Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources/Archive 17

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(From Jossi's talk)

Jimbo commented on threads immediately above and below but not on the one I posted. This usually indicates he doesn't think it worth his time and we're sort of rudderless without him. What if we made RS a kind of disambiguation page? Link to sections in policy that are relevant but don't try to offer novel advice? Marskell (talk) 06:20, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Reliable sources are necessary both to substantiate material within articles and to give credit to authors and publishers in order to avoid plagiarism and copyright violations. Sources should directly support the information as it is presented in an article and should be appropriate to the claims made: exceptional claims require exceptional sources.

The use of reliable sources is central Wikipedia's content policies, and this guideline serves to disambiguate various mentions:

This could work as intermediate step. Marskell (talk) 07:48, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

You mean retain it as essentially a disambiguation page? It's a good idea. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 07:54, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, I see you said that above. :-) SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 07:55, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Count me in support as well. Brimba (talk) 08:04, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Thinking about it more, this could really work. We'd just need to be resolute not to allow novel descriptions (the first para is word-for-word from V). It solves Francis' concern over link loss. We should probably also link to CITE and NPOV. I would not link to the examples page unless it's been thoroughly gone over. Marskell (talk) 08:12, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. I support this. If this page has any use at all it's as a convenient policy summary where people can find a reliable sources discussion all in one place. However, to the extent we rephrase policies or other guidelines it's a fork that leads to misunderstanding; to the extent we copy them verbatim it's unnecessary and if anyone edits them (which is inevitable) we end up with a fork too. The best thing to do is to link or transclude. Finally, there are some useful cases here that are too specific to be in the policy page, but those can go to the examples page. Wikidemo (talk) 10:13, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

We still need a guideline on reliable sources. I suggest the following:

  1. A brief "what" - with exact wording from the policy page, and links to the policies as you list above. No duplicate or divergent wording. Transcluding wording would also be acceptable.
  2. I think some of what's on the examples page should also move back here, particularly the "Questions about the reliability of specific sources" section. We need some FAQ about sources, such as this. The rest of that page is not suitable. If we did that, I think we could get rid of the examples page.
  3. Finally, a link to the noticeboard where people can ask questions. --Aude (talk) 18:23, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
  1. Redundant. The whole point is that you can't keep it non-divergent once it exists in two places—and it's needless anyway. There is the short paragraph synchronized with V in my suggested, but more than that is not needed.
  2. The examples page needs a thorough overhaul. We can start again with a shorter verifiability FAQ.
  3. The noticeboard link is in my suggested. Marskell (talk) 19:00, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
"you can't keep it non-divergent once it exists in two places?" I tried copying language from the policy page, but was reverted. Why don't you instead just leave it. I no longer have this page on my watchlist (dumped it and other policy/administrative pages, since they seem to be owned by a small group of editors). But, if I'm allowed to edit and watch the page, then I don't mind ensuring the language remains consistent with the policy. Small sections on this page that explains "what" and "why" for reliable sources are useful. I don't agree that the examples page needs a thorough overall. The FAQs there that explain about blogs, YouTube, and other sources are helpful. This sort of information makes for a useful guideline... just what this page is. The rest of the examples page is probably unneeded and doesn't need overhaul (just get rid of it). Some FAQs would fit well on this page, to help guide people on how policy applies. Anyway, I am unwelcome here and other policy pages. Ping me on my talk page. --Aude (talk) 22:07, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Aude, you're very welcome here. Sorry if I didn't make that clear enough. I think your experience with the 9/11 (and other) pages is worth hearing here.
But don't take things too personal. You wrote "... seem to be owned by a small group of editors". Yes, probably. Ignore.
As for my views on the WP:RS page, above (#A new practice re:Sources?) Fred Bauder wrote: "Deciding whether a particular source is a reliable source is a matter of sound editorial judgment." I think we need a good guideline that helps editors find that sound editorial judgment even if they have little previous experience. WP:V, as a policy, probably rather sets a minimum standard for reliability of sources. For all sources above that minimum threshold we still need a good guideline on how to go about getting the best out of these sources. Which is more than a yes/no question on whether a source is allowed or not.
Also, I liked many of the practical ideas you brought forward regarding possible improvements of the content of WP:RS. Should have given you more support before. --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:22, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Two days ago, Aude's primary concern was that we need a page with this title to link to, and Fancis' seemed to be the potential to lose links. Both of these concerns are met with disambig suggestion. Given that, in sum, it's 6 to 1, I suggest we unlock this, add the disambig wording, and workshop the examples page on WT:V. Marskell (talk) 08:19, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
A disambiguation page does not have substance and does not provide guidance. What we need is a guideline on reliable sources. No need to get rid of the guideline page. And, I don't know how you count 6 to 1. --Aude (talk) 15:16, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

“What we need is a guideline on reliable sources.” Yes, I think all would agree with this statement; however, recent history has shown that good intentions don't always lead to the expected outcome. I think that it is safe to say that the newspaper debate was the preverbal “straw that broke the camels back”. WP:V expressly referred to them as reliable, while that langue had been removed from WP:RS, and a warning added that said in part: “They may be the best or only source for some subjects such as business events or recent popular culture, but should be treated with care.” This led to a short edit war on WP:V when an editor tried to realign V to match RS, stating: “Remove mainstream newspapers in line with unchallenged qualifications.” and “The argument against mainstream wording has been made in the appropriate place. Discuss at RS. Resolve there then bring back here is appropriate” and thus we arrived at the point where we are. If this had been an isolated case, it would have been easy enough to fix, but it was not at all isolated. Brimba (talk) 16:15, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

I apologize for not watching this page closely. I fully, 100% agree that we cannot have the guideline page contradicting policy. Now that I'm aware of these issues and concerns, I am more than willing to help keep an eye on this page and make it a high priority. I suggest we could transclude the policy wording, which would be one way to minimize such problems. (see suggestion below) --Aude (talk) 16:21, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
A page that links quickly and directly to all of our main policy wording on reliable sources does indeed provide guidance. That we use reliable sources is a matter of policy. As you have said, "so central to Wikipedia." Marskell (talk) 18:30, 27 November 2007 (UTC)


A winning combination: vandalism, edit warring and harassment. I've protected this for now, I'm happy to unprotect as and when a consensus is achieved here as to what (if anything) should change. I'm just deleting and restoring to remove some low-grade harassment. Guy (Help!) 11:53, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Bugrit, that was harder than it should have been :-( Soprry for the delay, all back now. Guy (Help!) 12:18, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
I do not see the need for protection at this point. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:55, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Jossi, what's your thoughts on the disambig idea above? We're close to sufficient consensus there. Marskell (talk) 18:20, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
I think is is a good next step. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:08, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Conspiratory comment - Pssst. Hey. "Reliable Source" should have two or more accepted meanings. listenin (talk) 13:21, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Isn't is about time...

... that we merge this into WP:V? There is nothing here that is not discussed already in other policy pages, besides the exceptional claims section which can be merged into V. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:56, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Agreed 110% and then some. Brimba (talk) 14:59, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
We tripped over eachother, Jossi. I just typed the longest post of my life on this very topic. Marskell (talk) 15:08, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and I'm 120% if it's not clear. Marskell (talk) 15:26, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Wikidemo (talk) 17:24, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes merge them. That way its easier for new users to read one quick and simple set of rules and therefore they are more likely to be able to follow the rules and get on their own feet quicker. Iamandrewrice (talk) 16:48, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Requested move

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was no consensus for a move, per the discussion below. This close need not interfere with other discussion processes going on here. Dekimasuよ! 09:49, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Reliable sourcesWikipedia:Verifiability/Reliable sources — giving SV's idea ("If we move it to a subpage of V, it'll be easier to harmonize them, yet we don't lose the RS concept or title")[1] proper treatment. —Francis Schonken (talk) 08:37, 25 November 2007 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Oppose (nominator) – although the idea has some merit, for me this falls in "why do things the simple way if you can add complication?" (Dutch proverb: "waarom de dingen eenvoudig doen als het ook ingewikkeld kan") --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:41, 25 November 2007 (UTC)


Any additional comments:

I don't believe this poll is useful at the moment and the move requested is not the concept we've been discussing. It's redirecting to WP:V#Reliable sources that's been at issue. Marskell (talk) 10:22, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Allowing that maybe SV used the word "subpage" (compare Wikipedia:Subpages) where she meant "including" it in the WP:V policy, it is maybe best to leave it up to her to clarify what she actually meant. Tx for pointing out that such glitch of expression might have occurred. --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:44, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
It might be a good idea to strike the survey for the moment. Brimba (talk) 11:50, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Slim observes that the idea of two pages isn't sensible and creates confusion; I'm quite sure she supports a redirect, ultimately. Moving as suggested above would only be an initial, cosmetic step. Marskell (talk) 12:50, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
I have contacted Jimbo. Marskell (talk) 13:48, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Agree. This poll is subverting a discussion process that was initiated above. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:31, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Guideline getting too rigid

I am just comparing this page to what was here six months ago and it appears this guideline is becoming much less flexible than it was. If you read it now, it gives the impression that only academic sources are genuine reliable sources and that everything else, even what appears in quality newspapers, should be regarded with suspicion. There is no longer even a word about internet sites, except in regards to self-published blogs and so on.

If you took the current page literally, you would probably have to delete 90% of the content of Wikipedia, since it seems the only sources that qualify as reliable now are scholarly ones or (much less so) what appears in quality established newspapers. This is unacceptable to me and I don't believe it is the intention of the guideline to be so strict. IMO there needs to be a rethink about the direction this page is heading. Gatoclass 14:21, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Gatoclass. We need to put back into this guidelines advice about newspapers, and certain types of websites (For example is a statment by WHO published on their website no longer acceptable as a source.) what about the answers provided by Hansard and the like for example is this reference no longer acceptable Refer also to the list of IRA terrorist incidents presented to Parliament between 1980 and 1994, listed halfway down the page here? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 14:18, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
We can reword the “Scholarship” section now to tone it down, but I do not see it existing once the merge to WP:V occurs, assuming that happens, for the very reasons you state. Brimba (talk) 14:43, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Why wait until a merger may or may not take place. It could be weeks or even months and in the meantime there is a hole between the guideline and the usual practice on Wikipedia pages. This does not help anyone who is currently engaged in a dispute or a potential dispute, or new editor who is reading this guideline for the first time for guidance. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 07:42, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

WP:V says "For a guideline discussing the reliability of particular types of sources, see Wikipedia:Reliable sources (WP:RS)." but this guideline has been so gutted that AFAICT there is no longer a mention in either WP:V or WP:RS, that blog pages are not normally considered reliable (unless the blog belongs to a person considered a reliable source). Also there is no mention that the comments the many reliable newspapers allow to be added to the bottom of their pages are not reliable sources. For example yesterday I cited this page for the date Berlin withdrew its proposal for Europe wide ban on the swastika, but I would not consider the reader's comments on the bottom as reliable. Similarly I am looking at this source (cited in Kragujevac massacre) which is page written by one person displayed on another person's/organisation's website, but I would not consider it reliable. However with the current wording of WP:V and WP:RS AFAICT neither are considered unreliable. --Philip Baird Shearer 10:02, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Claims of consensus

What exactly constitutes verification of a claim of consensus? The article on dice control has a debate raging right now between me and two other contributors over what constitutes verifiability of a statement. The statement was that the advantage gambling community generally agreed on a certain opinion, but that a more controversial opinion was not always accepted, and my citations consisted of several statements from gambling authors that this opinion was true. Do statements from members of a certain community agreeing with an opinion constitute verifiability? And, can a statement be considered verifiable if its citations require the reader to extrapolate in any way? Please take a look at the case and let me know what you think. GusChiggins21 10:22, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

You continue to miss the point. You make a statement, and then add a citation that says NOTHING about the statement. The fact that it is an original research conclusion of yours doesn't even come into it. Citations are meant to source statements, which means they have to say something about the claim. 2005 10:27, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't see that it was original research at all from Gus' edit that I looked at, "the one where he inserted "generally agreed" and a citation. He's referencing apparent gambling experts with Internet columns. However I also do not think, Gus, that your text closely reflects what the cited experts are saying. I think you are extrapolating, as you say, too much and perhaps erroneously extrapolating. I think simple and obvious and linear and non-controversial extrapolation of a reliable source's words is okay for Wikipedia. If the reliable source says X then Y must follow. However in your edit that I looked at I do believe you phrased it in a way that did not accurately reflect what they said, nor was it an obvious or reasonable extrapolation or whatever word you want to use. DanielM 16:20, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Guideline page - proposal

The "Questions about the reliability of specific sources" on the Wikipedia:Reliable source examples are very useful as guidance on sources. The rest of the examples page is poorly written and not that useful, and probably not needed anymore. I propose that the questions be merged with the guideline page. The guideline page can simply say what the policy is regarding reliable sources (word for word from the policy pages, in quotes; could even be transcluded, to avoid divergent wording), include "Aspects of reliability", "Questions about the reliability of specific sources" (from the examples page), and a link to the noticeboard. Reliable sources is such a critical concept for Wikipedia, that it is important to have a guideline page for it.

See User:Aude/Reliable sources to see how this would look. --Aude (talk) 15:50, 27 November 2007 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Support --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:00, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I support Aude's proposal, and oppose redirecting RS to V. - Crockspot (talk) 23:23, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm flexible in regards to what a reliable source guideline should contain, but oppose making it a redirect or disambiguation page rather than a guideline. --Aude (talk) 08:45, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

!voting is evil. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:45, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Yes, let's stop this stupid polling. Marskell (talk) 18:39, 28 November 2007 (UTC)


Any additional comments:
That is what we are trying not to do, Aude. We have a policy on sources, that is WP:V, an essay or guideline with examples is all is needed. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:27, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
What exactly are you trying not to do? Have policy worded differently on the guideline page compared to the policy page? Or what? I am not suggesting having different wording on the guideline page. I'm suggesting we have the exact same wording, which could even be done with transclusion. --Aude (talk) 17:32, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Are you familiar with the history of this page? I invite you to explore it before making a proposal. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:41, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I am aware of the history. --Aude (talk) 17:42, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Then you will know what not to do: To have two pages that discuss sources and their reliability. We have WP:V that is all what is needed from a policy perspective. Wanna have examples and give some guidance? see the essay on examples. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:43, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Look at what I'm suggesting. I am suggesting having examples and guidelines about reliable sources on the reliable sources guideline page. The policy wording need not be different, but is useful to have here (transcluded from the policy page). --Aude (talk) 17:46, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
I lack adverbs to express how completely opposed I am to Aude's page. Utterly, completely, vehemently, and totally will have to do. I can't believe this. We had apx. 14 people across the various threads support a redirect and now we're being held hostage. Marskell (talk) 18:28, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

I am opposed to simply redirecting WP:RS to WP:V. There is nothing wrong with having a guideline that expands upon a policy and provides examples. Policy pages should not go into such detail. That is what guidelines are for. I know there have been problems with WP:RS, but we should fix them, rather than gutting and redirecting. - Crockspot (talk) 23:21, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Aude, I think we had finally attained a compromise here, by having this material on a suitable secondary page, rather than disputing each point endlessly as would be needed if it were literal policy. this is one of the rare rational moments in WP policy deliberations. DGG (talk) 04:58, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree that examples and guideline don't belong on the policy page. Reliable sources is a guideline page, and I am suggesting we keep it a guideline. Reliable sources (the guideline) is secondary to policy. --Aude (talk) 08:24, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

I am open to suggestions and ideas on what the guideline page should contain. But, I don't think we should eliminate the guideline. All the words that Marskell says above describe my opinion on making it a disambiguation page or redirect. But, I respect the good article work that he's done and would like to find a compromise. --Aude (talk) 08:30, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

The disambig is a compromise. Your idea is to turn the clock back to '06. Marskell (talk) 08:35, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
A disambiguation page is not a guideline page that I would refer to. Not an acceptable compromise. Strip it of content and it's not useful. You might as well redirect it then. --Aude (talk) 08:44, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Goodness, why wouldn't you refer to it? It quickly and directly links a reader to all of the relevant policy wording because use of reliable sources is a matter of policy. Marskell (talk) 18:38, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

I found this on the /noticeboard: "Reliability" is not an absolute distinction: it requires context. (by jossi [2])

I think Aude's proposal above is a step in the right direction. Above (#Disambiguation) I wrote: "I think we need a good guideline that helps editors find that sound editorial judgment even if they have little previous experience."

I'd like to see the WP:RS guideline move in a direction where not only some examples of sources are discussed (as proposed by Aude), but also guidance that helps users, even the unexperienced ones, to see the importance of context, in order to promote sound editorial judgment on the matter. Some examples of "importance of context" should be included in the WP:RS guideline IMHO. That is not a topic for a policy page like WP:V, which should only contain the firm rules. How to go about with these rules in practice is guideline matter IMHO. Any thoughts? --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:04, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

The Register

Does anybody who uses this page regularly know if any sort of consensus ever formed anywhere on whether The Register is a reliable source? I always assumed not, but this is apparently disputed. Phil Sandifer (talk) 15:44, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure you've assumed correctly. I'm unaware of any specific consensus regarding The Register, but last I knew tabloids and such rags were considered unreliable sources by everyone except a handful of headcases and soapboxers. If someone is seriously arguing a tabloid is a reliable source, I'd recommend smacking some sense into them or an appropriate drug intervention. :-P Vassyana (talk) 15:57, 7 December 2007 (UTC)


Is there any reason why you assume The Register is neither a "particular" nor a "specific" source? --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:08, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

And when moving this to the /Noticeboard, maybe also indicate that your question might relate to a current mailing list discussion, e.g. the following link indicates about where the discussion of this source's reliability started: --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:24, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I confess, I do not avidly follow the particular wording of policies, and hadn't looked at this one in any detail in, probably, about a year. I did not know such a noticeboard existed. I am also about 112 messages behind on wiki-en. My apologies. Phil Sandifer (talk) 16:37, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
If Phil does get around to moving it, he might want to let them know that there are 1800+ links, many in article space, for The Register. Risker (talk) 16:32, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Proposed compromise to the current stalemate

This page has been locked for over a week now as two sides have tried to reach a consensus as to where to go from here. One side, myself included, have argued that page is too problematic, too unstable, and too likely to be used to undermine policy instead of supporting policy, and hence, should be eliminated. The opposite side has more faith in need for guidelines then they are in a fear of the guidelines undermining policy, and has argued that the page should remain, but be more closely monitored for problems. (That’s my version, and may not reflect in anyway how others see things).

I would propose meeting half-way (in my view). Neither side gets exactly what they want, but each gets much more than they would get if they lost the augment. This could be done by restructuring the page so that content on RS would directly tie into the content found on V.

For example under the section “Burden of evidence” on V, there’s maybe six or eight unique ideas presented, starting with “The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material.” and ending with Wales’ mention of BLP. This would give more or less:

The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. <<<guidelines explaining/expanding upon this>>>

All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged should be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation. <<<guidelines explaining/expanding upon this>>>

The source should be cited clearly and precisely to enable readers to find the text that supports the article content in question. <<<guidelines explaining/expanding upon this>>>

If no reliable, third-party sources can be found for an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it. <<<guidelines explaining/expanding upon this>>>

Any edit lacking a reliable source may be removed. <<<guidelines explaining/expanding upon this>>>

Do not leave unsourced information in articles for too long. <<<guidelines explaining/expanding upon this>>>

Doing this would make it far harder to hijack RS from its original purpose, while still allowing the guidelines to exist. If you’re worried about how to handle Youtube, it would be in there under the Reliable Sources section. So forth and so on.

If this is done the trick would be to keep each explanation brief and too the point, or to quote Einstein: "as simple as possible, but no simpler”. Brevity would be important to avoid instruction creep, bloat, and so that things could become stable within a realistic time frame. More words = more things to edit war over, however, if your going to say anything, say it clearly.

