Wikipedia talk:Fringe theories

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This page is for discussion of the wording of the Wikipedia:Fringe theories guideline, not for discussion of specific theories.
To discuss problems with specific theories, articles, and users, please go to the
Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard, thank you.

Bold suggestion: Rename/overhaul[edit]

Copied from Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard


I trired to re-read the discussion above and the policy itself, it comes to my mind that a good deal of confusion is the disparity of the policy title and its main point/nutshell: " To maintain a neutral point of view, an idea that is not broadly supported by scholarship in its field must not be given undue weight in an article about a mainstream idea. "

It other words, it does not matter how we graded the views that differ from mainstream: what matters is that they are non-mainstream. Clearly, there is a continuous spectrum and some ideas may float within this range. (For example a bold mainstream hypothesis may become dubious in view of new data, but the proponent will jealously defend it. While he does decent science, it may be called "minority view", when he slips into adding unjustified assumptions, mainstream starts dismissing him altogether, thus shifting into "fringe" area; and at the extreme the proponent may even go full crackpot.)

Therefore I will suggest to rename the policy into Wikipedia:Non-mainstream views (NB: not "theories") and focus more on the WP:DUE aspect, rather than on splitting hairs about the term, which is mostly pejorative indeed: I quickly browsed Google Books and most of them who refer to "fringe" actually focus on pseudo-science. In other words, we must focus on a reasonable classification/recognition of the degree of acceptance, rather on the degree of fringeness of a claim/view/theory, i.e., avoid sticking to label-sticking. Staszek Lem (talk) 20:19, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

From the perspective of a relatively new editor, I certainly agree that this policy / guideline area needs an overhaul. But, there really are topics that are pseudoscience / fringe. Like, for example, flat earth, creation science, and Time Cube. We need a policy to deal with those sorts of things, narrowly construed. JerryRussell (talk) 20:30, 16 October 2016 (UTC)
The term "Pseudoscience" is rather well-defined and easy to deal with. We can have articles on notable pseudoscience, but no regular articles on, say, Earth or bird control can include anything pseudoscientific. We don't cite Time Cube in Greenwich Time article. And this is rather adequately covered already. If you think something is missing, please make specific suggestions. Staszek Lem (talk) 20:59, 16 October 2016 (UTC)
I think we're both saying that the problem is, all sorts of minority theories are categorized as "Fringe", which is a pejorative, and then treated the same as pseudoscience. We have some policies like PARITY and ONEWAY that seem like they should be used only for pseudoscience, while WP:DUE is much more widely applicable. FALSEBALANCE is part of the NPOV policy, and seems pretty general and flexible; I think I classed it unfairly with PARITY and ONEWAY above. I think the proposal is to do away with the Fringe label, and use "non-mainstream" except when "pseudoscience" is clearly applicable. JerryRussell (talk) 22:11, 16 October 2016 (UTC)
What about simply renaming the board to "Fringe theories and pseudoscience"? :bloodofox: (talk) 21:15, 16 October 2016 (UTC)
My suggestion was to avoid specific labels altogether, thus allowing the inclusion of not exactly fringe, but really minority/nonnotable views. In particular, quite often we see pieces of text like that " Profs A and B in a 14 September 2017 study of psychodermic response [1] based on a sample of 68 volunteers concluded that psychos respond to skin stimuli slower than mainstream theories predicted." Of course we have WP:EXTRAORDINARY/WP:PRIMARY/WP:UNDUE, but why not cover it all neatly here, as applied to the specific case of something which is not mainstream (whether yet or already). Staszek Lem (talk) 21:29, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ citing these profs A and B
  • if you start with the NPOV policy, and the discussion oF WEIGHT and of PSCI there, and the clear discussion of how you determine WEIGHT and what is UNDUE based on what (actually) reliable sources say together, you can see that the FRINGE guideline just complements the NPOV, and does so in a way that is pretty clear. If you start with FRINGE and work backwards, it is much harder. And we cannot legislate WP:CLUE; it does take an understanding to deploy FRINGE. Jytdog (talk) 00:43, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
    • WP:CLUE redirect to a bot. I guess it was not your intention? Staszek Lem (talk) 19:11, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
    • I see your point. However I don't want to "start" with FRINGE. Please re-read my suggestion. I said that the text of the guideline does not match its title. My suggestion is to rename the policy and make the explanatory part more general. Another option, which is possibly less drastic, is to start the guideline with the phrase which clarifies our language, something like, "In wikipedia parlance, a fringe theory/view/claim is broadly understood to be a theory/view/claim which gained very little or no support in mainstream science. These minority views may range from outright pseudoscience to novel bold ideas or new experimental results which did not enjoy a general acceptance or confirmation yet. While typically the term 'fringe' is used pejoratively, in Wikipedia we understand it literally: 'on the fringe of the mainstream knowledge' and therefore fringe views have little or no weight in general Wikipedia articles. " Staszek Lem (talk) 19:11, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
      • Oops, my bad. We already have something like this. "We use the term fringe theory in a very broad sense to describe an idea that departs significantly from the prevailing views or mainstream views in its particular field." However IMO it is misplaced into the section "Identifying fringe theories". IMO the definition must be at the very top of the lede. This will remove misunderstandings due to tl;dr right away. Staszek Lem (talk) 19:21, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
        • I agree with this renaming and believe "fringe" is POV while "non mainstream" or "extreme minority view" are more objective. I especially believe that any policy stating only rules suitable for hard science cannot be invoked in the human sciences (history, religion, biography, even economics or ethics or philosophy) and proposed some ways to deal with that as below - which I suggest be a different policy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 04:57, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

