Talk:Roswell UFO incident

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I am not a UFO believer, but I must say that in order to promote the official or "sane" version of events the article has become comedic in writing. Read the header as of 3/30/2015. The weather balloon mention in sentence one and then sentence/paragraph two almost exactly the same. It's now written like by a paranoid government official who wants to stop Roswell theories. This is not the way to go if it is supposed to look professional. The further parts are no better. The "official explanation" repeated many times. Details about the event and reactions scarce. All in contrast to the media from the day and age also shown. Someone recently rewrote this in what he/she thought was a professional manner, but was anything but. A level of fighting all "paranormal theories" which means this kind of writing really makes a person more paranoid than the believers of those theories, cause why the obsession? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:41, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Firstly, sign your "contributions"

Secondly, try writing in plain English and try writing how you think the article should be, but subject to correction by registered and experienced editors.

And thirdly place in correct position at end of Talk page.

Thank you, David J Johnson (talk) 22:58, 29 March 2015 (UTC)


I have no opinion on what really happened in this incident, but this article suffers from a surprising lack of NPOV. For example, the intro's use of the loaded term 'conspiracy theories', and the phrase 'true nature' suggesting that it's known for certain what actually happened. The article seems to take the view that the latest official explanation is automatically true; whereas in fact the US government has published contradictory accounts of the incident over time, proving what is already obvious, that official accounts are often not true. For example the Hillsborough disaster - were the families and eye witnesses in that merely 'conspiracy theorists'?

Additionally the use of sources in the article is highly selective, such as the intro's quote 'the world's most famous, most exhaustively investigated, and most thoroughly debunked UFO claim' - of course there are numerous quotes from other sources that contradict this. What makes this the appropriate source to summarize the situation? I can tell you why that quote was included: because the editor that chose it believed the quote is true. But the editor's personal opinion should have no bearing on the matter. The sources are many and contradictory and there is no consensus. Suggesting that there is one misrepresents the situation. It is not clear what happened.

It seems to me that given the wide variety of accounts and explanations - official and unofficial - a NPOV version of this article would not state any as 'true' but merely distinguish the official account (or rather, varying official accounts over time) from the alternative ones. Those who are inclined to believe the latest official account - which many may well do - can do so themselves rather than be told by a particular subset of Wikipedia editors (rather than the consensus of sources) that it is 'true'. Ben Finn (talk) 09:57, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Re "because the editor that chose it believed the quote is true" -- which editor in particular are you referring to, and how can you assume to know their beliefs? Also, you may want to take into account the most recent discussion and consensus here. - LuckyLouie (talk) 13:42, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Absolutely agree with LuckyLouie's comments above. David J Johnson (talk) 16:25, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
I am referring naturally to whichever editor put it in. I surmise their beliefs by inference from the fact that they put this rather POV quote in. (Or did the editor add a quote (s)he believed was false?!) But in any case, that quote is just one of many POV aspects of the article.
Re the earlier discussion you reference, I note there was a total of just 3 votes, which is hardly a compelling consensus. If I have time I will propose a few edits to the intro to try and make it less POV. Ben Finn (talk) 17:45, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
For example note this in WP:ASSERT: "When a statement is an opinion (e.g. a matter which is subject to serious dispute or commonly considered to be subjective), it should be attributed in the text to the person or group who holds the opinion." as opposed to "When a statement is a fact (e.g. information that is accepted as true and about which there is no serious dispute), it should be asserted using Wikipedia's own voice without in-text attribution". Since there is endless serious dispute about exactly what happened in this incident - surely we are in agreement on that point? - terms such as 'conspiracy theorist' (which is pretty much a name-calling term like 'idiot') used as statements of fact are not appropriate in this article, according to Wikipedia's rules.Ben Finn (talk) 18:06, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Serious dispute? I don't think so. If so, there'd be divergent positions in WP:RS. As it is, we've got one view (balloon crash) represented in high quality RS (which the article reflects), and the other side (aliens etc.) promoted by assorted conspiracy-thorists, ufologists and fruit-cakes (not RS/DUE). Per WP:PSCI we need to make sure we privilege reality. Alexbrn (talk) 18:13, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
And who's to say which sources are reliable and high-quality in this case? As for 'privileging reality', of course the whole issue disputed by the sources is what the reality of the incident was. (Incidentally, name-calling does not strengthen your argument.) Ben Finn (talk) 18:48, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
We have well-established guidance on WP:RS and a WP:NPOV policy to help decide weight. Alexbrn (talk) 18:54, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, and I don't think it's clear which sources are reliable in this case or the weight to be given. Ben Finn (talk) 19:44, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
What source(s) are you unsure of? Alexbrn (talk) 20:01, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm not assuming any of the sources are particularly more or less reliable than any other; it isn't clear. Ben Finn (talk) 20:08, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
So given on the one hand something like our Olmsted ref - an academic book written by a history professor and published by a university press, and on the other something like Roswell and the Reich: The Nazi Connection[1], you'd be unsure about which was more reliable? That's fine I suppose, so long as you understand that according to Wikipedia's WP:PAGs it is very apparent which is WP:RS for knowledge about this incident. Alexbrn (talk) 20:17, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree that a history professor makes for one reliable source, but not the last word on this topic. How do you feel for example about history professor David M. Jacobs as a reliable source about UFO history, or indeed the reality of alien abductions? Multiple reliable sources must be used, and there are many other serious, diligent researchers (e.g. Stanton Friedman) who are arguably reliable sources for the Roswell topic and take a contrary position to Olmsted. Ben Finn (talk) 20:51, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── David M. Jacobs is a person not a source; last time I checked Friedman hadn't been reliably published. In general, extraordinary claims would need exceptional sourcing. Are there any new sources on the table? Alexbrn (talk) 20:56, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

