Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard

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Welcome to the reliable sources noticeboard. This page is for posting questions regarding whether particular sources are reliable in context.
Before posting, please be sure to include the following information, if available:
  • Source. The book or web page being used as the source. For a book, include the author, title, publisher, page number, etc. For an online source, please include links. For example: [].
  • Article. The Wikipedia article(s) in which the source is being used. For example: [[Article name]].
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Colin Heaton's biography of Hans-Joachim Marseille[edit]

The source in question is Heaton, Colin; Lewis, Anne-Marie (2012). The Star of Africa: The Story of Hans Marseille, the Rogue Luftwaffe Ace. London, UK: Zenith Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-4393-7.

It is used several times for lengthy paragraphs in Hans-Joachim Marseille#Marseille and Nazism to make the case that Marseille was "openly anti-Nazi". I have argued at Talk:Hans-Joachim Marseille#Evidence for Marseille's "anti-Nazi" stand that these passages in Heaton's bio are almost exclusively based upon personal reminiscences by former comrades and Nazi persona like Karl Wolff, Artur Axmann, Hans Baur and Leni Riefenstahl, which are renowned for being talkative about the Nazi era and being apologetic at that. Their stories are not supported by other sources, but in fact appear to be very unlikely, if not impossible. Heaton's gives dates which contradict themselves and commits obvious errors. The stories he relates about Corporal Mathew Letulu [sic!], i.e. Mathew P. Letuku, contradict much better documented secondary literature. Apart from interviews, possibly conducted by himself, which is difficult to tell given the rudimentary nature of the footnotes, Heaton relies almost exclusively on two biographies, one by military pulp writer Franz Kurowski, the other a "tribute" by some Robert Tate. Based upon this evidence Heaton draws far reaching conclusions, namely that "Marseille was perhaps the most openly anti-Nazi warrior in the Third Reich." (p. 4) Given its focus upon oral evidence, collected somewhat 40 (?) years after the events, its poor editing and obvious errors, I consider that biography to be an unreliable source that should not be used excessively (and it is used for many more dubious claims) in a GA in the English Wikipedia, because it is misleading.--Assayer (talk) 20:14, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

I agree with you that this source is very weak for an article on a Nazi era figure. I wouldn't have a problem with it being mentioned as "some biographies say", i.e. carefully attributed. It seems to be overused at the moment. Itsmejudith (talk) 21:26, 28 December 2016 (UTC)
It seems to be usable only as evidence for what unreliable sources say, and I'd use it only when it is explicitly described as unreliable. Richard Keatinge (talk) 12:38, 30 December 2016 (UTC)
Nothing but opinions from an agenda-driven Wikipedia editor. Assayer wants Heaton off Wikipedia. He has failed to show Heaton unreliable. Those are the facts that matter.
I am also concerned with the comments from Itsmejudith. What do you know about the literature of aerial warfare in World War II? And how could you say that about a book you've never read?
I'd encourage people to have a look at the talk page of Hans-Joachim Marseille - where the complainant makes accusation and assertion with no evidence. Dapi89 (talk) 11:12, 1 January 2017 (UTC)
See WP:HISTRS. Popular books by non-historians are not reliable for the history of WW2. Itsmejudith (talk) 12:20, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
  • You are miss quoting what is a guideline; see section: What is historical scholarship. The question as to the book for evaluation is whether it is considered WP:RS or not; I do not know this work and therefore cannot offer an opinion. Kierzek (talk) 18:46, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
Unfortunately, biographical works by academic historians on members of the Wehrmacht or SS below the rank of general can be numbered on the fingers of one hand, so WP:HISTRS is useless and we must fall back upon the traditional methods of evaluating a book and its author like use of primary sources, use of puffery or biased language, etc. All that requires actually reading the book more thoroughly than a Google snippet can allow. I've never read Heaton so I really don't know if I'd consider him RS or not. Personally, I'd be most interested to see what Wübbe has to say.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 14:19, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
@Sturmvogel 66: On Wubbe, here's input from an editor familiar with this work: The book is 20% text and 80% pictures and copies of the original documents plus newspaper clippings. Source: User_talk:Dapi89/Archive_1#Hans Joachim Marseille. I.e. it's about 80% primary material, including unreliable war-time propaganda, and 20% commentary, also potentially unreliable given the slant of the publisher. The book was published by Verlag Siegfried Bublies -- de:Verlag Bublies, "a small, extreme-right publisher from Beltheim". K.e.coffman (talk) 17:24, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
He doesnt have a biography here, but from what I can google online he probably passes muster as a reliable source. Ex-military, ex-history professor, current historian and consultant for TV/Film on WW2. He is qualified in the area, has been published on the subject as well as earning a living from it for a significant time. If the only thing being held against him requires second-guessing him, thats not how WP:V works and is bordering on original research. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
As to the argument that Heaton is "qualified in the area": According to Heaton's own CV on his own commercial website he holds a BA and two MA degrees in history, was consultant and adjunct professor to the online American Military University and guest historian for a single episode of a History channel programme. That's not very impressive. What is more, I looked for reviews of his works and could not find much. It seems, however, that Heaton regularly uses "oral testimony" from people involved. That is stressed by Stephen M. Miller in a recent review of Heaton's Four-War Boer for the Journal of African History (2016), commenting that the information of the interviews are not substantiated in the text or in the notes ("unfortunately") and Horst Boog, reviewing Heaton's Night Fighters (which is his MA thesis at Temple Univ.) for the Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift (2010). Boog also points to numerous errors, for example Heaton's estimate of 1.2 million civillian German bomb victims. (The highest estimate is actually 635,000 victims, recent research (Richard Overy) estimates 353,000 victims.) I might add that by now I am challenging the reliability of the book for a certain, controversial characterization of Jochen Marseille. Thus one does not need to read the whole book (which I did), because I refer to a couple of pages which are cited at length in the article, I point to the sources and how they are used and I point to the language.--Assayer (talk) 17:05, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
The above is a combination of original research which we dont do and actual genuine concerns. If multiple reliable sources have cast doubt on his credibility (critical reviews, peers countering his claims etc) then that does shed doubt on his useability in an article. Could you make a list of the sources critical of him/his book? Only in death does duty end (talk) 17:19, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
I've looked. Nothing. I did say earlier in this thread, this claim of unreliability is just an opinion of one editor. This type of personal attack on sources has been made across multiple threads and articles with the same old result. Heaton qualifies as reliable. Dapi89 (talk) 13:07, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
I'd like to add that you could find critical reviews about facets of any one of these academics work, even Overy and Miller. Using the differentials in casualty figures, which vary among all academics is a weak argument (never mind what the latest, supposedly new, research has to say, which doesn't automatically make it accurate anyway). And can you define victims? Anyone who suffered a gash from an air attack can be considered a victim. Such vague descriptions are unhelpful. Opinions are also unhelpful. Assayer is well aware of what is required here. Does this editor have reviews that are directly critical or not? Dapi89 (talk) 13:28, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
@Only in death: Could you please elaborate where you draw the line between OR and "genuine concerns"? Neither do I use unpublished sources nor do I come to a conclusion on my own. I simply hold what Heaton says against what other published sources say. Isn't that what User:Sturmvogel 66 asks for, if we don't have biographical works by academic historians at hand? How else could we evaluate the reliability of a publication, that is ignored by historiographical works? Please do also take into account how the material sourced to Heaton's biography is presented in the article, namely as factual accounts. Of course this is what Heaton does in his work: He weaves lengthy quotations of various anecdotes related to him through interviews into a coherent narrative. These anecdotes are not supported by third party sources and Heaton does not discuss their reliability. Thus many of the information can only be traced to oral testimony. Do we have to accept that as reliable, simply because Heaton does?
@Dapi89: Although I chose to ignore your continuous personal attacks I have to say that remarks like "Anyone who suffered a gash from an air attack can be considered a victim" are highly inappropriate. And the literature on aerial warfare in World War II is not that "vague".--Assayer (talk) 17:29, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
It's not an attack it is an observation on your behaviour. Those comments are entirely appropriate unless you feel the wounded don't count. I didn't say it was vague. I said you're vague. All this is hot air. You're trying to use discrepancies and differentials in accounts and figures, and unbelievably spelling differences (!!), to try and have an author discredited. OR is being kind. You're views are personal and tendentious. You're a polemist. End of story. Dapi89 (talk) 20:16, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

If Horst Boog, one of the most respected German authorities on aerial warfare during WW II, devotes a whole paragraph of his review to a list of errors, concluding that there were even more errors, then this does not add to an author's reliability as a source. I take notice that this biography is predominantly cosidered to be a "very weak" source, to say the least. One editor questioned the applicability of WP:HISTRS in cases such as this, while yet another considered the evaluation of certain claims against the background of other published sources as OR. The contradictions between these different approaches were not resolved. One editor rather commented on me than on the content, so that my evidence remains unchallenged. Maybe, as a piece of WP:FANCRUFT, the article in question is fittingly based upon anecdotes told by veterans and former Nazis. I find it troubling, however, that this is a GA by Wikipedia standards and short of FA status only because of the prose, not because of dubious content or unreliable sources.--Assayer (talk) 21:12, 12 January 2017 (UTC)

I've previously raised concerns about Heaton on the Talk page (Talk:Hans-Joachim Marseille#Unreliable sources tag) as a WP:QS source, due to problematic POV he exhibited in one of his articles. He has called an action of a German commander an "act of humanity". A "daring raid" or "skillful military ruse" would be okay, but "an act of humanity"? That is just bizarre. (See: Talk:2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich#Heaton. Comment from another editor was: "Heaton removed as biased pov and non WP:RS").
A related question, does Heaton indeed cite Franz Kurowski in his work? If yes, how extensively? K.e.coffman (talk) 03:53, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

"the applicability of WP:HISTRS" Assayer, what applicability? The link leads to Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources (history), which is an essay, neither policy, nor guideline. Per Wikipedia:Essays: "Essays have no official status, and do not speak for the Wikipedia community as they may be created without approval. Following the instructions or advice given in an essay is optional. There are currently about 2,000 essays on a wide range of Wikipedia related topics."

