Talk:Val Johnson incident

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One main cited source?[edit]

This whole article should be scrapped and redrafted, if not deleted. It violates a ton of WP article criteria and guidelines, not to mention the fact that it's primary "source" seems to be "UFO book" with no external, verifiable sources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:21, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

I agree that the article needs more sources, but I disagree that it needs to be deleted. This is a well-known UFO case (as the article attests), and the "UFO Book", far from being some crank source, won the 1998 Benjamin Franklin Award in the Science/Environment category from the Independent Book Publishers Association, so it's definitely a reputable source (read the Wiki article on Jerome Clark for more information). I would suggest that UFO skeptic Philip Klass's book UFOs: The Public Deceived be used to supplement the source. The article does need more sources, but it shouldn't be deleted, simply edited and revised. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:01, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
Although the article needs more sources, I don't think the current "revision" is necessarily an improvement. Nearly all of the details have been eliminated and the article is now little more than a stub. As for eliminating the "fringe" source, The UFO Encyclopedia is not a fringe source; the encyclopedia received high praise from mainstream publications such as Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, which recommended that academic libraries buy the book for "patrons who are interested in the subject". It has extensive references and footnotes, much of the information in the Val Johnson article is taken directly from newspaper and other media accounts of the incident. As for the article's neutrality, it included references to UFO skeptic Philip Klass's debunking of the incident, so it's hard to argue that the article is biased. For what it's worth, the original version of the article was fine and neutral - it needed more sources, not to be hacked down to a virtual stub with few details. My opinion, of course :). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:56, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
UFO Encyclopedia may have garnered some good reviews, yet I think most will agree we shouldn't source the bulk of the article to it or consider it "authoritative" on UFOs, a subject itself steeped in extraordinary claims. That said, it's reasonable to use it to summarize "what UFOlogists say about X". Any more (lavishly detailed measurements and expert-sounding opinions, etc.) would place undue weight on their POV and is not appropriate. - LuckyLouie (talk) 16:30, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the "bulk" of the article shouldn't come from only one source. However, I don't think that "lavishly detailed measurements" should eliminate some of the basic facts which were eliminated in the rewrite, such as the actual specific details of the incident. I also continue to think that a neutral article that includes the POV of both skeptics and believers would be superior - and would better-inform Wiki readers about the incident - than a stub which basically eliminates all details in favor of a few basic sentences. I would refer to the Wiki articles on the 1952 Washington D.C. UFO incident and the Lubbock Lights as ones which do a good job of presenting thorough details in a neutral, evenhanded manner.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

In short, "details" provided by fringe theorists can't be considered objective facts by Wikipedia, according to WP:FRINGE. In the case of this article, the 'details' were chock full of inventive flights of fancy such as "inward and outward forces acting almost simultaneously" and grade-B spook story devices such as calling attention to "the driver's side headlight was smashed, but not its companion to the left" to advance the notion that the car "was damaged in peculiar ways", etc. I haven't looked closely at those other articles you mention, but if they are sourced mostly to UFOlogists, they don't conform to WP:FRINGE and WP:UNDUE. We add detail according to the degree of notability a subject has gotten from objective sources. The object is not to fill up an article with as many KB we can find, or "balance" both fringe and mainstream POV in an article to make both read as equally credible. LuckyLouie (talk) 15:12, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

I find it interesting that the "inventive flights of fancy" such as "inward and outward forces acting almost simultaneously" came from an engineer from the Ford Motor Company, not a "fringe theorist" ufologist. Apparently a professional Ford engineer is now a "fringe theorist" if he says something that doesn't conform to what some editors believe. You seem to be arguing on the presumption that actual facts of the case - the driver's side headlight was smashed - are somehow inventive flights of fantasy, when in fact they are simply descriptions of what happened to the vehicle. I find it most interesting that Wikipedia requires articles to be neutral, but your definition of what constitutes a legitimate UFO article makes that virtually impossible to achieve. I would also add that if, by definition, all UFO sources are to be regarded as "fringe" sources with no credibility, then all UFO articles might as well be eliminated, since no neutrality or credibility for the topic can be obtained. Again, it was a Ford engineer, not a "fringe" ufologist, who made the comments about the windshield. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:09, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

I saw the "Ford engineer" story. How do we know it's factual? Did Ford provide a press release or other documentation to mainstream media? Was it cited in technical journals? Given that its only origin is UFOlogists and conspiracy theorists, it could have been conveniently edited to exclude data that didn't fit the UFOlogists beliefs that UFOs exist. Or it could be exaggerated to add an air of "mystery". Or it could be wholly fabricated. You seem to be asking Wikipedia to regard information that doesn't come from reliable sources and/or has been filtered through the POV of UFOlogy - as credible fact. That's something the encyclopedia can't do. - LuckyLouie (talk) 19:27, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
So what is a non-credible fact?Kmarinas86 (Expert Sectioneer of Wikipedia) 19+9+14 + karma = 19+9+14 + talk = 86 22:04, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
It isn't just "ufologists and conspiracy theorists" who have extensively quoted and used the Ford and Honeywell reports. Prominent UFO debunker Philip Klass uses these supposedly "exaggerated" or "fabricated" reports in his book UFOs: The Public Deceived. It strikes me as odd that the leading UFO debunker of that era would use two reports that supposedly don't exist to buttress his argument that the case was a hoax (and I should add that Klass uses these sources no less selectively than ufologists to try and make his case). Quite frankly, Wiki's reliable sources criteria often is used as a crutch by some editors to delete information that they clearly (as illustrated above) simply refuse to believe, even when well-known UFO debunkers and skeptics extensively quote from the supposedly "fictitious" source in their books. Perhaps if editors - before making sweeping deletions - actually studied/learned about the Val Johnson incident and thus learned of the sources that both ufologists and debunkers use in discussing the incident, they wouldn't delete cited sources that clearly exist and are not fabricated or figments of the imagination. I don't think Wiki's reliable sources or fringe article requirements approves of people deleting cited sources based on clearly inaccurate assumptions regarding the sources. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:54, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

