Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard

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Sources on Estonian police battalion


  • Collaboration with the Nazis: Public Discourse after the Holocaust, edited by Roni Stauber; chapter by Yitzhak Arad
  • "The report deals with the role Estonian auxiliarry forces in crimes committed outside of Estonia. ... On 7 August 1942, Estonian police battalion No 36 took part in the round-up and execution of all remaining Jews..." (somewhat loose paraphrasing, exact quote in the link)
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945; edited by Geoffrey P. Megargee:
  • "On August 7 1942, the Germans and their collaborators (including Estonian Police Battalion 36 ...) took away the remaining inmates (...) and shot them there": link.
  • In contrast, Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity states: "There is no reliable data concerning the participation of members of the 36th Estonian Defence Battalion in the execution of Jews". ("Estonian defence battalions / police battalions". In Toomas Hiio; Meelis Maripuu; Indrek Paavle. Estonia 1940–1945: Reports of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. Tallinn. pp. 825–876)

Article: 36th Estonian Police Battalion

Content: "In August 1942, the battalion participated in the murder of Jews in Novogrudok, Belarus."

The relevant Talk page discussion can be found here: Talk:36th_Estonian_Police_Battalion#Novogrudok. Courtesy ping to Nug & Jaan. I would appreciate additional input on this matter. K.e.coffman (talk) 01:35, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

It's very interesting that the West German investigation in the early '60s could not prove participation in the killing as I wouldn't think that they'd have any reason to whitewash the Communist gov't of the time. I think that what we have here is reliable sources on both sides, so I'd suggest laying out the evidence like so: "The battalion has been accused of participating in the killings of Jews at X, on Y, (sources) but a West German investigation in the early 1960s could not conclusively link its members to the action(source)" and let the reader decide. RSN isn't meant to decide which evidence is the "best", and that's all I'm afraid that we could accomplish here.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 02:12, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
I wonder if there might be some clarification in the text of the second source, or possibly in any sources these themselves cite. I say this because the sources don't necessarily contradict. The first states the role the police played in the killings cannot be determined, whereas the second states that there is no evidence they participated in the executions. If the two sources are taking very different interpretations of "involvement", they might actually agree. Someguy1221 (talk) 06:46, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
The talk page discussion mentions WP:WPNOTRS, and claims that we shouldn't use tertiary sources. However, WP:WPNOTRS doesn't really say that - it says secondary sources are preferred but tertiary sources are reliable also. In practice, we use specialty encyclopedias quite a lot, as they are often written by experts in the field they cover. I'd consider The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos to be a specialty encyclopedia that is probably quite a good source for information on its subject matter. And I'll also note that the three volumes of the The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos are quite extensively researched and do actually include sources for most entries. I don't have the first volume available at the moment (even I quail at buying the books - they are pricey!) but I do have the second volume here at hand and a glance through shows every article has a list of sources as well as most having footnotes. I'd suggest getting the book through interlibrary loan and consulting whatever sources are used for the entry snippeted above. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:44, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
And the work on Collaboration is also post-Cold War and the section by Arad would definitely be considered a reliable source for this subject, as Arad is a researcher in the field of the Holocaust in the Baltics. His work is most definitely NOT a tertiary source, it is in fact a secondary source also. He may be wrong, but its equally likely the commission was wrong also - especially if it based its conclusions on a West German commission from 1971, prior to the opening of many archives after the Cold War. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:51, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
Your point about the West German commission not having full access to archival data is a good one, but none of these sources can be impeached as they're all post-Cold War and the commission doesn't even have any Estonian nationals as members. I'd need to see the sources myself, to see which way the preponderance of evidence lies if I were writing this article myself. But really, this is disagreement between reliable sources and should be discussed either in the main body of the article or a footnote, not a RS issue at all.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 15:03, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I don't think we should take sides on either side - it appears to be a disagreement between sources ... all of which appear reliable. The ideal solution is to cover the controversy in the article. Both sides should be presented, and other sources brought to bear. A good start would be getting the Encyclopedia and seeing what sources it used. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:54, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
I would first also cite this close study in Estonian, that, based on historical documents and interviews with historians also comes to the conclusion that there is no evidence to suggest the police battalion participated in the roundup of the Jews. And let me also point out that this is not a case of poor or missing documentation. The main discrepancy between the sources seems to be generality vs. specificity. The sources that claim the role of the police battalion may be generally reliable and use reliable PS but in this specific case either do not specify their sources or rely on indirect evidence, e.g. "The reports of this squad report many entries on "military action against partisans," a phrase which conceals punitive measures against citizens and the killing of Jews."
The dispute between the sources is not notable enough to warrant a passage in the article so my suggestion is to include it in a footnote. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 21:54, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
The Ekspress source appears to be a general newspaper - at least I see articles on movies and other such topics on the main page of it. Google translate gives a very very rough translation which appears to be either a letter to the editor or an editoriak, which is supported by the translation of "PEKKA ERELT, EESTI EKSPRESSI AJALOOKÜLGEDE TOIMETAJA" which google gives as "PEKKA Erelt, Eesti Ekspress HISTORY sides of EDITOR". I'd suggest that the Ekspress is not exactly a scholarly secondary source here. Certainly, there appears to be a commission that does not think the brigade took part in the events. Unfortunately, an unsigned newspaper article is not a strong source contradicting the United States Holocaust Museum's encyclopedia of the various German labor/extermination camps, nor Arad, who is a scholar working in the field. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:44, 9 April 2017 (UTC)
Pekka Erelt is the editor of the history section of the Eesti Ekspress. His article may not be scholarly but it is investigative journalism. Even if we do not consider his own discussion, we should not dismiss the quotes by professional historians Meelis Maripuu, Argo Kaasik and Enn Kaup in his article. And again, this is a matter of specificity. The core of this problem is trusting a general RS over specific investigation on this matter. And, again, the conclusions of the Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity are not another opinion of 'a commission' but the conclusions of the commission established to investigate crimes by Estonian citizens. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 10:59, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It appears that the commission does not rule out the possibility that the Police Battalion participated in the massacre. If I'm Google translating it correctly, the opening para of the Estee Ekspress reads:

  • Novogrudok, Belarus received notoriety among Estonians lately. Allegedly, the 36th Police Battalion took part in the mass murder of Jews committed there in August 1942. At least, Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center is certain of it. The wording in the report by the Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity is more modest; the report, however, did not rule out the participation of the Estonians. (Not sure if "more modest" is the correct translation.) link
It seems to be an incident of significance & deserves more than a footnote in the article, IMO. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:41, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
The Eesti Ekspress article was written in 2002, while the commission's work was still in progress, so obviously the commission "did not rule out the participation of the Estonians" at that time because it hadn't completed it's review of all the available evidence, including the 1960's West German investigation and post-war Soviet investigations. The commission's final report, published in 2006, concluded there was no evidence found relating to the participation of 36th Battalion. --Nug (talk) 04:10, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
From the Talk page: The report states on page 861 that the 36th Police Battalion was investigated in the Federal Republic of Germany between 1967 to 1971 and no evidence was found -- "no evidence found" does not mean that the commission established that the Police Battalion did not participate. What was the commission's conclusion? (As an aside, I would not put too much weight into a criminal investigation in West Germany in the 1960-10s, due to various reasons, which are too long to get in here). K.e.coffman (talk) 04:39, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
Why wouldn't you put too much weight on a criminal investigation of West German Police in 1960-70? I could understand your concern if they where investigating their own countrymen, but they spent four years investigating a non-German unit composed of nationals from the then Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. The Commission states on page 862 of their final report: According to data gathered by Israeli police in September 1963, about 2000 and atleast 3000 Jews were murdered in Diatlovo and Nowogrodek on 6 and 7 August 1942 respectively. There is no reliable data concerning the participation of members of the 36th Estonian Defence Battalion in the execution of Jews. Contemporary researchers accuse the local German gendarmerie, one Lithuanian unit and a Belorussian defence battalion of these specific actions.[163]. Footnote [163] cites Christian Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde : Die deutche Wirtschafts und Vernichtungspolitik in Wießrußland 1941 bis 1944, Hamburg, 2000, pp. 701-702. --Nug (talk) 01:19, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
Note re: "investigating a non-German unit composed of nationals from the then Soviet Union" -- presumably, the members of the Battalion retreated with the Germans and were residing either in West Germany or elsewhere in Western Europe; the Battalion's commander, Harald Riipalu, emigrated to the U.K, for example. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:02, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
Don't see how that is significant, given that the majority of the Battalion where captured by the Soviets. Upon what basis do you dismiss investigations of West German police? As I understand it, there was an issue in the late 1950's to early 1960's in regard to the Police investigating their own members who may have committed crimes during the Nazi period, but I think it is too much to claim that this would have impeded investigations of foreign personnel in the late 60's to early 70's. --Nug (talk) 10:04, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

Conclusions of the Commission

I tracked down the Commission's conclusions, and here's what the document says:

  • "The study of Estonian military units is complicated by frequent changes in unit designation, in personnel and in duties, some of which are poorly recorded. However, it has been possible by careful use of Soviet era trial records, matched against material from the Estonian archives, to determine that Estonian units took an active part in at least one well-documented round-up and mass murder in Belarus. The 36th Police Battalion participated on August 7, 1942 in the gathering together and shooting of almost all the Jews still surviving in the town of Novogrudok.
"In the published records, this unit was described as fighting against partisans at the time. The Commission believes that although there clearly were numerous engagements between police units and partisans, "fighting against partisans" and "guarding prisoner of war camps" were at times ways of describing participation in actions against civilians, including Jews."

This is stated on page XXI: Conclusions of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity (PDF). So I really don't see the contradiction between the finding of the Commission, The Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos and Yitzhak Arad.

Does the statement "There is no reliable data concerning the participation of members of the 36th Estonian Defence Battalion in the execution of Jews" perhaps refer to the act of actually pulling the trigger? Unless I'm missing something, the sources agree that the Battalion in question was indeed involved. Ping those who have previously participated: @Nug, Ealdgyth, and Sturmvogel 66: to have a look. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:02, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

Seems that both The Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos and Yitzhak Arad are paraphrasing this document you found, so obviously there would not be any contradiction. The basis of this appears to be the view that "fighting against partisans" was code for killing Jewish civilians. But it isn't clear how they arrived at that, as it appears to contradict the main body of the report itself, which devotes several pages to the activities of the Battalion and asserts there no reliable data concerning the participation of members of the 36th Estonian Defence Battalion. Are you able to access Gerlach's work and quote the original German here, perhaps that may shed further light, I've given the relevant page numbers above. --Nug (talk) 10:04, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
This document [I] found comes from the website of the commission and is called "Conclusions of the Commission". Are you saying that the Commission is contradicting its own conclusions? There's got to be more context around this. K.e.coffman (talk) 10:58, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
No, I said it appears to contradict the main body of the report itself, which explicitly states "There is no reliable data concerning the participation of members of the 36th Estonian Defence Battalion in the execution of Jews". Do you have access to Gerlach's work Kalkulierte Morde, pp701-702? --Nug (talk) 11:39, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't have access to Gerlach. If I sent you an email, would you be able to scan and email the relevant pages from the main body of the report (assuming its in English)? I'd like to see more context around their conclusion. K.e.coffman (talk) 22:57, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
That is a pity, with you being able to cite more obscure German historians, like Sönke Neitzel and Wolfgang Schneider, in other articles, you may have also had access to Gerlach. I can scan the relevant pages, but I don't have easy access to a scanner, perhaps I could go to the local library over the weekend. --Nug (talk) 05:39, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, I would look forward to it. BTW, Sönke Neitzel is not at all obscure. He is a leading German military historian; his 2011 book Soldaten: German POWs on Fighting, Killing, and Dying (with Harald Welzer) was a sensation in Germany. The book was published in English and is even available as an audio book. It's a fascinating read; I highly recommend it. See also this interview (in English):
  • "Mindset of WWII German Soldiers": video interview with Neitzel discussing Soldaten, via the official YouTube channel of The Agenda (TVOntario).
K.e.coffman (talk) 05:06, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Nug: any luck? K.e.coffman (talk) 23:41, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

@Nug: final ping. K.e.coffman (talk) 21:52, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Finally back, have been caught up in WP:REALLIFE. I've managed to scan the relevant pages and will post a link here in the next few days. --Nug (talk) 09:14, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
@Nug: Hi, do you plan to post here, or should I drop you an email? K.e.coffman (talk) 02:03, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Note that Yitzak Arad cites as his source the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, which is the successor to the Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. The Commission was disbanded in 2007 and Arad wrote in 2011. You need to check what the Institute says. If they are cited correctly, then we have to prefer what they say over the Commission. I do not have full access to the Holocaust Museum Encyclopedia. The article may provide sources which can be checked. It was published in 2009, so it may be relying on the same info as Arad. This seems to be a case where an original conclusion was changed, but we cannot tell without looking at what the Institute says. TFD (talk) 10:22, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
Finally got my scanner working and have the Holocaust Museum Encyclopedia from the library. If anyone wants the scans of the article ... send me an email and I will send pdfs. Ealdgyth - Talk 20:27, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Review of a decision to remove an external link per ELNEVER

After a comment here, a discussion opened here and a suggestion here, I removed an external link from Wikipedia's mainspace per WP:ELNEVER. Later I was criticised for that decision ("... eliminated links to the site ...").