And this particular essay does not discount works of popular history: "Where scholarly works are unavailable, the highest quality commercial or popular works should be used." Dimadick (talk) 07:59, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

@Dimadick: I did not bring WP:HISTRS up, but User:Itsmejudith. I did find that comment more helpful than others, though, because it provided at least some kind of guidance. I did not argue, however, that "highest quality commercial or popular works" should never be used. In general the comments during this discussion were contradictory. But how would you determine the quality of sources?
@K.e.coffman: Heaton considers Kurowski's bio of Marseille to be "very good" (p. xiv). Given the number of Heaton's footnotes I would say about a third of them refer to Kurowski. I did not check every footnote, what and how much material he borrowed. Heaton's main source are his interviews. In chapter 4 "Learning the Ropes", for example, there are 21 references, six refer to Kurowski, the rest refer to interviews.--Assayer (talk) 19:59, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
@Dimadick: Does the editor consider Heaton to be high quality commercial / popular work? K.e.coffman (talk) 16:46, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
If you mean me, I am not particularly convinced of Heaton's quality. I just noted that the discussion was using an essay to ban popular history works. Dimadick (talk) 16:49, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for the clarification. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:57, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Assayer and K.e.coffman have used Wikipedia to attack sources about any German serviceman who served in World War II if it dares to complement their personal bravery or service record. Coffman has opposed the advancement of these articles, namely the Knight's Cross lists and has deleted hundreds of articles about these recipients. It should come as no surprise that their singular agenda here is to degrade and delete portions of the article that doesn't fit with their opinions. Assayer in particular has scoured the internet for anything he can find that is critical of Heaton. The tiny and weak tidbits of those academic(s) (just the one?) that are critical of small aspects of his work is nowhere near enough to decry Heaton. Virtually nothing else.
This attack on Heaton should be treated for what it is: OR and opinion by a pair of anonymous internet users. And they don't get to decide who is admitted to Wikipedia and who isn't. I'm glad at least one other editor can see that. Dapi89 (talk) 19:24, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
@Dapi89: "at least one other editor can see that" -- Which other editor is that? K.e.coffman (talk) 01:00, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

I found a review of Heaton's book on Marseille from Aviation History. Mar 2013, Vol. 23 Issue 4, p62-62. 1/2p.. It reads in part:

  • "Writing the biography of a 22-year-old, most of whose life remains undocumented, isn't easy. The only way to turn it into a book is lots of photographs (Kurowski's method) or this husband-and-wife team's choice, spending way too many pages reciting the exact details of 158 aerial combats…which in turn requires suspension of disbelief on the part of readers. How, exactly, did the authors know which rudder Marseille kicked and what the airspeed read, whether he pulled full flaps or skidded to avoid a pursuer's rounds, just what Marseille saw through his windscreen and exactly when he saw it?"

K.e.coffman (talk) 06:01, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Which editor do you think? Or do you ignore posts you don't like?
So? If K.e.Coffman knew anything about Marseille, he'd know that through interviews with his commanding officers, and pilots in his units, Heaton is able to understand how he approached air combat. Marseille shared his knowledge with all those around him. I've seen interviews with Korner and Neumann that explicitly discuss Marseille's unorthodox tactics, some of which are sourced in the article. Simple really. Dapi89 (talk) 10:55, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps K.e.Coffman needs to remember (if he knew, which I doubt), that 109 of the 158 claims filed by Marseille are recorded which included many combat reports with short but vivid descriptions of how he engaged the enemy in successful combats. Dapi89 (talk) 11:00, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Editor Dapi89 state that criticism of Heaton was "nothing but opinions from an agenda-driven Wikipedia editor". I have provided a 3rd party review of Heaton's work on Marseille, which points out that the work is close to being historical fiction in its depictions of the areal battles ("requires suspension of disbelief on the part of readers"). Is this review also wrong? K.e.coffman (talk) 20:52, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
That says what exactly!? I repeat; the reviewer and it's number one wikipedia fan don't seem to understand that actions, tactics and the subject's point of view are quite easy to record.
And even if this reviewer had something insightful and factually accurate to say, using it to attack and remove another source from Wikipedia shows the agenda driven nature of the attacking editor. It shows K.e.Coffman, you're not interested in researching the subject for its own sake, but scratching around for dirt you can throw at Heaton. It is absurd to contemplate labelling Heaton unreliable because he receives some form of criticism from someone who likely is not an authority on Marseille. Heaton is.
It should be obvious the reviewer, whoever they maybe, is too ignorant to be entertained. Dapi89 (talk) 23:26, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
@Dapi89: please see: WP:no personal attacks.
The review is of the work under discussion, it's by "Wilkinson, Stephan" from the Aviation History magazine. Unless the magazine is not reputable, I don't see how a 3rd party review can be dismissed on the grounds that (in the opinion of one editor) it's been shared by "agenda-driven" contributor to "scratch around for dirt [to] throw at Heaton". K.e.coffman (talk) 23:49, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
It isn't an attack. It's an observation. Understand the difference. I've lost count of the number of editors that have said the same thing.
Once more, you are using a non-expert source to attack the credibility of biographer. That is OR and Tendentious. You can see why a score or more of editors regard you as agenda driven. You've spent the last few months doing this type of thing. Your efforts to destroy the article on German personnel won't be tolerated without exceptionally good reason. Dapi89 (talk) 07:32, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

Summary on Heaton[edit]

Summarising, as the discussion has been long and involved:

  • this source is very weak for an article on a Nazi era figure via Itsmejudith
  • It seems to be usable only as evidence for what unreliable sources say, and I'd use it only when it is explicitly described as unreliable via Richard Keatinge
  • He doesnt have a biography here, but from what I can google online he probably passes muster as a reliable source. Ex-military, ex-history professor, current historian and consultant for TV/Film on WW2 via Only in death
  • I've never read Heaton so I really don't know if I'd consider him RS or not via Sturmvogel 66
  • I am not particularly convinced of Heaton's quality via Dimadick

K.e.coffman (talk) 02:36, 26 January 2017 (UTC)

