Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Archive 10

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Going large?

What do people think about starting a roll out now? I think the recent points of contention might fall under attempts at polishing the finish rather than anything substantive? Would that be correct, and if that is the case, is it now worthwhile considering a roll-out and how to do it? Hiding Talk 08:53, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Personally, I feel it's long overdue. What's the next step? An RFC of some kind? JulesH 09:40, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
RFC is not the process. Just change the status to policy and we wait and see. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 13:31, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Can we wait til after Saturday? Slim is real life busy until then. Marskell 13:33, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Doesn't making this policy also involve replacing other policies? I'd make sure there's consensus and ridiculously wide awareness for this. People are unlikely to be happy to have either redundant versions of V and OR active, or have those suddenly disappear (or get "demoted") without wide acceptance of the idea. --Milo H Minderbinder 14:11, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
It can wait, sure, I was just testing the water and seeing what the thoughts were on a rollout schedule, if you get me. Hiding Talk 15:07, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

If we're done here, we post to WP:VPP, WP:AN, WP:RFC/POLICIES with the statement that we're taking it live in 7 days unless there's substantial objection. Then we do it - I'd argue that V, OR and RFC should be made redirects... Hipocrite - «Talk» 15:13, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

My above changes were yes cosmetic, and I was in my own way addressing the issue of easing the roll-out. I have no serious objections to the current looks of the policy...The only thing I want to draw your attention to is that we might need to do something about #Problem with using the term "attribution" in the context of this policy. --Merzul 16:12, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
A brief glance suggests a filing of a category rename to Copyright attribution templates might suffice. Hiding Talk 17:26, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
That should work, Hiding. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:20, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that seems like a good idea irrespective of this policy. The confusion example that he brings has nothing to do with this proposal. So if this is a problem at all, it is not a problem with this policy. --Merzul 05:00, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
About the redirects... I put in the possible destinations for WP:NOR, which is obvious. Does it make sense for WP:V go to the top of the page, as a synonym with WP:ATT and WP:RS go to WP:ATTFAQ#Sources. The other option would be to have WP:V link to the WP:ATT#How to cite and request a source. Of course, this was the sexiest solution, and maybe something like that can be achieved without re-ordering. --Merzul 05:18, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I think WP:RS should go to Wikipedia:Attribution#Reliable sources. WP:V going to the top is ideal, as most people when referring to it mean to indicate something along the lines of "All material in Wikipedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source.", i.e. the nutshell at the top of the page. WP:RS is currently a guideline, whereas WP:ATTFAQ isn't, and I don't believe the intent is that it will be (at least not yet). Upgrading references to it to references to a policy seems more useful than downgrading them. JulesH 10:58, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I think the ATT:FAQ should be made a guideline or not linked to at all from this page once it's live. Marskell 11:28, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
For me the FAQ has to be a part of the deal. Does the FAQ need work? Hiding Talk 12:49, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes. I've just fixed the most obvious problems with it, but it still needs some work. For instance, it disagrees with this policy in regards to exactly when a self-published source may be used; I think it was written when the third exception was still included. JulesH 13:03, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
It also disagrees substantially on citation; and, in so doing, changes present policy. This sort of thing will keep happening if we try to have the FAQ as an independent standard; the original point of WP:ATT was to have one page covering these issues. The FAQ must be a guideline. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:16, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Go for it. >Radiant< 11:32, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
    What he said. It looks great, folks. Thank doG for mergists! --Quiddity 00:59, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Section break! (pretend I'm not here)

No idea what this sentence is trying to say:

We encourage moving clumsy citations to footnotes, for clarity.

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:22, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it makes no sense to anyone who hasn't read the discussion at /archive9#Inline citations. Maybe we should postpone this issue of how to cite sources. the relevant section from WP:V is simply "Any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged needs a reliable source, which should be cited in the article." --Merzul 00:04, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

This sentence was replaced with "We encourage summarizing the cited material and moving long citations to footnotes, for clarity." I don't think it is the same as what PMAnderson intended, or maybe it is, but uhm still, what is the intention of this? I mean, what is the need for a policy to say this? --Merzul 22:21, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I have no strong opinion on either of them; I was attempting to satisfy the people who have a preference for footnotes over prose attribution. As long as they cover the same ground, as in the example now archived, it should be editorial discretion which to use.Prose attribution is often bad prose, and it is often a good idea to avoid it. Properly, that advice should be in the MoS, but it is harmless here. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:09, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Newspaper articles

Newspaper articles are not automatically secondary sources. For example, a newspaper article of December 7, 1941, describing the attack on Perl Harbor is a primary source, while a newspaper article comparing of that attack with the attack on 9/11 is a secondary source. Many editors confuse this and attribute the status of secondary source to any newspaper article. That is incorrect. That is why in the wording about sources, we need to show that a witness account of a traffic accident published in a newspaper, is a primary source, while the analysis of such traffic accident in a newspaper article is a secondary source. Subtle, but very significant distinction. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:55, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

The recent edit to the Attribution proposed policy, adding "published in a newspaper" to "eyewitness account of a traffic accident", is an improvement for a reason other than pointing out that some newspaper stories are primary sources. It also emphasizes that Wikipedia can only use published sources. A person talking to a Wikipedia editor about a traffic accident is a primary source, but the account should not be included in Wikipedia. --Gerry Ashton 21:33, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Upgrading to policy

I have upgraded the page to policy. Any next steps? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:10, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, the prior step ought to have been a very obvious note on V and NOR. Marskell 21:25, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
OK, don't take the reversion as not wanting to do it. But, I suggest something like:
"After seven months discussion at Wikipedia:Attribution editors have agreed on a means of merging Wikipedia:Verifiability with Wikipedia:No original research, while also streamlining Wikipedia:Reliable sources into a simpler FAQ. There are no policy innovations suggested: when it goes live, WP:ATT should be a more cohesive version of the content policies that the Wikipedia community is already familiar with. After <date> WP:ATT will run concurrently with WP:V and WP:NOR as a policy for one week. During this period, it is hoped editors will familiarize themselves with the idea behind the merger. Suggesting policy innovations is not encouraged—ensuring WP:ATT matches WP:V and WP:NOR, in tighter form, is the purpose. One week after <date>, the historical tag will be placed on WP:V and WP:NOR, barring serious objection, and WP:ATT will become one of two content policies beside Wikipedia:Neutral point of view."
I think we need to post something like this on V and NOR before the policy tag. Marskell 21:44, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
That's excellent, Marksell. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:38, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, could I suggest that after a week, we redirect V and NOR to ATT, rather than adding the historical tag? This will ensure that the thousands of reference to V and NOR on talk pages will redirect to the current policy. Also, we can't say they're historical because we're dealing with the same content as ATT under different titles. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:29, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Is it okay, if I archive more of the page, in case there will be more discussion coming here... I was thinking of keeping the above "diff" section though, but are there any other relevant section of the talk page we should keep? (in summarized form?) --Merzul 21:49, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I'd suggest archiving everything before "Going large?". That's what we're really talking about now. Marskell 21:52, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Ok, but quickly look over the diff... and the less controversial stuff, like there is no "original images" section here, are we fine with that? No, I think it should be copied over into "what is not original research?" Or is it covered elsewhere? --Merzul 21:56, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Anyway, I dumped the images thing in there, so now we can decide where to put it, but I will archive the page now. I think any other issues can be raised afresh. I didn't find anything problematic. --Merzul 22:03, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
To be patient and impatient at once, let's talk about diffs and original images etc. and let's also post something like the above suggested to V and NOR soon, to keep us from talking too much. We can't just declare this policy; it simply hasn't been broadcast enough. With a third and fourth opinion we can at least declare that it will be declared policy on the current policy pages. Marskell 22:11, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Regarding the announcement and plans, yes... I like the announcement, but I guess we should wait for maybe a few more opinions about the plans to roll out. But it is an excellent idea to start pushing it, otherwise we'll keep asking questios like are you happy with the FAQ? --Merzul 22:32, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I've been bold and have placed this on the V and NOR talk pages. Are we including RS too? Bear in mind that may involve a tussle.
Are we ready to place the policy tag on ATT? If so, who wants to do the honors? We need a bottle of champagne and a queen's speech. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:48, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Count me in for the champagne..! ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:03, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Who will do the queen's speech then? :) Beit Or 07:00, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, I cracked one of my six-pack in honour of WP:ATT, but champagne isn't in my budget. I agree we'll probably have to wait on RS. As for speeches, we'll probably need one from one of the higher-ups. Note on the interface, immediately below the edit window, "Content that violates any copyright will be deleted. Encyclopedic content must be verifiable" with a link to V. That will have to be changed by the developers. Marskell 08:37, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I think that V, NOR and RS should all redirect here. Or perhaps moved to Wikipedia:Attribution/Historical/Verifiability and having the old title redirect here. >Radiant< 10:21, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Yeah... does that mean that the V, NOR and RS policies will become obsolete, past policies in the wake of ATT, or is this just a merger of the three that will not replace them completely?-h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 14:24, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
      • The way I understand it it's closer to the latter. Of course the wording saw a lot of discussion on this talk page. >Radiant< 09:19, 19 February 2007 (UTC)


