Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard/Archive 16

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Latin American Briton population estimates

We've got a discussion going on at the Latin American Britons talk page about the use of population estimates that are described by the source as "guesstimates". For me, there are two issues: firstly, are guesstimates suitable for inclusion in a Wikipedia article if they're labelled as such; and secondly, is the source reliable? Given that the estimates are so far off the 2001 Census figures, I'm doubtful about whether they're reliable. Cordless Larry (talk) 10:24, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

The Census figure is the one to quote up front. It's OK to add groups up to make a total, but don't carry out any other calculations. Demography is an exact and complex science. I'd say the guesstimate and source are OK if very clearly attributed. "According to the Census there are ... . OECD figures show ... However, a historian, X, writing in Y, estimated that there are as many as ...". Itsmejudith (talk) 19:57, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. Do you think that the guesstimate should go in the infobox as well as the main article? Also, is there any general guidance on the validity of guesstimates as sources on Wikipedia? Cordless Larry (talk) 13:33, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
No, only an official figure should go in the infobox. Census figures have many well-acknowledged limitations but they are what we use in infoboxes because we are aiming for verifiability. I don't know of general guidance on guesstimates. I think it depends on the state of knowledge in the particular field and the level of accuracy that specialists in that field usually work to. You can measure the length of a mobile phone case to the nearest millimetre, but if you state the length of a building to the nearest millimetre it will be a case of spurious accuracy. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:12, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Google Book Search snippets

At Talk:Plymouth#The_History_section_and_summary_style, User:Bsrboy has stated that he thinks that the snippets provided by Google Book Search can be considered reliable sources. I disagree, for the simple reason that there's insufficient context. I haven't found any discussion where a consensus opinion has emerged on this, so for the record I ask: Are Google Book Search snippet views (like these) reliable sources? Thanks,  —SMALLJIM  16:39, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

No. The snippet is not, or only in very rare cases. Google Books Search is good for locating sources, but you still need to reference and check the book, not the online snippet. Note that most books are available cheaply via Interlibrary loan. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 18:43, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
I'd say that the book, more properly speaking, is still the reliable source. The snippet is simply what one easily has of it. Whether it is usable for wikipedia depends entirely on the subject, what Almighty Google, in its infinite wisdom sees fit to grant us, the type of information given, etc. These can be so variable that it is not surprising that no consensus has formed concerning a subject about which it almost impossible to make valid generalizations. If it say, gives someone's date and place of birth, as I myself have recently used a google books snippet for, what could be wrong with that? By searching for the words at the beginning or end of the quotes given, one can sometimes extend the snippet. See Crime of Apartheid and Talk:Crime of apartheid , last section for an example where several editors, one quite skeptical, corrected and nailed down a quote using google books snippets. It is hard for me to see what the snippets given above could possibly be used for, though. Here, even more than usual, what context it is being used in is all. In any case, the simple and easy course is clear. If you want to use a snippet to say something, convince everybody else that there is no other reasonable interpretation of the snippet, then use it. If you can't, if the other side has rational arguments and alternative readings, don't. Of course, one may have to serously reedit the text that the cite should support in order to arrive at a consensus, just like any other edit.John Z (talk) 20:08, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your interesting comments. Here's another problem with snippets: when I click on the Google books link to the date of birth reference that you added[1] to Michel G. Malti, I see a two-column snippet, the first column of which begins with "Yankee Doodles (1943)" and the second column starts with "MALTZ Maxwell: Plastic Reconstructive Surgeon; b. N. Y. C. Mar. 10. 1899; s. Joseph and Tobey Maltz; ed Columbia Univ" etc. The second occurrence of "Maltz" is highlighted in yellow - I assume it's an OCR misread for "Malti". So I'm obviously being shown a different snippet to what you (John Z) saw. Can someone else check this link and let us know what you see?  —SMALLJIM  18:33, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
No, it was my error. I copied and pasted the wrong URL.. Thanks for pointing it out. That's what you get when you search for Michel Malti in that book, rather than all books. The problem is that the snippet sometimes (usually) isn't what you want, and is different and worse than the short preview sub-snippet that google gives along with the link when you do a search over all books. I fixed it, and now it shows his date and place of birth when you click on it, and is consistent with other sources' info. Again, this emphasizes care and context being absolutely vital when doing this.John Z (talk) 00:10, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
OK. I now see text in the first "hit" on your new link that states Malti's DOB. The problem I can see with this is that this is a type of Google search result, and if Google later scans another book about a different Michel Malti (or re-scans this book, or changes its search parameters, or no doubt several other possibilities), it's entirely possible that the displayed links will change. I'm pretty sure that Google search results are not considered to be reliable sources on WP, probably for this reason. I'd say that for Google Book Search snippets to be useful sources, what's needed is a way to provide a permanent link to the relevant graphical snippet, i.e. the image of the part of the page containing the correct text (to remove the possibility of OCR errors). And as far as I'm aware, that doesn't seem to be possible.  —SMALLJIM  19:06, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

This is the context for it:

During the English Civil War Plymouth sided with the Parliamentarians and so was isolated from the surrounding regions of Devon and Cornwall which were held by Royalist sympathisers. The town was besieged for almost four years until the Royalists were defeated. Various skirmishes and confrontations occurred, including the battle of St Budeaux and the rout of Royalist cavalry along Lipson Ridge.[1][2][3]

  1. ^ Gill, Crispin (1979). Plymouth, a New History. David & Charles. ISBN 0715376179. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. ^ "Siege". The BBC. 2003-01-06. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
  3. ^ Parker, John William (1841). The Saturday Magazine. University of Wisconsin-Madison. p. 22. Retrieved 2008-07-06.

bsrboy (talk) 20:12, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

You need to tell us what snippet you are using to support what statement, and what the dispute is about if one exists. I couldn't tell very much from the talk page. Have you read the book? An otherwise insufficient snippet might be OK if you can get the page number from it, and you remember the passage.John Z (talk) 10:18, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
There's no dispute over content as such. Let me clarify: my enquiry is about the general validity of using these snippets as reliable sources. I became aware yesterday that some of the references that bsrboy (and therefore probably other editors) had been citing were to these snippet views, without having seen the book (or more of it on-line) to understand the context, and also (importantly) without clearly stating in the citation that it was only the three or four line snippet that he had seen – to me that smacks of misrepresentation.  —SMALLJIM  11:26, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree that people should be clear about snippet usage. As long as the URL's are provided, people can check that only the snippet is seen. Of course one should never wildly but plausibly speculate on the basis of a snippet, and give an unlinked book ref.John Z (talk) 01:02, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
I think it depends on the "snippet". Some of the books on Google let you see pages and pages at a time, and its fairly unlikely that a thesis would go on for twenty pages and then say "ha-ha, _not_". It would be preferable to read the physical book but I dont see a problem with using Google. The citation, of course, would be a regular book citation with an optional convenience link, not any of this "retrieved on" business citing the web site. On the other hand, sometimes Google only lets you see a couple lines at a time, and those can be more problematic. Squidfryerchef (talk) 02:12, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I've added another reference to it from the BBC. bsrboy (talk) 10:36, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

And now another reference to a book with a preview available. bsrboy (talk) 11:00, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Adding further references isn't helpful; that's not what this issue is about. It might be useful for this discussion to provide the exact URL of the snippets from Gill's book that you saw.  —SMALLJIM  11:29, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
here. bsrboy (talk) 11:48, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Smalljim is right about not using snippets " without having seen the book (or more of it on-line) to understand the context." My point is that once in a while a google snippet and knowledge of the subject provide enough information to understand the context beyond reasonable objections. For the given snippet, at best I think one can extract "young Sir Francis Drake (he succeeded his father in 1641) raised a regiment called the Plymouth Horse. Sir Ralph Hopton commanded Cornwall for the King. In November he advanced on Exeter, but finding it too strong..." and "..the main force of the garrison stood with their left flank resting on Lipson Fort. The Royalists held the Mount Gould peninsula, any retreat by the defenders would mean the attack would be behind the fortified line" at unspecified times. This would probably not be useful, unless one had substantial other information from other sources, and this miraculously helped patch up a tiny detail. (e.g. you had "R. Hopton commanded ..." but not his first name). In particular, it doesn't seem to support anything in the text given above aside from Cornwall being held by the Royalists, which is probably supported by something else. It makes the book a good candidate for being in Further Reading, not as a reference. Smalljim seems to me to be very sensible and careful; if you (Bsrboy) have a good argument that a snippet supports something, I am sure he will listen. A skeptical and reasonable listener is the best guarantee that you will arrive at accurate material with solid support. John Z (talk) 01:33, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
I've added other references, but one of them didn't mention Lipsom Fort. The google snippet does, so it helps to patch that bit up. bsrboy (talk) 15:05, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Vevmo

Resolved

Hi. Is vevmo a reliable source for news pertaining to The Real World? I relied on this page for info on the cast for The Real World: Hollywood before mtv.com had any info on that cast, and almost everything about the entire cast turned out to be correct, right down to the identity of the two cast members who left the series close to the end of it, and the two new ones that replaced them. They even had headshots of the cast members. (To be fair, the hometowns of six of the nine cast members is different from the ones now given by mtv.com.) Someone even created a vevmo article, though it is currently the focus of an AfD discussion. While AfD pertains to notability, this page is for reliability. What do you think? Nightscream (talk) 18:08, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

No, sorry, it is not a reliable source for Wikipedia articles. It is an "entertainment community" with various forums about different shows. It does not have the kind of editorial oversight required for articles in WP, see WP:SPS. And since living persons are involved here, this site absolutely must not be used.--Slp1 (talk) 03:11, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
I was not asking if information from anonymous participants in the forums be used. I wouldn't want to. I was referring to information posted by the administrators of the site, such as this example I linked to above, which had the names, occupations, headshots, and even in-season departure/replacement information about the cast, all of which turned out to be dead-on true, which would indicate that he is (or has) a reliable inside source regarding the production. Are you saying that that would be unusable too? (I just want to make sure I understand you, and that you looked closely at that info and its author.) Thanks. Nightscream (talk) 19:14, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, my opinion would be that the entire site is unusable as a reliable source, even posts by administrators (who are anonymous themselves, in fact). They may have been an accurate source in the past, as you note, but that still doesn't mean they meet the criteria for being a reliable source, which requires the editorial oversight, fact checking etc that comes from more mainstream media etc. And WP:SPS is clear that these criteria must be very stringently applied here because there are living people involved. Slp1 (talk) 20:04, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Understood. Thanks. Nightscream (talk) 06:28, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Play party

Once again, an editor is adding content to Play party based on his own personal experiences rather than any kind of reliable sources. Sources have been asked for for this content for years, and they just never emerge... and various editors seem to just re-add it or remove {{fact}} tags endlessly. per WP:V the burden is on people wanting to restore content to find sources... they've literally had years here yet still it's restored without sources again and again despite being challenged. --Rividian (talk) 02:37, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Ukraine topics

Resolved

Editors remove requests for sources [2] [3] from Ukrainization‎ and Ukraine‎ arguing that opinions for which sources were asked are "common knowledge" or "discouraging Russian is evidenced by the banning of Russian". What the correct action should be? --windyhead (talk) 08:38, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

You put too many tags on. Everything needs referencing but one reference per sentence is usually sufficient. Avoid mid-sentence fact-tags. It is time now for a full discussion on the talk page. You are right to say that everything needs a source; "common knowledge" is not good enough. There are many academic books and journal articles in English about post-Soviet society and they should be your starting point. Or look for feature articles in the online archives of the main English-language newspapers and news magazines. Avoid a revert war, instead try and bring in uninvolved editors by a message posted at a relevant Wikiproject, tagging for an expert, request for a third opinion or request for comment. If a revert war does ensue then you can ask for the page to be protected temporarily in order to bring editors to the talk page, but I hope you don't get to that stage. Itsmejudith (talk) 10:16, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Great Wall of China

I believe the Great Wall of China Forum is a reliable source. It represents information, photos, and maps I have personally collected on-site at numerous Great Wall of China locations over the years as well as through research via the many books shown on the site. Just because I have chosen to present this information on a site that is a forum is not a good reason to exclude it from links sections. I have found that many of the Great Wall of China pages on Wikipedia (there are many) contain external links to sites that have incorrect information and those links remain while the Great Wall Forum has been deleted. There is a lot of misinformation on the Great Wall of China and not much high-quality information in English language available on the Internet. The site is non-profit, non-commercial, and advertising-free. It has information, maps, and other material that is not available anywhere else. Thanks, Bryanfeldman (talk) 18:33, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

While it is quite likely that your page is very useful and correct, it is not a reliable source that Wikipedia can use. Wikipedia forbids original research and allows self-published sources only in very limited circumstances. The purpose of using sources is to be able to ensure verifiability. Wikipedia editors are not usually qualified to evaluate primary sources directly. Even if they are, we have no way of knowing that they are. Therefore we rely on external criteria, like reputation of the author, reputation of the publisher, process of publication, and so on. So unless you are an acknowledged expert on the Great Wall, we cannot use your site. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:55, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Huffington Post, Gawker and About.com

Are these considered reliable sources? seresin ( ¡? ) 20:49, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

I'd say, in general in terms of the blog content, not a RS, so it depends on the claim and the nature of the article cited on those sources. The partisan nature of the material could be a factor to consider as well. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:54, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
The parts of About.com that mirror Wikipedia and the parts where netizens answer questions are definitely not RS. Huffington Post is fine for its own opinions and non-contentious facts (though these latter are likely to have better sources). - Eldereft (cont.) 20:43, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Anyone can write for about.com and there is no fact checking or editorial oversight; it depends on whether the author meets WP:SPS as an expert. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:31, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

The Huffington Post is largely a self-published thing with no editorial oversight. It may be that some of the authors are notable, but it grants no more reliability than the author's view would have anywhere else. Treat it as a WP:SPS. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 05:44, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

I took another look, and , to my surprise, I think they are all 3 usable, with reservations, for most purposes. the Huffington Post is in my opinion as reliable for its signed stories as any conventionally published political newspaper or magazine. They are not contributed by just whoever wants to, like Wikinews. These are editorially selected, & include major essays by major writers. Arianna Huffington herself is an important political commentator, and what she writes can be cited --attributed to her of course. The commentary that miscellaneous people put in afterwards, that's another matter--that is not usable unless it happens to be from someone reliable. About.com has various parts. Some of the content from Wikipedia, but the other principle articles are made or at least screened by a selected list of contributors, who they claim to screen for expertise--read the article on it. It s furthermore published under the control of an undoubtedly reliable publisher, the NYT company--it's not a bunch of unscreened amateurs like here, though one does not know their actual standards. I would not automatically reject such content. I wouldn't use it for negative BLP, but that part does have editorial control and is therefore usable. Again, the stuff the readers write in as responses are another matter entirely. I havce been assuming its unreliable, but I think we need to take another look there. Gawker is a little trickier because of its subject specialization in celebrity gossip. But here again, the main items are under editorial control. The comments on the articles are like any other such comments. Using anything on a site like this for negative BLP is like using a tabloid. I'm not sure its worse than conventional tabloids, though. DGG (talk) 04:24, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Agree completely with DGG. The level of ignorance as to these sources is surprising. Please try to do basic research before commenting. About.com selects for experts on all the publications that I've seen from it. I happen to read their economics blog a fair bit, written by an MBA school professor / economics consultant. The Huffington Post usually has tons of major names writing for them, and it would be perverse to assume that there is no editorial oversight -- when a news publication, especially a massively notable/influential one, publishes something, they try to keep a decent reputation up. Since they have expert columnists, they may give a fair amount of leeway. It really depends on the columnist -- the nice thing about the Huffington Post is that there is more emphasis on the columnists than you might see in your average newspaper, or especially the AP. For example, a glance at their recent Business posts shows a Wharton grad/former commodities trader, a VP of an investment fund, the executive director of the Sierra Club, and economics Nobel Laureate Gary Becker. Gawker is less reliabie, as you'd expect, and I expect the major things in there get repeated in more reputable publications. It's more like a tabloid (in the pejorative, rather than the format, sense). II 04:42, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Seresin, thanks for the followup query. Yes there is some ignorance (and attitude along with some alarming demonstrations of that throughout this page lately). See WP:SOURCES for some general applicable wording to help you understand that the reliability of a source can't be generalized the way some queries are framed on this page; specifically you haven't said what you want to cite or which specific page of about.com you want to use to cite it.

Academic and peer-reviewed publications are highly valued and usually the most reliable sources in areas where they are available, such as history, medicine and science. Material from reliable non-academic sources may also be used in these areas, particularly if they are respected mainstream publications. The appropriateness of any source always depends on the context.

