Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/Archive 53

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Archive 52 Archive 53 Archive 54


Jimbo's argument

Discussed here. Count Iblis (talk) 04:12, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

This may provide an interesting case study on why I think Jimbo's continuing role in en.wikipedia is a poisonous formulation. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:18, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Right, because his thesis (that it isn't good for Wikipedia articles to knowingly include false (and potentially harmful) information merely because it is published elsewhere) is somehow a bad thing? Actually, I pretty much agree with Jimbo's thesis 100%. The existance of a source doesn't somehow make a falsehood true. Editorial decisions always need to be made regarding Wikipedia articles, including whether or not to include some bit of information. Being verifiable isn't the only reason to include information; and sometimes the editorial decision needs to be to exclude some information even if it is published elsewhere for various reasons. All the reasons why it is a good idea to not include published info are so many as to be impossible to list, but being actually wrong is a pretty good one, in my book. --Jayron32 04:25, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo has an extremely constrained editorial, disciplinary and content provision history; his contributions gain attention far beyond their merit; and, the idea of "falsehood" is limited in the domains of the humanities and social sciences to claims that are exceedingly trivial. The idea of "falsehood" represents an epistemological positivism that is radically out of synch with the HQRS for most of our encyclopaedia's content; and Jimbo's example is invidious in its triviality. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:34, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
You wouldn't get away with the way you've used "exceedingly trivial" in an article, for good reasons (especially, I would hope, one in the domains of the humanities and social sciences). Whether one battle took place before another may be "trivial" compared to serious historical analysis of the causes of the war, but that doesn't mean that it's "trivial" if Wikipedia (or any other source which tries to be reliable) gets the dates wrong – if a source can't get such information right, why should anyone trust anything more complicated that it contains? If it turns out that neutrinos actually can travel faster than the speed of light, the theories which will eventually be constructed to try to explain this will certainly be more important than the fact itself, but in the meantime what matters to scientists is whether the claim is true or not. In all these domains, analysis, opinion, theory – all the non-trivial and most interesting stuff – still rest on some more directly checkable facts (and yes, I do know that "facts" are not entirely theory-neutral). Peter coxhead (talk) 23:15, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm with Jayron32 here. As for cases where truth/untruth is not a black-and-white issue, NPOV policy is well equipped to handle such disputes without relying on an assist from WP:V that has the unwanted side effect of enabling editors to argue that verifiably published, but demonstrably false information must never be deleted. --JN466 04:49, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Two issues with your points here. A major part of your point seems to be that it is wrong merely because Jimbo made the point. That seems to be a trivial matter, it is the idea not the speaker which matters here. Secondly, his example isn't trivial, necessarily, matters regarding biographies of living persons represent a real legal and ethical quagmire for Wikipedia, and we have a responsibility for getting it right. Issues of simple fact may be irrelevent for complex matters in, say, articles on philosophy or sociology, or whatnot, but many Wikipedia articles are about topics where matters of simple fact ARE, well, simple. Either a person did or did not commit some action "X", and Wikipedia has a responsibility to not say "Person A did action X" if in fact, they did not. That some other source mistakenly said they did is not reason enough, if the demonostratedly did not. That is but one issue; merely because matters of "falsehood" doesn't work in some articles in the encyclopedia doesn't mean it doesn't work anywhere. That you, personally, work in a field where questions of simple binary fact don't often apply is fine and dandy, but you're personal experience is not the sum total of human experience, and you Fifelfoo need to realize that there are experiences that exist outside of your own. That extends to include the many encyclopedia articles, the bulk of whose content relies on material which is merely a reporting of facts which are either correct or incorrect (a person was either born on a certain date or they were not, a sports team either won or lost a game, a certain number of people lived in a city on the date of a certain census, a certain fish has been found to live in a certain body of water or wasn't, etc.) Such information is either true or false, and insofar as it is, we should never be knowingly reporting information which is demosntratedly and actually false merely because someone printed the falsehood before we did. Again, Fifelfoo, I understand that articles you work with do not operate on such concepts, and that is good. Those articles need you to work on them, and the encyclopedia is better for it. But also understand that there are many articles which contain information which is either right or wrong in a boolean sense, and Wikipedia has a responsibility to be on the right side of that... --Jayron32 04:57, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
If something is demonstrably false, ipso facto, it's not a reliable source. Every example given of where V, not T has been allegedly misused, the sources used can be shown not to be reliable for the content. Getting rid of the phrase altogether would unhelpfully strengthen the hands of campaigners, cranks and paid-up PR people. Any supposed gain in accuracy would very likely be lost many more times over in other articles.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 04:56, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I absolutely agree with VsevolodKrolikov. This is the primary basis for my opposition to the proposed changes -the proposal seeks to "force" this policy to do the work of other policies and guidelines. It seems the "Anti-VnotT party" have completely forgotten about the existence of WP:RS, WP:NPOV, WP:UNDUE and WP:FRINGE. I also do not understand how some folks here manage to equate "Not Truth" and "Untruth". BTW, JIMBOSAYS carries no more inherent weight than the very first post by an IP Editor - every post must be evaluated by it's content, not it's author. Roger (talk) 06:41, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Vsevolod, when you say "If something is demonstrably false, it's not a reliable source", your position resembles mine. Do you think that implies that if something is demonstrably true, then it is a reliable source?—S Marshall T/C 07:56, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
No, that's a different proposition altogether. Multiple reliable sources give confidence that something is correct, not demonstration.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 08:16, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Does this mean that you see "confidence that something is correct" as an important criterion for inclusion in Wikipedia?—S Marshall T/C 08:43, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes- although I'm instinctively wary of what you think I mean by "correct". I don't mean we choose one viewpoint over another in a judgement of "correctness", or that we do not mention notable ideas that are wrong.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 12:33, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I'll try that another way. Do you see "confidence that something is not false" as an important criterion?—S Marshall T/C 13:22, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
VsevolodKrolikov, you own argument is inconsistent with the disputed lead sentence of the policy as presently written. Currently, the policy's lead sentence says, The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true. To present your argument that the source is unreliable, you have to argue that the information contained in it is not true. But the lead sentence says, literally, that (1) nobody has to concern themselves with your personal belief that it isn't true, because what you or any other editor thinks is true does not matter to Wikipedia, and (2) truth doesn't matter in the first place, so you're wrong to even raise the question. --JN466 15:07, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
The lead sentence doesn't "literally" say that truth doesn't matter; it says that the threshold for inclusion is publication in a reliable source. What counts as a "reliable source" is very largely their demonstrated commitment to applying the appropriate truth tests to the material they publish. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:30, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Secondly, you say "Getting rid of the phrase altogether would unhelpfully strengthen the hands of campaigners, cranks and paid-up PR people." There are two problems with that sentence: (1) The proposal is not to get rid of the phrase "verifiability, not truth" altogether. The proposal is to have it in its own section and explain where and how it applies. (2) In my view, it is the present version that strengthens the hands of campaigners, cranks and paid-up PR people, because they can counter any challenge by saying, "It does not matter whether this claim is true or not; all that matters is that it has been published, which it has." Regards, --JN466 15:07, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
They cannot counter the challenge in this way; they have to show that it was published in a reliable source. VnT without RS would indeed be a disaster. But this isn't suggested nor is it in the existing wording. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:30, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Newspapers and magazines are reliable sources by our standards, and there are many newspapers who print material prepared for them by PR people with little or no change. --JN466 16:35, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
WP:NEWSORG is actually quite sceptical about such sources, including the statement "Whether a specific [sic] news story is reliable for a specific fact or statement in a Wikipedia article will be assessed on a case by case basis." As many people have pointed out, the entire package of WP policies in this area must be taken together. VnT is just a slogan – a useful one in the experience of some editors, an unhelpful one in the experience of others. More stress on the interconnectedness of policies is a good feature of the proposed change, in my view; removing VnT from the first sentence altogether is not. Peter coxhead (talk) 17:00, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Jayron32, I suspect that exactly the same points which were made by Jimbo, were made above in discussion, repeatedly, by editors far more involved in the day to day editing of their corners of our encyclopaedia, with far more value due to the immediacy of those editor's experience. I'm agnostic to the correctness of Jimbo's argument (for the reasons you note regarding the limitations of my editing). My concern isn't the correctness of Jimbo's point; but that any "argument from Jimbo" will necessarily be much more rhetoric than argument, and fundamentally damage community consensus on this basis. (Your argument about policy needing to support encyclopaedic content in areas where "truth" is readily established was excellent btw). Fifelfoo (talk) 05:08, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Gotta love WP:JIMBOSAID arguments. Especially when he says hurtful things about specific WP editors, so all their opponents can just pound away. Nice. Dreadstar 05:24, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo also once wrote this "Perhaps the easiest way to make your writing more encyclopedic is to write about what people believe, rather than what is so. If this strikes you as somehow subjectivist or collectivist or imperialist, then ask me about it, because I think that you are just mistaken. What people believe is a matter of objective fact, and we can present that quite easily from the neutral point of view," which fits in neatly with the current wording of the policy.

But the basic point is Filfoo's very second comment in this thread: "the idea of "falsehood" is limited in the domains of the humanities and social sciences to claims that are exceedingly trivial. The idea of "falsehood" represents an epistemological positivism that is radically out of synch with the HQRS for most of our encyclopaedia's content; and Jimbo's example is invidious in its triviality." The intellectual integrity of this encyclopedia, and its credibility with professional scholars, depends on this point. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:27, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

  • IMO Jimbo has concerns about this that go beyond those that most think about. While most of us regular editors understand what "verifiability, not truth" is supposed to mean this is not true for people who encounter the phrase outside of Wikipedia. Outside of our community it sounds like we're not interested in accuracy, just following rules bureaucratically. Things like editorial discretion are not understood by outsiders. Also the roles of things lik consensus and IAR can easily be overshadowed by V not T in the outside view as well, again making it seem like Wikipedia is a place for transcription monkeys instead of a place where human beings interact to reach the best possible outcomes. So Jimbo has a PR issue with this as well I'd imagine. I don't mind taking that into account myself when making decisions on issues like this because in the end we should be thinking pragmatically. Of course we shouldn't adopt changes that will have negative consequences simply for PR purposes, but if all things considered, the new language and the old are equally good, then PR is a fine concern to have. Cheers. (NOTE: I do not think Jimbo's main concern is PR, and I think he's entirely earnest about his objections, but I just get the sense that he's attuned to that perspective because of his position vis-a-vis the project).Griswaldo (talk) 14:26, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I can see where Jimbo is coming from, most of his and the foundation's involvement with content has to do with considering the implications of BLP issues where the concept of "truth" has a particular relevance. That makes sense, but it is impossible and unreasonable to extend that kind of positivism to all areas of the encyclopedia. Science simply doesn't work with "truth" anymore. And making the encyclopedia revolve around that concept would seriously hinder its ability to ever be scientific. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:14, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
    • Why do people here keep saying that science does not work with truth? Sure, that's the POV of post-modernist literary criticism, but that's a very limited and misinformed view. Do you know any serious scientist that agrees with these critics? Even among philosophers, scientific realism is clearly the dominant position (according to the PhilPaper survey, almost 75% of professional philosophers lean to or accept scientific realism.) Now, I think Jimbo is going to far and this policy should not say that "truth" is a concern, but neither should VP:V impose this ridiculous post-modernist POV in order to simply explain that assertions of truth are insufficient. Vesal (talk) 18:15, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
      Alan Sokal also got annoyed about this :) . Count Iblis (talk) 19:20, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't do literary criticism. It is also the POV of most philosophers of science since Popper and Kuhn. Scientific realism also doesn't require "truth".·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:25, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't do literary criticism either. Most practicioners at my work believe that within the bounds of human fallibility they can produce arguments that may match or exceed alternate arguments about external reality in a highly competitive system of peer evaluation of arguments based on a system of work that attempts to ensure fidelity between arguments and external reality through a complex evidentiary process. However, repeatedly, and with great regularity, human fallibility, poor argumentation, the emergence of superior arguments, failures of peer evaluation, failures in the system of work, and failures in the evidentiary process mean what they produce simply isn't "true," but was one human's best effort. More importantly, a couple of hundred "acceptable" systems of work exist, and a valid Marxist argument, and a valid biographical argument may very well contradict one another. We think we're doing pretty fucking good to get that level of quality up and out there, we berate ourselves in public to the point of major libel trials breaking people's reputations for life when stuff goes wrong. Fifelfoo (talk) 20:48, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

What matters is if the editors can reasonably believe that the claimed truth indeed exists. It's then a matter of trust. As I argue here, we actually do this all the time on Wikipedia. Count Iblis (talk) 16:21, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Sure, but with regards to most scientific topics, as well as research in the humanities, we cannot say that we reasonably believe that the claimed truth exists. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but you still need to use a concept of truth on a meta level. E.g. if we are editing together on a subject that you know a lot more about than I and we discuss a proposed edit to a wikipedia article, then I may need to accept that some textbook that I don't possess does make a certain statement that you claim it makes. So, truth then doesn't refer to the author of the textbook being right or wrong on some issue, rather it refers to what is written in the textbook. While that's then still verifiable for me, if I were to buy the textbook, in practice this does boil down to me trusting you on this matter, as I would be unlikely to actually try to get hold of the textbook. So, I'm then using you as a reliable source for the contents of the textbook.
Of course, one can say that this is just a mattter of honest sourcing, but even verifying directly from the textbook can be a complicated issue if the textbook is very technical. I may have to first follow several university level courses to be able to understand it. Only then would I be satisfied that what you say is indeed a fair representation of what the textbook says (if I were to distrust you). Count Iblis (talk) 17:29, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
If I understand you, I think you man that we ned to have a common point of reference. I agree. But it need not be "the truth." In my experience, requiring the common point of reference to be "the truth" only causes unconstructive conflicts. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:16, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Griswaldo said, "Outside of our community it sounds like we're not interested in accuracy, just following rules bureaucratically. Things like editorial discretion are not understood by outsiders. Also the roles of things lik consensus and IAR can easily be overshadowed by V not T in the outside view as well, again making it seem like Wikipedia is a place for transcription monkeys instead of a place where human beings interact to reach the best possible outcomes."

I couldn't agree more. Anyone who thinks the verifiable not true card isn't used as a weapon should go through the archives of som eo fthe LGBT article (George Reekers, Anal Intercourse, especially). There, arguments are very purposefully advanced by one group using exactly these policies as knock-out weapons.) I grasp the distinction between 'truth' in my own field, the natural sciences and the everyday definition (ie., in my field 'true' means, exclusively: 'currently accepted model of reality, subject to dispassionate replacement by a better model at any time'. In everyday use it means quite something else. So all we can hope for is a policy which is sufficiently clear to prevent those with an agenda from presenting opinions as truth. It's a tough one, especially in the areas which interest me. Enough said, at this point my comment is that I really appreciate the efforts behind this RFC and hope it results in some clarity. After all, the majority of Americans veritably 'know' global warming is a scam. That doesn't justify giving their views the same weight as those of virtually all scientists working in the field who disagree.Pauci leones (talk) 20:13, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

