Talk:Wallace Wattles

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Cause of death[edit]

Does anyone know of what Wallace Wattles died of ?

Thank you Elaine

Wallace Wattles cause of death seems to be unkown by most people, he died at the age of 51. The reason for this was his bad diet, he did not eat breakfast, he then suggested in the evening to eat a large meaty meal with a desert. His dieting was all wrong, he was educated in philosophy and religion but when he came to dieting, he really did have no idea at all. (talk) 14:26, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Oh bullshit, he certainly did not died because of fasting and eating a huge meal in the evening. Fasting is the best way of being healthy, it is something you wouldn't understand, because yeah that's what you've heard and you don't doubt it, you just took it as it is without personal consideration, but the times were much different and every inflammation wasn't treated well, because there was no one to do that, there were still times, where people died quite early, cos of lack of hygiene, germs etc. and you can check out this knowledge anywhere. But obviously lack of food is much better than overeating, what we do these times. Knowledge also available for free. You can check this out on wikipedia, but the avarage life expectancy was 47. So this line expanded as far as medicine and basic knowledge of hygiene. What Wallace had written back then about nutrition is simple and true. It is enough to read his book "Science of being well" and read it with understanding. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:44, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

Point of view[edit]

This article is obviously and completely biased. To wit:

"He personally "tested" the principles he describes in his book and they worked, as although he had lived most of his life in poverty, in his later years became rich."


"It was through his tireless study and experimentation that he discovered the truth of New Thought principles and put them into practice in his own life." Jessesamuel 21:50, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, this author has a mass following of hundreds of thousands of people-----100 years after he wrote the book.
I have personally read hundreds of testimonials that confirm that his methods are in fact time tested. You see, this author was more of a management consultant or applied psychologist as compared to a metaphysical writer.
The article does not do his writings justice. This article is below biased and less than neutral.... i.e. it does very little to promote the hundreds of groups that follow his teachings in over 150 countries.....
see: to do your research....
In any event, his books are free online and there is nothing to promote except free knowledge.
Globalprofessor 21:28, 1 May 2007 (UTC)globalprofessorGlobalprofessor 21:28, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

This entire article is a copyvio.[edit]

This entire article is copied (plagiarized) line for line from

I suggest that it be rewritten immediately. Otherwise, because it is a copyright violation, it is likely to be removed from Wikipedia.

catCatherineyronwode 06:04, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Completely rewritten[edit]

The article has now been completely rewritten, is no longer a copyvio problem, and contains more information. We still have not found the cause of death (see above), but the piece is at least not an embarrassment to wikipedia anymore.

cat yronwode Catherineyronwode 19:27, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Possible External Link[edit]

Hello, I am relatively new to Wikipedia, but I think this is the proper protocol for adding external links, placing them on the discussion page first? Can someone let me know if the following link is approved?

Read a book review on The Science of Getting Rich here.

I don't know how to sign off yet, but my username is WongDarlar. Sorry.—Preceding unsigned comment added by WongDarlar (talkcontribs) 15:17, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Blogs are not considered to be reliable sources in most cases. Also see our conflict-of-interest policy. Thanks, OhNoitsJamie Talk 16:48, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Comment: Actually, that article, written by Zale Tabakman and hosted at, is not a "book review" as stated by WongDarlar. Rather, it is a fairly well-composed chapter-by-chapter "Cliff-notes" type summary of one of Wattles's books. In addition to presenting a concise summary of Wattles's text, Tabakman's introduction to the material raises some interesting points about the difference between religion-based success authors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Wattles, and secular success-authors of the same time period, such as Napoleon Hill. I don't think i would call it a "blog," exactly, and i see no Confict of Interest in it, either. It seems to be an online article. Perhaps we should reconsider it? cat yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 19:45, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Please help, don't destroy[edit]

Hrafn, please stop your campaign against spirituality-based articles. Here again, you toss out numerous {{fact}} tags, even for the most innocuous facts (like "Wattles' best known work is a 1910 book called The Science of Getting Rich in which he explained how to become wealthy."), and then when no one adds references within your self-imposed deadline, you delete 90% of the article.

Please help improve the articles instead of destroying them. Thanks in advance for your help, Madman (talk) 14:42, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Read WP:PROVEIT[edit]

I have nothing further to say to you until you offer some indication that you have (i) read this policy & (ii) actually understand it. Your edits have been in continuing gross violation of it. HrafnTalkStalk 15:06, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Of course I have read this policy and understand it. Now, can we discuss the article?
I was hoping you could tell us what you found offensive in this article. You certainly know, based on your earlier edits to the article, that Wattles' claim to fame is The Science of Getting Rich so why delete it? Please discuss. Madman (talk) 15:44, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Neither "offensive" nor "controversial" are the criteria under WP:V. The claim that "Wattles' best known work is a 1910 book called The Science of Getting Rich in which he explained how to become wealthy" (i) is just the sort of group-think pseudo-information that WP:V attempts to weed out and (ii) violates the "show, don't tell" prohibition in WP:PEACOCK. It is also most probably a self-fulfilling prophesy, and thus largely meaningless. If it is the "best known" of his books, then there should be RS information on it & the article can emphasise its importance by giving WP:DUE weight to this information, rather than making a bald statement on the basis of hearsay. The claim that "He claimed to have personally 'tested' the principles he described and they apparently worked" needs sources verifying (i) that he actually made this claim (ii) substantiating the claim that "they apparently worked". HrafnTalkStalk 16:09, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Incidentally, I wasn't even the one who tagged this paragraph.[1] HrafnTalkStalk 16:12, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

The letter[edit]

The article states: "Much that is known about Wattles' life comes from the text of a letter his daughter Florence wrote after his death to the New Thought author Elizabeth Towne."

However there appears to be much in this article that is not in the letter (even assuming that we find a WP:RS for it), making the article more than a little self-contradictory on this point. The Letter states:[2]

My dear Mrs. Towne, Your letter of the 14th received...perhaps a little later I can write the romantic story of my Fathers life and make it really worthwhile.

You knew, didn't you, that he lost a good position in the Methodist Church because of his "heresy"?

He met George D. Herron at a convention of reformers in Chicago in 1896 & caught Herron’s Social Vision.

I shall never forget the morning he came home.

It was Christmas.

Mother had put her last dollar into a cuff box & we had placed it beneath an evergreen branch which served for our Christmas tree & which we had illuminated with tallew candles & strung with popcorn.

Finally Father came home.

With that beautiful smile he praised the tree, said the cuff box was just what he had been wanting – and took us all in his arms to tell us of the wonderful, social message of Jesus.

The message which he later embodied in “A New Christ.”

From that day until his death he worked unceasingly to realize the glorious vision of human brotherhood.

For years he was cursed with poverty & the fear of poverty.

He was always scheming & planning to get for his family those things which make the abundant life possible.

In the first chapter of “How to be a Genius” he says: “Man’s greatest happiness is found in the bestowal of benefits on those he loves.”

The supreme Faith of the man never left him. Never for a moment did he lose confidence in the power of master intelligence to right every wrong & to give to every man & woman his or her share of the good things in life.

When we came to Elwood (Indiana) three years ago, Father began a Sunday night lectureship in Indianapolis.

This was our only source of income.

Later he began to write for Nautilius to word out his philosophy.

He wrote almost constantly.

Then it was that he formed his mental picture.

He saw himself as a successful writer, a personality of power, an advancing man, & he began to work toward the realization of this vision…He lived every page of “How to be a Genius.”

