Wikipedia talk:Published

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In what way will this be a "guideline"? As it stands, it is a definition. Fram 18:55, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

To further define what "published", "accessible", "reliable", etc mean. We are discussing it on the talk page of RS if you want to add your opinions, to what's posted there. Wjhonson 19:00, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
You say that the page "is proposed to eventually become a guideline". So again, in what way is it or will it become a guideline? Secondly, why have you created a shortcut page as a discussion page or Wikipedia guideline page (see Wikipedia:Shortcuts)? I think the naming of this page is quite wrong. Proposals are either at a WIKIPEDIA: page, or at a user subpage (see Category:Wikipedia proposals for examples). Fram 19:17, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
A guideline on what "published", and "accessible" mean in the wikipedia context. And I moved the page now as you suggested above. The system went ahead and created a redirect as well. Wjhonson 21:23, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
This is good, we can hash it out here and then put the nugget of our work into WP:RS or, possibly even into WP:V. Or it might even become a guideline if it grows huge.Terryeo 00:44, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
I suggest that we define "public" as "a group of people who share a common interest".--Fahrenheit451 01:45, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
The word "published" comes from the idea of broad, general distributed to the public at large, i.e. "everyone". In ancient times, it was a huge investment of manpower and material. In modern times, publication is much cheaper and easier. However, the meaning of the word "published" is "to the public", as any good dictionary will tell you, whereas there is the alternative, "information distributed to selected individuals".(belatedly signing)Terryeo 18:11, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Terryeo, I presume you wrote the above without signing it. "Everyone" is NOT a definition of public. Please stop your attempts to redefine english words. "Public" in this case means "a group of people sharing a common interest".--Fahrenheit451 16:27, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Yep, I did post that and didn't sign it but have signed it now. Sorry about that. Re: your definition of "public", you are simply mistaken. Published in your sense is a distribution by a special interest to its members and not to the public, whereas "published" means to the broad, common public, i.e. "everyone", so much as is possible by the publisher. Ideally, every publication would reach everyone, the New York Times would love to publish copies to every person on the planet. That is the meaning of publish from dictionarys and not the "narrow, special interest group of person distributed to by an exclusive club, for the interest of the members of the club", which you are attempting to use. Terryeo 18:11, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Wrong again, Terryeo. I use the dictionary definition of publish and the dictionary definition of public. You are the one advocating the "published to the public" stuff over and over again. You are preaching a wrong target about publication, it is in fact, communicating to your intended public, not the "everyone" notion of yours. It is completely absurd; when the NY Times publishes an obituary, do you really believe the Times wants "everyone" to read that obituary? The definition you attribute to me is your fabrication. Please stop your black pr.--Fahrenheit451 23:04, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
  • To prepare and issue for public distribution or sale. [Middle English publicen, publishen, to make known publicly, from alteration of Old French publier, from Latin pblicre; [1]
  • 2. To bring to the public attention, announce;[2]
  • Synonyms: announce, advertise, broadcast, declare, proclaim, promulgate, publish; These verbs mean to bring to public notice: announced a cease-fire; advertise a forthcoming concert; broadcasting their opinions; declared her political intentions; proclaiming his beliefs; promulgated a policy of nonresistance; publishing the marriage banns. [3]
  • Clearly, the idea of "publish" is to present information to the broad, general public. In Roman times it was a crier in the street who "published" information. As the printing press came into existence the written word was used, it being more enduring than the shouted word. The idea remained, the idea is to bring to public (common public, ideally everyone's) attention! Now I do understand that there is a narrow use of the word "public" which is in dictionarys and does mean, "a specific public", such as all green eyed, left handed, red-headed teenagers. However, a specific public was not what the Roman crier was announcing to and is not the meaning of publish. Terryeo 18:44, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Wrong again, the roman crier's public was anyone within earshot, not the eskimos or aborigines.--Fahrenheit451 23:07, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

