Wikipedia:No original research/Noticeboard/Archive 7

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Paleolithic diet

I'd like to solicit opinions about whether the use of a particular source in an article constitutes Original Research and whether it is therefore inappropriate.

A key claim for the modern 'Paleolithic Diet' regime is that cereal grains were not used as a foodstuff in the Paleolithic (what used to be called the 'Old Stone Age'), i.e. before 10,000 years ago. This was common wisdom at the time the modern diet regime called the 'Paleolithic diet' was first developed in the 1970s and when it enjoyed a renaissance in the late 1990s. However, it is no longer accepted as fact, a key discovery having been made in 2004 when it was discovered that Paleolithic societies were processing cereal grains 13,000 years earlier than had previously been thought. The research was considered important enought to be published in one of the foremost scientific journals, Nature:

Piperno, D; Weiss, E., Hols, I., Nadel, D (2004). "Processing of wild cereal grains in the Upper Paleolithic revealed by starch grain analysis". Nature 430: 670-673.

The intention I have in using this source is to present only its main conclusion: that cereals were used in the Paleolithic. No synthesis of original thought is being inserted into the article.

User:Phenylalanine and I have being discussing whether this constitutes original research. His/her point is that the article does not specifically mention the modern 'Paleolithic Diet' regime and is therefore not 'directly related'. I believe it is.Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 00:14, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Note that modern advocates do not state that Paleolithic humans never ate cereals, rather they argue that cereals were rarely consumed: "Seeds and beans were rarely eaten and never in large amounts on a daily basis."[1] Also, see this article, look at the "Cereals" subsection in the "NUTRITIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PRE- AND POSTAGRICULTURAL DIETS" section. [2] --Phenylalanine (talk) 00:30, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Here is the text in question:

More than 70% of the total daily energy consumed by all people in the United States comes from foods, such as dairy products, cereals, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils and alcohol, that advocates of the Paleolithic diet assert contributed little or none of the energy in the typical preagricultural hominin diet.[1] Proponents of this diet argue that excessive consumption of these novel Neolithic and Industrial era foods is responsible for the current epidemic levels of obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer in the US and other contemporary Western populations.[1] This is despite evidence that Paleolithic societies were processing cereals for food use at least as early as 23,000 years ago[2][3] and perhaps as early as 200,000 years ago.[4]

  1. ^ a b Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O'Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J (February 1, 2005). "Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. American Society for Nutrition. 81 (2): 341–54. PMID 15699220. 
  2. ^ Piperno, D; Weiss, E., Hols, I., Nadel, D (2004). "Processing of wild cereal grains in the Upper Paleolithic revealed by starch grain analysis" (PDF). Nature. 430: 670–673.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  3. ^ Aranguren, B; Becattani, R., Lippi, M.M., Revedin, A (2007). "Grinding flour in Upper Palaeolithic Europe (25 000 years bp)" (PDF). Antiquity. 81: 845–855.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  4. ^ Murphy, D (2007). People, Plants and Genes: The Story of Crops and Humanity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Note that I am only arguing that source 3 (Piperno et al.) is original research. I do not have access to source 4, therefore I cannot verify whether that source refers to the Paleolithic diet regimen. Source 3 is fine as it indirectly refers to the dietary regimen: "Further investigations should bring new understanding to the historical study of nutrition, with important implications for modern populations. The so-called ‘diseases of civilisation’ have been related to the incomplete evolutionary adaptation to some foods introduced with the spread of agriculture (Cordain 2002)." --Phenylalanine (talk) 00:47, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
I have been involved also. A problem is that the Paleolithic diet article refers to a modern diet, popularized in the mid 1970s by a gastroenterologist named Walter L. Voegtlin and since then morphed into various names and diets like the "Caveman diet" etc. It was based on "common wisdom" rather than research and was considered by many as a "fad diet". The article by Piperno, D; Weiss, E., Hols, I., Nadel, D (2004) is referring to an actual Upper Paleolithic diet. In the Paleolithic diet as popularized by Walter L. Voegtlin, there was no attempt to understand the diets of geographically different groups of paleolithic humans, or to look at various paleolithic eras over 500,000 years. So, as I understand it, User:Phenylalanine is claiming that an article named Paleolithic diet cannot contain information related to the actual Paleolithic diets of humans in the Paleolithic era. —Mattisse (Talk) 00:41, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
The term "Paleolithic diet" is frequently used to refer to a modern dietary regimen which is based on ancestral paleodiets. It encompasses a range of dietary versions: different proponents will make different recommendations, but all of them claim that these prescriptions are based on certain patterns characteristic of ancestral diets. In the scientific literature (academic journals and volumes), "the paleolithic diet" is advocated by several proponents, e.g. Loren Cordain, S. Boyd Eaton, Staffan Lindeberg, and is strictly used to refer to a diet which excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. There are some discrepancies between the way this dietary regimen is portrayed in popular books such as Neanderthin and the way it is described in the scientific literature, but the diet is always presented as being based on certain patterns characteristic of ancestral diets. You say that "there is no scientific evidence based on scientific findings regarding what Paleolithic hunter gatherers ate and what their consequent health status was." However, this is incorrect.[3][4] At the very top of the article, it says: This article is about a modern nutritional approach. For information on the dietary practices of Paleolithic humans, see Paleolithic#Diet and nutrition. --Phenylalanine (talk) 00:51, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

(uninvolved editor) The text as suggested seems not so much an OR issue as a weight issue. To my way of thinking you can certainly rebutt a clear factual claim with reliably sourced evidence that clearly contradicts that factual claim, without needing someone to do it for you. It's synthesizing an argument that's problematic. However, in this case I'd suggest that it's giving undue weight to one particular study that offers weak indications that perhaps the mainstream view is wrong, and that doesn't address the majority of the issues in this section. It's worth incorporating in the article as a curiosity but probably not in the current positioning and text, and definitely not with "This is despite evidence that...".

As an aside, many of the justifications of the diet given in the paragraph above are nonsense. For example, "diseases of affluence" like obesity and diabetes are virtually unheard of in various Asian countries that rely on grains as their staple foodstuff, have low protein generally and small amounts of animal protein. See for example The China Study. Suggesting that grains are the causative mechanism is heavily contradicted by scientific consensus in this area. This really needs to be fleshed out properly since this is apparently a featured article. Phil153 (talk) 01:10, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

It is an OR issue, "Paleolithic diet" has two different meanings, one is the actual ancestral diet, the other is a modern dietary regimen advocated for health reasons. Using information on the actual ancestral diet to critique the way the dietary regimen is set up is OR unless the source refers to the dietary regimen. This is similar to the Smith & Jones example. --Phenylalanine (talk) 01:08, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Phil153 that there are many many problems with the article as it is currently constituted, and would support him if he added a {{disputed}} tag to the article. I also agree with Phen that the Piperno link is impermissible synthesis. Citations on controversial issues need to be to sources directly about the subject of the article; otherwise, it is too easy for editors of all stripes to sidestep the OR issue by adding a variety of sources to support collateral arguments for and against their positions. There are plenty of legitimate critiques of this fad diet without the need to do original research to rebut it. THF (talk) 01:26, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
I think you're right. I was seeing it as a fringe parity issue where some lenience is allowed, since we are reporting the uncritical contentions of the diet's proponents but are not allowed to cite sources that contradict their specific claims unless they mention the specific fad diet. If rigid rule following stops us from writing a good encyclopedia, we should ignore it, and giving voice to proponents of fad theory X but restricting soured contradictory evidence to those studies that directly mention fad theory X will result in articles that are nothing more than a fad soapbox. But in this case, there are ample sources that discuss the diet and related claims in detail, so even if you agreed that I was right in the above it would be unnecessary. Phil153 (talk) 01:46, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
I could provide dozens of reliable sources (academic journals et edited volumes) stating that paleolithic peoples rarely consumed cereal grains. I understand that there is new evidence suggesting cereal grain processing started at an earlier date, but this does not automatically entail that paleolithic diet proponents are pushing fringe views? Especially since there is ample room for interpretation here regarding the term "rarely". For example, "because cereal grains were not domesticated until 10,000 years ago, grains could have only been consumed seasonally a few weeks out of the year, and would not have been staple foods."[5] --Phenylalanine (talk) 02:31, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
As I wrote above, However, in this case I'd suggest that it's giving undue weight to one particular study that offers weak indications that perhaps the mainstream view is wrong. So I agree with you and I agree with the OR bit now. Perhaps I wasn't clear in the comment above. It was more of a general comment on the absolute prohibition THF seemed to suggest. I think we can probably close this as the text is already out per WP:WEIGHT considerations. Phil153 (talk) 02:45, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
The problem here is that the proponents of the Paleolithic Diet do not represent the mainstream view. Analysis of starch microfossils has revolutionised our views of pre-neolithic diet. See for example:
Journal of Archaeological Science 36: 248-255, Quarternary Research 70: 283-300, Antiquity 81: 845-855, Journal of Archaeological Science 34: 1752-1762, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104: 3043-3048, Evolutionary Anthropology 14: 186-198, Evolutionary Anthropology 14: 68-77
In response to Phenylalanine, we have to guard against confusing quantity of publication with quality. Currently the article is peppered with references to articles in obscure journals, some of which have no official Impact Factor and which have been refused entry to citation indexes such as PubMed and Index Medicus. To ignore mainstream science in favour of fringe ideas dressed up as science is academically dishonest.Catfish Jim and the soapdish (talk) 10:18, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Catfish Jim, I agree with you, and the solution is to rewrite the article so that it complies with WP:WEIGHT and WP:FRINGE and emphasizes the mainstream view, rather than to add OR refuting various pseudoscientific contentions, remembering that OR doesn't just include OR about facts or opinions, but also OR about arguments not made in the literature. I apologize in advance that is a largely thankless task, and often involves a lot of fighting with self-interested proponents of fringe theories, and further apologize that Wikipedia is far too tolerant of editors who largely spend their editing time pushing fringe theories. If anyone ever tries for policy changes to do more to kick out the conspiracy theorists and 9/11 truthers and quack editors, count me in. You may wish to seek help at the Fringe Theories Noticeboard, WP:FTN, though that page suffers from a backlog in part because the work is so arduous and thankless. THF (talk) 14:04, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
The question is not how far in the past people were consuming processed cereal grains, but rather when did it become widespread (not confined to a limited number of geographical locals) and common more than a couple of weeks out of the year. "As was the case with dairy foods, before the Epi-Paleolithic (10000–11000 y ago) and Neolithic (10000 to 5500 y ago) periods, there was little or no previous evolutionary experience for cereal grain consumption throughout hominin evolution."[6] Which specific refs are problematic? --Phenylalanine (talk) 11:14, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually, the question is not about what paleolithic people ate, as the Feature article review and talk page have already shown that the article 1. does not support through science-based evidence that this diet represents paleolithic eating of peoples during the span of the Paleolithic era, and 2. even it it does, this diet is not healthy because of the lack of calcium, vitamin C etc. Phenylalanine is alone in pushing this point of view, while many editors have presented evidence against. —Mattisse (Talk) 01:12, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Agree with THF. Digging up your own articles to criticize a theory introduces problems because your own research is, well, your own research and might not really be appropriate. We noticed this problem in Austrian Business Cycle Theory. Fortunately, there was plenty of direct criticism of the theory for balance. II | (t - c) 17:32, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Synthesis of published material that advances a position

I have a general question regarding WP:SYN. The policy states:

The following example is based on an actual Wikipedia article about a dispute between two authors, here called Smith and Jones.

Smith claimed that Jones committed plagiarism by copying references from another author's book. Jones responded that it is acceptable scholarly practice to use other people's books to find new references.

Now comes the original synthesis:

If Jones did not consult the original sources, this would be contrary to the practice recommended in the Harvard Writing with Sources manual, which requires citation of the source actually consulted. The Harvard manual does not call violating this rule "plagiarism". Instead, plagiarism is defined as using a source's information, ideas, words, or structure without citing them.

Using the above as an example, if someone reworded it to this, is it still synthesis?

Smith claimed that Jones committed plagiarism by copying references from another author's book. Jones responded that it is acceptable scholarly practice to use other people's books to find new references. Harvard Writing with Sources manual requires citation of the source actually consulted and defines plagiarism as using a source's information, ideas, words, or structure without citing them.

A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 18:05, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, of course. How do you know that Harvard Writing with Sources manual is relevant to the dispute between Smith and Jones? It's clearly (albeit subtly) an attempt by an editor to sway the debate to one side or the other, based on that specific use of the Harvard Manual. If a reliable secondary source brings out the Harvard manual when discussing the Smith vs. Jones dispute, then we can use it. Otherwise, not. Jayjg (talk) 17:39, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Kosher tax

In the Kosher tax article a dispute has arisen regarding the inclusion of sources. The "Kosher tax" is a canard that claims that Jews forcing food manufacturers to pay fees for Kosher certification, and thus secretly tax non-Jews by making them purchase these foods at inflated prices. Sources describing the "Kosher tax" canard discuss the certification costs, stating that they generally lower prices, as they are inexpensive per item, and help increase the products' market share. Two editors have decided that since these sources have "opened the door" to a discussion of the costs of kosher certification, they can now include counter-arguments using other sources that discuss the costs of kosher certification, even though none of them actually discuss (or even mention) the topic of the article, the "Kosher tax". Six editors have stated that this is a synthesized argument - the point being that any relevant source on the costs of certification must discuss it in the context of the "Kosher tax". In response, and in what I consider a very pointy disruption, the two editors have now started removing all material about the costs of Kosher certification, including the material relying on sources that specifically discuss it in the context of the "Kosher tax". In their view, if we don't allow their sources, then they won't allow anyone else's. Other views would be appreciated. The discussion starts here. Jayjg (talk) 21:44, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Barrington Hall

An article about a former college residence hall, the article has long had editors adding unsourced info per "I was there". The OR that stands out the most is a list of graffiti and a list of people who supposedly lived there at one point. Most of the talk page is basically begging for the article to be an exception to WP:NOR and insisting that if people who lived there help write the article, sources shouldn't be needed.

Recently, one source was added to every single point that had requested a citation - from what I can tell, the source is a book that is only in one place in the world, in the library on that campus, and the only way to see it is to go there in person. I hate to be cynical, but assuming it even exists, I am skeptical that the book actually backs up all the info - it's hard not to get the impression that the source is being used simply because it's virtually impossible to access so it's being treated as "The Source That Sources All The Unsourced Claims". I also have to wonder if an apparently one-off book really counts as a WP:RS. Example edits [7] and [8] Also, in the past, requests for sources have been replaced with "sources" that were just web pages about the people mentioned but that didn't actually support the info in the article.

I'd appreciate if people could take a look at this article and add it to their watchlist - there are one or two editors who basically have been doing a slow motion revert war, and I suspect even if things are fixed now, the editors will just wait a bit before reverting. Once sources are requested, or unsourced info with source request removed after a year or more, it is reverted with no sources added once the article has sat a while and been forgot about. I'm not sure what can be done about this slow motion but tendentious editing in violation of NOR, any suggestions would be appreciated. --Minderbinder (talk) 21:54, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

If multiple primary sources can reach a consensus on whether or not a certain person lived in a certain building, I'd imagine that in the world of research and reporting that there isn't a single better way to establish a fact! As for the document/book/publication at Bancroft Library on the UC campus that has been cited multiple times, your suspicions and accusations of bad faith are clearly against Wikipedia rules. I do not personally have any knowledge of the book at Bancroft Library - it has been many years since I moved away from Berkeley - but I can certainly imagine it being there. The University Students' Cooperative Association and Barrington Hall were/are huge aspects of life in and around the University of California at Berkeley and the City of Berkeley itself. Finally - don't forget about the cardinal Wikipedia rule "Assume Good Faith." This post to the No Original Research noticeboard itself is a flagrant exercise in the assumption of bad faith. Why the bad faith? --AStanhope (talk) 22:27, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
I'd love to see multiple primary sources, but the article has never had them - are you saying that WP editors themselves are somehow "primary sources" and if enough editors agree on a bit of unsourced info, then it doesn't need a source? That's exactly what I'm pointing out here. And I certainly hope that the book exists and that it backs up all the information it is claimed to. But given that in the past the requests for sources have been replaced with links that didn't back up the material, there is reason to be skeptical. It also doesn't inspire confidence that the page has been the target of meatpuppetry, specifically an email sent to a facebook group linking to the article (email has been posted on WP here [9]) followed by an influx of new editors, anonymous and otherwise - some good additions and sourcing, but also some debatable stuff as well.
As for putting a report here being a violation of AGF, I'll quote you from the talk page:
"As far as sourcing the Notables goes - there are very good reasons to be super-careful about sourcing documentation in other articles. It simply doesn't apply here for the Notables in this article because the sourcing we've been using is the consensus of several dozen people who lived there with the people in question. This goes way beyond "original research." [10]
That sure sounds like you're admitting it's OR but you think it shouldn't apply. And complaining about AGF then posting this? [11] --Minderbinder (talk) 22:49, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
From what I have heard/understand about Minderbinder's objections to a *list* in this article, which makes no synthetic or interpretive claims, he does not seem to comprehend what a primary source is. In this case, records--in the form of lists; but not limited to lists--were kept of residents of each and every student at a co-op at UC Berkeley. The houselists for Barrington Hall are maintained both in the records of the USCA, and in the miscellany file for Barrington Hall at the rare book library at UC Berkeley (along with considerable other primary source data and ephemera). The USCA maintains the lists, for example, for fundraising mailing lists, alumni invitations and such. The rare book library collects information for historical purposes and research. It would be very odd, don't you think, since there are so many still living people who lived there, that none of them would ever stumble across the article and make an affirmative assertion about whether or not someone they knew lived there with them or not? For any secondary source, *they* would be the ones who would be interviewed, to confirm facts asserted in other primary sources such as houselists maintained by the USCA or the library. It seems that the provision of a primary source citation for what many other uncited primary sources have already said was true would come as no surprise? What might raise alarm is if everyone on the Barrington Hall article said "so and so did NOT live there" and someone else provided a primary source citation stating that so and so lived there. What seems to have taken place is that Minderbinder is extremely hostile to this article, and wants to make sure that no factual information is in the article if someone who knows it is factual from firsthand experience has ever attested that it is factual, purely out of his own spite, and in contradiction to logic. That this information must of necessity be available somewhere because it is only 20 years old, and records were obviously kept makes him "cynical" and "suspicious"? Isn't that rather like being cynical and suspicious that DMV records or birth certificates were located? -Latanya Hearst (talk) 23:20, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
WP:COS: "This policy does not prohibit editors with specialist knowledge from adding their knowledge to Wikipedia, but it does prohibit them from drawing on their personal knowledge without citing their sources." --Minderbinder (talk) 23:27, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
            • We cite our sources - the consensus of a group of Editors who "were there" is our "source." --AStanhope (talk) 23:17, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
And that's precisely what WP:NOR forbids - using editors themselves as "sources" is original research. Sorry, but editors can't make a "consensus" decision to go against WP policy. --Minderbinder (talk) 20:00, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
But what you are complaining about, with considerable absurdity and vitriol, is that someone provided a source. Of course they did. This information is easily sourced. The Bancroft has a whole University Archive Collection documenting the UC Berkeley community, and specifically requests "membership rosters" amongst the documents it would like to continue to receive, as it has been collecting them since the University's inception in 1868: [12] Once again, this is analogous to demanding a birth date be added to a biography, complaining self-righteously when it is added by a dozen people who knew the person personally but didn't understand Wikipedia, and then being preposterously outraged when a source that was guaranteed to exist is added to verify the obvious. You appear to be angry that the obvious was verified, when it was obvious that it would be verified. -Latanya Hearst (talk) 23:37, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
For comparison, here is the article most similar to Barrington Hall: This is another co-op in the UC Berkeley system. The articles are of similar length. The Barrington article has 40 footnotes and 15 references. The Cloyne article has no footnotes and 6 references. (One of them, incidentally and unsurpirsingly, is: Cloyne Court Collection, ms. no. 75/35 c Bancroft Library, University of California). There is a stark contrast between these two articles: one of them is extremely well-referenced. And which one did Minderbinder tag for "reference improve"? (immediately after the addition of many additional references...): [13] There is clearly some bad faith harassment of this article and its editors going on, which does nothing to improve Wikipedia, or any article. -Latanya Hearst (talk) 23:56, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
The references used are documents in Berkeley's University archives. It has been accepted that such material is 1/primary sources and 2/not in general publicly available, and therefore cannot be usually used as sources for WP. They can of course be used in preparing ordinary publication outside WP, which if reliable can be cited. The Barrington article, at least, can stand without them; there is enough that has actually been published. DGG (talk) 02:15, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Nothing in the policy on primary sources that I read says that they can't be used--the gist is 1) mix of sources preferable for articles 2) common sense. The Bancroft it accessible to the public, as are most rare book libraries and collections. One must present state ID, and submit to surveillance/observe rules and instructions regarding the handling of rare materials (as is par for the course in every rare book library). If you want to consult the Beinecke family papers in the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale, the same applies. Making *interpretations* of primary sources does not seem to be permitted by Wikipedia policy. Stating mere descriptive facts contained in primary sources is not prohibited. One example of a use of the Bancroft miscellany in this article--from several years ago according to the edit history--is an arbitration agreement between the residence and its neighbors. The arbitration agreement stated that the number of parties with live music had to be limited. The article states facts from the arbitration agreement. And that's all; there is no interpretation. This was utterly uncontroversial--no one complained about the use of the miscellany as a source, as far as I can discern. (In fact, the miscellany has been cited three times in this article in the past, without any complaint). At no time has the miscellany been cited for anything anyone could argue is an "exceptional claim," or anything but a mere descriptive fact. In another article about a UC Berkeley residence, another miscellany file from the Bancroft has been cited as a general reference, without any controversy. Last but not least it should be patently obvious that for articles regarding subjects pre-dating 1997 or so, it is to be expected that scholarly and news resources are available which are not immediately accessible via the internet. (This may seem astonishing to those who edit Pokemon, Harry Potter, and Lost episodes?) -Latanya Hearst (talk) 02:58, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Have you actually accessed the documents in the archives? If so, have you confirmed that the info attributed to that source is actually there? --Minderbinder (talk) 20:00, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

To my understanding the matter of the Barringtonia collection is just as Latanya represents it. & I could go across the street to the Library and have a look myself when I get my lost card replaced- not tonight. I dunno if theyll allow noflash pics. But why? Has or has not DGG made any clear point re the Barrantonia collection being not an acceptable "verifiable" source? This seems like prima facie OR. Or can you just call the USCA or our posted pics of the graffitti for most of what you want? I'm not at all clear on the agenda here. It seems as if you wish to dispute everything- the Library's existence, the info's existence, the data itself, and the synthesized, OR approach. Warning: Overkill Ahead. I understand dealing with these Barrington people has frequently been pointless but let's not fall into the same traps. The article is full of OR...Like lots of WP. But it has this going for it: it's real, written by a community that actually spends meat time together, but most important- it's true, unlike most of what gets planted in our BS-shoveling "veriafiable" press in the USA- where the front page is admittedly being written by the CIA but you cant find anyone to care. Barrington's just a dumb, shut-down, has-been co-op. Are we paid to keep it that way or should we have some better life waiting? Hilarleo Hey,L.E.O.v 00:57, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

To my mind Wikipedia is not about perfection but verifiable information. That there are guidelines is a good thing to be supported. But rules cannot supercede consensus. I haven't sympathy for Minderbinder's apparent daily focus on minutiae in this article, an approach which I consider tends towards Drive-By Editorial. I see little constructive in hustling the newest edits for tagging while quite literally senseless older articles languish for any attention b/c they are not flagged by drive-by bots. Inevitably it's unfortunate that in our culture other people's problems tend hook in one's craw; I feel the term on Earth alotted to all Editors would likely be better represented by less ideological and more heart-centered, topic-driven approaches to writing.
But nowhere and never have I seen Minderbinder use anything approaching "vitriol"- nor anything uncivil at all. He doesn't need to be crass. What Minderbinder frequently seems though, is confident. & in my experience posers dont abide that. Mb's usually better informed and better-reasoned (& he's also of the more gentle 'Drive-By Editors'). In return for this kind of loyal opposition, Barrington Hall's partisan editors have offered specious, repetitive arguments which attempt to claim exemption from or argue novel interpretation of policy.