I am about to head off, came up with this in the shower, and decided to just throw it out there instead of mulling it over for 4 days before I said anything. Brimba 16:31, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

That is worth trying, Brimba. Why don't you give it a go so we can all see how it will look. Worst case it will be reverted, and best case is that we all walk away not 100% happy but happy enough to live with it... ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:45, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I think Wikipedia:Verifiability/FAQ would handle this much better. I understand Brimba's point, but isn't it basically what we've failed with previously? Marskell 17:30, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I've lost track of the number of times I've added a comment that something should be (or isn't) a [[WP:RS|reliable source]]. Having a guideline that distinguishes between reliable and non-reliable is extremely useful. Saying that something must be [[WP:V|verifiable]] is far weaker - because next you're explaining that "verifiability" at Wikipedia means more than what the common meaning of that word is - yes, someone can verify that a blog actually said that what was put into the article, but that a blog isn't considered "reliable". Twice the work.
WP:V (and the concept of "verifiability") covers a number of concepts: truth versus verification, burden of proof, reliability versus non-reliability, proportionality (for fringe theories), etc.. [Looking up, what Brimba said better, in more detail, though I disagree absolutely that most of the concepts need their own guideline.] All are important, but for most new editors, the critical distinction to make is that some things (newspaper articles, peer-reviewed scientific papers, books that aren't self-published, etc.) can be cited and other things (blogs, forums, personal websites, self-published books) can't. Very simple, very important, takes care of 95% of the the problem; .
Yes, getting rid of WP:RS simplifies things. Rolling up all policies onto a single page would simplify things too - just say "Go read WP:ALLPOLICIES". Some redundancy is perfectly acceptable; in this case, it serves to focus the issue on "yes or no - can you or can't you use that source", rather than all the larger, philosophical issues addressed at WP:V.
Personally, I'd prefer if every nitty-gritty detail about what is reliable were not in WP:V, so that policy stayed at a more general level (which would make it less of a target for constant editing; also see the discussion elsewhere about fully protecting all policies), and making WP:RS the place where practical implications get covered in a bit more detail (yes, blogs sometimes can be cited; yes, self-published books sometimes can be cited; it's okay to cite a personal website if you cite it like "X" in some certain cases; yes, "unreliable" sources are perfectly fine as external links when they're very closely related to the topic being discussed). But I'd settle for a sort of disambiguation page (still called a guideline). What I don't want to do is to be forced to cite WP:V#RS or WP:V/FAQ because WP:RS is gone. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:57, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Brimba, I'm not sure I understand. By the <<<tripple brackets>>> are you indicating citations to a separate RS article, or are these footnotes, or inline examples? Either way I think could work, though John Broughton's point is good also that it's useful to be able to cite to WP:RS.
I haven't worked this idea out in any detail so I don't know all the ramifications of this, but perhaps one possibility for meeting both the above concerns is to have RS be essentially supplemental to WP:V, but not add any new policy in itself. Instead, RS would contain examples of how WP:V might be applied in real situations, with an explanation as to how the WP:V rule is applied and why the indicated source is considered reliable or unreliable. These examples would be considered as a guideline on how to apply WP:V.
The idea would be something like what is frequently used in the legal profession, a Restatement of the Law, which has a section stating the rules in a straightforward way, followed by a separate section with representative examples of how the rule should be applied in specific hypothetical circumstances. That way, you have the benefit of a clear statement of the consensus rules, and you also have the the benefit of practical guidance in specific circumstances. People can use the rules part alone, or they can find an example that is similar to their particular case, or they can use both together. If we need to add specific information about what sources are reliable in particular circumstances, we could add that to RS, leaving V as is (assuming the rule in V is general enough to cover the specific case). COGDEN 00:45, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

What I posted above was kind of a “back of the napkin” verbalization of an idea. I think it functions well enough that I will not rehash it much, but will answer some specific questions that it raises.

a)We retain the name Wikipedia:Reliable sources.

b)It’s relationship to WP:V is very similar to WP:V/FAQ, the weak relationship that existed before is gone. It becomes clear to even the most casual reader/editor that WP:RS is a child of WP:V.

c)Where we can, we use short fairly concise wording that will cover 95% of the questions an editor might have concerning what constitutes a reliable source, an unreliable source, etc. Some ideas are more complex and not so easily covered in short prose, but those are the exceptions. “as simple as possible, but no simpler” here translates into, “as short as we can, but no shorter”. One of the things that its important to point out also is that vagueness is most often not a friend; too short becomes self defeating, too long opens the door to excessive creep and wiki-lawyering.

d)From the very style of the layout, it should be clear that WP:RS is not itself policy, but as above, a child of V. WP:V is the hand, WP:RS is the glove.

e)“clear statement of the consensus rules” regarding Reliable Sources, that’s a fairly accurate description.

The layout would be along these lines: (Please don’t get hung up on the wording at this point, just the layout; the wording is harsher then what I would use)

The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material.
This means that anyone can challenge any statement made within any article on Wikipedia (with just cause); and the person wishing to restore that material carries the burden of citing a reliable published source for the statement. This means you must provide the sources for your claim, and it becomes your claim when you either add or restore material.

I am not too happy with the wording there, its unbalanced in favor of deletionists, so just some words I put together, but that’s about the right length I think.

Your trying to cover every idea presented but not every sentence. Although the writing is so tight in some places that every sentence seems to cover a separate idea.

And you also say what is not said directly, but simply implied:

Sourcing is new to Wikipedia. Articles written for Wikipedia in the early years were typically not sourced. There remain many thousands of excellent articles in Wikipedia from those years that remain to be properly sourced. Do not delete any data from Wikipedia that you believe to be both true and not harmful regardless of whether or not it is sourced. Sourcing is an improvement and only a requirement if someone honestly believes it is either false or harmful. (something Was wrote, need to find it again)

The devil will very much be in the details; but I am hopeful that such a layout can give everyone enough of what they want to get us moving towards a stable page. V at this point is pretty stable, mostly now just copyediting is about all you see in the history; that same thing is the goal for WP:RS. Maybe this will be no better than what has come before, but its better then what we have at this moment in time. Brimba (talk) 03:39, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

TBH, I still have yet to see the examples of what our current policies do not cover. V mentions blogs; it could handle a sentence on YouTube. Before embarking on this, we could workshop "what common question on article talk can I not answer with the policies as they stand?" Necessity is the mother of invention. That people are attached to the title of this guideline is not by itself a reason to re-expand it with unique wording. Marskell (talk) 08:27, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and I completely disagree with: "Do not delete any data from Wikipedia that you believe to be both true and not harmful regardless of whether or not it is sourced. Sourcing is an improvement and only a requirement if someone honestly believes it is either false or harmful." No way. Marskell (talk) 08:30, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
The goal of making WP:RS simply be a restatement of all of WP:V is a loser. Leave things like "burden of proof" out of WP:RS; WP:RS should be about distinguishing between "reliable" and "non-reliable". That way, WP:RS can go into much more detail than WP:V, while WP:V can focus more on the wide set of issues with verifiability. Here's what I think should be in WP:V and not in WP:RS, using Brimba's list:
  • burden of evidence
  • requirement to cite a source for material challenged or likely to be challenged
  • precise statement of the location of the source
  • lack of reliable sources means that Wikipedia shouldn't have an article
  • edits lacking reliable sources may be removed
  • do not leave statements lacking reliable sources in articles too long
That leaves WP:RS to focus on the question that constantly comes up: is a particular type of source "reliable" or "not reliable" in a particular situation? It means that WP:RS would be a very useful guide for new editors who accept all the principles of WP:V, but want to see this particular one explained in detail. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 13:23, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

NVM, I’ll just write this page off for now. We continually see the same edit wars over the same issues, so often that I know the outcome general from the beginning. If policy was as clear as what is being stated, that would certainly not be the case. Eliminating RS would be my preferred option, but its pretty clear that lacks consensus, so what’s the next best thing? I would assume that we will be right back where we where in a few months, with this page undermining policy. Brimba (talk) 15:14, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Brimba, don't give up. Go ahead and make the change, and see what the response would be. Worst case we would have a revert and something to discuss further. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:39, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Jossi, in the case you were unaware: the page is still protected, per above #Protected.
JzG/Guy (the protecting admin) also indicated on what conditions he would be prepared to unprotect: "I'm happy to unprotect as and when a consensus is achieved here as to what (if anything) should change." [3]
  • either we should agree on what goes on the page, which sort of includes consensus on whether or not we keep the merge proposal tag on the page;
  • either the proposed change should be done by invitation to an (uninvolved!) admin here on the talk page, for which the {{editprotected}} tag was designed. I don't think any admin expressing his desire to merge or keep the page would be an "uninvolved" admin in this matter.
--Francis Schonken (talk) 17:06, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
there is no administrator--I hope--who does not have some definite opinion about the proper policy for reliable sources. Fopr something like this, either we need real consensus here, or it has to stay with the status quo.DGG (talk) 22:59, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I don't know to what extent there was a status quo previously, so it is a bind.
Brimba I hope my "No way" didn't cause you to leave off the conversation. It's just that the wording you posted would turn policy on it's head: it introduces a truth criterion and inverts the burden of proof. This is an example of the problem with novel wording.
John makes a good point. Again, let's try to brainstorm the questions that people regularly ask. Marskell (talk) 08:15, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I think I will sit this one out, and let the dust settle. The wording I was trying to get right was the:
This means that anyone can challenge any statement made within any article on Wikipedia (with just cause); and the person wishing to restore that material carries the burden of citing a reliable published source for the statement. This means you must provide the sources for your claim, and it becomes your claim when you either add or restore material.
But I was not too happy with it, and that’s where I had expected the objections to come from. If I had taken the time to read Was’s statement more closely, I might have agreed with you. The statement from Was is only there to show that I was looking for balance (or a compromise that could get broad enough support to get us out of the corner we have painted ourselves into). It was a cut and paste from a page I have of interesting material, thus why I could not say in short order where I had gotten it from. Although I do like it a lot, I can see the problem now that you have pointed it out, and would probably combine it with some of the wording from WP:ATT. Like I said it was about the layout, not the wording. The wording that I posted was only supposed to square up the example, not be gospel. For what its worth, IMHO John is a hardcore POV warrior (on behalf of Ron Paul) so I would take what he says with a grain of salt; maybe more than a mere grain. Like I said, I am going to let the dust settle. Brimba (talk) 10:22, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
IMHO John is a hardcore POV warrior (on behalf of Ron Paul). You have got to be kidding. Looking around, I don't see any other "John" in the discussion here, so it appears the comment was about me. In which case I'll rise to the bait of an ad hominem, focus-on-the-editor, not-on-the-edit comment, and say that I think Ron Paul is a kook. And I defy anyone to find an edit that shows that I think otherwise. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:39, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Ah, apparently I'm being confused with John J. Bulten. I hope this clarification improves the value of my comments, above. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 19:58, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Hi guys!

I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:34, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Weight of sources for "factual" statements in Wikipedia

Hi, I'm sure this will be a Wikipedia 101 question, but please review for me? On Talk:Waterboarding, a rather spirited debate is raging for whether it is acceptable to say essentially, "Waterboarding is torture" as a statement. It had gone in quite a few circles, and then I finally asked people to simply list all the sources that say it isn't torture, versus those that say it is.

We got this as a result.

A large variety of sources and notable opinions that indicate, yes, it's torture, and on the other side, two pundits. One basically saying, "Kick it back to the legislature to decide," which is largely irrelevant, as the United States legislature mentioned in her source of course doesn't decide this globally, and the other pundit simply saying he doesn't think it's torture. My take is that, based on the overwhelming weight of opinion and sourced information, we can only go with what we have at this time: Waterboarding is a form of torture, and we can mention in a subsection or later that some may disagree. As apparently only one sourced person disagrees, I wouldn't mention it in the lead, but down below in the text/discussion of waterboarding and the United States.

Am I analyzing this correctly? Lawrence Cohen 19:09, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Re. "My take is that, based on the overwhelming weight of opinion and sourced information, we can only go with what we have at this time: Waterboarding is a form of torture, and we can mention in a subsection or later that some may disagree": No. But as a WP:NPOV issue, not as a WP:RS issue. See in particular, WP:NPOV#Article structure. --Francis Schonken (talk) 19:19, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Ah, thanks, I'll post there. Out of curiosity, why no? We can post things as facts that are counter to what sources say...? I don't understand the no. Lawrence Cohen 19:21, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I linked to WP:NPOV#Article structure in particular.
More on this, for example, in Wikipedia:Words to avoid#Article structure: "Separating all the controversial aspects of a topic into a single section results in a tortured form of writing, (...)" --Francis Schonken (talk) 19:25, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, thats the problem. There is controversy over whether the United States government considers it torture, but there (based on all the sources) appears to be no real controversy over whether laws or notable experts consider it torture. They do. The only ones that disagree from the sources available are 1 1/2 news pundits, essentially. Since the U.S. government opinion (which they won't state) doesn't get to decide if something is torture, we only have the weight of sources to go by that I can see. Am I wrong...? Lawrence Cohen 19:32, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
try this: "is almost universally considered as a form of torture" and leave the details of who considers it for later. DGG (talk) 04:11, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Thats sort of the wording that is evolving. One person in particular is being obstinate and insisting that such things need to be defended and qualified versus current situations, which is holding up things. He keeps saying that doing that would violate WP:NPOV#Let the facts speak for themselves, in this conversation here. I'm at a loss. I know that one person shouldn't be able to block consensus, and if I asked for the full protection to come off today it would because only one person is not in at least semi-agreement. But I'm trying to be nice here, and am stuck. Lawrence Cohen 16:39, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
You say "one person shouldn't be able to block consensus". I am confused as to how that is possible. Are you saying that someone claiming "no consensus" can somehow be gotten around? I am just curious about your thinking or experience here. I sometimes wonder about this myself. Ryder Spearmann (talk) 09:46, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
See WP:BRD. —Viriditas | Talk 23:19, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
this is the sort of problem that arises even in less controversial subjects about lede paragraphs and --even worse-- about infoboxes. The article can say just who says what. The article can say what the different names of a city is, and who uses them, or what the disputed dates of a transfer of territory, or whether or not something is pseudoscience. It is not always practical to get the details or nuances into a single sentence or paragraph. The lede and the infobox should give the general view, with the necessary qualifiers. This is a place where weasel words are necessary. Then the article explains what the US govt thinks, and the evidence for it, and what other governments think, and news sources, and people, and so on. That's when the facts speak for themselves.
the worst edit wars in WP occur in situation like this, and they all can be avoided by compromise wording. in general, those who will not accept a compromise wording here are the ones who are the pov-pushers, who insist that their view be shown as indisputable. DGG (talk) 05:25, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Duplicate ?

A new page, Wikipedia:Evaluating sources, ahs been created which seems to be covering similar territory as this page, so I'm confused about the overlap. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:14, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Probably because this page has been protected for a month. MilesAgain (talk) 08:42, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Evaluating sources is an outgrowth of discussions here, at WP:NOR and WP:V... It is an attempt to discuss sourcing and sources in general (beyond just the issue of reliability). Overlap is not a bad thing, as long as what is said in the overlap is consistant. If what is stated at Evaluating sources conflicts with this guideline, raise the conflict on both pages so people who work on both pages can discuss it and work towards consensus. Blueboar (talk) 15:15, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Is a poll of the general public a reliable source per our standards?

People on Talk:Waterboarding are citing this poll as evidence that the status of Waterboarding as a form of torture is heavily disputed. I have not seen polls used before, for a core RS on a contentious issue. Is this acceptable usage in general of polls? Lawrence Cohen 17:38, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

The traditional take on irl polls here at Wikipedia is, as far as I know, that they are first of all primary sources, with all the ifs and buts connected to such types of sources.
Circumstantial guidance on how to go about with primary sources can currently be found at Wikipedia:Evaluating sources. --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:17, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
The link you posted is a secondary source published by a respected news organization, so it meets our standards of reliability. However, that doesn't mean it belongs—or is used properly—in the article; No original research, Neutral point of view, Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information, Consensus, etc. all need to be applied. Punctured Bicycle (talk) 11:09, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
If a Wiki article states "Glaring at someone is a form of torture" and cites a public opinion poll from a reliable source that agrees with the statement, then under what policy or guideline can the article entry be argued against? It has NPOV, and reliable citation. Ryder Spearmann (talk) 09:39, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia isn't in the business of arguing for or against anything. —Viriditas | Talk 23:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
The articles are not a place to present arguments. We are not talking about the articles here, but rather the editing process, where presenting arguments is, obviously, very appropriate. Do you have something to add wrt using polls?Ryder Spearmann (talk) 22:20, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

"news media" as a source

Greetings all. I need help on knowing how to judge one area of widely used source material. My reading and re-reading of reliable source and verifiability policy and guidelines has not helped a clear vision "gel" with respect to "news" as a source. Rather than ask for an encapsulation, I would like to ask just a few basic questions on how the Wikipedia "sees" different aspects of news media as a "source".

I know something of scholarly works, something of journalism and related ethics/practices. I know something about the news media. I can't easily place Wikipedia in any of these areas, and I suspect the WP is perhaps unique, and may explain why a clear vision is not forming for me.

If this is NOT the right place to be discussing this, your help in finding the proper home for this is requested.

My first question:

Let us consider a printed newspaper of reputation. Say, the New York Times. Exculding ads and such, and just focusing on articles, does WP see each article inside as being equal in terms of reliability? (op-eds, investigative essays, news reports for example), such that any statement made in the Times, regardles of the type of article, would automatically be seen as reliable? If not, what aspects of the source does the WP care about? Please relate your answers to the applicable guidelines and policies that inform your understanding.