  • Source: Oron, Aryeh (2014). "Cantata BWV 10: Meine Seel erhebt den Herren". Bach Cantatas Website. 
(EL to the page available in this old revision)
  • Article: Meine Seel erhebt den Herren, BWV 10
  • Content: Lion share of the content currently in the "Concert performances and recordings" section (most of this content could presumably be referenced elsewhere too)

Is there a way to retain the external link in the article? --Francis Schonken (talk) 09:41, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

You suspect that the website violates copyright. I am rather sure that the record labels know about the presentation of their liner notes. Yes, the content in "Recordings" could probably be sourced elsewhere, but I doubt that "elsewhere" would provide the same wealth of information, such as translations of the libretto to several languages, and names of instrumentalists, to name just two.
The site has not been questioned by experienced reviewers in previous source checks for FA quality, compare the summary.
We would serve our readers better presenting the EL. Nikkimaria said recently here: "The site has been cited by multiple scholars and works in the field". --Gerda Arendt (talk) 10:17, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
@Francis Schonken: If your concern is the copyright status of an external link rather than its reliability, I'd suggest moving this over to the external links noticeboard. I will say if the content believed to violate copyright is the reproduction of liner notes, ELNEVER would apply to links to those but not to links to other pages on the site - eg. we link to YouTube but not to specific videos on YouTube that violate copyright. Nikkimaria (talk) 11:26, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
@Nikkimaria: Re. "...I'd suggest moving this over to the external links noticeboard" – I actually considered this but the header of that noticeboard contains "Concerns with links used as references should be handled at the reliable sources noticeboard", so whether or not the primary concern is copyright this RSN noticeboard seems to be the right place (the Bach Cantatas link was used as a reference). A possibility would be to remove the Bach Cantatas BWV10 page as reference and add it to the external links section of the BWV 10 article instead, and after that restart this discussion from scratch at the EL noticeboard (I would not favour such proceedings, just mentioning it as a possibility). --Francis Schonken (talk) 11:45, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

Is Bach Cantatas Website a RS?

I meant to add to my previous comment but don't want to disturb the chronology. We should not talk about one specific link in one article, discussing one specific action, but clarify that Bach Cantatas Website can be used as an external link and even as a reference. It has been used in 2005, random example BWV 6 ("Various comments on the piece", one of three external links), it is used in the same article today as a reference, and in hundreds of other articles on cantatas, hymns, biographies, discographies, - just not in BWV 10. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 12:46, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

As far as I can see its a self-published website that (from my brief perusal) also appears to be hosting copyrighted work, as well as content that looks to be very similar to Wikipedia content. Absent an explanation of the above, I would say it probably shouldnt be used or considered an RS unless it can be demonstrated the specific use is compliant with our sourcing guidelines. ELNEVER is quite clear, we do not link to copyright infringing material. If the specific use fails that (as FS indicates above in the case that caused this discussion) then we would not link to it. Sourcing/references are looked at on an individual basis, but once you start racking up the violations, you end up with 'not reliable unless you can make a damn good argument'. 'Its been used before' can be re-phrased as 'no one has noticed/found out' which is a terrible argument to use a source. Only in death does duty end (talk) 12:53, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Yeah it's a useful site in general, but no way WP:RS for anything here. Alexbrn (talk) 13:09, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Returning to the OP (.../BWV10.htm reference at the BWV 10 article), as a blanket approval of the entire website seems unlikely to be forthcoming: I can find no other source than the Bach Cantatas Website for "In 1963 Max Thurn recorded the cantata for the Norddeutscher Rundfunk", which currently opens the Concerts&Recordings section. Two possible approaches:
    1. If this (apparently otherwise unpublished) recording is only mentioned on one website, it is probably not worth mentioning in the Wikipedia article (even if it is apparently the oldest documented recording of the cantata);
    2. This is a "damn good argument" (in Oiddde's words) to include the webpage as a source. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:33, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Obviously undue. We reflect "accepted knowledge"; we're not a repository of obscure factoids. Alexbrn (talk) 18:06, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
Articles (by BWV number) listing the dedicated page at the Bach Cantatas Website as a reference or source, and/or linking to copyrighted liner notes on that site – hope I avoided errors):

Oron references in these articles could probably use some scrutiny. BWV 208 and 248 are examples of fairly extended articles, not GA or FA or so, but showing that a lot can be covered with a wide variety of other references. Not retained in the list above: articles only containing links to "chorale melody" pages at the Bach Cantatas Website (these don't seem problematic to me while generally only containing public domain data). Also not listed: pages that link to the Bach Cantatas Website from the external links section only (not this noticeboard). Can we agree on a coordinated approach, for instance Gerda Arendt checking FA articles from the above list they were involved in, or start with re-linking Bach Pilgrimage liner notes to the SDG website if possible, etc. – don't want to propose a time-schedule yet, there is no deadline I suppose? --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:33, 10 June 2017 (UTC) Expanded and updated 16:26, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

It's a beautiful day, I should not sit at a computer at all. Thank you for that Fleißarbeit (don't know an equvalent English expression. As our lifetime is limited, I suggested to look at one or two examples, I propose two recent GAs, Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden, BWV 6 (Easter) and Erwünschtes Freudenlicht, BWV 184 (Pentecost). Both appeared on DYK in 2017, so a few hundred extra viewers inspected them, on top of the GA rewievers.
Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden, BWV 6
  • created 18 Jul 2005 by Microtonal, with the link to Bach Cantatas Website (BCW) one of 3 external link, no ref
  • Addition of a first recording 20 Jan 2010 by me, BCW one of 5 external links, still no ref
  • Addition of a second recording 14 May 2010 by me, BCW as ref for that one recording, first ref in article
  • expansion 21 Mar 2017 by me to GA standard
  • Good article review 8 April by Jaguar.
Erwünschtes Freudenlicht, BWV 184
  • created 14 Dec 2012 by Dr. Blofeld, with BCW as the only ref, expanded a bit by him and me the following days
  • expansion 5 Jun 2013 by Nikkimaria, now 4 refs, BCW no. 1
  • expansion 28 May 2017 by me to GA standard
  • Good article review 30 May by Yash!
Summary: The valuable source of information has a long tradition to be in these articles. It serves readers. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 17:49, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
One more: Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51
  • created 23 Dec 2005 by Camembert, with BCW as the first of three external links, no ref
  • first recording 20 January 2010 by me, now 5 external links, BCW No. 2 after the free score, no ref
  • expansion 4 Sep 2013 by me, more 11 September 2015 to GA standard
  • Good article review 5 Oct 2015 by Drmies
Same as above. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 18:29, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

Always thought BC site an excellent source, an authority on Bach related topics, so much that I even began a missing article list from it.♦ Dr. Blofeld 18:46, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

I think Francis needs to show more clearly that this is copyrighted material used without permission.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:47, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Gerda, that is essentially the same argument 'It has been used before'. Please actually address the question of its reliability, not how many times it has been used. Only in death does duty end (talk) 22:42, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
Ask Dr. Blofeld, and the (many) others who introduced it to articles. I only used what others did for (many) years before me, and find the information reliable and more detailed than anywhere else, and many reviewers found the same. It has not only been used before, but found useful before. The questions RS and possibly copyright violation should have been discussed in 2005, not in 2017. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 05:47, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
  • created 10 May 2012 by me, BCW in external references, and as a ref for the chorale (see comment by Francis above)
  • expansion 25 Feb 2015 to GA standard with help from users such as Sparafucil, BCW ref for recordings, chorale, + liner notes by Gardiner and Hofmann for convenience, GA review by RHM22
  • expansion for FA 8 Apr 2015, review, comments and changes by Mkativerata, Curly Turkey, Tim riley, Syek88, Dr. Blofeld, RexxS, and Nikkimaria who performed the source review, which moved several refs to external links but not BCW.
    • Not commenting on the quality of the source, but just pointing out that I didn't do a source review. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 07:17, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
  • FA 1 May 2015
All these editors didn't have concerns with BCW. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:00, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
Which confirms once again how meaningless FA review often is. In general classical music articles on Wikipedia are poorly sourced (or even unsourced) but it's no biggie (unlike articles on cancer, or BLPs, say) and I'd be inclined leave content in place that is unexceptional. is not RS (unless somebody can show it has a "reputation" for fact-checking and accuracy in the real world). Nothing exceptional should be sourced to it, and things which are unexceptional should, by their very nature, be sourcable to decent RS. If is the only source for some factoid (Fischer-Dieskau had a cold while recording) then this also tells us recounting such a factoid would be undue because in using it we'd not be reflecting the preponderance of knowledge found in RS. From some of the comments above people seem to be forgetting we're writing an encyclopedia (a tertiary work) - we should be summarizing accepted knowledge as found in RS (principally, decent secondary sources). It harder, duller, work - but it's what we should be doing. Alexbrn (talk) 07:13, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
What was referenced to it were recordings, chorales, and liner notes by respected people, nothing "exceptional". No factoid such as a cold would be mentioned in the article, but people interested in such things could find it. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:32, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
Except one of the problems with liner notes is that they can potentially be a copyright issue. Which we would be unable to link directly to anyway. Only in death does duty end (talk) 07:39, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
I think the site can be used at the least as an external link. RSs are reliable only per the content they are sourcing and cannot be labeled reliable or unreliable in general. What is reliable for some content may not be reliable for other content. Technically copyrighted content used without permission may still be reliable especially if the original source can be found. I agree with Alexbrn above that content/ sources that are unexceptional can be left alone. This is neither BLP content nor MEDRS so sourcing can be less stringent than is those cases. While Oron may have borrowed without permission he is also cited for the quality of the website. What all of this indicates is that this is not a simple situation but the solution to use the site as an external link and for content that is unexceptional is a simple solution. I don't think anyone is arguing that the sourcing is in itself not accurate. Also, sometimes we can get carried away with the letter of the law on Wikipedia which is not how Wikipedia is structured. We have IAR which means we can and should use common sense. We are trying to give information to the reader and to link them to further information on a topic. Oron's site does this.(Littleolive oil (talk) 15:02, 12 June 2017 (UTC))
The problem here is that the "letter of the law" is the letter of the actual law, not just Wikipedia's policies. Just as you can't argue your way out of a traffic ticket by claiming IAR, so you can't argue your way out of a contributory copyright infringement. No opinion (as yet) on the suitability of this particular source, but you really cannot use IAR for copyright violations; they have real-world legal implications. Yunshui  15:13, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, good points and I agree. I wasn't suggesting using IAR, in this case. I was referring to the common sense we have to use when dealing with any content. I was also talking in terms of general reliability, but then again if content is not copyrighted on the Oron site we can't use the content here unless we can find the original source which comes back to reliable per specific content? From what I'm seeing much of the content on the site if OK. Do you think we can link to the site as a whole as in an external link if we are suspicious that there is some content on the site that violates copyright. I think I know the answer but I'm not an expert in the area of copyright. What I see is that multiple editors have used the site in good faith which represents a lot of work. Once again I'm not advocating using content that violates copyright just wondering how to make this simple while wondering of there is a way to save the work these editors have done. Maybe there is no saving anything.(Littleolive oil (talk) 15:32, 12 June 2017 (UTC))
Re. "I don't think anyone is arguing that the sourcing is in itself not accurate" – no, the accuracy of the website's content is part of the problem. I'd say, copyright issues aside, the source is about as accurate as a garden variety fan site. So, to put it simple, "Wikia + copyright issues" or something in that vein. Of course fans (and Bach has fans) don't want anything wrong being said about the object of their affection, but still, (1) they can lose themselves in minutiae, as has already been illustrated above, and (2) they can be a tad credulous towards gossip. And they usually don't care too much about too many bootlegs (and so the copyright problem is somewhat inherently linked).
Let me illustrate: this page on the website contains a link to an unauthorised translation of a copyrighted article on the site. The original article writes somewhere: "... Passionsoratorium ... (Gotha 1720)". Then I see an enthusiast collaborator of the site translate that to "... Good Friday Oratorio ... (Gotha, 1720)" – which is incorrect, while half of the Passion oratorio was composed for performance on Maundy Thursday. That was not the only place where the bootleg translation led me astray when contributing to the Wikipedia article about the composer of that Passion oratorio, and related Bach articles.
It would be an oversimplification to think that a website like is "reliable with copyright issues" and others, like Wikipedia, are "unreliable without copyright issues": being careful about copyright issues and about content most often go hand in hand I believe. --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:50, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
Re. "... save the work these editors have done" – this isn't the issue, not at all. "Finding a better source", "checking Wikipedia content against better sources" and "updating content according to these sources if necessary" may require some extra work, but doesn't diminish the work already done. A subsidiary detail may be removed in some cases, but shouldn't have been in Wikipedia in the first place if there's no more solid source for it, and by the time you're done with the more solid sources I'm sure more essential content will have been added to the article too. This approach nearly doubled the size and number of references in the BWV 10 article in a few weeks: that may have been a "debacle" in terms of the ongoing FAC procedure, but for Wikipedia's content and reliability it was of course the opposite of a debacle. --Francis Schonken (talk) 20:20, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(edit conflict) Yunshui has basically said it all for me. There are two separate questions here: (1) is the site a reliable source? and (2) can we link to it?

  1. I don't know the answer to this. It's obviously a valuable source, in that it gives a lot of information and and a lot of hints on where one could go for sources that confirm that information, but that in itself does not mean that it should be treated as reliable and used as a reference.
  2. If we "know or reasonably suspect" that the site is hosting copyright content without proper permission from the copyright owners, we cannot link to those pages in any way, per WP:LINKVIO. That is a Wikipedia policy with legal considerations, and there's no scope or wiggle room there for IAR or any other kind of argument to persuade us otherwise.