Recent edits by 76.11.94.233[edit]

While I agree with some of it, these were substantial changes without previous discussion (to a guideline, not just an essay), including some editorializing. Here is a point that seems unclear: "The best Wikipedia can do in this situation is to list the exact position taken by each sect or cult, qualified by the strongest (not the weakest) counterpoints, including any accusation of fallacy, cherry-picking, overlooking of conflict or non-credibility". I think that the neutral point of view also goes with notability, meaning that not all point of views of all groups or individuals can be listed. Thanks, —PaleoNeonate – 00:29, 11 August 2017 (UTC)

They have been reverted. We are not debate moderators or judging the validity of points made in a discussion; we simply (try to) follow WP:RS. If an accusation of "fallacy, cherry-picking, overlooking of conflict or non-credibility" is not in a reliable source then it has no place on Wikipedia. (((The Quixotic Potato))) (talk) 08:06, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
That's not an answer. As soon as you are asked to determine what is a "fringe" theory, you must deal with the fact that sheer numbers favor every major world religion as "not fringe" no matter how outrageous their claims (reincarnation, resurrection, miracles) are. This policy as stated is simply not reconcilable with anything but strictly scientific claims, e.g. history. It needs to either be renamed or it has to be stated strictly that it does not apply to religion, history or long-dead persons, and that there is no way to call something a "fringe theory" unless it's within the realm of hard science.
Obviously "not all point of views of all groups" can be listed, but where there is no possibility of reconcilation/consensus (like religiously or nationally important questions) you make a list rather than having each side revert in some edit war.
this is the complete policy as edited, and yes the wording could use improvement, but there is simply no way to leave the article as it stood when I found it, and it is being inappropriately cited in religious, historical and legendary character debates when the policy simply doesn't cover those. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 04:09, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
you are importing a bunch of stuff into this guideline (not policy, guideline). This guideline fleshes out parts of WP:NPOV dealing with cases where views on X are so minority that they are FRINGE. Groups and people that have very minority views are all over the place, and WP, being open as it is, is vulnerable to them coming here and trying to make what is a tiny minority view seem quite mainstream, or give it tons of WEIGHT. This guideline helps deal with that problem, generally. It is easier to manage with hard science but it manageable in other fields as well, with this guideline's help. One of they key ways that advocates for FRINGE views try to create a lot of WEIGHT is to source things only from within their "bubble". That is one of reasons why this guideline emphasizes independent sourcing so much, and also why PARITY is so important. If we have dip down to a blog where mainstream people even give discussion to very minority views, we do that in order to get independent perspective on it. Jytdog (talk) 04:19, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
OK, I restored and heavily edited the sections on historically influential theories, and useful response procedures and criteria for pseudoscience. Examples are now clearly marked as such, so as to avoid the impression of editorializing.
I think you and I would agree that a new policy should be formed for history, religion, and legendary characters, and this one should not be cited in those kinds of debates. You cannot apply even remotely similar terms of reference to hard science vs. biography vs. history vs. religion, so the human sciences need their own rules. I don't disagree that independent (non primary) sourcing is critical. In case you disagree that religion should have its own set of rules, I put that section below to discuss.
This version does not expand the scope of the policy at all, it is copyedit with examples, most of them already contained in the version as it stood. It is not in any sense an "edit war" and you are expressing a rather extreme POV by seeming to claim that these hard science definitions of what is pseudoscience can be applied to history, religion or biography. Literally any reference to this policy in those fields is wrong, as it does not address those fields. We differentiate between human sciences and hard sciences for very good reasons. Fix the policy by either clarifying or expanding its scope.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 04:51, 18 August 2017‎
Fringe guidance applies not just to pseudoscience, but to "other fringe subjects" per WP:PSCI: So, Shakespeare authorship, fringe historical theories, conspiracy theories etc are already within scope. Alexbrn (talk) 05:23, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

