Wikipedia talk:Verifiability

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DVD & Blu-ray technology[edit]

All DVD & Blu-ray technology is unverifiable because the specifications are proprietary, requiring a payment and completion of a non-disclosure contact, therefore, all DVD & Blu-ray subjects in Wikipedia should be removed. --MarkFilipak (talk) 02:13, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

Pardon, but actually, "freely accessible without effort" is not a criterium in verifiability. Sources you need to pay for are still valid sources for the purposes of this policy (-->WP:SOURCEACCESS).Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 07:22, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
Jo-Jo Eumerus is right about sources requiring payment being citable in Wikipedia, but sources that require signing a non-disclosure agreement to see are not published, and so cannot be used to support claims in an article. But I suspect enough published sources can be found to write articles about DVD and Blu-ray technology. Jc3s5h (talk) 11:36, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
The technical sections of DVD & Blu-ray subjects are full of bogus information, "facts" of the most grossly speculative sort. What is written cannot be challanged by informed people without either breaking copyright law or causing a war in the subject entry pages or both. I'm an engineer and I can assure you that the information there is of the poorest quality. Most of the errors are the result of notions that have a certain internal consistency and have therefore achieved a sort of community conscensus, but that are nonetheless wrong; not simply wrong in fact, but wrong in fundamental ways. Sources requiring non-disclosure are and should be ineligible, but that leaves only information that has been leaked to other "sources" that can be cited. Such clandestine information, while accurate, has no currency against the notions that are flawed and therefore cannot stand up to them, especially when such notions are based on popular misconceptions that are internally consistent and easier to understand than are the actual facts. Visitors reading technical articles about DVDs & Blu-rays have no way to differentiate between the accurate and the bogus because both are unsupported. The Wikipedia model of universal editing simply does not work in the case of proprietary knowledge subject to non-disclosure. Such articles should be removed altogether or they should be operated as a user forum within the wiki with one or more moderators who are recognized subject-authorities. The current situation is intollerable and getting worse. --MarkFilipak (talk) 15:55, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
If content in a Wikipedia article can be verified only through sources access to which is subject to a nondisclosure agreement, doesn't it follow that its inclusion here is a violation of the nondisclosure agreement? If so, is that a legal concern for Wikipedia? —Largo Plazo (talk) 16:12, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
No. Wikipedia is not subject to any non-disclosure agreements that other companies may have made up between themselves.--Anders Feder (talk) 16:18, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
The situation you describe sounds highly implausible. Wikipedia articles should not be based on primary sources such as the proprietary DVD and Blu-ray specifications. A simple Google search reveals that Encyclopedia Britannica (unsurprisingly) has articles on both DVD and Blu-ray, and undoubtedly there are plenty of reliable technical sources as well. This concludes the discussion [about DVD and Blu-ray] here - the discussion of which of the existing non-primary sources should be used belongs on the talk pages of those articles.--Anders Feder (talk) 16:17, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
MarkFilipak has a (general) point imho, related to policy on the matter: if we're too easy on "connecting dots" in fields of knowledge where in principle there is no legitimate access, that might be something we want to write about in guidance: if not in policy, then possibly in WP:RS. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:26, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
I meant to say the discussion around DVD and Blu-ray sourcing specifically should not evolve here. I've amended the comment accordingly.--Anders Feder (talk) 16:29, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
Sourcing for article content can be challenged at WP:RSN too, just saying, if can't get it worked out at the article talk pages. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:52, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
Obviously. One may also ask one's mom or one's dog for advice. A comprehensive list is not necessary.--Anders Feder (talk) 17:15, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
Anders Feder, the situation is not implausible, it's real and, I believe, serious. I would bet that the Encyclopedia Britannica articles are general in nature, not citations of specific format modes and programming and the like (specifics that are covered by non-disclosure). There are reliable sources for some of these, but those sources can't identify themselves due to legal consequences AND, due to the structure of Wikipedia, they cannot be attributed any more credibility than that given to notional sources that I know to be bogus. If Wikipedia is to be a real encyclopedia and not the encyclopedic equivalent of Popular Science, then a method of factual verification needs to be developed. A consensus of notions will not do when the authoritative facts are hidden by non-disclosure. --MarkFilipak (talk) 17:04, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
I understand your concern, but you seem to misunderstand the aim of Wikipedia, which is roughly as general as Encyclopedia Britannica. In fact, one project standard suggests that if "you wonder what should or should not be in an article, ask yourself what a reader would expect to find under the same heading in an encyclopedia." If we can provide better information, that is great, but not required. We are not an instruction manual or a textbook.--Anders Feder (talk) 17:15, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
Who are you? --MarkFilipak (talk) 20:03, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
Why do you ask?--Anders Feder (talk) 20:05, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Folks please take a step for a moment. Mark you have had an account since 2008 but you have made only 150 edits; you are still a newbie here and that is clear from what you are writing above. I will write more to you on your Talk page, as what I have to say isn't appropriate for this Talk page. This Talk page is for discussion of the Verifiability policy, and not for questions like the ones you are asking (which are not the right questions). Please do see your Talk page. If other folks want to join there, great. Jytdog (talk) 20:11, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia as a citation... to delete or not to delete?[edit]