Two observations: not linking to a page does not prevent us from using it as a reference if it turns out to be reliable – there's no requirement to link a ref; and the simplest way to find out if the suspected copyvio content is hosted with permission is probably to write and ask. Oh, and if anyone wants add a citation for a chorale melody, they need only give the relevant page number in Riemenschneider. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 15:44, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Naming the website in Wikipedia

Maybe a side-aspect but it came up in previous talk, and I saw a wide variety of formats when doing my checks yesterday. Acceptable formats to refer to the website (in mainspace I mean, not talking about short formats used in talk) are imho:

  1. Bach Cantatas Website, linked: Bach Cantatas Website
  2., linked:

I have a slight preference for the first. When capitalised, without hyphens, "Website" should be the last word, not just "Bach Cantatas" while that could refer to almost any collection of Bach Cantatas. With a hyphen: best to use lower case I suppose, and always add ".com" to make clear one is referring to a website. Wouldn't italicise either expression, I don't think we do that for website names. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:06, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

In the first case, "website" would have to be lowercased, as it's not part of the name of the site. Curly "JFC" Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 08:16, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
Re. "... as it's not part of the name of the site" – on the contrary: it is. That's how the website spells its own name in big script on every page, with that capitalisation. There are a lot of other websites dedicated to Bach Cantatas, e.g. Dellal's with the translations or Mincham's, but there's only one Bach Cantatas Website. --Francis Schonken (talk) 08:50, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

Liner notes copyrights

Above it was contended "I am rather sure that the record labels know about the presentation of their liner notes" – afaics it isn't even all that relevant whether the record labels know. E.g. the Klaus Hofmann liner notes used as a reference in the BWV 10 article are published by the BIS record label. The text, as printed, ends with:

  • ©Klaus Hofmann

In the case BIS would write a letter to Mr. Oron asking to take down the copyrighted text, Mr. Oron would feel under no obligation to do so (see – BIS can not act "on behalf" of the copyright owner, BIS is only a licensee allowed to publish a text of which the copyright is "owned" by the author)

This approach is very different from Wikipedia's: it is no secret that if in Wikipedia something is encountered that "looks like" something found outside Wikipedia, without clear attribution of where the Wikipedia contributor found it and/or without clear notice that its copyright is cleared, the possibly copyright-infringing material is removed first: questions can be asked later, and the material can be brought back if a sufficient clearance is obtained.

In Wikipedia any contributor can place a {{copyvio}} template, and admins will act on it, including the deletion of possibly copyright-infringing earlier page revisions. For media files the procedure is often even simpler: if you upload an image without clear copyright statement admins will routinely act by complete removal of the questionable content from the site. No jumping through hoops as at the Bach Cantatas Website: if you are not the copyright owner or their legal representative, writing a letter complying to a list of formalisms, the copyrighted text can linger on that website forever. In Wikipedia a text or image copyrighted elsewhere can only be retained if any of the following applies, and, in each case, with a clear attribution of what applies:

  • the material has come into the public domain – not the case for the Hofmann text
  • fair use applies: an unabridged multi-page text, like the Hofmann liner notes, would usually not be eligible for this, and besides, presenting material under a fair use rationale requires at least a short explanation (Wikipedia requires it e.g. for any recording jacket image shown – Mr. Oron's website does not show any fair use rationale explanation for any of the dozens of recording jackets at the .../BWV10.htm page)
  • the material is licensed under a compatible free license: not the case for the Hofmann liner notes
  • the copyright owner licenses it with a written permission (in Wikipedia: not enough unless it is a general compatible free license, i.e. instant delete with no questions asked unless complying to the previous point – it is especially in this context that the lack of management of copyright material at the Oron site is apparent: they'll only take down after a formalistic request, the bare minimum of what is required by law, not as a precautionary measure until a copyright clearance is obtained)

In general the way copyrights are handled at the Bach Cantatas Website rather resemble YouTube copyright provisions (as someone alluded to above), which whatever way it is turned is a site Wikipedia considers "not reliable *unless* some pretty tough conditions are met", and that can only clear one page at a time (never the entire website). Yet, with all its strict copyright handling, Wikipedia does still not consider itself reliable. So I'd like to compare to another site I've used quite often in references on various Wikipedia pages:

  • It's Copyright Notice contains: "To the best of our knowledge, we have received permission to post any text that is protected by copyright" (emphasis added) – which is completely opposite to the Bach Cantatas Website approach, which doesn't care too much about receiving permission prior to posting, and will only take down afterwards after jumping through some legalistic hoops. "To the best of our knowledge" also implies that bringing something to their attention (e.g. bringing it to their attention that, for instance, translation X is still under copyright according to source Y) will be enough for them to act while notifying them implies adding it to their "knowledge" – whether one is the copyright owner or not.
  • Special copyright permissions (according to the fourth point above) are always clear: e.g. the four translations presented on this page not only list the respective copyright owners, but it is also explicitly stated for each one of them that a permission was obtained. By contrast, the Bach Cantatas Website leaves the reader "guessing" under what kind of a permission (or not) a copyrighted text or image may be included in the website – which rather indicates a lack of management of the copyrights situation.

Concluding, I'd say that the way copyrights are handled on M. Oron's site is fundamentally incompatible with the care Wikipedia displays towards copyrighted material. A careful handling of copyrights can be found on The LiederNet Archive website, which I used as an example above, and that is what makes this website copyright-wise generally (as opposed to exceptionally) acceptable to link to from Wikipedia. --Francis Schonken (talk) 13:10, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

This is only true of some of the content on this site. The site is massive; some content is fine per our guides. I disagree in painting the site with one colour, the, we can't use the site, colour. We can use some of it and perhaps not all. And again, a sources is reliable per the specific content it supports. WP:RS does not refer to a general judgement of reliability, "Each source must be carefully weighed to judge whether it is reliable for the statement being made in the Wikipedia article and is an appropriate source for that content."(Littleolive oil (talk) 20:22, 13 June 2017 (UTC))
Re. "WP:RS does not refer to a general judgement of reliability" – true, nonetheless it is totally within the remit of this noticeboard to make a distinction between sources that are generally not reliable (and reliable only in certain well-defined contexts) on the one side, and sources that are reliable in almost any context (without needing a special deliberation every time it is used although it may be unsuitable in certain contexts) on the other. As an example of the first the Daily Mail can be mentioned (the general Wikipedia-unreliability-with-a-few-exceptions of which was decided via this noticeboard), as an example of the second The New York Times would do (which doesn't mean that every bit of information in its Readers' letters section would necessarily be reliable).
Making a similar distinction for Bach-websites is perfectly feasible, e.g. the general unreliability of the website was decided here (while an exception to use it nonetheless here was agreed upon). As an example of a generally reliable Bach-website (see Bach Digital for its credentials) can be mentioned (which doesn't guarantee that every bit of info on that site is necessarily up to date scholarship – but generally it can be used as a reference in Wikipedia without questions needing to be asked).
I submit (from the discussion above) that rather belongs to the first category, i.e. generally unreliable because of copyright issues, excessive detail not found in mainstream Bach-scholarship, etc. --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:00, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
I disagree. The remit of this Notice board is not to outlaw sources, and is not to define sources in a general way. Per the top of this page, "Welcome to the reliable sources noticeboard. This page is for posting questions regarding whether particular sources are reliable in context." It is to offer opinions on the reliability of specific sources per the specific content being referenced and those opinions are, well, opinion. Opinions cannot override the guideline itself as no opinion can override policy or guidelines. Opinion here is expected to offer further insights rather than become definitive. A few editors here do not control the sources on Wikipedia unless they are truly damaging and in any case this NB is not for identifying such sources. Its simple really; while we can, here, always identify concerns with a source we cannot limit its use.The source in question is a kind of catalogue useful for some material and not others. Its that simple.(Littleolive oil (talk) 14:35, 15 June 2017 (UTC))
apologies the auto edit summary added the edit summary just as I saved. My edit summary should read, reply.(Littleolive oil (talk) 14:37, 15 June 2017 (UTC))
Above, #Is Bach Cantatas Website a RS?, the general question was asked. That question was answered. Sorry if you don't like the answer. FYI, that answer was not "outlaw": all uses of the source where "it can be demonstrated the specific use is compliant with our sourcing guidelines" (as it was worded above) are of course permitted. --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:36, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Francis here: liner notes that are beyond basic details (album producer, performer credits, etc.) can be copyrights, and thus since 1976 have default copyright under US law. Wholesale inclusion of these liner notes is outside of fair use provisions that we would take as a copyright violation, so the site as a whole should not be linked to. That doesn't mean that one cannot reference the liner notes. There's a wink-wink-nudge-nudge factor that while you cannot link to the site, you still can make a WP:V-meeting reference for liner notes, so that the information previously supported by the site can be replaced by these. There won't be an external link but you likely now get a ISBN number for the album. --MASEM (t) 15:36, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
That's more or less how it's handled at the BWV 10 page currently – that is, except that nor recordings nor their liner notes usually have ISBN numbers: they do however usually have a product number (BIS-1331 in the example I linked) and can often be linked to the record company's website for a dedicated page on the release ( in the same example). For the other liner notes used in the same article we were even more lucky: the record company (SDG, the Monteverdi Choir's own brand) hosts a pdf of the entire liner notes ([1]). --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:57, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Masem. I understand that Francis is trying to eliminate the site as whole and I am saying as you are that this is not necessary. We can use some of this site - those aspects that fall in line with our RS guide. And Francis, this is not a matter of whether I like an answer or not; I could careless on one level. But I do care that our NB are used within the purview they were meant for - this is a matter of using this page properly. An editor asking a question does not change the purpose of this NB. Several editors here are saying as I am that this site is OK for limited use.(Littleolive oil (talk) 15:50, 15 June 2017 (UTC))
Again, that answer, as given by others, and as supported by me, was not "outlaw": all uses of the source where "it can be demonstrated the specific use is compliant with our sourcing guidelines" (as it was worded above) are of course permitted.
Other than that, WP:RS perfectly allows to range sources along WP:USERGENERATED (which is one of the "generally not reliable with limited exceptions" categories) and other characteristics used for such assessments on that page. That is what this RSN noticeboard is for: to operate such deliberations. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:10, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
The problem is that that site is "tainted" by the excessive use of copyright-taking (the liner notes). While it may be considered a RS by other sources, the problem is that the copyright issue isn't going to disappear. If we had an article on the site, that would be the only place appropriate to link to it (as we would something like the Pirate Bay). The use of the site, from what it seems, is to simply corroborate details of what is said by the liner notes of the published albums, which means we're just using the site as an intermediate, easy-to-access details that are still verifyable elsewhere, and as such we should avoid the copyright issue and just point to the actual published albums for the sourcing. --MASEM (t) 16:55, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
What Masem said. Which is substantially in agreement with what I, Alexbrn and others said ten days ago. Only in death does duty end (talk) 08:50, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Cited elsewhere

I don't know where to put an observation, so start a new header: Among the "reliable sources" left in the article is the Bach Cantata Page by the University of Alberta, At the bottom, it links to the Bach Cantatas Website. If that respected source links to it, why should we not do the same? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 14:06, 15 June 2017 (UTC) is a WP:SPS currently not used as a source or reference at the BWV 10 article. It is listed in the External links section. Whether or not it is suitable as external link can be discussed at WP:ELN (I have my doubts but that is not a topic for this noticeboard). --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:28, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
A university web site is not necessarily a SPS. It may also host academic pages and we can assume those pages have the oversight of academics in that field. This looks to me like an academic page as it is not about the university itself. Once again we cannot generalize.(Littleolive oil (talk) 15:54, 15 June 2017 (UTC))
Re. "A university web site is not necessarily a SPS" – indeed, no, but in this case it is (and my comment applied to this webpage in particular, not to university websites in general). Please check the source before commenting. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:00, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't agree with you... and please assume competency as in, yes I did look at the site. I am suggesting the page linked to is in line with more of an academic addition. to a university site.(Littleolive oil (talk) 16:28, 15 June 2017 (UTC)):
No, the website in question are a computer scientist's personal pages. He doesn't list a single Bach-related topic among his publications – this academic is outside his stated field of expertise when including Bach-related content on his personal pages, and thus would not pass WP:SPS on that topic. Besides, all the content of these pages can be (and is currently) referenced to other sources, at least one of which is a no-threshold website. As well that website (Dellal's) and the Jones/Dürr source (covering the same and more) have the advantage of offering English translation, where the academic's personal cantata pages are almost exclusively in German. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:44, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes. I see. Its a university web site hosting a personal web page.(Littleolive oil (talk) 18:49, 16 June 2017 (UTC))
In this version which I looked at, and also the latest, it was used as a reference, look for University of Alberta. - When I refer to it, I name it Bischof, after the author. It offers a easy-to-understand listing of the movements and their scoring, which I like for the convenience of a reader. The Dürr-Jones book has more or less the same scoring but interspersed with the text: less convenient, also some pages are not visible online. I reference to both. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 17:26, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
No problem to discuss it as a source: it can't be used per WP:SPS. But that problem has indeed been solved a few weeks ago for the BWV 10 article: the content was kept, expanded and referenced to other more suitable sources. The Bischof source can also not be used for claims that reliable sources refer to the website: the Bischof source is not a reliable source (in the WP:V sense), per WP:SPS. --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:57, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I am sorry that I don't understand. In that last version - you list Bischof (Alberta, with the University name) as a source, just like Dürr-Jones, no? That's what I saw (concluding that you find Bischof reliable - or would not use it), and commented. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 21:06, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Oops, sorry, should have checked, I confused with the Grob source which had been moved to the external links section for similar reasons. fixed now. --Francis Schonken (talk) 03:49, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

[2] Veganism

From 1991 the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) recommended a low-fat vegan diet based on the "New Four Food Groups": fruit, legumes (peas, beans and lentils), grains and vegetables. The recommendation is three or more servings a day of fruit (one of them high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruit, melon or strawberries); two or more of protein-rich legumes (such as soybeans, which can be consumed as soy milk, tofu or tempeh); five or more of whole grains (corn, barley, rice and wheat in products such as bread or cereal); and four or more of vegetables.

i don't believe that an animal rights organization should be cited as a valid medical source--Jonnymoon96 (talk) 00:06, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

I'm not sure that this is being used as a "medical source" here for the purposes of WP:MEDRS; it seems like it's the cited opinion of a particular organization about a recommended vegan diet, and there don't appear to be any outlandish or unsupported medical claims being made there about the diet. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 08:14, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
Agree, but the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a slightly dodgy advocacy group: their (primary) view is undue unless cited/discussed by reputable independent secondary sources which can put it in context. Alexbrn (talk) 08:48, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
"Slightly" dodgy? They are a thinly veiled front for anti-meat/pro-veg groups. They are neither reliable for anything medical, nor is their opinion valid for anything regarding health or diet as they are an advocacy group. The only thing they are reliable for is their own views. Which would limit them in almost all cases as a source, to their own article. "Vegetarian/Vegan advocacy group promotes vegan diet" is not surprising or a useful addition to the Veganism article. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:35, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
Okay, decidedly dodgy then Face-smile.svg. Alexbrn (talk) 04:08, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Oh well, attempts to remove this are getting pushback. Might be better pursuing this at WP:FT/N since this isn't strictly a reliability issue but an NPOV/FRINGE one. Alexbrn (talk) 20:36, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