How many times do you have to be told, that you don't get to decide whether a source is reliable. Neither does anybody else, unless they can provide good cause.
The personal opinions of Wikipedia editors are useless. Dapi89 (talk) 21:36, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
@Only in death: I was able to clarify that evaluation of sources is not original research; please see this discussion: Wikipedia talk:No original research#Evaluation of sources. K.e.coffman (talk) 23:42, 27 January 2017 (UTC)
You were not evaluating a source. You don't like it. You made a decision it had to go, then scoured the internet for anything that would support your pre-existing prejudices against sources that write about German military personnel and that don't label them Nazis or falsifiers of their own records. Using anonymous reviews, from non-experts to ban sources about which they offer only the very slightest of criticism is tendentious AND OR. Dapi89 (talk) 13:18, 28 January 2017 (UTC)
Please visit Wikipedia talk:No original research#Evaluation of sources and engage with the editors there. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:11, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
I don't need to. You're behaviour encompasses more than OR, also Tendentious and selective editing. Dapi89 (talk) 12:48, 29 January 2017 (UTC)
The above comment incorrectly identifies historian Horst Boog as a "non-expert". He was the pre-eminent expert on the Luftwaffe operations during World War II, having contributed to three volumes of the seminal series Germany and the Second World War.
General note: this is a noticeboard to discuss reliability of sources, not user behaviour. For the latter, please see Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:55, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • This discussion has been going on for more than a month now. It is fair to say that no consensus has developed that this source is unreliable. Let's close this discussion per WP:DROPTHESTICK. --Nug (talk) 09:52, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I do not see it this way.
  • Three editors expressed concerns about the source (see above).
  • The nom expressed concerns.
  • I've not considered Heaton to be reliable since encountering content cited to him at SS Division Das Reich.
  • One editor stated that Heaton is probably RS and expressed concerns over OR in evaluating the source, but have not come back to the discussion.
  • One editor has expressed an opinion that Heaton is RS.
Thus, the rough consensus seems clear to me that Heaton is not a suitable source for the claims in the article. K.e.coffman (talk) 20:10, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Expressing a concern isn't the same as declaring it unreliable. You have misrepresented what the various editors have said in your summary. For example you quote Itsmejudith: this source is very weak for an article on a Nazi era figure but omit her next sentence: I wouldn't have a problem with it being ... carefully attributed. Only you have openly stated this source is unreliable, but two stated it is RS, well make that three since Itsmejudith thinks it okay if properly attributed, actually make that four as I think Heaton is a reliable source for his own opinion that "Marseille was perhaps the most openly anti-Nazi warrior in the Third Reich." --Nug (talk) 21:03, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
He's a reliable source for the decades-later reports of people with a strong point of view. This does not suggest that his interpretations are reliable for the sort of judgements that are being made about "anti-Nazi" attitudes in the early 1940s. He is on the margins of usability, and then only when appropriately framed and very carefully used. Richard Keatinge (talk) 14:29, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
I started this debate to get some additional input whether this particular source is reliable for the content it supports and I would like to thank you for the input. As a reminder: In the article in question Heaton's biography of Marseille is not simply used to present Heaton's opinion. Instead numerous anecdotes and stories related to Heaton through interviews and quoted by him at length are presented as facts.(Perma) It seems fair to summarize that Heaton is a reliable source for his own opinion and for the decades-later reports of people with a strong point of view. Thus the consensus of this debate is that these opinions and reports are to be carefully attributed.--Assayer (talk) 00:24, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
No I don't think that is a fair conclusion. While Heaton's opinion with respect to Marseille's anti-Nazi sentiment should be attributed, there is nothing to suggest that the numerous anecdotes and stories related to Heaton through interviews and quoted by him are unreliable. In fact a review of his book by the journal Military Review in the March-April 2015 edition states "A well-written, insightful, quality book, it entertains while it educates; it is highly recommended."[1] --Nug (talk) 02:32, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
@Nug: Since you seem to offer dissent to my conclusion that opinions and "decades-later reports" were to be attributed, please clarify: Do you argue that the anecdotes and stories that can be found in Heaton's bio are to be accepted as fact and presented as such in a Wikipedia article? Because my argument is that anecdotes and "decades-later reports of people with a strong point of view" are in general biased and opinionated and thus should be dealt with according to WP:BIASED, i.e., with WP:INTEXT at the least, although in regard to the details I would point to WP:ONUS and WP:EXCEPTIONAL. That anecdotes by former Nazis and comrades are quoted at length by Colin Heaton may add color to the picture, but does not transform their anecdotes into truthful, objective, reliable, and accurate representations of historical truth. I have specified my concerns on the talk page of the article, so you might look for examples there.--Assayer (talk) 15:06, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
Do you have a source that backs your conclusion? I've provided a review published in the journal Military Review that highly recommends the book. I see you have ignored that. This discussion has been going on for weeks here, perhaps time to accept there is no consensus for your opinion and WP:DROPTHESTICK now? --Nug (talk) 00:30, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for clarification. So I'll take notice, that because of a review by Major Chris Buckham, a Logistics Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force and graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada with a BA in Political Science and an MA in International Relations, you think that "first-person anecdotes and interviews with many of [Marseille's] former commanders and colleagues" (Buckham) conducted by Heaton are to be considered factual accounts and can be presented accordingly. Since you are asking for sources, please take note of the extensive material I have presented here and on the talk page of the article. I may remind you, moreover, that Dapi89, who is also very much in favor of those anecdotes, has already thrown out a slightly less favorable review of the book in question by stating, and I am quoting only his more civilized words, It is absurd to contemplate labelling Heaton unreliable because he receives some form of criticism from someone who likely is not an authority on Marseille. He considers this as OR and Tendentious. By that logic Heaton cannot be labelled reliable because of some praise he may have received by a non-expert, or can he? Unless, of course, this is not about sorting reviews by pre-existing prejudices in favor of Heaton. Consensus does not necessarily mean that every editor agrees on every issue. It is the quality of the argument that matters.--Assayer (talk) 03:32, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
So to clarify, are you saying that the opinion of an anonymous Wikipedia editor of unknown academic qualifications, self-published on this notice board, carries more weight than the opinion of an identified academically qualified military officer published in the leading professional journal of the US Army? Seriously? --Nug (talk) 08:49, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
No, I don't say that Dapi89's opinions carry a particular weight, in fact, I find most of them unsubstantiated and focused on personal attacks rather than content. I would not summarily label any reviewer as unqualified, but wanted to point out, that you cannot choose reviews to your liking. I have done what is essential for any historian as for any Wikipedian, namely checked the source against other research sources. In view of the expertise by the MGFA and other evidence I consider Heaton's narrative to be WP:EXCEPTIONAL. It is almost exclusively based upon anecdotal evidence, which, as any textbook on the methods of oral history will tell you, is factually unreliable. As Marc Bloch has famously put it: "The most naĩve policeman knows that a witness should not always be taken at by his word, even if he does not always take full advantage of this theoretical knowledge". (The Historian's Craft, 1954ff.)--Assayer (talk) 20:28, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I was referring to your opinion, you seem to be saying that we should place more weight on your opinion than the opinions published in reliable sources like Military Review. Indeed, you cannot choose reviews to your liking, but you have not provided any other review of Heaton's book. MGFA does not mention Heaton's book, so where are you sourcing these reviews you claim call Heaton's work into question? --Nug (talk) 01:15, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
First of all, in his short and broad review Major Buckham does not address the specific issues I have raised. (I might add that he finds nearly every book that he reviews to be "insightful". See his blog, The military reviewer.) Second, above you'll find another reviewer being quoted, who asks how exactly the authors found out about all the details. That review has been discarded by Dapi89 as non-authorative with an argument which basically discards any review as non-authorative. Third, it remains undisputed that Heaton's evidence are anecdotes and interviews. He has somewhat routinely used this "oral history"-method in other books, too, and reviewers have been critical of the reliability of those interviews. And rightly so because, fourth, as of January 2013 the MGFA has denied that any serious historiographical study of Marseille existed, and did not bother to even mention Kurowski's, Tate's and Wübbe's earlier works either. It noted, however, that attempts by popular literature to suggest an ideological distance between Marseille and Nazism are misleading. Thus Heaton's claims are exceptional and should be backed up by multiple high-quality sources, before they are being accepted as plain facts. But I keep repeating myself and would suggest to take further discussion to the talk page.--Assayer (talk) 04:06, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Can we have clearer guidance on what sort of sourcing from the Mail is and isn't OK?[edit]

I realize all that will really be happening is that an edit filter will be in place letting editors know that the Mail is extremely problematic as a source. But ... the practical effect will be as the media worldwide has been reading it: no use of the Daily Mail whatsoever. So there will be editors who apply this overbroadly, much as the caveats on linking to YouTube have been understood by too many editors, even established ones, as a blanket prohibition (I have made that link more times than I can remember to explain a reverted edit).

To be perfectly clear I have no objection to this decision. We need not explain it in our own words; all that is necessary is this quote from the Gawker exposé cited multiply in the discussion that led to it:

In August 2013, a few months after I started work, the Mail was sued by a woman whom the Mail had identified as a porn star with HIV. The only problem with that was that the woman was not a porn star and did not have HIV.

You can't serve that one any drier. One is reminded of the Soviet-era Armenian Radio joke with the long punchline that ends "But in theory, you are correct" (or begins with "in principle, yes", as Armeniapedia has it).

I was aware, even from the other side of the ocean, of the Mail's issues, and from discourse here in the past I had frankly thought this decision had already been taken in some form (I just could never find where, although I thought this 2011 discussion was enough. And that the Mail's sports coverage was excluded from such disfavor for some reason (not that it affects any editing I do, to be honest). I have not hesitated from enforcing this myself in the past.

However, some articles I've developed do have some reliance on sources from the Mail, and in one case I would ask that the source be kept.

I started, years ago before the movie even came out, and have done most of the work on the article about the film version of The Devil Wears Prada. One of the sources I found (footnote 17), some time after the movie's initial release, was a piece in the Mail by Liz Jones about her time as editor of the British edition of Marie Claire and the perspective it gave her on the movie's depiction of fashion journalism (Shorter version: it's a lot easier to become Miranda Priestley than you might think, even if you have no prior experience in fashion and don't think you're all that and potato chips). I would argue that in this case it should be kept, since it is a)the first-person perspective of a notable person who verifiably had the experience she described and b) is undeniably relevant to an aspect of the article subject.

Can things like these be considered before we unleash some of our more obsessive editors on the 12,000+ reported citations of the Mail in our articles? I would argue that we need to view the Mail decision as not a prohibition but a stricture, with content from that source evaluated on a spectrum of credibility.

At one end would be things like, in declining order of skepticism-worthiness:

  • Controversial allegations about an otherwise non-notable living person that paraphrase the alleged source rather than quote them directly, and/or neither identify the source or sources or even give some good context as to how the source might know what they're not talking on the record about (For instance "a source in a position to know" should not be good enough, whereas in sports stories "a source close to PLAYER", which is widely understood to mean the player's agent (or, less commonly, a spouse or other family member), would be)
  • As above, but about notable living people whom we have, or otherwise would have, articles on regardless of whether the Mail (or any other otherwise facially reliable and mainstream source we might wish to subject to this sort of strict scrutiny) has reported on their alcohol-fueled fits of temper and/or sexual indiscretions with staff (well, not exclusively those things, but you get the idea).
  • Per the first bullet point, but allegations either (or preferably both) sourced to named individuals, again with the context as to how they would know this, or directly quoted.
  • Above, but about notable people.
  • Allegations sourced to documentary sources (including audio and video) rather than, or in addition to, individual people's recollections (An exception would be things alleged in affidavits in withdrawn lawsuits, since that's basically a perfectly legal way to smear someone in the media without having to worry about being held accountable for doing so; of course they're going to report it since well, the affiant said it in a document which they swore to under oath, so they're off the hook for its veracity. But we can hold ourselves to a better standard).
  • Allegations sourced to documentary sources that the news outlet shares with readers on its website to allow them to independently judge the credibility of its interpretation (A practice I'd like to see more of).

At the other end would be things like the sort of first-person pieces I discussed above, and matters of pure opinion like reviews of artworks, editorials and op-eds (as long as those are based on real facts).

Another suggestion I have might be that reportage from certain publications about certain things be required to be attributed to those sources inline rather than stated as if they were established (i.e., "The Daily Mail reported that X" instead of just "X"). Daniel Case (talk) 18:56, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