In the last three years he made lots of money, & had good health, except for his extreme frailty.

I have written this hurriedly but I think it will give you an idea of the life struggle of a great man – his failure & success.

His life was truly the Powerful Life, and surely we can say, as least in Elswood, “The name of him who loved his fellow men led all the rest.”

With all good wishes, I am, Very sincerely,

Florence A. Wattles.

Of the purported "influences", the only one it mentions is George Davis Herron. Even for this, the article would need another source for details of who Herron was. It also gives nothing in the way of detail as to Wattles' later "success". HrafnTalkStalk 16:34, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

A copy of it can be found in the back of at least one version of How to Be a Genius: Or the Science of Being Great, specifically ISBN: 0787309370 (publisher: Health Research, September 1996). We should therefore consider this letter to be prima facie authentic. HrafnTalkStalk 16:43, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

[Clarification for my legalese -- prima facie means that at first glance its authentic, but that this presumption may later be rebutted by new evidence. HrafnTalkStalk 17:17, 17 August 2008 (UTC) ]

Hrafn, the version of the "Letter" you print above is a HORRIBLY garbled transcript from a blog. Tere is a far better transcription -- real English, complete paragraphs, a statement that these are "excerpts" and not the entire letter -- at the site on New Thought. You have previously deleted that source from the article, repeatedly. Now you substitute a blog for it. That's not very good scholarship, in my opinion. Please read the version below instead of that amateurish blog tanscription for a better understanding of what was originally published. Here it is:

My dear Mrs. Towne,

Your letter of the 14th received . . . perhaps a little later I can write the romantic story of my Father's life and make it really worthwhile. You knew, didn't you, that he lost a good position in the Methodist Church because of his "heresy"?

He met George D. Herron at a convention of reformers in Chicago in 1896 and caught Herron's social vision. I shall never forget the morning he came home. It was Christmas. Mother had put her last dollar into a cuff box and we had placed it beneath an evergreen branch which served for our Christmas tree and which we had illuminated with tallow candles and strung with popcorn. Finally Father came. With that beautiful smile he praised the tree, said the cuff box was just what he had been wanting - and took us all in his arms to tell us of the wonderful social message of Jesus, the message which he later embodied in "A New Christ."

From that day until his death he worked unceasingly to realize the glorious vision of human brotherhood. For years his life was cursed by poverty and the fear of poverty. He was always scheming and planning to get for his family those things which make the abundant life possible.

In the first chapter of "How to be a Genius" he says: "Man's greatest happiness is found in the bestowal of benefits on those he loves." The supreme faith of the man never left him; never for a moment did he lose confidence in the power of the master Intelligence to right every wrong and to give to every man and woman his or her share of the good things of life.

When we came to Elwood (Indiana) three years ago, Father began a Sunday night lectureship inn Indianapolis. This was our only source of income. Later he began to write for Nautilus and to word out his own philosophy. He wrote almost constantly. Then it was that he formed his mental picture. He saw himself as a successful writer, a personality of power, an advancing man, and he began to work toward the realization of this vision . . . . He lived every page of "How to be a Genius." In the last three years he made lots of money, and had good health, except for his extreme frailty.

I have written this hurriedly, but I think it will give you an idea of the life struggle of a great man - his failure and success. His life was truly THE POWERFUL LIFE, and surely we can say, at least in Elwood, "The name of him who loved his fellow men led all the rest."

With all good wishes, I am,
Very sincerely,

I hope you can see why this version makes more sense. Those inane one-sentence paragaphs you transcribed look dreadful -- and were never in the original. cat yronwode (talk) 07:30, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

The letter versus the article[edit]

I would note that there is a large amount of information contained in the article that it claims comes from the letter, that quite simply isn't in the letter. This is why unverifiable information should be deleted. Until Maunus' post on WT:V, I had no reason to think that this century-old letter existed anywhere other than some old, inaccessible and unnamed archive. This is why the onus is on the (re)introducing author to provide sufficient information where the material comes from to allow verification. This is why any unsourced material (not just "objectionable" or "controversial" material) can (and sooner or later should) be challenged -- to make certain that it is in fact verifiable, and not simply something that some editor back at the dawn of wikipedia thought that they had seen on some blog or website somewhere, so decided to include. HrafnTalkStalk 18:16, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

All cite requests filled[edit]

All cite requests have been filled except one, for which the text was deleted.

More citations have been added.

There are no cite tags left, and no peacock words to the best of my understanding -- so i have taken down the notice at the top of the page.

I would like to add that at least two of the cite tags were ill-considered, as they simply asked for a citation for something quoted directly after them, in the next sentence. This is not helpful to Wikipedia.

I also would like to advise hrafn that anyone wishing to get a cite on whether, for instance, so-and-so- held such-and-such a poliical view (in this case, the cite tage was on whether George Davis Herron espoused Christian Socialism), they can simply go to google and type in the words <name> plus <political view>. In this case, Geoge Davis Herron + Christian Socialism immediately pulled up a New York Times article from 1919 confirming the national attention that Professor Herron was getting for his Christian Socialism. Citing this took only a few seconds longer than cite-tagging it.

BE A HELPER, not a DESTROYER. Don't be lazy and don't be a bully.

Don't threaten to pull important information out of an article because you think no one will rise to the challenge of your lazy cite tag. DO SOME WORK AROUND HERE and improve the article.

catherine yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 04:15, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Thank you catherine for that rude and fallacious rant.

  1. No, the statement "Wattles was associated with the Chicago-based school of New Thought that centered around the teachings of Emma Curtis Hopkins. Through his personal study and experimentation he claimed to have discovered the truth of New Thought principles and put them into practice in his own life and wrote books outlining these principles." has not been cited. It requires (i) a source for his involvement in the "Chicago-based school" & (ii) a source for him making these claims.
  2. "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material" (WP:V). If you want it back in, you have to find a source for it. It was thus you who was being "lazy" by expecting someone else to do it for you.
  3. My objective was not "destroying" the article as your absurd histrionics described it, but in removing unsourced (and at times fallacious) pseudoinformation, as required by core wikipedia policy. I have (largely) achieved that purpose. The article for instance no longer attributes to Florence a long list of influences that her letter doesn't in fact mention.
  4. If you ignore an article being tagged for (in this case complete) lack of sourcing, you've got to expect that somebody will get around to deleting the unsourced material. Don't expect others to "DO [YOUR] WORK" and waste their own time in a needle-in-a-haystack search for sources so that they can correct your lazily-unsourced, lazily-miswritten article that you want to keep but lazily can't be arsed doing the work until somebody comes along and forces the issue. If repeatedly deleting unsourced material is the only thing that'll get you off your arse, then I will keep on doing what it takes.