I've been told that one should not remove Wikipedia citations, but instead add {{Better source}}. Documentation of {{Better source}} specifically links to the WP:NOTRS section, which WP:CIRCULAR is apart of. Only when a valid reference has been added, can the Wikipedia citation be removed. This applies to bots and people removing the Wikipedia citations. Bgwhite (talk) 02:04, 27 September 2015 (UTC)

For anyone interested in what Bgwhite means when they say "I've been told", they're referring to a small discussion currently taking place about how a bot (not mine) should handle citation templates that use links to Wikipedia in the 'url' parameter. Background on how the bot came to be marking circular links with {{Better source}} can be found further up that same talk page. Please read my response that apparently prompted this section here; I very clearly state "Anyone seeing these references pointed out by the bot's edit (it's not like the bot is inserting them) is welcome to remove them if they think that is the best course of action" (emphasis added), so I honestly have no idea where Bgwhite gets " Only when a valid reference has been added, can the Wikipedia citation be removed. This applies to bots and people removing the Wikipedia citations", which even charitably seems a willful misinterpretation of my opinion on the matter.
Bgwhite has been "told" nothing, I'm just a nobody who likes expanding articles no-one gives a crap about, and I only offered an opinion in what semed a pretty mundane discussion. Bgwhite has decided to start this conversation here without informing folks (such as myself, and the bot's owner, Basilicofresco) that would likely be interested. Antepenultimate (talk) 03:01, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
Antepenultimate is not the only person I've discussed this with, sorry, but this isn't about you and what you said. The bot owner hasn't responded to my email, discussion and is rarely on-line. They don't have the only bot that can do this. This is the edit Antepenultimate complained about that the template would be applied to instead of removing the Wikipedia reference. He sailed to New York on the [[Packet boat|canal packet]] ''Seneca Chief.''<ref>{{Cite web|url =|title = Erie Canal Time Machine | ... </ref>. I also received complaints on removing the Wikipedia ref in this manual edit. This is an example were the template was applied. Bgwhite (talk) 05:38, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
Of course they should be deleted, and I'd be stunned to see anyone argue otherwise. But that is a separate question from whether bots should be doing the deleting. The best course of action may be to simply remove the citation, or it may be to turn it into a normal WikiLink. There could also be an actual reference in the article history or somewhere else on the page that a human editor could find. Thus I think having the bot simply flag these citations makes sense. Someguy1221 (talk) 05:51, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
The entire saga that I've been aware of has been completely in the context of bot actions. I don't know where Bgwhite gets the idea that anyone thinks circular refs can't be removed without replacement by actual editors, a link to a discussion alleging that would be helpful. For manual, non-bot edits of these sorts, presumably the bad ref would at least need to be replaced with a {{citation needed}}, or the "cited" passage should be removed, assuming it isn't WP:BLUE. Or, the editor could do a bit of legwork and dig the proper source out of the wikilinked article. Those decisions couldn't be made by a bot, but can be easily accomplished by in-the-flesh editors, which is why I also support this sort of bot-flagging of poor refs. Antepenultimate (talk) 06:36, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
I support having a bot that tags citations to Wikipedia (as opposed to simply removing them)... As is highlighted at WP:FIXTHEPROBLEM, while removal of problematic citations is allowed, it should be a last resort. When Article A contains a citation to Article B, simply removing the citation only fixes part of the problem (it resolves the issue of having a problematic citation, but then leaves the information unsourced). Tagging, on the other hand draws attention to the issue and allows the entire problem to be fixed. Editors can go look for a reliable source to support the statement (which may well be cited at Article B... a citation that can be cut and pasted into Article A to replace the flawed citation to Article B). Blueboar (talk) 12:35, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
Hello! Let's face it, we don't have many articles with editors regularly checking their histories and reviewing edits. Thus, while in a perfect world it would be the best to simply delete such circular references (which a perfect world would never see anyway), in the real world it should be much better to tag circular references simply because that approach increases chances for someone spotting the issues and fixing them. All that applies to a bot doing that work, of course, while an editor that finds a circular reference should do their best to replace it with a proper one, and delete the circular reference only as a last resort. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 17:26, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
Agree with Blueboar. I have seen where editors seemed to have thought it was good enough to merely point (with a wikilink) to where a citation can be found (in another article). Retaining such links (suitably tagged) gives a subsequent editor a heads-up on where a source might be found. Hopefully the tag will suggest following up on that rather than simply deleting the link. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk)
I'm the bot operator. Placing a {{Better source}} tag seems the best solution to me because draws attention to the issue (my original intent), but at the same time preserves all the informations useful to fix it. For additional details see User talk:Basilicofresco#Bot removed only useful portion of reference. -- Basilicofresco (msg) 21:04, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