To begin the endgame. Are there any differences from current policy, or more importantly, are there any differences from current policy that disturbs you? The old diff is here, and none of it disturbs me :) --Merzul 22:27, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

If an article topic has no reliable, third-party sources, Wikipedia should not have an article on it. was a good sentence; if I were putting it back, I would make it probably should not have or some such to allow for the possibility of exceptions. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:33, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
The problem is that whether or not something has an article is a matter of organization. We definitely mention things with only "first-party" sources in articles, and sometimes that gets split off (see summary style). NASA logo is a good example of this. --NE2 01:00, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
NASA logo is a bad example, citing as it does four third party sources. Hiding Talk 22:52, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  • We should rephrase to make clear that the line here is whether reliable third-party sources exist, rather than whether we've gotten off our WikiDuff and cited them. There would never be any question that the NASA logo is attributable to third-party sources (starting, I should think, with the Britannica); the sentence is meant to exclude the sort of article that gets speedied as non-notable. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:34, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
OK... that wasn't a good example. Actually, I agree with the statement that "If an article topic has no reliable, third-party sources, Wikipedia should not have an article on it." as long as we don't specify that those sources must be "non-trivial" as WP:N does. --NE2 03:37, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Exceptional claims

If this is covered somewhere and I missed it, I apologize in advance, but if WP:ATT is replacing WP:RS, where is the equivalent to the exceptional sources for exceptional claims requirement? It is very necessary for controversial scientific/medical articles and IMO is one of the key provisions of WP:RS. Thanks, Crum375 00:40, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Likewise, we need to still be incorporating the section about sourcing for popular culture topics. At the top of the page we have this link, but I don't see the topic covered on the actual proposed policy page. Johntex\talk 00:57, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
    The problem was that it was hopeless to reach consensus on that issue, see uhm I looked at the archives and well it happened really suddenly at this point (see last three four comments), when editors realized it's better to just take current policy as is, and discuss improvements later. --Merzul 01:19, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Regarding the "exceptional claims", would anyone object if we just lift it from WP:RS? Crum375 01:22, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Agree that this is very important, I've seen very respected editors rely on it to fix up a very controversial article a living person. I think you were there too, so yes it is highly needed. Put it in! --Merzul 01:30, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Except of course, WP:BLP already has the same demands. I still think it should be in though... and while I like arguing with myself, hopefully someone wiser will respond! --Merzul 01:35, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, I think "exceptional sources for exceptional claims" is a key content policy, frequently cited by ArbCom and others. I copied the exact verbiage from WP:RS for now, although it can certainly be tweaked. For example, I'd like to see more emphasis on scientific/medical topics, and a link to Jimbo's related statements. Crum375 01:45, 16 February 2007 (UTC)


There's a problem with the FAQ. I've only glanced at it, but it's contradicting the policy in some areas, and I don't have time right now to go through it. I've removed the proposed tag because I thought we'd agreed to leave it as a helpful adjunct to this page. If it's to be given guideline or policy status, it'll have to be ruthlessly edited. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:08, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

I can lend a hand, SlimVirgin. Can you point out what are the issues with the FAQ? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:11, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Jossi, I can't do it right now. I found multiple contradictions. Part of the problem is that it's too wordy and so contradictions creep in because the language isn't tight so people don't notice. Even the very beginning of it contradicted the policy by suggesting that we publish the "truth" about certain subjects, when the whole point of the content policies is to emphasize that we don't "do" truth. So the whole thing needs to be tightened in terms of the writing style, and edited to check that the spirit of the policies is adhered to, and to make sure that the letter of the policies isn't contradicted. I'll try to do some later tonight. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:15, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
It's a shame there's not an easier way to keep track of stuff like this - the FAQ is moving very much against what we need to establish - content-specific reliable sourcing. Is there any way this is going to be able to account for this eventuality, or are we screwed because we missed the boat? --badlydrawnjeff talk 01:37, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
No, no, no, precisely the opposite I think, the FAQ has had no consensus, or rather, there is consensus that there are problems with it. I think you can be quite bold with it! --Merzul 01:39, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, my intention was to start working toward breaking apart WP:RS before i read this. Is it the intent of folks here to depreciate RS entirely into an FAQ, or is that officially not happening for the time being? --badlydrawnjeff talk 01:45, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Hi Jeff, it's probably not a good idea to do it right now, but very soon we'd like to replace RS with WP:ATT/FAQ, so that everything relating to sources is on ATT or its FAQ. The only reason I think we should wait a bit is that there are a small number of editors who seem very devoted to RS, so we'd need time to convince them that the page was really only moving rather than being abandoned entirely. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:48, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay, but is the FAQ going to be able to handle what has to happen? I don't want to step on the toes of something that looks excellent otherwise, but if the FAQ is going to lack the flexibility necessary, other options might need to be floated. --badlydrawnjeff talk 01:53, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm going to try to tighten it tonight. Then we'll need to move in anything decent from RS. That's what's going to be hard, because there's disagreement as to the value of anything on that page, which is why I think we should wait and get V and NOR redirected here first, and then think about RS. Just about every editor that has commented supports the merge of V and NOR, but there are a few who don't support the deprecation of RS — there aren't many of them, but they're tenacious. ;-D SlimVirgin (talk) 02:24, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Which is fine, but you're still not answering my question. d;-) --badlydrawnjeff talk 03:09, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
We're not going to work on RS just yet, so we'll know more once the FAQ is edited and relevant material imported from RS, which will take some time. SlimVirgin (talk) 08:08, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Well for starters convince in change management terms is an extremely value laden term, if you're planning on being confrontational about rationalisation then you're starting the right way. Whilst I have no real problem with the concept of rationalisation I do have a big issue with what you're planning on trying to replace RS with, which is essentially a legacy version of RS which every contributor to this thread themselves criticised about four months ago. RS has moved on, it still needs a fair bit of work, but I have no big issue with where the guidance is.
First off, what authority do you envisage the FAQ actually having? In presentational terms it strikes me that it has less authority than even a guideline, and given that it's key to verifiability then I'd suggest it needs to carry the policy authority which it supports.
As badlydrawnjeff indicates, there is a need for content specific material to support the reliability debate. I've tried to raise that topic a number of times, gaining a resounding silence in terms of response. There are a number of possible approaches, which I've articulated already on the RS talk page.
I also think that there are a number of holes in the proposed policy in terms of sourcing, the uncritical acceptance of MSM as reliable coupled with the slavish adherence to peer review as a quality stamp is worrying.
ALR 10:04, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

"The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia ..."

I understand that this means that we cannot include something simply because it is true. It should be made clear that it doesn't apply in the other direction: we can ignore what one source says if other sources disagree and we know that those other sources are correct. For instance, generally-reliable source A may say that the Cruftyland Railroad opened in 1860, but another source that goes into more detail describes its construction up to its opening in 1861, and we have newspaper articles from 1860 and 1861 that confirm this. Either we ignore source A, or we are forced to include a statement like "source A says the railroad opened in 1860, but other sources say 1861" despite our knowledge of which is correct. --NE2 05:56, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure I follow your point, NE2. This principle is already in V; it isn't new. There is nothing new in here. It's all just summarized from the policies. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:10, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Basically, here is the key bit of policy:

The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. "Verifiable" in this context means that any reader should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source.