That would be true if the public which the Roman Crier reached (anyone within earshot) were incapable of speaking and writing the words which he uttered. However, most of the people whom heard his words not on were capable of relaying his news, but reveled in it. Today these are called "press conferences" and are attended by specialists who carry the Crier's uttered words to the broad, general public, even though the Crier's words are directed to s a specific, closed audience. And there you have the crux of the difference, F. "Broad, general public" is the meaning of the term which dictionarys define while "targeted, specific people" received distributed (not published) information. Terryeo 15:10, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Nonsense, Terryeo. Publication does not preclude the receiver of information from passing it on to another. Your argument makes no sense. A dictionary definition of "public" is "a group of people who share a common interest". Please stop alluding to non-existent definitions that you wish did exist but do not. I suggest you take a look at L. Ron Hubbard's definition of "public" at the bottom of this page. As you claim to be a member of the cofs, perhaps you should debate the validity of his definition with people in that organization. I am sure that they would find your argument about public being "everybody" to be very interesting.--Fahrenheit451 19:07, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

May I point out that most of your posting does not address the issues which is being discussed, but is an attempt to invalidate discussion about it? The issue which you have chosen to engage discussing involves a term and the concensus of understanding of the term. While it is obvious to most editors that "publish" means, "to the broad, general public" and implies "without any restriction on the part of the author or publisher of who is reached by publication", your understanding of that common english word differs. That's fine. I am not presenting this issue to you personally, nor am I presenting this issue based only upon your, personal edit. It is a broad issue which first comes into view at WP:NPOV with the presentation our Wikipedia is to contain and present "published" information. I am convinced that a stable understanding of what information comprises "published" will enhance Wikipedia. Terryeo 10:29, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I point out to you that we were discussing the definition of "publish" and "public" and that is what my statements have addressed. I advise you to speak for yourself and not any other editors. I also advise that dictionary defintions be used, NOT Terryeo POV defintions.--Fahrenheit451 17:05, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

"to the public" or "to a public"[edit]

I begin working to include a definition of "published" because certain editors were using the definition "published to a public". The difficulty this causes is that Ford Motor Company could distribute a flyer about the company picnic to its emplyees, that would be "published to a public" and the editors I'm working with would have that includeable as a Wikipedia reference. Other examples include:

  • Confidential Church of Scientology documents (published to a specific 'public')
  • Blueboar's, Freemasonry issue of a 'book of ritual' (issued to certain Freemasons).
  • Secret CIA documents issued to CIA agents (a specific public).

And so on, which is where it all started with the "A public" as compared to "the public". So I would very much like to see our final output include "to the general public" or similar phrase which makes it clear that the intent of publishing is to present information as broadly as possible, rather than narrowly. Terryeo 00:44, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

No, that is NOT the intent of publishing. It is exactly like selling a product: certain people will consume it and others will not. The work is written to be targeted at a certain group of people. It can never be "everybody". --Fahrenheit451 01:42, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

