Wikipedia:No original research/Noticeboard

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RfC on whether calling an event "murder" presumes the perpetrator is a "murderer".[edit]

See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Crime and Criminal Biography#Request for Comment: Does "murder" presume "murderer"? Or don't. InedibleHulk (talk) 16:20, July 17, 2015 (UTC)

Is it OK for pronunciation symbols to be Original Research?[edit]

The English Wikipedia uses a number of pronunciation symbols that have been invented by editors of the English Wikipedia. They are not used anywhere else, and there are no WP:SOURCES. A tentative list of these invented pronunciation symbols can be discussed at Help talk:IPA for English#Transcriptions that are probably WP:Original research.

In my POV, the invention of our own pronunciation symbols is a violation of NOR. I think pronunciation symbols are a part of the informational content of an article. I think they are a kind of specialized technical terms (compare MOS:JARGON). I think we should not invent our own pronunciation symbols, just as we should not invent new technical terms. In my POV, pronunciation symbols must not be Original Research.

In a differing POV, kwamia group of users including kwami or Ƶ§œš¹ thinks that pronunciation symbols are merely a part of the article presentation. According to kwamithat group, they are a part of the layout, like e.g. the infobox layout. Therefore, kwamithe group thinks we may invent new pronunciation symbols, just as we may invent our own infobox layout (see e.g. [1]). In kwamithe group’s POV, it does not matter whether pronunciation symbols are Original Research or not.

KwamiThe group’s POV that it does not matter whether pronunciation symbols are Original Research or not has been questioned many times. This can be seen in the history of Help talk:IPA for English. As early as 2008 (soon after the creation of the help page), RandomCritic has pointed out that the invention of new pronunciation symbols is Controversial, OR. Over the years, many users have questioned kwamithe group’s POV that it does not matter whether pronunciation symbols are OR or not, including Taivo, Bazj, Fortnum, Kudpung, or W. P. Uzer. The question has never been resolved, but kwamithe group got hisits way. Instead of discussing whether Original Research pronunciation symbols are acceptable or not, the discussions usually shifted away into tiresome discussions of phonetic details that are beside the point. Other users who have regularly participated include Angr, Ƶ§œš¹, or Peter238. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 10:20, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

' tiresome discussions ' are archetypal of Kwamikagami's collaboration and he has a very long history stretching over many years of insiting on his own interpretations of linguisticts to the point of often expressing himself in such a dogmatic and abusive manner that many have given up thus leaving his inaccuracies in the articles. The past issues have not resulted in escalation, except maybe for his desysoping, but perhaps is now the time to bring some of these issues to a formal RfC before he loses us more users. That said, as a disclaimer, I have not reviewed the current issue. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:46, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
I support the removal of the OR. I must admit that I've never seen /aː, ɒː, i, u/ used as on Wikipedia. As I said, Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (LPD) uses /i, u/ to transcribe weak vowels in words such as happy and situation. I really don't think we should be using e.g. /u/ in room, which should just be /rʊm, ruːm/ (i.e. transcribed twice).
The rhotic/non-rhotic thing seems to be a bit more controversial issue, but I don't see a real problem with, again, transcribing words twice (e.g. /ˈbɜːmɪŋəm, ˈbɜ˞ːmɪŋəm/). That's what LPD does. Peter238 (talk) 11:02, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
There is only one guide for phonetic symbols and what sound they represent: the IPA. But there are two issues here that are getting confused--are we using symbols that have been invented for Wikipedia (a violation of WP:NOR) or are there transcriptions that we don't agree with (that's what User:Peter238 is complaining about). The use of one-off symbols is inappropriate (the original point of this thread), but the choice of transcription is highly problematic. The pronunciation of English words changes every ten to twenty miles across the English landscape and choosing whether to represent the pronunciation as the Queen or Tom Brokaw or local Chamber of Commerce president or our professor in college pronounces it is a never-resolvable issue. --Taivo (talk) 11:59, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
/aː, ɒː/ are our inventions, so I'm complaining about both. Peter238 (talk) 12:39, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Peter, I don't know where you are getting your information from, but it's obviously not the IPA handbook. Both /ɒ/ and /a/ are IPA symbols. You may not like the fact that they occur in dialects of English that aren't yours, but I can't answer for that. Both of these symbols are IPA. --Taivo (talk) 15:44, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
I know these are IPA symbols. The symbols /aː, ɒː/ are not used very often when transcribing English (/aː/ may be used for Australian /ɑː/ (AFAIK, /ɐː/ is a more usual symbol), whereas /ɒː/ was used about 20-25 years ago by Wells to transcribe General American /ɔː/), and nobody uses them in a way we use them. Peter238 (talk) 15:49, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
The symbols we choose to represent phonemes are a matter of house style. It's not OR to use them as long as the pronunciations they symbolize can be sourced, even if those sources use different symbols. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:17, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
The question is, why? Why should the pronunciation symbols be merely “a matter of house style”? WP:STYLE is about things such as formatting or layout. The choice of pronunciation symbols goes far beyond that. The pronunciation symbols are a kind of specialized technical terms. They are not self-evidential, but they bear a load of interpretation. That is why I think that they belong to the informational content of an article, and making up our own pronunciation symbols is a violation of NOR.
The problem of inventing our own OR pronunciation symbols is that they might propagate into the internet due to the high notability of Wikipedia. This danger, inherent to all OR, is something we must prevent. This encyclopedia does not want to change what's out there, it wants to describe what's out there. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 14:55, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
I think that what's definitely original research is the giving of pronunciations that are supposed to represent the pronunciations of all English speakers everywhere, on the basis of sources that merely give the pronunciations in one or two standard accents. The use of standard technical symbols in non-standard ways is just stupid - it doesn't really matter whether it's categorized as OR or not, it needs to be stopped, as it represents deliberate lying to Wikipedia readers, unless they happen to guess that the standard is not being followed and that they have to click on the blue to find out what's meant. It's exactly the same as if a group of Wikipedia editors decided to invent their own temperature scale, and then decided to denote its units with the abbreviation °C. The invention of the scale would certainly be OR, the use of °C to denote it may or may not be considered OR, but would be plainly wrong and ridiculous. There is really no difference here, except that probably fewer people understand about pronunciation schemes than about temperature scales, so the wrongness isn't so obvious to so many people. W. P. Uzer (talk) 15:09, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
IMHO, it's still as bad as I thought it was 6 years ago when I fell into this discussion. It's a house style (OR) which therefore can't be verified (V) and encodes one version of how a word can be pronounced (POV) which, in the UK at least, hasn't been the case for 50+ years back when you either spoke RP or felt inferior to those who did. Bazj (talk) 15:45, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
(ec) I would like to see examples of where either IPA symbols are incorrectly used or a nonstandard symbol is used. The one or two examples that have been given so far are not valid because they are based more on "that editor doesn't speak the same dialect I do" than on actual examples. I completely agree with others that have objected to the choice of some standardized British or American dialect as the English pronunciation. Far better, IMHO, would be to use a very broad, almost phonemic, transcription that doesn't require the user to adopt a northern Utah urban or western Colorado rural pronunciation. The hyper-narrow transcriptions that appear in most articles and are based on some random selection of dialect source are not only confusing, but generally represent the vanity project of the editor supplying them. --Taivo (talk) 15:52, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
A very broad, phonemic transcription still requires choosing dialects, and among these have to be Received Pronunciation and General American. That's what all of the dictionaries use, even if they don't use the IPA. Peter238 (talk) 16:03, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
I concur solidly with Peter and others, and suggest we expploit this juncture to rid Wikipedia's insistance that the Brits should pronounce the names of their 2,000 year old English cities with an American accent. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 16:34, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Even though the original pronunciation of those "2000-year-old" city names was closer to an American pronunciation that the current r-less RP (which is only a couple hundred years old at most). --Taivo (talk) 22:39, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

It's odd that editors who object to transcribing "car" as /ˈkɑr/ have to problem transcribing it as KAR, despite the two transcriptions being equivalent. Somehow respelling a word with sound-alikes, or even with a regularized spelling, is acceptable, but respelling it in the IPA is "OR". That shows gross ignorance of what a transcription is. Or so it would seem, if it weren't for the fact that several of the objectors understand the situation full well but have found that they can't win an honest argument.

It's illuminating that User:J. 'mach' wust feels he needs to resort to false arguments to make his point worth your attention: The transcription system is not "my" POV. In fact, I argued against several of its conventions, including at least one he objects to, but was overruled when we developed the current consensus on how to transcribe English pronunciations.

User:Kudpung is engaging in WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT when he claims we're forcing Brits to pronounce English cities with an American accent. He knows that is false. We've been over this many many times, and he's demonstrated that he's quite intelligent but that it suits him to pretend otherwise. He understands perfectly how our transcription system works, but hasn't gotten any traction with his view that we need to give each pronunciation on WP in a dozen different dialectical transcriptions. (He'll now claim that the pronunciation needs to be the local one, but no-one has ever objected to that, so it's also a spurious argument.) Also, pace his claims, much of our transcription system is British rather than American. What he objects to is that we transcribe /r/ when it's not between vowels, though of course it's pronounced in that position in much of Britain and not in much of the USA.

Also, the title of this thread shouldn't presuppose the point that it's trying to establish.

kwami (talk) 18:19, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

Before I say anything about the system itself and the charges of original research, I just want to point out a few fallacious issues:
This conversation is not about kwamikagami. User J. 'mach' wust has very strongly implied that the issue is with Kwami or that this is Kwami's brainchild while users like myself and Angr are just "involved." As of late, I have been its most vocal defender. While efforts to at poisoning the well wth ad hominem attacks or trying to play some sort of victim card might work against Kwami and his efforts, it won't work with me.
Productive dialogue requires responses to counterpoints. Too often in these discussions, critics to the system sling out arguments, ignore rebuttals, and then make the same argument again as if they think simple repetition will be persuasive. You can see me outline this lack of productivity in this post I directed at WP User; WP got nowhere in the conversation because they were talking at others users, not with us. I see this in Kudpung's recent post where they strawman the system as prescribing rhotic pronunciations (which they should know by now is not the case). I can also see it starting with J. 'mach' wust, who I had a discussion with months ago (archived here); mach is bringing up the same points all over again as if I had not rebutted them.
This sort of stubborn rhetorical solipsism has a severe, detrimental effect on problem solving as it wastes everyone's time with unproductive conversation and shows other users that one's arguments have little merit, both of which close off efforts at consensus building.
Now, onto the charges:
Is the diaphonemic nature of the system original research?
No. As Kwami has just said, all respelling systems are inherently diaphonemic. Diaphonemic systems that also incorporate the IPA can be found in a number of places, including here (pp. 15–17), which is an IPA transcription system that encodes for multiple dialects, including a four-way contrast between the /i/, /iː/, /ɪ/, and what we transcribe as /ɨ/.
Are the symbols we use original research?
In a strict sense, yes. Though this is less meaningful than critics might want to believe. The specific IPA symbols used in phonemic (and diaphonemic) representations are much too varied and subject to the whims of scholars to allow for a clear articulation of what usage would and would not be permitted by Wikipedia's OR policy. Remember that this isn't Conservapedia, so we can't simply find a source that uses the same symbol (because of WP:NPOV). We also can't merge the symbols of several sources into one system (because of WP:SYNTH).
As I explained to mach months ago, we must apply common sense here because a strict reading of our core policies would break Wikipedia if we applied them to in-house conventions, including the pronunciation scheme. We must balance our NPOV concerns with our verifiability concerns and our readability concerns. The system attempts to be dialect-neutral (by encoding multiple dialects in one transcription), the pronunciations the system represents (not the way we represent them) are still subject to verifiability concerns (as outlined at Help:IPA conventions for English), and do a number of things to make sure our system is clear to readers. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 19:14, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
So you are saying we have to resort to OR because otherwise we would no longer have a NPOV. I do not think that this reasoning holds to scrutiny. Sure, there are many different ways of phonemic analysis. However, there are not that many major dictionaries that use the IPA, and they all use very similar systems. We can find the most acceptable solution without having to resort to OR.
Who says that the system has to dialect-neutral? The system should be phonemic because that is what all major dictionary transcription systems are. Consequently, it will be largely dialect-neutral. But dialect neutrality is not a value by itself and it certainly does not trump WP:NOR. I will not accept OR pronunciation symbols just because you wish for dialect neutrality. There are not that many words that have different phonemes depending on the dialect. I think it is much more user-friendly if such words are dealt with by indicating the variance, instead of resorting to OR symbols nobody can possibly understand (and some are quite misleading, e.g. ⟨aː⟩) unless they consult (and understand) the help page. I think the overly rigid prescriptivism of the present situation is bad because it relies on OR. I would prefer a more open system that allows for diversity and is based on sources.
I really do not think that the previous discussions ended because you successfully rebutted our arguments. The discussions got stuck so the OR was not changed. It is remarkable, though, that every couple of years, another linguistically inclined editor notices the OR pronunciation symbols and tries to do something about it, whereas the defenders of the OR appear to be the same small group. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 21:25, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
When you say that you will not accept a novel pronunciation scheme just because I wish for dialect neutrality, you neglect the group agreement (dare I say consensus?) on the matter. I only point this out because there is a difference between two editors' opinions and that of dozens; I would rather not let mischaracterizations of shared agreements stand, particularly ones that can be used as a rhetorical tool.
"Who says that the system has to dialect-neutral?" Mostly our NPOV policy. The impression I get is that users have opposed or would not appreciate a pronunciation that doesn't represent their own dialect. You can see this opposition in Kudpung's dislike of rhotic transcriptions; the issue is the same with Americans seeing non-rhotic transcriptions.
I'm not sure what you mean by "dialect neutrality is not a value by itself." What relevance does that have to the issue here?
It's true that the major dictionaries often have more-or-less the same representations, but much of this similarity is shared with our own system. One way you could even characterize it is RP with rhoticity.
I actually agree with you regarding why the conversations ended; I'm not sure what makes you think that I believe I "successfully rebutted" anyone's arguments. A conversation, particularly between parties who disagree, should go from A to B to C to D to E, etc. My point is that, by not responding to my rebuttals, what has happened instead is that the conversations go from A to B to A again. Thus these conversations get "stuck" and even repetitive because there isn't a proper exchange of ideas. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 01:49, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
The so-called "group consensus" is not a consensus at all — it never has been — and has only been achieved by browbeating those who disagree with it until they've gone away out of frustration. It is simply an arbitrary and, I may say, unnatural convention forced upon Wikipedia by a very unrepresentative group. The fact, ultimately ignored though constantly pointed out, is that English pronunciation variants are not merely differences in realization of a common phonology, but actually have a variety of distinct and irreconcilable phonologies. That is why to create the false appearance of a common phonology, extraordinary liberties have to be taken, which of course leaves every person who doesn't speak an artificial 'Wikipedian' English at a loss as to how to relate these supposed pronunciation guides to the way he or she knows the words actually are pronounced.RandomCritic (talk) 02:53, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
RandomCritic, without some kind of (perhaps semi-artificial) leveling of English phonology, then we might as well include half a dozen (or more) different transcriptions following every single English word in Wikipedia--so that each major dialect is fairly represented. I refuse to recognize the validity of any transcription that doesn't include post-vocalic [r]. Nor will a New Zealander accept any transcription that doesn't transcribe "seven" with two [ɪ]s as the vowels. Etc. Your refusal to recognize the need for a common, pan-dialectal, phonological transcription is simply opening the door for mass confusion and dialect snobbery. There is a deep-level phonology of English that recognizes that the loss of rhotics is predictable and that most vowels are predictable by rule from a base system. --Taivo (talk) 04:22, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
This is the type of victim-card mentality I referenced above. Not only do RandomCritic's comments inject a fictional narrative about a supposedly false consensus and editor intimidation, but behind these charges is a spurious attempt to poison the well of those RandomCritic disagrees with. Were they true, RandomCritic could have easily reported the perpetrators to uninvolved administrators; by not doing so, RandomCritic instead gets to throw the baseless charges out as a rhetorical weapon, including here where they're irrelevant to any of the points anyone was making. No one even used the phrase "group consensus."
There is nothing wrong with jumping into a back-and-forth between two editors in a group discussion like this, but butting into an exchange just to undermine it without adding anything to the conversation is quite unproductive. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 07:27, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
It is notable that Aeusoes objects to my supposedly "fictional narrative" and "baseless charges" with exactly the kind of display of hectoring editorial machismo that I identified as the true source of his avowed artificial "consensus." It is therefore obvious that the charges are well-founded and the narrative is fact. RandomCritic (talk) 15:50, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
I can see how you might not appreciate being called out, but I did so because I believe that your approach has been more akin to petty bickering than actual productive dialogue. If you can bring in reasoning and respond to the logic and reasoning of other editors, then you will find (at least from me) honest engagement with your ideas; I will likely point out flaws I see in your reasoning and points of disagreement, but please don't mistake this for intimidation. It is the nature of debate, where parties who disagree have a back and forth. If you can't stand scrutiny of your arguments or can't avoid making your arguments untowardly personal, you'll probably be met with further dismissiveness. It is not bullying to expect you to hold your own in a debate. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 20:12, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

There seem to be three components here:

  1. How things are actually pronounced - this is a prime example of a case where editors should be extended the latitude WP:V allows for omitting citation for material when it is not challenged or likely to be challenged.
  2. Rendering via some notation a pronunciation whose pronunciation is either sourced or by consensus doesn't need to be sourced, or converting from one notation to a different notation seems within the allowance for summarization in WP:NOTOR, so long as the accuracy of the rendering isn't challenged.
  3. Whether a novel notation should be allowed. It would certainly seem better to avoid doing that, but if the stipulations in no.s 1 and 2 are met, I'd consider this a manual-of-style question and not an OR one.