As both a likely 'insider' and as an observer I can say with objectivity that Mb's discrete courtesy has not been consistently returned by the partisan Editors. This should be a matter of self-reflection. But our "Me Generation" of Barrington made it's reputation on extended adolescence. The Class of Barrington Hall is only confident that they ought to be winning. Numerous Editors of this article are in my experience interested in the article as their personal battle salient, defended at any cost- including some freely spent personal integrity. To suggest Minderbinder's some source of "Assumed Bad Faith"- after he's been a target of our community's relativist duplicity- this is particularly venal. I have a hard time reconciling this with the education I received at Barrington Hall- lessons in community, civic-courage, tolerance, resourcefulness, and above it all trusting in small things to work themselves out- mysteriously, copacetically, while some subtle perfume alters quotidian thinking.... all this- as well as insulting your neighbor when he's not around, punishing the unpopular, passing the buck and riding others' failings...

This article obviously has some history of valid WP sources to draw on. I feel that there should be a home in WikiMedia for the expanded article which partisan Barrington Hall editors seem to want, but with the #1 USA growth export becoming collapse, the sectors of literal-mindedness, polarity, and disintergrating tolerance will peak (no thanks to our weak stream of "Co-op Ideals")... So I have to agree with Joel Rane's suggestion that WP will not soon be a place to rest and flourish. He is wise to seek alternatives for the important content that our community can provide. Even easier should be development of secondary sources, which Joel's project should become. Hilarleo Hey,L.E.O.v 00:36, 19

Some good points there. It would probably be a good thing if someone were to go and catalog things like graffiti and membership based on firsthand accounts. The problem is that wikipedia probably isn't the place to do that. --Minderbinder (talk) 16:58, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

To respond: Wikipedia:Verifiability#Self-published sources (quoted below) notes when '1st-Person sources' are specifically appropriate. Following this policy, the Barrington Miscellany Collection among other 1st person sources apparently is appropriate as 'limited' source material given certain provisions, and the use in article is apparently supportable. Wikipedia:Verifiability#Self-published and other questionable sources says:

Questionable sources should only be used as sources of information about themselves as described below. Any contentious claims the source has made about third parties should not be repeated in Wikipedia, unless those claims have also been discussed by a reliable source.

Wikipedia:Verifiability#Using self-published and questionable sources as sources on themselves

Self-published or questionable sources may be used as sources of information about themselves, especially in articles about themselves, without the requirement that they be published experts in the field, so long as:
1. the material used is relevant to the notability of the subject of the article;
2. it is not unduly self-serving;
3. it does not involve claims about third parties;
4. it does not involve claims about events not directly related to the subject;
5. there is no reason to doubt its authenticity;
6. the article is not based primarily on such sources


  • Though it's nowhere else required of content, #1 above concerns content WP:Notability. &There must be available journalist/2ndary sources on the 'significance' or 'notable creativity' (not the volume) of Barrington graffiti. Literateur Joel's conduits might process them here for him. I can't recall them.
  • I don't feel #3 applies to residents, as they are not '3rd parties' according to USCA rules. So I'm not sure I'd pursue any problem with the article given this.
  • You though, per #5, have more than sufficient reasons to doubt things told here. From my POV I too can wonder about conjuring; and since the partisan editors went to the trouble to introduce it expressly for you, and as you seem determined to doubt it- I feel they should prove to you the existence of the Barrington Miscellany Collection- and the content of the Collection if they expect to continue to cite it. Meanwhile the list of graffiti also has the luxury of online sources.'Hilarleo Hey,L.E.O.v 01:35, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
At this point, I don't doubt that the miscellany exists, or that it can be a source for some things. My concern is that nobody has actually verified that it actually contains all the info the article is attributing to it.. --Minderbinder (talk) 20:20, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
There is a lot of defense of original research on the talk page, but the most of the article is sourced. The concern about one of the sources often cited, the Barrington Misc. I'll see what I can do to get those claims verified, but it'll take time. Professor marginalia (talk) 22:05, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

The Potential for Design Improvements to Nuclear Weapons and Military Implementation of them (Nuclear Weapons)

I have made some slightly speculatory additions to Talk:Nuclear weapon design. These are to be viewed at the bottom (I should apologise for some prima facie aggressiveness in my use of capital letters - sorry). Anyhow, it is best to refer to my talk page (as this is the first time I have made a contribution to the NOR noticeboard, I assume that this is allowable. My talk page is here : talk. Could anyone advise me as to whether my response is respectable? I was not given a chance to make talk page modifications - my contributions to the talk page were reverted immediately.

ConcernedScientist (talk) 11:30, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Original Research and speculation is allowed on talk pages... with the exception of behavioral guidelines such as WP:AGF, most of our policies and guidelines (such as WP:NOR, WP:V, WP:RS etc.) only apply to articles. Sometimes, including your own speculation on a talk page will inspire other editors to hit the books and do more research on the topic (if only to see whether your idea has been discussed and/or rejected by reliable sources). If your ideas are too speculative, other editors will let you know (hopefully in a nice way... but don't take it personally if others are dismissive or rude... we are all human). It will help if you start off by saying that your idea is speculative, and that you are not trying to add it to the article at this point. Blueboar (talk) 16:39, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
That said, WP:SOAP is also relevant to talk pages. Jayjg (talk) 03:39, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Hollywood Babylon/FTT

Alright I'll give this a go and hopefully I can reach the right higher ups here at Wikipedia...Im not very good with the hierarchy. I run a site called [14] and I have been butting heads with a user user:Wildhartlivie over whether links from my site should be posted or not. Im citing the Hollywood Babylon article but she also likes to say it doesnt count in other matters such as showing silent stars speaking voices ([15] or Complete Filmographies (that include whether a film still exists or not and goes well beyond IMDB for research) [16]. Our biggest debate is over the articles debunking the book Hollywood Babylon ([17], its 4 parts all linked from that first one).

I am vaguely familiar with Wikipedia policy and I try my best to adhere to it. I have spent several hours writing and researching articles growing them from stubs to FA status (Anna May Wong) and all I get for it is bickering and snide comments from other users (not just one user, I've had a few of them). Its very dissuading and I can say I've spoken with a number of silent film historians, published authors, and generally knowledgable people and they all agree they do not even bother editing Wikipedia anymore, they've all had bad expierences. I'm the one of the only ones who tries to keep on with it. Silent film is not really an arena where one gets a lot of noterioty, money, or hits. Linking a site really gets me very little, and I do it to get the information out there. My (site, not wiki) articles have been used in a college class, proven Anna May Wong was not buried in an unmarked grave (something 3 published authors failed to do), shown silent film stars did not fail because of talkies, and I am about to be a published author myself with Mcfarland Publishing.

THAT all said I guess to the case at hand I understand this: blogs are not roundly percieved as good sources but I do know for a solid source they can be accepted. I dont consider my site a blog, but yes it is hosted on blogger. I research everything I publish, usuing the best sources possible. I dont cite every article (as I am not wikipedia) but the articles in question are sourced. I dont see why my site is any different from a site like [18] (or its variants) or [19] which are both run by one person, and carry similar content information. In fact my site isnt user edited, but the silent era's film database (which is cited all over Wiki especially lost film and silent film articles) is.

I stated a bit of my case on the Hollywood Babylon talk page and I know this is already getting long. I want further review of my site as I know my information is good and solid, and I feel if it were properly judged other than by one or two self appointed reverters it would get its rightful due. My biggest point is how else to showcase this information? In the case of Hollywood Babylon the books both contain several stories (again the talk page has elaboration) and a good chunk in both books can be disproven with websites and other books which is what I did. Take my article away and how can you write and edit this wiki article? To say for instance 'its inaccurate' one could cite probably no less than 10 sites about 10 different stories and be right...but it wouldnt show the correlation that 'this books stories are inaccurate' (ex: Olive Thomas did not died wrapped in a velvet curtain after swallowing pills, she took ill after swallowing a liquid and died the following day).

As for the other articles in question same problem. Silent film stars are often accused of failing due to funny voices, etc. Even if not an article about their voices (with examples) would be of great interest to someone researching an actor. Youtube links are not allowed on wiki, and when youtube is not involved what about imeem (showing a radio show for example)? Nope. So how would one show that? With my articles I show an example of their voice, a list of what they did for talkie work, and what became of their talkie careers. Again very heavily researched and any wikipedian is welcome to verify anything I've ever put in any of these articles.

And finally on the note of filmographies its again the same idea. For these I search film archives online, speak with other film historians, etc and then gather the list and say what films they were in and which ones still (to the best of our knowledge as of course some films like Beyond the Rocks reappear after 80 years). This would not be easily put on wikipedia without my article (well the info could if stolen from the site, but the research could not).

I am not a spammer and I am not someone just out to cause trouble. I am only good at writing articles and adding info...I have no clue how the adminship of Wikipedia works. I welcome any help or feedback and I really do hope and would greatly appreciate a fair ruling other than 'well they say its a blog so all your hard research is irrelevant'. Thank you.--Maggiedane (talk) 10:19, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Also posted at WP:RSN... I have replied there, but this does relate to NOR so I will also reply here.
I commend you for the research you have done for your blog, but unfortunately Wikipedia is not the place to publish it. You complain that there are not a lot of good reliable sources out there... so create one. Write a book, make a documentary, get your work published in some reliable form (ie other than in a personal blog) and we can include it... but until then, we can not. To include your research without it being reliably published elsewhere amounts to OR. I understand that this is frustrating, but those are our rules. Blueboar (talk) 14:28, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
I dont remember speaking with you, but I do understand what you are saying. Why doesnt someone check these sites? I am writing a book for Mcfarland, but not on Hollywood Babylon. I would like to know why Wikipedia finds a self published website (seriously is there any other kind?) vs a self published site hosted on blogger as reliable and the latter as not. If I put my research in a website layout, and publish it with something like godaddy or angelfire, etc it would become reliable? The sites I mentioned above have done just that and no one is raising a stink over them. That is what irks me and I dont know who I have to appeal to but I would at least like my article looked over before being just dismissed due to a layout. Thank you.--Maggiedane (talk) 23:07, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
There are other kinds of websites... organizational websites (either accademic, professional, or amature group websites). Personal websites are not normally considered reliable, so mearly changing the format will not help. I have not looked at the other websites you talk about, but if they are like yours, then they probably are not reliable and should be removed. Perhaps you could get your research included in wikipedia by submiting it to a well reguarded organization (accademic, professional, or amature) that will give it some form of peer review, and publish it on their website. Blueboar (talk) 00:15, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Could you please name me one with a focus on silent films? I sincerely question that as I'd like to know how I have missed it in my research. I think we're kinda carrying on the same debate between these two boards so Im not gonna rehash all that (not sure which board to just simplify on) but I would just like to say this: I want a fair group consensus. So far 2 people have told me 'nah we think your a blog so no you cant put this here' and I just dont feel thats a fair judgement. If a group of higherups feels that way then whatever, but I at least want a fair hearing. I stand by this: I dont think there are any silent sites that meet this criteria, I feel this criteria is applied at whim and that isnt right, and I also feel that its weeding out valuable information instead of weeding out spammers or fakers as intended. If you apply this criteria to all silent film and film articles your going to have a very tiny stub for everything. And I've already listed my credentials on the other board, I would like to know why that makes me less worthy than these other sites. I do not do my research to please Wikipedia. I do it to help put silent film back in its rightful place or at least put the information out there so those who want to know can find it. I find it extremely silly Wikipedia is hellbent on keeping good information off of it...especially after I've spent the past 2 days arguing with a self righteous user on Mabel Normand's page because they decided a book source was a bad source and I was trying to put an agenda since Im a fancy author type. Grrg. Sorry I'll chill now...--Maggiedane (talk) 01:38, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
I have no idea whether one exists or not... I contribute to this noticeboard because I know our policies, not because I know the subject matter. I am sorry if there is a lack of good reliable sources on your topic area, but that is not the fault of Wikipedia. Our policies are not written as a whim... and we apply them across the board to all subject areas. They are not directed at you personally. You are not the first to raise similar frustrations... we gave the same answer to the others that I gave you. Wikipedia is not the place to publish original research. Our job is to report on what reliable sources have said on the subject. So, if you have some new information about your topic... get it published in some reliable venue. Then we can report the information, otherwise... sorry, but no. Blueboar (talk) 02:02, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry that editing has been an exercise in frustration so far. Unfortunately sometimes experienced editors are brusk with others who aren't yet completely versed in the all the policies, and there are many rules now. If I understand you correctly, you ask why blogs aren't allowed while other self-published websites are. Technically neither are allowed at wikipedia except in narrow situations. Self published books aren't allowed either. I'm confused about the book characterized as a "bad source". Was another reason besides this given? Professor marginalia (talk) 19:51, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Global financial crisis of 2008–2009

Global financial crisis of 2008–2009 has a section called "Political instability related to the economic crisis". Pgreenfinch on the talk page and in the article is insisting that the section is original research, but talk page consensus is that he is wrong. He insists on adding his own point of view without providing any sources at all. It is a very very slow edit war. Can anyone here help? WAS 4.250 (talk) 19:24, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, to sum it up, that section is a generalization of disparate and limited events without any outside reference to support a general phenomenon. Various journalistic or secret service "sources" are actually speculations on future evolutions. In fact, only wikipedia present that as a real process. That section, actually not directly related to the articles in question (3 different articles are invaded by the same section), is just an hypothesis and projection and should either be removed or at least presented as such --Pgreenfinch (talk) 19:48, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
No amount of talking has convinced the other side of what they say. Consensus says Pgreenfinch is wrong. I can't get beyond the point that he has provided zero sources. Every claim in that section is well sourced. He appears to not read those sources as he says things like only the Iceland government fell, when the sources are clear that 3 governments have fallen largely due to this economic/financial crisis causing political instability. Further, those sources (including Forbes) are very clear that more political instability due to this crisis is expected by the experts. Also, for some reason he thinks the head of US intelligence is not a reliable source for the existence of political instability around the world. WAS 4.250 (talk) 20:17, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I am writing this without reading the discussion on the article talk page, and I can understand the concerns expressed by Pgreenfinch, as reading through the material it does sound like it is a synthesis from the sources, especially the section title. Basically what I see is there are independent, reliable sources which state that there is a political instability in ____ as a result of the global financial crisis, where ____ changes depending on the exact reference. For example, the first reference in the section is to a Business Week article, and is included in the article as:
Business Week in March 2009 stated that global political instability is rising fast due to the global financial crisis and is creating new challenges that need managing.
This statement is taken almost directly from the headline. The part about needing managing is not directly supported by the headline, but is supported by a full section in the actual text. I do see a problem with the use of this BBC reference. This is supporting the following text:
Even some developed countries are seeing political instability.
But the BBC article only discusses Iceland. Therefore, it seems inappropriate to use the phrase "some developed countries". The Forbes article cited later does a better job of describing the political instability in a wider set of countries. Overall, the sources support the statements they are referenced to, and there is no conclusion added to the article beyond what is sourced in the articles. The section title seems to be a logical umbrella used to categorize the different "instabilities in ____" references. Therefore, it does not appear to be a synthesis of information or original research. -Atmoz (talk) 21:42, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your attempt at analysing a bit more deeply. Anyway:
  • if the fact that three small countries had govt changes is considered a global phenomenon,
  • if some journalists and secret services speculations, mostly from American origins, stating that the rest of the world - that they seem to distrust - is politically instable, are considered as factual and expert sources.
  • if wikipedia piles all those opinion to dramatizes them and presents them as a solid reality, without the least precaution and attempt at finding a balance,
I'm really afraid that what will be at stake is the reliability of wikipedia. Of course there at not source of the contrary as it is just a theory and up to now only wikipedia presents it as something serious. If it was a minor topic, I would not be bothered, but stating and predicting global politic instability is far from being something trite. I don't think an encyclopedia can play games with it and lose its reputation of neutrality just because a "consensus" of a few people try to push a thesis. This needs a very very very serious analysis, a thing that until now has been eluded by the authors of that one-sided presentation. I advise that at least a warning tag (which I tried to put but which was arbitrarily suppressed) be shown while this question and all its incidences are very deeply studied. --Pgreenfinch (talk) 22:16, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I responded only to the original research claims. Your other concerns can be addressed at WP:NPOV/N and WP:RS/N. -Atmoz (talk) 22:24, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the information that lead me to make some research about what could be the most appropriate wp place to get advices, as I'm afraid the risk could be to split the debate into several slices as I see it has already started. Maybe an approach that can encompass most aspects would be Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard? Maybe you can mediate with WAS 4.250 to find the right place (which would also allow to enter the appropriate tag about the discussion in the section header)? Well, it can wait one or two days, but something has to be done for this article not to stay one-sided, and self-defeating for wikipedia. --Pgreenfinch (talk) 10:07, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
The section right now seems okay with respect to concerns about original research. Maybe earlier disputes have been resolved? Professor marginalia (talk) 20:07, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

I started the section "Political instability related to the financial crisis" after people posted some interest in the subject and after I too noticed that only official government responses were mentioned in the related articles. Others have since added more to the section citing good relevant sources. Even today I just saw this: Record numbers protest in France. But Pgreenfinch has been nothing but disruptive in regard to this section (and the article in general [creating an unintelligible section which only cited his original work]). He seems to think the title of this particular section implies that political instability is existing everywhere and/or only because of the economic crisis -- which is clearly not what is being conveyed. His breakdown in simple logic and comprehension is very detrimental to the whole body of related articles (which clearly need some work) because it deters involvement and makes the information harder to present as the relevant cited factual information which it is. As I've tried to point out before... political instability is part of what makes this crisis actually a crisis (as opposed to just another economic period) and political instability is a frequent occurrence in relation to economic crisis. There are no great leaps taking place in this relatively small section -- but just cited relevant information. --Nihilozero (talk) 08:40, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