Blueboar the thing here is that we do not actually remove references because these were not references at first place. Wikilinks, independently of how they are written are not references and they should not be presented as references. In fact, we should search for "references" that are sole wikilinks and replace them by proper references or remove them. -- Magioladitis (talk) 06:47, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

I think you missed the point of my comment. I agree that a wikilink is not a citation, and is not enough to satisfy WP:Verifiability... but there is often a citation that will satisfy WP:V at the linked article... a citation that should be copied and pasted into the problematic article. Blueboar (talk) 12:05, 29 September 25 (UTC)

RfC: Are "in popular culture" entries "self-sourcing" or do they require a reference under Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources?[edit]

Question: Are "in popular culture" entries self-sourcing, or do they require a reference under Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources?

Although some references may be plainly verified by primary sources, this does not demonstrate the significance of the reference. Furthermore, when the primary source in question only presents the reference, interpretation of this may constitute original research where the reference itself is ambiguous. If a cultural reference is genuinely significant it should be possible to find a reliable secondary source that supports that judgment.
This seems to be completely consistent with the principles of Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources, which emphasize the need for verification, a strong preference for secondary rather than primary sources in most circumstances (especially when the primary source is being used outside of an article about itself), and the WP:BURDEN principle, that the editor restoring challenged unsourced content has the burden of providing references. Moreover, "self-sourcing" in "pop culture" entries would also seem to directly lead (1) to original research and synthesis, since the editor could add content to an "in pop culture" section in the absence of any genuine source that actually draws a connection with the new content to the article topic; and (2) to an increase in trivia sections, which we have long disapproved of (and leads to ridiculous outcomes, as this xkcd comic spoofs). In essence, we should not have a more lenient rule for "in pop culture" sections than for other types of content. Neutralitytalk 23:52, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Reference required save for obvious cases where mentioned by name by the referencing work. I'm also of the opinion that even if there is a source, it needs to be a secondary source to avoid making these reference sections sourced to primary/recapping materials. Avoid all interpretation and possible favoritism here. --MASEM (t) 00:18, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • References are required per above. Any additions to popular culture sections need solid references which not only support the added content but also provide some rationale explaining why the linked article is significant to the subject of the host article. Vsmith (talk) 00:28, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • As long as a popcult item in an article is totally descriptive, without any analysis or interpretation, it is sourced by the item itself, in precisely the same way that every plot section in every film article and many book articles are self-sourcing - that is, based on the editor's experience of seeing the film or reading the book.
    There is no difference between these scenarios: (1) Reading a book on a particular subject, written by an expert, then taking information from this reliable source and inserting it an article on that subject, rewording it so as to not violate copyright. The information has been perceived by me by reading the book, synopsized by me, rephrased by me, and inserted by me, with a reference. Anyone who wants to verify the information goes to the source, reads what's there, and checks it against what I have written. (2) Compare this to watching a film, taking something that happened in the film and inserting it into the article on that film, describing it as accurately as I can. The information, therefore, has been perceived by me, described by me, and inserted by me, with a reference to the film it came from. Anyone who wants to verify the information goes to the source, views what's in the film, and checks it against what I have written, thus satisfying WP:V. There is no more reliable source for the contents of a media artifact than the media artifact itself.
