Wikipedia talk:Expert retention

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Please excuse my passion for what I deeply care about. My expertise comes from my desire to search for knowledge about what I am interested in. I'm 58 years old. I know a great deal about a few areas. I hold no real degrees in anything other than what life has given me. I don't have time to read on my own the huge amount of WikiRules on my own. If I did, I am sure what I have posted in articles would have not been deleted with such abandon. There would be less interpretation of what can stay in a page instead of just get rid of it. WikiRules would be expressed with greater fairness overall. My feelings would not have been hurt.

I suggest Wiki create a school. WikiSchool for those who wish to post, edit, participate in, ect. Anyone would be able to take the class. This who pass the requirements would gain the privledges to post articles.

Create a learning program that is reasonable and fair. The users still must have a reasonable ability. The trick would be to allow users to succeed at a reasonable level. A middle ground - level of perfection.

I believe Wiki needs a way to educate it's users that is enforceable to some degree. An expert is not always the best person to write an article. I am not perfect and nether is an expert. With this in mind, a required WikiSchool is a viable solution. Articles will have better clarity, organization and many feelings will be saved. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cirelages (talkcontribs) 03:31, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

I think it is a problem of politics. If all people are allowed to edit, than you will have huge fights over the contents of articles. Many articles are claimed by people who defend their edits. A WikiSchool will have serious political problems, because who is going to decide what is good editing, who will be the judge? Than the fight diverts from the articles to the control over the WikiSchool.
One way to be able to ensure that your edits will hold, is by reading books and leaving an annotation. Problem is that all knowledge in books is controversial and that experts and writers of books often have disagreements amongst each other, that is fought out with the same ferocity as here on Wikipedia.
Maybe a way to describe Wikipedia is that it has a lot of readers and a lot of editers for every article. So, Wikipedia has power. And power leads to conflicts. I guess my view on life is a bit grim.Daanschr (talk) 07:09, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

The "still active" group[edit]

Maybe I am being over-critical, but it seems to me that the section labeled "Those who are still active on Wikipedia" are, as a group, less expert than those who have departed (long-term or forever). Maybe there is no way to address this without a lot of finger-pointing and hurt feelings, but that is my overall impression. In particular, it seems that philosophers and computer science credentials have always been in abundant supply within the project. What is needed it true hard-science credentials, ideally at the PhD level. All you have to do is look at the portals listed on the main page to understand how the face we present mismatches the reality of the "expert pool" within the project. -- 20:59, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

You are comparing a list of 19 items to a list of 9 items; not especially good statistics in any case. Neither list is very current; the "departed" list contains several contributors who have returned, or who are only semi-active, and the "still active" list contains several who have not made contributions recently. And of course, neither is comprehensive in the least. I wouldn't draw any conclusions from a simple comparison of the two. Opabinia regalis 23:01, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Featured article "solution".[edit]

This seemed like a very good idea to me, however also at the same time going a little too far? The concept is good, but perhaps semi-protection would be better? Also I'm sure if it was just semi-protection rather than full protection it would be a lot easier to get wide spread community consensus on this (though I'd still have doubts about it being possible). Anyway, I edited it to add that in and I felt that I'd mention it here on the talk page for futher discussion. Mathmo Talk 03:47, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Add to list[edit]

You might think about adding PhD Historian to your list or at least looking at his talk page. Awadewit 02:04, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Good addition; I've added him. +sj + 01:58, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Refactoring to mention non-disgruntled experts[edit]

Two refactors: a new subsection about experts who left but returned; and a new section for the hundreds or thousands of experts who edit every week without hitting dangerous levels of wikistress.

We should solve the problems identified here, especially for highly specialized and focused experts such as PhD Historian -- even if we cannot provide their ideal environment for contribution, we can set expectations so that they never feel their time contributing has been wasted, and so that the chance of their having a senseless argument is minimized. We should however not conflate this problem with the perceived problem that 'experts don't as a rule edit / don't like editing wikipedia' which can be shown to be false by enumeration.

Using a more careful language of expertise as suggested above by QTJ would help reduce this confusion as well! +sj + 01:58, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

In order to tie experts to numbers you will have to define an expert.
In my area of expertise the articles show no evidence of an involvement by experts. The specialised articles tend to be patchy clumps of detail containing noticeable numbers of small errors and major omissions. Experts would tend to produce a broader view and pickup on the small errors. In the more popular areas which overlap my area of expertise and where the informed view is in conflict with competing marketed views either the latter tends to dominate or the article presents a messy argument. If there has been input by experts it has been swamped by the enthusiastic and ill-informed.
Experts come from an environment where debate takes place between the informed and is built on top of a shared and agreed knowledge about the fundamentals of the subject. Peer review and academic status are substantial barriers to the ill-informed. In wikipedia, expertise has little value when reasoned argument about the subject of the article fails to be met in kind. It does not take long to realise that one-sided reasoning with the ill-informed does not prevent damage to the wikipedia articles. HonestGuv 11:08, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Something missing[edit]

The thing that's missing from this page is that people who see themselves as expert editors aren't necessarily good Wikipedia editors. They suffer from what several editors call "expert syndrome," which is when someone with an advanced degree in a subject, or a particular professional background, feels there's no need for them to cite their sources and edit within the policies, because their original research is expert research, and it therefore ought to be good enough for Wikipedia. As a consequence, the material they produce may be wrong, careless, and POV. It may also be badly written.

We should also bear in mind that just because someone has an advanced degree in a subject doesn't actually mean they're an expert in it. The degree might be from some time ago. They may just have scraped through. It's likely to be in a very particular area, and not applicable to much outside that area, even within their own field. They may not be particularly respected by their peers. They may not work within their field, and so on.

The other problem with expert syndrome is that expert editors feel that, because identified as experts in one area, they should be regarded as experts everywhere else in the encyclopedia. Then when they're not accorded sufficient respect (not allowed to add their personal opinions to articles), they complain about disrespect for experts and leave (and then get added to this list).

I'm not arguing that we don't need experts, because we do, but what we really need are good editors, whether experts or not. I'd much rather work with a good editor who knows little about a subject than with a bad one who has a PhD in it. By putting people with expertise on a pedestal, we exacerbate "expert syndrome." It might be a good idea to add something like this to the page, but I'm not quite sure how to phrase it. SlimVirgin (talk) 11:31, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

It is the experts who are competent to judge whether material is "wrong" or "POV". Mangoe 14:30, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
There's the problem in a nutshell. SlimVirgin (talk) 16:30, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Credentials per se mean nothing. They are just an outward formal statement of experience and training. You can argue all you want about how important expereince and training are to Wikipedia. But in the real world, they are indispensible.
It takes a thick skin for experts to post on Wikipedia. The only "privilege" given to experts on Wikipedia is that we are assumed to know the literature. Unfortunately, many editors (even admins) will just deny a perfectly good cite if it disagrees with their agenda. So the argument continues, it just moves out to whether a source is good or not.
Another gripe is that some admins think the rules and guidelines are for everyone but them. I got into a spat with one over correcting some details of a bio of a controversial research scientist I know, all done according to the Wikipedia rules, naturally. I also made the horrendous mistake of revealing my true ID (I'm an MD, PhD researcher).
Next I know, the admin is wandering thru Wikipedia deleting as many of my postings as he can, under the excuse that I have cited some of my own scientific work. I point out that under the rules this is perfectly OK, as long as the citation is at arms length. So he goes over and attempts to change the rules.
Meanwhile, members of his "clique" are sending public messages to each other proposing to look very closely at my postings. Apparently, to send a message. True, there is no "wikipedia cabal". But there are groups of people who cooperate in faking a "consensus"-- against the rules, naturally. The lesson is that you post on controversial subjects at your peril.
Such behavior constitutes one of the reasons Wikipedia has such difficulty in retaining the various thankless "experts" that really make the thing work.Pproctor 15:43, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

