not a biased observer, he is a harsh partisan in these debates. So focusing on his book review so heavily is in itself non-neutral.
I provided on this Talk page a recent RS that summarizes recent developments in research into the Nevillean theory. None of that content is included, and that is not used as an RS to support the content that was already on the wiki entry. This clearly shows the biased intent of these edits.
There is an active Talk section here. None of these edits were made in consultation with anyone else. Wikipedia is supposed to be about building consensus, not doing radical rewrites of an established page without consultation with anyone else.
This is a shameful misuse of Wikipedia to push personal agendas by harsh partisans in this debate. I am a supporter of the Nevillean theory, but I have tried to engage with this in a proper manner, using the Talk section to build consensus before making major edits, and working to identify high quality sources.
It truly is shameful how people are trying to use Wikipedia to push their own personal agendas. Wikipedia should reflect the scholarly consensus on these issues, but it is supposed to be NEUTRAL. By removing factual information from this article, it is no longer NEUTRAL. Also, by interspersing the views of one extremely harsh partisan (David Kathman), it loses its neutrality as well.
Kathman in his book review de-emphasizes the strongest arguments for Neville's authorship since he is a harsh partisan in this debate. So by relying on him as the main source, all of the strongest arguments are ignored, because he did not include those in his book review -- since he is a harsh partisan.
Fortunately, these edits and the background to them, the ignoring of the Talk discussion on here, all of this is public record for all time. So everyone can see what happened and why.
Here is a summary of recent research into Henry Neville's authorship. These are the points that should be included in this article:
If harsh partisans are allowed to use Wikipedia to push their own agendas, it becomes a soapbox for their views, rather than an unbiased and neutral encyclopedia. People come to this article looking to learn about the Nevillean theory, not to be fed an impoverished version of it designed to push a certain agenda.Kfein (talk) 16:10, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
This "Tom Reedy" person is not somebody we're citing; how is he relevant? As to Kathman he is published in the Shakespeare Quarterly which is about as fine an imprimatur for Shakespeare scholarship as we could wish. Wikipedia reflects accepted knowledge as reflected in reliable sources, so this is a perfect source. The Shakespeare Authorship Trust looks cranky and is not what Wikipedia calls a reliable source. So far as I can see, all serious academic sources treat the Nevillean theory with snorting derision, but if other GOOD sources have a different take we should certainly use them - but we ain't going to be indulging fringe source as that would be counter to our mission, as the consensus at WP:RS/N made explicit. Alexbrn (talk) 16:19, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
This "Tom Reedy" person has posted on this Talk page and initiated the discussion of the sources for this article which led to your edits. David Kathman is an extremely harsh partisan in this issue, he is not a neutral authority. I am not arguing with using him as a source, I am arguing with the bizarre over-emphasis of an article written so long ago that is biased to begin with and does not incorporate any of the research done in the last 15 years.
I posted a good reliable source on the Talk page BEFORE you made your wholesale rewrite of the article. You did not consult it, which just shows the lack of neutrality and attempt to bias the article. You are obviously an extremely biased individual with an agenda of your own. Or you are some type of sock puppet. Likely both.
It is obvious what is going on here, and posterity can see it. We have a record here for all time. That's the great thing about Wikipedia.
The "mission" of this article is to provide a neutral and full description of the Nevillean theory of Shakespeare authorship. It is not to push an interpretation of that theory. It should reflect the scholarly consensus, but the main purpose of the article is to describe the theory.
The Shakespeare authorship trust is not an RS, but they are the leading organization in the field of Shakespeare Authorship, so their description of the Neville theory is a good one to refer to for a summary of the latest research. Trying to ossify the research as it stood 15 years ago is just a form of biased presentation. But even there, the presentation is biased and purposely misleading.Kfein (talk) 16:50, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
Your attempts to personalize this discussion are unwelcome and disruptive, and if continued will likely lead to you being sanctioned. Please WP:FOC. I used the best sources from known high quality sources as returned by my library search engine. If there are other good sources, propose them. But we're not going to be using fringey web sites. Alexbrn (talk) 16:56, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
I am not concerned about being sanctioned by anyone. My name is Ken Feinstein. I am personalizing this because I have been subject to harassment by Tom Reedy and Mike Leadbetter, two Wikipedia editors, and I need to create a record of that. I made a similar record of it on the Shakespeare Authorship wiki page and I am making it here as well.
The Talk page of this article had a discussion of reliable sources BEFORE you made your edits. You ignored that, which shows your lack of good faith in your edits. You also did not discuss your major edits on the Talk page before making them. It shows you had no intention of working to build consensus; you are only interested in pushing a biased agenda. Kfein (talk) 17:01, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
Hi. I'm Mike Leadbetter. For the purposes of clarity and context, I am not a regularly active Wikipedia editor and I called you a "self-cleaning schizophrenic" after you deleted all your posts on Oxfraud, a Shakespearean discussion group which gives itself plenty of latitude to deal summarily with poor argument and fanciful claims. After two months of failing to convince anyone that any of your claims had merit, after receiving a great deal of serious and detailed rebuttal, you rewarded the group by deleting all your posts, knowing that Facebook would delete all of the replies, wasting the hours of time posters had spent replying in good faith. And here you are again, wasting people's time, attempting to introduce unreliable sources and pass off discredited argument as scholarship. Sicinius (talk) 11:27, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Kfein, The neutral stance is that Shakespeare wrote all the works attributed to him by mainstream scholarship (because that's what mainstream means), and the Nevillean theory is fringe and must not be presented as anything else. That's Wikipedia policy. Your reference to websites like the "Shakespearian Authorship Trust" is a red flag. Guy (help!) 19:39, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
This article never took a different stance than that. I am not suggesting a different stance than that. I recommend you read the other Wikipedia articles dedicated to authorship candidates to learn how this is handled on Wikipedia. The purpose of this article is not to be a polemic providing a point of view. It's supposed to be a neutral description of the fringe theory that marks it as a fringe theory. It may be appropriate to include criticisms of the theory as part of the overall article, but this article has been turned into just a rehashing of one harsh partisan's review of one book 13 years ago.
As far as "red flags" go the Shakespeare Authorship Trust website is linked from the Shakespeare Authorship wiki page and it is linked from here. I understand your desire to turn Wikipedia articles into propaganda for your position, but it is not the purpose of Wikipedia. Kfein (talk) 20:13, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

I cast an aspersion there, which I apologize for and strike out. I stand by the claim that the way this rewrite was handled, in a unilateral manner without prior consultation, was inappropriate and not in-line with the standards of the Wikipedia community.Kfein (talk) 21:16, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

The need to undo all of the recent edits[edit]

The recent edits by Alexbrn need to be undone. Each paragraph they propose to add should be posted in the Talk and discussed until a consensus is reached. In addition, each proposed deletion or change should be posted in Talk and discussed until a consensus is reached.

The edits as they stand are amateurish and not up to Wikipedia standards for accuracy and neutrality. Look at this for instance:

Another manuscript produced in evidence is the Northumberland Manuscript, a piece of paper which contains many scrawled names of figures of the age, including Shakespeare's, Francis Bacon's, and the word "Nevill". The page has been used by Baconians as supposed evidence for Bacon being the "true" author of Shakespeare's works; James and Rubinstein argue that the presence of Neville's names means that it is Neville who is the true author, and that it is evidence Neville "practised Shakespeare's signature."[3][1]

This is not an accurate description of the Northumberland Manuscript, of what it contains, of what is written on the flyleaf, etc. The reference to "Baconians" is completely irrelevant to this article and is simply introduced to harm the neutrality of the article, as the scare quotes emphasize. The paragraph doesn't even really make sense. Each paragraph needs to be sourced properly and corrected for errors before it is added to the page.

I do not want to over-dramatize what has happened here. The simple solution is to undo all of the edits, and then Alexbrn can propose each and every change one by one, and the Wikipedia community can reach consensus on it and then move forward. That is the proper way to handle this.

Alexbrn likely is not familiar with Wikipedia best practices, and we do not want to discourage them from editing this page. So I think it is important to welcome their edits, just to help them understand the consensus process required before making major changes to an article.

Kfein (talk) 17:48, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

Nobody needs to ask permission to edit this or any other page. It is you who doesn't have a grasp on Wikipedia policies, despite being asked several times to acquaint yourself with them. This page needs to be rewritten using acceptable sources, not the fringe books that proposed the original "theory". I haven't had time, and I probably won't have the time (or the interest, really, given the low readership this page gets), and anyone can participate. And your rant in the above section is entirely irrelevant. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:59, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
I am trying to handle this properly by building consensus on how to deal with this wholesale rewrite of this article. There was a discussion going on in this Talk page about changing the sources of the article to make it more in-line with Wikipedia standards. Alexbrn did not engage with that discussion or consult those sources. Instead, they used an extremely biased source from a non-neutral individual that does not reflect the latest research into Neville authorship. They essential time-machined the article to reflect what was going on in 2008. It is 2019.
You really do not understand that this article is about the Neville theory. So it should reflect that and describe that. That is what neutrality is.
Let me re-iterate, you have been engaged in an active campaign of harassment against me on your Oxfraud Facebook page. You personally have posted about me, and Mike Leadbetter, who is another administrator of your Oxfraud page, described me as "schizophrenic" in response to your post. This happened within the last 2-3 weeks. I believe that David Kathman, who is cited so frequently in these new edits, is also connected with your group and the Oxfraud website. So in dealing with you on here, I am dealing with a disingenuous and inappropriate individual who violates every Wikipedia standard of civility and appropriate behavior. Kfein (talk) 18:08, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
It is important to clearly document these things so the Wikipedia community can understand exactly how these edits arose. Kfein (talk) 18:12, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
In addition to all the other policy and guideline articles I have asked you to read, you should put this one at the top of your list: WP:PA. Tom Reedy (talk) 23:46, 23 December 2019 (UTC)
I am not engaging in personal attacks. I am documenting your pattern of harassment. Kfein (talk) 04:41, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
... which is an entirely inappropriate use of this Talk page. Since this topic is subject to WP:Discretionary sanctions editors are expected to be squeaky clean in their observation of the WP:PAGs. Alexbrn (talk) 07:27, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
I hope the people commenting here will succeed in avoiding personal attacks. Due to the Arbcom sanctions, any sign of impropriety in these discussions may lead to admin intervention. Continued reference to a discussion that may have taken place on Facebook may lead to WP:OUTING complaints and possible deletions from this thread. Also "I am documenting your pattern of harassment" risks getting into the domain of WP:ASPERSIONS, which would quickly take us to an admin board. EdJohnston (talk) 14:37, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
I've not contributed to the article, so I'm not invested in its content. I've reviewed Alexbrn's changes, and see that he's vastly improved it by removing considerable synthesis and original research, as well as references to dubious sources. Carlstak (talk) 15:49, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Unfortunately, a lot of factual errors have been introduced, and the article no longer has objectivity or neutrality. Plus many new dubious sources have been added. The proper way to expand this article would be to take the other articles on Shakespeare authorship theories as models, to mimic how they provide an explication of the fringe theory while also reflecting the current scholarly consensus.Kfein (talk) 16:43, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Better neutrality has now been achieved, which is surely good. I think Hitchen's razor otherwise needs to be applied unless we can have some actual evidence for (a) factual errors, and (b) dubious sources. Compared to what we had before, I think our sourcing standard has improved hugely! Because WP:OSE we don't base our articles on precedent, but on the WP:PAGs, which this article is increasingly aligning to. Alexbrn (talk) 16:56, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
The factual errors need to be dealt with one by one. For instance, Audley End doesn't have a copy of Holinshed's Chronicles. I don't know whether that is Kells' error or yours. The description of the Northumberland Manuscript is also still incorrect.
The dubious sources are the Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter and The Oxfordian.
The article has been turned into an anti-Neville-theory rant rather than a neutral description of theory. Kfein (talk) 17:06, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Those sources look fine for the mild claims they support. Perhaps ask at WP:RS/N if you want that confirmed? As to Holinshed, Kells says that is was "in all likelihood" in Neville's library at the time (neither he nor we mention Audley End) - I shall tweak. Alexbrn (talk) 17:21, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Those sources are not fine in any way shape or form for anything. If those sources are fine, then Casson's books should be used as sources as well, etc. It's an obvious and ridiculous double standard.
Kells is making something up there. I have no idea what "in all likelihood" might mean. My main concern is factual accuracy. It is not accurate to suggest that Henry Neville owned a copy of Holinshed's Chronicles because there is no evidence he did. There is a copy of the first edition of the book at the University of Kansas that was owned by his uncle-in-law William Killigrew, he almost certainly had access to that copy at Lothbury. And his father-in-law Henry Killigrew was one of the censors of the second edition. I am happy to help you include those details if you don't consider that original research, we can confirm that easily with reliable sources. Kfein (talk) 17:56, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Here is the blog post by the University of Kansas about their copy of Holinshed Chronicles. William Killigrew was the uncle of Henry Neville's wife, and Neville stayed with him often in Lothbury. He also references this "uncle Killigrew" several times in his letters.
I think though Kells was referencing Henry Killigrew's involvement as a censor of the 1587 edition of Holinshed. It is documented in detail on page 52 of The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed's Chronicles.
The connection of Henry Killigrew with Holinshed's Chronicles is one of the many major arguments made by proponents of the Neville theory. The connection with William Killigrew's copy is something new not yet published in any books (though is on my blog).Kfein (talk) 19:38, 24 December 2019 (UTC)

"Highlights from Neville’s collection of English books and manuscripts reveal a sound literary sensibility and strong literary connections. A handwritten copy of Leicester’s banned Commonwealth. A copy of Thomas Mille’s Catalogue of Honor, printed by Jaggard, 1610 (Neville’s copy appears to be a proof version with pre-publication corrections). A rare manuscript of John Lydgate’s Fall of Princes. Sir Thomas Hoby’s translation of Baldassare Castiglione’s The Courtier, 1561 (Hoby married Neville’s aunt). Edward Hall’s The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancastre and Yorke, 1542. And another key Shakespearean source, Holinshed’s Chronicles, 1587, edited by John Hammond, Thomas Randolph and Sir Henry Killigrew (Neville’s father-in-law)." Kells, p. 166. Tom Reedy (talk) 06:00, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Kells book is filled with errors. It is not actually reliable. But it is the best recent RS on the Neville theory. If people want to introduce his errors into the Wikipedia article, I cannot stop them. But I think it is best to create a fact-based and useful article that meets the highest standards. Wikipedia guidelines are not a death pact to publish false information. They are guidelines. Kfein (talk) 08:26, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Online journal[edit]

Kells write there is (was?) an online journal spawned by the publication of Truth Will Out. Anybody know anything about that? Alexbrn (talk) 15:52, 24 December 2019 (UTC)

This is the information I have. THE JOURNAL OF NEVILLE STUDIES ISSN 1754-1999
As far as I know, there were two issues, April 2007 and February 2008. Kfein (talk) 16:57, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Wonder if there's any secondary commentary on this. Alexbrn (talk) 16:58, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
I don't know. But there is a lot of secondary commentary on John Casson's books, and that all needs to be incorporated into the article.Kfein (talk) 17:07, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Such as? Alexbrn (talk) 17:12, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
I listed them in this Talk page before you made your edits. I was trying to work with the Wikipedia community to identify good reliable sources so we could work together to improve the page before you unilaterally rewrote it. The essential problem with your complete rewrite is that it doesn't reflect the current state of the Nevillean theory. It ignores all of the research done by Casson, Bradbeer, Leyland, Goding, etc. You have rmeoved all external links, so there is no way for the reader to find out about any of that. You've turned the page into a book review of a book written in 2005. This is 2019.
I understand how Wikipedia works and all of this will be resolved very soon naturally anyway. But in the meantime we really should make the article actually a good one, as best we can, reflecting the current state of affairs. Kfein (talk) 17:18, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
For full disclosure, let me reiterate that I am someone actively engaged in research into Henry Neville's authorship of the works of Shakespeare. I have a blog on the subject and a wiki on the subject: So I have done my own extensive original research into what books are at Audley End or what the Northumberland Manuscript is, etc. I corresponded with John Casson while he was alive and I work together with other Neville researchers on this. I do not claim to be a neutral observer of this debate. I am not suggesting, however, that we incorporate my original research into the article. That will happen in time as it is reflected in reliable sources. But we should reflect the research of others that has been covered in reliable secondary sources. Kfein (talk) 17:25, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
I think the reality is that the "current state of the Nevillean theory" has garnered no interest outside its own peculiar bubble. We have Kells (2018) as an up-to-date independent source and from this it is apparent the whole Nevillean thing is seen as a bit of a joke. If we're missing some great sources please humour us and list them - but I think the article now uses all the available high-quality sources on this topic and gives a fair & neutral description. I can appreciate that as an adherent of the theory this might not please you, but we are obliged to follow high-quality mainstream sources, and so cannot "fix" reality for you. Alexbrn (talk) 17:35, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
As I explained above, John Casson's books and articles received a lot of attention in the mainstream press. In any case, we will all work together to improve this article for now, correcting your errors, making it more balanced, describing the theory correctly and fully as it stands now as it is reflected in reliable sources. There are many important facts that we cannot currently include in the article because they are not yet written about by reliable secondary sources. As time goes on, the situation will shift dramatically. But this is not our concern for the present.
I encourage you to read the Talk page and what was added to it before you made your edits. There is lots there to work from. Kfein (talk) 17:48, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
I have added another citation that references the journal from an academic book. Kfein (talk) 03:39, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

Arguments from biography[edit]

Before the rewrite, the article contained many "arguments from biography." Essentially all of those were deleted, and a short paragraph inserted that does not actually describe any of those arguments. These arguments are well described in the secondary sources cited in the article. So this is a huge area that needs to be expanded in the article, in-line with Wikipedia standards.Kfein (talk) 18:00, 24 December 2019 (UTC)

Yes indeed, this area needs expansion - Kells is very good on this - but equally we need to be clear that the Nevillean's arguments are fallacious (per our sources). Alexbrn (talk) 18:03, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
No, we need to provide factual information about the Neville theory and Neville's biography and put it into context. You misunderstand how Wikipedia articles on fringe theories are supposed to be written. So you have a produced an article that is extremely biased and non-neutral. But we will all work together to fix that.
I would begin with the connections among Shakespeare, Neville, and the Earl of Southampton, since these are all well documented facts. There is also a vast scholarly literature on how that relates to the Essex Rebellion. This is key.
Neville's relationship with Henry Savile and their travels together in Europe are also a key aspect of the Neville theory and it is well-documented in mainstream scholarly literature.
There is so much to cover, but there's no space limit, we can make this article as detailed and comprehensive as any of the other articles about authorship candidates like Oxford or Bacon. We can bring in excellent secondary sources so that every fact is double and triple-confirmed. It is an exciting project! Kfein (talk) 18:41, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
"You misunderstand how Wikipedia articles on fringe theories are supposed to be written." I"m afraid you're the one with the misunderstanding, evinced by your latest round of edits, most of which is pure WP:OR. Fully describing every nook and cranny of this fringe theory is not the purpose of Wikipedia, nor delivering a blow-by-blow description of how the theorists arrived at their conclusions. A WP page should only contain what has been covered in secondary, independent, reliable sources, and that only to the proportion that it has been covered. Both WP:FRINGE and WP:WEIGHT, neither of which it appears you have read, are the main guidelines for an article of this sort. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:43, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, and I have reverted these unhelpful edits. Kfein to avoid WP:OR please do not insert sources which make no mention of the "Nevillean theory", do not alter already-cited text so it violates WP:V (as you did here[3]), and be very careful about copy and pasting text from copyrighted third-party sources like (which as a wiki as also an suitable source). Above all remember that it is a core policy that Wikipedia is a "summary of accepted knowledge regarding its subject". It is worth having this as a mantra and meditating on all the main aspects of it - "summary", "accepted knowledge" and "regarding its subject" - for edits you are considering. Alexbrn (talk) 05:33, 25 December 2019 (UTC); amdeded 06:28, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Let's take this one by one. What exactly did I copy and paste that might be construed as plagiarism?Kfein (talk) 06:21, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, my mistake - on closer inspection you quoted the offended text. I struck the text above. Alexbrn (talk) 06:28, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
The lost plays database is edited by scholars in the field. It is not a wiki. It is absolutely the highest quality source. That article was written by a professor at the University of Toronto who is one of the world's experts in Lost Plays. It is immeasurably higher quality than the sources you have introduced into this Wikipedia article. Kfein (talk) 06:34, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
A self-described "wiki-style forum". Alexbrn (talk) 06:38, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
The articles are signed by the authors. That specific article was written by an expert on the topic. It is not an open-access wiki. It is edited by leading scholars on the topic. This article now is based largely on sources written by complete amateurs who are not trained in the field at all. The Lost Plays Database would be a huge step up. Kfein (talk) 06:42, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I know the originators of LPD and it is indeed a reliable source, but it is irrelevant to this article unless it discusses the Nevillian theory. Once again, you need to read the policies and guidelines. You should take a few weeks off and read them through, along with a few noticeboards. It would save you a lot of time in the long run. Tom Reedy (talk) 07:15, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
It would save other editors' time too. There is a point where WP:BLUDGEONING becomes disruptive. Alexbrn (talk) 07:21, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
@Kfein: The problem with linking to any type of wiki is that it is user-generated and so potentially unstable as a source. But since the site appears not to mention the Nevillean theory I don't even know why it's on the table here (except through the unwanted desire for original research). Alexbrn (talk) 07:21, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I linked to it because it described correctly what the Northumberland Manuscript was and what the cover was. Because you had an error in the article that needed to be corrected. I am not taking any time off editing this page, I will continue to do my good work helping to make it good. Pointing out factual errors in the article is not WP:BLUDGEONING. Point out non reliable sources that you agree with is not WP:BLUDGEONING. Adding relevant links and sources is not WP:BLUDGEONING.

I have been accused of casting aspersions in this discussion. What I wrote was " So you have a produced an article that is extremely biased and non-neutral. But we will all work together to fix that." The article, when i wrote that, was extremely biased and non-neutral. I did not accuse anyone of anything. We are currently working to fix that. That is not casting aspersions, it is stating a fact about how the article stood at that time.