The reason we are not taken seriously is the quality of our articles, period. The question is, why are so many article crappy? many non users cite policy, but this is just lazy. The have little understanding of the dynamics through which articles are produced, including positive and negative dynamics, but the reasons for poor articles are complex (I try to address some in m comment regarding fringe theories) — it is simply easier to scapegoat a policy. But damaging a proposal in the hopes it will change our immage is folly, even if well-intentioned. I do not think the proposed change will improve the quality of our articles, and if it doesn't we will still have reputation problems, we ned other kinds of solutions. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:05, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
The pragmatic question to ask would be if it would damage the quality of our articles. All things equal, it makes all kinds of sense to consider how we are viewed from outside. If the proposal damages the quality then of course we shouldn't worry about the PR aspect. I stated this already in my original comment. Also, Pauci is right on to talk about distinctions between conceptualizations of "truth." We really should not be writing policies based on how philosophers of science, or any other scholars dealing with epistemology professionally understand or use terms like "truth." I find myself extremely surprised to hear social scientists (no offense to you and Maunus) arguing that we should. You guys need to get your heads out of the theory class and back into the field on this. Most of our editors do not understand "truth" in the terms you are discussing it. I haven't taken a survey or interviewed anyone but it's pretty obvious isn't it? When I said that Wikipedians understand "verifiability, not truth" differently than people outside our community, I wasn't even broaching that topic. Above all we need to be pragmatic here. If we want to discuss how people understand certain phrases we need to consider who these people are and use that as our starting point. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 21:19, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I like the pragmatic approach. Pragmatically, it would damage our articles. I am a scientific realist, not a theorist. If I think a scientifi theory is "true" i mean only in a pargmatic sense, and provisional, and approximate, and I do not think this comes close to the starting point for our typical reader, indeed I think most people use truth to mean something metaphycial or absolute. WWe ned to avoid this confusiuon at WP and avoiding "truth" is the easiest way to do it.
When I was growing up I was taught that there were nine planets, and that Pluto is the ninth. I actually memorized this, unlike 90% of what I learned as a kid (well, I do get the order of Uranus and Neptune wrong). So this is the truth, everyone knows it. Anyway, it turns out that some astronomers question whether Pluto is the ninth planet, or that Pluto is a planet, or what we mean by planet. Does my truth trump current debates among astronomers? Plus, the universe is big, most astronomers probably don't care about Pluto anyway, or certainly have not made this debate an object of their actual research, so if most astronomers have not don research on Pluto maybe the whole debate is trivial. When I was growing up, I was told that nothing could go faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. Now CERN says this may not be the case. They have hard data they checked several times. Except ... wait ... even the Cern scientists are asking others to reproduce the experiment. It seems that they do not entirely believe that their own data is "true!' Hold on, we scientific realists! Let's leave theory aside, all those crazy abstractions! Data is data! They double-checked the results of their experiment. Maybe we need to change our "theories" but surely, the results of their observations happened, right? They saw what they saw, right? The instruments work, and recorded what they recorded, right? And yet ..... even the CERN scientists whant the experiment to be reproduced because theory makes them mistrust their empirical observations.
Now where are we? Okay, a lot of astrophysicists think CERN must be wrong (we would have recorded showers of neutrons long before detecing the light of distant objects), and even the CERN physicists acknowledge they might be wrong. And yet ... no astrophysicist has said that CERN must be wrong because we know that Einstein (and maybe even Lorentz and Michelson an Morley)'s claims are "true." Physicists acknolwedge that Einstein may be proven wrong; it is possible. Well, let's say that CERN is proven right, and they establish the speed of neutrinos or other sub-atomic particles that exceed's c. Is this "true?" But — if they say Einstein could be wrong (just as Einstein showed Newton to be wrong), does this not mean that whatever "truth" CERN may prove might eventually be proven wrong?
So either what you mean by "true" is "true for as long as we believe it, until we no longer believe it, and it is no longer true," or "true" just is not a useful concept for the sciences. Sure, I realize that if you are a physicist working for Intel or a chemist working for Pfizer you must act as if certain things are true, otherwise you won't be able to do your job. But isn't this a pragmatic stand (and you know, I am thinking of CS Pierce or maybe even Wittgenstein, and before you dismiss them as airy-fairy philosophers let me remind you that Pierce was an experimental physicist and astronomer and Wittgenstein an engineer, before they achieved fame in physics; one of Witgenstein's major influences was Boltzmann and to a degree Helmholtz and Hertz)? I have seen Richard Dawkins over-reach himself in insisting that "evolution is true" in his debates wish creationists, and if you are just a member of the audience of a TV show, you might think (1) evolution is true and (2) "true" in the sense you use the word ordinarily. I think this is a mistake. And I think anyone ho made such TV shows or debates an object of academic sudy will agree with me that Dawkins is using "truth" as a rhetorical device that is meant to convey to a non-scientific audience hust how powerful are the arguments of biologists compared to creationists'. I think Dawkins is employing — one could even say immitating — the theological word "truth" strategically, against one setor of religious people. This too may be pragmatic. But it is not an accurate representation of science or scientific knowledge. I read an essay by Freeman Dyson recently in which he insisted that the search for truths was a popular misconception about science, and that scientists are driven by the endless urge to discover because no comprehension of the universe can ever be dogma, it is only a point past which scientists seek to explore.
This is not a postmodern position, nor does it come from literature.
As I see it, the attempt use "truth" as a criteria for editing articles on anything that has been an object of scientific study will only perpetrate a popular misunderstanding of science, and fail to do any justice to the actual topic of the article. I suspect that anyone with a Nobel prize would find it fairly easy to explain to a popular audience why scientists do not use the concept "truth;" that "scientific theories" are not opinions and that "scientific facts" are not 'facts" in the mundane sense of "not an opinion." I also think that such an expert will also not find it at all hard to explain physics, biology or chemistry without recourse to the concept of "truth" (S. Hawking made a good attempt in A brief history of time). Most Wikipedia editors alas do not have the fluency in science that most Nobel Prize winners have. So it is much harder for us to explain these things without appeals to "truth." As in so many areas, in creating an enecylopedia written by non-experts, we take it upon ourselves to work a bit harder than most experts would have to in writing a good encyclopedia article.
But "truth" is a crutch we really need to avoid. "Truth" in the sense that it is our readers'" starting point starts them off on the wrong foot and in the wrong direction, and will at best produce misunderstandings. However challenging it is, we must find a clear and accessible language for explaining scientific knowledge to laypeople. I am sure this can be done without having to bring in Peirce or Wittgenstein or even poetic quotations from Dyson. But if we tell our readers that science or scientific knowledge is "the truth," well ... we would be lying to them! Slrubenstein | Talk 14:25, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I respect your very valid arguments. Nothing is more frustrating for me than to sit in a faculty meeting which has devolved into a childish fight between two profs. from the social sciences, arguing over how many angels can sit on the head of a pin. That said, one can take the philosophical argument that there is no 'truth' to be had and use it as a justification to do serious harm. One need only look at the battles in the LGBT articles (no, I am not a broken record, yes, I contrast my experiences there with, oh, say 'teacakes' which is proving rather fun and tasty to research in the last days). Even if we accept that any definition, any policy is going to be flawed- the very nature of language use limits our ability to be specific in describing reality - there still remains the fact that in quite a few areas, people on a crusade (take that literally) are very consciously using the current policy to enforce their views across many articles.

If we just say, well, there is no truth, then it may be satisfying in a very late 19th century philosophical sense, but it does not promote good articles. I don't see why Jimbo's suggestions are so horribly bad, other than that there is a strong antipathy towards any contribution he makes in some quarters here. Maybe we are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good?Pauci leones (talk) 20:29, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Because relying on false claims that Jimbo (or editor X) knows the truth, are useless and may even be harmful. He didn't and doesn't know the truth of the matter. He says someone told him something and he believes them; well, we can't expect anyone else to, because they won't. Alanscottwalker (talk) 01:25, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

I have granted neither Jimbo nor 'editor x' the knowledge of 'truth. I have raised the point- and can back it up with a frighteningly long list of articles which demonstrate exactly this problem - that however satisfying it may be in a philosophical sense to claim truth does not exist, in a practical, real-world encyclopedia, there has to be a policy. A clearly stated, carefully delineated policy which prevents one side or another in some very highly emotional (and boy, my own obscure field in IT can get very emotional, who'd a thunk it?) areas from wikilawyering and leveraging policies to grant non-truths the exact same status as truths.

I can live with differences of opinion. I can live with subtext and carefully worded statements which say one thing and mean another. I don't think an encyclopedia which wishes to be taken seriously can continue to regard these conflicts on such a, frankly petty level of first semester freshman 19th century German philosophy analysis. Somewhere in between a Platonic ideal αλήθεια and Heinlein's analysis: I know a radical book by the smell of it, lies a group of solutions. The one we are applying right now is not working. We should try to find a better set.Pauci leones (talk) 08:46, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

I, too, favor the pragmatic, and CS Pierce and Wittgenstein and Rorty are my touchstones, and I believe that truth is conditional on axioms and usefulness within a context. This is not to say there's no objective reality, but rather our perception of it can be problematic, and I don't think anyone here is really arguing that truth does not exist in some form--people who believe that are likely running to check on the continuing subsistence of the fireplace. We're not here to debate philosophy, however, so the questions becomes, how can we establish what is true in a communal sense. Being told something is true is how we start learning what truth is. Someone told Slrubenstein that Pluto was a planet, and Slrubenstein believed that. Someone tells person X that we never landed on the moon, and if they believe that, it is the truth to them. So as I see it, the problem is not that we say there is no truth and that the result is that anyone can argue what they like, it is rather that there are many truths held by different people that contradict one another, and thus emphasizing truth becomes problematic. We need and have a mechanism for deciding what is "true" (in prior discussions over the month "accuracy" was presented as an alternative phrase), and we value the opinion of communities with established procedures for defining what it thought to be true and documenting that. Truth is a messy concept, but we cannot avoid dealing with it. I like 'not truth' as a phrase to clearing the decks, and a good explanation as to why we say that and also to say that we support the notion of truth and accuracy, and the proposed wording in the RfC is the best effort yet to retain the phrase and treat the concerns of those who see non-truths the exact same status as truths. And POV pusher will always be amoung us-as has been said, no policy will be wored well enough to prevent them, the best we can do is have a policy that aids in dealing with them. --Nuujinn (talk) 10:07, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

@Slr … or "true" just is not a useful concept for the sciences.

  • Wikipedia is not “the sciences” and is not edited mostly by scientists, or philosophers or people with nuanced understandings of epistemology

As I see it, the attempt use "truth" as a criteria for editing articles on anything …

  • Who is attempting to do this? Removing “not truth” from the lead, or even, for the sake of argument, from the entire entry does not amount to using “truth” as a criteria … that seems like a straw man to me.

"Truth" in the sense that it is our readers' "starting point starts them off on the wrong foot and in the wrong direction, and will at best produce misunderstandings.”

  • I’m not sure I entirely understand what you meant here, but most people associate “truth” with “factuality” and hence with what we can most accurately know about something. To some the most accurate understanding one can have is indeed an absolute truth while to others it is something less absolute. Those others may even be savvy enough not to conflate “fact” with “truth” for that very reason. Yet that doesn’t change the basic association. I don’t think anyone in this discussion would argue that we need to write an encyclopedia based on “truth, not verifiability,” but again that’s different from worrying about the cognitive impact that “not truth” has on people, and the door it opens to problematic arguments in practice. If people associate truth with what we can most accurately know about something they are likely to think that "not truth" means that we are not interested in accuracy. If I read Jimbo correctly, that’s what he worries about. It is a legitimate concern to have within Wikipedia but also outside of Wikipedia in terms of how our various audiences see us. I appreciate the nuanced epistemological arguments but we have to remember two very important things here about who we are as a project and a community. 1) Most other references sources are not edited by non-academics, but ours is. 2) Most other reference sources do not have publicly available rules that describe how they are put together and edited, but ours does. Why the comparison? Because those arguments would be fine if the community of contributors and editors all understood them and if they weren’t laid bare to the general public to scrutinize. The general public turns to a reference source because it the closest thing to the “truth” (as in most accurate) they can find on a subject. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 11:21, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Don't know where to place my comment

I'm new around here and just read the majority of this discussion because there was a notice on my watchlist today that it was occuring. Someone made a comment that the first sentence of the current wording raises cognitive dissonance that prompts the editor to read further. I think that is a valid point. However, I'm very suspicious of catch phrases that try to make difficult concepts seem simple. I agree that there needs to be an explanation for casual readers contrasting what the term "verifiability" means generally and on Wikipedia. I will also say that, as a new editor, I understood the policy better from reading the new wording than the old wording. It's just my 2 cents worth, but I'd make the change.Carmaskid (talk) 02:24, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Your 2c count, if you support the change click edit next to the support section, scroll all the way down to the bottom and add # '''Support''' followed by an explanation why. AIRcorn (talk) 03:56, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the help. I did that.Carmaskid (talk) 11:54, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Are We Letting Possible Banned Editors/Socks Chime In?

No need to discuss this any further
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

I removed the "vote" of (talk · contribs) because of obvious reasons, and per BRD I am coming to discuss it after I was reverted (Yay!). Now, it's literally the only edit from the IP. Why even consider a vote such as this, on either side? Should this sort of vote influence consensus and even be here to begin with? If so: why? This is nothing against anonymous IPs in general, infrequently active anonymous IPs, or anything like that (the good ones are absolutely invaluable to the project, of course). But it's just that it's this IP's only edit, and it could be a sock of anyone, really. It would set a bad precedent to encourage voting like this on any sort of discussion, IMHO, and it should just be removed from consideration. Doc talk 03:44, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

If a banned ip sock makes the decisive argument, it would be a really stupid idea to discount it. If it repeats the flawed argument of someone else it holds not weight anyway.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 23:34, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I oppose this removal, and ask that it be returned. It could be a very frequent anonymous editor who has an ISP which frequently changes his IP address, edits from a mobile device, edits from public terminals/internet cafes/libraries; is not currently at his regular IP but still wanted to chime in, does not have a regular IP which they use exclusively. There are 1001 WP:AGF reasons why it would be the first edit of an IP, and NOT be an abusive sock. I find it very troubling that the first conclusion you draw from such a situation is "abusive sockpuppetry". That's rediculous. If you have a specific person in mind, find a checkuser or file an SPI report. If your ONLY evidence is that this is the first edit from a particular IP address, well, that's utterly rediculous to jump from that evidence to the conclusion that it's sockpuppetry. --Jayron32 03:51, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Relax: it was returned and I didn't revert it. That's why I came here to discuss it. Yeesh. I don't have a specific person in mind, either, as it would be rIdiculously unlikely to figure that out from one edit and short sentence. So we can can let literally one-off IP votes carry as much weight as those of long-standing trusted editors? Great to know. Cheers... Doc talk 03:58, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
What is your evidence this person is not a long-time editor in good standing? --Jayron32 04:02, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
This is nothing new. So let's assume that it is. May many more just like this one follow. Doc talk 04:20, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
It will have to be down to the closing admin to decide how much weight to give to IPs with no obvious editing history - allowing individual contributors to delete other's comments 'on suspicions of being a possible sockpuppet' is totally untenable. If you want to argue that only registered editors can participate in AfDs RfCs, then do so - but not here. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:02, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Whether it's "untenable", "rediculous" or whatever: I followed BRD and don't need the lectures. I made a bold change, it was reverted, and we're discussing it. BRD. I never said anything like "only registered editors can participate in AfDs", Andy - RfC is not AfD, and I specifically said that this has nothing to do with the rights of anonymous IPs. Unbelievable... Doc talk 04:15, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
And he was discussing it, by disagreeing with your action with reasons - I'm not sure why it upset you, though he did apparently mistype "AfD" instead of "RfC". At any rate, I agree, and from my experience it's been fairly standard to allow edits like this to stand, with a notation that the IP/new editor is an IP/new editor, and sometimes, in cases where the votes or !votes are numbered, indenting the vote to prevent numbering. The closing admin will read such comments and will almost certainly discount them, but they should be left there. Among other things, doing this ensures that in the (somewhat) rare case where an IP/new editor brings a new point up for discussion (not the case here, admittedly), the point won't be removed. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 06:58, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
P.S. I was in the process of undoing Doc9781's removal when Ianmacm beat me to it. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 06:58, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Ja ja, pat yourselves on the back. I was wrong to do what I did, I see it now, and I am sorry. Self-trout. Doc talk 07:04, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
And apologies from me for getting my AfDs mixed up with my RfCs - We have more TLAs than my brain can handle sometimes. AndyTheGrump (talk)
In many ways they're all the same. My apologies to you - I got grouchy, no shame in admitting it. You must know what it's like ;> Doc talk 07:20, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
It is possible to tag comments like this with John Doe 123 (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic. . However, this could be seen as not assuming good faith, and comments should not normally be removed unless they are disruptive.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 07:54, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
As one of the arguments made by both sides is that it is easier for new editors to understand you could argue tagging a comment with "few contributions" should give it more weight. AIRcorn (talk) 11:05, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Folks... the closing admin can decide whether or not to count the anonymous IP's comment. It isn't like we have been inundated with IP's here, and one or two in the mix will not make a huge difference one way or the other. Creating further confusion with accusations about "banned editors" or "socks" - based on one IP leaving a comment - is not that helpful. Blueboar (talk) 13:26, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Might I point out that if one of the points for both sides is that they are arguing that their version is more comprehensible and better for the readers, then wouldn't we want to have people involved like this single edit IP, who is likely more a reader than an editor? SilverserenC 16:40, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Good point. What the average reader, looking at this debate to see what the fuss is about would think of it all, I can only speculate, though I suspect that the more literate might comment on 'angels balancing on the head of a pin', and the less so simply use 'nutcases' or some other such characterisation - probably with some justification. Personally, I doubt that changing the relevant text is likely to make much noticeable difference anyway - Wikipedia isn't just a set of policies, it is a community/discourse/ongoing-custard-pie-fight, and article content is the result of more than just abstractions like 'verifiability' or 'truth'. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:53, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I see this is marked resolved, but I wonder how it was determined that the edit in question was the "only edit from the IP". Is there anything to say that it wasn't a registered user who edited (accidentally or otherwise) while logged out? I realize this may stir the pot more than clarify anything, but still, I don't see it considered much above, although it is touched upon when mentioning a number of AGF reasons for the IP edit.  Frank  |  talk  17:43, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I have apologized for my mistake - what more can I do? I can't go back in time and change what I did. Doc talk 17:47, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Someone suggested that it is for the closing admin to decide how to handle comments from anonymous IPs. I have no idea where this coms from. It is not what our RfC guidelines say. It is for the editors active on this page to discuss comments, and for them to decide what weight to give any comment, from an IP or a registered user. (Obviously accuations of sock-puppetry have to be handled separately). Slrubenstein | Talk 20:03, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
While I generally agree with Slrubenstein, and I do agree that the next revision need not give much weight to anon comments, especially when we have literally hundreds of others, the purpose of an RFC is to collect opinions from editors not involved with the page. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:25, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I think we agree completely. At least, I agree entirely that "the purpose of an RFC is to collect opinions from editors not involved with the page." My point is only that this claim — "It will have to be down to the closing admin to decide how much weight to give to IPs with no obvious editing history" — is wrong; it is for editors here to make this decision via discussion. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:28, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
This unreasoning prejudice against IP users is the one and only reason I registered. Too many LGBT editors and fair admins. were spending too much time fighting prejudice against me as an IP.
At this point, I think this entire process says more about us all (I'm new, but seeing as I'm participating, then I'm part of 'us') than perhaps we wanted to know. At this point, whatever 'side' I came down on, it would be mainly out of distaste for the comments of the other side more than a firm conviction that my choice was the better of the two for our encyclopedia. I would be very surprised, indeed, if I were alone in this feeling.
I'm going to withdraw from this discussion for a while. One thing is quite clear. Regardless of whether consensus is achieved or not, this way lies ever more strife. It's not the productive, fertile kind of disagreement arising from dispassionate argument, just the good old fashioned 'does not play well with others kind'.Pauci leones (talk) 22:44, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
My God, why did I ever open this thread? *headdesk* Unless the IP I wrongly reverted was you, I'm not sure how this is relevant to this mess I started. What this has to do with LGBT editors, registered or not, completely escapes me. Doc talk 23:02, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
First, I do not sock- or meatpuppet or otherwise. Should I decide to come down on one side or the other, it will be under this name, no other and with a clear explanation as to why I so choose.