Or we could simply say "no source is reliable for 'celebrity gossip' " and be done with it, of course. Collect (talk) 23:44, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
Erm, avoid as much as humanly possible? K.e.coffman (talk) 00:12, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
I do recall that a user had mentioned earlier that the DM does have some sort of review on theater performances. Those could be allowed on a case by case basis per the closing to the RfC. --Super Goku V (talk) 02:44, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
OK, that's the sort of thing I'm talking about ... Daniel Case (talk) 07:57, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Just avoid it. If there is some reason you Absolutely Must Use it, you would be wise to post a notice at the article's talk page that you intend to use and provide a very clear reason as to why you Absolutely Must Use it. If your reasoning is great nobody should object. Jytdog (talk) 04:38, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Please refer to the top of my post, where I did make that sort of justification for one use. But ... the sort of people who tend to do these sort of edits also tend not to look at article talk pages, as they sort of get in the way of their "I will obey my programming ... I will fulfill my Prime Directive" mentality. And then when you try to argue these points with them, they start throwing tantrums and this does no one any good (this already happens with YouTube links). What I would really like is some sort of central place where these exceptions can be catalogued and backed up by consensus, like this section, that I can point to in that instance. Daniel Case (talk) 07:52, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
I see exactly the same problem. In particular when we get to situations, where people otherwise uninvolved with article topic start to remove content that was sourced by the Daily Mail without really bothering much to assess its veracity and appropriateness of the content or to look for alternative sources.--Kmhkmh (talk) 18:45, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
The Gawker story is slightly misleading. The Daily Mail published a story titled, “PORN INDUSTRY SHUTS DOWN WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT AFTER ‘FEMALE PERFORMER’ TESTS POSITIVE FOR HIV.”[2] The article says, "The performer was not immediately identified and officials didn't say when the positive test was recorded." They included a stock picture, which happened to be of a "soft-core porn actress" , with the caption, "Ban: The Adult Production Health and Safety Services is conducting tests to see if the virus has spread to more porn actors." Bad as that may be, it is not as if there was anything inaccurate in the story. TFD (talk) 20:52, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
That's the Mail's spin on it. Yes. the Gawker piece should have clarified that the issue was about the accompanying photograph and not the story itself, but the underlying point was unchallenged: that the Mail committed not only a serious breach of journalistic ethics but a textbook example of (at least under US law) false light defamation by so recklessly using the photo in its story to imply that the identifiable woman depicted was the HIV-positive porn star described in the text (because, of course, that picture got more eyeballs on the story). When you do that, the accuracy of the story is beyond the point. Daniel Case (talk) 19:03, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
That's not the Mail's spin, that's what the Court of Appeal said. I don't see though how a Wikipedia editor could use the article as a source that a specific person had AIDS. TFD (talk) 03:56, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
That was how the Mail suggested it should be interpreted in their response to the Gawker story (they focused on the story, completely avoiding their recklessness in using the image). Daniel Case (talk) 00:19, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Which is why I suggested we ban all "celebrity gossip" material from Wikipedia in any BLP whatsoever. Collect (talk) 13:58, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
@Collect: But how would you define "celebrity gossip"? I can see not including items about possible relationships, but pregnancies and coming out as gay/bi are biographical details we always include, and those often begin as "celebrity gossip" stories. Daniel Case (talk) 00:19, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
The history of Wikipedia is replete with "coming out" stories which ended up being not what was claimed, and worse. Wikipedia has no need to be a newspaper in the first place, and such "contentious claims" do not improve Wikipedia. If a story later turns out to be verified, then so be it - the deadline has been met. The possibility of damage is far worse than the damage done to our readers by not including such gossip, such as (for example) linking a person to being a cousin of a notorious killer, or calling a person a "Nazi money-launderer" where no such factual link actually existed. As long as it can be considered "gossip", or "anonymously sourced", we must and should be cautious in allowing its use. I commend you to read User:Collect/BLP to see how some editors abused Wikipedia in the past. Collect (talk) 00:29, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
OK, point taken. I guess what I really mean to say is that there are some outlets which cover primarily the comings and goings of celebrities, but which do appear to be concerned about their reliability. Shall we define "celebrity gossip" by the outlet publishing it (no matter how much the outlet tries to be respectable in covering the story) or by the extent to which it shows its work, so to speak (see my bulleted list above).

And so there's no further confusion, I totally agree that we should not categorize people as LGBTIA until they themselves claim that identity (Lana Wachowski's gender transition was discussed on the article's talk page years before she confirmed it; only then did we put it in the article with all the backstory about how long it had been rumored, as it is now. I do not think we disserved our readers at all). Daniel Case (talk) 01:11, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

I've no wish to add very much to the acres of text about TDM expended already on this page, but I completely endorse Daniel Case's point that clarification is needed about this 'ban' (many high quality RS describe it as a 'ban'). Might I suggest that the scope of that discussion should also embrace the issue that the RfC closure avoids, namely other sources with almost equally bad reputations for reliability and (just as serious IMO) for tendentious reporting and trivis-philia. If all this ban achieves is pushing editors into using other low quality sources for the same garbage (see examples above of other papers echoing TDM content), and ignoring those occasions when TDM is 'high quality', (such as notable guest contributors), then it will really have been a waste of everbody's time. Pincrete (talk) 17:39, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
I think that we should in addition have some form of grandfather clause in this. For example, any DM sources that have been on an article for 6 months at least prior to the "ban" should be allowed to remain. It stands to reason that if they were unreliable, they would have been removed prior to the "ban". Or at the very least, limit the "ban" to BLPs and controversial subjects (with exceptions). I don't like the thought of an out-and-out "ban" giving licence to editors to take a Cromwellian WikiPuritanism approach to DM sources and be able to tear them out freely without considering the consequences without some form of limitation. The C of E God Save the Queen! (talk) 11:57, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Absolutely not. Just because no one has noticed an unreliable source, doesn't mean the source is reliable. "When the source was added" is not a reliability criterion for any source. Nikkimaria (talk) 13:19, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Comment There's another issue I'd like to address, which I hit while trying to edit our article, which in its present form has major WP:NPOV and WP:DUE issues - everything staff says about themselves is treated as a fact, not as self-reporting on their procedures (Example: "Where appropriate, pages are generally marked "undetermined" or "unverifiable" if the Mikkelsons feel there is not enough evidence to either support or disprove a given claim." and the reference cited for this is the Mikkelsons themselves - I find that uncomfortably near to primary sourcing. Unfortunately, the Mail has one of the few critical reports on, but the effectively blanket ban on TDM articles prevents me from being able to balance the extreme weight given to statements made by the owner and staff of about themselves in our article about them.
I freely admit that the TDM article regarding the owner and staff of does lip-smack quite a lot about the things most loyal TDM readers like to read - a nasty marital spat between the founders of the Web site, allegations of embezzling of company funds to pay for sex, and the salacious resumes of two staff.
  • That the co-founders of are no longer both there, and what one says about the other is fair and notable comment, and TDM seemed to source that information adequately well.
  • In particular, an accusation that the owner of a Web site Facebook uses as a referee to judge what "fake news" is has embezzled the site's corporate funds for personal purposes of any sort (salacious or not) and the overt, public political activities of its staff is information which can and should be cited with some degree of weight aside our article's present restating of's WP:PRIMARY assurances that they're on the up and up, and always approach things objectively.
If wants an advertisement, they ought to go somewhere else. We don't do them here - or we shouldn't, anyway.
I'd like to cite the two sources which have addressed these issues, that TDM article and an article by a Forbes columnist who'd interviewed's owner by telephone and wasn't happy with the forthrightness of the owner's replies to the TDM article, but we have the same issue that nothing, no matter how relevant it might be to one of our articles, from TDM survives scrutiny because people mistake a guideline with a rule - people tend to forget WP:NORULES.
I'd insist on telling our readers inline what was said by TDM, because it's part of WP:DUE - giving our readers tools to decide for themselves what weight to give a source as contentious to some as TDM. What I disagree with is blanket prohibitions on some sources while we allow churnalistic tabloid and trade journal reprints of corporate press releases to stand as WP:RS. In an AfD discussion not too long ago, most of the evidence for the subject's notability was just such evidence. Compared to four of the sources introduced as WP:RS evidence by a well-regarded editor, TDM at least writes their own copy.
There's also a WP:NOTCENSORED issue here. TDM is not great journalism, and they have a decided editorial slant toward sleaze. But we ought to be consistent in what we prohibit. The project is full of articles that despite WP:NOTADVERTISING read like corporate press releases because they were sourced almost entirely from corporate publications whose purpose was to laud the organization concerned. But we still allow Web sites and magazines which routinely reprint corporate press releases under their own bylines as straight news - see the WP:CHURNALISM discussion.
Who here would support a blanket ban on the use of Playboy as a source? They, until very recently, were much more explicit than TDM in their "glamour photography", but for most of their existence also printed interviews with eminent personalities (Alex Haley's interviews for that magazine are considered journalistic classics) and did not shy from controversy. I just think that when we blanket-prohibit any source, we do so at our readers' peril, because the project's aggregate point of view will push it in the direction enough editors push it in, and we stop being an encyclopedia; we become just another captive electronic media outlet for a consensus that's not really a consensus. loupgarous (talk) 02:54, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
People keep trying to make Some Big Deal out of the RfC on Daily Mail. It was no big deal - it just confirmed what had already happened on this board a zillion times and will hopefully prevent further wasting of the community's time. There is no big principle involved here. And the RfC close was clear that DM can be used but it needs to be very well justified on the local Talk page. Jytdog (talk) 20:27, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Agreed Jytdog. Honestly I don't see much of a change anyway from normal usage of the DM. Previously, at least on the fringe articles that I frequent, any DM citation generally required really good justification anyway. InsertCleverPhraseHere 20:42, 23 February 2017 (UTC) in Napoleon Hill[edit]

Dispute over any use of this Novak source at all in Napoleon Hill.

