Wikipedia talk:No original research

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Major revision for Wikipedia: OR: obscure reference, not 'original research'[edit]

Closing per WP:DFTT: there are no proposal for improving this page to be found here. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 00:21, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Instead of 'original research', couldn't/shouldn't it be OR: obscure reference? Rarely, if ever, do people actually publish there original research; they attempt to 'post' without a reference, that is the problem, not research or even originality, only so far as references being hidden, lacking or 'obscure'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2604:6000:A340:AE00:6012:183A:AAE3:53AB (talk) 15:45, 30 January 2018 (UTC)

That probably falls more under Verifyability; anything we published should be sourced to something. Original research is when WP editors, with or without sources, attempt to come to a conclusion not explicitly stated in sources. --Masem (t) 16:00, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) We routinely revert editors that attempt to add content without a reference. So long as a reference is reliable we accept it, regardless of how "obscure" it is. The problem is that we get cranks asserting something to be true without any allowable source. Often, Wikipedia attracts frustrated academics who try to use Wikipedia to publish their original thoughts as if we were a scientific journal. In fact, Wikipedia has reached deals with the holders of reference info so that Wikipedians can utilize sources that are normally pay-walled. Obscurity isn't the problem. Chris Troutman (talk) 16:01, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
Well, I'll jump in too with another take, it should be noted that WP:V WP:NPOV and WP:NOR need to be taken together -- given the 'spirit' of NOR it is perhaps understandable to see elevating the "obscure" to the same emphasis as the not obscure in a given topic can sometimes be seen as OR, that is "originally" presenting a topic not as sources do but as (some) editors would like using obscurities, but look more to NPOV policy on this. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:14, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
These policies (as well WP:RS which would be in my view the more relevant guideline to use as benchmark for obscure sources) are often taken together; and are from time to time confused in discussion. However they deal with somewhat different problems. For example, synthesis where based on two facts a fetched conclusion is reached is original research, but does not obviously violate wp:v (as all new facts are sourced), it may also not violate WP:NPOV as the conclusion may be neutral and not clearly biased or at least not intentionally (an example I recently encountered was the following: 75% of religion in the Netherlands is Christianity (REF), Population of the Netherlands = 16 Million (REF): In in the Netherlands there are 12 million Christians (and that was the synthesis/original research as the majority of the Netherlands is irreligious which does not feature in the first number but does in the second). So I would keep them apart and leave as is. Arnoutf (talk) 18:45, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
I think I understand the point you're making, however your example is more one of an outright logical fallacy (by not making the distinction between inhabitants and believers), than of reaching a logically correct, but nevertheless new, and therefore original conclusion, based on two properly identified (and if necessary sourced) facts.
On a related note, I would like to ask to what extent it is allowed to include comparative facts, while abstaining from drawing conclusions ? — To what extent is it allowable to be original in the comparisons or the presentation of contrasting information in any article ? --GeeTeeBee (talk) 11:18, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
And – while we're at it – if it's out of bounds to draw perfectly logical (but original) conclusions, what about instead raising questions, to spur further research, so that wikipedia can have a stimulating effect on those consulting WP ? --GeeTeeBee (talk) 12:11, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
This is an encyclopedia. We don't spur research. We should not be asking questions. Chris Troutman (talk) 12:15, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
Of course. But the very encyclopedia article itself — in the lead no less — states: "The appearance of digital and open-source versions in the 20th century has vastly expanded the (...) authorship, (...) and variety of encyclopedia entries and called into question the idea of what an encyclopedia is and the relevance of applying to such dynamic productions the traditional criteria for assembling and evaluating print encyclopedias." — So how about a little bit more WP:BOLDness in thinking here ? --GeeTeeBee (talk) 13:40, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