His books are a source. What counts as 'reliably' published? And are US Air Force press releases a reliable source? 21:01, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
This is very basic. See WP:RS, WP:NPOV and WP:FRINGE for on-point WP:PAGs for this article. Military reports are reliable sources for their own content, but without secondary analysis including them could constitute WP:OR. This discussion is meandering. Are there specific source-backed proposals for changes to improve this article, or are we done here? Alexbrn (talk) 21:05, 30 March 2015 (UTC)


OK, as proposed above I have been bold and had a go at improving the intro to remove POV. I had thought to denote the balloon explanation as the 'official' one and the flying saucer one as the alternative one, until I realized that the flying saucer explanation was actually the first official one. Also the 1994 official mannequin explanation does not seem to be elsewhere in the article so I've added it there too. I've removed the quote mentioned above and terms such as conspiracy theory as POV. Ben Finn (talk) 19:44, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

While pop culture and ufology sources may promote Roswell as "unexplained", the highest quality academic sources (reflected in the article) don't, so we can't give equal weight to fringe and mainstream understandings. Observe that Collapse of the World Trade Center does not read: "The towers of the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001. This gave rise to conflicting claims of an attack by terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda, or alternatively a controlled demolition." - LuckyLouie (talk) 20:22, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Please sign your comments. It would have been more constructive to discuss (or edit further) rather than just making an instant complete reversion. Anyway: the 9/11 analogy does not hold as it is not clear which are the highest quality sources here - how are you forming an opinion of the quality of the sources? What for example makes B.D. Gildenberg objectively a higher-quality 'academic' source than, say, Stanton Friedman? And if you are assuming (as could well be argued) that the official reports ought to count as a high-quality source, note that the US Air Force was the first to claim the crash was of a "flying disc". Ben Finn (talk) 20:06, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, not "flying saucer" which you specified in your intro. It's not odd that a very large deflated balloon collapsed flat on the ground would appear to be disc-shaped and would be described so. It's not odd that when it was identified by someone who could actually identify it, it was then described as being what it actually was -- a balloon. And incidentally, it was not the U.S. Air Force, but the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Moriori (talk) 20:35, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
'Flying disc' was a standard term for flying saucer at the time (the Roswell Daily Record article uses the two interchangeably). I don't think there's much doubt that that's what the original press release meant. Ben Finn (talk) 21:03, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
What you or I think was meant is irrelevant. We are an encyclopedia and are expected to accurately record events. The press release specified "flying disc", not "flying saucer" which subsequently became a widespread usage. That in turn was superseded by UFO, but we wouldn't claim the press release "initially reported that the crash was of a UFO". Moriori (talk) 22:18, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
@Ben Finn, if you're arguing that Stanton Friedman, who claims a government conspiracy to conceal the presence of alien UFOs should somehow be given equal weight with scholarly sources published by Yale University Press, Oxford University Press, and Duke University Press, then I can't help you. - LuckyLouie (talk) 20:48, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Ah, so you explicitly prefer the sources that support your personal opinion on the subject matter? That is POV. I have no opinion on the subject matter. Ben Finn (talk) 20:57, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Seriously? You know what my personal opinions are? Have we met outside Wikipedia? - LuckyLouie (talk) 21:02, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
I know what you suggested just above, viz. that Friedman's theories are false [in your opinion] ergo [in your opinion] he should not be treated as a reliable source. Ben Finn (talk) 21:06, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Ben, NPOV demands proportional treatment of sources, not equal. Moriori (talk) 21:12, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Ben, Please accept the fact that your attempt to change the intro with highly questionable "theories" has not been successful. Other editors value the encyclopedia for its factual content and not fringe theories. Thank you, David J Johnson (talk) 22:32, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
There is no need to be patronising. Thank you. (talk) 18:23, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
There is no "patronising", just a statement of fact. Case closed. David J Johnson (talk) 20:57, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