I've been redirected here from veganism talk page, where I was attempting to obtain consensus on the deletion of PCRM material on grounds that POV and blatantly judgemental language was being used. Here I see the discussion is still being being pursued in POV language, 'a decidedly dodgy advocacy group' with no reason for sticking that label on them. And now we are being redirected to another page? I need an admin to look at all this, we are being given the runaround with POV language. TonyClarke (talk) 20:34, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

From our very own article on this group:

The National Council Against Health Fraud has criticized PCRM as being "a propaganda machine" and the American Medical Association has called PCRM a "pseudo-physicians group" promoting possibly dangerous nutritional advice.[2][3]

I don't think we should be citing them at all, let alone in support of a major scientific claim like the establishment of new food groups. Alexbrn (talk) 20:42, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
  • This group and their head, Neal D. Barnard, both make claims to have persuaded the US government to publish standards for healthy vegan diets. I think there is no counter-recognition from the government or anyone involved in publishing the dietary standards that this group or their head were causes for the change. I do think that Wikipedia articles could list this group as one which endorses or opposes various policy positions, but I do not think that this group is getting the third-party recognition which Wikipedia would expect to see before naming them as a prominent player on such a general article like "veganism". Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:30, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Washington Free Beacon

The website Washington Free Beacon looks dodgy to me, but it's cited in all seriousness in the article Michael Recanati. I've started a discussion in that article's talk page. -- Hoary (talk) 05:54, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

It's a right-wing WP:NEWSBLOG and doesn't particularly have a reputation for journalistic credibility; I think using it for cited opinions is probably fine but it shouldn't be used for contentious claims about living people, particularly those which can't be found in other, more even-handed mainstream sources. That is, if the only source one can find for something negative about someone is the Free Beacon, it probably doesn't belong in their biography. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 08:04, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Can someone please remove all source material from the Washington free beacon on Michael Recanati Flamingoflorida (talk) 00:14, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

My purpose in asking here was to get informed opinions on the reliabiity of the Washington Free Beacon. If there's a general agreement that it's not reliable, then material sourced to it alone can be removed. -- Hoary (talk) 11:49, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

Opinions are generally citable as opinions. The site, in its articles of opinion, is clearly "reliable" for that use. In addition, its articles of fact appear generally to be correctly sourced, and usable as sources for claims of fact. The eternal problem in Wikipedia is editors who conflate "fact" and "opinion" sources. The desire to expunge "wrong opinions" is endemic on Wikipedia. And the worst problems of "gossip and rumour" are found even in The Guardian and The New York Times. Collect (talk) 12:49, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

But I'm not asking about the reliability of its opinions (whatever that might mean); I'm asking for informed opinions on the reliability of its factual (or counterfactual) assertions. (I do note your comment on the latter.) -- Hoary (talk) 13:59, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
@Hoary and Collect: Surprisingly, Washington Free Beacon is also cited in more than 200 other Wikipedia articles. It might be worthwhile to review these citations as well. Jarble (talk) 03:51, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia includes more than 50 citations to a fringe-theory website called Above Top Secret. Do any of these citations need to be replaced? Jarble (talk) 01:08, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

Urgh. I chose one WP article at random: Habitability of K-type main-sequence star systems. This cites the "abovetopsecret" page "Which Stars are a friendly place for life to form.Lets see...", written by one "XRaDiiX". This person's other contributions to that website include "Israel, US Government Orchestrated 911 Osama was the Scapegoat(Fall Man)". I have a hunch that if I named myself XHoaRyyX or similar and concocted and submitted similar equine by-product (perhaps after a short history of commenting credulously on others' contributions) then it too would appear. WP:USERGENERATED, and tripe. -- Hoary (talk) 08:24, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
It's down to 26 now; I went through a few dozen articles and removed this garbage. Neutralitytalk 05:32, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Please note that the "more than 50 citations" uses a method that misses some citations. [* ] shows that the website is linked to from Mantell UFO incident, Robbie Williams, North American monetary union, David Kelly (weapons expert), John Titor, J. Allen Hynek, Corporate Cannibal, Alternative 3, and a large number of talk pages. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:48, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
I checked the Mantell UFO incident Wikipedia article, and the only citation to abovetopsecret I could find was a non-working link to an image of a memorial dedicated to Mantell. As the link no longer works, I will delete it. I may have missed something, but I didn't see any other citations to that particular website in the article.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 21 June 2017‎
I am somewhat familiar with this site and agree that it generally should be avoided. According to themselves (the "about"): is the Internet's largest and most popular discussion board community dedicated to the intelligent exchange of ideas and debate on a wide range of "alternative topics" such as conspiracies, UFO's, paranormal, secret societies, political scandals, new world order, terrorism, and dozens of related topics on current events, politics, and government wrong-doing with poignant commentary from a diverse mix of users from all over the world. It is sensationalist non-expert, non-reliably-sourced, user-generated "alternate news" and discussions. Can be entertaining, but unfit for an encyclopedia. —PaleoNeonate - 06:16, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Is the CIA a reliable source on par with the NY Times?

We of course all know that potentially unreliable sources can be quoted for the purposes of giving their own opinions (for example, we can quote a politician's statement, with clear attribution, in order to illustrate what their views on a matter are). But if reputable newspapers report something, we can state it in a more authoritative voice. With that dichotomy in mind, I'd like to ask the following question:

  • Are the CIA/FBI/NSA equivalent to reputable newspapers?

Let's say the CIA and NSA issue reports stating that country X has chemical weapons. Can we write, in the relevant Wikipedia article, "Country X possesses chemical weapons.[<insert citation to CIA here>][<insert citation to NSA here>]"? If we replace "CIA" and "NSA" in this example with "BBC" and "Associated Press," the answer would obviously be "yes."

I raise this issue because of the discussion here, where an admin is insisting (diff) that US intelligence services are reliable sources, equivalent to reputable newspapers, and that they're not more equivalent to possibly unreliable politicians. -Thucydides411 (talk) 10:25, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

The purpose of RSN is not to bludgeon an Admin for stating her opinion. It's to resolve article content issues. The overwhelming weight of RS support the content (that your strawman attributes to the intelligence agencies) so no article content decision hinges on the matter of Melanie's statement about those agencies. SPECIFICO talk 11:33, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I think for most RS/n discussions to be productive we would need to know how the source has been used in the article. I see MelanieN has asked for you to be more specific on the talk page discussion, and I would second that request. Context matters. The CIA has certainly made statements over the years that have subsequently been rejected by the majority of sources, such as the Iraqi aluminum tubes. Of course it is possible that the CIA is not RS/n for a particular statement, but we would need specifics to evaluate and compare it to other available sources. My preference would be that statements from the CIA, when used, are attributed to the CIA. However, it is true that most of the time, the current press reports will use the CIA and government agencies as the source for information that is then widely covered by numerous news agencies. I don't think citing the CIA as the source of the statement directly would be a problem, in most cases. Seraphim System (talk) 11:50, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm asking specifically about how WP:RS applies to the CIA, NSA and other US intelligence agencies. I'm not asking whether or not we can rely on reputable newspapers when they cover statements made by US intelligence agencies (that's settled policy that everyone agrees on).
For the purposes of WP:RS, do we treat the CIA exactly like we'd treat a reputable newspaper, or do we treat it like we'd treat, say, a politician, whose statements may or may not be reliable? I asked this question directly on the talk page, and the answer I got was that the CIA is equivalent to a reputable newspaper. I'm surprised by that answer, and I'd like others to weigh in, so that we can have some clarity on what WP:RS policy is.
I'm not asking about specific content disputes (which have centered around whether to include wording like "officials say," "reportedly," "according to US intelligence officials," and more generally around whether criticisms of US intelligence reports are credible). I'm asking about what policy regarding the CIA, NSA and other US intelligence agencies is. Do we consider them reliable sources in the same way we consider reputable newspapers to be reliable sources? -Thucydides411 (talk) 12:34, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I think you're misunderstanding how we use this (and other) policy. We do not apply this policy differently to different sources. Instead, we often determine that this policy applied to different sources results in different outcomes because those sources differ in significant ways. And there are very few, if any, sources that a large number of editors would agree are always reliable or unreliable. Although some sources, like the NYT, are generally reliable because of a long history of case-by-case instances usually appearing to meet our criteria for reliability they are still judged on a case-by-case basis (often with great speed and ease because of widespread familiarity with its history and practices). ElKevbo (talk) 13:42, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
The policy is the same for different sources, the but the policy outcome is different. Some sources are generally considered to be reliable when they report on factual matters. If the Associated Press and the Boston Globe report in a matter-of-fact manner that X is the case, we can generally write in Wikipedia that X is the case. Obviously there are specific instances where even reliable sources make mistakes, but we still generally recognize them as reliable for statements of fact in most cases.
We regard these sources very differently than we regard, say, a press secretary for a head of state. We would only regard the press secretary as a reliable source for a very narrow range of issues (e.g., the official position of their government). Even then, we would probably seek coverage in reputable newspapers, in accordance with WP:SECONDARY. On the other hand, the "news" section of a major newspaper would be regarded as reliable for a wide range of issues.
I'm asking very specifically if we extend the same general faith that we have in the reliability of the Associated Press, for example, to the CIA. Is the CIA more like the New York Times or more like a press secretary for a head of state? I think this is a pretty clear question, even without reference to a specific content dispute. -Thucydides411 (talk) 14:10, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I still don't think that we can make a generalized, abstract judgment especially for large organizations that produce documents written by many different people for many different audiences and purposes. ElKevbo (talk) 14:18, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
The Associated Press is also a large organization that employs many different people across every continent to write on all sorts of issues. We consider it to be a reliable source, with very few exceptions. Obviously, even potentially unreliable or self-interested people or organizations can be cited in certain specific situations, but there's a difference between such entities and a major newspaper. I'm asking if the CIA can be treated in the same way as we'd treat the Associated Press - as a source that is reliable for almost any factual statement. -Thucydides411 (talk) 23:54, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
The sources include: WaPo, NYTimes, CNN, The Guardian, Reuters, LATimes, Please don't omit pertinent info when taking something to a noticeboard. Objective3000 (talk) 11:55, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
No, those are not the sources we're discussing here. I'm asking very specifically about US intelligence agencies, and how they fit into the WP:RS policy. -Thucydides411 (talk) 12:23, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I do not think they are. For anything they discuss, that no-one else has or been able, they are a WP:PRIMARY source. And if others have also mentioned it, then I'm not sure we would need to use them. They are also, even when discussing something as a secondary source, not WP:INDEPENDENT their coverage cannot be assumed to be taken as their own or as at face value. And none of tihs is even approaching the question as to why we would want to use them — O Fortuna semper crescis, aut decrescis 12:41, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
It depends. That's why the instructions at the top of this board specifically ask you to supply the specific details of the article, source, and (proposed) use of the source. It's inappropriate to try to discuss this topic in the abstract in this particular venue. ElKevbo (talk) 13:38, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
The instructions expressly state that such info should be provided "if available"; in a general discussion of a source, clearly precise details like that will not be available. — O Fortuna semper crescis, aut decrescis 14:18, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
There are often discussions here of the general reliability of a particular source. -Thucydides411 (talk) 13:57, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
And we generally (gently) rebuff those requests by asking for specific details. ElKevbo (talk) 14:18, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
@ElKevbo: For many newspapers, blogs, magazines, journals, etc. there are circumstances where we might find the source appropriate, an article inappropriate for a particular fact: this would depend on context. However there is no reason whatsoever that an intelligence and espionage agency would ever be considered akin to a reliable secondary source, and so the post is appropriate. I would argue that the Daily Mail - a usually terrible source - is nevertheless better as a secondary source than any intelligence agency. -Darouet (talk) 15:53, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I understand your argument and I completely reject it. There are clearly (potential and theoretical at this point) situations in which these organizations would produce documents that we would generally consider to be reliable for particular purposes.
I think that we've made our respective points and registered our opinions. I don't think that we're going to get anywhere if we continue to - politely and collegially! - disagree with one another so I think it might be best if we both agree to move on or at least find something else to discuss. :) ElKevbo (talk) 17:46, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

@OP: please rephrase your question if you want to continue discussing this. Your original question (whether CIA rather looks like X or like Y) has been answered: that answer is "it depends" (or variations thereof). On this noticeboard general reliability questions are only addressed if a recurring mainspace problem connected to that reliability deliberation is apparent. Perhaps start with indicating which mainspace content would be problematic if the general issue isn't resolved. Probably such issue can be addressed by the provisions in WP:PRIMARY and/or WP:SELFPUB. In the event it does not, we need a more precise question. --Francis Schonken (talk) 14:20, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