Then attribution is just a shorter word for "verifiable in this context means ..." During this transition week, it's better to only discuss things that might have changed. This issue raised here clearly has not changed. --Merzul 06:23, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

I think NE2's objection is that we have lost the discussion of "undue weight". WP:ATT certainly doesn't have the phrase. Under WP:NPOV if eight reliable sources say 1861, with documentation, and one source says 1860, without details, it's probably undue weight to include source A for what may well be a typo.
Due weight here might be "1861.<ref>B, C, D,....H; A lists as 1860 but gives no details</ref>; but this is NE2's example, not mine, and there is a point somewhere where due weight is silence. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 06:39, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't get it, you have worked on this policy yourself, am I missing something? At the risk of pointing out the obvious: this policy doesn't replace WP:NPOV. None of V and NOR mentions undue weight either, so again this is not an issue that has changed: your reasoning will still apply based on WP:NPOV. --Merzul 07:45, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

I guess what I'm thinking is that I know what the sentence is saying but some people might not understand it, and think that it means that we should include every reputably published truth value of a statement, not just the one that we know to be correct. --NE2 08:03, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

It hasn't changed from V, and it's been there for a long time. PMA, it has nothing to do with the undue weight provision of NPOV. SlimVirgin (talk) 08:07, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

I would change the wording slightly from "attributable to a reliable published source, not whether it is true" to "attributable to a reliable published source, not solely whether it is true." The current construction implies that we don't have any problem with including actually false information, which is of course silly. DCB4W 01:26, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, this is again a massive change from current policy. WP:V does not require the information to be true, really... I apologize for the following ridiculous example, but if we are going to verify whether the existence of God is true or not, we won't get anywhere. According to WP:V "verifiability" only means that any user can "verify" that what we say are really stated in the cited sources. --Merzul 05:40, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Are you really suggesting that an editor who knowingly includes cited, but false, information, is helping write the encyclopedia? Information is superseded all the time, particularly in sciences (which is where we are most concerned about people interjecting crackpot "true" theories, incidentally) but also in social studies like history, where formerly prominent theories can fall by the wayside due to new and better research methods. (Case in point: the conventional wisdom used to be that 16th century sailors were in perpetually poor dental health, based on the exhumations of remains in sailors' cemeteries. Then the wreck of the Mary Rose was raised, revealing what actually healthy Tudor sailors looked like. Any information from before the late 1980s on the subject is flat wrong, and unfit for inclusion in the encyclopedia, regardless of how many reliable sources allege it.) I actually agree with your last statement, "According to WP:V "verifiability" only means that any user can "verify" that what we say are really stated in the cited sources." That is absolutely correct. However, that only allows the statement, "According to Source Y, X is true," not "X is true." If we're going to say X is true, we need to have a good faith basis for believing that X is true. In the example cited above, there's no reason to provide the 1860 date at all. DCB4W 16:20, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
To summarize, I think that truth is a necessary but not a sufficient criterion for including data, just as verifiability is necessary but not sufficient. (Cf. WP:NPOV on including verifiable but extreme minority viewpoints.) I think that's always been implicit in the policy, and making it explicit isn't a "massive change" at all. DCB4W 16:24, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I'd be happy just adding in a shortcut to WP:NOTTRUTH. Any objections? DCB4W 20:10, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Blogs published by reliable-source outlets

Very nice idea to merge the two policies. Just one question so far: Some of the wording implies that blogs are usually or always self-published: "Self-published sources, such as blogs, must never be used as third-party sources about living persons, even if the author is a well-known professional researcher or writer." There are a growing number of corporations and reputable media outlets whose websites include blogs. For example, the New York Times now has a few: . Microsoft and Adobe are examples of companies which use official, employee-written blogs, as outreach techniques. The level of editorial oversight might vary, but probably in at least some of these cases it's as high as it is for anything else published by the organization. Would it be fair to say, ""Self-published sources, such as blogs, must never be used as third-party sources about living persons, even if the author is a well-known professional researcher or writer."? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Kla'quot 08:46, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Good point, Kla'quot. It's clarified a little in the FAQ, but it should be tweaked here too. SlimVirgin (talk) 08:57, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

It generally seems like a bad idea for Wikipedia to prejudice itself against a whole medium of publication, namely blogs. After all, we would not want others to be prejudiced against Wikipedia solely because it is online. Individuals' or group blogs should be considered similarly to other published sources of similar scale. For some blogs, that means treating them like a fanzine; for others, it means treating them like a newspaper. For that matter, many small-town newspapers are on about the same level of reliability as many news-oriented blogs .... --FOo 07:44, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Blogs are not a medium. Reliability as a published source for the purposes of Wikipedia is based on factors involving fact-checking and lack of conflict of interest and past history of accuracy and objective editorial mechanisms. Blogs generally do not qualify as reliable under these standards. WAS 4.250 08:21, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Talking Points Memo is a blog. It is frequently cited by major newscasts, sometimes without attribution (aside from the inadvertent logo found on the picture they use). Josh Marshall is a respected journalist and it is his own privately funded publication. Just pointing out that not all blogs are created equal. -Sparaig 19:39, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Primary / Secondary sources and 'original research'

The current text states that, "Wikipedia articles should rely on reliable, published secondary sources wherever possible." In general this is certainly true, but there is a particular type of text where I strongly disagree with it. When talking about the content of a primary source (such as a book, play, transcript, et cetera), with no interpretations or conclusions, it seems to me to make more sense to cite that primary source directly than to cite a secondary source which itself quotes or references the primary. For interpretations you need a secondary source, but for simple citation the primary is the place to go. For example, a statement that "Call me Ishmael" is the first sentence of the story, should be sourced directly to Moby Dick... not some secondary source which says the same thing. This would seem self evident, but 'wherever possible' would argue for taking a secondary source first. In the past that wording has been 'interpreted' to argue that primary sources should be avoided. There is a sentence in the previous text explaining that the 'wherever possible' wording, "means that we present verifiable accounts of views and arguments of reliable scholars, and not interpretations of primary source material by Wikipedians"... but that clarifying sentence (that 'wherever possible' is meant for views/arguments/interpretations - not simple factual citations) has not been copied over.

Thus, if we want to keep it short I'd suggest changing the wording to something like, "Wikipedia articles should rely on reliable, published secondary sources for analysis and interpretation wherever possible." That maintains the intent of the existing policy without the additional sentence.

Another bit of lost text is, "However, research that consists of collecting and organizing information from existing primary and/or secondary sources is, of course, strongly encouraged." I think it is important to include this for the frequent cases where people claim, incorrectly, that such collections are 'original research'. Per this lost sentence, pages that collect information from multiple reliable sources into a 'unique' (not previously published) list are NOT original research. Which is good... because otherwise almost all of our Featured lists would have to go. --CBD 12:13, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

I understand your first point, but think that the change would be an innovation and should be held-off on. And "Wikipedia articles should rely on reliable, published secondary sources for analysis and interpretation wherever possible" accidentally leaves the barn door open. All analysis and interpretation should be attributed to reliable, published secondary sources, not merely when possible (if it's not possible, don't add it).
The second point is, I think , a corollary to "original prose, not original research". Articles ought to bring sources together in a unique way; they just shouldn't advance any unique ideas. I'm wondering if there should a section for this (note there's one at the bottom of the FAQ now) but am worried about bulk here. Marskell 13:10, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
My interpretation of "Wikipedia articles should rely on reliable, published secondary sources wherever possible" is that articles ordinarily should state conclusions and interpretations about the topic, which in turn requires secondary sources. The dumping of raw facts, which is what you get from primary sources, does not usually lead to worthwhile articles (but there can be exceptions). That's why it says "should" and not "must".
As for "original prose, not original research", my attitude is good, free, information is the main goal, and if we can achieve that by copying a public-domain or other free source word-for-word, do it. So the policy should not be worded in a way that frowns upon the copying of free information. --Gerry Ashton 15:02, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
"My interpretation of "Wikipedia articles should rely on reliable, published secondary sources wherever possible" is that articles ordinarily should state conclusions and interpretations about the topic, which in turn requires secondary sources." So is mine; I was pointing out that inserting "analysis and interpretation", with "wherever possible" as an adverbial, creates a loophole. Marskell 17:20, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
The loophole is real, and should be there. Occasionaly it is appropriate to base an article on primary sources, if the article is a recital of bare facts without interpretation or analysis. Whether it is sufficient to say "should" rather than "must" to allow this loophole, or whether we should also say "whenever possible" is a matter of editorial style. --Gerry Ashton 17:25, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
"Occasionaly it is appropriate to base an article on primary sources, if the article is a recital of bare facts without interpretation or analysis." We're agreeing with one another. "Interpretation and analysis" doesn't need to be inserted because the exception is for cases where none is present. Marskell 17:28, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
If I were to tweak the section, I would leave "whenever possible" but I'd change the last sentence: "This means that, as a rule, we publish the opinions of reliable authors, and not the opinions of Wikipedians who have read and interpreted primary source material for themselves." --Gerry Ashton 17:45, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree. We don't need that loophole. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:27, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Some things missing as a result of the merger

