Wikipedia talk:Requests for mediation/Frank R. Wallace

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Hi - thanks for agreeing to mediation. Would the parties please write a short (below 200 words) summary of the dispute in the subsections below? I'll post some "rules" for the mediation soon, once we've got this out of the way. Thanks, Martinp23 12:32, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Oops, I was watching the case page and not this talk page. I'll add my statement now. Bi 10:19, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Statement from Bridge and Tunnel[edit]

I've just been trying to add sourced information to the article. User Bi has been trying to prevent that by making absurd objections. According to him, books about poker that say that Wallace's book about poker is "seminal" can't be used as a source for saying in the article that one of Wallace's poker books "has been called seminal" by those sources. And he says it can't be mentioned that Wallace speculated that the universe may have been created by an intelligent being even though Wallace himself says that in his own writings. Bridge & Tunnel 18:38, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

What policies, if any, do you feel are relevant in this case, and where do you feel that the policies are relevant, and how? This question is just for me to check how deep into policy we're going to need to go, and the extent of the case. Martinp23 19:14, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I guess you'll have to ask Bi that. I don't see any policies that prevent using books as sources for information on Wikipedia. Bridge & Tunnel 21:07, 8 March 2007 (UTC) Note that Bi leaves out that actual arguments below that I've made and only gives you my conclusions, which are that he's wrong. As I pointed out he's been trying to keep out that mention that Wallace's book has been called "seminal" from the article. The article is not claiming that Wallace's book is seminal. It says that the book "has been called seminal." The article is not claiming a thing other than that someone else claimed something about his book. Bi's objection is nonsensical. There is no Wikipedia policy that prohibits it being mentioned that authors say that another author's book is "seminal." I have no idea where Bi is coming from about "business-oriented isotopes." There is nothing in in the article about "business-oriented isotopes." It's a term he dreamed up. Wallace speculated that maybe an intelligent being created the universe. That is mentioned in the article. I'd like to also point out that "WP:FRINGE" is not a policy but a guideline (and it's not even that "fringe" to speculate that intelligent life created the universe). Certainly there is nothing amiss about pointing out what a person writes about in an article about that person. If his theories or philosophy was mentioned in another article it would of course require indepedant sources to talk about. But this is in the person's own article. His writings are the evidence for what he wrote about. Bi's objections are absolutely absurd. I can tell you why he's trying so hard to keep information out of this article. He is the proprietor of a website dedicated to criticizing Frank Wallace and his ideas. Bridge & Tunnel 16:32, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Bi has removed you earlier comment - though I'd have prefered that he/she wait for me to do it, I tend ot agree with their rationale. For now, I really don't want responses from each of you to eachothers' statements. Thanks, Martinp23 18:21, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
That's what Bi does. He simply deletes things he doesn't like. I'm putting my statement back in. It's a double standard that he be able to wait for what I say before he made his statement. I didn't have the luxury of seeing his statement first. Bridge & Tunnel 19:55, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Please, assume good faith here! Now, someone had to respond to my request first, and you chaose to, and I thanks you for taking that step. It is through the process of mediation that we will explore this issue and find a solution - what I've asked you and Bi to do thus far is give me a background summary of the dispute, purely for my purposes, and your positions on the dispute. This part of the mediation is ceratinly not an opprotunity for conlfit or dispute. I'll compose the "rules" at the top of the mediation now. Martinp23 20:49, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, I see the "rules", but what do we do now? Bi 07:03, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Statement from Bi[edit]

This is regarding the admissibility of Bridge & Tunnel's sources, as stated in my RfC.

More importantly, it's about the arguments advanced by Bridge & Tunnel for including his sources. PubliusFL and myself have explained clearly the following:

  • His sources are questionable, and either their claims are contentious, or they're not about the sources themselves, hence they're inadmissible (WP:A).
  • Wallace's theory of "intelligent design" involving "business-oriented isotopes" is a fringe theory that hasn't received mainstream coverage and isn't relevant to Wallace's notability (WP:FRINGE).

But Bridge & Tunnel will have none of that. Here are some of his arguments for including his sources (emphasis mine; see their original contexts):

  • "Of course they can be used as sources."
  • "No it's not. It's about whether the article makes a contentious claim."
  • "You've just attempted to interpret policy in a very convoluted way to keep information out of this article. You're obviously wrong."