I greatly appreciate all responses. Thanks editors! Ryder Spearmann (talk) 09:21, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Maybe this might help somewhat:
  1. The "reliable source" concept, as used in Wikipedia guidance is somewhat of an artificial construct: it sets a minimum threshold of what is acceptable as a source to back up claims one wants to add to Wikipedia articles. It is not to be understood in the sense of "A reliable source establishes truth" (Wikipedia:Verifiability is quite clear on that point). (Sorry for mentioning this explicitly, I assume you already knew, just to be clear)
  2. "Sound editorial judgment" is part of the process with which reliability of sources and the way how to use them in Wikipedia articles are interpreted. A guideline that comprehensively helps editors to acquire that sound editorial judgement does not exist. "Comprehensively" would not even be possible, but agreed, current guidance could do better. That is, notwithstanding a plethora of guidelines and (often contradicting) essays on the topic, e.g Wikipedia:Reliable source examples, Wikipedia:Evaluating sources, etc. - not even mentioning the pages with undefined status like Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Role of truth
  3. Additional help, on a per case basis (meaning: source, claim and Wikipedia article need to be mentioned) can usually be obtained from Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard.
  4. Re. "Exculding ads and such, and just focusing on articles, does WP see each article inside as being equal in terms of reliability? (op-eds, investigative essays, news reports for example), such that any statement made in the Times, regardles of the type of article, would automatically be seen as reliable?" - No.
  5. "If not, what aspects of the source does the WP care about?" - A tool used in some guidance (although many Wikipedians would like to dunk the concept) is the primary/secondary/tertiary source distinction. The distinction is part of the Wikipedia:No original research policy. Primary sources are considered as leading more easily to "original research", and must be explicitly mentioned in the body of the article (not only in a footnote) when they're used to back up claims. Some examples:
    • Ads in the NYT: could be a "reliable source" in some contexts. They're always primary sources, not with the NYT as source (NYT is only the "publisher"), but as a source on the company placing the ad, e.g. when Mercedes-Benz places an ad that they've successfully completed the moose test for the commercial releases of their Mercedes-Benz A-Class, that could be used as a "reliable source" regarding the *claims* of that company. Ads are generally "self-published" sources, to which some sections of Wikipedia:Verifiability specifically apply (in the example: Mercedes-Benz ads can't be used as source for articles on Jaguars or Lexus cars)
    • Op-eds in the NYT: primary sources for the opinions of the editor (or the newspaper). Not every op-ed would make a suitable source for Wikipedia, although they're usually above "reliability" threshold, but too close to, or under, "no original research" or even "notability" threshold. (Notability, as a Wikipedia inclusion criterion for a separate topic, usually relies on "secondary" or "independent" sources)
    • Investigative essays in the NYT: depends on whether the investigation is about a new claim (published nowhere else - e.g. results of a poll conducted by the newspaper), or a claim that can be derived from prior sources that would be available for anyone wanting to do the research: "primary" source in the first case, "secondary" source in the second case.
    • News reports in the NYT: somewhat similar as investigative essays, but probably there are not so much examples where the NYT would publish a news fact that is not concurrently covered by other media of "reliable" status (...based at least in part on "primary source" news agencies), so generally news reports in the NYT would be regarded as "reliable" and "secondary" sources for the purposes of composing content for Wikipedia.
--Francis Schonken (talk) 13:52, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Francis, first, thanks ever so much for this amazing reply. I feel personally indebted to you, like I should wash your car for a month or something... but as that's not possible, all I can do is say "thanks".
What I see in your reply does not seem unreasonable, with one very large (for me) conceptual hurdle. In places, you seem to be using Wiki article criteria, but applying it to the sources. Using "No original research" concepts: How did this policy, intended for wiki articles themselves, bridge the gap to be applied to the news media sources as well? Similarly, you cite the the ides of "truth" from Verifiability, meant specifically for WP articles, but you extend the thinking surrounding "truth" to the source as well. How are article concepts being extended to the source material? Does that mean that all similar WP article concepts extend to the sources? If not, what differentiates those that do, vs. those that do not? Again, sir/madam, thank you :) Ryder Spearmann (talk) 16:47, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Also, for a hypothetical real world example, you might visit the preceeding section where I offer a scenario regarding use of a poll. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on that. Ryder Spearmann (talk) 16:49, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Re. "[...] that's not possible" - Why? Is it too dirty? Aquaphobia? ;)
Re. "Wiki article criteria"/"[...], intended for wiki articles themselves" - I'd say "Wikipedia content criteria"/"intended for Wikipedia content", a bit more precise than "Wiki article(s)" (compare: "content policies"), but I think I see what you mean. Yes, Wikipedia content policies can take account of the content of sources, e.g. WP:BLP#Using the subject as a self-published source: from the 6 listed criteria, at least 4 exclusively refer to the content of the source as a Wikipedia inclusion criterion. For example also Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not excludes several sources that would be quite "reliable" in a general sense (e.g. telephone directories), exclusively on the content of these sources.
Re. "How did [the No Original Research] policy, intended for [Wikipedia content], bridge the gap to be applied to [the content of] sources as well?" (hope you agree with the replacements, that's how I understood your question anyway). Some examples:
  • Primary sources are perceived as leading more easily to original research by Wikipedia editors. This contention (which can be found in the Wikipedia:No original research policy) is currently under debate. For the sake of clarity, I'd remove that contention from a policy page without hesitation, and move it to a guideline or essay ([4]).
  • Secondary sources are best used for representing significant points of view. (Source: Turabian, Kate L; Booth, Wayne C.; Colomb, Gregory G.; Williams, Joseph M. (2007), A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Chicago: UC Press, pp. 25–27, ISBN 0-226-82337-7 ) - Well, Wikipedia tries to avoid expanding on "insignificant" points of view (compare the last point of the Jimbo quote in Wikipedia:Neutral point of view#Undue weight), so, no matter how self-aggrandising a primary source is, if there are no secondary sources discussing it, such source can be labeled "non-significant", and for that reason be excluded from Wikipedia.
  • Compare WP:WITS#Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, mainly the last point of that section.
Re. "ides of "truth" from Verifiability, meant specifically for WP articles, but you extend the thinking surrounding "truth" to the source as well" - No, you invert my argument & pervert what is in the Verifiability policy ("Verifiability not truth" - the policy does not contain an idea about "truth"). - I intended to clarify that "reliability" in Wikipedia sense (i.e. as a criterion with which we assess external sources) should not be read as a replacement for "truth" (that's what the policy page says). Above I bolded the word not, I bold it here again, so no, I do not "extend the thinking surrounding "truth" to the source as well". We use "reliability" but the thinking around "reliability" does not extend to the thinking surrounding truth (nor "truth" of Wikipedia, nor "truth" of any source).
I spoke about polls, twice: in this section and in the previous section. Both times I said: "primary source", & to be treated as such. See e.g. WP:PSTS, a section of the "no original research" policy. No matter what my current preference regarding the content of that section would be, that section is still currently *policy*. --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, you did, I was not clear enough. What I hope to see is your editors approach to the Poll example, a walk-through if you will, that shows policy & guidelines in practice. I want to go past the, "it looks good on paper" stage, and see it in practice. My take on it would be that the Poll as a source for information has problems in various areas:
  • The claim is surprising, and requires exceptonal sourcing
    • Random public opinion is about as far from an exceptional/eminent source as one can get.
  • The claim uses a primary source
    • The poll is original research, without peer or scholarly review.
Conclusion: Reliable Source violation.
That is a start. Am I on target? Close? What am I missing? Ryder Spearmann (talk) 22:07, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I'd do it this way:

In a telephone poll of 1,024 American adults by the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. in early November 2007 about whether they considered waterboarding torture, 69 percent of respondents said that waterboarding was torture while 29 percent of respondants said it was not. In addition, 58 percent of those polled stated that they did not think that the U.S. government should be allowed to use this procedure against suspected terrorists as a method of interrogation. [1]

    • Claim not surprising (that CNN associates with an "opinion research" organisation to organise a poll is not surprising, neither the result it produces) - CNN is an adequate source regarding what they say about the poll.
    • Claim uses a primary source - true, and indeed no "interpretation" of what CNN says, just what they say about it (conforming to what WP:PSTS says about primary sources). Mentioning the source in the body of the text (and not only in the footnote), according to what I said generally about primary sources above.
    • The poll is original research - true, however there is no impediment to have Wikipedia refer to original research that has been published elsewhere before, by generally acceptable publishers (nobody ever said that couldn't be done by Wikipedia, but it appears to be a very common mistake about primary sources)
    • ..., without peer or scholarly review - Sorry, now you're doing "original research" (which should not be published in Wikipedia since it is your original research, and not some original research that has been published before). How would you know whether CNN nor Opinion Research Corp. have no scholars to rely on when conducting a telephone poll? Or didn't have peer review etc. applied before publishing? Since we can't know without performing original research, we don't publish anything more about the way the poll was conducted, than what can be found in publications.
    • Conclusion, no reliable source violation in Wikipedia.
    Note also coherence with Wikipedia:Neutral point of view#A simple formulation: "Assert facts, including facts about opinions—but do not assert the opinions themselves. By "fact" we mean "a piece of information about which there is no serious dispute." For example, that a survey produced a certain published result would be a fact. That there is a planet called Mars is a fact. That Plato was a philosopher is a fact. No one seriously disputes any of these things. So we can feel free to assert as many of them as we can." (my bolding) - Core content policies "should not be interpreted in isolation from one another" (source: WP:V, WP:NPOV and WP:NOR). --Francis Schonken (talk) 23:17, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
    Again thank you for your work here. I think I can add content in a way that meets or exceeds the wiki criteria. I provided an example/scenario that was purposfully deficient, in order to excercise dealing with the deficiency. The scenario I presented was: If a Wiki article states "Glaring at someone is a form of torture" and cites a public opinion poll (assume a reliable publisher), how does one apply wiki reliability to dissect the shortcomings of the entry. Let me provide an example, and you can tell me how you would respond to it if you came across it somewhere...
    Anyone who glares at someone is guilty of torture.

    My take on such an entry was:
    • The claim is surprising, and requires exceptonal sourcing
      • Random public opinion is about as far from an exceptional/eminent source as one can get.
    • The claim uses a primary source
      • The poll is original research, without peer or scholarly review.
    Is my take on this correct? Close? Missing something?
    Again, thank you. Ryder Spearmann (talk) 01:31, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
    Sorry, hypothetical scenario, not interested. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:18, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
    Is there another kind of scenario? I am rather confused by your position. I used this hypothetical case in order to avoid true controversy, so that we could examine an edit process up close, safely isolated from Real Drama (tm) But if you prefer, I can try to bring a simple example that does in fact exist. Hopefully they exist for very brief periods, which makes finding one slightly more difficult :) Ryder Spearmann (talk) 00:28, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    Over at Iraq War you had some "true controversy" about a source that pretty much agrees to your scenario, ***except*** that it is a "peer reviewed" source. So, why would I be in the least interested in your hypothetical scenario? It wouldn't solve any problem, would give more stuffing to "real drama", etc... --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:15, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    Re:"- No, you invert my argument & pervert..." I tried to word it carefully, but apparently I was not careful enough. All I am doing is saying that there is thinking concerning the relationship between truth and Verifiability. I don't say what that thinking is one way or the other. Only that there is. You use that thinking, regardless of what it is, and apply it not only to the article, but to the source as well. I was wondering about the bridge that allowed you to do that. I think you have answered that, basically saying that policy applies to "content", and that the cited sources are part of the galaxy of "content" for wikipedia. Have I captured this correctly? Again, my thanks. Ryder Spearmann (talk) 22:07, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
    No, you inverted the argument. I said "A reliable source establishes truth" could not be concluded from the Wikipedia:Verifiability page. There's no "thinking surrounding truth" on that page (except maybe that we don't necessarily equate "verifiability" in the Wikipedia sense with "truth" - there really is nothing else "surrounding truth" in Wikipedia guidance). All the rest is your original research interpreting away surrounding things that aren't there. --Francis Schonken (talk) 23:17, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
    So you are saying that there has been no thinking surrounding the issue of truth and its relationship to verifiability? As that is ALL I am intending to indicate. You seem to understand this as you provide the precise exception to which I refer: "except maybe that we don't necessarily equate "verifiability" in the Wikipedia sense with "truth". I assume you are not the first to express the notion, so there is thinking, a certain understanding, as you have explicitly pointed out. Also, I have no issue with such thinking. I do, and always have simply accepted your statement on same.
    If you are still unsure as to what I mean, do you disagree with this statement: "There has been no thought given to the relationship of truth to verifiability."? It seems to me, that if you disagree with that statement, then we are essentially in agreement on this point. Ryder Spearmann (talk) 00:59, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
    Re. "So you are saying that there has been no thinking surrounding the issue of truth and its relationship to verifiability?" - no, I didn't say that. I only said there's nothing about it in the actual policy. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:18, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
    Then it seems, though you appear reluctant to come out and say it, that there has been thought given to the relationship of truth to verifiability, and as such it is apparent to me that we are in agreement on that point. I am rather confused about why agreement is, in this case, so difficult. Ryder Spearmann (talk) 00:20, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    Sorry, no, and I do take offense of your blatant lie that "we are in agreement on that point".
    Above I already linked to Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Role of truth, which shows:
    • No consensus;
    • Nothing of value for any policy page. --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:15, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    You just called me a liar, and I am stunned. I never said we are in agreement (which in any event could never be more than a perception). I spoke only of my belief that we are in agreement on this one point. I am a bit surprised. You seem to be rather experienced enough to have not done this type of thing. You will excuse me if I take offense to being called a liar for nothing more than stating a simple perception that I do in fact hold (still). Good job. If I was not so much of a noob here, I am fairly sure I could cite more than a couple policies/guidelines/practices that you just trampled on. Your experience probably informs you what those would be. Way to show wikilove. clap. clap. clap. Ryder Spearmann (talk) 05:28, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
    (none of this detracts from your initial helpful participation, however, which I still do appreciate.) Ryder Spearmann (talk) 05:28, 15 January 2008 (UTC)


    It seems to me that most people who commented on the merge of this page to WP:V#Sources agreed with it. Is that right, and if so, can we go ahead? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 11:24, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

    I'll belatedly indicate agreement, if that helps. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 11:52, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
    Apparently The Transhumanist felt otherwise[5]. --Pixelface (talk) 14:09, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
    I was once an ardent supporter of this page. Back shortly before the debates over WP:ATT, I resisted a similar proposal to merge. Since that time, however, I have come to realize that the page has an inheirant flaw. No matter what we do, it ends up being edited and tweeked to the point where it conflicts with WP:V. I have see this page edited, revised, rewritten, cut back and expanded, tweeked and re-revised about three times in the last two years. In each case we ended up with language that conflicted with WP:V. That is something that can not continue. WP:V is a core policy and any guidelines that are derived from it must follow it closely. Given the history of this page, the only way to ensure that this happens is to return WP:RS to where it came from... as a sub-section in V. It is time to merge the two pages. Blueboar (talk) 15:17, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
    Blueboar, do we need any more discussion, or can we just go ahead now, do you think? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 13:55, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    Lets start 2008 with this one resolved. I support the merge. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:23, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    User:Aude was the most vigorous opposer. The discussion stalemated but there was majority support by a significant margin. Aude's one of our best, so I didn't want to push things and left it. Marskell (talk) 15:40, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    Any suggestions as to how we should proceed then? We want to respect people's views, but we can't really wait for 100 percent consensus either. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 15:42, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    I agree, but I worry about fighting a protracted rearguard battle. Once people notice, there'll be a lot of wtf's arriving. At a minimum, a clear rationale for why it occurred should be drafted in advance, with links to threads showing support for it. My extended comment under "Death of..." has some things. Marskell (talk) 15:47, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    Marskell, I think your extended comments make excellent points, but the title is provocative and misleading. The key point is that WP:RS is alive and well, and living in WP:V#RS. As long as we emphasize that point, and explain that nothing is lost, that WP:RS can still be used as a shortcut to the same information, and perhaps most importantly, it is now a policy (as it effectively always was), most people should buy it. Crum375 (talk) 16:45, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    The title was meant to elicit replies, which it did. By no means do I suggest using it as a title for a summary statement. Marskell (talk) 21:56, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
    This is an idea that is going to cause a lot of knee-jerk reaction. I do not want a situation similar to what happened with the WP:ATT proposal... where people were surprized by the merger and reacted negatively to it without really thinking about it. It is vital that those of us who are in favor of the merger act in a slow, deliberate and open fashion.
    I agree that the first step is to prepare a clear statement of why this merger is in the best interest of the project... stting the problems that WP:RS has had and why it is better to address the issue in WP:V. The next step is to notify Jimbo of our intent, and get him on board with this idea. We also need to give a LOT of warning and notice before any merger goes into effect. Let's take the time to do our homework and get it right this time. Blueboar (talk) 18:15, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    I suggest the village pump as well. UnitedStatesian (talk) 18:28, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
    The village pump was done back when we talked about this before the holidays. Again, we should gather together links to discussions that have already happened. I suppose I ought to do it, as I started most of the recent ones. Marskell (talk) 21:56, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
    Marskell, once we have a sub-page outlining the arguments for a merger (with all the links that you are talking about) I would suggest yet another post to the pump... and to as many other locations as we can think of. We are proposing something that many editors will see as a major change to Wikipedia's guidelines and policies, and the last thing we want is for people to come back in a month or two and say, "Hey, this blindsided me... there was no notice". That is one of the problems that occured with the WP:ATT proposal... even though more than 100 editors spent months ironing out the wording, and the proposal achieved a consensus of the "policy wonks"... the community at large had no idea that all this work was taking place. When the proposal went live, the broader community was taken by surprise and objected. We need to clearly outline what we are attempting to achieve with this merger, and the reasons for it. Then we need to shout it from the roof-tops... repeatedly. Blueboar (talk) 13:59, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
    Blueboar, there's a danger of overdoing it. There isn't anything on this page, and there was never really any consistent and stable content, so we don't want to give the impression that we're redirecting anything substantive. One of the issues some opposers raised with ATT is that they feared it would make this page policy, which was a complete misunderstanding, but it sprang from the belief that this page said something, and that redirecting it to a policy would make that something policy too. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:38, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
    Sorry, I have to correct what you said about ATT, because that's not what happened. People were told (including Jimbo) weeks or even months in advance. When it went live, everyone was fine with it. People were saying it was the first time they'd ever understood the content policies. Then, one dark and stormy night, Jimbo got involved in a dispute over someone using a primary source to add contentious material to a BLP. He objected that it was OR. They said it wasn't. He therefore went to the OR page to find the section about primary sources, where someone had unfortunately added that the policy was "obselete," and that's when he hit the roof. Of course, it wasn't obselete -- it had just been moved to ATT -- but the damage was done. People saw his objections; troublemakers arrived at ATT to do what troublemakers do; we had to hold a poll; they caused trouble there too (I think we had to hold a poll to decide the poll questions at one point, and we had disputes over dispute tags); and then, because of a turnout of hundreds, we failed to achieve consensus, but we did get a majority. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:45, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Comment by callmebc: It seems to me that there is a basic difference between information that anyone can verify versus content coming from a trusted source. For instance, "what day of the week in 1972 did Ground Hog day fall on?" is something anyone can look up, so that's verifiable information. But what did President Richard Nixon discuss with Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai during Nixon's visit in 1972? You have newspaper coverage from the time, but you also have access to now declassified documents related to the meetings. The first source of information, like say articles in the NY Times, would fall under reliable sources, which you can cite freely. But the second source of information is now in a gray area between being verifiable and original research. If you needed an exact quote, which source would you use, though, if there is a difference? I would say Wikipedia needs a single authoritative, as well as regularly updated and reviewed, policy page that covers all aspects of "good sources" and sets reasonable and scholarly guidelines for verifiable versus original research. The overall guiding light should be, I think, "What would help articles be as authoritative and as accurate as possible? -BC aka Callmebc (talk) 19:45, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
    I hink you mean "guideline page", not "policy page"

    objection and alternative

    The objection to merging this it that WP:V is policy, and therefore needs to be general, and we also need a page of guidelines to interpret it, which should be WP:RS. The reason WP:V remains acceptable as policy is that all the practical arguments go here. And surely people are not suggesting that WP:V be downgraded to a guideline. I think that rather, we should deal with the difference between the two pages by moving a good deal of the content from V to this page, because most of it is in fact meant to be -- and is-- interpreted flexibly. DGG (talk) 16:10, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
    I agree with DGG to not merge/delete/archive/obsolete/move. One WP:RS is engrained in our fiber as a reference point. Two I don't think the V talk page is too crowded so let's throw all the RS questions onto it as well, that wouldn't be swell, as it is people can't easily search through 25 archives to find that thread they remember it's already not very workable. I can't see that improving by merging personally. I am *OPEN* to having my mind changed.Wjhonson (talk) 22:30, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
    The problem is that, when I lasted look at this page (and almost every time I've looked at it), it didn't say much or anything that isn't in V, NOR, or BLP. And it has always either been that way, or else it has contradicted V (and has often been internally inconsistent too). That has been the perennial problem with it. We don't need a second page that says we need to use good sources. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:06, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
    Reliable sources remain a key concept on Wikipedia. Editors often refer to it. There are numerous aspects of reliable sources (see the noticeboard and examples page) that do not belong on the policy page, but instead are suitable here on the guideline page. --Aude (talk) 21:32, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

    Thought it was about time for WP:PEREN#Define reliable sources --Francis Schonken (talk) 22:35, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

    You know what's weird on this to me is that, for the most part, the project is going along fine. I wonder if people are learning by example more than by rule ? I have no idea. Maybe the vast majority of people already know "in their heart" (if you will) what is a reliable source. Which observation, would beg a question that I'm not sure I want to actually specify.Wjhonson (talk) 01:10, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

    Video as a source

    One of my interests is video, which is becoming increasingly widespread on the internet. I am musing over the feasibility of using video as a source. If I upload a video of some event, or someone making a speech, can this be used as a reference supporting article text about the event itself? If a newspaper quotes Gordon Brown as saying "xyz", is this more reliable than a video of Gordon Brown saying the same thing? And should we cite a link to a video on Wikimedia Commons? Stephen B Streater (talk) 21:58, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

    It depends on the provenance of the video... ie who "published" it. Something you found on Youtube would not be reliable (no way to know that it hasn't been doctored)... something obtained from a major news network would be. Blueboar (talk) 22:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
    I thought you might say something like that ;-) Unfortunately, most reliable sources do not make their video content freely available.
    There is a difference in convincingness between a piece of text someone claims someone said and a video from the same person saying it. The question is whether this should be reflected in any way in WP (which has traditionally been quite conservative where video is concerned). Stephen B Streater (talk) 22:20, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
    Stephen I would not suggest this approach. If I may. "If I upload a video..." is going to be a large red flag for you. Editors who oppose your sourcing will claim you are doing original research in uploading, or will question your motivation in using a source *with which* you have been somehow intimately involved, which might be a type of conflict-of-interest. Laying aside the question of whether these claims have evidence, contentiousness can arise from the *impression* that these claims have merit. A much better idea would be to simply cite the video as your source with a full bibliographic citation and then add a quote from it. Provided the video is verifiable and created by a reliable source there should be no problem. Convenience links are not necessary to cite a video. Videos which are not published cannot be cited at all. So ensure that the video has been published, and not self-published.Wjhonson (talk) 23:31, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
    The sort of reliable source I am thinking of could be the FT, which has increasing video content on its site. Videos in Wikimedia can presumably be used to illustrate the text in the same way that images can. Stephen B Streater (talk) 19:26, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
    Sure, as links or cited sources if that's what you mean. You should give a full citation so others can easily find the material. There's no prohibition against citing videos, in general. Just the standard prohibitions against unreliable or unverifiable sources (et cetera).Wjhonson (talk) 01:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

    How do sites become reliable sources?