Rhoark (talk) 22:50, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

To answer the question that is asked in the title of the section: Yes, it is OK for Wikipedia to choose its own pronunciation symbols. I'm not saying that Wikipedia has done so, but it would be OK to do so. We don't call it WP:OR when we describe how section titles should be capitalized, or how rules, guidelines, essays, etc. should be notated within Wikipedia. We use consensus to determine the rules, and then apply them as necessary. The same should apply to the symbols used to describe pronunciation of words within the encyclopedia. FYI, the alphabet soup of "WP:THIS and WP:THAT" are just as baffling to those unfamiliar with the ways of Wikipedia as the pronunciation symbols are for those unfamiliar with that notation. In both cases, it is something that can be learned. Please ping me if replying to my comment Etamni | ✉   04:25, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
The choice of pronunciation symbols is a matter of interpretation, not a matter of style. Therefore, inventing new pronunciation symbols is OR.
There is no consensus in favour of OR, as this discussion and countless previous discussions prove. Some editors are pushing through their POV that OR is acceptable. Even if there were a consensus in favour of OR, it would have to be overturned because OR is not acceptable on this Wikipedia.
It is a misconception that dialect neutrality follows from NPOV. NPOV just demands that dialects be treated equally. There are several ways of achieving this goal. One way is the current way of inventing OR pronunciation symbols. Another way – the way chosen in major dictionaries – is giving variant pronunciation where phonemes may differ. That is the way we should choose, because that is the way that does not violate any WP:Core content policies. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 07:49, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
You're unraveling a bit here. The choice of pronunciation symbols is a matter of interpretation? That is quite a logical leap. So when OED uses ɪ and we use ɨ, what is the different interpretation?
I'm also not getting what difference you see between dialect neutrality and treating dialects equally. Those sound exactly the same to me. You've pointed to two solutions, one of which you disagree with, but they both seem like attempts at dialect neutrality to me. I think the diaphonemic approach is better, and I recognize that you disagree with that; however, since I've already provided a link to a source that takes a similar diaphonemic approach to IPA transcriptions (thereby showing that a diaphonemic transcription system is not inherently OR) and since the topic of this discussion is the symbols and not the diaphonemic approach itself, we should really focus here on whether those symbols constitute an untoward case of original research.
The discussion of the diaphonemic approach may be the reason why you have gone past some important things I have said and started repeating yourself. Let me break it down to see what I would like you to respond to:
  • You: The English Wikipedia uses a number of pronunciation symbols that have been invented by editors of the English Wikipedia
  • Me: That's not a problem because a strict reading of our core policies would break Wikipedia if we applied them to in-house conventions
  • You: We can find an acceptable solution from major dictionaries without having to resort to OR.
  • Me: We already share a lot with these dictionaries.
  • You: OR is not acceptable on this Wikipedia
In the face of an appeal to WP:IAR, simply stating that OR is against Wikipedia policies, as if it were some sort of strict unbreakable rule, is tantamount to rules lawyering. I have made the case that a strict reading of NOR is untenable and argued that we share many of the same contrasts and symbols with dictionaries that use IPA. You haven't really responded to these ideas. As should be clear from what I've said so far (particularly my metacommentary on previous discussions), I am interested in a dialogue, not demagoguery. Please address my points so that we can really move forward in the conversation. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 08:56, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
I have responded to your claim that a strict reading of NOR is untenable. You have argued it is untenable because it would result in a conflict with NPOV. I have argued this is not true.
There are different ways of conforming with NPOV. One way is inventing new diaphonemic symbols. That way conflicts with NOR. Another way is allowing diversity of several pronunciations (if they differ in phonemes). That way does not conflict with NOR.
So there are two solutions, one of them conflicting with NOR, the other not. Why do you prefer the solution that conflicts with NOR? That is the point we are discussing. Please do not shift the discussion into a metadiscussion, but stay to the point.
Another problem of the current OR pronunciation symbols is that they are misleading to readers with a moderate knowledge of the IPA. When an English speaker sees a transcription such as /suˈdaːn/, they can be mislead into thinking: ‘I know the IPA symbol ⟨ː⟩, it denotes length, go figure, so the pronunciation [suˈdæn] is wrong and it is really [suˈdɑːn].’ Explicitly indicating variant pronunciations is much less misleading, as in the Iraq article, which says “/ɪˈræk/, /ɪˈrɑːk/, or /aɪˈræk/”.
The difference in interpretation between the OED ⟨ɪ⟩ and our ⟨ɨ⟩ is that the sign ⟨ɨ⟩ by its IPA value is tied to the close central unrounded vowel. There are some analysis of English that really posit such a vowel. To my knowledge, no major dictionaries concur. On the other hand, the OED sign ⟨ɪ⟩ is not tied to any IPA value, though it is similar to the IPA sign ⟨ɪ⟩. Its use may indicate it is not meant to represent any specific IPA sound, but a diaphoneme.
I have never argued that the diaphonemic approach is entirely OR. It is not OR to the extent it is based on sources. Where it is not based on sources, it is OR. Why are you putting so much emphasis on something I have never argued for? --mach 🙈🙉🙊 09:37, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
If we're going to "stay to the point" then I will decline in responding to the issue of confusion. that is also separate. Remember, this is not a referendum on the system as a whole, but on the specific issue of OR with the symbols used.
I'm not seeing where you addressed my argument that a strict application of NOR to in-house conventions would be untenable. You just said "I do not think that this reasoning holds to scrutiny." But you you didn't actually provide any scrutiny to this; you just restated your opinion that multiple phonemic transcriptions would be better.
You seem to believe that two phonemic transcriptions would be enough to satisfy NPOV concerns, but before the diaphonemic system was in place, e.g. Australian users started adding Australian pronunciations to articles, which started a lot of lede clutter. If we are to allow multiple pronunciations, what exclusionary principle do you think would be appropriate to prevent this from happening? There has to be one if our pronunciation system is going to avoid lede clutter. But if we limit to just two dialects (such as GA and RP), then we infringe on NPOV.
I'm also seeing huge flaws in your interpretation of ɪ vs. ɨ. For one, the pronuncation is tied to a close central vowel. While this is more precisely a near-close vowel, there is no standard IPA symbol for such a vowel. As such, ɨ represents the closest cardinal vowel point to the actual phonetic value. In addition, general usage of the IPA is not nearly as strict as to require the nearest cardinal vowel; this is why using ʌ is permitted for the vowel of STRUT, which is closer to cardinal [ɐ] and [ɜ] in prestige varieties. Even ɨ itself is used for the Polish vowel represented orthographically as y, which is actually closer to cardinal [ɘ]. Finally, there is no reason to rely exclusively on dictionaries in considerations of English phonetics. Dictionaries are unlikely to provide details of the allophones of /ɪ/ because dictionaries are concerned with phonemic contrasts, not phonetics. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 10:12, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
Please do not pretend as if I have not addressed your argument. You are saying we cannot have pronunciation symbols without OR. Your justification is that pronunciation symbols without OR would violate the NPOV. According to you, OR and NPOV are mutually exclusive when it comes to pronunciation symbols. I have answered they are not. We can do justice to OR by only using pronunciation symbols that have sources, and at the same time, we can also do justice to NPOV by providing variant pronunciations (as in the article Iraq). Drawing the line is easy if the NOR policy is accepted: Variant phonemes need sources. I doubt that there are many cases where Australian English has different phonemes from other varieties. The Macquarie Dictionary represents the same phonemes like British dictionaries and uses almost the same symbols (except for the use of ⟨a⟩ instead of ⟨ɑ⟩ and the dropping of ⟨ː⟩). --mach 🙈🙉🙊 11:28, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
Actually, Australian is quite phonetically distinct from RP, something the Macquerie Dictionary hides (technically violating the IPA, as you would say). So Aussie users would feel inclined to add a third pronunciation. Having three pronunciations for a few articles isn't a problem. But having three pronunciations for every article would be too much. We would also get cases of users deleting American pronunciations of British placenames or British celebrities. We know this system is unwieldy because we've tried it. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 16:59, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

Let me echo the comments of Rhoark and Etamni: Wikipedia is allowed to choose its own pronunciation notation. We are not allowed to invent facts and derive conclusions, but our choice of presentation of facts is within the realm of editorial choice and consensus, and the debate at hand is more akin to WP:STYLE than to WP:V. Thus, appeal to OR is a red herring, and thus in a WP:WRONGFORUM, but since we are here, I'm chiming in with my 2C...
Second, we ought to preserve consistency of pronunciation scheme across articles. Blindly following source pronunciations would create a mess, because an average Wikipedia reader could not know which exact breed of English IPA pronunciation system is used in this particular article, and would have to follow the reference and then learn a dozen of competing dictionary styles instead of one (the current one).
Opponents of the current guideline did not offer much viable alternatives as to which consistent system should be used instead. It was proposed, for example, that we pick OED, but it lacks a lot of local pronunciations of toponyms and personal names, so we must again "resort to OR" to find out how a place name would be recorded in OED. And it would not be diaphonemic anyway.
The current system is maybe not perfect and could use some tweaking, but in my opinion it represents a reasonable compromise between accessibility for both readers and editors on one hand, and the dire need for cross-article consistency and dialect neutrality on the other. No such user (talk) 13:42, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

The beauty of Wikipedia is in its very simple core principles. The core principle WP:V says, in a nutshell, that “any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation”. The pronunciation symbols have been challenged over and over. Yet you do not even try to find a reliable, published source. Instead, you enter in all kind of sophistries in order to justify that your original research is somehow magically exempt from Wikipedia’s core principles. And you do not even care to provide any reasons (except for Ƶ§œš¹), instead you just boldface: it is how I say it is. That shows an appalling contempt for Wikipedia’s core principles. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 16:35, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
What No such user is arguing is that the symbols we are using don't constitute "material." They are the presentation of material. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 22:11, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

We have gone around in circles with these same several editors for years, with their primary rhetorical device being WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. Now, if any of them were to suggest ways to improve the situation we would have something to talk about. E.g., if Mach were to suggest symbols that were not "OR" we could discuss their merits. And of course people have brought up issues of proper application on the talk page of the IPA key, and we've adjusted it several times in response. But when your arguments are debunked, it's time to move on. — kwami (talk) 05:53, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

I think mach is a little less guilty of that than some of the other critics. Mach's position seems stem from their belief that there is no division between form and content. I disagree with this, and suspect many others would as well, but I'm not getting a IDIDNTHEARTHAT vibe from them. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 06:43, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Of course there is a division between form and content. But pronunciation symbols belong to the content. The corresponding form would be the choice of fonts styles etc. Another example: A pronunciation symbol such as ⟨/aː/⟩ on Wikipedia (e.g. in /suˈdaːn/) carries the following content – please notice that real form could not possibly carry a similar load of content:
  1. I am an open front unrounded vowel (this content is carried by the sign ⟨a⟩).
  2. I am a long vowel (this content is carried by the sign ⟨ː⟩).
  3. I am a phoneme (this content is carried by the delimiters ⟨/⟩).
  4. You can trust that I represent reliable accepted knowledge because I am on Wikipedia (this meta-content is carried by the WP:Core content policies that demand all content should be sourced).
When you allow for some stretching, the first and the third point might arguably hold true (or not). However, the second and the fourth do not. Our OR use of the symbol /aː/ can correspond to a short vowel. It does not represent any reliable or accepted knowledge, but just an in-house convention.
I deliberately do not want to clutter this noticeboard with off-topic discussions of phonetic details. Anybody who honestly cares about the issue is welcome to discuss the detailed suggestions I have made on Help talk:IPA for English#Transcriptions that are probably WP:Original research. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 14:09, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
I see what you're saying (though #4 is assuming what you're trying to prove), but when you look at how different dictionaries provide different choices of IPA symbol for the same vowel here, and when you consider the number of ways the symbols commonly used are different from a more phonetically accurate symbol (with r and ʌ being the most notable examples) the use of symbol becomes less clearly tied to the phonetic truth of the vowel in phonemic representations. In practice, there is more wiggle room than you seem to care for. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 17:23, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
There is wiggle room, but that does not give us any license to violate the WP:Core content policies and deliberately add more wiggling of our own. Also, that wiggle room is not deliberate. Instead, there is a tradition to signs such as /ʌ/ – or in the old Saussurean terminology: the signs are not just arbitrary, but also conventional. We should follow the traditions and conventions that are used out there instead of inventing our own. Why? Because making our own inventions is what OR is all about. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 00:01, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
We are talking about whether symbols are content; you have said that they are because there is an implicit claim of precise, phonetic accuracy, but the wiggle room I have identified shows that this implicit claim is much weaker than you would like to believe. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 00:25, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
So what? There are many fields of knowledge where science does not have a perfect 100 % consensus. But that is no excuse for Wikipedia to invent its own OR. And as with your previous but-Australian-is-oh-so-different argument, the wiggle room is not that big after all. Show me a major dictionary that uses something as far off as our ⟨aː⟩ or ⟨ɵ⟩. Sure, the new OED uses some transcriptions that are quite different. That is why prominent phoneticians such as John Wells have criticized it, see IPA transcription systems for English. To Wells, the choice of pronunciation symbols matters very much. Show me prominent phoneticians who say that the symbols do not matter.
Also, my #4 is not assuming the point. It is a standard assumption about all content on Wikipedia, especially among people who are moderately familiar with the WP:core content policies: If you copy content off the Wikipedia, you should get accepted knowledge. It is undeniable that the transcriptions can be easily copied off the Wikipedia (unlike elements that belong to form). --mach 🙈🙉🙊 08:34, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
If you're asking for a dictionary that uses a symbol to indicate a difference in incidence, then that would be the OED and its use of ɪ. If you're asking about a dictionary that uses IPA symbols that are more extremely different from pronunciation (hence showing the wiggle room I'm talking about), that would be the Macquarie Dictionary, which uses the Mitchell-Delbridge system to transcribe Australian pronunciations and presents Australian English as being minimally distinct from RP pronunciation.
I'm assuming that you are being flippant in your imprecise characterization of my point that the symbol used in phonemic representations is less clearly tied to the phonetic truth of a vowel as "the symbols do not matter." To find a linguist who makes this point about phonemic transcription, we need only a quick Google search to find English Phonetics and Phonology by Peter Roach, who says (p.35):

"Since the phonemic symbols do not have to indicate precise phonetic quality, it is possible to choose from several possible symbols to represent a particular phoneme..."