Apologies. I don't have a lot of time at the moment to study this closely, but a cursory glance suggests that a few of points I've relied on in the past will no longer be there. (I do, however, think this merger is excellent and really reallly appreciate the clarity and organization.)

I've always liked this definition of secondary sources: "The informed and expert interpretation, interpolation, extrapolation or corroboration of primary sources to synthesize a conclusion." It seems like the new policy opens up the use of tertiary sources more than previously. Here's how it was constrained before: "Tertiary sources can be used for names, spellings, locations, dates and dimensions." Also, I thought this section in wp:nor was important: "Synthesis of published material serving to advance a position."[1]. Also, I don't see the stipulation that scientific research that's referenced should have been published in an academic journal and peer-reviewed.

Thanks to all those who work so diligently to create these policies and guidelines. TimidGuy 16:52, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Partial reply: " However, that would be an example of an unpublished synthesis of published material serving to advance a position, and it constitutes original research" is still in. Marskell 17:01, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
In reply to TimidGuy, using a good tertiary source is better than having no article on a subject. I think it's better to provide free access to information that is good enough than to ignore any topic unless some editor can produce a superb article on the topic.
As for scientific research, it is not feasible to limit ourselfs to academic peer-reviewed journals. We would have to eliminate sources such as Scientific American and the science section of the New York Times, the web sites of high-tech companies, and other useful sources. We would also have to eliminate textbooks, so we couldn't write about the fundamentals of science, only the topics that have been the focus of research within the time-span of the editor's journal collection. --Gerry Ashton 17:12, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Marskell. Good to know that's there. And good points, Gerry. The examples you cite would fall under the guideline for non-schoarly sources, and hence be admissible. But wp:rs is fairly clear in requiring peer review for scholarly sources: "The material has been thoroughly vetted by the scholarly community. This means published in peer-reviewed sources, and reviewed and judged acceptable scholarship by the academic journals." The merger notice said there wouldn't be major revisions in the merger, just a reorganization. So I assume that the intent is still to maintain this standard of peer review for published scientific studies.

I see in a thread above that the FAQ is still a work in progress, so maybe this is yet to be incorporated. TimidGuy 19:48, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

TimidGuy wrote at the beginning of this secton "Also, I don't see the stipulation that scientific research that's referenced should have been published in an academic journal and peer-reviewed." I don't see any stipulation in [[WP:RS] about scientific research having to come from scholarly sources, only a description of scholarly and non-scholarly sources. There are some recommendations on the inactive page Wikipedia:Reliable sources/examples, but they don't carry to much weight considering the page is inactive.
Also, remember that "Reliable sources" is a guideline, while "Attribution" is a policy. When writing a policy, care should be taken not to forbid anything that ought to be acceptable, even under unusual conditions. Guidelines can be written to focus on the usual situation, and the best practices, because people will be more willing to violate a guideline when the circumstances call for it. --Gerry Ashton 20:27, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Gerry. Good points. Appreciate your thoughts. Note that Blueboar just today removed the "inactive" template from the Examples page. But it's hard to know whether it will have a place post-merger. I hope it does. TimidGuy 21:59, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Oops. SlimVirgin just put back the inactive tag. TimidGuy 22:08, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
The issue about Scholarly sources is a section re-inserted by Slim-Virgin and jossi into RS, who then refused to engage in any discussion about the value. I am aware that the whole ATT/ RS issue appears to be considered as a political p!ssing match in some areas and tbh lack of engagement doesn't help ones confidence about future progress. The wording does not mandate the use of peer reviewed sources, indeed it's an area which has a great many weaknesses.
The examples page had the potential to be quite useful, but things moved on. It's guidance, rather than a guideline.
ALR 10:11, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I would like to see WP:RS incorporated as a subpage of this policy to reduce as much redundancy as possible, but I'm not sure about the FAQ format, although the symmetry with NPOV is nice. I think we should wait until SlimVirgin is done with the FAQ, and then see how much RS material is still needed. --Merzul 07:34, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, ALR. Interesting to hear that background of the situation. I guess Merzul is right -- we can wait until the FAQ is done and then see what's still needed. I agree that the Examples page could be very useful. TimidGuy 12:58, 17 February 2007 (UTC)


Centrx, could you say what you're trying to achieve with your edits, please? The problem is that some of the edits actually change the policy (as in V or NOR), and we've been extremely careful not to do that here. WP:ATT is simply a merger of V and NOR. Although there's a consensus to merge them, there's no consensus to change them. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:12, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

There are three separate sorts of changes:
  • The third paragraph states that this is one of two core content policies. As a policy, this is not established without broader advertisement that this merger is in fact happening, now, and consensus for it.
  • There are several purely formal changes to spelling and grammar, which do not change the meaning and in regard to tone are more similar to the tone of WP:V and WP:NOR. These changes are much less significant than the many minor textual changes that have been made in the merger of the pages.
  • There are a few somewhat less minor changes which can be delayed in the interest of making the purity of the merge clearer, but which should be changed in the future and discussed if there are problems with them.
Centrxtalk • 23:22, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

"Wikipedia:Attribution is one of Wikipedia's two core content policies. The other is Wikipedia:Neutral point of view." seems like a straightforward combination of "Wikipedia:Verifiability is one of Wikipedia's three core content policies. The other two are Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:Neutral point of view." and "Wikipedia:No original research (NOR) is one of three content policies. The others are Wikipedia:Neutral point of view (NPOV) and Wikipedia:Verifiability (V)." Am I missing something? --Akhilleus (talk) 23:30, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

That's fine, but there should be widespread knowledge that the merger is happening and the opportunity for everyone to verify that it is sound before it is officially implemented as policy. It is also inconsistent to have both WP:V and WP:NOR state that each is "one of Wikipedia's three core content policies" while at the very same time this one states that it is "one of two core content policies". This cannot be the case until Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research are either tagged as {{historical}} or redirected here, and it sticks, and before that can happen it must be widely known that it is going to happen. Separately, there should possibly be some message put at the top of the front-facing WP:V and WP:NOR pages, but a regular {{merge}} tag does not seem appropriate. —Centrxtalk • 23:39, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
This was already announced on WP:VPP, WP:AN, and has already been at RFC; during the 4 months it was mentioned many times on various policy related talk pages. I notice you are re-announcing it everywhere, but please don't make too big of a deal out of this, as we don't want a slashdot article about this! --Merzul 09:02, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
It was announced as being worked on and in progress as a proposal, not that it was certainly going to be implemented and not at a final version; many proposals get such announcements but fail. Regardless, even if WP:ATT were absolutely and without exception perfect such that there would be no need or benefit from wider input before its implementation, it would still need to be widely advertised so that people actually know about it and not continue to refer to Wikipedia:Verifiability. And this still has the problem where "attributable" is less clear than "verifiable". —Centrxtalk • 15:11, 17 February 2007 (UTC)


I haven't read too much into the history of this effort, but a quick search of the word "Foundation" in the talk archives hasn't really shown me what the Foundation's reaction to this has been. If I recall correctly from my quick glances, some people said it wasn't technically a Foundation issue. Even if it is not technically a Foundation issue it's still a big change (well, not really "change", but update), and I'd really like to know what their thoughts are on this. I know a lot of this kind of stuff is up to us to figure out, and we don't have to "ask mommy and daddy" every time we want to change something, but I am surprised at the lack of talk about the Foundation's involvement in the past discussion. (Maybe I'm just missing it or searching for the wrong keywords?) Would anyone like to fill me in on this? -- Ned Scott 23:33, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't think that combining/merging the two existing policies, WP:NOR and WP:V, is a fundamental or substantive change that requires the Foundation's blessing. It is more a formatting change, which makes the content policy easier to work on consistenly and coherently. As of now, it is essentially a reflection of the two policies and hence a non-issue from their perspective, IMO. Crum375 23:39, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree that a merger wouldn't require the Foundation to be involved; even so, I e-mailed them about it when this proposal was initiated. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:42, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Who? You mean the wikipedia-en discussion? —Centrxtalk • 01:17, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I know, and I'm saying I agree that we don't need to ask them first, but knowing their input wouldn't hurt. -- Ned Scott 23:50, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Request to clarify Purpose

To be very clear, this page is intended to supercede WP:NOR, WP:V and WP:RS, correct? Presumably those pages would then redirect here?

