Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/Archive 17

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Linking to essays

I wrote an essay pertaining to verifiability and original sources, which can be found at WP:NRSNVNA. Is the "see also" section an appropriate place to link to this essay? If not, where is? Thanks! - Chardish 06:09, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Since I consider the first sentence to be flat-out wrong, I suggest not linking to it at all. An example of an article that contains no cited reliable sources and yet is acceptable is a list, especially when the items in the list are wikilinks to articles that do contain cited reliable sources. --Gerry Ashton 13:42, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
An list still requires sources - either those are in the list themselves or in the wikilinks to articles that have sources that explain why they're in the list. Unsourced lists are not aceeptable. Notability requirements aside, I can't create a list of "Politicians frequently seen wearing striped ties" without sources that would back up "Senator so-and-so always wears a striped tie." But this is beside the point, and outside the scope of this talk page. - Chardish 21:56, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Gerry, some editors believe that lists of that type should not be admitted to Wikipedia (cats are better) and it is of course policy that lists of foos should be completely sourced.Grace Note 05:36, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't believe that linking to an essay that propounds a theory that is far from having consensus (that unsourced articles should be deleted) from a policy page is an appropriate action. JulesH 17:31, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Succession boxes

I would like comments on [1]. Some of the forms of usage, I cannot verify and now I'm being told that we don't need verification of the forms as it's a matter of "Style". I cannot agree with that position and I'd like others to weigh in on the Talk board there about whether I'm right or wrong. Wjhonson 20:53, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Countering Analytical Propositions

I'm curious about how other members of the wikipedia community feel about a lack of citation for the last sentence of the following paragraph of a hypothetical article:

The poll asked respondents whether they agree that people should exercise 5 minutes per day.[CITATION]. Based on 51% of respondents answering this question in the affirmative, the poll concluded that 51% of respondents agree that people should jog 5 minutes per day. [CITATION]. ABC organization criticizes this conclusion, arguing that not all people who agree with the need for five minutes of daily exercise agree that jogging is a good method of exercise. [CITATION]. Similarly, it is possible that more than 51% of respondents support daily exercise, as those who answered the poll question negatively might have done so because they believe more than 5 minutes of exercise is needed per day. [NO CITATION].

I believe that no citation is needed in the last sentence. See my reasoning at Jperkins683 02:13, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

I disagree. The last sentence is a novel synthesis, and if not supported by a citation from a reliable source, is pure speculation, i.e., original research. -- Donald Albury 13:00, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
The last sentence is indeed speculation. --Gerry Ashton 16:10, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Definitely needs a citation. Without a citation the last sentence is a inference based upon facts not in evidence. Cheers. L0b0t 22:50, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

three core content policies

The box (template) on the right has 5 content policies WP:NOT and WP:BLP in addition to the three agreed upon. I suggest either changing three to five in the text or editing the template so the three are somewhat seprated from the other two. The current 'three in text, five in the template' is confusing and needs to be fixed one way or another.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  20:54, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Attribution: Merger of Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research

Wikipedia:Attribution, a proposal to subsume and replace Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research, is ready to be implemented. Please review the document and discuss any problems on the talk page. —Centrxtalk • 23:09, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Quotations need inline citations or equivalent

In a recent edit Centrx removed the phrase "for quotaions" from the introduction. This means that the policy no longer mentions any particular requirement for providing sources for quotations. Since standard scholarly practice is to provide an inline citation for quotations, or equivalent prose information, I believe the phrase should be restored, or the policy otherwise modified to show that quotations must be attributed. --Gerry Ashton 19:47, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I would agree, unless someone can come up with a case where it would be a bad idea to reference a quotation; I can't think of any myself. Trebor 22:23, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
All non-trivial should have sources, quotations are not so special that the lack of a cited source means the quotation is liable to be summarily removed, which is the meaning of the sentence it was taken out of. If you want to add things about it somewhere else, that's probably okay, but there is nothing specially requiring greater verifiability in quotations, they should be just as verifiable as all other information. —Centrxtalk • 01:05, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
All quotations must be attributed to someone, otherwise they are not a quote. I would probably remove a quote not properly attributed on sight. And it would be incumbent on you to cite it before restoring it. This is especially true for quotes from living persons. Dhaluza 01:17, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
And I remove non-quotes for lack of attribution, as well. So? -- Donald Albury 01:26, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Maybe I don't understand Centrx's point. But direct quotes absolutely do need extra attribution. There is no need for a cite on every sentence of common knowledge, one overall cite is enough. But a direct quote needs direct attribution. Dhaluza 01:36, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Trivial common knowledge versus some substantial information is a different issue. Any non-trivial information would need attribution just as much as a quote, which is what the page already says. —Centrxtalk • 01:48, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