The Wikipedia section on reliable sources states that "where available, academic and peer-reviewed are usually the most reliable sources...but they are not the only reliable sources in such areas. Material from non-academic sources may be used, particulary if it appears in respected mainstream publications." Jerome Clark's UFO Encyclopedia is published by Omnigraphics, which also publishes textbooks and reference books for schools, libraries, businesses, etc. It would be hard to argue that it is a "fringe", and not a credible, mainstream, publishing house. The section on identifying reliable sources states that "making sure that all majority and significant minority views that have appeared in reliable, published sources are covered." Since the UFO phenomenon by definition includes widely different viewpoints, it strikes me as odd that only "mainstream" UFO skeptical viewpoints are considered valid and any divergent viewpoints have no credibility and thus cannot be included in UFO articles. Since your definition of "credible" sources in this subject is that anything with "UFO" in the title, or which is written by anyone who can be defined as a Ufologist, is automatically not credible, then most UFO articles are destined to be stubs with little to no detail or analysis of viewpoints, as even primary-source mainstream newspaper articles could be defined (by personal opinion) as "pro-UFO". I also find it to be an odd argument that - if a fact is quoted in a UFO book, no matter how referenced and supported by primary sources it is - then it can't be considered credible and is under suspicion. Seriously, how many "credible" subjects on Wikipedia contain fake/plagiarized information? I know that the Wiki articles on the 1952 and '56 presidential elections and Dwight Eisenhower contain information from the prominent historian Stephen Ambrose, even though he has been accused several times of plagiarizing or simply making up many of his statements about Eisenhower. Yet no one has bothered to challenge his information, largely because he isn't in a supposedly "fringe" field. Again, I fully agree that the Val Johnson article had issues, but I am dubious about throwing out any source relating to UFOs simply because some editors have a personal bias against the subject (I doubt many of them have ever seen the UFO Encyclopedia). Are books and articles by UFO skeptics like Philip Klass and Curtis Peebles also to be excluded on these grounds, or will they be accepted as "credible sources" because they espouse a view that the editor agrees with? Are books by people such as Edward J. Ruppelt - who supervised the Air Force's Project Blue Book program to be dismissed, even though his engineering background and experience with Project Blue Book makes him a valuable historical source? It seems to be that if every "Ufologist" source can be deemed not credible on sight, then most UFO articles are destined to remain little more than stub articles and thus destined for deletion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:39, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

As an editor seeking to base an article on material from questionable sources, you might want to seek opinions at WP:RSN. I'd ask them specifically if books by UFOlogists can be considered reliable and objectives sources of factual material upon which to base articles. (Otherwise they might misunderstand you to be asking if opinions attributed to UFOlogists can be included in articles, which they certainly can.) - LuckyLouie (talk) 23:53, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for your patience. I certainly didn't mean to offend you, if I did I apologize. I'm not a UFO "believer" and I do agree with skeptics such as Peebles and Klass about many UFO cases. I do believe that in a subject as contentious as UFOs some effort should be made in articles to include the viewpoints of both sides, with sources that are as verifiable as possible. In the case of UFOs, that unfortunately means sometimes only ufologists and/or skeptics have done the research or written the source material. Again, thank you for your time and patience! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:59, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

The claim that the Ford Motor Company & Honeywell Reports on the Val Johnson incident are somehow fictitious and "invented flights of fancy" is simply absurd. There are literally dozens of books, magazine articles, and websites that refer to these 2 reports, including those of UFO debunkers such as Philip Klass (who extensively quotes from the presumably "fictitious" Honeywell and Ford reports in 2 of his debunking books). Seriously, why would a prominent and outspoken UFO debunker quote from sources that, according to the above poster, perhaps don't exist and are "chock full" of "inventive flights of fancy"? The real issue here is editors making sweeping edits/deletions to articles on UFO incidents that they have not read about or studied, and thus know little or nothing about the actual incident. But, because they have a personal bias against the subject and just "KNOW" that it is absurd, they thus feel justified in deleting entire sections of articles, even though they know almost nothing of the actual incident. And this is true even if the sections are cited to what - if they knew anything about the incident - they would know are reliable sources that have been used by skeptics, believers, and even newspapers and mainstream publications. (talk) 15:59, 12 March 2014 (UTC)