Such "arguments" — if they can be called "arguments" — are nothing but ipsedixitisms, arguments by bald assertion; and the "my way or the highway" attitude arguably flies in the face of WP:CON. I hope the mediators will at least make it clear that such specious argumentation is simply not welcome. Bi 10:19, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your statement. Above, I asked about relevant policies/arguements in this case. Could you please answer the same question? Thanks, Martinp23 22:24, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
As already stated above: WP:A and WP:CON, and the guideline WP:FRINGE. Bi 11:45, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Compromise offers[edit]

Now, at this stage it's clear that neither of you will change your core standing on the points at hand (with me having looked over the talk pages involved), so I'm going to suggest that we look towards possible compromises. These can be anything, but try to put yourselves in the position of the other editor when suggesting one, two or three possibilites. Bi, I'd appreciate if you would go first, and then Bridge & Tunnel, with an open and eager mind, can go through and make comments on what is the most acceptable - before I'm adble to make comment, however, I'd ask that Bi not respond to B&T's responses (Bridge & Tunnel will have an opposrtunity to post offers later). Before we really get under way, I should ask: Would you prefer public or private (by email) mediation? I'm happy for either. Martinp23 20:18, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

As I previously stated, there are two issues involved in my mediation request:
A: the admissibility of Bridge & Tunnel's various sources for this article;
B: the arguments advanced by Bridge & Tunnel for including these sources.
For issue A, I suggest the following compromises:
  1. B&T stop using his questionable sources.
  2. B&T go ahead and use his questionable sources, but mark each and every statement which references any of these sources with a prominent {{fact}} template, to show that the sources are questionable. Neither B&T nor myself will unilaterally remove any of these {{fact}} templates.
  3. B&T will use his questionable sources, and I'll be allowed to use whatever sources I will, whatever their quality or provenance, without B&T rejecting them on whatever grounds (e.g. by summarily brushing them off as "nonsense"). This compromise also compromises Wikipedia policy, but I'm offering it up in any case.
For issue B, there's really no excuse for B&T's "arguments" (which are, by the way, not "conclusions" — they're the argument itself), but nevertheless I offer the following compromise:
  1. B&T retract all the arguments he has made so far on the admissibility of his sources, and stop repeating them; and I won't pursue his past arguments further.
I prefer public mediation, so that everything is kept on record. Bi 10:23, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Bridge & Tunnel's response[edit]

First, I'm not sure how Bi is defining "questionable sources." I'm assuming to him that it simply means sources that he simply doesn't like or simply doesn't want in the article.

I'll respond according to his numbering scheme.

  • 1. I'm not going to stop using a source simply because Bi "questions" a source.
  • 2. If a statement is sourced then there is no need to put a [citation needed] template after the statement. You're supposed to put a [citation needed] template after statements that are NOT sourced. Bi's request to be able to put a [citation needed] template after statements that are sourced simply because he "questions" the source is just plain bizarre.
  • 3. Bi is asking to "compromise Wikipedia policy" so as to allow any type of source to be used, just so he can use unreliable sources to discredit Frank Wallace and his ideas. I can already see where that's leading. He wants to use his own writing on his own anti-Neo-Tech web page as a source. This is out of the question. Sources must comply with Wikipedia policy for admissibility.
  • 1. Bi wants me to agree to retract my arguments. That's so funny, yet so pathetic. I'm not going to retract my arguments. I reiterate them and stand fully behind them.

Conclusion: None of Bi's suggestions are even sane. What he wants to "comprise" is Wikipedia policy. Bridge & Tunnel 23:32, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

OK - sorry for my inactivity recently - a couple of things popped up in real life that I really had to take care of, and then my scheduled break.. :). Anyway, moving forwards with the mediation. To summarise so far (feel free to prompt me if I've missed anything) - we're locked in a dispute about the admisibility of sources, and their applicability to certain statements. Bi - I'm afraid that mediation cannot enforce your last request, and I'd respectfully request that you forget about it, as mediation really won't move forward unless we're all willing to listen to one anothers' opinions. Clearly, Bi'scompromise offers weren't readily accepted by Bride & Tunnel, but hopefully we can move forward from here. Now, I'd like you, Bridge & Tunnel, to do the same excercise as Bi has done. Try to bear in mind what Bi is looking for, and try to meet his demands half way. It may help to take a step back, and look at the dispute impartially, or even put yourself into Bi's shoes, and see what he sees is wrong with the sources. Also, both of you should review the key policy WP:ATT (and details on WP:RS and WP:V), and review your previous interactions. Although some of the past discussion has been heated, I am confident that we can come to a solution (and I hope that both of you are willing and able to find the compromise!). Thanks, Martinp23 22:20, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I request that Bi cease deleting information that is referenced by sources that meet the criteria of Wikipedia policy for allowable sources. I request that Bi does not add information that is not backed up by sources that do not meet the criteria of Wikipedia policy for allowable sources. I request that Bi stop the self-promotion of his personal website by adding it as an external link. What I want is pretty simple. It's just basic policy following and not being disruptive. Bridge & Tunnel 03:59, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Bi's response to Bridge & Tunnel's offers[edit]