    Now, this is only the case for straight-forward description. If I want to analyze the media item, or interpret its meaning, or do anything other than simply describing its contents, that would require a source, as it would otherwise be WP:original research. BMK (talk) 00:50, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • In my early life here on the wiki, I spent a great deal of time working with IPC sections and content. There are actually two extremely similar, but easily confused questions in this matter. One is if there needs to be a source demonstrating that a particular reference is being made. The other is if a particular reference is indeed notable. In the case of the first question, many references are self evident. So on this criteria they shouldn't necessarily need a reference, but it would be up to the individual article contributors to make that decision. Focusing on the second question, WP:V and WP:RS mandate that all content in the wiki should have a reference, at the very least have the capacity to be sourced. So on this criteria, most items fail. With that in mind, often we find much content perfectly acceptable without a source, so long as we recognize that it has the capacity to be sourced. Using this rule of thumb, I feel most IPC content disputed can be resolved by the individual article contributors. --NickPenguin(contribs) 00:54, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Popcult lists tend to become a coatrack for trivia that promotes subjects which have absolutely no relevance to the article. This gives undue weight, and is unencyclopedic. I think there needs to be sourcing which not only supplies the precision needed to verify the factual accuracy, but sourcing which establishes the notability of the connection (and distinguishes it from original research/synthesis), much like all the other cases where we prefer tertiary rather than primary sources. In the asker's original example, about 3% of the building's article is instead describing a single tenuously-related film; while this connection might be published elsewhere in articles regarding the film (say, a film-trivia column), it seems unlikely that other (encyclopedic) sources would digress on such a tangent within articles where the building itself is supposed to be the primary topic. Cesiumfrog (talk) 01:21, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Reference is required. I also agree with Masem that the references should be secondary sources. - Location (talk) 01:33, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Third-party reference is required before even considering to include such things. Curly Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 01:38, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Reference is required to indicate the significance of the entry. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:07, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Reference is required that indicates significance. The analogy I've become fond of lately is that the source shouldn't just establish that the tree fell in the woods, but also that it made a sound when it fell. DonIago (talk) 02:59, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Broadly, yes, reference is required, but like Nick above, I think there are two issues at work here:
    • Firstly, does WP:V apply? Yes, all material in Wikipedia mainspace, including everything in articles, lists and captions, must be verifiable. Is an in-line reference required? Yes, if the material is challenged or likely to be challenged - this applies to "pop culture" as much as anything else.
    • Secondly, "verifiability does not guarantee inclusion": we must "strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to the weight of that aspect in the body of reliable sources on the subject" - this is the "significance" point raised by Nikkimaria and others, which also applies to items of pop culture.
  • This logic applied to a couple of examples from the article that Neutrality and BMK have been discussing:
    • "The building is the model for "Gotham City Hall" in the 1995 film Batman Forever." - I don't know if the directors of Batman Forever used the Manhattan Municipal Building as the model for Gotham City Hall or not. I can't imagine the fact being mentioned explicitly in the main film by an actor, although perhaps a director's voice over on a special feature might say such a thing. WP:V applies, and a editor can quite properly request that a reliable source for this fact is given. Even if verified, is it an important, significant fact about the Municipal Building? Again, I don't know, but I'd be looking at reliable, secondary sources to see how prominent this sort of information is when the Municipal Building is discussed in the broader literature.