  • Information about his second wife and first child is sourced by Novak and the newspaper that Novak cites:
    The journalist Matt Novak writes that Hill married his second wife Edith Whitman in 1903, and that Hill's first child, Edith Whitman Hill, was born in 1905. Whitman's existence is not mentioned in Hill's official biography, but is corroborated by contemporary news accounts.[1] Hill and Whitman divorced in 1908.[3]
  • This removal of all use of the Novak source consists of:
  • Changing the lede from
    Hill made largely unverifiable claims to have personally met several prominent figures of his time, such as industrialist Andrew Carnegie and US Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt; however, according to at least one modern source, there exists little evidence that Hill had actually ever encountered any of these celebrities, with the exception of Thomas Edison.
    Hill said he personally met several prominent figures of his time, such as industrialist Andrew Carnegie and US Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
  • Removing the "Failed Busines Ventures" section heading, and information related to the Acree-Hill Lumber Company, partially supported by a newspaper that Novak cites. [4]:
    After becoming estranged from Whitman, Hill moved to Mobile, Alabama in 1907 and co-founded the Acree-Hill Lumber Company. Novak accuses Hill of running this company as a fraudulent scheme; between 1907 and 1908, Hill took between $10,000 and $20,000 worth of lumber on credit, and then sold off the lumber at low prices without intending to repay his creditors. By September 1908, the Pensacola Journal reported that Hill was on the run, as he faced criminal proceedings, bankruptcy proceedings, charges of mail fraud, and warrants for his arrest.[2][3]
    By December 1908, Hill had fled to Washington, D.C., seeking to reinvent himself. At this point, Hill started introducing himself by his middle name, Napoleon.
  • Removing claims of Hill advising Woodrow Wilson [5]:
    Later in his life, Hill would claim that he spent the years of 1917-1918 advising president Woodrow Wilson amidst World War I. However, the journalist Matt Novak denies that Hill ever met Wilson, noting that Hill's publishings at the time omit any reference to such an occurrence.[2]
  • Removing mention of divorce to third wife and marriage to fourth [6]:
    In 1935, Hill's wife Florence filed for a divorce in Florida. In 1936, the 53-year-old Hill entered his fourth marriage with the 29-year-old Rosa Lee Beeland, less than 2 days after the two met at a lecture in Knoxville, Tennessee.[2]
  • Removing claim of Hill being "nearly broke" in 1939 [7]:
    By early 1939, Novak claims that the "Hills were yet again nearly broke."[2]

The majority of all talk page discussion is over the use of this source. So, is it reliable for any of this content, alone or when supported by the newspapers cited? --Ronz (talk) 22:29, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

(I've modified my initial request above to include more quotes in response to feedback [8]. Sorry for not noting it at the time. --Ronz (talk) 16:19, 21 February 2017 (UTC))

@Ronz: Your diffs are useless as they do not show editors removing the material and you and OMG reverting them. What's the point of posting them if we cannot see where editors are disputing the material based on questioned sources and you and OMG reverting them without justifying those sources. SW3 5DL (talk) 18:18, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

The question is whether or not the blog article by Matt Novak that is being heavily cited is reliable per WP policy. Also, there are instances of violations of WP:OR that I removed but seem to have been restored. Having Novak make a claim that Hill married someone else without showing a source to that claim, and then an editor finding a source and appending it is OR since they are interpreting what the newspaper says. The person named in the newspaper article is Mr. Oliver N. Hill. There's no source being used that uses the newspaper as a source and identifies it's Napoleon Hill. SW3 5DL (talk) 22:41, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Regarding the bit on marriage, it's not original research: I cited the newspaper (Tazewell Republican, June 1903) because it was specifically cited in Novak's article. OmgItsTheSmartGuy (talk) 23:50, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
But where is the source that identifies that this newspaper mention of Mr. Oliver N. Hill is the Napoleon Hill in the Wikipedia article? You can't be the source because then it's WP:OR, which is why I deleted it. SW3 5DL (talk) 00:17, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm not 100% sure what you're asking, but Novak's article is the source identifying the newspaper mention as Napoleon Hill. OmgItsTheSmartGuy (talk) 00:35, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, and he fails to mention how he sorted that Mr. Oliver N. Hill mentioned in the newspaper is also Napoleon Hill. He seems to have come across this and assumed it is the same person, yet there doesn't seem to be a mention of this marriage in other sources on Hill. Sources that rely on their own original research are not reliable sources.SW3 5DL (talk) 01:49, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

The material on Mr. Hill appears to be of an editorial nature ("Greatest Self-Help Scammer of All Time" appears to be specifically an article about "scammer" rather than a simple biography of a specific person - who was not apparently convicted of anything, as far as I can tell). , rather than a scholarly article about the person, and the "naughty bits" appear not to be supported by other sources about the person. The author is not an expert in the field, and thus I have sincere doubts about it being a "reliable source" for contentious claims. As a result, the desire is to obtain better sources for such material. Collect (talk) 00:07, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

I agree with Collect on that. Even the blog's illustration suggests this is not a serious piece of scholarship. I'd also note that undue weight is being given to this blog article. I recently removed from the article the lede's very first sentence that called Hill a "suspected con artist" that cited this blog. Hill is not widely notable as a con artist, or for his marriages, or his failed businesses. He is widely notable for his book, Think and Grow Rich, which apparently is a bestseller and is widely notable as the foundation for all subsequent self-help books of this type including The Power of Positive Thinking and The Secret. If the claims about his marriages, and supposed life as a con artist are to be included, they need reliable sources, and this blog does not seem to be it. SW3 5DL (talk) 00:17, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

While we are here, the biography also includes cites for the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography which appears to use biographical information without citations and, in its Wikipedia article, is noted as "The entries in the National Cyclopaedia are unsigned and are largely based upon questionnaires and other information supplied by families of the biographees." A Google News Archive search which is a 404. Also several sources are used repeatedly as though they were separate sources. Biographies which include "The organization was headed by the check forger and former convict Butler Storke, who was sent back to prison in 1923." appear problematic on their face - sourced to [9] used for ten "separate cites." In short, alas, a bit of a mess for a Wikipedia article. I had sought to clean it up a bit, but was insta-reverted. Collect (talk) 14:42, 16 February 2017 (UTC) Note also that "Oliver N. Hill" is not a unique name. [10] shows one born in MI living in NM in 1940. Unless a newspaper gives stronger linkage to a specific person, the claim is not usable. Collect (talk) 14:49, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Also the due weight. Especially in the lede. Hill is not at all known for any association with the so-called "New Thought movement" it is in the lede saying he was. That is based on a passing reference in a book found on Google books. That is not sufficient. Any attempt to remove it gets reverted immediately. I agree with Collect regarding the name of HIll. That is very common, and RS does mention that Hill went by Napoleon starting from a very young age. SW3 5DL (talk) 16:47, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

I'll just briefly reiterate my points from the talk page, and say that I think the concerns over the Paleofuture "blog" are a bit overblown. Paleofuture may call itself a "blog" on Gizmodo, but it's not self-published livejournal or anything. From a structural point of view, it's just a normal part of Gizmodo, a news website. Per Gizmodo has an editor-in-chief, several editors, etc., as one would expect from a news organization. And Matt Novak isn't just some random guy-- he's a reasonably well-known journalist, and a "senior writer" on Gizmodo who is presumably subject to editorial oversight. And frankly, when it comes down to it, I trust Novak's work more than that of Hill's promoters, who seem to be the writers of most other secondary sources on the man. OmgItsTheSmartGuy (talk) 18:05, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

That's all your opinion. And you seem to consistently insert into the article sentences that start with, "Matt Novak says. . ." as if this fellow is a Napoleon Hill expert, which he is not. It's a blog and can you call it what you want, but Gizmodo is part of the Gawker Media Group and has the same tone and tenor of Gawker. It's not a credible news organization, and Matt Novak's blog is not a credible source for the article. As for your dismissal of reliable sources, you're the one who is calling them "Hill's promoters," which is incredibly POV. Published biographies of Hill from reputable publishing houses are reliable sources. SW3 5DL (talk) 21:58, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Gizmodo appears reliable, is widely used across Wikipedia, and there don't appear to be any discussions to the contrary.
Whether this subsection of Gizmodo is under different oversight or not is a good question to settle, but we need evidence. Otherwise the assumption that it falls under Gizmodo's oversight is a sensible assumption. --Ronz (talk) 00:59, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
I echo Ronz's comments. My impression is that SW3 5DL's disapproval of Gizmodo isn't exactly the consensus on Wikipedia. Although I'd be interested to hear some thoughts from other folks who haven't had prior involvement with Napoleon Hill's article. OmgItsTheSmartGuy (talk) 01:19, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The content of Matt Novak's blog post is the issue here. The question is whether or not it is reliable. You say Gizmodo is used widely on Wikipedia, but in what context? What content from Gizmodo is being used? This blog is being used to source a biography, and whether or not Gizmodo has been used as a source on Wikipedia in general, it is this particular blog post that is in question here. With its sophomoric sarcasm, it does not represent a reliable telling of the life of Napoleon Hill. Matt Novak has no expertise on the subject. He's not a biographer or a historian, and that would be okay if what he wrote was a serious piece of journalism, but it is not. SW3 5DL (talk) 01:32, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

In reply to User:OmgItsTheSmartGuy, I have had no involvement in the article prior to this post so while I'm no longer technically uninvolved I may be able to help.
I think User:SW3 5DL has already made some very valid points in reply. I'd like to expand on them.
While this web article does satisfy WP:RS, it's not an adequate source for all of its contents. Most of what it says is sensational, and it's heavily POV. So we wouldn't for example say Hill was a huckster just because Novak does, or even use the word huckster just because he does, and cite Novak as the only reference, this would not be encyclopedic. We couldn't say some authorities say Hill was a huckster, that's weasel-words, and Novak is not an authority anyway. Even Novak says Hill was a huckster isn't encyclopedic. Perhaps writing in Gizmodo, Novak claims Hill was a huckster with the appropriate reference might be NPOV and adequately sourced, but does anyone really care what Novak says there? It's still not encyclopedic. We can and should cite Novak for things that are verifiable elsewhere, such as the date Hill was born or married or left a particular place, but that's about all IMO (and if we find, as I suspect we will, that his research in even such matters is unreliable, then all these citations should be removed not just the ones we explicitly falsify... but that's a matter for the future, and I may be wrong). And the reasons Hill left that particular place would need better sources; We should not even repeat Novak's speculations. If he sources such statements we could in theory cite his source, but we'd need to add an original not sighted to the citation until and unless we can independently verify his source, and I doubt we want to do that either.
In summary Novak is technically citeable, but in a very restricted fashion. Andrewa (talk) 02:31, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Just chiming in to note that a few months before the time of this article's writing, Gawker Media's assets had been sold to Univision Communications, so ultimate editorial responsibility for Gizmodo would have lied with them. - MrOllie (talk) 00:24, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Andrewa and MrOllie: It's the content of the blog that is at issue. Even if this were in the New York Times, it is opinion, and generally we don't use opinion. So the credibility of the website/source does not give cover to what is essentially a sarcastic, unsourced attack piece. The WP:RS is specific the biographies of living or dead persons must be well sourced. This is clearly not an acceptable source, especially when other reliable sources exist. I also agree that it is poor practice to insert Matt Novak's name into edits. One other thing to note is that the reliable sources on Hill have been labeled 'Hill promoters" by OmgitsTheSmartGuy. SW3 5DL (talk) 02:46, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Discussion on info in initial RSN request and related edits[edit]