@Francis Schonken and Thucydides411: I have placed this comment at the bottom so that Thucydides411 is pinged, and so that discussion can be continued, as Francis Schonken requests. Francis, it is highly improper to simply close a very active discussion 6 hours after it was opened: please do not do so again. -Darouet (talk) 15:13, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
  • No - under no circumstances whatsoever would statements from an intelligence or espionage service, of any government, be considered comparable to a reliable secondary source, or cited as such. The moment that became a policy Wikipedia would cease to be a reliable source of information. -Darouet (talk) 15:15, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
This was closed for good reason. It should be reclosed. A properly stated request can be created. Objective3000 (talk) 15:25, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
@Objective3000: you are indirectly advocating a dramatic revision of the RS policy, where intelligence and espionage agencies should be treated as generally reliable secondary sources, but perhaps unreliable in certain contexts, as with any newspaper. That you believe this is so obvious it should not even be discussed is itself a major problem. -Darouet (talk) 15:56, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I never said or even hinted at anything of the sort. Objective3000 (talk) 16:01, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I think it's readily apparent that these organizations have very well developed research and fact-checking apparatuses, far in excess of any journalistic source. In that sense they would be considered exceedingly reliable sources. However, as with any source editors should consider whether they have a conflict of interest or "skin in the game" when it comes to any particular claim. Particularly when they are trying to justify military or foreign policy objectives of the United States, editors should consider whether the claims are self-serving and balance them appropriately with other sources of information. Rhoark (talk) 15:32, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Those research and fact checking apparatuses have nothing to do with reporting to the public: they are designed to further the policy aims of the government they serve, which often include their "military or foreign policy objectives." -Darouet (talk) 15:40, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Please do not WP:SOAPBOX SPECIFICO talk 17:39, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I belive that's a faulty logic since it compares apples to oranges. The real value of information from an intelligence agency is compared to the face value of a "reputable" newspaper. The face value of CIA is also good: The USA is (or at least considered to be) a democracy and, consequently, CIA is meant to serve (american) public. On the other hand, are You sure that there are no hidden agenda in what "reputable" newspapers lay down? Are not mass media empires designed to further somebody's policy aims? In the case of a governmental agency You, at least, know who's interests they serve. And if You know the real value of CIA statements, so does the reader. So the problem is solved by attributing the statement to the source: "CIA claims that..." and, in some cases, by balancing such information with information from other sources (which may include intelligence agencies of other states with contrary interests). Эйхер (talk) 19:01, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
For most purposes official documents and statements by national governments are reliable. For example, a French government website advising tax payers how to fill in their tax forms is reliable for the taxation system in France. It may be necessary to watch out for cherry-picking and marketing spin. Of course for foreign policy each country's documents are only reliable for the policy of that country, but the CIA World Factbook is generally considered reliable for economic and social statistics. Itsmejudith (talk) 17:46, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
  • In most cases they shouldn't be cited for anything remotely controversial, since the institutions as a whole lack the reputation WP:RS requires and since most of the time we have no insight into their fact-checking or editorial controls. In particular, this absence means, to me, that they should usually be treated as a self-published source, one we could cite only as a WP:PRIMARY document or via WP:SELFSOURCE. There are some exceptions; we know their sources for the CIA World Factbook, for instance, and it has a reputation independent of the CIA itself. But random papers or press-releases coming from the CIA (or similar intelligence agencies) do not, I think, pass WP:RS simply by virtue of coming from the CIA - we'd have to treat them as self-published things. I don't agree with the assertion some people made above that we can automatically assume that everything an intelligence agency publishes is subject to fact-checking and accuracy. Obviously they're in the business of intelligence, but they're not a publishing company and don't have the same goals, purpose, or reputation; they can and have published things based on insufficient data or filled with serious errors, and much more importantly they generally produce no public corrections or retractions when they do. In specific cases like the CIA World Factbook, we might be able to point to a reputation that lets us use it, but not in a general case for the organization as a whole. --Aquillion (talk) 19:25, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
With a source like the CIA, I think the correct answer is it depends whether it is reliable in context. If we were to just allow the CIA as a source without requiring a secondary source, then it would open up a lot of possible WP:OR - we could then go through all the declassified documents and use them as sources to support analysis. We shouldn't, unless they've been discussed in secondary sources. If its a statement that has been repeated by the press, who gives the CIA as the source, ideally we would mention that the source for the statement is the CIA and cite the secondary source for that information. Seraphim System (talk) 19:31, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I think what you need to look for there is that WP:V - much more ironclad policy than WP:PRIMARY or even WP:IRS - requires sources to be "published". FOIA requests or old declassified documents that are just dropped in an ftp archive somewhere are not really published. Rhoark (talk) 19:45, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I do in general believe that major public released reports from U.S. intelligence agencies can often be considered reliable sources. However, most of the time the question is moot, since there will certainly be secondary sources reporting the information, and the secondary sources can be used as references for the article. I don't really understand why Thucydides has been hammering on this one point for days. I have asked repeatedly what specific changes they want to make to the article, but they refuse to discuss specific edits or applications of this theoretical question. (BTW at the article under discussion and similar articles I do not function as an admin; I am WP:INVOLVED and should be considered just another editor.)--MelanieN (talk) 21:20, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree that the question can be divided into different types of information.
Take the case of the CIA World Factbook. This is one of the most reliable resources available for various types of statistical information. In this case, I'd rate it higher than the NY Times, which sometimes makes errors in day-to-day reporting on such material.
Intelligence estimates, however, can involve controversy. CIA estimates do not often make categorical judgments, instead giving answers graded in terms of certainty. Use of these in Wikipedia should include the degree of certainty. That said, National Intelligence Estimates are awfully formal things and not to be dismissed as propaganda. Yet they can be wrong. Contemporary CIA estimates of the extent of famine in China 1959-1961 were certainly off. The controversy over Communist military strength in South Vietnam may have involved errors in NIEs (see the very superficial discussion under Sam Adams).
Less formal intelligence evaluations may also be controversial. An example from NSA is the Venona decryptions, where in the notes to the decrypted cables analysts identified various cryptonyms as belonging to people such as Harry Dexter White and Julius Rosenberg. Later materials have shown that these were solid identifications, wrong in only one or two cases. The Wikipedia article treatment of the subject, however, has been characterized by a strong emphasis on challenges to the identifications. That's one approach, I guess.
Finally, there are cases where CIA is itself the subject of controversy. It's hard to generalize on how to handle this. Congressional inquiries can provide some answers, but have their own limitations as sources of information, too. After going through a lot of controversies, I will say one thing: people who claim to have been affiliated with the CIA, but have no documentation to support their claims, are not entitled to any slack.
Returning to the dichotomy posed at the beginning of this discussion between politician's opinions and newspaper reports, CIA general-purpose information AND intelligence estimates are nothing like opinions. CIA general-purpose information is even more reliable than newspaper information. For estimates, newspapers also sometimes offer estimates on various subjects. These are reporters' or writers' estimates. I would almost always rate CIA estimates higher than these. I don't think, however, that this entitles editors to use a "CIA trumps reporters" rule in rock-paper-scissors style arguments. Rgr09 (talk) 00:40, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
My two cents on the CIA as a source in Wikipedia (applies in limited terms to NSA, FBI is, I think, a different case): for general-purpose information such as World Factbook, I see no reasonable objections to its use in 99% of all cases. For cases such as intelligence estimates or evaluations, if sufficient information is available (complete Presidential briefings, NIEs), it is a primary source similar to Congressional investigations and reports. I don't think that these sources can be excluded from articles, although I occasionally see editors argue that they should be. Take the Iran-Contra investigation. Special counsel Lawrence Walsh's investigation produced a lengthy report. This is cited many times in Wikipedia articles on Iran-Contra. This is reasonable. To exclude the report as primary and to demand that the articles use only Walsh's later book on his investigation seems unreasonable. The Warren Commission report is even more frequently cited in a MANY Wikipedia articles. To exclude this, and cite only secondary works on the Kennedy assassination seems a very bad result. In cases where CIA/NSA evaluations are not fully available, however, more caution is due. Declassified documents are often redacted, sometimes laughably so. These do not form good material for Wikipedia articles. Rgr09 (talk) 01:25, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Long story short: reports from intelligence agencies should generally be considered WP:Primary sources, i.e. citable with attribution as a fair representation of said agencies' opinions and research. Media reports simply repeating information originating from an intelligence agency should also be attributed to the source agency. — JFG talk 14:55, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Wrong. Media and other secondary sources are always repeating the statements and actions of others. The central role of Reliable Sources is to provide independent critical evaluation in order that WP editors do not have to. Because Reliable Sources, having performed this editorial function -- not "simply" repeating everything --describe the Russian intervention in other nations as fact, WP must do so as well. SPECIFICO talk 23:01, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Wikipedia:Drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass, please. Sagecandor (talk) 23:47, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

If we had access to what the CIA really believes about something they have investigated, that would be more generally reliable than any newspaper. However, we don't have that access. What we have access to directly is the public claims made by the CIA, which is an entirely different matter. Deception and secrecy is one of the job descriptions of every intelligence agency and it would be crazy to ignore that fact. Our best hope is to rely on reputable news agencies, who have professional expertise at interpreting intelligence claims and often have alternative ways to check them. To answer the original question (if I understand what it was), we should never cite an intelligence agency without attribution. Zerotalk 03:33, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Not reliable In general the information released by intelligence agencies, police forces, prosecutors, courts, government officers and agencies etc. is accurate, but they do not have a transparent fact-checking process and are frequently subject to political pressure. The U.S. (and other countries) has a long history of misinformation emanating from intelligence services, the most infamous in recent years being the false information about Iraq used to justify the invasion. Fortunately we have news organizations and academic publishing that is able to sift through intelligence claims and determine their validity, whose writings are reliable sources for articles. Intelligence reports should be treated as primary sources for the opinions of their agency only, unless they have been submitted to peer review. Editors should consider why the U.S. constitution guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press, if one could rely on government to always tell the truth.
Note that the media get their information from a variety of sources, some of which are unreliable. But we expect their journalists to use judgment in determining what is correct and what is not. Often they will qualify their coverage with statements such as "according to." Wikipedia editors do not have superior abilities to professional journalists in determining the validity of intelligence claims.
TFD (talk) 03:43, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
@The Four Deuces: are you saying we shouldn't use the CIA Factbook? Doug Weller talk 07:53, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Personally I would not use it, since I dislike tertiary sources because they do not provide sources. The CIA did not count the population of every country in the world, they are merely repeating what they found in reliable primary and secondary sources. We typically allow a lower standard of reliability for non-controversial information, particularly when it comes under self-publication. We even allow unsourced information. But there's a big difference between trusting them to find the best estimate of the population of Iraq and whether Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and links to al Qaeda. TFD (talk) 08:28, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
I disagree, somewhat, with the distinction you are making between secondary and tertiary sources. For instance, according to the Factbook its population numbers come from the US Bureau of the Census, so Factbook does provide sources for some (not all perhaps) of its information. In this case, the USBC is probably best thought of as primary, and the Factbook as secondary. Why is the US Bureau of the Census primary? After all, they did not count all the Pashtuns in Pakistan either. The reason I would call USBC numbers primary is that they do the professional evaluations and statistical analyses of other countries' counts that make their figures reliable to end users. The Factbook goes to USBC because USBC knows what's what. Factbook is a secondary source; it knows WHO knows what's what, it is professionally edited (they pay people to check the numbers from USBC are printed right), it arranges all data consistently, formatted in clear, logical fields, and it is now updated weekly. A super fast reference, with excellent quality control, and always current. It is used frequently in many Wikipedia articles, and I don't see how it could be replaced under Wikipedia's current modus operandi. Wikipedia is a tertiary source: we do not have professional editors (I try hard to be accurate, but no one's paying me), we do not have consistent formatting (the guys at wikimedia are working on it), and we sometimes have trouble figuring out who knows what's what. We are good for quick checks and directing people toward many useful sources. Rgr09 (talk) 10:44, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

Question: MoviesFYI

Hello, I am not fully sue if this site is a reliable source. Please share your opinion. Thanks in advance. --Tito Dutta (talk) 11:38, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

I doubt it. Looks like a blog of sorts with a heavy investment in soc media. — O Fortuna semper crescis, aut decrescis 14:16, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

are they getting paid by the movie industry to promote their movies if so they are probably unreliable in this context

also there is no published methodology on how they review movies

websites of a promotional nature are not acceptable to cite as a source

I Do not recommend MoviesFYI as a citation--Jonnymoon96 (talk) 00:26, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Mount Athos's Flag

Is the following reliably sourced?


Mount Athos (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)




Flag of Mount Athos


[3] [4]


  1. ^ Tomasz Kamusella (16 December 2008). The Politics of Language and Nationalism in Modern Central Europe. Springer. p. 975. ISBN 978-0-230-58347-4. The Treaty of Berlin (1878) confirmed the autonomy of Mt Athos, and Greece annexed southern Macedonia, including Chalcidice, in 1913. In the same year, Mt Athos declared its independence as a monastic republic under Greece's protection. The republic adopted the crowned imperial double-headed eagle of Byzantium, rendered in black against golden background, as its flag. 
  2. ^ The Flag Bulletin. 27. Flag Research Center. 1988. p. 105. It is not surprising that all symbols of Mount Athos, especially the Byzantine double-headed eagle and the Holy Virgin, who is the patron of the Holy Mount, represent old Byzantine traditions. [...] The flag of Mount Athos (Fig. 1) is golden yellow bearing the black Byzantine double-headed eagle with an imperial crown. The eagle holds in its claws an orb of black with golden bands and a black sword. The flag is ... During the millennial celebration of Mount Athos, it was often possible to see this flag flying together with the national flag of Greece on top of the government buildings in Karyes. 
  3. ^ Vitali Vitaliev (1 September 1995). Little is the light: nostalgic travels in the mini-states of Europe. Touchstone Books. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-671-71925-8. The state flag of Mount Athos - a black two-headed eagle... 
  4. ^ William G. Crampton (1990). The Complete Guide to Flags. Gallery Books. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-8317-1605-9. Greek Yellow with a 2-headed Orthodox black eagle (also for Mount Church Athos) 
  5. ^ Alfred Znamierowski (1 January 2002). The world encyclopedia of flags: the definitive guide to international flags, banners, standards and ensigns. Hermes House. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-84309-042-7. MOUNT ATHOS Greek Hagion Oros Self-governing theocratic republic under Greek protectorate, SE Europe. STATE FLAG Date of introduction unknown. The golden yellow flag is charged with the black Byzantine eagle holding an orb and a sword in its claws. An imperial crown appears above its two heads. 

