Template talk:Locomotives and rolling stock of the Victorian Railways, predecessors and successors

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VR Locos[edit]

Hi there

I noticed you've set up a template that differentiates between steam and diesel power on the VR. I guess you're working towards a series of articles for the diesel electric fleet.

This raises an interesting problem, how do we classify the VR diesel (and for that matter, electric) fleet? The VR steam fleet was largely designed in-house, whereas the diesel fleet was largely bought from GM-EMD as off-the-shelf products. The VR K class steam locomotive has only ever been used in Victoria, whereas the VR T class diesel was an EMD G8 that was also sold around the world.

In articles I've created for the steam fleet, I've referenced the "T class" diesel for example as the EMD G8, pointing to the article created for that off-the-shelf GM-EMD product. Do you propose to create a series of articles for the diesel fleet based on the VR class name, or the GM-EMD product name? I guess the other issue to consider is, if you base your article names on the convention I've used for the steam fleet, how do you take into account for the fact that some were purchased by Victorian Railways (eg C class), and others were purchased by V/Line (eg N class)?

I'd been warming up to writing an article on some of the early VR diesel locos (eg B class, S class) and was pondering this point.

Zzrbiker 10:36, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I found your series of loco articles and wanted to help develop them further, the template seemed the most logical starting point. I've been pondering what to do with the diesel fleet as it is a bit of a mixed bag, with most being modified off the shelf products. My own view was to write specific VR articles and at a minimum link back to the parent products, as in most cases there were significant differences that make the VR versions unique in their own right.
I've spent most of the evening looking at how to deliniate the whole lot. My best thought was to leave the steam group as is, and then sub-divide the diesels into the VR group and include the A class, the N class and the P class in seperate, but linked, articles. The template can then be modified to list VR steam, VR railcars, VR diesels, post VR diesels and post VR railcars, which brings us right up to the the V'Locity sets. In the steam group I was planning to add a separate section for the Na and G locos.
I've also added the template to the bottom of the last section of each article, which in some cases is Preservation, in one case in Modelling and another Other Liveries. Is there a case for settling on a standardised format for all the pages and the template going at the bottom after them?  :Jaxsonjo 12:28, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
One of the joys of Wikipedia is that because anyone can edit it, trying to keep anything consistent is a bit of a battle! As such, other sections have been added and it is likely that yet more sections may be added to other articles, or section names changed, etc in future. I'd suggest that the best course of action is that this template goes to the end of the page, after the "References" and "External Links" sections, which seems to be the accepted norm and where other category links are located. See |LNER or GWR examples.
As to the naming conventions for articles and links to GM-EMD product pages, that's a tricky one. I can see a perfectly reasonable argument for having a Victorian Railways T class (d/e) article that links back to the EMD G8 article or a Victorian Railways S class (d/e) article that links back to an EMD A7 or EMD A16C article, but then you have the other VR-only classes like the B class where the EMD article would seem almost redundant. Perhaps just a redirect page in those cases?
Zzrbiker 22:33, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I'll discuss it here rather than continue at my talk page. The shops of the same name, the 'plain' name is a disambiguation page, then they use the ship name and the year. Perhaps were should do this for all locos - Victorian Railways B class becomes as disambiguation, then we have Victorian Railways B class (18xx) for the steam and Victorian Railways B class (19xx) for the diesel? Or keep the (diesel) disambiguation, and use (steam) as well.

I think we should let a bit of discussion ensure before we go leaving a trail of redirects (though I have already contributed to that already!) Wongm (talk) 07:02, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