I think we should remove the names from this page, and try to write something that's focused on the issue. It's not clear how we're defining "expert" for a start; the list seems to include users it would be hard to regard as experts, and there's also the issue of credential verification, another can of worms. SlimVirgin (talk) 16:35, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Credential verification is not the problem it is being made out to be. In the interests of assuming good faith I trust that anyone who points to an off-wiki site with a resume or what-have-you of that ilk is who they say they are. But the focus here isn't on them: it's on the people who don't have credentials and who know that they don't have credentials, and nevertheless persist in acting as if they were experts. No matter how well they play in the Wikipedia pool, by whatever standard one takes for that, if they are contributing erroneous information, they are hurting Wikipedia. And if they persist in defending their errors, they are hurting Wikipedia all the more, because genuinely knowledgeable people are faced with the prospect of having to persuade them-- not likely-- or drive them away, for which the knowledgeable then get tagged as "disruptive". We would be a lot better off if we could learn to live with the allegedly prickly experts and to cater to those amateurs who substitute a veneer of civility over their tendentious editing. Mangoe 17:36, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
The issue is not only prickly experts, but people who say they are experts, but who write badly, use sources badly, edit from only one POV, think their POV is NPOV, and so on. But because they have an advanced degree in something (and not even that at times; I removed a name from the page today of someone with no degrees in the subject he wrote on Wikipedia about), they think they must be good writers and how dare anyone think otherwise.
This issue comes in waves in Wikipedia, that a certain group of people say, in effect, "we are the people who keep Wikipedia going, and if we leave it'll be a disaster, so treat us well." The truth is that Wikipedia is kept going by people who do whatever they do well, whether it's writing, copy editing, offering specialist knowledge, creating templates, keeping the site up, or whatever. We shouldn't place any single group on a pedestal, or denigrate any group either. The project works because different people contribute different skills. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:30, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
"Disaster" is your word, not theirs. Wikipedia keeps going, yes, but whether it keeps going well is hotly argued. In the rest of the world, it isn't argued much at all; it is not considered a reliable source precisely because it is extremely easy to find problems with its content. And a major source of those problems is amateur and crankish editors who simply do not know enough about the subjects of the articles to update them or even copyedit them correctly. Yes, there are other problems, and talking about those other problems doesn't make this one go away.
I have to say that I haven't come across a place where someone made a claim of real expertise that proved false. (That isn't counting the Essjay mess, which I only heard about third-hand.) Every battle of tendentiousness I've come across involved amateurs on the apparently faulty side, or a subject which is inevitably the target of relentless POV pushing. I have never bothered to edit (or consult) articles on middle Eastern politics or history because of this, and I quit editing social issues articles because of this. It's understandable that discussion of those articles is always going to be poor. But when it comes to Drosiphila or any number of scientific articles, there's no excuse for amateurs to defy anyone, and especially not experts, no matter how rude they are. But it happens all the time. Mangoe 19:32, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I think you're missing my point. I'm not talking about faux experts. I'm talking about people who do have advanced degrees, but who are poor editors. Having a PhD after doing research on fruit flies for three years is neither here nor there when it comes to being an editor, just as being a good editor doesn't mean you know something about fruit flies. To think having a PhD is all that's required to be good in another area (i.e. writing and editing) is to take an anti-expert position; that is, it assumes that writing and editing isn't an expertise in its own right. This is a problem we've encountered many, many times with people who see themselves as "expert editors." They frequently see only their strengths, not their weaknesses.
As for rudeness from editors, no one gets a free pass. We might tolerate quirkiness or a certain brittleness from people who are genuinely doing good work, but not from people who cause disruption, even with degrees coming out of their ears.
Anyway, can you answer my question about the list? Are you saying we ought to retain a list of "experts" who have left, which includes at least one person who has no degrees at all, and comments from experts that contain spelling mistakes? SlimVirgin (talk) 19:49, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Having done a few spot checks, it's clear that a lot of these people aren't really gone. However, it also seems that none of those who remain or who have returned have withdrawn their objections.
As far as whether they are good editors, there seems to be some difference of opinion about what editing is about. In the more conventional sense, yes, probably some experts are poor at copyediting and the like. On the other hand, my experience copyediting articles is that only pretty trivial editing can be done by people ignorant of the subject. For instance, I can copyedit the taxonomy material across biology as a whole because I am familiar with the conventions and because I know who to consult in questionable cases. Someone who isn't familiar with this stuff isn't competent to do this. Anything much more than the trivial tends to require understanding the subject, and for amateurs or passers-by, a willingness to suffer correction on content.
The problem cases here don't involve any of that. They involve writing, that is to say, producing content. For that, the author needs to know the stuff. And when that knowledge is marginal, they need (again) to be willing to accept correction when they are not experts. I'm sure there are experts who can't write, but that has nothing to do with the cases referenced here. The cited cases are of amateurs who simply did not know what they were talking about, who either inserted information without cause or were dogged in defending errors. They cannot be defended by attacking the supposed writing/editing skills of their expert opponents-- or for that matter, their inexpert opponents. Mangoe 21:06, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Mangoe, again, you keep misunderstanding what I'm saying. When I talk about bad writing, I'm not necessarily discussing anyone on the page. I'm deliberately not giving examples for obvious reasons, but I can tell you that the ones I'm thinking of haven't all left. My point is a more general one, namely that some people with specialist knowledge are good editors and some aren't; and that some people without specialist knowledge are good editors and some aren't, and the problem with this page is that it's lumping one group together, calling them "experts," and implying that ipso facto that means they're helpful to the project.
The other problem with the page is that it's assuming that people who call themselves experts are experts, and I'm arguing that, even with advanced degrees, they might not be, for a variety of reasons; or their expertise might be so narrow it's practically worthless. Someone with a PhD in philosophy in concepts of time won't necessarily know much more about moral philosophy than anyone else, for example. Then you have the other group: the ones who pretend to have expertise, some of whom were and still are on this page. That's why this list is not a good thing. (a) It contains non-experts; (b) it contains experts who left for reasons unconnected to their expertise; and (c) it's very short, which actually indicates that the problem the essay says exists may not exist. All in all, it's an odd list to want to retain.
Please tell me this: do you consider writing to be an expertise in its own right? SlimVirgin (talk) 23:10, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, and I consider myself an expert in it. And there is definitely a problem with the quality of writing in Wikipedia, one that cannot be solved by throwing copyeditors at it.
But that is a side issue. The expert rebellion was brought on by disputes over content, not over writing style.
And as far as pretending expertise, I don't see much proof that this is in fact happening. The Essjay incident stands out as an exception. If you are going to assume good faith, you are obligated to take people at their word if they assert credentials. And if they point to an extra-wikipedial website which expresses those credentials, I have to say this trumps your doubt in the matter, especially if you are an amateur. Of course, all too many-- maybe most-- people come to Wikipedia acting as if they were experts, and that needs to stop. But again, that's not about expert editing, but about amateur editing.
Your resistance to giving examples is a problem because it reduces your point to unfounded allegations. Mangoe 15:09, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Writing and editing is an expertise, but clearly one orthogonal to knowing the material, or even being able to judge what is the mainstream of a particular field and what isn't. Let's not give spelling mistakes more emphasis here than necessary. I personally know of several people whom I would trust to read and summarise pretty anything well - Larry Summers, for one - without necessarily trusting their writing and editing skills. Hornplease 01:18, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

The case of User:KimvdLinde[edit]

How do we define an expert? Well, in the case of Kim van der Linde, there seems to be every reason for people who aren't biologists to consider her to be an expert-- that is to say, their superior in the field. She has a PhD and she is published; what more is needed? Mangoe 17:11, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