    • "The building appeared in the 1990s sitcom Seinfeld as the workplace of Elaine Benes." - Again, personally I've no idea if Elaine worked at the Municipal Building or not. An editor might reasonably ask for a citation here. It might be 100% clear from the sitcom as a primary source - e.g. episode 14, Elaine might say to Jerry, "I'm off to work at the Manhattan Municipal Building", or it might just be "fairly clear" - e.g. in episode 14, Elaine might walk into a building that we'd all instantly recognise as the Municipal, or it might be ambiguous - e.g. in episode 14, we see just a part of a building that might, or might not, be the Municipal. I'd probably be happy with the show as a primary source being cited (with episode number etc.) for the first two, less so for the third. Again, though, even if verified, is it an important, significant fact about the Municipal Building? Again, I don't personally know, but I'd be looking at reliable, secondary sources to see how prominent this sort of information is when the Municipal Building is discussed in the broader literature. Hchc2009 (talk) 07:08, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Reference required - per Masem, Nikki, Hchc2009, etc. And they should be secondary sources in order to show how the information sheds light on the article topic, otherwise it is just trivia. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:25, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • in most cases, it is not a matter of WP:V but a matter of WP:OR and WP:UNDUE and yes, sources are required to address those concerns. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 13:39, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • There are not, and should not be, different standards for popular culture articles than "regular" articles; references are thus required in popular culture articles whenever they would be required in regular articles. To say here when they are and are not required would require restating V and other policies and guidelines. What is different about popular culture articles is that a great deal of the material which makes up those articles is, and can properly be, derived from the article subject itself as a primary source; what is often forgotten by the editors writing those articles is the strict limitations that PRIMARY puts on the use of primary sources, especially these two: "Do not analyze, evaluate, interpret, or synthesize material found in a primary source yourself; instead, refer to reliable secondary sources that do so. Do not base an entire article on primary sources, and be cautious about basing large passages on them." (Emphasis in original.) (I, personally, do not find plot or other content summary sections to be in violation of the latter requirement unless the article only or mostly consists of the summary section.) Also, editors who do, properly, use primary sources are sometimes not very good about including inline citations to where the material comes from. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:11, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Needs a source if challenged or likely to be challenged, otherwise does not need a source. In other words, exactly as per policy. It is probably unwise to use this RfC as a pretext to start a large-scale campaign of removing material from popular culture articles.—S Marshall T/C 16:42, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
We seem to be mixing issues here... for VERIFIABILITY purposes "in pop-culture" items usually are self-sourcing. Which means that if challenged, we can cite the source itself as a primary source. However, that does not address the twin issues of RELEVANCE and IMPORTANCE (or, Note-worthiness... as opposed to NOTABILITY). Simply being verifiable is often not enough for inclusion. Some pop culture references are too trivial, even for "in pop-culture" sections. This is one reason why this policy says "Venerability does not guarantee inclusion." External references are what demonstrates note-worthiness.
In other words... the fact that: "Foo is mentioned in episode 53 of the Simpsons" may be verifiable (it is a factoid that can be supported by citing that episode)... HOWEVER, being verifiable does not mean that we must mention that fact (or factoid) in our article on Foo (much less our article on the Simpsons)... It may well be too trivial even for a trivia section. Blueboar (talk) 20:22, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
No disagreement from me, at least, on that. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 21:12, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
I have to disagree a bit here (not so much to the end point that we're agreeing on). There is "this happened in this work" that WP:V can be met by simply the existence of the work, but to day "This reference to another work happened in this work" (the more common way pop-culture references come up) starts to engage in OR if the other work is not named directly, even if a person aware of both works thinks it is obvious. We have to consider if the average reader only seeing the main work (the one we know meets WP:V) would immediately make the connection if they haven't seen or read the referenced work, and in most cases, they won't. And because "obviousness" is one of those slippery slope words, it's best to enforce this using OR policy and requiring secondary sources so that we aren't making "obvious" conclusions that really aren't that obvious and keep these types of sections in check. --MASEM (t) 21:32, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Blueboar and SMarhall raise a WP:ONUS issue, which is different from WP:Burden. Alanscottwalker (talk) 00:22, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