(The comments below were started [11] in response to SW3 5DL's [12], Your diffs are useless as they do not show editors removing the material and you and OMG reverting them. What's the point of posting them if we cannot see where editors are disputing the material based on questioned sources and you and OMG reverting them without justifying those sources. --Ronz (talk) 21:18, 21 February 2017 (UTC))

The assumption that such information is needed here suggests a non-collaborative perspective.
The diffs you asked for have always been there. I've added quotes so that editors don't need to bother with any of the diffs. --Ronz (talk) 23:31, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Exactly. Andrewa (talk) 03:53, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

@Ronz: please don't move my edits. This particular edit was made on February 18th and I've restored it. Also please do not rewrite your edits after editors have responded to you. SW3 5DL (talk) 02:40, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Agree 100%. See Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Editing comments. Some of my posts now look most enigmatic if you go by the sig timestamps. This is disruptive and in the extreme can lead to blocks and bans. We should not need to go to the page history to sort out a discussion string. Andrewa (talk) 03:50, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't understand either of your concerns, but placing a comment inside another's tends to be problematic. Placing it inside an initial request at a noticeboard, moreso. Moving a comment to the beginning of a discussion on a noticeboard without any indication that there were responses to it seems rather disruptive.
As far as how editing an initial noticeboard request in response to feedback could somehow be disruptive, you'll have to explain. In the meantime, let's not derail the purpose of this discussion. --Ronz (talk) 16:12, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I know you don't understand my concerns, but do you now understand the guidelines and that you have violated them, and will you please abide by them in the future? Andrewa (talk) 18:57, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

@Ronz: You need to stop this disruption of the discussion thread. As Andrewa notes, you can be blocked for this behavior. And refactoring my comment by adding talk quote and moving it again, is deliberate disruption. SW3 5DL (talk) 19:50, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

He didn't move it, he made a copy of it, in a talkquote, in his own comment so it was clear what he was responding to. Your original comment remained where it was. I'll also note that in your own refactoring, you just broke one of Andrewa's comments. - MrOllie (talk) 20:28, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Made a new attempt at restoring the context of my comment, and fixed the broken comment. --Ronz (talk) 21:28, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Take my comment out of talk quote. I did not make my comments in green and I do not want them taken out and quoted by you in green. You can show a diff but you cannot quote me like that. Please revert that mess. ISW3 5DL (talk) 21:59, 21 February 2017 (UTC)


I would suggest we just hat the mess above, right back to the first disputed contribution (whatever that is), and start again. I'm happy to do it if someone will identify the earliest problem for me. Andrewa (talk) 22:28, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

I don't suggest that. Ronz simply needs to revert his disruption. SW3 5DL (talk) 22:29, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
That doesn't solve the problem for me. The sig timestamps and page history don't match and we can't fix that. A little of such tangles is survivable and not unusual. The above is now too tangled to be worth untangling IMO.
However, if you would give the diffs of the specific edits you want reverted, they may be able to be undone, and if you and Ronz agree that this will settle the matter, I'll just have to go along with it.
A third alternative is to ask for another admin to close this discussion, and I'm seriously considering it. And we move on. Andrewa (talk) 22:55, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I originally hatted it and think it should be done again.
First comment about the diffs (after the same discussion ended at Talk:Napoleon_Hill#Adding_and_then_reverting_own_edits) (I'm going to refer to this as "first comment")
[13] My attempt to respond to the concerns in the first comment by providing quotes, moving the first comment, and responding.
[14] The first comment is removed and a note about it is made.
[15] The first comment is moved to a new location.
[16] I quote the first comment to provide context for the commenting, respond, and place hats around the discussion.
[17] The quote of the first comment is removed, as well as half of my response to it.
[18] A response is split in two and part is moved.
[19] I restored the deleted half of my response.
[20] I introduced the context of my comment
[21] I restore the comment that was split in two
I believe I've cleaned it all up. --Ronz (talk) 23:13, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
But User:SW3 5DL, you disagree?
Delinked at the user's request. Andrewa (talk) 23:57, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I am not prepared to hat it unless you both agree to it, and suggest you should not do it at all, see Template:Hidden archive top#Usage This template should only be used by uninvolved editors....
But I can't see any chance of a productive discussion here as it stands. I could be wrong. Andrewa (talk) 23:24, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  1. ^ Tazewell Republican. (Tazewell, Va.), 18 June 1903. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>
  2. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference Novak was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ The Pensacola Journal. (Pensacola, Fla.), 17 Oct. 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>

Abebe Bikila: Accident[edit]

Source: Judah, Tim (2008). Bikila: Ethiopia's Barefoot Olympian. London: Reportage Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-955830211. OCLC 310218562. 

Article: Abebe Bikila

Content: In 1969, on the night of March 22, Abebe was driving his Volkswagen Beetle when he lost control and the vehicle overturned with him trapped inside.[1] According to Judah, it is possible he may have been drinking.[2][3] However, Judah also quotes Abebe's own accounts of that night which contradict this and admits that it is difficult to know for certain what happened that night.[3]


  1. ^ Judah (2008), p. 153
  2. ^ Lewis, Tim (July 26, 2008). "Triumph of the shoeless superstar". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-01-25. 
  3. ^ a b Judah (2008), p. 154

Is this appropriate? Should I include this? Relevant quotes in Judah (2008):

On his way back he was spotted in Debre Berhan, in a bar, at 9:00 pm.

Wami Biratu and Hailu Abebe both dismiss the notion that there was anything suspicious about the accident. Maybe the account in Tsige's book is completely accurate, [or] maybe he had too much to drink. We shall never know...

Wami Biratu and Hailu Abebe (no relation) were friends of his and with him earlier that night. Tsige Abebe is Abebe Bikila's daughter who also wrote a biography on Bikila in 1996 which contains Bikila's account of that night. Tim Judah quotes her extensively in his biography. Judah never states who spotted him in a bar. And in the same paragraph he continues:

...maybe he had too much to drink. We shall never know. Nevertheless, rumours spread like wildfire. The gist of them was that an attempt had been made on the life of Bikila by a wronged and jealous husband. There were also stories that the car crash was a cover up and that Bikila had in fact been shot. Needless to say, there is no proof of any of this, but the fact that these stories were widely believed says something about Bikila's reputation.

Sorry if the patronymics make it difficult. I just wanted an opinion on this. Take a look at the guardian article too.—አቤል ዳዊት?(Janweh64) (talk) 06:41, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Google News Search seems less useful for finding reliable sources.[edit]

Over at Israel on Campus Coalition, there were some recent edits which read like PR.[22] So I tried Google news search to see if something better could be found. The top three search results in Google news search [23] are Algemeiner (Jewish), Breitbart News (alt-right), and Mondoweiss ("progressive and anti-Zionist"). There's nothing on the first page of search results which can be considered a neutral reliable source. This is discouraging. John Nagle (talk) 20:31, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

GNews search has been crap for a while, partisan and bloggy sources are often returned as top results while higher quality sources (like major newspapers) often don't show up at all. No idea what changed or what causes this but it's nowhere near as useful as it once was. Fyddlestix (talk) 20:50, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I regularly use the following to exclude common fake news sites when I'm searching for political news stories:
It wouldn't take much work to compile a similar line from all the sites in List of fake news websites. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:10, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Interesting. Using multiple site: qualifiers in a search always fails for me, yet using multiple negative qualifiers as in your example seems to be OK. Do you know if there's a way to get something like to work so that we can search multiple reliable sources at one shot? Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 00:41, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Article published by David Publishing[edit]

At Social media, one or more unregistered editors are insisting that this article is a reliable source for the fairly mundane claim that "text was indicated as the most important reason among Internet users." I challenge the reliability of this source and any other source published by David Publishing. The briefest of searches turns up numerous reports and warnings (e.g., this post] from Leiter Reports, this post on an academic's personal blog, this post on another academic's personal blog) from academics, including librarians (e.g., this post from Syracuse, this post on the personal blog of another academic librarian]) who are experts in this area, that this is a predatory publisher. It was included on Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory publishers; here is an archive of that list and here is a specific tweet from Beall about this publisher.

Given the overwhelming evidence that this publisher is predatory and a scammer, nothing it has published can possibly be considered reliable and should be cited in Wikipedia articles. ElKevbo (talk) 21:33, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

"location" in cite news[edit]

This isn't exactly about reliability, but y'all know the MOS, perhaps. Please look at at this edit--this is the first time I hear that the location is somehow important in citing an article from a magazine: there are no different Car and Drivers or Auto Expresses for different countries, as far as I know. Pinging Stepho-wrs. Drmies (talk) 00:52, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

I would agree the location should only be needed if there's a potential conflict of location of the work, like Wired vs Wired UK. If there's only one well-recognized version of a work that doesn't mention it's location, I see no need to include the location= , since particularly as rendered it implies that there may be alternate works. --MASEM (t) 01:10, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
First off, it would have been nicer etiquette if you had raised the issue with me on my talk page before running off to the administrators. You'll find I'm generally polite on my talk page and I try to explore the issue from both sides.
I find the location parameter quite useful to show regional bias. Quite often we get references that either show large national bias or simply show something that is true within a particular region but not true on a global scale.
For an example of the first problem, the Hennessey Venom GT article often gets editors saying car has the record for being the fastest on Earth. Almost always, the reference is from an American source, claiming for the "American" car (note: it is British Lotus Elise modified by an American company). But the American source usually leaves out that the claim is for an unofficial run that was not done by the rules laid down by the Guinness Book of Word Record and hence not eligible for the record. Too much flag waving.
An example of the second problem is for the Toyota FJ Cruiser. American sources said that it would be terminated in mid-2014 calendar year (ie at the end of the US 2014 model year). Many editors took this as being terminated world-wide: end of story. Closer examination should that it remained on sale in RHD form in other countries until mid-2016. The original reference was written in America, by an American corporation (Toyota USA) for American readers. So it naturally gives data that applies to Americans and leaves out data that does not apply to Americans. That's a reasonable thing to do but for someone naively following references it is easy to conclude that the regional reference applies globally because the reference doesn't qualify it.
And lastly, if I go to the extra effort to put the location in, does it really hurt anyone? I don't force others to put it in. If I think it is needed or useful then I take the effort to do it myself. So it is only my own effort that is potentially wasted. Is it so evil that it must be removed no matter what?  Stepho  talk  07:10, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
To be fair, this is not an admin board but a noticeboard where people can seek other opinions and wider input on sourcing issues. As for the substance of the issue, I'd tend to agree that location is not usually necessary, but it will sometimes be useful to know. However, I'd also agree that it doesn't really seem necessary to remove it once it has been added. N-HH talk/edits 10:46, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
I don't know what major style guidelines say about it for certain, but my hunch is that location for periodicals is routinely omitted. Consider using ISSN to uniquely identify the publication. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 11:24, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Sources regarding Tsamiko and Osman Taka dances. Do they meet Wikipedia criteria for reliability ?[edit]