I am going to apply goodwill here - something much in abeyance - and assume your comment about LGBT editors was not a slur but a genuine failure on my part to communicate. I'll try bullet points, maybe that will be clearer:

I thoroughly fail to understand why a very clear policy that IP users are 100% acceptable should be ignored by so many editors and admins. Total violation of policy
I was an IP editor for some time, rather adequately, too.
After my IP comments (not yet edits) on an article relevant to LGBT editors and christians drew accusations that I was trolling, being a vandal and worse from several editors, several LGBT editors and an admin. interceded to calm things down. It didn't work. I then tried registering a user name and, if the conflicts did not let up, suddenly the claims that - I, who had not yet made a single edit to the article - was a vandal, a troll, even worse and the semi-protects and all the running to this that and the other conflict resolution page ceased. We fought a very very hard fight, and reached a compromise which everyone could live with.
Out of gratitude to the LGBT editors and that lone admin. I decided that, rather than take away precious productive time from people, this was a fight not worth having.
I hope that helps. It could have just as easily been another interest group than LGBT, perhaps the editors dedicated to The Foundation for the Satisfaction of Indignant Cats.
What does remain, and it really really remains is the distinct impression that there is a great deal of unwillingness to achieve any resolution here on the part of quite a few people who really ought to get a life. I want to contribute good work to this encyclopedia. As one of those people who forbid the use of Wikipedia as an academic source to my students, I regard this RFC as an important step on the path to this ultimately becoming an academic resource I would be happy to see cited. I hope to, if only in a very minor way, contribute to that goal.
I definitely, absolutely think the ayes and nays of IP address only editors are just as valid as those of editors who consider themselves rather quite something around here. This discussion reminds me of why the the monarchs tried to create a wealthy merchant class to balance the landed gentry. Attacks on Jimbo above, attacks on IP editors, below, sheesh.Pauci leones (talk) 23:28, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

For shame! Socks of banned editors are some of our most prolific contributors. They work hard every day patrolling recent changes, sourcing BLPs, and writing featured content. They're probably doing 30% of the work on the project. And what thanks do they get? There's a significant chance someone will recognize and block them, and then they'll have to start a new account, and waste weeks pretending not to know how to format a page, and where the notice boards are. These are some of our most loyal and experienced contributors. Though other long-time editors get disgusted and leave, these guys will never abandon their work here. Shouldn't we invite, nay, beg! them to help us rewrite our core policies? Tom Harrison Talk 23:33, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

If an editor, with or without an account, makes consistently acceptable edits, there is no reason to inquire whether the editor is banned or blocked under another account or IP address (unless the editor spontaneously confesses that he/she is blocked/banned under another identity). (And yes, such spontaneous confessions do occur.) Jc3s5h (talk) 23:44, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Will some kind soul please... please collapse this thread? I would have already, but I do not want anymore grief. I foolishly started this thread seeking an answer; and I have found it ten times over. If this is going to become a general discussion of AGF, mandatory registration, etc.: I absolve myself of any further responsibility. Have mercy, please! Doc talk 00:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)


There are so many well thought-out arguments here. I am undecided as Quid est veritas? is not an exercise in boolean logic. Following are some historical perspectives:

 "The truth is rarely pure and never simple."
     — Oscar Wilde

 "Veracity does not consist in saying,
  but in the intention of communicating truth."
     — Samuel Coleridge

 "The truth is always a compound of two half-truths, and
  you never reach it, because there is always something more to say."
     — Tom Stoppard

 "So very difficult a matter is it to trace
  and find out the truth of anything by history."
     — Plutarch

 "Whoever has even once become notorious by base fraud,
  even if he speaks the truth, gains no belief."
     — Phaedrus

 "I heard the little bird say so."
     — Jonathan Swift

 "Truth is generally the best vindication against slander."
     — Abraham Lincoln

 "That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies;
  ... But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight."
     — Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge
  is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."
     — Albert Einstein

 "I cannot tell how the truth may be;
  I say the tale as twas said to me."
     — Walter Scott

 "And after all, what is a lie?
  Tis but The truth in masquerade."
     — Lord Byron

 "Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather,
  'I have found a truth.'"
     — Khalil Gibran

 "Trust, but Verify."
     — Trust, but verify

wikilinks update Sctechlaw (talk) 08:38, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

"Get it on, bang a gong, get it on." -  Marc Bolan

Gwen Gale (talk) 03:27, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

ROTFL! That's brilliant, GG! Dreadstar 04:02, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
And yours are very good too, Sctechlaw; very thought provoking. Dreadstar 04:41, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
"Some people have written the story of my life representing as truth what in fact derives from ignorance, error or envy; but they cannot shake the truth from its place, even if they attempt to make others believe it." -- Haile Selassie I
-- Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 20:16, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
THOG'S MASTERCLASS, Detached Viewpoint Dept:  "Isaac threw up his face and swung it around him, 
desperately searching for light." China Mieville, Perdido Street Station, 2000) 

--Pete Tillman (talk) 22:26, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

"For instance, when the Editors of the Guide were sued by the families of those who had died ... 
they claimed that the first version of the sentence was the more aesthetically pleasing, 
summoned a qualified poet to testify under oath that beauty was truth, truth beauty and hoped 
thereby to prove that the guilty party was Life itself for failing to be either beautiful or true." 

- Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 22:57, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

A well thought-out argument ......... resolved. --Bob K31416 (talk) 01:42, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Why we need "Not Truth"

  • Here is a current example of editors arguing that their personal evaluation that an academically published source written by a professor who is an expert in the topic is wrong, is sufficient argument for excluding it. While we do not need to use "Not Truth" to argue against this kind of practice, leaving it out is a clear signal (already described as such by several editors in these discussions) that this kind of argumentation is valid.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:27, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
    Maunus...I could be wrong, but it appears that you are misunderstanding the proposal. Are you aware that the proposal retains "Verifiability, Not Truth"?... the idea is keep it but move it to a new section so that it can be better explained. Blueboar (talk) 17:07, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I know what the proposal says, but I also know what people say about the proposal and several editors think that by moving the "not truth" out of the lead we are a showing a degree of tolerance for "truth" type arguments. Jimbo himself is explicitly arguing that this is the intended effect. These arguments are in effect setting a precedent for how the policy change is going to be iunterpreted and used even before it is instated. If this was just about moving text around noone would be having this argument - it is about moving text around for a reason. The reason is the problem - and why we need to cement the fact that unverifiable assertions of truth does not trump sources. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:11, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
OK, just making sure. Doesn't the first line of the proposed new section deals with your concern? It says: "An editor's assertion that something is true is not enough for inclusion in Wikipedia. It does not matter how convinced you are that some bit of information is true; if the material is unverifiable, do not add it. In this context, Wikipedia requires "verifiability, not truth"" Blueboar (talk) 17:31, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
As I've said my problem is less with the wording of the change, than with what people are already taking that wording to mean.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:51, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Blueboar, you're not addressing the other aspect of the "V not T" concept. It means (1) don't add material simply because you believe it to be true. But it also means (2) don't remove material simply because you disagree with it.
Of course we do remove material where the reliable source (no matter how reliable) has made what all agree is a simple error. But there are lots of cases where reliable sources write material that experts disagree with, or which the subject disagrees with (where a person or company is being written about). Those are the cases "V not T" is there to protect. It ensures that Wikipedians publish the debates and disagreements between sources, so that our readers can judge for themselves. It stops Wikipedians from deciding that Reliable Source A is just wrong, and should be given no space. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 05:57, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I'm not sure that a proposal beginning "the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability" can be mistaken as one that might allow inclusion on the basis "unverifiable assertions of truth". I can appreciate your concern that some may want to go down that road but let's be realistic. It's not something that's ever going to happen because it doesn't make any sense and so it isn't a hidden sting in the tail of BB's proposal. What the change in emphasis would achieve is some clarification of the misconception held by many both inside and outside Wikipedia that we are happy to publish bullshit as long as someone else did it before us. --FormerIP (talk) 17:37, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I think that the arguments given by several supporters including Jimmy Wales is that that is exactly the road they want to go down by implementing this change. I agree that it is not a necessary outcome of the proposals form - the proposal is theoretically fully compatible with reasonable OR-free editing. I am worrying about the way that it relates to projected change to practice.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:51, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
But, surely, passing this proposal would settle the matter because it would give a new mandate to the central principle of WP:V. The very small number of editors (although I will agree that it is troubling that they seem to be senior editors) that might like to abandon/compromise that principle will be held at bay. There is no possibility that the wording proposed can be used as a basis for deciding content by editorial assertions, because the wording is crystal clear about that. Those who hold a contrary view will, doubtless, not be silenced. But they will be stuck with the policy. --FormerIP (talk) 18:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
FormerIP, I agree with you that we have to be free to change policy, which means that proposed changes do not have to "comply" with the policy being changed (but, we ought to ensure that they do not conflict with other policies. And I o think with policy, we must have consensus to make such a change). But I do not think this was Maunus's point. She opened this thread by pointing to an argument over the contents of an article occuring as we write. As I understand it, the example Maunus provides shows that despite the first sentence of this policy, some editors are still trying to make articles conform to their view of the truth regardless of what reliable, credible sources say. This suggest to me that if anything, we need to make "not truth" an even stronger and clearer component of this policy. This is not an argument for policy inertia, it is an argument that the importance of the value of "not truth" is evient in content disputes. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:28, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree that Maunus's point was not about how to go about changing policy but, then again, neither was mine. I think you might be referring to my comments in another section of the talkpage.
The problem with what Maunus is saying, IMO, is that is can be seen as amounting to "the current policy is ineffective, so we mustn't change it". I like Blueboar's proposal because - although the change is not radical - it shifts focus away from a pithy but confusing soundbite and onto a clearer elaboration of policy. In the Nonviolent Communication example (which I haven't looked at in detail, but let's say Maunus is right about it, for argument's sake) it would actually be more helpful, I think, to be able to quote more precise guidance such as "An editor's assertion that something is true is not enough for inclusion in Wikipedia". That's clear, no-one should be mistaken about what it means and it ought to be effective in settling disputes. The current forumlation "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true" is unclear. What is meant by "threshold"? What if a reliable source is wrong? Does it really not matter if editors think information is true. Of course, these questions have answers. But the problem that needs addressing that the process of interpretation is currently too fraught for the policy to be properly authoritative.
"Verifiability not truth" is probably the worst bit (although, have you noticed how the second sentence of the lead is just a pure self-contradiction?), because it offers itself up as a soundbite, yet it fails to capture what it is supposed to mean. "Verifiability", once explained, actually covers everything. Under any situation of the type Maunus is referencing, all you need to do is ask "how is this information verifiable?" That automatically covers the "truth" question. it doesn't need underlining, because the job is done. On the other hand though, "not truth" most definitely does result in editors contentedly maintaining information in the encyclopaedia which they know to be false. So clarification is needed. --FormerIP (talk) 20:32, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

This is not a good example least, insofar as I can follow it without reading every last word of everything.

If someone's views are wrongheaded because they have misinterpreted the material, then it's wrong to present them as an authority on the material by citing them in defense of statements about the material itself. As to the issue of whether they have misinterpreted the material, that's going to depend upon the situation. If we can find other people in the field who say that our putative authority has got it wrong, then the material shifts from being a citable authority to being part of the subject of the article, cited because it needs to be presented accurately, but then discussed in the article on the basis of cited material from other and presumably better authorities. If we can't tell who is better (generally because there's not enough consensus in the field, and that's almost always the most difficult matter to determine), then we present it as an unresolved dispute.

The thing is that we also get a lot of cases where someone makes a bald factual error. The problem with the oft-prevailing interpretation of "not truth" is that every such error gets amplified into a controversy, because we get editors who want to ignore the baldness of the error and present the material anyway even though it's wrong. A reasonable reader of the same material, who is not a Wikipedia error, would fact-check the material and reject the manifest errors, and not waste time appealing to neo-Pilatean doubt about Truth.

I'm more of a "when in doubt, leave it out" kind of editor. I think that including doubtful material because it cannot be absolutely proven to be incorrect is more damaging to us than the exclusion of material which cannot be verified (and I am fully in support of the latter, don't get me wrong). Mangoe (talk) 20:29, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Polling, again

  • Woo, 62.5%! SilverserenC 01:53, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
    Facepalm I guess the "off-wiki stealth canvassing" organized by the "pro-VnT'ers" is failing miserably. ;P Doc talk 01:57, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
    63.7%! :D SilverserenC 22:08, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
    I wonder what the split is among the heavy content contributors (although where the hell one draws the line etc....between "heavy", "light" blah blah blah...) Casliber (talk · contribs) 23:31, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
    I'm trying to lose weight. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:40, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't know what you're so excited about. 214/356 = is only 60%. And keep in mind, that's with the non-neutral title and non-neutral explanation. We can only guess what the real numbers would have been if the RfC had been written neutrally. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 12:40, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
A standard way of expressing the present state of the poll is
60% support
36% oppose
4% neutral
--Bob K31416 (talk) 13:15, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Meta Comment - The dialogue in this section has been diverted to yet another debate on characterizing the parameters to be considered in the RfC close. In deference to the section title, this irrelevant content should be refactored elsewhere. Blueboar? JakeInJoisey (talk) 13:28, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

This is also a conversation about noise. The standard deviation of this poll is a little under 3%. If it had much less than 5% fluctuation, that would be surprising. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:31, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Standard deviations are not measured in percentages. Are you claiming that the standard deviation is 3? What's the mean? Malleus Fatuorum 22:41, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
No, I an asserting that the standard deviation is about 3% of the whole sample; equivalently, in this case, the standard deviation of the derived statistic, the percentage of favorable votes, is about 3%. Standard deviations are measured in the same units as the base stastistic, which is why I did not discuss variance. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:54, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Malleus, polling results, Gallop polling results in particular in mind, have the standard deviation (estimated as sqrt(N)/N) reported as a percentage all the time. A poll of 1000 randomly selected individuals yields an error (estimated standard deviation) of ~3%. True, few make "measurements" in percentages, but many do frequently "report" in percentages. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:06, 5 November 2011 (UTC)


If we modify it ever so slightly:

"Verifiability, not just truth". Hm? DS (talk) 21:41, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Since we are adding suggestions:

"the threshold for inclusion is verifiability in the persistent quest for truth and reliability"Thompsma (talk) 22:25, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

How about, simply, Caveat emptor? --Tryptofish (talk) 22:27, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