The accusation above of WP:BLUDGEONING is unfair and I request an apology.Kfein (talk) 21:11, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Timeline for Shakespeare's Plays[edit]

I don't quite understand this recent addition to the aritcle:

He writes that the alignment of Neville's life events with the subject matter of Shakespeare's plays relies on a bogus timeline for the plays,

As far as I know, Neville researchers have always accepted the traditional timeline for Shakespeare's plays. What is this "bogus" timeline referred to here? Which plays exactly? Kfein (talk) 18:54, 24 December 2019 (UTC)

Kells' point is that the Nevilleans' invocation of an "accepted chronology of Shakespeare's plays" is in multiple senses, false. He calls their proposed alignment of Neville's life events with their version of the chronology "delightfully wacky". This point might be usefully expanded. Alexbrn (talk) 19:45, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
There is no point. There is a scholarly consensus on the chronology of Shakespeare's plays and Neville people align with that exactly. There is no reason to expand on something false. False things should be removed from the article, even if they are in a source. Sources make errors. Kfein (talk) 19:49, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Let me clarify exactly what I mean so there is no misunderstanding. Henry Neville was in prison from 1601-1603. Neville proponents suggest that this time in prison colored his writing of Shakespeare plays. So plays like Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth were influenced by this time in prison. Henry Neville was on the governing council of the Virginia Company. So he would have access to the Strachey Letter, a source for the Tempest. So Neville researchers are aligning the timeline of that play exactly with the traditional view. Henry V has a reference to the Earl of Essex and his military exploits in 1599, and Neville researchers connect Neville with the military faction at exactly that time. They also note that the play has a lot of French dialog precisely when Neville was in ambassador to France. So the alignment is all quite precisely with traditional scholarship. There is no deviation that I am aware of, and it certainly is not the basis for the Neville theory. It's the exact opposite.Kfein (talk) 19:54, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Kells (2018): "After four centuries of scholarship and speculation, the chronology of Shakespeare's plays is still unsettled. There are good reasons for this [etc etc]". We follow reliable sources, not the random musings of Wikipedia editors. Alexbrn (talk) 19:55, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Kells is expressing a fringe view there. Not the scholarly consensus. Kfein (talk) 19:57, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
You'd need a very strong source meeting WP:RS/AC for that. Note that Chronology of Shakespeare's plays also sets out the position that there is considerable uncertainty. Alexbrn (talk) 20:09, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
There is not considerable uncertainty. There is debate about a few years in either direction for each play. It is very minor stuff and absolutely not relevant to the Neville authorship theory. There is a universal consensus within a few years for almost every play. It's just not a relevant concern to the Neville theory. I have absolutely no idea what Kells is referencing. Kfein (talk) 20:16, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
Well come back when you have your views published in a good source. Until then, we follow acknowledged independent experts published in reliable sources. I'll expand Kells' reasoning in our article after Christmas! Alexbrn (talk) 20:19, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
My view that the scholarly consensus is the scholarly consensus? That all of the research done on Shakespeare dating is largely correct? My view is not at variance with almost all Shakespeare scholars and neither is the view of Neville proponents. Kells is not an expert on Shakespeare. Kfein (talk) 20:24, 24 December 2019 (UTC)

Let me reiterate, this above line is simply false. The main arguments for the Shakespeare timeline from Neville proponents align precisely with the scholarly consensus. There is no variance. It is simply misleading to suggest otherwise -- even if Kells suggests otherwise. Kells is not an expert on Shakespeare. He is a valuable source in this peculiar situation because he has done up-to-date research on the Neville theory and the rules of Wikipedia preclude using the work of actual Neville researchers as a source. So we have to essentially "launder" the actual research through largely unreliable and biased secondary sources. But Kells is not a reliable source for scholarship on the works of Shakespeare. Kfein (talk) 20:29, 24 December 2019 (UTC)

Hitchen's razor is coming out again I'm afraid. If you think we known with certainty the composition dates for the plays then maybe re-write Chronology of Shakespeare's plays where the point is made that there is uncertainty. Alexbrn (talk) 05:42, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Of course there is uncertainty. But some plays are much more uncertain than others. And Neville proponents have views in-line with the scholarly consensus. I don't know how many times you expect me to repeat the exact same thing.Kfein (talk) 06:17, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
You disagree with published, reliable sources. Which view do you think Wikipedia is bound to go with? Alexbrn (talk) 06:22, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I don't disagree with published, reliable sources. I have no idea what you are talking about. Which Neville people have a view of the chronology that differs in any way with the scholarly consensus? Kfein (talk) 06:26, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Kells' point is there is no consensus about precisely when stuff was written, and the Nevillian arguments rely on precise alignments. Alexbrn (talk) 06:51, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Which plays exactly and which arguments exactly? It is meaningless unless we understand what specifically he is talking about. Kfein (talk) 06:56, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

OK, look, you can't just quote any scholar on the chronology of the plays, it has to be from a source that discusses it in relation to the Nevillian theory. Otherwise it is WP:OR and WP:SYNTH. Tom Reedy (talk) 07:04, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

So you are suggesting we edit this article with completely different standards from the ones you use to edit the Shakespeare Authorship Question wikipedia article?Kfein (talk) 07:10, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

My criticism of this line is reflected in this review of Kell's book: This is exactly the point I made above:

n yet another contested area of scholarship—chronology and revision—Kells is prone to misstatements. That the “chronology of Shakespeare’s plays is still unsettled” is strictly true, but agreement within a year or two for the original composition of most plays is more widespread than this suggests.

Please explain to me why we should include that line from Kells when his reviewers think he is off-base? Alexbrn. or should we include a review of his review? As I explained, Kells is not a Shakespeare scholar. It is an RS but not a reliable source. Kfein (talk) 23:40, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

I strongly think we should remove that sentence, but I do not want to do it without reaching consensus first. It is very important to note that Kells is not a Shakespeare scholar, so his views on Shakespeare should not be given too much weight. Kfein (talk) 03:44, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

It's fine & should stay. We need to point out why the Nevillians are wrong about this, because of a requirement to maintain a WP:NPOV. Alexbrn (talk) 03:48, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Even though a reviewer of Kells clearly crticizes Kells for being incorrect? What exactly gives Kells authority to write about the dating of Shakespeare's plays? Where does his expertise derive from? What sources does he cite?Kfein (talk) 23:43, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Just so everyone knows how bad Kells is, how he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about, on p 172 he writes "Conservative in spirit, Shakespeare's plays convey a patriotic respect for royal institutions and authority; yet Neville was implicated in the Essex Rebellion." Kfein (talk) 02:15, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
"The Comedy of Errors was registered just before the First Folio appeared; it was a late inclusion in Shakespeare's oeuvre. Some mainstream scholars attribute authorship of that play, along with another late First Folio addition, Julius Caesar, to Christopher Marlowe. If Shakespeare had a role in these two plays, it seems to have been a modest and incremental one... An equally plausible theory, however, is that Shakespeare had no role in several of the eighteen non-quarto First Folio plays. That theory has attracted many followers." Page 250-251. No one knows less about Shakespeare than Kells.Kfein (talk) 02:25, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

In the recent unilateral, non-neutral rewrite of the article, all external links were removed. They all should be restored, but especially this one:

Kfein (talk) 19:08, 24 December 2019 (UTC)

Fails WP:ELNO - this is essentially a fan site. I notice the "who we are" link returns a 404! When we have ample reliable sources, there is no need to scrape the barrel. Alexbrn (talk) 19:38, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
I am sorry, the link works fine for me. Here is the information:
History Founded on 6 November 1922 in Hackney, London, our original name was the Shakespeare Fellowship. The name changed to The Shakespearean Authorship Society in 1959, and we are now The Shakespearean Authorship Trust, a registered charity. Our objective is the advancement of learning with particular reference to the social, political, and literary history of England in the 16th and 17th centuries and the authorship of the literary works that appeared under the name of William Shakespeare.
This is a well-established organization. Describing it as a "fan site" just shows your incredible non-neutrality on this topic.Kfein (talk) 19:43, 24 December 2019 (UTC)
You must be joking, Kfein. The link works for me, and the text on the Shakespearean Authorship Trust page is pseudo-scholarship—partisan speculation dressed up as analysis to advance a fringe agenda. Carlstak (talk) 20:46, 24 December 2019 (UTC)\
It is an accurate and useful description of the Neville Theory of Shakespeare Authorship which is the topic of this article. This is an article about the Neville Theory of Shakespeare Authorship. I don't know what a "fringe agenda" is. I am not joking.
Precisely which of the facts described here are incorrect? Kfein (talk) 20:59, 24 December 2019 (UTC)

I have restored the external link, in-line with the practice of the Shakespeare Authorship Question article.Kfein (talk) 21:08, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Northumberland Manuscript[edit]

Another manuscript produced in evidence is the Northumberland Manuscript, a tattered piece of paper

It is not a tattered piece of paper.

which contains many words and handwritten names of figures of the age

it does not include "handwritten names of figures of the age". It includes a table of contents of very specific texts.

including Shakespeare's, Francis Bacon's, and the word "Nevill".

The word "Nevill" is written twice. The name "William Shakespeare" is written many times as is the name "Francis Bacon".

This is the most complete book ever written on the Northumberland Manuscript:

This is a recent article about it from a professor at the University of Toronto:

The Nortumberland Manuscript is a collection of documents. It has two covers. The front cover has the name William Shakespeare written on it many times.

It also has the name "Nevills" written twice and the Neville family motto "ne vile velis" written twice.

I understand the desire to suppress this information, even if it is carefully sourced. Kfein (talk) 05:28, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

We need to describe it as relevant secondary sources describe it. I'm not wedded to any particular form of words ("torn cover page" is fine too), but the gist of the secondary descriptions is that it has a lot of words scrawled over it and is incoherent (a "word salad" as Kells puts it). We also need to convey the thought from the secondaries that the Nevillians are reading way too much into it, as other factions do too according to their different desired discoveries! Alexbrn (talk) 06:19, 25 December 2019 (UTC)::
So we should fill this article with inaccurate information? And not link to sources that provide good information? The cover page is not torn. It is burnt as is the whole manuscript. The name "Nevill" is written twice on the top left. The family motto "ne vile velis" is also written twice in the same section. (It actually says "Nevills" but that is not in reliable sources yet). Kfein (talk) 06:25, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Yeah there's lots of factoids about this scrap. But remember, "summary of accepted knowledge". Alexbrn (talk) 06:30, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
There are not a lot of factoids about the scrap. it is not a scrap of paper. it is the cover to a manuscript filled with specific documents. The cover lists the contents of the manuscript. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. You are not summarizing accepted knowledge, you are publishing false information on a Wikipedia article based on a misunderstanding of the facts. And then you are keeping me from correcting it, even though I link to the leading scholarship on the topic.Kfein (talk) 06:36, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
All that's relevant is the scrap with scrawlings on it, as that is what the Nevillians argue from. As I said, I'm not wedded to the particular form of words ("damaged cover of 90 page miscellany" or whatever is fine) so long as we stick to on-point secondary sourcing relating this to the Nevillean theory. Alexbrn (talk) 06:46, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
That is not true. The entire manuscript is relevant because the cover describes most of its contents. It is not a scrap. Why do you call it a scrap? The entire manuscript is damaged by fire. Not just the cover. It is a cover to a folio of documents.
The idea that we should not link to other scholarship on a topic is not reasonable and obviously we will need to escalate this issue. How can we know what the Nevilleans argue from if we are not allowed to cite the Nevillians, only the people commenting on the Nevilleans? How can you know? Which Nevilleans? When? Kfein (talk) 06:54, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
"The idea that we should not link to other scholarship on a topic is not reasonable" Your ideas about how Wikipedia articles can be written are irrelevant. Please read WP:OR and WP:WEIGHT. Other editors have been asking you to acquaint yourself with WP policies and guidelines since your first edit, but you display no evidence that you have done so. Tom Reedy (talk) 07:08, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Once again, you are suggesting we use completely different standards than the ones you use on the Shakespeare Authorship Question wiki article. Kfein (talk) 07:13, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
@Kfein: "I" don't call it anything, I'm just trying to reflect RS. Re-consulting Kells it appears that even James & Rubinstein equate the manuscript to a page which might have been the cover of something. It seems all this stuff about "the whole document" is your original research. Alexbrn (talk) 07:15, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

I don't know how to indent this correctly. But it is not my original research to state the undeniable fact that the Northumberland Manuscript is a collection of documents with a cover. And the cover lists the contents of the documents. It is just a fact. The conceit that we must only confine ourselves to the very few books written about the Neville theory for any information or fact checking is not consistent with Wikipedia standards and not consistent with any reasonable assessment of how this article should be edited. You are literally suggesting that we have factual errors and misrepresentations in this article because we are constrained to sources which contain factual errors or misrepresentations. But we can't even refer to the original source on the topic, because it is not a reliable source, so we can only refer to sources about the source.Kfein (talk) 07:20, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Here's Kell's most descriptive reference from p. 178: "They have especially high hopes for the Northumberland Manuscript, a big name for a small document. Even calling it a ‘manuscript’ is a stretch. The item in question is ‘a scrap of torn paper that seems to be part of the cover of a folder’. What the folder contained is a matter of debate. James and Rubinstein propose the folder was ‘used to hold or catalogue some sixteenth-century literary works’. The word ‘catalogue’ here makes the document seem more choreographed than it is. In reality the manuscript is a page filled from edge to edge with chaotic scribbling, like an exercise in writing practice or an Elizabethan doodle pad." As you can see, he quotes Rubinstein and James. Tom Reedy (talk) 07:26, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
The entire Northumberland Manuscript has been photographed. The cover pages and the contents. They have been transcribed completely. It is not a secret what it contains now:
Kells description is completely inaccurate. It does not matter if he is quoting Rubinstein and James. We cannot have completely false information on this wiki article just because the cited source has false information. Even if the cited source is citing Rubinstein and James.
The problem with this entire exercise in rewriting the article is that it attempts to erase the last 14 years in research on the Neville theory of shakespeare authorship. John Casson did research on the Northumberland Manuscript published by the British Library: Kfein (talk) 07:35, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
A file of Burgoyne's transcription would be a good image for the article. I'm not even going to respond to your continual complaints until you read the WP policies and guidelines. Tom Reedy (talk) 07:38, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
By your clearly stated logic, that would be OR and is forbidden since Burgoyne does not reference The Neville Theory.Kfein (talk) 07:39, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Why are you insulting me on the Wikipedia Talk page?Kfein (talk) 07:54, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I apologize and I have redacted my comment. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:59, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
This was the comment: No mystery why you're a Nevillian. Kfein (talk) 16:25, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Let us start again with this until it is understood.

The Northumberland Manuscript is a collection of hand-written documents. Currently it includes essays by Francis Bacon, a letter from Philip Sidney, and most of Leicester's_Commonwealth, and some things related to the Earl of Essex. So it's like a handwritten book. The entire book was damaged by fire.

There is a front cover and a back cover to this book. The front cover has text that describes the contents. It's serves as a table of contents. So the essays by bacon are listed in very fancy handwriting. Then below added in later, apparently, Leicester's Commonwealth is mentioned, etc. There are four plays mentioned. Two of those plays are by Shakespeare, Richard II and Richard III. The other two are Isle of Dogs by Thomas Nashe and Asmund and Cornelia. It is reasonably assumed these plays were once included with the other documents but they are not there any longer. But we can't be sure.

That table of contents is on the right of the page. On the left on the top left is the name "Nevills" (it actually has an "s" but I just discovered that) and then the name is repeated again more clearly. The Neville family motto "ne vile velis" is also written twice, once faintly and once quite clearly and prominently with flourishes.

There are several other things written, a poem in Latin, a quote from Rape of Lucrece. And there are many scribbles. The Scribbles include the name William Shakespeare written many times, fully and partially, as well as the name Francis Bacon. There are a few other names written, for instance the name "Thomas" is written a bunch of times. But mainly it is William Shakespeare and Francis Bacon written over and over. This is on the front cover.

There has always been very good reason to suspect that Henry Neville owned the manuscript. For instance, the fact that his name and family motto are written on it might offer a clue. I gave you a link to the book that goes into the rest details.

"Northumberland Manuscript" refers to the entire set of documents. The cover is called the "cover" or the "flyleaf" depending.

The cover is, by far, the earliest handwritten reference we have to William Shakespeare. It is the first handwritten reference we have to the plays Richard II and Richard III. it is the only evidence anywhere of a manuscript of Shakespeare's plays during his lifetime. The name William Shakespeare is written more times than we have examples of it in his own handwriting (and of course it is written with much better penmanship).

These are facts about the document. You have 1. A false description of the document 2. irrelevant discussion of Baconian theories that have no place in this article. It is a scandal what you are doing. You include no relevant facts and just introduce bias and confusing details that are irrelevant in order to push a certain agenda. Kfein (talk) 22:31, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

The article should be factual, first and foremost. Everything needs to be correct. It should be neutral. It should explain that this is a fringe theory and give appropriate context, but the emphasis should be on the relevant facts. Facts are neutral things. This is an encyclopedia, not a polemic apologetic text, which you have turned this article into.

Kfein (talk) 22:34, 25 December 2019 (UTC) Struck through some text to de-personalize the discussion.Kfein (talk) 04:30, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

I have made light edits to clarify the difference between the cover of the manuscript and the contents of the manuscript. I still think this paragraph needs to be rewritten to more accurately reflect the contents of the manuscript. I believe our highest duty is to having a factually accurate article. I understand the prohibition against original research. Kfein (talk) 21:07, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Halls Chronicle[edit]

Edward Hall

Hall's best-known work, The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancastre and Yorke, commonly called Hall's Chronicle, was published by the printer Richard Grafton in 1548, the year after Hall's death. A revised edition (printed for Grafton by Richard Jugge) appeared in 1550. Both included a continuation from 1532 compiled by Grafton from the author's notes.[17][18] The only complete modern edition, entitled Hall's Chronicle, Containing the History of England During the Reign of Henry IV and the Succeeding Monarchs to the End of the Reign of Henry VIII, was prepared under the supervision of Sir Henry Ellis and published in 1809. A reprint was issued in 1965.[4] In 1904, the concluding chapter dealing with the reign of Henry VIII was edited by Charles Whibley.[19]

On 22 June 1940, Alan Keen, a dealer in antiquarian books, discovered an extensively annotated copy of Hall's Chronicle among the contents of a library from outside London which he had just purchased.[21] Keen considered that the marginal annotations, most of which are found in the chapters covering the reigns of Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI, were made by Shakespeare.[22] Keen published his findings in two journal articles,[23][24], and in a book co-authored with Alan Lubbock in 1954, The Annotator. After his death Keen left the volume in the hands of trustees, who placed it in the British Library, where until 2007 it was catalogued as Loan MS 61.[25] Kfein (talk) 06:29, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

I do not understand why my link to Edward Hall was removed previously. I have restored it. I do not understand also why my addition that it is "commonly called Hall's Chronicle" was removed. Does anyone object to adding that? It seems like a good idea since all scholars refer to it as Hall's Chronicle.Kfein (talk) 21:05, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Problem with Sources in Article[edit]

By what logic are these considered reliable sources?

John Rollet (2005). "Rollout of The Truth Will Out at The Globe". Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter. 41 (4): 29.
Michael Dudley (2018). "Six Shakespeares in Search of an Author" (PDF). The Oxfordian (Book Review). 20: 177.

Kfein (talk) 06:59, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

They are not. Tom Reedy (talk) 07:10, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Rollet is fine for what it's used for: a description of a publicity event does not require super-strong RS. The Dudley one can be replaced by Kathman for the same point, but again it's not exactly an exceptional claim. Alexbrn (talk) 07:28, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Bad precedent. Pretty sure better sources are available, I imagine The Guardian has some coverage. Tom Reedy (talk) 07:36, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
That would be preferable, but no biggie I think. Alexbrn (talk) 08:28, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
So the suggestion is that actual RS written by proponents of the Neville theory and published by well-established press alongside articles by leading experts in Shakespeare cannot be referenced in any way, but articles written and published by the proponents of another fringe theory are perfectly appropriate? Kfein (talk) 19:12, 25 December 2019 (UTC)


Reliable sources must be strong enough to support the claim. A lightweight source may sometimes be acceptable for a lightweight claim, but never for an extraordinary claim.

Alexbrn (talk) 19:17, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Well, this standard will greatly expand the universe of possible sources. Is there consensus that we can use almost any source for a lightweight claim on this topic?Kfein (talk) 19:25, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Sources are only reliable or not in respect of content. Whether or not content should appear in an article is a different matter, a question of neutrality. I happen to think the description of the Globe launch is a nice detail to add in, but if editors challenged its inclusion there would be precious little defence of it as WP:DUE. Alexbrn (talk) 19:33, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
This article no longer even has the semblance of neutrality. It is being turned into a polemic rather than a neutral description of a fringe theory. Kfein (talk) 19:47, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

I removed one of the citations that was not to a "lightweight" issue. I agree that the reference to the Globe opening is reasonable but it can be sourced elsewhere if necessary. Kfein (talk) 20:55, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Update: as of now, both of these sources have been removed from the article. Kfein (talk) 18:41, 4 January 2020 (UTC)

Errors in Macdonald P. Jackson's Article[edit]

It is important to keep in mind that the sources that are being used as RS in this article are filled with false information. Take this for instance:

In 1605 William Shakespeare composed his great tragic masterpiece, King Lear, and collaborated with Thomas Middleton on Timon of Athens. In the same year the courtier, diplomat, and MP for the Borough of Lewes, Sir Henry Neville, served on thirty-eight parliamentary committees. No vocational guidance officer could have better matched talent to trade. But Brenda James and William D. Rubinstein claim that Neville was the true author of Shakespeare's plays. They expect to "stun the literary world."

Henry Neville was not an MP for Lewes in 1605. His cousin was:

He had not been a diplomat since 1601. He was living in Berkshire and was an MP For Berkshire.

He wasn't even really a courtier at the time in any real sense; he was a country gentleman living at Billingbear. In addition, parliament was prorogued, apparently, for almost all of 1605.

In the event, however, Cecil found no use for him, and consequently he remained idle at Billingbear for much of 1605. Neville may have missed the re-opening of Parliament in November 1605.

And here is more information:

Following a prorogation lasting sixteen months, Parliament reassembled in November 1605. On the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, however, proceedings were swiftly adjourned. On resuming the session in January 1606, the Commons called for firmer action to be taken against Catholics.

For those interested in facts and evidence, it is worth keeping this in mind as we deal with these extremely biased sources filled with factual errors. Kfein (talk) 09:11, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

It is stunning that this is still in the article:

MacDonald P. Jackson wrote that "it would take a book to explain all that is wrong" with The Truth Will Out. In Jackson's view while it is tempting just to dismiss the book, it offers an opportunity instead to "think straight, get the facts right, and reach sensible conclusions".[6]

Even though he has so many facts wrong. Kfein (talk) 23:24, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

I have shortened Jackson's quote since to do otherwise would expose him to charges of hypocrisy since he himself was completely unable to provide factual information in his review.Kfein (talk) 20:55, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Your criticisms are risible and in no way disqualify Mac Jackson's review as a valid RS.
Henry Neville was not an MP for Lewes in 1605.
The error is not Jackson's, but Mark Greengrass, who wrote the ODNB Henry Neville page that Jackson consulted: "In the first Jacobean parliament of 1604 he was elected MP for the borough of Lewes and his name was 'muttered' as speaker." In any case, that doesn't disqualify Jackson's review in the slightest; he is a well-known Shakespeare scholar with a reputation Rubinstein can only envy.
He had not been a diplomat since 1601.
Srsly? Jackson describing Neville as a "diplomat" does not mean he was engaging in diplomacy at any particular point, much less 1605, just that he is mainly known to history as a (very reluctant) diplomat.
He wasn't even really a courtier at the time in any real sense.
The very first sentence of Neville's entry in the ODNB is "Neville, Sir Henry (1561/2–1615), diplomat and courtier, was the son of Sir Henry Neville (d. 1593) of Billingbear, Berkshire, and his second wife, Elizabeth (d. 1573), daughter of Sir John Gresham."
In the event, however, Cecil found no use for him, and consequently he remained idle at Billingbear for much of 1605. Neville may have missed the re-opening of Parliament in November 1605.
According to the ODNB, "In 1605 he served on thirty-eight committees, especially those dealing with the problems of the Catholic minority and the vexed question of supplying the king's needs."
Your criticisms are nothing but petty nit-picking that have nothing whatsoever to so with Jackson's qualifications to pass judgment on your fringe theory, and it's a boringly predictable complaint made by POV pushers. We've seen lots of them; you're not the first.Tom Reedy (talk) 21:48, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

Page move?[edit]

Reading sources on this, I'm thinking the notable topic here is the book The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare which is what RS dwells on, rather than "Nevillean theory of Shakespeare authorship" which appears to be a concept outside RS being boosted by Wikipedia. I think therefore it might be an idea to move this page to be about the book rather than the "theory" (it's not a "theory" of course). This would only require a minor tweak of the content. Alexbrn (talk) 10:29, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

This is an ingenious attempt to delete this page. But the RS refer to many other books on the subject, so what you are saying is not justified at all. The Kells books goes far beyond the contents of Truth Will Out, and so does Shakespeare Beyond Doubt. We also need to relitigate the RS status of the other books written on the subject by major and minor presses.
The article as it stands now is obviously non-neutral. We will have to work on that over time.

Kfein (talk) 15:50, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

See my post below about the 2018 book "My Shakespeare: The Authorship Controversy" published in 2018. Kfein (talk) 15:59, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I think as this page grows and the sources deepen, it has become very clear that this proposal is not supported by the facts and should be rejected.Kfein (talk) 21:04, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Yet Another RS to Use[edit]

The Book "My Shakespeare The Authorship Controversy" was published by Edward Everett Root in 2018, a well-known and established publisher. It is edited by William Leahy, a professor at Brunel University London. It has a chapter called "Our Shakespeare: Henry Neville: 1612-1615" by John Casson, William D. Rubinstein, and David Ewald.

The Book includes a chapter by Alan H. Nelson. He is professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley and one of the renowned Shakespeare scholars in the country.

By any standard this is an RS. We will be using this going forward for this article. If anyone disagrees, we can escalate this however you like, but by any standard, this is a Wikipedia RS on the Neville theory of Shakespeare Authorship.

Kfein (talk) 15:58, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Looks like it's by advocates so would fall afoul of WP:FRIND. Alexbrn (talk) 16:44, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
We will have to work with the Wikipedia community on this. The standard you are setting of completely excluding anything written by advocates is not adopted by other similar articles. We will have to work step by step through this.