Religion[edit]

Religion presents special problems because all religions promote beliefs or views that are fringe and non-credible to believers in all others. In general this policy should not be invoked for religious material unless some untestable claim is involved, e.g. that Satan created fossils to fool man into believing in evolution, and reliably fakes scientific results to make them appear very old.

By contrast, a theory of motive or conflict or influence in historical events that influenced or changed the course of a religion should be examined as history, using historical method, e.g. keeping in mind the biases known since the Muqadimmah, and avoiding reliance on one kind of source, e.g. Christian apologists, advocates of an Islamic state, etc. on secular history.

While it is not possible to come to agreement on Jesus, Buddha or Muhammad, it is possible to dismiss the theory that they were created by aliens or divinities or that they were time travellers as fringe, as this involves an untestable claim. The claim that they were either living humans or fictional characters, however, can be tested as with other figures, e.g. Robin Hood, St. Nicholas, Confucius. The position that a religious figure never existed should not be treated as "fringe" unless there is profound written evidence and clear historical change arising from them in their lifetime about which others wrote extensively, e.g. it is very hard to doubt Muhammad existed. By contrast Jesus, Buddha or Moses existence can be fairly debated, and the key consideration would be whether the historical records of non-followers would usually have mentioned them at that time, to what degree, etc. An example of a difficult case is Josephus on Jesus where translation, motives, etc., are disputed and the same author wrote of several oddly similar characters with the same names (Jesus, Ananus). Where perspectives cannot be reconciled, it's best to simply list the positions taken, and to order and label them to indicate how widely held, and by whom. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 04:31, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

policies and guidelines are expressions of community consensus -- they aren't "golden words to live by" or even rules. Please do read WP:PAG and understand what this document you are editing is, and how it is formed and used. Jytdog (talk) 04:40, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
What it is, is a completely neglected pile of notes that has not been copyedited since the ArbCom ruling on which it was based. Someone must copyedit it extensively because it is being applied to situations it clearly does not address, e.g. whether to mention Jesus ben Ananias in an article on Josephus on Jesus, even though there's a book ("the two Jesuses") on that. This talk page clearly says it must be refactored for other reasons, and I agree, but when I stick within scope to copyedit and say nothing new, you change it. Why? Are you a believer in one of the pseudoscience examples that I added? Hard cases need to be elaborated, and responses outlined. Don't tell me you have not seen and used every single technique mentioned in my copyedit.
And I quote from WP:PAG "you should not remove any change solely on the grounds that there was no formal discussion indicating consensus for the change before it was made. Instead, you should give a substantive reason for challenging it and, if one hasn't already been started, open a discussion to identify the community's current views." you have given no such reasons that would apply to my second edit which stays within the scope of the article as written. Being bold is sensible for that aspect since it has been left in a state prone to abuse. I agree, and did as according to WP:PAG, put the scope expansions on this talk page. I have not ever, not once actually in Wikipedia, reverted an edit, I've always made some attempt to respond to critique & propose something different. You need to read WP:PAG yourself and stop accusing persons of "edit war" or reverting when they aren't. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 04:51, 18 August 2017‎

Traditions and religion[edit]

Traditional claims present special problems because of the large numbers of people - sometimes very under- or over-represented in the Wikipedia:systemic bias - who believe something simply because they or their family or people always have. Wikipedia as a rule should be absolutely useless to anyone making a traditional claim, i.e. "Wikipedia says this is true", unless it has a totally undisputed historical and scientific basis. Without that, Wikipedia must say only that many people believe it is true, without falling into the logical fallacy of popularity or authority.