    Who's in charge of making that decision? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

    Wikipedia works by consensus. In the case of sources which are contentious, we debate calmly with each other (*silences the hysterical laughter*) to arrive at a conclusion with which we can mostly and mosttimes concur. Wjhonson (talk) 23:34, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
    To discuss a specific source, please post your specific source question to Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard Have a super day. Wjhonson (talk) 23:35, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

    Ok, Thanks for the help. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:31, 19 January 2008 (UTC)


    I have written an essay about assessing the reliability of different articles. I was hoping to get other editors to review, add to it and edit it. Currently, it is in my userspace at User:Billscottbob/Assessing reliability. Thanks for any input you may have. If you have anything you wish to discuss about it please do not discuss it here. Please discuss it on the talk page of the essay. Billscottbob (talk) 02:37, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

    You might want to merge that into WP:EVAL. MilesAgain (talk) 10:31, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

    Misuse of this Policy...

    A misuse of the policy of reference to RS is clearly visible in the article about 9/11. CNN is just cited as a "reliable source". By what?

    Such a nonsense could make sense related to preliminary statements or assumptions, as long as they are not put into question by other "reliable sources" or by other facts.

    As long as something is questionable it should not have a place on Wikipedia. The problem is, that we just exchanged the "judges" of our traditional sources of information with others, who hide their work of missinformation under the cover of a "neutral community".

    Thruth is not a democratic subject. —Preceding unsigned comment added by grehuy (talk) 09:39, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

    WP:RS is not a policy.
    WP:V is, containing (e.g.) "Verifiability, not truth".
    WP:NPOV is too, containing (e.g.) "The policy requires that where multiple or conflicting perspectives exist within a topic each should be presented fairly."
    What is your problem again? --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:48, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
    CNN is the epitome of a reliable source but like everything, you have to consider what it's being cited for. I wouldn't cite it on a matter of theology. But if the question is what day a pipe burst in Chicago, or whether an interstate highway was closed in a blizzard, I think it's a pretty solid source. Obviously, terrorism is quite politicized and the major news media have a hard time being objective when things become political. Somehow I suspect the original poster's notion of truth, though, is not a mainstream one.
    I wouldn't worry that truth is undemocratic. So is Wikipedia. A good match perhaps. Wikidemo (talk) 18:44, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

    Interesting discussion on "old" sources

    Some of the kind readers of this talk page may take interest in the discussion here. Specifically, the exchange ongoing between Francis and I on the use of "old", "dead", archaic or hard to find sources in building an article. If you have any opinions, please feel free to weigh in there. Lawrence § t/e 23:56, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

    Jimi Hendrix birth

    i watched a video on youtube claiming that jimi hendrix was accually born on the isle of lewis. Jimi's father was fighting at war and his plane crashed in the minch and was then washed up on a beach in lewis. he was found and treated by someone who they named mary he fell in love with mary and had a child Jimi. the mother was supposed to have died at birth and when she did the father left. is this true? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:51, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

    I would say no. A quick look at various online biographies all say he was born in Washington (State). You can not rely on things you see on YouTube Blueboar (talk) 17:00, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

    Claims of consensus: position statements

    I want to give "position statement from a mainstream scientific body" as an example of a reliable source for "claims of consensus". What would constitute a similar example for consensus among ministers or scholars? ----Action potential t c 13:20, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

    A position statement does not necessarily demonstrate consensus, as the organization may not be representative of all scientists in the field. I would suggest that the requirement of reliability mean that the source must have polling data demonstrating the consensus view--especaially if it is an issue of any level of controversy.--Strider12 (talk) 23:35, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
    Actually it depends on the body... some organizations represent the vast majority of scientists in their field, while others do not. Thus, some position papers may represent consensus opinion, while others won't. The same is true for most accademic fields... some orgainzations have a significantly large enough membership in a given field of study that they might be citable for consensus, while others will not. Blueboar (talk) 04:02, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

    Should academic conference papers be considered reliable sources?

    I have been meaning to ask this for some time. Are papers delivered orally at academic conferences considered RSs? Granted, the authors are usually specialists in a field, but specialists broadly defined to include unpublished graduate students in the first years of their doctoral programs. More importantly, conference papers have not been peer-reviewed, selected for publication, or in most cases fact-checked or even proofread by anyone except their author. The way the process works is that a conference is announced, you send in a proposal in the form of a brief precis (a paragraph or at most a page), and then you're either invited or not invited to present. You write your paper and then when you arrive you read your paper out loud and people ask questions. Then comes the coffee break or catered lunch with cellophane-wrapped sandwiches, and you stand around talking to other nervous people in cheap blazers and hope to make professional connections.

    These papers are then sometimes gathered together in book form (or increasingly online) as "proceedings," but these publications are understood not to consist of vetted material. The idea is rather that others in the field can consult them to see what is going on in their discipline, get in touch with scholars with whom they have an affinity, and so on. They are a step above water-cooler talk. It is often the case that published scholarly articles began life as conference papers, but the latter are absolutely not regarded within academia as the equivalent of peer-reviewed or published work. They are to published work what a studio pitch is to a finished film. On your CV, they give an indication of your energy and productivity, but say nothing at all about the stature of your work or the level of acceptance it is meeting with in the discipline at large.

    It does not seem to me appropriate to cite such material as reliable sources in Wikipedia. Doubtless, a great deal of good work is presented at such conferences, but the good work becomes the seed of a proper journal article or book chapter, and it is in that finished, vetted, and vouched-for form that it becomes reliable. Even in academic writing, it is considered bad form to cite someone's conference paper without their permission; the assumption is that the conference paper is a work-in-progress. I wonder if the RS policy might begin to make some clear distinctions along these lines.--G-Dett (talk) 21:43, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

    I think it depends on the statement being made, why you are using them as a citation... used as a citation for the fact that scientist X say "Y" at Conference Z, they should probably be reliable ... but not for much else. Blueboar (talk) 22:41, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    That seems very sensible, but in my experience they are used much more loosely on Wikipedia.--G-Dett (talk) 22:47, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    It depends upon the conference in question. Some conferences are in fact peer-reviewed, others have strict admittance rules. It is also worth looking up how a particular talk is cited. A conference paper that is well-cited (and not discredited) in quality journals could well be considered reliable. LinaMishima (talk) 23:05, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    If the paper was printed somewhere, it is usually peer reviewed. I'd say usually such papers are reliable.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 23:38, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    No, it is quite usual to publish conference proceedings in print or online, without any peer-review or even basic copy-editing.--G-Dett (talk) 00:02, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
    An oral presentation is not a published source, but the proceedings themselves are. The reliablity of the proceedings varies greatly by conference but more by field. A good example is computer science, where conference papers are often peer-reviewed and considered more prestigious than ordinary journal articles. But based on your description above, it sounds more like a humanities conference. I am not familiar with assessing reliability of humanities conference papers, but if they are published in printed form then they must be good for something. — Carl (CBM · talk) 23:48, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
    You're right, this is coming from a humanities/social sciences background. What you're saying about computer science is very interesting; I didn't know that. But it's quite the opposite in the humanities. And the question isn't whether the published proceedings of humanities/social sciences conferences are good for something – they're good for many things. The point is only that they're not vetted in any way. To be sure, I'm talking mostly about proceedings published online, because that's what Wikipedians are digging up for the most part. But it's also true in many cases of print proceedings.
    Sometimes conference papers will be published in a special volume, with a general editor and so on, and obviously that's a different thing. But given that this is the exception, and that usually when conference papers are made available online they're not peer-reviewed, fact-checked, or copy-edited, would it be fair to say that the editor proposing to cite facts to a conference paper would need to show that it had indeed been properly vetted?--G-Dett (talk) 00:02, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
    Assessing the reliability of sources like that is one of the reasons that editors familiar with the subject matter make a big difference. This is especially true when the question is whether a particular interpretation is common or not. At the least, you can always attribute claims to the person making them, if they are not common. I don't think it's possible to make a set of hard rules that would explain the process by which the reliability of these sources is assessed; we usually resolve them here by ad hoc discussion on talk pages. — Carl (CBM · talk) 00:12, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
    I would just like to add, that the mere action of binding various papers into one volume and adding perhaps synopsis or other notes, does not necessarily now make the contents of those papers more reliable than they were previously.Wjhonson (talk) 01:07, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
    I'd say reliable if (a) subsequently reproduced in a peer-reviewed journal or (b) subsequently cited in peer-reviewed works. The practice of finding a single supporting opinion (re: CBM's) for a non-mainstream position and then writing "One author..." is far too prevalent; such editorial insertions should be discouraged regardless of their source. One can always find at least one author to support a flat earth or a cheese moon. —PētersV (talk) 02:10, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
    Why do I suddenly have a desire to publish the "Journal of Lunarcaseus Studies" or "The American Lunarcaseus Society Quarterly". Blueboar (talk) 03:16, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
    It's my motivational influence. Personally, I like your concept of a quarterly. —PētersV (talk) 05:21, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
    I remind you that the one absolute requirement in publishing a journal is to have some articles to publish.DGG (talk) 09:40, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
    Thanks everyone. Any further input or examples would also be appreciated.--G-Dett (talk) 21:42, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
    Redlink above should probably be Lunar viridis caseus -- Boracay Bill (talk) 23:27, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
    In the first conference abstract I published I misspelled the name of the organism I was working on. In science these abstracts generally have no editorial process or review and are not reliable sources. If it is good data it will be published in a journal later on. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:40, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

    Unless the paper is being used to cite exceptional/controversial claims, such papers are usually RS. But if it is an exceptional/controversial claim or sufficiently close to one, then we're better off comparing it to other published research and vetting it ourselves before using it. Sarvagnya 22:59, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

    If the proceedings are peer-reviewed, then certainly it may be considered RS. In other cases, I tend to agree with Sarvagnya. Keep in mind that even a paper with a problematical finding will likely have most everything else right; the "unusual" finding will automatically attract attention and criticism if inadequately supported. Still, a non-peer-reviewed paper should be considered as a "tentative" source pending identification of a better one. Askari Mark (Talk) 23:27, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
    I would be much more cautious about non-peer reviewed conference papers--there is often no control over them at all, and the material usually looks very different if it is eventually published. (In some fields, they may never get published). It depends on the reputation of the conference for screening submissions. The ones that are published only as abstracts, where the full talks are not available, are essentially useless, as there is no guarantee that the abstract will actually have much resemblance to the talk. This is certainly true for many abstracts in biology, where they report work in progress which may or may not eventually be subsumed in some possibly quite different manner in a published paper. Other fields may differ. Even for ostensibly peer-reviewed papers, the level of peer review is sometimes quite different from those for publications. The nature of the conference and the reputation of its publications must be taken account. The published IEEE symposia are examples of proceedings which can be used about as reliable as more formally published sources. Others vary. the world is not divided cleanly into peer-reviewed / not-peer-reviewed, but there is a continuum. DGG (talk) 15:23, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
    This varies dramatically from field to field, as someone pointed out. At conferences in history and sociology - not to mention literary theory - for example, one frequently sees papers that are some distance out of the mainstream; and there is usually no way of telling from a cursory inspection whether or not this is true of a particular paper because the discussant's remarks are rarely part of the record. (I'm sure we all know people who've written a really startling abstract to try and get to that thing in Hawaii and then bash out something three days before the deadline.) In the social sciences big conferences are rarer and most people there are presenting work that they intend to have published, so that means they should be treated as working papers - not peer-reviewed, but frequently cited in the literature. (Amusingly, in economics journal articles often cite the same authors' working papers for the actual mathematics or econometrics required for the result; the rather shocking corollary is that the reasoning underlying some of these articles isnt actually peer-reviewed before its published. Of course, once its published and attracts attention, sometimes someone goes back and checks, and there's trouble. This happened recently to a landmark paper in school vouchers.) In some of the physical sciences, and particularly in CS, conference papers are usually rock-solid. Relata refero (talk) 23:13, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
    Sorry about the delay in commenting. In mathematics, frequently the procedings of a coference where experts in the field are invited to comment on the current research in the field, only copyediting is done, not fact-checking. (I know, because one of my conference papers was published and had a rather stupid error....) Unless you make the assumption that I (or one of the other coauthors) was considered "beyond criticism", this suggests conference procedings should generally not be considered reliable. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 00:25, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
    (1) This general discussion seems to overestimate the reliability of peer reviewed papers, especially in herd mentality situations, where later outside scrutiny shows no "expert" even checked the calculations, sources or basic hypothesis testing(!!) on important, widely quoted papers.
    (2) On some hot, non-academic subjects there may be *no* independent, refereed academic papers but exaggerated popular mythology, obsolete dogma, paraded as "mainstream science" with commercial POV$ totally dominating in the advertisement based media. Even premiere "peer reviewed" journals that receive 98+% of their *gross* revenue from one group of advertisers in scandal after scandal[[6]. Some independence.
    (3) Disregarding conference papers also leads to situations where common magazines or even near blog level zines, working heavily in favor of or directly at the behest of their prime advertisers, are being quoted as RS sources in preference to (otherwise?) peer reviewed academic journals with scholarly conference papers with careful statements and academic sources by tenured PhD profs are being disparged as non RS in favor of comparatively light weight sources e.g. recent 3 yr college graduate of questionable technical literacy directly sponsored by some of the world's largest (WP unattributed) advertisers, Pfizer-Spiked fluff and 3rd runner up with at least one vote after the credibility enhancing 10 famous winners in an otherwise "friends & family beauty contest", while leaving out serious academic criticism from Hufford's (presumed not peer reviewed conference) paperfull copy in a prominent academic journal, quoting Prof Kauffman's science based website review.
    Arthur & I have had conflicts on several articles that challenge his onsite / offsite POV for sometime on a specific conference paper in a WP article that often represents a seriously partisan, misinforming view of *current* most accurate science in medicine as opposed to current (or yesteryear) *marketing models* (what's best for the company may not be best for you) in medicine (highly commercially slanted POV and often 20-30 years slippage).
    Therefore there seem to be cases where not only are the independent conference papers the best academic source available, but their RS is quite competitive or superior to directly ad paid copy, or associated copy, in the nominal WP:RS magazines by basic writers. Good faith WP:RS of scholarly papers necessitates a relative heirarchy on best available sources and WP:V fact checking the sources where ultimately WP:V dominates science issues. In some cases I've seen, deprecating conference papers oout of hand seems agenda driven to me.--I'clast (talk) 16:00, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
    as mentioned by everyone, it depends on the subject and the conference. What you say will sometimes be true, but so will the opposite. it is, to use your example, also rather common or pharmaceutical companies to sponsor conferences and invite the speakers, and have the results published. The reliability in specific situations needs to be discussed separately on the talk page or a noticeboard.DGG (talk) 21:28, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

    Religious Authorities as sources

    Are religious authorities considered WP:RS sources even if they do not have PhDs from accredited universities? This question is extremely relevent in the Hinduism related articles since much research and study has been done by people who are considered authorities in the field who are considered "religious authorities" and have gone through what might be considered a different line of education than what is considered traditional education as introduced through the British System.Kkm5848 (talk) 17:14, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

    You want to put this up at WP:RS/N, actually. And the answer is that its difficult, because, if nothing else, some religions, like Hinduism or most streams of Protestantism, don't have a unified structure, and thus there are frequently vast doctrinal differences. In such cases, the pronouncements of religious authorities are dependent upon which authority, and will have to be balanced with disclaimers about how they don't necessarily speak for all interpreters. There are at least three other problems, at least that I can think of. Relata refero (talk) 23:00, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
    Agree that this is not a clear cut, yes or no question. Not all religious faiths are clear cut when it comes to who is or is not an "authority" or an "expert". Relata's take is good... it often depends on the faith in question, and the reputation of the "authority" within the faith's community. Caveats and disclaimers would have to be given in many cases. Blueboar (talk) 17:15, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
    A unified structure isn't a requirement, otherwise universities and academics, who do not have a unified structure, could not be considered reliable. The requirement is simply (a) inherent significance of the religion, and (b) an established process for vetting reliability which can include agreed-on outstanding scholars. In Orthodox Judaism, for example, the decentralized organizational system doesn't preclude basic agreement on who is considered a top-tier notable authority, everyone would accept Rashi and Rambam as major classical opinions, Moshe Feinstein as a major recent authority in (non-Hassidic) Ashkenazic Judaism, Joseph B. Soloveitchik as a major authority from Modern Orthodox Judaism, and Ovadia Yoseph as a major authority from contemporary Sephardic Judaism, and this can be clearly documented. These are of course all secondary and tertiary sources; the Bible and the Talmud are the basic primary sources. Things may be different in other religions, but Islam, for example, has certain seminaries generally recognized as outstanding, much as academia has top universities. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 14:16, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

    Newspapers as sources: NPOV fact vs. editorial opinion

    Journalism involves both the uncovering and reporting of events and the formulation and expression of opinion. If a wikipedia entry refer to a news piece of the former variety, it would be both verifiable and reliable. If it was to the latter, it would be verifiable and unreliable. News organisations have editorial policy that is determined by their editorial board and/or owner. In the UK, most news organisations that publish in print have political affiliations and align themselves explicitly with political parties at election times. For example The Daily Mail is a right-wing organ whereas The Guardian's editorial policy leans heavily to the left. As the editorializing text says, the trouble is that fact vs. opinion in news articles often breaks down.

    I argue that WP:RS should stay because there is a meaningful distinction between verifiability and reliability. I further argue that the reliability of news organisation sources (e.g. Washington Post, Paris Match, The Times) is identified as less supportable than that originating in independent scholarship. (talk) 13:30, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

    —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:11, 14 February 2008 (UTC) 
    Major newspapers are almost always considered reliable in the absence of evidence to the contrary (i.e., disagreeing with other reliable sources or having its reliability called into question by another reliable source). And any good newspaper will usually make very clear through wording or titling the difference between their factual claims and their interpretive opinions, so anyone is within their right to match the weaseliness (or lack thereof) that a newspaper invokes. If there is a specific example you're taking issue with, you can bring it to the reliable sources noticeboard. Someguy1221 (talk) 08:44, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

    Sources in relation to political controversies

    I have a general question regarding sources related to political controversies. Let's say we are talking about a WP article regarding a certain law and this article has a subsection "Controversies and Criticism". My question is about what kind of sources, apart from newspaper articles where particular aspects of the law are being criticized, would be considered reliable sources. E.g.: a political blog; the web site of a political advocacy group; the web site of a political party; a political discussion forum; the web site of a professional association or a trade union; the web site of a non-political organization that is being affected by the law (e.g. stamp collectors), etc.