He goes on to detail some of the ways English phonemic transcription has varied. Perhaps @RoachPeter: can elaborate on this point and provide some professional expert insight on this issue.
Another thing, you have implied strongly that Wells prefers more phonetically accurate pronunciation symbols, but the link you provide has him arguing for less phonetically accurate symbols in favor of tradition. In addition, he even says of the HAPPPY vowel that i "was intended as a kind of cover symbol, which everyone could interpret in their own way: traditionalists could think of it as identical with /ɪ/, whereas users of the tenser vowel might want to identify it with /iː/. I followed this lead in my LPD and so subsequently did Roach..." Despite Wells's criticism of diaphonemes, that sounds a lot like a diaphonemic transcription akin to OED's ɪ. So your source provided actually indicates the opposite of what you are trying to prove. I won't bother to ask you to find a linguist arguing that symbols used in phonemic transcriptions must be as phonetically precise as possible, because that view (even if you could find a scholar espousing it) does not reflect usage in scholarship. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 17:33, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
This is not about phonetic precision. We are not talking about phonetic transcriptions, but about dictionary style phonemic transcriptions and, more specifically, about OR in these transcriptions. Do any relevant sources (major dictionaries, in this case) use the pronunciation symbols we use?
Of course Wells is arguing for less phonetically accurate symbols “in favor of tradition”. It is the tradition that matters. Phonemic symbols cannot just be made up on the spot. They should agree to tradition. They are not only arbitrary, but also conventional. That is Wells’s point. On Wikipedia, we have all the more reason not to be arbitrary but to follow the conventions that exist out there because this is what the WP:Core content policies demand. I have not checked out Peter Roach yet, but I doubt very much that he would have said that the choice of signs does not matter. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 01:23, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
As this conversation has developed, it has become apparent that the charge of original research rests wholly on your claim that IPA symbols are content. If IPA symbols are not content, there can be no original research and our choice is merely a matter of in-house convention; you are in the position of having to persuade other editors that IPA symbols are content. As such, it is incumbent on you to avoid unbecoming rhetorical tactics that make you appear closed-minded, wrongheaded, or ignorant. This means that you want to avoid mischaracterizing the arguments of other contributors (as you have now done twice), lest you become guilty of strawmanning; contradicting yourself is also something you want to avoid and I'm seeing a very large contradiction in your argument.
As your justification for the charge of original research, you argued (in the comment datestamped 14:09, 30 October) that the use of a particular IPA symbol in phonemic transcription comes with the claim that the phoneme it denotes carries the precise phonetic value of that symbol as laid out by the IPA. In other words, for an IPA symbol to be part of content, there would have to be an implicit claim of phonetic accuracy in phonemic transcription. If, as I have argued, there is wiggle room or stretching in this regard, then there is not an implicit claim of phonetic accuracy in phonemic transcriptions. When I pointed out the flaws in this argument (namely, the presence of imprecision in phonemic transcriptions, including those of dictionaries), you changed your argument to make the claim that those instances of phonetic imprecision in phonemic transcription are due to tradition or convention. But, in the context of your claim that the use of a particular IPA symbol reflects a particular interpretation or phonetic claim, this is irrelevant. Using ɹ or r in phonemic transcription does not reflect different interpretations of English phonology or phonetics.
For tradition to matter in the context of phonemic transcription, we would have to find consistent phonetic accuracy in phonemic transcription in linguistic literature. You know this, which is why you originally made the case that this was so. It is not so. Without this accuracy, the tradition you appeal to is merely a series of in-house conventions. We are thus at liberty, as far as our OR policy goes, to choose whatever style we wish. There may be merits to avoiding serious deviations from typical conventions, but our OR policy does not restrict us in this regard. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 08:02, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
You are right that my POV rests on the claim that pronunciation symbols are content. Vice versa, your POV rests on the claim that pronunciation symbols are not content. There is no default assumption that makes your POV automatically right. I have backed my POV with a relevant WP:SOURCE (see [2]). Here is another one: Jack Windsor Lewis: “IPA vowel symbols for British English in dictionaries”. In: Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33/2, 2003, pp. 143-152. Vice versa, you have not yet cared to find any sources for your POV.
If anything, then the proof of burden is heavier on your side, since you want the WP:Core content policies not to apply. I simply want them to apply, which should be the default case on Wikipedia.
I have not changed my argument. <meta discussion> It is not very nice of you that you accuse me of misrepresenting your argument while you misrepresent mine. </meta discussion> I have said that in a case such as ⟨aː⟩, the use of ⟨ː⟩ indicates a long vowel which clashes with the use for /æ/. I stand by this argument. It does not contradict the “wiggle room” at all. You have fabricated a contradiction by expanding my argument about ⟨ː⟩ into the typical straw man that there is always “phonetic accuracy in phonemic transcriptions”. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 10:23, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
Just to clear up some facts: ː in English transcriptions does not necessarily indicate a phonetically long vowel. For instance, /iː/ in teacher undergoes two types of clipping: pre-fortis clipping (because of the following fortis /tʃ/ within the same syllable) and rhythmic clipping (because the next syllable contains a weak vowel /ə/), which makes /iː/ phonetically quite short (source: Longman Pronunciation Dictionary). Also, the "long" vowels before fortis consonants are almost exactly as long as the "short" vowels before lenis consonants, whereas the supposedly "short" /æ/ often has the same length as the supposedly "long" /ɑː/ in RP (at least before lenis consonants), despite being transcribed without the length marks (source: the latest edition of Gimson's Pronunciation of English). Peter238 (talk) 11:57, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
A sign such as /ː/ is first and foremost a phonemic sign. Phonemic length is a concept related to, but not equal to phonetic length. In English, phonemic length is relevant to syllable structure: Only phonemically long vowels are allowed in syllables with an empty coda. Phonemically short vowels must have a non-empty coda. Therefore, /ː/ is equivalent to a coda consonant or to a diphthong offglide. The ⟨ː⟩ in our OR ⟨aː⟩ may or may not represent phonemic length, but a person with moderate knowledge of the IPA could not possibly know this unless they visited the dedicated help page. There are no WP:SOURCES yet for our peculiar usage of ⟨ː⟩. It seems to be WP:Original research. The WP:BURDEN of proof is with those who want to keep ⟨aː⟩. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 15:56, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
To a large extent, you're right (and I also want to get rid of using /aː/, at least in non-BATH words). However, there are exceptions to the rules you've mentioned:
- Words such as tattoo. According to Wells, /tæˈtuː/ is the correct phonemic transcription, because the /t/ is aspirated. He also doesn't seem to like the idea of ambisyllabicity of such consonants (see [3]).
- The final HAPPY vowel in traditional RP, which used to be written simply as /ɪ/. There are probably some more exceptions. Peter238 (talk) 16:28, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Mach, if you are going to ignore my argumentation and mischaracterize my points as part of a strawman tactic, then you’re just wasting my time and yours. I have argued that the Wells source you provided and the Roach source I provided undermine your argument because they show that phonemic transcriptions do not have to be phonetically accurate. Intrinsic to this analysis is my reasoning that, if phonemic transcription does not have to be phonetically accurate, then it does not belie an interpretation and therefore is not content. You have neglected to address this idea in your most recent post, instead providing another source that works against a proper response to my reasoning, as it only gives examples of the half-dozen considerations for IPA symbolization in phonemic transcription (phonetic accuracy being only one of them); I can see how this source would be important to the point you are making (that tradition and consistency are important to IPA symbolization), but you should already know from my claim that you declined to respond to that I see appeals to these non-phonetic considerations as a further reinforcement of my claim. Please address this point. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 19:43, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

Would an acceptable solution be to just stop describing Wikipedia's in-house pronunciation system as "IPA" and say that it's a system that is based on IPA but has some differences? -- Dr Greg  talk  12:28, 31 October 2015 (UTC)

No, that would not make the transcription symbols any less Original Research. If an article on evolution contained Original Research, renaming the article to *evolootion would not solve the issue at all. There are only two ways that are in conformance with the WP:Core content policies: Either provide relevant sources or remove the challanged material. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 14:47, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting we rename any of the Wikipedia articles about IPA, nor that we describe the Wikipedia pronunciation convention within a Wikipedia article. I'm suggesting changes to the Wikipedia help pages (and associated pronunciation templates), which are not articles, to make it clear that they are about Wikipedia's in-house conventions and are not an accurate description of IPA. Do you object to Wikipedia's railway route diagrams (such as {{Settle-Carlisle Line}}) because they use symbols that were invented by Wikipedia editors? By your logic, wouldn't Wikipedia's Manual of Style be original research that would have to be replaced by someone else's house style from a reliable source? -- Dr Greg  talk  15:32, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
I do not know whether there are accepted standards for railway diagrams. But with regards to pronunciation symbols, there are accepted standards out there. The choice of pronunciation symbols goes beyond a mere styling convention. The symbols are meaningful (that’s their point). There is a tradition of how the symbols are being used for English. The symbols matter. And this is not just my personal POV, but it is a POV shared by prominent phoneticians.[4] --mach 🙈🙉🙊 15:58, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
@Peter238: Stress matters for syllable constraints (see Wells’s argumentation). The constraint that “short” vowels must not have an empty coda holds for stressed syllables.
@Ƶ§œš¹: Please believe me that I am not trying to misrepresent your point. I do not understand how you get from the undisputed fact that phonemic transcriptions are not entirely phonetically accurate to the conclusion that phonemic transcriptions do not have content (and that we are therefore free to deliberately invent our own transcription conventions). Anyway, I think another thing matters much more:

All material in Wikipedia mainspace, including everything in articles, lists and captions, must be verifiable. All quotations, and any material whose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged, must include an inline citation that directly supports the material.

When I WP:CHALLENGE the material, the burden of proof is not on my side, but on the side of those who want to keep the challenged material. Your attempts at arguing that some content is somehow exempt from the WP:Core content policies because it is not really content strike me as a very poor strategy. There are no such provisions in the core content policies. Your attempts at somehow reversing the burden of proof are contrary to the core content policies in letter and spirit. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 21:06, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
You said yourself that pronunciation symbols bear a load of interpretation. When I asked you what that interpretation was, you pointed to the phonetic value inherent in the symbols. Since we both know that there is wiggle room in phonemic transcription, it follows that the choice of symbols does not bear a load of interpretation in regards to phonetic value. Without interpretation, there is no content and NOR does not apply. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 22:42, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
Are you being serious? This is a ridiculous chain of misrepresentations and gaps. When asked what the interpretation was, I have not only pointed to the phonetic value inherent in the symbols. The “wiggle room” you put ever so much emphasis on does not mean that the signs do not bear a load of interpretation. Even if the choice of symbol would not bear a load of interpretation in regards to phonetic value, this does not mean there is no interpretation in other regards (e.g. phonology or verifiability). I do not know any basis for your preposterous claim that NOR depends on material being “content”, whatever you mean by that.
The issue is simple: There are WP:OR pronunciation symbols (you have admitted that yourself). I have WP:CHALLENGED them (like many have done before me). If nobody can provide any WP:Verification for these pronunciation symbols, they should be removed. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 23:38, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
Excuse me, but if your views are being misrepresented then it is yourself to blame for misrepresenting them. I quote:
Mach: "The choice of pronunciation symbols is a matter of interpretation, not a matter of style."
AE: "So when OED uses ɪ and we use ɨ, what is the different interpretation?"
Mach: "The difference in interpretation between the OED ɪ and our ɨ is that the sign ɨ by its IPA value is tied to the close central unrounded vowel."
Until your most recent comment, in which you brought up phonology (as well as verifiability, though this is a tautology), phonetics was the only arena in which you claimed interpretations could be applied to IPA symbols in phonemic transcriptions. With the addition if this new lens, I invite you to answer the following question:
When OED uses ɪ and we use ɨ, what is the different interpretation in regards to phonology?
Please don't mistake my omission of your other points as untoward gaps. I recognize them, but for the purpose of this line of argument, they are tangential. If you can't convince me that my reasoning is flawed, then to me they would also be irrelevant in the context of NOR. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 00:59, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

Okay, I am not a linguist (just a layperson with an interest in linguistics) but I think maybe this conversation could stand input from someone who isn't. First, I'm not taking sides (yet). I just want to point out a couple of things.

  1. One of our "core policies" — indeed, one of the five pillars — is ignore all rules. It does not say "ignore all rules except WP:NOR."
  2. Nobody who knows anything about linguistics would think any transcription system was making an "implicit claim of precise, phonetic accuracy", for the simple reason that precise, phonetic accuracy is unattainable in transcription systems despite the best efforts of hundreds of people for well over a century.
  3. Most readers probably can't make heads or tails of any of the transcription systems currently in use on Wikipedia articles (or most other places), with the possible exception of when there are mouseovers saying "x as in word", so it's not the end of the world that there are issues with every single option we have for indicating pronunciation in articles.
  4. Personal attacks are at least as likely to prejudice bystanders against you as the person you vilify.—GrammarFascist contribstalk 00:49, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
@Ƶ§œš¹: You may have overlooked where I have introduced other meaning carried by the choice of pronunciation symbols (not surprising in this discussion). See my above contribution Is it OK for pronunciation symbols to be Original Research?: re (diff=688228258].
The difference between the OED using ɪ and us using ɨ, what is the different interpretation in regards to phonology? One of our WP:Core content policies is that we only use material that is really being used out there. So our using ⟨ɨ⟩ implies that this is really being used out there in other dictionaries, or at least in phonemic analysis. Apparently, this is not true. That is not a tautology – unless I were arguing against your point that some material is not “content” and therefore exempt from WP:VER and WP:NOR, but I’d first like to see you making a convincing case for that. Additionally, the OED use associates the sign with /ɪ/, but our use does not.
I know that the WP:BURDEN of proof is not on my side, but on yours, but here is yet another source where Wells states very clearly that in a transcription system “the choice of symbol set will tend to reflect decisions about (i) segmentation of the language data and (ii) its phonemicization or phonological treatment.” And immediately following: “In practice the same data set may be transcribed in more than one way” (Phonetic transcription and analysis, published in the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics). There is no contradiction between the two. Both hold true. Your line of thought seems to be roughly that because of the second (data may be transcribed in more than one way), the first cannot be true (choice of symbols reflects analysis). While you have not yet provided any sources to back up this reasoning, I have accumulated more and more sources that state the contrary.
@GrammarFascist: Thanks for your thoughts. I know that there is WP:5P5 (Wikipedia has no firm rules). But there is also WP:5P1 (Wikipedia is an encyclopedia) and WP:5P2 (Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view), which explicitly includes WP:Verifiability. We are free to ignore all rules, but it seems to me that ignoring all rules in a central place that has consequences for countless articles is not the best idea. That is why I’d rather stick to WP:NPOV, V and OR in this particular case. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 08:04, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Your second Wells source is instructive in the kinds of phonological interpretations notation can carry. But he also makes it clear that typographic "simplicity" (as opposed to phonological or phonetic interpretations) may also be behind IPA symbolization choices. For example, the modified form of the EPD transcription was altered for EFL texts because it was not "maximally simple." The contrast between transcribing TRAP and START as æ and ɑː vs. a and thus does not reflect differing phonological interpretations, but rather typographic concerns.
Turning to ɪ, the phonological interpretation you offer is that the OED symbol "associates the sign with /ɪ/" (the other interpretation that you peg as phonological has more to do with verifiability, which, again, is tautological) while our notation does not. It is a bit of a stretch to call this reading of the notation a phonological claim, and counterintuitive given your second Wells source where the introduction of i and u are explicitly described as archiphonemes or underspecified vowels, despite using IPA symbolization that, going by your logic, would associate them with /iː/ and /uː/, respectively (which would neglect their intended purpose). Wells says it is possible to use different notations even with the same phonological analysis, and I think this is what is going on with our use of ɨ. The interpretation is the same, and the difference is that it is simpler because it uses a character that is more accessible across more devices.
Since I am not opposed to using ᵻ, ᵿ and we may be switching over to them if no one objects. Maybe we should focus on ɵ instead. It seems as though OED uses ə(ʊ) while we use ɵ. What are the differing phonological interpretations between them? — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 03:59, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

The solution is simple: 1) Do not use synthetic "diaphonemic" transcriptions that are unsupported in reliable and verifiable sources. 2) Do use transcriptions that are supported in reliable and verifiable sources, and identify each source clearly.