None of B&T's offers are "compromises" in any way — compromise involves give and take, but in each and every one of B&T's offers, he would give nothing and take everything. Thus I cannot in full conscience accept any of B&T's "compromise" offers. Bi 04:27, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

OK - lets take a look at the individual sources - Bi - can you list each contentious source below, with a short comment on why you feel that it is unacceptable? As you note above, compromise does involve some give, so if you feel that, having reviewed policies and B & T's position, you can soften your stance on any links, please do! Thanks, Martinp23 09:54, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I'll first discuss the sources which were brought up in the original RfC:
  • Friedman, Stan (2006). Dogs Playing Poker: Poker Kit. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN 1402734484.
  • Schreiber, Lee Robert (2005). Poker as Life: 101 Lessons from the World's Greatest Game. Hearst Books. ISBN 1588164616.
  • Hope, Tony: Hart, Markus; Wilson, Vicki (2005). Fresh Wisdom: Breakthough to Enlightenment. BookSurge Publishing. ISBN 1419618555.
As mentioned in the RfC, these sources have not undergone any peer review or editorial oversight; they are not written by people who are known to be authorities in any of the relevant fields (poker, philosophy, or Wallace the person); and PubliusFL has pointed out that BookSurge is a vanity press. Furthermore, these questionable sources are used not in an article about themselves, but in an article about Frank R. Wallace. This is clearly an instance of WP:A violation.
B&T has since added material from the following sources:
  • Glass, Ira; Jake Austen (2003). A Friendly Game of Poker. Chicago Review Press. p. 210
  • Holy Penis Collapsor Batman! DC Publishes The First Zonpower Comic Book!?!?!. gocomics.com. Accessed February 18, 1998
These sources are inadmissible for the same reasons.
  • Ellis, Drew (1986). Neo-Tech Pleasures. The Neo-Tech Research and Writing Center.
This is a self-published source. Even if we treat the source as part of the subject of the article (Neo-Tech Publishing was founded by Wallace), we find that this questionable source is used to make a claim which is not relevant to the subject's notability. In a recent AfD, DGG has said that "there are over 60,000 members [in Sigma Xi], and anyone with a PhD is eligible", which would mean that Wallace's Sigma Xi membership is not relevant to his notability at all!
  • Wallace, Frank R. Pax Neo-Tech.
This is a self-published source by the subject himself. In the article, it is used to support the claim that "Wallace had planned on building an interactive audio visual walk-through glass model that illustrates the integration of large amounts of raw physical, statistical, and mathematical information", a claim which is contentious, unduly self-serving, and not relevant to his notability.
I do not have any issues with the other sources at the present time. Bi 12:27, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
As for a compromise, as stated above I'm willing to admit these sources (each and every one of which is used in violation of WP:A), provided that I be allowed to use whatever sources I will without B&T rejecting them on whatever grounds. And this offer, along with my other offers, is still open. Bi 13:26, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Last, re "mediation really won't move forward unless we're all willing to listen to one anothers' opinions": I have listened to B&T's opinions, but unfortunately B&T offers no arguments to support them (other than repeated arguments by assertion), so there is nothing much I can do to "understand" his position, so to speak. For example, he stated baldly that
You've just attempted to interpret policy in a very convoluted way to keep information out of this article. You're obviously wrong.
Now, how am I supposed to even start to form an "understanding" of his position based on this? I may be convinced to strike up a compromise with B&T in a pragmatic way, but I still cannot in any way "understand" B&T's unexplained position. Bi 19:09, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

B&T's Reply[edit]

Hope, Tony: Hart, Markus; Wilson, Vicki (2005). Fresh Wisdom: Breakthough to Enlightenment. BookSurge Publishing. ISBN 1419618555.