--SILENTRESIDENT 20:25, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

They look fine to me—is there a particular concern you have? One only has to look at any photo taken in Mount Athos to see that they use the Flag of the Greek Orthodox Church (which is the flag being described here) as their flag. ‑ Iridescent 20:33, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your response, this is exactly what I expected. The reason I came here to request your opinion is because a certain editor is abusing the said article to have both the flag and the sources contested and removed, despite our desperate efforts to reason with him and convince him that his personal opinions (that this is not Athos' flag) are irrelevant to Wikipedia, and that we need to stick to the sources (like the ones provided above which describe it as the flag of Athos) and to facts (like the photo which you provided which proves the indisputable fact that the Athonite people use it as their flag, alongside the country's flag). Since you asked, my concern is exactly that: the user is trying to remove the sources and the flag. But I dont want to say more as this Noticeboard is not about other editor's behavior, right? --SILENTRESIDENT 20:53, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) They look fine to me as well, thank you Iridescent. The problem is, another user has taken upon himself to deconstruct three out of these five sources. Please see also this section on the talkpage. Dr. K. 21:00, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

Let's not be coy: "a certain editor" is FutPerf. In "Unreliable sources", FutPerf argues for their unreliability, I think rather convincingly. There's more than a little exasperation on both sides of the argument; but if we put annoyance and frustration aside, FutPerf makes some good points. -- Hoary (talk) 22:25, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

Let's not make this personal by throwing adjectives around. I have provided the links that make it abundantly clear who the participants are. I simply don't see the reason for referring to people personally. This discussion is about sources and arguments for or against them. Names are of no importance. Dr. K. 23:13, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
You're right in that this discussion is about sources and arguments for or against their use. And names are of no importance; but the linked mention of a name serves to alert that person to the existence of a discussion. -- Hoary (talk) 23:22, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
There was no attempt to hide the matter from any of the participants. A resolution at RSN cannot be hidden. The results of this discussion would have to be distributed to all involved parties, so that an agreement can be reached. In any case, I didn't check SR's notification to the other party, but I wasn't particularly worried about the eventual notification. Dr. K. 23:44, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Iridescent: This is outside the purview of this RS board, as it's an argument not about the sources but about the prima face plausibility of the claim as such, but I still don't like to leave this argument uncontrodicted. You only have to look at any photo taken in Washington D.C. to see that they use the Star-Spangled Banner. Does that make the Star-Spangled Banner the flag of Washington D.C.? No, of course it doesn't; it's the flag of a larger entity, of which Washington D.C. happens to be a part. "Flag used in X" is not the same as "Flag of X". The Byzantine Eagle is the flag of the Greek Orthodox church, and it is used on Mount Athos not more and not less and in no different fashion than by every other Greek Orthodox church, diocese, monastery or other institution elsewhere. You can find these flags flown in front of pretty much any church in Greece. The point here is that some people (both Wikipedia editors and authors out there are proliferating a POV falsehood: that Mount Athos is a "state" (and as such, can be expected to have a state flag). It isn't a state, and thus there is no reason to expect it has one. State flags are typically defined by law; there is no legislation of that sort for Athos. – Now that we've clarified the issue, we can resume scrutinizing the sources; I've explained why I consider them unreliable on the article talkpage. Fut.Perf. 04:51, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
P.S. By the way, @Iridescent: was it deliberate that when you wanted to illustrate "any photo taken in Mount Athos" above, you chose a photo that wasn't actually taken in Athos, but in Rhodes? I could accuse you of falsification of data, but it doesn't really matter. Of course, that photo could have been taken on Athos. But that only goes to prove my point: usage of that flag on Athos is exactly indistinguishable from its usage everywhere else in Greece and in the Greek orthodox world at large. Fut.Perf. 11:31, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Flags are not used only by states. They are also used by autonomous polities. Mount Athos is an autonomous polity, and according to reliable sources, many written by academics with articles on Wikipedia, the autonomous area has a flag. That should be the end of it. Allegations of outside authors and Wikipedia editors proliferating statehood for Mount Athos are baseless and gratuitous personal attacks. Mount Athos does not have to be a state to have a flag; as this list shows, that's a fallacious argument. Some of the sources may not be as strong as some of the others, granted, but there are are enough left over to support the existence of the flag for the autonomous polity of Mount Athos. Dr. K. 05:40, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Future Perfect, I am baffled by your argument that only the states can have a flag displayed on Wikipedia but the autonomous and self-governed polities not. If we go with your logic, then the flags in many articles will have to take down just because their articles are not about states and not all flags are defined by laws. This is, like how Dr.K. has said, a very very fallacious argument and I couldn't find me disagreeing more than ever. --SILENTRESIDENT 05:56, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The Greek Orthodox Church also has the same flag and we all know that the Greek Orthodox Church is not a state, neither are editors on Wikipedia promoting statehood for the Greek Orthodox Church when they mention that it has a flag. Dr. K. 06:00, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
You have, again, failed to take in the argument. Fut.Perf. 06:18, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
No, you have failed to understand that I have rebutted your allegation The point here is that some people (both Wikipedia editors and authors out there are proliferating a POV falsehood: that Mount Athos is a "state" (and as such, can be expected to have a state flag). and proved that it is useless. Dr. K. 06:22, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
I think it is YOU who has failed to take in the argument. The Holy Mountain existed as a religious community for nearly 2 millenias and its flag has been flying there AT LEAST (note the word "at least" because I do not have knowledge of earlier use than this) since Mount Athos' annexation by Greece, 100 years ago. The old album photos from 1940s from my grandfather who was in Athos, clearly depict the flag flown alone (without Greece's flag) in the Athonite territory during the Nazi German occupation of Greece. I am surprised how it can all of sudden be contested by an editor who probably wasn't even born back then, when even newer entities or organizations, or proto-states, (yes, even proto-states, including the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant whose the "laws" are not really laws) haven't had their flag contested. You are not helping, Future Perfect. --SILENTRESIDENT 06:30, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
"Baseless"? It is no coincidence that several of the authors who claim that Athos has a flag (in one case, explicitly calling it a "state flag") are also making those exact false allegations about its political status (such as claiming it declared "independence" or that it is a Greek "protectorate"). Do you find those falsehoods trivial? I don't; they display a very fundamental misunderstanding of what Athos is. It's also no coincidence that the editors who kept pushing the flag in this article have also been the same editors that kept pushing fictitious "official names" including the word "state" or "republic" into it. Fut.Perf. 06:35, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
It's also no coincidence that the editors who kept pushing the flag in this article have also been the same editors that kept pushing fictitious "official names" including the word "state" or "republic" into it. I think you betray a fundamental misunderstanding of WP:RS and WP:V. I did not "push" anything. I found RS which use these terms and I quoted them. You don't get to use PAs against me for bringing RS to the fore that use these terms and which you happen to disagree with. Your dismissal of RS with PAs is indicative of your POV and OR. Dr. K. 06:43, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
You display a fundamental misunderstanding of WP:V and WP:OR. WP:V is not a suicide pact. There's a reason we threw the infamous slogan "verifiability, not truth" out of the text some time ago. It is not "OR" to use our own critical judgment to assess the correctness of sources in talk. (What would be OR would be if I were to start arguing against them in the article). I'm going to ask you two questions and I'll ask for clear yes-or-no answers: (1) Do you, yes or no, deny that calling Mount Athos an "independent state" or a "protectorate" is an obvious, blatant falsehood? (2) Do you, yes or no, deny that any source that includes such a falsehood has ipso facto disqualified itself as a reliable source on matters related to it, such as the status of political symbols? Fut.Perf. 06:58, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
You display a fundamental misunderstanding of WP:V and WP:OR. WP:V is not a suicide pact. You keep trying to attack me with these nonsense statements. You have nothing to teach me. As my record of producing quality articles shows, I know damn well how to find and use RS. I am currently at RSN because I want to examine the sources, since the flag area is not my specialty. If the sources make statements not supported by facts then I have no problem to reject them. However, calling Athos a "protectorate" or some other term not absolutely technically correct, should not disqualify a source immediately if the question is about the flag itself and not the exactness of the term describing the polity. However, if the editors at RSN don't agree with my position, I have no problem agreeing that the source should be dropped. Your problem is that you use PAs as soon as people don't agree with your dogma and to add insult to injury you are hellbent implying that I try to "push" these terms, which is clearly your heavy-handed method of trying to attack editors you disagree with, as your long record of documented incivility clearly shows. Dr. K. 07:17, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
"It's also no coincidence that the editors who kept pushing the flag in this article have also been the same editors that kept pushing fictitious "official names" including the word "state" or "republic" into it." Future Perfect, you are dangerously crossing the defamation lines here and my patience with you won't last for long. What you call "pushing fictitious", was Wikipedia:Copying within Wikipedia. If you have a problem with that, go open a different discussion. Here, we are discussing about the flag and only the flag. --SILENTRESIDENT 06:50, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Athos monastic state gets 29,600 Gbook results. So much for the "fictitious" allegations leveled above. Dr. K. 06:59, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Plenty of reliable sources (Academic and otherwise) state that it is the flag, and nothing has been presented to invalidate them. Even a common-sense interpretation of photos of the location show that it is the flag. Any argument that is based upon 'it has to be a state' etc is frankly non-sensical. Mount Athos has a flag. Get over it. Only in death does duty end (talk) 09:22, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
    • Yet another person too lazy to read. Next? Fut.Perf. 09:30, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
      • I did waste my time reading that talkpage. Your arguments are laughably bad and easily refuted as has been done by others above. Please provide an argument backed up by reliable sources to counter those provided to support the inclusion of the flag. Even those few of the sources provided which are less than the highest quality, are supported by better ones. Picking off the low-hanging fruit does not turn the tree barren. Only in death does duty end (talk) 09:43, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
As for the sources provided by Dr.K., yes, some sources may be strong, other sources may be weak. True. But to argue on weak and strong sources and ignore the reality, is to argue about the tree and ignore the forest. This dispute for me has come to a natural end and I strongly believe the flag should stay on the infobox unless Future Perfect provides to us strong sources backing his POV about the flag of the self-governed Athonite polity.
And last, I have reminded Future Perfect in the talkpage that Wikipedia simply cannot rely on his POV, but on sources and facts. --SILENTRESIDENT 10:24, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I think no-one here disputes that the flag is used in Athos, but FutPerf makes a good argument: why is this the flag of Athos specifically? In other words, is this a state flag because Athos is an autonomous polity, or is it simply in use there because Athos is part of the Orthodox Church? The sources, frankly, don't inspire too much confidence. Normally, I'd say they fulfill the WP:RS criteria, but my own experiences with Greek flag matters have taught me to be very careful: vexillological matters are notoriously ill documented and researched in Greece, and most foreign sources are (unsurprisingly) usually misinformed to some degree, or display a peculiar kind of bias in trying to fill patterns familiar to them but absent in Greece (of course a vexillologist will find "state flags" everywhere, he is conditioned to do so). For instance, "During the millennial celebration of Mount Athos, it was often possible to see this flag flying together with the national flag of Greece" is a non-argument. One can see the same flags in front of literally every church in Greece, and only complete ignorance of that can excuse its inclusion here, ignorance which does not speak well as to the accuracy of the source on this issue. It is almost as if the author has seen pictures, or read reports, of the celebrations, but never been anywhere else in Greece himself. I am all the more uncertain because the origin of this particular flag is obscure: I still have not seen a reliable source that details when and how it began to be used, and when it was adopted (if it ever was done so officially) as the flag of the GOC (or was it possibly used by Athos before that? who knows?). Furthermore, this flag is commonly known in Greece as the "Byzantine" flag, which is complete nonsense (but yet another indication of the complete lack of awareness on vexillological matters in Greece). Personally, I think that the flag is used in at least semi-official capacity (especially because the monks probably consider it to have been truly the flag of the Byzantine Empire), but would prefer a simple description on the lines of "Flag of the GOC, commonly used throughout Athos", rather than attribute to it a status that is uncertain. Constantine 12:12, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
When you say "During the millennial celebration of Mount Athos, it was often possible to see this flag flying together with the national flag of Greece", I hope you are not attributing this argument to me? I hope this is not a misunderstanding of my "The Holy Mountain existed as a religious community for nearly 2 millenias", with which I am pointing out to the fact that the Athonite institutions are older than most of Europe, older even than the Vatican institutions, and that not all historical institutions have a constitution in the modern sense of the word, one that defines explicitly the athonite flag in the same sense the constitution of Greece does for the Greek flag. The caption is no problem for me, so I am fine with your proposed "Flag of the GOC, commonly used throughout Athos" caption. I shall note that such a caption is already used in the article of the Greek Orthodox Church, so I can't see what problem can there be if we use the same for Mount Athos. But, Constantine, I wish you good luck in convincing the user Future Perfect, into accepting your proposal. At least from my part do not expect to say anything more. --SILENTRESIDENT 13:07, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
No SilentResident, my quote is taken directly from Source #2, the The Flag Bulletin article, which appears to use this as corroborating evidence. I chose this to highlight the problematic nature of the sources: this particular source appears to be the most qualitative one as it comes from a journal of the field and is not a generalist work, so one would expect the author to have researched his claims rather than copy from other sources, yet even here there are question marks as to what the author(s) actually know, guess, or repeat from other sources. Constantine 13:27, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
    • A solution with a caption like the one proposed by Cplakidas (preferably outside the infobox, perhaps again near the "Administraton" section) would be fine with me. Indeed, nobody denies that the flag is commonly used by the Athonites. Fut.Perf. 13:48, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

No way, Future Perfect. To have the flag moved from the infobox is basically to have what you wanted in the first place: remove the flag completely from the infobox to suit your POV. I vehemently am opposing this and I suggest you accept Cplakida's proposal which is to keep the flag but with a different caption, is a good compromise which takes in account both your concerns and everyone else's. --SILENTRESIDENT 14:09, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