If that's the intent, I think you need to restart the clock at the top of this page. My initial reactions are supportive but this hasn't been widely enough advertised yet. Rossami (talk) 23:58, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Mmm... there are different opinions here, but it is widely advertised now, and the proposal has been developing for over four months during which it has been mentioned many times on the WT:V and WT:NOR discussions. So most "policy discussion" people have been long aware of it. Anyway, if your initial reactions were positive, and only object to it's suddenness, then I don't really think it's a big issue, because this isn't really a big policy change, and there is still time to discuss any discrepancies between this and previous policy. --Merzul 07:13, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Non contentious material

I like this. Only one query. Some of the articles I write are based on one source, there being only one secondary source available. The subjects are non-contentious, and I just place the reference at the bottom (see for example here). I would hate for a picky editor to go through and place {{fact}} templates throughout. It would seem pointless to place the same citation throughout the article. Maybe a mention on how this type of article might be handled? --Michael Johnson 00:36, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

This issue of whether inline citations are needed is not changed by this policy, so the balance shouldn't have shifted on way or the other. It is still up to the quality assurance projects like GA or FA to decide how detailed or fine-grained attribution they require. In my opinion, the phrase "challenged or likely to be challenged" should ensure that you don't need to cite every statement. --Merzul 06:49, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Eventually every fact on Wikipedia should have an inline citation. Many articles start with one general reference - I do that too - but it is bad practice, because in the end the article will have to be brought up to the inline citations for every fact standard. Therefore I would actually advice to discard the entire phrase 'challenged or likely to be challenged'. Everything is 'like to be challenged' - with some commons sense in it (nobody should demand sources for styllistical changes). 'Editors should provide attribution for quotations and for any material' [they add] is much better then 'Editors should provide attribution for quotations and for any material' [challenged or likely to be challenged].-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  22:43, 17 February 2007 (UTC)


I'm liking the page, but is "attribution" the best name? When I first saw a link here, I thought it was going to be about GFDL-necessitated edit attribution. Picaroon 00:39, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, this is acknowledged, and the solution was to rename those "attribution" templates to "copyright attribution" templates. I don't remember, but this issue will be dealt with. --Merzul 06:52, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Personally I think we should just keep using Wikipedia:Verifiability as the main title, as the.. dominate (for a lack of a better word) policy. -- Ned Scott 09:37, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Kind of confusing

Hello, I just read through this, and I find it kind of confusing. I guess the thing that threw me off in the beginning was the usage of "attribution". The way I see it, the difference between "verifying" and "attributing" is that when you verify something, you just list your source somewhere (preferably inline), and are free to state whatever it is as a fact. On the other hand, attribution (as explained in WP:NPOV) involves actually giving credit to the source in the structure of the sentence (e.g. "According to X, Y", "X said Y"), thus avoiding stating Y as a fact.

The current version of WP:RS lists attributability as an aspect of reliability and gives another explanation:

Attributability—The more we know about the originator, either organisation or individual, of source material, the better. This helps us measure the authority of the content.

The other thing that throws me off is that WP:V and WP:OR don't seem that closely related to me. WP:V says you need sources and talks about sources are acceptable, and WP:OR is more about what you can do with those sources.

Anyways, maybe it will make more sense if I read through it on another day.

Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 00:55, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

A more accurate name might be "Attributability". The page explicitly states that not all edits need to be explicitly attributed, so "attribution" is not quite accurate. —Centrxtalk • 01:21, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I guess I am confused about the meaning of "attributability" as it is used in the context of this proposal. Perhaps someone could write a short definition in the intro? Also, attribution, as I understand it to be used in WP:NPOV, is something you generally do when the source is biased or less than ideally reliable, or the statement is disputed. So, yeah, still somewhat confused. Sorry. — Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 01:36, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Attribution definitions:

  • Indicates the source of information
  • assigning some quality or character to a person or thing; "the attribution of language to birds"; "the ascription to me of honors I had not earned"
  • assigning to a cause or source; "the attribution of lighting to an expression of God's wrath"; "he questioned the attribution of the painting to Picasso"
  • In journalism attribution is the identification of the source of reported information. Journalists' ethical codes normally address the issue of attribution, which is sensitive because in the course of their work journalists may receive information from sources who wish to remain anonymous. In investigative journalism important news stories often depend on such information.

... etcetera.

In the context of Wikipedia, attribution refers to whether material is attributable to a reliable published source. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:35, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

From the 1st and 3rd definitions you gave, attribution sounds a lot like verification, although it is possible I am not picking up on the fine distinctions. In the final definition you gave, however, wouldn't it be better to avoid using a variation of the word in the definition? It is also entirely possible that this entire thing will make more sense to me when my head is clearer. — Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 03:14, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I think you are such an experienced Wikipedia contributor that when you think about verification, you are actually talking about attribution. My definition of attribution is the following.
Attribution is the means to ensure "that any reader should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source."
The above is WP:V's definition of verifiability, and while attribution might have some problems, it is nowhere as confusing as calling the above process verifiability. Again, for experienced editors, the term "verifiability" simply means attribution, so this renaming may simply take time to get use to; but I think using "attribution" to describe this process is more accurate. In the world outside Wikipedia verifiability doesn't mean "that any reader should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source." In the world outside Wikipedia, verifiability has strong connections to notions of absolute truth, and this causes much confusion. So this policy is simply using the right dictionary word to describe what we, Wikipedians, mean when we talk about verification. --Merzul 06:22, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't see a big problem with the point, given that I wrote that line into RS. Attributability applies at different levels; for an individual point within a discussion and for the discussion as a whole.ALR 10:14, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Merzul - Thank you for that definition. It makes more sense, I think it should be included in WP:ATT.
ALR - So, providing a nice m:Cite.php citation, knowing about the author of the source, and saying "According to [source]" in the sentence in addition to a full m:Cite.php citation are all different levels of attribution? Can we use different words to describe these different levels of attribution?
Anyways, WP:ATT is starting to make more sense to me.  : ) However, given the controversy over whether reliability is on/off and can be determined with a checklist, or whether it is a flexible thing to be determined relative to the material being cited, I am not sure this much information on reliability should be covered in a policy. But, WP:V seems to have that problem too, now.
Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 15:13, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm glad it's starting to make sense to you, so yes how explicit an attribution is can vary from discrete footnotes to very strong prose attributions that distances Wikipedia from the statement. So in this terminology, those "according to..." statements are called "prose attributions". Regarding how much reliability information should be included, I tend to agree with you because most editors I've met have had good intuitive judgment on what are reliable sources; but some people feel strongly about this part. --Merzul 16:46, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Whilst I'm not a fan of the according to... form of words I think you've got it. A single item can be sourced adequately and is attributable although it may not be reliable, an article made up of appropriately sourced material is attributable but may or may not be inherently reliable. Essentially source quality is what is missing from the proposal at the moment.
I'd agree with Merzul that in the vast majority of fairly vanilla, non-contentious, topic areas then people have a gut feel for what is reliable and what is not. In the more contentious areas, where source reliability is an issue, then the current wording is weak; gut feel is wholly inappropriate where different people will feel differently about source quality. Weaker quality sourcing needs a bit more caveating around it in the text though.
ALR 17:52, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