DS, people like those three words because they are pithy and iconic and fun and because the cognitive dissonance intrigued them to actually read the policy further. All those motivations are lost when you add "just". Also, adding "just" fundamentally misunderstands the major underlying intention: VnjT implies that the editor does know what is true (and presumes contributions should be true in addition to being verifiable), but, to the contrary, a main point of VnT is that no editor really knows what is true (e.g., see quotes by Popper) and that different editors disagree about what they believe is true; reminding ourselves of VnT is one of the most powerful tools we have to nonetheless be able to collaborate constructively under such circumstances of underlying difference (the issue crops up very frequently especially among science theory topics and religion topics for example) without arguing about truth (which is ultimately futile in these kinds of cases, and at any rate requires original expertise).
But you'll notice above, there are a number of new proposals appearing which still retain VnT (without watering it down) in the opening sentence, but then immediately follow with various further explanations. I think those approaches are far more likely to achieve real consensus. Cesiumfrog (talk) 22:35, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd support DS's formulation: in my view, all claims stated as fact on Wikipedia should be both verifiable and true. But I think part of the reason this RFC has become such an irreconcilable clusterfuck is that we're really dealing with rather deep concepts here. When history's greatest philosophers have fundamentally different understandings of what is meant by 'true' (and 'verifiable', for that matter), there doesn't seem much hope that consensus could ever be reached on a mere Wikipedia policy discussion page. Robofish (talk) 23:09, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
That's really quite good, DragonflySixtyseven.  It still has the problem that using the lede for sloganeering is advertising that Wikipedia is run by and for amateurs.  Unscintillating (talk) 23:35, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
And your objection to truth in advertising is what, exactly?
But DS's formulation misses part of the point: truth - plain, hard, factual truth - is not enough for us; neither is verifiability. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:22, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
The advantage of DS's proposal is that it prompts readers to think and even discuss what truth means. However, it isn't overly helpful or functional for resolving disputes when editors come to look up verifiable resources; Cesiumfrog raises similar points in terms of intrinsic knowledge of truth. I borrowed "quest for truth" from Popper, but it could use updating:
Truth is a social virtue, not something that is in itself a permanent fact of reality. Truth in Wikipedia logically abides by the fundamental principles by which Wikipedia operates.Thompsma (talk) 01:30, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Not the first attempt for a similar term that uses the 3 words but not in a way that can be construed and used by others and gives negative light by some media as Wikipedia being okay with something so long as something says it even if its false (the Earth is made of chocolate) and not okay if something is obvious (1+1=5364). To those who know its history and are versed the idea it is clear what it means, but not to the average newbie. Read simply as "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth" (since there is a break there) it easily gives the impression that we don't care about truth - just sources. I think sometimes some members seem to place the iconic 3-word nature is on too high of a pedestal.
I made a compromise suggestion a while ago before the latest proposal by blueboar of "venerability of truth" and it was condemned by the same people who think there can be no subsistence for those 3 words ever. I can't remember the details, but it just sounded like they were making excuses why nothing but those 3 words would do.Jinnai 05:17, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

DS, many small tweaks have been tried but have failed to break the dead-lock between the two opposing camps. The current proposal is a good compromise as it incorporates both views—maybe not ideal, but a steadier platform on which to stand now, and perhaps move forward from in the future. Uniplex (talk) 06:26, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps a fresh outside perspective could help.Thompsma (talk) 07:16, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

My suggestion was verifiability, not "truth" - the quotation marks convey the meaning better than other options I've seen. violet/riga [talk] 00:59, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Could you elaborate to tell us what meaning the quotation marks convey exactly? "Quotation marks can also be used to indicate a different meaning of a word or phrase than the one typically associated with it" - is this what you mean? Truth has a different meaning than the one we typically associate with it? How does that help to clarify things?Thompsma (talk) 03:22, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
If I were having a conversation with someone and I said that I was telling them "quote unquote" the "truth", I would think that to mean that I wasn't telling the truth (not not the truth?). Shouldn't the sentence carry clarity of meaning? I don't believe that quotes achieve this. It causes one to pause, and possibly ponder the meaning that truth is something to be questioned, but metaphors like this are not necessarily the right tool for guidance on thresholds and settling disputes.Thompsma (talk) 03:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, for many years this policy said that the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. No scare quotes. So I think the first questionis, Thompsma, in the traditional wording of the policy, what do you think "truth" (direct quotation" means? Slrubenstein | Talk 11:32, 4 November 2011 (UTC)]
I think that "truth" in quotes, does not mean what people think it means. Hence, I don't think it clarifies things very much.Thompsma (talk) 18:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Editors, Policy, Bla bla bla.

It's a well known fact that most editors on Wikipedia never look at the policies until they are encouraged to, and when they do they read the first sentence and then it's 'bla bla bla'. Likewise, regardless of what we may think about it, many editors have English as their second language. The first sentence needs to catch attention, hold attention, and have one strong, clear message that will remain. Yes, my opening phrase was ironic. (20040302 (talk) 09:21, 1 November 2011 (UTC))

No. It is editors who need to have an attention span. If they don't they should not be trying to write encyclopedia articles. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:18, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
No, no, no. Who are you or I or anyone else to dictate that only people who are able to understand complex policy documents are allowed to edit Wikipedia? Yes, editors need to follow the five pillars, but these must be expressed so that they are easy to grasp. I absolutely agree with 20040302's statement "The first sentence needs to catch attention, hold attention, and have one strong, clear message that will remain." It may not be quite right at present, but the alternative is not better. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:38, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, editors without an attention span also tend to misunderstand what their source is actually saying; but doing something about that counts as a hardy perennial, unlikely to be dealt with before WP:DEADLINE. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:01, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Slrubenstein, anyone can edit is the core mantra of wikipedia. It's true that everyone needs to be more considerate, everyone needs to think of the community before themselves, everyone needs to understand and celebrate the differences between us - and we need to stop war, etc. The issue I raised is not about what editors need. They are who they are. The basic fact that is policies aren't looked at, and when they do, most people don't understand them. They tend to be multi-paragraphed (or even multi-paged) semi-legal or pseudo-legal documents that do not demonstrate a clear, distinct message. I would consider that the phrase "V, not T" is a triumph of memorability and sense - it's ironic also, which is a good thing. People remember that their truths count for naught without the ability to contextualise them via Verifiability. (20040302 (talk) 16:48, 1 November 2011 (UTC))
Pmanderson, It's not just a lack of attention span - it's also the ability to comprehend complex concepts which tend to be compressed and convoluted. The WP:5P each have a single sentence open which is understandable by a ten year old, which is memorable, and which is ten words or less. They follow with a paragraph that is understandable by a ten year old, which expands on the sentence in a meaningful manner. The remainder of WP policy documents should follow a similar requirement. WP:CCPOL nearly has it, and a part of that which I particularly applaud is the phrase verifiability, not truth along with the gloss that follows. (20040302 (talk) 16:48, 1 November 2011 (UTC))
My problem is, "Bla bla bla" is also writing as if we have not thought of this before. I am quite confident that everyone working on policy pages has striven to explain things as clearly as possible. Sure, in some cases we can doa bettter job, and I am all for that. But editors have been trying to do this. In any case, it has nothing to do with any of the current discussions on this page. People who find the phrase "Verifiability. not truth," are simply unaware of the reasons scholars do not use the concept of "truth" except in sways that would really confuse most people. Look, I think an algebra textbook needs to be well-written. But any reader is going to find that it takes some getting used to. We do not require our editors to have higher degrees to edit. This is something I would agree, we cannot demand of our editors. But that does not mean that we have no standards!! If someone does not know how to research a topic properly, or have other skills required for writing an encyclopedia, sure, yes, i hav eno problem telling them not to write encyclopedia articles. I think many (not all, but many) people who think "not truth" is the reason why so many of our articles are poor are really just blaming policy because it is easier than blaming sloppy editors. It is too easy just to blame policy, as a crutch or excuse. In the end, the quality of ANYTHING: a curve-ball, a cabinet, a cake, an encyclopedia, depends first and foremost on the quality of the person making it. No cookbook is going to help a lousy cook make a good omelette. Sure, anyone can edit Wikipedia. But if they are not willing to put the proper effort into it, should they be? I do not think it is for me to judge someone else, or for anyone. But people should be responsible for judging themselves. Before making that omelet, or getting behind the wheel of a car, or writing an encyclopedia article, each person should ask themselves whether they have the skills necessary, or are prepared to do the work it takes to learn them. And some policies, no matter how clearly written, can only really be used appropriately if one has judgment and experience. One can get this by reading talk pages carefully, and watching how other editors write, for example, or by asking another editor for help. But for many people it requires effort, and this is unavoidable. That is my point. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:53, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Slrubenstein, I hear you. But take any phrase or concept, and spend weeks or months staring at it with a group of like-minded individuals, and even the most innocent looking phrase starts becoming complex, taking on new ramifications, requiring additional thought, expansion, explanation, etc. For the naiive, even those with Phds, the results will be hard to read. I guess I'm saying that there's a lot of trees in the woods, and it's hard, really hard, for the policy writers to remember what most people are looking for - a simple, straightforward guide to the woods. I agree that I doubt that anything I have written shows originality also. If we stripped the hundreds of paragraphs on this discussion down to novel ideas, I would be surprised if there are as many as the fingers on my left hand. In answer to your objection to the word truth, it should be a wikilink to a rewritten, less ironic/humorous version of WP:TRUTH. What I also read in your response is a tension between 'anyone' and 'anyone who should'. I believe (and I know I'm not the only one) that glossing the WP mantra to "the free encyclopedia that anyone (who should) can edit" totally misses the achievement of what WP has become. In the last few days I was involved in moderating a proposed article which was energetically written by someone new to WP, and it was nearly impossible not to say - it' s not the WP way to have a how-to; it's not the WP way to use personal pages as references; it's not the WP way to use images for which you have not checked the licensing, etc. Of course, the editor - who had put days of work into the article - ended up defeated, disgruntled, and sore. This also is nothing new. I have been on WP for only 7 years or so, and I still have little idea about the core policies beyond the 5P, and some little experience with WP:V and NPOV. As for processes, arbitration, etc. They all seem to change every other year, so it's a total discovery each time I try to contact an admin. Nothing new. For those of us who monitor and assist in the editorship of a few web pages (my watchlist is only 250 or so), we spend a lot of time referring new editors to these policies, which -as I've said before- are not understood by people who have a lot to offer wikipedia. Especially when dealing with niche subjects, such as the history of an argument between two medieval Tibetan scholars regarding a 9th CE Indian philosopher, expecting experts to have to learn the WP way before they can contribute just isn't going to happen. (20040302 (talk) 17:22, 1 November 2011 (UTC))
I thought I had written that pople can learn on the job as it were. My point is only that it requires a willingnss to make some effort. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:13, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Slrubenstein, respectfully, I disagree. I have been editing at Wikiquote for over a year and thought I would try to contribute to Wikipedia as well. I do not claim to be an expert, but there is nothing wrong with my intellect nor my attention span. I saw a notice on an article requesting copy editing to improve the readability of the article. I have good writing skills and thought, "I can do that." I have found "that" exceedingly difficult to accomplish. I would have loved to have someone more experienced contact me and say, "Here is a list of pages that needs work," or "Would you like to work with me on this article..."I have made very small edits so far, and have been absolutely overwhelmed by the number of items that administrators expect new editors to know about, read, or learn before they can "be bold," most of which are never mentioned in the guide to editing and manual of style. I have made a considerable investment of time and effort and the more I have read, the less confident of success I become. So, no, it requires significantly more than paying attention and a willingness to make some effort; further, after reading some of the negative commentary in this RfC about editors, I'm about ready to go back to Wikiquote and stay there.Carmaskid (talk) 05:14, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Advertising RfC

Earlier today, someone deleated advertising with the bot on various notice boards (biography, politics, law and science, etc.). Since "an editor" has in fact asked requests for comment be advertised on those notice boards, it seems wrong and misleading to so delete. Please revert. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:08, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

See Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability/First_sentence/Procedural#RfC_extended_past_thirty_days. I'm restoring the listing per your request. Viriditas (talk) 14:21, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
The Watchlist notification has also disappeared [1]. Leaky Caldron 14:45, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it appears that this diff removed the last two characters of the template.  Unscintillating (talk) 15:53, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Not really. More to the point, the template states "display until Nov 5". --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 17:36, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
It may be helpful to change that to Nov 10, if the discussion is going to be open that long. Better fresh voices than the same ones repeating themselves. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:40, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree, 10 November would be better. I only found out about this a few days ago; given that nobody ever 'wins' forever here, it would be better to have as much thought go into this RFC as possible. The losers will, of course, fight back and this will go on forever and ever, but at least a larger number of us editors - especially the newer ones - will have gained an enormous amount of ammunition to be used in self-defense against those editors and just-happened-to-be-driving-by admins who use the whole verify=my world view is OK, true=your world view doesn't count to push their agenda. Goodness, by the 10th, I might even have a solid aye or nay to offer.Pauci leones (talk) 21:12, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents/WP:V RFC, The 10 November closing date comes at the request of User:Newyorkbrad, one of the uninvolved admins who have agreed to review and close the RfC (the others are User:HJ Mitchell, and User:Black Kite). Apparently, Brad's request had little to do with advertising issues or giving people extra time to comment. It was made for a very mundane reason... he is busy this week and will not be available to review until the 10th. Works for me. Blueboar (talk) 23:06, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Wow this is so exciting...Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:11, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

About RfC publicity

There is a discussion at WT:RFC#Publicity that may interest editors who are following the course of the RfC here. I think that there are still widely differing views within the community as to how much publicity about the RfC here was really needed, and the extent to which it was necessary to re-open the RfC in order to publicize it more widely. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:31, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't know about publicity but it's apparent that the explanation of the proposed change should be clearer in any future iterations, since the comments show many of those voting do not understand the proposal. Brmull (talk) 01:09, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
If they don't understand the proposal, will editors understand the text when it's in place?
Clearer text would help; so would having the proposed text as a whole (or at least the whole revised section text) on a draft subpage. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:32, 6 November 2011 (UTC)


I have always been under the impression that Wikipedia allows for published hearsay....just not un-published hearsay. Everything else is the debate on how to catalog hearsay.


Ultimately, Wikipedia is just as bad as a set of communist encyclopedia's.[citation needed]

Where else do you think people are getting most of the crap they post on WIKI!

"The world is a dungheep and we are maggots that crawl on it" - Aldonza the Whore from 'Man of La Mancha' — Preceding unsigned comment added by Loneindividual (talkcontribs) 23:08, 06 November 2011 (UTC)

A compromise suggestion that may satisfy all sides in the debate

Having examined the comments among the supporters and opponents would this suffice as a compromise addition to policy?

1. First two sentences of lead, with a proposed new second sentence (rest of the lead remains the same):
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true. The phrase "the threshold for inclusion is verifiability, not truth" means that verifiability through a reliable source is a necessary condition (a minimum requirement) for the inclusion of material, though not a sufficient condition (it may not be enough). The source must also be appropriate for the material in question, and must be used carefully.
2. A new summary-style section directly underneath the lead, linking to the essay Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth, which can be expanded and tided as needed.
=="Verifiability, not truth"==
That we require verifiability, rather than truth, as the threshold for inclusion does not mean Wikipedians have no respect for truth and accuracy, just as a court's reliance on rules of evidence does not mean the court does not respect the facts.
Wikipedia's articles are intended as an overview of the relevant literature within the field in question, a summary of current published debate. The Neutral point of view policy, another core content policy, holds that all majority and significant-minority published views be represented in articles. But sources are not infallible. They may make simple errors, or be outdated or superseded. Editorial judgment is required to decide how to use the best sources in the best way.
When there is agreement among editors that an otherwise reliable source has made an unambiguous error, simply ignore that material, and when in doubt discuss on the article talk page, or on the reliable sources noticeboard. The concept of "verifiability, not truth" does not mean that anything published by a reliable source, no matter how mistaken, must be included in Wikipedia.


SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 08:29, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

  • It doesn't seem to address all the concerns that are listed above, in particular, the last one. Uniplex (talk) 08:43, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I think it is an excellent suggestion! It means that VnT is kept ("oppose" position) but not as a standalone ("support" position). May I suggest one small refinement? What if we were to enclose the word truth in quotes: The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not "truth"? It would sound the same, and have the same impact, but it should make it clear to the new reader that actual veracity is not being sacrificed. Scolaire (talk) 08:46, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I tried that once, as I also think that putting truth in quotes emphasizes the fact that's it's not actual truth we're talking about, but rather the "truth" explained by the second part of the sentence: what people think is true. Doc talk 10:00, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of scare quotes, but I wouldn't object if it helped to resolve things. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 11:19, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I love scare quotes, personally ;) At any rate, one would think that putting it in scare quotes would dispel the false impression that what the sentence is saying is, "One can insert deliberate and provable falsehoods so long as they are verifiable." I have never once read the sentence to mean this; but apparently a great many people do interpret it this way. Since it's not at all what the sentence is supposed to mean, it's unfortunate that we have to explain "truth vs untruth". Doc talk 13:26, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
There are two problems with scare quotes. MOS people don't like them, so they will attract a certain amount of opposition just for that. Perhaps more seriously, the scare-quoted version will fail to deter the people we need to deter; they will say, That's fine for some "truth" somebody made up, but what I'm insisting on is the truth, plain and simple. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:28, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm one of those who favour keeping VnT in the first sentence, so I really hope a compromise can be found which does this but yet rules out the false interpretation that Wikipedia doesn't care about accuracy. It appears that the use of "threshold" supports this interpretation. For me, the "necessary but not sufficient" explanation just shows that "threshold" is the wrong word. Something like the medical use of the word seems to be natural to many people when faced with the first sentence; it's treated as meaning that once the threshold has been reached (i.e. appearing in a reliable source) then suitability for Wikipedia automatically follows. What you're really doing in the proposed second sentence is explaining away this meaning of "threshold". If I were writing for an academic audience, I would suggest saying "A necessary but not sufficient condition for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth ...", but this wouldn't be right here. "An essential condition for inclusion"? "A key condition for inclusion"? (But whatever we write won't actually deter editors who just want to push positions.) A separate problem is finding words that work for the full range of article domains. "Wikipedia's articles are intended as ... a summary of current published debate." Not those I've worked on recently (e.g. Schlumbergera, Roscoea); they are almost entirely an attempt to summarize currently published information. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:41, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
    • How about "the minimum criterion for inclusion..."? Scolaire (talk) 10:49, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
      Not "the" minimum, which implies again that this is all that matters. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:08, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
  • My own preference would be "A necessary but not sufficient condition for inclusion is ..." But keeping it simpler, if "threshold" is an issue for lots of people, we could change it to something like:
Wikipedia articles rely on verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true. The phrase "verifiability, not truth" refers to the idea that the existence of a reliable source is a necessary condition (a minimum requirement) for the inclusion of material, though not a sufficient condition (it may not be enough). The source must also be appropriate for the material in question, and must be used carefully.
SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 11:19, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I like that, but I think this is better (save for the last sentence which warrants further consideration) ...
Wikipedia articles rely on verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors believe it to be true. "Verifiability, not truth" means that the existence of a reliable source is a necessary condition for the inclusion of material, though not a solely sufficient condition. The source must also satisfy editorial consideration as being appropriate for the material in question. and must be used carefully(strike last as just too self-evident and condescending). JakeInJoisey (talk) 11:47, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
That sounds good, too, except that I'm not keen on "solely" sufficient. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 11:57, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree that the "solely" isn't necessary or useful. For me JakeInJoisey's formulation says what needs to be said, but I'm still a bit uneasy about these very techie words ("necessary" and "sufficient"), but can't see how to manage without them. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:13, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia's statements have to (or must) be verifiable, but that is not enough. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:05, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
I like using those terms, then rephrasing in brackets: "The phrase 'verifiability, not truth' refers to the idea that the existence of a reliable source is a necessary condition (a minimum requirement) for the inclusion of material, though not a sufficient condition (it may not be enough)."
But we could simply use the terms in brackets: "The phrase 'verifiability, not truth' refers to the idea that the existence of a reliable source is a minimum requirement for the inclusion of material, though it may not be enough. The source must also be appropriate for the material in question ..." etc. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 12:22, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I like using those terms, then rephrasing in brackets...
"Rephrasing in brackets", at least to me, suggests a compositional failure to adequately employ appropriate language. Surely the wealth of wordsmithing here can and should do better. YMMV. JakeInJoisey (talk) 12:46, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Stop. So far, during the course of this RFC, you have shown highly controlling behaviour throughout. You have changed the way the question was asked and the way it was advertised. You have taken control of the timescale, forcing a re-opening of the debate because it did not comply with an agreement apparently made between you and Blueboar on Blueboar's talk page. You have caused an administrator to resign. During the lead up to the RFC, you tried to incite editors not to participate in the discussion. You successfully forced the discussion to take place on a subpage of your choosing because you did not want it on WT:V. You rearranged questions and discussions to suit own preferences. There has been a constant process of manipulation and micromanagement from you. And now, partway through the RFC, you're trying to change the question. Will you please cease and desist.

    For the avoidance of doubt this means that I am asking you please to cease all attempts to engineer or micromanage this RFC in any way, and confine yourself to expressing your opinion. The debate should clearly go through on the basis of the question we've already asked. If, after the RFC is over, it's found necessary to change the question, or otherwise manage the debate in any way, then neither you nor I nor anyone else previously involved should be the one to do it. An uninvolved editor should take charge, and this should not happen until the RFC is over.—S Marshall T/C 11:36, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

  • No more attacks, please. I asked that the RfC stay open for the full 30 days to attract more input. That's happening, and it has led to new commentators not only in the RfC, but elsewhere on the talk page, which is exactly what we need. If there's a negative atmosphere on the page, they will be discouraged from contributing again, so please let's focus only on finding language that might satisfy everyone. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 11:55, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
All those of us who have contributed in this section are trying to do, as far as I can tell, is to debate the issues, in the hope of trying to find better wording for an important Wikipedia policy. No-one owns either the current wording or the proposed replacement. If we were voting, then sure, we would vote on the proposal exactly as tabled. But we're not; we're trying to reach a consensus. As part of that it's quite legitimate to consider other possibilities. Neither you (S Marshall) nor any other editor has any right to try to control the debate. (Ad hominem/feminam remarks just undermine your credibility; what matters is open debate, not who said or did what in the past.) Peter coxhead (talk) 12:07, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

I'll be here only a couple minutes per day this week. I think that the RFC should run its course, and run a couple weeks more. And that given the clarification-only nature of the change, the extensive input that went into crafting it, the extensive input that it received, a clear majority should be sufficient to implement it and right now (a landslide favors the compromise proposal) it has far beyond that), all of the wiki-lawyering to the contrary aside. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 12:10, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

At last check, we're at 59% in favor. I can't recall any discussion were only 59% was considered consensus. And this is with the non-neutral title and the non-neutral description of the proposal. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 12:20, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
59% is overly gracious. When the closing admins eliminate the "me-toos" and the "Yes, I agree" comments, supporters like myself will be lucky to slink away with 25%. I'm surprised that my fellow supporters don't already see this. Viriditas (talk) 13:01, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm surprised that they don't already see this.
Perhaps the expressions of pique and regrettable ad hominem suggest otherwise. JakeInJoisey (talk) 12:31, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
What depresses me, and makes me seriously regret ever having got involved in this debate, is that way that so many editors see this as one side versus the other. "Slink away" is totally unhelpful language. This is a key area of policy, which is very difficult to word appropriately. There are a very few comments which suggest that editors want a change in policy (either more emphasis on truth over verifiability or less), but as far as I can tell, most detailed comments are about the best form of words to use. The situation appears to be that there isn't a consensus for the existing wording and there isn't a consensus for the proposed change, given that in this crucial area we need a way of saying what we mean that the overwhelming majority of editors can understand and give assent to. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:40, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Re Viriditas: the whole point of the RFC was to have a vote (or a !vote) on the wording change. Why would anyone ignore votes that say "me too"? — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:08, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
"RfCs are not votes. Discussion controls the outcome; it is not a matter of counting up the number of votes." But, you knew that. Viriditas (talk) 13:13, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Viriditas when a proposal has been laid out in detail saying "me too" amounts to "per proposal" or "per proposer." That's very obviously the case. The reason why opposers offer differing rationales is that they don't exist at the top of the page. If they agree with what another opposer has said they say, "per so and so" and there are plenty of those out there as well. So no you cannot discount people who simply agree with the proposal as stated. Their voices of agreement count as much as anyone else's voice here.Griswaldo (talk) 13:18, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
This is the problem with a poorly worded RfC. The best RfC's are extremely brief and give participants a choice that requires them to give their reasoning for support. In turn, this makes it extremely easy for a closer to establish consensus and to discard the "yes", "no", "me too", and "per so and so" comments. I have yet to see a closing admin gauge consensus on a major policy RfC by counting heads. Viriditas (talk) 13:59, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Maybe CBM has not been following this discussion. CBM, if you have not recently, with respect I sk you to review our guidelines on WP:RfC
"I'm surprised ..." may seem condescending, and perhaps unnecessary. But, I suspect Viriditas is responding to the fact that some of the advocates have been crowing about victory for the past three weeks. This is purely a personal opinion but: I wonder whether some people are responding so hysterically about what a debacle and train-wreck and disaster this is, because they had convinced themselves several weeks ago that they already knew with absolute certainty the outcome. Maybe I am wrong, but this would explain why they repeatedly insist that any other outcome is the result of some theft or corruption of the process. Most of my on proposals are shot down or ignored, which is virtually the same thing, so when I expressed opposition to the proposal I had no great expectations that lots of editors would agree with me &mdah; but I also knew that WP is a fluid community and majorities and minorities on talk pages can flip like eggs at a diner. For weeks, up to the apprantely premature closing of the RfC, some editors have been insisting that the decision was clear and "already made" (that "already" is often a slippery word and I think everyone would be better off if we used it more cautiously). I think Viriditas may be responding to this. Sorry to put words in your moutn, V, but I think you are saying that if people who support the proposal stopped leaving comments that suggest that they take its approval for granted, we could discuss things more coolly.
I have my own ideas about how to make V a better policy. I floated an idea during the discussion of the RfC because that is what RfCs are for, comments from people who had not been active in earlier discussions. When I thought that the RfC was over, and it was time to discuss the comments, I floated one of my ideas again. So, I forwarded a proposal. No one liked it, but no one criticized me for suggesting it.
At this point I will not forward my ideas for how to improve this proposal, not until the RfC closes and we discuss the results. But that doesn't mean others, in this case Slim Virgin, don't have a right to propose an alternative. I can't find anyting in our policies or guidelines that say she cannot do it, and given that I ofered my own proposal I just am in no position to fault her for doing the same.
But S. Marshall is way out of line saying "stop." It is cynical, and it is bullying, and has no place at Wikipedia. S. Marshall writes stop in bold, and then has the temerity to accuse SV of "highly controlling behaviour!" Temerity, or true condecension to us other editors, as if we are too blind to tell the difference between SV's forwarding a proposal and inviting comments, and S. Marshall's demand that this discussion stop — how much more controling can one get? She accuses Slim of changing the way the proposal was advertised, but urely, if the purpose of a request for comments is to request comments from outsiders, advertising more widely is a good idea. She accuses Slim of taking control of the timescale, but if Slim has suggested a close date (other than the 30 days our guideline suggests) it has been drowned out by othe editors who are discussing an appropriate close-date, hardly "control." She accuses Slim of forcing a re-opening of the debate, but our RfC guideline says that whenever an RfC closes we have to discuss the comments, so debate can always continue (and it was me, not Slim who first made this point). She accuses Slim of having caused an administrator to resign, an accusation that is hysterical and ludicrous on its face. I have no idea who SarekofVulcan really is or here she lives, and I doubt Slim does either, so I m not sure how she managed to sneak into Sarek's house and point that gun at Sarek's head forceing Sarek to resign (plus, I looked over Sarek's talk page when I learned she had resigned, to try to figure out why, and ithout seeing a clear explanation I saw that many others had been questioning Sarek's judgment concerning several matters); anyway, it was Sarek's decision to make. If you don't like it, blame Sarek. She accuses Slim of forcing the discussion to take place on a subpage rther than V, but all I can say is this is the V talk page and the RfC is here ... that said, RfC's are usually on sub-pages and for good reason and if Slim pushed for this she was pushing only for us to follow our own guidelines.
SV proposed an alternative. If there is a consensus for the proposal at the top of this page, or if SV's proposal is unappealing, people will ignore it, just as they ignored my proposal. But it looks like two or three other people find SV's proposal promising. They have proposed some changes and SV has not stopped them from doing so, although she has expressed her own preferences. I was about to write that I actually liked her proposal a lot (even though it is not what I myself proposed!!)... and then I read S. Marshall's Stop. S. Marshall, feel free to express your own view, if you wish, but do not tell me what I can and cannot do. You can do anything you want to except tell me to stop. Let's be clear: S. Marshall is trying to stop me, and Peter Coxhead, and Jake in Joisey from expressing our own views because S. Marshall just doesn't like it. As is often the case, it is the bully who accuses anyone who disagrees ith her of being a bully. Get used to it. The simple fact that SV has forwarded a suggestion and a few others like it doesn't force S. Marshall or anyone else to do anything — accept learn to live with the fact that they cannot dictate what other WP editors think. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:15, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I see brevity is still eluding Slrubenstein. Look, politicking aside, it's not exactly news that SV has control issues about this and other pages. My allegations are entirely justified. Shall I repeat them with diffs? I'm not saying that I should control this page. What I'm saying is that Slim should stop trying to.—S Marshall T/C 13:22, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec) I very much appreciate what SV is trying to do here... I will remind editors that the goal is to find language that addresses the concerns of all sides in this debate... and that includes both those who supported and those who opposed my proposal. I think SV's suggestion was made in that spirit. That said... given the tensions surrounding this RfC, I think she is a bit premature. We have already had people complain that this RfC was being closed before its time... let's not repeat that mistake. It is possible (even if unlikely) that a last minute rush of comments will change everything (in either direction). So... let's wait out the full 30 days, close the RfC and then we can start discussing how to suggest further compromises and work towards ending this long debate with a consensus that is solid and uncontested. Blueboar (talk) 13:26, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

@A Quest For Knowledge. 59%? When did you do the last count. I've been tracking the percentages for at least 24 hours and it hasn't dipped below 60% since then. Right now it is as 62%. A 3% difference is a pretty big misrepresentation when you're dealing with total figures now close to 300. I would very much so appreciate it if people are commenting on these figures, or trends in these figures, that they take the time and look at them carefully before commenting. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 13:24, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

@Griswaldo: Please assume good faith. I did them about an hour and a half ago. At that time, there was 174 supports, 110 opposes and 9 neutrals. 174/293 = 0.59.38%. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 13:29, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Ah, sorry about that. You are counting the neutrals, while I was not. I'm not sure in this situation that it is meaningful to count people who are in effect abstaining, but what you are doing is probably more conventional here on Wikipedia but I don't know. Anyway sorry about that. My confusion.Griswaldo (talk) 13:36, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
@Griswaldo: No problem. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 13:38, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
If one reads the neutrals, very few are abstaining. In fact, one of the clearest things about this poll is that opinions about what should be done are almost orthogonal to the !votes: Cynwolfe, at neutral/support, and I, at oppose, have almost identical feelings about what would be the best substantive solution. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:31, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

SV's is a reasonable proposal. It would be useful to know if anybody finds anything actually in that draft which they hold substantively wrong. It is certainly a good start on the next proposal, which should have a wider agreement than this one. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:57, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

The fundamental reason why I'm against mentioning "not truth" is because the word "truth" here is used in the very specific meaning of "opinion" where you indeed would rather not want that to play a role in editorial decisions. For many Wikipedia articles this is the de-facto way a claim of truth is to be interpreted and clearly don't want this.

But there are also many topics where the de-facto meaning of "truth" is that of a hard fact, and not of mere opinion. This is the case for scientific topics. If someone presents an opinion as a statement of fact within the domain of such topics, that leads to strong counter reactions, precisely because "truth" is supposed to be fact and not opinion here.

Compare the statement "Obama is a bad president" with "Global Warming has been debunked". The first statement is a normal part of political discourse, you can have political scientists discussing this, even though it is just opinion. The statement about Global Warming is not going to be taken as a serious statement within the field of climate science. The person making such statement will be a priori dismissed as some crackpot.