She doesn't appear to have left over any dispute regarding her area of expertise. Jayjg (talk) 21:53, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, that's why I moved her to the "still here" column. Her complaints may still be seen on her user page, however. Mangoe 21:57, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Her pretext for leaving is on her user page. Jayjg (talk) 22:00, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Come, come. You accuse someone else of bad faith, and then you refer to her "pretext"? If you take the comments on her user page at face value, then she certainly belongs ehre. If you want to allege otherwise, spell it out. Mangoe 23:28, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
This is part of what is wrong with this list. We have no evidence with some of them that they're experts. We have no evidence with others that their leaving had anything to do with the expert issue, regardless of what they say. I know of one editor who's actually nothing short of a lunatic, but who claims to have been driven off qua expert. In terms of content, length, and the spelling mistakes in the comments, the list makes us look pretty silly. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:33, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Unlike you, I was quite involved with or aware of her during her lengthy period of "leaving" Wikipedia. Jayjg (talk) 02:21, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, and that's why both of you have a conflict of interest here. In any case, she is clearly an expert on fruit flies, so I don't see how bringing anyone else up matters. Mangoe 02:36, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
"Conflict of interest" is a phrase people like to fling around quite loosely on Wikipedia, but, as I've explained a number of times, "interest" and "conflict of interest" are entirely different things. My active involvement with Kim stopped long before she left Wikipedia, and was never all that significant to begin with. Jayjg (talk) 02:51, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Please. You are trying to pass yourself off as neutral judge, and you aren't. And in any case, she is still an expert of fruit flies. Mangoe 03:02, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
As a person who talked to Kim before she left. While my impression is that Kim did leave in part due to reasons that Jayjg has referred to, well before she left in emails to she discussed planning to leave with me based on the concerns on her userpage. While obviously my claim wouldn't be enough evidence if this were mainspace, I think we can safely include Kim on this list. JoshuaZ 03:09, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
My neutrality and judgement in this matter is certainly better than yours, yet I don't see you vacating the page. Jayjg (talk) 03:13, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
The problem with that editor is that she blamed so many people and so many incidents for leaving that it became hard to keep track. Anyway, the issue is not any one individual, but the entire list. It's inappropriate and makes us (and them too, actually) look bad. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:59, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Her circumstances are complex, no doubt, and the two of you obviously play a direct part in it as active participants. Nobody has any obligation of any kind to take your word on this, nor to accept any claims as to your neutrality. Part of me wishes to investigate the records myself, and part of me realizes that there isn't enough time to do that and have a life. So I'm forced to fall back on my initial conclusion that anyone who persists in editing the kind of article in question can be assumed to be a POV pusher, because nobody else has a prayer of prevailing. Mangoe 15:17, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
That's fine. Don't take our word for it. But then don't take her word for it either. She blamed me, then Jay, then FloNight, and numerous others, and kept citing different incidents. None of us had edited fruit flies or related articles, so if we were to blame, then she did not leave in relation to her subject expertise. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:41, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Your position on Wikipedia in general, and on SlimVirgin and me in particular, is quite public, and long predated this specific issue. Rather than pretending that your "distrust" was based on various other factors (my alleged lack of neutrality vis-a-vis Kim, or the kind of articles I tend to edit), you should have simply admitted, preferably up front, your own bias and lack of neutrality. As a result, any moral high ground you might have claimed or feigned in this matter is completely undermined. Jayjg (talk) 01:39, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps my position is easily found out, though considering how much change it has been through of late, whatever you may have seen is likely to be dated. Vague allegations that it is somehow direly inappropriate ought to be backed up by specifics, but there's little hope of seeing that, and in any case if you told me what I thought, and I begged to differ with you, an unseemly an ludicrous dispute could very well follow.
Be that as it may, your timeline is rather inaccurate. It is possible that we had some minor encounter before which I have forgotten; my current distaste, however, traces back to DennyColt's attempt a few months back to erase the citation on this very talk page. Prior to that date, I was not aware of the website to which you so condescendingly refer, and had no user ID on it until some time into that episode. If you claim otherwise, you misspeak, and that is just the end of that. The whole "expert rebellion" thing played itself out months before, and that is the end of that. So it happens that I didn't become aware of the apparent connections between you and SlimVirgin and the other alleged cabal "members" until a fair ways into the whole episode. It does seem to me that you and the other "cabalists" have tried to own the "attack sites" issue, and that in the face of abject failure to achieve consensus in the original article, the whole matter was simply shopped to a new forum, where it is also failing to achieve consensus. I'm loathe to pursue it there much further, because in the end it doesn't seem as though it will matter anyway. But it doesn't seem to me that what happened and is happening there is really separate from what is happening here.
I've decided that I need to get a better understanding of what is going on here, so I've started working my way through some of the changes over in the Judaeo-Israeli articles that are apparently central in this. Thus far I've only gotten as far as the page-move war on "(Allegations of) Israeli Apartheid", in which you were a participant. I think it was a mistake for KvdL to involve herself in the ArbCom case, but it was misleading for SV to list K as a page mover without the note that most of those moves were done as part of the failed mediation. As far as the subject matter is concerned, it does not seem possible to have an article whose name includes the phrase "Israeli apartheid" without that name having POV issues, for the article title must insinuate either that the analogy with SA is accurate, or that it is false. There seems no way to say that it is inexact to some degree.
None of this, it seems to me, has anything to do with expertise in the sense that SV wants to use in this article. It seems that the only experts, the only people who care enough to be well-informed, are those with commitments to one side of the political struggle or the other. That is why I feel that such article are, on a crucial level, worthless. To read them I have to apply discernment as to which POV is winning at the moment (if indeed any is). And to do that well, I have to come to the article with a lot of prior knowledge. It seems to me more worthwhile to stick to the sources of that prior knowledge and not spend the serious effort needed to decode the agenda of whoever is writing the article today. And at least forty of your last fifty edits are about Judaism, Antisemitism, or middle eastern politics. Except for all the time I've apparently wasted on policy discussion and Afd/Cfd, my most recent edits have been on boats, lighthouses, and English church law. I don't think you have a snowball's chance of working out my views on the middle east, but yours are abundantly plain. Mangoe 03:35, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what point you're making. I wasn't really involved in the DennyColt thing, and I do have an interest in topics relating to Israel and Jews. So? Jayjg (talk) 18:06, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Mangoe, you're right. None of that has anything to do with the issue of expertise, so why is it being discussed here? SlimVirgin (talk) 18:44, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Just for the record, this user came back and quit unhappily several more times (in 2011, and twice in 2012, that I know of). As of 7 March 2013, her account has been "burned" through the WP:Right to vanish process, and remains that way a year+ later. I don't know if KvdL really is an expert, but she is not an expert who left Wikipedia because of WP's flaws with regard to relating to experts, but rather because of participation in conflicts in highly charged topic areas, and in Wikipedia self-governance, e.g. the WP:Manual of Style. She's not a useful addition to this list, if it still serves any purpose at all. Also, I have to observe (in general, not about KvdL in particular) that "has a degree and got published" != expert. For an academic, that's just "competent". "Expertise" requires more than that.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:59, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

List of people[edit]

I think we need to get rid of the list. I'm seeing people on the list who left because they were in trouble of some kind; people who have no degrees in the area they edited in (no degrees at all, in fact); and some of the quotes contain spelling mistakes, which is odd if we're saying these are the people we must keep. Retaining such a list makes the page look odd, and it's a can of worms. If there are no objections, I'll remove it. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:05, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

I object. Indeed, a lot of the people who are listed opine that they got into trouble because of the disrespect afforded to experts by people who manifestly weren't. Yes, it's a can of worms, because this is about a problem topic. Your recent edits here seem to me to add up to the message that there isn't really an expert retention problem, because the objecting "experts" deserved to be driven off. Perhaps you are entitled to that opinion, but in the interest of historical honesty the list should remain. Perhaps it might be re-made as a list of comments by the people in question. Mangoe 19:15, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
No, my point is not that people should be driven off, but that some of the people listed left because of difficulties they were having getting on with people in areas that they weren't experts in, and so that had nothing to do with expert retention. Are you honestly saying we should keep an "expert" list that contains someone with no degrees or professional expertise; and comments from those experts that include spelling mistakes? SlimVirgin (talk) 19:29, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Um, without naming names, I'm disinclined to believe this. In the example that you keep deleting, I am aware that the person in question came into conflict with you over articles about the middle East. I reserve judgment as to whether she had a point in that; I don't think it is worthwhile to bother editing those articles, so I'm biased. But her complaints centered on an entirely different group of articles in a field where she is demonstrably an expert. In the other cases, it seems to me that the complaints were largely justified and in some cases understated.
Besides, you are assuming bad faith. Why should you presume that everyone else is not an expert? Mangoe 19:39, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
You're disinclined to believe what? SlimVirgin (talk) 19:50, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
That any given person on the list left for the reasons you ascribe to them. Mangoe 20:10, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I know that some did, and you can see for yourself if you look at some of the diffs they present. But can you please answer the question I've asked three or four times? Are you saying we ought to retain a list of "experts" that includes at least one person who has no degrees at all, and comments from them that contain spelling mistakes? SlimVirgin (talk) 20:36, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I expect you to name cases that you wish to delete, that they may be considered on their merits, rather than taking a "one bad apple spoils the whole bushel" approach. Mangoe 21:09, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't see any point in any of them; they add nothing to the page except spin. Do you want to set up a "rebuttal" section as well for the people they got into conflicts with? Jayjg (talk) 21:56, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I object. This is a brainstorming article on expert retention and you are proposing to remove the evidence for reasons that appear suspiciously weak. Can I ask why? HonestGuv 20:24, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
See above. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:36, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I am afraid I can still only see what lead me to ask the question rather than something new that answers it. HonestGuv 21:21, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
The list isn't about "brainstorming", it's about people claiming they have left because their expertise wasn't respected. The claims are dubious, and the page should be about solving problems, not putting spin on your personal difficulties. Jayjg (talk) 21:56, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
As reasoning for removing the evidence that supports the article this does not even reach the level of suspiciously weak. People are quite capable of judging the strength of the evidence for themselves. HonestGuv 22:20, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
"Evidence that supports the article"? It's not evidence, it's just a list of people, and this isn't an Arbitration case, it's an essay. People can hardly "judge" these things anyway; they aren't going to be able to unwind months or years of edits and decide exactly what went wrong. Your reasons for suggesting this list be retained are suspiciously weak, and arguably don't even reach that level. Please come up with better justifications. Jayjg (talk) 22:32, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Chortle. I am relatively new to all this and consequently a bit slow finding my way around. You pair are probably stronger evidence for experts leaving than the evidence which you are seeking to remove. HonestGuv 22:55, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
I see. So you've got nothing besides bad faith. Understood. I'll weigh your statements accordingly. Jayjg (talk) 23:04, 9 May 2007 (UTC)


This article has been taken in a direction which is essentially at odds with Wikipedia:Expert rebellion, from which it was derived. The thesis of the new editors seems to be that there really isn't a need to do anything, because all the people who left or who otherwise expressed discontent did so for reasons other than that having to do with expertise in the field. I don't believe this, and I see no reason to believe this in the absence of concrete and specific evidence. The strategy of erasing all the specific statements which one graced the article has left us with nothing but unsustainable allegations, one way or the other. It's particularly obvious that at least one of the erasures has to do with a contratemps between one of the erasing admins and one of the people whose complaint (which had nothing to do with that incident) has thus been erased.

I have no truck with the false choice between cooperative, "good editing" amateurs and uncooperative, "bad editing" experts. Incidents involving bullheaded amateurs abound, whether or not their opponents are experts or even passing novices. Policy attempts and essays such as Wikipedia:Ignore all credentials and Wikipedia:Credentials are irrelevant testify to the hostility experts are met with. The former proposal, in fact, failed only because it failed to reach consensus, not because there was a consensus to reject it. The current seizure of this article by the opposition is simply another act enabling this kind of abuse.