That is, I'm afraid, exactly the intent of publishing. When a newspaper publishes an article they hope it will become so popular that they sell a newspaper to literally, everyone on the planet and several copies to all the libraries. And the same with books, too. Published is the the widest possible audience, i.e. everyone. Terryeo 14:31, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
You are quite mistaken, Terryeo. As a writer and broadcaster, I can tell you with authority, published media IS directed to specific publics.You are clearly asserting your own opinions here without any real experience in popular media. No, newspapers don't "hope" any such thing. Most are written in one language, and that language group is their broadest public. I question why you are being so insistent on a subject you lack expertise in.--Fahrenheit451 16:19, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm entirely correct. Any common dictionary says so. Probably every common dictionary says so. The derivation of the word says so. The common use of the word says so. Without a doubt, publications target a section of population with the idea in mind to reach more public than only a specific, catered to section. One example of such a publication would be newsgroups. Those are popular within a certain segment of population. As a writer you surely understand that random public might read your articles when you write them as esseys. BUT if your publisher / broadcasting corperation only published / broadcast to a highly secreted, select group of persons, then that would not constitute "publication". Terryeo 18:23, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
That is laughable nonsense, Terryeo. At the station where I have a program, my intended audience (public) are english speaking people. The same station has a couple spanish language programs on and, the intended audience (public) are spanish speaking people. Not your pipe-dreamed up notion of "everybody". Nor is there any secrecy involved (where does That come from?). You are not a writer or a broadcaster. Please do not pretend authoritative knowledge in an area you have not been initiated into. --Fahrenheit451 23:33, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
F, I appreciate your taking your time and deigning to reply to my "laughable nonsense". Any person capable of reading the dictionary's words, and understanding them, is an authority on any word which they understand. You obviously do not understand "Published to the public" as the dictionary lays the words on the page but understand publication can never be to the public, but can only be to a public because no publication has ever reached the entire population of the planet. Perhaps the difficulty revolves around the word "the", which is an open ended sort of specifier, it acts exactly as your broadcasts act. An audience is reached, but that audience in turn might discuss the information your broadcast contained, thereby spreading the content of your broadcast more widely. That is the meaning of "published to the public", it means to present information in the widest possible way, i.e., to everyone. And that datum is true even though a broadcast has a limited geographical reach in the same manner that a publishers 10,000 first print copies has only a limited reach. It is the direction of reach i.e. "as widely as possible" which makes "published to the public" necessary and "published to a public" false. Terryeo 15:25, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

"Published to the public" is your notion, and your explanation does not fit reality whatsoever. You don't know what you are talking about. This discussion with you is very non-productive.--Fahrenheit451 17:58, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Terryeo, is it your contention, that the previous editors of the guidelines, when they said "published and accessible" were mistaken in naming two concepts instead of one? By your definition, we do not need to say accessible whatsoever as every publication is prima facie accessible. Wjhonson 18:25, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
No, I don't think anyone has made any mistake. I think after we have a solid definition of "publish" there are going to be unforseen "accessible" situations to deal with. I'm not trying to argue against something, but trying to insure our discussions have a concrete foundation to discuss within. This article might become a guideline, linked to by WP:NPOV's first use of the word "publish", by WP:V, by [[WP:RS] and by WP:CITE.Terryeo 18:58, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't know what Terryeo would contend, but I contend that when a person uses two words, the words are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, the deed to my house says the sellers "GIVE, GRANT, SELL, CONVEY AND CONFIRM" the house to me. This certainly does not mean that each of these words has a distinct, non-overlapping meaning. It's quite possible that a deed with just the word "SELL" would be equally effective, but whoever came up with this phrase in the first place tended towards redundancy. --Gerry Ashton 18:50, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Terryeo, my example was meant to solve the issue. "Published" and "accessible" are two different concepts. Here at wikipedia we want to use sources that are BOTH published AND accessible. The church of Scientology documents are published but not accessible. So I don't think we have anything to fear. As long as we stick with the idea that sources must be both published and accessible, then we can use "a public" versus "the public" because the very next requirement "accessible" means that the source has to be available to "the public".Wjhonson 05:13, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, well Wjhonson, perhaps I misunderstood what you said. I thought the Retirees Magazine was not "published" but was "distributed to a specific group of persons?" Which, by the way, would be a parallel to a handful of Church of Scientology documents. Both groups are known by the parent body, both groups fulfill certain specific interests, both groups have been with the parent body for a period of time, have proven to be loyal, know how the parent body works, what its jargon is, and so on. And, therefore, both sorts of distributed information would probably have specialized jargon which an "outsider" might not understand. Perhaps I misunderstood what you said. Terryeo 19:03, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
What I'm saying is that in my example, the magazine is distributed to say 10,000 people, by virtue of their being in the group "GM Retirees". This is not a group you can join, except by Retiring from GM. So it's an private group, not public. My contention is that this magazine is "published", but not "accessible" since "the" public cannot view it at whim, but only by being, or having access to a GM Retiree.
However, at some point, copies of this magazine are donated to the Dallas Public Library. At this point, the magazine is "accessible" to "the" public. Since BOTH "published" AND "accessible" must BOTH be met, at a minimum, to move on to the next decision-point, my contention is that this document can not be cited on wikipedia, prior to it's donation to the library, at the least.
Even AFTER it's donation, it still has many other hoops to jump through before we can cite it. But declaring that it's published at the *moment* it appears on the shelves of a library is a problematic definition. It would lead to all sorts of abuses if we let a situation like that stand. Wjhonson 19:11, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, that depends. 40 millions words (or some large number) are published to the public. But the Church has a small quantity of unpublished words, distributed to selected, trained people. WP:V would have us use the published words. The issue of accessibility might cloud the issue, but the issue is easily handled by a good definition of "published". Terryeo 14:31, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Let's think of another example. The GM Retirees magazine was published to "a public", but now is accessible by "the public" (let's say a Retiree donates it to the library). If we insist that publications may not be initially secret (Scientology) or limited (a targeted magazine) then that would mean we *cannot* cite those sources from the library, because they have never been published at all per your requirement that they must be published initially to "the public". I think however, your fear of "unpublished" documents is unfounded as well, because they have to be also "accessible". So I can't cite my diary, unless I'm willing to copy it and distribute it to a dozen libraries or something. Wjhonson 05:13, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Any example, I don't have a fear and I'm not protecting something. The Retiree magazine which was not published but became published via a donation to a public library is a great example! Just one, single copy became published but that copy opened the window to reveal there had been a publication about the internal workings of the parent company. That's great ! That's what WP:V wants ! That's what NPOV is all about ! To include an information into an article, there are several threshold to meet. The first is, "has it been previously published to the public". (my arguement). And the second, "was it published by a reliable source" and the third, "is it verifiable (accessible)". Presently editors want to revolve around accessible, when there are two previous rungs on the ladder which solve many of the questions about "accessible". Terryeo 14:31, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Terryeo, the magazine in the example was published and distributed initially only to GM retirees. One copy was presented to a public library so the publication could be more accessible to the english-speaking public. --Fahrenheit451 16:23, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