    The most problematic of these are clearly political blogs and political discussion forums. Ordinarily they would not be considered reliable sources. But in this case, if they are cited only to illustrate that a particular kind of political criticism has been raised against the law in question, should there be an exception? I'd appreciate any advice. Regards, Nsk92 (talk) 21:34, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

    They shouldn't be cited on their own to illustrate anything (generally speaking). Similar to the guideline for deserving an article, a criticism, no matter how verifiable by its primary source, is probably not worth noting if it has not been mentioned in a reliable source. There are only two exceptions I could think of. The first would be criticism in primary form from a very notable source of criticism. Something like a notable book from an already notable author, or anything else of that nature (i.e., both the primary source and its author are notable, but don't use this if it's a BLP issue.). The second would be criticism from a non-notable source (like someone's blog) when the author is notable and this criticism has been mentioned in a reliable source. In this case, the primary source could be cited just to exemplify a notable individual who agrees with the criticism. And that's only worth doing if it's somehow relevant; there's little point mentioning all the random people who don't like Bush, for example. Someguy1221 (talk) 08:53, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
    Thanks a lot for the response! By "they" in "they shouldn't be cited on their own" you mean the blogs, correct? Let me clarify the intent of my original question. I was talking about referencing political blogs as primary sources of criticism. That is, suppose that a particular political criticism is voiced by the author of a prominent political blog (rather then, when the blog reports that somebody else voiced this criticism). E.g. something like Talking Points Memo, a prominent liberal political blog by Josh Marshall, or Power Line, a prominent conservative blog by John H. Hinderaker, Scott W. Johnson, and Paul Mirengoff. Say Marshall or Hinderaker writes an opinion column in their respective blog claiming that a particular law is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment. And say one wanted to reference this column as a source for the sentence "Some crtitics claim that the law is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment" in a WP article about the law in question. Would that still be unacceptable? Or would this qualify as the first of the two exceptions you mentioned? Regards, Nsk92 (talk) 12:00, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
    Blogs are generally not considered reliable. They are opinion pieces. The blogs of experts, however, are bit of a grey zone. The blogs in question might be considered reliable sources for the opinions of their authors, and they might not. That really depends on the notability and reputation of the author in the topic area under discussion. In the case of your example, we have to ask: Are these bloggers considered experts on constitutional law by the wider community? My guess is that they are not. They are political bloggers... so, while I could see them being considered experts in politics (and thus, for example, reliable for a statement about the likelihood of Obama defeating Clinton for the Democratic Party's nomination for President), I am not at all sure we can consider them experts in constitutional law. If I am correct, their opinion on the constitutionality of a law would not really be reliable. Their opinion would not be all that notable.
    In any case, I would not phrase it as "Some critics claim..." Using "some critics" is what is termed a weasle word in wikipedia, and should be discouraged. If it is determined that a given blog author's opinions is worthy of mention, we should attribute his/her opinion directly. Phrase it as something like: "Conservative political blogger John H. Hinderaker has stated that the law is unconstitutional. He believes it violates the First Amendment." Blueboar (talk) 13:36, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
    Blueboar, thanks for your response. I see your point, although I am not entirely convinced by your argument yet. One could view prominent political bloggers like Marshall or Hinderaker as general "political experts" (like regular opinion columnists in newspapers) whose opinions on general political matters are notable for that reason. There is little doubt that if one of them published an opinion piece in, say, the New York Times, voicing constitutional criticism of a particular law, it would be OK to use that as a source in a WP article. Is it really necessary for political figures, such as, say, prominent party officials, to have bona fide narrow technical expertise in a particular topic (say constitutional law or crime or gender issues) for referencing their expressed opinion in a WP article? To modify my original example, what if, again say Marshall or Hinderaker, had a column in their blog claiming that a particular law (say pertaining to the way government agencies disclose information about their operation) represents bad public policy because it undermines public accountability of the government? Regards, Nsk92 (talk) 14:39, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
    To clarify my original comment for you as asked, I was thinking something along the lines of...You have a New York Times article that says, "Critics have accused X of Blah," and you also have blogs from notable pundits W, Y and Z, then you can use those blogs to cite the new sentence, "Critics, such as notable political pundits W, Y and Z, have accused X of Blah." Or something along those lines...Anyway, back to the matter still being discussed, I think that blogs will always remain a gray area. As with my first example, it's very easy with a book because it generally receives very few or no modifications from its original form, and it is that one form that is notable. If you throw notable blogs into this, I'd hate to see a runaway effect whereby everything the author now puts on his blog suddenly becomes a notable criticism. So I'll actually redact a bit of what I said originally, and declare that it's probably not a good idea to include information sourced only to blogs (or any primary source with dynamic content), even if the blog and its author are notable. As for the expert/non-expert thing, that only matters if you want to cite the author's claims as facts (see WP:V#Self-published sources (online and paper)). It's always a reliable source for what the author has himself claimed, and the only issue is notability and relevance. I believe Blueboar's idea is still a good one in general though, but I'll replace "expert" with "notable for." That is, is the author of the blog notable for criticising politicians and laws. Are his criticisms generally noted by reliable sources? If so, then yes. The issue of whether this is the case, and whether it is relevant, I think is sufficiently fuzzy that it will always have to just be left to discussion on a case by case basis. Someguy1221 (talk) 19:39, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
    Thanks! Yes, after thinking about it, I have reached more or less the same conclusion as what you say above. For the article in question (the Real ID Act) I decided to stay away from citing political blogs for the time being and to stick to less questionable sources where constitutional criticism is raised. Regards, Nsk92 (talk) 20:41, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

    Possible exceptions

    Behavior guidelines aren't set in stone, but should have "the occasional exception." I propose that this be a policy. For anyone who disagrees, I have the following open question: Under what "occasional exception," can a person use unreliable sources?   Zenwhat (talk) 01:23, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

    I tend to think that it's just a matter of someone taking issue with it. Alot of the time, people reference web pages that in themselves aren't really "reliable" but make reasonable enough claims, and if someone has a problem with it at a later date, it can be cross-referenced. People cite online news articles all the time; articles rarely provide any references. I think that they qualify as unreliable. Oftentimes, though, specific claims in articles and other "unreliable" sources can be cross-referenced at a later date should somebody take issue with it. Everything always has more than one source somewhere.
    I think it also depends on how critical the source is to the content of the article as a whole. If an "unreliable" source is used to add a detail here or there, I think that's mostly fine unless someone can disprove it. If a singular unreliable source is used to form a major part of the article, that's more of a problem. Anyway, there's my two cents. Jdkkp (talk) 02:37, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
    Indeed, that anything is allowed unless someone objects is an unspoken truth. Another is that even a nominally reliable source can't be used if other sources -- not even necessarily of the same caliber -- say it's wrong. MilesAgain (talk) 06:08, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

    Jdkkp: Your statement contradicts the burden of proof laid out in WP:V.

    MilesAgain: "that anything is allowed unless someone objects is an unspoken truth," is true, but that should not be the case because people should not be using unreliable sources "if they can get away with it." They shouldn't be used unreliable sources at all.

    Furthermore, what is the difference between a nominally reliable a source and a source that is really unreliable? What other sources say of the source is irrelevant, because Wikipedia doesn't go by others' standards. It goes by the standards laid out in WP:RS and WP:V.   Zenwhat (talk) 10:19, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

    There are reports of polywater in peer-reviewed academic journals, but no reasonable editor will abide attempts to include them as accurate results. Wikipedia's first rule to consider, and by definition the overarching rule, is WP:IAR, which specifically refers to improving the encyclopedia.
    What do you think Jdkkp said that conflicts with WP:V's burden of proof? MilesAgain (talk) 13:49, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

    In addition to fringy or otherwise unreliable sources, people use online news articles all the time. They're subject to bias and factual difficulties and almost never provide their own sources. But they come from reputable news organizations and so people throw them in as references. What editors are supposed to do and what ends up in the articles here are not always the same thing. In practice, a source is only as unreliable as somebody alleges it to be. Sources are cited all the time that are on the shaky side, especially in obscure articles, and they can remain that way for years until somebody comes by and notices it. Regardless of whether or not it's the right way to do it, it happens. Jdkkp (talk) 19:40, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

    See the WP:V#Reliable sources policy, saying reliable sources are those that, "have a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy," which applies to the vast majority of mainstream news sources. MilesAgain (talk) 20:47, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
    Well, I had a case once where a reputable source contained an error. That error was quoted by another editor in making their case. I contacted the author and verified the error. And posted the author's response. The opposing editor insisted there were all sorts of Wikiproceduralthingies I had to do (including forcing the author to write to Wikipedia) otherwise the source would stand until the next edition was printed and the error retracted in print. (After all, otherwise, it was just my word.) Some suggested practices on how to handle errors in reputable sources would probably help prevent such nonsense in the future. —PētersV (talk) 01:54, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
    I've echoed this to WT:V#Verifiable sources having known but unverifiable errors. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 05:57, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

    Wikipedia articles citing other wikipedia articles

    Is this valid or acceptable? If not, what's the policy/guideline that is related to it? --BirdKr (talk) 23:33, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

    Wiki is not a reliable source, see WP:V or WP:RS. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:42, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
    On the other hand, if the Wikipedia article you would want to use as a source is itself well-sourced, you can just look at those existing off-wiki sources and copy them over as needed to support the article you're working on. (I hope that's clear. I tried wording it about three different ways and it always comes out confusing) Wikidemo (talk) 00:58, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
    That is, if you have access to those sources and can vouch that they verify the text; I wouldn't copy a source onto some text if I could't verify it myself. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:08, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
    And also, the Wikipedia article you would want to use as a source is not well sourced to validate your article after someone edits it to change that, and your article would still be citing it as a supporting source. From WP:V: "Articles and posts on Wikipedia may not be used as sources." -- Boracay Bill (talk) 04:20, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

    See also this more elaborate essay: User:Francis Schonken/Don't use internal sources for verification

    And there's also: Wikipedia:Avoid self-references (now renamed, and as written may seem a bit odd I refer to it, nonetheless this is applicable guidance). --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:11, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

    Extremist sources

    Reliable sources might contain quotes copied from extremist sources, or references to views that are extracted from those unreliable sources. Editors that are eager to quote, for instance, Hitler, and promote his views on jews, will be hampered by the fact that Mein Kampf will be considered an extremist (and as such unreliable) source. However, this people will easily find quotes from Mein Kampf, or a summary of the extremist views, in reliable sources. Apparently they would quote Hitler using reliable sources, though in fact they would abuse this reliable sources - that might have quoted Hitler within a completely different context - to escape (or work around) Wikipedia policy.

    Now, of course the most easy thing to obstruct such an evident statement against extremist content will be to play dumb. Rudra, if phrasing is the only problem, you are invited to come up with a better phrase. Here I propose another phrasing:

    Otherwise reliable sources should not be used to apply quotes or views derived or copied from such extremist sources in any other way.

    Rokus01 (talk) 14:43, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

    No, undesirable caveat:
    • Mein Kampf can be quoted in the Wikipedia article on that book (see WP:V);
    • A phrase in the following sense "Critic XYZ wrote: 'I don't agree with Hitler saying (quote from Mein Kampf) because of (reasons given by critic XYZ)'" would be perfectly admissible in the Wikipedia article on that critic, or in the Mein Kampf article (depending on notability and reliability of the critic etc). Whether or not it contains a Hitler quote or a paraphrase of such quote is not relevant at all. --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:01, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

    Francis, it is not paraphrasing I refer to. I refer to sections of reliable sources that were copied wholesale from (or paraphrasing) extremist sources, and then being referred to in any article as a valid point of view "since the content could be found in reliable sources, being extremist or not". To this particular sections the same restrictions should apply as already agreed on with regard to the original extremist sources, since to the reader there would be no difference. Reliable sources are supposed not to contain extremist content, though involuntarily they might convey extremist content when quoting extremist sources. To the example of Mein Kampf this would mean, that no arguments of Hitler should be forwarded generically describing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, i.e. not without a reliable source that quote those Hitler arguments explicitly for this purpose. Because Mein Kampf remains an extremist source, whether or not quoted directly from the extremist source or indirectly from a reliable source, and should remain shunned except in articles devoted to the Hitler/Mein Kampf (in agreement with WP:V). Rokus01 (talk) 15:54, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

    Another proposal to say the same in a better way, that everybody will understand (I hope):

    To sections of reliable sources that quote or paraphrase extremist sources apply the same restrictions as to the extremist sources referred to.

    Rokus01 (talk) 16:03, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

    Re. "it is not paraphrasing I refer to". Exactly. We shouldn't need to be worrying about it being paraphrasing or exact quote (when embedded in another quote). It is irrelevant because there isn't, nor shouldn't be an impediment in the sense you seem to want, rules are strict enough as they are, and anyone gaming the system would be in violation of WP:POINT anyhow. See also WP:CREEP and WP:BEANS. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:52, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

    This 3RR thing is preposterous, since I made three different proposals to make myself clear and all edits were accompanied by TALK. This is hardly sterile edit warring, the spirit of the rule. And evaluating your answers, rephrasing was no luxury. Also, I did not engage in reverting the edits of someone else. To the contrary, my edits are being reverted - and a revert without TALK I consider close to vandalism. Don't try to intimidate.
    Right, having said this, don't create an incident of abuse by playing dumb. This is a very serious issue, and I won't accept the excuse that you are not aware of Nazi POV pushing that has to be addressed. You can always point to another WP rule and clean your hands, and even accept a sourced reference to the Simon Wiesenthal Center for having Nazi POV popping up anywhere avoiding direct references to extremist sources, pretending this is of no concern to the WP:RS policy. However, if you think like this and also think it is worth an editwar, administrator intimidation and lousy answers, then consider it is you being disruptive.
    1. So what are you actually saying? First you agree that your first answer was a misser. I answered you "it is not paraphrasing I refer to". You confirm this by saying "exactly", and continue in telling I should not worry about it being paraphrasing or exact quote??? Please refrain from reverting edits by playing dumb. It is very annoying to repeat myself: "it is not paraphrasing I refer to".
    2. Second, you come up with the argument that using paraphrasing or exact quotes is irrelevant because there isn't, nor shouldn't be an impediment in the sense you seem to want. This means, that you think you could insert a reference to a quote of Hitler such as the objection of the modern pacifist, as truly Jewish in its effrontery as it is stupid in any article related to pacifists, jews and stupidity as long as the quote can be extracted from reliable sources, though you would otherwise restrict the use of this same quote the objection of the modern pacifist, as truly Jewish in its effrontery as it is stupid to articles related to Hitler, fascism and Mein Kampf? This would be sheer hypocrisy, and I insist you give a straightforward answer to this one.
    3. Your third argument:rules are strict enough as they are, and anyone gaming the system would be in violation of WP:POINT anyhow. Indeed, there it says: Gaming the system means using Wikipedia policies and guidelines in bad faith, to deliberately thwart the aims of Wikipedia and the process of communal editorship. However, above you showed yourself the guidelines are not clear enough (quote: using paraphrasing or exact quotes is irrelevant because there isn't, nor shouldn't be an impediment in the sense you seem to want). In other words, the rules are not strict enough to prevent people gaming the system and such an additional caveat would be especially useful and necessary to you!
    4. Fourth, you refer to WP:CREEP and WP:BEANS. I don't think to extrapolate a single procedural statement on using extremist sources, towards the indirect use of extremist sources, will be so much of a burden on proper WP procedure management. Moreover, since those rules are useful mostly in order to address bad editing behaviour, it would rather facilitate procedures by offering more clarity. And BEANS, well. Why don't you just look around, watch people gaming the system and go away with it by simulating a content dispute. Do you really think you'll have to teach those people something, or that they'll need a pretext to find a way for abusing WP policy? Please be serious, I wouldn't have forwarded this issue in the first place without some clear examples of this abuse.
    5. Finally, I express my utter rejection of your methods to have it your way. Hopefully your name doesn't have anything to do with it, and bad adminship or unwillingness to talk sense either.

    Rokus01 (talk) 21:41, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

    I've said it before, I'll say it again. Any truly reliable source will make very clear the distinction between factual claims, the opinions of the author, and the opinions of others merely being repeated. It is also a violation of both original research and neutral point of view to do any less than match the weaseliness invoked by the source itself. That is, if a source literally says, "Hitler claimed that X is true," then it would grossly violate OR and NPOV to use that to source the following: X is true. Thus, it's impossible to abuse a reliable source to support a Hitler's own POV without violating rules already in place. And the appearance of a quotation in a reliable source does not extend reliability onto that quote; anyone who argued as much would undoubtedly lose the ensuing dispute resolution. Someguy1221 (talk) 22:26, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
    I'm not sure I understand this thread. Articles on Nazi-related history topics obviously will sometimes need to quote notable historical Nazis. Certainly there's no prohibition on quoting Nazis. The general guideline against the use of extremist sources wasn't intended to censor Wikipedia or impose de facto limits on the kinds of subjects it's permitted to cover. Guidelines, as clearly stated, are to be used with common sense and admit the occassional exception. An article on European history could not use a work by a Nazi historian as a general secondary source. But an article on the Nazi view of history would study Nazi historians, and hence they certainly could appear in the article in some fashion. This is the difference. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 02:00, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
    This may be the most ridiculous edit war over policy ever. If we can't represent the views of Hitler in any article not directly about him or the Nazi parties its a little ridiculous. And nobody's likely to get away with quoting Hitler in random articles because of WP:UNDUE. What on earth? Relata refero (talk) 10:11, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

    Unless this is a new Wikipedia and someone took the old Wikipedia away, it's rife with all sorts of heinous POV-pushing. Vigilance and reputable editing beat trying to figure out if there is some syllogism or loophole in Wikipedia guidelines inviting neo-Nazi or other extremist exploitation. I would like to believe there is a large community of editors that can tell Mein Kampf extremism apart from reputable politische geschichte and edit accordingly. Am I missing something here? −PētersV (talk) 01:50, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

    Someguy: Any truly reliable source will make very clear the distinction between factual claims, the opinions of the author, and the opinions of others merely being repeated. Absolutely true. However, I don't object against reliable sources that cite extremist sources. I object against the abuse of this reliable sources by editors that want to highlight extremist sources EVADING the WP:RS policy. It is my observation that the "Extremist sources" clause of WP:RS does not pronounce itself against this kind of abuse. You might be right in saying OR and NPOV already cover this kind of abuse, though to my knowledgde OR nor NPOV primarily cover significant points of view and investigation. Do you want to invite editors to pointless discussions concerning the significance of Mein Kampf, while in reality the real issue is extremism? To me the proper address to address this kind of abuse is here, in the "extremist sources" clause of WP:RS.

    Shirahadasha: This thread is not to impose limits on the kind of permitted subjects. Extremist sources are usefull to extremists subjects. This would not change. Nor is it my intention to censor or to exceed the limits grossly provided for by other policies that would deem extremist views undue, fringe or insignificant to non-extremist (=normal) articles. My intention is to make a clear statement against gaming the WP:RS policy by coming up with (lifting) extremist sources (in normal articles) for the only reason that they happen to be referred to by reliable sources.

    Relata refero: What you think ridiculous is completely undue to this discussion. Please read the argument, articles on extremist subjects are of no concern - here a completely different problem might be involved, when extremist subjects tend to evolve into platforms to extremists points of view. Your other argument, that extremist sources are WP:UNDUE by definition: What makes you think so? Will others think so? Will Nazi-POV pushers agree that Hitler ideas are undue to any subject? To prove the relevance and significance of their POV they could still abuse WP:RS and evade the clause against extremist sources.

    PētersV: Maybe you are the only one here that is NOT missing something.

    Rokus01 (talk) 12:48, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

    With regard to the question over significance versus extremism, I believe this is the very reason no new rule should exist, actually. To say that an opinion should not be mentioned in the parent article because it is not just insignificant (as per NPOV), but because it is extremist is something that takes consensus. But this guideline very merely outlines what sources are acceptable for citation. When you're looking at a source that's known to be reliable, what content from that source is acceptable for presentation is necessarily outside the guideline's purview, and is covered by the core policies. It may be worth, however, leaving a link somewhere to NPOV or UNDUE so that inexpreienced good faith users don't mistakenly believe the sourcing issue ends here. Someguy1221 (talk) 15:01, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
    There can be no definitive definition of "extremist sources". Extremes are determined by context. A Nazi or neo-Nazi may have quite mainstream views on some matters. If a famous mathematician were to espouse neo-Nazi views, that would not, obviously, invalidate his mathematical work. We use reliable sources to determine legitimate mainstream and alternative views on all subjects. We have a policy to prefer the use of scholarly secondary sources over primary sources, because primary sources can more easily be misrepresented or misinterpreted. However primary sources are not excluded. Mein Kampf is a primary source on Hitler's views. It is not a reliable secondary source on the subjects it discuses. In other words it can legitimately be used to say "Hitler thought that Jews were destroying society". It cannot be legitimately used to say "Jews were destroying society". Paul B (talk) 00:15, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
    Thank you to Someguy1221 and Paul Barlow, I believe that sums things up quite well. We already have guidelines on how to cite which work quite well, and we have editorial policing (in the most positive of senses). If anyone believes this is not working, let's produce a specific example, not a thought experiment. I'm not trying to be purposely dense, I just think it's better to not fix something which hasn't been shown to be broken. —PētersV (talk) 01:26, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

    "We have a policy to prefer the use of scholarly secondary sources over primary sources, because primary sources can more easily be misrepresented or misinterpreted." This policy has the loophole of permitting POV pushers to exclusively quote the primary sources they want by recurring to secondary sources without regarding the representation and interpretation originally provided for by the secondary sources.

    I just think it's better to not fix something which hasn't been shown to be broken. This argument is nonsensical, since loopholes never (per definition) breach established policy - else the loopholes wouldn't be loopholes. This kind of circular reasoning would seek to define infractions by arbcom mediation and would depend on cases that escalate on charges of bad faith and obstruction: utterly against WP:UCS. All attention to extremist points that hinges on personal interpretations of being due, significant or otherwise compliant to WP policy categorize as possible infractions to the spirit of Wikipedian policy.

    Still, Schonkens opinion that an extra clause on extremist sources is "irrelevant because there isn't, nor shouldn't be an impediment in the sense I seem to want" is even more clear to the real issue here at stake: Does the consensus point at a rejection of closing possible loopholes or does it rather point at a general permissiveness/desire to provide a platform, to extremist points of view that would game the system? Rokus01 (talk) 11:36, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

    Object-oriented programming: the difference between a composition and an aggregation?

    The definition of an aggregation on the Object Composition page ( seems to tell that it differs from a composition by not having ownership on the members it contains. Thus, when an aggregation is destroyed, its aggregated members are NOT destroyed as well.