I see no sign of Sarkozy being overthrown, nor signs of political instability in France, but maybe you have a crystal ball that gives you the result of the 2011 presidential election. I don't understand those recurrent distortions and generalizations, which are the blatant flaw of that section, starting with its title, and going on with its accumulation of half baked reports and speculations to give the impression of something general. That you consider my strong reservations as disruptive is ignoring that wikipedian readers should have a balanced and clear presentation. Its reputation is at stake in such a crucial topic. Not that I'm surprised that you might prefer demonizing me and prolonging the conflict than accepting a better balance for this section. Btw, to invade three article that are not too clearly related participates in the accumulation. As for the generalities of yours, seen above, about crises, which you try to impose on us to support your presentation, if they are not original research, what are they? --Pgreenfinch (talk) 12:55, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
First of all, I'd like to address the 3 articles in question which Pgreenfinch doesn't feel are related. They are 1)Financial crisis of 2007–2010, 2)Global financial crisis of 2008–2009, and 3)Late 2000s recession. I have already given my reasons for cross-posting information which is reasonable and allowed. But that fact that he believes that these three articles "are not too clearly related" speaks VOLUMES. And the fact that you "see no sign of Sarkozy being overthrown, nor signs of political instability in France" is fine... but did you look at the article about the millions of people in the streets there with widespread support? And this isn't just one source making up these numbers and the motivation for being in the street. Electrical power was even cut off for 10% of France temporarily. But this isn't about what you or I think is going to happen. What this is about is... political instability related to the economic crisis. You don't get to tell millions of people who are seriously protesting that their protests aren't mentionable or that they weren't in the streets for the reasons they've made clear. That's not for you to decide. The fact is that these things are happening, are noteworthy, and are heavily cited by serious sources. --Nihilozero (talk) 17:35, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
I looked at the article, and I saw no mention of the possibility of Sarkozy being overthrown. The source states that there have been demonstrations, strikes, sit-ins, etc., however, it does not mention the overthrow of the government. While it is possible that the Sarkozy government will be overthrown, until a reliable source states so, it should not be added to the article as it is original research. -Atmoz (talk) 17:55, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
That's just it... no one made such claim, in the questioned section, that Sarkozy might get overthrown. This Pgreenfinch person is reading into things too much and imagining hobgoblins that don't exist. The section merely points out that there have been various instances of unrest (of varying degrees) which are pointedly & overtly connected to this economic crisis. Parliaments have been stormed, elections forced early, wildcat strikes have taken place in China, citizens have clashed with the police, and millions have been in the streets to protest (in unprecedented numbers) their individual governments handling of the economy. The CIA has started issuing a daily security brief to the president about potential instabilities related to the economy and experts in magazines like Forbes & Businessweek point out the further potential for unrest & political instability. All of this is heavily cited and the section gives more attention to actual events than expert speculation. The political instability related to this economic crisis is not original research or POV -- it's heavily cited, logical, and observable reality. And it thus deserves to mentioned -- just as political instability or repercussions related to former crises needs to be mentioned in articles about those economic events. --Nihilozero (talk) 12:30, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Now, afer finding me "obtuse" in another discussion page, you pretend to read my mind, what a feat!. And instead of replying you repeat all what you already said, which just shows that political instability, that you present as a general phenomenon as the title and the accumumlation of disparate things suggest, is precisely a construction in your mind, based on your theory of what political instability and crises are. The fact that only a few small countries had premature government changes is for you a general phenomena that seems to fit your theory. But as it does not, you try to complement it with whatever other news that, sorry for you, precisely shows that ...governments all over the world are not in the least moved. Please, when are you going to leave the "activist" mode, by which you qualify yourself (that you are candid about it in your own page deserves respect) to enter the encyclopedic and cooperative mode? --Pgreenfinch (talk) 13:40, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps I will leave the "activist mode" when you leave the "banking executive" mode, by which you qualify yourself. I suppose it basically comes down to this... you see no notable instability related to this financial crisis (otherwise you wouldn't object so strenuously to the section title), while myself and others see story after story of very large protests (including riots & wildcat strikes), around the world, with participants overtly railing against their particular governments handling of the global financial crisis. The cited government and business analysts see this occurrence as well. Thus I conclude that it is a notable reality worth discussing in articles about the economic/financial crisis. Even your analysis of the "governments all over the world" being "not in the least moved" is either completely jaded or an inaccurate generalization. But it doesn't matter if the government is moved... what matters is that people at the street level are obviously and pointedly dissatisfied with the state of the global economy -- and this dissatisfaction may or may not lead to political consequences. The point is... not everyone is in favor of just showing the bankers/official government side of the story. This crisis is real and is having real effects on people beyond simply numbers being subtracted from their bank accounts or added to the national debt. That is in large part WHY it is a crisis. Homes are being foreclosed, retirement funds are vanishing, homelessness is rising, related crime is rising, etc.. I haven't even included these points yet (and will be selective about doing so), but the point is... instability is an obvious consequence of this crisis to everyone but banking executives and politicians who are only trying to downplay the overall situation while covering their own behinds. So yes... I do find you obtuse, at best, and I know I'm not the only one. You can whine about that particular opinion but it remains unchanged. The bottom line is that this section about political instability is not original research -- it is backed by cited and documented actual events and is discussed by notable individuals/organizations/institutions/government agencies. And this is why it can and should be mentioned in regard to the economic/financial crisis. That fact that YOU don't think there is instability related to this crisis is WHOLLY irrelevant because noteworthy others have been cited who do. So even if it is merely opinion... in this case it's allowable. If you want to write a subsequent section about how stable things are... that ought to be good for a laugh. Just make sure you cite someone other than just yourself this time. --Nihilozero (talk) 16:31, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Seems you are becoming more and more nervous, sorry that I'm not impressed by your rant. Still you only give an opinion and as you say yourself "one side of the story". And as you say also, opinions are irrelevant, except, in your mind, yours that would be "allowable". But still there is not the least serious source, just crystal ball speculations, about a current general political instability. As for "instability at the street level" it is just another of your theories to define political instability. Very creative for sure! What I see is that this section is a complete mess with its POV title and its medley of half baked considerations. When are you going to become encyclopedic? --Pgreenfinch (talk) 17:55, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

AIG bonus payments controversy

Someone is putting information about how every person quoted in the article voted on the bailout bill, which seems a clear case of OR (specifically original synthesis) to me but it doesn't look like I'm getting thorough to the person who's doing it Nil Einne (talk) 16:12, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes it would be WP:SYNTH. What's required is a source that makes an association of some kind between the votes and the controversy.Professor marginalia (talk) 16:34, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Try directing the editor directly to WP:SYNTH. On the article's talk page, I don't see anyone linking to Wikipedia's policy pages until Kenosis's most recent edit [20]. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 21:44, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
In retrospect, you're right I should have linked to it. I admit I'm one of those people who doesn't tend to remember specific sub-links and who only mentions and often doesn't bother to link when I consider it a cornerstone policy (which IMHO is the case for WP:SYNTH) since I expect people to be aware or make themselves aware of cornerstone policy but I understand that isn't really considered good practice Nil Einne (talk) 16:44, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

List of wars and disasters by death toll

The issue here is that User:Philip Baird Shearer continues to revert a section that he variously describes as being either WP:OR or WP:INDISCRIMINATE. The section in question is the one currently entitled "Political violence" on the page in question.

Just to provide a little context - "List of wars and disasters by death toll" is supposed to be a complementary page to "List of natural disasters by death toll" - that is, it's supposed to be a page listing notable death tolls caused by human rather than natural agency. Unfortunately, Philip seems to think that only death tolls caused by war or genocide are notable and that all other large death tolls caused by human agency should not be listed because they are "just a random collection of information" which results in them being OR. Consequently he has been waging war on this page for some two years, reverting almost every major edit I have made in that time.

I should add that I am the first to concede that the page as it currently exists is far from ideal - I pretty much walked away from making improvements to it a long time ago because I got tired of the arm-wrestling. There seems little point in going to the trouble of improving a page if someone is going to come by every few days and just make wholesale reversions of your work. Since it's mostly just me and Philip making regular edits to the page these days, I'd appreciate an outside view. Thanks, Gatoclass (talk) 06:50, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

2009 Hamas reprisal attacks and Islamic extremism

Hello, there is a bit of an argument as to whether Islamic extremism should be placed in the see also list on the 2009 Hamas reprisal attacks. The article covers attack by Hamas on members of their political opposition, the Fatah organization, and suspected 'collaborators' during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict. The discussion has been occurring at Talk:2009_Hamas_reprisal_attacks#see_alsos. The argument for its inclusion seems to boil down to this: "Hamas = Islamic extremist organization. Killing and torturing citizens = extremist. Result = Islamic extremism." in a comment made here. The argument for its exclusion is that it is synthesis to say that Hamas is an Islamic extremist organization, these actions were committed by Hamas so therefore it these actions are Islamic extremism. Because this boils down to a dispute between 2 editors, I thought I would bring it here for some more eyes. Thanks, Nableezy (talk) 07:33, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, that's not what the argument has boiled down to, but I used that simple rationale to illustrate a crucial point. You've dismissed everything as OR, but I'm glad you brought it here. It's beyond me an organization recognized as an Islamic extremist movement by the US and EU commit deliberate acts of violence against civilians, members rivaling political parties, and activists, and not be considered an example of extremism. Nableezy has yet to provide sufficient reasoning as to why that isn't the case other than a standard OR accusation. Wikifan12345 (talk) 08:19, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Update - And the edit was in the categories section, not the See Also list. Are categories bound by such strict interpretation of policy? Wikipedia:Categories wasn't particularly insightful. Wikifan12345 (talk) 08:46, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Nableezy stated, very clearly, the following in his discussion with you, "to call this an act of Islamic extremism you need to be able to show the motive was something other than internal security or the purging of political rivals" and to do so you need to provide RS. Other than that the inclusion of Islamic extremism is an OR. Yamanam (talk) 10:09, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

To consider the act of "internal security" (double speak for torture) or the "purging of political rivals" (ultra double speak for point-blank executions) outside of Islamic extremism when considering the context of the RS is....original research. This is not a packaged deal as Nab infers. Wikifan12345 (talk) 11:09, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

I am quite sure that you are too smart to believe your last argument. Yamanam (talk) 11:57, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Guys, you've made your points, lets see what others have to say, thpugh I would appreciate the dropping of such terms as 'double speak' when referring to my comments. If I meant to say something I would have. Nableezy (talk) 14:32, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

This appears to be about the addition and removal of a link in the See also section seen here. WP:SEEALSO says that a reasonable number of relevant links that would be in the body of a hypothetical "perfect article" are suitable to add to the "See also" appendix of a less developed one. So, if the perfect article on 2009 Hamas reprisal attacks would include a section talking about Islamic fundamentalism, then it should be included as a "See also" link until the text is fully developed. In my opinion, a fully developed article on this topic would not include a link to Islamic fundamentalism unless it was covered extensively by a reliable source. As a reliable source has not been provided linking the topic with Islamic fundamentalism, I would not link to that topic. -Atmoz (talk) 17:32, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

At what point do we take into account an RS linking IF with the article? Does the journalist need to say..."This event connects with Islamic fundamentalism." As you said, this is your opinion. In my opinion, the RSs speak for themselves. They prove beyond a doubt Hamas has under taken yet another kill campaign inspired by radical Islam. Wikifan12345 (talk) 01:49, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

You guys are still fighting over that article(s). I have been involved also. I did add this article(s) to my watchlist - Because there are 2 or 4 editors who basically have been doing a slow motion revert war, and now, I am going to remove it from my watchlist. I suspect it's fixed now. I no longer want to be a part of this.--Michael (talk) 08:08, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

WF, your opinions dont belong in wikipedia articles unless they are backed by RSs. That exact sentence wouldnt be necessary to satisfy my concerns, but at least some source linking this violence to fundamentalism or extremism in some way, not the synthesized argument that 'they prove beyond a doubt Hamas has under taken yet another kill campaign inspired by radical Islam', please show this proof. You keep asserting this like it is actually true without ever backing it up. Nableezy (talk) 15:49, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
First, recognize that you tagged me for an edit I didn't make. Ok, good. Now, these aren't my opinions as you so arrogantly assert. It is YOUR opinion this isn't Islamic fundamentalism. Please, rationalize that. Wikifan12345 (talk) 03:32, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Doesnt work that way, your asking to prove something is not fundamentalism, the question is how is it fundamentalism. My rationalizations don't matter, and it is your edit that has this in the category of Islamic extremism (and I never accused you of anything). My rationalization as far as wikipedia goes is you dont have a source that comes anywhere close to describing this as Islaimc extremism. Show how 'they prove beyond a doubt Hamas has under taken yet another kill campaign inspired by radical Islam.' If you can do that then fine, but you have yet to do so, you just continually assert this as if repeating it makes it true. Nableezy (talk) 03:36, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Don't spin things. This noticeboard is about See Also, which has already been resolved. Again, I say, what does a source need to say to affirm Islamic fundamentalism? "Hamas is committing these activities on the curtails of radical islam etc.." What?? Wikifan12345 (talk) 03:59, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
The see also was the issue when the issue was first raised on the article talk page, it has moved on since you added the category. And it does not have to be in those exact words, just any mention of an islamic extremist motive for these attacks. Nableezy (talk) 04:05, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
And the same thing since you changed it back to the category of Islamic terrorism here after changing it to extremism here with the edit summary that 'terror is a hard sell'. Please, a single source that describes these attacks as an act of islamic terrorism or islamic extremism. Nableezy (talk) 04:08, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
If I recall, added the category well before there was any dispute. Does it have to say "Islamic extremist motives for these attacks." Can you show me a rule on wikipedia where it HAS to say that? Also, Islamic terrorism and Islamic extremism are the same thing according to wikipedia. The whole article is supported by the sources you desire. I posted one in the talk, feel free to copy and paste.
I just said I am not asking for that exact quote, just a (note singular) source somehow relating islamic extremism or islamic terrorism to these actions, thats all i am asking for. Your source doesnt say anything about extremism or terrorism, and in fact gives a different motivation: "Hamas has sought to suppress individuals it believes endanger the group's fight against Israel and its hold on power in the Strip, as well as public morale." How is that Islamic extremism or terrorism. Nableezy (talk) 04:30, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
What are the qualifies for extremism? An internationally-recognized Islamic fundamentalist movement going house-to-house, tying civilians to chairs, and shooting them in the legs while demanding they confess? Your opinion, *ahem*, "claims" have yet to consider the sources. So stop telling me to do x when it is you who should be. Wikifan12345 (talk) 04:41, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Another example of OR, you need a source, that is all I am asking for. You asking for a source that says it is not extremism is illogical. Nobody is going to say it is not extremism, if it is extremism or terrorism they will say that. You saying it doesnt do much, sorry. Nableezy (talk) 05:25, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Ugh, resistance is futile. Wikifan12345 (talk) 05:53, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Journal of Scientific Exploration (JSE)

We have the following passage in the article: The journal is not indexed in the Web of Science, the standard indexing service for scientific journals, nor is it indexed in PubMed. While there is no source presented which asserts this observation/criticism, the information can certainly be verified by looking through the index of both of thse services and NOT finding a listing for JSE. Is it OR to include such a observation/criticism? -- Levine2112 discuss 20:29, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't see how it is anymore original research to say that JSE is not indexed by WoS than it is to say 2+2=4. It either is or it isn't. In this case, a primary source to WoS should be all that is needed to verify the claim that JSE is not indexed. -Atmoz (talk) 17:49, 25 March 2009 (UTC)


Am I imagining it or does this edit have WP:SYNTHESIS issues? One source of questionable reliability and two Congressional press releases (by the same Congresswoman). If yes, is it salvageable without further sources? Rd232 talk 02:12, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

2 of the 3 links are broken. --Bob K31416 (talk) 21:19, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
badly formatted refs - fixed. Could you take another look? Rd232 talk 23:26, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Following Smartmatic's acquisition of Sequoia Voting Systems, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney requested an investigation to determine whether CFIUS processes had been followed to green-light sale of Sequoia to a company with ties to the Venezuelan government.[1] The investigation was prompted after an electoral fiasco in Cook County,[2] where Smartmatic staff had been in charge of supervising the voting process, was revealed.

As a result of the Federal investigation, Smartmatic decided to sell Sequoia. Rep. Maloney said “There clearly remained doubts surrounding this company, and as long as those doubts lingered, many people would have legitimate questions about the integrity of these voting machines. When I first raised this case with Treasury, I thought that it was ripe for a CFIUS investigation, because the integrity of our voting machines is vital to national security. At that time, Smartmatic flatly refused to undergo a CFIUS review. But now it seems the company could not overcome the cloud of doubt surrounding this deal – had they been able to, we would not be talking about a sale of Sequoia today. As I said in May, it seems that a CFIUS review was in fact the proper course." [3]

The statement "a company with ties to the Venezuelan government" isn't quite correct since the source said "possible ties".
The statement "The investigation was prompted after an electoral fiasco in Cook County" looks like a conclusion of the editor, albeit reasonable. I couldn't find where the sources said that the investigation was prompted by the 2006 election fiasco. Hopefully I didn't miss it. This could be called either a case of not being precise enough with representing the info in a source, or a minor violation of WP:NOR. It can be fixed by replacing "was prompted" with "came". Perhaps you had something else in mind as a violation of WP:SYNTH? --Bob K31416 (talk) 05:13, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories

There is a dispute going on at Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories over how to use reports of Hawaiian state officials refusing to release Obama's original birth certificate. There has been disagreement over how/whether one particular newspaper story can be used — e.g., whether references in the story to state laws on "vital records" (or comments by officials talking about "vital records") can be understood as including birth certificates, or whether that would violate WP:OR. See Talk:Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories#Error in lead. We could use some knowledgeable, impartial guidance on how to use a source without crossing the line into original research or synthesis. Richwales (talk) 04:22, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Help with original synthesis at Thelema (Talk:Thelema)

Hi. I've got an editor clearly using synthesis over at Thelema (Talk:Thelema) and I've tried to explain to them about it not being allowed, but they don't seem to get it. They are using a string of a dozen references and trying to make that support "most scholars ... consensus" when there are plenty of direct references which say that the topic is one of some disagreement and dispute. Oh, and he (User:Dan) is also using 3 full revert per day to regress progress I am trying to make on the article. Will in China (talk) 22:00, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

The current version has eleven references for the first clause of the disputed text. There should never be a need to use 11 citations for one statement. While not a necessary and sufficient condition of a synthesis, it is a red flag. Another red flag is the use of the weasel word most. Unless there is a specific reference that uses the word most to describe Rabelais as writing from a Christian perspective, at the minimum, this needs to be re-written. Of the other sentences tagged with synthesis, one of them is a direct quote, or is presented as a quote. A quote can be used in synthesizing a conclusion, but by itself, cannot be a synthesis. Looking at the sources available to me at the time of writing, it does appear that most of this paragraph is a synthesis of information to advance a position. To include the information that most or a consensus of scholars think X, it is necessary for a reliable, secondary source to say this. It is not sufficient to collect a list of primary sources that agree with X, and conclude there is a consensus, which is what appears to have happened here. But this is no excuse for citation warring—the information should still be presented to the reader, but in a way that is not an original synthesis. Both editors need to stop edit warring and remain civil while writing the encyclopedia article. -Atmoz (talk) 22:38, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
One thing that confuses me is, why is that level of detail needed on an article about Thelema? Why isn't this user contributing to Rabelais? My overview version of the scholarship on Rabelais can be found at Rabelais#Views of Rabelais. It seems that is where the detailed analysis should go, with a high level summary only at Thelema. Will in China (talk) 23:36, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
1. I think the quote that follows that line in the article does say that, or something stronger. I also think the Davis reference says it. (Both come from one of three references that I added to the list of examples.) You know the difficulty in finding citations for something that everyone knows. I don't think it gets much better than this. But I plan to visit a university bookstore and look for a textbook tomorrow -- the viewing for my dead neighbor should allow that -- and maybe check their library again. I will also request a book or two from someplace I cannot reasonably get to directly. WiC, please do not revert any part of the article before I get back to y'all on this.
2. I don't know why WiC has chosen to fight on this issue and demand that level of detail, but he has. Other users seem satisfied with the clear statement of Lawrence Sutin on the relationship between Rabelais and Thelema. Dan (talk) 02:23, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
3. If the bulk of current scholarship states the Christian views of Rabelais as a fact -- and it does, to the point where LaGuardia couldn't ignore this when writing on Rabelais in the context of his time's "medicine" -- how would you include the views of earlier scholars? Would you say the article on Thelema does not require us do so? Dan (talk) 02:29, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Dan, one thing that is unclear to me is how a quote can have two separate citations. Which source is it from, who is it quoting. It's simply unusual to put a quote into an article without saying who said it. Plus neither of the sources are web-accessible so I can't check which the quote is in or who said it or anything. I'd be happy to include that quote in my overview of the scholarship, but for the fact that it's ultimately unsourced by following it with two citations and no explanation. That's why I tagged it as well as the more obvious synthesis. Could you introduce the quote with text and cite it to its original source only? Will in China (talk) 02:36, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
That I don't get at all, and I'm pasting it to Talk:Thelema for more thorough bogglement explanation. Dan (talk) 02:38, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
You have two citations following the quote, #25 and #27. Which source is the quote actually in? LaGuardia? or Davis? Which cited author wrote it? Will in China (talk) 02:45, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
The other thing that confuses me Dan, is why you don't want to include earlier scholarship. The article includes the topic of what Crowley may or may not have adopted/adapted from Rabelais. Certainly how the scholarship of Crowley's time is significant to how he viewed Rabelais. Later in the article you attempt to synthesize a difference between Crowley and Rabelais implying that Crowley would not have adopted a basically Christian philosophy.... but no one in Crowley's time ever had suggested that Rabelais was anything but anti-Christian, an attitude which Crowley himself also adopted. So yes, the previous scholarship is more significant to this article than the modern scholarship is. IMO, a whole outline of the conformity of opinion during most of Crowley's life is vital to the article. That the opinions have broadened since Crowley's time is interesting, but more of a footnote with respect to the Thelema article. Will in China (talk) 02:45, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Dan, Which source stated words to the effect that, "Most scholars think the French author wrote from a specifically Christian perspective"? Please give the source and the excerpt from the source. Then you're home free. Otherwise you done boo boo synthesis. --Bob K31416 (talk) 02:55, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Guerrilla phase of the Second Chechen War

I've only recently become at all aware or involved with the articles here, through the AFD for Guerrilla phase of the Second Chechen War (2009). That article consists of a small list of news-bulletin events from a fairly wide swatch of the Caucasus, well beyond Chechnya, with little in the cited references to link them to Chechnya proper or the war specifically, which officially ended in 2000. However, in looking at the web of links involving that article, I discovered a whole series of them: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008, in addition to the 2009 article up at AFD and the navigation parent linked in this section title, which also includes links to more detailed articles about some specific events.