HrafnTalkStalk 07:34, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Dear Hrafn, Cat is making the same point that Maunus and I have made earlier (see "Please help, don't destroy"). Perhaps I am just fortunate, but I have never run across an editor that wields Wikipedia guidelines in an attempt to delete articles in a back door run-around. What really floors me is that you seem to be proud of your attitude and contentious editing style and are able to deny, with an apparently straight face, that you have no anti-spirituality agenda. For example, you slapped Peter van Pels with similar templates 3 months ago -- at the same time as Wallace Wattles here -- but have not moved to attack that article, despite the complete lack of references there.
I'm not aware of any other editor who would support your style of operation, and many who have already complained. Try to tone down the rhetoric and help, instead of destroying. Madman (talk) 13:55, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
  • "Please help, don't destroy" = we want the 'right' to violate WP:V by demanding that chronically unsourced material be allowed to remain unmolested.
  • If you want me to "tone down the rhetoric" then kindly stop the unsubstantiated attacks, accusations and demands. But wait, you just ratcheted up the rhetoric by yet another series of accusations on the strength of wild speculation.
  • As far as my removal of unsourced material, read this: "I can NOT emphasize this enough. There seems to be a terrible bias among some editors that some sort of random speculative 'I heard it somewhere' pseudo information is to be tagged with a 'needs a cite' tag. Wrong. It should be removed, aggressively, unless it can be sourced." -- Jimmy Wales quoted at WP:V. My 'crime' is that I obeyed policy & wikipedia's founder by 'aggressively removing unsourced material'.
  • As to your "anti-spirituality agenda" whine -- I got accused of attempting to cover up the Holocaust because I notability-tagged the article on Peter's mother, Auguste van Pels‎. Nobody likes it when their own sacred cow of an unsourced article gets threatened and each thinks its a conspiracy aimed just at them.

So this is what is going to happen:

  1. I am going to continue to tag unsourced material.
  2. Editors like you and catherine are going to continue to ignore these tags (you don't have to ignore them, but you've given me no expectation that you've learnt anything).
  3. I'm going to continue to delete such material after its been tagged for a few months (usually when it re-hits the top of my Watchlist, as this article did recently).
  4. You are going to continue to edit-war to restore such material, in violation of WP:V, and make all sorts of baseless demands and accusations, but eventually buckle down and realise that if you don't source them, they will get deleted sooner or later.

For myself, I'm obeying the rules & (eventually) getting what I want (all material in the article sourced, all unsourced material out of the article), so I've got no reason to do more than fine-tune my approach. If you want to break this pattern, then stop ignoring tags on material that you care about.

It actually makes no difference whether your absurd "anti-spirituality agenda" conspiracy theory is true or not. Whether I "hate spirituality" or "hate unsourced material" the best defence either way is to provide sources so that I don't have a legitimate reason to remove the material as unsourced.

As to your repeated requests that I "help", I would point out:

  • That removing unsourced material is 'helping' (if you believe otherwise, then it means that you still haven't comprehended WP:V).
  • The reliable informational pickings on this topic are so slim that it's not a productive use of time unless (i) you already know where to look or, relatedly, (ii) you are really really enthusiastic about the topic.
  1. Following your requests, unless backed they are backed by policy, relies on goodwill. Guess how much goodwill your recent edit-warring and accusations have earned.

HrafnTalkStalk 16:08, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

All new cite requests cheerfully filled[edit]

Hrafn has added more cite requests, and these have been happily fulfilled. Therefore the cite notice has been removed from the top of the article's page again. catherine yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 07:34, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

It is not a "cite notice", it is a "primary sources" notice (see WP:PSTS for a definition) -- which you took down after adding a citation to the topic himself. I a therefore restoring it, per previous rationale: "the majority of the article is sourced to primary sources (Florence's letter, census data, election results)". This article relies almost exclusvely on primary sources, and particularly primary sources closely associated with the topic. HrafnTalkStalk 08:05, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I also support removal of the primary sources tag, since more than half the cited references are not primary. Thanks, Madman (talk) 14:09, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

The relevant standard is not the number of sources, but the amount of material sourced to them. In the following I have stricken the primary-sourced material (and italicised the unsourced, as this really shouldn't count towards the total):

Wallace Delois Wattles (1860 – 1911) was an American author. A pioneer success writer, he remains personally somewhat obscure,[1] but his writing has been widely quoted and remains in print in the New Thought and self-help movements.

Wattles' best known work is a 1910 book called The Science of Getting Rich in which he explained how to become wealthy.

Life and career

Wattles' daughter, Florence, described her father's life in a letter to Elizabeth Towne, editor of the New Thought magazine Nautilus.[2] Wattles was born in the United States in 1860, received little formal education, and found himself excluded from the world of commerce and wealth. Later in life he came across the writings of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Ralph Waldo Emerson.[3]

According to the 1880 US Federal Census[4] Wallace was living with his parents on a farm in Nunda Township of McHenry County, Illinois and working as a farm laborer. His father is listed as a gardener with his mother 'keeping house'. Wallace is listed as being born in Illinois while his parents are listed as born in New York. No other siblings are recorded as living with the family.[5]

Florence wrote that "he made lots of money, & had good health, except for his extreme frailty" in the three years before he died,[2] in 1911 (the year after the publication of The Science of Getting Rich).

Ora Ellen Cox, writing on "The Socialist Party in Indiana" in 1916, stated that Wattles lived in or near Kokomo, Indiana near the end of his life. [6] His daughter Florence identified the town they lived in as Elwood, Indiana. [2]

Christian Socialism

In 1896 in Chicago, Wattles attended "a convention of reformers" and met George Davis Herron,[2] a Congregational Church minister and professor of Applied Christianity at Grinnell College [7] who was then attracting nationwide attention by preaching a form of Christian Socialism.[8]

After meeting Herron, Wattles became a social visionary and began to expound upon what Florence called "the wonderful, social message of Jesus."[2] According to Florence, he at one time had held a position in the Methodist Church, but was ejected for his "heresy".[2]

In the 1908 election, he ran as a Socialist in the Eighth Congressional District,[9] and in 1910 as a Prosecuting Attorney for the Madison County, Indiana 50th court district.[10]

New Thought

Wattles was associated with the Chicago-based school of New Thought that centered around the teachings of Emma Curtis Hopkins. Through his personal study and experimentation he claimed to have discovered the truth of New Thought principles and put them into practice in his own life and wrote books outlining these principles, giving them titles that described their content, such as Health Through New Thought and Fasting and The Science of Being Great. His faughter Florence recalled that "He lived every page" of his books."

A practical author, Wattles encouraged his readers to test his theories on themselves rather than take his word as an authority and he claimed to have tested his methods on himself and others before publishing them. [11]

Wattles practiced the technique of creative visualization. In his daughter Florence's words, he "formed a mental picture" or visual image, and then "worked toward the realization of this vision". She further stated: [2] “ He wrote almost constantly. It was then that he formed his mental picture. He saw himself as a successful writer, a personality of power, an advancing man, and he began to work toward the realization of this vision. He lived every page ... His life was truly the powerful life. ”


Rhonda Byrne told a Newsweek interviewer that her inspiration for creating the 2006 hit film The Secret, and the subsequent book by the same name, was her exposure to Wattles's The Science of Getting Rich[12]. Byrne's daughter, Hailey, had given her mother a copy of the Wattles book to help her recover from her breakdown.[13] The film itself also references, by re-popularizing the term The Law of Attraction, [12] a 1908 book by another New Thought author, William Walker Atkinson, titled Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World.

This leaves very little material that is sourced other than to a primary source. I am therefore restoring the template. HrafnTalkStalk 14:39, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Don't you have something constructive to do? If you want a source for Wattles' best known work is a 1910 book called The Science of Getting Rich in which he explained how to become wealthy., then you're free to find one. It's paralyzingly obvious to anyone who googles "wallace wattles". Your continual upping-the-demand for references is getting tiresome, and Ms. 64 and I are not your reference-monkeys. Madman (talk) 15:02, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Stick to the bloody point[edit]

I just demonstrated that your rationale for WP:EDITWARing to remove the template:primarysources tag was completely without basis -- so what do you do, launch another irrelevant ad hominem attack! That's really constructive. So is removing the template from an article for which the vast majority of sourced material is sourced to primary sources.