See WP:NOT. If you want to change what we're doing here, raise the issue at Wikipedia:Village pump. Chris Troutman (talk) 13:52, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
Let me repeat: the WP article on encyclopediain the leadraises a question (".. called into question the idea of what an encyclopedia is .."), and by the way without sourcing, and this also doesn't summarize what is elaborated further down the prose... --GeeTeeBee (talk) 16:15, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
That passage doesn't invite the reader to wonder what an encyclopedia is, but informs the reader that some are questioning the nature of encyclopedias. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:33, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
A-ha, so that's the magical formula then — stating that some are questioning such and such, and then it's okay ? — Interesting ... And what about my other question: To what extent is it allowed to include comparative facts, while abstaining from drawing conclusions ? — To what extent is it allowable to be original in the comparisons or the presentation of contrasting information in any article ? --GeeTeeBee (talk) 22:13, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
If two different reliable sources are saying two different things about the same subject, then we as editors are expected to represent both views in the article about the subject. That's an element of WP:NPOV, not a question of original research.
And it's not a formula: When I said that the passage doesn't invite the reader to wonder, but merely informs them that some wonder, there was no "wink wink, nudge nudge" in there. I was being completely earnest. There is a fundamental difference between saying "You should do X" and "Some people are doing X", even if you know that saying the latter will encourage the person whom you are speaking to to do X. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:18, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
You are either a politician or a lawyer. --GeeTeeBee (talk) 22:27, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
As far as you're concerned, I am a Wikipedian and nothing else. And you have been here long enough to know better than to attempt to personalize a discussion. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:31, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
Then please prove me wrong, and answer my question about making comparisons --GeeTeeBee (talk) 22:34, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
This is increasingly looking like a case of WP:NOTHERE. Please get back to writing the encyclopedia. Chris Troutman (talk) 22:38, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
NONSENSE. – Both of you have been here long enough to understand I'm not actually making a personal attack, but the level of rigidity and political correctness, and consistently avoiding the slightest amount of imaginative thinking in the answers I'm getting DOES strike me as a personal attack on my intelligence...
You should be FIRMLY ashamed of your remark, because the problem is not, that I'm not here to help build an encyclopedia (I've been at it since 2007, and a high percentage of my edits are still up) – but instead the insensitivity to the fact that some people have bigger dreams, and see bigger potential for wikipedia than yourselves. Your blinkered answers will not deter me, but they might repel others, and therefore severely disappoint, if not disgust me. --GeeTeeBee (talk) 22:55, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
You accused me of not answering your question by accusing me of being one of two professions frequently derided and demonized in public consciousness because you couldn't bother to read the first fucking paragraph of my response. And you think that's not a personal attack? I agree with Chris. You need to drop the stick before you stir up more shit. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 23:04, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
You're personalizing this even further now — contradicting your own advice — and what you read into the professions I used for comparison also says a lot about you .. If you dish out by brushing people off with pedantic and patronizing (never mind disappointingly unimaginative) responses, you must also take the punch-back like a man. If you don't like my remarks, then don't respond to them. --GeeTeeBee (talk) 23:49, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Making comparisons ?[edit]