If that means showing a number of different transcriptions for GA, RP, AusE, etc. then so be it: it's a genuine acknowledgement of the true diversity of the English language, rather than an attempt to bury that diversity under a factitious synthesis.

The ultimate problem with the existing Wikipedese transcription is that it is founded upon a falsehood.RandomCritic (talk) 15:41, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

@Ƶ§œš¹: Please stop claiming that my references to WP:VER are tautological. As I have said repeatedly, they are not. A tautology is an argumentation where you start from the same point you are trying to make. I am not trying to prove that certain material violates WP:VER (or WP:OR or WP:NPOV). In fact, I am not trying to prove anything. What I am doing is something else: I am challenging certain material. This means, the WP:BURDEN of proof is entirely on your side. By trying to conveniently reverse the burden of proof, you are not playing fair. I confess I have been guilty of playing along by providing sources even though it is not me who is trying to prove anything. I should not have done that in the first place.
A transcription like ⟨ɵ⟩ should be removed for the following reasons:
  1. It violates WP:VER (like the transcriptions ⟨ɨ ʉ aː ɒ:⟩) – nobody has provided any source where it is used in phonemic transcriptions, let alone in major dictionaries. This is not a tautology. As the challenger, it is not my job to prove that ⟨ɵ⟩ etc. violates WP:VER. On the contrary, it is your job to disprove it.
  2. It violates WP:NPOV (like the transcriptions ⟨ɪ ʊ⟩ or like mandatory rhotic transcriptions) – many relevant sources use different transcriptions. This is not a tautology. As the challenger, it is not my job to prove that ⟨ɵ⟩ etc. violates WP:NPOV. On the contrary, it is your job to disprove it.
  3. Nobody has provided any source that any English dialect has a close-mid central rounded vowel phonetically (for the sound we are using it for). As the challenger, it is not my job to prove this point. On the contrary, it is your job to disprove it.
  4. Nobody has provided any source that an analyisis of any English dialect has a close-mid central rounded vowel phonemically (for the sound we are using it for). As the challenger, it is not my job to prove this point. On the contrary, it is your job to disprove it.
The typographic argumentations Wells is referring to are illicit on Wikipedia because they would violate WP:NOR. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 08:50, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Mach, you should've at least checked the article close-mid central rounded vowel before you linked to it, because it provides answers to your third and fourth question: RP /ʊ/ tends to be phonetically [ɵ] for younger speakers, whereas New Zealand /ɜː/ (analyzed as /ɵː/ by the source) can be phonetically [ɵː]. That source also says that NZ /ʉː/ can also be [ɵː]. Peter238 (talk) 13:35, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
You are right. I forgot to mention that I was only referring to the sound we are representing with ⟨ɵ⟩ (the first vowel of the word omission which can be either /oʊ/ or /ǝ/): Nobody has provided any sources that this particular sound is pronounced as [ɵ] or analyzed as /ɵ/ according to any relevant source. And it violates WP:VER and WP:NPOV. And the WP:BURDEN of proof is on the side of those who want to keep the sign, not on my side. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 13:50, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
I think we have been talking over each other a bit. It has seemed to me like you were using OR policies as reasons to justify why IPA symbolization is content, but then I am starting to think that you don't understand we are even talking about whether or not IPA symbolization is content, especially after a close reading of a previous comment of yours, where you say "That is not a tautology – unless I were arguing against your point that some material is not 'content' and therefore exempt from WP:VER and WP:NOR, but I’d first like to see you making a convincing case for that." When you say "unless I were" it sounds like you think that you are not in the position of arguing against this point. But you most certainly should be. In fact, at this point in the conversation, that's all you should be doing.
Let me make it clear. Because I am in the position of arguing that IPA symbolization is not content, you are indeed currently in the position of arguing against it. Thus, bringing up NOR policies over and over again sounds like you're using them as justification for your argument against this point. I believe now that you have missed that this is the line of argumentation you should be focusing on, though I don't know why you think this. Even if, as you say, the burden of proof is on me, we both still should be focusing on just that line of argumentation. Failing to do so has created what has appeared to me absurd logic from your part. Look at this gem of an exchange:
AE: "When OED uses ɪ and we use ɨ, what is the different interpretation in regards to phonology?"
Mach: "One of our Core content policies is that we only use material that is really being used out there. So our using ɨ implies that this is really being used out there in other dictionaries, or at least in phonemic analysis."
As a direct response to my question, this is nonsensical. This is a tautological answer because it depends on NOR applying, but you are currently in the position of arguing that NOR even applies. This is textbook circular reasoning. Again, in order for you to be able to challenge something, it has to be content. If it is not content, then OR doesn’t apply. Because you are talking to an editor who (along with others) does not believe it to be content, bringing up NOR as evidence is tautological.
In another case of talking over each other, you have failed to answer my question and instead answered a related question that I did not ask. I will ask again, what is the difference in interpretation between ə(ʊ) and ɵ in regards to phonology? — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 17:44, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

This claim has been debunked numerous times. Any time someone speaks of the "STRUT vowel", they are referring to a diaphoneme. Huddleston & Pullum in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language even use an IPA diaphonemic transcription. — kwami (talk) 01:04, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

Bringing the focus back to the original question: Is it OK for pronunciation symbols to be Original Research?[edit]

The point is the following: I am challenging anybody to prove that certain pronunciation symbols do not constitute original research. These symbols include ⟨ɵ⟩ used as a “diaphonemic” sign for /oʊ/ or /ə/ as in occasion (for a complete list see Help talk:IPA for English). The WP:BURDEN of proof is on the side of those who want to keep the pronunciation symbols I have challenged. So far, none of the editors who would like to keep the challenged pronunciation symbols have produced any relevant sources for keeping them.

@Ƶ§œš¹: Your line of thought hinges on two assumptions that have not been justified so far:

  • First assumption: WP:NPOV, V and OR do not apply to all material, but only to material that is “content”. – Why? What is your basis for this assumption? Where do you draw the line?
  • Second assumption: Pronunciation symbols are not “content”. – Why? What is your basis for this assumption? What else are they?

Since your entire line of thought stands and falls with these two assumptions, please justify them before you continue. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 20:53, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Wow, really? That's what I've been trying to do this whole time. I could repeat myself, but that would be redundant. We were going along a line of argumentation. Why don't you just answer the question I asked you? — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 22:53, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

⟨ɵ⟩ was taken directly from one of the sources we based the consensus on when we added those symbols. The BATH and CLOTH symbols may be our own invention, but since symbols are arbitrary that doesn't matter. We could use astrological signs if we wanted to. — kwami (talk) 01:09, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

@Ƶ§œš¹: This discussion is about a simple question: Is original research in pronunciation symbols acceptable? The discussion shifted away to the content/non-content issue. To me, that issue has always been an irrelevant side issue bordering on sophistry. I know the shift is my fault as well, because of the unfortunate way I framed my initial contribution.
I do not have a strong opinion about the content/non-content issue. I just think that pronunciation symbols have to be verifiable like everything else that belongs to the article text. I think they are not really different from other text: They carry a meaning, they are spelled according to an accepted system, and there can be special style.
Now if you could convince me that the content/non-content issue is relevant, things would be different. But you will not succeed in convincing me if you only argue that my half-hearted claims about pronunciation symbols not being non-content are not convincing. Your point would be much more convincing to me if you had positive reasons why pronunciation symbols should be excluded from the WP:Core content policies.
I have looked through your contributions searching for positive reasons. I have not found any. If I have missed them, could you please point me to them (no need for repetition)? There are plenty of contributions where you argue that my half-hearted claims about pronunciation symbols not being non-content are not convincing. But that is quite different from you actually arguing that pronunciation symbols are non-content. Also, it is not me who is trying to make this point, but you. My point is about original research. Therefore, I think we could get much better to the bottom of this if you take the matter into hands and really present your point.
@kwami: Well, if there are relevant sources, where are they then? Rumoured sources or sources vaguely hinted at do not get us anywhere, and they certainly do not satisfy the original research challenge. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 08:29, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
I guess the long and the short of it is that, while you have said that the choice of symbols is a matter of interpretation, I disagree with this. I see it as simply a matter of style. This is what the content/non-content discussion has been about. You have, upon my asking, offered two manners in which these symbols provide interpretation (phonemic and phonetic), but I am so far unconvinced on both counts (at least as it applies to the three symbols in question). Although I could ask you to provide sourcing for these interpretations (since, of course, it is an undue burden to ask someone to prove a negative), I have not because I believe parties throwing the burden of proof back and forth at each other is unproductive. I have instead tried to get you to fully articulate the interpretations behind the symbols as you see them, but have had some trouble. This is not to say that I don't think we have gotten anywhere, but I don't feel like I have gotten you to fully articulate your case in a manner that clarifies your viewpoint. In some cases, it is because you have ignored my questions; in this case, you have simply ceased a line of discussion because you didn't see its merits.
I think here and at Help talk:IPA for English Kwami has more flippantly referred to other in-house styles as an analogy to our transcription system. I, too, have pointed to our other in-house conventions to illustrate our approach to IPA transcriptions. There are certainly things that we do not need to cite because they are in-house conventions, though your appeals to our NOR policy don't seem to invite allowance of any of them at the same time that you acknowledge that there are things our NOR policy does not apply to. I'm at a loss as to what principle you are using to distinguish the two. Maybe it would help if you elaborated on that. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 09:28, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
P.S.: Arbitrariness is only one aspect of symbols. The other aspect is conventionality. It makes that we can understand symbols. If symbols were only arbitrary, they would be utterly incomprehensible. By demanding WP:VER, Wikipedia puts an emphasis on conventionality. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 09:21, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
@Ƶ§œš¹: I am not asking you to prove a negative. I am asking you: What are your reasons for believing that pronunciation symbols are style? Is it the fact that the same phonemes can be written in different ways? While that superficially resembles a division of form and content, it is more similar to the way writing works in general. The same words can be spelled in various ways. The choice matters. We accept, for instance, both the spellings cipher and cypher, but not *cifer – even though it reads the same and signs are arbitrary. Consider also that pronunciation symbols constitute text that can be easily copied off Wikipedia, just like any other material in the article space, whereas style is something else. I know that some aspects in the WP:MOS concern copyable material as well, e.g. punctuation – but Wikipedia has never invented any new punctuation signs of its own, or adapted punctuation-like signs to be used for punctuation.
I know that throwing the burden of proof back and forth is unproductive. However, in discussions of verifiability on Wikipedia, there is a clear rule about which party has to bear the burden of proof. Please have a look at Wikipedia:Verifiability#Responsibility for providing citations.
You are trying to corner me on the interpretation of pronunciation symbols. But that has only been a part of what I have been saying. I think, more generally, that the choice of symbols matters (and it matters not only to me, but to renown phoneticians), just like the choice of any other material we put into the article space. And, BTW, I have indeed answered you that the difference between ⟨ə(ʊ)⟩ and ⟨ɵ⟩ with regards to phonology is that the latter posits a novel (dia)phoneme, but I have also answered that the other aspects of the difference seem at least as important to me: the violation of WP:NPOV, V and OR and the association with the close-mid central rounded vowel. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 10:49, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
It only matters if there is interpretation behind the symbolization. This is why I have been focusing on it. I can respond to your argument that ə(ʊ) and ɵ differ in that the latter posits a novel diaphoneme (which is not how I read your 4th point, but I see now that is what you intended) but it seems like you are not currently predisposed toward going further down this line of argumentation. This is why I asked you to elaborate on your understanding of when NOR does and does not apply, but you seem to have missed this in your response. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 17:07, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
According to WP:NOR, the policy applies to all material in the article space, and in especial to material that has been challenged. You seem to want to exclude certain material. I have asked you to elaborate, but so far, you have not answered.
I do not understand what you mean by: “It only matters if there is interpretation behind the symbolization.” I think other considerations matter very much, especially WP:NPOV, V and OR: We should choose widely used symbols over fringe symbols, we should choose verifiable symbols over non-verifiable symbols, and we should not make up our own symbols. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 18:18, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
Our policy on original research applies to the facts, but not the presentation of these facts. Our IPA symbolization is merely the presentation of facts. Take a look at the table in glottal stop. NOR applies to the languages and dialects listed, the example words, the orthographic representation, the pronunciations, and any claims made. It does not apply to the order in which these columns appear. No one can charge that we are conducting original research because the table format is of our own construction. However, by the logic you've presented, one could indeed make that charge. I know you don't believe this to be the case, but you haven't outlined how you distinguish between things that cannot be challenged (such as the table format) and things that can. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 18:29, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
Sure, assembling data in a table format does not fall under WP:NOR (see Wikipedia:What SYNTH is not#SYNTH is not ubiquitous). But this discussion is not about assembling data in a table, but about the choice of pronunciation symbols. I fail to see the connection. Please explain.
Your argumentation about facts and presentation of facts sounds nice and catchy. However, there are two major problems:
  1. The policy WP:NOR does not justify your argumentation about facts and presentation of facts. (This means I am challenging your assertion that “[o]ur policy on original research applies to the facts, but not the presentation of these facts.”)
  2. You have not justified why the choice of pronunciation symbols should solely belong to the presentation side. (This means I am challenging your assertion that “[o]ur IPA symbolization is merely the presentation of facts.”)
In other words, your argumentation continues to be unfounded. I have asked you the same two questions in the first contribution to this subsection, but you have not answered.
And be assured: I am not just bugging you about something that is obvious. Your argumentation is really not obvious at all. Suppose it were obvious – which it is not –: then it should be extremely easy for you to come up with convincing justifications. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 19:41, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
I brought up IAR months ago and you rejected it. Now you are using it to deflect my request for you to explain how you distinguish material that should and should not be cited in Wikipedia space. Your argumentation is getting shakier as we go along. You say that the choice of symbols "matters" but when I try to peg down how it matters, your arguments fail. It matters because it symbols carry an interpretation? Not necesarily, according to both Wells and Roach. It matters because of the conventionality of IPA symbolization? This is most certainly false, not only based on the comments that RoachPeter has most recently provided at Help talk:IPA for English, but in the Wells source that outlines the many ways that English is transcribed (this shows, by the way, an important distinction between orthographic conventions, which are strong in English, and IPA notational standards, which are are much weaker for English; your cipher/cypher/cifer example is thus a non-sequitor). It matters because of our OR policy? This is circular reasoning. It matters because people might copy us? This is another non-sequitor.
For each of these lines of reasoning, either your logic has failed or you have failed to follow through on the rationales for your perspective. You then keep asking me to provide sources and "positive" claims for what is, basically, a negative assertion. The repetitiveness and false starts are getting tiresome, making me doubt that we can really get any further in the conversation. I'll repeat what I said before: we must apply common sense to our approach to core policies with IPA symbolization. OR does not limit our choice of symbols because this choice is an in-house convention.
There is currently a conversation regarding potential changes in some of the IPA symbolization over at Help talk:IPA for English. I see merits in some of the arguments in favor of change, but I would rather contain the discussion in just one place. I invite Mach and other editors to contribute to the discussion there, rather than here. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 08:47, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
I am only asking you to justify the basis of your argumentation. In your above contribution [5], you have expressed your argumentation very concisely: “Our policy on original research applies to the facts, but not the presentation of these facts. Our IPA symbolization is merely the presentation of facts.” What is the basis for this argumentation? I do not know whether you do not want to justify your argumentation, or whether you cannot justify your argumentation. But as long as you do not justify your argumentation, please stop building upon it.
Where have I ever referred to IAR? If I have left the impression of referring to IAR by using bad English, I apologize. It is not my native tongue. I assure you that referring to IAR has not been my intention.
I agree that this discussion has become repetitive. From my POV, the repetitiveness is that I keep asking you to justify your argumentation, but you keep refusing to answer, instead trying to shift off the discussion into irrelevant side-tracks (from my POV).
There is no circularity in my referring to WP:NOR. By simply repeating your argumentation over and over, you do nothing to justify it. You have not justified the basis of your claim so far, even though I have asked you to do so over and over again. All your other claims of having disproved my points are equally void because the basis for your argumentation has not been justified so far. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 12:09, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
If you don't think your link to WP:SYNTH is an appeal to IAR, then you clearly don't know what IAR is. I'll leave it to other editors to determine if my refutations of your arguments are "void" just because I haven't attempted to prove a negative. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 15:27, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────WP:SYNTH has nothing to do with WP:IAR. It is an aspect of WP:NOR or, more precisely, a shortcut that leads to Wikipedia:No original research#Synthesis of published material.