An old legal adage is 'if the facts are on your side pound the facts, if the law is on your side pound the law, if neither is on your side then pound the table.' Throughout this altercation you have repeatedly demonstrated that you have neither facts nor policy on your side, so you've repeatedly 'pounded the table', with baseless accusations and demands. It's boring and completely irrelevant. I won't bother edit-warring with you, but will get around to restoring this legitimate template in a day or two. HrafnTalkStalk 15:17, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

I made my point earlier, that secondary references outnumber primary references. The "bloody point" is that there are very few authors who actually write about Wallace Wattles himself, although there are literally hundreds who mention or discuss Getting Rich. I thoroughly believe that Ms. 64 and I (and you) have plumbed and plundered the secondary sources for the information available and used primary sources (without interpretation) to flesh out the story. Adding further secondary references would arbitrarily move the article in the direction of discussing Getting Rich, which is not where we want to go.
Therefore, I support Ms. 64 in her removal of the tag. Madman (talk) 16:01, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
According to your logic, an article that had ten secondary sources, each cited for a single word each (or even all cited for the same single word), and a single primary source, cited for ten paragraphs, would not have any primary sourcing problem at all. That argument is absurd. The fact "that there are very few authors who actually write about Wallace Wattles himself" is exactly the situation that template:primarysources (and WP:NOTE) states that wikipedia articles should avoid. If the vast majority of secondary sources discuss The Science of Getting Rich rather than Wattles himself, then these should first be included and then the article should be retitled to 'The Science of Getting Rich', with biographical info on Wattles as a single section. HrafnTalkStalk 16:17, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Please slow down[edit]

Hrafn, please lower your level of aggressive and hostile posting here and your nit-picking within the article.

I have not accused you of having an agenda, and i am not tryng to edit-war with you or make special pleading for lowered Wikipedia standards here. My conflict with your approach to editing this article stems from your suggestion to merge the biography of Wattles into an article on one of his books, which suggestion, as i understand you, is based upon your accusation that the "Letter" from Florence Wattles is a "primary source."

I believe that you are wrong on both counts: Wattles is notable, and the "Letter" is not a "primary source."

Notability of the subject precludes merging[edit]

We are dealing with a late 19th and very early 20th century author whose personal notability is signified by the continuous reprints of several of his books, magazine articles, and lecture transcripts into the 21st century, a man about whose life many modern readers are interested, but about whom very little personal biographical data had been published prior to the time of his death.

Generally speaking, lack of biographical detail is not ipso facto a mark of a subject's non-notability -- which you appear to suggest in your bid to merge the Wattles page into the page for one of his books.

There is no doubt that Wattles's works were popular and widely read during his lifetime. The unusual fact that not much was known about his person until after his death does not lessen his notability. Certainly, with the publishing record he had during his lifetime, he could have released biographical details if he had wished to; his publishers would have cooperated in any such scheme of self-promotion. The fact that he did not release biographical material may have been a personal choice, along the lines of the reclusiveness of the modern author J. D. Salinger. At this late date, almost 100 years after his death, we do not know why so little is known about such a widely-published author, so all we can state is that such is the case.

Please read WP:NOTE & WP:BIO -- none of the claims you make about Wattle are relevant to the criteria in those guidelines. If you want to establish his notability, please cite which specific criteria he meets, and provide WP:RSs establishing that he meets them. HrafnTalkStalk 19:32, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I have read WP:NOTE & WP:BIO. At this point, since the article has been around for quite a while and is actively being improved, i believe that the burden of proof is upon YOU to demonstrate his non-notability. It is unfair to challenge the notability of 19th century personages whose entire lives were lived before the invention of the web, the internet, television, or radio and call them non-notable simply because most of what we can know of them comes from dead-tree sources.
  • A google search on the name "wallace wattles" in quotes turns up 73,500 pages.
  • A google search on the name "wallace d. wattles" in quotes turns up 301,000 pags.
  • A google search on the name "wallace delois wattles" in quotes turns up 59,600 pages.
I think this establishes sufficient notability. The "specific criteria he meets" for notability, since you asked, is as a widely-published author.
Please don't waste our time with an AfD; Wikipedia is a volunteer organization that is best served by allowing editors to improve articles rather than forcing them to spend hours of their valuable time defending the existence of long-standing biographical articles which they are actively working to improve.
Thank you. catherine yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 20:07, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

The "Letter" is not a "primary source"[edit]

The "Letter" from Florence Wattles is not, as you call it, a "primary source" -- it is a published magazine article. Perhaps you are misled by its title, which includes the word "Letter" but it actually was printed in one of the leading New Thought publications of its era, which ran from 1898 - 1953, and was edited by Elizabeth Towne, who had written lengthy introductions to several of Wattles's books.

I am not aware of any Wikipedia guideline that states that the descendant of a biography subject is a "primary source" when he or she has written a nationally published biographical sketch of his or her ancestor.

I am also not aware of any Wikipedia guideline that allows editors to disqualify a magazine article as a secondary source merely because of the unusual wording of its title.

I wish you would stop trying to re-cast this magazine article as a "primary source" when it is not. The biographical sketch was not privately held correspondence, but rather a published magazine article by a descendent of the subject. If all issues of the 55-year-long run of Nautilus were available online in the form of pdfs or electronic transciptions, we could cite the issue number of the article but, alas, they are not, so we can't. However, the article was long ago transcribed and republished by people interested in Wattles, and thus it can be cited from web sources, which we have done.

Please read WP:PSTS. This "letter" is in fact a letter. It starts "My dear Mrs. Towne, Your letter of the 14th received" and ends "With all good wishes, I am, Very sincerely, Florence A. Wattles." That it is in fact a letter is not in doubt. That it was later published does not alter the fact that it is personal correspondence and thus a primary source. HrafnTalkStalk 19:32, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
We must agree to disagree on this, then. The framing of both fiction and non-fiction in the form of a "Letter" was a common formal device in late-Victorian writing. Example: The novel "Dracula" by Bram Stoker consists of many letters that begin and end with similar salutations -- but we still recognize "Dracula" as a novel, and not a compilation of personal letters. Elizabeth Towne accepted the biographical material as written, and immediately (not "later" as you state) published it as an article, not as a "letter to the editor", in her magazine. It was subsequently reprinted in a posthumous edition of one of Wattles's books. Despite the formal structure of its late-Victorian literary composition, it is not a "primary source." catherine yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 20:24, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Seek consensus[edit]

Instead of engaging in daily reverts and hostile cite-tagging, please gain a WP:CONS for controversial changes BEFORE attempting to reimpose them.

Thank you. catherine yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 18:54, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Request for Comment: Is Florence Wattle's letter a "primary source" and is the level of primary sourcing of this article cause for concern?[edit]

  1. Is this letter from Florence Wattles to Elizabeth Towne a primary or secondary source under WP:PSTS?
  2. Is the characterisation of it as a "Letter" (in quotes) and the claim in the footnote that this material are "Excerpts" reasonable?[Stricken, closer examination of the only published source supports Catherine on this. HrafnTalkStalk 09:02, 22 August 2008 (UTC) ]
  3. Is the level of sourcing to primary sources, including this letter (should it be determined to be a primary source), census records, Indiana Secretary of State Annual Reports listing election results, and Wattles own writings, such that they would cause concern, and make placing a template:primarysources on the article reasonable?