    However,in the classical book "Design Patterns : Elements of Reusable OBject-Oriented Software" by Eric Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson and John Vlissides, the definition of an aggregation gos like this: (p. 22) "Aggregation implies that one object owns or is responsible for another object. Generally we speak of an object having or being part of another object. Aggregation implies that an aggregate object and its owner have identical lifetimes."

    It seems to me that both definitions are antonyms. So, what is the correct definition? —Preceding unsigned comment added by EstelleCharette (talkcontribs) 03:52, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

    This is a question for the reference desks. Someguy1221 (talk) 03:54, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

    The Death of WP:RS?

    (With a title so grand, this just has to be long.)

    I argued on V that this guideline should be systematically audited: remove redundant material and move material that should actually be in policy to policy. That appears to be happening to some extent, as with the thread two up re convenience links. Thinking this through the following might happen:

    • Cut the 'What is a reliable source?' section because we don't need two canonical descriptions of reliable sources and the one on V is superior; a few critical lines from here could be moved there.
    • Collapse 'Why use reliable sources?' into two or three sentences and also move it; the policy itself should be making the observation about plagiarism and copyright.
    • Move the exceptional claims description (the only really novel thing here) to V as well, as again this should probably be a policy advisement if we're to have it at all.
    • Move convenience links to WP:CITE as the section more logically belongs there.

    (Note if we did all this, V would still be a tidy page under 10k readable prose.)

    And what would we be left with? Nothing. At best, 3k readable prose and the death of WP:RS. Perhaps that would be a good thing. This page has been in two states since its inception: bloated and unmanageable in '05 and '06, and skeletal and of little use in '07. And the irony is that this page never needed to exist. It was a fork of V to begin with.

    How much has RS really helped people? How many canonical points of Wikipedia principle (e.g. "verifiability, not truth") has it produced? In my experience, it's been V that ultimately decides sourcing disputes and it's been V that has produced the principles that guide our sourcing. Not just "not truth," but burden of evidence, "challenged or likely to be challenged," and the canonical list of reliable sources (the second paragraph here). (Credit where it's due, we can thank SlimVirgin for much of this.)

    Of course the words 'reliable sources' are of enormous value. But I've often thought people are so attached to the words they don't pause to consider whether the actual content of this guideline has much affect. If typing WP:RS took you to a section on V would the encyclopedia be worse off? Or might instead the encyclopedia be strengthened? Jimbo has noted that "Reliable sources, too, is quite different from NOR and V, although arguably a subset of Verifiability." It's not arguable, but obvious: the very definition of verifiability is, for Wikipedia's purposes, dependent on the definition of reliable sources. Not a subset, but totally enmeshed on a most basic conceptual level.

    Two qualifiers:

    • This is not a rehashing of ATT. The central plank of ATT was the V + NOR merger and the rename; clearly that's not going to happen. RS was the secondary concern (though its merging enjoyed more support). If RS forked from V organically, I don't see why we can't merge it back organically.
    • I realize editors (Jossi, not least) have put an enormous amount of time into RS. (I've actually practically never edited here—never wanted to because the page is different every time I look at it.) But I wonder if the people who have edited it heavily have been motivated less by real fondness for the content than by a desire to keep a semblance of stability.

    Lastly, I can anticipate the first argument: "but we need this for examples, extended descriptions, etc." Do we? If you believe, as this editor does, that policy should cover all the general points of concern and leave specific solutions to be derived on article talk, then no we don't need this page. We don't need a guideline saying "Do not use YouTube". We need a policy page saying "articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy" and whether we should use YouTube etc. should be perfectly obvious. Of course there'll still be debates at the margins—but I don't believe the existence of RS has in any way decreased such debates.

    OK, I'll stop there. Marskell (talk) 15:08, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

    Most definitively not the death of WP:RS, as the concept of "reliable sources" is fundamental to the project. But yes, this page has been a swinging pendulum, saying nothing new or saying way too much which was inconsistent with established policies depending on the day you looked at it. No harm will be done by redirecting WP:RS to WP:V#Sources, which is the policy on sources. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:00, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
    To often WP:RS has acted as a pretender to the throne, to the point that editors get confused as to W:RS’s true place is the scheme of things, and therein comes most of the problems. Remerging WP:RS into WP:V would eliminate a lot of problems. As Marskell noted, most of what this page is “suppose” to do, should logically take place on individual article talk pages, rather than having one all-include page that is "suppose" to nuance all issues. Brimba (talk) 16:28, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
    I agree with jossi above about the state of the page, but I'm not certain I agree with all of your arguments, Marskell. At the risk of being the first to present your anticipated counterargument, I think guidelines are still necessary to avoid repeating the same discussions over and over again. Of course the people writing on this talk page all know (or should know) that YouTube is not reliable, but what about the newbies who saw something cool in a YouTube video and want to add it to an article? A lack of relatively clear-cut guidelines means that editors are doomed to rehashing the same points over and over again as we try to convince every newcomer that yes, this is Wikipedia policy and no, YouTube/MySpace/your mom's blog cannot be used to back up your claims.
    That being said, a redirect to WP:V with an expansion of the reliable sources section would be most welcome, as V is the logical place for them to be. After all, what is verifiability but the state of being confirmed by reliable sources? This would also help solve the problem of having two definitions of reliable sources that do not always match up (e.g. WP:V notes foreign-language sources while WP:RS is mute on the subject).
    So redirect? Yes. Cut out everything and leave editors to hash out the details on individual article talk pages? An emphatic no. --jonny-mt(t)(c)Tell me what you think! 16:40, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
    The solution is much more simple, two lists, one of definite RS's (ie the BBC) and one of sites that arn't RS's (ie MySpace) then we only need to argue about those not on these lists then put them on the appropriate list. Then people can easily know what is and isn't an RS. (Hypnosadist) 16:52, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
    We have Wikipedia:Reliable sources/examples that can be used or re-purposed after cleanup. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:32, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
    Yes Jossi, certainly not the death of "reliable sources"—as a concept. The concept is fundamental to what Wikipedia has become, which is part of the point: it's so fundamental that the split to two pages doesn't make sense. V is, in many ways, the main policy the encyclopedia has, and the definition of V is inseparable from the definition of reliable sources. As Jonny says "what is verifiability but the state of being confirmed by reliable sources?"
    To respond to Jonny more directly, I'll rephrase: policy application must be deductive. Because we cannot, in any stable way, legislate for every possibility, we need good general rules in policy that allow people to deduce what to do on a given article. I understand the newbie point, but don't agree that a merge will create a problem. You say to the newbie "listen, editorial oversight is a main point, as described on the verifiability policy; policies can't tell us what to do with every specific source, but the policy tells me here that we should not include this YouTube link because there's no editorial oversight." That is, you deduce from the general rule what to do in the specific case. Admittedly some sources (YouTube is probably the best example) come up so much, that a specific FAQ would be helpful. I can imagine a refocused examples page after a merge. But I don't see anything to speak against a merge. Marskell (talk) 19:36, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
    I definitely support the merge. This page started life as a fork of V and has caused confusion ever since. Let's take the idea of it, and merge it into V or V/Sources. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:23, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
    Clear, uninvolved support for the merge. A very good idea. Privatemusings (talk) 22:32, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
    In response to Marskell above, I just want to clarify that I definitely support merging this page into WP:V. I think you're right about deductive reasoning informing our application of policy, and I agree that presenting a few choice sites/types of sites as examples of what can and cannot be included as a reliable source would make it that much easier to explain this policy to the newbies and ensure that article editing can proceed at a (relatively) smooth pace. My sole concern with the argument as you presented it was that (if I can be forgiven for using a saying so old it's got cobwebs on it) it seemed a little like we were throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But now that you've assuaged that concern, this merge has my full support. --jonny-mt(t)(c)Tell me what you think! 10:24, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

    Theoretically, the existence of this page is justfiable. In practice however, it's been unstable to the point of farce. I've lost count of the number of times in recent months I have argued that source x or y should/should not be used based on WP:RS, only to return here to find that the statement on which I was basing my position has disappeared from the guideline. In fact it's gotten so bad I decided some time ago to ignore what is written here since it can't be relied upon from one day to the next, and to just use common sense about RS instead. So what purpose is this page ultimately serving?

    On the other hand, I'm not sure how getting rid of the page will solve the problem, as it may only move the policy meddling from here to WP:V. But I guess there is at least a little less licence to digress on a policy page. Also, having just one page on the subject might reduce the potential for confusion. Gatoclass (talk) 03:44, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

    "...a little less licence to digress on a policy page." Yes, definitely. It's revert first and ask questions later at V, just as at NOR and NPOV. This is a good thing. V is a stable page; elegant and succinct, IMO. We've warred on it but that's not entirely bad: it's wording has been scrutinized very closely. And yes, just one page would make things much easier to track. Marskell (talk) 09:51, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
    Finally, a sensible and practical policy/guideline merger proposal. This has my support. Adrian M. H. 15:59, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
    • I support the merger. I don't see a need for this to stand alone, and the topic seems fairly well covered at WP:V. --Kevin Murray (talk) 18:15, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

    I think the merger would be OK if we made the section on Reliable sources a guideline. Information about what sources are OK to use really needs to be a guideline for flexibility, as there are always going to be exceptions. It would be perfectly all right to say "everything must have a source" is policy, and "these sources are OK" a guideline. That would help avoid overzealous application of a reliable sources policy that can be subjective at times.

    WP:NFC is an example of a guideline which includes a policy. My suggestion is the same but in reverse: a policy that includes a guideline. What do you think? —Remember the dot (talk) 02:58, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

    As mentioned, Wikipedia:Reliable sources/examples can be retooled. We could make it an FAQ model. But it needs to be shortened. Just because you can think of an example doesn't mean it has to be added. We should just mention the ones that come up a lot. Marskell (talk) 18:24, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
    I should have been more clear. It would be perfectly all right to say "everything must have a source" is policy, and "these kinds of sources are OK" is a guideline. I just don't like the idea of writing "these kinds of sources are OK" into official policy where it will inevitably be overzealously applied. Making that a guideline would, in almost all cases, be more of a symbolic change than anything else, but it would help prevent policy abuse in some cases. —Remember the dot (talk) 18:40, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
    • I would support User:Marskell's programme above. Redundancy on policy pages is bad, and recent changes to this article have made the rationale for its continued existence questionable. COGDEN 20:54, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
    Actually, WP:RS has been thoroughly eviscerated over the past year, so its demise would probably be an act of mercy. Not long ago Gatoclass noticed that rigor mortis was setting in. Much of what was in it has been siphoned off to WP:V or WP:RS/Examples or some such. In essence, a rewickering of the current WP:RS and WP:RS/Examples should produce what WP:RS should have been. Of course, there’s the question of what the page should be called. (* Cough * ... Reliable Sources?) Askari Mark (Talk) 04:22, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
    I agree that it's been cut heavily over the last year, but again it was cut because it sucked and/or was redundant. The examples page has had less than a hundred edits in twelve months. It was essentially a moth-balling of info that nobody cared about. I would suggest that somebody move it to user space and we start again with a short Verifiability FAQ after a redirect. Marskell (talk) 12:43, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
    Fair enough. The current version of the RS guidelines can be found at User:jonny-mt/RS; examples are at User:jonny-mt/RS/Examples. Edit away! --jonny-mt(t)(c)Tell me what you think! 13:58, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

    Do not merge WP:RS

    I spent time arguing about this back in July. Unfortunately, I don't have time to be on Wikipedia all the time anymore, to keep close watch on policy and guideline pages. But, my view on this matter has not changed.

    The concept of "reliable sources" is an important one, and one more simply understood (readability) by the newbie than verifiability. If I revert someone's edits, because they use some unreliable website (e.g. 9/11 conspiracy theory site), it's simple and clear enough to tell them that it's not a reliable source, pointing them to that page. I have spent way much more time than I wish, helping maintain pages about the 9/11 attacks, dealing with people that keep inserting unsourced or non-reliably sourced material. It's also an issue on other topics ( e.g. medical/health topics) where rigorously reviewed sources (e.g. peer reviewed journal articles) should usually take priority over other sources.

    You just look at the name of the page or guideline "reliable sources" and a newbie has a pretty good idea what it is about. You tell them "verifiability" and it is not obviously clear from that word, what we mean. The word "reliable" is of utmost importance. Having a page with that word ("reliable) in the title gives this expectation extra emphasis. The guideline page can reiterate what is said on WP:V, could elaborate about reliable sources, and simply tell people that "reliable" sources is important on Wikipedia.

    Please do not take this page away and redirect it. Please do not make it all the more difficult for me (and others) to edit, write, and maintain articles on Wikipedia. --Aude (talk) 22:39, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

    Agree - WP:RS is much more suited to sharpen editorial judgement in weighing the reliability of sources, where WP:V can't do much more than set a hard minimum treshold. --Francis Schonken (talk) 23:03, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
    But there is nothing here; as Jossi said, it's a redirect, not a merge. You can still tell your newbie all about reliable sources and it will be a stronger argument because it will be policy. Marskell (talk) 07:41, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    And I'll just add, as a Q. What makes Wiki harder to maintain: referring newbies to an unstable guideline or referring them to a stable policy? When people link to RS what particular wording do they have in mind that will be of use? I can't think of any, because this page has never produced canonical wording. I never refer people to this page. I always point to V. It's V that makes the encyclopedia easier to maintain. Marskell (talk) 08:27, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    The page title means something important. Now, why is there nothing here? Why has the page been unstable?
    • [7] - large amount of material cut
    • [8] - material cut from page
    • [9] - User:BenB4, "until we can come up with a solution for transcluding, all of our guidance about what is and is not a reliable source should be here, because far more templates cite this, and it's only 4 paragraphs"
    • [10] - edit warring between User:Wikidemo and User:Jossi
    • [11] - material cut from page
    • [12] - material cut (this may be okay)
    • [13] - material restored by User:BenB4 that was "removed during WP:ATT promotion in April"
    And so forth. I don't have the time to patrol changes to this page that have happened and revert them. But, there used to be a lot of useful guidance here [14] before material was purged from this page when creating WP:ATT, as well as recently. That's not acceptable. This page needs to be restored as a useful guideline. --Aude (talk) 11:51, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    Here is the page from before WP:ATT: [15]; Maybe this page should be rolled back to before that time, and copyedited to fit what's on WP:V and other pages currently. I know other pages were rolled back when WP:ATT was reverted. I'm simply tired of this page being purged, but don't have time to watch this page all the time and keep up with people that cut material. --Aude (talk) 12:01, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    Vehemently opposed. Marskell (talk) 12:03, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    I strongly dispute that your last link constitutes a useful guideline. To me, it's a bloated mess that I wouldn't go near. Attempting to restore this to '05 and '06 form would be absolutely the worst option. The principal words that we use to guide people—"verifiability, not truth," "challenged or likely to be challenged," "wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought"—have been generated on other pages, not RS. That we need the page simply because we need the name is not an argument that holds up; no one is going to be confused by a section on V labelled "Reliable sources." Marskell (talk) 12:00, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    I'm strongly opposed to the drastic cuts on this guideline page. It used to be more useful as guidance for people. It needs to be restored as such. As for the page title, the word "reliable" is a simple word that everyone (including newbies) understands. Having that in the page title gives emphasis to the fact that reliable sources are important on Wikipedia. --Aude (talk) 12:09, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    Between V, NOR, NPOV, and BLP, where are you lacking guidance now? Marskell (talk) 12:11, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    Why not have one single page that summarizes and provides guidance to the policies? As you point out, reliable sources is covered on multiple policy pages. It's overwhelming to point a newbie to the alphabet soup of multiple policy pages. Rather, let's point them to one single guideline page, where in turn they can go to those policy pages if they are interested. At least keep this page here for those who want to use it. You don't have to, but others do use it. I would at least be okay with reverting back to September, before recent purges. [16] --Aude (talk) 12:14, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    Yes, one single page: Wikipedia:Verifiability. Yours is an argument in favour of redundancy. Two descriptions of reliable sources. The version you link to last is nearly word-for-word what's already in V, as a matter of policy. It's silly to have to maintain two descriptions. If they're identical, it's pointless; if they're divergent, it's dangerous. Marskell (talk) 12:19, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    Wikipedia:Reliable source examples is difficult to find there. A summary of that, along with other key policies would be useful guidance. I would find that extremely useful, vastly more than referring them to WP:V and the alphabet soup of other pages. --Aude (talk) 12:22, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    The examples page has an essay tag. It's the crap that was forked out of here and is in serious need of an audit. "Vastly" better? What's hard about referring to V now? The policy pages are themselves summaries. You're asking to retain another letter of the soup when it's redundant. We could make this a soft redirect, however; maybe three or four sentences. Marskell (talk) 12:27, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    It's vastly better and more direct to tell a newbie that their changes were reverted because they did "not comply with our reliable source guidelines" or " not a reliable source", rather than their changes were reverted because they did "not comply with the reliable sources section of the verifiability policy". The words "reliable source" are meaningful for Wikipedia. Verifiability with what? with reliable sources! A guideline page on reliable sources is essential. --Aude (talk) 12:45, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    Now, due to real life priorities, I will be off Wikipedia for a while, possibly until tomorrow or Sunday. My silence on the matter does not mean that I agree to changes. --Aude (talk) 12:48, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
    Aude, now c'mon. You would just say it did "not comply with our reliable source policy." And note that that's a truer statement: that we use reliable sources is a matter of policy.
    Anyhow, new thread started below. Marskell (talk) 12:51, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

    <<<< Aude's comment in the maililing list that newbies will understand better the concept of "Reliable sources" that the concept of verifiability is easily dealt with, as no one s arguing that the concept of "reliable sources" is removed from from lexicon. We will still be aboe to send people to WP:RS or to describe the need for reliable sources as these will be redirected to WP:V#Sources that explains these concepts quite clearly. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:14, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

    Where do we stand on this at the moment? SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) —Preceding comment was added at 22:33, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

    This debate reminds me of Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Archive 1. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 01:22, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

    Right now, we stand at the point where we should contact Jimbo.
    Phil, as has been made clear in the various threads, this is not a redoing of ATT. The RS redirect was secondary to that proposal. But if you go back through the opposes on the poll, you'll see that it actually enjoyed the most support. Marskell (talk) 08:27, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

    It is not the contents I am talking about, it is some of the editors very actively involved in suggesting the redirection of RS and the style of the conversation. And what I've seen written on this page since I posted the comment above only increases my sense of Déjà vu --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 07:38, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

    Oppose with the firey passion of a thousand burning suns, and here's why. At it's core, RS seems to be a simple, cut-and-dry document: "don't use unreliable sources." If this were a simple paper encyclopedia then that would be nearly sufficient for policy in and of itself. The problem is that with the vast and wide array of subjects that Wikipedia covers there will inevitably be exceptions to any policy version of Reliable Sources, no matter how well it is phrased. Take, for example, blogs: not a particularly reliable source. But what if it's an article about blogs, or an article about a rumor that started on a blog, or an internet meme involving a blog, and so on and so forth. There are countless other situations where exceptions would arise that would either qualify previously unreliable sources or disqualify normally reliable sources. (or both) Because it is so likely that exceptions will arise, Reliable Sources must remain as a guideline, as guidelines are specifically for those documents to which exceptions will occur. -- Y|yukichigai (ramble argue check) 08:30, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

    Not exactly. That questionable sources may be used in articles about themselves is long established in policy. See WP:SELFPUB. Marskell 08:47, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
    • "This page started life as a fork of V and has caused confusion ever since" <-- translation: POV pushers dislike this page because it puts limits on their POV pushing. I suggest we return the page to this version and then develop the page with many examples of reliable and non-reliable sources. This page should be a key part of the institutional memory of Wikipedia: sources demonstrated by the community to not be reliable and not be acceptable for use at Wikipedia should be listed here (or on subpages) along with the evidence upon which the community has made its decisions. --JWSchmidt 16:06, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
    • Late into the party, and almost certainly repeating something somebody said above, I definitely support this move/merge. I constantly hear myself saying "You need to establish verifiability through the use of reliable sources", whilst linking to two different pages. Too complicated. Merge them, cut out unnecessary stuff, and keep it both simple and reader-friendly. Anthøny 22:59, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
    Merge and Change NameAs someone still learning my way around, having two pages is frustrating. But understand that "reliable sources" is easier for people to understand. Why not change page name to to Reliable, Verifiable Sources "WP:RVS" - have our cake and eat it too. And of course there will be the internal link to Reliable sources people always can direct others to. When does this get decided by the way???