I think the trouble with disambiguation pages is that given we've only got at most three choices including steam and diesel (and at least one of those is likely to be a pretty obscure one, eg 1889 X class, 1882 C class) it seems overkill to have the default choice being a disambiguation page. Particularly for all the other cases like B class where there's only going to be just the two choices. If it came down to it, I'd rather have one of those italicised dablink messages at the top of the affected articles, or a "See also" link within the article.
As far as the naming convention, I'd suggest just leaving things largely as is. No-one is going to confuse the Victorian Railways N class with the V/Line N class, so why add dates? Even within the fleet delivered to VR, I'd say it's pretty straightforward. There's the VR steam fleet, eg Victorian Railways C class, there's the diesel and electric fleet with (diesel) or (electric) appended to the class name, eg Victorian Railways C class (diesel) (even though by then VR called itself "VicRail"), and for the few long-gone 19th century locos that preceded another steam locomotive class of the same designation we could just append a year of introduction to avoid ambiguity, eg Victorian Railways C class (1882). Note that in some cases, these early loco classes (being the first C, G, H, J, K, S, V, X classes) have very little available source data about them and possibly push the limits of WP:NOTABILITY anyway, so you could argue for lumping a number of them into a single article.
Remember that given that all these articles have a pretty clear category box listing all the classes, I think it's reasonably easy to find what you want even if you did end up on the wrong C class page! Oh well, that's my $0.02 anyway. - Zzrbiker (talk) 09:25, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm probably just complicating matters - I see your point about the few options, and it is a small group of editors who are going around adding links to the loco articles anyway. If you throw in redlinks to the articles you plan to write into this infobox, then we won't get confused.
Has there been any true differentiation made between 'old' and 'modern' VR steam? If there is one (not just something we have made up) then it might be worth doing this to the infobox as well. Wongm (talk) 02:08, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
I think whoever created the infobox assumed you'd have one bunch of articles for steam locos 1900-1954, and another bunch for all the 1854-1899 locos. This more-or-less matches the timeline for the "standard" classes designed entirely at Newport which supposedly began with the Dd. I'd suggest that you could also break down the 19th century stuff into a few groups - the Speight-era 'standard' locos (eg 'New A', D, E, X, Y classes), the early VR locomotives (eg B, O, Q, 'Old A' classes etc) and the early private locos (eg Melb & Hobsons Bay, Melb & Geelong railway locos, etc). As it is, I think let's just put them all in the one category of "steam" for now and worry about regrouping them when we've got enough articles of quality and detail to justify it. -Zzrbiker (talk) 11:59, 18 August 2008 (UTC)


Taking Victorian Railways X class (diesel) as an example, it has a VR, V/Line, Freight Australia, Pacific National and QRNational locomotive. Shall we make a categories for each operator, and add each loco they operate to it? Or will this be to unwieldy? Another option is to just add a fleet list of the article on each operator? Wongm (talk) 02:08, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm not that keen on multiple lines of categories for an article - after a while I think the law of diminishing returns starts to apply. I'd also note that we face the same issue as those who've written articles on British Rail locos face - in that we have a fleet that was once owned by a government monopoly now owned by any number of private operators. I guess ideally our articles on the VR diesel fleet would be along the lines of British Rail Class 87 or British Rail Class 43 (HST) as far as structure goes. Note that they don't go overboard on categories, but instead discuss the post-privatisation career company by company as subheadings or in a table.
My thought is that the best way to improve the VR-V/Line diesel articles for now would be to expand them. Categories are all very well, but the big problem for me is that the VR B class diesel, possibly one of the most important locomotive classes in Australian rail history, currently has an article of just 152 words in the main body, with most of that being about their post VR semi-retirement in private operation or their rebuilding into the A class, and the article is rated as low importance stub class! I'd edit it myself if I wasn't busy with the pre-1900 fleet (so many articles to write!) - Zzrbiker (talk) 11:08, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Tee-hee-hee - have a look at Victorian Railways B class (diesel) now - if only I had a copy of The ML2 Story. Wongm (talk) 11:01, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Pre-20th century[edit]

With the thing about the AA and B classes being pre-20th century, I now realize I was wrong about the AA's.

However, the B class should go into the pre-20th category, because they serviced from 1861 to 1881. Same for the C, J, M class suburban tank engines, and so on. More-or-less, the pre-20th was referring to when the locos were built, but I wasn't sure how to show this.