Kfein (talk) 16:48, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Was already answered at WP:RS/N. No fringe sources thanks. Alexbrn (talk) 16:50, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
No, it wasn't answered at all. But we can work on this together step by step. Kfein (talk) 16:53, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I think it was, but widened consensus would be no bad thing - there's an open thread ongoing at WP:FT/N#Stratfordian Bias? if you wish to expand it ... Alexbrn (talk) 17:01, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
No consensus was reached at all. The actual consensus reached was that Truth Will Out is a RS, which it obviously is. Kfein (talk) 17:04, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

My view is that it would be appropriate to reference this book on topics that are specifically brought up in independent secondary sources. But to avoid soapboxing, it would be inappropriate to incorporate other content from this book into the article.Kfein (talk) 21:03, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Guardian Article is RS on Neville Theory[edit]

This article, which I posted above, is an RS:

Kfein (talk) 16:03, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Possibly, but it hardly mentions Neville. Alexbrn (talk) 16:45, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

I have incorporated content from the Guardian piece into this article since it is undeniably RS. The author. Alison Flood, writes extensively on Shakespeare and related issues. Her writing is actually much better informed and better researched and better balanced than many of the other sources cited here. Kfein (talk) 20:55, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

External Links Shakespearean Authorship Trust[edit]

The Shakespeare Authorship Question page is " a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community."

That pages has an external link to: The Shakespearean Authorship Trust—an organisation dedicated to promoting the Shakespeare authorship question

Since that page has been carefully vetted by the Wikipedia community, there is no legitimate question about whether it is appropriate to link out to the Shakespeare authorship trust website.

Therefore, we should restore the link to that website in the external links of this page. Specifically to this page:

Kfein (talk) 16:15, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

WP:OSE, and FA is a notoriously unreliably yardstick. We're not having fringe links here thanks! Alexbrn (talk) 16:49, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Yes, we will need to escalate this question as well. We can keep a list and get others involved to adjudicate these issues. We will decide all of these questions by consensus based on Wikipedia community standards, not by your personal views. Step by step we will work together to improve this article. Kfein (talk) 16:52, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I say that, but honestly, I think we can work together to build consensus right here. I was trying to build consensus before on RS and improving this page, but you did not engage with me, and instead made our unilateral edits without any consultation with the community that edits this page. I think we can change things moving forward. Maybe you didn't realize there is an active and interested community right here eager to improve this page. Kfein (talk) 17:42, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
There's a broad consensus on how this page needs to be improved, and just pushback from one or two Nevillian WP:SPAs like yourself, with arguments at odds with the WP:PAGs. This is a typical situation for a Wikipedia article on a fringe topic. If you want to widen consensus, I've pointed to where you might start doing that ... Alexbrn (talk) 17:47, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
There is no broad consensus that an external link used on the Shakespeare Authorship Question page should not be used on this page. If there were such a broad consensus, that link would not be on that page which has been vetted by expert editors of the Wikipedia community. My arguments are not at odds with anything, they are consistent with Wikipedia guidelines. As anyone can see from my edit history, I have improved this page by removing inaccurate information, removing original research, and working together with other people to improve it. The fact that I am a proponent of the Neville theory does not make my edits or contributions any less valuable than yours. Kfein (talk) 18:04, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

I have restored the link since it is linked on the Shakespeare Authorship Question wiki page, as explained above, it is one of the premier pages on Wikipedia carefully vetted by the Wikipedia community. So there is no legitimate question about the link being appropriate. Kfein (talk) 20:56, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Dealing with Fringe Theories[edit]

It has been proposed that no sources can be used that advocate fringe theories even if they are otherwise RS. This is not Wikipedia policy in any way shape or form. This article: Says nothing like that.

Truth Will Out and the article in My Shakespeare The Authorship Controversy are both RS by any Wikipedia standard. They are written by advocates of the theory, but there is no actual Wikipedia standard that they should therefore be excluded from discussion of the theory. Other independent sources should be used appropriately to balance things.

This is the key point that needs to be resolved. The standard being advocated here is the view of one individual who has decided to unilaterally rewrite the article without working together with the Wikipedia community. It is not the correct standard and does not actually follow Wikipedia guidelines.

Kfein (talk) 17:02, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

Please also note in reference to Independent Sources:

Independence does not imply even-handedness. An independent source may hold a strongly positive or negative view of a topic or an idea. For example, a scholar might write about literacy in developing countries, and he may personally strongly favor teaching all children how to read, regardless of gender or socioeconomic status. Yet if the author gains no personal benefit from the education of these children, then the publication is an independent source on the topic. Kfein (talk) 17:12, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
You probably need to read WP:NPOV and WP:FRINGE and then you will understand why huge swathes of notionally "RS" publications aren't generally used (including entire Elsevier journals like Homeopathy). As WP:FRIND says, "Points that are not discussed in independent sources should not be given any space in articles". it's quite straightforward. For describing Nevillean ideas, we need stuff written outside their fringe milieu. Alexbrn (talk) 17:15, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
And that is a fine standard to use, to discuss points only brought up in independent sources. But you are not following that standard, you are excluding all RS on the topic. And we need to untangle what "independent sources" means in that context and other context, because the term appears to have several meanings.Kfein (talk) 17:20, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
We have good independent sources: e.g. a scholarly book from Kells and and review in the Shakespeare Quarterly from people outside the Neville bubble. We are blessed with good sources, with far too much material in fact to use! But as I say, an active thread is open at WP:FT/N. If you want further views from editors steeped in the proper application of WP:FRINGE, add to that. Alexbrn (talk) 17:27, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
As I have shown above, these so-called "independent sources" (we will need to disentangle that term together as time goes on) are actually filled with factual errors. So saying that we are "blessed with good sources" is not a reasonable assessment of the situation. We are using incredibly biased sources that are written with little concern for facts because they are polemics. See just one paragraph from the MacDonald article I dissect above. Kfein (talk) 17:37, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I've made my view clear. As I say, if you want further views from editors steeped in the proper application of WP:FRINGE, add to the thread at WP:FT/N. Alexbrn (talk) 17:41, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
We still need to go through the WP:FRINGE together to understand precisely what it is saying. Then the rest of the community here can chime in. And then if necessary we can take it elsewhere. That is my understanding of the proper way to handle these things? Kfein (talk) 18:06, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
Much as I hate arguments from authority, with ~40,000 edits to my name largely on contentious topics governed by WP:FRINGE I believe I have a reasonable WP:CLUE how it works. If you want a WP:MENTOR you can seek one (I'm not volunteering), but I'm not prepared to "go through" the guideline. The WP:FT/N noticeboard is a fine place to seek further views before maybe taking one of the WP:DR routes if you wish. Alexbrn (talk) 18:17, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting that you explain the guidelines. I am saying that I need to go through the guidelines and explain to everyone how your personal view differs from them. As far as your authority goes, this is still in the article: "Another manuscript produced in evidence is the Northumberland Manuscript, a tattered piece of paper which contains many words and handwritten names of figures of the age," Even after I have explained what the Northumberland Manuscript is and provided independent sources from experts on what the Northumberland Manuscript is, you have not edited this false information. So I cannot accept your authority in any regard. The goal of Wikipedia is to provide factual and reliable information. It is an encyclopedia. Kfein (talk) 18:37, 25 December 2019 (UTC)
You also have accused me of WP:BLUDGEONING which completely unfair. You are making huge unilateral changes to the article without engaging in any discussion with the wikipedia community and building consensus first. It is an outrageous abuse of the process to suggest that I am WP:BLUDGEONING by trying to react to these huge changes. You also accused me of plagiarism which you only apologized for after I had to point it out. Throwing around charges like that is inappropriate and outrageous.Kfein (talk) 18:41, 25 December 2019 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, the consensus view is that to avoid soapboxing, only topics covered by independent secondary sources should be referenced in the article. However, it is appropriate to cite James and Rubinstein's book directly to discover what they have written. We do not need to filter what they have written through an independent secondary source.Kfein (talk) 20:58, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Strong Evidence Truth Will Out Satisfies Wikipedia Criteria as an RS[edit]

This is an incredibly carefully edited website with articles written by professional editors. I believe there is a print version as well, someone can verify that, but it's irrelevant. This page:

Cites Truth Will Out 4-5 times as a source. Add that to the long list of reasons.Kfein (talk) 01:11, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia doesn't accept reliable sources by assertion, and this is not the place to make that determination. The proper place to ask whether a particular work is reliable is the Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. Fortunately, I have already tendered that question to garner the editorial consensus on using that book as a source, as you well know, having commented on the RfC.
On another note, there's no reason to clutter the talk page every time you have a thought. You have already made this comment at the RfC, so there's no need to repeat it here. It is also poor form to repost content from another editor that he or she has redacted, the way you did with my comment earlier today. There's a helpful list of handy tips at Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines for your perusal. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:03, 26 December 2019 (UTC)
This is for discussing the specific issue of the book A Truth Will Out and its use in this article. It is not the proper place to discuss anything else.Kfein (talk) 04:17, 26 December 2019 (UTC)
Just a friendly reminder: if you want to edit articles on Wikipedia you're going to have to conform to Wikipedia standards and guidelines, and sooner rather than later. I placed the SAQ template on your talk page when you first started trying to impose your personal preferences on the main SAQ page, which you promptly deleted. You're not the first person who has come to Wikipedia who has tried to change content contrary to the purpose of this project, and you won't be the last, but if you want to stick around and actually contribute to this encyclopedia you might want to examine how you're interacting with other editors. Otherwise you could find yourself along with all the other WP:SPAs who congratulate each other on having such high principles that they were banned from editing Wikipedia. That's all I'll say on this particular topic. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:52, 26 December 2019 (UTC)
Once again, this is a completely inappropriate use of the Talk page to hurl false accusations against me. Kfein (talk) 05:00, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Organization of page and references[edit]

I think the main page should have some type of organization that lays out the information in a logical manner. I suggest we look at other SAQ pages and copy the design that would work for this page. specifically I think there needs to be a section for explaining the Neville case that includes the academic response to the main points, divided into probably five subheadings: biographical, cryptographic, Northumberland MS, Tower MS, and perhaps whatever else that doesn't merit an entire section. Another main section would cover the history of the theory, instead of having it mixed up with the arguments the way it is now. A third section could be the academic response other than the direct rebuttals to the arguments.

Another issue is the references. Using list-defined refs are fine for a one- or two-page article or review, but for something such as Kell's book it is too imprecise; the refs need page numbers so the reader can easily find the referred passage. Rather than going to a Harvard-style ref system, I think regular in-line refs along with short refs after the first mention would be sufficient, seeing that the ref list is gonna be pretty short given the youth of the theory. So the Kells ref would look something like this (I'm not gonna no-wiki it so it will appear just as it would in the article):

Kells, Stuart (2018). Shakespeare's Library: Unlocking the Greatest Mystery in Literature. Text Publishing. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-925626-75-9.

And of course after the first use of the ref the rest would look like so: <ref>Kells, 2018, p. 168-9.</ref>

Anyway as far as improving the article, I think these suggestions would go a long way to getting it up to at least a B-class, or at least out of start class. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:35, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Something like the proposed structure could work well - the current structure is a bit WP:CRITS-like (my fault, but I've been piling in new sources). I would also support the proposed upgrade of the referencing mechanism - it's much better for humanities topics. Alexbrn (talk) 07:27, 26 December 2019 (UTC)
I am happy to abide by whatever format others agree is best. I certainly think we should be referencing specific pages for each citation. We also need to figure out which versions of the books to be citing since there are multiple versions published in different countries.Kfein (talk) 21:01, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Finding Sources for Leyland and Goding's code theory[edit]

The Wikipedia community consensus on this web page is that to avoid soapboxing, only topics covered by independent sources can be included in the article.

So to include this, we will need to find reliable, secondary sources that refer to the book, critically or otherwise:

James and Rubinstein did not publish their code theory in The Truth Will Out. In 2006, without knowledge of the details of James's work, Leyland and Goding set out to decrypt the dedication text independently, as a blind test of James's work. When James's cryptographic work was finally published in Henry Neville and the Shakespeare Code (2008), Leyland and Goding found that they had used a similar 15-column setting of the dedication to the sonnets but that they had included hyphens from the original text that were not included either by Rollet or James. In addition, they argue that there are many instances where the grid co-ordinates of a key letter in the dedication may be paired with the number of a sonnet, such that the sonnet illuminates the encrypted text (and vice versa). They also claim that the Dedication code is similar to the distinctive diplomatic codes used by Neville himself since both rely on grids of paired letters and numbers.Leyland, James; Goding, James (2018). Who Will Believe my Verse? The Code in Shakespeare's Sonnets. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing. ISBN 978-1925588675.

Kfein (talk) 22:01, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

Pretty sure Kubus and Kells cover it sufficiently. We're not an instructional manual. All we really need is the basic description and the results, along with the criticism. Look at the Bacon theory article to see how it's handled there. Tom Reedy (talk) 00:32, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
This part would be valuable to add, since this is a well-documented fact about Henry Neville and relates to the code evidence:
They also claim that the Dedication code is similar to the distinctive diplomatic codes used by Neville himself since both rely on grids of paired letters and numbers.Leyland, James; Goding, James (2018). Who Will Believe my Verse? The Code in Shakespeare's Sonnets. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing. ISBN 978-1925588675.
The book is also published by an Academic publisher, Australian Scholarly Publishing. So it meets the criteria of being relevant to a topic raised by critics. It would not be soapboxing to use it as evidence in favor of Neville's use of codes.Kfein (talk) 00:41, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

I have added a reference to the book. The book itself is published by an academic publisher in Australia. The detail added is factual and relevant to the discussion. It is not soapboxing because other independent secondary sources have brought up the issue of codes and their plausibility, and this is not presenting an independent new theory, but just referencing the topic of dispute. Kfein (talk) 01:04, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

You need to point us to the academic response to Leyland and Goding's work. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:59, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
Why? Kfein (talk) 04:20, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
To clarify my question, what precise criterion are you suggesting the book does not meet and why precisely are you suggesting it must meet that criteria to be used as a source for this specific issue in the specific context of this article on this specific type of fringe theory in the context of other similar articles on the subject on Wikipedia.Kfein (talk) 04:36, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

Here is a line from the Shakespeare Authorship Question wiki on Bacon. You, as an experienced editor, suggested I consult parallel articles. I did:

Since Bacon was knowledgeable about ciphers,[234] early Baconians suspected that he left his signature encrypted in the Shakespeare canon.

I do not want to WP:SYNTH so I have not added any interpretation, but quoting a book from a proponent of the authorship theory on a topic raised by independent secondary sources is not soapboxing, especially since it is not propounding a theory. It is just reflecting a fact about the diplomatic codes. I can provide independent sourcing on the codes, but that is also forbidden apparently.

The strictures placed on the article to meet the Wikipedia guidelines are extremely difficult to navigate and create many Catch-22s. But I am doing my best to work within those guidelines to accurately reflect the Neville theory while giving it due weight in the light of its status as a fringe theory.

Kfein (talk) 18:41, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

Description Section[edit]

I have revised the Description Section to reflect that actual content in each of the main sections of the article. I believe this is the best practice going forward. As we revise each main section, we should look back at the description and make sure it matches. I have retained the content that was already there, I just broke it out into a numbered list and added details from the article itself.

This is good information design. By summarizing the content, people can know what to expect as they read through the article. They can also skip down to the sections of greater interest to them.Kfein (talk) 22:51, 26 December 2019 (UTC)

This article's subject is not a "theory".[edit]

Alexbrn has alluded to the fact that this article's subject is not a "theory", and it most certainly isn't. The so-called "theory" hardly rises to that level, and the article's title should be "Nevillean hypothesis of Shakespeare authorship". It's misleading to so dignify a mass of speculation and conspiracy-mongering adduced, in my opinion, to keep alive a manufactured controversy, one that is quite profitable for some of its proponents in research grants, fellowships, television appearances, book contracts, etc. Carlstak (talk) 02:18, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

Well, not in the sense of Scientific theory, but certainly within the sense of Conspiracy theory. Ian.thomson (talk) 02:21, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
It is a fringe theory. That is what it is called on Wikipedia. Kfein (talk) 02:38, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
Then by your own prescription, it should be "Nevillean fringe theory of Shakespeare authorship", obviously. Carlstak (talk) 03:06, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
It is not my description. It is Wikipedia's. This article is part of a set of articles all with similar titles. They have similar formats. The Wikipedia community has come to a consensus on how to handle these articles. We just came to a new consensus on how to edit this one. That is how Wikipedia works. It has nothing to do with my preferences.Kfein (talk) 03:08, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
Don't presume to tell me, as you try to tell everyone else, how WP works. You are not in a position to do that—I can read, thank you. As you said, "It is a fringe theory. That is what it is called on Wikipedia." Perhaps if you spent as much time reading policy as you do attempting to impose your preferred version of the article, and defending your vision of what it should be on talk pages, you might get some where. Carlstak (talk) 03:43, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
Trust me, I am very aware that I have spent all of this time and energy dealing with attacks and insults and accomplished absolutely nothing. But that was the point of this entire exercise, to develop a nihilistic sense for the futility of human thought and action. Thank you for sharing that feeling with me yet again. Kfein (talk) 04:35, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

You're right that it's not a theory in the conventional sense of the term, in that it lacks any kind of coherence or logical plausibility, but in the land of Shakespeare Authorship the term is applied to the various authorship hypotheses, all of which are merely compilations of non sequuntur. The word "candidate" is another term that isn't used in the conventional sense, in that no election is being held. "Evidence" is another term that is incorrectly used. To the True Believers, every thing is evidence for their guy, and the same "evidence" is used to prove that Oxford or Marlowe or Bacon or Neville was the One True Author, which renders the so-called "evidence" apropos of nothing. Another word wrenched all out of the usual context is "mystery," as in "the mystery of the Shakespeare authorship." There's no mystery about who actually wrote the works; the real mystery is how any person could write them, similar to the mystery of how the Beatles wrote all those songs. Tom Reedy (talk) 05:39, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

So true. Carlstak (talk) 13:29, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

Filling in the Section on the Jonson Conspiracy[edit]

I think the next step working together as a community is to fill in the section on Jonson's Conspiracy. However, I think this does not just relate to Jonson, it relates to the production of the First Folio. So as we evaluate the sources, we may need to change that heading a bit to accurately reflect them.

I think this is a case where it will be appropriate to reference content directly from Truth Will Out since that it is a RS for its own theory. Apparently it is impermissible to reference any independent scholarship about Ben Jonson. So we are limited to the content of Truth Will Out and the critics of Truth Will Out. Is that the consensus view?

Since it meets all the criteria for an RS, even though it is not an independent source, I think we should also reference the content in My Shakespeare: The Authorship Controversy. That might help in the description of the Neville theory, especially since it is so much more up-to-date than Truth Will Out.

References to primary sources is NOT forbidden on Wikipedia. I think that we should include the complete text of Ben Jonson's epigram to Henry Neville. It is directly relevant to the topic at hand and would be a service to the reader. Whatever relationship Henry Neville and Ben Jonson had, that is the key documentary evidence available at this point. So it would make sense to include it in this article. The previous incarnation of the article had a short quote from it, but in editing it, we are making an editorial judgment. So It would be cleaner just to include the entire thing. It is not very long.

I attempted to add it in previously but it was deleted.

Kfein (talk) 18:51, 27 December 2019 (UTC)

"Since it meets all the criteria for an RS, even though it is not an independent source...." Weren't you the one telling us about your degree in linguistics? Tom Reedy (talk) 23:11, 27 December 2019 (UTC)
The problem is "independent" is used in two different ways in Wikipedia parlance. I don't have the energy to parse it for you now. But once again, your personal attacks and aspersions are inappropriate for this Talk page. Kfein (talk) 01:25, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
OK, I think I have figured out how to explain it in a way you can understand. If one wanted to confirm a factual detail about Henry Neville's life, Truth Will Out would be undeniably an RS by Wikipedia standards. So for instance, if you wanted to write about when Neville was released from prison on the Southampton wikipedia article, you could cite Truth Will Out, and it would be completely in-line with Wikipedia standards. And in that case, it would be an independent source.
However, the Neville theory is considered a "fringe theory" on Wikipedia. So there is a concern about soapboxing, in other words, using books written by proponents of the fringe theory to promote aspects of their theory. So there is a rule that only topics raised by independent (different meaning here, meaning not a proponent of the fringe theory) secondary sources can be covered in a fringe theory article.
The issue of Ben Jonson's involvement in the conspiracy to hide Neville's authorship (along with Leonard Digges and Hugh Holland, etc.) is something raised often by independent secondary sources, specifically criticizing Truth Will Out. So it is appropriate to refer to Truth Will Out to share the specific arguments and facts they are disputing.
I hope that clarified the issues for you.Kfein (talk) 01:46, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
"OK, I think I have figured out how to explain it in a way you can understand."
I doubt it, since you don't appear to have any kind of grasp upon it at all.
"If one wanted to confirm a factual detail about Henry Neville's life, Truth Will Out would be undeniably an RS by Wikipedia standards."
Guess again. Given the academic reception the book received (Andrew Hadfield called it "a staggeringly awful book" and that "James and Rubenstein’s sarcasm and logic indicate that they have obtained their information about Tudor times from watching old series of Blackadder."), there is no way the book is a reliable source for anything other than what they say about their nutty theory. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:05, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
The Jonson conspiracy theory (with some variations) is referred to in many fringe authorship theories - it's not specific to Neville. But though the Oxfordian fringe theory heavily relies on a claim of Jonson conspiring with the dedicatees of the First Folio and Edward de Vere's daughters, the Jonson conspiracy claim does not appear in that wikipedia article. it makes sense for the numerous specific alternative authorship articles that share some plot points to be written consistently, so this part of the theory should probably be excluded entirely. The biggest problem with the recent vast expansion of this article is that it violates WP:WEIGHT. "Wikipedia should not present a dispute as if a view held by a small minority is as significant as the majority view." In this instance, the Neville claim is being given undue weight, not only compared to the near-universal majority view, but also in comparison to far more widespread (though just as erroneous) authorship claims. Bomagosh (talk) 03:22, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
This site uses James and Rubinstein as a source. It is written by one of the top historians of the era:

As far as WP:WEIGHT goes, you need to read all the stuff about fringe theories more carefully. This theory shouldn't be included in the article on William Shakespeare, for instance. But this is a separate issue since there is an entire article devoted to it because of its notability and the fact that it is has been written about in many academic publications. The secondary independent sources comment extensively about the Jonson conspiracy so it is definitely correct to write about it in this article. I am not the one who put that section in, it was the experienced Wikipedia editor who rewrote this whole article from scratch based on the strictest standards possible of sourcing and topic. That person was indeed correct to only include topics that are touched on by independent sources, that is exactly the Wikipedia guideline.Kfein (talk) 03:34, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
The concern here is that you're putting undue weight on a theory held by a tiny minority of a tiny minority -- perhaps a hundred people worldwide. Nevillian authorship theory is no more notable than a dozen other claimants with a similar amount of WP:RS. Yet there is an effort to comprehensively describe it in detail. Using reliable sources that attack the claim, but only stating the underlying claim, without mentioning the actually reliable part of the source -- the attack itself.
I still see little reason to further expand what should be a brief article about an obscure topic with a discussion of the hypothetical Jonson "conspiracy."Bomagosh (talk) 01:12, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

I understand people's desire to turn this into an authorship debate. But that is not the point here. The goal here is to write a good Wikipedia article using Wikipedia standards.Kfein (talk) 03:37, 28 December 2019 (UTC)

Please note, even if Truth Will Out is not an RS in its own right, it is still a RS on its own theory. That was the consensus on the discussion on the Fringe Board which is experienced in dealing with these things. Kfein (talk) 05:04, 28 December 2019 (UTC)

Collapse off-topic discussion

Tom Reedy mentions above my degree in linguistics. This is not WP:OUTING. I posted on the Fringe discussion that I studied linguistics as an undergraduate and specialized in lexicography, doing my thesis comparing English and Japanese dictionaries. During that time I also worked as a freelance reader and library researcher for the Oxford English Dictionary and did an internship in Oxford. So I have extensive professional experience working for the premier reference work in the world. I frankly think this is all irrelevant, and I only brought it up in the first place in response to a personal attack. But since it was brought up here, I thought I should clarify, in case anyone thought it might be WP:OUTING. It is not.Kfein (talk) 05:30, 28 December 2019 (UTC)