Nobody is attempting to “prove a negative” (as you have put it). You want me to prove that pronunciation symbols are “content” (as you have put it). Why should I? You have not proven that they are “presentation” either (as you have put it). What is more, I do not see any relevance to the question whether you want to call them “content” or “presentation”. What matters is that pronunciation symbols belong to the “material” WP:NPOV, V and OR refer to. Why shouldn’t they?

I think the outcome of this long discussion is that it is not OK for pronunciation symbols to be original research. Some editors think it is OK, some think it isn’t. What matters is that none of the editors who think it is OK has provided any justification for their reasoning, let alone a WP:SOURCE. You have merely stated that: “Our policy on original research applies to the facts, but not the presentation of these facts. Our IPA symbolization is merely the presentation of facts.” However, I do not see any justification for either statement, and you have not provided any such justification even though I have asked you repeatedly. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 18:00, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

I most certainly did provide sourcing. I also got input from a phonetician (who disagrees with you on this point) and demonstrated how the sources you provided undermined your own claims and backed up mine. That you refuse to acknowledge these points doesn't make them go away. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 02:21, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
Come on, I have read your posts. You have not provided any source that says it is OK for pronunciation symbols to be original research. You have only cited from two sources: Roach saying that the same phoneme can be represented in different ways, and Wells affirming that ⟨i⟩ is “a kind of cover symbol” (both in the same contribution: [6]). I do not “refuse to acknowledge these points”. To the contrary: I perfectly agree with them. However, I fail to see any connection to the question we are talking about: Is it OK for pronunciation symbols to be original research? To be fair, you have constructed such a connection by interpreting Roach’s quote as saying that “the symbols do not matter”. However, I do not understand how you have come up with this interpretation. It is not what Roach has written (at least not in the quote you have cited).
And then, you have put a huge effort in forcing me to argue that pronunciation symbols are content and then nit-picking my contributions to find superficial contradictions. Again, I fail to see any connection to the question we are talking about: Is it OK for pronunciation symbols to be original research? That is why I stopped following you on this irrelevant side-track even though I think you have not been successfull in finding any real contradictions.
At this stage, please cite from relevant sources or from policies to make your point. Anything else would just be tiresome repetition. Some editors think it is OK for pronunciation symbols to be original research – you are among them –, some think it isn’t. What matters is that none of the editors who think it is OK has provided any justification for their reasoning, let alone a WP:SOURCE. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 08:09, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
It isn't "nitpicking" to point out the glaring logical errors in your reasoning. Let's see if this will work for you:
1. WP:NOR defines "material" as "facts, allegations, and ideas." It defines "synthesis" as combinations that "imply a conclusion not stated by the sources"
2. Our transcription system is not material
2a. We are not stating unsourced facts. We are using ɵ as a transcriptional variant of OED's ə(ʊ) and explicitly state that it represents a difference in incidence (for a technical definition of a difference in incidence, see diasystem). Our use of is (apparently) novel but likewise does not represent facts about English (namely, a difference in incidence) that are not sourced.
2b. We are likewise not alleging anything novel in this system. Because the cognitive reality of diaphonemes is generally considered to be absent, their use in our transcription system should not be construed to imply that diaphonemes "exist" inside someone's mental grammar. They are tools used for transcriptional expediency, something backed up by sources (as seen here generally and used specifically for English by CGEL).
2c. We are not putting forth new ideas. Our articles on diaphoneme and diasystem are well-sourced. Use of the IPA for diaphonemes (including marking phonemes not present in all dialects and using a symbol to represent archiphonemes or differences in incidence) is not novel, even if it is somewhat uncommon.
3. We are not synthesizing OR. Our use of is to transcribe words that are transcribed with the TRAP vowel in some dictionaries and the PALM vowel in others. This does not state or imply a conclusion beyond this difference in incidence, which is backed up by sourcing (found at diaphoneme).
4. Because our transcription system is not material and it does not state or imply unsourced conclusions, it does not fall under the purview of WP:NOR. It is, instead, the presentation of material. If we are worried that readers will mistakenly read conclusions into our system that we don't intend (such as that ɵ represents a phoneme distinct from both /oʊ/ and /ə/ and/or that is phonetically [ɵ]), it is still a problem worth addressing, but it is not original research.
5. Finally, the categorization of transcription as presentation, rather than material, is well-founded across Wikipedia. WP:Romanization lists all of Wikipedia's romanization schemes, many of which are novel or unsourced modifications from established systems. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 15:54, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
I repeat: Please cite WP:SOURCES for your claim that the choice of transcription symbols is merely “presentation, rather than material”.
Many thanks for pointing to WP:Romanization. I have looked through it, and I am very pleased. It appears that the common practice is using established transliteration systems from outside of Wikipedia. Also, most of the system explicitly state that they are meant to be used with common sense: They are not rigid standards that have to be followed at all costs, but they allow for flexibility – I wish we could have something similar at Help:IPA for English. I am sorry I have not found any of the “novel or unsourced modifications from established systems” you are referring to – again: please cite. Most of the pages linked on WP:Romanization are naming conventions, so their purpose is slightly different from the purpose of Help:IPA for English. The only exception is Wikipedia:Indic transliteration. Interestingly, it identifies as a content guideline – contrary to the point you are trying to make. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 17:12, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
We have already gone over three sources and how they indicate the arbitrariness of symbolization. You have conceded this point already, so you can't suddenly act like we haven't covered this. Additional sources are not needed. We won't find an outside source that talks about Wikipedia conventions, so expecting sources to use the specific language of Wikipedia is an absurd standard.
Modification of romanization schemes at Wikipedia:
Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 18:26, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
You keep missing the point: I am not asking you to cite sources for “the arbitrariness of symbolization”. As I have said repeatedly, we have these sources already and I fully agree that symbolization is arbitrary (though I would add that it is also conventional, in the terms of Saussure – arbitrariness and conventionality are two sides of the same coin).
What I am asking you is to cite sources that symbolization is “presentation, rather than material”. Or, in other words, sources that the choice of symbols is irrelevant. That is really not the same thing – aritrariness does not equal irrelevance. Why should it be the same thing? Please cite sources (be it from within the Wikipedia policies or from without Wikipedia).
With regard to the “novel or unsourced modifications from established systems” in WP:Romanization: Please cite actual examples of these modifications so we can compare with the modifications in Help:IPA for English. I believe the modifications in WP:Romanization are not new usages that negatively impact readability (like the modifications in Help:IPA for English), but only simplifications or mild cases of synthesis. But I have not found any of these modifications yet. Please cite a few examples so we can compare. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 19:25, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
One of us is missing something. Since I have neither asserted nor implied that IPA symbolization is "irrelevant" you are either making a gross error in your reading of what I have said or making a logical leap in your view that "presentation of fact" is the same as "irrelevant." If it is the latter (as I suspect), you will need to explain to me how symbolization not being "material" makes our choices of symbolization "irrelevant." As I see it, symbolization not being material simply means it is not a fact or claim or something that implies facts or claims. Our choice of symbolization still matters, particularly to readers who we want to understand the system. But this is a separate issue from original research.
I have done the work I need to indicate my point that we create novel transcriptions in our romanization schemes and that such schemes are not original research. That we use readability as a guide in constructing these in-house modifications is a separate issue. If you have an issue with the readability, rather than original research (as you seem to be implying now at Help talk:IPA for English) of our IPA transcription scheme, then that is the case you need to be making, not the one you have been arguing for here. Again, this is not the place for such a discussion. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 06:18, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
OK then, we have four different claims about pronunciation symbols: (a) The are original research; (b) they are arbitary; (c) they are relevant; and (d) they are “presentation”, not material. We agree on (a) [7], (b) and (c), but we disagree on (d). Next step: Please justify why pronunciation symbols are “presentation” by citing from a relevant source or from a policy. Next step after that: Please justify how alleged presentation-ness makes up for being original research by citing from a policy.
Since you cannot show that the modified symbols in WP:Romanization are more than mere simplifications or mild cases of synthesis (using a symbol from a different previously published source), I must conclude that there is no precedence for original research symbols in Help:IPA for English. If you disagree, please prove me wrong by citing from relevant sources and from the pages in WP:Romanization.
I do not have “have an issue with the readability, rather than original research” – I have an issue with newness (see [8]). Original research is a Wikipedia term for newness (“material added to articles that has not been published already by a reputable source”). Readability issues are an inevitable result of original research/newness. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 08:50, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

COMMENT - to both mach and Ƶ§œš¹... Stop ... engaging in an endless two person argument is not productive. It's time for you both to step back... to give others a chance to read your comments, ask questions (if necessary) and give their opinions. Blueboar (talk) 13:12, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

That seems fair, though I think the conversation is already impenetrable to those not following along. At this point, I think no response is necessary for Mach anyway, as I have already answered the questions he is asking. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 16:51, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
@Blueboar: Please excuse my posting again. But since Ƶ§œš¹ couldn’t contain himself, I will respond.
@Ƶ§œš¹: I have asked you to cite from relevant sources or policies. You have done no such thing. The only sources you have cited were on an side-issue we agree on (see [9]). --mach 🙈🙉🙊 18:47, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
I cited policy here to explain why NOR doesn't apply. You ignored it. If my argument was unconvincing you haven't explained why. Since, as Blueboar has pointed out, this has turned into a two-way conversation that might produce a TL;DR glaze in people's eyes, I invite you to come to my talk page and continue the conversation there. If something productive comes from it, we can summarize it to others here or at Help talk:IPA for English (and, of course, other editors are welcome to join in). — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 07:37, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
I stopped a detailed critique of you posts because I wanted a more focussed discussion. But if you insist: Your citation in [10] is not a faithful. By omitting “such as” and adding “defines”, you have created the impression that what you are citing is a definition, even though it really is three examples. And I do not understand how you can say that the introduction of a new symbol such as ‘⟨aː⟩ represents the diaphoneme /æ/ or /ɑː/’ is “not putting forth new ideas”. The idea of an ⟨aː⟩ that represents the diaphoneme /æ/ or /ɑː/ is new, for all we know. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 10:41, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
We are continuing the bilateral exchange on User talk:J. 'mach' wust#IPA symbolization as OR. I will get back to this discussion which is still not resolved. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 09:18, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
That "this" is pronounced in a way that rhymes with "hiss" rather than "ice" or "toes" needs to be verifiable (which is not to say that it needs to be verified with a citation in the entry before it can be added: see Wikipedia:You don't need to cite that the sky is blue). How we notate/present the information is a question of style — currently we have two documented styles, "DHISS" and "ðɪs". WP:OR governs content, not style, and so is inapplicable here. If a particular element of one of the aforementioned notation styles is confusing and/or could be improved, discuss it on the appropriate talk page.
That the initiator of this (misplaced) thread, after it became clear that his/her view did not have consensus, proceeded to tag Help and MOS pages with an 'OR' tag is WP:POINTY and should be undone. Tagging a MOS page with an 'OR' tag all is bizarre; as someone observed further up the page, if you applied WP:OR to style — would we have to copy / cite guidelines to a pre-existing MOS like the AP's? That could be a problem inasmuch as I don't think the AP has rules for how wikilinks should be formatted, among many other things. -sche (talk) 10:48, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
If you are so sure of this, then please answer the following question that has not been answered yet: Why are pronunciation symbols mere style?
It seems you are confusing the transcription level (where the “style” is a transcription system and the “content” a pronunciation) with the single-symbol level (where the “style” is the shape of a symbol and the “content” its meaning). This discussion is about the single-symbol level: Single symbols such as ⟨aː⟩ representing ‘/æ/ OR /ɑː/’ are original research (even Ƶ§œš¹ admitted this, at least “[i]n a strict sense”, see [11]). Is there any reason why WP:NOR should only apply on the transcription level, and not on the single-symbol level?
It is not as if we did not have a choice. We can easily choose verified symbols instead of OR symbols. Why should we prefer an OR symbol that does not have a source over a symbol that has a source? --mach 🙈🙉🙊 12:33, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Improper tagging[edit]

I strongly object to User:J. 'mach' wust tagging Help:IPA for English and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation as WP:OR or needing citations, when there it's clear that there's a consensus that the MoS does not need citations and neither does a help page. The discussion above shows no consensus in support of mach's actions. I'm not going to get into an edit war over it, but mach might like to consider that it does nothing to help the case they are trying to make. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:40, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Help:IPA for English strongly recommends its pronunciation symbols to be used on the article space. Some of these pronunciation symbols are unsourced. Now where should I challenge these original research symbols? Should I make countless challenges on the article space in each instance where the symbols are really being used, or should I make one central original research challenge on Help:IPA for English? I think the latter is much more sensible.
As to consensus: There is no consensus one way or the other yet. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 19:47, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm not going to enter into a prolonged argument about this, but the consensus of which I speak is that MoS pages and help pages don't need citations. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:09, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
And the consensus of which I am speaking is that main article namespace pages do need citations. If a help page recommends original research symbols to be used in the main article namespace, the help page needs to be changed. Do you know a more appropriate place for challenging such original research than the help page (or this noticeboard)? --mach 🙈🙉🙊 12:18, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I refactored J. 'mach' wust's dispute at that guideline page to its talk page, where it belongs. {{Citation needed}} is a WP:V dispute template, and WP:V only applies to mainspace content, not WP's internal documentation like policy and guideline pages, which are determined by editorial consensus (often based on external sources we may cite informally in discussion), not on third-party authority. Continuing to editwar to misuse these templates is liable to be seen as disruptive just to make a point. It also smacks of WP:Forum shopping to carry the dispute to that guideline when it is not concluded here yet; when an issue is open at a noticeboard it's expected that discussion will centralize there.. As for the question "where should I challenge these original research symbols?", the answer would appear to be to wait for this discussion to conclude, then if it concludes there's a problem, raise the issue at Help talk:IPA for English, since WP:Manual of Style/Pronunciation is simply following its lead.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  12:46, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Wrong venue; internal documentation is not subject to WP:NOR[edit]

While I generally agree with RandomCritic's two numbered points at the top of the #Arbitrary break subjection, my answer to the OP question is the following: WP has more than one pronunciation indication system. One of them is based on a WP-novel synthesis of (mostly American) dictionary style pronunciations (pro-NUN-see-ay-shunz), the other is a derived and also synthetic simplified version of IPA. Both of these are "original research", as is virtually everything else in all WP guidelines, policies, essays, help pages, and other internal documentation. Our pronunciation guides are essentially permissible self-references; they are WP speaking as a party directly to the reader to provide help/instruction. They are not strictly speaking part of the content per se, but embedded within it. We could use a bot to replace all of these pronunciations with some new, third system at any time; they're arbitrary metadata. It's exactly the same in this regard as our own template-generated citation formats, geo-coding output, etc. If the WP consensus is that a particular IPA symbol normally used in one context is to be used by us, for simplicity reasons, in a different way (e.g. for broad transcription), then it's technically permissible as a matter of policy for us to do so. WP:V, WP:NPOV, and especially pertinent here, WP:NOR (the WP:CORE content policies) do not apply to such material and it's formatting. That is, the "original research" is not original research in the meaning of that policy.