Also, all the locos from these companies:

  • The Melbourne and Hobsons Bay Railway Company

- 2-2-2WT (x1), 2-4-0WT (x5), 0-4-0WT (x1), 2-4-0WT N Class (x5)

  • The Melbourne and Suburban Railway Company

- 2-4-0 (x2), 2-4-0 (x2)

  • The Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company

- 2-2-2 (x2), 2-2-2 (x2), 2-4-0T (x2), 0-6-0 (x4), 0-4-0 [Ariel] (x1)

  • The Melbourne Railway Company (Combination of The Melbourne and Suburban Railway Company and The St. Kilda and Brighton Railway Company.)

- 2-4-0T (x2)

  • The Melbourne and Essendon Railway Company

- 2-4-0ST (x3)

  • The Melbourne & Hobson’s Bay United Railway Company of 30/6/1865

- 2-4-0 (x4), 4-4-0 C Class (x6), 0-4-0 Pier Donkey (x1)

Therefore, at the end, the M&HBUR Company had 28 locos.

When the VR abosrbed the M&HBUR in 1878, they built 5 new locos, no's 1-5 (yes, they overlapped numbers!)

BTW, I got all the above from "The First Fifty Years."

Steamtostay (talk) 13:11, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

I can see the point of a pre-20th Century category when we have so many VR steam locomotive articles that we need to differentiate between the K class of 1874 and the K class of 1922. But at present, there is only two locomotive articles (B class & NA class) that would go in this category, and with no magical compelling event surrounding the year 1900 that makes an 1899 locomotive somehow different to a 1900 locomotive, it just becomes a category for the sake of a category. There's not even as many steam loco articles (14 at present) as there are diesel-electric articles (15) so why break steam locos up into two lists?
If you are dead keen on creating categories, or creating redlinks in the template for articles that don't yet exist, could I suggest a far more obvious problem with the current template is the complete lack of any freight wagon articles. Because that category is empty, the template iterates in a way that suggests the VR had no freight wagons. Which makes it seem even more odd to be worrying about multiple categories for a relatively short list of steam loco articles.
Just my $0.02. - Zzrbiker (talk) 09:03, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
OK, so it's two days later and I find the same division into two categories, and no attempt to discuss the issue on the talk page. Except this time it's an even sillier category - Victorian Steam 1850(!)-1899. What steam engines ran in Victoria prior to 1854?
Before anyone runs off and yet again splits up the steam locomotive articles into some other arbitrary, unnecessary set of subcategories, could they at least take the time to present in the discussion page some attempt at a cogent argument as to what justifies it before just bulldozing ahead? - Zzrbiker (talk) 09:02, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Freight wagons[edit]

I think creating articles on each freight wagon is pretty crazy, and the only real source is the work of Peter J Vincent, including his website, and the 'Brief History' book series produced in association with Norm Bray.

However a page like Freight wagons of the Victorian Railways might work better, with details such as how four wheelers were first, continuous train brakes were introduced, the first bogies vehicles, removal of buffers, autocoupler introduction, the import of ACF wagons from the USA, moves to steel underframes, the rise of container traffics, the ubiquitous GY, the 1960s VR moves into regional manufacturing at Ballarat and Bendigo, the 1973 design bogie hopper used for umpteen types of traffic, the ROA 4 letter recoding, the GH conversions and the emergence of bogies grain vehicles and block trains, the elimination of four wheelers, the NR wagon transfers, and PN scrapping things today.

Big topic... Wongm (talk) 12:41, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