"This is not WP:OUTING." Nobody said it was, so your comment is unnecessary. I was merely pointing out the irony. Tom Reedy (talk) 05:50, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
And you feel it was appropriate to point out the irony on the Talk page? Is that the appropriate use of a Talk page on Wikipedia, to point out the irony of people's backgrounds? Kfein (talk) 06:05, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
Well you seem to be filling it up with your stream-of-consciousness musings so I thought I'd interject a bit of levity for those in the peanut gallery. Tom Reedy (talk) 07:14, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
My "stream of consciousness" was an attempt to deflect the constant and never-ending personal attacks against me. Compounding that with more personal attacks does not seem to me to be "levity". Kfein (talk) 07:19, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
  • We shouldn't be using The Truth Will Out directly as a source without secondary coverage to contextualize what it says. Alexbrn (talk) 07:30, 28 December 2019 (UTC)
I agree completely and I never suggested we do anything else. Kfein (talk) 07:40, 28 December 2019 (UTC)

"This site uses James and Rubinstein as a source. It is written by one of the top historians of the era:

I like that site also, but just because he uses James and Rubinstein doesn't make them RS. In fact, the only statement he cites them for, "Member, embassy to Scotland 1583", is an error, and I have contacted the editor notifying him of J & R's erroneous interpretation, along with a few references. The other times he cites them is just to say they originated their authorship theory (which he makes note has not been accepted) and he dissects the erroneous date of birth they give for Neville. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:37, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
There is other good evidence to support Neville's participation in the embassy to Scotland. Whatever you told him is not updated or accurate. Neville was not born in 1564, we have other extremely strong evidence that confirms it was 1562 or 1563 (I believe it is conclusively shown to be 1563). The Neville family were staunch protestants, the father was a Marian exile, they certainly would not have felt any rush to baptize their infants. Kfein (talk) 03:50, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
So what you are saying is that that great web site written by one of the top historians of the era is wrong when he contradicts your theory, just like all the other Shakespeare experts are wrong. lol! Go figure. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:14, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
He doesn't state with certainty that Neville was born in 1564. He just argues it's the more likely scenario. I think I know why the baptism was delayed, actually, but it's not important. Kfein (talk) 04:52, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

An unprofessional and substandard collection of opinions[edit]

I found it surprising that Stuart Kells is cited 12 times in such as short page, where the purpose is to summarize Nevillean theory of Shakespeare authorship. Even more so as the citations by Kells are peppered with unprofessional, unserious, and non-academic opinions, such as:

  • 1. Kells dismisses... "the clumsiest anagram hunt this author has ever seen". Why do we care what the opinions of Kells are? He wrote a book on topic with thousands of books already, so what?
  • 2. Kells considers... "to make nonsense seem like sense" and that overall the book "uses tricks to enhance its veneer of authority." Again, opinions that are not being substantiated. Why do we care what one author believes? Why do we care what the opinions of Kells are? He wrote a book, so what? He's certainly not the only author with a degree interested in the Shakespearean authorship.
  • 3. "Stuart Kells writes that for the Nevilleans the case seemed proved, but that their exultations were premature." Again, the opinion of a person. Why do we care? There is no reason to cite it.
  • 4. "For Kells, all of the arguments supporting the Nevillean case are fallacious." So what. Why do we care what Kells thinks? If his book is this much of a revelation, let's open a page about it where we can critique the prospective shortcomings. Spontaneously, it does not appear to be a considerable contribution on the topic, with 12 reviews on Amazon. So why is this page peppered with his unsubstantiated opinions?
  • 5. Finally, "Stuart Kells suggests that she may have derived it from the 1917 book Shakespeare and the Founders of Liberty in America by Berkeley professor Charles Mills Gayley." At best, Kells "OPINES JAMES may have derived it from the 1917..." Is this pertinent to the topic? If so, it should be verified and explicated how and why James may have derived it from the book. No Wiki page should read as an opinion piece by one academic trying to bolster their own merits.

Remarkably, all of the twelve citations are picked from one and the same work by the same author, which is not a scholarly peer-reviewed work.

In conclusion[edit]

The book by James and Rubinstein opened up a fascinating new perspective on the authorship question. At the same time, their book suffered from mistakes and being at times being unnecessarily nebulous. The hypothesis may be wrong or it may be correct. If right, we know from history that such an unorthodox and novel idea on a contentious subject will require several new generations of scholars before being accepted among the vast majority in the field.

Opinions of a high-school paper[edit]

However, while valid critique of the hypothesis advanced in their book must be part of a Wiki-page, the critique should not read as loose opinions by a high-school student. Unfortunately, this is the case right now as the citations from Mills are substandard, excessive, nonsensical, and unprofessional.

Verificity (talk) 00:27, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

The Kells book is unscholarly and filled with errors large and small. He also has his own outlandish authorship theory he outlines in the book. It is not a reliable source in any way, and he is not an expert on the subject in any way, so his opinions are not relevant. That said, it is one of the few recent books on the Neville theory that meets Wikipedia's RS standard. So we need to reference it if we have any hope of describing the current theory fully.
I think one way is to focus on his particularly inflammatory language and remove that. It's not WP:NEUTRAL to include so much derisive and inflammatory language. This is an encyclopedia article, not a polemic. That might be a way to move forward to improve the article. Including some of his commentary will be necessary to balance the other information since Wikipedia classifies this as a Fringe Theory. Kfein (talk) 01:18, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
I have moved one of Kells' critical sentences to the section about his book and combined it with another sentence, not removing any of the content. This is a better organization and still makes clear Kells' opinion. Kfein (talk) 01:24, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
It is important not to give Kells' opinions undue WP:WEIGHT. He does not have a PhD in English Literature, is not a specialist in Shakespeare, and has not published other things about Shakespeare. His book is aimed at the mass market. It is a popularization, not original scholarship. It meets Wikipedia's standard of RS but nothing more than that. Kfein (talk) 03:54, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
The Nevillian stuff is aimed at the mass market (conspiracists/hobbyists), so it's appropriate - indeed necessary - to use a similar source per WP:PARITY. Alexbrn (talk) 03:58, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
That is false. Neville research is reviewed in academic journals, as you have clearly demonstrated. Secondly, I strongly recommend you read the link I posted to The Quest for Cardenio: Shakespeare, Fletcher, Cervantes, and the Lost Play. The book pulls on many aspects of Casson's outstanding research and also takes James Shapiro's book Contested Will to task for its poor arguments. Kfein (talk) 04:05, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Lots of mass market stuff is "reviewed in academic journals". It doesn't legitimize it especially when the overwhelming response of academia is to dismiss this stuff as barking. Remember, this is a WP:FRINGE theory, which is why WP:PARITY applies. Alexbrn (talk) 04:15, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
"He does not have a PhD in English Literature, is not a specialist in Shakespeare, and has not published other things about Shakespeare." Wait a minute! It sounds to me that you're describing Brenda James, William Rubinstein, John Casson, Mark Bradbeer, James Leyland and James Goding. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:21, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
I wondered about James. One would have thought a part-time lecturer would have a PhD. Why is this article so reticent about the professions of the Neville people? We should probably add some brief description as it's germane that there apparently isn't anybody qualified ploughing this particular fringe furrow. Alexbrn (talk) 04:26, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
In the US graduate students are used as lecturers. Education is into a commodity over here, and MA and PhD candidates are the plebes. I only have an MA myself, and I've taught lower-level English and lit classes. And in her preface to the book she talks about how her obsession with Neville-as-Shakespeare led her to abandon her graduate classes. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:30, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Oh interesting. Graduate students often do bits of teaching here in the UK too, but that normally wouldn't be described as being a "part-time lecturer". Alexbrn (talk) 04:37, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
(Add) Jame's publisher blurb says she is/was at something called the "British European Centre". This appears to be an agency which places European students in UK-based language schools.[4] In Portsmouth, the school is LSI Portsmouth, a language school for TEFL. While many people with English degrees (James' degree is in "cultural studies") in the UK end up doing this to earn some cash, I think the publisher is stretching it a bit to say this is being a "lecturer", which to the unwary reader suggests a University position. Anyway, we have RS calling James an "independent researcher" which seems about right. Alexbrn (talk) 05:14, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

All kidding aside, I agree that the use of Kells is not the best. His descriptions of their methodology and conclusions should be summarized, not his opinion. There's no sense in trying to make a theory like this look dumber than it is; all that is necessary is a bald description. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:27, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

We just need to be careful not to relay anything dubious which might give any false appearance of WP:VALIDity to the lay reader - for example even just stating that J&R claim that Hamlet was written at the exact same time Neville's life took a turn for worse embodies a boat load of dubious assumptions. We need to ensure we "describe these ideas in their proper context with respect to established scholarship and the beliefs of the wider world". That might be done using stronger sources than Kells I suppose. Alexbrn (talk) 06:06, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
The shift in tone in Shakespeare's plays isn't something invented by Neville researchers. It's one of the most debated topics among Shakespeare scholars. There is an obvious shift from Henry V/As You Like It/Twelfth Night to Hamlet/Othello/King Lear/Macbeth etc. The fact of the shift is not in dispute. The general timeframe of the shift is not in dispute. The Neville people provide an explanation for that shift. It has even been speculated independently that the Essex Rebellion was responsible for the shift for William Shakespeare. After all, he was supposedly friends with the Earl of Southampton, who was imprisoned, and in Henry V he explicitly praises Essex. Richard II was performed on the eve of the Essex Rebellion, etc. No one is suggesting that the article mislead people into thinking this is the scholarly consensus that the shift proves that Neville wrote the works of Shakespeare. But the shift itself is mainstream scholarship. Kfein (talk) 07:04, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Nice work - the straw man is in tatters. The problem, as our sources point out, is the crass assumption that a writer's output is a function of their present circumstance (or, when this doesn't work out, I believe J&R make it an inverse function - "Neville was miserable so he wrote a comedy!") and the false belief that we know exactly when composition took place. Alexbrn (talk) 07:30, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
It's also worth noting that the obsession with personalizing this issue around Brenda James is misguided and unfair. John Casson wrote six or seven books filled with important and interesting research, and as I have shown above, scholars have taken some of it very seriously. We are unable to present most of that research because of the constraints required by Wikipedia. The article as it stands now is a horror show. I understand the reasons for it, but no one should be under any illusion that it represents the Neville theory as it currently stands. It doesn't. For instance, there is the thing about Measure for Measure in the article now. But Merry Wives of Windsor isn't mentioned. It's completely unbalanced because people are cherry-picking the worst arguments made in a book to cast the research in the weakest light and completely ignoring the better arguments. Kfein (talk) 07:24, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
But the "obsession with personalizing" started with you saying (of Kells) "He does not have a PhD in English Literature, is not a specialist in Shakespeare, and has not published other things about Shakespeare. His book is aimed at the mass market". There are no "good" arguments for Neville, it's all crankery as our decent sources say over and over. Alexbrn (talk) 07:35, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
No, the issue with Kells is that he makes huge and glaring errors and doesn't seem to actually understand anything about what he is writing about. See the Northumberland Manuscript for instance. See his preposterous authorship theory or the incredibly fantastic idea that he "discovered" a book by Shakespeare. I have pointed many other issues above. As did the book review by Dean and as did many other book reviews.
It is not a "crass assumption that a writer's output is a function of their present circumstances." First of all, Shakespeare scholars, as I tried to explain, have bent over backwards in an attempt to do just that; it just has failed. You can read up on Greenblatt and the death of Shakespeare's son Hamnet for some sense of it. Or read the attempted interpretations of the Sonnets.
My point is that the Neville theory is an evolving thing, and you imagine it frozen in 2005. The first book that proposed the theory is not the theory. It is just the first attempt and fleshing out a theory. The constraints of Wikipedia are what they are, and you are imposing the strictest possible construction of them that goes FAR FAR beyond comparable pages. But please be under no illusion that this represents anything but a gross misrepresentation of the theory as currently set forth by the people actively involved in actual research.
The Billingbear Book List is by far the strongest evidence to date, combined with the specific annotations in books at Audley End. It's not like we are allowed to share any of that evidence on the Wiki page. You won't even let us put Jonson's Epigram to Neville. We can't talk about A King and No King, even though there are scholarly sources that explain the issue in detail. etc. etc. All the important facts are left out, and the ones that aren't important are emphasized. That's the reality of the situation, whether you realize it or not, whether there is anything that can be done about it or not.Kfein (talk) 07:54, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
And let me be very clear. Reproducing Jonson's Epigram to Neville is perfectly within Wikipedia guidelines. The only question is whether you personally will allow it or not. We have Kells' uninformed opinions and some strawman about Measure for Measure but cannot share actual facts of history. That's what's going on here. Kfein (talk) 07:57, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not for sharing random factoids, particularly if that's to try and lend credence to a fringe theory. Remember: we want a summary of accepted knowledge regarding this fringe theory, not an unfiltered exposition of its features. Alexbrn (talk) 08:03, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
The fact that you have a section about the Ben Jonson conspiracy, and Ben Jonson wrote an Epigram to Henry Neville, is not a random factoid. It is an essential fact of history. You have a certain view of how this should be done that is NOT shared by people who edit the other pages on the Shakespeare authorship question. Their attitude is to expose the fringe theory and then put it into context. But you are running the show here, and I have abided by every stricture you have placed, no matter how bad it has made the article, and no matter how much of a disservice it does to the reader. You have a misunderstanding of what a Fringe Theory is in Wikipedia. You assume that all Fringe Theories are necessarily incorrect and readers must be protected from them. But you, ironically, have stumbled on an important Fringe Theory that is actually correct. Welcome to the world you have helped create where facts and evidence are being suppressed to defend a false theory. Kfein (talk) 08:10, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Can you imagine believing this should be included in the article: "James and Rubinstein surmise that because Neville was lame and gouty, mentions of sciatica and other diseases in Measure for Measure strengthen the case for his being its author. Kells writes that "this style of anti-logic is emblematic of the whole book".[3] " But Jonson's epigram should not? That's not neutrality. It's polemic. It's strawman. It's a disservice to the reader. Just because a poor argument was made in a book in 2005 has no bearing whatsoever on whether Henry Neville wrote the works of Shakespeare. Kfein (talk) 08:14, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
If something is "essential" to this topic there will be a mainstream & reputable source making that point for us to use. Yes, Wikipedia like to makes it very plain when a fringe theory is a fringe theory and to make it very plain how the mainstream world has reacted. WP:TINFOILHAT is core policy, and the seed from which the WP:FRINGE guidance grew. Of course we have fringers of all shades pushing their bits of "essential" evidence, whether it's for the fact the moon landings were faked, that Kennedy was shot by Neville, that the earth is 6,000 years old, or whatever. They all believe in the Truth™ of what they aver. Alexbrn (talk) 08:21, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
No, because the mainstream sources are almost all polemic and they focus on the weakest arguments not the strongest. So they won't mention Jonson's Epigram because it directly unequivocally and absolutely connects Jonson with Henry Neville. It's not supposition, it's in a book from 1616 anyone can see photos of online. You can equate those fringe theories with the Neville theory all you like, but it's just not relevant. If you think the Neville theory is somehow weak or un-developed, you are just flat wrong. There is a mountain of evidence that is public and a lot that isn't public yet. I am also in contact with 'real scholars' so I know how these things are actually viewed by people who have looked into it. How that should be handled on December 29, 2019 on Wikipedia is a separate question, and frankly it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. Kfein (talk) 08:34, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Great, I can file this alongside the cold fusion device articles I watch, where the stunning reveal is always just around the corner (the parallels are in fact fascinating). And just like with those articles, Wikipedia is going to hold the line with present day accepted reality for now. Alexbrn (talk) 08:42, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
The stunning reveal is the Billingbear Book List and the annotations at Audley End. You don't have to wait. My research on the Northumberland Manuscript pretty much proves Neville owned it and made at least some of the scribbles. You really should read Burgoyne's explanation of the manuscript so at least you have some idea what is going on there, for your own benefit. You can judge the Rylands inscription for yourself. Building on Casson's work, my identification of Savile/Neville handwriting at Audley End is rock solid no one can really disputes it. Greenewey's Tacitus that will be an interesting one to watch. See my Tweets on Love's Martyr more to come there. We are just getting started. So much more coming I can't share yet. The Neville theory is actually more coherent, more consistent with known facts, and more explanatory than the Shakespeare-wrote-Shakespeare theory. it's providing a productive research program while Shakespeare-wrote-Shakespeare hasn't produce anything in 150 years. That is why current scholarship completely ignores William Shakespeare and he's only mentioned in popular books or paid lip service in asides in serious scholarship. Kfein (talk) 16:35, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Cold Fusion is different from this because this is a question of historical fact, not devising a new engineering method. Whether cold fusion can work or will work is a prospective question; people are trying to make something happen and they will succeed or not. The Shakespeare Authorship Question is a retrospective question. History already happened. We are just trying to piece it together. So that is an essential difference. As you have been told already by others in the Fringe discussion, if the Shakespeare-wrote-Shakespeare crowd had good arguments, they wouldn't act the way they do. The Shakespeare Authorship Question article wouldn't have such junk apologetics on it. Etc. Specific candidates like Oxford and Marlowe are spectacularly wrong, but that is just a quirk of history. Go see Barry Clarke's book Francis Bacon’s Contribution to Shakespeare: A New Attribution Method (Routledge Studies in Shakespeare). I think he is mistaken and his method doesn't work, but it is actually just as good methodologically as the work attributing part of Titus Andronicus to George Peele and better methodologically than the New Oxford Shakespeare stuff on Marlowe.Kfein (talk) 16:45, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Also note how much progress has been made in Neville research with no external funding and so few researchers. Compare what we have done in 15 years and what the Oxfordians have done in 100 with 100x the resources. Compare to what the Shakespeare-wrote-Shakespeare crowd can produce with 1,000,000x the resources and 200 years of research. The funniest thing is Kells tries to make Gayley's book a criticism of James. But the Gayley book is exactly what we would expect for an accurate theory. People would find aspects of it independently over time. The fact that we cannot reference this book in the article: because the book doesn't specifically mention the Neville theory... Kfein (talk) 16:58, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
This is largely WP:PROFRINGE WP:PROMO / WP:ADVOCACY. I think collectively the editors of this page are now aware of the on-point RS usable for this topic, though it would be good to know of more. What remains is just to finish using these sources to craft a reasonable encyclopedia article. Alexbrn (talk) 17:02, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
1. Referencing this book: responsibly
2. Including Jonson's epigram
3. Referencing this correctly Mixed Government and Mixed Marriage in "A King and No King": Sir Henry Neville Reads Beaumont and Fletcher Zachary Lesser ELH Vol. 69, No. 4 (Winter, 2002), pp. 947-977
4. Handling the annotations at Audley End correctly
Would be completely appropriate and no one, except you, could possibly object to it. No, I am not suggesting WP:SYNTH or WP:OR. I am just suggesting citing as fact certain historical facts that are obviously relevant.Kfein (talk) 17:10, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Using these guidelines we can include Jonson's Epigram in full. WP:USEPRIMARY Kfein (talk) 18:07, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Energy_Catalyzer cites the patent directly several times without any intermediary source. There is no reason we cannot cite and quote Jonson's epigram directly.Kfein (talk) 18:33, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Some textual detective work has led me to discover the following text at the head of the claimed "guideline" you cite:

This page is not one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community.

Instead it is better to accept established policy that Wikipedia articles need to be based on reliable, published secondary sources. Advocacy of primary sources tends be be a hallmark of POV-pushing. Alexbrn (talk) 18:38, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
I can find other policy pages that talk about primary sources. Jonson's epigram is not POV-pushing. It is a fact of history, relevant, and of course mentioned in all of the literature on Henry Neville's authorship. The Jonson conspiracy is mentioned in the critical literature. The epigram was in the article previously before you deleted it. one might have thought you should have started a talk section before deleting it and we could have worked this out and come to a consensus. But you did things unilaterally, not looking at ANYTHING we had on the Talk page before you started changing everything, and now we have to litigate everything you did. Kfein (talk) 19:13, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
WP:PRIMARY here are guidelines. We should follow these guidelines and include Jonson's Epigram in full, as I did before and it was deleted. Or we can suppress the information. I already added it and someone deleted it so all I can do is discuss it here on the Talk page. I can start a new section if you think that is more appropriate. Kfein (talk) 19:18, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
And it is completely valid and appropriate to use this as well. WP:USEPRIMARY You act like i found this on some random blog written in 2002. This is a resource provided by the Wikipedia community as a guide. it is full of valuable information. Kfein (talk) 19:21, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

What you are suggesting is literally doing original research in plain sight and trying to pass it off as "relevant". I think not, but you're welcome to try, if you're willing to hazard a Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:30, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

No, I am suggesting we WP:USEPRIMARY. Please refer to the above discussion. Kfein (talk) 22:40, 29 December 2019 (UTC)
Thank you Verificity for raising this issue so clearly and making such a forceful, and ultimately convincing, argument. Kfein (talk) 07:25, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

Rights to the Theory[edit]

Searching for sources, I've seen mentioned on various websites that Brenda James claimed to own the intellectual property of the "Neville Theory". What's that all about then? And is there any RS discussing it and/or the implications for others who want to work in this area? Alexbrn (talk) 08:53, 29 December 2019 (UTC)

We May Need to Remove all References To Kells Book[edit]

I have had the opportunity to read Kells book. The research in it is *so* bad and his understanding of Shakespeare is *so* poor I'm not sure it meets even the most minimal standards for an WP:RS. This paragraph on page 214 is particularly shocking:

Years after Shakespeare had done his work to prepare playtexts for performance, they were transformed into printed texts. This next stage in the literary production process was multifaceted. Editors of the plays (and probably the poems) did what editors do today: tighten syntax, enrich vocabulary, improve structure and flow, enhance rhythm and rhyme, and beautify the whole. Shakespeare's editors -- men like John Florio and Ben Jonson--were master polishers and serial neologists. The craft of Elizabethan and Jacobean editing was well developed: it employed techniques and traditions the pre-dated the birth of printing. Most or all of the work to prepare Shakespeare's texts for publication was undertaken by people other than Shakespeare. We know this for certain because the greatest early effort of editing Shakespeare's plays occurred after his death, during preparation of the First Folio. Many features that we see as intrinsically Shakespearean -- such as his act and scene structures -- were added at the editorial stage. He was not responsible for them.

He has a theory that Shakespeare wrote bad plays and someone else edited them. So apparently Q1 Hamlet was Shakespeare's version and someone else turned it into Q2 Hamlet. Page 217-219 in my edition.

He also claims that Christopher Marlowe may have written Comedy of Errors and Julius Caesar. Christopher Marlowe died in 1593.

There are so many more examples. His opinions are absolutely worthless. He has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. Kfein (talk) 03:35, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

Fine with me. While we're at it, let's agree that Hope's book, The Shakespeare Controversy: An Analysis of the Authorship Theories, is also unusable. If you've ever read it, you know he's an Oxfordian shill.
That leaves us with three RS sources, Kathman, Jackson, and Leahy, and maybe a sprinkling of newspaper articles. We can use the Leahy for description and Dave and Mac for criticism. It will greatly shorten the article and save lots of time and bytes, and will be a better article for it. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:54, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
This is a major new source: Hammond, Brean (2012). "Chapter 3: After Arden". In Carnegie, David; Taylor, David (eds.). The Quest for Cardenio: Shakespeare, Fletcher, Cervantes, and the Lost Play. Oxford Unviersity Press. p. 67-8. ISBN 9780199641819.
The recent flurry of edits deleted something related to it and broke the links. Not sure what is going on. Lots of errors in the recent edits, hard to keep track.Kfein (talk) 06:10, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

This shows so clearly why it is absolutely inappropriate that we are not referencing the contents of My Shakespeare: The Authorship Controversy. The book is edited by a professor in English literature and expert in the Shakespeare authorship question and includes a chapter by Alan H. Nelson. It meets every possible Wikipedia standard for RS. Care must be taken since it is written by proponents of the Fringe Theory, but it is obviously a book that meets scholarly standards. As opposed to Kells' book which doesn't meet elementary school standards. Kfein (talk) 06:22, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

I fixed the link to the citation from the book on Cardenio and added back the reference to the Journal of Neville Studies which is referenced in a footnote to the book. Kfein (talk) 06:32, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

I fixed the orphaned references to Kells. Kfein (talk) 06:38, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

A bot will fix links, it just needs a minute or two before it sweeps up. Not sure the mention of a "journal" (which had two "issues"?) is due. Alexbrn (talk) 06:41, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
The actual RS (really very interesting article in a very interesting book) mentions it. My information on two issues is my own guess. There may have been more I don't know, I just know I have two issues. Kfein (talk) 06:43, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
The stuff just added from the Cardenio book lacks context or explanation of what Hammond was specifically talking about. I understand the desire to add in more negative commentary since the Kells stuff was removed, but it needs to be properly contextualized. I will work on it tomorrow. Kfein (talk) 07:05, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Remember, summary of accepted knowledge. It's not our problem to fix if Hammond is "negative" about Casson's Neville claims (which he is). Alexbrn (talk) 07:08, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

 Done Kells removed (apart from a small rump which should be unobjectionable). Alexbrn (talk) 07:11, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

Hammond is talking about very specific things, it is not a general critique of Casson. The critique needs to be put into context. Everyone should read what Hammond says about James Shapiro and Shapiro's arguments in Contested Will. Hammond separates out the Neville argument from Oxford/Marlowe, and says that Shapiro's dismissal of Oxford/Marlowe doesn't really touch Neville. Very interesting to read! Kfein (talk) 07:16, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

Thank you. I think these changes are for the best and improve the quality of the article. Kells is important for establishing the notoriety of the Neville claim, since he makes it such a big part of his book and his book was reviewed so widely and the Neville theory was mentioned in the reviews. But his scholarship was so bad that not a sentence he wrote should be relied upon. Really no Wikipedia article should ever reference it except in the most extreme circumstances, the book is so incredibly bad and poorly researched. Kfein (talk) 07:22, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

Confusion over Double Falsehood/Cardenio and Many New Errors Introduced[edit]

All the specific content about Double Falsehood/Cardenio is not relevant to this article. Cardenio is a lost play. Some scholars think that Double Falsehood might be connected to Cardenio. It is so far afield from the Shakespeare Authorship Question it is inappropriate to include it in this article which has a very specific focus. It would confuse the reader a great deal.