Recent edits were made to the Tsamiko and Osman Taka articles which are about Greek and Albanian dances of the wider Epirus region. Editors at the talkpages [24], [25] have expressed concerns the sources don't meet the set Wikipedia standards. Various sources like Youtube and other web sources were used to question references. The first source is by Eno Koço (2015), A Journey of the Vocal Iso(n)[26], Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Editors have referred to his works as "he recycles the typical ultranationalistic Albanian pov" [27] regarding page 4, 78. For me however, i only based my sentences on pages 14-16 which were relevant to the two articles. In those Koço also cities chunks of a Greek scholar Chiani's work. I ask because Koço is a Professor [28] at the University of Leeds in Britain and his book was published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing [29], meeting i thought the requirements of wp:reliable and wp:secondary. The other source is a chapter by Dr. Eckehard Pistrick [30] (from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg) "Whose is the song? Fieldwork views on multipart singing as expression of identities at South Albanian border"[31], contained in an edited book Balkan border crossings: First annual of the Konitsa Summer School compiled by Vassilis Nitsiakos [32] and published by Lit Verlag. Editors have said on the talkpage that the source does not meet the requirements while on my part i thought the source meets wp:reliable and wp:secondary. Advice on the sources would be most appreciated and welcomed by editors. Best.Resnjari (talk) 21:11, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Sources provided for The Russian Bride[edit]

With several users claiming that none of the nine sources used in The Russian Bride is in any way reliable, but unwilling to explain or discuss, I'm asking for input. Note that this still remains relevant even after the article is deleted, (a) for my and everyone's understanding and (b) since in that case the article may well be resurrected in the nearby future, as development of the topic is ongoing. The following sources are used.

  1. The topic's official website, for existence, company, plot summary, cast and crew.
  2. The topic's crowdfunding page, for existence, purpose of its crowdfunding, and mention of premiere and DVD.
  3. A preview in Decay Magazine, quoting a comment on the topic's theme.
  4. An interview in Posh Kids Magazine with one of the lead actors, a model, to indicate her career move.
  5. A preview in Horror Movies CA, for a quote about her talent.
  6. A casting call in Backstage, for roles and filming location.
  7. The topic's official newsletter, for info on funding and planned start of filming.
  8. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, for the existence of the topic's LLC.
  9. The topic's official Facebook page, for the existence of its trailer.

Thanks in advance. Lyrda (talk) 23:34, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Material which is essentially from any "self-published source" is generally deprecated on Wikipedia. The sources listed are either SPS (including press releases), tangential, or en passant entirely. Please find strong third-party sources. Collect (talk) 23:59, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
WP:SELFSOURCE says different. A press release is not a WP:SOURCE, the party publishing about it is. Unsure which ones you call tangential or en passant, or why that matters with regard to reliability. Lyrda (talk) 00:13, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Note: at the moment these seem to be the best sources available. They may not be enough to establish notability, but that isn't the question. Lyrda (talk) 00:15, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
With Deadline added, the number of sources has now risen to 13. Lyrda (talk) 01:24, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Citation included for BLUE material that may also include COPYVIOs?[edit]

Article: Li He Diff: [33]

I wasn't sure if this should go here, ELN or CP, and basically decided on RSN because I'm more familiar with this venue. Basically, individual romanizations for each character in the text are WP:BLUE so I could include them inline without a source, but I didn't want to look them up individually and copy-pasted them from some random blog (I checked several of them in a reliable source and the random blog, Poetry Nook, seems to be accurate), and I inserted a citation of said blog. It's my understanding that for BLUE material, no citation and a citation of a generally unreliable source are equally acceptable (or in other words, the generally unreliable source is adequate for extremely uncontentious information), but...

I worry that several other pages on Poetry Nook (not the one linked) might violate copyrights and so would fall under WP:ELNEVER. Specifically, I found unattributed translations of works of the same poet. I have no reliable way of knowing one way or the other whether the translations were stolen from someone, the unnamed contributors who uploaded them were the original translators/copyrightholders, or Poetry Nook's short quotations would fall under fair use and so us linking them would not be us linking a COPYVIO page.

Should I:

  1. remove the citation as redundant and not worth worrying over, or
  2. leave the citation since the specific page linked does not violate copyright?

Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:54, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

And then I dug a bit deeper (I've been looking for some translation of the poems in question to quote in the article, though I don't know if that would be fair use) and found that "Pink Floyd" ref quotes the same modern English translation, apparently (though somewhat ambiguously) attributing it to "Graham", whom our article does currently cite for some other information. That said, there is information in the article (it was there before I got there) that is cited to the "Pink Floyd" source and is unlikely to be found in any other source, so if we throw out the probably-unreliable and maybe kinda-sorta COPYVIO source we probably need to throw out the information attributed to it. Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:23, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Casualty Statistics: Participation in hostilities irrelevant?[edit][edit]

I noticed a new user adding lots of external links to I thought at first this might just be spamming, but I see that the site is actually used as a reference in dozens of articles, suggesting that other editors have found it to be a useful source of information. It's a travel portal with some commercial offerings, but I can't really tell if the content at the site is reliable or not, so I'm asking for others' opinions. Deli nk (talk) 12:58, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Your first reaction seems to be correct.Nothing about that site even whispers "reliable source." It's a commercial travel site, which includes a handful of articles submitted by anyone ("Share your experiences and expertise with us and we'll publish your articles/features on our site and circulate it to thousands of people interested in TRAVEL!"). There appears to be no editorial oversight or fact checking. I suspect link spamming with some of those other references, without looking at them. First Light (talk) 14:24, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
I have started going through the pages that contain links to and removing them as appropriate. Some are similar enough that I am sure they are deliberate linkspam, others look like well-intention editors using an unreliable source and thus inadvertantly introducing linkspam. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:36, 22 February 2017 (UTC)


I've seen a few entries here where Mondoweiss is concerned but nothing really definitive. It is my assertion that it can't be used as a RS especially for items within the Middle East conflict. It is not a neutral, reliable source. It has an agenda and it is pretty open about that agenda. The same way users throw out right wing entries merely for being right wing, or pro-Israeli, such as Arutz Sheva, Mondoweiss should not be allowed as a RS. Sir Joseph (talk) 21:12, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Have you read the big notice at the top of this page? What is the article that it is being used on and what is the material it is supporting? Also go read WP:BIASED. Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:19, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
In general a source like this would not be considered a reliable source except for as a source for the views of the authors (this depends on the context however as OiD pointed out). Also, other journalists don't seem to have a particularly favorable view of them see this article on the Washington Post denouncing them as a hate site, and also describing it as a 'blog'. The Atlantic seems to have a similar view. InsertCleverPhraseHere 21:21, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Ah the irony in the Post calling someone else a blog... Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:24, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Labeling non-religious writers as part of an occult belief system[edit]

Is [35] "Occult America: The Secret History of how Mysticism Shaped Our Nation" By Mitch Horowitz

a reliable source for asserting that Napoleon Hill was "inspired by the New Thought movement]]?

Note that this source states "most inspirational literature published in America between 1875 and 1955 had some New Thought bent" which is an extraordinarily broad hook on which to label Hill, Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale as "New Thought writers."

"New Thought" is apparently The concept of New Thought (sometimes known as "Higher Thought"[3]) promotes the ideas that Infinite Intelligence, or God, is everywhere, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and "right thinking" has a healing effect ."

Napoleon Hill does not fall under this definition, nor does Horowitz ascribe such a belief to Hill and others.

In fact, this source states:

"In the 1930s nonreligious figures such as Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill rode the wings of New Thought to worldwide fame"
which is clearly a metaphorical statement rather than a statement of fact that they subscribed to New Thought itself. The source then adds Norman Vincent Peale, the entirely traditional mainline Christian preacher also into this occult religious tent.