You are mistaken, the origination of the discussion and the full discussion about the GM retirees magazine spells out that the initial creation and distribution did not constituted "publication".Terryeo 18:17, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I believe you are mistaken: the magazine was published and distributed to the gm retiree public, period.--Fahrenheit451 23:13, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Actually Terryeo as the person who originated the discussion, my point was to show that "publication" and "accessibility" are two different concepts. You keep trying to merge them and we simply cannot. They need to be kept seperate, in order to complete the logical process by which we will finally reach "reliable source" and "verifiable". If you keep road-blocking at this point, I'm not sure we can ever reach that goal. Wjhonson 18:22, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I think it would be useful to tweeze apart these concepts of "membership in a specific group", versus "potentially available at request". A local newspaper is not distributed to "everyone" and they certainly have no delusions that it will be. Their circulation may be a thousand homes, in a small town. However it's a publication. The GM Retirees magazine is also a "publication", as they self-state. I wonder Terryeo if you can say it's not a publication? Are you willing to state that? I'm still concerned that you're merging two seperate concepts of "published" and "accessible" into one definition when they should be kept seperate. Wjhonson 16:36, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
A possible difference between a published work and a work with limited distribution is that the published work encourages wide distribution, or at least does nothing to limit distribution. A work with limited distribution only provides the work to specific people, and in some cases, takes active measures to prevent others from accessing it. The local newspaper is clearly published because the publisher tries to sell as many copies as possible. The hypothetical letter to GM retirees is borderline; the company has no leverage over retirees to prevent the material from becoming public. A letter to active employees stating that people who leaked the letter would be disiplined would clearly be unpublished.
Two situations that I think clearly illustrate the difference between published and unpublished is a peer-reviewed article, or a multi-author work. Various private versions of the work are circulated among the interested parties until a version acceptable to all is agreed upon. Only the final version is published; all the preliminary versions are unpublished. --Gerry Ashton 18:10, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Here's is Terryeo's definition, "Information created for distribution and distributed with a transfer of ownership to the public." But how about this definition, "Information or expression created for distribution and distributed with a transfer of ownership to a group of people." Wjhonson 16:46, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, I'm a little uncertain about the "transfer of ownership" because webpages which can be viewed by anyone, transfer no ownership but are obviously published. I believe that publication comes first, goes to the general public and then "accessibility" comes second. Terryeo 18:17, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Terryeo states that "webpages which can be viewed by anyone, transfer no ownership". I don't agree. When one views a web page, a copy of the web page is created in the memory of the computer on which the viewing takes place. The owner of the viewing computer owns the copy of the web page. Also, I'm note sure where Wjhonson obtained the quote of Terryeo's definiton, but it isn't the same definition that was on the WP:RS page briefly. --Gerry Ashton 19:15, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Fahrenheit451 seems to believe that publication to a limited audience is publication, and that all publications are to a limited audience. I would like Farenheit451 to give us an example of some distribution of media that is not publication, but is almost publication by his standards. --Gerry Ashton 00:20, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Here is an example: The CFO of a privately-held corporation with several locations in North America does a video presentation for the Board of Directors and top company executives. The presentation is distributed on a dvd to each board member and executive from a specified list. The disk is labeled as confidential corporate information. I don't agree that there is an "almost" publication. It is or it is not. The key point here is that the dvd is routed to specific individuals, not provided to anyone who is interested. So, it is never made public.--Fahrenheit451 17:50, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

