Template talk:Synthesis

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Verifiable in reliable sources[edit]

First, I apologize for my edit summaries, but is there any way to express this idea using the word verifiable? The intention is clearly not that something is verified in the source, but that we can verify that the given synthesis appears in a reliable source. How can one express this? The current text:

"This article or section may contain an unpublished synthesis of published material that is not attributable to reliable sources."

Perhaps, something like the following paraphrasing WP:NOR:

"This article or section may contain an unpublished synthesis of published material where it hasn't been verified that this precise analysis has been published by a reliable source in relation to the topic."

Any suggestions? --Merzul 19:45, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Sources do not verify material!![edit]

Please stop changing this template to misrepresent WP:V, the idea is that we have to verify that material has been published in a reliable source, not that the source verifies it:

"Verifiable" in this context means that any reader should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source.

Please don't confuse people to think the source must verify the information! Attributable is a good word in normal English to convey this idea. --Merzul 07:12, 18 April 2007 (UTC)


The documentation makes no sense. What would "entire article no doubt topic=war and peace" be used for? The result looking at the template doesn't make sense either. Miss Mondegreen | Talk   20:58, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

It is just to tweak the topic, see List of United States Presidential religious affiliations, where one might like to change the topic to be slightly different from the default. Perhaps this should remain an undocumented feature, if it is confusing. --Merzul 22:12, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
It's just to give a shorter title so it doesn't wrap, and also it doesn't make sense to demand sources on the topic "List of...", the idea is that there should be some sources on the main topic of the article, and sometimes one might want to modify that. It's an optional parameter. --Merzul 22:19, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Ok, what I don't get is the "entire article no doubt" part--shouldn't that just be article or section? You do realize that the template reads "This entire article no doubt may contain..."right? Does that only make NO SENSE to me? Miss Mondegreen | Talk   22:34, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Heh, that's right, I didn't notice the contradiction. I copied this from {{Original research}}, but see Argument_from_love#Outline_logical_structure for IMO good use of that option. I don't know what to do about the documentation, feel free to tweak it. You can also quite aggressively tweak the template, because it isn't used very heavily, yet... As I understand, you will be one of the main users, so be bold! --Merzul 23:25, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Heh! I must say that I do hesitate to be bold with templates--that's the sort of reason that people start substing thing which means when policy changes, wikignomes have to go around fixing all of the articles which substed things which is so annoying. Anyway, I've added to the documentation a section on sections--and changed the "entire article" parameter to "article" since it's simpler. I also tried giving a little more space overall in the documentation. Let me know what you think. Miss Mondegreen | Talk   06:05, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
Much better! --Merzul 08:19, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Is this template really needed?[edit]