(unindent) I have restored the requirement to provide attribution for quotations. I have tried to make the wording similar to WP:ATT. --Gerry Ashton 02:39, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

You should address the arguments above first. —Centrxtalk • 05:25, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Very well. A number of editors seem to agree that a quotation that lacks an inline citation or prose equivalent may be deleted on sight. Non-trivial information also needs attribution, but not necessarily an inline citation. For example, if an article said the length of a half-wave dipole radio antenna is 468 divided by the frequency in megahertz, and had in the reference section both The ARRL Antenna Book and The 1990 ARRL Handbook for the Radio Amateur, that would be adequate attribution, since it wouldn't be hard to locate the information; those books have good indices. However, if an article contained a statement that was likely to be challenged, the statement should have its own inline citation.
Thus, statements likely to be challenged and quotations share the attribute that both should have inline citations. --Gerry Ashton 05:57, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
A further comment: given an alleged fact and a list of references, in many cases it isn't too hard to guess which source(s) will contain the fact, and find the fact by using an index. In general, it would usually be much more difficult to guess which source might contain a quotation, or to use an index to locate the quotation. Perhaps that is why scholars insist on inline citations for quotes. --Gerry Ashton 06:19, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
The only difference between a quote and other use of sources is that a quote is verbatim. All the quote marks or block quote indentation show is that the material is taken verbatim from the source. If material is not quoted verbatim but is paraphrased or incorporated with material from other sources, it still needs to be cited from reliable sources just as much as a quotation. The requirement for sourcing a quote is no higher than for sourcing material that is not quoted. Things might be different out in the real world, but this is Wikipedia, and we need to be sourcing everything, whether or not it is in the form of a quote. -- Donald Albury 13:42, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
A quote needs to be attributable to its particular source, so the quote needs it's citation in closer proximity. Dhaluza 01:22, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
If a passage in an article is neither a paraphrase of one particular source, nor a quotation from a source, but rather a summary of the consensus of most of the sources, an inline citation is not required; it is sufficient to lists the sources in a general reference list. Of course, readers can't tell the difference between this acceptable situation, and the improper situation where a specific source has been paraphrased without inline citation, unless the reader reads the sources.
Also, Wikipedia requires inline citations for statements that have been, or are likely to be, challenged. Scholarly practice requires inline citations for quotations, even if it is very unlikely that they will be challenged. --Gerry Ashton 01:42, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Suggestion to change criteria for inclusion of self-published sources on WP:RS

Hello, on Wikipedia talk:Reliable sources#Self-published_sources:_Can_we_simplify_this.3F, I suggested changing the criteria for inclusion of self-published sources to something simpler, and, in my opinion, more to the point. Anyways, since WP:V and WP:ATT discuss this and say what WP:RS currently says on the subject, and policy overrides guideline, your input on this would be wecome. Thanks!

Armedblowfish (talk|mail) 18:51, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Cross-posting to WT:ATT.

Proposed change to self-published sources section

I'd like to suggest a change to this paragraph:

"Self-published material may be acceptable when produced by a well-known, professional researcher in a relevant field or a well-known professional journalist. These may be acceptable so long as their work has been previously published by reliable third-party publications. However, exercise caution: if the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else is likely to have done so."

I would like to do two things:

(a) remove "or a well-known professional journalist." I have seen this being (as I see it) abused a few times recently; lots of professional journalists are now setting up blogs and publishing material there that their newspapers might not be willing to publish. Allowing editors to copy that material arguably puts us at risk in the same way the newspapers might be put at risk. I suggest we restrict the use to "well known, professional researcher in a relevant field" — any journalist that fits that description can then be used, even on his or her blog.
(b) add to the end: "If a third-party source has published the same or very similar material, that source should be used in preference to the blog." That is, if the same or very similar material is found both on an acceptable blog and in a reliable third-party source, the blog should not be used.

Any thoughts? SlimVirgin (talk) 21:02, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

If two acceptable sources, one from a reputable publisher and the other self-published, are available, I would cite the reputable publisher version, unless access to the reputable publisher version costs money and the self-published version is free, in which case I would cite both. --Gerry Ashton 21:07, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I disagree with (a) in particular, it's going in the wrong direction from what we should be looking toward. --badlydrawnjeff talk 21:13, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Those changes sound good to me. Friday (talk) 15:33, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I'd strongly disagree with (a). Journalists sites are a useful source of material, and they are, as a general rule, fairly responsible about what they include in them. I've never heard a journalist referred to as a 'researcher' (however much research is part of their job, it's not a common word that's used to refer to them). I do, however, still propose either changing 'researcher' to 'notable expert' or adding it as an additional option. This change might obviate the need for journalists to be included -- the most important journalists would usually be considered notable experts in their field, I think. Regarding (b), I agree with Gerry Ashton's point: if the third-party source is one that isn't freely accessible, both should be included. Otherwise, this seems pretty much common sense. JulesH 23:16, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Discussion moved to WT:A. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:47, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Usenet posts