This article should be restored its former state. If SlimVirgin and Jayjg want to oppose it, then they should write their own essay and leave this page alone. Mangoe 02:34, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Please don't attribute your lengthy straw man arguments to me. The purpose of this page was to generate ideas for retaining experts. Instead parts of it were used by self-appointed experts as a forum for claiming they had left because of expert issues. It's supposed to be a solution page, not a gripe session. Jayjg (talk) 03:26, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
The page is for people to edit, so it's being edited to take other views into account. Not everyone believes that the editor issue is as simple as this page was painting it. Some of the people posting here in favor of scientific rigor in articles would do well to apply some of their philosophy here; we can't simply post a list of user names and take on board everything they say, bad spelling and all. There's more than one POV about this situation.
As for "Incidents involving bullheaded amateurs abound ..." ditto with supposed expert editors.
We should be pro-quality, not pro-expert. The former will often embrace the latter, but not invariably. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:50, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
This is a brainstorming article about retaining experts and evidence for that is (was?) contained in a list of examples. If you wished to refute the evidence then the normal and appropriate manner would be to do so by adding opposing arguments. Removing all the evidence, particularly after asking for agreement and not receiving it, is a wholly unreasonable action. Since you must know this I await the next move with curiosity. HonestGuv 07:31, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Again, it's a page for discussing ideas for retaining experts, not a court case. Jayjg (talk) 16:14, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
First, I don't think there are all these incidents with people producing false credentials. If you won't cite them, then it's reasonable (based on my own experience) to assume that they aren't happening.
Second, who is going to be the judge of quality? Well, experts!
Third, I don't have a problem with you presenting a contrasting view, as an addition. If you did that, there wouldn't be the traces of an edit war here. But right now I'm only refraining from reverting most of your damage to the article because, as an admin, you cannot be trusted not to WP:OWN the article by blocking or banning me. As it is, you are taking advantage of the fact that most people have apparently thrown in the towel to write the history as the victors of the conflict. Mangoe 15:29, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I haven't mentioned "false credentials", I don't know why you have. Second, I don't know why you're talking about who is "the judge of quality". Third, there aren't two "views" being presented here. Fourth, this isn't an article about a specific "conflict". Fifth, your clear failure to assume good faith and violations of policy when you refer to my edits as "your damage to the article", and claim that "as an admin, you cannot be trusted not to WP:OWN the article by blocking or banning [you]" indicate that you have nothing to offer here. I suggest you restrict further "contributions" to your favorite attack forum, where, rather than being a policy violation, this kind of rhetoric is de rigueur. Jayjg (talk) 16:14, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
There most certainly are two views in contest here-- in fact, more than two. Originally, this page was based on the observation/opinion that Wikipedia had problems with amateur editors engaging in conflict with experts, and that the latter had become fed up. Putting the pieces together, you and SlimVirgin dispute this and claim that these "experts" were really guilty of exercising their "expertise" outside their appointed realm, and that therefore ther really isn't any expert problem to solve. The truth is really more complex. At least one person was "guilty" only of wasting time with involvement in a politicized topic where you and SlimVirgin also do battle. Based upon my experience in similar but less thoroughly owned topics, it was a mistake for her to bother. But none of that has anything to do with her complaints about editing in scientific articles, a point which you do not bother to even address.
I do not care about your motives as to why you are editing this article. In my heart of hearts, it is difficult for me to avoid adverse conclusions as to your intent. Nonetheless, you and SlimVirgin have damaged the article. It is being gradually edited from being a complaint about certain problems into being a complaint against the people who wrote the article in the first place. If anyone cared about this except me (and in is becoming apparent that the original authors have mostly given up on it) I'd call it disruptive and tendentious editing. As it is, you seem to have won a war of attrition.
The truth of the matter is that on the level that really matters, none of us is operating within a realm in which any of us can produce certification of our expertise. Talk of "quality" is really rather beside the point, seeing as how there's no particular assessment of it beyond any given person's assessment of whatever articles they've read. Many of those people, perhaps the great majority, are incompetent to assess articles no matter what the subject matter is, because they read carelessly or cannot work the basic machinery of scholarly work or various other similar faults. Another large group, perhaps smaller, can review articles for certain kinds of faults and even detect inconsistencies in material which they don't know well. Still another group has enough familiarity with the material to detect patent nonsense. But only true experts-- not in the limited sense here, but experts as recognized by the field-- are competent to provide a complete assessment. We don't do that kind of assessment, and indeed there is a lot of sentiment expressed that we don't need to and ought not do that kind of assessment. Mangoe 18:14, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and the guilt-by-association slur was lame. Mangoe 18:14, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Mangoe, rather than going back and forth about who-said-what, let me make it clear that we are not anti-expert. Quite the reverse.
Wikipedia is a very frustrating place for anyone who cares about article quality, whether we classify ourselves as "experts" or not. Most articles are badly written and badly researched, if researched at all. You can spend weeks or months improving an article only to have idiots turn up who have zero understanding of the subject matter, and you're forced to discuss and explain, and compromise, and so on. I've watched a couple of areas that I could be said to have expertise in be utterly trashed on Wikipedia, and it is heart-breaking.
Jay and I were both involved in early discussions on Wikipedia about the possibility of setting up some kind of quality-control board or working party. None of the details were worked out, and it went nowhere, because the climate on Wikipedia is wrong for that kind of thing. But I'm mentioning it here because you need to be reassured that we're not on some kind of anti-expert crusade.
There is another side to it, however.
People who see themselves as experts in particular areas are not always good editors. They have a tendency to engage in original research, because they feel they know enough not to have to consult and cite sources. They don't always write well, and sometimes (especially in the sciences), they write badly. There is one particular editor who goes around claiming s/he was driven off as an expert, who was such a bad writer that you could barely understand what s/he was saying half the time, and s/he was a native English speaker. (I can also tell you that person knows very little about the area s/he's claiming to be an expert in.) So the issues are not cut and dried.
As for the list of names: some of the people on that list have not left; others are not experts; others may be subject experts, but that is not why they left. And anyway, the list is too short to be of any use, especially if we remove the ones who might not be expert editors in the first place.
I suggest we stick with the list of comments, and not start talking about individual cases. I also suggest that you try to assume good faith, and allow all POVS to be represented without any one POV trying to overwhelm the other. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:55, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
The thing is, everyone who adds content to an article thinks they are enough of an expert to do so. And often enough, they are right: either the expertise required is trivial; or they have an accurate sense of their own level of expertise, and act accordingly. The cases that matter involve challenges to that sense of expertise. It seems to me that there is a strong bias towards overestimation, and that the "ignore all credentials" sentiments (which appear to be extremely common) exacerbate this.
The problem of illiterate experts is real, but most of the articles I've had trouble reading that showed real expertise were difficult because I lacked the vocabulary. There are a lot of botany articles which are difficult because it is extremely hard (and often impossible) to describe a species in lay terms; likewise, many of the mathematics articles are innately impossible for the uneducated to read. Many of them I cannot follow, and I'm a mathematician (according to the Board of Regents of the University of Maryland, anyway). It's a completely separate issue, and one in which the "everyone can edit" point is inevitably going to fail. People who do not understand the content cannot do more than trivial edits to these articles; if one of these articles is incoherent, someone who doesn't understand the material cannot fix it.
That's why the statement that "People who see themselves as experts in particular areas are not always good editors" is ultimately uninteresting. The question is whether those who are potentially good editors feel inhibited because they feel the climate is adverse. Mangoe 21:04, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree with you 100 percent about the issues of botany and mathematics, and other pages that require a high degree of technical knowledge. So we're agreed on that.
I also agree 100 percent with your last sentence: "The question is whether those who are potentially good editors feel inhibited because they feel the climate is adverse."
Where we diverge is whether expert editors are necessarily good editors. In my view, they are not, and sometimes they are bad editors, in part because they may be poor writers, and in part because they have a tendency to assume that, because they have an advanced degree in a subject, no other sources are required.
Therefore, in my view, we shouldn't really be talking about the problem of retaining experts, but the problem of retaining good editors, whether specialists or generalists. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:50, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
One issue I've seen with certain editors, often who are experts in the sciences, is that occasionally it is expected that the epistomolgy of science (which attempts to discern "truth" to some level of confidence--whether axiomatic proof, physical "law" which is always observed, or statistical probability)--ought to apply elsewhere. I'll pick on Kim a bit. While this material is no longer present on her userpage, a while back she expressed concern that the English-Wikipedia article Falkland Islands, and the equivalent article on the Spanish Wikipedia, es:Islas Malvinas, offered different slants on the issue of who (the UK or Argentina) has the stronger claim to the islands in question. While neither article is a partisan rant, and both attempt to be fair--not surpisingly, our article tends to favor the English position, and the Spanish-language article tends to favor the Argentine claim. Kim expressed the opinion that this dichotomy between two different articles on the same subject led the reader to different conclusions, represented a failure of colossal failure of Wikipedia. (Kind of like the old Dire Straits lyric concerning two guys on the corner claiming to be Jesus--you know at least one of them is wrong).
Some users (now speaking abstractly here) feel that the fact that two different communities produce a different answer despite employing the same process, is an indictment of the process. To me (someone who doesn't much care about the Falklands/Malvinas question), there isn't an objectively true answer to the question of who has the morally/legally stronger claim; and it unsurprising that two Wikipedia communities with different systemic biases would produce two articles with different slants, especially on a topic as controversial as this one. . WP:NPOV is the best we can do here; and I would suggest that no expert (or group of experts), no matter how knowledgeable and wise--would be able to resolve the debate in a fashion which is more fair than what we have here. Some questions simply don't have a cut-and-dried answer that it is within our grasp to discover and document. And some users have difficulty dealing with that.
--EngineerScotty 21:33, 10 May 2007 (UTC)


As one of the originators of this page, but someone who has been extremely busy off-Wiki for the past six months or so :(... I'm a bit bemused by some of the comments above.