For such scientific topics on Wikipedia, when people think someting is true, we would want to hear from them and discuss the matter further, because by default we are talking about a claim that should be verifiable and thus merits inclusion in Wikipedia if the person is correct and if it is sufficiently notable and relevant. Count Iblis (talk) 16:41, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

The statement "Global Warming has been debunked" may not be taken seriously within the field of climate science... but within the field of political debate it is taken seriously. And the fact that it is an opinion held by many people other than climate scientists means we need to account for it. We shouldn't dismiss the opinion because we think it is not true. instead we discuss it in terms of being a note worthy opinion: "Many global warming skeptics are of the opinion that Global Warming has been debunked." Blueboar (talk) 18:34, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
The fact/opinion distinction only obscures scientific debates. Science progresses not by opposing fact to opinion, but by constantly revising our understanding of the relationship between facts and theories. And this does not invlve any metaphycical claims about "truth." Slrubenstein | Talk 16:35, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I disagree with Count Iblis' claim that "not truth" means "opinion". Actually, it means something closer to "unpublished". If you know, without any doubt, due to the spreadsheet on your employer's computer and the discussions you overheard in the hallway about what to say in the press release, that they will be re-stating their earnings and are announcing that in a press conference tomorrow afternoon, then you must not put the revised figures in the article about your employer today. We don't care how "true" the information is: it is not verifiable, and thus not permitted, full stop. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:02, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
When we say the threshold (or necessary condition) for inclusion is verifiability, not "truth," we mean it is not enough for something to be true, or for an editor to claim that it is true. Instead, the material must already have been published by a reliable source, whether it is a fact or a value.
I've been having some health issues recently, and have to take time off to deal with them, so I may not be around for the close. I just want to say thank you here to Blueboar for writing up the RfC, and to everyone who helped with it. I think however it turns out, there are some good suggestions above, and below from Jayen, that should nudge us further toward consensus. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 07:15, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Leaving aside for the moment the question whether now, while an RfC on a different proposal is in full swing, is the best time to discuss this proposal, I still feel queasy about the following wording –
    • The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true.
  • What I don't like is that "not whether editors think it is true" still implies that any concern about a source being mistaken can be dismissed. As such, it feels a little inconsistent with what follows. I would suggest the following wording to fix it:
    • The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. Readers must be able to check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source. It is not enough for an editor simply to assert that it is true.
  • One could also put it as follows:
    • The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. Readers must be able to check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source. It is not enough for it to be true.
  • I think that is clearer and more in line with what follows. The reference to rules of evidence is a little opaque perhaps, but otherwise, the rest seems good and well-written. --JN466 18:59, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
  • The point of the current wording is the parallelism -- the threshold for inclusion is whether readers can check that material has already been published by a reliable source, [it is] not whether editors think it is true. But if you think it's confusing, I'd be fine with your suggestion. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 07:20, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I've been making no secret of the fact that there's a lot that I find objectionable about what's happened with this discussion over the last several days, but I would never find fault with suggesting a new compromise version. Doing so is an entirely good and helpful thing. And what is being discussed here is very similar to what I tried to convince the group working on the RfC proposal to consider. For example see: Wikipedia:Verifiability/First sentence#Updated version. Unfortunately, the working group by that point consisted of just a few editors who felt much more strongly about removing "not truth" from the lead than does the community as a whole, so my suggestions then didn't go anywhere.
  • Personally, I very much like the language that Blueboar came up with to describe "not truth", about the sense in which it is meant in WP:V. I'm less enthusiastic about moving it out of the lead. I think we don't really need an added section after the lead at all. We could just rewrite the lead to incorporate Blueboar's improved wording into it. When I proposed that approach to the smaller group, the objection was that there was "an elephant in the room" that needed to be explained by the new section you see proposed in the RfC. But my reading of the community's comments (both before and after the reopening of the RfC) is that very few editors are concerned with those issues, whereas a very large number of opposes are based upon moving "not truth" out of the lead.
  • All of that said, I'm not at all convinced that the RfC proposal is failing. It may well gain consensus. We'll just have to see. Maybe a compromise will be desirable as a new proposal if this one fails, or maybe a compromise will be desirable as a further improvement if this one passes. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:21, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

My understanding of verify and truth

When I first came here, I was confused. I didn't even know what an RfC was - request for comment. Hence, I am here to comment on the proposal at the lead to this article. The proposal is to remove "not truth" following verify as a threshold for inclusion into Wikipedia. This is an important bit of terminology for Wikipedian editors as we enter into our discussions and direct others to policy of what can and cannot be justified for inclusion into the articles. We know of some examples where verified sources turn out to be or seem to be false (e.g., User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive_86#.22Verifiability_and_truth.22. Therefore, I will give my humble overview on "not truth" v. "verify" in context of the philosophy of science, which is my focus of interest. There are a few idioms that parallel this debate: Carl Sagan famously stated that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", Ashley Montague (Anthropologist) stated in 1984: "The scientist believes in proof without certainty, the bigot in certainty without proof."[2]:5, and this follows from the Baconian idea on the idol of certainty or that science seeks "truth without certainty", it is false to think that science seeks certainty - it avoids certainty. Science is considered one of the highlights of human intellect and often thought one of the most reliable resources on "natural truth". Facts are empirically confirmed observations that can be proven false. They are sub-hypotheses on "natural truth", but "observations exist only as interpretations of the facts of nature in light of present theories, not as the facts of nature themselves."[3] Science avoids the idol of certainty in establishing truth by falsifying and contemplating probabilities, likelihoods and calculating theory. There are different forms of knowledge acquisition: deductive (what must necessarily be the case), inductive (from observation to generalization), and abductive (causal explanation of the data). All three forms are drawn from the facts, but can be falsified not verified. Using these foundations, how does science achieve its perceived standard of "truthiness" and can Wikipedia achieve a similar measure of public trust? Science, like Wikipedia, is a collective enterprise, it is its own beast governed by its social contract that itself evolves, steady and punctuated over time. The dimension of time X people is what seems to be missing in this debate on truth and verifiability. We have billions of people on this planet that can freely come to edit and fact check every article from now until the foreseeable future. I've often wondered what Wikipedia could look like in a thousand years. What news organization has that kind of power? We can do better than the "tabloid" news style articles and can compete against professional encyclopedia's. Why? We have time and people on our side. This is a human enterprise and people over time in pursuit of truth building on the good will of humanity to share our knowledge is a worthy investment. It is an amazing testament to what we can accomplish through so called "free-labour". Truth is a worthy pursuit and this engine called Wikipedia powered by people and time are up for the challenge. It is true that "not truth" is valid in the sense that truth should and cannot be used as a threshold for inclusion, however inclusion of this pithy statement leaves the impression that "truth" is not a worthwhile virtue. I don't support either proposal on the table. The proposal to remove "not truth" fails because it speaks of "a guarantee of inclusion", which is an odd statement in itself. Who is seeking and conferring a guarantee? Neither proposal does justice toward truth, the former ("not truth") even less so. Truth is the formidable prey that deserves our respect as it has us locked us into a perpetual Red Queen of inquiry. Hence, I have offered my suggestion above, but I tweak it here in consideration of the "guarantee" component: "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability in the pursuit of truth and reliability using the fundamental principles by which Wikipedia operates. Verifiable means that readers can check if information in Wikipedia has been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true. A verified source does not automatically lead to inclusion of the material, because Wikipedia has other policies and guidelines that affect inclusion (especially whether specific material is included in a specific article)." I have no idea if this RfC is closed or how a decision can even be reached in this mess. I plan to get back to editing articles and thought I would just leave with this final summation of my thoughts on the matter.Thompsma (talk) 20:11, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

As clarification, the main RFC proposal moves (and explains) the phrase that includes "not truth" to a following section. North8000 (talk) 20:18, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
As I understand your position, the current main proposal takes a baby step towards what you are saying, but does not fully accomplish it. It's a compromise proposal. North8000 (talk) 20:24, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks North8000 (talk) - you understood. This is being discussed in evolution as theory and fact. There are conflicting verifiable scientific publications through history stating evolution is a fact, evolution is a theory, evolution is not a fact, and evolution is not a theory. The science of it requires deeper investigation, but neither proposal above would help to solve this problem. References to primary and secondary sources (whatever that distinction may be) makes matters even more complicated. What about timing of publications? If one was in 1973 and we have a publication in 2007, does the later publication supersede the former? Is the former now a secondary publication because it has been cited to such and extend that it has a page of its own: Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution? All the authors of the papers making these claims would agree (I believe, after reading through the material with a critical eye) that evolution is true, that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution", and evolution is one of "the most reliable facts in the biological sciences referring to an experimentally proven reality of nature."Thompsma (talk) 06:43, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
There are ways to write material that conforms to the pursuit of truth, but "not truth" and verifiability on its own will fail in this respect.Thompsma (talk) 06:46, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually, one author to date may disagree with the last component that evolution is one of "the most reliable facts in the biological sciences...", but only because that author has a different schema of fact, not because he does not believe it to be true. The point to this is, that this single author holds a view that is novel and inconsistent with others, but the matter is being debated and discussed in the scientific literature. This is where the time factor in wikipedia helps. Is it true that evolution isn't a fact and why would that be? It has to do with inductive, deductive, and abductive modes of inferrence - evolution possibly being of the abductive modes, but few authors have commented on this new development in scientific literature. These are the kinds of issues that the lead set of instructions should give guidance on.Thompsma (talk) 06:54, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

latest edits to the October 6 RfC without previous discussion

latest edits to the October 6 RfC without previous discussion, links to WP:V

I have reverted an erroneous edit made to the October 6 RfC.  This edit made it appear that it is part of the proposal to add WP:NOTTRUTH and WP:ASSERTIONS as new shortcuts to the policy.  Unscintillating (talk) 12:51, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

This edit removed the erroneous material.  The edit comment was:

Undid revision 458075713 by SlimVirgin (talk) reverting erroneous representation of proposal

This edit restored the erroneous material.  The edit comment was:

Undid revision 458115832 by Unscintillating (talk) what is wrong with this? It simply allows people to see what both versions look lilke

The answer to the question was being written even as the re-revert to restore the erroneous material was taking place.  Unscintillating (talk) 15:40, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

other edits to the Original RFC

Unscintillating has just drawn my attention to this October 13 edit (by WhatamIdoing)... I believe WhatamIdoing's edit was made in good faith (as an attempt to summarize a complex RfC into one sentence... apparently so a bot would be happy), but the edit mis-stated the proposal. Had I caught that edit at the time it was made, I would have objected and corrected this error. (To add to the confusion... yesterday, Slim Virgin signed my name to WhatamIdoing's edit ... not sure why... In any case, I have reverted the RfC language back to what it was when we started the RfC.
My guess is that none of this will change anyone's opinions or comments... but I wanted to point out what occurred in case it does. Please DO NOT EDIT THE ORIGINAL RFC without discussion and consensus. Blueboar (talk) 13:40, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't know anything about the additional text, but I copied your sig higher yesterday for the RfC bot. Otherwise it will reproduce the whole thing, because it just copies whatever is before the first signature.
Okay, I see someone has removed the title yet again, which breaks all the notification links, and restored the "compromise" wording that we agreed here on talk to remove. This is getting very silly. Would whoever did that please revert themselves? SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 14:22, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
For future reference, the bot requires only a date stamp, not a username. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:17, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
EVERYONE MUST STOP PLAYING GAMES HERE - I returned the title to its original... there were already notification links (dating back to Oct. 6th) that pointed to that original title, and changing it from the original broke those links. Blueboar (talk) 14:32, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Just to clarify, when that issue was discussed yesterday, the response was all the links to whatever title had been fixed and none were broken, using and anchor and redirects. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:40, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
So now fix them back to reflect the original title, that should never have been changed in the first place. The argument Slim made that you are repeating amounts to ... "I stole your house, but you can't move back in now because I called the yellow pages and changed the name on the address to reflect mine and not yours." Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 14:49, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Oh my. She stole a house? At any rate, I didn't change them and I think someone named Anthony did. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:09, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Blueboar, we agreed yesterday (discussion) to remove the word "compromise" because this is not a compromise with the community. Wide latitude is given to the person who opens an RfC, but several people agreed that "compromise" is POV and should be removed. Also, you broke all the recent notifications by changing the title again. Your old links were not broken because Anthony had added an anchor. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 14:44, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Blueboar proceeded so cautiously that even the title of the proposed RFC was proposed and up for discussion for many weeks before the RFC.
Broken links can be handled with the {{anchor}} template—and since most of you here already know that, I'm not included to believe that your real complaint is that the notification links are breaking. If you've got substantive concerns, please state them outright rather than focusing on the trivially solved problem. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:20, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Guys, we have to deal with the technological realities here. This is what you're currently advertising as the RFC question:
Does that look like a useful question to you? Do you think anyone will have any idea what this RFC is about? Do you think anyone is going to respond to that? (Nevermind that what Blueboar would actually like to post violates WP:RFC's direction to supply a "brief" statement of the issue: nobody's seeing any sort of sensible statement at all, much less what Blueboar would like them to see.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:03, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Maybe we close the current RfC and start a new one with neutral title and a brief statement of the issue. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 19:10, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm not happy...and nor should anyone be (Close and start afresh)

User:Blueboar has removed a quite significant chuck of prominent material earlier, claiming, absolutely correctly that he did not place it there.[4] It is prominent material and likely to influence readers. I reversed this on the basis that, whether or not it should have been there, it has been there sufficiently long that it could have influenced those who have read it and have left support or oppose comments based partly on it. Blueboar has removed it again,[5] stating his personal opposition and outrage “I strongly object. to this addition.. I did not write this material, nor was it present for half the time that this RfC existed”. While I agree with the sentiment I'm not happy with it's sudden removal - mid-discussion.

This entire discussion is reaching the level of a farce. I fail to see how any !votes made since the contentious material was added and since it has now been removed can be considered. The picture is altered significantly enough by the addition and removal of the disputed content. I’m not happy that this discussion has any validity. It should be started again with a clean slate, proper community notification and a routemap for implementing any changes that result from it. Leaky Caldron 14:14, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Leaky... there was proper community notification from the start... The day we went live with this, I posted notification at the Village Pump, at WP:NPOV, at WP:NOR. The community responded to this notification... look at the date stamps on the comments... the RfC received over 50 comments on the very first day (and another 50 within the first week). Blueboar (talk) 14:55, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
I think at this point we should all fall back on AGF, even if we don't necessarily feel it.
  • Blueboar acted in good faith when he created the title with the word "compromise" in it, thinking of the compromises made on this page, rather than thinking in terms of a wiki-wide RfC.
  • North8000 and Blueboar acted in good faith when they asked for early closure, because they believed comments had dried up.
  • Sarek acted in good faith when he volunteered to close, because he had forgotten he had commented, or didn't see it as a comment that made him involved.
  • The editors who reverted the closure acted in good faith because they (we) disagreed with the early closure.
  • I acted in good faith when I posted additional notifications, because I wanted to make sure more people knew about it.
  • Slrubenstein is acting in good faith by continuing the discussion.
Please let's agree on the above, or at least act as if we agree, for the sake of moving forward constructively. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 14:31, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually Blueboar's compromise was made after several RfCs. There is also a problem with the logic here. Continuing discussion is fine always of course, but I think what is disturbing people is that there is also another thing taking place. Discussion can go on concerning future ideas for improvement, as it always does, without trying to demand that nobody else is allowed to do anything else, and without trying to erase or deliberately misconstrue what has already been discussed.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:47, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes, a consistent theme of the wording of the "let's move on" / "lets discuss more" statements has been "let's ignore the RFC" and its many months of work. North8000 (talk) 15:11, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
What I'm proposing is that we AGF, regardless of any details. It is at times like this that AGF is at its most useful, when good editors have fallen out with each other, and we need a strategy to keep us on track. So I am going to do it from now on, and I apologize to everyone for not having assumed good faith during this discussion. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 14:58, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Slim, I'm happy that you are willing to AGF when it comes to the actions of other editors involved here. However, please do not ask others to put aside the serious concerns that have been raised about your behavior because of that, or perhaps more importantly the damage done by that behavior, which remains whether or not you acted in good faith. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 15:06, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
What damage? That more people became aware of the proposal and are now discussing it? ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:10, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
With all due respect Maunus Slim's posts presented the RfC in a way that was completely inaccurate, by suggesting a much more extreme proposal than what was there. These posts were also made along with accusations of impropriety by the closing admin. The net effect was to suggest that a group of editors were managing to subvert core Wikipedia policy while no one noticed and by way of all kinds of shenanigans (none of which is true clearly). And who am I to make this observation? Someone who had no idea this RfC was ongoing until I encountered all of this and had to figure out what was going on. Also, mind you, as someone who has been an outspoken critic of Sarek when it comes to WP:INVOLVED. You can imagine what my first thought was when I saw the AN/I ... he's at it again. Well as it turned out he was not at it. Someone else was at something quite different. Cheers.Griswaldo (talk) 15:54, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
What damage? If any other result of this RFC is not to close it as it was properly closed by Sarek, then it's a fraud. Because of the actions of SV and a few others(mostly admins) who have taken this basic RFC and turned it into not only drama, but wheel warring, canvassing and pushing other editors who have worked hard on this out of the picture. This whole process is now corrupted and I would support sanctions against those responsible. I don't know the exact venue that needs to be used, maybe some more experienced editors do. The actions that lead up to this point, after the close, are infuriating. Absolutely infuriating. Dave Dial (talk) 16:00, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
That makes no sense. You can see that there is no consensus for the proposal - whether there was so three days ago is utterly irrelevant, since consensus can change. What is mysterious to me is how people can even argue about this - it is obvious that the change does not have consensus and as such it cannot be instated, procedure is completely irrelevant to that fact. Even if we accept Sarek's closing that would only mean that an RfC would be filed immediately with a new consensus bound to appear. It is quite sad to me to observe how people are apparently forgetting that this whole process is about achieving CONSENSUS not about pushing one's favourite policy through at any cost.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:41, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't have a "favourite policy" I'm trying to push. I haven't voiced my opinion on this as of yet. Also, if you believe procedure is "completely irrelevant", what are the rules for procedure even there for? Also, many here have a distorted view on consensus. This isn't a RFA, it's a RFC. Since this was brought to ANI I have went through and read what many editors have done to try and build consensus, only to be circumvented by that outrage at ANI. There was a much better way to ask for more time, but after that happened the reopening and votes afterwards are spoiled. The process was corrupted. Even if a new RFC is opened and the results are overturned, it's a much better outcome than the current course. Dave Dial (talk) 17:13, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't know of any policy stating that Consensus means something different at RfCs than at RfAs. Consensus is consensus. I was not referring to your favourite policy, but to the fact that most people who appear outraged at the close being reverted were the proposers themselves (Blueboar excepted - since he has in fact been one of the most reasonably behaved persons in this whole mess).·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:17, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Every case is different, we have to judge each case in its relevant context. In this case, the issue is that the way the first sentence is formulated is leading to resistance from many well etablished editors for various reasons. Then a proposal for changing it led to a 50-50 stalemate, and that clearly is not a good basis to implement a change. So, at that stage, the lack of consensus meant that things stayed as they were. But because there wasn't consensus for the status quo, indeed the raised problems were not resolved, the discussions on how then to move forward were very much alive.
The problem with this was that many of the supporters of the staus quo didn't like all these discussions, their opinion was that the people who want to implement change had their day in court and they lost, so they should now shut up. But obviously, that is not a good argument to close discussions when the support for the status quo is 50% at best. It is at this point that Blueboar stepped in, working with a few others to come up with something that would have significantly more support than the current version. He has been successful in this, many who previously supported the old version have supported the new version.
So, given the history of this debate, the conclusion of the RFC should be that the new version is a far better basis to make further improvements from than to stick to the old version. Suppose that new discussions to make furhter improvements were to go nowhere, we will at least be stuck at something that has a lot more support than the current version, the support for which has dropped to well below 50%. Count Iblis (talk) 17:55, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
That is actually a very reasonable argument - there does seem to be consensus for change, although this precise proposal does not have strong consensus. I think this should lead us to explore more options to build a proposal that can sway people from the "oppose" camp, most of which I don't think are against change, just this particular change.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:05, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Wikispeak#AGF. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 15:39, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
I think that the general feeling is that what has been done to the RFC in the last 2-3 days is not right. To me, a proper and fair and by-the-rules process is everything. As can be seen many times even in this page over the last 11 months, when the process is proper, I am at 100% at peace with the outcome even when it is the exact opposite of what I wanted. But when I see what has been done to the process over the last 2-3 days, (in my mind it is an attempted corruption of the process to achieve a particular end) to me it is an issue that is important enough for me to shed my blood over to get a proper process for the sake of Wikipedia. If we don't have that, we're like Somalia. Well, there's a look inside of my brain on this! Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 16:32, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
So you prefer that we accept Sarek's close and that I proceed to establish a new widely advertised RfC to propose the reinstation of "not truth"? It is obvious that consensus is not for the proposed change. You supporters should be working on how to improve the policy to take care of the problems you perceive in a way that can garner consensus. Not on lawyering a procedure to pass a change that doesn't currently have consensus.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 16:43, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
@Maunus, you saying It is obvious that consensus is not for the proposed change doesn't make that true. It looks like it was about 65-30 before the shat hit the fan and everybody else showed up. Just an observation. -- (talk) 03:37, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but they did show up, and that is the situation we have to deal with now.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 03:40, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
it just seems that after one of these types of RFCs becomes heated or contested or ANIed, folks show up and vote along "party" lines if you will :) I would toss out all the comments and votes after the 24th or so, but thats just me. Best of luck to all with this-- (talk) 04:09, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
That would also be an idea, though I don't agree with your assessment of the RFC results. But I already wrote something else below. North8000 (talk) 16:49, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
At this point, my gut feel is that the proposal should be put into it's original form (including title)(as it was during its run) , make notices about it elsewhere accurate and neutral, run much longer (another 2 weeks?), and then get closed by a consensus-selected uninvolved, neutral, thorough, experienced person or trio of persons. It would need to be someone willing to spend many hours reviewing this whole thing. One complexity is that being a compromise proposal, weary persons who have been debating this continuously for a year put only brief comments when they weighed in rather than repeating everything that they said, so a review of the history here is also important. Or possibly folks should be urged to succinctly expand their comments. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 16:43, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
As a latecomer I have to agree with North8000. This is a decision that affects many of us editors throughout Wikipedia. I was busy editing and didn't catch the memo. I wonder if others are feeling the same way. This looks like a hugely important debate. It is wonderful to see so many people flocking under the banner of truth and obviously it is something that many of us value. To help resolve the debate among so many people, ground rules need to be set before hand on what is meant by a consensus. There are other proposals and suggestions that could be moved forward and this is the discussion that needs to take place to organize the collective mass that has arrived late.Thompsma (talk) 05:38, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Warning regarding edit warring