It would be far more helpful if you posted the specific about.com pages you want to cite, and what article and text you want to cite to about.com. The problems with the responses you've gotten to about.com generalize to three things:
  1. Reliability of a source is not a cut-and-dried, black-and-white issue. A source isn't either reliable or not, it depends on what text you're citing, context, and I'm not going to use a special ed housewife mom who about.com calls a published "expert" (because she writes Hallmark cards and food and wine cookbooks and received a BA in Literature) to cite an article about Tourette syndrome, just because "they" consider her an "expert" in something (food and wine, I guess?) [4]
  2. As shown in my example above (I can give you many others) another key here is in how they define "expert" [5] in relation to our standards, for example, at WP:SPS. They've decided housewife mom is a "published expert" in something, but about.com has a lot of inaccurate info for example on TS, so what makes her a reliable source for our Tourette syndrome article? Again, it would depend on text cited, but for most medical info, housewife mom is not a reliable source.
  3. As others explained, there are different areas of about.com and different writers. Some of their writers may meet our standards, for example, WP:SPS, for some text being cited and some purposes, others may not. Just because ImperfectlyInformed "happen(s) to read their economics blog a fair bit, written by an MBA school professor / economics consultant" doesn't mean he can declare across the board that about.com is "reliable" for all purposes or that special ed mom who writes Hallmark Cards and cook books should be cited in a medical article. Generally, about.com is a very iffy source since, as I've shown you, their definition of "recognized experts" doesn't necessarily lend itself to our standards. Further, if the about.com economics blogging expert is really so "expert", the content will likely be published elsewhere and verifiable to higher-quality sources.
You'll get a better answer if you post an example of what you want to cite and what page you want to cite it to; perhaps you've hit on one of the few "true" experts at about.com. Depending on the area, it's easy to sign up to "be a guide" at about.com, and their standards are not high, as in the example I've shown you. Depending on what article and text you're citing, and unless the particular about.com writer meets our standards of published experts, I'd be surprised if you couldn't find a better source. In any conversation about reliable sources, btw, be concerned about absolute answers; the answer as to whether a source is reliable almost always depends on context. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:29, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree that it depends (use common sense?). When I've seen people ask these real general questions about sources here, my first response has been "what is the context"? As far as the mother, she did write a book related to the subject, and some areas might lend themselves to a "mother's perspective". Apologies; I was inaccurate with regards to About.com: their information should be looked at as basically a SPS, since they basically give you a section and let you do what you want. The Huffington Post appears to be basically like a newspaper: they syndicate columnists and publish news; they have an editorial board, ect. II 06:27, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Another fine example; she wrote a book about sensory integration disorder, which isn't related to TS and for which a lot of application and common knowledge borders on quackery, so ... again ... what is an "expert" according to about.com? What is her training in SID, considering her BA in literature? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:11, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Another question I like to ask is, "Is a better source available?" In the case of About.com, the answer is almost always yes. --Laser brain (talk) 19:36, 7 July 2008 (UTC)a
Quite right. II | (t - c) 17:48, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Abd al-Karim Qasim

Resolved

An IP address editor has been deleting a series of website sources from the above article on the grounds that they are unreliable. One of the sources is directly copied from Saddam Hussein where presumably it was considered acceptable on a high profile article. The websites with the sources quote reputable newspapers/news agencies verbatim, but as they date from pre-internet days I can't find any first hand quotes and the subject is not extensively covered in readily available books. Could I have comments about whether these sources could be considered Reliable Sources. Ironically after deleting the sourced comments, the IP editor put up a notice about the lack of sources in the article. Dabbler (talk) 00:56, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

The Guardian, the New York Times and Reuters are reliable sources. Whether they are used in other WP articles is not relevant. From what you say you have not accessed the actual reports in these media but have read them or excerpts from them on websites. These websites may be acceptable as convenience links. It is much better if they include a whole article rather than an excerpt as there is then less scope for cherry-picking. Please try to avoid labelling other editors' contributions as POV. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:33, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
The articles in question are quoted in full on the disputed websites, not excerpted; so I understand that these would normally be aceptable? You will note that I have merely tried to "report the controversy", not claimed this as the truth. Dabbler (talk) 14:43, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, explain that you want to use them as convenience links and ask if anyone thinks that they might not have hosted the documents reliably (i.e. the websites have interfered with the documents' content). It is often possible to agree on convenience links. You may find it useful to note that we do not have to include an internet link to sources. So long as a paper copy is available in a library then that should be OK. All these three are generally reliable for facts. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:15, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice, but the editor involved does not accept it and persists in deleting the references etc. Dabbler (talk) 15:54, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Mania.com

Resolved

Is http://www.mania.com/ reliable? I'm not sure... Corn.u.co.pia ĐЌ Disc.us.sion 03:54, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Doesn't matter. Corn.u.co.pia ŢĐЌ Disc.us.sion 16:22, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Billboard Turkey chart (cut from WP:RS)

A user has been adding Turkey entries in many song-related articles using this site. Is the source reliable and is it the official chart of Turkey? Thank you. --Efe (talk) 12:05, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, a reliable source. Turkey has a few charts, with the Billboard one being probably the best. Fribbler (talk) 13:09, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
Is it the official chart of Turkey? --Efe (talk) 00:52, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

American Chronicle

This is something I thought would have been discussed before now & my apologies if a definitive answer has been given. (Attempting to search Wikipedia for the answer has brought up nothing on this.)

Is the website American Chronicle a reliable source? I ask this for two reasons: one is how an article from this site has been used in the article Ogaden National Liberation Front to introduce some information that I find definitely "iffy", writing from my experience in the area. (Had it appeared in another source, especially one I trusted, I would have given it the benefit of the doubt.) The other is that after studying the website, I find the following disclaimer:

The American Chronicle and its affiliates have no responsibility for the views, opinions and information communicated here.

The contributor(s) and news providers are fully responsible for their content. In addition, the views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the American Chronicle or its affiliates.

So I could write an article about how I got cheated out of the 1938 Nobel Prize for medicine, & they'd publish it with that qualification? I'd assume that an undeniable requirement to be a reliable source is that it takes responsibility for what it prints. Any thoughts? -- llywrch (talk) 19:47, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

They claim to have an incredible number of writers, but also to have an editorial staff. Given what you stated above, it would seem that staff does not claim responsibility for what it "reviews." I'm not really sure a reliable source can have it both ways, and I too am suspicious of any source with such a disclaimer. I would say that if you see it publish anything suspicious or contentious that's not backed up by obvious RS's it's safe to call it unreliable, and it would take a positive outside review to convince me of the opposite. Someguy1221 (talk) 07:51, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

My experience with the American Chronicle is that they don't have much in the way of standards for what they'll publish. Occasionally it will be something good, much of the time its error-ridden, ignorant drek. HrafnTalkStalk 14:38, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Internet Fora re Mankind Project

I would like an external and disinterested opinion on three sites as they regard WP:RS and the reasons for and against

* http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ex_mkp/
* http://forum.rickross.com/list.php?4
* http://www.houstonpress.com/
* http://wthrockmorton.com/
* http://adayinthelifeofalcoholanddrugrecovery.blogspot.com

Thank you in advance for any help that you may be. Rorybowman (talk) 20:51, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Houston Press, published by the Village Voice group, seems to be generally reliable. The others seem to be internet fora or blogs and therefore not RS. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:42, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Astrology reliable source?

I've been wondering if Astrology-online.com is enough of a reliable source per the requirements of Wikipedia, as it seems it often contradicts itself in its articles. I am asking this as there is some issue with an editor adding contradicting information from the website to the Wikipedia article, Aquarius (astrology). Could you guys take a look?

The article uses this source: http://www.astrology-online.com/aquarius.htm

Thanks, --Nathanael Bar-Aur L. (talk) 05:00, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

If the source is demonstrably self-contradicting, what else do you really need to say it's unreliable? Someguy1221 (talk) 07:53, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Timeline of riots and civil unrest in Calgary, Alberta

I would appreciate other editors reviewing this edit and the sources. I don't question the publishers reliability per se. I just don't see how the sources relate to what the Wikipedia article says. I've tried to explain myself on the talk page. --Rob (talk) 06:08, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

The book seems to be a very useful source and my main concern with the edit is that it seems to be taking one point out of context and not using the book to the full. I have another idea that you and the other editor might like to consider. That is that it is not logical to have a timeline of events of a particular type until there is a History of Calgary article. I suggest that you take the history section in the Calgary article and the timeline article and merge them together as a basis for History of Calgary. At first the ethnic unrest might have too much prominence but I'm sure you would quickly attract other editors and the article could be filled out. Then at a later stage you would revisit the question of whether the ethnic unrest merited its own article. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:06, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Help!!!

are the following sites reliable? GameFAQs, GameSpot, IGN, GameSpy, Game Rankings, GameZone. Gamespot has a lot of news on it. Ign, Gamespy/Rankings/Zone all have reviews. Gamefaqs has well written guides that serve as refs. answer on my talk page! Moogle 12 (talk) 08:53, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

The news on those sites is probably reliable, and the reviews are significant viewpoints (which means you can place them in a relevant article with in-text attribution to the site, but do not make it appear as if the reviewer's opinion is a fact). Be wary of the guides, however. Some are professionally written guides, financed or sponsored by the sites, but others are user-generated and probably shouldn't be trusted as far as Wikipedia is concerned. 151.152.101.44 (talk) 19:33, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

IMDB

I'm almost certain that this has been brought up before, but www.imdb.com - surely this is not a reliable source? IMDB (an open source website) republish information from anonymous users that is often wrong, and they don't cite their sources. I believe it is difficult, if not impossible, to get such errors in IMDB corrected.

Is there a specific guideline about this? The only thing I can find is here. I keep seeing www.imdb.com, and so think we need clearer guidance on its suitability. --Jza84 |  Talk  01:09, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

I won't go into the entire website, but my previous experiences with the biography sections were bad. The information is user contributed and blindly taken from other websites, without there being a reliable publication process in place. If there is a specific article, can you provide something like a link or diff? Species8473 (talk) 01:36, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
There are many articles that use this. It was this change that prompted me to raise the question here. I think we need some kind of (foot)note, essay or guideline specifically about IMDB to raise awareness about its unreliability. --Jza84 |  Talk  23:05, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
[6], [7], [8] and [9]. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 22:38, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
I posted this in the IMDB discussion down below but it worth repeating here. Please see the Zachary Jaydon hoax for a great example of the perils of sourcing to IMDB. Cheers. L0b0t (talk) 22:46, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Is Journal of Religion & Psychical Research a RS on comparative religion

A Journal of Religion & Psychical Research review on World Scripture (a comparative anthology of scriptural quotes) is being used in the article on the book's author, Andrew Wilson (theologian). JoR&PR (now The Journal of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies) is published by the Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies, Inc. and contains such articles as "Are Organ Transplants Metaphysically Contraindicated", "Posthumous Personality, Reincarnation and Liberation", & "Report about the Teleportation of a Living Person" (sample cover can be found here). Should it be considered a RS in this context? HrafnTalkStalk 06:47, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

  • I think it depends. I have looked at the web site that you give and even read the two full-text articles posted as samples. It is evident that, although they try to give this journal the look of a scholarly journal (editorial board, use of academic titles, etc), this is nothing like a scholarly journal. If World Scripture is being touted as a serious work (as I know it is being done in the Wilson article), then I don't think that JRPR is a RS. It could perhaps be considered a RS, though, if one were to look to establish the notability of some subject under WP:Fringe. --Crusio (talk) 10:28, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. The Journal is certainly not a real academic journal and not a reliable source on any external topic. It might be useful for opinions of named authors and editors in some rare circumstances. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 10:31, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Here's what EBSCOhost (link may not work due to subscription requirements) says about it:

Title: Journal of Religion & Psychical Research
ISSN: 0731-2148
Publisher Information: Academy of Spirituality & Paranormal Studies, Inc.
PO Box 614
Bloomfield Connecticut 06002
United States of America
Title History: Journal of Spirituality & Paranormal Studies (2006 - present)
Journal of Religion & Psychical Research (1990 - 2006)
Changed to: Journal of Spirituality & Paranormal Studies
Bibliographic Records: 01/01/1990 to present
Full Text: 01/01/1990 to present
Link to this Publication: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&jid=G77&site=ehost-live
Publication Type: Academic Journal
Subjects: Psychology & Psychiatry; Religion & Theology
Description: Contains academic articles, correspondence and book reviews in the area where religion and psychial research interface.
Publisher URL: http://www.lightlink.com/arpr/index.htm
Frequency: 4
Peer Reviewed: Yes

It's claimed by an independent third party, who specializes in the collection of academic journals, to be a peer reviewed publication, albeit in a niche field which does not require the rigors of the scientific method. On what basis is it not a reliable source? WP:IDONTLIKEIT? Jclemens (talk) 05:16, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Do you have any indication that EBSCOhost performs checks on peer review process? More likely they merely take self-reporting at face value. There are a large number of (often far WP:FRINGE) publications that claim "peer review", without anything substantive to back it up (Michael Behe was once caught out claiming "peer review" of a book of his by a 'reviewer' who had never even read it -- merely discussed the idea of the book with a then-potential publisher). And thank you for that "WP:IDONTLIKEIT" crack -- it gives editors a very good indication as to where sympathies lie (and your willingness to uphold WP:AGF). HrafnTalkStalk 06:28, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
I have no more information on EBSCOhost's process than I do on the New York Times'. Here, I expect, is a good spot to get other Wikipedia editors' take on the whole topic, not limited to your perspective or mine. You're expressing unrelenting skepticism, which is your right, but not a position that is helpful to consensus building. Rather than say that a rhetorical WP:IDONTLIKEIT presumes that I'm not assuming good faith, why don't you articulate your objection to EBSCOhost's process? Absent any evidence to the contrary, I don't see why their assessment should be deemed unreliable. You differ. Why? Jclemens (talk) 17:52, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Peer reviewed != reputation for fact checking and accuracy. The journal may well be peer reviewed by editors with a serious axe to grind, or complete idiots (yes, you can academic credentials and still be one). I am not accusing this source of anything of the kind, but the point, J, is that the reliability of a source can itself always open to discussion, dispute, consensus, and discretion; a mere listing with little context does not settle the issue. Someguy1221 (talk) 06:56, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'm not an expert on JRPR; I'd never heard of it before this. I'm just looking for non-biased third parties to take a look at it.
Process Question Is it acceptable to solicit folks from affected wikiprojects, such as the Paranormal, Spirituality, or Religion wikiprojects, to participat in this RS/N discussion? Given that at least one editor has expressed concern that the entire topic is WP:FRINGE, might it not be appropriate to solicit editors who are committed to the serious study of such areas as academic disciplines? Jclemens (talk) 17:52, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

WP:RS says that Google Scholar is a good way to judge hits. this search string Yields ~500 references to articles. Rabia Clark's review doesn't appear to be one of them, and she only gets 3 Google Scholar hits herself. Can someone with more experience in RS/N tell me whether this is good, bad, or ugly, given what EBSCOhost claims above? Jclemens (talk) 19:12, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Further, it appears that most of the 498 articles from JRPR referenced from Google Scholar are purchasable from British Library Direct. A Yahoo search yields twelve references to articles in JRPR. MSN Live seems to find many of the same references. The journal is accessible at The University of Washington, which seems to rely on EBSCOhost for electronic copies.
Absent any reliable source which actually says that JRPR is not peer reviewed or taken less seriously than other publications on the same topic, the evidence presents it as a peer-reviewed academic journal in an area which garners little respect. Does anyone disagree? Jclemens (talk) 06:30, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Emphatically disagree: (i) no substantive evidence has been presented that it is "peer reviewed" (ii) "not ... taken less seriously than other publications on the same topic" is a ridiculously low bar. Further, the outside opinions already stated above contradict your conclusion. HrafnTalkStalk 07:41, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Of the three posts beside yours or mine, two were made before any evidence had been presented of its reliability, and one after the first of three posts detailing reliability had been made--and that post doesn't take a position at all. Thus, all the no !votes were made before the presentation of any evidence. Now that the evidence is presented, I'd like to see more discussion from interested parties. Jclemens (talk) 21:01, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
So far as I can tell, the alleged academic journal has no connections to academia, and thus the statement that it is an "academic journal" is suspect. The Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies, Inc., the publisher, does not seem to be either an independent, objective source on the subject, or, for that matter, necessarily even a regular academic institution, as per its own website here. On the basis of that information, and the comparative lack of indications that the journal is one which is seen as being reliable as per the comparative lack of ghits, I would come to the conclusion that there has not been sufficient evidence presented to support the article being seen as a reliable source. John Carter (talk) 21:17, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Can you comment on the use of a review from the journal in context? Hrafn is contesting the inclusion of a review of a religious book from this source in a footnote to Andrew Wilson (theologian). I believe that the use of a review in a non-mainstream religious publication to document the reception of a religious book is an appropriately limited use of this source. Thanks! Jclemens (talk) 21:38, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
The question as to whether the source meets the policy of Wikipedia:Verifiability#Reliable sources standards takes priority over trying to include information from as many viewpoints as possible. Based on the information that I have seen, there is no clear reason to believe that the source in question meets RS standards, which would seem to disqualify it from inclusion for any reason. As per the page cited by me here, "Because policies take precedence over guidelines, in the case of an inconsistency between this page (WP:V) and that one (WP:RS), this page has priority." John Carter (talk) 21:48, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
You know what, that really helped: The issue was really not whether this was a questionable source or not, but whether it could be used in this context, despite its status. Jclemens (talk) 22:06, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Further comment: I've tried to find out more about the journal. It still raises several red flags with me. It's not included in the ISI Web of Science. Google Scholar lists it, but not one of the articles from the journal have any citations listed with them. The publisher is extremely suspect, and the topic is inherently unscientific. So I won't use it for anything but the opinion of an author. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:11, 9 July 2008 (UTC)


Further sources on this subject

  • The article also cites a review from "Bruce Schuman, founder of United Communities of Spirit" (I could however find no indication that Schuman is the founder of UCoS) here. I could find no indication that either Schuman or UCoS is prominent. Should this review be considered a RS?
  • This may be slightly off-topic, but are generalised comments about a list of "12 volumes" that contains this book a 'reliable' characterisation of this one book (out of the twelve) specifically? (The citation is to Booklist, but no accessible online link has been given.)