I forgot - you get into the 'goods' vs 'freight' wagon argument for the title as well! Wongm (talk) 12:43, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
I suppose we could start with the freight wagons of the VR page, then have two extra pages, a glossary on four-wheelers and a glossary on bogie wagons.
From this would evolve articles on some of the more represenative wagons, such as the GY's (and GH's in the same page), and we could also have separate articles on the autocupler conversion (which affected locos and passenger sets as well), and so on...
Thinking about it, the best way to go I reckon would be to steal Peter J Vincent's idea, which is to sort by general shape and purpose: http://www.pjv101.net/cd/pages/type_frt.htm
Baggage/Mail vans
Hopper wagons -> Open type, Covered type
Container Wagons
Coiled Steel Transport
Explosives Transport
Flat Wagons
Hearse Vans
Livestock Transport -> Horses, Cattle and Sheep
Louvre vans
Motor Car Transport
Miscellaneous (Other)
Open Wagons
Refrigerator Vans
Special Load Transport
Timber wagons
Tank Wagons
All we need to ask ourselves is:
a) Do baggage and mail count as freight, passenger or "other"?
b) Should we group Boxvans, Louvre Vans, Refrigerator Vans, Explosives Vans and Hearse Vans?
c) Should we group Miscellaneous and Motor Car with Special Load? Do these count as freight or "other"?
d) Should we group Container Wagons with Coiled Steel Transport, Flat Wagons and Timber Wagons?
e) What about the Service Stock wagons (HD, WW, WT, etc.)? What about cranes?

Steamtostay (talk) 13:23, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

The present number of pages is going a bit overboard - will the articles be anything other than a regurgitation of the work of Peter J Vincent, focusing on the conversion between classes? Or something more? Wongm (talk) 06:17, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

For now, just a regurgitation, but it's supposed to be an invite for more information from other sources. Where applicable I intend to add information from Mark Bau's site, but that's the only one I know of. I also don't have easy access to books on the subject, but I'm sure someone else out there does. Steamtostay (talk) 06:27, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

VR livestock article created.[edit]

Article for the M, L and F wagons and bogie variations. Needs links, pictures figures, stats, degunzelling.


Steamtostay (talk) 13:03, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Narrow Gauge question[edit]

Should all the narrow gauge rollingstock be grouped together, or split among the given broad gauge articles?

Steamtostay (talk) 15:20, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

There already seems to be stuff under the narrow gauge page, perhaps put it all together then put a mention on the type page. Wongm (talk) 11:05, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Wagon types[edit]

Thinking about the types of wagons, particularly in terms of the new hoppers article I'm writing.

Should we really be sorting by type/shape, or should we be looking at traffic carried? i.e. a page for ballast (and sleeper) transport, another for grain transport and so on? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Anothersignalman (talkcontribs) 06:38, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Reorganised; traffic section added[edit]

The intention is that each of the traffic pages will either link directly to the only type of wagon qualified for that segment, i.e. the corpse, explosive and perishable pages (which I haven't linked properly, but I'm not sure how to code), while the rest will link to disambiguation-style pages with links to all the relevant classes (i.e. Gypsum would link to both the VOJF in open wagons, and VHJA wagons in the hopper page.

Anothersignalman (talk) 12:32, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Railway company naming[edit]

I have fixed wikilinks to most of the railway companies, but note the use of the ampersand in the template - when the articles use 'and'. This makes me think the links to the various locomotive class articles might be wrong also.Garyvines (talk) 02:47, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Reliability of sources in rolling stock articles (social media etc)[edit]

Looking for a ruling on the quality of references which can be used on detail articles, i.e. most of the articles linked to in this template. Placed here because it applies to all.

Question revolves around use of social media sites as reliable sources. It has been previously established that social media can be a reliable source, depending on the context: Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability/Archive_65#Reliability_of_social_media_sources_representing_companies

Further, Wikipedia:Verifiability#Access_to_sources says:

   "Some reliable sources may not be easily accessible. For example, an online source may require payment, and a print-only source may be available only in university libraries. Do not reject reliable sources just because they are difficult or costly to access. If you have trouble accessing a source, others may be able to do so on your behalf (see WikiProject Resource Exchange)."

So therefore, a locked facebook group (and posts within) is no more or less reliable than an open group, and the group being closed is not in and of itself a reason to reject a source.

Item 1[edit]

If "Verified Expert X" uses their verified Facebook account to discuss the topic they are an expert in, then that specific post should be considered a reliable source? How is it any different to the above case study with the Yarra Valley Railway's facebook page, which can be manually verified by checking previous posts for legitimate content?