The book about Cardenio references John Casson and the Shakespeare authorship question and references plays in the Shakespeare apocrypha (actual plays that exist that have been attributed to Shakespeare). That is within the scope of this article and worthy of mention.

Removing the properly sourced information about Casson and the shift in Shakespeare's plays was inappropriate. It is a valid piece of information about the Neville theory sourced to a high quality RS. It is not reasonable to create incredible strictures on what material can be included and then when the stricture is met, to remove it willy nilly without first reaching consensus.

The Guardian is a high quality RS. That specific article was written by an expert on the subject. It is much higher quality than the MacDonald article which is filled with factual errors. It is also unbiased, while the MacDonald/Kathman articles are highly biased polemics. It is actually one of the best RS we have.

Kfein (talk) 08:27, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

There is also a misunderstanding about Casson's role in Double Falsehood. Casson is just one of many people who have written on the subject. It is not unique to him in any way. If you actually read the referenced book, he praises some aspects of Casson's research and criticizes others.

Please work together to reach consensus on things before making big changes to the article that are actually not appropriate or factual or based on a proper understanding of what is actually going on. Kfein (talk) 08:30, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

You are also introducing misinformation about Southampton's relationship with Neville based on a misunderstanding of Kathman's article.

Kfein (talk) 08:35, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

  • The Guardian is a middling source, and the quote was bad and undue. Remember, summary. Since we have an academic source on the same topic it's better to use that. WP:BESTSOURCES.
  • Hammond explicitly makes the point that Casson thinks Double Falsehood/Cardenio is Shakespeare's lost play, and that Neville=Shakespeare and he's an author. That seems relevant. I don't suppose anybody else is claiming Neville is the author?
  • Hammonds comments on other topics are indeed irrelevant.
  • I fixed Kathman's view which had been wrongly attributed to J&R. If you have a specific concern what is it? Alexbrn (talk) 08:42, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Please reread what I explained above. Hammond's book is about Cardenio. It is not relevant to the Shakespeare Authorship Question. What is relevant is Hammond's comments about the Neville theory of Shakespeare authorship in general. Bringing in Cardenio is completely inappropriate. It is a whole different can of worms.
The Guardian is not a middling source. it is a high quality source. Your deletion was inappropriate. You have set a standard followed by no other article and then don't even follow your own standard. We cannot mention a topic unless it is mentioned by an independent RS, but even when it is, if you don't like it, we have to remove it? There is no rationale whatsoever. The fact that you unilaterally made the decision without discussing it first is very disappointing since we are all trying here to work together to improve this article by building consensus.
I will deal with all of this more in-depth tomorrow. It is important to read the sources thoroughly and understand the complete context before making edits. If you worked with everyone to reach consensus first, this wouldn't have to be this sort of adversarial combat over every edit. There is a better method of working together I hope you will choose that path going forward, as I urged you from day one of your unilateral edits.Kfein (talk) 08:48, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
This is an article on the Neville Theory of Shakespeare Authorship. It should be WP:NEUTRAL and describe the theory fairly putting it in context.Kfein (talk) 08:51, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
There is a fundamental error here in the desire to personalize this article around Casson or James or whoever. This is an article on a Theory that is propounded by many different people over time. The job of this article is to describe the theory in detail and put it into context since it is considered, today, a fringe theory by Wikipedia standards. It does everyone a disservice by misrepresenting the theory itself. Kfein (talk) 08:53, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
The article as it stands now makes no mention that Neville and Southampton were co-conspirators in the Essex Rebellion and jailed together in the Tower of London for two years. You have removed the most basic fact about both men. You think this is a service to Wikipedia? It improves the article by removing facts? And then you have introduced errors. And you have brought Cardenio/Double Falsehood front-and-center when it is one minor part of one minor book that Casson wrote, one individual who writes about the Neville theory. These articles are supposed to be encyclopedia articles that inform the reader. The current state is a horrific hodgepodge. An hour ago the article wasn't too bad. Kfein (talk) 08:57, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia editing involves using editorial judgment based on an understanding of the overall topic. This is an encyclopedia. It is supposed to be WP:NEUTRAL. Kfein (talk) 08:59, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
The Guardian is never used for some topics (some science and medicine for example) however the source was not deleted as it's okay here. A bungled copy & pasted quotation was merely replaced with a summary and the source remains. As to Cardenio if RS says Casson's claiming it's authored by Shakespeare-who-is-Neville-actually, then how is that not relevant to an article about Shakespeare/Neville and authorship? Alexbrn (talk) 09:02, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
This is not science and medicine. You didn't summarize the copy and pasted quotation, you removed the content of the quotation. I copy and pasted so I wouldn't be accused of OR. Casson wrote many books. There are many things in each book. Of course a book about Cardenio is going to reference what he wrote about Cardenio. But that does not mean a discussion of Cardenio is relevant to an article about the Shakespeare Authorship Question because Cardenio is a LOST PLAY and we do not even know if Double Falsehood is connected to Cardenio. And to deal with this in this article you would need to explain all of that in detail. But that has absolutely nothing to do with the Shakespeare Authorship Question. In addition, it is not a main argument made in the Neville theory. So if you want to include it in the article you should put it back where you had it before. But it has no place in the article since you are leaving out all of the key arguments made by the proponents of the Neville theory. If you worked to build consensus before making edits other editors could work with you to improve the article instead of using this method of rapid-fire major unilateral edits. Kfein (talk) 09:07, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Henry Neville and Southampton were co-conspirators in the Essex Rebellion. They met to conspire together I believe in 1601 but it might be the end of 1600. What Neville was saying was that he hadn't met Southampton since BEFORE that meeting since Southampton was a Ward of Lord Burghley. he was a ward of Lord Burghley until 1594. These are the historical facts. You yourself said that we can refer to Truth Will Out to get facts relating to the arguments in Truth Will out. You are erasing facts I don't know why and introducing false information I don't know why. Kfein (talk) 09:09, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
WP:MWOTs with WP:SHOUTING about obvious things aren't helpful. If you want to do original research do it on a blog or something. Here we are concerned with summarizing what good mainstream sources say on this topic. Alexbrn (talk) 09:14, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
I am not doing original research. You are not summarizing what good mainstream sources say on this topic, you are introducing huge factual errors into the article and introducing content to the article that is completely outside the scope of the article. You are also removing well-sourced facts. Kfein (talk) 09:18, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
We deal in knowledge, not your favoured factoids. If you want to use a fringe source I suggest making a succinct proposal here why it's necessary. Alexbrn (talk) 09:22, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
WP:HAKfein (talk) 09:24, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

The Cardenio/Double Falsehood stuff is completely inappropriate for this article as I explained above. In addition, it is not a biographical argument. It has nothing to do with Neville's biography and the works of Shakespeare.

You have deleted actual biographical information from the section on biography. It is not reasonable to delete the information about the person's birth and death from the section on biography. That is the most essential biographical detail. If one is to look at the Shakespeare Authorship Question, one of the key issue for other candidates is that their lifespan does not align with Shakespeare's. Neville's does, this is not a insignificant fact; it is a key fact.

There are certain arguments made by Neville theory proponents that are core to their argument. The Essex Rebellion coinciding with the change in Shakespeare's tone and plays is one of the main ones. I sourced that information properly and properly put it into the biographical section where it belongs and you removed it. You did not summarize it, you deleted that correct and proper information and replaced it with something that is not biographical (Cardenio) and completely inappropriate for this article.

We must use good editorial judgment to write this article.

Accusing me of WP:MWOT when I am responding in real time to your flurry of edits and you are reading my responses and changing the edits accordingly is not reasonable. Before we did a back-and-forth editing to come to consensus and you accused me on my Talk page of an edit war. So when I work on the Talk page I am accused of WP:MWOT and when I do not I am accused of an edit war. The actual problem is that you refuse to explain any of your unilateral edits or discuss them in the Talk section beforehand so we can reach consensus.

Truth Will Out is a source for the contents of Truth Will Out. You said that yourself. Refusing to use it as a source, and removing content from it, is simply going back on the consensus we reached on the Fringe discussion board.Kfein (talk) 15:22, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

We already mentioned the life dates coincidence. The Cardenio stuff is relevant as explained above. You keep ignoring the WP:PAGs -- to quote WP:FRIND once again: "Points that are not discussed in independent sources should not be given any space in articles". If there's an independent source that mentions the Tower stuff, fine. But it seems none are interested (unsurprisingly). Alexbrn (talk) 15:32, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Readers of this talk page will not realize that as I am offering feedback on your edits you are actually changing the page in response. This was happening real time. Previously you had removed all mention that they were co-conspirators in the Essex Rebellion. Over the past few hours you restored that. The fact that they were imprisoned together and literally released on the same day is highly relevant, but it is not as essential as mentioning that they were co-conspirators.
However, if a general topic is raised by the independent secondary source, the fringe text should be referenced for what it says on the subject, giving it due WP:WEIGHT. Your theory that we shouldn't was rejected in the Fringe Talk board and you yourself admitted as much. We have been over this over and over again. Kfein (talk) 15:46, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Bit of Danth's Law there. To quote you the actual WP:PAGs once again "Points that are not discussed in independent sources should not be given any space in articles". What part of "not be given any space" is hard to understand? If there's a (rare) legitimate use for a fringe primary source, fine - but get it wrong and that's a road to getting sanctioned. As it happens, most of the secondary sources are self-contained so there's not much need to venture into the murkier world of the fringe stuff, so far as I can see. As to editing, remember there is WP:NODEADLINE. Nobody is obliged to edit in a way which fits with your WP:BLUDGEONING of this Talk page. Alexbrn (talk) 15:52, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
You are not obliged to work together to reach consensus on the Talk page. That is exactly correct. I am suggesting that it is an easier way to avoid errors and work through complicated issues. When a secondary source specifically references a topic in the original source text it is expected that we look at the original source text for the content. To not do so would not be WP:NEUTRAL. Kfein (talk) 15:59, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
No one is on the road to getting sanctioned for anything. We are working together to edit this article. Using primary fringe sources is not unusual at all if the topic is raised by independent secondary sources. Neither is using a true primary source on the subject when appropriate. Kfein (talk) 16:09, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

Conspiracy Section[edit]

There is a fundamental error in how this section is being written. It is not WP:NPOV to take only the arguments from the harshest critics for a Fringe Theory and offer them as the ones that support the Fringe Theory. That is not the Wikipedia guideline. If critics criticize a source's theory, the source itself must be consulted and the arguments of the source must be presented without giving undue WP:WEIGHT, putting them in proper context. Only putting information from the source that the critics select is not WP:NPOV because it skews the evidence. Critics will pick out only the weakest aspects of the argument.

Misrepresenting the Neville theory by focusing obsessively on weak arguments made in the first book on the subject is not a fair and balanced representation of the theory.

So These paragraphs currently do not reflect anyone's actual arguments for the conspiracy, just people's commentary.

As with many other anti-Stratfordian theories, the Nevillean theory holds that Ben Jonson conspired to conceal the true author of Shakespeare's works.[13] James and Rubinstein assert that a conspiracy "must have occurred" and that John Heminges and and Henry Condell, who helped prepare the first printed edition of Shakespeare's plays, were in on it.[14] MacDonald P. Jackson writes that since there are also two dozen contemporaneous written accounts of Shakespeare as a playwright, for the conspiracy to be real all these accounts must be the work of "liars or dupes".[15]
Matt Kubus writes that for the conspiracy to work, all of Shakespeare's many known collaborators would have had to have known he was a front man, and would have had to have kept silent. Kubus says this is hard to believe.[16]
In evidence, James and Rubinstein pinpoint the famous phrase "Sweet Swan of Avon" Jonson uses in his poem prefacing the First Folio. They suggest that since "native swans in Britain are mute" this is a subtle hint that Shakespeare was not a "true writer".[17]

Cherry picking only weak arguments and not giving any details from the actual arguments is not appropriate and does not serve the mission of this article. As it stands now, there are only critiques of a theory but the theory itself is not presented. this is not WP:NETURAL. Kfein (talk) 15:56, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

For fringe topics, representing what reliable, mainstream and independent sources have said is the very definition of WP:NPOV, and core policy is that article must be NPOV. Unfortunately for the Nevillians it seems all decent academic sources commenting on the theory are "harshly critical". That's a problem Nevillians have with reality and Wikipedia cannot fix it. If and when scholars acknowledge/praise the Nevillean Theory, Wikipedia will reflect that too. (As it is, we've got Mark Rylance and Prince Philip. Is Derek Jacobi a Nevillian too?) Alexbrn (talk) 16:05, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Reflecting their views is NPOV but the article must be neutral which means offering a fair description of the arguments they are criticizing. Doing otherwise is just writing a bad encyclopedia article. Mark Rylance is not a Nevillian and neither is Derek Jacobi though I don't see how that is relevant to the discussion. Kfein (talk) 16:11, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia doesn't do "fair" (or "fair and balanced" as is sometimes demanded) for fringe topics. We are bound to be neutral, which in Wikipedia terms is different. As you can imagine, proponents of many fringe theories, from fake cancer cures to white supremacists, would just love it if we gave their views a "fair" hearing in article space. We can certainly mention the arguments our good sources are criticizing, but only if they appear in those good sources. Alexbrn (talk) 16:24, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Please refer to WP:FRINGE. We must make a distinction among the types of fringe theories and edit the article accordingly. Please refer also to other articles on related Shakespeare Authorship topic. Kfein (talk) 16:35, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
"Misrepresenting the Neville theory by focusing obsessively on weak arguments made in the first book on the subject is not a fair and balanced representation of the theory." What are the strong arguments? We can't include them if we don't know what they are. And no one is cherry-picking harsh criticism. Unfortunately that's all that exists. Tom Reedy (talk) 06:10, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
We should look to independent secondary sources to decide which arguments to include in the article. My personal opinion of which are the strong arguments is irrelevant. The fact that Ben Jonson wrote an Epigram to Henry Neville is obviously relevant to any conspiracy. It should be included as a primary source (in the real sense of primary source) without interpretation comment, per Wikipedia guidelines. I have made this point many times, this is the last time I will repeat it, in response to your query. (Note: I do not believe in "strong arguments" I only believe in facts.) Kfein (talk) 18:53, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

Fifth Area of Argument - Verbal Parallels[edit]

There is actually a Fifth Area of Argument - Verbal Parallels between the works of Shakespeare and the writings of Henry Neville. Jonathan Bate actually references it: "These arguments always fall back on verbal parallels, which never stand up," he said.

So I think a section should be added about that and judiciously filled in with appropriate content.

Kfein (talk) 16:58, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

I'm sceptical - are there any good sources (other than Bate's general remark)? Alexbrn (talk) 17:02, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
I will look into it. There is no question this is a central part of the Neville argument. Whether there are enough secondary sources at this point to include it, since we killed Kells book, I don't know. Kells references it of course. Kfein (talk) 17:08, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Your continual desire to include WP:OR is getting tiresome. Just because Bate made an off-hand comment is no reason to include a section outlinging the alleged verbal parallels, all of which are ridiculous and serve only to prove that Nevillian's knowledge of how that type of attribution works is on the same level as their paleographical analysis, which is to say, assertion is their only methodology, as your statements on this talk page prove. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:12, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
@Kfein: The "central part of the Neville argument" is what our independent mainstream sources say it is. They tend to focus on the core claims by which the theory is plausible or not, and address them robustly. Since these reveal that the theory is basically incoherent bunk, there'ss no point saying "look over there" and pointing as some trivial nugget of information (a "fact" maybe) since that would do nothing to counterbalance the mountain of evidence, scholarship and reason against the Neville theory. That appears to be what our good sources are doing, and we need to make sure Wikipedia is aligned with them. Alexbrn (talk) 17:18, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
The research into verbal parallels was done mostly after Truth Will Out. Most of the "independent mainstream sources" deal only with Truth Will Out. Kells mentions the research I did not make it up and I am not doing OR. Bate mentions it, however, from day one, and he is one of the premier Shakespeare scholars in the world. So it must be important. Kfein (talk) 17:22, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
By "from day one" do you actually mean "on day one"? (Or is it day -1 because he made the comment before the book was out?). Has he made any further comment? As to Kells, the consensus was not to use that source. Alexbrn (talk) 17:28, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Have you read any of the WP policies and guidelines with anything other than an eye on how to get around them? In this case you need to read WP:POV, which is non-negotiable. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:29, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Well, Alexbrn you have just made a very strong argument for removing his quote entirely, since he obviously hadn't even read the book when he made the comment. So should we go ahead and do that? I don't know any further comments by him. I am not suggesting we refer to Kells in the article, but Kells reflects the latest Neville research because he actually talked to Neville researchers. My point is that I am not doing OR. Kfein (talk) 17:31, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
I am not suggesting we violate WP:POV in any way, shape or form. I never have. Just as I have never suggested including WP:OR in the article and I have not done so. Kfein (talk) 17:34, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
No, because Bate is Bate and he knows his onions. It's WP:DUE. Alexbrn (talk) 17:35, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
In that case, this is a strong argument for including "verbal parallels" because WP:DUE. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kfein (talkcontribs) 17:57, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
What, because - as with Bate - we have an eminent, independent Shakespearean, reliably sourced, to draw upon? Unless I've missed something, that is very much not the case for the Nevillians' verbal parallel stuff. Alexbrn (talk) 18:01, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
The point is that Bate emphasizes the verbal parallel stuff. So that means it is appropriate to include that in the article, since it is raised by an independent third party. Though of course that evidence must be put into appropriate context..Kfein (talk) 18:13, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
No. If he had raised some specific point there might be occasion to mention that point using a weak source (if Bate's source was unclear). But he makes no specific point, and "points that are not discussed in independent sources should not be given any space in articles". At most we could make the general point that the Nevillians invoke a verbal parallels argument, in harmony with Bate's comment. But it looks once again like you want to launch into performing original research. That's forbidden. Alexbrn (talk) 18:21, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

So, so far, we have the Bate mention and he is WP:DUE and we have this from The Independent:

There are also striking similarities of style and vocabulary between Neville's private and diplomatic letters and the Shakespeare plays and poems. In addition, word frequency analysis reveals a statistical correlation.Kfein (talk) 18:21, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, well we're not going to be quoting the "archaeology correspondent" of the Independent for stuff which is the province of English scholars. WP:REDFLAG. Alexbrn (talk) 18:24, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Of course his statement about a statistical correlation is not relevant to our purposes. Not to interject OR, but FWIW, I do not believe a statistical correlation has been demonstrated either (I don't think it's possible to do that at this time).Kfein (talk) 18:31, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
I have not introduced OR into the article so I think it is unwarranted to continually accuse me of using OR. Discussing OR in Talk is appropriate in certain circumstances. I have not proposed including OR into the article itself. Including a primary source is not necessarily OR, as I have explained above. Kfein (talk) 18:33, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
It is evident that you don't understand the OR or POV policies. Most of your assertions about WP policy above is pure WP:WL to try to get every possible mention of the theory in the article. It's been tried before ad nauseum by editors more knowledgeable than you, and the encyclopedia has effective policies and procedures in place to counter it. Tom Reedy (talk) 20:39, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
Your constant, repeated accusations against me are WP:HA and WP:BLUDGEONING. They are inappropriate for the Talk section where we are discussing how to best edit the article. I have asked you many times to stop doing this. The Talk section is for discussion of the article, not for making personal attacks against other editors. Kfein (talk) 20:51, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
I don't see it that way; I see it as your gaming the policies to try to get around them, which has been done exactly the way you are doing it countless times before you got here. Just the sheer amount of text you put here is part of it, because nobody else has the spare time to read your every assertion, much less counter them by taking the time to look everything up, link to it, and explain it to you, only to have you ignore it. If you're so offended, go to WP:ANI and make your case. Tom Reedy (talk) 00:29, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
My edits, the sources I have found, and the way I have integrated them into the article in a balanced and accurate way speak for themselves. The current state of the article speaks for itself, working within the strictures that have been set. It would be best if you just stopped attacking me and let me get on with the business of actually working to reach consensus and improve the article. Kfein (talk) 02:08, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
Look, Kfein, Tom Reedy deserves a jewel-encrusted medal for his patience and forbearance in dealing with your bludgeoning, which has reached the point of being disruptive. I would advise you to cease and desist. Carlstak (talk) 04:22, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

I have reverted your collapse of this discussion, which collapse is in itself a particularly egregious act of bludgeoning. See Wikipedia:Don't_bludgeon_the_process#Everyone_gets_to_participate_in_discussions, and were I you I'd take it to heart. Tom Reedy (talk) 06:06, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

I collapsed only the portion with the personal attacks and my response to the personal attacks. If you prefer to leave that, I think it is inappropriate and clutters the talk page unnecessarily. But I leave it to your discretion.Kfein (talk) 20:34, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

Equal Time?/[edit]

How does this have anything to do with the Neville theory? Who is arguing for Equal Time in classrooms for the Neville theory?

Dobson 2001, p. 31; Greenblatt 2005: "The idea that William Shakespeare's authorship of his plays and poems is a matter of conjecture and the idea that the 'authorship controversy' be taught in the classroom are the exact equivalent of current arguments that 'intelligent design' be taught alongside evolution. In both cases an overwhelming scholarly consensus, based on a serious assessment of hard evidence, is challenged by passionately held fantasies whose adherents demand equal time."