My own concern is that the word Attribution is non-intuitive. For newcomers to Wikipedia, it's always been very easy to remind them about the Wikipedia policies of "Verifiability" and "No original research". Those terms are easy to understand. But to remind people about "Attribution" isn't something that most people will immediately get. --Elonka 19:32, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I think it might be best to just keep the name it "Verifiability". —Centrxtalk • 19:33, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Burden of evidence

I think the following statement (2nd para., last sent.) should be emphasized in italics: "The burden of evidence lies with the editor wishing to add or retain the disputed material." It's an important way to extinguish arguments and, unhighlighted, easy to miss when skimming the material. Askari Mark (Talk) 03:07, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I also think this is very important, and I strongly support this suggestion. The only reason I don't immediately apply it, is that being conservative during the transition week is a good idea. Otherwise, there are good arguments for this because compared with WP:V it has lost a bit of prominence, so I think we can make a case for italicizing it. Let's just wait a bit. --Merzul 06:31, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I think this is the best time to do it, when a great many people will be looking here to see what may have changed. It does not in itself make a substantive change, but highlights it commensurate to its importance. However, I'm reluctant to be bold at this point in time without further consensus. Askari Mark (Talk) 18:19, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Unpublished synthesis of published material

By the strong definition of OR here, this doesn't have to be original research, merely unsourced. We don't know that someone hasn't connected X's citation habits with the Chicago Manual of Style until someone unleashes Lexis and other tools and looks. I'm not disagreeing with the argument here; but it should be rephrased for consistency. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:40, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Ok, I see your point, but your objection seems to apply to any piece of original research, because we can never prove that it "cannot be attributed to a reliable source". Do you essentially agree there's difference between "not yet sourced" and "not reliably sourceable", or do you find this distinction not helpful at all? --Merzul 07:03, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I think it is an important point -- the material is probably original research. We can't ever know, though, unless the author admits it, that any paticular material is original research. It may have been taken from a published document that we're unaware of and the author forgot to cite. JulesH 10:04, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I think providing someone makes a reasonable stab at looking for a source, and can't find it, they are entitled to remove the statement as 'apparent OR' then the onus is on those wishing to retain it to source it.--Docg 10:28, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree; but that's not what the present phrasing says. We have a useful distinction here; let's not muddy it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:02, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I have tried a rephrase for both objections in this section; if someone wants to go back, fine; but it would be better to try another draft. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:11, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I think the whole plagiarism example is ambiguous. It's meant to be illustrating the point that given points A and B which have reliable sources, you can't a new point C if this argument has not been made in the sources. However, it's not at all clear from the example what points A, B and C are meant to be, particularly as the plagiarism case it is based on is quite complicated. As a result, different people have repeatedly been coming to different conclusions about what the example is trying to say.
I propose replacing the example in the synthesis section with a more straightforward example along the following lines:
"In Northtown there were 1000 violent crimes last yearReliable source 1, whereas in Southtown there were 2000 violent crimes in the same periodReliable source 2. Therefore there is more violent crime in Sorthtown than NorthtownNo source."
Under the attribution policy, the conclusion that there is more violent crime in Southtown than Northtown is not permitted, where it is not backed up by an appropriate source. This is because coming to a conclusion like this requires careful consideration of the source data; for example, the two statistics might have been calculated in different ways, or using different definitions of which crimes are violent or not. Wikipedia is not in a position to verify this background research itself. Instead, a conclusion must be attributed to a reputable source, unless it is very straightforward and uncontroversial.
Lots of alternative examples along similar lines could also be considered. What do you think? Enchanter 12:13, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
This seems much better than the Dershowitz example. Ken Arromdee 15:34, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm thinking of creating Wikipedia:Synthesis as a guideline/guidance/example page, and to focus discussion on SYNT. More examples of synthesis would be very helpful. However, there will be no changing of the synthesis section here until the merger is complete. --Merzul 17:08, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I support waiting for the merger to complete before we make any changes - I'll raise the issue again later. Enchanter 17:49, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
It would make everything much cleaner to do a merge, then apply any changes afterwards per regular consensus finding. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 17:51, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
If you do that, it'll never get changed. This is really our one chance to fix problems and codify existing practice. If we can't do that, what's the point? Ken Arromdee 16:24, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

3rd paragraph

If I understand Centrx's concerns correctly, the issue was that the paragraph implied that WP:V and WP:NOR no longer existed as policy, which was incorrect. Does the current version work better? JulesH 10:02, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

If WP:ATT ends up actually replacing WP:V and WP:NOR then the old version was fine. If it doesn't, then the new version would be rather inaccurate. —Centrxtalk • 15:07, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
OK, for the week of its debut, this contradiction is a minor issue. It should read as we would want it to read when NOR and V are redirects. Marskell 15:19, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
This "week of debut" is a novel concept. What is it's purpose? People can view the proposal regardless of whether it is concomitantly listed as policy, and once made policy it need not be listed alongside WP:V and WP:NOR. —Centrxtalk • 15:23, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Right, and people have had five months to view the proposal. The purpose with running concurrently should be obvious: we couldn't just up and redirect V and NOR. You're asking for more exposure before the final decision, which is exactly what we're trying to do. Marskell 15:30, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
First, the proposal has changed. If people have had five months to view the same proposal, it could have been implemented several months ago. Second, in those five months there are numerous people who thought either "I don't care to become deeply involved in the formation of this; I will review it when it is actually done." or "This is going to fail anyway, as many proposals have failed in the past, so there is no reason to bother with it." Running concurrently gains no extra exposure unless the proposal is advertised, which is being done, and, even after acceptance for the page, there is no need for them to run concurrently. WP:V and WP:NOR can be tagged with {{historical}} for a while, for at least the week in which you proposed to run them concurrently. Doing that would gain more exposure even purely on these three pages; currently, there isn't even any message about a merger at the top of the WP:V and WP:NOR front pages, which is the only way you could transition people over. Without a notice there, a week in which they are concurrent is useless. —Centrxtalk • 16:36, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
The proposal has changed to mimic current policy exactly; there are no innovations to review. The principal reason to have the policy tag on while it's being announced on WT:V etc., is that people will be less likely to try and introduce changes. The policy tag forces stability on the page. But it would've been too early to redirect V and NOR at the point of announcement. Hence the three at once.
Numerous people have thought "I don't care to become deeply involved in the formation of this; I will review it when it is actually done." or "This is going to fail anyway, as many proposals have failed in the past, so there is no reason to bother with it." Well, good for numerous people. We can't read the minds of those who aren't here. Marskell 16:49, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
They must be notified, so they are here now. —Centrxtalk • 16:59, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes I agree with Marskell on this stability issue, there is already 9 pages of archives. So Centrx, what is the best way of letting people review and answer "do you think this is an appropriate merger" without suggesting improvements to policy, such as changing the synthesis example? If there is a proposal tag on there, we're going to spend another 5 months on this. --Merzul 16:59, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I doubt it. People will make changes regardless of whether that tag is on there, and new things that are not found in WP:V, WP:NOR, or WP:RS were added to this page even by people that were involved here prior to the announcement. In any event, policy pages are not static. —Centrxtalk • 17:04, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

For Centrx

Centrx, please get on board with this. The merge of V and NOR has widespread consensus; in over two years of editing, it's the thing that attracted the second largest number of e-mails I've had over any single issue, all of them very postive, very enthusiastic. And on-wiki, I don't think I've seen any negative responses, except for you and one or two others; and yet, I feel you probably also support it in principle.

All that has happened here is that, instead of having the words spread out over two pages, they are now on one; the writing has been tightened; we've gotten rid of the word "verifiability," a word that caused a lot of confusion, because it was the wrong word to describe checking source material; we've found a word instead — attribution — that incorporates the idea "don't add OR but not every single sentence needs a source," which is "material must be atttributable, but need not actually be attributed."