I don't deny that there is and has been guerrilla activity and insurgency even following the official armistice. There are reliable sources that state that directly (such as this one). But these articles aren't a discussion of the conflict. Rather they are a series of events in list format. They are, by and large, well sourced -- to the extent that documentation for each event is present. What is lacking across the board however, is any reliable sourcing indicating that these events are well-served by being grouped in this matter. For my part, I consider many of these lists highly questionable; beyond the police blotter format, they almost all include events from Dagestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia, without any reliable sourcing to tie those events directly to the Chechyan conflict. I'm absolutely a novice at military history articles, much less those involving an active conflict with ethnic-bias concerns. But in calmer articles in scopes I'm more accustomed to, this whole structure would be considered a novel synthesis.

The outcome of the AFD may determine the future of some of this content, but there is quite a lot of encyclopedic material there, with reasonably good sourcing on its own merits. Could someone more familiar with the expectations for this article genre take a look and see what the best approach for cleanup might be? I suspect that there needs to be substantial changes, but I'd hate to lose the wheat with the chaff. Serpent's Choice (talk) 05:28, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

"Great Recession"

In Late 2000s recession, the first sentence reads "sometimes called the "Great Recession"". This is based on a few usages in the press, but I don't see any indication that historians or economists are using the term. Per wp:NEO, noting the usage without a source that notes the usage is OR. In fact, I'm kind of concerned that Wikipedia is propagating the usage. I've started a talk page section on it, but given that some people even wanted to rename the article "great recession" it may not get a fair shake. Please read the extended rational and give an outside opinion at Talk:Late 2000s recession#Dubious. NJGW (talk) 05:23, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

I join this observation and question, the same that I'm a bit concerned that the section title "political instability related to..." is propagating an OR notion. This is particularly dramatic, as the article is about a crucial event in which wikipedia can lose its reputation by pushing one sided notions. --Pgreenfinch (talk) 10:17, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Pgreenfinch, the term "political instability" is well supported by the references provided. Your repeated attempts to add your own unsourced claims are the essence of what the Wikipedia policy WP:NOR says not to do. Please stop your continued attempts at disruption, breaking policy, uncivil comments, and POV pushing. At some point an admin will be forced to block you. Just stop it. WAS 4.250 (talk) 10:36, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Pgreenfinch, is not bad. You really need to do a better job providing references, but as far as I can tell, that is an accurate addition (except for one word that I deleted - see - this is why we need sources). Congrats. WAS 4.250 (talk) 10:48, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
"Great Recession" does not seem to be a common term for the current crisis. WAS 4.250 (talk) 10:39, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Sources which use the term "great recession": Boston Globe, CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg, New York Times, US News, MSNBC, NPR, Christian Science Monitor. Seems fairly widespread to me. And the NYTimes piece is by Krugman, who is an economist. -Atmoz (talk) 01:35, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

First of all, stating that the term is widespread is OR per wp:NEO. Second, some of those sources are referring to a hypothetical situation, while others use the term "a great recession" (as opposed to "The Great Recession"). Also, someone pointed out that Kurt Vonnegut used the term Great Recession in one of his short stories to refer to a recession in this historic time period, so it's also a literary reference. To say that something that is ongoing and of totally unknown scope and effect already has such a title is OR. NJGW (talk) 04:17, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
The statement in the article says "sometimes", not "widespread". I said it was widespread; it's certainly been "sometimes" referred to as "the great recession". In fact, it's been called "the great recession" by a Nobel Prize winning economist. Why not change the first sentence so it reads "In 2008–2009 much of the industrialized world entered into a deep recession, which Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman refers to as the "Great Recession"." -Atmoz (talk) 08:00, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
What I don't see is the purpose to put it in the first sentence of the article, as if it was something crucial to introduce the article. Introductions and titles should be the most neutral possible (as seen in another discussion above). There must be a better place somewhere in the text, related to media and economist comments. Or a specific section about semantics, as various appelations are thrown to the public, whether for explanatory or for sensational / ideological purpose. --Pgreenfinch (talk) 09:20, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Atmoz, the problem with your Krugman point is that you are referencing a blog entry in which he uses a sexy title as a hook, rather than makes the statement, "this is the Great Recession". Does he actually think of it this way, or is it just a throw away reference? No way to know. NJGW (talk) 16:37, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Not even knowing this articles existed until it was brought up here, I don't particularly care if the bit about the Great Recession stays or goes. But it's my outside opinion that it is not original research to use Great Recession as an alternate name for the article. That doesn't mean it's not, and others are welcome to disagree with me. It also does not mean it needs to stay in the article; it could be removed because it's a neologism, or because editor consensus on the talk page determined it wasn't needed. -Atmoz (talk) 19:14, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Shibdas Ghosh

I had posted this in the RS notice board; but now I feel this is relevant here as well. Currently there is a debate going on in the Talk:Shibdas Ghosh whether one Shibdas Ghosh is a "Marxist Ideologist". I have almost lost interest talking to this user. In my opinion it doesn't even deserve to be called a Fringe Theory. Someone please look at it. (talk) 11:47, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Gilad Atzmon

Some editors are unhappy that the secondary sources describing this noted antisemite describe his antisemitism, and have decided to mine primary sources for Atzmon quotes they like that paint him in a better light. I argue that we should restrict ourselves to what the secondary sources find notable: after all, one could just as easily find many Atzmon quotes from primary sources that demonstrate his bigotry. If the secondary-source coverage is generally negative, well, that's the consequences of regularly publicly saying that Jews are trying to take over the world. Does such cherry-picking of primary sources to "balance" an article constitute WP:OR? THF (talk) 20:04, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Eyes please for OR issues in my edits in this version (link in case the relevant material gets removed again). NB in addition to the OR tags the disputed bits are the article's final para; and whilst OR hasn't been mentioned for the lead, this too is contested. Thanks. PS General remark: AFAIK none of the material is currently attributed to primary sources. I'm not sure that THF and I agree on the definition, but anyway I've removed the source I think he objected to. Rd232 talk 22:32, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
Apparently now all quotes by the subject are OR. (Except, you missed one, THF.) Well at least it's consistent. Rd232 talk 23:39, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, quotes by the subject in primary sources that are not reported in secondary sources are OR. It's your personal picks of what quotes are most important. I think other primary-source quotes by Atzmon are more important. If you're saying everybody gets to pick their favorite primary-source quotes, then we should be discussing his review of Borat and some other ludicrously bigoted remarks Atzmon has made. THF (talk) 23:45, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps you (and ideally someone else as well - as there anyone around on this board at the minute?) could comment on what a primary source is. You seem to think that any publication by the article subject is a primary source; and either by not paying attention to sourcing or by elision or some other process, lump in any quotes at all by the subject, eg from interviews published in newspapers. Rd232 talk 03:13, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
An article that is an interview that simply lets Atzmon monologue without commentary is effectively a primary source. Atzmon has published widely. Those are primary sources: you're picking and choosing from those sources to present the pro-Atzmon argument, but other editors can (and have) pick and choose from those same sources to demonstrate Atzmon is a bigot. I came into the article to replace that OR with secondary sources, and you've essentially undone by replacing my secondary sources with your OR-primary source argument to promote the POV that Atzmon is not a bigot, contrary to the secondary sources that say otherwise. The man has been disowned by much of the left for his bigotry, even though he would be a political ally. Jazz magazines have noted the problem (and you deleted that evidence from the article). THF (talk) 13:50, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Well there's part of the problem: you're trying to present an argument (that Atzmon is a bigot) and hence see attempts to NPOV the article as also making an argument. But WP:NOT a battleground or a soapbox: we're trying to write an encyclopedia article about Gilad Atzmon, not win an argument. Quoting the subject's notable views (from a variety of sources) is absolutely part of that, especially (WP:BLP) when those views are often misrepresented because of their controversial nature. Further, some people have in the past seriously (if not actually libellously) misrepresented the subject's views in the WP article (notably through quotation so selective as to be misquotation), and it is essential to avoid this, whatever your opinion of them and of him. Rd232 talk 15:41, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Also, I've yet to see an Atzmon quote which is unambiguously bigoted when placed in its full context. (The cherrypicking debate on Talk:Gilad Atzmon.) Rd232 talk 03:15, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Take a look at his Borat review, where he complains that the movie gives a bad name to anti-Semitism: that is unambiguously bigoted, and puts his ambiguously bigoted statements into the unambiguous category. The fact that anti-Semites around the world love quoting Atzmon and then disingenuously saying "But he's a Jew, so how can this be anti-Semitic" is telling. THF (talk) 13:40, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Since User:THF opined that just using Atzmon's sources as only basis for paragraphs on his views is problematic, even if it was done to correct some previous biases in article, some of us have been reminded that linking to WP:RS that say he has those views and describe them obviously is the first thing you do. However, Wikipedia:Or#Primary.2C_secondary_and_tertiary_sources and Wikipedia:Blp#Using_the_subject_as_a_self-published_source both say you can use primary sources carefully, which to me means to fill in blanks or to share corrections of assertions in WP:RS made explicitly by the subject (since he does tend to reply to any and all criticism that comes down the pike.) So I personally think it's a moot issue at this point. CarolMooreDC (talk) 14:00, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Well since you bring it up, THF, your selective (mis)quotation of Atzmon on Borat can be a case study of the misquotation problem. "With the help of Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen gives a bad name to anti-Semitism. This is obviously more than legitimate. [several paras omitted; Atzmon's point is that] Borat is set to present anti-Semitism as a backward reactionary tendency. By doing so Baron Cohen and his team are there to block or even to shutter any form of criticism of global Zionism in general and of Israel in particular."[21] Rd232 talk 15:46, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Exactly. Unambiguous equation of his anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. THF (talk) 20:12, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
I think you've just proven Atzmon's point, which was that caricaturing anti-semitism (of a type that isn't politically relevant in Europe/US) facilitates the use of anti-semitism as a nasty charge to throw at anti-zionism. Rd232 talk 21:18, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
That only makes sense if you're trying to justify antisemitism qua antisemitism. Atzmon doesn't talk about Israel. He talks about Jews. That's why many of his fellow anti-Zionists have disavowed him and have accused him of Holocaust denial. And that's why every reliable source ranging from right-wing British columnists to mainstream jazz magazines to left-wingers who don't want racists in there movement--except a couple of unreliable sources on the far far left like Counterpunch--name him an antisemite. But in the latest Wikipedia article, he is as clean as can be! It even disregards WP:LEAD's requirement to fairly note relevant controversies and disregards the WP:WEIGHT issue of not valuing fringe sources over mainstream coverage. THF (talk) 18:46, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Quoting Atzmon himself, from his own works, is WP:NOR. Quote what reliable secondary sources say about him, not primary sources authored by him, whether opinion pieces published in reliable sources, or rebuttals on his personal website(s). Jayjg (talk) 03:40, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Absolute nonsense -WP:SELFPUB and don't forget WP:BLP. It violates common sense and justice to suggest that Hirsh's Guardian blog, say, can be quoted as gospel on Atzmon's opinions, but Atzmon's response blog can't. Or that reports of Atzmon's opinion translated from a couple of paragraphs in a regional German paper can be referenced, but Atzmon's response blog on over-simplification of his views as reported can't. Rd232 talk 05:08, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree with User:rd232. Again Wikipedia:Or#Primary.2C_secondary_and_tertiary_sources and Wikipedia:Blp#Using_the_subject_as_a_self-published_source both say you can use primary sources carefully, and making sure you aren't creating a POV attack piece on an individual by not quoting their responses to allegation is one careful use. CarolMooreDC (talk) 18:35, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
You misunderstand that guideline. It simply says we can safely quote Atzmon for non-controversial propositions such as his middle name or that he went to such-and-such high school. It does not say one can disregard the WP:NOR guideline by picking and choosing quotes to slant the article to agree with the editors' politics and disagree with the reliable secondary sources. It's wrong when Drsmoo does it, and it's wrong when you do it. To wit: Material that has been self-published by the subject may be added to the article only if it is not unduly self-serving. Your chosen quotes are unduly self-serving. This is why we rely on secondary sources. Apologies for violating Godwin's law, but in the Adolf Hitler article, we don't quote paragraph after paragraphs from Mein Kampf to show Hitler's POV; we rely on the secondary source discussion of his views. Atzmon isn't a mass-murderer, and he isn't even one of the Eastern Europeans satirized by Borat, but he is a full-out Jew-hater, and makes a point of it. THF (talk) 18:48, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Again, completely wrong on the guideline (and your strong POV about the subject which you express again here, which is contradicted by an NPOV reading of the sources, doesn't help any). The "unduly self-serving" qualifier is intended to prevent spam-like advertorial, not accurate representation of a subject's political views. It's particularly aimed at people (or fans or other associates) editing their own articles. Rd232 talk 19:14, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Incidentally this is something of a red herring, because the Gibson interview makes most of Atzmon's views crystal clear, so unless you want to exclude that as well, this debate is less relevant to the article content than it appears. Rd232 talk 19:14, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually, THF is quite right on the guideline. SELFPUB allows us to use an individual's claim that, say, he grew up in New Jersey and attended Shawnee High School. It does not, however, extend to quoting lengthy political apologia from his blog. The "unduly self-serving" part is intended to stop exactly this. Jayjg (talk) 00:18, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
So, I'll ask the question I've asked above, which wasn't specifically addressed: does policy require that we only reference Hirsh's Guardian blog on Atzmon's views, while we can't mention Atzmon's response blog on the same Guardian website? I respectfully submit that if policy says that, then we must apply WP:IAR until policy no longer violates common sense, justice, and the interests of writing an accurate encyclopedia article. Rd232 talk 01:26, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Can you be specific about which two sources you are referring to? Jayjg (talk) 03:28, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

back dent
While not defending everything now in article, or past errors in putting things in, I think it is clear that what Atzmon says in response to questions in interviews is WP:RS. Secondary source - and there are a number of interviews to draw on. Linking to articles of his that others have discussed is quite kosher. And certainly his public responses to allegations are relevant. If they are questioned, that should be on a case by case basis. What is original research is paragraphs that cherry pick and mix and muddle things he’s said or is alleged to have said in order to create a polemical piece that makes him look bad (or good). But that should be decided on a case by case basis. CarolMooreDC (talk) 21:12, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Carol, your assertions do not address the points raised above. Jayjg (talk) 03:28, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
I think was responding to earlier issues, thus the back dent... Anyway, the two references which are now in the article without quotation controversy are and, neither of which is quoted here, though in a past version they were for about six months and no one complained. I think any editors arguing about this issue have come to some agreement or compromise. CarolMooreDC (talk) 18:31, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Please check out talk entry on Using WP:RS interviews in NPOV way without WP:OR

And feel free to comment as a third opinion since at least two editors continue to assert or don't seem to understand that just because a few opinion pieces published on WP:RS say he's an antisemite, it is Not ok to take quotes out of context of these interviews to prove that point. See Using 3 recent WP:RS interviews in NPOV way without WP:OR CarolMooreDC (talk) 14:37, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

List of common misconceptions

Hi. We're having a dispute over what entries belong on this list. Those of us working on the article have agreed that all entries should be described by multiple reliable sources as "common misconceptions" (or words to that effect).

That's a pretty restrictive rule, but it's done a fine job of keeping "I think this is a common misconception"-type OR off the list. Unfortunately, there are a few editors that are performing OR in the opposite direction -- removing entries on the basis of "I think this isn't a common misconception", even when multiple reliable sources claim that it is one.

There's also some WP:SYNTH going on -- an entry about "herbal tea doesn't contain tea" is being removed on the basis that the OED says "the word 'tea' can refer to herbal infusions". The OED isn't making any claims about whether or not making a distinction between herbal tea and teas that contain tea leaves is wrong. However, it's being used to rebut sources that suggest that "tea" and "herbal tea" are distinct beverages.

The dispute is taking place at the bottom of Talk:List of common misconceptions. (And unfortunately also in the form of a revert war.) Help would be very much appreciated.--Father Goose (talk) 01:06, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

My point, which Father Goose doesn't seem to understand, is that original research is perfectly OK as a way of informing our editorial discretion. We are under no obligation to mention a particular "misconception" just because it appears in some low-quality sources such as local newspapers, tea enthusiasts' websites or compilations of random misconceptions. If one (let's call it X) is not actually a misconception and we find a source saying that, then we can (1) say that the idea that X is a misconception is itself a misconception; or we can (2) just discard it. If we have good reasons to believe that X is not a misconception, and none of our sources claiming otherwise addresses these reasons, then (1) is no longer an option, but clearly we can and must do (2).
I am not sure, but it seems possible that Father Goose is affected by the common misconception that there is a policy against "removal of sourced information". The current state of the entry in question is the result of this edit of mine, which was an attempt to find a compromise. I don't know why Father Goose had to run here. Should I run to the reliable sources noticeboard now? --Hans Adler (talk) 02:02, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
PS: "However, it's being used to rebut sources that suggest that "tea" and "herbal tea" are distinct beverages." This is patently false. It is being used to rebut low-quality sources that suggest that (a) the word "tea" must not be applied to herbal teas (which must consequently be written with scare quotes), and that (b) many people think that herbal tea contains tea in the strict sense of the word. Now (b) would be slightly more credible if anybody actually claimed it without also claiming (a). The last source given for this particular misconception even makes explicit what it's about:
The other misconception [...] is a fairly recent phenomenon[...]. "People tend to think that tea is a process, that steeping anything in hot water is making tea. And it's not. Tea is actually a particular plant. It's the Camellia Sinensis plant. So only when you're steeping tea leaves are you making tea. When you're steeping, maybe mint leaves, or dried berries, or chamomile flowers [...] it's not really tea at all." [22]
Thus the "misconception", according to this source, is that it is admissible to use the word "tea" in one of the alternative senses listed by both OED and Webster's. I think we have every reason to suspect that this is what's going on in general, and discard this "misconception" on these grounds. Apart from that, I don't think my compromise version contains original research. --Hans Adler (talk) 02:18, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

I ran across the article before, and isn't it a poster child for WP:INDISCRIMINATE? Regardless of sourcing, it's a list with no clear inclusion or exclusion criteria, and it isn't funny like List of chemical compounds with unusual names, which does have some intuitive inclusion and exclusion criteria but is a lesser offender of the same problem.

The original research in this case is not in the details, it is in the population of the list. SDY (talk) 02:45, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Read the opening sentence of the list as well as my opening paragraph above. What keeps it from being indiscriminate is the insistence that all entries must be specifically described by multiple reliable sources as "common misconceptions". That makes it very discriminating. (We adopted those criteria very recently, and we're busy going through every entry to make them conform, so maybe you're confusing it with the "old" list.) We're essentially requiring that each and every entry on the list pass WP:N specifically as regards it being a "common misconception". I know of no other list on Wikipedia that has adopted such a stringent standard for its inclusion criteria.
Unfortunately, that standard is being disregarded: we have a few users saying, "well, I don't care that it passes the criteria -- I think it's bogus, and I'm going to delete it." Removing stuff according to personal opinion is just as disruptive to the list as adding stuff according to opinion is.
If people are permitted to make up their own definitions for what does or doesn't belong on the list, then yes, it'll never be populated according to its criteria. We have very specific, workable, objective criteria. I am asking for people's help in enforcing those criteria -- stick to the sources -- so that we can have a good list on this subject.--Father Goose (talk) 04:54, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
You are cherry-picking from the list criteria: "This list of common or popular misconceptions details various ideas described by multiple reliable sources as widely held, but which are false, misleading or otherwise flawed." The italics are mine. According to these criteria, something that isn't false/misleading/flawed in the first place doesn't belong on the list. The list criteria don't say that something must have been described as a misconception or really be one, they say it must have been thus described and really be one. The tea pedantry fails the second criterion. If a random tea enthusiast interviewed by VOA contradicts OED and Webster's about a matter of language, and doesn't even seem to be aware of that, then it's simply not reasonable to believe the tea enthusiast. And no, it's not misleading to call herbal tea "tea", just like it's not misleading to announce that "London" is negotiating with "Paris". --Hans Adler (talk) 12:40, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

It's not just the "tea" entry that's being fought over, either. There have been several other attempts to remove entries that more than meet the criteria.