...self-published books, personal websites, and blogs are largely not acceptable as sources... this line used to also mention Usenet postings (and by extension postings to many online chat rooms and forums). Was there a reason why these were removed? I know they are still mentioned at WP:RS as being unreliable. As that guideline is essentially a sub-page of this Policy, I want to make sure we are being consistent between the two. Is there a consensus here that Usenet postings (and their ilk) are acceptable, or were they simply left out during a recent revision? Blueboar 19:42, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

There's certainly still consensus at WP:ATT that they aren't, and I for one don't generally support their use. I'd suggest adding them back in. JulesH 23:18, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Conflict between Policy?

I gather that WP:ATT is now considered Policy... a merging of WP:V and WP:NOR. I have no problem with this, but I do have a concern with how this is being done. At the moment all three Policies are up and running... and this is going to lead to confusion and argument. The three policies do not completely agree with each other (or to put it more exactly, they agree with each other in surface substance, but they differ in greatly in tone and emphysis). This is especially noticable in the area of reliability of sources (especially Self-published sources - a frequent area of controversy) and how they are dealt with. Look at them side by side: WP:V#Sources, WP:NOR#Sources, WP:ATT#Reliable_sources. As a frequent contributer at WP:RS... a guideline that is supposed to help explain this particular aspect of Policy... I am seeing this conflict of tone writ large. Many of the questions we are asked involve parsing Policy statements and intent. Those of us at WP:RS agree that we need to conform what is said there to what is stated in Policy, but right now there is confusion as to which policy we should conform to. I would therefore request that, if WP:ATT is indeed confirmed as Policy, we redirect WP:V and WP:NOR to that page. If not, please move WP:ATT back to "proposed" status until the community can reach consensus. I don't care which, but we need clarity and not confusion. I have posted this request at the Village Pump Policy Page as well. Thank you. Blueboar 15:31, 23 February 2007 (UTC)


  • Hi folks, changes like this are not made by a small sub-set of editors working on a single obscure talk page. Reverted. Dan100 (Talk) 10:15, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Using all sources to establish an acceptable word usage

self-published books, personal websites, and blogs are largely not acceptable as sources.
  • You cannot prove Wright brothers invented airplane using self-published materials.
  • You can show the term "Wright brothers" has been used zillion and zillion times by all kinds of sources to refer Orville Wright (August 19, 1871–January 30, 1948) and Wilbur Wright (April 16, 1867–May 30, 1912) of the U.S.

You can establish an acceptable terminology of a thing or an idea by counting relevant and real (not fabricated) usages regardless of source type. If most suppliers call this item a "monkey wrench," it is a monkey wrench. If most scholar call this man call that man Leonardo, we may avoid calling him Da Vinci.

Some people simply do not know how to research. -- Toytoy 16:25, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Editors, please note:

After four months of discussion at Wikipedia:Attribution, editors at Wikipedia talk:Attribution have agreed on a means of merging Wikipedia:Verifiability with Wikipedia:No original research, while also streamlining Wikipedia:Reliable sources into a simpler FAQ.

There are no policy innovations suggested: WP:ATT is intended be a more cohesive version of the core content policies with which the Wikipedia community is already familiar.


Policy reverted

It looks like Mr. Whales has reverted this page to policy, per his post to wiki-l, where he said "I undid this merger of policy not because I think it is a bad idea but because there was not really a proper process. If ultimately approved, this is a MAJOR change of editorial policy structure (even if, at the outset, the policies are supposed to stay the same)." Philippe Beaudette 20:58, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

It's Ironic this page is editable though...


I have protected this page to maintain stability while the WP:ATT situation is being sorted out. Crum375 00:33, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

WP:ATT: Join the discussion at

Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Community discussion

≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:12, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

NOTE: There is a proposal to merge this page into WP:ATT.

Resolved: Merge tag installed.