  • Reference required, and it should be a WP:SECONDARY reference, not primary. The mere fact of the pop culture intersection does not necessarily show that the bit is important to the topic. Secondary sources are needed to demonstrate importance. Binksternet (talk) 21:22, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
My two cents on that would be that if sources couldn't or wouldn't be provided for many of the items on the list than they would likely be eligible for removal. That said, there is also WP:LSC; perhaps in that case it would be worth discussing what exactly must occur for an item to merit inclusion. DonIago (talk) 04:04, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Secondary sources should be required in almost all cases in order to show significance. Popular culture references without secondary sources should be removed. But I would add something else to this: I feel that dedicated popular culture sections should be generally discouraged in almost all cases, much the same way we generally discourage criticism sections (and for the same reason.) Legitimately significant information about the article subject's place and portrayals in popular culture should be easy to integrate into the rest of the text. If it can't be integrated, it probably doesn't belong. Devoting a section to popular culture just encourages people to use it as a dumping ground for stuff like every time the article's subject was used in a 10-second cutaway gag in Family Guy or the like. (Not to pick on Family Guy, but its frequent usage of quick cutaway gags for pop-culture references has resulted in a huge number of references to it in Popular Culture sections which are, almost without exception, incredibly trivial.) Currently, the essay on pop-culture sections doesn't even state mention integration that I can see; I feel it should unequivocally state that integrating references into the rest of the article is generally preferable to dedicating a section to them. --Aquillion (talk)
  • no change needed. basically, I feel the procedures for these articles should be kept exactly the way they are right now. --Sm8900 (talk) 21:57, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
  • An example of one way to deal with the issue: Our article on the Eye of Providence (sometimes called the "all seeing eye of God") at one time contained a long list of every TV show, film, book, website, video game, etc that contained a depiction of the the topic symbol ... we resolved this issue by combining them all into an umbrella statement (simply stating "Numerous video games, TV shows, films, books and websites contain depictions of the eye.")
Now, when someone adds their favorite trival occurance, we remove it with the comment... "covered under 'numerous video games, TV shows, etc" in previous bullet point...".
Note that we don't bother to cite a source to support this umbrella statement (because so many sources exist that the umbrella statement has never been challenged). Blueboar (talk) 01:02, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Why are we even here? Reference required; Facebook and (now defunct) Geocities are thataway --->. Moreover, "In popular Culture" is not admissible unless the popular culture phenomenon itself is a verifiable phenomenon. Just becuase person A mentioned novel B in television show C does 'not mean the mention goes in the article about Novel B. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 04:31, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