Religion presents unique problems because all religions promote beliefs or views that are fringe and non-credible to believers in all others. Wars have been fought over such claims. In general this fringe theories policy is applicable to science and to some historical argument, and should not be invoked for religious material unless some untestable claim is involved, e.g. that Satan created fossils to fool man into believing in evolution, and reliably fakes scientific results to make them appear very old. Or that histories written by parties without conflict or power of authority must be wrong simply because they say something unwanted. The best Wikipedia can do in this situation is to list the exact position taken by each sect or cult, qualified by the strongest (not the weakest) counterpoints, including any accusation of fallacy, cherry-picking, overlooking of conflict or non-credibility. By no means can Wikipedia be the forum in which irreconcilable views become reconciled to some standard common worldwide view - it can only report what people believe. Do not confuse a view unpopular with Wikipedians with a view that is unpopular in the world, nor especially not a view unpopular with Wikipedians who are editing a particular article, as they are most likely to be biased. Look with extreme suspicion on anyone describing a large revert as a "warning" or using small parts of an edit as an excuse to cut it entirely. Check to see if there is evidence that a religious believer is "patrolling" an article to keep it within their view.

It is extremely helpful to title articles so as to emphasize that they are from a perspective, if they are, e.g. names of the form "[author] on [subject]" or "traditional origin of [religion]" - this can avoid claims that one is making a fiction appear to be real.

While religious claims of cause and effect must be ruthlessly examined in a secular encyclopedia, this cannot be true of their own history. Any theory of motive or conflict or influence in historical events that influenced or changed the course of a religion should be examined as history, using historical method, e.g. keeping in mind the biases known since the Muqadimmah, and avoiding reliance on one kind of source, e.g. Christian apologists, advocates of an Islamic state, etc. on secular history. While it is not possible to come to agreement on Jesus, Buddha or Muhammad, it is possible to dismiss the theory that they were created by aliens or divinities or that they were time travellers as fringe, as this involves an untestable claim. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 04:51, 18 August 2017‎

Historicity of key figures[edit]

The claim that they were either living humans or fictional characters, however, can be tested as with other figures, e.g. Robin Hood, St. Nicholas, Confucius. The position that a religious figure never existed should not be treated as "fringe" unless there is profound written evidence and clear historical change arising from them in their lifetime about which others wrote extensively, e.g. it is very hard to doubt Muhammad existed. By contrast Jesus, Buddha or Moses existence can be fairly debated, and the key consideration would be whether the historical records of non-followers would usually have mentioned them at that time, to what degree, etc. An example of a difficult case is Josephus on Jesus where translation, motives, etc., are disputed and the same author wrote of several oddly similar characters with the same names (Jesus, Ananus). Where perspectives cannot be reconciled, it's best to simply list the positions taken, and to order and label them to indicate how widely held, and by whom.

If there is very good reason to believe an event occurred, e.g. that the Israelites founded a state in Canaan or that someone founded Wing Chun martial arts style or that someone spread a form of Jewish messianism in the Roman Empire by or in the late 1st or early 2nd century, be careful to differentiate provable dates from traditions about its founders and when those arose, often centuries later. Bizarre stories arise about people even while they are still alive and able to complain (see WP:BLP) and once they are dead, there are many reasons these stories might be modified, falsified or disputed. By no means should anyone be permitted to simply claim that a founding figure not extensively documented by unconflicted and professional non-followers is historically real, or not after about 500BCE when written records become generally more reliable and cross-checkable.