There should be a prominent merge tag posted on this page, directing people to the discussion, which is supposed to be trying to attract as many people as possible. This is the very problem that led to the current dispute: that there had been no merge tag on this and similar pages while discussions about possibly merging were going on. Would someone please correct this and put up the merge tags? --Coppertwig 00:07, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Notices are posted, here and on the page itself. Marskell 20:03, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
There is no merge notice of any kind, standard or customized on the project page, only some discussion of ATT's status. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 19:38, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

The project page needs {{Mergeto|Attribution}} (see Wikipedia:Attribution/Poll - merge has been proposed). — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 19:38, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

{{editprotected}}. There is an enormous amount of discussion going on about these pages. There are many users with sysop rights who are actively involved, and I trust them to add appropriate templates when/if they are appropriate. There is no need to request assistance from uninvolved administrators using the editprotected tag.CMummert · talk 20:18, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
But it might not be a bad idea; spreading notice to people who use WP:V would alert some people interested in policy, and give the rest a reason for the protection. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:40, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't have any opinion about whether the tag should be there or not; I just wanted to remove the editprotected tag because I was working on WP:PER. Consensus on everything involving these pages is in a state of flux, and I think that leaving the pages alone for a little while (even in a suboptimal state) is better than administrator edit wars. I think you have been following the discussion at WP:AN... CMummert · talk 20:54, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
As I think I said there, the text should be left alone until the discussion is completed. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:24, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
No objection to what PMAnderson says. I don't want to edit the text, I want to properly merge tag this page, period. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 21:58, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

I suggest the following template is added along with {{protected2}}:

Info header.png A discussion regarding merging Wikipedia:Verifiability, Wikipedia:No original research, and Wikipedia:Reliable sources into a single page at Wikipedia:Attribution is in progress. Pending long-term resolution of this situation, the page has been protected from editing. This is not an endorsement of the current version.

You may have seen something similar on your watchlists and at WP:ATT. Would anyone object if I added this or something similar? I have also asked over at WT:NOR. -- zzuuzz(talk) 18:58, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

New combined merge/prot/community discussion header tag

Resolved: Merge tag installed.

Wikipedia:Verifiability/Header. I was asked by an admin from WP:RFPP to come up with a combination of the merge header from WP:RS and the protection header from WP:ATT, to be used on both WP:V and WP:RS, and propose it here. My take at this is located at the link above (it has code in it so it can be used on both pages). By belief is that this version will satisfy everyone. It has the text (with twiddles that make it apply to these pages instead of ATT) from ATT's tag, including the protection discussion, with the merge tag formatting of the one at RS. So, it would replace the {{Protected}} on this page, and obviate the need to continue editprotecting about the need for a merge tag. I think it also absorbs all the ideas of the template in the topic above, too. Any objections? It looks like this:

SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 00:44, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Rather than asking for objections, ask if there is anyone that support your relentless unilateral request for changing these headers that you have done than for four days in a row. Is that not enough? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:52, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Rather than savaging people seeking consensus, why not, um, try to seek consensus? You appear to be misusing the term "unilateral" since there is a multi-party (supportive) thread about adding such a header just above, and much discussion of the issue elsewhere, such as at WT:ATT, among other places. I'm not sure why you feel it necessary to tell every other editor you disagree with to shut up and go away, but I must say it is getting way beyond tiresome. I thought we had a truce. I've made every endeavor to not argue with you at all when possible, and to only disagree with the text of your messages rather than with you personally since that agreement, but I do not feel that you are upholding your end of the bargain, and are in fact exploiting it. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 19:43, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
PS: Part of what you've said simply doesn't make any sense at all. These header have not existed for four days. It took me about that long to get any merge or protect notices installed at all. The header on this page is barely over a day old, I believe. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 19:45, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Great, I'm happy to see the merge-etc. tag with a link to the community discussion at ATT. Thanks to SMcCandlish and others involved in getting this put up! --Coppertwig 23:24, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales's requested poll nearly done - please see

Jimbo Wales requested a poll to gauge community thoughts on the Wikipedia:Attribution merger. A poll for this is being crafted, and is somewhat close to done. Concensus for the past 24 hours (with the occasional dissenting voice of course) that the thing is close to done. Only the main question is still heavily debated. A pre-poll straw poll is here:


To sort that out. Accepted group concensus seems to be to pre-poll to 4/1/07 22:00 and then launch a site-wide poll (again, as implied/requested by Jimbo) at 4/2/07 00:00. Please help hash out the wording for that last quesion. - Denny 13:31, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Attribution/Poll

Resolved: 'Speedy keep' result.

Per comments on the Talk page here, and in other locales, it appears groups of editors are specifically against Jimbo's specifically requested public poll to gauge thoughts/support on the idea of the ATT merger. As it has been stated that the Poll is "dead" per users such as User:WAS 4.250, I am nominating this. If there is wide spread support to run this poll, this page should be kept. The MfD is here:

Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Attribution/Poll

Thank you. - Denny 16:12, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

The result of the MfD was a Speedy Keep - Let's get back to work on the Poll folks... New voices are needed to break the current deadlock over language. Please help out. Blueboar 17:41, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
And please also note that Jimbo did not request the poll; he said there needs to be broad community discussion. Someone else suggested the poll, and he agreed it would be a good idea. This says to me that Wikipedia talk:Attribution/Community discussion is more important that the potential poll. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 21:50, 30 March 2007 (UTC)