HrafnTalkStalk 04:57, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

  • I think you're actually challenging the notability of these, rather than their accuracy or verifiability. Not sure this is the proper venue to do so, but I could be wrong. Jclemens (talk) 17:54, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
  • No. I am (i) challenging whether some random web designer (with no apparent expertise in comparative religion, as you accidentally established in this link to his resume) is a RS for a book review of this type and (ii) challenging whether comments made about a list of 12 books are RS for a single book in that list. HrafnTalkStalk 18:46, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
(i) I never said he was a reliable source for anything other than what he said. That may sound circular, but that's what WP:SPS can be used for. I also never made any attempt to conceal his secular career--I'd been preferring neutral and independent sources, but couldn't find one in response to your tagging that position--as he was never asserted to be an expert in comparative religion. At any rate, my sincere apologies--had I known you hadn't found that before you first challenged his applicability as a source, I would have linked to it earlier; if any accident was involved, it was that. At any rate, I think the whole assertion is moot, given the current version of the article, which doesn't refer to him by name, just as one of a variety of folks from different religious traditions who have praised World Scripture.
(ii)Are you really challenging Booklist as a WP:RS? Or, instead, are you arguing that the mention in the RS is trivial? I sincerely believe it's actually the latter, in which case the reliability of Booklist is not really at issue. Jclemens (talk) 19:08, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
(i) Please read WP:SELFPUB: "Self-published and questionable sources may only be used as sources about themselves" -- you are not using Schuman as a source about himself, but as a source on World Scripture. If you do not "assert[ him] to be an expert in comparative religion", then there is no reason to include his opinion. He is not a RS on comparative religion, so we have no reason to give WP:UNDUE weight to his inexpert view (any more than the view of any other random person who decided to put an opinion up on a website). (ii) This can be framed as an RS question (is a generalised comment about a list a RS on a list-member), and there seems to be no forum that is more appropriate for discussing it (it seemed too small a point to be worth raising a WP:RFC over). HrafnTalkStalk 05:22, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
We can take this back to the talk page now. Jclemens (talk) 22:06, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

End run around RS/N consensus

Jclemens has stated his intention to ignore this consensus in this thread, on the flimsy basis that these sources are not being used "about" Wilson's book, but rather "about" what they said, and thus "about themselves" (per WP:SELFPUB). I have pointed out to him that this line of argument is tendentious. HrafnTalkStalk 06:26, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

For the record, I do not agree with this characterization of my actions, but I do not believe this is the proper forum in which to discuss it. Jclemens (talk) 06:44, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
You were the one who raised WP:SPS on this forum, as a rationale for using these unreliable sources anyway. You can therefore hardly complain when your interpretation of the intimately-related WP:SELFPUB is brought to this forum's attention. HrafnTalkStalk 02:28, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

LoolLex Encyclopedia

I was wondering if we can get a ruling on weather or not Encyclopaedia of the Orient/LoolLex Encyclopdia is considered to be a reliable source or not. I don't know about all the issues, but regarding the Middle East issues, the enyclopedia looks very reliable and realistic. Chaldean (talk) 15:31, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

  • I would prefer to look for better sources than the LookLex Encyclopaedia. It appears to be written through user-generated content. The authors are not required to have any particular credentials, and the site is not set up to display references showing where the authors got their information from. Although LookLex is not a wiki, it does not appear to be much more reliable than a wiki, so I do not think it should be considered a reliable source. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 13:45, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

sorry, but isn't that the same as Wikipedia, who checks the credentials of wiki editors? I am in Malaysia and travel to the Middle East frequently and agree with the above comment. I personally would consider it reliable. Agungsatu (talk) 14:49, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

  • That's the point. Wikipedia itself is not a reliable source, so an encyclopedia which is not much more reliable than Wikipedia is probably not a reliable source either. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 22:44, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Guysen News International

I'm wondering about the reliability of a mostly French-language website (with some English articles), Guysen News International. Has anyone heard of it before? A handful of Wikipedia articles link to it [10]. As far as I can make out, it seems to be a French-language, Middle East-focused equivalent of WorldNetDaily or FrontPage Magazine, i.e. essentially an outlet for commentary and opinion. -- ChrisO (talk) 10:19, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

It is a rather important Israeli Press Agency of French langage : [11].
It is considered to be pro-Israeli.
Ceedjee (talk) 15:56, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
I have follwed Guysen News for some time ... In French it is here: http://www.guysen.com/ It calls itself "L'agence de presse francophone d'Israel et du Moyen-Orient". It is considered pro-Israel because it is Israeli. It operates out of Jerusalem and carries the Jewish as well as the Christian date. It carries articles in English [12] and in Spanish, and has a television station [13] associated with it which can be found on Israeli cable stations. Tundrabuggy (talk) 03:00, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

ChrisO, better take another look around the site. It is set up as a newspaper with news, editorials, political, society, cultural, sports, arts, religion, science and high tech, tourism and financials, and more. Each section seems to be updated daily. There is considerable local (Israeli) advertising for hotels and airlines and such. Not at all like WorldNetDaily or FrontPageMag. Tundrabuggy (talk) 03:11, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

It may be "set up as a newspaper" but that automatically doesn't mean it is one, or that it follows journalistic standards, hence my question. Anyone can set up a superficially professional website but by itself, that doesn't make it a reliable source. Don't forget, "on the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog". :-) -- ChrisO (talk) 20:00, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Well we can take Ceedjee's answer as definitive. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:36, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
"Journalistic standards?" Are we trying to determine that on this noticeboard? I was just speaking to your stated opinion at the question "As far as I can make out, it [is]... essentially an outlet for commentary and opinion." As to pro-Israel, as I stated -- it is an Israeli news source, so of course it will be pro-Israel, much the same as any US paper will concern itself with US interests. Tundrabuggy (talk) 13:53, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

National Post

Is the National Post considered a "tabloid"? It's a Canadian daily published in Toronto, and my impression is that it is a reliable media source, but I was wondering what others thought. ATren (talk) 02:41, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

  • It should be considered generally reliable in my opinion. As far as I know, it's a mainstream newspaper. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 04:53, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but it should be kept in mind that it has a specific declared ideological bias. DGG (talk) 11:50, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
It also has a horrible track record on at least one politically sensitive scientific topic. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 18:38, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Could you please provide a link to the "specific declared ideological bias" ? Tundrabuggy (talk) 13:44, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

IRNA

Resolved

Hi, I'm wondering if IRNA, the Islamic Republic News Agency, is considered a reliable source for news items outside of Iran. I believe that it is Iran's state-run media organization, so I'm unsure of how neutral it can be expected to be as a source. The specific article I'm looking at is here, though the question is a general one regarding its reliability as a news source for events outside of Iran. Thanks. ← George [talk] 04:26, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

  • The particular article you are citing was apparently derived almost entirely from a Los Angeles Times article. If so, it would be much better to find and cite the original L.A. Times article instead of the secondary source at IRNA. (I should note that despite my misgivings about the use of IRNA as a reliable source, it can be useful in some circumstances. For example, as indicated at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israel, some people don't believe Ahmadinejad said Israel should be "wiped off the map". It certainly seems relevant to note that this IRNA article says, "President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Monday that the Zionist Regime of Israel faces a deadend and will under God's grace be wiped off the map.") --Metropolitan90 (talk) 07:31, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I've found the original article here. It would appear that IRNA is taking the article extremely out of context, and misquoting it. The L.A. Times article, titled "Lebanon’s Sunni bloc built militia" was renamed to "US has built militia in Lebanon" by IRNA. Furthermore, the original article doesn't state that the US built or funded the milita, it says that the US backed (as in supported) the Sunni political bloc that built the milita. This makes me question IRNA's status even more. I'm going to replace this with the original source in the article where it was disputed. ← George [talk] 04:12, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Malaysia TODAY

Personal blog by Raja Petra Kamaruddin. Is this personal blog reliable for biography for living people? It is a blog run by Malaysia's most famous conspiracy theorist, can this blog be used for reference for biography for living people?

Blogs are not considered reliable sources, especially not for BLP. It may be all right for material about its author but not for articles on other people or other subjects. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:44, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
As long as the blog can reliably be established as belonging to this individual it can only be used to source facts about himself, that is it.--221.143.25.19 (talk) 01:50, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy is run on a University of Tennesee website by James Fieser, Ph.D., founder and general editor and Bradley Dowden, Ph.D., general editor. It describes itself as "The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a non-profit organization run by the editors. The Encyclopedia receives no funding, and operates through the volunteer work of the editors, authors, and technical advisors." I have seen some good info and some questionable info, so thought I'd get others' opinions before either knocking it as a source or using it as a source. Carol Moore 01:25, 10 July 2008 (UTC)Carolmooredc {talk}

The two editors are both full Professors, so it's off to a good start. However, despite the front page saying "A Professionally Peer-Reviewed Resource", I can't say it's as reliable as a book published in a academic press or a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal (at least until an explanation can be found for exactly how the peer-review process happens in regards to this site's content). - Merzbow (talk) 23:36, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Maybe I'll email and ask them :-) Carol Moore 01:45, 12 July 2008 (UTC)Carolmooredc {talk}
It is generally well-regarded as an introductory source of information in academic philosophy circles. It's not the most reliable source, but its failings are common to most encyclopedias and other overview or introductory sources. (It often glosses over details or omits some context, rather than any kind of gross inaccuracy). It's good for the basics and it most certainly meets our general model of reliability. That is, it is well-regarded in its field, it is written and maintained by experts, has editorial oversight and is published/endorsed by a reputable university. A similar project that has a slightly better reputation for accuracy, is much more complete and is much better established is The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, though it also has similar limitations/flaws to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Vassyana (talk) 21:05, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Tarmac

The article states that "tar-grouted macadam was also in use well before 1900". This goes against the general view that tarred roads did not really come into use until the turn of the 20th century with the advent of the motor car. Thus, I am challenging this statement.

The article needs more sources and if you know of any perhaps you could add them to the article or leave a message on the article talk page. However, I think it is clear from the article that although such methods were known and sometimes used in the 19th century, they were not introduced on a large scale until the patent of 1901 was granted. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:22, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Then, shouldn't we make this clear, that though the technology was known it was little used until the motor car arrived on the scene? 19century (talk) 02:28, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
Please feel free to tighten up the wording in the article so that it reflects the sources that we have. Itsmejudith (talk) 09:07, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Alexa.com

Is site information from Alexa a reliable source? Discussion at Talk:Communist_Party_of_Great_Britain#Successors. --Soman (talk) 16:51, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

It might be OK for site traffic, I don't know. But from what I see at the talk page discussion, that does not seem to be the issue. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:49, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
It's just a repeat of the claims made by the website, not an independently reviewed description. Cite the website directly for the claims it makes (but be cautious to follow WP:SPS). It would be greatly preferable to rely on what reputable independent sources have said about the topic. Vassyana (talk) 20:56, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
"It's just a repeat of the claims made by the website, not an independently reviewed description." Where is the evidence for your claim? The user Soman is a well-known Stalinist propagandist who is attempting to erase all mention of the anti-Stalinist successor group Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee). --62.136.183.186 (talk) 17:02, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, this is in no way a real source, it's repeating gossip and self-representation. No fault of the site, they're set up to do just that, and there's no indication that they're making any value judgements. It's like saying that "I typed cpgb into google, and this came up, therefore...". Funnily enough, I typed "cpgb" into alexa.com, and guess what came up...? Everyone outside of this sect sees them as having hijacked the name, not as successors. If someone can turn up a respectable academic reference then it may be applicable... but I believe that respectable academic sources see the CPB and the CPS as the "successors" to the CPGB. Grmdy (talk) 18:50, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Verifiable sources on List of best-selling music artists

This particular user Travelling Tragition claims both in the edit summary of List of best-selling music artists and in her/his discussion page that she/he could include only the name of the source which does not seem to have a web site through help of which users could verify the record sales figures of the artist T-Rex. Travelling Tragition claims that non-internet sources published by reliable sources could be used. I believe we should use sources which immediately could redirect users to those reliable sources claiming those sales figures. --Harout72 (talk) 18:01, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

  • Travelling Tragition is correct to say that sources which are not available online can be used and can be considered reliable sources. Not all books, newspapers, magazines, etc. are available online and some may never be, but they can be judged as reliable or not based on their own merits, not whether they are available on the Internet. However, it appears that in this particular case, the liner notes of a music album are being used as a source to establish the artist's career worldwide record sales. I would not consider the liner notes as a reliable source for this particular information (without further evidence that the liner notes really are reliable), due to the likelihood that the statement of total sales was based on record company hype and/or guesswork rather than actual statistical data. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 23:02, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
  • I find it baffling and disturbing that anyone would argue that non-internet references are inappropriate sources. The vast majority of scholarship and general reliable works are published in ink and paper. Thanks to the growing presence of inexpensive services like Questia, the need to (perish the thought) even leave the house and visit a physical library to verify such sources is steadily diminishing. Many online library services can even be accessed free of charge from home by university students and through local library services. Demanding internet-only sources is a drastic appeal to laziness and utter madness. Vassyana (talk) 23:50, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
of course non-internet sources can be used, but people using them should be prepared to give a page number and an exact quotation of the key point. But the question is not about published books, but really whether liner notes are an independent source for material on the music. I think this has come up many times before, and they are in the category of blurbs on book jackets--not really independent and reliable if contested or controversial. In some cases, though, they do provide the only available information, so I';d be prepared to be flexible in the interpretation here. DGG (talk) 04:45, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't say that for List of best-selling music artists, it's acceptable to use non-reliable or non-independent sources when there aren't any independent reliable sources available. Maybe the reason that there are no independent reliable sources to establish that a particular artist had sales of 50 million recordings is that the artist has not, in fact, had sales of 50 million. Admittedly, a review of the talk page suggests that some editors disagree with me on this point. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 13:16, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

FAIR.org

Resolved
Thanks! --TexasDex 15:12, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm trying to decide whether Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting would qualify as a valid source in the article on Jesse Helms. They seem to have a reputation for of being progressive and targeting right-leaning news bias, but they don't have a reputation for inaccuracy that I can see. There's one almost trivial thing in the "errors" section, and one would think if there were any substantial issues they would be widely publicized. However I want consensus whether it's acceptable for use on Wikipedia. --TexasDex 21:47, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

I would be very reluctant to use them alone for controversial material about Helms, even though no longer a question of BLP. They can certainly be used as a source for their views, or even for liberal views in general. Sop just what is it you want to use? DGG (talk) 04:42, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. I was hoping to support the quote

The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that has thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic and commerce and interfere with other men's rights. -- television interview, 1963

It appears both in a fair.org article and a New York Times article which I've cited. I have a troublesome user who disputes the NYT article (that's a whole 'nother story), so I suppose he's unlikely to accept fair.org as a source. I was thinking both together might be more persuasive and acceptable for a reasonable editor, although I doubt the user in question would be receptive. --TexasDex 16:03, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
The only practical question is whether the Times cited out of context, for which you need to find the original speech, & see whether it was made in response to some events in 1963. And it is reasonable to mention the date. You're certainly right that someone who wont accept the NYT as objective won't accept fair.org. DGG (talk) 16:13, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Just wondering, what exactly do you mean "it is reasonable to mention the date"? Are you referring to the age of the reporter, who (the user keeps pointing out) was too young to have witnessed it personally? Or do you mean the year of the quote should be mentioned in the article to give context? The latter is probably true, his comments are most likely in the context of civil-rights protests, so I suppose they did "clog the streets" but that doesn't reflect all that much better on him. There would have to be quite some context to change the racist implications of that quote, but the actual tape is probably going to be very hard to find. I've contacted the NYT reporter via email, (Kevin Sack, two-time Pulitzer prize winner) but I don't expect a personal response. --TexasDex 16:33, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
I mean it is necessary to emphasise that this was said in 1963, a good while ago, and represented his views at the time. Agreed, the interview sounds like it probably in response to some news event, and it shjould be said what the news event was. The odds are that there is a quotation of it elsewhere that the NYT used. DGG (talk) 16:43, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
The NYT is a better source than FAIR. Your arguments in favour of the source on the talk page are convincing. You don't need to dig out where NYT got it from. Even if they quoted it out of context that is their problem. As DGG says, you should make sure it is crystal clear that the reported words were from 1963. Itsmejudith (talk) 13:21, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism

More opinions please about this edit and this source. The author is a political scientist. This is a self-published source and my concern is that the author's normal area of research is into constitutional politics and the self-published document seems to be an isolated venture into a completely different sub-field of the discipline. The discussion on the article talk page is not just about whether the source is usable at all the in article but also about whether it supports a statement in the lead that the petition in question is "an appeal to authority". Itsmejudith (talk) 09:06, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

It really does need further editors to be involved here. I only went to the article after a call was made either here or on WP:FTN. I've been rapped over the knuckles for incivility now. I'm withdrawing from this article for the foreseeable future. Itsmejudith (talk) 17:09, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
(ec)Which is precisely how everyone else outside a certain set of editors winds up after encountering those articles.... Relata refero (disp.) --18:34, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Political scientists are not the best authorities on Darwinism anyway... seems unreliable to me. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:32, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Anyway, you don't need a political scientist to see that a petition of scientists/purported scientists/names vaguely connected with science is an appeal to authority. Of course it is. Itsmejudith (talk) 18:48, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
(i) A reliable source was demanded for that claim a while back, so yes, we do need somebody. (ii) As the issue of 'appeals to authority' is more a rhetorical/political issue than a scientific one, it is not unreasonable to cite a political scientist on this -- especially when the aims of the ID movement in promoting this petition are political (to get ID, in some shape or form, into the classroom). HrafnTalkStalk 19:05, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
You're overcooking it. Of course it's an appeal to authority. That doesn't need to be stated. Any reader can work that out for themselves. Moreschi (talk) (debate) 19:16, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Ok, now I'm starting to get worried about ID articles. Particularly after my experience with Jonathan Wells (intelligent design advocate) yesterday. Folks, you are killing the goose that has laid the golden eggs. Relata, Judith, and myself are all reasonable people, not Bible Belt nutters, and if we think something is wrong there's a good chance it is. Material such as "The Discovery Institute presents the list in an appeal to authority to support its anti-evolution viewpoint" is not only tautologous but also non-neutral, I'm afraid. Particularly when cited to this source, which isn't really good enough. Moreschi (talk) (debate) 18:55, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