This page certainly wasn't written just so self-appointed experts can gripe. I don't claim substantial expertese in anything (and the one topic I probably can claim expertese in, computer science, I don't write much on), but I do consider having subject-matter experts present to be beneficial to the project. Likewise with good copyeditors, skilled writers, and dedicated admins. During much of last year, especially after the Siegenthaler controversy, several promiment experts were relating bad experiences with the project, some in promiment forums outside Wikipedia; and the project was getting some of a black eye.

This page, and others like it, did lead to numerous reforms here on Wikipedia (at least I consider them to be reforms). WP:DE is a direct outgrowth of this page, as are much of the current content of WP:FRINGE and WP:SCI (though the latter is still marked "proposed"; the whole notability issue is still under debate). Several contributors here also participated in WP:ATT. While not a "reform", this page also led to the excellent light one candle essay--the best rebuttal I've seen to many of the "Wikipedia doesn't value expertese and is therefore unreliable" arguments.

Just as significant is what didn't happen. No policy changes have been made which canonicize experts--even given the shock-to-Wikipedia that was the Essjay affair, this project is still the same democratic (as in "of the people", not referring to voting) place it has been. There haven't been significant changes to the Wikipedia power structure; nor has the German "stable versions" experiment been adopted on the English Wikipedia.

In short--some of the proposals discussed were adopted by the community; some were advanced but rejected, and some didn't make it off this page.

Now--how relevant is the "list of complaining experts"? It contains some datapoints; OTOH it is rather out of date. Some of the people on the list certainly had issues beyond debates with cranks or well-meaning but clueless folks who think the science section of their local newspaper is a more reliable source than Science. That said, given that this is an essay rather than an article or a policy document, removing the list strikes me as a move of questionable value. The correct way to deal with dirty laundry is to wash it, not hide it in the closet. (And given the well-documented mutual dislike between Slim and Kim, over matters irrelevant here, I think it would be better if someone else were to remove material concerning User:KimvdLinde).

My thoughts on expertese after much reflection over this page, other debates I've participated in, and such? That the primary problem Wikipedia has (and continues to have, despite policies like WP:DE designed to deal with such) is an issue with disruptive and counterproductive editors (some of whom are also experts) rather than an "expert" problem per se. (A secondary problem, which flows from the first and troubles many who hail from meritocratic cultures such as academia, is with users who are unable to cope in a free-for-all environemnt). Get rid of the cranks, trolls, and POV-pushers (leaving alone for the moment inherently controversial topics like abortion, creationism, Israel/Palestine, George W. Bush, etc.) and Wikipedia will become a much more welcoming place for productive editors, including those with subject-matter expertese. But that's my opinion; it may not be the opinion of others.

This page has been mostly inactive lately, other than the recent spate of edits. Many have moved on. What happens here now probably doesn't matter much. Anyways, back to work.

--EngineerScotty 16:39, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Just wanted to say that I thought that the above is a "great post" : ) - jc37 17:05, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Scotty, you wrote: That the primary problem Wikipedia has ... is an issue with disruptive and counterproductive editors (some of whom are also experts) rather than an "expert" problem per se.
That is exactly my point. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:57, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
There are many, though, who disagree with this point of view. The "center of mass" of the Wikipedia community, as reflected by policy, probably agrees with this summary; however, that doesn't mean that all essays in Wikipedia-space should be edited to reflect that sentiment--especially those that started out considering a different sentiment. Again, this is not a policy page; nor does it purport to be--no reason that it should be changed to say something different than it was originally intended to. If the document is no longer relevant, perhaps WP:MFD is a better solution. --EngineerScotty 20:34, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Ceramic gases[edit]

I deleted the paragraph suggesting there aren't any gaseous ceramics.

Lobbyshook 21:47, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Which is just the point: you are pretty obviously not an expert, so a Google search by you isn't good enough to contradict them. Mangoe 23:11, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
So when you read those hundreds of articles talking about ceramic gases, you decide that they aren't true and the people on wikipedia who claim to be experts are more authoritative? How exactly are you qualified to make that determination? Lobbyshook 23:55, 28 August 2007 (UTC)


Link to the list of names deleted, for historical purposes: Those who have departed Wikipedia or are on long-term hiatus
For a more current list see Wikipedia:Missing Wikipedians

I deleted a list of names for two reasons: no matter how many people edit this (and it will never be a lot) the list will be very subjective and partial. Does it add anything to the essay? i do not think so. We know the issue is an issue, and worth discussing, but naming names does not help

Also, I think it is a little sorry to call attention to people who chose to leave. They left -lets move one Slrubenstein | Talk 00:12, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

I disagree. The list is in many respects part of the point of the original series of pages which spawned this - it draws to attention that wikipedia is leaking experts and that this is a serious issue. Your tone in saying "it is a little sorry" and "they left - lets move on" implies very much part of the problem itself - that there is a distain towards those with expert knowledge and their leaving is their own fault, that "we don't need them", not an inherent flaw in wikipedia (which a key purpose behind this series of articles has been to highlight). However, the list will always be incomplete, and the inability to verify experthood makes the list less useful, so I shall leave it to another party to re-read if they so wish. LinaMishima (talk) 00:28, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
FWIW I support the removal. I didn't read any disdain in Slrubenstein's words, or any implication that it's their fault and we don't need them. But I looked at a few of the usernames, and thought, who says they're all experts, do they claim expertise themselves, how do or would they feel about being listed here, what does it add to the encyclopaedia. It's impossible to verify: there may be many anonymous experts who come and go, unknown. Stratford490 (talk) 00:58, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Where do I express disdain? i know some real experts who left, and I miss them terribly. But I just see no purpose to this list. Let's instead confront the real reasons people leave, and address them in a strong way. I would conceed this: if someone left, and left an essay or explanation as to why they left and what they think is wrong with Wikipeida, I oculd see a value in collecting these essyas. But Wikipedia is an encyclopedia in which no article has an author. Once someone leaves, we should assume that they acted in good faith and actually wanted to leave the project. Why keep tab on their ide3ntity? The fact is, many of these people came to Wikipedia before cyberstalking and off-line stalking became a real issue, and people started hiding their identities; giving out personal information here, when we have NO idea whether the individuals want this or not and in fact since the left I suggest they woudln't want it, is really unfair to them ... and others, well, may be fake identities. The only way to sort it all out would be to start investigating the real identities of these users which I see as a major violation of their privacy. This is an encyclopedia. Let's write articles, not keep tabs on people who lon longer want to be here. And if we think that people leaving is a problem, lets talk about why good people leave and what we can do about it. We simply do not need this list to accomplish that. I wrote a statement explaining my deletion. It had no tone. No offense, but i suspect editors who fail to assume good faith and read "tone" into reasonable explkanations - even if ones they disagree with - may be one of the many things that starts turning people off to Wikipedia. Please assume good faith on my part and accept that there may be reasons, even ifyou reject them, for why I would delete the list that have nothing to do with my opinion about the people on the list? Slrubenstein | Talk 01:49, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

This article hasn't had major edits for a long time. Why such a big change in it now? For historical reasons, it would be better to keep it the way it is. Especially names of those who left are interesting. People can see in the user contributions what the last actions were of those who left and they can read the user pages.Daanschr (talk) 07:47, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Something being in a page for a long time is not a reason not to remove it. It's a reason not to remove it without posting on the talk page. This is a wiki, after all. I see from the page history that there wasn't a great deal of activity, so perhaps people just missed that section, and now it has been noticed. Just my 2c. Stratford490 (talk) 09:31, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Slrubenstein and Stratford. The page is fine but such an incomplete and subjective list of names serves no valid purpose. Furthermore, isn't there a right to vanish from WP. I understand that these did not actually terminate their accounts, talk pages etc. but still we shouldn't be using them for a list without their permission. Str1977 (talk) 22:12, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia will be a major turning point in history, when people look back 50 years from now. This article is significant enough to serve as an important document to keep for historical reasons.Daanschr (talk) 07:38, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't matter much. A good researcher would read the talk page and the archives of the talk page, and than go back in the history of this article to retrace former versions of the article.Daanschr (talk) 20:12, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
What kind of argument is that? Talk pages are for the editor, not for the reader. Your "going back into the history" would be an argument for stronger measures than merely remove the list from the article. And do you really think anyone will care for this article in 50 years? Str1977 (talk) 20:16, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Isn't this backwards?[edit]