Note that the page is currently protected to stop edit warring. A request was also filed to protect Template:CENT. I have declined that request as I don't believe we should allow this edit war to do such collateral damage. So, you all can keep edit warring there, and you all will be blocked. Note that having consensus on your side is not a free pass to edit war and anyone who continues will be blocked. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:45, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

I wonder if an admin would consider removing the, um, pretty picture that was added to the page? (If nothing else, it really offends me when administrators edit through full protection for something other than a non-controversial and necessary fix.) --Tryptofish (talk) 19:06, 31 October 2011 (UTC)


Continuing to review the edits at the start of the RfC, was it necessary that a new rfcid be assigned?  What was wrong with the original one?  Thanks, Unscintillating (talk) 20:59, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

RfC bot tags

SV states at WP:AN, "...I also note no one had added the RfC tags for the bot (I have just added them), so this was not advertised the way RfCs normally are."  Can someone explain this issue or point me in the right direction?  Thanks, Unscintillating (talk) 20:59, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Possibly this Slrubenstein | Talk 16:14, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

FYI, There is a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/First sentence/Procedural#RfC management, RfC bot tagsUnscintillating (talk) 02:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

FYI, There is a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/First sentence/Procedural#RfC management, RfC bot tagsUnscintillating (talk) 02:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

FYI, There is discussion at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/First sentence/Procedural#DiscussionUnscintillating (talk) 07:39, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Stop removing the tags to this RfC. You need to form a consensus to do so here on this page, not anywhere else, and certainly not based on your continued, unilateral bureaucratic-obsessed obstructionism. The tags were added at the request of multiple editors. You need to get a consensus to remove them here. You've been informed of this many times. Viriditas (talk) 07:59, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

anonymous ad hoc change to the RfC text

There is a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/First sentence/Procedural#anonymous ad hoc change to the RfC text, regarding a new addition to the RfC text.  Unscintillating (talk) 16:14, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Recent use of current first sentence of policy involving an editor active here

Recently at Talk:First Amendment to the United States Constitution, there was use of the current first sentence of this policy WP:V, in the second message of this section by an editor in his debate with PMAnderson. Its use seemed to be ignored by PMAnderson. Perhaps PMAnderson could comment? Thanks. --Bob K31416 (talk) 14:58, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

An effort to insist that talk-page comments be footnoted. Unless somebody is willing to claim that this policy should apply to talk-pages, this is largely irrelevant to the issue here.
It is one of many examples which show that verifiability, not truth can be abused; so can all our policies, as experience will show. A paragraph of explanation might profitably address the point; however, the proposal at hand doesn't. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:44, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree that a paragraph would be useful; one of my reasons for opposing this one is that it is flawed. This may well be another flaw. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:47, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

What to do when "cite request" template is repeatedly removed?

I have found myself in a situation where an editor has repeatedly removing my cite request templates, claiming that end-of-para suffices. I do not agree with him, as I think the end-of-para is not sufficient, and the information in question may even be controversial/red flag and requires end-of-sentence ref. I do not want to edit war with him, but he is adamant in removing my cite requests. What should be my next action? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 01:24, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

RS/N can handle reliability claims, which seems to be an issue, that the source may not be reliable due to its distance from potential content. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:35, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
On investigation, the issue relates to issues to do with courtesy to readers, a matter of opinion between editors on which they can reasonably disagree, however, good advice for editors exists at WP:Citing sources#Text-source integrity and WP:Citing sources#Bundling citations. Editors should bear in mind the standard of their field of editing, and, what they would want to read if they were newbies who were terribly excited about the article and wanted to read every claim from the original texts. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:45, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Page number specification

In that verifiability depends on tracing a quote, point, or other material back to its source, and that such trace-backs are greatly facilitated by citing the specific page, section, or paragraph, the common opinion that page numbers (etc.) should be cited seems quite reasonable. Yet it seems there is no definite statement that they should be used, or even required. Should there be a definite statement that citations should be as specific as possible, to the level of page, section, or paragraph? _ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:22, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

Have you looked at Wikipedia:Citing sources? This goes into the details of what should be included in a citation and how to format them. Blueboar (talk) 22:25, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes. At best it says page numbers "should" be given for books. Overall it just gives the impression of something nice if you want to go to the trouble, which many editors take as being entirely optional. In being found in the context of citation it does come across as a style issue. Whereas the few statements for greater specification generally reference WP:Verifiability. _ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:09, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
The problem with requiring page numbers is that there are situations where a statement being made in the Wikipedia article is supported by an entire book or an entire chapter. And I can not cite a page number if the source does not have page numbers (an audio recording, for example). We can (and do) say it is "good practice" to supply page numbers, and we encourage it where appropriate, but we can not require it in all cases. Blueboar (talk) 13:51, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree with everything Blueboar wrote and would add that this standard is just as likely to encourge people to quote whatever they can read via google snippets rather than actually reading whole books. But there is a convention for how to address Blueboar's points: if the point made is the explicit and primary point of the whole book or journal, we cite it without any page numbers. if it is an argument made in a chapter or section of a book or article, we provide the entire page range. if it is a point made on one page we cite the page. If this is not already in the CS guidelines, it ought to be. But too often I have sen editors take quotes out of context and while citing page numbers is nice, it is at least as important to verify that the quote or page citation is being used properly which usually requires one to have read the whole work. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:10, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
(ec) Something else to consider... The Policy is that material should be verifiable (ie able to be verified). But we don't require that every statement be easily verified (actually, we don't even require that everything be verified... just material that is "challenged or likely to be challenged"). A citation without page numbers satisfies the requirement that the material be verifiable... it is just more difficult to actually verify.
Also... Policy pages on Wikipedia should focus on explaining broad principles, and avoid getting into too much detail (policy creep). "Correct" citation format is not really a policy issue. It is a style issue... and style issues are best discussed on style guide pages... such as WP:CS. Blueboar (talk) 14:49, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
I would also point out that for topics that go back before ISBN became standard page numbers don't really help as there is no way to set down just which version of the book you are referring too.--BruceGrubb (talk) 19:57, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
    • I would be sure to use page numbers for 1) direct quotes or 2) citing to something that might be likely to be challenged by another editor. If you are citing to a more general thought supported in the book, consider citing a chapter or section. If what you are citing is the general thrust of a book, then citing the book as a whole is probably OK.--GrapedApe (talk) 14:34, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Folks can challenge the includer to show that the material is supported by the source which then forces them to be more specific. North8000 (talk) 14:45, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
It's always a judgment call: More general points need more general cites, while more specific points need more specific cites. If the book is entitled Sky is Blue by Dr. Light (i.e. the citation is to the general thrust of the book), then I don't think it's necessary to have a page number to support the assertion that "Dr. Light believes that the sky is blue." --GrapedApe (talk) 14:53, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

There is a theme here that we cannot require page numbers because sometimes a general reference is appropriate. (Or even that some sources are not paginated.) Look, I quite understand that general refererences are sometimes appropriate (though mostly for "further reading"). But the reality is that the overwhelming majority of citations within most articles do not have page numbers – but should, as they refer to specific points or quotes. And all of that is condoned because sometimes a "general" reference might be appropriate?

And most of you responded to the wrong argument. Look again: I did not suggest that we "require page numbers", let alone require them for all sources in all contexts. I asked if we should have a more definite statement -- perhaps even to requiring -- "that citations should be as specific as possible, to the level of page, section, or paragraph". GrapedApe seems to understand this, but I seem to have caught the rest of while you were asleep.

Nor am I suggesting that "every statement" should be "easily verified". That is covered by this policy, that "requires that all quotations and anything challenged or likely to be challenged be attributed in the form of an inline citation that directly supports the material." (And reiterated at Wikipedia:Citing sources.) Moreover, the WP:BURDEN of doing this "lies with the editor who adds or restores material" (emphasis in the original). If the originating editor is required to add a citation, why shouldn't s/he be required to add a complete citation, grabbing the specific page (section, etc.) while it is at hand? After all, s/he knows where it is, wheras someone attempting to verify the point would otherwise have to search the entire work. Because we condone letting editors make verfication harder we undercut our most basic principle.

The closest any existing statement comes to encouraging specific location (and then only for page numbers) seems to be that at Wikipedia:Citing sources. Which is, as Blueboar describes, in the context of citation technique and format. As the policy here regarding citation is largely "feel free to roll your own", that statement has the clout of a bird fart (as in "who noticed?").

Providing a specific citation (page number, section, chapter, whatever is appropriate) is not just "nice", not just a basic requirement of scholarship, but fundamental to Wikipedia. Why are we not encouraging it?

_ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:55, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
  • We are encouraging it. WP:CITE is very clear. There is enough wiggle room for exceptions, that's all.—S Marshall T/C 21:58, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Responding to J. Johnston. Unless I am misunderstanding, you seem to alternate between saying it should be encouraged and saying it should be mandated. I think that several examples were given against mandating. I might add another one. This is where the same work is used many times on the article for material that is not challenged or controversial. A common practice is to just cite the overall work multiple times. Requiring page numbers would terminate that practice and force it into IMHO overkill scenarios for that particular situation....repeating the full reference many times (except with different page numbers) or else go to a more complex 2 level referencing system which is difficult/confusing for new editors. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 23:16, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
You have misunderstood me. I am not proposing to "mandate" anything, I am proposing to more strongly encourage appropriate specification. (Perhaps you were mislead by the bolded excerpt from WP:BURDEN? That is an existing policy!) These objections to "mandating" ("requiring") are irrelevant as that is not what I am suggesting, and I am mystified why you all keep making this invalid straw man objection.
Regarding your "common practice": current policy is that if material is "common knowledge" and not likely to be challenged, then it doesn't even have to be cited in the first place. But if something is to be cited (e.g., all quotations), then it is much easier for the original author to include the page/section/etc. while it is at hand than for a subsequent editor to search for it. This "common" practice of balling up a bunch of citations into one general reference is a very poor practice, even sleazy, and ought to be terminated. Your fear of "overkill scenarios" arises from the very confusing situation here regarding citation generally, and should not excuse sloppiness. (There are ways to do page numbers easily enough, but that is a different issue, and likely an extended discussion.)
As to encouraging "it": hardly. WP:CITE says nothing about specificity of citations. As to page numbers, it says that for books and journals they are "typically" or "usually" included (though I challenge that); a subsequent "should" fails to bring this descriptive factoid even to the level of a faint suggestion, let alone encouragment. And for newspapers: "Page number(s) are optional." In actual reality it is the inclusion of page numbers (etc.) which is the exception.
~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:57, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, we disagree on several points. But as a point of clarification, when, on 2 occasions you say that "should" is not strong enough, that gives the impression to some (including me) of implying the typical next step up which is mandating. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 23:06, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
What? I am saying that current statements regarding use of page numbers, including a single instance of an express "should" buried in WP:CITE under "typically included" and "usually included", are not strong enough to encourage their use. I say that that particular "should" is not strong enough. I am amazed how you can jump from that to an "impression ... of implying ... mandating." ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:12, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
My mistake then, albeit an easily-made one. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 14:29, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
It might help clear up any misunderstanding here if you suggested a specific edit. --Bob K31416 (talk) 00:25, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Unfortunately, it is quite common for readers of our policy and guideline pages to confuse "should" with "must". "Should" is a fairly strong encouragement... "must" is a mandate. I can not think of a word that is stronger than "should", but not as absolute as "must", but perhaps someone else can... so I agree with Bob... we would need to see a proposed edit to move further on this. Blueboar (talk) 12:50, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Hopefully that is now cleared up? Specifically, that "should" does not mean "must" (a word I actually abhor), and most certainly does not imply any element of coercion? (E.g., we might lean on people to do the right thing, there might even be social pressure, but no one is going to be knee-capped, or their work purged, if they simply omit a page number.) Perhaps there was also some confusion in the question I proposed. Note that the first instance ("Should there be a definite statement...") applies to us editors, and is in the nature of "the statement is such a good idea we will be knee-capped by Jimbo ... just ought to do it", while the second instance is about the appropriate use of page numbers (etc.).
I haven't proposed a specific edit because I think we still have general issues to sort out, and that there may be more than "a few simple edits". Assuming we are clear on "should", I am going to pop this out and list some of the possible issues. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:32, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Having clarified that "should" does not mean "must", I would like to clarify some other points of possible confusion.

  1. "Should" means strongly desireable, but is not (e.g.) a mandate to remove non-compliant material.
  2. "Should" is constrained by "as appropriate". E.g.: page numbers are not appropriate for sources that do not have page numbers.
  3. The implicit policy issue is whether citations should be as specific as possible. (Alternately: as specific as desireable.)
  4. "Page number" is used here as the most common kind of citation specification, but is understood to include all specification of sections, paragraphs, or other sub-divisions of a work, whether numbered or not.