Recent dispute[edit]

EEng changed the text:

Such sources include websites and publications expressing views that are widely considered by other sources to be extremist or promotional, or that rely heavily on unsubstantiated gossip, rumor or personal opinion. Questionable sources should only be used as sources of material on themselves, especially in articles about themselves; see [[#Self-published and questionable sources as sources on themselves|below]]. They are not suitable sources for contentious claims about others.


Such sources include websites and publications expressing views that are widely considered by other sources to be extremist or promotional, or that rely heavily on unsubstantiated gossip, rumor or personal opinion. Questionable sources should only be used as sources for statements about themselves, for example in an article about such a source; see below. They are not suitable sources for anything else.

Bbb23 reverted to the text as edited by Flyer22, and there has been some subsequent back and forth.

Can we please come to agreement here rather than in edit summaries while the policy page goes back and forth? DES (talk) 23:00, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

views on the substantive issue
  • This does at least slightly change the meaning. I, for one, prefer "especially in articles about themselves" to "for example in an article about such a source" as this is the main place where use of such sources is proper. As to whether it can be said that such sources are not suitable for "anything else" or only not for "contentious claims about others", I would like to know what sort of non-contentious statements about something other than themselves and their views such sources might properly be cited for? DES (talk) 23:00, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, DESiegel (DES), I was just about to state the following, before you beat me to posting: As seen here, here and here, EEng and Bbb23 are in disagreement about content that EEng recently added. I agree with Bbb23 that EEng did change the meaning. The text "They are not suitable sources for contentious claims about others." is obviously different than the text "They are unsuitable as sources for anything else." And neither text is consistent with the WP:SELFPUBLISH section, since questionable sources may be used in cases where the topic is not specifically about the source. For example, they may be used for exclusive interviews (for instance, a site that interviewed a celebrity). If we classify that as "about self" because the interview is coming specifically from that source, then disregard my "they may be used for exclusive interviews" statement. Flyer22 (talk) 23:03, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm glad my bold edit has stimulated discussion, since there's clearly a gap between should only be used as sources of material on themselves and not suitable sources for contentious claims about others, as DES has observed; I leave it to wiser heads than mine to find the ultimate resolution on that. The heavy hand on the revert button was unwarranted, I have to say. EEng (talk) 23:10, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, per what I stated above, the "should only be used as sources of material on themselves" part should be changed to include "usually" so that it reads as "should usually only be used as sources of material on themselves." Flyer22 (talk) 23:15, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

Now then... Given that, in all the confusion, this edit [1] has survived for 12 hours, can we now agree to add on Flyer's suggestion, so that are now at --

Such sources include websites and publications expressing views that are widely considered by other sources to be extremist or promotional, or that rely heavily on unsubstantiated gossip, rumor or personal opinion. Questionable sources should usually be used only as sources for material on themselves, such as in articles about themselves; see below. They are not suitable sources for contentious claims about others.

--? EEng (talk) 13:17, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

That doesn't include the "Exclusive interview" exception urged above. Should it? If a subject chooses to give an interview to a questionable source, and there is no serious suggestion that the interview was simply invented by the source, then it is the subject's words, wherever they are published. I haven't seen this exception on any of the relevant policy or guideline pages, but perhaps it makes sense. DES (talk) 13:34, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Well, but are we OK on the "usually" language so far? As to interviews...
But are they the subject's words? Interviews are always edited to at least some extent (removing "er... um... wait, let me back up... um", selecting/omitting Q/A pairs, etc.) and I'm not sure that the same qualities that make us doubt a source's judgment for straight facts shouldn't also make us doubt their reliability in presenting the interviewee's responses in an undistorted light. Certainly the National Enquirer routinely says, "In an exclusive interview, Celebrity X said '[totally made up bullshit]'. When asked [outrageous question], he added, '[absurd alleged answer]'.". I wonder if the "usually" language isn't enough to allow the possibility of interviews, without inadvertently making a blanket exception for them. EEng (talk) 14:28, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
For what I mean by exclusive interviews from questionable sources, see this discussion (that's a WP:Permalink) from the WP:Reliable sources noticeboard. It addresses reliability, trustworthiness, reputation, and so on. I wasn't suggesting that we mention anything in the policy about exclusive interviews; I was simply giving an example of where a questionable source may used for something that is not specifically about itself. I agree that the "usually" wording is enough. Flyer22 (talk) 00:13, 13 October 2015 (UTC)