There sure are some tortured arguments here. I'm not sure this discussion is even warrented, but in hopes of aiding clarity, here's my 2¢:
  • Any book, magazine, journal, newsletter, annual report, government document, fanzine or other publication that is printed in quantity and recieved some measure of distribution, has been published. Even if most of the copies languish in boxes, the work was published. (One might even argue that the act of printing them constitutes publication, and that distribution is a separate step.) Examples like the GM retirees magazine mentioned above were certainly published--there's no question about it.
  • There may be questions about what constitutes a publication that exclusively exists in electronic, as opposed to printed, form. My understanding is that websites, blogs and wikis are understood as publications for purposes of wikipedia (and most other purposes, too).
  • Terryeo's distinction between "to the public" and "to a public" is useless except to confuse matters, as far as I can see. Best I can tell, he wants to draw a distinction between "public" and "private," as seen from the perspective of the creator or copyrightholder of the published work, and to disallow publications that were intended for "internal" circulation only within an organization from consideration here. (This is a transparent attempt to influence the guidelines so as to rule out Church of Scientology materials that the Church does not wish made public, Terryeo's main concern with regard to Wikipedia.) I think any real questions about this private/public matter have little to do with the definition of "publication": they have to do, as Wjhonson pointed out, with the separate issue of accessibility (which is to say, verifiability) and also with the question of legitimacy (reliability). But the fact that a book was published or distributed in secret doesn't mean it was never published.
  • "Transfer of ownership" is another unnecessary point of added confusion. It has nothing to do with whether or not something was published. BTfromLA 01:29, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Good points, BTfromLA, I am glad you can see through what looks very suspiciously like obfuscation.--Fahrenheit451 15:39, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Reading your posting, BT, it is clear you have not read the discussion at WP:RS. Also worth noting, much of you posting places statements in contradiction to mine, instead of moving foreward toward useable information. Terryeo 10:42, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