    Carol Moore 20:06, 19 January 2008 (UTC)CarolMooreDC talk

    Merge — Also late to the party, but agree that sourcing needs tightening. There is a shameful lack of stringent sourcing on Wikipedia overall. What harm can be done by requiring proper, solid sourcing — and spelling it out for volunteers who are, mostly, not trained academics or journalilsts?
    When those opposing a stringent level of sourcing by using phrases like, "No, by a thousand burning suns" (for example), I do have to question the rational basis for that argument, if it's so unsteady than such emotional appeal has to be used. --Tenebrae (talk) 13:39, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
    Do not merge. WP:Verifiability is a good policy in its own right and although WP:RS is a related policy, it stands on its own. — EliasAlucard / Discussion 14:04, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

    WP:MOS subguideline, anyone?

    Imo, this guideline could be far more usefully handled and improved if it where a dedicated WP:MOS subguideline. The applicable policy (WP:V) appropriately handles the required minimum threshold, while this page could explain various scenarious in greater detail than a policy, including the ideal case, or how to proceed in the many suboptimal cases where high quality sources are not easily available etcpp. User:Dorftrottel 14:52, February 15, 2008

    RfC on reliable sources at Invisible Pink Unicorn

    There is a request for comment related to reliability of sources occurring at Talk:Invisible_Pink_Unicorn#RfC:_is_content_in_h2g2_a_reliable_source_for_information_about_the_Invisible_Pink_Unicorn

    WP:RS as it pertains to

    I have had previous discussions on the propriety of, and I have had experience making submissions to imdb. My cousin was in Ray (film). He was a specialized extra in Ray's band (2nd trumpet- Edward Anderson). It is in no way a wiki. Submissions are reviewed for accuracy and propriety. When I submitted his name for an imdb page based on his role in the film, it took about a month for them to review and edit my submission. It seems to me that a wiki is does not have an editorial review process and this does.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTD) 20:42, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

    We have had discussion about quite a few times... not reliable. Blueboar (talk) 21:29, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
    Can you point me to such a discussion?-- (talk) 00:11, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
    I'm not sure what archives it would be contained in, but I never saw anyone challenge the use of IMDB for bare facts (the run time, release dates, and cast of a film). Just about everything else on there is generally not trusted. Someguy1221 (talk) 00:21, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
    Just don't use it to source anything remotely controversial. R. Baley (talk) 01:00, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

    Fansites, Fan translations, and WP:COPYRIGHTS

    There has been a dust-up over at WT:ANIME and WT:SM over the use of fansites and fan translations. This particularly applies to the website, which also makes music downloads available in violate of copyright laws, The Oracle (, which contains episodes downloads, and Hitoshi Doi's website (, which includes cast listings, episode titles, episode airdates, etc.

    Defenders are saying that both of these sites are essential to verify information as there is "no other source". One even asserts that because Hitoshi Doi's website was used by academics in their academic papers on the subject, that implies that his website is a reliable source.

    The main point of contention is that a number of GA articles make extensively use of these sources, and other fan sites containing image galleries, translations, and essays. --Farix (Talk) 14:57, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

    So what is the issue? The various guidelines and policies are clear on copyvio. 2005 (talk) 22:58, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
    Neither verifiability nor citations require that the source be available for free, or even online at all. And the external links guideline prohibits linking to known copyright violations. Now, as a matter of using those sorts of sites to "verify" something from the episodes, I'd have no problem seeing someone drop that link in discussion so a content dispute could be expediently resolved. But Wikipedia is not TV Links, nor should it be. Someguy1221 (talk) 00:05, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    What is the consensus on using a URL linking to fan-produced transcripts of television shows as the "transcripturl" argument of a {{cite episode}} citation template that cites a television series episode itself, provided all the other arguments are accurate for the episode? Robert K S (talk) 00:18, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    I'm pretty sure fan-produced transcripts are considered blatant COPYVIO, and really a transcript URL is unnecessary. citing the episode is sufficient, and that field is for either public domain or official transcripts. AnmaFinotera (talk) 22:14, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    Any other voices? (I didn't post here on AnmaFinotera's suggestion only to get her opinion here too.) Robert K S (talk) 06:10, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
    There are other editors that are suggesting that it isn't clear with regards to The Oracle and, since using them as sources isn't a "strict violation" of WP:COPYRIGHTS since they are not "directly" linking to the copyvio material, which is why I brought it up here. --Farix (Talk) 14:34, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    Then perhaps you should use a more descriptive section title. if you are now asking what is the guideline on linking to pages that don't have copyvio on a domain where on other pages there is copyvio, well then there should be considerable prior discussion on that, but that has nothing to do with fansites except by coincidence. 2005 (talk) 22:24, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

    Merge tag

    Does anyone mind if I remove this? It doesn't look as though it's going to happen. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 23:45, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

    Done. Brimba (talk) 03:24, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

    New interpretation of NPOV?

    This edit : Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy imposes to achieve neutrality across all types of reliable sources. The neutral point of view is a means of dealing with conflicting verifiable perspectives on a topic as evidenced by reliable sources. Where does that come from? Is that not a novel interpretation of WP:NPOV? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:02, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

    I have some problems with this addition as well, but don’t have time at the moment to go into detail. In short:
    • This section is unrelated to sourcing, so why include it?
    • We already have NPOV examples on the NPOV policy page, and the NPOV FAQ, so why do we need a third?
    • Some attempts have been made to alter WP:V to assist one side or the other in the ongoing What the Bleep Do We Know!? dispute. Any mention of pseudoscience is an open invitation to spin policy, and achieve on RS what was rebuffed on V. In other words any mention of pseudoscience is courting some heavy POV edit warring, which would be fine if this page was the proper venue for that topic, but its not, it suppose to be a guideline about sourcing.
    Mostly I fail to see the connection between the NPOV section and sourcing, -the page topic. Brimba (talk) 16:21, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    The two places in the NPOV policy I found that wrote something about sources (the section about aesthetic opinions, not differentiating between types of sources, and the section on the /FAQ page on pseudoscience, that suggests to pre-emptively view the scientific approach as the majority view for pseudoscientific topics) were added as examples. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:53, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    Agree... this seems to be about how to discuss sources in a neutral way in articles, not about the need to back what we say with reliable sources or determining what a reliable source is (which is what this guideline is about). Blueboar (talk) 16:28, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    I don't understand this sentence: "Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy imposes to achieve neutrality across all types of reliable sources." SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 16:52, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    It's definitely using the wrong verb - replace "imposes" with "attempts" maybe? still doesn't quite make sense though. And I don't like the pseudoscience example, something with less on-wiki controversy would be better. —Random832 16:58, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    I had put "invites" first, but was looking for a stronger verb. [17] --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:56, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    Re. "And I don't like the pseudoscience example, something with less on-wiki controversy would be better." - maybe much of the controversy is about not reading that sentence which was actually copied verbatim from an policy page. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:58, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    I don't see the need for this section either, we have the NPOV policy to explain this, why have a duplicate and add complications? Tim Vickers (talk) 19:37, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

    This section had just been added to replace {{see|Wikipedia:Neutral point of view}} which was under the Scholarship heading. As discussed above, it's completely off topic, so I've commented it out until a rationale can be given for including it. If the link should be included as a core policy, the second paragraph of the lede would seem to be the appropriate place. However, there's no obvious tie into the discussion in that paragraph. Alternatively, a subsection about the part reliable sources play in NPOV could be added under Reliability in specific contexts, preferably discussed here first. A bald summary of the policy doesn't explain any connection. .. dave souza, talk 19:39, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

    Hard to tell what it meant, but if I'm understanding it correctly, it seems to contradict the ArbCom decision about scientific sources in scientific topics. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:42, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    Re. "it seems to contradict the ArbCom decision about scientific sources in scientific topics" – I refer to WP:NPOV/FAQ#Pseudoscience, it contains the sentences I copied verbatim. Note that that section on the NPOV/FAQ page contains portions verbatim copied from the ArbCom case I think you are referring to. --Francis Schonken (talk) 22:21, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    The section is highly related to sourcing. We had a previous consensus that academic sources were reliable for academic points of view, particularly on matters of science, history, and medicine. A claim that Wikipedia believes academic sources are especially reliable on everything is nothing more than a re-assertion of WP:SPOV, which was previously found to be inconsistent with WP:NPOV. Academic sources are reliable for what the academic community says, and the academic viewpoint is a significant one. Reliability refers to reputation in a community. To suggest that it has anything to do with truth or that Wikipedia itself has opinions about which community to believe violates WP:NPOV. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shirahadasha (talkcontribs) 19:56, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    The arbcom decision is not about "scientific topics", it's about scientific claims. It says if one claims one is a scientist and is doing science, ones claims have to be supported by reputable scientists. It does not say that when scientists and other kinds of philosophers disagree, the scientific viewpoint is given a monopoly on the topic. As long as one isn't claiming to be a scientist or calling ones perspective "science", it simply doesn't apply. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 20:20, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    Indeed... I am reminded of an old quote about the Creation of the Universe... Science tells you how the universe was created, Religion tells you why the universe was created. As long as you differentiate the two, and make it clear that they are approaching the topic (what ever it may be) from different perspectives, then one can discuss all views in a neutral way. The conflicts start when scientists start talking religion and theologians start talking science. The same is true for any two fields of study. Blueboar (talk) 20:38, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    Could we simply remove the text re-explaining NPOV? This guideline is about which sources are reliable, after all, not how to write articles. Tim Vickers (talk) 20:53, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

    @Jossi: "The neutral point of view is a means of dealing with conflicting verifiable perspectives on a topic as evidenced by reliable sources", is a quote from the WP:NPOV policy page. First section, first sentence.

    It's not that I want this separate section on WP:NPOV in, but having a link to WP:NPOV in a hatnote of a section that is not really specifically related to that policy (not more nor less than any other section) is not all that a great idea. Does anyone have a better suggestion? --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:46, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

    You could copy a relevant sentence or two from the NPOV policy. In that way, we wouldn't risk having a significantly different text on this page, but it would still allow editors to see the direct link between this page and the policy. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 21:50, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    I put the sentence discussing different types of sources and linking to the NPOV policy in the lead section, including "as appropriate", and a link to WP:NPOV. Comments? --Francis Schonken (talk) 22:09, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    "As appropriate" to what? When is it "inappropriate" to cover "all major and significant-minority views that have been published in other reliable sources" I can't work out what that piece of the text means - it needs to be clarified or removed. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:30, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    "Wikipedia articles should strive to cover all major and significant-minority scholarly interpretations on topics for which scholarly sources exist, and all major and significant-minority views that have been published in other reliable sources, as appropriate." I'm still puzzled as to when it would be inappropriate to apply the NPOV policy, could somebody explain what this means and why we need it? Tim Vickers (talk) 19:26, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

    Professional american football internet databases

    User:SandyGeorgia has filed objection at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Tyrone Wheatley for WP:RS. The remaining significant objection pertains to internet databases for professional American football. Below are summaries of the significance of the remaining objections. I understand Sandy's objection. The ramifications of the objection standing without qualification or condition is that there will likely be no modern football player promoted to FA unless something is done (Note only Jim Thorpe, a pre-1930s player is currently an FA). Most quality articles on such players rely on either (DBF) or (PFR). If they don't they would likely be improved by reference to their big games and a summary of their playoff performances that seem to only be able to be sourced at PFR. I do not seem to be able to find ready access to American Football League statistical leaders except at DBF (see Jack Kemp for usage). The reason why these two cites should be approved as reliable is that they only provide statistical information that likely is sourced from the same databases that recognized data such as that at or comes from. Thus, there is no opinion that would trouble us. There is no real reliability issue. I have never heard of significant discrepancies between PFR or DBF and ESPN or NFL. I think for strict data websites such as these which take the time to parse data in ways that provide useful information such as that below, we should recognize them as sufficiently reliable to be used in WP:FAs.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTD) 22:04, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

    1. ^ "Tyrone Wheatley (big games)". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
    2. ^ a b "Tyrone Wheatley (playoffs)". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
    3. ^ "Tyrone Wheatley". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
    4. ^ "Oakland Raiders Franchise Encyclopedia". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 


    The proposal says it all. Will (talk) 11:24, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

    If the leak is published in an otherwise reliable source...what else is there to say about it? Is there a need to explicitly mention leaks? It seems to me no more an issue than your general unofficial claims published in reliable sources. Just as the ultimate source of a claim is mostly irrelevant, so is the ultimate source of a leak. Although I've certainly seen enough false arguments that certain claims shouldn't be presented on Wikipedia because the claimer is unreliable, even though the publisher (say, the BBC) is (with due diligence to frame the claim the same as the publisher does). And if the leak was publisher by the one who leaked it, on their personally maintained website for instance, than by my reasoning the leak has the same reliability as the website: none. Someguy1221 (talk) 14:30, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
    We already have WP:REDFLAG that deals with exeptional claims such as "reports of a statement by someone that seems out of character, embarrassing, controversial, or against an interest they had previously defended;" We do not need this here. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:03, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
    I agree entirely. We should certainly reflect any caveats attached to reliably reported leaks (e.g. denials by the source of the leaked material) but it's going to far to say that we shouldn't report the leaks in the first place. -- ChrisO (talk) 16:09, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

    Note: This is Will's proposed addition to the guideline. Someguy1221 (talk) 16:15, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

    Proposed section: authority

    Wikipedia has historically accepted authorities on viewpoints as reliable for presenting those viewpoints. In organized religions with authoritative structures, this includes recognized religious authorities (my classic example is Moshe Feinstein, who is widely recognized authority without credentials). But non-academic sources can include party or company spokespeople, the United States Supreme Court, and other sources who are speaking as authorities. It should be noted that not such sources are limited to religions, political parties, etc. which are both (a) major (clearly significant based on reliable sources), and (b) have an authority or peer review structure so that who represents them is clear. Academic and newspaper sources are simply examples of the kinds sources that are considered reliable. To prevent confusion, would suggest some additional examples to clarify this. Would also suggest a specific statement that the enumerated list is no intended to be exhaustive. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 17:33, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

    I will have to say that I don’t catch what you are trying to say here. On the other hand I am rather tired atm, so that may be why. Could you give a mock-up of your proposed wording? Thanks, Brimba (talk) 04:29, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

    Missing source category in this article (and missing source quality tags in all Wikipedia articles)

    With the source types in this articles I am missing the "non-academic publications by independent publishers". The majority of publications fall in this category. And it is not remarkable that Wikipedia gets her so-called reliability almost completely on these type of sources. However, such sources are often disputed by the academic world, to put it mildly.

    These popular sources should first be checked thoroughly by the academic community before being used in Wikipedia. This means publication in academic sources or being approved for or by academic publications. This criteria are lacking with popular publications from "independent” publishers. They should not be allowed as sources because their reliability is often hardly better than the category of “self-published” sources. (These kind of publications often go wrong where it concerns the sometimes very important details and the deeper search for and analyses of the causes behind the causes)

    To my opinion the same should be applied to sources from “mainstream news organizations” and “Extremist sources”. Which means they should only be used in context with annotations made by specialised and well respected academic reviewers. If this is impossible they should be marked with source quality tags, in the articles which refers to them, like “unreviewed source” or “unreviewed and disputed source” respectively. So the reader can estimate the quality of all sources used.

    To be honest, I believe every piece of texts in Wikipedia should have a reference to a source and every piece of texts should have a color (or colored-end-line-dot)so people can directly recognize the quality of every piece of text in every article. According to the quality of their sources.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:35, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

    this all depends on the nature of the material being used. Remember that since WP does not judge the validity of primary material, we are depend upon the evaluation of this material by subsequent reviews and publications. Some articles do cite extensively from primary research papers; I am not completely sure that in doing this we are not sometime going beyond our boundaries.DGG (talk) 22:40, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

    Reliability of publishers or reliability of sources

    This article is about the reliability of sources. However, strangely enough this article categorizes by reliability of publishers. Which is not the same. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:35, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

    Um... where does it talk about the reliability of publishers? It talks about the need for sources to be published, but not the reliability of publisher (except in the case of self published sources... where the source is the publisher). Remember a "source" has multiple aspects that are inter-related... by "source" we can mean the author, and we can mean where he/she said it. Both can have an impact on the sources reliability. When we provide a source for a fact, we have to look at who said the fact and where we found that information. Blueboar (talk) 15:47, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
    where this makes a difference is with books or articles by academics published in non-academic sources. I can see on the one hand preferring them over their academic publications as more suited to general needs; on the other hand, though they do put their reputation at risk, what they write for trade publishers is not normally subject to peer review or academic fact checking by peers subsequently.DGG (talk) 22:40, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
    It also makes a clear difference if a person chooses to publish something under their own name, under a pseudonym, or in an anonymous work that is later shown to be theirs, the author is the same in each case, but our assessment of the reliability of these different sources will clearly be different. Tim Vickers (talk) 18:48, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

    Dealing with retroactive changes in content from a reliable source

    For the video games project, we have just discovered that one of our accepted reliable sources 1UP has undergone a retroactive change in their content; while most of this is for updating review scores (going from a number-based to a grade-based system), some have identified changes in content (a 4pg interview being cut down to 1pg). Unfortunately, 1up employs a robots.txt that has prevented Wayback from capturing the old pages.

    There's about 1400 links to 1up articles from a linksearch estimation. Most of these are likely review scores and can be upgraded, but there are concerns that sourced statements on WP will no longer have the proper backing if they relied on a retro'd 1UP article. In most cases, we do use proper citing, so that accessdate is included, but since we can't use Wayback to show that, the reliability of that source is in question.

    Question: should we worry about such cases where the facts from the original sourced material no longer exist at that source as long as we've provided an accessdate for that, or do we need to update our articles to reflect what is now reported (or not) from that source? --MASEM 16:33, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

    Normally, update. Content sourced to a single source that isn't very stable has already borderline notability... when the source for such statements disappears (and no other more reliable source has come up in the mean time) it's below notability/verifiability threshold, definitely, and can be removed any time when challenged. --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:04, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
    I expect that this will be a real headache for the project... but it is an unfortunate side-effect of relying so heavily on a single source. Update what you can, delete what you can not update, and post a call for help on as many different venues as you can. You have my sympathy. Blueboar (talk) 18:00, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
    I think the obvious cases of retroactive changes are newspapers' printing corrections and journals' retracting articles. When such a thing happens, the source is essentially removing its promise of reliability from the content, and so the content on Wikipedia should definitely be altered to keep in line if it's not sourced to anything else (unless the retraction/correction has itself been mentioned by other sources, in which case the full situation should be fairly presented...happens sometimes). If we're still presuming this site to be reliable, it probably shouldn't be treated any differently. Someguy1221 (talk) 20:00, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
    Yea, I don't think we're arguing this includes retractions; the content that's changed that we can tell would seem legitimate as being interviews with game developers and other inoffensive or prone-to-conflict content. Also, as this changed just happened, it could simply be errors in the external web site ("oops, no page jumpers to move between a multipage article" might be the bug here). However, we are girding our loins here in case we have to plow through and update references if it this remains to be the case after a few days. --MASEM 20:09, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
    Good call on going slow... no need to panic if it turns out to be a simple glitch. Has anyone tried contacting the website to see if they are awair of the issue. They might change their software to allow for Wayback to work if they knew it affected the ability of a popular site like Wikipedia to use them as a source (no free publicity and links to their site). Blueboar (talk) 21:16, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
    For the future, you could try using WebCite to archive any of their webpages you choose to cite. Not that its much help now. Tim Vickers (talk) 17:34, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

    Age of sources

    There is a pending discussion where the age of an article/reliable source is being put into question. One party is stating the source is too old to be considered reliable, that since the source was published, information counter to it has been released and the view is not widely held any longer in academia. A further issue regarding the source is its origins. When the group originally published the source, they were not a reliable source, they have since become a group/foundation that we would consider a reliable source. What we need help is with the following:

    Do we judge the sources reliability according to the state of the group/foundation when the source was first published? How much weight should we give to a source that others are alleging is outdated and superseded? What is the burden of proof one must give to remove this source, should this source be mentioned per undue weight?

    Any answers or suggestions are welcome. --N4GMiraflores (talk) 18:38, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

    Can aggrators of self-pulished info be reliable?

    This question was sparked by a discussion about whether an uncontroversial definition of a slang term in the Urban Dictionary should be properly cited to it when no other viable source can be found.

    Do we, participants in a giant wiki, have enough faith in the wisdom of crowds to consider an aggregator of self-published information reviewed by hundreds of pairs of eyes to have, "a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy."

    If not, why not? Is it just because someone could conceivably game it to have false information? That can't be it, because even peer-reviewed sources can be gamed.