This is a self-published source, published by those writers. It makes the claim that Wallace said he was going to build a walk-through model. Wallace himself says the same thing in his own writings. So there is no disputing that the source is correct. It doesn't matter if that source is there or not because what's said it also backed up by Wallace's self-published source. A self-published source of course may be used in an article about whoever wrote that source. Bridge & Tunnel 04:05, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Friedman, Stan (2006). Dogs Playing Poker: Poker Kit. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN 1402734484. Schreiber, Lee Robert (2005). Poker as Life: 101 Lessons from the World's Greatest Game. Hearst Books. ISBN 1588164616. Glass, Ira; Jake Austen (2003). A Friendly Game of Poker. Chicago Review Press. p. 210

These three are fine. There is no rule that they have to first undergo "peer-review." They must have definitely had "editorial oversight" though, because these are reputable publishers. Bridge & Tunnel 04:05, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Holy Penis Collapsor Batman! DC Publishes The First Zonpower Comic Book!?!?!. gocomics.com. Accessed February 18, 1998

This may not be admissible because it's not in a book. It's definitely a real interview though. The comic book exists. Here on BBC's website, Alan Grant says that person he admires most is Frank R. Wallace. [1] Bridge & Tunnel 04:05, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Ellis, Drew (1986). Neo-Tech Pleasures. The Neo-Tech Research and Writing Center.

No reason not to include this. First of all, it's not self-published. Even if it were it is premissible, because to have an article one self-published as a source in the article. Bridge & Tunnel 04:05, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Wallace, Frank R. Pax Neo-Tech.

Of course this is permissible. It's self-published. Of course it's relevant to his notability. Neo-Tech is what he's most notable for. I don't see anything contentious about it unless you are saying that it's contentious that he was actually going to build it. In that case just say "Wallace said that he was going to..." Bridge & Tunnel 04:05, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Section break[edit]

Firstly, sorry for my delay in getting back here. Now, I trust that you have both been able to read the arguments advanced by eachother for each source. While I do some research into the subject matter, I have one or two ideas for you. Bi makes a compromise offer above which involves the addition of {{fact}} templates - B&T points out that this may not be the best template, as the spirit in which {{fact}} is commonly used is somewhat at odds with this scenario. That said, how would you both feel about a copy of the article being taken to a subpage, and statements which rely on the disputed sources highlighted (somehow). Then, an editor (or more than one) can go through this temporary page, and remove those references and pieces of text which they feel are not admissible. Of course, this requires that you will both accept the decision of this 3rd party (much like an RfC). This is just an idea which I'm throwing out to give you something to think about while I look further - if you haave any ideas, please feel free to port them. Thanks, Martinp23 18:50, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't think I can accept that. What if the 3rd party itself decides to ignore the sourcing rules or misunderstands them? I don't think it would be proper for me to exclude myself from participating in this kind of judgement. Bridge & Tunnel 19:16, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I can accept Martinp23's idea, although I see that B&T just rejected it anyway, so it's all moot. (Though I still don't get his reasoning — he says he definitely can't "exclude" himself from the judgement with regard to the sourcing rules, as if he holds some sort of special right to interpreting the Wikipedia policies.) Another idea: if the {{fact}} template is not good enough, perhaps it may be good to create an additional template specifically for statements from unreliable, questionable sources? This will prevent a clash with the common usage of the {{fact}} template, and also remove the need for 3rd party involvement (for the time being), so I see no reason why B&T can't accept this. Bi 07:28, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
B&T, how do you feel about Bi's suggestion regarding the use of a different template? If this is an acceptable compromise for both of you, then it could work, as long as, in future, you will both be willing to amicably communicate with any editor who may take action based on the presence of such templates (for example, he/she may remove the template, or statements, or both...). I'd like to leave this possibility open until I hear back from B&T. Another option, based on my suggestion earlier, is that a mutually trusted user comes in and reviews the sub page, sticking to the sourcing guidelines. Someone like Doc Glasgow springs to mind immediately, but I'd really like to hear your suggestions, if indeed we need to go down this route. Thanks, Martinp23 13:45, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
I see that B&T has been banned for being a sock puppet of Billy Ego. I think it's therefore fair to say that this mediation case can be closed. Bi 07:38, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
I've notified Martin about your comment. Daniel 04:06, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Martin has advised me to close it; I have done so. Thanks, Daniel 06:23, 14 June 2007 (UTC)