And yes this does apply to Jesus and Buddha, no matter how strongly people feel about either having physically existed as humans. Wikipedia:Writing for the enemy implies directly addressing the agnostic or atheist or Hindu or Taoist or "pagan" claim that they did not ever exist, whether or not that is widely held by current editors of Wikipedia, or particularly of one article. Nor should one rely on Muslim, Jewish or some atheist sources that have their own reasons to claim they physically existed so as to debunk their claims to divinity or wonders - a method that works well on actual people, less well on fictional superheroes. That is, an atheist may be just as conflicted about historicity as a believer, since a historical person is easier to debunk as divine, and a conflation of multiple people into an apocryphal founding figure becomes particularly hard to debunk, e.g. the Yellow Emperor, Noah or Robin Hood, since we know that real people did face some of the challenges they were said to, at about the right time, so as to found China, survive the Black Sea flooding, or resist King John's rule. According to Joseph Campbell, humans have a powerful urge to mythologize (therefore simplify or streamline or make heroic) the stories that are important to their identity. Wikipedia however is not a compilation of every culture's myths as history - and it is particularly important not to allow each language's account of history to vary without regular reconciliation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 04:51, 18 August 2017‎

The deal is this: everybody here has to obey WP:RNPOV. Meaning that we simply render verifiable information from WP:SOURCES (Josephus did not write reliable sources, as far as WP:PAG is concerned). We want contemporary mainstream scholarly sources because we, Wikipedia editors, trust no Wikipedia editor on his/her word of honor, but we always demand WP:SOURCES for verifying information. Perhaps I should stress: we're not discussing subjective religious beliefs, we discuss objectively argued historical facts. As Bart Ehrman says on [1], Ancient religion is really out there, like the stuff of any other academic field. Personal religious faith has no bearing on objective facts. So discussing the religious preferences of editors is a red herring. Not the personal opinions of editors matter, but academical sources matter. As Ehrman stated in a debate, in physics you can test that 100 ivory soap bars float and 100 iron bars sink, which makes you pretty confident on their physical properties. Historians do not have such luxury: the past is over, cannot be repeated by experiment, so they have to guess which events were the most probable. They always render a probability judgment, not exact results like in physics. So: we focus on mainstream scholarly works on the topic, we ignore the pontifications of editors who cannot provide such citations. In this, we are neither pro-Christian, nor anti-Christian, nor pro-atheist, nor anti-atheist, etc. We simply side with mainstream scholarship (mainstream academic views). Tgeorgescu (talk) 13:21, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

Historicism in science and intellectual history[edit]

  • Historically influential theories that are either believed by non-specialists or which are still applicable to some scope of problems, or which have influenced language or methodology, must be differentiated because they are part of intellectual history as well as science. Examples:
    • "F=MA" was considered literally to be true by 19th century scientists, but now is seen as an approximation that applies at low speeds and neither vast nor tiny masses. It was sufficient to get to the Moon.
    • Social Darwinism was another historically influential or tragic theory that had huge influence (racism, eugenics, forced sterilization) and did not generally die out until decades after World War II (partly caused by such views), bhy which time humans had developed enough nuclear weapons to destroy all advanced life on Earth thus making the endpoint of unlimited "darwinian" competition undesirable.
    • "the ether" has been suggested as just another name for dark matter but its characteristics were never clearly defined
    • Particle physics and electromagnetism have two quite different explanations for matter that have waxed and waned over centuries, so it would be incorrect to state one as consensus and the other as merely historical - even if 19th century texts employ more wave & 20 century employ more particle terminology.
  • Such theories properly fit into intellectual history cannot be ignored nor all their followers necessarily treated as ignorant. In some cases it was not yet possible to experiment or see the logical consequences of a theory. In others terminology has been used to obscure similarity with more current theory.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 05:04, 18 August 2017‎

Pseudoscience[edit]

There are arguments that are constructed to look like science, but aren't. To determine whether something is pseudoscientific or merely an alternative theoretical formulation, consider that:

  • Alternative theoretical formulations generally tweak things on the frontiers of science, or deal with strong, puzzling evidence—which is difficult to explain away—in an effort to create a model that better explains reality. It incrementally changes models and generally does not reject good explanations of phenomena from prior theories.
  • Pseudoscience generally proposes changes in the basic laws of nature to allow some phenomenon which the supporters want to believe occurs, but lack the strong scientific evidence or rigour that would justify such major changes. Corruption of science itself is often usually claimed.

Pseudoscience usually relies on attacking mainstream scientific theories and methodology while lacking a critical discourse itself. Watch specifically for:

  • claims that solved problems are impossible to solve (e.g. Biblical creationists)
  • reliance on weak evidence such as anecdotal evidence or weak statistical evidence (e.g. parapsychology)
  • indulgence of a suspect theoretical premise (e.g. claims of water memory made by advocates of homeopathy).
  • conflations of terminology that allow incoherent definitions.