There are other points I will argue, but the points here are for clarification. I pause to see if everyone is clear on these. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:58, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Where a statement is sourced to a particular conclusion in a work, the conclusion's position in the work must be indicated for verification purposes. This can include text searching, paragraph numbering, lines of code or law, page numbers (with an edition specified including the city of publication). Where a statement is sourced to the primary motive of an extended work, this should be cited against the introduction, thesis, conclusion with the position in the work indicated. Where a work is cited multiple times for different matters, on each occasion the place in the work needs to be indicated. Where a work is merely cited as existing at all, "Kevin published a book, "On ducks,"" only then is it legitimate to cite the work as a whole. Even then, I'd suggest citing the bibliographic page. The idea that the "vibe" of a work is contained in the work as a whole, but never made explicit by the author, and so the work as a whole should be cited is a very bad one leading to original exegeses of the meaning of the work. Authors who make claims with their whole work, usually take the pain to do so with an introduction or conclusion. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:20, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm inclined to go with Fifelfoo's level of "must": enough information must be given to allow location of the source statement(s), to the degree that the work permits this. If the work doesn't permit much localization, well, we have to live with it, but anything that suggests it is permissible to give no indication of where to find the cited information in an 800 page tome allows people to give themselves permission to include unverifiable references. Mangoe (talk) 02:08, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

From the section Anything challenged or likely to be challenged of WP:Verifiability, "Cite the source clearly and precisely, with page numbers where applicable." --Bob K31416 (talk) 12:44, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes, Fifeloo has propounded the point well: it is a bad idea (and a bad practice) to cite a source generally for some point or "vibe" that is never made explicitly. I would add as a very bad practice the "common" one suggested earliar, of leaving off specific page numbers (etc.) where there are multiple citations of a source. (If adding page numbers and such is too difficult, then one's citation technique needs revision, and I strongly urge getting weaned from named refs. But that is a discussion for elsewhere.)
However, I would be cautious about bandying around "must", for all the reasons we covered above. "Should" implies an obligation, as in one ought to do something, but "must" has intonations of compulsion. I would tell editors that they really ought to provide specification, lean on them heavily, even make GA status contingent on specification. But "must" gets too murky, even electrifying; "should" is (I think) sufficient, and generally preferable. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:10, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Well said. I would add that named refs that are broken into References and Notes sections work well and are not hard to manage. --Nuujinn (talk) 00:02, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Presumably the caveats (regarding "should", "appropriate", and "page numbers" as proxy for specification in general) are clear, so I return to the implicit policy issue: should citation be specific? (Don't forget the caveat of appropriate.) That is, given the existing policy that sources should be cited, does that extend into specifying the location within a source?

I argue yes, on the grounds that it is 1) a basic requirement of scholarship, and 2) fundamental to the Wikipedia principle of verifiability. In anticipation of some previous arguments being recycled I would further argue that supposed difficulty of adding a specification (e.g., page number) originally is of very little weight, and much outweighed by the difficulty of subsequently trying to find an alleged point. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:54, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

So possibly no one objects to the notion that citation should include specific location within a source?

It may be useful to think of citations as having two parts: the first part pointing to the source (think of it as a link out to the external world), and the second part pointing to the specific location within the source. The issue I am trying to address is the general neglect of the second part. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:37, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

What you and Firefloo have said makes sense to me. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:34, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Given that citations should specify the location within the source (e.g., a page number), the second part of my argument is that this has not been effectively encouraged. There are three broad indications of this. First, the infrequency of specification when citation is done anywhere adequately. (Which is problem it self – just take a romp through random article and see how many have more than urls for sources.) Second, the frequency with which the need for page numbers is questioned in various Talk Pages. Third, lack of specific authority or documentation that proponents of specification (page numbers) can point to; one is usually pointed either to WP:Verifiability generally, which is unsatisfactory, or to something like WP:Citing sources, where (as I said earliar) any expectation or obligation to cite page numbers is diluted with "usually" or "typically". Furthermore, the location of this minimal statement suggests it is a mere matter of citation style, and therefore entirely optional.

If that argument is accepted, then my suggestion is that the point needs to be made clear at the level of WP:V that the requirement for citation (the existing policy) means complete citation, including page numbers or other specification as appropriate. Comments? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 20:47, 31 October 2011 (UTC), 22:54, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Specific proposal re "specification"

There being no objections in principle, I propose the following change at WP:V#Anything challenged or likely to be challenged:

All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable published source using an inline citation. Cite the source clearly and precisely, with page numbers where applicable. Citations should fully identify the source, and the location within the source (specifying page numbers, sections, or such divisions as may be appropriate) where the material is to be found.

At this point it might be useful to make reference to WP:Citing sources "for further details." ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 22:40, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

I fully support what you are trying to achieve here. But I think it is only in the cases of books and audiovisual material where we absolutely need information about the location in order to verify information. In many other cases (e.g. newspaper articles) it is highly desirable, but maybe not essential. In many further cases (e.g. webpages) it may not be possible. --FormerIP (talk) 23:22, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

the sec::If citing a video a time stamp may be the appropriate location indication. I think that this proposal makes it clearer that the point is to aid verifiability, rather than to create slot that needs to be filled.   Will Beback  talk  00:09, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

How so? It seems to require that a location should always be given. --FormerIP (talk) 00:44, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but "should" is not "must".   Will Beback  talk  00:51, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Is that how you normally define "clear"?? --FormerIP (talk) 00:54, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
The point is that editors should provide whatever information is needed to make the material readily verifiable.   Will Beback  talk  12:02, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps you might find this colloquy to be anecdotal to your observation. It frustrated the hell out of me. JakeInJoisey (talk) 13:07, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
We are not asking for the impossible (which I thought had been clarified above, please read point #3). What I am trying to address is the general disdain to providing any such minimal aids to verfication ("because it's not required!"), without which WP:Verifiability is hollow. I am fine if anyone wants to make this point more clearer; feel free to offer an improved formulation. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 18:38, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Use original version with added wikilink to WP:CITEHOW and added phrase "for example"?
"Cite the source clearly and precisely, for example with page numbers where applicable."
--Bob K31416 (talk) 12:45, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I do favor a link to WP:CITEHOW, but that link points to the very section previously discussed, where it says that page numbers are "typically" or "usually" included. This is effectively no change. The reality that such statements are contrafactual (i.e., page numbers are not "typically" included) is part of the argument why we need a stronger, more definitive statement here that location specification should be included. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 00:07, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Here are relevant sentences from sections of WP:CITEHOW:

Book - Inline citations should additionally give the relevant page number or range of page numbers.
Journal articles - "Inline citations usually also include specific page numbers, as described above for books."
Newspaper articles - "Page number(s) are optional."
Web pages - "Page number(s) can be added if applicable."

How would you change the above? --Bob K31416 (talk) 02:37, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

For now I am trying to concentrate on what should be changed here. If the principle is established here, then the details of implementation can be discussed in their proper places.
A query: I have been approaching this proposed change of text as a clarification and strengthening of existing policy. Does anyone feel it touches on policy close enough that it should be raised at the Village Pump? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 18:44, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support per nom (with "see CITEHOW for further details"). I don't think this touches on policy in any significant way; it's merely a common-sense clarification and encouragement (rather than strengthening) of policy. Uniplex (talk) 19:08, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support as mod. by Uniplex. It's clearer, J. Johnson, well done. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:24, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Modification: I am thinking that the proposed change should be in a separate section. I don't much like single-sentence sub-sections, but that sub-section is really about when something should be cited, while second sentence is really about the completeness of a citation. I don't think this is controversial, so I may just boldy do it that way. Perhaps add a link to it as well. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 23:06, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Taking advantage of most everyone else being engaged in the riot at the other end of town, I have boldly implemented the change, with only minor alterations. I backed away from having a separate sub-section on the basis that the second sentence clarifies what the first sentence requires. I also added the anchor for a "FULLCITE" shortcut, but haven't got the shortcut itself installed yet. Thanks to all for helping to anneal the proposal prior to implementing it. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 00:11, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Oppose Good advice in general, but putting it here as a requirement would just create more material for Wikilawyers in warfare. North8000 (talk) 00:57, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
For crying out loud: You DON'TLIKEIT, so you just rip it out? After all the discussion above, after all the gyrations to establish that "should" does not mean "must", even after I expressly stated that: "Should" means strongly desireable, but is not (e.g.) a mandate to remove non-compliant material (perhaps that needs to be in bold: NOT A MANDATE TO REMOVE NON-COMPLIANT MATERIAL); after all that, oops, there wasn't enough discussion??? After I make the change, oh, you forgot, now you allege it will lead to wikilawyering, so sure, discussion be damned, just take it out.
You think "a requirement would just create more material for Wikilawyers in warfare"? By that argument we should take out ALL of the policies – BLP, OR, NPOV, RS, and don't forget Verifiability – so there is no basis by which anyone can can dispute anything. (Except, of course, on the basis of DON'TLIKEIT.) You forget that Verifiability is the basic requirement of all material here, but it is but a paper tiger without complete citations. You forget that laywers (Wiki and otherwise) appear where law or policy is unclear, and the point of this change is to clarify the policy. So put it back. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 01:47, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
FormerIP: Sorry, but 1) what you put in wasn't what has been discussed, and 2) if we are going to have free-form editing and reversions (the precedent just established by North8000) then why shouldn't I? Also, I'd like North8000 to have an opportunity to back out his reversion. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 02:04, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Still Support: I haven't seen any new concerns raised that weren't already addressed above. Uniplex (talk) 07:51, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I have restored the change (as proposed, with very minor modification, and adding the link to citing sources), and a shortcut (WP:FULLCITE). If anyone has any further objections or concerns: please open another subsection and allow me a chance to reassure you before taking any unilateral action. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 22:29, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - Per my comment/experience above. JakeInJoisey (talk) 23:48, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Elisa Gabrielli...Published Articles, and HBO Special Doc...etc

Hi. Elisa Gabrielli here. Below are some of the Published Articles and other sources about the listing that I have been requested to provide. I hope this is helpful. I will update the listing to make it more informative and concise once this is through the vetting process.

  • HBO Special"THe Making of "Madagascar:Escape 2 Africa" Running on HBO prior and during the release of the Movie as well as when it was subsequently running on HBO and again later on Network television. An entire section was dedicated to me and the character, with interviews etc, Here's a link:
  • Published Book"The Art of Madagascar Escape 2 Africa" by Jerry Beck, Preface by Ben Stiller. Publisher- Insight Editions 2008. Section 1 "Run for Your Wildlife" Nana pg 52-53 "From scene stealing cameo in the first film, to chief adversary in the penguins Christmas short, Nana was clearly destined for bigger things in the Madagascar . "We picked Elisa Gabrielli out of the loop group in the first film to audition for the old lady, now known as Nana. We ended up using her there, in the penguins short and in an expanded role in Madagascar 2. Talk about a success story. She's wonderful"
  • Newsday, Nov7,2008 "Madagascar:Escape 2 Africa" witten by John Anderson 3rd and 4rth paragraphs. In this quote, "the mad jewish woman with the purse" refers to the character I voiced, but then he kindly mentions me again by name in the next paragraph. "...But all anyone wants to watch are the crazy penguins, the mad Jewish woman with the purse and King Julien the Meerkat (Sacha Baron Cohen), all of whom inject this Eric Darnell/Tom McGrath-directed comedy with crazy energy and real laughs.

It's no secret in Hollywood that big-name stars are cast in these animated epics so studios will have talk-show-acceptable celebrities plugging the movies on TV. But "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" - in which the animals of the original film crash-land in their species' homeland - shows what really works in these things (and augments the state-of-the-art animation): As Skipper, the mad lead penguin, director McGrath is comically possessed; as Nana, the animals' nemesis, 'Elisa Gabrielli is incongruous and hysterical, and Cohen is a scream. So put up with the life lessons, and wait for the laughs."

  • Variety Nov. 3, 2008 Madagascar:Escape 2 Africa written by Todd McCarthy 6th paragraph "... The four-leggeds have occasional run-ins with hunters and tourists, and none among the latter is as mirth-inducing as a take-no-prisoners old granny (Elisa Gabrielli) who takes it upon herself to singlehandedly uphold the combative reputation of New Yorkers with some fearsome martial-arts turns.

Among the other ace newcomers are Baldwin's scheming Scar equivalent, out to thwart Alex, and a two-ton Lothario out to romance Gloria, drolly endowed with basso profundo intonations by songmeister,..."

  • San Jose Mecury News" Nov 7, 2008 "Madcap Madagascar" by Robert W Butler (Wriiten for Kansas City Star as well, but don't have that date. End of 4rth/5th paragraphs "It's hard not to love...Or the little old lady (Elisa Gabrielli) who had just one scene in the first film but who emerges as Alex's nemesis, a a safari taking grandma who organizes a band of strafed tourists into a feral tribe right out of "Lord of the Flies"
  • Mecury Nov 5, 2008 Review:" Madagacar sequel is a decent diversion, but no great escape" by Glenn Whips 2nd paragraph "The resulting animal pileup isn't as chaotic as you might expect, thanks to a streamlined screenplay from co-directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath and series newcomer Etan Cohen. The addition of Cohen ("Tropic Thunder") gives this sequel extra bite, particularly noticeable in the expansion of the ninja-nanny character (Elisa Gabrielli) from a subway station cameo to a full-fledged character".

(Also Glenn Whips at the same time article in on Nov 7th, and others)

  • "" Nov 7, 2008 "Madagascar 2, Second Verse as Same as the First" by Steve 4rth and 5th paragraphs "...That’s 17 characters Darnell and McGrath have to juggle. The good news is most of these characters had some kind of introduction in the first film, so the directors don’t waste time on them. Probably the best of the new though are Nana (Elisa Gabrielli), the little old lady, and that darn sexy hippo Moto Moto, who somehow manages to cross Barry White with Prince and makes it work.
  • "The Gazette" ( Colorado Springs ) Nov 6, 2008 "Lions Share of Laughs go to Supporting Cast in Madagascar" by Brandon Fibbs "...Supporting characters should never be more interesting than the mains (manes?). Yet that is the case with "Madagascar 2." Sacha Baron Cohen returns as Julian, the nutty king of the partying lemurs with a hilariously enlarged role culminating in an attempt to appease the water gods by tossing one of the main characters into a boiling volcano.The old granny (Elisa Gabrielli), who so efficiently dispatched with Alex in the first film, returns as a vacationing New Yorker now single-handedly keeping the jungle at bay with her formidable martial-arts moves.
  • "The Baltimore Sun" Nov 7, 2008 "The menagerie in Madagascar 2 is a hoot" by Michael Sragow 4rth paragraph "Even the human characters, usually a drag on creature cartoons, add to the spirited anarchy. In her take-charge attitude, Nana (Elisa Gabrielli) represents the best and worst of New York rolled into one feisty package. She wields a handbag like a mace."
  • Cafe The Stir Blog Dec 3, 2008 " Madagascar Character Inspired by Love" file:///Users/elisagabrielli/Desktop/Documents/Madagascar%202:%20Nana%20Character%20Inspired%20by%20Love%20%7C%20The%20Stir.webarchive
  • "Animated Views- State of the Art" Feb 27, 2009 "Nana's Back. Elisa Gabrielli on Madagascar Escape 2 Africa by Jeremie Noyer (also published in France) file:///Users/elisagabrielli/Desktop/Current%20Projects/Madagascar%202%20Reviews:Press%20etc./Animated%20Views%20»%20Nana’s%20back!%20Elisa%20Gabrielli%20on%20Madagascar:%20Escape%202%20Africa.webarchive
  • Toon Zone News Feb 24, 2009 'Toon Zone Interviews Elisa Gabrielli..." by Ed Lui file:///Users/elisagabrielli/Desktop/Current%20Projects/Madagascar%202%20Reviews:Press%20etc./Toon%20Zone%20-Interview...on%20being%20'Nana'!.webarchive

There were also other reviews and Radio Interviews, guest appearances at Cartoon Conventions for work done on Gargoyles, Batman, Ironman etc as well as a few "local girl made good' news coverage on Television stations back east when I did 'The Brady Bunch Movie"...but I don't have all of that compiled with dates and links and such. OK, hope this is in the right format Thanks. Juniper99 (talk) 01:00, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Where were these sources requested? Blueboar (talk) 03:09, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Looking at Juniper99's contribs, it appears to be a followup of this message in this section. Perhaps the above message of Juniper99 should be moved to Talk:Elisa Gabrielli and a note left at User Talk:Juniper99? (Although there is currently a red link for Talk:Elisa Gabrielli, the article Elisa Gabrielli currently exists.) --Bob K31416 (talk) 05:05, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I copied the above message of Juniper99, pasted it at Talk:Elisa Gabrielli, and left a note of this action at User Talk:Juniper99. --Bob K31416 (talk) 14:11, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Can anyone find the deletion discussion? It's not linked in the talk page of the article? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 14:30, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
There's a link to it in the AfD announcement at the top of the article page. --Bob K31416 (talk) 21:34, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
No, I meant the previous AfD which apparently ended on October 22, 2011.[6] But I guess it doesn't matter. Nevermind. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 22:54, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

RFC - Compromise proposal re first sentence