If we wish to study the problem of experts being chased off, shouldn't we have a comprehensive list of editors who left rather than editors who are still on WP? We could then link to the discussions they had and examine what frustrated them. -moritheilTalk 07:13, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

One who left is Ralf Vandeberg astrophotographer, one who stayed is author LeeBrandoncremer both from the ISS article. Penyulap talk 16:11, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Cancer experts[edit]

Here's an interesting article about Cancer Research UK experts hoping to make positive changes on wikipedia. I'm going to extend a welcome to one of them, User:HenryScow. - TheMightyQuill (talk) 15:52, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Is there a point to this?[edit]

Is this just a great whinge or is it leading to some sort of solution? -- Evertype· 13:12, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Just look at the dates. We are archeologists here.Daanschr (talk) 15:24, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

The final solution[edit]

Wiki software, reputation system . not usefulness of information, but instead signal-to-noise ratio in making edits. can flag an edit as trolling when reverting, with the lack of good intention. can flag an undo/revert as poor judgement on good intentions of the edit, with no explanation or reasonable attempt to incorporate a useful perspective. this feedback is available for review by a selection of other parties, on the intentions as opposed to specialist knowledge of the information content. presentation of the general trends for an article, as well as users in the edit history. If a reversion is made by someone with a good reputation, it is less likely to be contested or reported. if a bad reputation, more confidence for sympathy in review of a bad faith judgement.
must leverage value of time differential between editors in a wiki

too lazy to rewrite that in proper sentences. If you want to retain experts, or are an expert and want to contribute efficiently to the project, this is how to change the situation away from "isolated expert wastes time in edit war against someone who feels insulted by knowledge" and towards a state where biased editing can be detected and contained by the community as it occurs. I don't care who sees this or works toward its implementation. Personally I do not have the time or interest to do so. It might help to analyze the 'quality' of specific sections of an article and even display this graphically, ranging from "primarily contributions from new or uncontroversial editors" to "largely the work of users that have been frequently judged as making biased contributions" to "written by users with excellent conformance to the objective and critical ideals of the project", as an extension of the differential comparison process. (talk) 03:01, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

An 'Experts' Article on Wikipedia Frustration[edit]

Some articles are linked from this one discussing "experts' frustrations". Thought I might suggest a couple recently published articles of a frustrated expert/WP-editor discussing his problems with editing WP.

"The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia" by Timothy Messer-Kruse, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb 12, 2012
The WP article that spawned this article is Haymarket affair (Talk). It looks like the disagreement began in 2009.

Messer-Kruse's article prompted a few articles to be published such as:
"Does Wikipedia Have an Accuracy Problem?" by Rebecca J. Rosen, The Atlantic, Feb 16, 2012
al-Shimoni (talk) 06:08, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Give wikiprojects more power? Nuts.[edit]

The most alarming part of this is the suggestion in several places to increase the power and autonomy of wikiprojects and imbue them with hierarchical authority based on specialist credentials. It's difficult for me to think of a worse idea for Wikipedia's future than that. The level of WP:OWNership already exerted by some projects, and the zeal with which they pursue the WP:Specialist style fallacy, sometimes in righteous and advertised defiance of WP:CONLEVEL policy, is a menace to the entire encyclopedia. Individually they're all (or at least mostly) fine and upstanding editors, but assembled on one page with some charismatic personalities in the mix, the result is some really ugly magic. I'd like to replace the entire WP:WikiProject system with something verb-based (WikiWorking Baseball, WikiWorking Astronomy, etc., perhaps), or find some other way to de-noun, de-territorialize collaboration here. Experts need a system in which their input is valued and properly evaluated, not a system that turns their already cliqueish, compartmentalizing, seniority-based and authoritarian hierarchy survival skills into a recipe for project-based balkanization, "school of thought" founding, follower-gathering and discipline/faction-aligned splitting into entrenched, uncooperative camps. And I say all that as a founder and co-founder of several wikiprojects and a specialist of several sorts (albeit not a professional academic one).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:04, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

@SMcCandlish: Yes, I seem to recall the recent RfC about the manual of style for bird species and the influence of WikiProject Birds. You wrote WP:SSF and I don't care for arguments made by people that cite their own work, especially without mentioning the fact.
I can see your point that WikiProjects enable clique-ish behavior and balkanization. I am willing to accept those two consequences if it reduces the "Randy in Boise" problem that Wikipedia refuses to fix. I would hope that admins and ARBCOM can prevent WikiProjects from becoming fiefdoms but I am otherwise hoping WikiProjects and their minions do the work the aforementioned authorities are unwilling to do themselves. When I eventually quit Wikipedia in frustration, it'll be because of Randy in Boise, not heavy-handed WikiProjects.
As a member of WikiProject Military History, I've seen none of these problems. The WikiProject is a place to belong on Wikipedia. It's a community that's responsive to editor requests and it does a lot to channel editors into improving the project. Maybe MILHIST is just fortunate to have great editors leading the effort. In many cases a WikiProject is the best place for new users to start, with a built in set of mentors to oversee editing, guiding them to be productive. I spoke to a UCLA grad school class on behalf of the Wiki Education Foundation and I made those students aware of WikiProject Meteorology so that they can find specialist editors that can both comment on the scientific content being added and ease their transitions into editing. I also hope that their interaction with the WikiProject will bolster editor retention, as I've lost 100% of the student editors from my last two classes.
Finally, what you call Balkanization I might call federalism. In large enough aggregates, one rule isn't going to work for everyone. Sometimes editors will be retained only if they can have it their way and WikiProjects are a means to devolve authority into specific channels for specific purposes. The point about that birding RfC was that academics and hobbyists are used to a particular way and don't want a new rule compliant with the larger community to be forced on them. When methods of business are constrained to particular projects, obsessive editors can find a place where they feel comfortable editing. Your intended imposition of central authority might help retain you as an editor but chase off other editors who have been hanging out at DYK the whole time. Chris Troutman (talk) 05:42, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I guess I'll next have to go write an essay about how on a wiki, everything here was written by one/some of us, so attempting to ignore someone's argument on a "you wrote that yourself!" basis makes no sense at all. The entire point of WP:ESSAYs is to save frequently reused reasoning in clearly written form so that it can be referenced easily instead of manually re-argued again and again to everyone's frustration. You're failing to understand the difference between "see this essay, so I don't have to repeat myself" and "see this policy, which you can be blocked for violating". It's assumed you can follow and at least skim a link, and notice for yourself whether it's policy, a guideline, an essay or something else.

Anyway, absolutely nothing prevents wikiprojects from accreting Randy-from-Boise types as editors, and all wikiprojects have them. There is no mechanism to attract only expert editors to wikiprojects. Indeed, the anti-credentialist nature of the system, combined with the increasingly WP:FACTIONal behavior of projects, pretty much guarantees that more and more Randys will join projects because of the power-in-numbers edge and the member-of-the-club feeling they provide, while still driving off experts, who will not want to be associated with groups increasingly composed of ignorant yahoos.

Another issue is that not everyone who disagrees with an alleged expert on something is a Randy. Experts on bird biology or military history are not usually also experts on linguistics and English language writing; they're often quite terrible at those things. The Dunning–Kruger effect is fairly strong and common among specialists, in both the sense of assuming competences they don't have outside their area of expertise, but also assuming that that incredibly geeky stuff they take for granted in their specialty is surely easy for everyone else, too, and thus not objectionable as a bunch of WP:CREEP and WP:JARGON that should not be imposed here. (I deal with people like this off-WP on frequent basis, and I have to, in my day-to-day work, translate my own tech knowledge into something that very technology-unsavvy people can deal with, so I perhaps think about this more often that average, from both directions.

WP:MILHIST is better than most projects. But it has also been the source of some problems, especially MOS-related ones (military history types tend to be over-fond of capitalization, idiosyncratic abbreviations, flag icons, and various other stylistic gimcrackery that other editors and readers find annoying or confusing), due to the very SSF effect you don't seem to think is real. You've "seen none of these problems" because you're too close to them and not looking for them.

The very fact that wikiprojects take this mentoring or grooming role you mention is precisely why they're a hazard more than a boon when they're off-kilter and being helmed by charismatic WP:NOTHERE loudmouths. This has been a notable problem in many cases.

It's not about whether I might quit in a huff if I don't get a rule I want, and bird (or whatever) editors might quit if they don't get the rule their way. Anyone who would quit over the kinds of trivia under discussion in these cases really isn't here to write an encyclopedia at all. It's about what's good for the readers and for the long-term stability of the project. Allowing wikiprojects to run off the rails and make up their own rules that conflict directly with what the rest of the site is doing doesn't serve either of those goals, only the interests of a handful of egos. Wikipedia has about 1,000 rules that are all "one size fits all" and they do tend to fit all just fine. WE even have an escape valve, WP:IAR for the rare cases they don't. I think you're mistaking a preference for a need. No one needs to capitalize bird species common names, or insert flag icons into naval battle infoboxes, or whatever the WP:LAME style dispute of the day is.