I'm not entirely convinced that this template is needed. The {{OR}} template essentially says the same thing as this template. Not to mention, WP:SYS is in itself a part of the OR policy. While the current OR template is commonly used for articles that have claims that aren't at all cited and this template used for the synthesis of conclusions based off citations, I feel that this isn't a significant difference to warrant a seperate template. Plus, the OR template is more straight and to the point by downright calling it "original research". --Android Mouse 21:28, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes. I've run into situations where information is being taken from 5 different sources and cobbled together to present a POV, and the editor has claimed that it's not Original Research because everything is documented. Syn is the only thing that alerted others to the fact that the sources did not support the conclusion. 00:47, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
If it is documented then it isn't original research. THe problem is it may not be documented correctly, which is exactly what original research is. --Android Mouse 00:56, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
The conclusion wasn't documented, only the individual facts that the editor used to make the conclusion. He was basically trying to present the conclusion that a certain minor United States political party is the "third party" by bringing together voter tallies, expenditure reports and contribution totals for one race and comparing them with the other parties. Independently, his facts were correct, but the conclusion that this party is real competition for the GOP and Democrats was not. 01:19, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but that's exactly what original research is. The distinction you've made doesn't seem to be significant as the situation you've described could also be described by the OR tag just fine. --Android Mouse 01:46, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
Fine. I've voiced my objections, given reasons, and provided an example where the OR tag didn't work and the SYN one did; I don't feel like belaboring it. There appears to be a movement afoot to reduce the number and impact of tags (articleissues, not verified, this one), so I'm guessing this is already doomed. 02:11, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
I do think that the number of tags should be reduced because many of them are redundant in meaning and purpose. I feel this is the case here. I also don't think throwing a bunch of tags on an article will help, infact it will decrease their impact as everyone will begin ignoring them. Although, I don't understand what your objection to thea articleissues template is. The tags are still there but not as obtrusive for those who aren't concerned about them. Hopefully a few others will offer their opinions on the usefulness of this template. --Android Mouse 02:48, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
I think it's OK as long as SYN and OR tags are not both used at the same time (except maybe with {{articleissues}}). Synthesis is a specific problem that can be very detrimental to a well-sourced page with no other original research, such as this one. east.718 at 07:01, August 11, 2007
The American terrorism article I think is a perfect example of why redundancy in tag creation and tagging should be avoided. Here is the text from the article (the NPOV bullet removed):
  • It may contain inappropriate or misinterpreted citations which do not verify the text.
  • It may contain original research or unverifiable claims.
  • It may contain an unpublished synthesis of published material that conveys ideas not verifiable with the given sources.
Granted, the first and second bullets do have significantly different meanings but the last bullet, the synthesis template's text, reiterates the first two-- less clearly. --Android Mouse 07:24, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Template is been used to vandalize[edit]

This template box is much too intangible. It's been used by people to cast doubt on article they don't like. Rune X2 (talk) 10:31, 25 November 2007 (UTC)


At present, the template asserts

This article or section may contain unpublished synthesis

Which is problematic because appearance in Wikipedia formally constitutes publication (humble or otherwsie). The template could be repaired by simply dropping-in the word “previously”:

This article or section may contain previously unpublished synthesis

SlamDiego←T 23:10, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

I have effected the change. —SlamDiego←T 11:22, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

This is a vitally needed template[edit]

This template describes a very common problem on Wikipedia. Sometimes misquotes of sources that are hard to find creep in, so it is difficult to verify that edits are not saying something different from their sources. This flag seems to be a viable way of questioning improper descriptions of references. The only fault that I can seem to find with the template is being able to show the singular versus plural form when displayed. I could not seem to find a singular versus plural parameter in the source coding but I might have missed it. (talk) 00:35, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

The problem you're talking about is not the problem this template describes. Misquoting or misrepresenting a source is not the same as synthesizing information from different sources. (talk) 05:44, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Oops, that was me, sorry. Kragen Javier Sitaker (talk) 06:10, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

This template should not exist.[edit]

The entire point of Wikipedia is that it is a previously unpublished synthesis of published material. Accordingly, as has been noted in comments above, this invites abuse; any page on Wikipedia could legitimately be claimed to be "a previously unpublished synthesis of published material," even if it doesn't contain any WP:SYN. The truly objectionable event it seems to be intended for — that an editor is inserting a non-neutral point of view into the article and citing facts from sources that don't share their POV — is reduced to an afterthought.

The problem is that the meaning of "synthesis" includes not only drawing new conclusions from information from disparate sources, but even simply bringing together and organizing information from disparate sources. The jargon we normally use here limits its meaning to the first of these, but we can't expect everyone who reads an article to understand what meanings we've added or subtracted to everyday words in our decade of discussion of how to run this project.

I think {{or}}, {{syn}}, {{fact}}, and various stuff about POV-pushing already adequately covers this case, but if we want an "improper synthesis" or "unjustified conclusions" ambox, it should be worded in a dramatically different way. For example, "Some assertions in this article may not be in the sources cited, and may therefore represent original research that should be removed." Even that, though, seems pretty ill-suited for an ambox. How could anyone ever justify removing an ambox that said that?

So we should just delete this template, and maybe make a quick pass over the 347 articles that transclude it at the moment to see if we can figure out where an inline {{syn}} might be in order. Kragen Javier Sitaker (talk) 06:09, 1 December 2011 (UTC)