Item 2[edit]

Where should I list the personal facebook accounts which are controlled by people who are experts in this field as established by previous published works etc? For example, Daryl Gregory, who (in conjunction with others) published the books used as definitive sources for most of these articles. I'd posit that posts made by his facebook account should qualify as expert sources, and therefore be permitted.

So for example, a list could be:

Group A[edit]

URL to Group A

  • Person1 & URL to profile page
  • Person2 & URL to profile page

Group B[edit]

URL to Group B

  • Person3 & URL to profile page
  • Person4 & URL to profile page

Group C[edit]

URL to Group C

  • Person5 & URL to profile page
  • Person6 & URL to profile page

The list needs to be dynamic, with some sort of name submission system if reliable people create their first accounts, or if a person becomes reliable after getting promoted and gaining access to information.

Anothersignalman (talk) 15:49, 19 June 2017 (UTC)


  • "So therefore, a locked facebook group (and posts within) is no more or less reliable than an open group, and the group being closed is not in and of itself a reason to reject a source." I don't have time right now to address everything in full but wanted to address this comment specifically. There is a difference between something being behind a paywall of a reliable source, like Wall Street Journal, for example and a closed facebook group. Whether it is open or closed is mostly irrelevant other than the fact that it is virtually inaccessible to someone IF the administrator decided they don't want that person to have access, whereas a paywall is technically accessible to *everyone*. Second, closed/open aside, it is a Facebook group. Period. It is not a published source. Subject matter experts may very well post there but it is not published material. Period. It also appears to me that you're asking in this RfC to vet individuals on Facebook for the purposes of being able to use them as a reliable source - if there is not published content to support something, perhaps it is not appropriate to be in an article but we as editors do not get to decide who is and is not an SME based on Facebook.
We aren't talking a press release posted on a companies website. We're talking the equivalent of a forum, where any individual can claim to be someone and there is no tight affiliation "officially" with the subject matter.
Lastly, by associating someone as an individual as either an SME or an employee of xyz is a grey area and it forces an assumption of legal authority that you cannot make for them (think where an individual is employed by a company but not a representative and speaks for them on social media - which cannot be verified and has no editorial oversight.)CHRISSYMAD ❯❯❯¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 18:27, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

A few items to respond to:

1. Access - how is the access or not aspect any different to, say, a language barrier or region-lock barrier? Also, repeated from above:

    "If you have trouble accessing a source, others may be able to do so on your behalf (see WikiProject Resource Exchange)."

2. Published material must form the basis for an article, but I think smaller details shouldn't be as stringent. As long as a source is provided, the reader can decide for themselves whether or not to trust that reference. Also, it's not like this stuff is life-or-death. Context is key, and that's why this sort of discussion DOES NOT set a precedent for, say, anti-vaccination idiots to copy their posts across to here.

3. Yes, I'm asking for a process to vet individual facebook (and forum in general) posters as experts within specific contexts.

4. In this case, the published content does not exist yet, but it will at some unidentified point in the future. Many of the articles refer primarily to the "brief history" series of books by Vincent, Gregory & Bray, but those books are a few years out of date so do not include changes between publication and current. Facebook is the only place that information is currently available, but hunting for individual posts by reputable authors (including Gregory, Leslie et al.) is awful; so when I find one I transfer the details here and include the URL. That's why the URLs are so complex, rather than just the group URL - they each link to the specific comment that makes the claim.

5. Identity theft on Facebook is harder than you seem to think. The posters are identified and you can check previous posts by the person to clarify that they are, in fact, who they say they are. Look for things like consistent posting formats or writing style. When someone has, say, five to ten years of reliable, accurate writings (regardless of medium), chances are they know what they're talking about. There is also an edit trail - if a post is edited, you can click it and see previous versions.

6. Re legal stuff, you're taking this too seriously. If it was say a medical trial or a safety-related issue then sure, you want a source that can stand up to legal scrutiny. When we're talking about the date a set of carriages was assembled, I don't think it matters nearly as much (unless a person was injured during the process, and then you'd wait for official reports to be publicly released).