The tea entry comes with additional problems, namely how to properly weight/interpret sources. Maybe that particular one we should take to the reliable sources noticeboard, though I think it almost precisely parallels the example given in WP:SYNTH, and I'm not trying to wikilawyer the issue. The OED doesn't have anything to say about whether "herbal tea is tea" -- just that the word tea can mean tea, herbal tea, and several other things. Both facts can simultaneously be true: that herbal tea isn't tea, and that "tea" can refer to tea or herbal tea. The sources have authority in different domains: culinary and linguistic. So one can't be used to disprove the other.

(Dammit, why can't we be fighting over tea instead?)--Father Goose (talk) 05:36, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Nobody claimed that herbal tea is tea in the strict sense of the word. My attempt at a compromise is a long way away from the improper synthesis example in WP:SYNTH, because it does not contain the equivalent of what comes after "Now comes the original synthesis". That would be something like: "But this seems to be based on the pedantic assumption that whoever uses the word 'tea' in the loose sense does so because they are confused about the ingredients." Which I didn't write because, although it seems to be true, I can't find a source for it. --Hans Adler (talk) 12:09, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
The problem in a nutshell: The list is, at the moment, filled with indiscriminate trivia that is not supported by reliable sources describing something as a "common misconception." THe tea is a classic example. "Herbal tea is not in fact, actually, tea?" Well, duh. That's why it's called "Herbal tea." "Tea is generically used for all kinds of infusions, but once solely refered to a specific plant from Asia?" Well, who cares? That's information, but it's not debunking some commonly held false belief. The real problem is that Father Goose and some others over there are insistent on retaining and reinserting information that is not supported by reliable sources because it "seems" (to them) to belong. There is no reliable source asserting (in this case) that a large number of people don't know there's a distinction between "Tea" and "Herbal Tea."Bali ultimate (talk) 12:24, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Oh yeah -- a claim of SYNTH going on as regards to the removal of unsourced material? That's just bizarre.Bali ultimate (talk) 12:26, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
you know, I don't think this a question of synth or OR. it's more a question of language. 'herbal tea' is a clarification of a language ambiguity, like 'mock chicken' or 'open secret'. these kinds of things are normal and expected, because language changes, and there's often differences between formal definitions and practical uses of words. for all we know (for instance) the Chinese and Indian words that the English word 'Tea' comes from might simply have meant 'hot drink', in which case 'herbal tea' would be a correct use, and 'iced tea' would be problematic.
a list like this should really exclude language artifacts like this (otherwise it will be almost infinitely long), and stick with real miss-conceptions: ideas that are commonly believed but ultimately incorrect. --Ludwigs2 14:06, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Partial solution

Okay, I see what part of the problem is. Some of the "misconceptions" are really misnomers, and the problem with that is that the more common a misnomer is, the less likely it is to be thought of as a misnomer (or misconception). Furthermore, the more common it is, the more likely it is to be defined in a dictionary as a "right" definition. (For example: spiders are insects, according to the dictionary.) So I'll start up another list, list of misnomers, to contain those.

That still leaves several entries that are fully backed up by sources as "common misconceptions" but that are being removed according to editors' personal beliefs. I'll raise that issue here again if that behavior persists.--Father Goose (talk) 05:07, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, over time, or when a word moves from one culture to another, misnomers become correct language use. E.g. the German word for mobile phone is "Handy" (with English spelling and pronunciation); the Italian word for internship is "stage", spelled like the French word for internship, but pronounced as if it were English. I know there are excellent examples of standard English words that started as misnomers many centuries ago, but I can't think of one right now.
But if you want to claim that certain dictionary uses of words are misnomers, you are getting into dangerous POV territory, even if you stay clear of OR. --Hans Adler (talk) 08:34, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
No, what I'm saying is that all the "although X is sometimes called Y, it's not Y" entries on the list are misnomers. (Provided a source claims as much -- if not, it doesn't belong on either list.) For instance, the sushi vs. sashimi one is is a misnomer. It's not that people don't realize "raw fish" is not the same as "rice with a variety of toppings", it's just that they're mixing up the names. So let's get all the semantic-themed misconceptions into list of misnomers instead. Otherwise we'll be facing lots of "stools are not stool" entries, of the type you complained about earlier.--Father Goose (talk) 09:27, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
My point was that referring to chamomile infusion as "tea", while starting as incorrect language use (I am not sure "misnomer" is a good term for this), can gradually become correct as more and more people do it, and is verifiably correct once the dictionaries report the new meaning without usage warnings. At this point it is simply not a misnomer according to the most reliable sources on language use (dictionaries), and claiming otherwise is POV. Therefore moving the "although X is sometimes called Y, it's not Y" entries to a list of misnomers is not a solution in those cases where "it's not Y" contradicts a dictionary definition without usage advice. --Hans Adler (talk) 10:21, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
If two sources disagree on a point, we can document the disagreement. Thus if dictionaries say "spiders are insects" and biologists say "spiders are not insects", we can note what the respective authorities have to say about it. The fact that dictionaries say "spiders are insects" should not be taken to mean that biologists are wrong.--Father Goose (talk) 21:03, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
Both are right. The trick is to understand that the meaning of words depends on the context. A lot of people ignore this completely. I teach my daughter that spiders are not insects, only very similar to insects. But not because that's the only way to see it in normal family talk, but because the question whether one considers spiders to be insects is a shibboleth in such a general context; it serves to distinguish scientifically minded educated people from the rest of the world. "Paul spends most of his waking hours on mutilating insects" is a true sentence even if most of the unfortunate animals are spiders. But "Arachnids are insects" is a false sentence. This is just the normal way language works; almost every word has such demarcation problems. If you want to list such ambiguities you can simply copy the OED. --Hans Adler (talk) 00:32, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Indeed -- so, is it appropriate to say "although biologists say spiders are not insects, the OED says they are; therefore, the biologists are wrong"? And to relate it back to our specific dispute, is it appropriate to say "although [people who wrote books about tea] say "herbal tea is not 'true' tea", the OED says 'tea' can refer to any herbal infusion; therefore, the authors are incorrect"?--Father Goose (talk) 20:40, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Mind you, I don't care if either of these examples are characterized as "misconceptions" or "misnomers". I'm just asking -- does the OED's documenting the colloquial use of a term mean that a subject matter expert is wrong to claim that the colloquial use is not correct on a technical basis?--Father Goose (talk) 21:20, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Another list with more original research and unsourced material? Oh, god, no. How about we removed unsourced material from the encyclopedia, and only use high quality sourcing for extraordinary and controversial claims? How's that for a solution.Bali ultimate (talk) 14:18, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
Please. Go ahead and delete every single unsourced line from the encyclopedia. Bring the hammer down. Show the encyclopedia who's boss. And keep deleting any sourced entries that you personally think are wrong as well. You're the arbiter of truth on Wikipedia, clearly. WP:V should be rewritten to say "facts are facts if Bali ultimate says they are, not if some stupid source says they are".--Father Goose (talk) 21:03, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
Please. There are at least two problems with this particular list that most Wikipedia articles don't have. (1) It makes technical claims that only experts can verify (because it's about common misconceptions), but distributed over so many different areas that substantial input from relevant experts is extremely unlikely. (2) It deals with "misconceptions", something that is rarely mentioned by the most reliable (i.e. scholarly) sources, but a popular topic for the least reliable sources because of its entertainment value. --Hans Adler (talk) 00:32, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
The individual facts in the article must all be drawn from sources written by experts. The identification of something as a "common misconception" must also be left to sources.
Since, as you point out, scholars do not concern themselves with the "popularity" of wrong views, we must rely on sources actually making claims of something being a "popular misconception" -- namely, popular media sources. I would claim that they are qualified to make claims about what is a "popularly held view".
As a consequence, it is a list of "things held to be common misconceptions by the media" (and not otherwise contradicted by other reliable sources). It cannot be a list of "things held to be common misconceptions by Wikipedia editors". That is original research. Yet a lot of editors have been attempting to enforce such a personal standard, instead of one derived from sources. And that is why I have brought the issue to the OR noticeboard. To my chagrin, however, so far this has not resulted in the OR issues being examined.--Father Goose (talk) 20:40, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Minor issue at Kings (U.S. TV series)

Hi. Over at Kings (U.S. TV series) we've got a disagreement about whether it's original synthesis to identify one of the characters as based on a biblical counterpart that shares his name. For context, the series Kings is explicitly based on the Biblical story of David and Saul. (This is undisputed and supported by reliable sources.) The main characters are King Silas Benjamin (based on Saul) and the young soldier David Shepherd (based on David). There are other characters based on other characters in the Biblical story: Saul's son Jonathan becomes "Jack Benjamin", his daughter Michal becomes "Michelle", and the prophet Samuel becomes "Reverend Samuels".

Reviews have confirmed most of these parallels. However, some of the minor characters have not been identified with Biblical counterparts in reliable sources. (I've found some blogs which do so, but they don't meet the standards of WP:RS.) I've reluctantly agreed that in the absence of solid sourcing the article shouldn't mention, for example, that Silas's wife Queen Rose is an analogue of Saul's wife Ahinoam. But I think that it's safe to say that a character named Gen. Linus Abner, Silas' military chief, is an analogue of the Biblical Abner, Saul's military chief. Beyond the obvious similarity of the name, there's this review, which mentions "two more biblically influenced characters: the prophet Samuels (Eamonn Walker) and General Abner (Wes Studi)." I think this should be enough to justify saying that "General Abner" is an analogue of Abner. Another editor insists that this is synthesis. I think it's simple logic.

Would anyone care to chip in at Talk:Kings (U.S. TV series)#Biblical counterparts with a third opinion? All views would be welcome, regardless of familiarity with the television series or the Biblical story it's based on. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:18, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

I think that synthesis is one of the more complex of our policies in that there are fine lines between what seems reasonably clear to us as individual editors and what is info culled from an editor's personal knowledge and a non-explicit source. "Biblically influenced" does not mean 'biblical counterpart'. Unless the source material explicitly states - the requirement to avoid synthesis - the relationship, we cannot connect the dots. In the absence of such citation, we must allow the reader to make up their own mind as to the connection. What passes for common knowledge with one person might very well be esoteric to another. As far as the article goes, I do hope that reliably-sourced citation does come to light, as it would be nifty. Until then, we have to wait. There's no hurry. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 04:54, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
It's true that there's no rush. The thing is that I think that the USA Today citation is saying that Abner corresponds to Abner. We have other sources saying that Rev. Samuels corresponds the prophet Samuel. USA Today expresses the same equivalence using the phrase "biblically influenced". Is it really synthesis to say that the writer is identifying Samuels as Samuel and Abner as Abner? What do other folks think? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 05:17, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
The point of noting that we aren't in a hurry is that - since the reference is as clear as you believe it to be - someone out there in Reviewerland is going to notice it, and say something explicit about it soon enough. We do not have to settle for less. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 05:33, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, if the series continues to perform as badly in the ratings as it has so far, it might not survive long enough for anyone in Reviewerland to mention it. I've suggested another wording on the article page. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 17:22, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
I am not sure that works, either, Josiah. The same problem of synthesis presents itself, though not as clearly as before. Inclusion hinges upon the comparison being explicitly made in citation (and not us), and we have citation that just doesn't make the comparison. As I just noted in the article discussion page, Li'l Abner and - more on target (since he was a general as well) - Abner Doubleday share the same, biblically-influenced names. Connecting either one of those fellows because they share a name wouldn't be true to the cited material. Let's just wait for better citation. And I hope it makes it; McShane is always fun to watch, and I think Studi is a hugely underutilized talent. The marketing of the series was simply dreadful, making it As the World Turns as interpreted by a lithium-entranced teen. Making the bliblical connections part of the marketing would have really helped this series. I don't think it will last, either, and that's a damned shame. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 22:15, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
My hope was that in this wording, the conclusion is drawn by the reader, not by us. Let's wait and see if someone else can give an opinion. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 01:42, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 17:20, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Not to sound like a broken record, but does anyone have some insight to offer in regards to this section? - Arcayne (cast a spell) 15:26, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
If it's not in a source, we can't express the opinion. It obviously is based on the biblical Abner, but without a source, you're right - we have to hope the smarter reader makes the link. I think the context in the article is clear enough. --hippo43 (talk) 15:43, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
That said, if you can find it in a source, you could maybe put some text in at the start of the Characters section, something like "many of the characters are based on characters / have counterparts in the biblical story". --hippo43 (talk) 15:48, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for responding, Hippo. But I'm not sure which version of the article you're referring to when you say, "the context in the article is clear enough". My thought was that the sentence "Abner shares a name and military position with the Biblical Abner" avoided expressing an opinion or outright claim that one Abner is based on the other Abner, but Arcayne felt that any mention of or link to Abner without an explicit citation constitutes original research. Do you think this wording is OR, or not? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 15:58, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, thanks for responding, Hippo43. I think that making the connection between a character named Abner and the biblical Abner is the synthesis. The argument for doing so seems to be that they are both named Abner. Per that argument, we can connect Ronald Reagan to Ronald McDonald or Jack Benjamin to Jack Kennedy. The similarity in names isn't enough to connect the dots. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 17:11, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
I would agree if the context (that Kings is based on this Biblical narrative) were not already established. But it is, in cited reliable sources. It would be synthesis if there were no reliable sources connecting A with B; but there are, and a character with the same name and position is present in A and B. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 17:20, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
See, this is where I think we are differing; I am not arguing that A and B (A being a bumber of characters from the series and B being the characters from the Bible) are connected by citation, but we do not have connecting citation between the Abner from the series and the Abner from the Bible. The connections between A and B are not enough to allow a transitive connection between C (meaning Abner from the series) and D (the biblical Abner). Dramatization in television series occurs - many of the linked characters do not use the same names as their biblical counterparts (Saul becomes Silas), Jonathan becomes Jack, etc. Unless we can link it, we cannot even allude to the connection. Until we have a citation that says sch, it is left to the reader to make their own connections. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 18:41, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
I think I have to agree with Arcayne here... There are certainly sources that support the general idea that the show's characters are based on those in the Bible, and it seems that some of these sources say that particular characters on the show equate to particular biblical characters... but it seems none of the sources do this with respect to Abner (ie none specifically mention that the show's Abner equates to the Biblical Abner). It might be a very logical deduction, but we don't allow logical deductions of this sort. Blueboar (talk) 22:49, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Arcayne and Blueboar. Making specific claims about Abner's similarity to biblical Abner would be OR. When I said 'the context is clear enough' I meant that I thought the general statement in the article about the parallels with the biblical stories would lead the smarter reader to make the connection him/herself.
That said, given that the general connection between the series and the biblical stories is well-sourced, and Abner can be referenced as a "biblically-influenced character," I don't know if it would be out of place to include a sentence saying something like "The biblical Abner was commander of Saul's army" without making any claim about the character being "based on..." What do others think? --hippo43 (talk) 04:00, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

If this review at Niagra Frontier Publications passes WP:RS you're all set. The site looks like it belongs to a consortium of local newspapers in the Niagra Falls region, so I assume that this qualifies as a reliable source? --Akhilleus (talk) 03:24, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

I'd love to confirm this source, but their site seems to be down! At least, I'm unable to load it. :( —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 05:45, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

BTW, even without the source I just found, I agree with Josiah that this review is a sufficient source to say that Gen. Abner in "Kings" is based on the biblical Abner. The review begins by saying that the TV show uses the biblical stories of David and Saul as a source...saying that General Abner is "biblically influenced" clearly means that he's based on the biblical Abner--and there seems to be only one biblical character by that name, so it's not as if the reviewer is thinking of anyone else! --Akhilleus (talk) 04:04, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Nope... you are still inserting your own thinking and making the logical assuption that the TV character is influenced by the biblical character of the same name. You need a source that says specifically that Abner = Abner. If such a specific source does not exist, then you option is simply to not discuss Abner at all... make the general statement as to biblical parallels, mention the characters for whom there is a source that discusses the parallel, and leave out the characters (such as Abner) with no such specific source. If your reader makes a connection that you do not discuss, that is fine... but try to don't lead the reader into makeing the connection. Blueboar (talk) 12:38, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
On further thought, I'm inclined to agree with Blueboar on this. However, the wnypapers site is very clear - the site works fine for me. If that source is not reliable, and I can't see why not, we do have a source which says Abner is a "biblically-influenced character", so it would be legit to include that, without making any further comment. --hippo43 (talk) 13:00, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
I was able to retrieve the source from NFP, and it is a spot-on citation for each and every one of the bibilical characters and their Kings counterpart. As that resolved the synthesis issue, I think we are done here. I checked with NFP's offices in Grand Island, NY, and am awaiting an email as to the author of the article/review. barring some major discovery that NFP is actually the National Front for pederasty, I think we are golden. :) - Arcayne (cast a spell) 14:28, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Works for me. (Becareful not to confuse the NFP with the PNF... the Pederasts National Front... splitters!) :>) Blueboar (talk) 14:56, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Great — I'm glad that Akhilleus found this source. (Don't know why the page wouldn't open for me last night — it's fine now, and looks perfectly reliable to me.) —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 16:01, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Siena College's location, and maps

Over at Talk:Siena College, there's a discussion about the location of the school. The college's website says that the campus is located in Loudonville, New York--the exact words are Siena "is an independent undergraduate liberal arts college located in Loudonville, New York, a suburban community just outside the state's capital." Other sources locate the college in Loudonville, and as far as I know, no source explicitly says otherwise.

However, it seems that some editors believe the campus is actually located in Newtonville, the hamlet just to the north of Loudonville. The arguments that Siena is in Newtonville are based on editors' examination of USGS maps and other maps. This strikes me as fairly obvious original research, especially since there are sources that explicitly and unambiguously say that Siena is in Loudonville.

I'm not that interested in the rather narrow question of where Siena is located, but rather the question of what uses of maps are permissible. I'm sure we can grant that some maps are reliable sources, but what kinds of deductions are we allowed to make from them? Is it original research to look at a map and decide that institutions are actually located in hamlets, towns, or cities other than where they say they are? --Akhilleus (talk) 14:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

I've been trying to find a middle ground in the same discussion. Originally there were editors who looked at a map and saw that the point marked "Newtonville" was closer to the campus than the point marked "Loudonville", and insisted the campus was in Newtonville despite all the collece's correspondence showing a mailing address of Loudonville. That is original research, because the editors have to guess at where to draw a boundary. I came up with two equally plausible interpretations of the border on RSN, one of which included the campus and one of which did not. Because choosing one interpretation creates a fact that is only citable to Wikipedia, that's OR.
On the other hand, I felt that it was proper in a discussion of the campus to say that Siena College was near the historic hamlets of Loudonville and Newtonville. That doesn't conflict with the campus being presently in the postal delivery area of Loudonville. But the anti-Newtonville camp has dug in their heels so much they are claiming using a map to say that the campus is "near" Newtonville is an original interpretation. I also have questions about whether the anti-Newtonville camp fully understands the idea that these neighborhoods, common in New York and New England, are not municipalities and have no political boundaries, so this isn't an either-or proposition. I also feel that there is a confusion between the actual historical districts, and modern postal delivery areas named after the historical districts.
The map, [23], shows the Siena College campus across a creek bed from a shaded area marked "Newtonville". I submit that "near" is a descriptive claim, not an interpretation. If there were alternate ways to read the map that would say Siena is "not near" Newtonville, then we would have an original interpretation. However, this simply isn't so, this is the most basic and explicit information that might be seen on a map. Squidfryerchef (talk) 14:43, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
I have several issues with this line of argument. First, all the published sources which have been cited say "in Loudonville" or similar. There is no need to manufacture new evidence that contradicts them, unless to promote a fringe POV which is not represented by those sources.
Second, deducing anything from a map is, IMO, original research. Any inferences we draw are based on our interpretation of the maps, not what they exlpicitly state. It would be one interpretation to state that Siena appears to be between Loudonville and Newtonville, but there is no limit to the others which are also verifiable by the same map. For example, 'Siena is located just to the west of Watervliet Arsenal' or 'Siena is located 340km south of Montreal, Quebec.' Both are demonstrably true according to the maps, but neither is the consensus view of the published sources over 70+ years.
Introducing straw men such as postal addresses and technical definitions of historic hamlets is either a misunderstanding of the argument for Loudonville or an attempt to muddy the debate. In the sources I have found, there is no "confusion between the actual historical districts, and modern postal delivery areas named after the historical districts." The sources do not state "in the historic district of Loudonville" or "in the postal delivery are of Loudonville" or anything similar. Nor do they say "the college's mailing address is in Loudonville." They say Siena is "in Loudonville" - to me, that just means the area/suburb/town/whatever known as Loudonville at the time of writing. They have been consistent in this since the 1930s, when the college was founded. The college itself is equally clear.
While I admire your desire to find common ground, I would encourage you to guard against false compromises - the sources which have been referenced so far are unanimous. Contriving a 'compromise' to appease a tiny minority would not be consistent with what the sources or WP:NPOV say, and would mislead readers.
If you read the original discussion at Talk:Siena College, you will see that I do recognise that hamlets have no official boundary, which surely renders the argument (made in that discussion) that maps show Siena as being "in Newtonville" ridiculous. The anti-Newtonville camp was originally just me (though I prefer the label "the anti-original research camp") and I have dug my heels in because the sources simply don't state "near Newtonville" or anything like it - only a handful of Wikipedia edtors do, and that is not what this encyclopedia is about.
You wrote "I felt that it was proper in a discussion of the campus to say that Siena College was near the historic hamlets of Loudonville and Newtonville." Why? There is no such discussion in the sources. Wikipedia is just not the place to publish your own opinions. --hippo43 (talk) 16:58, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, first let's see if there's a debate over the map itself rather than any interpretation of the map. ( I have answers to the other issues posed, but bear with me )You said on the talk pages that you're familiar with the campus, while I only know it from studying the sources, and there's nothing wrong with a little original opinion outside of mainspace. The neighborhood immediately north of the campus, say above Fiddler's Lane, do you consider that Newtonville, Loudonville, or something else? What about the areas on the other side of Rt. 9, say the town hall or Newton Lane, which neighborhood do those belong to? Squidfryerchef (talk) 03:09, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure if you're addressing me or Akhilleus. In any case, this line of discussion is bullshit. It doesn't make any difference what I think, or Akhilleus thinks about these neighbourhoods. The sources are clear. If you have actual sources which offer a different view, can you produce references? Otherwise, why engage in this kind of nonsense? --hippo43 (talk) 03:24, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
You, Hippo. I find your characterization of asking an opinion from someone who's actually been to the place under discussion as "bullshit", as highly disruptive. While such an opinion does not belong in the article, it may be useful here on the discussion page. What goes in the article must be backed up with sources, but what gets brought up here may help editors understand the issues involved. So, what do you think of the neighborhoods? Squidfryerchef (talk) 03:49, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
I consider that line of argument to be bullshit - I'm not sure how that's disruptive. We were discussing the lack of sources and OR by the 'anywhere but Loudonville' brigade. Engaging in more OR here will not help, so I'm not interested in a discussion along the lines you suggest. If you have an argument relative to the issue, the sources or original research, I'd be interested to discuss it. I'm not sure where I said I'd been to the area - can you point it out? --hippo43 (talk) 03:56, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Maybe I read where you said you "had a dog in the fight" when bringing it to RSN too literally. But if you did know the area well, it would not be improper to ask you about it here. The original research policy is for the articles, not the discussion pages. Squidfryerchef (talk) 04:17, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
You're right, it wouldn't be out of place here. I just think it would be a waste of time. --hippo43 (talk) 04:37, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Hey, I've actually been to Newtonville, Loudonville, and the general Colonie area several times, and driven past the Siena campus (though I haven't set foot there). I don't think that matters one bit for this discussion. I agree completely with Squidfrychef that "What goes in the article must be backed up with sources"--and so far I've seen several that say Siena's in Loudonville, and none that say it's in Newtonville, nor any that say it's not located in Loudonville. That, to me, seems to be the issue at stake here. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:05, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Totally agree. --hippo43 (talk) 04:07, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