-The intro needs to be changed. The way it is currently written gives no mention to the Roswell Daily Record as the reason for initial interest by Ufologists. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

'Flying disc' was a standard term for flying saucer at the time (the Roswell Daily Record article uses the two interchangeably). I don't think there's much doubt that that's what the original press release meant. This is not quite true. The term "flying saucer" was coined about a week earlier, and the term lacked the "alien" connotation it now has. A pilot reported seeing a series of objects skipping along in a seemingly coordinated manner in the sky somewhat like saucers skipping over water. The press altered this to "flying saucer" - even though the objects were not described as looking like saucers or discs - and a brief craze was born the Summer of 1947 in search of these "flying saucers," whatever they were. The original Arnold sighting was clearly of a balloon train. Then, Brazel approached the authorities not because he saw an alien "disc" but because he heard there was a reward for the recovery of one and he recalled seeing some unusual junk in a field he managed. The Roswell base, in the spirit of the craze, dutifully reported it had recovered one of these so-called "flying discs" (even though it didn't resemble anything disc-like) and the rest is history.

Now, we have conspiracy authors breathlessly informing us that the original "flying disc/saucer" description came from the Army Air Force, which is trivially true, but highly misleading. The term was applied to unidentified junk, not to a disc-like flying vehicle. And, btw, "conspiracy theories" is an accurate description because we have here a claimed conspiracy whereby government agencies willfully hid information and material they had pointing to an alien visitation and concocted false stories and denials. That is, by definition, a "conspiracy theory." Perhaps the bad connotation comes from the fact that, on its face, material which some of the witnesses described as being tough tin foil and balsa wood with string, ringlets and baked-in-the-sun rubber would not reasonably transport alien creatures bigger than a mouse very far through the interstellar medium. Yet too many conspiracy theorists do exactly that, seizing on descriptions of "super-tough" tinfoil as evidence of aliens. Canada Jack (talk) 22:54, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

I fail to see how 'flying saucer' = a military term for junk. No super tough tin foil doesn't equal aliens but at neither does it mean flying saucer.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

The Day After Roswell[edit]

Are there any users who think that the text in the article about colonel corso's book is undue weight? It can be revised with Klass's words from csicop article as well; no problem to me. It seems that corso's book was discussed in the past also: [2] [3]. However, there seems no "books" section at the times those discussions were held. A brief mention would not be an undue weight imo. Logos (talk) 18:01, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

The undue weight happened when this was added to the lead, which I reverted. But I suppose the Corso mention is OK where it is now, although it might need to be stated as past tense, with a little added context of the skeptical reception (e.g. Klass, Pflock) his claims recieved. - LuckyLouie (talk) 20:09, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

Roswell slides[edit]

A recent notable event (among ufologists) in Mexico occurred concerning so-called "evidence" of the Roswell incident. May be worth a mention here, if not as a separate article. Google News recent -- œ 04:38, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

No, certainly not. Obviously just another hoax.David J Johnson (talk) 07:16, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
Its being a hoax is an encyclopedic info also. Additionally, there is another footage and the mention of $20 fare taken from the audience at the end of the news/article. It seems that there was a dedicated news/article about that footage in february: [4]. Logos (talk) 09:30, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Photo of Alien body-hoax Jcardazzi (talk) 17:16, 14 May 2015 (UTC)jcardazzi