To pick the birds example, since it's current: Most of the proponents of the capitalization are hobbyist birdwatchers who got it from field guides. Bbut field guides on everything capitalize like that. WP doesn't. The end. As I've note elsewhere many times and no one has ever refuted, all actual ornithologists are perfectly comfortable not writing in the precious "Golden Eagle" capitalized style a handful of them are pushing here, because non-ornithology-specific journals do not permit it even in ornithology articles, and some ornithology journals don't either. There are literally zero bird experts who cannot switch between the styles at will, or they'd be out of jobs because they'd almost never get published. It's nothing but an ornithology-insider jargon habit used by some journals in that specialty, and by field guides, nothing more. The "give me capitalization or give me death" WP:BATTLEGROUND promotion of this capitalization on Wikipedia is nothing but a childish power game, and plenty of us have really had enough of it. Just one of many examples. Wikiprojects engage in daft and unhelpful us-vs.-them collective behavior patterns all the time. The more wikiprojects engage in insular, sovereign separatist attitude mongering, the more frequently this happens. It's not federalism, it's a walled city-state mentality.

I even bought into it when I first arrived here. It seemed normal to start a project, to make up new, conflicting rules, and to defend them against a sea of editors in other topics who just couldn't understand. Well, it turns out if you take about 1/10 the effort one would spend on fighting everyone off until they give up (or until you get RFARBed and blocked...), and instead expend that on making a good case at WT:MOS (or where ever - I focus on style issues, but maybe it's something more related to WP:RS concerns, etc.), everyone actually can understand just fine. Either your idea will be seen to make sense in the context of a big encyclopedia instead of a billiards magazine or a bird field guide or an archaeology journal or whatever, or there'll be good reasons why it won't. You compromise and move on. There's someone mentioned with a whole section higher up on this page who spent more time engaged in strife than working on article content or other constructive pursuits. We do not need to lament the "retirement" of every "expert" editor. No editor with expertise in anything is of any use to this encyclopedia if what they do here is cause trouble and foment the willfullorganizing and entrenchment of yet more trouble. See WP:5THWHEEL. Oh, never mind; that's an essay too, critical of troublemaking "experts", and some Wikipedian wrote it, so it must be wrong.  :-/

Wikiprojects in particular (as we currently know them) are not necessary for expert editor retention, just because they may have played a role in it so far. By way of analogy, if I keep you alive for a while by feeding you lots of rice so you don't starve, that doesn't mean the only thing you could ever eat is rice, nor that you wouldn't die of some deficiency disease anyway, even with a full stomach, due to how poor a diet it is.

PS: I don't know what you'd propose to do about the Randy-in-Boise problem. Even if we totally ban anonymous edits from IPs, finally, we still have the problem that many registered editors are Randys.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:35, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

@SMcCandlish: My ideas about fixing Wikipedia result in turning it into Citizendium and effectively closing the project.
My comment about your essay is that I took it initially as you citing SSF as an independent work when it in fact is your own. I cite essays all the time and from reading your essay I understand you've developed the SSF concept. I meant no offense in that regard.
Certainly if the wrong people are running WikiProjects (much like having the wrong people at ARBCOM) then we're up the proverbial creek. Maybe I can't see the forest for the trees; I've never joined a WikiProject I knew nothing about. Chris Troutman (talk) 17:54, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
The page this is the talk page of has some ideas for "locking down" articles once they hit the "Featured" level. Might be worth considering. I think people here will always reject a credentials-based approach, but it would at least be something to require more than a brief illusion of consensus on the article's talk page to change it after it's already that good.. WP:SSF to me is a repository of arguments, nothing more, kind of like WP:AADD. I'm not sure the know-nothing-about-the-subject Randys are the problem, versus the know-just-enough-to-make-a-convincing-mess ones. Several, maybe most, of the biology projects are "staffed" mostly by enthusiasts, not zoology/botany professors, ecology researchers, etc. I note this particular problem most vividly when it comes to domestic animal breeds, many articles about which are overflowing with poorly-sourced nonsense that amounts to breeder promotional material; and sports, where everyone who's a fan thinks they're a statistician and historian, and thus fill articles with suspect trivia. The more accessible and popular the underlying material is, the more projects will be full of Randys;. mathematics and physics are far less prone to this sort of thing than linguistics and history, in turn less full of Randys than the sports and entertainment topics, due to the barrier to entry being lower the less complex the material.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:03, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Wow, a talkpage discussion of length and exploration of serious matters that hasn't had WP:WOT hurled at it as a reason not to read it....refreshing.
I'm a latecomer to this discussion but found it very interesting...and much very familiar. Funny you should mention linguistics and history because both those fields are where I've encountered such goings-on, and gotten in trouble for speaking out against it. Too much, and content is suffering, and any hope that there will be a more welcoming environment for experts/professionals and also regular community members about their own town articles, natives about their own peoples and governments, and so on; in such cases WP:AUTO can happen, but hen they are the expert source (see my section added below). The climate of what I generally link as "instruction creepery" I see lots of, and more and more rigorous and demanding by those who invoke them. Often very single mindedly, whether by OCD or ideology or agenda or ego; asserting primacy of one guideline, written without respect to what other guidelines and policy said, but crafted by a small group and self-mandated, then wound up destabilizing a long-stable convention that had arisen in the course of the creation of the titles and categories long before; took a long time, and a lot of RMs, and a lot of my own wiki-blood in the form of what I see in some cases as harassment procedures; procedural warfare.

I'm speaking of WP:NCL (see its talk and history) but am not here to talk about that long affair, which had its start with tnis and four or five others to correct a tidal wave of moves that, as I recall, were done on New Years Eve when almost nobody else was around; After 80-120 others, those titles were moved back to where they had been along, after one single-minded move and a guideline enacted in order to apply globally and without discussion. A hyphen->endash move of this and others like without discussion and a misreading/oversimplification of HYPHEN and ENDASH and corresponding CfD also took months of energy and talk-warring to correct; and as in the first case, and in the second, and others since, I was put to what I call WP:SHRUBBERY "Go get me a shrubbery" where somebody sends you on an errand to get data they demand of you - and in a specific format they says is in the rules but isn't; not even close - and lay down rule-demands for what is required that are not actually required.

It never used to be like this, in my opinion; when articles in those topic areas were evolved, along with the system and conventions used in teh titles (within teh Pacific Northwest there are many names that are dual and the evolved convention was to use the preferred native form for their articles/label and the traditional form used in English for cities, towns, places, that have the same spellings as were formerly used for native groups, and still linguistics, and therein lies the long tale alluded to in the paragraph above, and a host of resulting troubles since, but I'm not here to discuss any of that.

After much blood sweat and tears, and a few necktie parties I "won".... in most cases, overwhelmingly (about those I didn't much could be said). And among the counter jabs at me were that being from the area meant that my views, and that of the natives, was "parochial" and that "global" standards must apply re a select field of sources; finally as with the hyphen/endash thing what turned the tide of single-guideline-ness were official sites and not just per number of cites, but what they said. And of course, as some here must know, I was dragged through wringer for being right all along. Why? Because I knew the reality - modern usages, standard orthographic conventions in the area, and so on; even region names that underly the landscape and nomenclature were contested as original research, if not by formal procedure but alluded to in one, were, if not official-cited and precisely defined should be deleted.

The hyphen/dash thing I wound up getting that shrubbery via t he Office of the Counsel General in Victoria's with whom I discussed with the issue and was provided with their style guide, and the legislatin and terms of the legal language of the Regulations attached to the enabling legislation of what the names that got endashed formally was. Finally it was conceded, after months of arduous contestive discussion, that because of that he would "allow" the move, "but it's not my preference". So what? What I had said all along was that it was obvious to someone from the area who sees it all the time... but it shouldn't have taken 7-8 weeks to get that done, and 80% of my wiki-energy either.
And why? Because I was aware of more than one guideline....and geez hadn't thought to author one myself, with no regard for anything else but my "preference". What I've referred to as the "old convention" was never formulated as a document, and no 'formal consensus' in the way of a linked discussion, because we were a small group, involving participants and people familiar with the region and its issues, history, geography from those different groups, with only a few far afield..... and things were done from discussions/proposals for changes were "yeah ok that works, and covers this guideline adn that one and that one" and were never RM'd.
Never RMd - Never thrown to those who don't know the material, but love their guidelines, or rather invoking them without even fully reading them, it seems; and love enforcing them - enforcing their "creepery" on it as if it were policy and in some manual some there. When it isn't.. Exceptions and qualifications of statements are overlooked and simple first-line readings are used as if, as I call it, HOLYWRIT. And very single-mindedly; demands for PRIMARYTOPIC data in totally AGF manner, and more.....
All you say above is very very very familiar and I could say a lot more on the subject but my response to what I saw in the passage above relates to the one WikiProject overriding others and not considering especially in regard to a certain one and various things I've observed about it over time of late. Other national standards are being ignored, certain content and style required'. The arduous nature of discussion in that topic area I won't go on about, except that it's a good example of what you were saying about on-the-go WikiProjects. I do agree by the way about MILHIST, it's an example of a good working group, likewise WP:SHIPS, WP:RIVERS and others, are cooperative, resourceful places to take things to and I rarely if ever encounter any procedural gambits or "guideline bombings" or other hassles on them. Once upon a time was the same with certain others....
and re WP:CREEP I've seen a number of cases of conflations of guidelines - or over-simplification of guidelines - manifested by one specialty wiki-agenda, be it linguistics or history or community/society articles, into iron-hard rules (the concept of WP:IAR not being in the mindset). And having extra conditions said to be in the guideline that weren't (such as demanding GoogleBooks and GoogleNews searches only and as priority, and mandatory, when posting a Requested Move or CfD or AfD or whatever; I won't say which that was, some of you may know). And for daring to question that, I got blocked out of the blue and more of which I won't go on about; all unnecessary, and all because guidelines are being misused to steamroll matters of content and title and more, by focussing on behaviour instead of the actual issues of content that should be the priority. i.e. on people, not on content. Directly against guidelines but...become mandatory=rule by those more interested in guidelines, and writing/controlling them, and in enforcing them - often involving some wiki-bloodshed as many blocks and bans have come from technical guideline-battling
I think those who have followed thus far will be able to follow instead of screaming that I'm incoherent or need medical treatment or mentoring or that I'm being disrespectful for expecting others to read my "rants" and "screeds" and use it as a case to block me over.....without never knowing anything about the issue or subject and not reading what someone informed on it has to say, and condemning for them not writing it in point form and under 300 words. Really? Where does it say that? And who put it there??