This should be deleted. It is also bringing in sources not related to the Neville theory, and we are strictly adhering to this rule in other cases, why violate the rule in this case? Kfein (talk) 17:01, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

Please see WP:PSCI. We need to include prominently and clearly how the mainstream reacts to a fringe topic. This is core policy (and is why, for example, we include consensus text on GMO food safety in GMO-related articles that aren't even about food safety). Alexbrn (talk) 17:05, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
We did that already by mirroring the language on other related articles. It was there before you started editing this page. Adding in a quote that is irrelevant does not help anyone. No one is suggesting this be taught alongside anything. Kfein (talk) 17:10, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
The text mirrors that at the SAQ article. Alexbrn (talk) 17:20, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
We link to that article so there is no reason to mirror that text that is completely, totally, and utterly irrelevant to the Neville theory. It also brings in sources outside of the Neville theory. Kfein (talk) 17:24, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
See my reply above. Alexbrn (talk) 17:29, 30 December 2019 (UTC)
The NY Times Article also appears to predate Truth Will Out so this makes it even more inappropriate to include in this article. Kfein (talk) 18:39, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

Well, this is now moot since Tom Reedy rewrote[5] the lede to summarize the article body (which is what the lede should do) which achieves the same purpose of making it clear how scholars see alt-Shakespeare in general, and Neville in particular – nice. What is decidely less nice is Kfein's watering-down[6] of this good work, in a way that looks awfully like POV-pushing. I think the first re-write is truer and more NPOV, and should be restored. Alexbrn (talk) 06:41, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

I changed it to more accurately reflect the actual content of the article. The current state is not an accurate reflection of what is in the article, they are repetitive, and are not in-line with other similar articles. The lede should reflect the actual content of the article. The lede should be clear and succinct, the same point should not be repeated over and over. But if you would like an inaccurate, repetitive lede that leaves out key information, you are welcome to it. My edit does not change the NPOV one bit, please reread it to see. Kfein (talk) 06:48, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
He has incorporated most of my changes that are essential to reflect the actual content of the rest of the article.Kfein (talk) 06:52, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
It's important to retain the key information that there is no good evidence linking Neville to Shakespeare, which your version left out. Alexbrn (talk) 06:55, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
I don't object to that in the slightest. What I object to is misrepresenting the content of the article and being repetitive which is most certainly not WP:NPOV. He has adopted my changes to more accurately reflect the content of the article. As far as being clear and concise, it is necessary for WP:NPOV. Otherwise the article turns into a polemic. Kfein (talk) 07:04, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

RS Status of John Casson's Publications by The British Library[edit]

These three articles:

Are all published by the British Library. They are by John Casson. It isclear to me these should considered RS by Wikipedia standards. The British Library is one of the premier scholarly institutions on earth. These are not self-published, they are published by them. Even though this is a fringe theory, I cannot see how we cannot reference these sources directly, since they are undeniably RS status.

I am happy to escalate this to the larger discussion boards for the broader Wikipeda community to give their opinion if people think it is appropriate, but I thought it best to bring up this issue here first. If this is not the forum to discuss the RS status of these articles, I apologize.

Kfein (talk) 20:59, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

Those are interesting papers. Do you have images of the annotations? Like most anti-Strat research, the material is intrinsically interesting and the attribution is just tacked on speculatively. There's certainly nothing objectionable to their use, though I don't see how they could be a major part of the article. The last one is pretty laughable, given that pot paper is ubiquitous, everything was written on pot paper. Shakespeare's will is written on pot paper, so I suppose we could use that as an argument for his hand in STM? Tom Reedy (talk) 00:04, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
The second link has the images of Belleforest if you click through to the main article. The article as currently written is limited to using David Kathman and Macdonald Jackson's description of the Northumberland Manuscript which is misleading because they obviously have not studied it, even though a complete facsimile is readily available. If only to use it as an accurate description of the document, its contents, and the cover, it would be helpful.

Kfein (talk) 00:23, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

Ah hell! There aren't any annotations, just marks and underlinings! Tom Reedy (talk) 00:34, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

New High Quality RS: AP article[edit]

Good news! I have found another high quality RS we can use:

It is an AP article by Jenn Wiant. There are several versions online:

Not sure the best practice of how to cite this. Can we link directly into AP somehow so that people can read the source? Or do we need to pick one of the available online version and go with it? I picked the CBS one and listed it as "Associated Press" in the reference.

Kfein (talk) 21:33, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

I added a quote from Robert Pringle to the negative reception to give balance. Kfein (talk) 21:41, 30 December 2019 (UTC)

Read the page from the top. The Background section was completely out of place and really killed the transition. We are describing a fringe theory, not the genesis of the theory. Bomagosh (talk) 22:46, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

Lede rewrite[edit]

I've tweaked my original lede rewrite to include part of Ken's. There's no reason, aesthetic or informational, to put the book and the authors in the first section, even less the first graf. And the information about attribution is needed to put it into academic context as per WP:FRINGE, as a review of all the other authorship pages will indicate. Tom Reedy (talk) 06:45, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

Oh, and as a general rule, lede sections don't need refs as long as they reflect the contents of the article. WP:LEDE Tom Reedy (talk) 06:47, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
The second paragraph and the fourth paragraph say the same thing. It is not necessary to repeat information in a lede which is supposed to be succinct and clear. Kfein (talk) 06:51, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
He should be described as parliamentarian and diplomat.Kfein (talk) 06:53, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
  The convergence of documentary evidence of the type used by academics for authorial attribution – title pages, testimony by other contemporary poets and historians, and official records – sufficiently establishes Shakespeare's authorship for the overwhelming majority of Shakespeare scholars and literary historians, and no such evidence links Neville to Shakespeare's works.
  Nearly all Shakespearean scholars reject all alternative authorship candidates, including Neville, and the few that have responded to Nevillian claims have overwhelmingly dismissed the theory. They say the theory has no credible evidence, relies upon factual errors and distortions, and ignores contrary evidence. 
Are you serious? Tom Reedy (talk) 06:54, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
Here is a rewrite that includes all actual content:
The convergence of documentary evidence used by academics for authorial attribution – title pages, testimony by contemporary poets and historians, and official records – establishes Shakespeare's authorship for the overwhelming majority of Shakespeare scholars and literary historians. No such evidence links Neville to Shakespeare's works. The few that have responded to Nevillian claims have overwhelmingly dismissed the theory as lacking credible evidence, relying upon factual errors and distortions, and ignoring contrary evidence. Kfein (talk) 07:01, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
Your objection has changed three times now. The omitted clause situates Nevillian in context to the rest of the candidates and academe as a whole, which is required by fringe guidelines.
I'm planning to rewrite the next section in the next couple of days, so throw everything you want at the wall and I'll put it in order. Refs are the top priority. Tom Reedy (talk) 07:12, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
I don't know what you are talking about.Kfein (talk) 07:14, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
I have rewritten it, retaining all actual content, to make it clearer and more concise. This is the lede. it should be to-the-point:
The documentary evidence used by academics for authorial attribution – title pages, testimony by contemporary poets and historians, and official records – sufficiently establishes Shakespeare's authorship for the overwhelming majority of Shakespeare scholars and literary historians. They reject all alternative authorship candidates, including Neville. The few that have responded to Nevillean claims have overwhelmingly dismissed the theory. They say the theory has no credible evidence, relies upon factual errors and distortions, and ignores contrary evidence.

Kfein (talk) 15:45, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

  • @Kfein: You say you have "retained all actual content", but the important - for NPOV - assertion that "... no such evidence links Neville to Shakespeare's works" appears to be missing in your rewrite. What gives? Alexbrn (talk) 15:49, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
That is the last sentence. " Nevillian claims have overwhelmingly dismissed the theory as lacking credible evidence, relying upon factual errors and distortions, and ignoring contrary evidence." It is the same thing. And more precise by attributing it to the scholars instead of stating it in Wikipedia's voice which is most definitely not NPOV.Kfein (talk) 15:56, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
Okay so when you said you "retained all actual content" what you meant is, you considerably changed the actual content to put a different slant on it. A slant, as it happens, which is problematic. Alexbrn (talk) 15:58, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
No, that is completely false. "no credible evidence" is the exact same content. And stating something as fact in Wikipedia's voice is not NPOV. Kfein (talk) 16:00, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
You can add 'documentary evidence' is you want to clarify it. But this is an issue of contention. WP:NPOV demands that it be attributed. Kfein (talk) 16:02, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
We can get to the underlying issue in time. I first wanted to clarify that the way you characterized your edit was incorrect. Describing our work correctly is a basic prerequisite for productive work to happen here. I will also note this is the second time you have removed the content in question, which sets you on the path of the edit warrior. Alexbrn (talk) 16:26, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
I have not removed any content, I have retained all content. You can try to build a case against me as an "edit warrior" but I have done nothing but improve the content, fixed typos, and improved the NPOV. It is truly shocking to me your WP:BLUDGEONING and WP:HA by these constant accusations and veiled threats. Please cease immediately. Kfein (talk) 16:31, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
All I will say at this point is that if you think "retaining all content" is the same as your admitted removal of content (to improve NPOV you say), then we also have a WP:CIR issue here as regards the basics of text and editing. What do others think about this edit? Alexbrn (talk) 16:38, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
I did not remove content to improve NPOV. I improved NPOV by attributing a contentious issue to people who make that contention instead of stating it in Wikipedia's voice. I did not remove any content, the exact same point is made by saying there is "no credible evidence". The first sentence explains what credible evidence would be, the last says that there is no credible evidence. If you disagree with my edit, you can simply put that clause back in and make the paragraph repetitive if you like. Kfein (talk) 16:42, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
As far as WP:CIR since I am a professional writer and editor and my edits are obviously a vast improvement, I think maybe that isn't the strongest argument. In fact, it is nothing but WP:HA.Kfein (talk) 16:44, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
You are a professional writer? What have you written? And you wrote the "Background" section, did you not? Tom Reedy (talk) 16:57, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
And the "voice" of Wikipedia is that of the academic establishment. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:02, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
No I didn't write the Background section. I have a background in journalism and technical writing, I worked for CNET as an editor, wrote dozens of articles for print and online magazines over the years, and wrote a book for McGraw-Hill that was translated into six languages. The never ending attacks and accusations against me are WP:HA. There is no way around that simple fact. You misunderstand the sense of "voice". I am using it in a technical editing sense in-line with Wikipedia guidelines. Kfein (talk) 17:04, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
Looks like we have to blame Alexbrn for the "Background" section! Must have been late at night and/or deep in the cups! Wow, and all this time I thought you were a real estate/business guy! I also supported myself through writing for a couple of decades before retiring, have a couple of English degrees, taught college English for a while and have a few publications in peer-reviewed academic journals, so I know a bit about writing. More importantly, I took the Shakespeare authorship question article all the way to FA status with the help of another editor experienced and knowledgeable about the Wikipedia process. I understand the Wikipedia sense of WP:VOICE very well. Please point out my misunderstanding. What you call "never ending attacks and accusations" are the attempts to steer this article towards compliance with th policies and guidelines of the encyclopedia. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:06, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
At this stage, my priority was to get some decent sourcing in and the writing may well be clunky - that can be sorted out later. Whether one is an WP:EXPERT or not is kind of irrelevant, but I'm seeing some WP:PROFRINGE editing here which make me wonder whether WP:COI applies. Alexbrn (talk) 18:31, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
None of that applies to me. Suggesting so is a form of WP:HA. Please cease.Kfein (talk) 18:37, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
And the above is WP:OUTING and strictly prohibited.Kfein (talk) 18:38, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, but you've already removed yourself from any such defense. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:51, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
My error in WP:OUTING does not give you license to WP:OUTING. Kfein (talk) 18:55, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
You are confused. I did not out you. I stated my erroneous idea of what profession I thought you were in after you gave us a rundown on your professional life. If you think I have violated any of Wikipedia's policies, either on content or talkpage behavior, you can take it to WP:ANI and request redress for your grievances. Tom Reedy (talk) 19:51, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
I am not confused. WP:PA " Comment on content, not on the contributor."Kfein (talk) 20:05, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

Proposing deletion of the Background section[edit]

The background section provides no real information about the background of the Nevillian theory that is not covered in sufficient detail in the rest of the article. The section consists of out of context quotes from stories written about the release of the Rubinstein/James book, claims of the existence of a "high profile publicity campaign," and what was speculated in the Times (by some unnamed person; Is everything published in the times considered WP:RS even if we do not know the source?). It needs to go. Bomagosh (talk) 20:53, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

I have no preference either way. A detail or two of the roll-out could be moved down to the Reception if people want. Reception could be renamed too to something more general. But this part was removed from the lede so needs to be put somewhere. I don't think the details on how James and Rubinstein teamed up are relevant, though:
The theory of Nevillean authorship was first proposed by Brenda James who had drafted an entire book before meeting its eventual co-author, historian William D. Rubinstein. Their book was published in 2005 entitled The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare. Kfein (talk) 20:56, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

I have no strong opinion either way, but maybe there is the germ of something here: the reason why this "theory" got some academic attention (e.g. from Jonathan Bate) seems to be because of the high-profile publicity and overreaching claims - it seems the BBC was running a "everything we know about Shakespeare was wrong" type of story, and inviting expert input on the Today programme. I don't know if there's a source-based way to bring this out ... maybe the actual Today broadcast might be enlightening (I haven't listened to it). Viewed in the round the contrast of the claims made with the reality makes a potentially interesting bathetic progression. Alexbrn (talk) 21:07, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

There appears to have been an AP story that appeared in many news outlets, as I showed above. The theory got a lot of attention because it is by far the best Shakespeare authorship candidate ever proposed. It fits the known facts in a way that no other candidate ever did (or ever will or ever could). See this critique from an astute observer: Kfein (talk) 21:17, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
Obviously, news outlets are in no position to judge the quality of the arguments: the reason it got attention was because of lot of money was spent on PR. That is the point in the sources. Alexbrn (talk) 21:26, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
How much money was spent on PR? How did it influence the news outlets? Kfein (talk) 21:30, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
No idea, except "high-profile publicity campaigns" don't come cheap do they. From the amount of churnalism generated, it certainly seemed effective. Alexbrn (talk) 21:38, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
I'll delete it. If there's anything there you think needs to be retained in the Reception section, put it there. I agree about the two sentences about James and Rubinstein -- it adds nothing. I see nothing there that needs to be retained; if you want to include opinion references, name the person whose opinion it is, rather than the news organization that printed it.Bomagosh (talk) 21:54, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
It got the attention because it was proposed by an actual academic historian, not because it was a good case, because it isn't; there's no there there, it's completely speculative. No one bothered to look at the other fringe theories he had been involved in, so they mistakenly thought it had some actual substance. Although a trained historian, he abandoned all historical methodology and embraced fringe methods to make the case. Tom Reedy (talk) 22:11, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
We certainly need the details on the publication of Truth Will Out and that Brenda James initially proposed the theory. We could change the section to "History and Reception" instead and include those details. Kfein (talk) 22:14, 31 December 2019 (UTC)
I moved it down there but I actually think it should be in Description. Kfein (talk) 22:23, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

New RS on Theory: The Times[edit]

Great news! I found another RS we can incorporate into the article:

Kfein (talk) 21:27, 31 December 2019 (UTC)

That's just part of the pre-pub PR package. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:33, 1 January 2020 (UTC)
This is not a press release this is an article in The Times and is RS without doubt.The named author covers these topics to this day.I cannot reproduce it here for copyright reasons but it has original reporting in it. She interviewed Rubinstein. Kfein (talk) 04:20, 1 January 2020 (UTC)
lol, I didn't say you can't use it! She's the "Arts Correspondent" so she would naturally be the one to regurgitate the various PR packages that come across the feature editor's desk. The highlight of that piece is the idea that the deeds of the earl of Warwick would only be known by the family. Such is the stuff of the dreams of anti-Stratfordia. Tom Reedy (talk) 05:25, 1 January 2020 (UTC)

I have added content from this to the article. Disparaging this journalist's work as "part of the pre-pub PR package" is unfair. It is a carefully reported story based apparently on interviews. Kfein (talk) 15:47, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

  • We shouldn't use this source as it's basically just a puff piece and brings nothing to the table (other than being a conduit for some loony ideas). We have far better source, and should use those. Alexbrn (talk) 16:34, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
The Times is one of the leading newspapers in the UK. The article was by someone who is well-versed in these subjects and writes on these subjects to this day. The source describes the theories of James and Rubinstein accurately and thoroughly based apparently on interviews. We do not have far better sources. We have other sources, as I have shown above, which are filled with inaccuracies. Kfein (talk) 16:44, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
It really is quite extraordinary to suggest that The Times is not a WP:RS.Kfein (talk) 16:51, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
I didn't mention WP:RS. In general, "it's WP:RS" tends to be the mating call of the POV-pusher. This issue is rather neutrality. This article is just a newspaper puff piece with no analysis or input from experts. Remember WP:PROFRINGE: "A conjecture that has not received critical review from the scientific community or that has been rejected may be included in an article about a scientific subject only if other high-quality reliable sources discuss it as an alternative position" (WP:PSCI also refers to non-science fringe subjects). If we're going to advance the nonsenses of the Nevilleans we need mainstream sources to contextualize those nonsenses. Alexbrn (talk) 16:54, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
First of all, your reference to "mating call of the POV-pusher" is WP:PA and WP:HA
Second, this quote: "A conjecture that has not received critical review from the scientific community or that has been rejected may be included in an article about a scientific subject only if other high-quality reliable sources discuss it as an alternative position" has absolutely nothing to do with the article we are editing. This is not an article about William Shakespeare, this is an article about the Neville Theory of Shakespeare Authorship. The quote refers to including fringe content in mainstream articles, not in how to do deal with articles devoted to fringe topics.
Third, there are plenty of "mainstream sources" in this article already to contextualize the Neville theory.
The Time article is WP:RS, it is relevant, it is independent, and it must be included in the article. The citations I took were it were completely appropriate and had due weight. There is no justification whatsoever for removing them, and your arguments above do not actually relate to Wikipedia guidelines on this issue. Kfein (talk) 17:00, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
If the cap fits ... Repeating yourself does not constitute a valid argument. You are welcome to try and get consensus to include your favoured new material. Alexbrn (talk) 17:04, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
Once again, you are engaging in WP:HA and WP:PA. It is completely inappropriate and absolutely against Wikipedia policies.Kfein (talk) 17:06, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

I have restored the source and put it back as an additional reference to material already in the article. There is no legitimate question about its WP:RS status and the appropriateness of including it in the article as a source. The issue of what additional material to bring in from this source can be handled separately. Kfein (talk) 17:17, 3 January 2020 (UTC)


The article refers to William Shakespeare as a "front" several times. It is a correct use of the term, but I think it's a bit colloquial. A more precise term would be pseudonym, alias, or allonym. Using "pseudonym" would allow the term to be linked to the wikipedia article. Any objection to making this edit where appropriate? Bomagosh (talk) 16:45, 2 January 2020 (UTC)

I don't think that's quite right since, unlike with a pseudonym, the proposition is that Neville was using an actual living person as cover for their secret playwrighting. One source uses "stooge" but I suppose thst's even less formal. Perhaps "decoy" ? Alexbrn (talk) 16:51, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
For the poems it really was just a pseudonym, for the plays it was much more than just a pseudonym relationship. William Shakespeare was helping get these plays produced by his acting company long before his name was put on them in publications. You know, when all of these people are talking about Shakespeare "not blotting out a line" what they are saying is he showed up one day with a complete fair copy of a script and said here you go! Here's my latest! They are describing what went on. (Note though that plays like Titus Andronicus were written before Shakespeare became involved so in that case it is more of a pseudonymous relationship.) Kfein (talk) 19:03, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
The correct term is "allonym," but WP redirects allonym to the page on pseudonym, where allonyms, ghost writers, and pseudepigrapha are distinguished from pseudonyms. I think considering both of your comments, using a term more narrowly defined than "front" would be preferable. There are three uses of the term "front" meeting this definition in the current version. One is in the description. A second describes Matt Kubus's view and uses the term he used; the one in the caption of the picture of Jonson cites Walsh (who used the term) but Walsh is not being quoted. Indeed, Walsh mentions Jonson, but only in a sentence where he says there's no evidence that he participated in a conspiracy. Bomagosh (talk) 20:13, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, "allonym" is a good word but it doesn't capture all that was going on. "allonymous front" would be most precise though awkward. Shakespeare wasn't just taking credit for the plays he was brokering them and involved, at least to some degree, in producing them. All the while taking credit for writing them. Kfein (talk) 20:28, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Note though that plays like Titus Andronicus were written before Shakespeare became involved.... Shakespeare wasn't just taking credit for the plays he was brokering them and involved, at least to some degree, in producing them. All the while taking credit for writing them Kfein please see TPG " Talk pages are not a place for editors to argue their personal point of view about a controversial issue. They are a place to discuss how the points of view of reliable sources should be included in the article, so that the end result is neutral. The best way to present a case is to find properly referenced material." You shouldn't be posting your own (ridiculous) opinions on this talk page but pointing to WO:RS that support them, if there are any..Smeat75 (talk) 20:53, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
If you want to police this Talk section, I think maybe dealing with the constant and unfair attacks and WP:HA I have endured would be a better use of your time. In fact, what you have done above is likely WP:HOUNDING. What I wrote above was perfectly relevant to this particular discussion about how best to describe the Shakespeare/Neville relationship as propounded by proponents of the theory. Kfein (talk) 21:02, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
It is important to note that different proponents of different Shakespeare authorship candidates propose different relationships between William Shakespeare and the author. Some claim a truly pseudonymous relationship (Shakespeare didn't exist or someone by that name existed but he was unconnected to the plays). Others claim more of an allonymous relationship. Others more of a "front" or "broker" relationship, which is what the Neville proponents seem to suggest. So the terminology used in this article needs to reflect the precise relationship described in independent secondary sources that describe the theory. Kfein (talk) 21:14, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
The article refers to William Shakespeare as a "front" several times. It is a correct use of the term, but I think . . . .
Can you spot the problem here? It's not with the term "front." Tom Reedy (talk) 22:17, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
. . . what you have done above is likely WP:HOUNDING.
Please get a fucking clue. Tom Reedy (talk) 22:19, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
Your constant cursing is WP:HA. Kfein (talk) 22:31, 2 January 2020 (UTC)
(@ OP) As a reader, I prefer the colloquial "front" to "allonym" because I understand it. I think this is probably true for the general reader. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 10:20, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

Princes Charles & Philip[edit]

I agree with Gråbergs Gråa Sång that mentioning them is undue trivia (the only remarkable thing about it is that Prince Charles apparently holds at least one sensible view!). Hence removed. Alexbrn (talk) 16:36, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

The issue is keeping in-line with the other articles on this subject. The Shakespeare Authorship Question article devotes a good deal of space to the issue of notable proponents of anti-Stratofordianism, and it has been a major discussed issue for over 100 years. So it is expected that this article would reference that as well. Kfein (talk) 16:40, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
Wikipedia articles follow the [[WP:PAG]s, not precedent. WP:OSE. What a member of the royal family thinks on this matter is completely unimportant, and since it is only speculation by a theatre critic is especially undue tittle-tattle. Alexbrn (talk) 16:43, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
There are two sources now for this. It is not correct that we should not refer to other articles on similar subjects, especially because this is part of a "A series on alternative authorship theories for the works of William Shakespeare" Kfein (talk) 16:46, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
Rubbish. If other articles have problems, that's no reason to replicate them here. Alexbrn (talk) 17:01, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
The Shakespeare Authorship Question article is a premier article on Wikipedia that has received many accolades and been featured on the front page. It has been subjected to endless review and vetting. One person's personal views about perceived problems in that article cannot decide how we edit this one. If a person were to find problems with that article, it would be advisable for them to go and work to gain consensus to change that article. Until then, since it is the "core" article in a group of articles we are part of, we should mirror it in terms of structure and content to a reasonable degree, as we have done in other areas of this article. Kfein (talk) 17:11, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
We have problems in WP:FAs all the time. You're the one who's been edit warring to get this content in here. Again, you are welcome to try and get consensus for your favoured inclusion. Alexbrn (talk) 17:18, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
I am not edit-warring. I discussing this in Talk. It is not my "favoured inclusion". It is relevant and appropriately sourced so it should be included in the article. I have offered the good reasons above.Kfein (talk) 17:21, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

I also agree with Gråbergs Gråa Sång and Alexbrn. The quotation is remarkably weak: A theater critic with no personal knowledge of Prince Philip's views stating what he thinks is "apparent." The Prince is not an expert in this area (unlike, say, Dr. David Kathman). The Prince is merely a celebrity known mostly for marrying well. I'd note that the SAQ page lists a series of public figures in a single sentence (including Prince Philip) in the "overview" section. There's no reason to include this trivial point. Bomagosh (talk) 19:32, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

The problem is that the Daily Mail, which has sourcing issues with Wikipedia, gives details including a quote from Stanley Wells confirming all of this:
Expert Stanley Wells, who has written in defence of Shakespeare’s authorship, last night said he had ‘crossed swords’ with Prince Philip on the issue.

Kfein (talk) 19:51, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

Neville Ancestors in Shakespeare's History Plays[edit]

This has been deleted by Alexbrn even though it is sourced to two completely independent WP:RS:

James and Rubinstein also suggest that Shakespeare's plays portray many of Neville's ancestors, who played major roles in British history, in a particularly favourable light. REF: Keys 2005. REF:Alberge 2005.