And, no, the material removed here wasn't good enough either. In fact, the whole article is very shoddy and a gigantic case of violating Number 44. Moreschi (talk) (debate) 18:58, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Moreschi, don't you think that the Jonathan Wells article is still a BLP violation? We've both read a lot of articles on exceedingly controversial people, and they didn't ought to read like that. They ought to read "X is an American author who writes about Y. He was in a public controversy with Z" and so on through a sourced chronological outlining of the controversy to the bibliography. I note that there is a proposal to merge the article on the author with that of the text for which he is notable. Is there a statement anywhere that this is a desirable procedure? I'm thinking of V.T. Rajshekar and Dalit Voice for example. Itsmejudith (talk) 07:45, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, of course it's a BLP vio. A massive one. C'mon, BLP fanatics, get over here! Where are you when we need you? Scared, I suspect. Really, this non-biography, which is just wholly devoted to proving how stupid he is, needs massive cutting down to the nub, or, alternatively, merging with something else. Moreschi (talk) (debate) 19:19, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Yeah good luck with that. I note that Jonathan Wells info box contains his name, his affiliation with a nefarious intelligent design pushing organization hellbent on world domination, and an equally nefarious "cult" group -- Unification Church. Its so nice to see that Wikipedia functions to its purposes so well -- labeling possibly dangerous elements of American society. That's what the encyclopedia is for right? Its also nice to see that "uninvolved" editors who claim to have BLP concerns are still treated with complete hostility and suspicion on these pages -- as it should be since no one could possibly be an outsider on this one. Please note I've not used the word "cabal" once and I also request anyone incapable of reading the appropriate sections as facetious to please not get on my case.PelleSmith (talk) 20:56, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
PelleSmith, you're displaying shocking bias and intolerance. A living person proudly proclaims his allegiance to a religious view presented as science and agreed with by a high percentage of the American population, according to their figures, and his religious faith in a well known religious leader. As editors we should not be describing these as "nefarious", and must accept their assertions of aims of intellectual world domination as being sincere and understandable. Your attitude would create severe BLP problems if implemented, and I must ask you to accept what reliable sources state about these individuals and their own self-expressed aims without trying to impose your own feelings on the subject. . . dave souza, talk 00:09, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
This is getting really confusing. Are you accusing Pelle of being a closet Moonie or a closet Moonie-exposer? Neither of these POVs must be imposed on any subject, I agree. Itsmejudith (talk) 00:16, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm utterly confused, but its most likely my fault for being "facetious" or perhaps more accurately "sarcastic". If Dave is being sincere then he clearly didn't understand that I have no bias against either Moonies or Intelligent Design advocates, and certainly don't find them either nefarious or threatening--nor do I even advocate using terms like "cult" (hence the scare quotes added to the sarcasm). In fact I'm openly mocking those who act like beating these types of identifications into the ground is somehow our one true purpose at Wikipedia (that part I thought was rather abundantly clear). I find it completely ridiculous that this person's religious affiliation is one of three things mentioned in the infobox. Richard Dawkins info box doesn't even tell us he's an atheist, but somehow its important to tell the browsing non-reader that Jonathan Wells belongs to the Unification Church, that he works for DI and low and behold that his name is Jonathan Wells? Featuring the fact of his religious affiliation becomes particularly suspect given the main thrust of the entry. Heavens forbid someone saw the entry and didn't realize how religious he is. That's the one thing they need to know! -- that's sarcasm once again. Besides my obviously cherry picked example of Dawkins which does not do this, seriously how common is it to feature someone's "religious beliefs" in an info box? Dave, I also don't appreciate the counter argument that we should not judge people based upon their identifications with ID or with certain religious groups when those highlighting these facts clearly are and do judge them in that capacity. You've told me several times now that you do not -- wonderful and I'm really happy for you -- but that is certainly not true across the board, and loading entries with certain types of information is clearly done purposefully to make a point. I guess I'm saying spare me. Thanks.PelleSmith (talk) 03:10, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
A minor correction: Dawkins' box actually does say he's known for "Advocacy of atheism and rationalism". Goodness knows I'd raise "holy hell" if that wasn't the case, he's a hero of mine for precisely that... - Merzbow (talk) 06:28, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
I should read closer ... but what you point out illustrates an important distinction--and this is just the kind of distinction that anyone who cares about being sensitive to BLPs will take seriously. We aren't told that Dawkin's personal "beliefs" are atheistic, but that he is known for "advocating atheism". If Wells is known for promoting Unification theology (etc.), then that is another matter altogether, but then it should be stated as such. Currently it simply seems that his religious beliefs are conveniently highlighted so that readers will "get the picture" on where his various other beliefs are coming from. Indeed the main thrust of the essay that is his entry bares this out quite clearly as it anchors itself in the connection between his Unification beliefs and his ID arguments. Is the lesson here that it is OK to write essays about people in order to highlight certain aspects of their lives, and then to use the infoboxes in order to tell browsers only the "essential facts" that support our essays? I say it isn't, and while there is no way I'm going to edit these entries and am desperately trying to stay off of their talk pages as well, those who are regulars there should be welcoming people with BLP concerns who may see the larger picture here.PelleSmith (talk) 11:47, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
If you had read the article you would have noticed that Wells has written "extensively on Unification theology and taught from time to time at the Unification Theological Seminary", that he is "has written on the subject of marriage within the Unification Church and has been called a 'Unification Church marriage expert' by church sources" and was on the UTS board for a time. This clearly places him as a prominent figure in the UC community. Far from being 'conveniently highlighted', religion is the core of Wells' life -- from which all else flows. To omit it would be to leave a gaping hole in the article. Your claims of strategic mention are therefore spurious, as well as a failure to assume good faith. HrafnTalkStalk 05:04, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Except I clearly recognized all of those "facts" in my comment (e.g. connecting his Unification affiliation with his beliefs about ID) so you're pretty off base in suggesting I didn't read the entry. I note also the irony of accusing me of "bad faith" that comes with said suggestion of not having read the entry. You also fail conveniently to deal with the actual point, which is that mentioning someone's "beliefs" is not the same as establishing a notable fact about what they do in life (the difference between the entries of Dawkins and Wells ). It also seems ludicrously UNDUE when it is one of three things mentioned in the infobox--other than his name and his affiliation with DI. Lastly you use the entry itself as justification of the infobox, which oddly enough is precisely to the point of my criticism. The entry is an essay structured to highlight one point, and the infobox conveniently reflects this point. Thanks for reaffirming that. Regards.PelleSmith (talk) 10:44, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
To clarify -- the notion that I might be asking to have his religious affiliation "omitted" from the entry is a straw man, perhaps unintentional on your part, but it isn't based in any observable fact as I've asked for nothing of the sort. Noting UNDUE attention to certain details, lack of attention to others, is not the same as claiming that the former are entirely irrelevant. This man is clearly very involved with the Unification Church, with its theology and with its practices. It is still highly unconventional and rather strange to mention his "religious beliefs" as one of three facts about him in an infobox.PelleSmith (talk) 10:56, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
I know I started this thread here, but would it not be better to continue now it on the article talk page or BLP noticeboard? Many thanks. Itsmejudith (talk) 11:01, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Apologies for the digression. However, as seems to be the developing case with yourself, I have been thoroughly scared away from engaging discussion at these entries after some rather unpleasant experiences (in my case at Talk:Rosalind Picard). But you're right, this isn't the appropriate venue. Thanks.PelleSmith (talk) 12:27, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
PelleSmith, your position is ludicrous. Wells' involvement in the UC is not "UNDUE attention to certain details", it is arguably the most central aspect of his life -- utterly pervasive in its influence. Would you likewise argue that Pope Benedict XVI's belief in Catholicism is a mere detail? If one had to sum up Wells by stating two things about him, they would be his commitment to Unificationism & his opposition to evolution. Can you find any other aspect of his life that RSs give greater emphasis to? If not, then how can giving these two points prominence of placement possibly be WP:UNDUE? HrafnTalkStalk 14:32, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Discussion moved: User_talk:Hrafn#Move_discussion_from_RS.2FN, per IMJ well taken point about relevance.PelleSmith (talk) 18:56, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Warriors of Legend

Is this a reliable source for discussion of Sailor Moon? It seems to be, but one editor suggested that its being unauthorized might mean it requires an extra qualifier, "such as is done with Biographies to note 'so and so said...'". Any thoughts? --Masamage 05:48, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

It isn't reliable, not because it is unauthorised but because it is self-published. These two different things. I note that the book has had some favourable reviews, but in internet publications that themselves don't seem to be reliable. If you can find a mainstream media source that says that this book is accurate, or factual, then perhaps it might be considered RS. Even with the addition "so and so said" this is not an ideal source. Itsmejudith (talk) 07:33, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
This article at Anime News Network (which is considered reliable) suggests that Genvid was involved with the book's production. That seems compelling to me. --Masamage 04:01, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Oops, scratch that. I mixed them up with Geneon. So no good there, but does the ANN mention help? --Masamage 04:04, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia cannot be use as a source for itself, its part of our policies (see WP:V/WP:RS). However, references used in that article, once verified, can be used for other articles.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:11, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
I mean the book itself, not the article about it. :P --Masamage 04:01, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Are interviews published "Aint It Cool News" and "Torn" reliable.

Resolved

These interviews are self-promotional, and serve a public relations purpose. Whilst no doubt the statements are those of the people being quoted, the sources fail independence and lack journalistic rigor and cover matters which would be seen to be trivial by more reputable sources. [14] and [www.theonering.net]. The question came up after some source canvassing at The Hobbit (2009 film). --Davémon (talk) 18:53, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

  • My response is directed only to AICN. The Hobbit question refers to the interview with Guillermo del Toro cited at The Hobbit film duology, which appeared on Ain't It Cool News at [15]. I see no problem whatsoever with the reliability of that particular interview; I don't think there is any doubt that it is a report of an actual interview with Guillermo del Toro, the director of the upcoming Hobbit films. I don't really see anything in that interview I would want to use in an article, but if del Toro had said something like "The Hobbit will start filming in June 2009 in New Zealand", I would have been happy to cite that to the AICN interview. Here we see a book from MIT Press which cites an AICN interview with William Gibson; if the site's interviews are good enough for an academic publisher they should be good enough for us. Admittedly, many of the participants in AICN interviews are participating in them to promote their projects, and I wouldn't just take the word of the interviewee for the truth when more objective sources are available. For example, if a director tells AICN his last movie grossed $200 million worldwide, we should not just take his word for it as that sort of data can be looked up in reliable independent sources. But if the interviewee is talking about something within his or her knowledge and there is no reason to believe their statement is inaccurate, we can cite an AICN interview where it seems appropriate to do so. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 05:31, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Thanks for your well researched and constructed reply. I'm still not convinced that wikipedia should be using this kind of infomercial as a source, but can see your logic and shan't be discouraging others in the future. By the way, for a good deconstruction of the manipulation of fandom by such sources :[16] --Davémon (talk) 21:36, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Affidavits

A civil case was initiated in Queeensland, Australia in 2003. One of the respondents, a journalist, filed various affidavits. After losing the case and facing ruin, he filed a final affidavit with the court 16 months after the close of the case[17] disavowing his previous statements, including a feature length article in a reputable Sunday newspaper insert magazine, Good Weekend. The affidavit was accepted by a clerk, but presumably had no bearing on the case which had already closed. PDF of affidavit The claim is made in Wikipedia that the affidavit, in which he retracts all of this previous comments including the magazine article, invalidates the article he wrote even though the publisher never issued a retraction. PDF of article Editors would also like to use the affidavit as a source for the actions of 3rd parties, named and unnamed.

The case received some notice in the Australian press[18] and journalism circles, but the affadavit is not mentioned in any of the articles. The Queensland court does not have the documents online and charges a search fee of $12.50, a first page copy fee of $1.70, and $.50 for additional pages, plus postage. However the document is hosted on the website belonging to an American affiliate of the organization that brought the suit.[19] For a sample of the types of outrageous statements that affidavits in civil cases can include see The Smoking Gun website: [20]

In my opinion, the affidavit is an isolated primary source effectively available only from an unreliable, partisan source, and of questionable value since it was filed after the close of the case, was never reviewed in court, and has never been mentioned in any secondary source. It would not be an acceptable source for anything. Nor is it sufficient, in my opinion, to negate the magazine article published in a reliable source. Any other thoughts? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:21, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Will's suggestion that the journalist was "facing ruin" and that the affidavit "was accepted by a clerk" is his OR that might give the impression that this affidavit is some how compromised. It isn't. It is an attested court document and the journalist says in the affidavit that "since the litigation I have had a chance to reflect... and have come to realize my involvement was misguided...I believe I owe an apology" which he does in the affidavit. Many sources used in Wikipedia require editors to pay a fee or subscription to access them or buy the book, magazine or paper in question. This is no reason to discount them as sources. The affidavit is not, as Will suggests "an isolated primary source effectively available only from an unreliable, partisan source", it is readily available from the Supreme Court of Queensland, Australia (the highest court in that state) for anyone who wants it. Will is also incorrect when he says it "has never been mentioned in any secondary source", it is quoted extensively for two pages in a recently written, best selling biography on Rawat published in several languages by established and reputable publishers. It does not contain "outrageous statements" and its use is bound by normal Wikipedia policies and guidelines. The O.J. Simpson article uses court documents in a similar way. [21] In short, it is a high quality source of information about the court case and the activities that precipitated it.Momento (talk) 09:53, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
I stand corrected about a detail or two. But the principle remains true, I believe: that affidavits are not reliable sources. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 10:26, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
It isn't a "detail" when you incorrectly claim the affidavit is "an isolated primary source effectively available only from an unreliable, partisan source" and "has never been mentioned in any secondary source". It undermines your whole argument. There are dozens of Wikipedia articles that use affidavits as sources and link to them.Momento (talk) 11:23, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
I am still thinking about the various implications. But should we set much store by the fact that the paper never issued a retraction for the article? Looking at the dates, the affidavit in which the journalist states he made the story up was made about three years after the article appeared (affidavit signed April 2005, story appeared August 2002), and only filed (see court stamp and court file summary) on 9/1/2007, i.e. another two years later. Would papers print a retraction when so much time has elapsed between an article's publication and the coming to light of information that casts doubt on the article's accuracy? I honestly can't see that they would; even more so where the article, as in the present case, only appeared in a weekend supplement rather than the paper itself. At least I can't recall ever reading a similar retraction relating to an article that far back in time. Jayen466 11:37, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
On the general principle of affidavits, I believe that in general we regard court documents as primary sources, even rulings made by judges. There has been previous discussion about this. Affidavits are sworn and presented to the court but normally there is the chance for cross-examination, and this has not happened in this case. Maybe there are other articles that cite affidavits as sources, but they may in those cases be backing up a good secondary source. The general principle must be: regard as primary. Itsmejudith (talk) 21:47, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Let's look at core principles here. Affidavits aren't vetted or approved by any third party. They're self-published. A person who self-publishes information may swear to its truth, the self-publishing may happen through court papers rather than a book or a web site, but those details don't change anything . Since affidavits are self-published, they can be used only in cases where any other self-published source could be. In an article about this individual, thiss person' affidavit can be used to present their opinion or point of view. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 23:06, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
According to NOR - "To the extent that part of an article relies on a primary source, it should: only make descriptive claims about the information found in the primary source, the accuracy and applicability of which is easily verifiable by any reasonable, educated person without specialist knowledge, and make no analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims about the information found in the primary source". In many Wikipedia articles the affidavits stand on their own without additional sources. As long as we quote the affidavit verbatim, it can be used.Momento (talk) 23:31, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
But it's not a primary source. It's a self-published source. It's exactly the same as if he had posted information on his personal web site and aimply added the words "I swear this is true." The only thing a notary attests is that he wrote it, but having proof that he wrote it doesn't turn self-published information into a primary source. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 23:53, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
WP:SELFPUB clarifies that self-published sources can be used only to provide information about the author. This would cover a statement like "The author later wrote an affidavit retracting this..." As long as we make only a statement about what the author did (wrote the affidavit), we're within WP:SELFPUB, particularly since an affidavit lets us be reasonably sure of who wrote it. Going any further would take us outside WP:SELFPUB. We can't present the information as relevant to truth of the article, only as information about the author. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 00:01, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
According to NOR primary sources are sources very close to the origin of a particular topic. An eyewitness account of a traffic accident is an example of a primary source. This affidavit is an eyewitness account of the activities it reports on.Momento (talk) 00:57, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
The major strength of affidavits as a source of reliable information is that to declare a false one risks a criminal conviction (at least this is the case in Australia where the affidavit was sworn). For that reason far more care is given to making an affidavit compared to providing information to a newspaper reporter where there is no penalty for lying. Affidavits are high quality source for people's opinions. But as was said above, editors should not make ‘analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims about the information found’ in an affidavit. Verbatim transcribing is the way to go otherwise any statements made about the affidavit may suffer from interpretation. Terry MacKinnell (talk) 05:45, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the affidavit was sworn in Thailand. In the same case another party filed an affidavit retracting his previous statements, then swore a second affidavit retracting his first affidavit. The judge discuounted the second one, but I don't believe he penalized the party for filing a false affidavit. The affidavit in question was never reviewed in court, so its truthfulness hasn't been tested. I'd also note that in the U.S., at least, affidavits in civil cases, especially divorce cases, are notoriously outlandish. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:03, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Just for accuracy's sake, from the court record it appears that the affidavit was filed by the applicant rather than the respondent (i.e. not filed by Macgregor). Macgregor had, however, issued an apology to Rawat and the premies online a few months before he made the affidavit -- it's here if you haven't seen it yet. Jayen466 09:38, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
For the record, Elan Vital itself claims that anything written on the ex-premie forum, to which you linked, Jayen, is not credible, they claim that posts are written by anonymous persons, most of whom are insane and/or criminals, and that all are members of a hate group. Some credibility you're providing here! LOL! In fact, Elan Vital goes out of its way on its FAQ to charge that Tom Gubler and John MacGregor are criminals, so that makes it even more hilarious that the adherents place so much credibility on this affidavit, when this NRM went out of its way to ruin the man's life. Sorry, Jayen, there is no way to prove who wrote that "apology," and it's not a public apology by any stretch. Sylviecyn (talk) 20:53, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
That letter by Macgregor says it all.Momento