RE WP:CHINA, though per Talk:Jenny Kwan it's not just about the over-application of Chinese names on ethnic-Chinese bios and more; there are other issues of concern and many other articles were much more arduous discussions finally wound up making sense, and China's massive resources for intel and online manipulation show up in Talk:Tibet (which I stay away from ;-)) and countless others, but also in incremental changes, and in the Jenny Kwan case, mandarization and sinification of infoboxes (at variance with WPCANADA norms and standards as pointed about, except on other articles like Kwan's where this has been done); it's a case, and there are many others, where guideline-warring and procedural warfare may be more than cultural, but funded and organized. I won't point fingers, but I know parliamentary procedure and issue-evasion and propaganda-putdown when I see it and also a level of cultural difference about mode and rigour of argument and unyielding position and relentless onslaught of's a torture technique. Psychological warfare, used in interrogations and "re-education" camps.

But the same tactics are not just limited to WP:CHINA not at all; it's just theirs exemplify the One Guideline Is Law principle (WP:OGIL maybe) and when they apply it, it's with calm language but in 'no discussion' terms...because WP:CHINA says so. all the tactics in the previous paragraph, some with professional p.r. polish, are active in the same way. "it's in teh manual" I put it: debating technique and not issues/topic but guidelines.

I've said my piece, I need dinner and hadn't meant to go on but yours was a very provocative discussion to read after all I've been through in Wikipedia this last couple of years.

I'll come back later with links to news articles about information war and China's campaign; and more, e.g. the UK MoD's new "psychological warfare" unit assigned to infiltrate and manipulate social media.....Wikipedia's not mentioned by name but it's a given it's in the battlefield. I've shot my mouth off about it on Jimbotalk and on CANTALK but point related to the discussion above is that all you are talking about is not a culture that has arisen within Wikipedia; well, it has, but it's being planted and watered and fed by all parties interested in information control/POV and all that sort of thing. Intel is here, and I don't mean the company. Thing is that all the tactics throughout your discussion = and tactics are what they are - more and more I am coming to understand, have more behind them than OCD or ego or being "Brats in a bubble"..........not organized by any one group but used by all of them. Information war, with bearers of messages they don't want hear harassed, blocked, banned.

Enough. Time to eat.....and seems like for once, I'm somewhere where someone's not going to BLUDGEON me and howl WOT and refuse to read what I've taken the time and good will to write; freehand and back-and-forth so jumbled; but I write narrative, not formal essay. Stream-of-consciousness perhaps...but holistic, which was a term that got used when evolving those old conventions I mentioned; thing were returned to where they were, by the way, because the original names had already complied with guidelines and policies all intermeshed with informed input - until someone came along with a steamroller riding a guideline he'd built himself.Skookum1 (talk) 14:22, 3 February 2015 (UTC)


"The level of WP:OWNership already exerted by some projects, and the zeal with which they pursue the WP:Specialist style fallacy, sometimes in righteous and advertised defiance of WP:CONLEVEL policy, is a menace to the entire encyclopedia."

putting this here for comment later; see Talk:Chinese Canadians in British Columbia and here for now, and also here for now, though it's far from the only example; the linguistics escapade above involved the same matters.... hadn't seen SPECIAL or CONLEVEL before, and why is it by the way, that this essay is "dormant" if there's been activity on it in recent years? By some statistical/numerical "rule"? Samuel Butler I'll quote later, I need my dinner.Skookum1 (talk) 14:27, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

The opposite experience[edit]

My own musings on the subject of expertise are on my user page. However I have had the opposite experience with my editing: soon after beginning to add material to pages based upon peer-reviewed journal articles and books, other editors that had been using web sources and newspapers disappear, leaving me as the effective author of the page. There is usually only limited discussion on talk pages regarding content and WP guidelines. This is in fact distressing, since I know that writing without some review/editing is not likely to be very good. What is really puzzling is that I have been working on a highly controversial article, Washington Redskins name controversy.FriendlyFred (talk) 06:58, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

proposed addition to "What is an expert editor?" section[edit]

Right now it just says professional or academic credentials define what expertise is...but I submit when someone has strong knowledge in a given subject area, in my case "local" history and geography for the Pacific Northwest, their insight and corrections should be respected; lately I've had the unpleasant experience of someone AGF'ing me, even going to the OR board looking for backup to condemn me for original research, on a subject he doesn't know anything about and yet has tried to behave as editor-in-chief on the project and been very combative and aggressive about resisting and challenging anything I say (and guess who gets blamed for being like that...).

Recognizing "local authorities" is especially necessary when there is no academic or professional-credentialed RS on a subject - or where those RS are wrong about facts they field, or about conclusions/speculations they reach (which are often widely repeated in other academic papers without ever checking original materials and real data; User:Braches is an 84-year-old from a place called Whonnock who has no degree though has published some articles for local newspaper; he and I are currently working jointly to fix up that article and related ones in the area; we both have direct personal experience of the area and its history (I'm from, partly, Ruskin, British Columbia which is immediately to Whonnock's east.

The dismissive "original research" allegation that gets tossed about against local-knowledge testimony comes out in one form or another; a certain editor maintained that native endonyms and local/native uses were "parochial" vs his own preference for linguistics titles as "global" (in the end googlesearches and commentaries on Canadian usages in recent times added to the mass of evidence supporting the proper change rather than one BOLD-imposed by an "amateur professional" in only one field. "Local expertise" and/or "acquired expertise" should have a mandate here; maybe WP:OR needs adjustment, but changing any guideline invariably winds up with circular arguments about other guidelines (often claiming they say things they actually don't) and not about the validity of teh issue at hand.

Some status for local-knowledge editors of long-standing and proven reliability on matters of local content should be come up with, so such disruptive opposition on grounds of so-called "original research" is not made by people with no knowledge of the subject in question. Particularly when, as with User:Braches and myself (I'm 59) we are older and know about where we're from and have little time for younger people who don't know, if you'll forgive me, jack shit about the subject delete something we know is true, or launch campaigns to AGF us, ot complain that our style of writing/discussion isn't in point form or too long and so on; far that hasn't happened with him, but it has happened with other older contributors most of whom have said f**k it and moved on.....(talk) 11:41, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

I have an advanced degree, but much of what I know is self-taught, and at 65 I am still learning. I can sympathize with the frustration of seeing WP content that does not reflect your greater, first-hand knowledge, something I share on many topics. However there is little that can be done given the necessity of maintaining the guidelines regarding Wikipedia:Verifiability. Adding content that has never been published, or contradicts published material without a citation, is the definition of OR. Allowing this would open the floodgates for WP to become a repository for personal opinions with no way to resolve the edit wars that would crop up. FriendlyFred (talk) 14:17, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
That's not quite what I went. The problem with RS is that they're often wrong and/or contain gaffes of various kinds when not coming from the area the subject is about; this is very true in my context, which is BC, re statements in Central Canadian media such as "Prince George is a city in the Fraser Valley" for example (there's about 400 miles between PG and what is called the Fraser Valley, which is from Hope downstream to Vancouver), and local knowledge should be respected to correct that, rather than be dragged through the wringer by some younger person not from the area who's never been there and calls it, and your experience/familiarity, "original research". That's just one example but there's lots. Many smalltown and regional histories could be enriched by a more welcoming approach to local contributors, especially older ones; and WP:V like other guidelines is subject to instruction creep, with conflations of what it says into hard-and-fast mandatory "rules"; whatever happened to "there are no rules" and Wikipedia's erstwhile opennness and inclusiveness? Never mind, just a rhetorical question, I already know what happened; too many people obsessed with buildind and ab/using guidelines who don't know or care about the content their decisions/interference cause.Skookum1 (talk) 13:14, 10 February 2015 (UTC)