That's it. There are no actual changes to policy. Everything that mattered in NOR and V has been carried over to ATT (and if you feel that a principle you relied on while editing has been left out, please tell us). Policy pages do have to remain stable, especially the core content policies; we can't have them being constantly tweaked. Therefore, instead of arguing about issues of detail here and there, can you say overall what your fundamental objection is? SlimVirgin (talk) 17:19, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I have no objection to merging WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:RS. The problems are laid out above, at #Changes. Aside from the one about future minor but substantive changes to the page, this cannot be a "core content" policy without, in fact, replacing WP:V and WP:NOR; replacing WP:V and WP:NOR requires broad announcement and agreement, and the successful tagging of those pages as {{historical}} or redirecting them here. Second, you should not make blanket reverts of purely textual changes which do not change the meaning of this page. If you think that none of these are purely textual changes then, insofar as they are substantive, WP:ATT is a deviation from the originals; there are no contractions in WP:V, WP:NOR, or WP:RS, nor is there second-person addressing of the reader (e.g. "We encourage"), nor a redundant repetition of "Edits that rely on primary sources..." (or even that sentence at all), etc. —Centrxtalk • 17:34, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Centrx, forget about RS for the time being, because this page isn't seeking to incorporate RS. Everything in RS that matters was taken from V and NOR. (I know this because I was the one who originally added them to ensure RS, V and NOR were consistent with one another, and I've made sure the consistency issue didn't deteriorate too much.) And everything that matters from V and NOR is in ATT. So RS is a separate issue and will hopefully be merged eventually into ATT/FAQ.
Your point about reverting "purely textual changes": some of them changed the policies in small but subtle ways — your addition of "novel" theory, for example.
NOR and V won't become historical, because ATT *is* V and NOR. The pages will simply be redirected.
Can you give me a concrete example of ATT deviating in a substantive way (in a way that's meaningful) from NOR and V? I'm sorry if I'm being dense, but I don't see one. What do you mean by "there are no contractions" in V and NOR? I've removed "we encourage," because you're right: we don't have second-person language in V and NOR. Not sure what you mean by "edits that rely on primary sources ..." SlimVirgin (talk) 17:59, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Or we could be bold, ignore all rules, and improve Wikipedia. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 17:36, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
If that is what were going on, grammatical corrections (and other changes too) would be perfectly welcome and we could just tag WP:V and WP:NOR with {{historical}}. Try it. —Centrxtalk • 17:42, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Ok, she has this habit of monolithic reverts, considering the amount POV pushing she has to deal with on a daily basis, please just have some oversight with occasional to-big-reverts. Now, what are your objections, again? I will look into "Edits that rely on primary sources", but could you make a bulleted list of "diffs" that disturb you? --Merzul 17:45, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
There is nothing about the current text that disturbs me, though it is not a pristine merge with no changes in meaning and it does not include some things that were in the originals. It should, however, be the subject of wider consideration, or at least be more widely known and there is no reason why all changes whatsoever, including the most mundane textual changes, should be disallowed. —Centrxtalk • 17:51, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Centrx, the proposal has been worked on by 84 editors in four months; 157 editors have taken part on the talk page; the proposal has been posted several times to V, NOR, RS, the village pump, AN, AN/I, the mailing list, the Foundation, and there has been an RfC. I've received a ton of e-mails about it — and even a three-man barnstar. It's a good proposal! That doesn't mean it can't be tweaked, but any tweaking (a) must improve the writing; (b) must be completely consistent with NOR and V; and (c) mustn't inadvertently introduce any new issue. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:05, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
And there are 10,000 editors who refer to Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research on a regular basis. There are many people who do not personally contribute to every proposal, but who nevertheless should at least know about the actual implementation of such a major change. You would have found people coming and objecting when you redirected WP:V and WP:NOR even if there had been no other advertisement. —Centrxtalk • 18:19, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm well aware of the importance of NOR and V — I'm one of the editors who maintains the pages — and I'm not suggesting people shouldn't be told about this, obviously, so that's a bit of a red herring. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:33, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I have to admit that I was caught unawares by this merge proposal as well. I try very hard to stay up-to-date on policy changes, but Wikipedia's a big place, and it's difficult to keep track of everything. If I don't have my watchlist set on the right page, something can completely slip by. And more often than not, I'm not spending time at the policy talkpages, because I'm spending time actually writing articles.  ;) For something this big, I guess I would have expected an announcement in the Signpost, but I scanned through all the headlines over the last year, and haven't seen anything related to "Attribution." So, I'd recommend making a big deal about this merge in an upcoming issue of the Signpost, to ensure that everyone's aware of it. Also, could you please provide links to some of the above discussions that you mention, so that I can get caught up? Thanks. --Elonka 19:11, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Policy Template

{{Policylist}} at the top of the page will need to be updated to initially include WP:ATT then remove WP:NOR and WP:V Gnangarra 14:27, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

There seems to be some edit wars going on about it, but for the "transition" one could use something like the following:

[[Wikipedia:Neutral point of view|Neutral point of view]]<br />
[[Wikipedia:Attribution|Attribution to reliable sources:]]<br />
[[Wikipedia:Verifiability|Verifiable information only]]<br />
[[Wikipedia:No original research|No original research]]<br />
[[Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not|What Wikipedia is not]]<br />
[[Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons|Biographies of living persons]]

I like the way this looks, but it seems there are objections to running them all in parallel, so I will just post it here. --Merzul 16:26, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

This template needs more changes, see Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability#three_core_content_policies.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  22:47, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Big flaw

The popular culture exception or anything like it isn't included.

WP:RS is a guideline, not a policy, and as such is easier to work around. By creating this policy this way, you're turning one of the worst parts of WP:RS into established policy. Ken Arromdee 15:42, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The pop cult exception was specifically removed to avoid us arguing over it. No actual change/innovation to policy, was felt to be the best way to make the merger happen. When the dust settles, the first thing you can do is raise a thread regarding it. Marskell 16:12, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
If something was removed to avoid argument then that should probably be a red flag as to the maturity of the proposal. What else was removed because the active participants here couldn't reach a consensus?ALR 17:45, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
What? If things were removed, that is certainly a change to policy. How in the world can you then claim that it's just a merge, with no changes, and nobody should dispute it? - unsigned
The removed item in question (type-of-article based criteria for reliable source, like pop culture) was not and is not part of V or NOR but instead is currently handled by IAR. There is difficulty in getting a concensus on how to word as policy the kinds of things that in actual practice are let "slide by" in terms of sourcing, especially when IAR is working just fine (or so some think). Some wanted one wording, others another wording, others perfered IAR. Some wanted tight wording while others wanted loose guidance and principles. We all wanted to steamline two policies into one. We are now doing that. This is a good thing. All the discussion is in the archives. Go ahead and read it. WAS 4.250 20:54, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you WAS. I did not mean something was removed from V or NOR as they stand. A new innovation (the pop cult exception) was removed so that the merge could go forward. Marskell 21:16, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Ignoring the question of why certain things shouldn't have to be verifiable, why is that worse than what we had originally with WP:V and WP:OR? -Amarkov moo! 15:59, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Because use of popular culture sources falls under WP:RS, not WP:V or WP:OR. WP:RS is a guideline, not a policy, and is therefore easier to ignore. Putting it in here transforms a guideline into a policy, making its problems worse. Ken Arromdee 16:27, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
What's the problem? Nothing has been added to this that isn't in WP:V or WP:NOR. If it has, please show us so we can rectify it if needs be. Hiding Talk webcomic warrior 16:39, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Capable of being supported

Doc, your point about the difference between something being attributed and being attributable is well taken and lies at the heart of this policy. But in the sections you changed, the word "supported" doesn't mean it must actually be attributed in the text, simply that the source, whatever it is, must actually support the edit that is being made. That is, the edit mustn't go beyond the source material. Whether the source is added is a separate matter. But a source that supports the edit must exist, otherwise it's OR. To add "capable of supporting it" says the same thing, but it seems to weaken it somehow, and as the extra words aren't necessary, I'm hoping we can leave them out. SlimVirgin (talk) 17:06, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

This page merely codifies what is already expected of editors and told them across a number of other policies. WP:ATT has long been enforced on the project. Since WP:ATT is already de facto policy, it needs to be noted as such here. FeloniousMonk 17:54, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Then you should tag WP:V, WP:NOR, and perhaps WP:RS with {{historical}} and add a note about it there. All forks and mergers could be called "de facto policy", that does not mean that the old pages are also kept as policy with an endless multiplication of them. —Centrxtalk • 18:02, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Please forget about RS because it has nothing to do with this page. NOR and V will be turned into redirects. What would your objection to that be? SlimVirgin (talk) 18:43, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Cute, but no. FeloniousMonk 19:01, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Dealing with precedent

How are the advocates of this as policy intending on dealing with precedent established in the extant policies? DEspite the protestations it's clear that the content is different, with some material taken out and some having a different emphasis, which changes the implications of any previous decisions made.