talk) 02:17, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

  • It was a long, protracted lawsuit brought upon a journalist. There are plenty of reasons to assert this affidavit was given under duress. This ABC Australia Radio National] broadcast interview gives some more context about the immense pressure which the litigants placed upon John MacGregor. This interview was conducted in March 2004. Sylviecyn (talk) 11:55, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
The affidavit in question was rejected for use as evidence by the judge in a defamation lawsuit in the California Supreme Court. The affidavit in question defames named private (not public) persons. Two are Wikipedia editors who edit with their real names. Another is a civil rights attorneys from San Francisco, who was the plaintiff in the above-mentioned defamation suit, the result of which settlement resulted in removal of defamation against her from the defendant's personal website. Another person named in the affidavit is a criminal defense attorney from Canada. I think great care must be taken in accepting this document for use on Wikipedia given it was rejected by a U.S. court and contains potential libel and defamation. Sylviecyn (talk) 11:15, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Note: To clarify, the affidavit had been presented for admission as evidence in the above-mentioned lawsuit by the defendant in the defamation case brought by the San Francisco attorney (the plaintiff), who later settled and as a result the defamation about about her wasremoved from a personal website of the defendant, Geoff Staker. Sylviecyn (talk) 11:22, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
And FYI, Tom Gubler was convicted of contempt of court for breaching the undertakings he gave to the court and was given a suspended sentence.
Regardless of the reliability, accuracy or truthfullness of an affidavet, an affidavet is a primary source of information, and in this case it is also in the public domain. If another primary or secondary source of information comments upon this particular affidavet then it is also a legitimate source of information outside of the opinion of any editor. The exclusion of information provided by an affidavet in the public domain must either be a case of censorship or misleading information by exclusion. If Wiki policy allows a primary source of information such as this affedavit then to exclude it based on the mere personal opinion of some editor(s) goes against Wiki policy. Terry MacKinnell (talk) 23:50, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
WP:PSTS requires us to be very circumspect in our use of primary sources. This particular primary sourec has a troubled provenance, unlike many. I'm not aware of any articles that use affidavits from civil cases as sources. If that's correct then we'd be making an exception to use tihs, rather than the other way around. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:29, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Much care and consideration must be taken when using any court case document (even if it's a public record) that may contain possible libel against any private individuals who have nothing to do with the Wikipedia article. Private individuals are named in this document. And please, let's not be naive. Just because someone swore an affidavit doesn't make it true. It happens every day of the week. This is a slippery slope for Wikipedia. Consider divorce cases, for instance, or other defamation cases. Consider what the parties to such cases might say about each other in sworn affidavits. Does Wikipedia want to get into the business of allowing anything into an article based on it's status as a public record? I'd advise strongly against it. Also, it's not my opinion that the Judge in the San Francisco, California defamation case refused to accept this affidavit into a U.S. lawsuit. That was the opinion of the court. (I apologize -- I would provide a link to the case documents in the SF case, but the website is currently down.) I think extremely great caution needs to be used in this particular situation because Wikipedia is a corporation located in the U.S., not Australia, and two of the individuals named in this affidavit are attorneys. The plaintiff in the San Francisco defamation case is named in this affidavit. For all intents and purposes, she won her case, because the settlement reached provided her the relief from the defamation she was seeking by bringing the lawsuit. And by the way, the Judge who presided over this case in which this affidavit arises, also referred to Prem Rawat a "cult leader," therefore, one could argue that the use of the other public records in the same case is permissible, in order to prove that Prem Rawat is a cult leader, based on the logic being used that this affidavit is part of a public record. It's my opinion that using documents such as affidavits on Wikipedia is sliding down a very steep and slippery slope. Sylviecyn (talk) 20:40, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Curse of Billy Penn Gentleman's Agreement Source

On the Curse of Billy Penn, there was an unsourced reference to the gentlemen's agreement not to build any structure taller than the statue of William Penn on the top of the Philadelphia City Hall. An anonymous user recently posted a reference to a source that would take care of this problem ([22]). However, in the course of correcting the format of the citation, I read the source page itself. The page is itself adapted from Wikipedia, and the Wikipedia article article on William Penn (on which the page is based) does not itself seem to have a source related to this Gentlemen's Agreement. Is it appropriate for a Wikipedia article to site as a source a website that itself references another Wikipedia article? Nutiketaiel (talk) 11:59, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Qualified no. If someone is staking an academic reputation on the reliability of a publication and just use (and quite properly cite) the wiki article for convenience as organizational inspiration but personally vet the facts, then sure. If someone just needs a quick overview and cribs it off of here, then they are not adding reliability over the wiki text.
Here is a WSJ column that does the same thing. We sure are convenient for verifying the existence of rumors. A number of less reliable sources repeat the story of the "curse", so the story appears to be locally well known and not a hoax. This AP article says that they are named the Ungentlemanly Towers in An Architectural Guidebook to Philadelphia ( ISBN 0879058900), but my library does not have a copy. - Eldereft (cont.) 15:12, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for your assistance. I will remove the reference for the time being, until I can find a more suitable one to replace it. Fortunately, I will be going back home to Philadelphia for vacation in the beginning of August, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find a source in one of the local libraries that will be suitable. Nutiketaiel (talk) 11:18, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

MEMRI, again

In wandering around wiki I have noticed that there are editors claiming that MEMRI is an unreliable source, ( for example: [23]) and are using this archived discussion as justification. In reading the discussion I do not pick up a consensus to that effect, nor is there a "resolved" tag on it. Although criticism of MEMRI exists, that does not automatically make it unreliable, as for example we have a BBC Watch [24] which finds errors and bias in the BBC, and a similar site for the New York Times, ( ie Timewatch [25]); and while it speaks to controversy and POV issues neither have so far affected the reliability standard at Wiki for either the NY Times or the BBC. In thousands of translated articles there has only been a question on the exact translation of one or two words, one of which was in a written transcript and the other was a transcript taken from a film. In my view, this demonstrates a high degree of reliability. Tundrabuggy (talk) 15:24, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Look, these processes are not always black and white. There are many sources which, whilst not being banned from being used as sources, should generally be avoided. Using MEMRI as a source for any controversial claim relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should, in my opinion, be avoided. MEMRI is clearly a party in the conflict, and their statements and reports should be seen as representing one partisan position. Using their quotes of their translations should be avoided, since there is a history of conscious tampering and misrepresentation of the original material. This is not the fact that there is criticism against MEMRI, like there is on NYT or BBC, that is the problem in itself with using MEMRI as a source, it is the role MEMRI plays in the conflict. --Soman (talk) 15:42, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Could you please source your contention that "there is a history of conscious tampering and misrepresentation of the original material"? Tundrabuggy (talk) 15:57, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Do you believe the passage "MEMRI is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East"? Does MEMRI exist is a political vacuum? The intent of MEMRI is quite obvious from its actions, to portray the Arabs in a negative light, thus indirectly supporting Israeli positions. A few examples, [26], [27], [28] and [29] are some commentaries on the role of MEMRI. MEMRI doesn't just offer translations, they also create news spins. The way they handled the Mickey Mouse story wasn't just accidental, it was a planned manuever in a propaganda war. I'm not saying that MEMRI can never be used as a source, but using their material for any controversial claim is not a good practice. --Soman (talk) 16:32, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
It appears you cannot source your contention that MEMRI has a "history of conscious tampering and misrepresentation of the original material." Will you strike it? Your first two sources are opinion pieces by the same person, the third is blog quoting from someone called "Professor As’ad Abu Khalil" but not listed as such on his blog, The Angry Arab News Service. The Angry Arab News got its transcript from someone named "Anonymous." Your final source is an opinion piece by Lawrence Swaim, a staff writer for what claims to be "The largest Muslim newspaper in California" and quoting Norman Finkelstein comparing MEMRI to the Nazis. Tundrabuggy (talk) 19:27, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

There is consensus across several articles that advocacy organisations, of whatever bent, are best avoided as sources and are not reliable. If they reprint or extract material from otherwise reliable sources, those original sources are to be checked for accuracy of quotes and/or translation and to ensure that context is provided. MEMRI is not in any way singled out. --Relata refero (disp.) 18:00, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree that probably advocacy organisations are not always reliable sources. But where has it been determined that MEMRI is an advocacy group and not what it claims to be, ie "independent and non-partisan" [30], doing what it says it does: "providing timely translations of Arabic, Persian,Turkish, Urdu-Pashtu media?" I agree that it also does "original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East" and as with any "original analysis," we are talking opinion, and it is buyer beware. But the translations should be considered reliable. As New York Times reporter Steven Erlanger says, "No one disputes their translations." [31]Tundrabuggy (talk) 20:06, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, the NYT is clearly wrong; I recall reading a very critical Guardian article about MEMRI. In fact, looking at the Middle East Media Research Institute#Bias section of the article, it's evident that MEMRI has come in for considerable criticism. This goes back to the criteria set out in WP:V that "articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." If MEMRI does not have a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy then I think it would pretty clearly be excluded as a reliable source. -- ChrisO (talk) 20:12, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Clearly MEMRI DOES have a wide "reputation for fact-checking and accuracy", except among those who do not like what they hear. If you claim otherwise, among other things, you are in the position of saying the NYT Times is unreliable or POV. BTW, WP in its wildest dreams would be lucky to have MEMRI's reputation for accuracy!

The NYT article is titled 'In Gaza, Hamas’s Insults to Jews Complicate Peace'. If that's one's point of view on the prevailing situation in Gaza, well then there's not much to discuss. Obviously, there are people do don't trust MEMRI's 'translation service', albeit these people might be bloggers, political divergents, Arabs or Muslims. I don't really know what is the purpose of this discussion. I think the wikipedians who are critical of MEMRI won't issue a carte blanche for future usage of MEMRI as a reference, and those who are already convinced that Arabs are by default evil hatemongers will probably continue to believe that MEMRI is an eternal fountain of npov wisdom. It becomes a bit abstract to discuss this without discussing a concrete case and a specific wiki article. Regardless of the outcome of this discussion any future use of MEMRI in a controversial subject will invite further discussion. Such are the dynamics of the debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. --Soman (talk) 20:51, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Soman, will you strike what you said "Using their quotes of their translations should be avoided, since there is a history of conscious tampering and misrepresentation of the original material," since you cannot back that up? Tundrabuggy (talk) 03:45, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
I won't strike any of my comments at this point, it is my understanding that my comment(s) still holds. We apparently have different judgements on this. --Soman (talk) 08:26, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

It is pretty commonly accepted that many media review organizations, such as MEMRI and FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting), are advocacy groups. Their reputation for accuracy and fact-checking varies widely depending on the particular group. Even the most accurate of such groups have a strong tendency to provide a very one-sided presentation of the facts and issues. They generally should not be used to cite bald assertions, but are certainly appropriate for representing their perspective. They should also be explicitly attributed in-prose when used. As examples, it would be appropriate to use MEMRI to represent the neocon perspective of the Middle East and similarly appropriate to use FAIR as representative of the progressive view of domestic U.S. politics. The presence of a point of view or bias in a source does not make it unreliable or unsuitable for use. However, some caution is required when using such sources to avoid inappropriate emphasis of those views. Vassyana (talk) 02:22, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

I do have a problem with the assumption that MEMRI is a media review organisation or an advocacy group, particularly on grounds that "it is pretty commonly accepted." MEMRI translates from Arab media what Arab media has to say to each other and the Arab 'street'. As long as there is no one else that does it, MEMRI offers an important and valuable service. I hope you would check them out yourself, [32] and decide if they "provide a very one-sided presentation of the facts and issues." Here, for instance, is the latest economic news from the MEMRI Economic Blog [33] (Highlights of the latest Arab census). Do you find the presentation slanted? The controversies surrounding MEMRI (translation) have basically to do with 2 articles, and the translation of a couple of words. Tundrabuggy (talk) 03:45, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Translation is not a neutral science, and MEMRI is not a neutral conveyor of political commentary. The notion that MEMRI simply 'translates' for the sake of translation itself is a quite naive pov. But to repeat what i've said before, any use of MEMRI as a source for a controversial claim is bound to be questioned on the ground of WP:RS, but there is no ban on using MEMRI as a source overall. I have no reason to question the authencity of the translation of the Sharq al-awsat article from the MEMRI Economic Blog and wouldnt protest its usage in relevant article. --Soman (talk) 08:26, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
"As long as there is no one else that does it" - that's almost certainly mistaken. BBC Monitoring makes translations every day. I believe the CIA has a similar service. These outputs are used mainly by professional researchers and sometimes MEMRI may be more convenient, but BBC or CIA translations can be regarded as reliable. Itsmejudith (talk) 08:38, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
I was going to make the same point about BBC Monitoring (yes, it is ultimately funded by UK government departments, but it is broadly independent in most of what it does). The problem with MEMRI is that even thought it claims itself to be non-partisan, it appears to have a specific, political agenda which is focused on finding fault with what is said in the Arab world and other predominantly Muslim parts of Asia. That can feed through into a) what out of the zillions of words published every day in the Middle East they choose to translate and highlight; and b) how they translate some of those words. Translation is frequently an inexact science, as past incidents relating to Ahmedinejad and Israel, and Tomorrow's Pioneers show (I know someone already linked to this). I guess the point is, as broadly agreed above and as with all sources of this type, it's not unreliable per se, but proceed with caution and make specific attribution when using it. --Nickhh (talk) 11:51, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Using the BBC in this context as more reliable than MEMRI is ludicrous. The BCC is notorious for its bias in relation to the middle east. See BBC's anti-Israel bias and BBC asks court to block Israel report and BBC fights to suppress internal report into allegations of bias against Israel and BBC mounts court fight to keep 'critical' report secret They even admit it themselves. We are biased, admit the stars of BBC News By what method are we to supposed to accept that their translation service is more reliable than MEMRI? I agree that MEMRI and all reliable translations should be used carefully and with attribution. Tundrabuggy (talk) 14:03, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Hmm several points here - a) BBC Monitoring is a different organisation from the BBC (although ultimately part of it). It is not a broadcaster or media outlet, it is a monitoring and translation division; b) even the BBC proper is not "notorious" for its anti-Israel bias, it has merely been accused of it by some people, just as it has also been accused of pro-Israel bias; c) you do realise don't you that the Daily Mail has an ongoing campaign against the BBC for its supposed "liberal" bias?
For all its faults and mistakes, and however impossible it is to attain, the BBC - along with other UK broadcasters - does have impartiality as an objective which is enforceable by regulators. MEMRI and other advocacy groups do not. --Nickhh (talk) 14:23, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

The claim [above] that "MEMRI ...represent[s] the neocon perspective of the Middle East" is a bit delusional, unless actual translations/reality are deemed to represent the 'neo-con' view. MEMRI highlights material from both moderates and extremists [e.g. see "Reform"]. Aversion to using MEMRI must stem from an aversion to facing reality. Perhaps if wp editors didn't have an aversion to using reliable sources, wp would be more reliable.Bcdea (talk) 14:13, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

You seem to be taking for granted what people above are discussing and hoping to establish - ie, is MEMRI a reliable source in WP terms? MEMRI may not represent exactly the neocon perspective, but there's serious doubt as to whether it's an impartial, balanced and objective reviewer of the Middle East media. --Nickhh (talk) 14:25, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Again, we are not talking about reviewing anything. We are talking about using their translations, not their opinions. No one has proven their translations unreliable, or even cast "serious doubt" on them. Perhaps we should look at the "impartiality" and "balanced objectivity" of MEMRI's critics. Tundrabuggy (talk) 03:37, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
I find this conversation shocking. So far as I know, MEMRI is the only web-enabled English language source for translations of news and views from parts of the non-English speaking world. If MEMRI's translations get cut out for any reason other than they are consistently unreliable, then that's like censoring out speech from the non-English speaking world. I mean what hubris! Only English spoken here! You have got to kidding! Non-English speakers are just as important as English speakers. We should be thankful for MEMRI's translation services, and if people don't like MEMRI or if MEMRI is necessarily selective, then let them start their own consistent translation services. Cutting out MEMRI's translations is just wrong if they are consistently reasonably accurate. --LegitimateAndEvenCompelling (talk) 06:39, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
As to the review point, I meant that this is what their activities involve overall - ie they (presumably) scour various sources, and then choose what to translate and flag up after that. That counts as reviewing, and it's the selection of course which is highly significant. And serious doubt has been cast on how they operate generally, as well as on specific translations - see the Brian Whitaker and Juan Cole articles cited above, as well as recent comments by Ken Livingstone. You may of course disregard these opinions, but these are not fringe figures who have chosen to question or criticise MEMRI. Having said all that, I'm not quite sure what this debate is about now, or how it is in any way "shocking". No-one above has said we shouldn't use their translations here, or ought to be "cutting [them] out". The consensus seems to be, even among those who are sceptical about MEMRI as an organisation, that it is OK to cite them subject to the usual caution, and so long as there is clear attribution. --Nickhh (talk) 08:24, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Newspapers choose what news to print, does that mean they are "reviewing"? To the complaint that their selection of material is not "representative" of the media from which they take it, I have yet to hear the case made. And if they publish a lot of anti-Israel or anti-U.S. or anti-Western Arab media, do you really suppose they had to scour to get it? ha! Tundrabuggy (talk) 02:08, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Good. --LegitimateAndEvenCompelling (talk) 21:13, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)

Hi all,

This has already been discussed before (here), but at least one editor in an ongoing dispute does not believs the conclusion there to be significant (here).

The question is, can Palestinian Media Watch be used as a reliable source regarding the opinion of Palestinians?

