Talk:Explosive ordnance disposal (United States Navy)

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There has been some edit-warring over the claimed "motto", with one editor repeatedly removing it and another repeatedly restoring it, and I blocked both temporarily. Having investigated further, I see the motto is unsourced, and I've had a look and cannot find any evidence to support it - I can't find any mention at the official web site at Also, it does not look like a very likely motto. Unless a reliable source for the motto can be provided, I propose to remove it, and it should not be re-added without providing a source. I have unblocked the two warring editors and will invite them to comment here. -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:32, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

I will attach this source, which is a photo of the bronze Navy EOD plaque at the official Navy Memorial in Washington DC with the motto in quotes. Now that it is sourced, I expect any admins to consider removal of the motto without justification to be vandalism of the page. I have asked the vandal multiple times to take it to the TALK page. My last three reverts were in response to vandalism which is clearly an exception to 3RR; I'll give Boing! the benefit of the doubt that he did not know that. GenericEditorName (talk) 13:28, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Reference added. The photo is from the Historical Marker Database, which clearly shows the motto "Initial Success or Total Failure" is enshrined in the official Navy Memorial in Washington DC. GenericEditorName (talk) 14:09, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I need no benefit of any doubt - whoever is right or wrong, a content dispute is NOT vandalism! Please read WP:Vandalism -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 22:53, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Certainly. It appears there might be a WP:COI issue with some of the recent edits. Note the page does not caveat motto with "official" but the reference I added shows the motto is ingrained in the Navy EOD community (as well as the US EOD community in general). No dictate from an organization should determine what is in a Wikipedia article. I am not in the Navy, nor have I ever been, but I am familiar with the motto, and I have seen the plaque now referenced in the article. GenericEditorName (talk) 04:26, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
The term "motto" is not lightly used in military cadres, for it weighs heavily in questions of tradition and in the definition of collective values. The phrase shown on the imaged memorial may well be a familiar one, but that does not establish it as a motto, rather than just a slogan or catch-phrase. A motto is typically inscribed beneath or above a coat of arms or on a ship's bell. The iconic style of such presentations is highly formalized in heraldic traditions. We would need a reliable source that provides that sort of additional evidence if not an outright statement.

LeadSongDog come howl! 06:28, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree with most of your ideas regarding mottoes, but you are mistaken in you conclusion. The organization in question is not a military organization, but a military profession, with the motto, "Initial Success or Total Failure", which is well established. I don't know who the "we" is in your statement above, but you only speak for yourself, and you don't set the standard for a reliable source, and the one provided meets Wikipedia guidelines. In fact, the motto is the only sourced element of the entire article. GenericEditorName (talk) 13:05, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
The "we" in my above comment are you, I, and all the other wikipeda editors who collectively have established and agreed to follow a set of policies. You're right, it is badly undercited, and that needs fixing. I've just now added a ref for the uncited PD text in the training section. Perhaps, though, I'm missing something. Where in wp:RS is there something to support the idea that any text appearing on a monument is a motto? LeadSongDog come howl! 20:37, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Beyond the fact "Initial Success or Total Failure" is the motto of the EOD community and is common knowledge, that motto in quotes on the EOD plaque at the Navy Memorial is enough to reference it. You seem to be arbitrarily putting too high a threshold on the term "motto." A motto does not have to be official or "highly formalized" as you stated above, it merely needs to be generally accepted by a group. From the Wikipedia page for motto 'In informal ways, it can be a rule or slogan someone follows, or lives their life by.' GenericEditorName (talk) 23:43, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Template:Infobox_military_unit/doc is clear that the parameter is to be used for the "official unit motto". We have a direct assertion that there "is no" official unit motto by an editor who identifies himself as the public affairs officer for that unit. Unless you wish to make a case that he is not (and that should not happen here) I suggest you drop it. Conversely, you could just call the phone number on the page I cited yesterday and ask to speak to him, thereby avoiding any needless ugliness. LeadSongDog come howl! 17:22, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I would agree if we were talking about a unit. We're not. No editor on Wikipedia has more standing than another, and what you have relayed indicates a possible WP:COI issue, not any additional credibility. Feel free to add "unofficial" if you'd like, but I don't think that is necessary. The format you mentioned does not apply to this page since it is not a unit, and Wikipedia clearly indicates mottoes are not always formal. GenericEditorName (talk) 21:11, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
So you'd like to remove the entire infobox? That would certainly make the question of what value to give the parameter rather academic. His COI is declared on his userpage, so it isn't an issue, as long as he follows the rules. Any editor can challenge statements. The wp:BURDEN rests with you, as the re-inserting editor to provide a wp:RS to support the statement. He's advised you no such RS could exist. If despite his advice you can produce a RS, feel free to cite it and reinsert. LeadSongDog come howl! 23:26, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Not at all. Also, no such communication occurred with me. You are mistaken about WP:COI. Biases can certainly be declared, but those with true conflicts of interest are not supposed to be editing WP pages. Do whatever you want. GenericEditorName (talk) 00:04, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

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