"New Thought" was specifically an occult belief system, to which these authors did not belong at all, nor do other sources aver that they are believers in the occult. Ascribing membership in a group believing in the occult when there is no source making that claim, and this source connects them only be metaphor, in fact calling them "nonreligious", is not a "strong source" in my opinion, for explicitly connecting them in Wikipedia's voice to that occult group. Collect (talk) 21:48, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Could you please update this discussion to indicate the multiple discussions on this topic, the multiple sources discussed, and the two (perhaps more) different ways sources link Hill to the New Thought Movement? --Ronz (talk) 21:58, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Horowitz was the cite given. He specifically labels "New Thought" as a religious movement, and then specifies that these are non-religious writers, or at least in no way connected to the "New Thought" occultism. The distinction found in the major sources is clear - "New Thought" is religious in nature, and Dale Carnegie and Hill are not religious in nature. Seems a tad clear once I delved into some useless material. Collect (talk) 00:00, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
If you're not going to make a good faith effort to identify the discussions on this topic, the other sources discussed, the multiple ways these sources connect Hill to New Thought; then why have you bothered making a request here? --Ronz (talk) 00:29, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Try WP:AGF before casting stones, please. I read the source, and it does not support the claim as worded in Wikipedia. Metaphors are an interesting construct, indeed. Collect (talk) 14:56, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I think this might be better framed as "secular writers influenced by religious authors" rather than "non-religious writers as part of an occult belief system." Secular writers may or may not be non-religious, which makes it easier to understand influence from religious authors. Broadly speaking, there are secular writers who are influenced by religious writers (e.g. Heidegger or Derrida by Kierkegaard, or Kierkegaard by Augustine if we're going to count Kierkegaard as secular), and "occult" writers are generally safest to handle as religious writers (even if some might not want to be classified as such). It's a two-way street: there is no denying the influence (however misguided, misinterpreted, or whatever) of Nietzsche on all Luciferians or Satanists, or James George Frazer, Margaret Murray, and Robert Graves on Gerald Gardner and other neopagans. New Thought is not a single, coherent, monolithic doctrine organized by a recognized authority: there's a variety of teachings on a spectrum from "obviously religious" to "supposedly secular self-help." From this perspective, I'm not seeing what the problem is at all. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:33, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
The problem is that the given source does not call the writers "New Thought", only that their writings came after "New Thought" writers opened up the "believe in yourself" area on the whole. That is why this author used a metaphor rather than a claim of fact. Collect (talk) 14:54, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Collect and Ian.thomson: Collect is correct about this source. It is being cherry picked to make the false claim that Napoleon Hill was a New Thought author. I don't know the reasons for that, but please note the problem with this source:

  • There is only passing mention of Napoleon Hill and that is limited to his name and the book he wrote, Think and Grow Rich, in the context of this one sentence: "In the 1930s, nonreligious figures like Dale Carnegie, (How to Win Friends and Influence people) and Napoleon Hill, (Think and Grow Rich), rode the wings of the New Thought to world wide fame." That's it. There is no claim that Carnegie or Hill were in the New Thought movement or inspired or influenced by it. Rather, this was talking about the marketplace at the time. SW3 5DL (talk) 17:17, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

@Ian.thomson:, to address your comment about non-religious authors being influenced by religious authors, the tenets of New Thought are quite simple and are based on the Bible, sayings of Jesus in the New Testament, and are universal to all religions. At lot of it is based on the Golden Rule, which does not depend on religion. SW3 5DL (talk) 17:21, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

  • I'd also like to add, that Hill's book and a biography of Hill, A Lifetime of Riches: A Biography of Napoleon Hill, clearly talk about Hill coming in contact with Andrew Carnegie (no relation to Dale) who told him his secret to success: have a definite purpose and a belief that you can achieve your goal. That's it. Hill then interviewed either in person or through letters, other successful business men and women, who confirmed they too, followed that formula. There's no evidence that Andrew Carnegie was in the New Thought movement or inspired by it, or suggested to Hill that he was. SW3 5DL (talk) 19:08, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Institute for Legal Reform claims to support statement that particular lawyers "regularly manipulate litigation" etc.[edit]

One user would like to use a press release and report cited to the Institute for Legal Reform (a U.S. special-interest group "set up by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to defend business interests in court" - see here) to support various claims at Newport News asbestos litigation. This includes the claim that "Newport News lawyers specializing in asbestos claims regularly manipulate litigation" and other contentious assertions. I object to the citation of this lobbying group for such claims (particularly in wikivoice) and believe that we should rely on other sources (e.g., journalism, scholarly writings, think tanks) instead.

Comments are much-appreciated. Please consolidate discussion by weighing in at Talk:Newport News asbestos litigation. Neutralitytalk 22:53, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

In general, I'm not sure this is a RSN issue as much as POV and the proper use of primary sources. Material sourced only to primary sources almost never should be put in Wikipedia's voice, and often deserves no mention at all per NOT and POV. --Ronz (talk) 23:21, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Opinions, sourced and cited as such, are generally allowed as long as the opinion-holder is notable on the topic. Collect (talk) 14:52, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

The Spinoff[edit]

A user has inquired on my talk page about whether this webpage from The Spinoff can be used as a source for "Shape of You" being a tropical house song. In doing research for the article I had actually come across that very webpage, but after finding no information about the website on Wikipedia, I decided to play it safe and forgo using it (I understand that Wikipedia coverage is not what makes a source reliable). Being unable to give an assured answer myself, I've brought the question here. Can this webpage from The Spinoff be used to support a song genre? Thanks. LifeofTau 01:12, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

According to the about page, an online magazine that employs an editor & staff writers and is subject to New Zealand Press Council procedures. A quick search shows that it grew out of a blog by Duncan Greive, a recognised & award winning journo who is the publisher & editor. The Spinoff's business model means it features sponsored content which is clearly marked - this article is not, however close reading shows that it is effectively a 'letter to the editor' and the writer Mitchell Houlbrooke seems not to be a recognised music journalist, so I would say no to using this particular article as a source.-- (talk) 03:26, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Daily Mail (again- sorry!)[edit]

Apologies if this has been established and I missed the discussion (I'm afraid I stopped following after the RfC result)- but how do we treat repeated insertions of it as a ref? Not withsatnding our usual tools against disruptive editing, of course. I assumed that there would be an edit filter, but maybe that hasn't been kicked in yet? Just wondered if a new policy / guideline had been established. A situation has arisen on Loch Ness Monster, is my reason for asking. Many thanks for any information. O Fortuna!...Imperatrix mundi. 13:12, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

We're attempting to be a serious encyclopedia and are therefore not interested in what the Mail has to say about the Loch Ness Monster. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:47, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Actually, we are at least a little bit interested in how the myth was developed by the Mail in the 1930s, as there are independent sources for that, and it adds to the stock of knowledge about the development of folklore. We are not interested in the Mail's antics in the 2000s. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:50, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for this discussion; I'll remove said reference, as t is not about the DM itself, but them quoting someone else. O Fortuna!...Imperatrix mundi. 17:52, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Top teas in China[edit]

From List of Chinese teas article:

Is the following section reliably sourced? There is a main section and two subsections, which I have converted to bold and noted below.

Famous tea (main heading)

There are several opinions of the best Chinese teas, or the title China's Famous Teas (中国名茶) or Ten Great Chinese Teas (中国十大名茶), depending on current trends in Chinese tea, as well as the region and tastes of the person.

Compilation of top ten list (subsection 1)

Different sources cite different teas, but the following table compiles ten different such lists and ranks the teas upon recurrence.[1]

Translated English name Chinese Pronunciation Place of origin Type Occurrences
1 West Lake Dragon Well 西湖龙井 Xī Hú Lóng Jǐng Hangzhou, Zhejiang Green tea 10
2 Dongting Green Snail Spring 洞庭碧螺春 Dòng Tíng Bì Luó Chūn Suzhou, Jiangsu Green tea 10
3 Yellow Mountain Fur Peak 黄山毛峰 Huáng shān Máo Fēng Huang Shan, Anhui Green tea 10
4 Mount Jun Silver Needle 君山银针 Jūn shān Yín Zhēn Yueyang, Hunan Yellow tea 10
5 Qimen Red 祁门红茶 Qí Mén Hóng Chá Qimen, Anhui Black tea 10
6 Wuyi Big Red Robe 武夷大紅袍 Wǔ Yí Dà Hóng Páo Wuyi Mountains, Fujian Oolong tea 10
7 Lu'an Melon Seed 六安瓜片 Lù ān Guā Piàn Lu'an, Anhui Green tea 10
8 Anxi Iron Goddess 安溪铁观音 Ān xī Tiě Guān Yīn Anxi, Fujian Oolong tea 10
9 Taiping Houkui 太平猴魁 Tài Píng Hóu Kuí Huang Shan, Anhui Green tea 10
10 Xinyang Fur Tip 信阳毛尖 Xìn yáng Máo Jiān Xinyang, Henan Green tea 9
Compilation of twenty lists (subsection 2)

The following table compiles twenty different such lists and ranks the teas upon recurrence.[2]

Translated English name Chinese Pronunciation Place of origin Type Occurrences
1 West Lake Dragon Well 西湖龙井 Xī Hú Lóng Jǐng Hangzhou, Zhejiang Green tea 20
2 Dongting Green Snail Spring 洞庭碧螺春 Dòng Tíng Bì Luó Chūn Suzhou, Jiangsu Green tea 20
3 Anxi Iron Goddess 安溪铁观音 Ān xī Tiě Guān Yīn Anxi, Fujian Oolong tea 18
4 Yellow Mountain Fur Peak 黄山毛峰 Huáng shān Máo Fēng Huang Shan, Anhui Green tea 17
5 Mount Jun Silver Needle 君山银针 Jūn shān Yín Zhēn Yueyang, Hunan Yellow tea 14
6 Qimen Red 祁门红茶 Qí Mén Hóng Chá Qimen, Anhui Black tea 12
7 Wuyi Big Red Robe 武夷大紅袍 Wǔ Yí Dà Hóng Páo Wuyi Mountains, Fujian Oolong tea 11
8 Lu'an Melon Seed 六安瓜片 Lù ān Guā Piàn Lu'an, Anhui Green tea 11
9 White Fur Silver Needle 白毫银针 Bái Háo Yín Zhēn Fuding, Fujian White tea 10
10 Yunnan Pu-erh 云南普洱 Yúnnán Pǔ'ěr Chá Simao, Yunnan Post-fermented tea 10


  1. ^ "Top Ten Teas of China".  Accessed 18 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Chinese Tea The 10 Most famous Chinese teas". Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 

-- Jytdog (talk) 19:47, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Are news articles written by TechCrunch staff considered RS?[edit]

I am not talking about blogs by contributors but those written by the staff. See examples listed under: Alexia Tsotsis, Andrew Sweeney, Connie Loisos, Sarah Perez. Off-course that excludes articles about partner companies disclosed which are Amazon, Skimlinks, and Wirecutter, The New York Times. They seem legit because in past they have retracted mistakes [36] —አቤል ዳዊት?(Janweh64) (talk) 21:05, 23 February 2017 (UTC)