All that said, I'm a stickler for adhering to standards as much as we can and not adopting part of one then violating another part of it, since it's confusing to readers familiar with the real standard, it has the effect (because of WP's worldwide influence) of spreading incorrect "WP-colloquial" use off of WP and into "the wild", it harms reusability of WP content, and it leads to fractious disputes like this one. (This is, for example, why I'm such a gnome about correctly using <br /> and other well-formed HTML and XML, not lazy constructions like "<br>"; the fact that MediaWiki corrects it on the fly before it hits the users' browser in the rendered page does not address all of the problems posed by encouraging substandard coding. It's also why I've worked so hard on the MOS:GLOSSARY system of HTML5-compliant definition-list templating.)

So, coming full circle to both the OP's and RandomCritic's points, I too suspect that it's a poor idea to use not-really-IPA the way we're doing. There would need to be an overwhelmingly solid rationale for doing that, and as a bit of a linguist by training (it was my university minor), I'm skeptical that that justification is so solid. But it should be resolved on the basis that it's a bad idea (cf. WP:COMMONSENSE), not on the false basis that it's some kind NOR policy problem. Essentially, the NOR noticeboard does not have "jurisdiction" over this dispute. It should be closed as unresolved here, and re-opened at Help talk:IPA for English, the locus of the decision to not-quite-properly use IPA in this way, and it should probably be done as a WP:RFC to get adequate eyeballs and brains drawn to the discussion. (And it will hopefully be more focused, not misapplying NOR and arguments based on it, focusing instead on the appropriateness and utility matters that are actually central to the issue.)  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:11, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

We all agree that the MOS does not fall under the WP:Core content policies. But that should not be used as a backdoor for sneeking new and unsourced material into the mainspace.
I disagree with your argumentation that pronunciation symbols belong to style. As I see it, they belong to the article text. They can be copied from the article text like anything else that belongs to the article text. We can easily provide sources for pronunciation symbols – whereas providing sources for true styles is often impossible because styles depend to a very high degree on the specific requirements of Wikipedia (e.g. geolocation schemes or heading style etc.). I concur that pronunciation symbols are similar to citation schemes. And indeed, WP:CITESTYLE recommends sticking to schemes that are being used outside of Wikipedia.
I think in the end, the only way out is that we agree to disagree about the question whether pronunciation symbols belong to mainspace material or to Wikipedia style. That does not rule out NOR. But you are right that common sense may be a less controversial basis for rejecting our new and unprecedented pronunciation symbols. Many thanks for that suggestion, and for suggesting a WP:RFC. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 14:29, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
I'll try to put this in totally different words (compared to my above 'graphs; I actually said essentially what I'm about to say elsewhere, though). The content matter that is subject to WP:V / WP:NOR is what the pronunciation (or range thereof) really is, not the format we use to convey that information. Though it would not be practical do so so, it would be technically legitimate for WP to reject all prior pronunciation transcription systems and invent an all new one, just as it invented its own templating language, and it's own citation style. What system we use is entirely arbitrary; it is of course OK as a matter of policy for WP make up its own symbols and use them as a way to format information. NOR does not cover that at all. What we can't do is convey to readers that "dog" is pronounced "tok". The problem that is legitimate here is that it's confusing to readers (at least those familiar with IPA) to adapt and use a variant of IPA that repurposes some of its symbols in ways that don't agree with off-WP usage. But this is not an NOR problem, ergo this noticeboard is clearly the wrong venue and this thread is off-topic here. I've asked WP:ANRFC to close it, and let the discussion in the appropriate forum, Help talk:IPA for English, continue until consensus is reached. So we can certainly agree that the WP:COMMONSENSE angle is liable to be the practical way to address this issue (and we both agree it is one), but there's no need to take an "agree to disagree" route on the applicability of NOR; it's demonstrably not applicable. It's important that this noted formally in the close here so that future not-really-NOR matters like this get shunted to the proper forums for them more quickly, and time-wasting NOR arguments that don't really apply are not made and vented about until people are blue in the face. Probably 90% of this thread and its two counterparts on other pages is basically just fruitless noise not signal, clouding the obvious path to resolution.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  16:19, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
I am sorry, but if NOR is “demonstrably not applicable”, then where is the demonstration? You have merely repeated your opinion that transcription schemes are more like style. I have a different opinion.
By using a transcription such as “dog /dɒːɡ/” we are conveying differnt kinds of information on two levels: On the transcription level, we are conveying the information how the word is pronounced, and on the single-symbol level, we are conveying the information that ⟨d⟩, ⟨ɒː⟩ and ⟨ɡ⟩ are accepted symbols for representing the sounds ’phoneme /d/’, ‘diaphoneme /ɒ/ or /ɔː/’ and ‘phoneme /ɡ/’. The problem is that this information is not true because our use of ⟨ɒː⟩ is unsourced; it is a new synthesized symbol invented on Wikipedia – original research in a nutshell. Why do you think NOR only applies to the transcription level, but not to the single-symbol level? --mach 🙈🙉🙊 17:10, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
If we're redefining the symbols in a WP-specific context as our own internal system (which we are), then we are not in fact at all "conveying the information that [the symbols] are accepted symbols for representing [those] phonemes". It says nothing whatsoever about "acceptance", and that's why it's not OR. It's simply a system WP is presenting, of its own devising, based loosely on IPA, just as our alternative system is based loosely on US dictionary style. I've already gone over this in detail above. As long as "the information on how the word is pronounced" (or more accurately, information on the range of pronunciations in major English dialects, the actual scope of the system) are not nonsense, e.g. pronouncing "horse" as if it were "charze", then no NOR is happening. But it's a terrible, terrible idea to warp a globally accepted standard like IPA in such a way, since it will a) directly confuse readers familiar with real IPA about what pronunciations we're indicating (they will read the IPA-alike orthography our system uses and come to their own conclusion about what we mean without ever consulting our Help:IPA for English key), and b) confuse other readers not familiar with IPA about what various particular IPA symbols mean, such that they may use IPA incorrectly off of WP. This is a double, and essentially incontroverible, reason to not do it, and sufficient reason to not do it, without raising any disputed and issue-confusing NOR claims. If you want to advise someone that stealing is wrong because it's illegal and it's unethical, those are good enough reasons; it's counterproductive to add "oh, and Zorkonn the Space God will also make your hair turn into worms if you do it". It adds no weight to the rationale, and simply calls into question the parts of the rationale that should be no-brainers (even if you firmly believe the third claim but understand that others are likely to disbelieve it). Don't inject easily disputed claims into rationales that are already solid if you're trying to convince people of something.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:45, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
You are correct in making it all depend upon the condition “[i]f we're redefining the symbols in a WP-specific context as our own internal system (which we are)”. However, we cannot know whether this condition is met. A reader might assume that the English Wikipedia is not redefining any pronunciation symbols, especially if they know that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia based on sources.
Comparing NOR to the belief in “Zorkonn the Space God” is ridiculous by intention. But NOR is not some arcane and hermetic belief many would dispute. To the contrary, it is one of the core content policies that constitute one of the five pillars of Wikipedia. I think that referring to NOR gives more authority to a claim. We might pretend as if NOR did not exist and start by zero each time we want to convince someone not to use new and unsourced material. Fortunately, we don’t need to do that because we have NOR.
Also, I think that the “double, and essentially incontrovertible, reason to not do it” (inventing new and unsourced pronunciation symbols) is elegantly summed up in NOR. How do you achieve your goal of getting pronunciation symbols that are not confusing the readers (whether they are familiar with real IPA or not)? You will have to resort to VER – which implies NOR: If there is no verification, it is original research.
Of course, I still do not undertand the reason why you think NOR does not apply to the invention of new and unsourced pronunciation symbols. Apparently, the fact that pronunciation schemes can be viewed as “style” opposite the actual pronunciation as “content” has something to do with it. But how do you get from there to individual pronunciation symbols? And to NOR? --mach 🙈🙉🙊 23:02, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
I have just read SMcCandlish’s comment again because I am quoting from it. I see I have not properly appreciated the following sentence: “It says nothing whatsoever about ‘acceptance’, and that’s why it’s not OR.” That is a new angle indeed. However, it does not convince me. I think that any material on Wikipedia qualifies for NOR regardless of whether or not we explicitly say that it has “acceptance”. A reader of Wikipedia can assume that all material has “acceptance” by default. That is what the core content policies are all about, cf.: “All material in Wikipedia mainspace, including everything in articles, lists and captions, must be verifiable” (WP:VER) or: “all material added to articles must be attributable to a reliable, published source, even if not actually attributed” (WP:NOR). --mach 🙈🙉🙊 16:18, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Compromise suggestion: Drop new and unsourced pronunciation symbols, but don’t call them OR[edit]

If I understand it correctly, we all agree that when it comes to individual pronunciation symbols, we should not invent new ones. We only disagree about whether the invention of new pronunciation symbols can be called original research or not.

Frankly, as long as we drop the new and unsourced pronunciation symbols, I do not care what they are called. Some editors call them original research – e.g. W. P. Uzer or me –, others don’t – e.g. Ƶ§œš¹ or SMcCandlish.

The reason for calling them original research is simple: Any new and unsourced material is original research, including new and unsourced pronunciation symbols.

The reason for not calling them original research is a bit more complicated: When it comes to entire transcriptions, the pronunciation symbol scheme is the transcription’s “style”, whereas the actual pronunciation is the transcription’s “content”. Since the pronunciation symbol scheme is “style”, nothing about it can possibly be original research, even when it comes to individual symbols (this conclusion I believe to be fallacious). Nonetheless, new and unsourced symbols should be dropped, but not on account of original research, but on account of common sense – they affect readability.

I agree that the pronunciation scheme is a transcription’s “style”. But how does this mean that there can be no original research when it comes to individual pronunciation symbols? Unfortunately, neither Ƶ§œš¹ or SMcCandlish have answered this question.

Anyway, I suggest we agree to disagree about whether new and unsourced pronunciation symbols can be called original research or not. Instead, we should concentrate on removing new and unsourced pronunciation symbols. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 10:39, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

I think there is some confusion going on here. When e.g. Taivo talks about "using symbols that have been invented for Wikipedia" he is not referring to unorthodox usage of IPA symbols, but usage of non-IPA symbols in an IPA system. Thus, it is not true that we all agree to not make unorthodox usage of IPA symbols, but rather we all agree not to use non-IPA symbols in an IPA system. To twist that into everyone agreeing to remove what you want removed against the clear stances of editors who disagree with you is a quite untoward misreading.
Outside of the OR angle, you've been making a compelling case against ɒː aː. Don't undermine what little good will you've garnered with petty misreadings of others' words. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 17:14, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Please: I am not trying to “twist” anybody’s POV here, and I am not engaged in “petty misreadings of others' words”. I have merely represented the different POVs on the matter, to the best of my knowledge and belief. If I have failed to fairly represent your POV, please say so. No need for name-calling. And by the way: unlike you, I do not see any evidence in Taivo’s contributions that he would approve of new and unsourced IPA symbol usages. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 17:47, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Since I seem to be the source of some confusion, let the horse speak from his own mouth. When I say "IPA symbols", that means not only the symbol shapes themselves, but also the pronunciation that is attached to them by the IPA. An IPA symbol isn't just a typographic symbol, but also the phonetic content that the symbol represents according to the IPA. The IPA can be used for both broad phonetic transcriptions as well as very narrow ones, but the principle still applies--the symbol dictates the phonetic reality and vice versa. I don't care what you call non-IPA ad hoc symbols, but I object to seeing them used in Wikipedia. As I would object to seeing IPA symbols used for sounds that they do not apply to. Broad IPA transcriptions are acceptable--for example [p] can be used to represent aspirated, unaspirated, and unreleased allophones in a language where the distinction is irrelevant, but it cannot be used in a transcription to represent [b]. Does that clarify my position? --Taivo (talk) 18:15, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. And within a broad phonemic transcription of English, would you accept a new and unsourced use of a pronunciation symbol (e.g. the use of ⟨aː⟩ for ‘diaphoneme that corresponds either to the English phoneme /æ/ or to the English phoneme /ɑː/’ as in the article Sudan) or would you prefer a use that is based on sources (in this case, providing variants with /æ/ and /ɑː/ as in the article Iraq)? If I am not mistaken, W. P. Uzer, Ƶ§œš¹, SMcCandlish and myself would all prefer a use that is based on sources instead of a new and unsourced use. We only disagree whether the new and unsourced use can be called original research. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 19:57, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Dialectally complex languages like English cannot have just a single phonetic transcription when there is more than one major variant. Both transcriptions of 'Iraq' should be included ([iɻæk] and [iɻɑk]) without trying to artificially collapse them into one "correct" pronunciation or use one IPA symbol to represent two quite different values. --Taivo (talk) 20:46, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying, Taivo.
Mach, I still maintain that you are misrepresenting my position as well as that of others when you say that everyone objects to the invention of new symbols. As a general principle, no. In the specific case of ɒː aː, yes. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 17:50, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
Re: "I agree that the pronunciation scheme is a transcription’s “style”. But how does this mean that there can be no original research when it comes to individual pronunciation symbols? Unfortunately, neither Ƶ§œš¹ or SMcCandlish have answered this question." – I actually addressed that in a great deal of detail on two or three different pages to which this discussion has been inappropriately forked.

However, since J. 'mach' wust, despite not acknowledging the nature of the rationale, also agrees this should not be approached as an NOR question, this discussion should be closed. As I suggested several days ago, it should be directed (e.g. with {{Moved discussion to}}) to the ongoing thread at Help talk:IPA for English, where this pronunciation transcription style was devised and is under serious discussion of being modified. Keeping the same discussion open on multiple pages, especially when both sides of this one have concluded it's not resolvable as an NOR matter, does nothing but waste NORNB watchers' time and distract from actual resolution of the issue (which I also want to see resolved, for the same WP:COMMONSENSE reason J. 'mach' wust and others do).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:02, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

+1. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:52, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: I must have overlooked your contributions where you addressed “in a great deal of detail” the question why the style-ness of pronunciation schemes means that there can be no original research when it comes to individual pronunciation symbols. Please post the diffs to these contributions. I am still interested in an answer to this question so I might understand your reasons.
I have never agreed that the invention of new and unsourced pronunciation symbols “should not be approached as an NOR question”, let alone “concluded it's not resolvable as an NOR matter”. I have offered as a compromise that I would no longer reject the invention of new and unsourced pronunciation symbols on grounds of NOR if we agreed to reject them on other grounds. Ƶ§œš¹ does not want to accept this compromise, so why should I? --mach 🙈🙉🙊 14:13, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
1) See Wikipedia:No original research/Noticeboard#Wrong venue; internal documentation is not subject to WP:NOR. 2) Sure you did. I'll just quote you directly: "Compromise suggestion: Drop new and unsourced pronunciation symbols, but don’t call them OR. If I understand it correctly, we all agree that when it comes to individual pronunciation symbols, we should not invent new ones. We only disagree about whether the invention of new pronunciation symbols can be called original research or not. ... Frankly, as long as we drop the new and unsourced pronunciation symbols, I do not care what they are called. ... Nonetheless, new and unsourced symbols should be dropped, but not on account of original research, but on account of common sense .... I agree that the pronunciation scheme is a transcription’s “style”. ... Anyway, I suggest we agree to disagree about whether new and unsourced pronunciation symbols can be called original research or not. Instead, we should concentrate on removing new and unsourced pronunciation symbols." (emphasis added). Note, though, that the issue is also the repurposing of extant IPA symbols, not just invention of new ones; this is covered at the more practical, on-topic thread at Help talk:IPA for English.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:21, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Well, yes, that is what I wrote. I offered a compromise: Let’s no longer quarrel whether the invention of new and unsourced pronunciation symbols is called original research or not as long as we agree on removing them. I know you agree we should remove them, but Ƶ§œš¹ does not [12]. Ƶ§œš¹’s rejection voids the compromise. BTW, it would have been more helpful if you had quoted your own contributions that I asked you about, and not my contributions. I know what I wrote. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 20:59, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
P.S.: Thanks for [13] – I have only seen it after writing the above contribution. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 21:11, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