I cannot see any reasonable justification for deleting this well-sourced content. Kfein (talk) 17:25, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

Would need some mainstream context before it could be added to the article. Is there any? Alexbrn (talk) 17:28, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
That is an arbitrary, invented standard not supported by the Wikipedia guidelines. The standard we are supposed to meet is to find independent RS to include content from the fringe theory. Then overall we are supposed to put the fringe theory into context. It is not correct in any way that each and every point of the fringe theory needs commentary from "mainstream" sources. That is an invention not in-line with Wikipedia standards and there is no reason whatsoever to follow it in editing this article. Two independent RS mention this, so it should be included in the article. It is attributed appropriately to the people making the claim. Kfein (talk) 17:32, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
Also, in response to your criticism, I removed the specifics of the claims, since we do not have independent sources to comment on it. This gives it due weight. Kfein (talk) 17:37, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
If you'd read/understood the policies that multiple editors have tried pointing you to, you'd know the gist was that we can only include these ideas if we can describe them in their proper context with respect to established scholarship and the beliefs of the wider world. To repeat: have we any sources that do that? Alexbrn (talk) 17:37, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
I have read the guidelines in detail. Suggesting otherwise is WP:PA. It is not requirement or even a suggestion to counter each and every aspect of the fringe theory with commentary from a non-proponent. If that is actually Wikipedia policy or guideline, and I am mistaken, please share that specific guideline here so everyone can see it. Thank you. Kfein (talk) 17:40, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
You need to understand WP:NPOV, I have just explained why. Alexbrn (talk) 17:42, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
Yes, WP:NPOV requires that we cite who exactly is making that claim, as I do above. And it requires that we put the theory into context, as we do throughout the article. The above sentence meets each and every Wikipedia guideline perfectly. Kfein (talk) 17:46, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
You're wrong, and WP:BLUDGEONING is not an argument. As I say, if you want to get your desired material included, you are welcome to try and get consensus. I shall not respond here further until consenss changes. Alexbrn (talk) 17:48, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

It is completely appropriate to mention in this discussion that independent scholars John Casson and Mark Bradbeer wrote an entire book on this subject: Sir Henry Neville, Alias William Shakespeare: Authorship Evidence in the History Plays The book was published by McFarland & Company, a publisher of scholarly and historical books. So this is one of the key points made by proponents of the theory. Since it is mentioned by two completely independent RS, it is consistent with Wikipedia guidelines to include it without giving undue weight.Kfein (talk) 18:20, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

Kfein, if you're going to edit and use the talk pages please learn the proper conventions so everyone can understand your complaints. Use diffs instead of reproducing text without any quotation marks or other indications. Tom Reedy (talk) 00:48, 4 January 2020 (UTC)

:And FYI, both Alexbrn and Kfein are correct. See WP:EVALFRINGE: Claims derived from fringe theories should be carefully attributed to an appropriate source and located within a context—e.g. "There are extreme academic views such as those of Jacques Halbronn, suggesting at great length and with great complexity that Nostradamus's Prophecies are antedated forgeries written by later hands with a political axe to grind." Such claims may contain or be followed by qualifiers to maintain neutrality—e.g. "Although Halbronn possibly knows more about the texts and associated archives than almost anybody else alive (he helped dig out and research many of them), most other specialists in the field reject this view."—but restraint should be used with such qualifiers to avoid giving the appearance of an overly harsh or overly critical assessment. This is particularly true within articles dedicated specifically to fringe ideas: Such articles should first describe the idea clearly and objectively, then refer the reader to more accepted ideas, and avoid excessive use of point-counterpoint style refutations. It is also best to avoid hiding all disputations in an end criticism section, but instead work for integrated, easy to read, and accurate article prose. Tom Reedy (talk) 00:52, 4 January 2020 (UTC)

There is nothing in there that even hints that the sentence above should not be included in the article. There is nothing that suggests that each point made in describing the theory "clearly and objectively" needs to be countered. In fact, it suggests the opposite. WP:NPOV actual means neutral point of view. Kfein (talk) 03:26, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
Sorry, I placed it under the wrong comment. With so many plates spinning and with all the whingeing sounding the same on each topic it's hard to keep them straight. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:42, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
  • And now Kfein is again trying to force their favoured WP:PROFRINGE content in.[7]. We need proper mainstream secondary context before we air fringe stuff in Wikipedia. Uncritically relaying fringe ideas is a big no-no. Alexbrn (talk) 16:51, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
Once again WP:PA comment on the content, not the person. Secondly, you are casting aspersions on me. Please cease. Kfein (talk) 18:35, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

David Kathman Quote[edit]

I made this change:

David Kathman wrote that despite its bold claims, "the promised 'evidence' is non-existent or very flimsy," and that the book is "a train wreck" filled with "factual errors, distortions, and arguments that are incoherent" as well as "pseudoscholarly inanities".

This change was reverted by Alexbrn who described it as "blatant whitewashing". This is an incredibly unfair characterization.

Overall, Kathman is given undue weight in this article. He is not a professor at a university, he is an independent scholar, as was John Casson. His invectives about "a train wreck" and "pseudoscholarly inanities" are not necessary to include in this article. They are such harsh insults in fact that to include this in the article is a violation of WP:NPV. My edit does not remove his substantive criticisms whatsoever. The harsh and sensationalist rhetoric is inappropriate for a Wikipedia article especially since he is not a noteworthy scholar and his opinions bear very little weight.

Kfein (talk) 17:57, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

It's important to convey the level of derision this "theory" has drawn from scholars, exactly for a WP:NPOV. As to the source, anything published in the Shakespeare Quarterly is gold standard, and confers on Kathman high respectability as a scholar on the SAQ. Alexbrn (talk) 18:19, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
No, it is not important to include "derision". That is a violation of WP:NPOV. It is important to include people's arguments and even their harsh critiques, as I have done above. Book reviews are not the same as independent articles or scholarly books; often graduate students do book reviews for journals. It is appropriate of course to include it in this article, as it is referenced many many times, but it should not be given undue weight and "derisive" comments ought not be included at all when there are harsh and substantive criticisms to include. Kfein (talk) 18:24, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
If scholars regard the Nevillean stuff as pseudoscholarship, we need to be upfront about that. You are once again trying for a WP:PROFRINGE pov-push. Alexbrn (talk) 18:33, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
We have many quotes from well-known professional scholars in the article. Kathman's opinions have by far the lowest weight compared with them. He is an independent scholar with very limited publications, especially since we are quoting what he wrote in 2007. Regardless, this is unnecessary invective and not appropriate for the stance of WP:NPOVKfein (talk) 18:41, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
I have explained why it's needed. I'll not respond to your WP:BLUDGEONING unless consensus changes. Alexbrn (talk) 18:43, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
Constantly accusing me of WP:BLUDGEONING when I am substantively discussing things in Talk is inappropriate and a form of WP:HA.Kfein (talk) 18:50, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

Kathman's work is widely published and he's a recognized expert in this area. He holds a Ph.D. in linguistics and has concentrated his scholarly output on Shakespeare over the past two decades. His expert opinion is relevant. A neutral treatment of this topic does not require us to pretend that experts see it as anything more than pseudoscholarship. Bomagosh (talk) 19:17, 3 January 2020 (UTC)

As I said, he is an independent scholar like John Casson was (Casson passed away). Kathman's views should have proper weight as they do in the article. That does not mean we need to include his harsh invective when his actual substantive arguments are clearly provided. Kathman specializes in the Shakespeare Authorship Question, and he is involved with many polemic activities in that regard. So his invectives should not be given equal weight to professional Shakespeare scholars employed by universities. Kfein (talk) 19:45, 3 January 2020 (UTC)
"So his invectives should not be given equal weight to professional Shakespeare scholars employed by universities." Sorry, but you're not the arbiter of what is or what isn't a reliable source for this article. Professor David Kathman wrote the entry for the SAQ for Shakespeare: An Oxford Guide (2003), Oxford: Oxford University Press. No "professional Shakespeare scholars employed by universities" tops him in expertise on this topic. A search of Google Scholar turns up 86 results of articles authored by David Kathman, all save one actually by him, and a raw search that indicates citations and other mentions brings up 2,910 results.
And just a reminder: this topic is under Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions, and the awareness criteria for all editors on this page have been met. Tom Reedy (talk) 00:13, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
Precisely what I said, he is a specialist in the Shakespeare Authorship Question. What I suggested above is leaving in his substantive comments and removing the invective. If he is a professor employed by a university like Brian Vickers, Jonathan Bate, and MacDonald Jackson, I apologize for my error. In this article people are being identified by their professional status, and he is not. This is an inconsistency in how this page is written. My behavior has been above reproach, all of my edits are outstanding, and you have consistently and constantly engage in a pattern of WP:HA as I have documented above. Please cease immediately. Kfein (talk) 02:12, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
Specifically, John Casson is identified as an "amateur scholar". Kfein (talk) 02:30, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
"My behavior has been above reproach, all of my edits are outstanding, and you have consistently and constantly engage in a pattern of WP:HA as I have documented above. Please cease immediately." I have no clue what you are referring to, but if you have a complaint about another editor, WP:ANI is the place to seek redress. Tom Reedy (talk) 02:42, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
I am following these guidelines Wikipedia:Civility#Dealing_with_incivility by explaining to you, each and every time, how I find your comments inappropriate. Kfein (talk) 02:50, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
Explain, clearly but kindly, exactly what you felt was uncivil. Sometimes it helps to let the other editor know how their edit made you feel. Editors are not mind-readers. ("That made me feel..." is much less likely to incite more anger or resentment than "Your post was...") Sounds exactly like you. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:26, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
It would be nice if instead of leaning how to sealion, you’d spend as much time studying WP:NPOV, WP:OR, and WP:FRINGE. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:38, 4 January 2020 (UTC)

:And FYI, both Alexbrn and Kfein are correct. See WP:EVALFRINGE: Claims derived from fringe theories should be carefully attributed to an appropriate source and located within a context—e.g. "There are extreme academic views such as those of Jacques Halbronn, suggesting at great length and with great complexity that Nostradamus's Prophecies are antedated forgeries written by later hands with a political axe to grind." Such claims may contain or be followed by qualifiers to maintain neutrality—e.g. "Although Halbronn possibly knows more about the texts and associated archives than almost anybody else alive (he helped dig out and research many of them), most other specialists in the field reject this view."—but restraint should be used with such qualifiers to avoid giving the appearance of an overly harsh or overly critical assessment. This is particularly true within articles dedicated specifically to fringe ideas: Such articles should first describe the idea clearly and objectively, then refer the reader to more accepted ideas, and avoid excessive use of point-counterpoint style refutations. It is also best to avoid hiding all disputations in an end criticism section, but instead work for integrated, easy to read, and accurate article prose. Tom Reedy (talk) 00:52, 4 January 2020 (UTC)

I feel that when you say things like "It would be nice if instead of leaning how to sealion" you are engaging in WP:PA by not following this rule: "Comment on content, not on the contributor." When you direct comments like that to me personally, instead of dealing with the content of what I am saying, I interpret it as uncivil. Kfein (talk) 03:50, 4 January 2020 (UTC)
And I feel that at least half of your talk page comments are you complaining about how other editors are targeting you and the rest are condescendingly telling us how excellent your edits are and that you completely understand and abide by fringe and POV policies while simultaneously trying to make this fringe topic look more important and accepted than it is. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:13, 4 January 2020 (UTC)

Problem with Deletion of Properly Sourced Content[edit]

We had a recent deletion of three parts of the article with no justification whatsoever. Just to remind people the standards of Wikipedia from WP:FRINGE:

The relative space that an article devotes to different aspects of a fringe theory should follow from consideration primarily of the independent sources.

This means that we should look at independent sources to determine which aspects of a fringe theory to include. All of the deleted sections were sourced to independent WP:RS, some of them to multiple WP:RS

There is nowhere in Wikipedia guidelines that suggests that specific each and every aspects of the Fringe Theory mentioned in the article should only be included only if criticism of that specific point can be found. We are instructed to "describe the idea clearly and objectively, then refer the reader to more accepted ideas". There is plenty of context in the article now to the more accepted idea that Shakespeare-wrote-Shakespeare.

The wholesale deletion of content that is sourced to WP:RS, in many cases to multiple WP:RS is inappropriate and not in-line with Wikipedia editing guidelines. Kfein (talk) 16:50, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

Except that as has been explained for NPOV that we can only include these fringe ideas if we can describe them in their proper context with respect to established scholarship and the beliefs of the wider world. You added this content, and when it was removed you reverted it right back in. What gives? Alexbrn (talk) 16:55, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
As I have explained to you, the article gives plenty of broader context. You are not following the Wikipedia guidelines in this coordinated vandalism of the article. Once again "describe the idea clearly and objectively, then refer the reader to more accepted ideas". WP:NPOV means to describe the theory from a neutral standpoint and then put it into context. By deleting the duly sourced RS, you are not doing that. Kfein (talk) 16:59, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
btw, vandalizing *removing duly sourced content with the effect of damaging* the article in an attempt with others to goad me into engaging in an "edit war" is an extraordinary abuse of the Wikipedia process. Kfein (talk) 17:05, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
You'd better read WP:NOTVAND. If you actually read/understood the relevant policy you'd know - to repeat - we can only include these fringe ideas if we can describe them in their proper context with respect to established scholarship and the beliefs of the wider world. You are wanting to put fringe talking points into Wikipedia with no rebuttal from respected scholars. Alexbrn (talk) 17:08, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
Of course it is a form of vandalism *damaging the article by skewing its WP:NPOV by removing duly sourced content*. The wholesale deletion of duly sourced content that meets each and every Wikipedia standard is vandalism *wholly inappropriate*. Once again, you have provided no reference to any Wikipedia guideline for your assertion. You have just invented a policy and then are trying to impose it on this article. If an independent RS references an aspect of a theory, it appropriate to include in the article. It actually is NOT correct by Wikipedia guidelines to do point-counterpoint on each and every aspect of the theory. What you are suggesting is contrary to Wikipedia guidelines. You are engaged in a coordinated effort to distort the WP:NPOV of the article by failing to "describe the idea clearly and objectively". Kfein (talk) 17:12, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
Enough is enough, Kfein. You've gone way over the line with your tendentious editing. Calling reversions of your edits "coordinated vandalism of the article" is the final straw. You're assuming bad faith and this is a personal attack. Carlstak (talk) 17:15, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
Kfein Would you please supply diffs so we know what you're talking about? Tom Reedy (talk) 17:16, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

I am not sure how to format this propertly using the diff but these two paragraphs were deleted from the article and this sentence:

James and Rubinstein argue that Neville's imprisonment in the Tower of London from 1601 to 1603 explains the tragic tone of Hamlet and the plays that follow. Wiant 2005 Keys 2005.Alberge 2005. Amateur scholar John Casson similarly argues that "Neville’s life mirrors the arc of Shakespeare’s career, particularly his imprisonment in 1601 after the Essex rebellion and subsequent political downfall". Flood 2018.
James and Rubinstein write that since Neville was a director of the Virginia Company, he would have been able to read the confidential letter by William Strachey that describes the Bermuda Shipwreck of 1609, that is considered a source for The Tempest.BBC News 2005.Alberge 2005.
They further argue that "the writer Ben Jonson was involved in putting Shakespeare's name on the on that first edition and, at the time , he was employed by a college in London associated with the Neville family." Keys 2005

Kfein (talk) 17:22, 5 January 2020 (UTC) As anyone can see from the above the deleted sentences are sourced to WP:RS, attributed to the people making the claims. They explain major aspects of the Neville theory. There is plenty of "rebuttal content" to the theory in the article. These are completely appropriate things to include in the article. Their wholesale deletion is inappropriate and violates WP:NPOV. Call it "vandalism" call it what you will. Kfein (talk) 17:25, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

Evidently we can add WP:NOTVAND to the big pile of links editors have given you, only for you to blow right past them. You have not engaged at all with my point. You are welcome to try and gain consensus but it's not going to work because Wikipedia does not indulge WP:PROFRINGE editing. I shall not reply here again unless consensus changes. Alexbrn (talk) 17:28, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
Please cease you WP:PA. " Comment on content, not on the contributor. " Kfein (talk) 17:30, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

Carlstak I am not suggesting "malicious intent" as motivation for the deletions.Kfein (talk) 17:37, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

This is the other sentence deleted previously. All duly sourced and appropriate for this article:

James and Rubinstein also suggest that Shakespeare's plays portray many of Neville's ancestors, who played major roles in British history, in a particularly favourable light. REF: Keys 2005. REF:Alberge 2005. Kfein (talk) 17:47, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of everything that can be sourced. You must also have a consensus for inclusion. In this case, it seems that most editors (including myself) believe that the content you'd like to include does not agree with WP:PROFRINGE or WP:UNDUE. You need to find some consensus compromise, and it does not seem likely that simply arguing that everyone else is damaging the article is going to get you there. - MrOllie (talk) 18:15, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
These aren't even close calls, really. These are the major arguments made by the Neville theory and they were sourced to multiple sources in the article. The article is supposed to provide an objective description of the theory and then put that into an overall context. By deleting these essential bits, the article no longer does that. There is nothing "indiscriminate" about this content.
The only argument made is that this content shouldn't be included because there is no rebuttal content on each specific point. But that is not a Wikipedia standard at all. Kfein (talk) 18:21, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
The accusation of WP:PROFRINGE is completely inappropriate. All of these are sourced to independent WP:RS. Kfein (talk) 18:24, 5 January 2020 (UTC)


I have fully protected the article for one week due to the editing dispute. Protection may be lifted sooner if some agreement can be reached here. Consider the steps of WP:Dispute resolution. Be aware there is no inherent right to include sourced content; the provisions of WP:DUE apply. The selection of material to include is up to the consensus of editors. EdJohnston (talk) 20:47, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

Summarizing the Current Dispute About Inclusion of Content[edit]

Here are the four sections of the article that were deleted:

James and Rubinstein argue that Neville's imprisonment in the Tower of London from 1601 to 1603 explains the tragic tone of Hamlet and the plays that follow. Wiant 2005 Keys 2005.Alberge 2005. Amateur scholar John Casson similarly argues that "Neville’s life mirrors the arc of Shakespeare’s career, particularly his imprisonment in 1601 after the Essex rebellion and subsequent political downfall". Flood 2018.
James and Rubinstein write that since Neville was a director of the Virginia Company, he would have been able to read the confidential letter by William Strachey that describes the Bermuda Shipwreck of 1609, that is considered a source for The Tempest.BBC News 2005.Alberge 2005.
James and Rubinstein also suggest that Shakespeare's plays portray many of Neville's ancestors, who played major roles in British history, in a particularly favourable light. REF: Keys 2005. REF:Alberge 2005.
They further argue that "the writer Ben Jonson was involved in putting Shakespeare's name on the on that first edition and, at the time , he was employed by a college in London associated with the Neville family." Keys 2005

All four are duly sourced to independent WP:RS. Most to multiple sources. They are the some of the "main arguments" made by proponents of the Neville theory. They are not given undue weight and they are attributed precisely to who makes those claims.

It is not necessary in the article to counter each and every aspect of the theory with a counterclaim. In fact, that is the opposite of what is suggested by WP:FRINGE. What is necessary is to pick topics for inclusion that are referenced by independent (non-proponent) WP:RS.

Of course we must use editorial judgment in choose what to include. The four things above are major aspects of the Neville theory, both as explained by proponents, and as commented on by others. Unfortunately, I am limited in what external WP:RS I can bring into this discussion, since we are confining ourselves to sources specifically about Neville theory. If one were to investigate, however, one would see that these are all mainstream topics discussed in the scholarly literature *independently of the Shakespeare authorship question*. The change in tone of Shakespeare's plays, Shakespeare's access to the Strachey letter, and even the portrayal of Neville ancestors all have extensive third-party research.

This is not even a controversial statement. No one would dispute even a word in this:

James and Rubinstein write that since Neville was a director of the Virginia Company, he would have been able to read the confidential letter by William Strachey that describes the Bermuda Shipwreck of 1609, that is considered a source for The Tempest.BBC News 2005.Alberge 2005.

These are topics of interest in general. Mentioning them in this article while maintaining WP:NPOV is not just appropriate, it is *necessary* for WP:NPOV. If we do not, then we are not providing an objective and neutral description of the Neville theory, which is the purpose of the article.

The argument made for not including them is not valid. We are not supposed to engage in point-counterpoint on every single aspect of the Neville theory. See WP:FRINGE:

This is particularly true within articles dedicated specifically to fringe ideas: Such articles should first describe the idea clearly and objectively, then refer the reader to more accepted ideas, and avoid excessive use of point-counterpoint style refutations. It is also best to avoid hiding all disputations in an end criticism section, but instead work for integrated, easy to read, and accurate article prose.

The article is filled, from beginning to end, with critical commentary on the Neville theory. There is no concern at all about these short statements skewing the WP:NPOV in the slightest. Removing them, however, does skew the WP:NPOV by making the article into a polemic instead of a neutral exposition of the Neville theory. Note, the article must main neutrality while at the same time reflecting the current scholarly consensus on this issue. It must do *both* to meet Wikipedia standards. Kfein (talk) 21:59, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

I don't think you understand what "context" means, and the idea that you are the only editor here with the correct interpretation of WP:NPOV and WP:FRINGE when you can't seem to be bothered to master how to correctly use diffs is risible. I've been too busy with rl lately to get involved with this much, and a few previous comments have caused me to tap the brakes on both editing and commenting on this article and rely upon other editors to engage with you about this, but when the decks clear a bit I plan to contribute to the article to try to bring it up to at least a "C" standard. Hopefully by then you'll have read and understood what the policies and guidelines are saying and be able to work in a more collegial manner in line with Wikipedia's purpose. You might want to read WP:TENDENTIOUS and WP:CRUSH and see if you can spot any of your behaviors and take appropriate action. Tom Reedy (talk) 22:02, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
Once again, please stop with your WP:PA and focus on the issue at hand. Or disengage with the discussion. Your behavior is completely inappropriate and WP:HA. Kfein (talk) 22:05, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for that prompt reply that perfectly illustrates my point. You're just not getting it. Tom Reedy (talk) 22:14, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
This isn't an RFC - an RFC description is fairly short, neutrally worded, and asks a clear question. This is so long it has broken the RFC listing page. This should probably be delisted. - MrOllie (talk) 22:32, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
I deleted the tag, if there is another step required to delist it, please do so. Kfein (talk) 22:57, 5 January 2020 (UTC)
No, Legobot detects the tag removal and carries out all necessary delists. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 23:43, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

I will leave it to others more familiar with the RfC formatting to create one if they think it appropriate. What happened here is I wrote this, saw the suggestion to create an RfC, and tried to repurpose it for that. In any case, this post is a clear statement of my position on this dispute. Kfein (talk) 23:56, 5 January 2020 (UTC)

It's been a struggle to find WP:RS for this article because the Nevillian theory is simply not very notable. Few articles of any kind have been published in journals, almost all of which are critical of the theory. There are only a few dozen people who are actively researching the theory; perhaps a hundred or so who believe it. Personally I do not think it should even have its own WP page, but that question has been tested and consensus reached. But the lack of WP:RS does not allow us to substitute non-RS in an attempt to comprehensively discuss the topic; to me it seems like the topic is not ripe for as comprehensive treatment as is envisioned. Bomagosh (talk) 02:02, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
Other SAQ theories that have individual pages (the most popular being Sir Francis Bacon; Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford; Christopher Marlowe; and William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby; have much more extensive sources and histories. That does not make them any less fringe theories, but they have been covered much more comprehensively by reliable sources. There is little reason to believe that the Nevillian theory has the staying power these other theories have demonstrated. Bomagosh (talk) 02:40, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
All of the above are WP:RS. Higher quality academic articles and books are preferable, and they are used in this article when available. But this article needs to accurately and objectively describe the Neville theory based on the sources available right now. Kfein (talk) 02:52, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
"this article needs to accurately and objectively describe the Neville theory based on the sources available right now." No, only WP:RS. (talk) 14:06, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
All of the sources are WP:RS. That is not in dispute whatsoever.Kfein (talk) 15:09, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

Another Academic RS on Neville Theory - Oxford Companion to Shakespeare[edit]

The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare. ed Arthur Kinney, 2012, Page 16-17, Chapter 1 "Authorship" by Hugh Craig:

A further recent candidate is Sir Henry Neville (1564-1615). Brenda James and William Rubinstein, writing in 2005, contended that Neville's experiences, such as travel on the Continent and imprisonment in the Tower, correspond with uncanny exactness to the materials of the plays and their order.