HrafnTalkStalk 06:25, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Comment: There are two slightly different transcripts of the "Letter" online -- or rather, of excerpts from it. The one that was originally sourced in this article states explicitely that the material published online consists of "excerpts." Hrafn has repeatedly chosen to delete this version of the letter -- at, a leading site on New Thought writings -- and has substituted a personal blog which quotes the same wording, but without disclosing that the pubished material consists of "excerpts". This blog-version also breaks the text up into illiterate-looking one-sentence pargraphs, substitutes an ampersand for the word "and", crates an incomplete sentence, and has other problems of transcription.
As i understand the original publication, Wattles was under contract to Elizabeth Towne for monthly installments of serialized writings which would later be collected in book form and published by her. (She did this with most of her authors, notably William Walker Atkinson, and she had done this with Wattles in the past.) Wattles died suddenly. His death was "untimely" according to his daughter, he was 51 years old, and he had just published two books and run for public office in Indiana, not the marks of a person succumbing to a lingering illness.
It is likely that Florence sent the "Letter" to Towne to explain what had happened to end the serialized writings of her father. In any case, Towne published the "Letter" the very month she received it, as best i can tell, presumably to inform her reading public of the death of a very popular, albeit very reclusive, author. It was never held as "personal correspondence."
In 1996 the "Letter" was reprinted in a reprint of one of Wattles's books (with which it had not originally appeared, as that book had been originally published by Towne in 1910, before Wattles died), and it is from this 1996 reprint that the "excerpts" and the blog version both derive.
I hope this helps to explain why i consider the "Letter" a secondary source: it was published in 1911 in a magazine edited by Wattles's usual editor, who ran it in lieu of the installment-article she had expcted to have received from her regular author, who had quite suddenly died.
catherine yronwode (talk) 07:07, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Comment:It is fairly obvious to me, as a long-time freelance writer and a long-time editor, that Florence Wattles was discussing the idea of an article on Wallace with Towne. The evidence is here:

"perhaps a little later I can write the romantic story of my Father's life and make it really worthwhile."

We cannot know whether Towne proposed the idea of a full biography and Florence was considering writing it, or Florence was pitching the idea to Towne on her own, but we can see that Florence was conveying the prospect of writing a more complete biographical piece at a later date. This places the published letter in the realm of an outline for a finished work, with the anecdotes related standing as samples of what would appear in a finished article, and again reinforces my belief that it can be considered a secondary source.
cat yronwode (talk) 07:48, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
  • On closer examination, I see that the 1996-published version uses the word "excerpts", so I have stricken that part of the question. I must admit however that I find this odd as, apart from a single ellipsis at the beginning, this appears to be a whole letter.
Comment The second ellisis falls here: "he began to work toward the realization of this vision . . . . He lived every page." cat yronwode (talk) 02:57, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Your "Florence was conveying the prospect of writing a more complete biographical piece at a later date" appears to undercut your earlier 'letter as a literary artifice' claim. Is this letter the 'article' or the 'pitch for the article'?

In any case you have not made any argument that this letter is anything other than "[a]n eyewitness account" from a source "very close to the origin of a particular topic" -- in this case the topic's own daughter, per WP:PSTS. HrafnTalkStalk 09:02, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

My opinion is that the tag requesting sourcing to reliably published third party secondary sources is warranted. If Wattles is as notable as it would seem, it conversely seems strange that the only thing written about his life should be a letter by his daughter. There must be better sources out there and the tag merely begs for their inclusion. I don't think that this means that the letter cannot be used - but it shuld of course be used as a primary source - i.e. with the utmost care not to interpret or synthesise but only relate its claims. The letter - published or not - cannot be claimed to be a secondary source since secondary source would be a analysis and an evaluation of the letter by a historian, a literature scholar or similar. ·Maunus·ƛ· 10:26, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
The problem with this tag is that there are no further secondary sources. Yes, this sounds strange and is a rather sweeping statement, but both Ms. 64 and I have thoroughly combed the Internet for such works. Google Scholar points to nothing. Google books has literally hundreds of books by Wattles but they contain nothing further than is already in the article. There are no entires in any version of the the Columbia Encyclopedia or the Encyclopedia Britannica.
If anyone can point to other secondary sources, whether on the Internet or not, then I would be glad to use them in this article. But as it stands, this tag requests something that does not exist. Madman (talk) 13:22, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Historical Background: What follows is OR, but i do claim somewhat expert status as a long-time researcher on the subject. This OR would never appear in an article written for Wikipedia, but i think it should be shared behind the scenes to explain our dilemma.

Madman is correct: This man seems to have been, to put it in modern terms, a J. D. Salinger type. Not only did he not self-promote, he left no "church" or "school" to memorialize him. Furthermore, to add to his personal shyness, it so happened that afer his death, both secular New Thought (ala W. W. Atkinson) and Christian Socialist New Thought (ala Wallace Wattles) were actively submerged by New Thought religious denominations (particularly Christian), like Unity, Church of Religious Science, et al.

Wattles died in 1911. Historians were particularly cold to Socialists after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Christian Socialism of the Midwestern "Appeal to Reason" sort was buried in favour of jingoistic nationalism during World War I, and then, as the horrors of "Bolshevism" were broadcast through the world, the Great Depression and Dust Bowl sealed the fate of Christian Socialism -- its last gasp probably the Bonus March. By the 1950s, when Towne was still publishing and about to retire, the Cold War was on and nobody wanted to hear about a Socialist Christian New Thought success author. So Wattles's books stayed in print, but his inconvenient Socialist self was not mentioned.

By now, most traces of his ife have vanished. His daughter Flrence and his son Russell are both dead. Rhonda Byrne certainly never mentioned his life or his political theories in "The Secret."

As a Christian, Wattles became, to most readers, simply the Christian equivalent of the secular success author Napolean Hill.

Now, let me sidetrack a moment on the splits within the New Thought Movement and how they have affected Wikipedia: When i first began working in the New Thought fields here at Wikipedia i ran into some very hot-headed Christian New Thought editors, mostly members of Unity, Religious Science, and the like, who tried deleting all mentions i made of secular New Thought authors (e.g. Atkinson and his compatriot Claude Alexander Conlin). They loved Atkinson's books, but they did not want to hear about his interest in occultism, hypnotism, mental telepathy, Orientalism, crystal ball scrying, and so forth. Those exotic ideas did not fit in with their idea that New Thought was and should remain a CHRISTIAN movement.

Likewise, mentions of Annie Rix Millett and the West Coast Metaphysical Bureau, with its engagment of Swami Vivekananda as a speaker, were not appreciated by these remnants of the once diverse New Thought Movement, who had successfully redefined New Thought as a denomination of Christianity.

You can watch the editing history of all of the New Thought bio pages at Wiki for evidences of past reversion wars, as the dominant editors tried to stem the mentions of secular, mystical, occult, Hindu-inspired, henotheistic, and Socialist-Christian New Thought. I sometimes felt like i was living in an echo of 1917!

What went on at Wikipedia was just a microcosm of the way the entire New Thought movement has sought to expunge variant ideas. Wattles's books could be accepted easily, because Wattles was a Methdist (the denomination that most of the first wave of New Thought adherents came from) -- but post World War I authors could only accept Watlles the author if they dropped the Socialist part of his program.