(Unindent) I follow over here from Talk:Siena College where Hippo43 finally mentioned having this discussion. It seems that Hippo43 was not satisfied with the consensus there, and is shopping around to get a different consensus, to bring back, which he/she can restate in whatever terms he/she wants. This discussion seems to be well-meaning, but what Hippo43 is purporting to be the issue at the Siena College article is not correct. Hippo43 seems to be fighting a battle against mentioning Newtonville, which is indeed what one person wanted, but did not get support for. At the Siena College article, the recent consensus has been to say the college is in the town of Colonie, which is indisputable, and to say that the college describes itself as being in Loudonville, which is a hamlet in the town. Hippo43 is arguing against saying it is in Colonie, and to state instead that it is in Loudonville, which cannot be proven, since there seems to be no definition anywhere of the boundaries of Loudonville. Now Hippo43 has interested Akhilleus to come argue there too. Whatever.

Anyhow, I am not familiar with this No original research noticeboard. I believe it is clear enough already at Talk:Siena College that any assertion of boundaries for Loudonville or for Newtonville at this point would be speculation or original research, hence the neutral language avoiding that. Could someone clarify what is the role of this noticeboard with respect to the Siena College location? I don't see a clear question. doncram (talk) 01:25, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Looking at a map and saying "Siena College is in the town of Colonie" is not original research as the boundaries are clearly defined for the town and the college is squarely inside it. I dont know the "Loudonville only brigade" insists that it must be Loudonville with the exclusion on the town or any mention of Newtonville. Many articles on cities and towns and hamlets mention places nearby, and not necessarily inside it. Must I now remove mention of the Albany International Airport from the transportation section in the Albany, New York article because the airport is in the town of Colonie and therefore technically not a transportation mode INSIDE the city? By the logic of this "pro-Loudonville" group it seems so. I truly hope that those involved in this discussion come to me for the other side so I can give our side, or read my very long "rants" on the article talk page, as I try to show many different points as to why it should be clarified as to where the college is. We arent the "anything but Loudonville" group, we are for the truth that perhaps Newtonville should be mentioned or at least mention its nearby and that the college IS in the town of Colonie and the college says its in Loudonville, its all still correct! We arent trying to eliminate Loudonville or say anything that isnt truthful. I dont see any knowledge of the area from the comments of opponents to Newtonville regardless of comments of "having driven through the area" those of us on the talk page ARE from the area and know the ins and outs of hamlets and towns and the quirks of those places in the Capital District and Albany County in particular. Both of which should also be mentioned in where the college sits since the college is mentioned in both the county and the CD article. Until someone goes and changes that of course, as the Newtonville article was suddenly changed one day after I mentioned that the article mentioned the college and the Loudonville article did not. Sorry this is long, I had to recap info from the talk page of the article, and I hope others read the very long discussion there and really research both sides and look at the history of the article and the sources I had there in favor of Newtonville, as the pro-Loudonville group has exagerated and lied about Newtonville sources and about the number of "reliable" sources and books mentioning Loudonville (using google books on a "preview" setting where it doesnt even let you see the sentence that use the term you are lookign up and using that as a "hit count" is misleading and stupid, using books that were published BEFORE the college was even built is worse and shows the unreliability of using hit counts from google books, I suggest others check his claims). Other reliable sources include pamplets and books published by college ranking groups that use info that is provided by the college or simply the mailing address, most of these groups and books and surveys even put down that the source is the college itself and they are not reliable for the accuracy. Things like US News & World Report College Rankings are NOT reliable sources. I wouldnt as a TA allow a student to use it or any other article from that magazine as a source (and no professor I have ever had has ever allowed it either, it is soft journalism, I and they are not saying it is false or gives bad info or anything, its just not research material). Siena College also has a conflict of interest in saying it is in Loudonville, see my comments and others on the talk page as to why, feel free to ask me questions on my talk page to clarify my position. I just want all views to have their day instead of "the other side" saying what my views are as they have been doing by bringing this discussion to this page where as on the talk page it was 5 against 1, and then 5 against 2. Last note- I dont see why a neutral viewpoint, or no mention at all, cant exist in the article until AFTER a concensus is reached, it should not be one sides view and that's it while a discussion exists. The fact that 5 editors (including an admin, and an admin in training) all say that there should be an alternative to "Loudonville only" should mean that there is no concensus and that the Loudonville group is not the "majority" despite their repeated claims on the talk page as being the majority. It sure wasnt in good faith bringing this to other 2 other pages when there is a discussion on the talk page already and not informing the other party (I'm the one that started all this and I dont recall getting anything at my user talk page telling me the discussion was being expanded or moved). Again sorry for the length of the "rant", the talk seemed to show that one side was being left out and some new people needed to be caught up.Camelbinky (talk) 03:10, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
You started this whole thing by insisting that the college was in Newtonville, and not in Loudonville. Since then you have apparently changed your position and now just seem reluctant to accept that "Siena is in Loudonville" should be in the article. Yet as far as I can tell you haven't cited a single reliable source which states either that the college is in Newtonville or that it is not in Loudonville. For what it's worth, I wouldn't really object to " Loudonville, in the town of Colonie, Albany County..." - I just think that is long-winded and unnecessary, as the sources generally just say "in Loudonville, New York." If you think I misled you by bringing this up here and not telling you, I apologise. I don't see anything at all wrong with asking for expert input, and I hoped to see it at the talk page. And again, if you use Google books to find sources, you can then look at the hard copy book in a library - how is that so hard to understand? --hippo43 (talk) 03:23, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

It should be noted that a mailing address means nothing about location; it simply means that it's served by a mail truck from a post office that the USPS has named "Loudonville". I haven't looked at the details yet, but none of our policies mean that incorrect information should be included. --NE2 03:58, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Oh, it's an unincorporated community. That means there's no well-defined boundary, and you can't really say anything is "in" it with absolute certainty. So we should first say that it's in Colonie, and then, if desired, talk about what its mailing address is and any other nearby communities. --NE2 04:06, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Thank you NE2 that was one of the very earliest compromises offered to hippo, and has been subsequently offered by just about everyone else who has come across this discussion on the talk page, counting you it has been offered and accepted by 6 or 7 editors, but being rejected by hippo and one other editor that I know of has held up that compromise. I have no problem with it. Yes, I started this by putting in the article that it is in Newtonville as that is what the article said before it was speedily deleted due to copy-vio issues, I actually am the only one involved in this that I know of who was an original contributor to the article prior to the copy-vio issues and the article starting from scratch. I had left the article during the whole issue and when I was working on related geographic and historical Capital District/Albany articles I came back to Siena College and thought I would start with that one piece and begin making the article better. I didnt know I needed to source something that is somewhat obvious to a native Albanian (not the country, the city/county), especially since the article is nowhere near a class rating in which it is prefered that every sentence is referenced. The blog and other sources I later put in I thought were good enough for the type of small article it was and would buy me time to later find more, since I was busy on more important articles. I have since found a quote in a newspaper by a politician who is talking about the Siena Institute and he mentions that it is in Newtonville and how of course their polling is skewed since its always such a small sample out of the entire state and how they probably just call people in Newtonville, is this source acceptable? I'll have to re-find it as I didnt keep it handy figuring it wouldnt be accepted by hippo anyways. If anyone thinks it would be acceptable or at least more circumstantial evidence to show there is a dispute I will find it.Camelbinky (talk) 21:23, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

This argument isn't based on mailing addresses. It's based on the fact that the college says that it's in Loudonville, and that other reliable sources say the same thing. If the sources say it's in Loudonville, that's what the article should say. If most of the sources say the college is in Loudonville, and one source said it was in Newtonville, the article should still say the college is in Loudonville, because that's what the majority of the sources say. This isn't that difficult. --Akhilleus (talk) 16:04, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
You're missing something - for something to be in Loudonville, Loudonville needs to have defined boundaries. Colonie does, since it is an incorporated town, but do any such boundaries exist for the unincorporated community of Loudonville? --NE2 17:12, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm quite aware that Loudonville doesn't have well-defined boundaries. I'm also aware that Siena College's website, as well as many other sources, say that the campus is located in Loudonville. Since the sources are unabmiguous on this issue, and do not hesitate to say that Siena is in Loudonville, there's no reason for Wikipedia to introduce a doubt about the college's location that doesn't exist in the sources. --Akhilleus (talk) 17:23, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Just because something's in the sources doesn't mean we should use it if we know it to be false or misleading. --NE2 21:27, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Well actually for telephone polls Newtonville and the college have Colonie telephone numbers, while most of the rest of Loudonville has Albany telephone numbers. But a close look of postal addresses points to a pretty definite border. Anyway I just put a detailed workup of various sources on RSN; there was a problem with one of the maps so that's an RS issue. I say Loudonville, but say that Newtonville should be mentioned to some extent. Perhaps your politician quote can be used to say where the college comes up in telephone polls. Squidfryerchef (talk) 16:41, 4 April 2009 (UTC)


This article includes information about a woman who died (of natural causes, rule the coroner, although the article just says unexplained) as though she was related to 'Commercegate'. Don't we need a reliable (non-political) source tying her to Commercegate to include her? A web search on her name and Commerecate turns up nothing. Dougweller (talk) 12:32, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Richard Speck#False reports that Speck was XYY

I've had reservations about a section added to this article since it was included. The more I consider it, and the more I re-read it, the more I'm certain that it constitutes original research into the issue of XYY syndrome as it relates to Richard Speck. That it relies heavily on sourcing from scientific journals not specifically related to Speck, and is written in a way that is more seen in a research paper only reinforces this impression. I've tagged the section as possibly original research and would like to get input from other editors. Thanks. Wildhartlivie (talk) 21:54, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, I've read it and looked at the accessible sources. It seems to be directly related to Speck, since it was widely, and apparently falsely, reported that he was XYY. I don't see the problem. The style is scholarly, but what's wrong with that? Some phrases should perhaps be toned down ("grossly mischaracterized"), but the central material seems unproblematic. Paul B (talk) 22:21, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I think in part, it is troublesome because it goes into much more detail than how it specifically relates to Speck - it delves into the origin of the alleged XYY status, how XYY was related to possible criminal/deviate behavior, history on its use in trial, etc. The extensivenes (it added close to 17kb to the article) of the section in comparison to what was present before seems to lend it undue weight, especially considering it was not used as a defense or in appeals. It seems to be making a case in a way that hasn't been printed as such before, which to me seems to be original research, no matter how well it is sourced. The section originally said "According to one theory briefly advanced, the XYY syndrome rendered a person more likely to commit crimes, and it was suggested that Speck had the syndrome. Later it was proven that he did not. The theory that there is a relation between XYY syndrome and criminal behavior was rejected soon afterward." That wording is more in keeping with the language of the rest of the article and gives it the weight it probably should. Wildhartlivie (talk) 23:05, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

2008–2009 Keynesian resurgence


Hi you all. An editor has tagged the above article both OR and as a neologism. The only justification for tagging the article as OR is the neologism argument, as the phenomena described is very well documented.

At the end of the wikki policy page for neologism , it says that if there's a noteable topic for which no well established term exists, we should use a plain english phrase. As far as I can see 'Keynesian resurgence' is a plain English phrase, and its quite close to how the phenomena is described in this FT article

Other phrases used in the media to lable the phenomena are Keynesain Revival, Rennaicance, Return, comeback and resurrection. The editor has supplied no source to back his / her POV.

Im hoping this is an easy one for you to fix , just by one of you removing the tags. The editor is saying Im not allowed to remove them as i created the article. I dont like the taggs as they might imply to some the article is unreliable, when in fact its very well refered both by the quality financial press and accademic sources. FeydHuxtable (talk) 16:07, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't know enough about economics to know what is or is not OR... but I did note that the bulk of the article seems to be about the background history of Keynesian economics in general and very little is about a resurgence or revival. Suggest that a merger to the main article is appropriate. Blueboar (talk) 20:52, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
The neologism tag can be removed. You might consult WP:Naming conventions to make sure it's in compliance in other respects. The article does include a lot of original research. The article needs to confine itself to sources writing about the resurgence, and any relevant historical background mentioned needs to come from those sources...the background can't be assembled from sources about Keynesian economics, monetarism, etc. If this wasn't explained well it might appear that it was tagged OR for the neologism but that's not why it's OR. See WP:SYNTH especially. A good general rule of thumb is this: if the source doesn't talk specifically about the article's subject, it probably doesn't comply with the original research policy. And in this case, the subject is the resurgence, not Keynesian theory itself or other places/times that applied it. Professor marginalia (talk) 23:18, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Thankyou Professor and Blueboar, it was good of you to clearly explain and I cant fault the logic. On the tangential point concerning a merge to Keynesian economics, i can see the argument for that but its probably not my preferred solution. The article is about a shift in global policy making, and especially now i better understand the OR restraints im thinking something wider in scope may be required so we can provide the reader with all the information to understand the phenomena in context. Not the result I was hoping for, but im sure good will come of this. To God the glory! FeydHuxtable (talk) 08:21, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Robert Sungenis


This article is being used a launch pad to attack Robert Sungenis. Mainly the author's own material is used, and is being formed into a theory of how "bad" Robert Sungenis is. Please see entries in the BLP board and on the article user page explaining the issues.

Original material is being used, because some editors, notably Liam Patrick, were not allowed to use internet chatter as a reliable unbiased source within the BLP guidelines. Now the article is using Robert's own writings selectively to create the case made in the internet chatter, and it is mainly negative, and diproportionate to Robert Sungnis notriety. Wyattmj (talk) 19:24, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

I think you may misunderstand what the "original" in "No original research" refers to. It refers to material that originates with a Wikipedia editor, not an "author's own material". There is nothing wrong with quoting an author and citing to where the author made the statements being quoted.
That said, it is an NOR violation (and also a WP:NPOV and WP:V vioaltion) to quote part of the author's statements out of context, in an attempt to discredit or disparage the author. If that is what is happening, then the solution is to move the offending quote and citation from the article to the talk page, where the proper context can be discussed. Blueboar (talk) 20:37, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
There is so much non-compliant material in the article it needs a complete overhaul. Almost 100% of the cites given are authored by Sungenis, save blogs which aren't RS to begin with, and cites that don't make any mention of Sungenis at all. Professor marginalia (talk) 21:56, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
It is a BLP disaster zone and I will be doing a significant pruning in the next few minutes. --Slp1 (talk) 22:00, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks-your radical edit spares what could be hours of work to tease out anything worth salvaging.Professor marginalia (talk) 22:16, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Chronology of the Doctor Who universe

This article is effectively a huge pile of fanwank, with multiple violations of WP:OR, WP:SYNTH and WP:IN-U. Furthermore, one specific editor appears to have ownership issues with the article, and has repeatedly refused to cite any reliable secondary sources, claiming that they are not needed. Any thoughts? Malcolm XIV (talk) 14:43, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

have spent about an hour looking through the talk page and some of the talk page archives and of course the article itself. It is an impressive piece and if Cuddlyopedia is, as it seems, largely responsible, s/he deserves congratulations. My first thought was that the piece was essentially all "original research" and should be considered for deletion, but the more I read, the more I come round to the view that the dates, if citations are accurate, seem to be (for the most part) directly from the programmes, which to me don't count as OR. If some are not, and obviously I can't verify every one, they should be debated on the talk page, one by one if need be, and the article changed. As I read Cuddlyopedia, s/he does seem open to that sort of discussion but s/he does need to keep in mind the potential of having ownership issues. Long term that's unhealthy both for the article and the editor as you can never get an article to stay as you want it forever. I hope these comments are helpful. Dean B (talk) 18:08, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
i agree its an impressive piece of work. IMO we shouldnt enforce policy with the same rigour on trivial subjects as we do for biographies, economics, relgion etc. Too much legalism hurts creativity and constructve work, and discourages new editors. FeydHuxtable (talk) 10:28, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Use of Alexa as RS for comparative web traffic data about a site

In Talk:Drudge Report there is a question about using Alexa as a source for traffic on websites and for using Alexa data to make statements about changes in traffic on websites.

Is a secondary source for information, or is it a primary source? Can editors use the data from various Alexa queries to make statements about changes in traffic or trends in traffic? Can an editor use Alexa stats on various sites to make statements or inferences about relative popularity of sites? Should "instant rankings" be used in an article from such a source?

Are the other sources used ( et al) also secondary or primary sources? Can their data be used in a comparative manner or used in a table showing trends or web usage? I endeavoured to make this as neutral as possible in wording.

Lastly, is it proper to try using "rankings" from primary sources (if they are primary sources) at all in a WP article? See [24] Collect (talk) 01:30, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

It may be useful to point editors directly to the section in question. I suggest they read it and see what they think. ► RATEL ◄ 01:38, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
The question as to whether a source is primary or secondary stands outside any specific edits. That is the issue on this board. Collect (talk) 01:42, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Before we all start bagging Alexa, consider this opinion from a webpro: "Alexa has about 16 million toolbars installed which is a pretty good sample market, kind of like taking a poll. It shows a sampling how many people view your site that have the toolbar installed. So you can interpolate the results. Of course to some people who hate Alexa, there is the possibility that out of the 16 million people who have the toolbar installed not one of them visited their site. That would be a bummer for them, but it is still a rather significant sampling that cannot be ignored." ► RATEL ◄ 03:07, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Alexa's own disclaimer:

Sites with relatively low traffic will not be accurately ranked by Alexa. Alexa's data comes from a large sample of several million Alexa Toolbar users and other traffic data sources; however, the size of the Web and concentration of users on the most popular sites make it difficult to accurately determine the ranking of sites with fewer than 1,000 monthly visitors. Generally, traffic rankings of 100,000 and above should be regarded as not reliable. Conversely, the closer a site gets to #1, the more reliable its traffic ranking becomes.[25]

So, reliable in popular sites like Drudge Report. ► RATEL ◄ 03:17, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Note, wikipedia states:

Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable secondary sources. This means that while primary or tertiary sources can be used to support specific statements, the bulk of the article should rely on secondary sources.

which seems to say primaries are acceptable as long as not dominant, and from WP:SECONDARY :

Secondary sources are at least one step removed from an event. They rely for their facts and opinions on primary sources, often to make analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims. Our policy: Wikipedia articles usually rely on material from secondary sources. Articles may include analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims so long as they have been published by a reliable secondary source.

which seems to hint that Alexa's secondary interpretative and analytic data, based on web stats from millions of users (the primary source), may be acceptable. Interesting. ► RATEL ◄ 03:56, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

So if it is primary you would not use it, but you feel the data is a secondary source? That is the question posed, absent the added commentary. Collect (talk) 15:40, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Christ Myth Theory definition

There has been a long debate regarding the use of Christ Myth Theory as being "also known as the nonexistence hypothesis or Jesus myth)" over at the Christ myth theory. I and at least two other editors have contended that the material does NOT support that position and the lead in is a violation of WP:SYN. Another editor contends there is agreement but I still believe there is WP:SYN going on. The best that can be said is that some authors CALL the nonexistence hypothesis the Christ Myth Theory.