Anothersignalman (talk) 23:20, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

You have missed the point entirely, Anothersignalman. Especially 1, 3 and pretty much everything else. We do not vet individual people as SME's based on Facebook profiles, ever. Period. This is not about access of physicality or payment. This is a closed group that is run by someone who chooses who gets to see it. It is not a published source. It cannot be used reliably. CHRISSYMAD ❯❯❯¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 00:05, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Two things from there - a) are you using the dictionary or journal definition of "reliable", and b) why does it matter? Anothersignalman (talk) 06:22, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
You said at some point that published information about x would not be available until 2040 (something). If that is the case, it does not belong in an article, Facebook post or not. CHRISSYMAD ❯❯❯¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 00:05, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
That specific case has three pages in a published work plus a handful of references in magazines (with editors) from the era. The rest of the documentation is due to be released publicly c.2041. Anothersignalman (talk) 06:22, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
The key question I'm asking here is, if the information is not currently easily accessible, needs to be, is demonstrably accurate and isn't published in what you deem to be "a reliable source" as yet, where are people supposed to go to find it? Anothersignalman (talk) 06:22, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I would consider Facebook as more reliable than Wikipedia Trainsofvictoria (talk) 06:58, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
EG: Girgarre railway line page (now deleted). It consisted of 95% made up info, and all the references were to unrelated lines surrounding it. Trainsofvictoria (talk) 07:09, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Nothing stated in a Facebook group can be considered a reliable source, as WP:SELFPUB (and the above WT:Verifiability post) refers only to official Facebook pages of a company. Unfortunately, even if someone is considered a content expert, by posting to either an open or closed Facebook group we would not consider it a reliable source, as those posting are not posting on behalf of a company as an official representative as required by WP:SELFPUB. Allowing the referencing of a Facebook group would be detrimental to one of the project's key policies -- There'sNoTime (to explain) 12:15, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Is it possible that I'm confusing "reliable source" and "official source"? If we only permitted official sources these rules would make a lot more sense; using the term "reliable" indicates that individuals can qualify on their own merits.
As for WP:SELFPUB, scroll up a paragraph and it says:
    "Anyone can create a personal web page or publish their own book, and also claim to be an expert in a certain field. For that reason, self-published media, such as ... social media postings, are largely not acceptable as sources. Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications. Exercise caution when using such sources: if the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else will probably have published it in independent reliable sources." - Wikipedia:Verifiability#Self-published_sources 
A) The linked accounts can be (fairly easily) verified as legitimately belonging to the experts.
B) The work of those experts has previously been published, by groups like the Australian Railway Historical Society and Newsrail.
C) The reliable source (Daryl Gregory et al) has not yet had a chance to publish the content in a formal book. When that does happen the references can be changed, but until then the information needs to be collated and publicly accessible somewhere.
The restriction against self-published sources mainly seems concerned with people talking about themselves, and that's perfectly reasonable. I don't really see how it covers events.
Anothersignalman (talk) 14:38, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Anothersignalman It appears that you misunderstand WP:V. "The reliable source (Daryl Gregory et al) has not yet had a chance to publish the content in a formal book." Books are not the only reliable source however if something is not yet available as a source, it does not belong on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a crystalball.
Regarding "The work of those experts has previously been published, by groups like the Australian Railway Historical Society and Newsrail." If that is the case, use that as a source, not Facebook.
"The linked accounts can be (fairly easily) verified as legitimately belonging to the experts." How? CHRISSYMAD ❯❯❯¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 14:48, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Agree Wikipedia should not try to predict the future. But that doesn't address events that have happened after the last edition of Book X (in this case, Gregory et al's series on Victorian Railways rolling stock) was published - in this case there could be a time gap of ten years (and that also deals with WP:Recentism). Anothersignalman (talk) 19:26, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Misunderstanding here. Gregory et al have had their works published previously, which makes them recognised experts in the field. According to the quote above, that means their more recent (post-publication) work can also be regarded as a reliable source on this specific topic. Say I published fifty articles in various reputable journals, on the use of surgical tape in lieu of masking tape for painting jobs. That would make me an expert in the field. Then, according to the above rule, if I set up my own personal website and kept posting there on the same topic (and the site was verified as mine), then that website would also count as a reliable source. Anothersignalman (talk) 19:26, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