They wanted to claim Wattles -- (even moreso after Rhonda Byrne and "The Secret") -- but they preferred to turn away from his Socialism, and that, in my opinion, is why essential biographical details of his political campaigns (and the Socialism of his daughter Florence as well) were never written down in secondary sources, but can only be found in primary sources. Nobody wanted to talk about that. So now we are left with the curious fact that it looks like Florence tried to sell Elizabeth Towne on a biographical article which was obviously going to feature "the wonderful *social* message of Jesus," but Towne just printed the letter and did not buy a fuller manuscript. She may have not wanted to see one of her best authors revealed as a Red.

Like i said at the outset, this is all OR, not Wiki-fodder -- but it helps explain what Madman has also confirmed: We have a very "notable" author whose life was fairly shy of publicity, and who, after death, became an embarrassment to his movement, due to his strongly held political views. His books stayed in print -- but his life was left "obscure" for reasons that served the needs of Christian New Thought, the dominant form of New Thought after World War I.

Cordially, cat yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 02:43, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

I would suggest caution in using J. D. Salinger as an analogy or precedent. From his article, I see that he has been the subject of multiple biographies, providing fertile ground of secondary sources for a (very lengthy and heavily cited) wikipedia article.
Though a tad tangential, WP:ACADEMIC provides some insight on cases like this: "It is possible for an academic to be notable according to this standard, and yet not be an appropriate topic for coverage in Wikipedia because of a lack of reliable, independent sources on the subject." This isn't the worst case of this unfortunate situation that I've come across. Richard Keynes is a British Physiologist, but the article (even after quite a bit of searching) doesn't say one single word about his contributions to physiology (nor cites a single secondary source). But as a member of the Royal Society he is "notable". HrafnTalkStalk 06:39, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
Hrafn, your point about Salinger is well taken. I was, of course, thinking of Salinger the *person* and not Salinger the *biography subject*. The case of Richard Keynes is quite apropos.
Almost 100 years after his death, Wattles remains one of the most notable of the early New Thought writers. There is an engaging directness to his style that made it very quotable, and its informality enabled succeeding generations to follow his theories without becoming bogged down in the archaic formality that marked the literary constructions of his contemporaries. Then came "The Secret," which made large waves, and which credited him prominently. "The Secret" brought the New Thought Movement -- where Wattles's books were continually in print -- before the Orprah Winfrey adoring masses. So, naturally, they wanted to know who wrote these things. And naturally they came to Wikipedia to find out.
Frankly, i know that this article can never become better than what it is now, unless someone goes to Indiana, does a lot of research, writes a cool book on the subject, and we can quote the book. But i think the article deserves to remain in place, and, due to necessity, to make use of some less-than-optimal sources, such as the census records and Florence Wattles's letter, all of which have been added in good faith, with an effort to improve the entry.
When, by comparison, i look at the state of the probably-much-more-often-accessed Merle Oberon bio at Wikipedia, i really think that we have done okay here.
Just to put this article in perspective, i would like to point out that Merle Oberon was a famous Hollywood star, and her Wikipedia article is filled with unsourced extraordinary claims, such as that she (and i quote) "supposedly had a minor obsession with facial injuries after her own accident." There is no lack of secondary sources on her life -- and yet her Wiki bio runs amuck with statements like "without makeup, one could see noticeable pitting and indentation of her skin" and "when her dark-skinned mother moved in with her, she masqueraded as Oberon's maid." Of course these might all be true statements -- but none of them is sourced.
I know that WP:OSE, and i am not trying to use Merle Oberon as a scapegoat for this article, but i sincerely recommend that rather than nit-picking about whether or not Florence Wattles's letter of 1911 is a primary or a secondary source, those who care a lot about sourcing should go over to Merle Oberon and source out whether "Oberon commissioned paintings of her mother from an old photograph, instructing the artist to lighten her mother's complexion" and if "the story of her alleged Tasmanian connections was comprehensively debunked after her death."
Cordially, cat yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 06:02, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Although you say that you are not trying to use OSE as an argument to leave the Wattles article in a poor condition I find it hard to understand your post in anyother way. I don't support the idea of deleting or merging Wallace Wattles - but I believe that a tag-header is an excellent way to show the reader that there is a lack of reliable information about the subject matter and to intice those who may know some better sources to include them.·Maunus·ƛ· 07:19, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
This is the second time my attempts at collegial levity (mention of Salnger, mention of Oberon) and my attempts at collegial scholarship (as a published author in the field of early 20th century American occultism) have been taken at face value by literalist Wiki-prigs.
I'm going to say it one mre time: At this time, there are no more secondary sources on the life of Wallace Wattles.
No, let me say it again, another way: There are no further secondary sources on Wallace Wattles at this time and i have told you so, and Madman has told you so, and i have told you why that is the case, so you and hrafn asking for these non-existent secondary sources again and again and again -- and telling us that you want to add a notice "to intice those who may know some better sources to include them" is either a rank insult to our scholarship or evidence that you have not read or believed what we wrote. Then, after all of our hard work, you say that we have left this article in "poor condition." Did YOU research or write anything helpful for the article?
I come here to have fun writing in a collegial atmosphere, and i hate it when the experience is ruined by Wiki-lawyers like you.
Ninety-nine percent of the Wiki-lawyers i have run into are scientific-skeptical fanatics, religious fanatics, or political fanatics. The worst are not the Republicans, the Democrats, the racists, the Neo-Nazis, or the Christians. The worst are the Randi-Dawkins-ites with their endless "pseudo-science" category tags and their endless cite-tag demands for "proof of extraordinary claims." Insecure little feebs, they cannot bear it that some people sincerely hold a different view of the world than that of The Amazing Randi and/or Richard Dawkins.
Brain-based differences in perception of the world are quite likely grounded in genetics and are therefore not susceptible to intellectual coercion, but the Randi-Dawkins-ites don't uderstand that. They think that their inability to perceive spiritual experiences signifies that they have "learned" something, and they want to "teach" this lack-of-experience to others. Spirituality seems like a "delusion" or a "hoax" to them, and the biographies of people who perceive spirituality seem to be glorifications of con-artists. They want to "warn" people about the "delusion" and alert them to the "hoaxers." And so they wander Wikipedia, a cadre of colour-blind men screaming, "Not proven!" "Cite sources!" every time they find an article that mentions colour, a cohort of of bald men shouting out, "Pseudo-science!" "Extraordinary claims!" every time they run across an article than mentions hair.
In this case, i see an obvious agenda to tear down the biography of an author on spirituality. Do you think i haven't seen this before? I have edited dozens -- half a hundred -- probably more than a hundred -- wiki pages on New Thought, Spiritualism, occultism, folk-magic, religion, and divination, only to see them vandalized (yes, i said the nasty V-word) by bad-faith cite-tagging Randi-Dawkins-ites, while all of the fluff-stuff about celebrites just cheerfully sits there, ungroomed, unsourced, untagged, unfixed, and uncontended, for all the world to enjoy.
Hostile cite-tagging is one of the strongest weapons against philosophical or political opponents in Wikipedia. It takes literally seconds to pepper an article with hostile cite tags and place an intention-to-delete notice on the corresponding talk page. If the article's previous editors are not alerted, one can then return in a month and delete all of the material that was cite-tagged. If the article is sufficently gutted, one can then ask for its merger or deletion. Furthermore, even if a previous editor re-appears and notices the hostile cite-tags, the scholar whom one is attacking is forced to spend hours coming up with references. -- and these can be knocked aside with another scatter-shot blast of cite-tags. There is no Wiki-tag that cites cite-tags as suspected hostile cite-tags.
Whole entire religious denominations have been speedy-deleted or AfD'd and even banned from re-creation at Wikipedia. Don't believe me? Need proof? Check out the back-history of the take-down and banning of the Church of Reality Wikipedia entry -- it took Jimbo's *personal* intercession to get that religious denomination reinstated!
Let's put our cards on the table, shall we? I'll start:
When i was asked to return to this page, which i had previously edited, i came here politely, and made no accusations against anyone. I worked for hours, compliantly and humbly gathering cite after cite for a petty Wiki-lawyer whose real agenda i never mentioned, out of my polite respect for the AGF principle that lies at the core of WIkipedian collegiality.
Today's slash at me was the straw that broke that camel's back. Either you believe what Madman and i have been telling you, or you don't. You don't. Okay. Got it.
You have your priorities and you are going to stick to them -- making any page that deals with any topic of which Richard Dawkins doesn't approve a mine-pit of cite-tags.
I have my priorities and i am going to stick to them too -- making Wikipedia comfortable, enjoyable, and educational for writers and readers who have a siincere interest in folk-magic, divination, occultism, religion, New Thought, and Spiritualism.
I think we are clear on the issues now. Either you back off, i back off, we find a mediator whom we can both respect, or an edit-war commences.
catherine yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 17:22, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't know who you think you are arguing with here, but if I were all the things you accuse me off there I sure think I'd have a different edit history. For example I haven't edited the article about Wallace Wattles (so what makes you think I am about to begin an edit war?), and for example not long ago I was arguing against Hrafn on this very page because he removed material instead of trying to improve the article. I also don't know what "slash" I may have taken at you today - other than implying that someone else in the big world might sometime run into some sources about this man's life that are unknown to you and madman. On another note you should know that I consider myself a good wiki-friend of madman, and that we have stuck together in many an editing dispute and given eachother many a barnstar over the years, that and if you imply that I have some sort of grudge against him I must say that such an idea would rest on quite flimsy groundings. Getting back on track here: My opinions about what should be the future of this article is that Wallace Wattles is clearly notable, but that the lack of good sources about his life might make it preferable to merge his biography with the articles on his works. However, since I had never heard about Wallace Wattles untill the other day when I saw Hrafn accusing my wikifriend of being a clueless newbie and I jumped into the fray to save the article he was working on from a deletionist onslaught, and because I, personally, don't really care one way or the other about this article I am not going to undertake the merger myself, but only duly note that I consider that to be a viable way to work around the lack of good sources about wattles's life. Dixi.·Maunus·ƛ· 17:46, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