Here is Hugh Craig:

Kfein (talk) 03:16, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

Hopefully you didn't stop reading there. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:49, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
The quote relates directly to this which was deleted from the article, this WP:RS can be added for further sourcing:
James and Rubinstein argue that Neville's imprisonment in the Tower of London from 1601 to 1603 explains the tragic tone of Hamlet and the plays that follow. Wiant 2005 Keys 2005.Alberge 2005. Amateur scholar John Casson similarly argues that "Neville’s life mirrors the arc of Shakespeare’s career, particularly his imprisonment in 1601 after the Essex rebellion and subsequent political downfall". Flood 2018. Kfein (talk) 03:51, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

Henry Neville's Ancestors in Shakespeare's Plays[edit]

As I have explained, the question of Henry Neville's ancestors in Shakespeare's plays is a historical question that has been tackled completely outside of the Shakespeare Authorship Question. In this book by Cambridge University Press there is a whole chapter on "The Nevilles":

I am not suggesting we do WP:OR, even though this is a gold standard WP:RS on the subject, since it does not deal with the authorship question. But the fact that this specific topic relating to Neville aligns with mainstream scholarship on the subject increases its relative importance and argues for its inclusion in the article. Once again, this is the sentence that was deleted, even though it was double-sourced:

James and Rubinstein also suggest that Shakespeare's plays portray many of Neville's ancestors, who played major roles in British history, in a particularly favourable light. REF: Keys 2005. REF:Alberge 2005.

Kfein (talk) 03:38, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

Any secondary sources to analyse the Neville fans' fringe ideas in this regard? If not, silence would probably be best as we don't want to air nonsenses on Wikipedia that have garnered no attention from proper scholars. Alexbrn (talk) 12:11, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
Once again, to quote WP:FRINGE:
avoid excessive use of point-counterpoint style refutations.
It is an incorrect understanding of the Wikipedia guidelines that each and every aspect of the Neville theory must be commented upon by a non-proponent in order to be included in the article. Such comments should not be given undue weight, but the proposal is for one short sentence. Kfein (talk) 15:05, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
I won't quote policy again, because you obviously have a severe case of WP:IDHT and will only try to WP:WIKILAWYER cherry-picked bits of the WP:PAGs that suit your desired outcome, in a way which incidentally mirrors Nevillian "research". And no, we don't do point/counterpoint, and the way to avoid that is to simply reflect good secondary sources, where they exist. Alexbrn (talk) 15:10, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
My desired outcome is the article following the Wikipedia guidelines and the article should "first describe the idea clearly and objectively". Ignoring aspects of the theory which are referenced in good secondary sources because there are no critical secondary sources is not WP:NPOV. It is actually the opposite of WP:NPOV and is a form of cherry-picking. "Mirroring Nevillian 'research'" is what this article is supposed to do, based on independent secondary sources, it is an article on the Neville theory. That is our job to describe it and put it in context. Kfein (talk) 15:17, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
You are welcome to try and overturn consensus but I suggest first reading WP:1AM to maybe get a WP:CLUE about why NPOV isn't what you seem to think it is ... Alexbrn (talk) 15:21, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
There is no consensus on this issue. That is why this page is locked by an administrator.Kfein (talk) 15:26, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
The page was locked because of an editing dispute. That does not mean there isn't consensus. So far as I can determine you are the only editor who wants to include extra Nevillian talking points without some sensible context. You've got some persuading to do. Alexbrn (talk) 15:33, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
I want to include core aspects of the theory that are referenced in multiple independent sources -- because that is what we are tasked to do by Wikipedia guidelines. I have no interest in persuading anyone of anything ever. Kfein (talk) 17:00, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

It is an incorrect understanding of the Wikipedia guidelines that each and every aspect of the Neville theory must be commented upon by a non-proponent in order to be included in the article.

It is an incorrect understanding of the Wikipedia guidelines that each and every aspect of the Neville theory must be included in the article. According to WP fringe policy—all of it—these articles should just be a statement of what they are, that the academics say it's shite, and that's about it, no going into details about their arguments. Most of the various SAQ pages blatantly violate policy. Tom Reedy (talk) 18:21, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

I don't know who you are referencing, but I never, ever suggested that "each and every aspect of the Neville theory must be included in the article". Kfein (talk) 19:17, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

RSN AfC results[edit]

There is strong consensus that the four listed books by Brenda James, William Rubinstein, John Casson, Mark Bradbeer, James Leyland, and James Goding should not be used in the Nevillean theory of Shakespeare authorship article as reliable sources for the claims within the books. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:17, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

Everyone should note this bit, which is actually the important point:
As with any questionable source, a limited amount of appropriately attributed content from the books may be used under WP:ABOUTSELF to explain what the theory is. The amount of weight assigned to uncontroversial claims regarding these books should be proportional to the amount of coverage these books have received in independent reliable sources.Kfein (talk) 15:08, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
And with most of the fringe talking points, the correction proportion is zero. What we have at the moment is ample for an encyclopedia article. Remember, we are meant to provide a summary of accepted knowledge regarding this "theory", not an exposition of it. As a counter to WP:PROFRINGE POV-pushing, remember the guidance: if the only statements about a fringe theory come from the inventors or promoters of that theory, then "What Wikipedia is not" rules come into play. Alexbrn (talk) 15:16, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
We are specifically instructed in the Wikipedia guidelines to provide an exposition of it, based on independent secondary sources. Kfein (talk) 15:20, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
If there are proper WP:SECONDARY sources then that would be great - in particular they need to have some "analysis, evaluation, interpretation, or synthesis" to be such a source. Uncritical puff-pieces in Newspapers don't count. Alexbrn (talk) 15:38, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
Articles in newspapers like The Times count. There is no requirement that a WP:RS be critical of the content.Kfein (talk) 16:51, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
Yet again I point you at policy and quote it, and you completely ignore what it says. A newspaper article could be a secondary source but ones that just act as neutral conduits for relaying views lack the "analysis, evaluation, interpretation, or synthesis" which, for Wikipedia, characterize secondary sources. Also "critical" does not necessarily mean "adversely critical". We have some good secondary sources and we are using them. More would be good, but we're not going to be giving fringey Nevillian views a "free hit". Alexbrn (talk) 17:05, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
All of the newspaper and other articles we reference on the page meet those criteria. None are acting as "neutral conduits". They are all proper journalism on the topic. Kfein (talk) 17:10, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
Unfortunately for your argument, I have read them. The newspaper articles you are so keen to use have no "analysis, evaluation, interpretation, or synthesis" that we could use (Apart from Vickers' evaluation). Alexbrn (talk) 17:14, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
They have all of those things. You have just invented a standard where objective reporters are supposed to write biased articles. And if they are not biased, then they do not meet your criteria. Bias does not exclude something from being WP:RS but it is not a requirement for WP:RS. Kfein (talk) 19:19, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
The Keys article is particularly problematic. There is no balance, it states inaccurate claims of the fringe theory as fact ("The political content and geographical location of the plays are a perfect reflection of the known travels of Neville, a highly educated diplomat and politician who lived from 1562 to 1615 and came from Berkshire." Does anyone believe that they are a "perfect reflection?"). It is an example of a "neutral conduit;" Keys seems to have typed up the press release for the book without any active reporting. What's important to grasp is that WP:RS is not met merely by an article being published in a periodical (like The Independent) that typically or frequently publishes reliable material. There is a need for judgment by the editor. What makes the source reliable, actually, is evidence that the article was the subject of active inquiry. Bomagosh (talk) 20:12, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

You need to actually read WP:ABOUTSELF before going further, especially exceptions 1 and 5. Tom Reedy (talk) 19:28, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

That is not relevant in the slightest to the question at hand. The issue is if someone like David Kathman or MacDonald Jackson misrepresent the contents of James and Rubinstein's book, can we check the book to see what James/Rubinstein actually say, or do we need to only use their representation of what James/Rubinstein say. This is a separate issue from whether we include their commentary on what James/Rubinstein say. But do we need to have the actual content of James/Rubinstein filtered through him. The answer is no, we can refer to the original source in this circumstance. I know these are subtle distinctions, and I am doing my best to explain them in simple terms with concrete examples. Kfein (talk) 19:41, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
Please see this for the types of egregious errors I am talking about Talk:Nevillean_theory_of_Shakespeare_authorship#Errors_in_Macdonald_P._Jackson's_Article.
You're arguing that the source is not reliable. If Jackson's article is filled with egregious errors, it should not be used as a source for this article. Bomagosh (talk) 20:20, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
He is a famous professor of Shakespeare studies and it was published in a reputable journal. It is hard to argue that it is not WP:RS. It's not like the Kells book where Kells is not an expert on the subject and it wasn't published by an academic press. My point is that these articles need to be checked for accuracy because they are written as polemics. We can't perpetuate errors. My other point is that the newspaper articles are actually fact-checked and more accurate since they are not trying to push an agenda. Kfein (talk) 20:28, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
It IS hard to argue that it's not a reliable source - but that's what you're doing. If an article "is filled with egregious errors," it's not reliable, no matter who wrote it or where it's published. As an editor you can decide that the article is not a reliable source, and not use it, and argue that it should not be used. But you cannot cure the egregious errors by introducing non-reliable sources into a WP article that, through your own independent research, you've determined are correct. If you do not have reliable sources for a point, it should not be in a WP article. It's clear that you do not have a consensus supporting your shoehorning this information into the article. Bomagosh (talk) 21:45, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
My further point is that when Tom Reedy says that "the academics say it's sh***," he is referencing academics who appear to have no interest in getting the facts correct and no apparent judgment on these matters. They are still academics though! And by your standard, all of the sources in Shakespeare Authorship Question would need to be removed because they are so full of errors and misrepresentations. Kfein (talk) 20:35, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
MacDonald Jackson made no errors in his critique of James and Rubinstein, and any historical errors (if there are any, I'm certainly not going to take a POV-pusher's word for it) can be assigned to the noted English historian Mark Greengrass, who wrote the ODNB article that Mac consulted.
And just en passant, the Kells book is perfectly usable. If you don't think so, take it to WP:RSN. Tom Reedy (talk) 21:53, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
newspaper articles are actually fact-checked and more accurate since they are not trying to push an agenda. lol! "fact-checked"! Tom Reedy (talk) 22:07, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
So if a scholar makes egregious errors it is not their fault, it is the fault of the encyclopedia they copied from? And David Kathman doesn't appear to know what the Northumberland Manuscript is and he invents this crazy theory that Katherine Neville owned it? Anyone who has studied these subjects can't take these people seriously. But that's not our concern here. Kfein (talk) 23:01, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
Guess what? Scholarship doesn't claim inerrancy, and never has a book been written without errors. A few quibbles about Henry Neville's parliamentary career doesn't invalidate Jackson's credentials to criticize a fringe theory that has no evidence whatsoever that literary scholars and historians accept. Tom Reedy (talk) 23:06, 6 January 2020 (UTC)
If the fringe theory is so weak, why do people need to make up fake facts to attack it? Seems like actual facts would do better. Katherine Neville! btw, when did Southampton reach the age of majority? Kfein (talk) 23:27, 6 January 2020 (UTC)

And David Kathman doesn't appear to know what the Northumberland Manuscript is and he invents this crazy theory that Katherine Neville owned it?

Good god! Is that whay you think he says? Have someone read the review and explain it to you what he is saying. Tom Reedy (talk) 02:04, 7 January 2020 (UTC)

Fortunately, it's on JSTOR for all time, so anyone can read it for themselves. And fortunately, photos of the manuscript with complete transcription are available on That's been available for over 100 years... The way Wikipedia operates, we are essentially pretending we are living in 2005. We are not living in 2005. This whole thing is a farce, but at least we are creating a historical record of what's going on. That has some value, I think. Kfein (talk) 02:46, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
The view was settled in 2005: that the theory is, as Tom Reedy colourfully put it, shite. The academic community has evidently found no reason to revise its view and the only thing that has continued is some pathological pseudoscholarship of no interest to Wikipedia. Apparently the number of scholars working on this "theory" is: zero. If what is published in mainstream sources changes, get back to us. Until then Wikipedia must treat this topic like it treats any other fringe topic. Alexbrn (talk) 06:55, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
Going back to wiki principals:
If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts;
If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents;
If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small minority, it does not belong on Wikipedia, regardless of whether it is true or you can prove it, except perhaps in some ancillary article.
this is clearly a viewpoint in the third category; this is intended to be "some ancillary article." Much of this article in its current form is cobbled together from reflections of negative comments made in reliable sources, and Kfein claims many of these are erroneous. To me that argues for substantially scaling back this article to a bare bones summary of salient features, and a brief summary of the short history of this theory. Any more than that is giving it undue weight. (talk) 15:04, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
If the standard we are to use for Shakespeare scholarship is we cannot uses sources with errors in them, then we would need to delete all the pages on Wikipedia about Shakespeare. The Shakespeare Authorship Question article cites Shapiro's Contested Will dozens of times. That book has more egregious errors than MacDonald Jackson or David Kathman. The other WP:RS in that article are even worse. The problem is the whole field is a mess. People need to read WP:FRINGE to find out what we are supposed to do instead of making up their own criteria and postulating them as Wikipedia standards. Kfein (talk) 15:39, 7 January 2020 (UTC)
It really is very funny that people who aren't deeply involved in these issues simply trust these "scholars" and their judgments, when actually the arguments they offer don't mean even the most basic scholarly standards. Really quite a sad situation and puts Wikipedia in a Catch-22. See this for a particularly egregious example of James Shapiro doing junk scholarship that wouldn't pass muster in a high school research paper: Talk:Spelling_of_Shakespeare's_name#James_Shapiro's_Theory_About_Typesetting_-_Proposed_Deletion This constant talk about these great scholars and their great opinions... they don't stand up to any scrutiny whatsoever. Kfein (talk) 20:35, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
On the other hand, there's a good reason why we don't follow the people who ARE deeply involved in "these issues." Tom Reedy (talk) 22:51, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
I was referring to you as someone deeply involved in these issues. Kfein (talk) 23:35, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
WP:PA "Comment on content, not on the contributor." Bomagosh (talk) 03:03, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for standing up for me Bomagosh.Kfein (talk) 23:44, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

RFC: Should these aspects of the Henry Neville authorship theory be included in the article[edit]

Should these aspects of the Neville authorship theory be included in the article:

James and Rubinstein also suggest that Shakespeare's plays portray many of Neville's ancestors, who played major roles in British history, in a particularly favourable light. REF: Keys 2005. REF:Alberge 2005.

James and Rubinstein write that since Neville was a director of the Virginia Company, he would have been able to read the confidential letter by William Strachey that describes the Bermuda Shipwreck of 1609, that is considered a source for The Tempest. REF: BBC News 2005. REF:Alberge 2005.

Kfein (talk) 16:54, 7 January 2020 (UTC)


  • No. Per WP:NPOV for fringe ideas: "we merely omit this information where including it would unduly legitimize it, and otherwise include and describe these ideas in their proper context with respect to established scholarship and the beliefs of the wider world." Since there are no secondary sources that give context for these particular fringe views, they should be omitted – the news sources available offer no analysis or interpretation as would be found in proper WP:SECONDARY sources and merely relay the fringe views of the proponents. The article already has a good exposition of the fringe proponents' arguments without going into undue detail. Alexbrn (talk) 06:34, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Yes. Per WP:FRINGE, which actually relates to this specific article: "is is particularly true within articles dedicated specifically to fringe ideas: Such articles should first describe the idea clearly and objectively, then refer the reader to more accepted ideas, and avoid excessive use of point-counterpoint style refutations." To describe the idea "clearly and objectively" major aspects of the theory must be described. There is plenty of content in the article to contextualize the Fringe theory. It is not necessary to engage in point/counterpoint on every aspect of the theory, and in fact, it is discouraged by Wikipedia guidelines. The news sources describe the major aspects of the theory which must be included to describe it "clearly and objectively". Kfein (talk) 08:10, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No. The Keys and Alberge articles appear to be mere churnalism not meeting the minimum standard of WP:RS.Bomagosh (talk) 12:46, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No. Per Alexbrn and Bomagosh. "Churnalism" indeed. This from David Keys turned my stomach: "But the new suggestion is backed by a vast amount of startling evidence suggesting that Neville, a man never before associated with the mystery, wrote all the plays attributed to Shakespeare." Ugh. Carlstak (talk) 15:45, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
  • No. There are enough higher quality sources to write a decent article with proper context, there's no reason to pull in this low-tier stuff. - MrOllie (talk) 20:40, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Yes Although this obviously doesn't belong in the main Shakespeare article, there is a place in this article for this information. The article should give a rounded view of the theory, even the more out there parts.HAL333 23:50, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment. The BBC source mentioned above does not describe the long 'Bermuda Shipwreck' letter as confidential. Besides, how much detail would one actually need to set the Tempest in the "still vexed Bermoothes" . A little bit of hearsay that tempestous storms there had in the past caused shipwrecks, would be sufficient for both WS and the audience to establish an appropriate setting. The Tempest isn't primarily factual nor about historical/geographical/meterological/nautical matters, rather, it is fantastical and allegorical. The underlying argument here is as silly as thinking that a knowledge of Athens would be either necessary or helpful to the author of "The Dream". This is OR on my part of course, but nonetheless ....!Pincrete (talk) 17:17, 11 January 2020 (UTC)


This is not a biography page, it's a fringe theory page. Tom Reedy (talk) 01:43, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

Errr, guys! Requests for comment (RfC) is a process for requesting outside input concerning disputes, policies, guidelines or article content. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:29, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
I was aware of that, but since Alexbrn put in his piece, I had to put the other side of the argument. Kfein (talk) 16:06, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
RfCs get outside input in addition to those already involved, as it says "All editors (including IP users) are welcome to respond to any RfC". I have never seen any RfC where insiders were discouraged from comment, though I have seen a recent case where the "principals" in a contentious RfC were encouraged to wait a while before contributing, to get outside input first. Alexbrn (talk) 16:21, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

You may want to advertise this in a few more places, like Wikipedia:WikiProject Shakespeare, Wikipedia:WikiProject England, Wikipedia:WikiProject University of Oxford and Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard. Some guidance at Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment#Publicizing_an_RfC. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 17:48, 8 January 2020 (UTC)

We already know the opinions of the editors of this page on this topic, except for me. My answer is yes, it can be included along with the appropriate context, and I've already expressed my thoughts on what that is: a neutral statement of the claim, the reason why academics say it's shite, and that's about it, no going into point-counter-point about the details.
Oh, and the newspaper article is RS, as long as it's put into context. Tom Veal does a good job of doing that. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:51, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
I agree with Veal on the Alberge article, that he describes as 'little more than a condensed version of the “media pack”.' That's churnalism, which should not be treated differently than the underlying press release. (second bullet here:Wikipedia:Reliable_sources#News_organizations). The other listed sources have the same problem.
I also agree with you on the appropriate form of the article: neutral summary of claim + context. But the neutral summary needs to cite and be based on WP:RS. The sources listed for the statements in question -- all from 2005, all apparently based on the media pack -- cannot support their inclusion in a WP article because they're no different than quoting the media pack. If Veal's site was considered a reliable source, it would be far superior to the churnalist articles, but the same problem exists since it's a self-published blog.
We may all agree that the omitted language accurately summarize part of the Nevillian theory. That is not the problem. It's that the only identified independent reliable sources for the claim are a rewrite of the publisher's gushing press pack and a personal blog post. Which (as I have stated before) is an indication that these are not WP:N. Bomagosh (talk) 20:17, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
If one actually reads the Alberge article, it is based mostly on interviews with Rubinstein, who would be a good source to find out the contents of his own book. Each of the above are sourced to two separate sources. Those sources are attempting to summarize the main aspects of the Neville theory. We are instructed WP:FRINGE to provide such an objective summary. The reviewers of the book (Kathman and MacDonald) are oppositional; they are only going to mention aspects of the theory they can argue against (no matter how poor their arguments or how factually inaccurate). They cannot argue against the bare fact that Henry Neville would have had access to the Strachey letter and the bare fact that it was a source for the Tempest. So they exclude it. It's a form of cherry-picking. We need to exercise editorial judgment if we are to be WP:NPOV. Kfein (talk) 20:27, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
"If one actually reads the Alberge article, it is based mostly on interviews with Rubinstein . . ." Correct. So it's indistinguishable from the press pack in terms of reliability. So that, it seems to me, cannot be considered a reliable source. The alternatives provided are no better -- there's no indication that the writers actually read the book; they read the press pack and perhaps called Professor Bate for a quote for balance.
"The reviewers of the book (Kathman and MacDonald) are oppositional . . ." Also correct. All reliable reviews of the book were uniformly negative about every aspect of the work; none mentioned these claims. Though you argue we have to infer that these facts were omitted because they are unarguably true, I'd suggest that they were omitted because they were not notable. In other words, they are such insignificant details that they do not even need to be refuted. For the same reason, they do not need to be included in this article. There are no notable sources for these details, so they must be omitted. It is a form of cherry-picking: WP only allows reliable, notable information. Bomagosh (talk) 21:52, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
"If one actually reads the Alberge article, it is based mostly on interviews with Rubinstein . . ." Can't tell if you're joking. The only thing attributed to Rubinstein is the last sentence, "Professor Rubinstein of University College Wales said: "The coincidences of Neville's dates and the chronology of the plays are so overwhelming, they are compelling in themselves – there are no awkward bits." The rest of the piece is lifted almost verbatim from the media kit. Either we're reading different articles or your confirmation bias kicked up another notch. Tom Reedy (talk) 22:41, 8 January 2020 (UTC)
You are misrepresenting the article and once again engaging in WP:PA. Kfein (talk) 00:00, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
I'm not misrepresenting a goddamn thing, and if you think I'm making personal attacks stop whinging and take it to WP:ANI. Your incessant supercilious and condescending comments about how your every edit and comment is perfectly neutral, every source you want to include is undoubtedly RS, your reading of Wikipedia policies and guidelines are the only correct interpretations, how credentialed and respected scholars are wallowing in error, your constant POV pushing and bludgeoning and peevishly complaining about unfairly you're being treated here are really growing tiresome. File a case or STFU. Tom Reedy (talk) 01:14, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Nice.WP:♠ Bomagosh (talk) 03:03, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Hear, hear. Carlstak (talk) 19:41, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
Have you read "What is considered to be a personal attack?" in WP:PA? I wasn't able find where saying someone seems to have confirmation bias counts. Is questioning someone's belief in a fringe theory the equivalent of attacking their religion? Bomagosh (talk) 01:40, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Additional sentences for deletion[edit]

Based on the negative consensus concerning the Alberge article as a source and the RSN AfC results, I propose removing the following sentences:

"The theory proposes that many aspects of Neville's biography may be seen as relevant, most fundamentally that Neville's dates (1562–1615) are similar to Shakespeare's (1564–1616)." and "As motive for the conspiracy, the Nevilleans argue that a man with Neville's status would not want to have been known as a playwright."

Both sentences are supported by Casson, John, Rubinstein, William D. & Ewald, David (2010); the first is also supported by Alberge. These sources are not reliable; a claim that is only supported by such sources is not a notable part of the theory, even if the theory itself is notable. Bomagosh (talk) 02:28, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

They'll eventually go, but not because of their sources. They're non sequiturs and almost incoherent. I suppose in that way they follow the theory itself. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:50, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
There are no legitimate concerns about the Alberge article being a source. The RSN AfC results do not apply to the source used which is of much higher quality and undeniably WP:RS, since it was edited by a professor and expert in the topic and published by good publisher, includes content by a famous Shakespeare professor, etc. I have explained this previously. We have an academic source the Hammond article makes the same point about Neville's dates we can add that in too to support it or quote him directly. Kfein (talk) 23:59, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
I have explained this previously. Yes, you have. Tom Reedy (talk) 01:17, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
It is appropriate to use Fringe sources to talk about the fringe theory if independent WP:RS mention that aspect of the theory. That was explained in the RSN AfC results and is Wikipedia policy. The book in question is an unquestionable WP:RS and so is the best source possible to use to represent the position of the fringe theory. That is why that reference was added (not by me) to the article. I have offered another independent WP:RS that deals with the same issue. We can find others probably if we look. Kfein (talk) 02:03, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
I wasn't questioning the reference; the insipidness and near-incoherence of the prose is the issue. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:01, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Sir Henry Neville, Alias William Shakespeare[edit]

Should we mention Casson's 2015 book a well? It's not self-published, but I can't find any good coverage. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 12:51, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

Personally, I think the article needs a coherent description of the theory more than anything else. I've been busy with other things lately and haven't had the time to hammer anything out. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:03, 18 January 2020 (UTC)