Wikipedia talk:Attribution/in support of the merge

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The threshold...[edit]

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 quotations and for any material that is challenged or is likely to be challenged, or it may be removed. 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 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, or it may be removed.

I thought I would dump this comparison here, as some objections centre around this "change". In my opinion it is straightforward logical deduction :) --Merzul 00:47, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

POV on POV[edit]

Regarding your history of WP:RS, I'd remove much of this: "It was started in February 2005 as a POV fork by editors who didn't like the verifiability policy..." Imputes bad-faith motives. "Several editors regularly argued..." gets the point across. I forget the link the shortcut about letting people draw their own conclusions (and yes it was intended to apply to article), but it would be kind of guiding here.  :-) And a lot of a good-faith editors would disagree with "except for the bits that contradicted the other two policies." Plenty of us consider RS to be of value, even if imperfect. WP:N (last I looked closely) relies pretty heavily on it. Doesn't mean it shouldn't merge into ATT, I'm just saying the invective level against RS seems a little too high here. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:48, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

I put that in because it's important to know that it should really have been deleted at the very start as a POV fork of the policy. Instead, what I did was add material from Verifiability so that RS couldn't directly contradict it. That was a mistake on my part, because since then, people who don't know the history, look at RS and look at V, and think RS was the original, and V just a short copy of it. In fact, V was the original, and RS was always an ill-conceived idea. What we do need is a page that discusses what type of sources might be reliable, but RS only rarely did that, and when it did, it wasn't very coherent, because that is in fact a very difficult thing to write about. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:59, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I understand your rationale, but still think that several good-faith editors will find it offensive, because it is alleging motives instead of talking about text and its effects. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 05:57, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Easier to digest[edit]

I'm not sure I buy "therefore easier to digest". I think it is easier to digest three separate policies than one longer, multi-topic one, even if the total length of the three separate ones exceeds that of the combined one. That said, I don't think ATT is hard to digest, and to the extent that it might resolve problems with RS, the end result may be better and be easy enough to digest. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:54, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Looks good otherwise[edit]

Other than the two above issues, it is pretty compelling in theory. There are all kinds of things that can go wrong; no everyone is in cahoots with the "attributable" vs. "attributed" and "attributable/attributed vs. verifiable" distinctions, and who knows what changes might creep in later, but I don't see any particular reason that ATT couldn't be viable. I think Jimbo was unnecessarily harsh about it, though I agree with some of his gripes, mostly the procedural/consensus ones. As I said elsewhere, I think one of the two possible "Jimbo compromise" end results would be better than ATT totally replacing the others, or ATT going away. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 04:54, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

The problem with leaving the other pages active is we'll have eight pages to maintain: four policies/guidelines and their talk pages. That would be unsustainable. The reason the merge took place was because inconsistencies inevitably creep in with lots of editors each with their own ideas. To maintain them all as active would be the worst possible outcome. SlimVirgin (talk) 05:02, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I go for this reasoning. MoS consists of way more pages, but doesn't have a maintainability problem. I agree that it would be more difficult to maintain than one page, but I think the in-depth explanatory benefits could easily outweigh that, and the exact split could be revised over time, e.g. into a V FAQ, NOR FAQ and RS FAQ, for example. The canonicity of the separate pages could be reduced, by consensus, over time into guideline-designated FAQs. There are loads of FAQs and other guidelines and essays running around that refer back to policies and more authoritative guidelines and this situation seems to be okay. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 06:02, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
The MoS is a widely despised and ignored guideline, because it keeps changing. There's no way we want the core content policies to end up in that state. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:46, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't know what to say to that, other than I know a lot of editors who appreciate and rely on it, and I have in fact found it remarkably difficult to change even when it says something dirt-stupid!  :-) I wasn't making a point about that guideline's particular merits, but about the fact that it is maintainable. When something changes in one place that might affect another part, it gets well discussed in both places and the changes happening pretty well in synch, with few exceptions in my experience. I'm rarely surprised by anything in it. Some of the stuff in MOSNUM was an exception. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 07:18, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Demanding sources[edit]

I do not think the attributable vs. attributed distinction will solve the concerns about WP:POINT-style demands for citations. On the contrary, I think it will give more ammunition to those who hold a strict-sourcing POV, or used verifiability to push a POV. Instead of being forced to parse the policies to support demands for excessive citations, those editors could point to the very distinction that is supposed to mitigate the issue. It would be very easy to say: "I cannot find a source for that unattributed claim, so it's obviously unattributable." It concerns me, for the same reason, that it may add fuel to the fire of edit wars. It would be easier for an editor to claim a moral high ground on the basis that they are removing unattributable material, akin to removing unattributed information based on WP:BLP. This is, of course, just my opinion. You are welcome to some grains of salt with it. Vassyana 20:25, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

RE: sources and edit-wars. The aggrevator as I see is the ability to claim a source is Reliable on one article and then not Reliable on another. The reason: there is not a 'bright-line' distinction clarifying what is reliable, when and why vs what is not and why not. The attributable vs. attributed distinction appears to have less focus on the source's standing with more focus on the information placed in the article have a 'trackback' as it were. I think a key in policy/rule making is to know what human nature is and try to minimize the impact of its existance instead of trying to fight it its existance. In this case the abuse of vague requirements is what is natural for many editors (and some admins, too). With the old policies the abuse is easy to perpetuate into a blatant double-standard. With ATT the 'test' is centered around 'the text comes from somewhere' rather than 'is the source worthy of inclusion' and this leave less damage for the abusive editors to cause while hiding behind their cafeteria style applications of policies. Less damage and less abuse leads to less fuel to the edit-wars. -- Tony 18:07, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Should clarify...I am not under the impression that a source's validity is never to be questioned under ATT. I think the result of the semantical changes will be to shift the primary distinctions on the ability to attribute which leaves less ground for abuse on the primary inclusion of text. The reliability question I believe will be a subsequent question. Presently the practice is (sometimes) "is the text from a reliable source" and with the merge the focus will be "Can the text be attributed somewhere? If so, how good is the source?" That is the switch I think will be a huge benefit. -- Tony 18:20, 3 April 2007 (UTC)


What if you wrote a book, or studied a PHD, could you use that material? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Samrsharma (talkcontribs)

The book probably yes, but it would depend on the topic and how it was used. The PhD thesis would be harder to use. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:44, 4 April 2007 (UTC)