True, I haven't read all of the WP:RS discussions--if there's something important I've missed that is reflected in my comments, please help me to get up to speed. I had hoped that my remarks above would help to clarify the terms of discussion--I wasn't contardicting you just for the sake of doing so. Indeed, I suggested that you might get further by talking about public vs private rather than fussing over "a public" vs "the public". BTfromLA 23:41, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Point of information for Terryeo[edit]

I thought you would find this interesting as you represent yourself as a member of the cofs. Here is a quote from Modern Management Technology Defined by L. Ron Hubbard: "Public, 2. there is a specialized definition of the word "public" which is not in the dictionary but which is used in the field of public relations. "Public" is a professional term to public relations people. It doesn't mean the mob or the masses. It means "type of audience."(HCO PL 13 Aug 70 III)" I would conclude that your notion of public diverges from that of the founder of the subject of Scientology.--Fahrenheit451 23:23, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't find your comment to be of interest. You quote some information of a specialized nature which is used, according to your quotation, in public relations work. We editors are working toward a better, more complete Wikipedia. In these guidelines we are working toward easily understood, easily applied information which will help editors produce Wikipedia articles easily and prolifically. Your quotation comes from an an uncommon dictionary, a specialized dictionary which is neither available online nor applicable toward WP:NPOV. 'nuff said. Terryeo 10:38, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

"uncommon dictionary"? It is published and accessible to even non-cofs members. In this case, public means "type of audience" which is very similar to the common english dictionary definition, "a group of people who share a common interest". Your refusal to acknowledge this definition is exactly what I expected you would do. Note that Hubbard further goes on to state that "It doesn't mean the mob or the masses." Also note that I DID NOT state that it was not specialized, but it is very similar to the common english definition. You seem to refuse to acknowledge that point.--Fahrenheit451 15:36, 1 August 2006 (UTC)


Second paragraph: I would delete "remaining" to read as follows:

"(e.g., the only copy of the book is locked in a vault, with no one allowed to read it)"

This allows for the possibility that either it was never widely published -or- was, and is now widely inaccessible. --Lexein (talk) 21:23, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

What does "reliably published" mean?[edit]

I see we are explaining "published" here. But what is the "reliable publication process" mentioned in WP:RS?Mzk1 (talk) 06:53, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Largely fact-checking. But that's a restriction based on reliability, not on publication. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:41, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

What about web pages?[edit]

Not all of them get archived (by, etc.), therefore "Any item which is inaccessible, due to zero copies being available to the public at this time (even if copies were available to the public once upon a time) is 'inaccessible'" makes information cited from them fail WP:V once they go off-line? Have mörser, will travel (talk) 21:29, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Can "confirmed" informal sources be considered published?[edit]

So, OK, basically with the current state of the world, anyone can potentially be speaking to anyone. For example, I have personally exchanged emails and chat conversations with lots of international musicians and labels, often getting some "insider's info" on albums (eg. what did they mean with "x" line? are they expected to be releasing anything soon? who were involved in recording some uncredited track? etc.) Of course, all of this is original research and as much as I'd like, I cannot use it here.

And just like I do these inquiries, so do many other individuals who run informal websites or blogs, often in interview format. Again, I realize that alone is not enough, given how I could just as well set up a blog right now and claim I just interviewed Dave Mustaine and that he personally told me he is abandoning Megadeth to work in a collaboration with Varg Vikernes. But, what about cases where there is confirmation from the interviewee that such conversation did take part (and of course, that the information provided is accurate)? Do these documents become "officially published by proxy"? Of course, just as any self-published source, only some "objective" claims could be taken and may need to be preceded by "in an interview, [John Doe] said that...".

And while not really the same thing, how are answers given in "Ask [x]" events treated? This format is also public and contains interaction between some non-professional party with a relevant one (yes, I'm also aware this entire entry is moot if the subject is non-notable). (talk) 02:56, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

"distributed to a public" ??[edit]

The phrase "distributed to a public" seems, at best, awkward, but it is used 5 times. Any ideas?--Elvey(tc) 22:06, 24 November 2014 (UTC)