That's why I linked back to the company example. You can verify to a reasonable degree of accuracy that social media account X is owned by company X, and the same methods allow you to verify that social media account Y is owned by person Y. The verification method is different for individual sites - for example, I'd expect that a blue-tick Twitter account would pass the verified-ownership test. In the case of Facebook, the easiest way is to check the posts of an account over an extended period of time; say a year or two minimum. If they all have a similar writing style, chances are it's one person writing. If they match the style of writing used in previous Published works by the same person, then chances are it is that person. I say the test should look at the last few years of relevant posts because a spam or fake account will most likely be caught within a few days, or a few months in worst-case scenario (on Facebook; different standards would have to apply for other websites). Of course, checking all that is a lot of work which is why I think a register of social media accounts that pass that test would be useful. Anothersignalman (talk) 19:26, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
  • In order:
    1. A locked Facebook group is by definition not a published source. This goes beyond "difficult to access" (and bypasses whether or not it's reliable); it's simply not public. Such locked groups should not be used as references, ever. (If you disagree, I'll start citing experts' notebooks that I store under my bed. If you ask nicely, I'll let you see them when you visit me.)
    2. The short answer is, you shouldn't. If you'd have to maintain a list of "established experts", those experts aren't established enough.
That said, this RfC is both strangely formatted and in a strange place. The template has nothing to do with the questions being discussed here. Huon (talk) 00:10, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
A) Nearly the entire audience for the pages covered by this template will already have access to the respective facebook groups, and/or can get it. If you have an account, you could request access. It's easier than becoming a paid subscriber to every news outlet with a paywall. B) I'd ask you to provide scans of the expert notebooks, then as a reader of whatever page I'd judge for myself whether those references are legitimately from the people you claim them to be from. C) The experts are established, as seen in their works published in Newsrail and by the ARHS. This is about linking their social media presence to their existing published works, to fill the gap between the last edition of their works and today. D) I placed the RfC thread here because it applies to all the pages contained in the template. Easier than having it repeated across each page. Anothersignalman (talk) 07:50, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Please forgive if I am trampling over old ground, but the problem with social media, forums and fan websites is that often there is no vetting process and thus contravene WP:OR policy.
I could set up a Facebook account under the name of someone who is considered a knowledgeable source, spend a couple of months building up my credibility, and then post something which is complete rubbish. If the person who I am pretending to be does not become aware of my actions and seek to have the account closed, then I will probably get away with it and the post stand unchallenged. Granted a bit far fetched and not overly likely in these articles given that we are not dealing with a particularly emotive issue, but it certainly could happen in articles where WP:POV is more likely to occur.
With published sources, while errors and mistruths can still creep in, there is a process whereby the editor / publisher is going to run his eye over the content and if he feels unsure about it, do some digging to check the validity. He's unlikely to take information from an anonymous source as fact. So while not an ironclad guarantee of accuracy, it does make it more likely.
I'm sure we all have extensive knowledge on subjects which would enhance articles, but without being able to back it up with reliable sources, we can't add it. While the no WP:OR policy does hold this back, without it Wikipedia would have no credibility. Beachbo (talk) 04:09, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Beachbo, no problem with going over old content, especially since we now have it all in a central location. (Also, I enjoy a discussion that forces me to think, so thanks for that :) )
I think WP:OR doesn't apply here because I'm only talking about using previously-established Expert accounts. The rules already allow an expert's work to be used if their earlier work has been published. I'm not suggesting a free-for-all permit on using social media as a reference.