Cheers and thanks, pedrito - talk - 17.07.2008 08:11

PMW is used by reputable mainstream sources, as linked at the discussion going on on the linked article. I'm sorry, but if its credible enough for CNN and Reuters, saying it is not credible enough for Wikipedia is somewhat silly. We are presenting their opinion, not as fact but simply as the opinion of the source as instructed by WP:RS. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 08:16, 17 July 2008 (UTC)Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 08:16, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
RS's can quote PMW, but that does not mean PMW is an RS. Imad marie (talk) 08:23, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
If its reliable enough to be quoted by the first tier news organizations such as Reuters and CNN, it is blatantly silly to question it especially when we've carefully gone to the length of attributing the context to the source which fulfills the criteria of WP:RS. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 08:30, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Guys, I posted this here to get outside, un-involved opinions... Can you take a break for a few hours and let others weigh-in? Cheers and thanks, pedrito - talk - 17.07.2008 08:33
PMW is considered a WP:RS. We've had a few discussions on this before. In short, CNN and other major sources, believe they are RS and use their translations for reports.
Samples: The Washington Times[34],Washington Post[35],BBC[36],Reuters[37], Forbes[38],Jerusalem Post[39],Channel 2 (Israel)[40],The New York Times[41].
With respect, JaakobouChalk Talk 10:27, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Whoa. There's a number of misconceptions here. The first thing to note is the general principle as stated by Imad marie above. Just because Reuters or the Jerusalem Post publish information that they got from PMW doesn't make PMW a reliable source. The info has to go through those sources' fact-checking procedures first. If you or I phoned a news story through to the Jerusalem Post and they reported it would that make you or me RS in WP? I clicked on a couple of these links and the story did not in fact come directly from PMW. Apparently PMW posted a film on YouTube, then PETA picked it up, and the story reached the news agencies from PETA. That doesn't make PETA RS either. On the translation question see my post above in the MEMRI thread. In general, small web-only "Watch" organisations are unlikely to qualify as RS. They don't originate news but collate it, usually in line with a particular viewpoint. They don't have the fact-checking apparatus that is the main criterion in determining RS. In the case of the animal rights story, there is no sourcing problem, you simply source to a mainstream news outlet. There may be some other stories that PMW carries but are not picked up by any news agency, newspaper or broadcaster. In these cases notability will probably be a concern, but it is worth bringing them here for consideration on a case-by-case basis. Itsmejudith (talk) 10:51, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
This isn't the case of a singular instance however, this is multiple, rival, independant news agencies repeatedly turning to PNW for material. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 13:45, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
There's a difference between using a source's material (e.g. translations, videos, etc...) and adopting their analysis (e.g. typical celebrations). What's contentious here is the use of their analysis. Cheers, pedrito - talk - 17.07.2008 13:52
Once again, such material can be used when it is explicitly labelled as such as this image was prior to Pedrito removing that from the image's accompanying text. For the record, I've stated explicitly that this image is replacable and have asked for suggestions of images which relate to the topic of the Palestinian celebrations but have yet to receive any serious response to my good faith attempt. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 14:03, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
What you describe, Kyaa, is the normal process of news-gathering, responding to press releases. The papers publish material originating from the McCain or Obama campaign teams even more frequently. The point is that their fact-checking teams stand between the original material and the reader. That's if we are discussing whether they are reliable as to facts. Now, in response to Pedrito, PNW's website is considered RS for description of its own views. In articles other than the PNW article itself, it just might sometimes represent an expression of a notable viewpoint. But there will almost always be a better source for that. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:01, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Please see my above comment to Pedro. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 14:03, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
That comment seems to be missing some punctuation. But if you and Pedrito are discussing compromises, that's good. If the issue is the use of images, please make 100% sure that copyright questions are resolved. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:21, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

H.M.S. Pinafore Cultural impact section

I've been tasked with finding the references for a pre-existing Cultural impact section. Now, I don't need to find them all - we can just delete things that prove impossible - but I would like to try and get all the prima facie notable ones referenced. I'll be honest, though, I have no idea what sort of standards television and film references are held to, nor where to look for this sort of thing. For instance, would this be a reliable source to show that the Animaniacs parodied H.M.S. Pinafore songs? Please help. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 05:06, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

I cannot imagine that some more "traditional" sources are not available for the general subtopic. The cultural impact, including pastiches and parodies, of Gilbert and Sullivan is a topic with an overabundance of sources. It may be difficult to source certain pop-culture claims in the section (though should we not put every nod to the work in there anyways), but it should not be overly difficult to appropriately rewrite and expand the section using reliable sources. CHUD is probably borderline, but acceptable. You may find the Manchester Universities' Gilbert and Sullivan Society website helpful as another online information source that is more directly related to the subject for that particular claim (though no harm in citing both references).[42] TV.com also makes a clear reference to the nod.[43] I hope this response is at least somewhat helpful. Vassyana (talk) 06:28, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

website traffic

is hollywoodreporter.com a reliable source for estimating hits/traffic to a website? this article [[44]] claims millions of hits for the site in question "since 2002," but actual traffic estimation sites such as trafficestimate.com , www.quantcast.com, and complete.com claim vastly different estimates from one another. should hollywood reporter be used as a source for traffic data? Theserialcomma (talk) 07:38, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

  • The Hollywood Reporter and its web site are reliable sources for discussion of the entertainment industry, but I don't believe they are directly involved in estimating web traffic. If the data came from one of its corporate affiliates, I don't see any indication of that. It would be fair to say that TuckerMax.com (the site in question) has been reported to have had millions of visitors (and cite that to Hollywoodreporter.com). --Metropolitan90 (talk) 15:30, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Safety of the Large Hadron Collider‎

Just need a pointer on something I'm sure I saw many moons ago about famous people expressing their points of view. It's pertaining to this thread here and the inclusion of non peer-reviewed and highly suspect science from someone who is not a physicist, and the only argument being noted for his inclusion is that he is in his own right notable as a biochemist. Where is the guideline on notable peoples thoughts with regards to controversial or fringe topics? Cheers Khukri 14:12, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

The guideline doesn't deal explicitly with this but it urges you to look for sources that are expert in the relevant field. I'm wondering what kind of person is an expert on the safety of large scientific installations, and actually I think that it is not possible to identify one kind of expert. It takes a mixed team of physicists, electrical/electronic engineers, civil and structural engineers, etc. I'm guessing that CERN commissioned such an interdisciplinary team to report on the safety. Their reports are RS.
It is notable that a group of people started a court case to challenge CERN's view. The right kinds of sources to cover that are reports in mainstream newspapers and/or science magazines. (Here you are looking for reliability in news reporting, not reliability in science.) If the anti-CERN team commissioned a team with similar expertise to CERN's to back up their view, then their reports would be RS too. But since the case was dismissed out of hand by the judge, I doubt whether they did have such a team of experts. Itsmejudith (talk) 17:11, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Nazi and Stalinist Soviet sources

Currently, an editor has expanded this article: Massacres of Poles in Volhynia, using Stalinist Soviet and German Nazi sources that I find unreliable. Examples:

  • The newspaper "Krakow News" for April 1940 reported,
  • Just in the second half of 1939 wrote H. I. Kuntz in his article "again in Lviv" printed in the "Berliner Berzenazeitung" the Poles murdered over 60,000 Ukrainians.,
  • The Ukrainian newspaper "Vilna Ukraina (from the fall of 1939, after German and Soviet attack on Poland),
  • The Sovet newspaper "Komunist" for October 20 also published a report from its correspondent in Berlin about the massacre of 80 Ukrainian cultural figures in Lviv. (refers to the year 1939),
Furthermore, facts mentioned here (the Poles murdered over 60,000 Ukrainians - where, when?) and (massacre of 80 Ukrainian cultural figures in Lviv - when?) have not been described in any other sources. Thank you for help. BTW see also talk: [45]Tymek (talk) 16:46, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Nazi sources would definitely be considered unreliable and shouldn't be used (even in articles about themselves, you can easily find a neutral third party source).
"where, when?" Very good questions. If a source is reliable it should be able to answer this and give reasonably sufficient details.Bless sins (talk) 00:10, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for help. Tymek (talk) 00:54, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Whatever else, these are primary sources, and per WP:PSTS should not be used to make any controversial claims. --Relata refero (disp.) 06:38, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Benny Morris

This has probably been discussed before:

Is Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001 by Benny Morris a reliable source for historical facts?Bless sins (talk) 23:32, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Reading from the Benny Morris article he is notable and reputable on the subject he publishes about. So you can cite from the book, but WP:NPOV should be followed. =Species8473= (talk) 23:33, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. Author is an academic historian whose work has been the subject of academic disagreement. "Use and balance" is the standard approach here. Itsmejudith (talk) 23:44, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Christianity Today

Is Christianity Today Magazine a reliable source on third parties? In particular is it a reliable source on Islamic countries, or citizens from Islamic countries? This shows that it is a non-objective source. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a very good resource for Christians and those seeking healing. But don't think its a good source for wikipedia.Bless sins (talk) 00:47, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

  • Clearly Christianity Today is written from an evangelical Christian point of view. But that does not mean that the information in their news section is inaccurate. For example, the following item about events in an Islamic country appeared in its News Briefs section: The Malaysian government has ruled that non-Muslim publications may not use the word Allah. The Herald, a Catholic newspaper, filed a lawsuit against the government December 5 protesting the prohibition, and it continued to use Allah in its 2008 editions. [46] This item was accurate, as can be seen from the International Herald Tribune and Reuters. Hence, we should not assume that Christianity Today is inaccurate in its coverage of news events in Islamic countries. Each citation to Christianity Today should be judged on its own merits. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 16:09, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
It certainly is reliable for statements of opinion (ie for statements about what the magazine says). As for statements of fact, I agree with Metropolitan90... each citation should be checked out, to be sure that the admitted evangelical bias of the magazine is not distorting the facts... but that needs to be done on a citation by citation basis. Blueboar (talk) 16:37, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Biased sources are not equivalent to unreliable sources. While bias can obviously affect reliability, it is not a question that should be resolved by using other sources to disprove their points and cast them as "unreliable". That is an approach contrary to our only founding content principle: NPOV (see m:Foundation issues). Generally, the use of biased sources should be evaluated based on proper weight. For example, extremist sources are often considered unreliable, but the clearest (and most fundamental) principle excluding them from use is NPOV, which excludes extreme minority views. All that said, the reason question at hand in this case is whether or not the evangelical Christian perspective is significant enough for inclusion in the article in question. Vassyana (talk) 18:57, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Major Minor Obit

There is a local well-established newspaper serving a community of about 500,000 which sometimes (re-)publishes obits from major newspapers in other cities. My question is do I cite the local paper or do I cite the byline of the major paper listed with the obit even though I cannot provide details of issue or page if I use the latter ? Low Sea (talk) 04:10, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Before anyone asks, the local republished "far away" obits are for people with some sort of historical connections to the local community (relatives, schools, whatever). I am not attempting to establish such a conection, only the biographical facts from the original obit itself. Low Sea (talk) 04:19, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
I believe that the guideline at Wikipedia:CITE#Say where you found the material covers this. It appears that you should cite the obituary to the publication you actually had access to, not the publication where it originally appeared. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 06:03, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
OK, that's good to know. One last question... If I list the local newspaper as the "where I found it" then what is the best way that I should attribute the source newpaper it mentions? Perhaps list the SacramentoBee/NYTimes/ChicagoTribune/etc byline as author? Low Sea (talk) 17:51, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Have you tried searching the website fo the original paper for the original obit. If you can provide an online link to the original article (which should at least give you the original publication date), the page number isn't so important. David Underdown (talk) 13:06, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
I will try that but in my experience few newspapers publish their obits online. Low Sea (talk) 00:59, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

A better practice than citing the source you got it from is probably to cite both. Cite the original obit, followed by reprinted in "My Local Paper" on "This date", or something like that. I just seems to me you should actually credit the original publisher, and this makes it easier for someone to track down a copy. Someguy1221 (talk) 04:56, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

This is an issue that crops up often in academic writing, especially student or other deadlined work when there isn't time to track down original sources. It's called the secondary source problem. You read about an experiment on the tensile strength of jelly, done by Smith and Jones (1932) in the textbook written by Brown and Robinson (2005); and you can't get your hands on the paper by Smith and Jones. How do you reference this responsibly? Answer: in the text, you write, "The tensile strength of jelly was measured by Smith and Jones (1932, as cited by Brown and Robinson, 2005)." Then you put Brown and Robinson, not Smith and Jones, in the reference list. That way you are not claiming what you don't have (first hand knowledge of what Smith and Jones actually reported) and you are telling the reader where you got your information from. It would be most unwise to give a direct citation of Smith and Jones in this situation, since Brown and Robinson may well have misrepresented them - and you might run into a know-it-all reviewer who actually has the world's one remaining copy of the Journal of Dessert Mechanics for 1932, and will denounce you triumphantly for not knowing that in fact Smith and Jones measured the sheer stress of blancmange, and Green and Robinson didn't check their facts properly. If you make it clear that your sourcing is secondary, any mud (or jelly, or blancmange) will stick on Green and Robinson, not you - and more important, the reader who wants to be absolutely sure will know that the authority of your citation is qualified. seglea (talk) 00:38, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Daily Mail

Can anyone tell if Daily Mail RS or not? May I use this paper as a RS for the article Durga Vahini? Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 11:31, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Note that this article is published in the Daily Mail of Islamabad, and not the UK newspaper linked above. There is an editor in chief, per this.[47], but I am finding it difficult to find independent sources about this newspaper to help judge its reliability.--Slp1 (talk) 13:30, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Daily Mail appears to be a mainstream newspaper in Pakistan, editor-in-chief is Makhdoom Babar and its headquarters is located at Shahbaz Centre in Islamabad [48]. My only confusion is whether I can use that particular piece for the said article. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 04:18, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
For anyone looking at this section enquiring about the UK Daily Mail, rather than the Pakistani one; the UK Daily Mail is a tabloid, hence definitely not a reliable source (I've seen blatant nonsense published there) -- 92.40.122.216 (talk) 10:40, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Website on the French GR hiking trails

How does the website www.gr-infos.com seem for information about the different French long-distance hiking trails? There is nothing on the website to say who authored it, but by the same token it doesn't seem to be promotional in any way (apart from generally promotional of hiking). I haven't spotted any errors on the site so far. Itsmejudith (talk) 23:12, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Any views? We need to use good sources in non-controversial articles too! Itsmejudith (talk) 10:53, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
The most authoritative site on these paths is http://www.ffrandonnee.fr, the site of the Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre (FFRP), which originated and maintained the paths, and is recognised by the relevant government departments (see the history section of the site). Unfortunately they don't have a path-by-path section on the site, but you can find out where all the paths are by using their topo-guide catalogue, which you can search by path number. You can also get a Michelin map of France with the GR system overlaid on it (see the catalogue at http://www.stanfords.co.uk). seglea (talk) 00:14, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Does a source need to be DIRECTLY about a topic in order to use it on Wikipedia?

"

... Another phrase "So I herd u like mudkips," a reference to a sea creature from the popular animated show "Pokémon," spawned thousands of tribute videos on YouTube. ... viral phenomenon. Here's at a few of them: ... "so i herd u like mudkips": Originally posted on another Web site, members of 4chan adopted the phrase as in-joke. A "mudkip" is a lovable, water creature from the animated series Pokémon. You can watch some of the thousands of tribute videos on YouTube. ... " - WALL STREET JOURNAL - July 9, 2008 - Modest Web Site Is Behind a Bevy of Memes

I want to add that the phrase "So I herd u like mudkips" is considered a viral phenomenon by the WSJ to the article about the Pokemon Mudkip. But, an admin is saying I can't add it basically because

(a) information can't be sourced if it is not the main subject of the source article, and

(b) information must pass notability guidelines to be added to an article

Are these true? Here is the talk page with the argument. Habanero-tan (talk) 02:06, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

(a) is a commonly held consequence of the basic content policies and their underlying principles. Essentially, off-topic and passing mentions are not accorded the level of editorial oversight and/or peer-review as the main thrust of the topic, meaning that the reliability of such statements is questionable. Additionally, such "throwaway" lines usually comprise an extreme minority of the claims and information on the topic, making their inclusion highly inappropriate and unbalancing.
Regarding (b), notability explicitly does not apply to article content, but rather to article inclusion. However, the basic idea of requiring substantive sources is often seen as inherent to basic content considerations, as noted above. Vassyana (talk) 05:54, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
I can't comment on your example, but (a) is definitely true.Bless sins (talk) 00:07, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
(a) is preferred, and may be required to show notability, but there's nothing in policy that says if you want to source fact X that the entire article has to be about fact X. For instance, you might cite a book about World War II to footnote one fact about a particular battle in France. However, there's another level of indirection involved in this example. The WSJ article isn't so much partially about the Pokemon character as it is partially about a meme that riffs on the character's name. Most of the readers who look at the article will want to read about the Pokemon character, not about the meme. Some editors will cry "original research", but I think what we're interested in is WP:RELEVANCE, WP:COATRACK, or maybe WP:TRIVIA. One debate i saw one about connective fiction summed it up nicely, that if you want to point out that some pop-culture article has a reference to something more famous i.e. Shakespeare, then it's OK to point that out. But if it's a reference to something less famous (like this meme) it's best to leave it out of the article. Squidfryerchef (talk) 05:25, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

The Black Parade

I have two questions about sources I wish to use in The Black Parade article. The first one is http://www.everyhit.com/index.html which is an archive of the Top 40 UK Charts. The other is http://swisscharts.com/index.asp which is a source for the Swiss Charts. I had originally obtained these sources from the Dookie featured article so I figured they'd be reliable to use but a concern was raised in the peer review that the sources are possibly not reliable. I wish to use these sources for their chart information in the article. Both are archives of past information.  Orfen  TC 19:06, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

To the bottom of the Swiss Charts website it is stated that "The Swiss hit parade is determined by Media Control AG on behalf of Swiss Radio DRS and IFPI Switzerland. All rights reserved. The Swiss hit parade, broadcast every Sunday, 13.00 to 17.00." You could write an e-mail to the website owner, asking him if and/or what kind of arrangement he has with those other parties. Or perhaps Media Control AG or the radio station also publish them, and you could use that as a more direct source. =Species8473= (talk) 22:41, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
I think we're overthinking this. Probably the initial objection was that they wanted to make sure swisscharts.com was a real chart and not some enthusiast's site. DRS is the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, and IFPI seems to be the Swiss equivalent of BMI/ASCAP. i.e. they're probably involved with counting the airplay to distribute royalties to the copyright owners. Just cite swisscharts.com with a qualifier that says who they are. Squidfryerchef (talk) 15:09, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine

Any takes on whether Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine is a reliable source for economic history in general or the thought of Milton Friedman in particular? Bkalafut (talk) 07:35, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Naomi Klein is a prominent international writer, and as long as her views are clearly presented as her own it would be ok to include her pov in the article. Reading this, I'd say that such a chapter is ok but could be trimmed a lot. Klein's comments should preferably be more specified with page numbers. Also, it would be good if Klein's view could be matched other critics. The support of Friedman to the Chilean junta was highly controversial in the 1970s, and it would be good if some criticism at the time could be included. --Soman (talk) 08:09, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Geocities.com

Is it a RS? Can links like [49] or [50] be trusted? Can be a referenced one like [51] be a RS? --Redtigerxyz (talk) 10:06, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

The last I heard, Geocities.com were just another webspace provider (owned by Yahoo); I could sign on there today and put up a page giving "conclusive proof" that 2+2=7 -- 92.40.122.216 (talk) 11:09, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

I'd say it doesn't qualify as RS. As per the latter case, perhaps, pending that it can be reasonably asserted that the writer is the person that the website belongs to. --Soman (talk) 12:09, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

In and of itself, no. If you can show that the author of the page is a recognized expert on the field, or if a reliable source does an article about the Geocities page and you want to cite the page as a primary source, or if it's used only as a non-controversial "external link", then that's different. Squidfryerchef (talk) 14:24, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

WP:SELFPUB is the applicable policy. It's simply a self-published web site. Web site providers are no more "sources" than word processor and editing tool providers. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 22:38, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Advanced Technology Attachment article, is citing the ATA spec re. solid state drives considered OR?