I would like to ask to what extent it is allowed to include comparative facts, while abstaining from drawing conclusions ? — To what extent is it allowable to be original in the comparisons or the presentation of contrasting information in any article ? --GeeTeeBee (talk) 08:49, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

A lot depends on exactly how you write it... if the novel conclusion is clearly IMPLIED: “A+B=(Nudge nudge, wink wink... read between the lines)” then even just stating A and B in close proximity can be deemed a WP:NOR violation. We want to avoid having Wikipedia become a primary source... ie the first source to ever put A and B in a comparison. Blueboar (talk) 11:00, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
OK, thank you, that's a very clear answer.
But also a missed opportunity, I would like to argue. In the spirit of what it says in the lead of the encyclopedia article, "called into question the idea of what an encyclopedia is and the relevance of applying to such dynamic productions the traditional criteria for assembling and evaluating print encyclopedias" — and by its very nature, being a place where information about a topic – preferably from various angles – is aggregated, bundled and summarized, it's virtually unavoidable that an encyclopedia ends up being the first place where A and B are put together, from time to time. And what's the harm ? Why would one consider this undesirable ? Why not consider this a great opportunity in which the encyclopedia can bring added value to the world, science and information ? --GeeTeeBee (talk) 22:06, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
This encyclopedia is written by dilettantes. We have no verified accounts for actual academics. We don't require proof of an education in order to edit. For that reason, we don't put A and B together, because no one here is qualified to do so. After ten years, are you telling me you don't understand how Wikipedia works or are you suggesting that we do something different? If the former, shame on you. If the latter, take it up with Jimbo Wales. Chris Troutman (talk) 22:16, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
Maybe you're right, that I should take my recent questions up with someone other than you. You keep telling me, in various wordings, that I should know better after all these years. And, in a way, maybe you're right. After so many years I feel I have learned more about critical thinking, and have every right to question and put to debate certain guidelines. I put to question the boundaries and the rigidity of application of the NOR policy. So, to begin with: you should know better too — one of the 5 WP pillars is: "Wikipedia has no firm rules" ! — and to "be bold" is still a central part of it. No firm rules — but in the last week I've been getting answers from you (and I DO thank you for responding – by the way) like: "We don't spur research. We should not be asking questions." (1st March), and now: "we don't put A and B together". Your POV seems completely categorical to me, and doesn't seem to be infused with the "no firm rules" core pillar notion at all...
Also your explanation that WP is purely written by dilettantes is a choice of words that doesn't feel like you assume a lot of good faith in WP's editors. You don't have to remind me that WP operates without verified accounts for academics. On the contrary, I'm getting the feeling that I should remind you, that anyone with a functioning brain can make a valid point. The beauty of WP is that it must not matter who makes the point, but what the point is. Anyone capable enough of editing WP, and applying basic logic, should be considered capable of putting two and two together (Good faith !). I happen to be an academic myself, but I'm appalled at the suggestion, that only academics are capable of applying logic... I'm appalled at your POV that "no one here is qualified to do so'... — Just like any other kind of WP edit — if it's no good, it will be reverted !
Also your answer fails to truly face what I consider to be a reality: WP pages bring together knowledge about topics that wasn't previously combined, on a daily basis. We shouldn't be frightened of the possibilities this implies, but see it as a way in which WP contributes to the world.
And finally: why should I have to take this to the village pump, Jimbo Wales, or any other place then right here ??? — THIS is the talk page about what it must say in the NOR policy page !! — If you feel in any way unconfident or unqualified to engage in this, please just leave it to others to engage ? --GeeTeeBee (talk) 22:53, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
No, this is a talk page for discussing changes to the article which contains the policy. To change the policy, you need a broad-ranging community consensus, which you won't get here. You need to go to the village pump policy subpage or Jimbo's talk page in order to find enough editors to come to a policy decision. If you continue to argue against the policy here, you are likely to be blocked from editing to put a stop to your disruption. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 23:07, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Disruption ?? — Wow — I don't believe this ... Would you please explain to me what I'm disrupting ?? — My edits on regular pages comply with WP policies, save the odd mistake; I have a low revert percentage — but given this reply, I'm feeling more and more that I'm caught up in a version of Fahrenheit 451... — I'm NOT arguing to change the policy — but discussing on its talk page how it is worded, asking questions about its interpretation and application, and simply pointing out that by its very nature, (and precisely because editors apply a neutral POV, and include info from various angles and sources) WP DOES combine information on topics that wasn't previously combined that way... --GeeTeeBee (talk) 23:43, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
AFAIK your disruption is wasting other Wikipedian's time in this talk page with your attempts to change the most fundamental Axiom of Wikipedia: we do not know who we are, with an immediate Corollary: we do not trust ourselves. You may want to try Everipedia for a change. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:30, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
To change the policy... -- What is the difference between changing the policy and changing the page (not "article", btw.) which contains the policy? Staszek Lem (talk) 00:24, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
It's a bit like painting over a road sign with a different speed limit without consulting the local authority. Policy changes have to be coordinated across multiple pages, so you can't just change them by fudging it.
As for "Wikipedia has no firm rules", in fact it has a number of very firm rules, some of which are based in law, not just policies or guidelines. WP:NOR is a policy, not a guideline. Blueboar spelled it out perfectly at the top of this section, and even GeeTeeBee replied, "OK, thank you, that's a very clear answer." It isn't rocket surgery. nagualdesign 00:37, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
It's a bit like painting.. -- Sorry, you did not answer my question (namely, what is the difference...). Staszek Lem (talk) 00:46, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Policies are principles of action agreed upon by the Wikipedia community. Policy pages are a public declaration of the agreed upon policies. Changing the wording of the latter does not change the former if there has been no prior agreement on the changes. nagualdesign 00:55, 8 March 2018 (UTC)