Yes, you could set up a false account on social media, but that's the same as setting up a false company/volunteer group account. The method we agreed on for the latter was to check the history of previous posts by the same account, and I don't see why that's a problem here. After all, if you're able to maintain a facade of accuracy for "a few months", chances are you've learned enough to hold your own in a discussion on the expert's topic, which covers accidental wrong information. You raise a good point about intentionally supplying false information. To handle that, I'd suggest that "Expert" social media accounts are kept in a register and given benefit of doubt. Then, if one of those accounts is used as a source and can be demonstrably proven false, that opens up the door to removing that account from the register.
I can see your point re WP:POV. I think the easiest solution there, at least for now, would be to ban use of this sub-clause on topics where WP:POV applies. Anothersignalman (talk) 14:01, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Anothersignalman No amount of consensus on this or related talk pages overrides policy. No one agreed to anything about vetting nor does any individual involved in this discussion have the authority to do so. Facebook is not a reliable source and a closed Facebook group is not a source. We, as editors, cannot and do not vet individuals on the basis of their Facebook account when it comes to use as a source. End of story. CHRISSYMAD ❯❯❯¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 16:07, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Then the obvious answer is to fix the policy, as has happened previously under Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability/Archive_65#Reliability_of_social_media_sources_representing_companies. The result of that discussion was "Conclusion: if social media are reliably associated with official spokespersons for the company, then see WP:SELFPUB", as enacted by Staszek Lem. I'm suggesting extending that rule to include "if social media are reliably associated with recognised experts who have previously had reliable works published in the relevant field, then see WP:SELFPUB". What's wrong with that? Anothersignalman (talk) 18:50, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
No, the answer is to understand and accept why the policy exists. Think it has been explained fairly extensively above that to be considered reliable, a source needs to be published. A discussion on Facebook, Railpage or any other similar platform fails the verifiability test. Likewise the drawing of conclusions from Vicsig and Flickr images that don’t actually back up what is being stated.
That many of these articles are relying on cites from these sources just makes them vunerable to having whole sections of text deleted or being deleted entirely. Best to have a smaller articles with text that can be backed up by reliable sources than one dominated by sources that are not. An article with 10 reliable cites is far more likely so survive a deletion challenge than one with 10 reliable and 40 unreliable.
The policy isn't going to change on the basis of the discussion on this page, so if you still feel a change should be made, then a consensus to change will need to be reached on the Verifiability page. Beachbo (talk) 02:23, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
Re photos on Flickr, Vicsig and non-locked Facebook pages - check the links. The photos establish that a vehicle existed at a certain time in a certain livery and/or consist. Photoshop, incorrect captions and/or timestamps all possible but unlikely given context. That's why most of those references in the tables say "before date X" or "after date X" - they establish limits but not exact details. Obviously the ideal scenario would be to find exact details and replace the sources.
Is there a way to segregate claims and associated references into major and minor? Agree it doesn't look good to have the majority of the reference list dominated by facebook links; but it's sort of like how, say, the S type page is largely based on two ISBNs listed 30 times for different page numbers. It dominates the list and gives undue emphasis to those sources.
I think I'll take your advice and start a thread on the Verifiability talk page. Will post a link here when that's done. Anothersignalman (talk) 07:37, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability#Permitting_use_of_established_experts_as_references.2C_if_posted_on_social_media.3F Anothersignalman (talk) 08:42, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • My generic outsider view ... Published is print media, having some assurance of editorial review, and definite durable wp:v. Online articles by commercial sites have editorial checks and better access but may not be durable ... and if behind a paywall then wp:v issue. Facebook... is down at the level of blog in no editorial controls. Individual cases might be wonderful, but I would say avoid or use as last resort. If this is all there is, then maybe the info is too low in detail to have coverage so might be better to say nothing. Markbassett (talk) 00:47, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
That's all there is, for now. The content will be published properly at some unidentified point in the future, but until then posts on Facebook by previously-established experts in the field are the only option. Agree it's a last resort, but it's still an option. Anothersignalman (talk) 00:55, 4 July 2017 (UTC)