A literal reading of the material produces five definitions:

  • there was no Jesus in any way, shape, or form in the 1st century CE (Farmer, Horbury, and Wiseman)
  • ANY deviation from the Gospel account (Bromiley's "story of")
  • The idea of Jesus starting out as a myth regardless of connection to any historical person (Walsh and perhaps Farmer)
  • Pre existing mythology connected with a historical person who may or may not have lived in the 1st century CE (Dodd, Pike, Wells per Price and Doherty)
  • The Gospel Jesus has had so much added that nothing discernible about the actual man remains (The He might as well not existed tack).

Before listing the actual quotes I should mention that Wells himself as well as Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases (2008) pg 320 calls Doherty a scholar so he is a valid reference. Price has published articles in Journal for the Study of the New Testament ("one of the leading academic journals in New Testament Studies"), Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith ("The peer-reviewed journal of the ASA"), Themelios ("international evangelical theological journal that expounds and defends the historic Christian faith"), Journal of Ecumenical Studies ("The premiere academic publication for interreligious scholarship since 1964"), Evangelical Quarterly, Journal of Psychology and Theology, Journal of Unification Studies, and so one. Even the questionable PRO historical Jesus source Strobel admits Robert Price is part of "a very small handful of legitimate scholars) so Price is also a reliable source.

For simplicity the actual quotes are provided below:

"This view states that the story of Jesus is a piece of mythology, possessing no more substantial claims to historical fact than the old Greek or Norse stories of gods and heroes,..." Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (1982) International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Bromiley then uses Lucian, Wells, and Bertrand Russell in his argument rather than such clear examples as (Bruno Bauer, Arthur Drews, J. M. Robertson, and William Benjamin Smith)

"Or alternatively, they seized on the reports of an obscure Jewish Holy man bearing this name and arbitrarily attached the "Cult-myth" to him." (Dodd, C. H. (1938) under the heading "Christ-myth Theory" History and the Gospel Manchester University Press pg 17)

"The year 1999 saw the publication of at least five books which concluded that the Gospel Jesus did not exist. One of these was the latest book (The Jesus Myth) by G. A. Wells, the current and longstanding doyen of modern Jesus mythicists." (Doherty, Earl (1999) Book And Article Reviews: The Case For The Jesus Myth: "Jesus — One Hundred Years Before Christ by Alvar Ellegard)

"The radical solution was to deny the possibility of reliable knowledge of Jesus, and out of this developed the Christ myth theory, according to which Jesus never existed as an historical figure and the Christ of the Gospels was a social creation of a messianic community." (Farmer, William R. 1975 "A Fresh Approach to Q," Christianity, Judaism and Other Greco-Roman Cults (Vol 2), eds. Jacob Neusner, Morton Smith Brill, 1975) p. 43)

"Defence of biblical criticism was not helped by revival at this time of the 'Christ-myth' theory, suggesting that Jesus had never existed, a suggestion rebutted in England by the radical but independent F. C. Conybeare." (Horbury, William (2003), "The New Testament," A Century of Theological and Religious Studies in Britain Oxford p. 55)

"In particular these rationalist organisations helped to promulgate the quasi-dogma of the non-historicity of Jesus of Nazareth and thus to foster the 'Christ-myth' school of thought, to be encountered later in this study." (Jones Alan H. (1983), Independence and Exegesis: The Study of Early Christianity in the Work of Alfred Loisy, Charles Guignebert, and Maurice Goguel; Mohr Siebeck, p. 47)

"Christ-myth theorists like George A. Wells have argued that, if we ignore the Gospels, which were not yet written at the time of the Epistles of Paul, we can detect in the latter a prior, more transparently mythic concept of Jesus,[...] The Gospels, Wells argued, have left this raw-mythic Jesus behind, making him a half-plausible historical figure of a recent era." (Price, Robert M (!999) "Of Myth and Men A closer look at the originators of the major religions-what did they really say and do?" Free Inquiry magazine Winter, 1999/ 2000 Volume 20, Number 1)

"The theory that Jesus Christ was not a historical character, and that the Gospel records of his life are mainly, if not entirely, of mythological origin." (Pike, Royston (1951) Encyclopaedia of Religion and Religions)

"Christ-myth theorists like George A. Wells have argued that, if we ignore the Gospels, which were not yet written at the time of the Epistles of Paul, we can detect in the latter a prior, more transparently mythic concept of Jesus..." (Price, Robert M (1999) "Of Myth and Men A closer look at the originators of the major religions-what did they really say and do?" Free Inquiry magazine Winter, 1999/ 2000 Volume 20, Number 1)

"G.A Wells is the eminently worthy successor to radical 'Christ myth' theorists..." (Price (2002) back of Can we Trust the New Testament?

"In every volume Wells reiterates his case for a mythic Jesus, but this is hardly "vain repetition." [...] No, the chastened Wells admitted, there had indeed been a historical wisdom teacher named Jesus, some of whose sayings survive in the Gospels via Q. But this historical Jesus had nothing to do with the legendary savior Jesus whom Paul preached about." Price, Robert M (2005) ["Review of Can We Trust the New Testament?"]

"The theory that Jesus was originally a myth is called the Christ-myth theory, and the theory that he was an historical individual is called the historical Jesus theory." (Walsh, George (1998) "The Role of Religion in History" Transaction Publishers pg 58)

"The extreme form of denial is, or was, the Christ Myth theory. It affirmed that Jesus was not an actual person at all." (Wiseman The Dublin Review‎ pg 358)

"When Bertrand Russell and Lowes Dickinson toyed with the Christ-myth theory and alternatively suggested that, even if Christ were a historic person, the gospels give us no reliable information about him, they were not representing the direction and outcome of historical inquiry into Christian origins." (Wood, Herbert George (1955) Belief and Unbelief since 1850)

If there are those who feel these do portray a coherent and totally uniform definition I would like it explained to me how such a position would not violate the "Even with well-sourced material, however, if you use it out of context or to advance a position that is not directly and explicitly supported by the source used, you as an editor are engaging in original research" requirement.--BruceGrubb (talk) 22:15, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

This debate has been going on for several years now... and does not seem likely to ever be resolved. Imagine trying to write an article on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin... First we have to come to an agreement over what we mean by "Angel" (do we include Archangels? Cherubim and seraphim? What about the fact that different cultures have differing concepts of Angels? etc. etc. )... then we have to agree on what type and size pin... and we will probably end up creating a seperate article that will analyze the question from the stand point of each type of angel and each type of pin. (and we have not even addressed the question of what we mean by "dance" yet.) Blueboar (talk) 22:48, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
This "debate" could be easily resolved if people would read the sources Bruce cites. Each instance of "Christ myth theory" he gives us above refers to the same idea--that there was no historical Jesus--propounded by writers such as Bruno Bauer, Arthur Drews, William Benjamin Smith, John M. Robertson, and others. There are several academic sources which treat the ideas of these men together, and some (though not all) call their ideas the "Christ myth theory". Quotes to this effect can be found all over Talk:Christ myth theory.
If anyone who hasn't looked at this before wants to wade into the problem, I suggest starting with Talk:Christ_myth_theory#Bromiley, where I illustrate that Bruce has distorted the meaning of one of the sources he cites above, the entry on "Jesus Christ" in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, edited by Geoffrey Bromiley. What Bruce does with that source exemplifies his method of argumentation--it's only through tendentious interpretation that he's able to contend that the definitions of "Christ myth theory" vary. Note too Bruce's response at Talk:Christ_myth_theory#Bromiley, where he completely ignores every point I make, simply to reiterate things he's been saying over and over again on the talk page. --Akhilleus (talk) 23:16, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
On the other hand, if you don't want to wade into the interminable debate at Talk:Christ myth theory, simply consider one of the quotes Bruce provides above, from Herbert Wood's Belief and Unbelief since 1850: "When Bertrand Russell and Lowes Dickinson toyed with the Christ-myth theory and alternatively suggested that, even if Christ were a historic person, the gospels give us no reliable information about him..." The bolded portion says that Russell and Dickinson "toyed with the Christ-myth theory", but suggested something else. In other words, they weren't advocates of the Christ-myth theory. Yet Bruce reads this quote as saying that they were...
On p. 122 of the same book, Herbert Wood also says: "As Professor C.C. McCown observes, Strauss together with the Christ-myth school from Bruno Bauer to Arthur Drews, and indeed together with the tendentious criticism of Ferdinand C. Baur of Tübingen, belongs to a false start in critical inquiry..." Earlier on the same page, Wood refers to "Christ-myth theorists", so it should be clear that he's talking about the same "Christ-myth theory" he named on p. 77. On p. 122 he calls Bruno Bauer and Arthur Drews members of the "Christ-myth school"--this makes it clear he's using the term to denote people who thought there was no historical Jesus--exactly the sense in which it's used in Christ myth theory. For some reason, Bruce likes the passage on p. 77, but even after being informed of what Wood says on p. 122, Bruce chooses not to quote that passage, or even acknowledge its existence--never mind that he's misunderstood the passage on p. 77. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:01, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
You will please not that few of these sources DIRECTLY AND EXPRESSLY states that the Christ myth theory is also also known as the nonexistence hypothesis or Jesus myth and NONE connects all three. Furthermore there is nothing that proves that definitions that Dodd, Pike, Doherty, and Price use are the exact same ones used by Farmer or the others. Remember WP:SYS expressly states "Editors should not make the mistake of thinking that if A is published by a reliable source, and B is published by a reliable source, then A and B can be joined together in an article to reach conclusion C." So, if source 1 says A=B and source 2 says B=C you canNOT combine the two and say A=C. The only thing valid for that is a source that directly states that A=B=C.
Finally the various problems the authors on both sides of this debate is glossed over. On 12 February 2009 Akhilleus stated "Since Schweitzer, Drews, Case, Goguel, Van Voorst, Bennett, and Weaver all present this as a coherent position, and largely name the same people as its proponents (see, e.g. this), I'm having real trouble seeing how you can say this is original research." Yet this is NOT the case at all.
First, Schweitzer does NOT present a coherent position between 1913 (The Quest of the Historical Jesus 2nd and later editions) and 1931 (Out Of My Life and Thought) regarding Frazer: "I especially wanted to explain late Jewish eschatology more thoroughly and to discuss the works of John M. Robertson, William Benjamin Smith, James George Frazer, Arthur Drews, and others, who contested the historical existence of Jesus." (Out of My Life and Thought, 1931 page 125) Second, thanks to this Schweitzer in 1931 and Weaver conflict regarding where Frazer stands so the "coherent position" claim takes some more lumps and finally who points out these conflicts? Why Bennett in In search of Jesus on page 205. ("Frazer did not doubt that Jesus had lived, or claim that Christians had invented the Jesus myth...") Furthermore page 202 is uses as a citation for this this claim and yet going over Bennett in google books a search for the terms Jesus myth and Christ myth does NOT produce any results on page 202 while there are hits elsewhere in the book so we may have different edition problem but without an actual quote it is hard to tell what is going on. Bennett's flip flops a bit between the terms Jesus-was-a-myth school and Jesus myth while saying "Celsus thought that almost the entire Jesus story was myth." (page 173) and "I will suggest, though, that aspects of Celsus', Reimarus' and Strauss' work on Jesus anticipated the arguments of the Jesus-was-a-myth school." (pg 190) which just confuses the issue of how he is using Jesus myth in a consistent manner.
Weaver compounds the issue in using Jesus Myth while refering to Drews' hypothetical pre-Christian Jesus cult rather than it being Drews' idea of an non historical Jesus. (pg 51) after just soft playing Drews' position: "In the first and second editions of his work Drew noted that his puropse was to show that everything about the historical Jesus has a mythical character and thus it was not necssarary to presuppose that a historical figure ever existed." pg 50. The Jesus myth had been in existence a very long time in one form or another, but it was only in the appearance of the tentmaker of Tarsus, Paul, that Jesus community separated from Judaism took root." pg 52. Clearly if Jesus myth is known as non historical, which at best is said to go back only to the 1790s then Weaver statements make no sense.
On top of this mess you have the fact Price calls Wells a Christ Myth theorist after Jesus Myth while describing the position Wells held in both Jesus Legend and Jesus Myth and Doherty calling Wells a current Jesus myth supporter while directly referring to Jesus Myth. "G.A Wells is the eminently worthy successor to radical 'Christ myth' theorists..." and after about three sentences a direct reference to Can we Trust the New Testament? is made. (Robert M Price back cover of Can we Trust the New Testament?) Here is total refutation that Christ myth' theorist only means non historical as the term is used in reference to a book that accepts the Q Jesus as historical but not the Gospel Jesus. This is driven home by this full review of Can we Trust the New Testament? by Price which states "In every volume Wells reiterates his case for a mythic Jesus, but this is hardly "vain repetition." [...] No, the chastened Wells admitted, there had indeed been a historical wisdom teacher named Jesus, some of whose sayings survive in the Gospels via Q. But this historical Jesus had nothing to do with the legendary savior Jesus whom Paul preached about."--BruceGrubb (talk) 07:02, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
No source is provided for the extraordinary claim in the last sentence, which contradicts the direct personel exsperience a great many of us have of our Lords love. Over 2.1 Billion people believe the living Christ is not only very real, but bought us salvation by suffering unimaginable torment on the cross, so that everyone through out time can be cleansed of sin by His blood. This is the measure of His love. FeydHuxtable (talk) 08:44, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
1. According to Christianity there are not over 2.1 billion but 1.5–2.1 billion Christians.
2. As I am sure you are aware, since you are from the UK, many of these are only nominal Christians.
3. If this kind of argument even were valid, WP:NPOV would require giving equal weight to the 1–1.8 billion people who have a similarly strong belief that Jesus was an ordinary human being, born as a result of virginal conception, but not crucified. See Jesus in Islam.
4. It looks to me as if BruceGrubb has provided a reference (Price), although he was a bit careless with the quotation marks (using double quotes inside double quotes).
5. The idea of a complete disconnect between the historical and saviour Jesus is likely wrong, but by no means as extraordinary (this is an understatement) as many things that Christians believe. --Hans Adler (talk) 09:33, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
sorry, yes, it would have been better to say no adequate source given the extraordinary nature of the claim and that the reference was to a review that didnt itself provide a source for the contention, published on an atheist web site . FeydHuxtable (talk) 12:09, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Hans Adler, I was NOT careless with the quotation marks. The double quotes inside double quotes were in the original reference; something you would have known if you have bothered to actual LOOK at it. FeydHuxtable engages in the old Ad hominem shuffle with the "atheist web site" comment. newsflash--there are Deists who hold that Jesus didn't exist and atheists who contend he did live. I should mention Price makes these comments twice MORE with one of them being on the very back of "Can We Trust the New Testiment?"
Worse in Jesus Legend (1996) the preface by Hoffmann talks about "the old Christ Myth School" implying of course that there is a new Christ Myth School. Hoffmann goes on talking about Wells being "the most contemporary defender of non-historicity thesis" pg xii and yet in "Can We Trust the New Testament?" on pg 50 Well himself expressly states that he had abandoned the Jesus is entirely mythical position in Jesus Legend going to the Paul's Jesus psudo-mythical 1st possibly 2nd century BCE would be messiah called Jesus + historical Q Jesus = non historical (by definition) Gospel Jesus. This is backed up by statement by Price, Doherty, AND R. Jusoeph Hoffmann (Westminster College Oxford) in FIVE difference sources two of them differently in the books involved.
So contrary to what FeydHuxtable thinks this is NOT a one reference pony and while we are at it "There is not a shred of evidence that a historical character Jesus lived, to give an example, and Christianity is based on narrative fiction of high literary and cathartic quality. On the other hand Christianity is concerned with the narration of things that actually take place in human life." (abstract) "It is not possible to compare the above with what we have, namely, that there is not a shred of evidence that a historical character Jesus lived."(body text) Fischer, Roland (1994) "On The Story-Telling Imperative That We Have In Mind" Anthropology of Consciousness. Dec 1994, Vol. 5, No. 4: 16. A Peer reviewed journal article. So much for the "no adequate source" claim.--BruceGrubb (talk) 01:44, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

(remove indent). The debate over Christ Myth theorist and Christ Myth theory still continues with NO DIRECT AND EXPRESS citation that the definitions are the same. I am throwing down the gauntlet and saying that unless such a reference is produced HERE further claims that the definitions are the same this constitute Original Research. Please note that this reference MUST explain why Pike, Dodd and Price's use of the term differs from those of the other and HOW they are consistent.--BruceGrubb (talk) 20:37, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Ancestry statistics on Australia

Argument over in Talk:Australia#29_percent_of_people_in_Australia_Australian.3F over whether figures from a verifiable source (2006 Census) are being represented correctly.

Wikipedia article has an infobox with an "ethnic groups" field, which currently reads "29.01% Australian, 0.45% Australian Aboriginal... 7.98% Other, 6.33% Unstated". I invite editors to pause and think about how they would interpret those figures before reading on - what does that "6.33% Unstated" mean to you?

The source (publication based on Australian Census) lists responses given by people asked "what is the person's ancestry?" Since respondents were allowed to give up to two different ancestries, there were a total of 25,410,601 total responses from 19,855,292 persons.

The Wikipedia article has a national infobox on "ethnic groups". Figures are given as percentages, derived by dividing the total number of responses in each category by the total overall responses. For instance, 1,609,443 respondents (8.1% of the 20 million people doing the Census) didn't state an ancestry. However, because the infobox figures are derived by dividing by total responses, this is represented simply as "Ethnic groups: 6.33% Unstated". Other categories have been calculated in the same way.

I believe most readers would interpret the infobox as meaning that "6.33% of people didn't state a group", which is not an accurate representation of the source. IMHO, the choice to calculate ratios based on total responses rather than total persons is non-trivial interpretation and hence OR.

I'm also concerned about equating 'ancestry' to 'ethnic group'; while the terms might seem very similar, small changes in terminology can have a big effect on responses in this sort of data. For example, another question on the same Census asked the same respondents whether they were of Aboriginal 'origins'; around 2% of all respondents marked 'yes', compared to the 0.45% who reported Aboriginal in the 'ancestry' question. For this reason, I think representing this data as 'ethnic group' without qualifier is excessive interpretation. --GenericBob (talk) 02:23, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

This does sound like there is some OR going on.
FYI - We recently had a long discussion about similar issues relating to the misuse of census statistics in the article on Brazil (see Wikipedia:No original research/noticeboard/Archive 6#Simple Mathematics). It seems that census statistics are quite easy to manipulate, especially when it comes to "ethnicity" questions (probably because many governments intentionally word their census questions so as to give easily manipulatable results... especially in countries wher the results can impact electoral districting). Blueboar (talk) 18:04, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm probably biased here (having worked on the government side of this issue), but I think even when the collection is done with honest intentions, this sort of data is always going to be extremely problematic. Ethnicity and ancestry are fuzzily-defined concepts that are really hard to collect consistently, so there'll always be a lot of room for interpretation. --GenericBob (talk) 03:48, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Nudging this topic again because the discussion on Talk:Australia is still deadlocked, despite attempts on both sides to get further input. Some of the arguments being used to justify the material:

- An Australian Bureau of Statistics site represents a calculation as "percent of persons", but if we reverse-engineer the calculation from the original figures it looks as if they actually calculated it as "percent of responses". This is clear-cut evidence that we should calculate figures for the Wikipedia article on a "percent of responses" basis. (I contacted the relevant staff at ABS about this discrepancy; they acknowledged that this was an error, and have since corrected the documentation so it now reads "X% of persons (Y% of responses)".)

- The ABS site says that "ancestry, when used in conjunction with the person’s country of birth and whether the person’s parents were born in Australia or overseas, provides a good indication of the ethnic background of first and second generation Australians" (emphasis mine - these other data items are also collected in the Census). Therefore, it's acceptable to equate 'ancestry' and 'ethnic group' in a calculation for the whole Australian population (without using any information on country of birth).

- Encyclopaedia Britannica uses the terms 'ancestry' and 'ethnic group' interchangeably, therefore it is OK to do the same with data sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (despite above qualifications in the ABS' own documentation for this data).

- In response to comments that 'Australian' is not an ethnic group: The CIA World Factbook's entry on Norfolk Island lists 'Australian' as an ethnic group. (For those unfamiliar with it, NI is a small semi-independent island a long way from the Australian mainland; its population is a mix of Polynesians, Europeans who've been there since the 'Bounty' mutiny, and recent arrivals from Australia and NZ, so the distinction is more meaningful in the context of NI.)

- In response to comments that the Factbook doesn't use this category in its entry on Australia (and suggestions that the CIA's entry on Australia would be a good secondary source all on its own): well, the CIA's estimates of Australia's population disagree with the ABS' estimates. Therefore we can't rely on the CIA's characterisation of Australia's ethnic groups. But we can still look at its characterisation of Norfolk Island to figure out how to characterise Australia.