    Instead of outright rejection, shouldn't we have criteria for considering sources such as the Urban Dictionary reliable? Something like "at least 20 reviews and at least 10 times as many positive reviews as negative" -- wouldn't that be the epitome of fact-checking, and who seriously believes that it wouldn't also lead to confident accuracy as well? CKCortez (talk) 14:46, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

    yes Blogs Again

    As Blogs become more ubiquitous perhaps wikipedia could consider other exceptions than just the "under the direct supervision of a newspaper".

    There is a situation going on right now where we have an AfD on a holiday. One of the many claims made by the nominator is that "I don't know if this is a 'holiday' that's just celebrated by three guys in a room."

    A check of Google show 3,550 entries for the days' name, easily refuting that statement. However given that it is an annual holiday celebration, many of the entries are now being placed in Blogs -- either listings local events or of individuals commenting on their plans for the day. Without violating wikipedia policy that Blogs are not to be used as a reference is there some way to dig our way out of this quandary?

    Especially given that the nominator explicitly did not assert that there were no references that might easily be found, just that they had not been used as references. BiAndBi (talk) 00:48, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

    Well the article was kept at AFD, so there's no quandary to dig yourself out of anymore. But in any event, blogs will never be inherently reliable or establish notability. And that is very simply because anyone can create a blog, and there is no requirement for any form of review. Some blogs will and have dodged this from time to time on specific topics, but unless our concept of reliability is radically altered, blogs will always be presumed unreliable. However, like I said, there are exceptions, although it is up to whoever wants to use the blog as a source to argue as much. Someguy1221 (talk) 03:17, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
    Until about a year ago, we simply said "NO BLOGS" at all. Then we moved to allowing those "under the direct supervision of a newspaper"... Most recently, individual blogs have been alowed on a case by case basis. Why the slow and steady change? Because certain specific blogs have gained a reputation for accuracy and fact checking. They have crossed the bar from unreliability to reliability. However, the same can not be said for most blogs. The vast majority of blogs are, and should always be, considered unreliable. Blueboar (talk) 03:54, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
    It may be that I am misunderstanding the difference between a "Blog" as defined by Wikipedia and using what is technically defined as a blogging software tool to create, maintain and add continent to a website.
    For instance Feministing[18] which is an on-line magazine uses blogging software but has articles (especially interviews) that have great merit as reference materials. But is that a "Blog" as defined by Wikipedia? BiAndBi (talk) 04:15, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
    As far as I can tell from that website, although there are editors, there is no formal system of review, so I don't see anything to establish this as any more reliable than your random blog aside from probably being notable. Reliable sources also describe feministing as a blog [19]. There are more examples beyond the one link I just dropped. As for the interviews themselves, I think the notability (in the absence of any damning evidence) could allow us to consider the interviews to be legitimate. In this case, it would be fine for attributing something the interviewee has said, although it's still no more reliable than a self published source, as with an interview published anywhere else. Someguy1221 (talk) 04:24, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
    Blogs are treated like any other self-published material, they need to be used with great caution and should be used to verify the opinions of the author only, and certainly not to reference anything even slightly controversial. Tim Vickers (talk) 18:08, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

    Academic scholarship

    I'm proposing a significant modification of this section, which in its previous state seemed to suggest that academic viewpoints were the only significant ones. The clarification clarifies that (a) scientific and academic viewpoints are included because they are significant, not because they are true (per WP:NPOV Wikipedia endorses no-one's claim to truth); (b) they are authoratative particularly in matters of science, medicine, history, and similar matters. Regarding academic and news sources as the sole reliable sources would be a huge change from present policy and this matter needs to be carefully discussed. Many matters -- religion, law, politics, and others -- involve questions of (for example) authority. The reliable sources for presenting (let's say) the Catholic viewpoint in religion articles are those the Catholic Church regards as authoritative. Otherwise we have a simple end run around the community's rejection of WP:SPOV. Given that the community has repeatedly rebuffed efforts to establish academic viewpoints as the sole reliable ones, this is a matter that should not be decided by a handful of editors but needs more wide-spread discussion. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 20:10, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

    As an alternative, we could take away the word "academic" and similar references which were added in the last month and go back to refering to scholarship generally without a claim that academic scholarship is particularly preferred. This was the previous status quo. However, if it is desired to refer to specifically academic scholarship, we need one or more new sections to clarify the other kinds of scholarship that are reliable and what they are reliable for. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 20:15, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    Given that (barring a statement from the Pope) the the Catholic Church would consider the statements of respected Theologians (who qualify as Academic sources) as authoritive to express the Catholic viewpoint... I am not sure that I understand what is being proposed. Could you give a more concrete example? Blueboar (talk) 20:24, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    I'm trying to work out when this "Scholarship" wording was introduced. As far as I can see it came from August 2007 (see this version for example), so can't really be described as new, or the product of a few editors. Tim Vickers (talk) 20:25, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    No, I'm wrong, this dates back to at least December 2006 see this version. Tim Vickers (talk) 20:29, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
    The wording may have changed back and forth at various times. At this point I realize many changes have been made since I last visited earlier today, so my past comments are doubtless irrelevant to the current approach. I'll have to revisit this later. I realize I shouldn't start threads that require a lot of follow-up on Friday afternoons. Good weekend to all. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 21:44, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

    There are cases where I feel we should prefer academic scholarship over news sources, even outside the fields of "hard" science. The following is an example that comes up regularly in German Wikipedia; I'll use it for this argument, since no comparable English-language example readily comes to mind:

    Numerous German top-quality, national newspapers state, time and again, that Scientology does not have the status of a religious or ideological community in Germany, but is a purely commercial enterprise. (This is indeed the opinion of the German government.) However, the German courts have many times held otherwise, with most decisions either explicitly leaving the question open, or taking a clear stance in favour of according Scientology such status.

    A briefing for German members of parliament, available online on the German parliament website and compiled by the parliament's Scientific Services division, reviews the situation in detail, lists court decisions going this way and that, and describes the situation as "contested" and "unresolved". Whereas newspapers often present the situation as a clear-cut case, citing one particular decision that went the other way.

    Now, people deriving their knowledge from newspapers alone turn up on the German Scientology talk page at regular intervals. They demand that it be made clearer in the article that Scientology is a purely commercial organisation that has been denied recognition as a religious movement and that the article is not a fair representation of POVs. What to do? I would argue that in such a situation an encyclopedia has to give preference to the more reliable source. It is not just a question of verifiably summarising what various reputable sources have, on average, said. And if readers experience cognitive dissonance because the article does not reflect what they have read in the papers, then IMO that is a good thing, and not an NPOV failing.

    The guideline should reflect that in such cases the newspaper view is superseded by the more reliable source (in this case, the briefs for MPs on the Parliament website). Otherwise, what we'll have will be a press round-up rather than an encyclopedic article. Any thoughts? Jayen466 22:38, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

    I think "superseded" is the wrong word to use... both Academic scholarship and newspaper reports are reliable sources, so both should be discussed. The question is how much weight to give each view. Academic scholarship should be given more weight that newspaper reports. Blueboar (talk) 16:40, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
    I think superseded is entirely the correct word to use, as weight and notability are entirely separate issues. As I've said elsewhere, this is why a notable theory like intelligent design receives no mention at the article of its parent subject, evolution. Someguy1221 (talk) 16:44, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
    I see SlimVirgin has substantially edited the section and her edits seem to have stuck, so I'll withdraw my previous objections. What I'd like to stress is that academic sources and newspapers are simply examples of the kinds of sources that are considered reliable; the list isn't intended to be exhaustive. One clear difference between the German and English Wikipedia is the interpretation of WP:NPOV. The English Wikipedia doesn't have any authorities which it regards as unbiased, it regards every opinion as potentially biased, and hence it gives significantly more coverage to non-academic views than the German Wikipedia does. This is a core policy decision, and a proposal to change it should be addressed at the core level. For coverage of e.g. science as science, there would be no disagreement that science journals are preferable to newspapers. However, for disputes between e.g. academics and theologians or between research institute management and labor unions, the academic viewpoint is simply one view. A good example of why it would be a bad idea to make one kind of sourcing trump as an inflexible rule is the Archaeological ethics article, which, while currently not terribly well sourced, notes the periodic disputes between archaeologists on the one hadand indigenous peoples on the other about rights to dig and take artifacts and human remains from living cultures. The issues involved in such disputes aren't just scientific. They include legal, ethical, moral, religious, and a variety of other perspectives. NPOV is designed to permit both sides of such issues to be heard. It's one of many examples of cases where societies (and individuals) weigh the value of science and scientific knowledge against other claims (in this case, property rights, a right to maintain a connection with ones ancestors, etc.). By giving these other claims recognition, society is acknowledging non-scientific perspectives as having weight. Interpreting WP:RS to regard only one side's sources as reliable and permit only one side to be heard from would effectively defeat NPOV. In these types of disputes it's claimed that archaeologists have a personal and professional interest in favorable artifact laws. Many people believe that this is not possible, scientists never do this. But the historical view of the English Wikipedia has been that nobody has a special claim on truth, everyone is potentially biased, and every relevant and significant opiion should be heard from. Archaeological ethics is only one example of disputes between scientists and non-scientists; there are many others. WP:RS should not be interpreted to tilt the scales in articles involving these types of disputes. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 17:57, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
    I'm involved in a dispute relating to this topic at Noah's Ark: a reference to educational material provided by the University of Pennsylvania was deleted by another user as being unreliable and inadequate (not a scholarly journal, and not bearing a specific author's name), with no substitute reference provided. Apparently, no reference at all is preferable to a university source. There's not much here about reputable (and even "scholarly") institutions (other than news outlets) that don't name individuals within them. A similar problem is likely to occur when a reputable institution provides material that IS signed, but the signatory is non-notable and has no discernible relevant qualifications: the institution nevertheless commissioned, reviewed and endorsed the article. --Robert Stevens (talk) 10:44, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

    Blogs and Self-Published Sources

    Despite having seen dozens of blog entries cited in articles or offered as links of interest, I recently tried to cite an academic blog and had it promptly removed (the article in question had been under heavy surveillance by the deletionists — don't you love how some WP contributors call themselves "editors" and tell other people to seek their approval?). I left comments on the talk page justifying my source:

    1. Rules (which are not hard-and-fast per WP:Ignore all rules and WP:RS) on blogs could be overruled if the material cited was uncontroversial, clearly not opinion, or meant to demonstrate common usage or popular opinion, in which case the source served as its own example.
    2. The blog entry in question cited many sources and was part of an academic website. The blogger's credentials were available on the site, and he was not a casual blogger, which are the types I think the policy was originally directed towards.

    In any case, the edit war ensued until the other editor finally looked at the talk page, as I'd directed people to in my edit summary, and "reminded" me that I needed approval from the editors and that my source was still not verifiable. I realized that WP:RS's policy on blogs is not only stifling, it makes it easy for any editor who believes their grasp of WP policy and their contributions are more valid and valuable than others', to engage in deletionism and edit-warring. On the latter point, I recommend a more specific self-published source policy, considering the following points:

    1. Blogs are no longer only of the personal, "here's what my cat did today" variety. Blogging has become a widespread and well-known form of publishing that allows for both timestamped content and the meeting of minds. The benefits of blogging and of the blogosphere have been widely acknowledged (here are a couple of indications of this, from my bookmarks file: [1][2]), and not only is a sweeping "no-blogs" policy old-fashioned, as it clearly smacks of anti-Myspace bias (as well it should; personal blogs are not reliable sources), it runs counter to the very philosophy that powers Wikipedia!
    2. Wikipedia is not a directory of interesting links. But the inclusion of one or a few links releveant to the topic is not going to make WP a directory, and indeed "External Links" is often a valuable part of the article.

    I am not making this recommendation for any reasons of my own. I have observed that trends on Wikipedia have long been in conflict with this policy, and whether or not the policy is being abused for some articles (and I believe it is), blogs that cite sources or that provide valuable examples should not be excluded simply for being a blog or self-published source (recognizing that there are some distinctions related to timestamping and software). The policy should reflect (a) the changing nature of journalism and publishing, (b) the wisdom of the masses and meeting of minds philosophy that WP is based upon, and (c) the general trends of WP articles and attitudes of WP contributors (ALL of them).Elle (talk) 00:42, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

    As blogging becomes more common, the community consensus has changed over time. Until about a year and a half ago, we used to say "NO BLOGS"... period. We have mellowed a bit since then, and are now recognizing that some blogs can be used... under certain conditions. At the moment, consensus is to allow: 1) Blogs of notable people... in articles about those people... and then only used to demonstrate their opinions on the subjects that make them notable (this falls under WP:SPS); 2)"Blog format" collumns that are attached to the websites of major print or television news outlets (These often are simply on-line versions of what is printed in the paper/magazine or stated on air - However, these should only be used for statements of opinion and not for statements of fact; and (most recently) 3)Nationally/internationally recognized "news" blogs... if it can be demonstrated that the blog itself has become noted for its journalism (if the blog or blogger has won major journalism awards, for example). With time, further exceptions may gain consensus ... but until they do, we should stick to these three. Blueboar (talk) 17:53, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

    Is a Video Clip a Reliable Source?

    A recent issue came up regarding video clips available on the ABC television network's website. At issue were specific statements the various co-hosts made during a recent show. Would such clips available on the production company's website be considered a reliable source or not? Please advise. Thanks. --Art Smart (talk) 20:57, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

    Video clips (or at least the indisputable commentary that was spoken within) are essentially no different than written sources. The key idea of the publisher needing a reputation for fact-checking an accuracy still apply. Thus, an ABC news broadcast can generally be treated the same as an ABC news article. This clip, however, is a discussion. It is not subject (presumably) to any strict form of editorial review (aside from, of course, making sure its tame enough to publish), and this should really be treated the same as a self-published source. That is, it's a perfectly valid source for quoting people, but not for stating their claims as facts. Someguy1221 (talk) 22:18, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
    Not only might it be considered self-published, but is the publisher controlling the publication so there are no trustable copies outside their control? There is a risk that the video might be edited to show something different than the original version. Would the video be confirmation that the co-hosts said something, but is the video confirmation that this is exactly what they said in the broadcast? -- SEWilco (talk) 00:39, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
    If the publisher was some obscure website no one had ever heard of, or the only copy was on youtube, that might be up for discussion, but we're talking about a major television corporation and news distributor. In light of evidence to the contrary, it is typical to assume that such a publisher has not doctored anything. Someguy1221 (talk) 04:58, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
    Thanks, everyone. I appreciate the analysis. In the main article, I didn't notice the issue of video clips discussed, so perhaps that source could be addressed in the main article using some of the language above. Thanks again. --Art Smart (talk) 11:08, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

    Are they Verifiable?

    One problem I have with video (and audio) clips is that the relevant material cannot be readily identified and thus they seem to run afoul of the verifiability requirement that sources "be cited clearly and precisely to enable readers to find the text that supports the article content in question." I have seen citations from lengthy programs on sources like the BBC or PBS where you have to listen through the half-hour discussion to find the sound bite that the editor believes demonstrates his point. Even a (searchable) transcript is more verifiable than a media file. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 17:46, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

    Ideally the timestamp should be included in the citation. You'd be faced with the exact some problem if someone cited, without a page number, a one thousand page book that has never been electronically published. Someguy1221 (talk) 22:39, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

    The word 'barnstorming'

    This article is terribly misleading. It is not about barnstorming but about stunt flying. The word 'barnstorming' arose in the 1880s in reference to traveling theatrical troups. By the 1890s it was used to refer to political campaigning in rural areas. But the time stunt flyers began using the word, it had already passed through two stages of its development. The title should be changed so that people interested in barnstorming is not led to this narrow interpretation of the word. Rbeard (talk) 18:28, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

    The best place to question this sort of thing would be on the articles talk page. This page is a discussion on what constitutes a reliable source. CredoFromStart talk 18:30, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

    Develop image cleanup project

    I know images aren't typically considered under the "Reliable Sources" criteria, but the rule generally applies: Sourcing information needs to be complete so that it can be verified the license is correct. The source of the image, depending on what information it contains, needs to be reliable to support whatever the image is purporting to show. This would be a small part of the education of this planned project:

    Help is needed to develop an "image cleanup month" (June). The goal is to "Educate, cleanup and move images here at Wikipedia". You don't need to be an expert or knowledgeable about images here to help. Need folks who can write well, copyedit, design connections/templates, organize, group, communicate, have connections to users to help advertise (once the month starts) or just want to help in any other capacity. Not knowing about images would be helpful as we can test our pages on you. Being knowledgeable you can help write the content. See the project central location at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Image Monitoring Group#Wikipedia Image Cleanup Month (June) and dive right in to help. MECUtalk 17:26, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

    Editing Goodbye Girl movie page

    I just watched "Goodbye Girl." I went to Wikipedia to see if I could learn more about movie.

    To my shock, the VERY FIRST PARAGRAPH summarizing the plot was COMPLETELY WRONG. I FIXED the entry.

    Later, I found it was unfixed. The editor asked for proof.

    Well, I HAVE THE PROOF. Besides having just watched the movie, I did research and found that MOVIE WEB SITES have summaries of the movie that are ACCURATE and dovetail with my summary. In short, Turner Classic Movies has a summary that is CORRECT and Wikipedia's summary before I edited it and after someone unfixed my edit is WRONG.

    Are you concerned about credibility?


    There are no tildas on this laptop

    The next step is to go to the talk page and explain that to the editor in question. :-) Sometimes people need a little convincing. Linking to some of the websites you mention might help. --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:36, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

    Scientific journals

    I've added two notes to this section - nothing terribly controversial, I think, just spelling out a couple things explicitly, like that fringe journals exist, and that single scientific studies are usually considered tentative results. There's actually a lot that could usefully be said about scientific studies in the medical fields - e.g. evaluating studies, importance of double-blinding, quality of journals - but I think that might be getting too detailed for the general policy document. That said, anyone who's hung around any sort of fringe or alternative medical page on wikipedia for any length of time has seen a fair bit of abuse of sources (e.g. pointing out a small, obscure, low-quality study in some minor journal then claiming that it deserves equal weight to that meta-analysis in The Lancet that the article's quoting... If you think that's an exaggeration, you've never edited altmed. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 02:47, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

    Unreliable source quoted by a reliable source, reliable or unreliable?

    If an unreliable source is quoted by a reliable source for certain information, does that make the information reliable? For example, if a newspaper quotes "Online blogger Tsushi comments only 6,038 packets of Ruggo contained Mighty Limo figurines, out of the millions sold." Does that mean an article for marketing tactics or Ruggo/Mighty Limo can use the information (despite blogs being unreliable sources)? Jappalang (talk) 22:24, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

    Unfortunately for the bloggers, you have to match the weaseliness of the source you are using. If a reliable source literally says, "John says X," then the only sourced statement you can draw from that is John says X. If the reliable source wanted to claim that X is true, it would have said that. Does that make sense? Someguy1221 (talk) 22:27, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
    I agree, if a reliable source mentions that a blog has said something, then you can cite that reliable source to support the claim that the blog as said this, in the relevant article. So you can say "The New York Times says that the online blogger Tsushi has commented that only 6,038 packets of Ruggo contained Mighty Limo figurines, out of the millions sold.", but you cannot say, if the newspaper has only noted that somebody has said this in a blog, "Only 6,038 packets of Ruggo contained Mighty Limo figurines, out of the millions sold." Tim Vickers (talk) 22:54, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
    Okay, so the concensus is if reliable source A reports something unreliable B states; and if we use the information, we must state in the form "A reports B as saying...". Now what about a general statement?
    For example, assume some product recall has happened and the responsible company ACME claims the issue is minor, can be readily fixed and is of no inconvenience to consumers. Reliable source states "ACME has recalled its DIY-rocket-kit for possible defects. They assured the defects are not readily reproduceable and are minor. The company will issue refunds or the customer can exchange for a later product line without defects. Online reactions to this statement are hesitant and varied, with some condemning the company for its quality control and customer handling."
    Can some editor go in and write up something on Wikipedia like "Despite ACME acknowledging its product's defects and offering an exchange or refund scheme, reports bloggers stating differently such as Omigawd, and eetzA2rap calling them liars who knew about the defects before selling them and refusing to refund many customers.[reliable source]"? Jappalang (talk) 06:46, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
    In the example you give, that would amount to taking the general information about the general internet reaction provided by Consumer Reports, and replacing it with unreliable information taken from specific blogs drawn out of your arse. So, no. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 22:32, 14 April 2008 (UTC)