(edit conflict × 2) He said (preferably outside the infobox,... I think that it is ok to keep it in the infobox with a suitable caption, even referring to the two strongest RS [2] and [4] which support it as the flag of Athos. Dr. K. 14:24, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't be so certain #2 and #4 are better than the rest. I was simply not yet done reviewing them. One red flag is that the intro text about Mount Athos in the "Flag Bulletin" source on p.103 (as far as I could google it) is almost verbatim copied (plagiarized) from Encyclopedia Britannica, with only quite superficial changes of wording. And #4 doesn't support anything at all, because (at least the way you quote it) it is ungrammatical gibberish. Fut.Perf. 14:35, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
You can be as pedantic as you wish, but the snipet of source [4] by expert William Crampton, founder of the Flag Institute, mentions Mount Athos (Church or not) and it can easily be deciphered as meaning that it is the flag of Athos and the Greek Orthodox Church. In any case, this is resolved by someone obtaining a copy of the RS. Ref [2] is reliable, and even after Kostas Plakidas's extreme vetting the source remains RS. It is not up to you to determine the validity of these sources alone; that's why we are at RSN. Dr. K. 14:47, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
About #2: A source that lifts its entire first paragraphs from Britannica is quite obviously not a reliable source about anything. I'm astonished at your defending such a practice. About #4, you seem to be over-impressed by the credentials of Mr Crampton. William Crampton was a schoolteacher of sorts with a degree in sociology and an amateur self-styled "researcher" on flags. He founded a club for his hobby-horse, which he called an "Institute". That doesn't make him, or the publications spawned by his institute, an academic authority. (Nor does the fact that we have a walled garden of promotional articles about that Flag Institute and related figures, all sourced almost exclusively to their own self-published press releases and written by a handful of COI users on Wikipedia some time ago.) He certainly wasn't an academic expert on the constitutional order of Mount Athos. His Complete Guide is a 136-page booklet published by a general-interest, non-academic publisher, with no signs of any criteria of academic rigour. In that book we find (at most) a parenthetical half-sentence mentioning Mount Athos in passing, with no further documentation. That's certainly not enough for us to do anything with. Fut.Perf. 08:58, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
About #2: A source that lifts its entire first paragraphs from Britannica is quite obviously not a reliable source about anything. I'm astonished at your defending such a practice. EB is a reliable source and copying EB verbatim is allowed as long as it is from the 1911 edition which is in the public domain. This practice is allowed on Wikipedia, and I am astonished you didn't know about it, although I suspect that you do but you could not resist another cheap stunt, coming after the most recent one with (both Wikipedia editors and authors out there are proliferating a POV falsehood: that Mount Athos is a "state" (and as such, can be expected to have a state flag), a fact that was rebutted and proven to be useless and a clear useless falsification intended to smear the reputations of reputable editors here. The fact remains that The Flag Bulletin is a recognised specialist publication and a reliable source. About #4, you seem to be over-impressed by the credentials of Mr Crampton. William Crampton was a schoolteacher of sorts with a degree in sociology and an amateur self-styled "researcher" on flags. Your self-serving analysis of Crampton's origins goes against his long career and practice as a flag expert and his international standing as an expert. Crampton, your original research notwithstanding, is an internationally-recognised expert on flags and as such his source is a reliable source. He founded a club for his hobby-horse, which he called an "Institute". That doesn't make him, or the publications spawned by his institute, an academic authority. More manufactured original research intended to belittle Compton and the Flag Institute. Just read the article on what you call so dismissively "hobby horse" to see what an important institute it is and go to their website to check the specialist and expert flag-related work they do in the UK and internationally. That doesn't make him, or the publications spawned by his institute, an academic authority. More pretentious academic "rigour" claptrap. You don't need to have a Ph.D. in flag-ology to determine if Mount Athos has a flag or not. That monastic state has a flag which is a fact recognised by many reliable sources specialising in flags. Mount Athos, being a primarily religious entity, is averse to creating elements associated with official statehood such as constitution, rigorous flag adoptions and descriptions etc. But its long practice of using this flag has been documented and verified by flag experts. You don't get to belittle the long practice of these flag experts, and international respect and recognition they enjoy for their work classifying and categorising flags, because of your manufactured haughty requirements of "academic rigour" for such an obvious fact, namely that Athos has a flag which by tradition and wide recognition, has become the official flag of that monastic entity. Your pretentious "academic rigour" requirements aside, this is a self-evident and RS-recognised fact. Dr. K. 16:42, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Mount Athos, being a primarily religious entity, is averse to creating elements associated with official statehood such as constitution, rigorous flag adoptions and descriptions etc. No pun intented, but I am wondering if Future Perfect, who declared himself an "Mount Athos expert", has ever been in Athos at all. The fact that he goes as far as to diminish all the reliable sources and even to demote the flag experts out there (who know more on flags than anyone here), only proves that we are dealing with a blatant POV case. The reason his POV has not found me agreeing with, is because the reality is quite different than his views. It is absolutely true that the Athonite institutions simply do not care about the outside world, nor they are going to write any constitutions just to formalize their flag and such. They are just running their monastic affairs and their monks are living their ascetic life. Nothing more, nothing less. And I am not expecting this reality to change anytime in the near future. Turning the flag and/or other Athonite descriptions or symbols into a big never-ending debate (I shall remind you it has been years since Future Perfect is stirring up this disruption about the flag), is not productive and I prefer that we spend our valuable time on other Wiki articles that could need our attention more than Mount Athos. --SILENTRESIDENT 17:15, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Who said the plagiarism was from the public domain EB1911? It was from more recent versions (EB1911 had very different language, while the language in the current web edition of EB is still substantially identical to that copied in the Flag Bulletin article.) And even if it had been from an old public-domain edition: we are here talking not about what is "allowed on Wikipedia", but what is proper academic practice in scholarly journals. Lifting text from a public domain source may be not illegal in terms of copyright, but it still constitutes academic plagiarism if done without acknowledgment. Lifting text from a copyrighted source, as was done here, is of course even worse. And therefore any "journal" article that does this is automatically disqualified as a reliable source. Fut.Perf. 19:40, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Lifting text from a public domain source may be not illegal in terms of copyright, but it still constitutes academic plagiarism if done without acknowledgment. Lifting text from a copyrighted source, as was done here, is of course even worse. I have an EB edition from 1985 which incorporates large-scale text from EB 1911. I suspect this text may have been copied from EB 1911 to a newer edition of EB. If the editors failed to acknowledge this copy, it may have been a breach of academic plagiarism standards, but it does not automatically render the rest of their flag-related observations invalid. In any case, can you quote the actual text you are referring to? Dr. K. 20:03, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
I checked EB11, the text is not from there. And sorry, quoting the stuff is rather cumbersome, as I have to piece it together from Google snippets. I had started copying the stuff out bit by bit, but it got lost when I had to restart my computer. But I can assure you the first passages of the Flag Bulletin article are virtually identical to the passages in the present EB article [5], at least roughly from "semiautonomous republic of Greek Orthodox monks…" to "… only town of the subdivision is Kariaí (Karyaes)", again from "hermits inhabited Athos before ad 850 […]" to "… who granted Athos its first charter (Typikon)", and again from "The community’s present constitution dates from 1924…". There are bits in between that I couldn't access through Google snippets and I didn't work my way through all the rest of the article, so I can't say where it starts being more original. Fut.Perf. 20:15, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for checking with EB11. No problem with the snippet-stitching. I know how cumbersome it can be. Dr. K. 20:59, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Above: More manufactured original research intended to belittle Compton and the Flag Institute. Just read the article on what you call so dismissively "hobby horse" to see what an important institute it is and go to their website to check the specialist and expert flag-related work they do in the UK and internationally. That intrigued me, so I clicked on the link. It's an organization that concerns itself with Vexillology. The latter article says that vexillology is defined by an organization (the most prominent?) as the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge. Well, I wondered, what is the body of knowledge, what are the theories, what are the principles? The article says nothing. From what's written about it in en:WP, I infer that vexillology has academic aspirations but not that it's academic. (Of course, I'm willing to believe that the vexillology article is seriously defective.) -- Hoary (talk) 09:27, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
Your points are well made and I agree with your conclusions. I also appreciate, as always, your understated sense of humour. As I said above, I don't think you have to have a Ph.D. to do research on the practice and tradition of flags. I also don't think that these institutes have to be academic to determine the characteristics and traditional use of flags and other symbols. I also don't expect anyone to write a Ph.D. thesis, or research paper, on the subject of the existence of the Athos flag. But I don't think that the combined practical knowledge, research, and expertise of these authors, institutes, and publications can be dismissed. The point is that longterm traditional use of this flag by Athos can be examined, and, since Athos is a separate entity from the Greek Orthodox church, the flag can be considered Athos's own. If you expect any signatures, constitutions, bureaucracy, and written papers from the monks, who have specifically made a vow to only serve the divine and avoid worldly matters, then you will not get the definitive answer you expected. The matter comes down to a choice between dismissing tradition and documented historical usage of the flag by Athos, as part of its deliberately faint worldly identity, or to respect the tradition, and longterm use, that defines its flag, as documented by the sources under examination. Dr. K. 11:17, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

University professor's (essentially self-published) lectures?

Hey, I'm getting increasingly addicted to this guy's YouTube channel (here), particularly his brilliant Lord of the Rings lecture series. I've long considered open courses from Yale, UC Berkeley and the like to be reliable sources for uncontroversial factual claims and the opinions of the lecturers themselves (who generally meet our notability guidelines anyway), but this appears to be somewhat different, as the YouTube videos themselves seem to be the result of him (or someone under his direction) placing a camera and microphone on a desk, and him (or someone under his direction) uploading it onto a YouTube channel named for him rather than, say, his institution.

Specifically, I'd like to cite his critical opinions in various articles on these subjects (in case folks haven't noticed, we've got a lot of pretty crappy articles on fictional characters, particularly those appearing in works of speculative fiction), but I'm not sure if his opinions are any more noteworthy than mine or yours since he is essentially self-publishing, at least in these instances that I can access for free and listen to on my phone while taking long walks.

Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:09, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Citing opinions is guided by neutrality. If these opinions are noteworthy then you need to establish that by discussions of them in reliable secondary sources. But then you wouldn't need the videos, since the sources would provide all the information that was noteworthy. There are books and articles about Tolkien, and Sherman is considered a leading expert, so you can always use them. You could also consider providing links to the lectures since they are by an established expert. TFD (talk) 03:25, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't understand TFD's reply. If Ted Spence is considered to be a leading expert on Tolkien, who has previously published on the subject in reliable third-party places, then his videos are admissible under WP:SELFPUB: "Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." I can't see that it makes any difference whether the self-published sources are in textual or video format. Since anyone can upload to YouTube, it would be preferred if there was some evidence that Spence owns up to them (for example, a link to the videos on Spence's own page). Zerotalk 03:43, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Is the professor notable for his own article? For a self-published source (which the Youtube lecture is), I'd prefer to see a wiki page. That way, you could say "So & so says this about this character", which lends some reliability to the content. I might start with an article on the prof, if at all possible. K.e.coffman (talk) 05:08, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Actually that's not necessary, and being notable wouldn't necessarily make him a reliable source. My question is "Is he cited as a source in other reliable sources?" Doug Weller talk 07:55, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Zero, SELFPUB relates to reliablity not neutrality. In other words, it is a reliable source for facts, but the issue is whether the videos should be used for reporting opinions. SELFPUB says that self-published sources are reliable sources for opinions, whether or not the person is an expert. But this is really an issue of weight. Not whether the videos accurately reflect the opinions presented, but whether these opinions should be presented in the article based on the requirement that "each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources." When you present these opinions you need to explain the degree of acceptance they have in mainstream sources. Maybe there is a raging controversy and presenting them without mentioning that would be a weight violation. Fortunately, there are books and articles that explain the relative weight of different views, and we should use them. TFD (talk) 05:16, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
User:TFD, I erred in citing WP:SELFPUB instead of WP:SELFPUBLISH. The latter is where I quoted from, and it gives a criterion that allows for some self-published sources to be considered reliable (not just reliable for the author's opinion). If the criterion is satisfied, the source can be treated the same as other "reliable sources" and no special considerations apply to it. Zerotalk 05:49, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Is this a reputable journal

Military History Journal ISSN 0026-4016 published by The South African Military History Society. Website Does this journal have a generally positive reputation? I see it is cited fairly frequently in articles about South African military history. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 10:00, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

Balfour Declaration

I would be grateful if editors could find some time to comment on an RFC as to RS suitability at the talk page for the above article, thank you. The queried RS are

& (for comparison)

Reliability of Cliffsnotes, Sparknotes and study guides in general

  • Linksearch en (https) - meta - de - fr - simple - wikt:en - wikt:frMER-C X-wiki • Reports: Links on en - COIBot - COIBot-Local • Discussions: tracked - advanced • COIBot-Link, Local, & XWiki Reports - Wikipedia: en - fr - de • Google: searchmeta • Domain:
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  • Linksearch en (https) - meta - de - fr - simple - wikt:en - wikt:frMER-C X-wiki • Reports: Links on en - COIBot - COIBot-Local • Discussions: tracked - advanced • COIBot-Link, Local, & XWiki Reports - Wikipedia: en - fr - de • Google: searchmeta • Domain:

I was a bit surprised to not get a single hit in RSN archives about those sites. I was looking for some policy / guide that would state clearly those are not acceptable, but I couldn't find anything. It would be good to get some input and consensus on reliability of those sources, as well as whether we allow linking to them (we have currently, in all namespaces, including article namespace, 200+ links to Cliffsnotes, almost 700 links to Sparknotes, 1800+ links to Book Rages, 250+ links to scmoop, 111 links to Schaum's Outlines, 5 links to Study Notes, 74 loinks to quizlet and no links to YorkNotes ([6]) except its own article, which seems totally acceptable. There may be others I am not aware of, but the existence of 2-3k links to this type of websites is an issue to be discussed. As I finished my education before such websites became popular, I have little personal experience with how content is created on them, and with their reliability. They are all unsourced, but that is not a damning issue - so are most encyclopedia articles, for example, and we are fine using those. Common sense also suggests that they are roughly accurate (not necessarily representing cutting edge of literary or like scholarship, of course). Who writes them would be good to know: is this content written by librarians/teachers/instructors, non-professionals, or (that would be a red flag) user-created by students themselves? Final thought: a lot of the content on those sites is simply plot summaries, which is not something we cite anyway. But they do seem to contain at least some analysis like [7] or [8]. What should our advice be for editors (students, etc.) which would like to use those as sources - and why? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 04:52, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