Under what circumstances are new and unsourced pronunciation symbols acceptable?[edit]

Then please help me understand: Under what circumstances do you or others endorse the invention of new and unsourced pronunciation symbols (in a broad phonemic transcription of English that uses the IPA)? --mach 🙈🙉🙊 18:41, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
Your question is much too broad for me to give any meaningful answer. It's unlikely that I would use our OR policies as a criteria. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 23:01, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Much too broad? Then at least give an example. What new and unsourced pronunciation symbol would you accept? --mach 🙈🙉🙊 07:22, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

  • See above. The idea that this can be resolved under WP:NOR is no longer supported by any stakeholder here, so this is off-topic for NORNB. There's an ongoing discussion about this at Help talk:IPA for English, the "homepage" of this (quite reasonably) disputed IPA-flavored, WP-specific transcription style. Forking this off into new subthreads here is not helpful. "SHUT IT DOWN."  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:08, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
I was trying to meet you and Ƶ§œš¹ half-way. OK, you don’t want to meet me half-way. The matter is unresolved then. I will continue calling new and unsourced material what it is: original research. Some editors think that new and unsourced pronunciation symbols are excluded from WP:NOR, while other editors think that they are not. I see no reason why I should follow the POV of those who want to exclude pronunciation symbols from WP:NOR. They have given no such reasons. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 12:23, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
I'll just quote you directly again: "new and unsourced symbols should be dropped, but not on account of original research, but on account of common sense .... I suggest we agree to disagree about whether new and unsourced pronunciation symbols can be called original research or not. Instead, we should concentrate on removing new and unsourced pronunciation symbols. There is no failure on (on my part at least) to "meet you half-way". I support both of your quoted statements here, and they are why this discussion is off-topic for this noticeboard, and why the discussion has moved on to Help talk:IPA for English, where it may actually be resolved, though it should probably be done as an actual RfC there, since the discussion has been unfocussed and turned into a pile of tl;dr, just as this one has. When a bunch of parties all agree that there's a problem, but discussion of how to resolve it turns into massive text walls in two competing threads, it's time to centralize the discussion and relaunch it in a more formalized way that focuses on choices between already-identified and rationale-provisioned alternatives.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:27, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

Example requested by non-expert[edit]

I came here planning to agree that the rule against OR be enforced for pronunciation symbols. Then I read a chunk of the conversation here. Of course Wikipedians shouldn't invent their own pronunciation symbols. Of course that's OR. Of course we should use a standard pronunciation system instead of a made-up one. However, it looks like that's not really what's going on, that the Wikieditors in question really are using standard symbols, but they're doing something with them that a bunch of other Wikieditors don't like. I've seen too many conversations in which someone says "X is clearly not allowed!" when even the people on the other side of the argument would agree "I agree entirely, but I'm not doing X. I'm doing Y+1." "That's the same thing!" "No it's not!!" So can someone point to an example of what any of these editors are actually doing with the pronunciation symbols and exactly what makes it OR/why you think it's OR? Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:24, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

The forms of the symbols in our broad phonemic transcription scheme are not new. However, we are associating new meanings to some forms. These new associations have not been used previously in any broad phonemic transcription scheme out there. Two examples (a more complete list can be found at Help talk:IPA for English#Transcriptions that are probably WP:Original research, though we have removed some of these by now):
  • The sign ⟨ɵ⟩ is the IPA symbol for the close-mid central rounded vowel. We are associating it with the new meaning ‘diaphoneme that represents either the phoneme /ə/ or the phoneme /oʊ/’. There is no precedence for this in any previous broad phonemic transcription scheme.
  • The sign ⟨u⟩ is attested in some broad phonemic transcription schemes, but only in weak syllables, e.g. in words such as situation (see John Wells: “Phonetic transcription and analysis”, p. 11 [published in: Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics]). In our broad phonemic transcription scheme, we are expanding the use of ⟨u⟩ to stressed syllables of words such as roof where the pronunciation can be either /uː/ (as in GOOSE) or /ʊ/ (as in FOOT). There is no precedence for this stressed syllable use in any previous broad phonemic transcription scheme.
By associating a new meaning to a form, we are creating a new symbol – even when the form per se has been used before. It is not sufficient that the form, taken in isolation, has been used before. If only the form has been used before, there is no possible way of understanding the new symbol based on previous knowledge. To the contrary, if the form has been associated previously to a different meaning, the new association is misleading to readers with previous knowledge. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 10:09, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

Is it OK to describe a notable theory if the vast majority of authors provide only a short mention about the theory?[edit]

I want to describe a theory which is notable according to several criteria (the first published scientific theory about some problem, mentioned by several prominent scholars). However, the vast majority of the same scholars do not describe theory in details. Can I describe this theory if I use a reliable source, or is it an original research? Ditinili (talk) 06:12, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

I guess it depends on the theory and on the sources. And don’t forget to WP:Be bold. --mach 🙈🙉🙊 16:29, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
If it's supported by reliable sources, it's not original research. Giving it too much space or placing it too prominently relative to more widely accepted theories would be WP:UNDUE. Rhoark (talk) 17:17, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
As mentioned above, minor mention implies minor coverage - that is, if this is so notable why ain't it more noted?, but, more importantly, unless the gist of the theory is self-evident from the mention-in-passing, then description of the theory -as opposed to acknowledging its existence- might be seen as OR. Anmccaff (talk) 17:25, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
" if this is so notable why ain't it more noted?" The question is "where is it noted". Sklenár theory is well covered and there are reliable studies about his work and his theory with various level of details (he is not an unknown author but one of those who wrote the first works about Slovak history). However, if we speak about works which have a goal to reject these alternative theories or to point on their weaknesses, then really, the vast majority of the authors make only a short mention about Sklenár's theory, just to show that same theories are really old, but he is not a "target" (it means, that the primary criticism is aimed on modern authors and their mistakes). I mean, the article on wikipedia has a different purpose. If there are reliable sources about the theory, and it was the first scientific theory about the topic published, I don't see any reason why not to provide a short historical background to show (in a neutral way) that some ideas are rather old and they were only rediscovered. I have no doubts that the primary focus should be on modern works.--Ditinili (talk) 09:01, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Which article is this about? Please be specific. Alexbrn (talk) 17:30, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
Alternative theories of the location of Great Moravia. The article is (should be) about various minor alternative theories that are not widely accepted, but they are/were discussed by the scientific community. The problem is related to the theory of Juraj Sklenár (the first known alternative theory using the same arguments as later works). I will welcome neutral 3rd party views, see Talk page of the article. Ditinili (talk) 09:01, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Ditinili, I think you could write an article about Sklenár (if he is notable) and could mention his theory in that article. As far as I know, there are peer-reviewed publications about Sklenár which mentions his theory as well. We can write a separate article about Europe, we do not need to include (and cannot include) more information of Europe in articles about an European country than information mentioned about that continent in peer-reviewed publications dedicated to that specific European country. Borsoka (talk) 11:55, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
I am asking the question about wikipedia rules. Can be some text marked as an original research, if the content can be supported by reliable sources? It was repeatedly declared that it is an "original research", because "the vast majority of authors" do not provide more details about the theory (Note: this statement about "vast majority" is not based on any external source, it's an opinion of the editor, who also decides which publication can and which cannot be counted, even if the author of particular publication is otherwise reliable). I want to hear a clear answer if it is an original research. Then I am open to speak about principles like "notability" and "due weight". Ditinili (talk) 14:51, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I must have misunderstood something. It was you who stated that you have so far only found one reliable source and that source is dedicated to Sklenar, not to the history of Great Moravia or to the alternative theories about the location of Great Moravia ([14]). If there are more sources, please feel free to cite them. However, we should not pretend that Sklenár's theory is notable for the subject of the article if the vast majority of the reliable source cited in the article do not dedicated more than one or to sentences to him and to his theories. Borsoka (talk) 15:00, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
I hope that this "misunderstanding" is over. More, I have never declared that there is "only one" reliable source, I gave an example, where it is possible to find very detailed description of the theory, clearly documenting that it is not "my own research". The argument about "orginal research" was used repeatedly, so I want to make it clear and I want to have clear yes/no answer before moving to further open questions like "notability". Can be a properly sourced text from recognized author marked as my original research (?!) because other authors provide less details? Ditinili (talk) 15:19, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
If my understanding is correct you cannot refer to a reliable source dedicated to the subject of the article which dedicates more than one or two sentences to Sklenár and his theory. That is why I suggested that we should not dedicate more sentences to him and his theory in the article, in accordance with WP:NOR. Borsoka (talk) 15:27, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Boroska, I know your view. I need a feedback from independent editors. In my opinion, the scope of the text is a question of notability and "due weight" and I will discuss it later.
I am sorry for repeating my question: "Can be a properly sourced text from the recognized author marked as my original research because other authors provide less details?"Ditinili (talk) 15:56, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, but I think your question can easily be misinterpreted. Taking into account the conversation about this issue, the proper question would be the following: "Can a theory be described in detail in an article if the vast majority of the reliable sources dedicated to the subject of the same article ignore it or only dedicate to it one or two sentences?" Borsoka (talk) 16:30, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
My question is very clear and cannot be "misinterpreted".
Please wait for independent opinions about definition of original research. Notability and due weight (= your objections) will be discussed shortly after.Ditinili (talk) 16:46, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, this is the question of WP:OR: Can we present a subject in an article in a way it is not presented in reliable sources dedicated to the same subject? Borsoka (talk) 16:57, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Boroska, please give other editors a chance to answer the first question to make clear what is an original research. Then, we can discuss partial questions like if "the subject is presented in the article as it is presented in reliable sources dedicated to the same subject" (?) and "what are sources dedicated to the subject". Don't be afraid, you will not miss anything.Ditinili (talk) 17:05, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
 ??? I have never hindered other editors from answering any question and I am not afraid of anything. Please refrain from personal attacks. Borsoka (talk) 17:19, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
It is not a personal attack. I only want to ensure you that your objections related to notability and alleged non-copliance of the text with sources will be properly addressed.Ditinili (talk) 17:29, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Please, do not change my argumentation: I have been suggesting for days that an approach which cannot be verified based on reliable sources is a form of original research. Borsoka (talk) 17:34, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
I did not change anything. If you agree that the text based of reliable sources (and properly referenced) cannot be defined as an original research, I am ready to raise a question about reliable sources. Ditinili (talk) 17:44, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
I do not agree. For instance, if I thought that the design of Chevrolet is important to understand the development of the Sun, I could not add information of Chevrolets to the article about the Sun even if all information about Chevrolets would be verified by reliable sources. Or, I know (and I could verify) that there are bears in the USA, but I could not add tens or hundreds of sentences about bears to the article about USA just because I love bears, even if all those sentences were based on reliable sources about bears, because I should verify my approach based on reliable sources about the subject of the article (the USA). Your approach is very similar: you want to add several pieces of information to the article, but the same pieces are ignored in the vast majority of relevant reliable sources (actually, you have not mentioned a single source dediceted to the subject of the article which writes long sentences about Sklenár). Borsoka (talk) 18:01, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I would rather not depend on various comparisons which can be innacurate or misuderstood. I want a simple confirmation of Wikipedia rules related to OR. If I cite a reliable source and if do it properly, it cannot be my original research. Right?
It completely does not matter that "the vast majority" (who evaluated this? some wikipedia editor?) of the authors don't describe details (why should they repeat details, if there are more detailed, dedicated works about the topic?). In the worst case, it can be WP:UNDUE, but not WP:NOR.Ditinili (talk) 18:15, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
P.S.: "Actually, you have not mentioned a single source dediceted to the subject of the article which writes long sentences about Sklenár". Of course, I did and I referenced several publications, but I will discuss what are relevant sources separately.Ditinili (talk) 18:20, 31 October 2015 (UTC) Yes, you mentioned several publications about Sklenár, not about the topic of the article. That is why I suggest you should write an article about Sklenár. Borsoka (talk) 18:23, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Please read my above example about the bears and the USA: no you cannot write long sentences about the bears in an article about the USA based on reliable sources dedicated to bears. Borsoka (talk) 18:23, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Your example has nothing with WP:NOR, but it is probably against WP:SUMMARY (I am not an expert). In my opinion, the right answer is:
"If it's supported by reliable sources, it's not original research. Giving it too much space or placing it too prominently relative to more widely accepted theories would be WP:UNDUE. Rhoark (talk) 17:17, 30 October 2015 (UTC)"
I can easlily agree on that. Can you? Ditinili (talk)
I think that WP:UNDUE can hardly be applied here: Sklenár's theory is an old version of a minority theory. I am still convinced that original research includes all cases when we cannot verify our approach to the subject of the article with references to reliable sources (for instance, we are writing about Chevrolets in an article about the sun or bears in an article about the USA using reliable sources dedicated to Chevrolets or bears, respectively, instead of citing sources dedicted to the USA). Borsoka (talk) 02:55, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I don not care about bears and chevrolets. Can you cite this vague statement about "our approach" from the official wikipedia rules? The proposed apporach is to cite reliable source and it cannot be WP:NOR. Please, confirm.
I'm just going to pipe in here for a sec to opine that it is fine to use such sources to show the variety of thought on a topic. If there's a source or two which discusses the topic at some length (pages, not paragraphs), and many other authors have added a sentence of analysis here or there, there is no fault in citing the original contributions of these other authors simply to show that at least somebody has thought up the point they provide. Naturally, it would be wrong to inflate that into a presentation of broadly held thinking on the subject unless several authors shared the position. Pandeist (talk) 05:42, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for your feedback. I can use 5 types of sources:
a) the original (I suggest to rely on secondary sources)
b) dedicated studies about the author and his theory (a half of the book or several pages dedicated to the theory)
c) publications about the evolution of views on Great Moravia and Slovak historiography
d) publications about Great Moravia, mentioning also alternative theories and reacting on them (e.g. 1 page dedicated to this theory before further criticism of modern "alternative" authors)
e) dedicated critical responses to the works of the modern "alternative" authors who rediscovered this or similiar theories (here the theory is mostly shorly mentioned)
There is a dispute, if I can use sources from the category b) in the article to describe the theory. This is interpreted as my original research. At least in one case, the author of the publications from the category b) and e) is the same. Can I use sources from the category b)?
In which article do you want to use sources from the category b)? If in the article about Sklenár and his theory, it is obviously OK. Borsoka (talk) 07:27, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
Can you cite any wikipedia rule supporting your opinion that in other case, it is "original research"? Ditinili (talk) 07:37, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
"Sources must support the material clearly and directly: drawing inferences from multiple sources to advance a novel position is prohibited by the NOR policy." Borsoka (talk) 02:49, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. My sources support the material clearly and directly. The opinion that the specialized study about the problem "does not support the material clearly and directly" is not very rational (sorry). Your trial to exlude all such studies is not reasonable and has no support in wikipedia rules. The rule your have cited is related to so called synthetis of material. I do not present any novel position, I only cited what is already published and available. I am again looking forward for opinions of other, not-involved editors. Ditinili (talk) 05:20, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
The sources dedicated to the subject of the article do not support the material directly: they did not provide a detailed description of Sklenár and his theory. One can hardly refer to works dedicated to Sklenár and his theory when verifying the proper scholarly approach to edit other articles. And you actually want to advance your own position about Boba and Boba's theory when writing about Sklenár and Sklenár's theory, as it is suggested by your own remarks: ([15]), ([16]). Borsoka (talk) 05:03, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
It seems that you do not understand well what is synthesis of material. Firstly, there is not a single sentence which is "synthesised" from several sources to present a novel position. If you think so, cite such statement. De facto, you are complaining that the article is supported by several sources and while some sources provide more details, another provide less detail. This is not original research.
The statement that the sources dedicated to the subject of the article "do not provide a detailed description of Sklenár's work" is also incorrect. The subject of the article is "alternative theories about the location of Great Moravia". So, specialized studies about such theories (like Sklenar's theory) are definitely about the subject of the article and your trial to exclude them is unfounded. More, your statement about the lack of "detailed description" in studies which you want include is also problematic. E.g. Meřínský (2006) or Marsina (1999) summarized all main points of Sklenar's theory (including its historical background) right before further reactions on modern "alternative" authors.
I can hardly understand, that you want to remove the work of one author (Sklenar) to "defend" another one (Boba). This is really strong POV-pushing.Ditinili (talk) 05:57, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── First of all, I do not want to defend Boba. Furthermore, I understand what a synthesis of material is: that is why I say that you should not merge academic works to strengthen your own position. Before accusing me of hidden agenda, please remember that Sklenár and his theory were clearly mentioned in the article even before you started to add the details of his theory (including his strange 18th-century views of the Jász people, etc) ([17]). I do not want to hide his theory: I have also mentioned several time that Sklenár's theory could be described in an article dedicated to him (if he and his theory is notable) (for example, here: [18]). Borsoka (talk) 06:11, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