Has there been any thought put in to handling that? I can see a risk in some, mainly contentious, areas an increase in effort to exploit the new loopholes that have been created vice the old loopholes.

ALR 17:55, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I think that's a risk with any change in policy, no matter how small. And this is quite a large undertaking. But problems like this can be dealt with as they appear, by minor tweaks to the phrasing. JulesH 19:12, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

"as a rule"

Big edits going on... some changes are easy to resolve, but here is an edit discussed above (end of section). It's a good edit I think, but I'm not sure. There are some small fixes now as well, such as html code for '--' I'm not sure what is preferred. --Merzul 18:36, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

What do you mean by "big edits going on"? SlimVirgin (talk) 18:41, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I mean they include too many fixes at the same time. --Merzul 18:47, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
As the editor, I don't see this. These were two defects in the same sentence brought up in the same discussion. One is an unwarranted loophole, the other mere redundancy; but if anybody wants to support one change and reverse the other, they need merely edit, rather than simply undoing. This is a good thing; they may come up with an improvement on both texts. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:10, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
PMA, I haven't looked at your edits, but this can't be used as an opportunity to make changes to the policies, because the consensus was gained with the assurance that ATT is a summary without changes; therefore, if you make changes, this will not become policy. NOR and V are widely supported. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:33, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
PMA, I think the second phrase removed, "read and", was not just a redundancy; since the sentence is stating what should not be done, it should not mention desireable behavior such as reading sources. --Gerry Ashton 20:12, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Why does this include WP:RS?

That is not in the slightest just a merger of verifiability and original research. And RS is not only just a guideline, but a highly disputed one. It should not be a core policy. -Amarkov moo! 18:39, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Amarkov, this doesn't include RS. Everything from RS that looks similar to this is from V and NOR in the first place. Do you have any specific examples of what you mean? SlimVirgin (talk) 18:42, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Reliable sources?

Reliable sources section does not link to WP:RS (like other sections reffering to subpolicies do), and it has a shortcut WP:V (which redirects to Wikipedia:Verifiability which is being merged here...). Also some shortcuts are ilinked (and point to themselves - i.e. this page), others are not. This is confusing.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  22:33, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The plan was that WP:RS would be replaced by a combination of the text here and at WP:ATTFAQ. I'm not sure if this has changed, and if so what to...? JulesH 22:44, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Attribution may be confusing

Many newcomers may think this policy describes how Wikipedia editors receive attribution for their work. At the very least we should address this with a relevant link in see also. Or we should consider changing the name of this policy to avoid confusion.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  22:46, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree, that is what I innitially thought when I found this proposal. While the "nutshell" explains everything, people won't see the nutshell when it is being linked to from another page. I think it needs a clearer title. Perhaps something like "Attributability"?--Konstable 00:17, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Why not stick to the old name most people are familiar with (i.e. verifiability)?-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  01:44, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
The main argument was that when an editor checks a source they are not "verifying" info as such, but simply checking that the info has been attributed to a reliable source. I'm not in a position to verify the content of a Nature article; I can only demand that "the Sun is hot" be attributed to one. Attributability? Bit of a clunker, but maybe better. Marskell 07:19, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I like the name, people will figure it out. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 14:18, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree. I think the name is good, and any confusion will be cleared away in a short time, as people get used to it. Verifiability is somewhat of a misnomer, as has been pointed out. "Attributability, not truth" sounds a lot less confusing to me. Crum375 21:55, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Personally, I think the old policies were easier to explain, especially WP:NOR. But I suppose we don't actually have to stop talking about it. semper fictilis 04:58, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
How often have editors argued that people would "get used" to our private definition of "Verifiability"? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:08, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm thinking more of WP:NOR: I think I've seen lots of times when someone is advancing some private theory. Telling them that wikipedia is not the place for such "original research" is the most direct way of dealing with that problem. Yes, we can tell them that they need to attribute it. But when that argument ultimately is challenged ("I don't need to attribute it because I know it to be true" or "it is obvious"), we ultimately have to invoke the principle of "no original research". semper fictilis 16:16, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Missing language from WP:V

This is much weaker on the sourcing requirements than WP:V, it's especially wobbly on the removal of unsourced material. WP:V has a whole section on burden of evidence, and that unsourced material may be removed at any time, and the onus of sourcing is on people who want to include the information. The key principles here says "Any unsourced material may be removed," but this is undermined by the later section that says "not all edits need a source, and this policy should never be used to cause disruption by removing material for which reliable sources could easily or reasonably be found." It essentially encourages the inclusion of unsourced material, rather than recognizing it as something undesirable that we'd rather not have but need to keep around to avoid disruption. There needs to be much stronger language supporting those who remove unsourced information. People should not be able to point to a policy that says "material must be attributable" and claim it as justification for not actually attributing their material. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 01:01, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, this seems to be a major change from current policy, not simply part of a merger. —Centrxtalk • 01:41, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think it's a good thing to discourage people from WP:POINTedly going through Wikipedia and removing material that is likely true just because it doesn't have a footnote yet, but the current wording goes too far. As written it would discourage editors from removing dubious claims unless they are outright absurd, which is a very high standard.
Boldly moving questionable material to talk is highly desirable in some circumstances, particularly on little-edited pages, where misleading claims can sit around for months with a [citation needed] tag. Is there a reason that the sentence about that option from WP:V was not included here? —Celithemis 01:56, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I believe that the goal is for the first two paragraphs here to clearly state that all material must be attributable. Would the addition of another sentence, reiterating this, help clarify the later part about not disrupting WP? I'll insert one to see how it fares. CMummert · talk 02:13, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I think we need to change things from "You should probably ask for a source first" to "it shouldn't be here, but don't be too much of a dick about taking it out" Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 04:37, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I think it is a question of tone rather than any real difference in poIicy. I added a sentence reiterating the burden of evidence, and added the option of moving material to the talk page; does this change the tone enough? CMummert · talk 12:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
We could just take the V wording verbatim for now. Marskell 13:16, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
That phrasing has been the subject of contention before. If we can come up with an alternative here that people are happy with, we might be able to solve one of the problems of WP:V. JulesH 14:14, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Lets merge first, then change things, I like how strong WP:V was about removing unsourced material. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 14:16, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't see that there is really much difference between the two policies. The following is from this policy:
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a publisher of original thought. The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is whether material is attributable to a reliable published source, not whether it is true. Wikipedia is not the place to publish your own opinions, experiences, or arguments.
Although everything in Wikipedia must be attributable, in practice not all material is attributed. Editors should provide attribution for quotations and for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged. The burden of evidence lies with the editor wishing to add or retain the material.
From WP:V
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. "Verifiable" in this context means that any reader should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source. Editors should provide a reliable source for material that is challenged or is likely to be challenged, or it may be removed.
...The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. Any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged needs a reliable source, which should be cited in the article. If an article topic has no reliable, third-party sources, Wikipedia should not have an article on it.
We could add "or it may be removed" to the fifth sentence in the quote from WP:ATT to make it more parallel, but the fact that it may be removed is already clearly implied by the "burden of evidence" sentence. CMummert · talk 21:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

The current one only says "should," the old one says "needs," implication isn't enough, the necessity of sources needs to be explicit. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 23:56, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

To use the distinction ATT makes: Original research needs to be removed; unsourced material needs to be sourced. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:14, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
But this seems to say if you can't find a source, leave it and wait for someone else, instead of taking it out pending a source, which is better practice. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 03:39, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Night Gyr and have boldly made the change back to the WP:V emphasis on "source it or remove it". Sandstein 22:21, 20 February 2007 (UTC)