I am having extreme difficulty with editor Ramu50. Several times now ([52],[53], [54]) Ramu50 has deleted a simple statement of fact from this article, even though I provided [55] a reference the first time I restored it.

Ramu50 correctly pointed out [56] that that citation was difficult to reach (the ftp site required a login, although public credentials were provided elsewhere at [57], so I changed the cite [58] to point to an open ftp server with a copy of the document. Still, this seems to be not enough as this form of the cite was in the article when Ramu50 deleted it the third time (at least, I may have missed a few).

Ramu50 claims [59] that citing this document, even though it is the defining document of the article subject, is not sufficient and is "original research":

And let me ask you, is the primary document written by one author, yes it is. Just because it follows the association request doesn't mean it isn't one person viewpoint. One person viewpoint = original research.

(Well actually it's written by the T13 committee; edited by one person, but not written by one person.) In the same diff Ramu50 also says

Direct Quote doesn't mean anything, Wikipedia stated before that multiple statements from documents and adding your own conclusion is considered original research.

That would be a point if we were talking about "original synthesis". But I am not "adding my own conclusion". The specs expressly provide for solid state drives, they added the "CompactFlash Association feature set" expressly for support of certain aspects of solid state drives in ATA-4 (the earliest non-obsolete version):

6.13 CFA feature set: The CompactFlash Association (CFA) feature set provides support for solid state memory devices.
--from AT Attachment with Packet Interface Extension (ATA/ATAPI-4), section 6.13, page 36

There are many other details of the CFA feature set throughout that document and the later versions (ATA/ATAPI-5, etc.). And ever since ATA-2 (a much earlier, now obsolete version) they have also said

Traditionally, a device on the ATA interface has been a hard disk drive, but any form of storage device may be placed on the ATA interface provided it adheres to this standard.
--from AT Attachment Interface with Extensions (ATA-2), section 3.1.7, page 2

Ramu50 insists that these cites are not sufficient to support the notion that "solid state drives" are supported by ATA.

At one point Ramu50 added this confusing and completely unreferenced section to the article: [60]

Ramu50 generally writes in a very confusing (to me, anyway) style which has made discussion on the talk page strenuous to say the least. (And in Ramu50's most recent responses Ramu50 has rearranged my responses, removing them from context. My most recent changes before this "unfactoring" can be seen here: [61]) But as best as I can gather, Ramu50's contention that solid state drives either are not, should not, or are not "really" supported by ATA is based on poorly referenced claims that they are unreliable, or that nonvolatile memory is not really designed for being attached to an ATA cable, and that therefore the ATA documents should not or do not support them for legal or civil liability reasons. Ramu50 gives no evidence for this strange theory. There is weak evidence offered for unreliability but ATA documents do not include any requirements for reliability.

Ramu50 has also claimed [62] that solid state drives are only mentioned in the ATA documents due to "pressure" put on the ANSI T13 committee by the drive industry, but the only "evidence" Ramu50 offered for that claim was a "buyer's guide" dated 2003 (five years after ATA-4!) and a "Concept White Paper" on SSDs that said absolutely nothing to support such a claim.

I am aware that the ATA documents are a primary source here, but I believe that my citation meets the standards of WP:PRIMARY as I am not at all making an "interpretive claim." The issue in question is the issue of whether ATA supports solid state disk drives. The ATA documents (all versions ATA-4 and later, which is all non-obsolete versions) specifically make provisions for solid state drives and also allow them by inclusion as per the above quote frm ATA-2 ("any form of storage device"). I believe that any reasonable person, even not a subject matter expert, would agree that this supports the notion that solid state drives are supported by the ATA standards.

Please advise. --Jeh (talk) 09:06, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Your post is rather long and detailed. I don't claim to follow any of the technical issues and I hope when you discuss with the other editor you can put aside differences and stick to the points at issue. If I have understood your question, I believe the answer is this: manufacturers' technical documentation is usually regarded as reliable for information about those manufacturers' products. As to quality of products, then the manufacturers will naturally assert that their stuff is good, so look instead for independent sources. For example the Coca Cola company's website is used as a source in that article for which kinds of drinks they made and when, but a variety of other sources, some hostile, are used in the rest of the article. If I've misunderstood the point, please say. Itsmejudith (talk) 12:26, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Ah. We're not talking about a specific manufacturer's documentation, but that of an international standards organization (INCITS). The "AT Attachment" documents describe the physical cable, connector, and electrical signaling that has long been used to connect hard drives and other storage devices to most computers (in the last couple of years it has been supplanted by Serial ATA). These standards are indeed independent of any manufacturer because the intent is that different manufacturers' products will work together.
Re quality: there is no assertion of quality of the interface, or of the specification, just an implication that "if you build it like this, you're building it the same way everyone else who complies with this standard expects you to build it."
My assertion is parallel to your understanding: These specifications are reliable sources for what they themselves say. Jeh (talk) 13:30, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
International standards organisations are considered highly reliable sources. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:06, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Agreed (for reliable, notable ones, which INCITS certainly is). Note that the availability of the standard is important, but the free or convenient availability is not. RTCA standards are available, but not free. Likewise with many ISO standards, where drafts are sometimes freely circulated, but a final standard can be quite expensive. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 14:43, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
One could also cite reviews of SSD that say they are connected via ATA. (e.g. references off of the wikipedia SSD page.) Though the citation you have seems like a more reliable source to establish actual support, rather than compatibility. Since your assertion is what is in the document, I don't see any way it could be regarded as OR. Zodon (talk) 21:29, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure that this is the right place to make this comment, but it seems to me that there is simply no bases to deny that SSD drives comport to the AT Attachment. SSD drives can readily be purchased that represent themselves as comporting to the ATA interface or the IDE interface or the SATA interface, all of which are one form or another of the AT Attachment specification. A quick google search will provide many such vendors. I have looked at a few of Ramu50's edits and find them completely without justification. FWIW, I have 25+ years experience in various disk drive interfaces including attendance at many of the standards meetings that led to the various AT Attachment specifications. Hope this helps Tom94022 (talk) 08:33, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Quite frankly this entire debate is extremely ridiculous. Ramu50 is being stubborn. Given that I can be quite stubborn myself, I know stubbornness when I see it. If specifications are not valid as sources when discussing those very same specifications, then nothing is a reliable source. This should go on Wikipedia's Lamest Edit Wars. --M1ss1ontomars2k4 (talk) 07:14, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Thank you to all who commented here. The matter seems to be settled for now. Tom94022's insight in particular was most helpful: I pointed out that the lede said nothing about "support", only that ATA SSDs exist, and (after a few more cycles) that was sufficient. Jeh (talk) 00:43, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Blogs?

I know WP:RS says that personal and group blogs are not allowed, but what about websites like Mashable? It's technically a blog, but it posts news about new web applications that I think would be beneficial to some articles. Thanks in advance. — FatalError 20:25, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

EDIT: I just thought of another one: TechCrunch. — FatalError 20:47, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

You are referring to WP:EL instead of WP:RS, and WP:EL does not say that "personal and group blogs are not allowed" but lists it as "links normally to be avoided". And to be complete it states: "Links to blogs and personal web pages, except those written by a recognized authority". This line from WP:RS accurately explains what reliable sources are: "Wikipedia articles should use reliable, third-party, published sources. Reliable sources are credible published materials with a reliable publication process; their authors are generally regarded as trustworthy or authoritative in relation to the subject at hand. How reliable a source is depends on context." =Species8473= (talk) 21:35, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
I went over to mashable.com to have a look. And would object to it being a reliable source. It's unclear who their authors are, and I doubt they are reputable on what they write about. They also don't give insight to their publication process. It seems anyone can submit news, and it is then written about by one of the many selected members. Another thing I found questionable is a statement at their how to submit page: "Flattery works. Make Mashable the featured blog on your site, create a special Mashable widget, quote Mashable in your press release or find some other way to feed our over-sized egos. It makes us go all gooey inside." They do have 297 links on wikipedia already - but most of them are on talk pages or "low quality" articles. =Species8473= (talk) 22:09, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Mashable seems to be a bit more than a blog, and I agree that its content would be useful to flesh out articles on Facebook, social networking sites in general, etc. It seems to me that they have a pool of members who write articles, the articles have an author name and date, and there seems to be a selection process for which subjects and articles are printed. I don't see how this is any different from, say, a local or campus newspaper. The only thing that's bloglike seems to be the layout of the site itself and the suggestion that readers include a feed linking back to Mashable. Let's not get carried away with academic standards. Squidfryerchef (talk) 15:01, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Mashable describes itself as a blog: "Mashable ranks as one of the top 10 blogs in the world according to the blog search engine Technorati." The news items are submitted by anyone via email and the staff decides what to post, but there is no indication on the site of any fact checking or editorial oversite. It doesn't appear to be a reliable source for Wikipedia purposes. Some blogs can be reliable, based on the qualifications of the person or editorial board at the helm, but Mashable doesn't appear to meet that standard. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 05:44, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Lots of sites describe themselves as blogs, but aren't accoring to WP standards. For instance, many newspaper columns are called "blogs" when they're put online, but they're still published by the newspaper. Are you sure that the articles are contributed by the general public, or that leads are sent in by the general public and then they are fact-checked and rewritten by members/staff? The articles have the same author names over and over again and the prose has a consistent look and feel. Squidfryerchef (talk) 14:34, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I got what I need. Thanks for the input! — FatalError 21:55, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Television/Radio interview

In short: Would there be any objection to using as source: A statement from a reputable person on a subject, that has been broadcasted by a reputable station/network. If in the reference things like the title and date are included, and a direct quote. For a longer version with case specific context see: Talk:Thandie_Newton#place_of_birth. I have checked policies such as WP:V and WP:RS on it, but it doesn't seem to accurately cover the case. =Species8473= (talk) 21:19, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure how "published source" applies to the electronic media. Obviously there's concerns about verifiability unless there's an archive or transcript that the average researcher can send away for. Squidfryerchef (talk) 14:44, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Citing such a broadcast interview should be acceptable, particularly when it is possible for (at least some) other Wikipedia editors to confirm what was said in the interview by watching or listening to the interview online. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 03:01, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
There's dozens of interviews talking place as we speak on small college radio stations that don't tape their programs. I have a hard time seing those as "published". Squidfryerchef (talk) 22:06, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
If no transcript or recording exists then it's little different from a conversation held in public. While those within earshot may know what was said, it's unverifiable by a reader coming along years later. While this is framed as an issue of interviews of (presumably) notable subjects, it's also a problem with articles about the radio/TV shows themselves. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:18, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Non-English journal articles

I'd be interested to hear peoples' thoughts on the reliability of citing non-English sources in the English Wikipedia, particularly when the full text of the article may be difficult to penetrate because of language differences. A good example is the following article in a Korean journal:

형성과정으로 본 태권도의 정체성에 관하여
허인욱
체육사학회지
2004년 1월, 14권

In English:

"A Study on the Shaping of Taekwondo"
by In Uk Heo
Korean Journal of History for Physical Education
2004, January, Volume 14, pp. 79-87

The journal article (PDF excerpt[63] available for IE) is scholarly and well footnoted, but it's written in Korean, a language I'm not conversant with. However, the author himself begins his paper with a three-paragraph abstract written in English which summarizes the paper's contents and conclusions. Would citing this source's abstract be acceptable? Elsewhere it was suggested that referring to this summary without first reading the entire text could be unacceptable; it seems to me that the summary (as part of the paper) is as citable as any other section within the source.

Just curious! Thanks for any opinions/feedback, Huwmanbeing  16:39, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

It's a shame that this document only opens in Internet Explorer. But there is no ban on sources in other languages. See WP:V#Non-English_sources for a full paragraph of official policy about it. As Taekwondo is a Korean sport, it makes sense that they have the most experts about it, who write in Korean. The language a source is written in also doesn't make it more/less reliable. You may cite from the English part too. There is no knowledge required of the rest of the document. As wikipedia editor you don't have to make interpretations, that part of the job we leave to the experts/sources. If you do want to browse through the rest of the document I recommend google translation. =Species8473= (talk) 17:47, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Plenty of articles use other language sources and typically we try to find wikipedians who can speak multiple languages to help interpret those sources as to what they're saying. I'm leery about using any kind of automatic translator because the errors can not only be ridiculous but subtle and possibly change the author's meaning.--Crossmr (talk) 04:02, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
I haven't used Google's translator before, but it's true that Yahoo's Babelfish can produce some rather odd phrasing when converting between Korean and English, though it's usually close enough to deliver the gist. For now I'll go ahead cite from the paper's English abstract. Thanks! Huwmanbeing  11:23, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Are links to really GOOD pages on geocities OK?

I am working on the Holland III page, and the one really good online reference (it was later printed as a book and sold) on the submarines of Holland is on a geocities page. Well, I added a cite to that, and a bot reverted me. I replaced the cite because I think it's appropriate, but thought I ought to ask if this is a 100% prohibition or not? Thank You. --Betta Splendens (talk) 17:57, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Virtually every page on Geocities is either self-published or copied. See WP:SPS. I suggest that you use the book (if it wasn't self-published) as the source. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:38, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
See User:XLinkBot for an explanation of why the bot reverted your edit. Basically it's a first line of defense against inexperienced editors adding links to sites that have a history of being misused. It's not a complete blacklist, unlike MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist which won't even let you save a version with a blacklisted link in it, but it's an indication that you might want to rethink it.
If it was later printed as a book then cite the book. A geocities page maintained by the author of a book might be an acceptable external link but it's not an acceptable source. --TexasDex 18:48, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Here is the title of the book Gary W McCue wrote: "John Philip Holland (1841-1914) and His Submarines" it was published during 2000 by the "Holland Committee". It can be found on both Google books and Amazon 12. Also on his geocities website he writes that he has "a degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from Webb Institute" and works "as a consultant for Dassault Systems supporting the shipbuilding industry." Confirmation for that can be found in a document on the website of that company 3 (page 19). And in a document on the Webb Institute website you can read that: "Gary W. McCue and Ed Popko (IBM) presented “The Holland Project: Digital Reconstruction of Naval History” to students and faculty at a Monday Lecture on March" 4 So I would say you can use the document on his website, even though self-published (not ideal). Per: "Self-published material may, in some circumstances, be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." WP:SPS. =Species8473= (talk) 19:02, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks so much. I'll cite the book too, I think. It was printed to be sold in the General Dynamics/Electric Boat division gift shop, or so I recall reading on the site. So not exactly self-published, but not a big time book publisher, either. I cannot find an ISBN number for it. --Betta Splendens (talk) 19:22, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Not too, only. Geocities pages can't be used as citation ever. You might claim it has the text from the book in it, but I certainly can't verify that and neither can other editors unless they have the book in front of them.--Crossmr (talk) 03:44, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Species8473's analysis. It's self-published, so it has as much authority as McCue has. If the Webb Institute doesn't think he's a flake, we shouldn't either. The site has a bibliography page [64]. I note that the Morris biography of Holland has a limited preview at google books [65] - would that help? (Or the two old full preview books listed there?) McCue says in April 1999 What's New[66] :"Dr. Richard Knowles Morris has reviewed and edited most of my web pages. I have begun to make the changes and corrections he suggested." so we have fact-checking and help from a recognized authority. Finally, two books cite the site, so together with Species8473 reasoning, it looks like a decent source.John Z (talk) 04:38, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
The editor would still have to establish that the site actually belongs to and is controlled by him. The question is, what are we citing off there? If the material is in the book there is no reason to site the page. We don't necessarily need an online copy of something to be a proper citation.--Crossmr (talk) 05:24, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
You could cite the book as the RS and give the link as 'Provided for convenience' allowing quick checking by anyone for vandalism and the book for if someone wants to verify it properly. --Nate1481(t/c) 12:04, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

(Outdent)Here's what the site says about the book, in What's New: 14 July 2000[67] : "A softcopy edition of this website was produced in time for the U.S. Submarine Force Centennial. It contains a short history of each of John Holland's submarines plus a detailed account of the Holland VI/USS Holland. The booklet is being sold through several outlets. The Electric Boat Fairwater Store added it to their website today." I don't think it's really necessary to verify that McCue the person whose existence can be verified from outside sources is the same as the website owner McCue, but the two books cited above do that, they associate McCue with the site. The additional association with Morris improves the site's credibility a lot, IMHO, so I think it stands as an RS on its own, better than just a convenience link. It came first, and then the book was created from it, and it has had further additions explained in the What's New section, although of course there is probably not much difference between the book and the site. If someone doesn't actually have the book in front of them, they should cite the site, not the book, whose existence should be noted though. If you do have the book in front of you, then my common sense says cite it if it has the material, and maybe link to the cite as a convenience link.John Z (talk) 22:36, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Product Page

Would we consider the product page in a store for an item a reliable source on the item's reported features, barring any other reliable source being available?--Crossmr (talk) 04:00, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

It could depend on the product, the store and also the jurisdiction. In the UK the Trades Description Act is strict, so products for sale are generally well described. Watch out for get-out clauses in the product description; there may be a number of "or similar" lurking in the small print. Bring us some more details for a more definite answer. Itsmejudith (talk) 09:11, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
No, there is no accuracy guarantee, sources need to have a reputation for accuracy and fact checking and stores tend to have the opposite. --neon white talk 01:19, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
If a store claims to describe their products accurately is that any different from a news site claiming their stories are accurate?--Crossmr (talk) 17:35, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
A product page would be a self-published source and could be used with all the applicable limits and caveats. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 17:41, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