An example of the latter is climate change. Obviously the Earth's climate has changed drastically over its history, but the phrase in its scientific meaning refers to recent rapid unprecedented changes (at least unprecedented within human time on Earth). A highly motivated lobby [2] present the scientific consensus or dominant paradigm as having some problem, but it has proven impossible to disprove either global warming as an overall trend or the narrower anthropogenic global warming or the even narrower CAGW. While all the alternative theories of warming are "fringe" and studies citing them or claiming to support them have all proven irreproducible (as with parapsychology). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 05:04, 18 August 2017‎


Motives of pseudoscience[edit]

Often pseudoscience theories are proliferated as part of a crapflood - a tactic in information warfare whereby a truth in plain sight can be rendered hard to believe by dilution. If the percentage of people believing the science motivates action can be reduced below some critical supermajority, it becomes easy to delay such action, and profits continue. It is not necessary for any new theory to emerge, only to prevent adoption of - and action on - the dominant one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 05:04, 18 August 2017‎


discredit consensus or establishment[edit]

Be careful to differentiate consensus from fringe status, to find answers to the fringe objections in the consensus, and to be especially watchful of WP:COI problems among sources. It can be useful to just enter the name of the theory with "debunked" in a search engine and see who has directly responded to it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 05:04, 18 August 2017‎


discredit or delay policy[edit]

Consider medicine as the best analogy for differentiating between science & policy: No matter how many fringe theorists claim that arsenic is good for you, it is still illegal to dump it in your well, and you are entitled to defend yours based on the medical consensus that it is harmful. An argument about how scientific consensus may change is not an argument to ignore policy based on the current consensus.

In any given decade, less than 1% of scientific consensus from the previous decade is typically challenged at all, so it would be entirely wrong and dangerous to claim that safety critical policy is ever dependent on scientific total certainty. It literally never is, policy decisions (as in medicine) are made based on best known science, and if that changes, then, it changes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.11.94.233 (talk) 05:04, 18 August 2017‎

"Reliable sources on Wikipedia may include"[edit]

Location, regarding this, why do you think it's important that "may" be there? Sure, reliable sources sometimes report on fringe views, but that doesn't mean that the reliable source is any less reliable. It simply means that the source found the fringe view important or notable enough to report on. And the guideline is clear that we do sometimes report on fringe views. My only issue with "may" not being there is the fact that a peer-reviewed source does not automatically mean that it's a good source; medical articles are an example of this, which is why WP:MEDRS is stern. Peer review doesn't mean review article. So this is why I didn't revert you. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:26, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

@Flyer22 Reborn: I think "may" is an important qualification for the fact that university presses, respected publishing houses, and mainstream newspapers occasionally publish material that is promulgating - not just reporting on - various fringe theories. For example, I can name at least four or five university history professors who have pushed various JFK conspiracy theories in books published by university presses, and there are dozens more from other historians or academics published in what would typically be considered "respected publishing houses" (not just Skyhorse). I imagine that the editorial control and review process for books going through Elsevier or Saunders is much more stringent given the nature of those works and their target audiences, so perhaps this isn't much of an issue in articles under the guidance of WP:MEDRS. -Location (talk) 04:24, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
OUP publishes the very dodgy Weil Integrative Medicine Library, and in the past I've had to combat the argument that "It's OUP therefore it's RS". So yes, this clarification could be useful. Alexbrn (talk) 05:19, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Location, I understand what you mean. If we are going to include any fringe view, though, it should be from a reliable source. Something being a fringe view and something being a reliable source are two different things, although a fringe view might be coming from an unreliable source and a reliable source might be covering a fringe view. We have the WP:Due weight policy and this guideline to handle any reliable source reporting on or promulgating a fringe view. Anyway, I don't see a problem with your inclusion of "may." I just wanted clarification and a little a discussion about it. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:31, 14 September 2017 (UTC) Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 16:37, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Understood. I get the impression that many editors seem to think that material written by academics or material published by mainstream newspapers or publishing companies is inherently reliable, but that isn't always the case in certain subjects. I am a believer in WP:CONTEXTMATTERS, so I would like to see the guidelines here reflect that. -Location (talk) 17:12, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I keep WP:CONTEXTMATTERS in mind, but I keep WP:BIASED in mind as well. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:54, 14 September 2017 (UTC)