I am afraid that your definition of "merging of academic works" has absolutely nothing with "Synthesis of published material". There is not a single line sentence "synthetized". There are also examples what is considered to be "improper synthesis". The article does not contain anything like that, but only standard references to multiple sources. If you do not think so, please cite a concrete sentence from the article which is synthetized.
* The text is based on reliable sources.
* There is not any improper synthesis according to Wikipedia definition.
* It means that until now you were not able to document any original research. If you are not able to do so, I will close the topic and then handle any removal of the sourced text, reasoned by alleged original research as vandalism. If you want to complain on something else (e.g. NOTABILITY or DUE WEIGHT), I am open do discuss it separately.
* The sources you wanted to exclude (?) are related to the topic (alternative theories about the location of Great Moravia), because they describe alternative theory about the location of Great Moravia. I will consider all trials to exclude some kind of reliable sources under various covers as POV-pushing.
* The sources you did not want to exclude also provide details about Sklenar's work, what can be documented by Marsina (1996) a Měřínský (2006). Note, that both authors dedicated more space to Sklenar's theory that to some works of modern authors.
By the way, your statement about "Jasz people" is also not correct, what is clear from the history of the article[[19], but this is an unimportant mistake. Ditinili (talk) 07:49, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Agreed that Sklenár's theory can be included; this is addressed in detail at the RfC on the article talk page. As to the general question, WP:UNDUE addresses how to include a theory that is notable but not dominant (and how to not also make it appear to have been less accepted in its time than it was). An unaddressed (so far as I notice) issue raised by the general question if not this specific case: If a pile of sources mention a theory, and provide a few details about it, it becomes OR to describe the theory with details not found in the sources, or to make connections and inferences between the isolated facts in the sources and synthesize a theoretical framework description that is largely a product of one's own analysis. Attempts at this can often be quite wrong or at least misleading.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  16:26, 12 November 2015 (UTC)


I have been accused of original research in this topic--for reporting what original sources wrote and how secondary sources responded. I do not understand this as original research, and would like to involve other editors in explaining and judging this case.TBR-qed (talk) 18:29, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

I don't know the topic well enough to say whether what you are doing is OR... but when an article relies as extensively on primary sources as this one does... I certainly think it likely. Blueboar (talk) 20:56, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. Please help me understand. I report original definitions of instrumentalism by Popper and Dewey in the 1930s, in order to ground the subsequent and continuing debate in secondary sources over the meaning of the school. I don't see how such a procedure could be considered original research. How else explain the continuing ambiguity?TBR-qed (talk) 16:35, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

connecting two place names using a map[edit]

The article in question is Elyashiv, an Israeli locality founded in 1933. An editor is using a ~1924 map (which is in his possession but is not part of the article) which he claims shows a different place name in the same area, in order to include information about that earlier place name in the article about Elyashiv (said info making up nearly 50% of the article). There is no reliable source making the connection between the claimed antecedent place name and the current one - the editor is making the connection based on his analysis that "A reliable map showing two names in the same place " and that "The map does not indicate the historical relationship between the two villages or their inhabitants, but it shows the location of the two to be exactly the same. "

Is this original research or not? When Other Legends Are Forgotten (talk)

It is not appropriate for Wikipedians to look at two maps and say "this old map has X name so that must be a previous name for this settlement." -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 19:04, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
The question entirely misrepresents the situation in the article, so it is not surprising that Red Pen of Doom was misled regarding the question. Actually the map is in the article, it is not a 1924 map, and the information takes up less that 17% of the article (actual word count) even if the references are not counted. This sort of "precision" is why WOLAF should be topic-banned. To Red Pen: no claim is made similar to what you say. No connection is made between the two names (which appear on the same map at the same place, not sure that matters) except that the site of the current settlement was once occupied by another. It is a plain report of what is on the map, which is perfectly good use of a reliable source. Zerotalk 07:21, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
The question represents EXACTLY the situation at the time it was posted, right after Zero000 performed this revert - [20] - to a version that had 50% of the history dealing with an irrelevant place name. 50% of the references were sources that pre-date the article's topic by at least 50 years, and 50% of the bibliography used references from the 19th century. He justified this based n some horrendous original research, such as this "I see "Esh Sh. Muhammed" on a 1924 map. Also on 1941 map that shows Elyasiv right on top of the Esh Sh. Muhammed location" . The map he later uploaded to the article was also not present at that time, as an inspection of the history will show. Realizing I had taken this to the notice board , and knowing full well what he was doing was original research, he subsequently (two days later, and after I had posted the question here), toned down the original research part to the current version, which is still original research based on his interpretation of the map. ANd he's now trying to mislead editors here as to what happened. When Other Legends Are Forgotten (talk) 03:59, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Looking at the map clipping, I'm not sure how much of what I'm seeing is original to the 1941 edition. If I ignore the green roads as a superimposition from a more modern map, then my conclusion would be that the modern town was established adjacent to the old town, not on its "site". I'm also unclear about the source map for those modern roads. But right now I can see "near", not "on the site of". Really, for that we need a text source which says that. Mangoe (talk) 16:47, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
All except the green roads are on the original map of 1941. The boundary of Elyashiv is shown as a purple line that entirely surrounds the buildings marked as Kh. esh Sheikh Mohammed. I think "on the site" is a reasonable summary, especially given that there is nothing at all controversial about it. The 1941 map is by the Survey of Palestine and the modern roads are taken from a map by the Survey of Israel; in both cases the most official maps that exist for their time periods. Since I'm a stickler for accuracy, I also overlaid other maps (eg. Google for the modern roads) and found complete agreement. It is a mistake to treat this as a matter of dispute; there is nothing claimed that is disputed, surprising or controversial in any way. Zerotalk 02:08, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
There is no doubt about the actual facts here, the petty wikilawyering is only about the (appropriate) use of a primary source. Zero's comment on the talk page about the 1924 map is simply a corroboration of the fact in a different way. One can use interpretation and arguments on talk pages, that does not constitute WP:OR. Perhaps the wording can be changed to "near" instead of "on the site of", I do not have strong feelings about this, though my preference is "on the site of", which seems a fair summary to me. The purpose of WOLAF's edit is clear: eviscerate the history part so the article can blissfully remain a context-free stub of an Israeli moshav. It is clear to me who/what WOLAF is: I don't mind, and treat them as a devil's advocate, which can be very useful, as John Stuart Mill reminded us. See another extremely petty dispute here. Others' mileage or patience may vary. Kingsindian  05:45, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Please do not stoop to informing us of our lack of doubts. I understand entirely the political dynamics of this, which is why I'm being especially careful WRT the wording. Indeed, the contentiousness is precisely why I am reluctant to rely on reading of a map when really, if the juxtaposition were important, surely there would be some print source noting it.
As far as the map itself is concerned, I notice two "esh Sheikh Mohammed" features (the second being near the top of the insert). One is within the original founding, the other is not. Assuming that the lower is the correct one, I could then probably live with some variation of the "on the site of" language. Again, though, I would think that we should be able to cite someone complaining about it if it were. The question of course is the possible interpretation that the moshav displaced a settlement. The documents I see do not support conclusion (a few tents in the 1880s is not a settlement in the 1930s). Mangoe (talk) 21:15, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
@Mangoe: Thanks for your careful comments. The northern feature is the tomb of "Sheikh Mohammed"; that's what the crescent-shaped symbol means according to the map legend, and you can see "Cem."=cemetery there too. It was commonplace for villages to carry the names of eponymous ancestors or founders whose tombs were nearby. I used deliberately vague words "on a site once occupied" for the very reason that we did not find a source stating precisely what was there at the time Elyashiv was founded. There is a lot of writing about this valley in the 1920-30 frame; it was occupied by tenant farmers who worked for an absentee landlord, but it is hard to say much about that within the rules since Kh. Sh. Mohammed is not mentioned specifically. Elyashiv dates its founding from the exact day that the last tenant farmers left, but again the source doesn't state exactly where those farmers had lived so we can't either. The only purpose here is to indicate something about the early history of the site, which is done in almost all articles on locations in Israel. I think we have been exceptionally careful to not state anything that is not definitely provided by reliable sources. Zerotalk 00:40, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
@Mangoe: You are not correct about "contentiousness". There is no dispute over the facts and they aren't in the least bit surprising or controversial. Incidentally I just added a textual source that also uses both names for the same place, though it wasn't necessary. Zerotalk 00:59, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment From a cursory look at the discussion, it is a violation of WP:OR to look at a map, or multiple maps, and draw conclusions from them. The map acts as a primary source but extrapolations based on your own analysis of that primary source is original research. This is why we prefer to rely on secondary sources. However, to see if a violation of OR is actually being made to the article, what is the OR information actually being added to the article? Please quote the exact information being disputed and supply a diff. Then, please quote the source that explicitly supports the information being added to the article. This will make it easier to see if a violation of WP:OR is occurring.Scoobydunk (talk) 10:32, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Maps are subject to the same rules as other sources. We can report their plain content but we can't draw innovative conclusions from them. All that is done here is to state what is on the map. If that was not allowed, there would be a policy banning maps as sources. There is no such policy; reporting the plain content of a map is no different from reporting the plain content of a book. This map shows two place names in the same place; this is all it is cited for. The meaning of the names is cited to textual sources. No violation. Zerotalk 12:25, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm going to repeat this in case it wasn't clear. What is the information being added and where is the source the supports that information?Scoobydunk (talk) 12:39, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Go to Elyashiv and look. It is a very short article. Zerotalk 12:42, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Here you can find over 19,000 articles that cite maps, and that is only the articles that use the "cite map" template. Zerotalk 12:46, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
The use of that template does not imply that the citation is reasonable! For instance, after looking at a mere handful of articles, I found a case where Google Maps was cited as an authority when interpretation of aerial photography was involved. That's clearly out of line. Mangoe (talk) 21:15, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
yup, drawing your own conclusions from looking at maps is a violation of WP:OR. Thanks.Scoobydunk (talk) 12:47, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
What conclusions are my own? Zerotalk 12:51, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
The ones found at Elyashiv. Scoobydunk (talk) 12:56, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Very funny. Do you have a policy-based comment to make? Zerotalk 12:58, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Issues of original research are not a laughing matter. Not only that, it looks like a lot of the information is unverifiable, since insufficient information is supplied in the reference sections. So we're also looking at multiple WP:VERIFIABLE issues.Scoobydunk (talk) 13:14, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────BTW, I have no investment in this personally. I also think is is really time for parties on both sides to cease the allegations of ill-intent and threats of banning. Mangoe (talk) 21:17, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

To what extent can a poll be applied to a general theory.[edit]

I have an RfC up at Talk:Jude_Wanniski#RFC_on_description_of_the_Laffer_curve about a poll of economists taken in 2012 that asks "Question B: A cut in federal income tax rates in the US right now would raise taxable income enough so that the annual total tax revenue would be higher within five years than without the tax cut." source This poll is being used to support the claim that "Numerous leading economists have rejected the empirical relevance of the Laffer Curve for the United States. When asked whether a “cut in federal income tax rates in the US right now would raise taxable income enough so that the annual total tax revenue would be higher within five years than without the tax cut,” 96% of economists surveyed in 2012 disagreed."

In my opinion, this is OR because it implies a conclusion not stated by the source, that the economists "have rejected the empirical relevance of the Laffer Curve for the United States". There are variations of this edit on Art Laffer, Supply-side economics and the Laffer curve. Fresh opinions would be welcome on this subject. Bonewah (talk) 21:27, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

The poll would be a primary source and for this type of information, I think it's better to use a reliable secondary source that discusses the poll. I do believe original research is being used to equate the Laffer curve to question B, based strictly on this poll provided. However, the poll clearly addresses the Laffer curve, so that doesn't mean it should be wiped from the article. When using primary sources they really have to be used for what they explicitly say, we really can draw our own conclusions from them.Scoobydunk (talk) 02:28, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

List of Islamist terrorist attacks[edit]

Can I ask for more eyes on List of Islamist terrorist attacks (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)?

A single-purpose account, Joobo (talk · contribs), keeps inserting unsourced or poorly sourced incidents that are not described by reliable sources as Islamist terrorist attacks. This has been discussed several times with the editor, both on the editor's Talk page and the article's Talk page, for example at Talk:List of Islamist terrorist attacks#References and Talk:List of Islamist terrorist attacks#What can and should be put on this list what not, but the editor just isn't listening, as the editor's recent edit summaries indicate.

Thank you. (talk) 02:04, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

  • Original research would be if there is a source, which claims that there was some sort of attack (regarding the marseille incident for example). and someone would simply add the incident and claiming it was an islamist terror attack. yet the sources clearly indicated that the perpetrators of this attack were islamist supporters. conclusion. a person gets attacked by supporters of an "TERROR" organisation due to this purpose. --> islamist terror. just cause a word is missing doesnt mean OG. then im very curious why you dont delete the incident from the list of terror attacks 2015 as well? or the list of terror attacks in france? again this is no original research. and i will put the incidents back on again, with other sources to please your notreasonable desire. whats happening here again is very ignorant, hypocritical(since you only focus on the one list) and not even quite comprehensible of the og claiming party. anyway. have a good one . Joobo (talk) 08:50, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

United Kingdom European Union membership referendum[edit]

We are having a discussion at Talk:United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum#Formal_party_policies and have reached something of an impasse. Additional input would be gratefully received. The question concerns what different political parties' official stance is in the forthcoming referendum campaign and sourcing for this. A number of citations have been given to support party positions, but several of these are rather vague -- they don't explicitly say "the policy of party X is to campaign for Y in the referendum" -- so are we guilty of original research in how we interpret these? Or are we worrying too much about exact wording?

User:John Maynard Friedman argues that only primary sources, citations to the parties' official websites, will do in this situation. I feel that contradicts WP:PRIMARY, that we cannot privilege primary sources over secondary sources (although I accept that some of the secondary sources given in the article may be inadequate). We've also discussed how the information is presented in the article text, again without agreement! Bondegezou (talk) 14:34, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

I agree with Bondegezou's assessment of the problem, though I consider the problem to be rather more WP:SYN than OR. A further part of the problem is that some of the secondary sources [news media] are even more guilty of SYN, which arguably makes it acceptable under 'verifiability, not truth'. In reality, I don't believe that any harm is being done (no real misrepresentation) but I do think that, to comply with WP standards for itself, the section ought to start with a health warning  – but Bondegezou disagrees. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 14:57, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
I am happy with some explanatory text before the table in question, but I feel if a citation is inadequate, it doesn't need a health warning, it needs removing! Anyway, further detail of our past discussion is on the Talk page as linked to above. Bondegezou (talk) 15:02, 24 November 2015 (UTC)