I believe these arguments are textbook WP:SYNTH, but I've been unable to persuade the other editor of this. I'm not sure where to take it from here. --GenericBob (talk) 04:20, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Tom Thurman

The creator of an article started yesterday (Tom Thurman) has asked for some assistance with it. She did research before beginning the article, and even e-mailed Tom Thurman directly for information and to make sure her facts were correct. She would now like to properly reference the article, and has asked how she should cite the response that he sent via e-mail. Unfortunately, I don't think that his e-mail can be considered verifiable (as no one else can see it), but I wanted to check here before I tell her that she has wasted her time. I notice that WP:SELFPUB doesn't strictly prohibit the subject of an article from providing information about himself. Is there some way to have the e-mail "published" or "hosted" (with the author's permission, of course)? Many thanks, Maedin\talk 12:50, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

No, emails are not considered reliable sources. We have no way to verify they actually are from the person claiming to have written them, and they're still just personal correspondence, not published materials. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 21:59, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Silent Hill movie Character

My question is this: there has been much debate over a particular character (credited as Dark Alessa on the movie's official website), with myself saying she's the manifestation of the dark side of the soul of another character (Alessa) and one other user saying she's ambiguous. While the movie itself doesn't do much to explain her (she is asked who she is and replies 'I have many names. Right now, I'm the dark part of Alessa.'), the director and the actress who plays the character have not been so quiet. The director has stated in two different interviews that the storyline is not Christian, and has gone out of his way to say that God and The Devil come from within a person (good and bad sides of the soul). He has also talked about the character of Alessa being "split" and saying she lives in "many bodies". The actress has corroborated this by referring to Dark Alessa in two different interviews as "the bad part of Alessa". Here's where the controversy comes in: there are two interviews where the director refers to the actress as playing "the devil". Another user has said that this means that the character must be ambiguous, and uses these two interviews as a means of stopping me from declaring her to definitely be the dark side of the soul. Considering that there are also interviews in which the director states the movie is not Christian, but is based on the Japanese concept of every person having a god and devil within them, I see calling her "the devil" as being the same as what the actress is saying- and what he himself says in other interviews. If the director has talked so much about "the devil" coming from within a person, why should it be assumed that he's talking about a different devil than the one he previously mentioned? These are the exact quotes from the director: Perhaps the common link between all the stories of the Silent Hill world is the concept that this is a place where both reality and personality can be split. I like the fact that this is where many dimensions intersect, and where you can exist on many planes. This fracturing between realities is reflected as a fracturing within a character. Characters can become multiple, like Mary and Maria in Silent Hill 2, and Alessa in SH1. Because this is such an abstract concept, this was the most challenging aspect of trying to adapt the game. The first game tells the amazing story of an adult woman who also exists as two little girls, good and bad doubles representing who she was when she was hurt. We are forced to realize in Silent Hill that we can be our own devil, our own God. This very Asian perception is so completely different to the Anglo/Christian concept of God and the Devil as separate beings.

If we want to explain what happened with Alessa, we are dealing with the theme of doppelgangers. For every fan that has read the synopsis of the first game's story in the strategy guide of Silent Hill 3, they all know that we are dealing with doppelgangers--and it's a very cross-cultural concept, both Japan and Europe have this myth. But in Japan, it means that every character has aspects of a God and aspects of a devil inside them. It's a very shocking concept if we attempt to transpose that into a North American, traditionally Christian perspective. The line between good and evil is much more clearly in North America, especially today. And here we are dealing with a character who has the capacity to split, and when you realize that Alessa is no longer one character, but many, it explains the story of the town. It's interesting because the town itself mirrors this fractured psychology--different dimensions, different doubles of the same person.

"that little girl, played by a little Canadian actress, has to play, in fact, different characters, including the devil."

I went, I present myself, and I said, 'You know, Jodelle, you are going to play different characters.' And she say, 'Yeah, I know. And one of them is the devil.' And she told me, 'I always wanted to play the devil.'" Any feedback is appreciated. I wanted to see what constituted OR and what didn't. AlessaGillespie (talk) 06:22, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

It's OK to use primary sources (the film itself as well as statements by those involved) to describe the characters, as long as no actual analysis is performed. That is, you can directly quote the character and the director, or closely paraphrase. If you're quoting or paraphrasing a person or character, you should note who that is. It's also best to be as succinct as possible. Someguy1221 (talk) 06:37, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Comparison between Roman and Han Empires


Hy there, I'm hereby officially reporting the article Comparison between Roman and Han Empires to this noticeboard. IMHO this article clearly shows several major cases of Original research, Weasel words, and Original synthesis. Not wanting to hide anything I also want to make clear that I reported this article earlier (see the archive of the article's talkpage). Please read the article and its talkpage carefully. (Talk:Comparison between Roman and Han Empires#Quality of this article). Thanks Flamarande (talk) 22:32, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Can you provide a link to that prior report? - Arcayne (cast a spell) 23:17, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I remember that we discussed this article back in December. Here is a link to it in our archives. (It is a long thread, so it has been collapsed) Blueboar (talk) 03:36, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this has been a concern of mine since the article's creation. I've tried hard to stay away from it, but as the issue has arisen again wish to add my concerns and belief OR is a serious problem with this article. Dougweller (talk) 07:22, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Note: Continue debate on talk page. In addition, if you haven't noticed Flamarande has been a prior reporter and has bias against article. Nevertheless, his dubious and fact tags were dealt with. After checking my sources, I had to add a few citations here and there, but it's hardly "original reserarch".Teeninvestor (talk) 19:44, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

As can be seen from my sources added, this is but another attempt by Flamarande to discredit the article to fit his own POV.Teeninvestor (talk) 20:28, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

In one short sentence, please offer what you feel Flamarande's pov is. As well, provide yours in an equally short sentence. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 20:59, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I feel Flamarande's POV is influenced by the fact that he argued vehemently for the deletion of the article, while I argued the opposite, as there was good sources added. His POV is simple: "This OR, Synthesis article should be deleted, no matter what". As can be seen on the talk page, he has misrepresented several of my sources in accusing me of WP:OR. This can be seen from his altitude. By accusing me of not "knowing anything about the Roman Empire" and reporting to WP:NOR and without waiting for an explanation, I feel his bias has poisoned his judgement. Relevant link: [26]Teeninvestor (talk) 21:05, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Hey, I said one sentence, mister! ;)
Allow me to sum up: your view is that Flamarande's pov is that the article is utter, synthesized rubbish, and should be beaten to death with a lead pipe. You feel the article is well-cited by reliable, credible and notable sources. Is that a fair evaluation? - Arcayne (cast a spell) 21:29, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
More or less. Sorry for going past the one sentence.Teeninvestor (talk) 21:30, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Okay, and no worries about the multiple sentence thing. Now that we have a succinct issue, does someone want to weigh in on this? This is in my secondary field of former study, so I might have specific bias one way or the other. I am going to try an recuse myself. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 21:42, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Resolved??? Seems like no issues left from either Arcayne or Flamarande.Teeninvestor (talk) 22:52, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
No, it isn't resolved, Teeninvestor. We've simply clarified the issue into its most basic issue. This is a noticeboard, not an extension of the article discussion; noticeboards rarely discuss content issues. This one deals with the NOR aspects of issues brought to it, and I am imagining that some waiting period is allowed, so that unrelated folk can look over the difference of opinion and weigh in. Give them a little time; there is no hurry, and the world will not end with the "wrong" information in the article  :) - Arcayne (cast a spell) 23:05, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

This article really ought to be deleted. There's one scholar--Walter Schiedel--who has published a number of pieces comparing the Roman Empire and Han China in terms of state formation. This justifies a Wikipedia article that makes even wider comparisons between the two states? I don't think so. And for gods' sake, anyone who's referring to "Edward Gibbons" in the article's footnotes needs to stop. It's "Gibbon". This article makes my eyes bleed. --Akhilleus (talk) 03:35, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

comment It might influence your judgement a bit to know that User:AKhilleus also voted to delete the article above.Teeninvestor (talk) 15:11, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, he just stated that this was his opinion. I don't completely disagree, although I think it might be saved if a lot of the OR was removed. Blueboar (talk) 16:08, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Human Givens

Could do with some outside input, and potentially shortening and/or re-sourcing to reliable secondary sources. At present, the article is mostly reliant on primary sources, or other sources that do not in fact comment on the Human Givens approach. As a result, the article is in danger of assuming a purely promotional tone. Jayen466 15:17, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

I've commented there. As Jayen says, unless rewritten, it's close to a speedy G11. DGG (talk) 23:55, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Current Afd on India–Malta relations

Does someone mind looking over India–Malta relations, and evaluating this article. Per the afd apparently, I am violating multiple policies including WP:NOR, WP:SYNTH, and WP:PSTS. I do understand I have added some primary sources, and am working to get additional secondary sources in so PSTS may be justifiable. However I don't see the NOR or SYNTH here, perhaps someone uninvolved could please give it a quick look down. thanks in advance --Marcusmax(speak) 00:05, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

seems to be resolved now. -Marcusmax(speak) 22:44, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Simpsons' Springfield controversy

Hello all. I am returning to a question I confronted a while back when I edited The Simpsons section Springfield_(The_Simpsons) to include a discussion of its possible location by noting which cities named Springfield were in proximity to cities named Shelbyville. I readily concede that it was a lighthearted endeavor, but I felt at the time and still do that it was well within the guidelines, since it contained nothing but references to geographical data.

I was never able to sustain the edit. Two or three others consistently deleted my work, claiming it was "original research". I certainly understand a semantic claim on that basis, in that I did not find the information already collated by someone else in some reference source; but I question how we could ever compile any article without taking other's research and collating it here.

In other words, how can the fact that I took five notations from a gazetteer and noted that each gave certain coordinates locating towns in the United States which coincidentally are named Shelbyville and Springfield constitute "original research"; and where or to whom do I appeal for a formal ruling in the hopes that I may place this information on the page?

Sesesq (talk) 21:49, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

(FWIW, here's a diff of the edit under discussion.)
First off, IMHO, it doesn't matter in itself if content in the article on Simpsons-Springfield is wrong. It's a fictional town in a cartoon show; it's not like people are going to drive off cliffs trying to get there because we tell them the wrong place. (If anything, including errors probably brings joy to the hearts of real-life Comic Shop Guys everywhere ;-) My concern is that people learn how to write Wikipedia articles by reading them - despite WP:OTHERSTUFF, people do expect to be able to do the same things in real-world articles that they see others doing in Simpsons-related articles.
I think it would be reasonable to include a list of RL towns named Springfield and Shelbyville, with appropriately-sourced location data. However, I think this edit does go beyond that. In particular:
"The fact that Shelbyville and Springfield are in the same state seems to have been overlooked..." - that is a big flag for OR there. Wikipedia is not the place to launch new ideas or expose secrets, and this is one of the things that new editors often have problems with, so it's a bad idea to encourage it. (Also, is it actually explicitly stated that they're in the same state, or might Shelbyville be across the border?)
"A superficial check of Wikipedia articles shows that states containing cities named Springfield and Shelbyville are..." - keep in mind that Wikipedia itself is not a reliable source, and not guaranteed to be complete, so citing it as a source is specifically discouraged.
"Two states, Indiana and Michigan, have two cities named Springfield, none of which are close enough to their respective Shelbyvilles to qualify..." - this statement requires combining and interpreting data from two different sources (RL geography, and whatever information is given in the Simpsons about the distance) to determine what counts as 'close enough'. Given that the show states that you can see Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky from Springfield, making that call requires a considerable amount of human judgement.
Inclusion implies relevance - in this case, it implies that there's some reason to expect Springfield should be connected to a single RL town of that name, and that it should be near a RL 'Shelbyville'. This is strongly contradicted by other material given in that article.
I think these, not the mere listing of Springfields and Shelbyvilles, would be why other editors reverted it. --GenericBob (talk) 01:02, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
How about a compromise? If some people (or just one editor) thinks that it is important to them, how about letting them put something along the lines of listing all the Springfield's in the United States (we can agree that Springfield IS in the US right? That wouldnt be OR) and list all the Shelbyville's in the US (I'm assuming Shelbyville, while it may be across a county or state border is not, in the Simpson world, in Canada or Mexico). Let the reader do their own original research. Possibly include an asterisk or something to mark which Springfield's have a nuclear power plant. I'm sure alot of people come to this article wondering- has the location of Springfield ever been determined?! This lets those people go on a mystery ride of their own without doing the work for them. Thus- No OR is needed in the article.Camelbinky (talk) 02:09, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Seems reasonable to me. At the very least, I think the article ought to link to the disambig page Springfield#United_States and maybe Shelbyville - it's something people will be curious about and we might as well help them to find what Wikipedia has on the subject. If providing nuclear power plant information, it would be important to be clear about the distinction between 'no plant' and 'we don't know'; I imagine it would be difficult to find a RS stating that such-and-such a town doesn't have a nuclear power plant. --GenericBob (talk) 02:36, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
All of this is clearly Original research. And we don't have an exemption to the NOR policy because something is fictional. There are tons of Simpson's fan sites that would love this sort of analysis. Post it at one of those. Who knows, it may even become so popular that it will be picked up and discussed in the media. Then it can be added to the article and cited. Blueboar (talk) 23:33, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

It should also be noted that Springfield, according to the show, is in the 51st state to enter the Union (for some reason, not mentioned in the section), along with all the other impossibilities of the town's existence, so any Springfields that happen to be near a Shelbyville are probably just a coincidence. So unless it's a significant coincidence, as in a reliable source has picked it up, it's probably inappropriate for the article. As for the question, "how can we ever complete the article?" Some articles will just never be "complete" in the sense of answering all possible questions. This isn't a failure of Wikipedia's policies, merely the nature of the world that not all questions have verifiable answers. Someguy1221 (talk) 23:50, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Blueboar, I dont know what part of my compromise solution you think is OR. Can you explain? I'm not advocating any "sort of analysis" as you put it. I simply suggested that if someone cares this much about having the info in they can (and yes THEY CAN!) add a list of all the Springfield's in the United States and then all the Shelbyvilles in the US and the coordinates for all of them, those are verifiable facts that can be reliably referenced. Any analysis would be done by the reader themselves. There is no OR involved in my solution to this problem. If someone doesnt want to do my compromise, then we have no issue, but if someone does want to follow my suggestion, then as far as I'm concerned this discussion is over and the problem of OR is solved, and since any other problems with that info would not constitute a problem with OR those issues must be brought somewhere else since they would not a subject for this forum, which is about original research. To those that want info about where Springfield "may" be (even though I personally believe Someguy1221 and others are correct, it DOESNT exist and is NOT based on a real place) then I suggest they go ahead and follow my compromise suggestion or a similar NON-OR related presentation, since it then cant be questioned on OR issue.Camelbinky (talk) 22:43, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

List of examples in Polish death camp controversy

Polish death camp controversy concerns the controversy surrounding the use in the media of the phrases "Polish death camp" and "Polish concentration camp". There have been repeated attempts to include in the article a list of examples of such usage.[27][28]

To me, listing examples from primary sources seems like WP:OR unless a secondary source has described these occurrences as examples of the controversial use of the two phrases. The latest set of examples is based on a list compiled by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Two questions: (1) Is a list of examples selected by Wikipedia editors from primary sources WP:OR? (2) If the answer to (1) is yes, is the list prepared by the MFA considered a secondary source, thereby eliminating the WP:OR issue?

Thank you. — Malik Shabazz (talk · contribs) 02:55, 23 April 2009 (UTC

My sense of it would be that 1) yes, but 2) also yes. If the MSZ/MFA can be taken as a 2nd source then including the list would be similar to including quotes or portions of primary sources which is done. The main issue would then be the length of the list relative to the size of the article as a whole. Maybe a better presentation would be to mention that such a list exist and then provide an external link?radek (talk) 03:10, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
I think that making a list is not ORish. Compiling info for a list is little different from doing research for other articles, the only difference is that the format the info is presented in. In other words, my answer would be 1) No. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 05:00, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
As I mentioned in article talk, we quote news/media sources (or compilations thereof) all the time. It is the attribution of motivations which would be WP:OR. For example, it's well known that der Spiegel deflects German responsibility for the Holocaust in the Baltics and Eastern Europe on to the local populace; to indicate so in the article and create an inference of motivation in their using the term "Polish death camp" would require appropriate reliable secondary sourcing. Noting only that they use the term is not WP:OR.PetersV       TALK 17:57, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
@ PetersV: "it's well known that der Spiegel deflects German responsibility for the Holocaust in the Baltics and Eastern Europe on to the local populace" – where is this "well known"? In Latvia? --Thorsten1 (talk) 21:14, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Most articles such as the Britney Spears article have their history written using links to websites/newspapers. If editors can build a history of Britney using material spread across multiple websites/newspapers without it being called OR then why should attempts to display without comment the history of incidents in this article be considered any different? Jniech (talk) 11:02, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Any Wikipedia article requires the selection of sources, except when the sources are so limited we can simply use them all. What NPOV requires is that they be selected fairly. Same with examples:given the controversy, I would not use a list prepared by one of the parties as a sole source. DGG (talk) 23:32, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
That said, the list prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is probably the most balanced and most representative of all such possible lists due to the ministry’s official status. The only other party equally interested in maintaining the media watch would be the the American Jewish Committee which also rejected the usage of these phrases,[29] or perhaps, the government of Israel, which deprecated them many times already, most recently against the backdrop of the 60th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation.[30] The list from MFA is a secondary source by default and can be supported by primary sources i.e. the actual media outlets using them online. Wikipedia is in no position to maintain such media watch, if I understand corectly what the issue is really about. The list from MFA has the desired permanent quality. --Poeticbent talk 22:44, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Would an article on "Murder and the internet" of necessity be OR?

Or would it be possible to avoid "OR" at such an article?
- - -
If someone with fresh eyes could chime in over at "Internet homicide," it'd really be appreciated by the current participants there who presently are trying to thresh the specific "OR" issue out. ↜Just me, here, now 04:47, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think the topic would "of necessity" be OR... but there is certainly a lot of OR in this particular article. At the moment the article focuses mostly on giving examples of Internet homicide. That is a form of WP:SYNT. What you need to do is focus on the phenominon itself, and on what various reliable sources say about it. Surely there have been studies that you could discuss and cite? Blueboar (talk) 13:31, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
The "of necessity" part is the crux of what I was looking for here (since how a subject is treated can be fixed, but if a topic can never be treated encyclopedically, then an article based on this topic should be deleted).
As for the rest of what you say, I think you're right that an article about "Murder and the internet" should indeed contain such studies and what not, for sure. However wouldn't there also be a place on Wikipedia for a pure list of things, thought to be notable as a whole? Such a one as "List of murders involving the Internet," say? Furthermore, some WP articles tend in truth to be hybrids between "list" articles and a "non-list" type of articles, do they not? ↜Just me, here, now 16:09, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Sure, we suppose we could have a List of murders involving the Internet article, especially if there is a main article on the phenomina itself. I would, however, expect such a list to have clearly defined criteria for inclusion (we have to explain what we mean when we say "involving the internet"). I would expect that this definition would be based on what was said by reliable experts on the topic. We would also limit inclusion to notable murders (all our lists are supposed to limit entry to things that are notable), so not every murder would be included, even if it did involve the internet. Blueboar (talk) 16:34, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
and I have to add (as I did over at the deletion discussion) that the idea has some conceptual problems. we don't (that I know of) have an article or list about 'murders involving telephones' or 'murders involving the Postal Service' (even though the latter has the unibomber and any number of disgruntled, gun-toting postal employees to its credit, and former the has countless murders planned and executed using phones to pick from). this is largely urban legend territory, with a smattering of cases that don't really prove much. Markoff (I'm becoming suspicious of people whose last names end in 'off') could surely have found a masseuse to kill without using the internet, once it was his intent to do so; why is the internet important to this murder at all, except as a detail about how he found his victim?--Ludwigs2 17:00, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I wish I had more time to make input here, I'm having some internet connectivity problems and some pressing work to do besides. There is Letter bomb, although I'm not sure arguments for or against OR are supposed to be referencing whether there are other similar extant articles or not? I would agree a person could use another method than the internet to select a victim, but there are a number of people who did choose that method, and quite often it was thought significant enough that they were given a nickname reflecting how they chose their victim. Blueboar asks below about a man discovering his wife's affair online; at the moment that would be somewhat dissimilar in that he is not using a lure over the internet and killing a victim previously unknown to him, and we don't know how law enforcement, the media, etc. would have treated the murder in this hypothetical case. Шизомби (talk) 22:31, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
This is why I say that a clear criteria for inclusion is needed... of example, suppose a man discovers that his wife is having an online affair and kills her out of jealosy... is that a "Murder involving the internet"? While there may be an interesting list or article here, a lot more thought has to go into it. Blueboar (talk) 17:40, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
yeah, I agree. Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 17:52, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

To present the issues in a few other ways, the extant questions I think include (stated broadly enough they're issues that could concern any number of topics, not just the one at hand): Is there a topic here, and what would constitute a reliable source that there is a topic that would satisfy any reasonable concern about original research? Is the topic one that would be better handled as an article, a section of one or more existing articles, a disambig page, a list, a category, or something else? How would issues of OR/RS differ if at all depending on the type of page/category? Is it original research to note the similarity/sameness of people using ads on the internet to select victims the same as people using ads in print to select victims? "Internet Killer" and variations thereon have been repeatedly used for alleged/convicted real/fictional murderers repeatedly. Is it original research to do a better job collecting the information about the people/characters who have than other sources have done, who have only collected a few? When there is a concern about OR, what is the best practice for handling it as to tagging and discussing it on the talk page (for how long) or submitting it to AfD (how quickly?) Шизомби (talk) 23:33, 27 April 2009 (UTC)