Study guides from a named person recognized in the field are certainly usable. Unfortunately, many modern study guides do not meet that criterion at all, and, in my opinion, are not usable for claims of fact. Where they are simply a précis of a book, they are likely "accurate enough," but claims of fact elude them far too often. Collect (talk) 15:24, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

Heat Street

The use of this source has been in contention in discussions at Carl Benjamin and Pepe the Frog - is Heat Street, a website launched in April 2016 a reliable source for factual content, or merely for RS:OPINION stuff? PeterTheFourth (talk) 13:33, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

Pinging Insertcleverphrasehere, who stated that it is the right wing equivalent to the apparently partisan Guardian. PeterTheFourth (talk) 13:34, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

Heat Street, while a WSJ spinoff, doesn't seem to have the same journalistic integrity as WSJ, and I would avoid it outside its use for opinion. --MASEM (t) 13:41, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
Does anyone have any examples of fabricated/made up stories being published by Heat Street? While a partisan source, I don't see a lot of difference between it and partisan left wing sources in terms of quality and journalistic integrity. In a lot of cases, I find that they are often the most comprehensive source for internet nerd culture stuff (such as in the above articles) as their contributors tend to be a bit more internet savvy than other outlets. They might be less reliable for political stuff, I am not sure. — InsertCleverPhraseHere 18:10, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
Their handling of mistakenly-run articles and retractions is not what we expect from reliable sources, and it says a lot about their fact-checking and accuracy.
In September 2016, they published "No Hillary, Pepe the Frog is Not a Racist Meme" about the Pepe the Frog meme. Five days later, they issued the retration "Hillary Clinton Is Absolutely Right, ‘Pepe’ Meme Is Antisemitic – An Apology" written by co-founder Louise Mensch. (She is no longer with the site.) In it, Mensch wrote: "That piece was inaccurate. We apologize for publishing it. The piece was floated and rejected in a story meeting yet somehow, at high volume, this one slipped through the net." (How a site could accidentally publish an article that had specifically been rejected is beyond me.) Later in the piece, she wrote: "I have discussed this matter with our contributor and showed him the evidence. He offered to delete the original post but we decided it is more in the spirit of No Safe Spaces to admit our own foul-ups." Sure enough, an Editor's Note was added to the original piece. But sometime later the Editor's Note was removed from the version of the article currently on and Louise Mensch's apology/retraction was pulled from the site. So is Pepe the Frog a racist meme or not? There was "evidence" pointing to yes, but then it was removed. It's tough to say what Heat Street's official editorial position is.
Also, unlike many (most?) other reliable sources, they don't differentiate between opinion and fact-based reporting. For example, articles like "SJW vs. SJW: SJW Mad That SJW New York Times Writer Praised SJW Who Wrote SJW Book" get in plenty of digs with lines like "social justice warriors will always be outraged about something". There's no indication if they consider this real journalism or a gossipy opinion piece. Woodroar (talk) 19:59, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, they did issue a retraction when the preponderance of sources were agreeing at the time that Pepe was a 'racist meme', the issuing of retractions is a good thing, and indicates a reputation for accuracy and fact checking (WP:NEWSORG). Note now that the Heat Street article in question largely agrees in content with what our own article says about the racism of Pepe the Frog based on current sources (i.e. some pepe memes are racist, and others aren't), perhaps they decided in hindsight that a retraction was not necessary (If this is the case though, I still find it odd that there is no editor's note about the retraction of the retraction on the article). The second source you mentioned, about SJWs also largely agrees with what our article on the subject says about the term (i.e. reputation for overly politically correct views). Heat street might have a right wing veiwpoint and perspective of these issues, but neither of these sources demonstrate printing of false material IMO, they are well within the range of legitimate views on the topics in question (just like sources on the other side like Mother Jones or Salon might have a reasonably strong left leaning viewpoint on similar issues). Partisan sources are not really a major issue, so long as they are not supporting conspiracy theories, or printing false material without fact checking (i.e. Infowars), it is just a matter of maintaining proper WP:WEIGHT of sources in our articles. Anyone have anything else that might demonstrate that Heat Street is not a reliable source? — InsertCleverPhraseHere 21:02, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
No. Heat Street does not have a good reputation for fact-checking an accuracy. It may be usable for its own opinions, but not for statements on facts -- at least not for most subjects. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 22:44, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

It's easy to point to mess ups by any RS that is widely used, InsertCleverphrase has it right in the way such mess ups are handled, is a good indication of what that source is. Arkon (talk) 00:06, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

@Arkon Its not me, its in our own guidelines (bottom bit of WP:NEWSORG), all sources make mistakes, how they handle those mistakes, and how often is what matters.
@Rhododendrites what made you come to the conclusion that they have do not have such a reputation? The New York Times re-used quotes given to heatstreet here, The Washington Post cites Heat Street's sleuthing on a fake news story [here]. The Post also examines reporting by heatstreet that led Trump to believe he was being wiretapped here. Digiday talks about them positively here. As does Business Insider here. NPR reported positively about their reporting here, indeed NPR says that "The BBC and The Guardian in January confirmed much of Mensch's report and built on it.", referring to a post on Heat Street, indicating that the BBC[9] and the Gaurdian[10] also consider Heat Street to be a reliable source. Fox News is considering taking on their head editor to run, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Regardless of how you feel about their conservative leanings, it is pretty clear that they are taken very seriously as a reliable source by other, more established, reliable news sources. — InsertCleverPhraseHere 04:24, 21 June 2017 (UTC) Pinging all other users who were involved in a similar previous discussion about Heat Street's reliability Mark Schierbecker, Grayfell, Jeff5102.InsertCleverPhraseHere 04:36, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Agree with the first comment made by Masem in this thread. Sagecandor (talk) 04:29, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Croatian presidential election, 2014–15 and Opinion polling for the next Croatian parliamentary election polls

I have recently got into an edit war (that I have stopped in the meantime) with user Tuvixer when I tried to add polls made by 2x1 komunikacije, which were the only one to correctly predict the winner of the election. The polls are usually published on portal (for example: ), but are also mentioned in other media:

  • Večernji list (one of our major newspapers):
  • Jutarnji list (one of our major newspapers):
  • Slobodna Dalmacija (major newspaper in southern part of Croatia):
  • (probably the largest news portal in our country):
  • (smaller than index, but popular among right-leaning population):

Our whole discussion can be seen at Talk:Croatian presidential election, 2014–15. Also, I saw that he reverted all mentions of the said survey in Next Croatian parliamentary election article (I HAVE NOT edited that article at all), without even discussing it, and even changing the introduction to include only polls published by TV chanells (see here: [11]). He described as "right wing antisemitic and pro fascist tabloid" and told me to "stop citing them". While I can't deny them being slightly to the right, they are far from being extreme. Their workers include Davor Gjenero (independent liberal, also works with Al Jazeera and is a frequent guest on HRT - national TV), Tomislav Marčinko (centre-right, worked on national TV and is one of the founders of NovaTV - one of three major TV houses in Croatia), Gordan Malić (also often a guest in other media) and other journalists and analysts with experience in major newspapers and TV houses. What I am trying to prove is that the polls from 2x1 komunikacije should be included, as they are frequently cited by other portals and newspapers and not only Tuxiver provided two main "sources" against the polling agency:

  • Well I am sorry to inform you but my neighbor is a professor of statistics specialized in opinion polling and surveys. I have asked him multiple times if I should look at the 2*1 komunikacije polls as relevant and he said and I quote "They don't make scientific surveys, you better make up the numbers yourself and then say that it is an opinion poll".
So, we have an unsourced opinion of an unknown "professor" (hardly a reliable "source").
  • [12]
A critique written by marginal far-left activist, who seems to forgot that other major polls from the time period when 2x1 agencija conducted it excluded Sinčić completely. Plus, the critique was written before the second round, in which only 2x1 komunikacije predicted the correct winner (comparison of polls can be seen here: [13])

So, I am kindly asking the members here to state their opinion on the polling agency. StjepanHR (talk) 13:16, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

 Comment: Courtesy notification to the noticeboard of prior external discussion at the article talk page, a DRN case (closed with a refferal here) and the talk page of a DRN volunteer. TheDragonFire (talk) 13:42, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
Although nobody has yet replied, I will do it because I forgot to add one thing. Tuvixer also criticized 2x1 komunikacije on the basis that their founder is a HDZ supporter. Well, he surely is, but Agan Begić of Promocija plus is also pretty outspoken in his pro-People's Coalition and left-wing position (he supports Ivo Josipović - coincidentally a candidate in the elections that are a part of this dispute, Tatjana Šimac Bonačić, Nada Turina-Đurić, Andrej Poropat, etc., who are/were all from the People's Coalition): . And the owner of the third agency, Ipsos Puls, Srđan Dumičić is accused by his opponents for connections with People's Coalition ([14]). To be honest, each of the three accuses the other two, so maybe we should remove all three polls (and delete the page with polls) if criticising from the oposition is a relevant source :) StjepanHR (talk) 10:40, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Could someone, please, give his/her opinion about this. Not that I am impatient, but two days seems to be a long wait time on this board... StjepanHR (talk) 13:48, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
I just found out that even Transparency International used 2x1 komunikacije as a relevant polling agency for our last elections: [15] . On a side note, they missed the results ([16]) for only seven (7) seats, compared to nineteen (19) missed by Promocija Plus and twelve (12) missed by Hendal. Ipson (not listed by T.I.) missed the results by fourteen (14) seats. Week later 2x1 performed worse, but still equal to Hendal and better than the other two. StjepanHR (talk) 00:57, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

Weight of multiple sources?

If two sources are both considered reliable, and due to policy we can only list one, do we only list the source that is the "industry standard"? Something similar is happening here. SharkD  Talk  14:50, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Which policy would limit us to only one? WP:NOTPAPER. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 05:54, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Its not a reliability issue, its including a review aggregator as part of a template. There is no policy issue with using multiple reliable sources within an article, but if discussion on a template is to limit the included fields to 1 or 2 of the most significant/well known, thats the way it goes. Templates/infoboxes try not to include *everything* because it quickly leads to bloat. The reason other aggregators are not being included in the template is that they add nothing that is not already covered by metacritic - the de-facto industry go-to in this area. Opencritic is unliklely to be used in an article otherwise, because its an aggregator, not a source itself. Only in death does duty end (talk) 08:42, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

POV pushing on clear WP:RSs

At Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Task Force Tips, HighKing seems to be POV pushing describing what seem to be clear WP:RS as if they fail WP:ORGIND. E.g., he has insisted that this nwtimes article amounts to an announcement from the subject instead of journalism that went through the desired editorial process. He has similar complaints about this Fortune article and a machine design article--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 21:55, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

I think the link you posted makes it very clear that in reality, you have a different interpretation as to the criteria for establishing notability than others. The criteria for establishing facts allows for different sources than the criteria for establishing notability (where the bar is stricter). I explained my interpretation at length in a patient manner at the AfD. Coming here and labelling it "POV pushing" is a little histrionic and very questionable. -- HighKing++ 12:12, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
  • IMHO never having seen the subject before, there is no problem with those sources being used in an article on the subject for some information. However they do not give significant coverage to confer notability (in my opinion). So if they question is 'Are they reliable' the answer is yes, if the question is 'because they are reliable is the company notable?' the answer is no. Just because sources are reliable does not make the subject notable. Only in death does duty end (talk) 12:21, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
    • I agree. This comes up time and time again at AfDs and I try to explain this each time if I believe there is some confusion. TonyTheTiger has created a strawman argument which was not made by anyone at the AfD since nobody questioned whether the sources were reliable but that the sources failed the criteria for establishing notability. -- HighKing++ 13:32, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
News media frequently base stories on information provided from the subjects. We expect reporters to exercise judgment when relaying what they have been told and therefore consider news media reliable sources. TFD (talk) 01:07, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

la diaria

There is a discussion at Talk:Progressive Alliance about sourcing for the claim that the Democratic Party (United States) is a participant/member.[17] One of the sources is an interview in la diara with an official of the Socialist Party of Uruguay, who says, "".[18] The official says, "It was initially integrated by those who had supported the candidacy of Mona Sahlin, but then began to add valuable organizations that until now had not been in the SI, such as the Workers' Party of Brazil, and begin to weave alliances, as with the Democratic Party of the United States...Then came the idea of ​​consolidating the Progressive Alliance as an organization."

First, I do not think it is clear that the Democratic Party's connection was the same as the other SI members and no mention of whether the party actually joined the organization. Second, interviews are not normally considered realible sources for facts.

In my opinion, this is a typical example of not finding the sources for what they think should be in the article in the usual sources, such as news reports, and settling for what they can find, however tangential to the subject. Why would someone go to an interview of a politician in Uruguay to determine whether a U.S. Party, which has received extensive coverage in all types of sources, is a member of an international group based in Europe?

TFD (talk) 22:00, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Muslim view of Jacob wrestling with the angel

I recently removed some text from this article, on the basis that the source cited described the information it was about to mention as "coming from a book with no "pretension to objectivity or scholarship". So we were citing a seemingly reliable source talking about an unreliable source. My view is that unreliable material has no verification and should not be in Wikipedia, because of WP:V.

I've been reverted by Truth be toad (great username, by the way) on the basis "The author cites a book with a specific Muslim criticism/view relevant to the article." I have no difficulty in a Muslim perspective being included, but if it is to state that such a perspective is something inflammatory like this is one of the "ridiculous stories of the Bible", it needs proper sourcing.

Not interested in edit-warring, so posting here for your views. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 09:30, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

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