We're getting a bit off track here. This article is in good shape. It is at least in category C, perhaps even B. Yes, there are a regrettable lack of secondary sources available for this article. In order to make this apparent, how about if I add the "secondary sources needed" tag in the references section, instead of the lead? Madman (talk) 02:05, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Comment from outside. As to the opening questions, (1) yes, the letter itself is a PS provided that it is referred to a reputable source, not some blog or advocacy billboard. You already have two different versions, both from apparently unreliable sites. Dump them, stick to the printed version. (3) The answer really depends on the quality of biographies available in print (i.e. ref to "Biographical note in Wattles, Wallace (September 1996). How to Be a Genius"). If it conveys the general outline of the man's life, then the letter becomes a supporting evidence illustrating a secondary source, thus remove the flag. As for the census and election records, they aren' important in an article on an author and his ideas, so they alone should not raise any flags. (4) Cool down, it's not bad indeed, just... too many notes. Trim that excessive prose. NVO (talk) 19:16, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

The 'Biographical note' contains little more than the letter itself + the fact that the Nautilus (whose editor the daughter was writing to) had previously carried articles by Wattles in almost every issue. (You can find it on Google Books) HrafnTalkStalk 19:26, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Disgusted and out of here[edit]

Having put in hours of work, only to be told that this page is in "poor condition," i can finally say that Wikipedia is truly the most pointless group effort i have even been part of. cat yronwode (talk) 04:09, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Hey, I said it was in "good shape". Who are you going to listen to, anyway? - :) - Madman (talk) 04:29, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
For the last few days my husband nagasiva and i have been discussing the concepts of hostile cite tagging on low-traffic pages and the resultant pseudo-justified data effacement on those pages, using Wallace Wattles and Talk:Wallace Wattles as an example of how both techniques can be, and are, deployed at Wikipedia (and other Wiki-based collaborative knowledge-bases) to enforce coercive political, religious, and scientistic agendas. What happened there, in the small biography of a man who died almost 100 years ago, is a clear example that supports not only the theory that deletion of information is a weapon of strife but also the theory that data effacement is a weapon of territory-taking in battles of hegemonic cultural warfare within wiki-style data-banks.
Nagasiva then proposed a checks-and-balances system whereby modified wiki software would allow editor-writers to make erasures and deletions only if they had previously built up edit-credits -- "(cr)edits" -- for making contributions and additions to the wiki.
I noted that although his proposal rested on soundly implementable software concepts of key-logging, it would work best on limited-category wikis, and would not work very well in a cross-cultural encyclopedia such as Wikipedia, unless the (cr)edits were logged by category, because without such a category limitation, nothing would prevent a culture-warrior from building up (cr)edits in his own area of interest (or in a quite neutral area, such as "species of flowers") and then using those (cr)edits to make hostile cite-tags, and the subsequnet pseudo-justified erasures and effacements on targeted political, religious, or scientific pages.
The most strict form of an edit-crediting system such as nagasiva proposed would impose the requirement that the deletor have earned his or her (cr)edits through previous contribution to the page on which he or she was also placing cite-tag-deletion notices. Using the Talk:Wallace Wattles page as an example, this "build the page before you tear it down" principle was what -- in an inarticulated appeal to personal morality and conscience -- Madman and i were asking hrafn to observe.
But, of course, there is no such principle or policy at Wikipedia, much less a software-implemented constraint on hostile deletions.
Cordially, catherine yronwode a.k.a. User:Catherineyronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 14:40, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Catherine: either (i) play by the rules (ii) get the rules changed or (iii) go and form your own wiki on your own principles elsewhere. Your and Madman's constant whining notwithstanding, current policy is very clear: "There seems to be a terrible bias among some editors that some sort of random speculative 'I heard it somewhere' pseudo information is to be tagged with a 'needs a cite' tag. Wrong. It should be removed, aggressively, unless it can be sourced." Personally, I think that your proposed system would be unwieldy to administer and ripe for gaming -- but you're welcome to give it a try on your own wiki. However, per WP:TALK, this page is not the correct forum for presenting such proposals. HrafnTalkStalk 16:06, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

Catherine has elected to attempt to restore The Science of Getting Rich by copying over some sourced information from this article and adding a small amount of wP:OR of her own. I am therefore proposing that these articles be merged for the following reasons:

  • THE ABOVE IS A FALSE STATEMENT: There was neither "COPYING" nor "OR." I did nothing of the kind. When i saw that hrafn had redirected the book article, i went back to an earlier version of the book article (which i did not create or write) and i added sources for it, then found some more material about the book, using a good source that is not used on the Wallace Wattles page because it had to do with the book per se, and not with Wallace Wattles. It was not OR in any sense of the term. . I expect an immediate retraction of this false statement. Thank you. catherine yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 05:36, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • The only sources currently in that article were copied from this article, and the only information sourced to them is a summary/paraphrase of material already in this article. Anything new is thus unsourced and WP:OR. HrafnTalkStalk 06:09, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
This is a false statement A check of the time stamps will show that there was another source added by me before the time you wrote the (it was to the Oprah Winfrey site) and that i had to waste time restoring the article which got rediected while i was writing it, so i clearly wrote in the edit summaries that i would be continuing to work on the article later in the night. While you were writing this, i was again working on the The Science of Getting Rich article. catherine yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 07:48, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  1. Duplication (WP:MERGE#Merging #1), per copying of information above.
    • THE ABOVE IS A FALSE STATEMENT: There was no "COPYING." When i saw that hrafn had redirected the article, with no discussion or agreement from other editors, i went back to an earlier version or the book article (which i did not create or write), re-imported it, added proper footnotes, then researched and added some more material, using a good sourcethat is not used on the Wallace Wattles page. I expect an immediate retraction of this false statement. catherine yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 05:36, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
    • Further proof by assertion and thus worthless. The new article shows very little resemblance to the original, as can be seen from this dif -- and far closer resemblance to this article. HrafnTalkStalk 06:09, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
This is a false assertion. I did not say i copied the "original" version; i went back to a version that exited before the redirect wiped it out. "Original" and "earlier" are not the same thing at Wikipedia. cat yronwode a.k.a. 64" (talk) 07:48, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  1. The fact that previous discussions have already established that there is barely enough reliably sourced (and particularly secondary/third-party source) information to sustain even one article to wikipedia standards.
  • THE ABOVE IS A FALSE STATEMENT: The idea that there is a paucity of material about the book has neither been stated nor discussed here or on the book page. Previous discussions were about the difficulties of sourcing material aboutthe life of Wallace Wattles, not about difficulties sourcing discussions about the book. Any attempt to paint discussions about one article to reflect what was discussed about another article is dishonest or ignorant. catherine yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 05:36, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • What we have seen is an admitted paucity of material on Wattles himself and no attempt to introduce any significant third-party information on his trumpeted most significant work (which clearly would be relevant to this article). HrafnTalkStalk 06:09, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • I am steadily adding third-party information to the article on The Science of Getting Rich. It is an entirely different sort of article, and deals primarily with the content of the book and its influence on current success-book writers and teachers. Did you notice that the Business portal assessment team had rated it as a topic of "Top Importance"? Obviously that does not make it a candidate for redirection or removal through merging; it makes it a candidate for improvement, which is what i am working hard to accomplish. YOU CAN HELP! Come on, try it -- improving articles can be lots of fun, hrafn. Give it a try. cat yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 07:48, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
I have no preference as to which of these articles is kept, but would note that, on the basis of sourced third party information currently in the article, The Science of Getting Rich's notability is even more tenuous than this article. For that article to survive, people would need to be demonstrate third party coverage of it meeting WP:BK. HrafnTalkStalk 04:22, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • OPPOSE. I have a preference that both articles be kept. Your disruptive and tendentious edits against religious topics show through your edit history. You are verging upon being a one-purpose editor, and i advise you to stop your campaign of deletion and merging. We have two distinct articles here, each one developed in its own way. One is a biography and the other is a description of a culturally important text. Neither article encompasses the theme of the other. cat yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 05:36, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Catherine: your personal attacks demonstrate that you are as utter clueless on my editing patterns as you are on wikipedia policy. Your ludicrous complaints against me can be summarised as 'why does this meanie insist on applying wikipedia policy to my beloved sacred cows, why can't he allow their glorious WP:TRUTH remain unmolested by such banal considerations as sourcing and verifiability.' I really don't give a toss for such histrionics. HrafnTalkStalk 06:09, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Hrafn, that was one of the silliest and most poorly researched opinions about myself i have ever received, here or in any venue. One look at your tendentious editing history with respect to Christian Bible organizations and the Unification Church paints a picture of you as an obsessively narrow-band editor with an axe to grind against specific religious groups. I, on the other hand, edit all over the map, being a generalist and a polymath. "Beloved sacred cows"?! Nope, none for me, thanks. I am editing on so many topics now that you'd have to me to keep up with me. I have 9 computers in my home and office; each with its own IP address, and sometimes i even log in, too. :-) Here are some recent edits by me:
I mean, between writing about supermarket chains, unusual diseases, R&B singers, dog breeds, current events, biographies of living people, herb-based foodstuffs, the history of 19th and 20th century religious denominations, small towns along the Gulf Coast, folklore, hip-hop dance styles, political movements, and philosophy, i don't really have time for "Sacred Cows."
I take it from your editing history that YOU are the one with a "Sacred Cow" up the booty. Now, please, let us seek mediation before your unflattering but misguided attempts to falsely characterize me lead us into personally contentious waters. cat yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 07:48, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • strong oppose to merge. Books and authors are different beasts. NVO (talk) 09:56, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment: your view is directly opposed by that of Karen Kelly in The Secret of the Secret (p79): "Since little is known about Wattles, we can only examine the words he actually wrote and what was going on in the United States when he wrote them, in the early twentieth century." HrafnTalkStalk 13:15, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment: That is a pathetically weak argument, hrafn. Kelly was justifying her own focus as a researcher. Cover my round-trip airplane fair to Indiana and back, plus food and lodging and a driver (i have low vidion and cannot drive) for four weeks and i will reaserach and write a scholarly article on Wattles that will see print in a reliable source journal within one year. Any good freelancer could do it. The fact that Kelly did not reflects only upon her primary interest as the author of the cited text: she was describing the runaway bestseller status of "The Secret," not digging up data on Wallace Wattles. cat yronwode a.k.a. "64" (talk) 20:47, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • It's easy to make brave challenges Catherine, when you know there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that the other person would consider footing the considerable bill for your little adventure. It is largely immaterial whether she mined out completely the material inaccessible without going in person or not. She remains our best (and sole substantial) third-party source of information on Wattles. So you can deride my argument all you like, it stands on its merits. HrafnTalkStalk 04:30, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
  • I hardly doubt that Mrs.Kelly approves your attempt to use her name in trolling here. Apparently your private war here goes way beyond AGF. NVO (talk) 22:09, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Thank you for that ad hominem attack that makes no attempt to address the issues. It really adds to the tone of the discussion. HrafnTalkStalk 04:30, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. There are many other works by Wattles notable enough for articles. Your continued efforts to reduce the number of spiritualist articles, Hrafn, is tiresome, stressful, and less than productive. Madman (talk) 03:47, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
  • An unsubstantiated assertion and an ad hominem attack -- an excellent basis for a merger discussion opinion. HrafnTalkStalk 04:30, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
It's not an ad hominem attack. It does not call into question your character nor does it say anything about you personally. Rather, it questions your raising the merge proposal in the first place.
If it were an ad hominem attack, it would say something like "This merge proposal is worthless because it was suggested by someone who is an argumentative, biased, and uncivil rules-lawyer." Madman (talk) 15:20, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Withdrawal of merge proposal[edit]

Given that this proposal clearly hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell of getting a reasoned (let alone fair) hearing, and has degenerated into a series of personal attacks on myself, I am withdrawing the proposal. Catherine can therefore continue in her absurd quixotic attempt to stretch the thin pickings information to cover two articles. HrafnTalkStalk 04:30, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Thank you, hrafn. cat yronwode a.k.a "64" (talk) 05:56, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Year of death issue[edit]

There seems to be some discrepancy for the date/year of death for WATTLES. Article states 1911 at top, and then quotes life events that he undertook in the succeeding years. Can someone quote an authoritative date of death? Obituary available? billinghurst sDrewth 00:52, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Wallace Wattles/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Surely someone must know more about him?

Last edited at 07:34, 30 August 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 10:10, 30 April 2016 (UTC)