WP:JEWISHSOURCES

Some think there is a problem of the Jewishness of sources [68]. I'm quite tired explaining WP policies in cases like this. And the tags apparently should be used this way [69], would love to respond to that, but sadly I can't, edit summary says "It's not my playground". Gotta believe the summary I guess. Summary knows the best. M0RD00R (talk) 23:00, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Edit summary says that because you don't wanna talk, you just made your own opinion in the article such as one about the NOP, ONR or other Polish nationalistic organizations articles. I would like to remind you that not everyone who love his country is antisemitic, neonazi etc. "Jewish sources" such as listed in the discussion are highly non neutral because all of them show ONE point of view, Jewish people POV. As far as I know we can't make articles based on one source (in this case Jewish), this is logic that all governmental or other Jewish organizations will see any nationalsitic movement as a neonazi, antisemitic, neofashist etc. I can give all the proofs for that that NOP or ONR aren't neonazi or antisemitic. As a nationalsit they love their country as aNATION not RELIGION.
--Krzyzowiec (talk) 23:24, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
That is nonsense. "Jewish people" is not a useful group to assign a single POV to. Such an argument seems to demonstrate what is being denied directly. If you have reliable sources that claim that NOP is not anti-semitic, add them (but keep in mind WP:FRINGE and WP:SPS). Deleting otherwise reliable sources because they are somehow connected to a Jewish person is not acceptable. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:34, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
How about that MORDOR delete informations proofed by the sources ? Mordor deleted information that NOP members took place in Anti communistic manifestations, that NOP organize spring camps for poor Polish kids etc. The nonsense is that one man can create article however he want. So to make things clear - If he can cite sources such as Michael Shafir, Stephen Roth Institute, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anti-Defamation League, The Jewish Press etc. we have right to give sources from nationalistic organizations ?! The parody is that Jews call everyone who is rightist "antisemitic", "neo-nazi" etc. Jan Mosdorf, NOP's and ONR's hero was a member of the nationalsitic organization ONR and he was a Jew himself, he saved many Jews so if MOrdor call ONR anti-semitic he call Mosdorf either ?! NOP many times on official site says that organization doesn'y support any form of violence agaisnt Jews or Races but Mordor deleted that either.
--Krzyzowiec (talk) 23:42, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
This is not the place to continue your content dispute. As far as I can tell, Shafir is an acknowledged expert on right-wing movements in Europe. His paper is published in an academic yearbook. This looks like a reliable source to me. The Stephen Roth Institute is a well-respected research institution. Again, if you can find reliable sources, add them. Publication by nationalistic fringe groups are not usually reliable. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 00:02, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I think the policy statement Assert facts, including facts about opinions—but do not assert the opinions themselves. applies here as long as you are crediting the opinion to whoever's it is then there should be no problem. --neon white talk 00:55, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I really hope we do not get any more posts that attribute opinions to "Jews" as a whole. This one is borderline for being deleted as unacceptably racist on a noticeboard. Itsmejudith (talk) 13:03, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Dollhouse Source

Someone added this source to the article on Dollhouse (TV series), and I was a little skeptical of it.

http://www.thrfeed.com/2008/07/dollhouse-webis.html

What's the verdict?

Maratanos (talk) 04:56, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Taken from the site's blurb: "The Live Feed is published by The Hollywood Reporter, where Hibberd is on staff as a senior reporter." The site is hosted by The Hollywood Reporter which is a subsidy of Nielson Business Media. Its rather trendy to label reporting as "blogs" in the new media. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 13:11, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Self-published sources and quotes from them on GNU/Linux naming controversy

Following discussion moved from Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability per Shirahadasha's suggestion. 206.248.134.130 (talk) 07:14, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Can I get some opinions on this article? The subject is an acrimonious debate (want evidence? Talk:Linux/Name) and many of the sources on this page are either self-published (e.g. by Richard Stallman on the FSF's GNU website) or not even properly published but drawn from mailing list postings. The current argument seems to be that they are "experts" in their field. 76.10.148.211 (talk) 17:38, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

In the case of Stallman's publications (by an organization of which his is not the only member, merely an important one) I would suggest that unless the editor can be identified as Stallman himself, there is not a case of self-publishing in the sense WP cares about it.
I can write something, post it on any Web site (including one I run), and if you cite my work, everything will be fine. So, if I cite my work openly, there's a possible problem. If the Web site is a public one, it may be permissible here. If it's purely mine, then there's a conflict with WP policy. A middle case is me citing this last web site, but doing so as a sock puppet. Not always easy to detect, but if discovered, there'd be the same problem re WP policy.
In your example case, is the editor suspected, or proved, to be a sock puppet run by Stallman? I'd think it unlikely, given my impression of his perspective on various things, but perhaps it's possible. If so, the question re self-publishing citation is not so easy. The FSF is clearly a large and influential organization, and so it's not clearly obvious that Stallman's writing on its web site is self-publishing in this WP sense. Likely anything he feels strongly enough about to write up will find sufficient support to put on the FSF web site, but that's not a very clear case of self-publishing.
From a self-published citation perspective, being an expert in a subject isn't sufficient. Evaluating expertise is very difficult in a WP context. ww (talk) 12:42, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure Stallman did write much of the material in question. However, I suppose I see it more like GNU and the FSF are the self-publisher, not Stallman. After all, the publisher in this case is by no means neutral: GNU and the FSF have a vested interest in the OS being called GNU/Linux. The same arguments were used elsewhere to remove citations to Microsoft's Total Cost of Operation studies, even though it wasn't Bill Gates himself who authored them.
I think another question with a more obvious answer is this: are Linus' and friends' posts to a mailing list unacceptable? I tried to delete references to them twice and got reverted. Check the recent page history. 206.248.134.130 (talk) 07:12, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
They're most certainly acceptable. They are recognized experts in the field ( and subjects of some of these articles ), and they're posting to expert's mailing lists. Squidfryerchef (talk) 15:19, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Okay, so they are experts in their field. I assume we are agreed that at least the mailing list postings are self-published. However, see the condition I discuss below: "Self-published and questionable sources may only be used as sources about themselves, and only if: 1--7". Please argue that all 8 conditions for acceptability hold, i.e. the bit coming before the "and only if" plus the 7 conditions. I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm really just asking for clarification, because I'm confused. 206.248.134.130 (talk) 06:44, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
It might be worth stepping back for a minute and looking at what we mean by "reliable" here. What to name something is a matter of opinion, not a matter of fact. (There's no such thing as a factually wrong name.) Reliable sources on opinions have to be handled a little differently from facts. I think there may sometimes be some confusion because most of the examples given in WP:RS apply to facts and don't necessarily translate well to opinions. For opinions, reliable sources are authorative (they accurately present significant viewpoints) rather than accurate in the sense of the opinions themselves being "correct" (WP:NPOV prohibits judging opinions on their correctness, just on their significance.) We have plenty of independent sources that the dispute itself is notable (a question of fact.) We also have plenty of independent sources demonstrating that Richard Stallman, as a founder and towering authority figure in the whole field and party to the dispute (also a question of fact), so his opinion on the issue indisputably represents a significant opinion. So here, a "reliable" source for Richard Stallman's opinion is one that that has a reputation for accurately presenting Richard Stallman's opinion. A source directly attributable to Richard Stallman may actually be more reliable for that than one that expresses someone else's view of someone else's view of Richard Stallman's opinion. Best --Shirahadasha (talk) 22:59, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
That's actually pretty reasonable. Certainly the reliability is fine and I don't dispute the reliability of the arguments presented by either side. They definitely said those things. So the next question is, what about WP:SPS? That page says it takes precedence over WP:RS because it is a policy. Even though Stallman is an expert in his field, WP:SPS says "Self-published and questionable sources may only be used as sources about themselves, and only if: ...". First of all, the sources are not sources "about themselves". They are sources about a name, and so the bit before the comma in that quote indicates they are not acceptable. Second, even if we get to the "and only if" part, then we have the 7 conditions that follow, and in this case I think 2,3,4,7 do not apply. My intuition when I look at the article is that it is somehow artificially constructed... it does not feel "natural". It feels like documentation of a flame war between two well-known parties and (thus?) original research. 206.248.134.130 (talk) 06:33, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
It's not a "flame war", its a debate between experts who cooperate with each other. These people are more than experts, these are the people who wrote and/or who are in charge of these different software packages. This is clearly "an article about themselves", and their posts are primary sources. Squidfryerchef (talk) 14:45, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
They may cooperate on their software but it this not a cooperative discussion about what to call their operating system. One side wants GNU/Linux, the other wants Linux. The title of the article is GNU/Linux naming controversy. It is a bitter and acrimonious debate. Please take a look at Talk:Linux/Name if you do not believe me. Anyway, let's assume the sources are really "about themselves" and not "about what to call the OS". Even if this holds, you've still only confirmed 1 of the 8 conditions.
Also, I definitely agree these are primary sources. As a separate issue, there are many interpretive claims in the article made about these primary sources and this goes against WP:OR. 206.248.134.130 (talk) 20:24, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Getting back to the "about themselves" question. The way I read that bit of the policy is that it is okay to use a mailing list posting by Linus Torvalds if the post is about Linus Torvalds. If that is not the case it would be helpful if the policy could be clarified because I am genuinely confused. 206.248.134.130 (talk) 20:35, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
The real issue is that most computer-related articles don't get too whacked out about liberal arts standards. Most of them use primary sources pretty liberally, though I don't see any interpretive claims, just statements like "X said Y". The article could be improved by adding third-party sources that cover the debate, which shouldn't be too hard given there's Avogadro's number of Linux and free software journals out there, however that would be more to pacify the deletionists because it wouldn't change the overall content of the article, and I strongly support keeping the primary sources after secondary sources are added. The reason why computer articles rely more heavily on primary sources than, say, articles about religion, is because the topics are straightforward (software either works or it doesn't) and most of the editors who maintain them are very familiar with the subject matter. I'm also not interested in some list of eight conditions that was posted on some talk page instead of here ( note, that's not an invitation to post them here ), we're all familiar with WP's sourcing policies here. Squidfryerchef (talk) 22:06, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
All I'll say is that there are a number of topics in the computer world that seem to behave an awful lot like religion articles. And this one seems to be something of an example. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 23:12, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
This is definitely one of those religion-like cases. We're talking about what to call the software, not how the software works. 206.248.134.130 (talk) 01:47, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the discussion on primary vs. secondary sources. It's fine if you're not interested in the conditions, but they come from the non-talk part of WP:SELFPUB. If you cannot or are unwilling to help, then maybe another editor can help me. I would really appreciate clarification on WP policy here. 206.248.134.130 (talk) 01:47, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Note: to be absolutely clear, the 8 conditions are "Self-published and questionable sources may only be used as sources about themselves" plus the seven items from the numbered list in WP:SELFPUB. Previously I referred to WP:SPS, as I did not notice the WP:SELFPUB link at the side. Again, this does not come from a talk page but the actual policy. My apologies if I was unclear or if this caused any confusion, but I'd really like to get to the bottom of this. I do not think the "about themselves" condition holds (to wit: a naming controversy cannot write about itself), but let's forget that for the moment and assume that it does. Even given this, I still do not think the seven conditions in the numbered list hold, specifically not items 2,3,4,7. Can we address these? Would you like me to explain why I do not think they hold? Thanks for your help. 206.248.134.130 (talk) 01:59, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Despite your lack of invitation, I'm just going to go ahead and list the disputed conditions here because I'm going to address them one-by-one:
2. it is not contentious
The material is very contentious. The name of the article has "controversy" in it. There is a 500+ kB talk page here: Talk:Linux/Name. (I think this may be why you thought I was referring to a set of conditions from some talk page.) It really is like some kind of religious matter. Or maybe political. I expect the same standards to be applied here that are applied to democrats vs. republicans and pro-choice vs. pro-life.
3. it is not unduly self-serving
The authors of these sources are generally involved with one of two sides. One the one hand we have Stallman, GNU, the FSF, and the "free software" side, and on the other hand we have Linux, X11, and the "open source software" side. There are big philosophical differences between them. The free software people want the name GNU/Linux because they believe it advances the prominence of GNU, and the open source software people generally want to dissociate themselves from GNU. Anybody publishing an article on a website or on a mailing list about this is advancing the position of one side or the other.
4. it does not involve claims about third parties
Most of the references do this. They must talk about third parties if they wish to dismiss the name the "other side" is proposing. (Or have I misunderstood what "third party" means? Is there such a thing as a "second party"?)
7. the article is not based primarily on such sources
The meat of the article is derived from these sources. If you look in the talk pages, you'll see an insistence on "prominent commentators", in other words well-known software experts participating in the controversy.
My interpretation of the policy is that if one of these 4 disputed claims listed above does not hold for a given source, then that source should be removed from the article. Is this an incorrect interpretation?
As a final note, Stallman is not only a software author. He really thinks of himself more as a philosopher and political activist, he hasn't written much software in ages. Thanks again, 206.248.134.130 (talk) 03:02, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
No, the source should not be removed from the article. It's preferable that the article cite both primary and secondary sources for this information, but the primary sources should still stay. I don't know how an article about this topic could be written without quoting the principals involved. Your arguments are like saying we should not quote McCain and Obama in an article about the 2008 elections. This is clearly a case of "an article about themselves". I'm finding it difficult to assume good faith here, is there an objection to WP having an article on this topic? Squidfryerchef (talk) 04:05, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Huffington Post

An anonymous user added this text into Sean Hannity article. I would like to know if Huffington Post is a reliable source and if the text can be included. Docku (talk) 21:05, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Much of what is there is opinion blogging. It CAN be reliable if additionally cited there, I think, but my impression is that they do not vet articles like a traditional journal does. --Betta Splendens (talk) 21:16, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
This was discussed earlier, and is still on this page (Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard#Huffington_Post.2C_Gawker_and_About.com). There were mixed opinions, but the HuffPost does have an editorial board, receives contributions from some of the most major figures in US policy, and seems to have a decent, if rather opinionated, reputation. I think it is a RS; it runs what are similar to a newspaper editorials, and probably more reliable than a small-town newspaper editorials. It is not a highly reliable source, but the author of that column is an employee of the company. Seems OK, and seems to be accurate in this case -- he cites where he is getting his information. Might be good to look at what Hannity has said in response to counterbalance. It is a sensitive situation ... II | (t - c) 21:35, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
As a source by itself for negative BLP commentary, definitely not; that's a blog post, and the site even labels it as such. Policy is clear that "blogs should never be used as a source for material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject of the article". The choice is either to carve out an exception in policy for blogs with big funding and editorial boards (as this site is alleged to have), or use another source instead (like "The Nation"). - Merzbow (talk) 21:46, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
BLP says "[s]ome newspapers host interactive columns that they call blogs, and these may be acceptable as sources so long as the writers are professionals and the blog is subject to the newspaper's full editorial control. Where a news organization publishes the opinions of a professional but claims no responsibility for the opinions, the writer of the cited piece should be attributed (e.g., "Jane Smith has suggested..." -- the exception is already carved out, and Linkins is a professional editor with the HuffPost. Whether we really need to spend that much time on the subject is the question -- to be safe, just noting The Nation's article could be best. II | (t - c) 00:58, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
HuffPost is not anything resembling a traditional newspaper or publishing entity. Their content seems to be exclusively either reprints from other news sources, or what they call blogs. Who knows what type of fact-checking is going on here? Bottom line is you have to stretch BLP policy right to the breaking point to even consider this as acceptable, and that is the last thing we want to do when negative material about a living person is at issue. - Merzbow (talk) 01:06, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree that to be safe, we might as well not include it, but I don't agree that it doesn't resemble a newspaper or that its fact-checking is in doubt vis-a-vis print newspapers and magazines. Yes, it is online, but it has received awards and is staffed by professional reporters. Most newspapers today are mainly covering news which was generated elsewhere, with the exception of local news. II | (t - c) 01:19, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Awards for best blog this or that, as far as I can see, which tends to confirm my opinion. I see no evidence yet they are doing original reporting as opposed to commentating. Producing original articles like Salon.com does instead of blog posts, in their own words, would be a start. Note that their current "news articles" are simply reprints from AP and so on (or direct links to other sites). Maybe in 5 years this will change, but for now, they should not be used as a source for controversial material on living persons. - Merzbow (talk) 18:17, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Basic Books

Resolved

Anyone have any opinions on whether Basic Books is considered a scholarly publisher? Satan's Silence is published by them and there's been a general disparagement on the satanic ritual abuse page of popular sources (i.e. non-scholarly press). WLU (talk) 19:05, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Here is a list of books they've published according to Google Scholar, although it excludes Satan's Silence, so it is not a full list. Most of them are scholarly, with prestigious authors such as Hernando de Soto, Howard Gardner, Nozick, Hofstadter, and generally all works are related to academics, even though some are aimed at popularizing science. Here is the GBooks page on Google books, which I'm guessing you've seen. Couple reviews there. Certainly looks fine to include in the article; don't know why it matters so much whether Basic Books is scholarly per se. I certainly wouldn't describe it as such without an explicit source. II | (t - c) 02:39, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Basic Books has a solid reputation as a non-fiction publisher. They are best known for accurately presenting academic subjects in a commonly understandable fashion and for reputably addressing issues of public debate & interest. The single caution I would offer is that many of their books are biased, or present a strong point of view. While that has no direct effect on the reliability of the publisher or their works, some attention to the potential bias may be advisable to avoid an unbalanced presentation of the subject. It's worth noting that the publishing group (Perseus Books Group) that owns Basic Books has a sterling reputation in the publishing industry and also publishes academic works through their Westview Press division. (Both reinforce the presumption that Perseus has high editorial standards overall, a key indicator of general reliability.) Vassyana (talk) 05:30, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
The page and topic itself is hugely polarized, with few middle of the road sources. What about Praeger, part of Greenwood Publishing Group? And thanks! WLU (talk) 20:07, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Greenwood as a group has an exceptional reputation. Praeger Publishing itself is also quite reliable, with their academic works roughly on par with those published by Routledge and their general interest books about on par with Basic Books. Vassyana (talk) 04:23, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Plymouth Data

I have used this a bit in the article on Plymouth, but I always try to find a more reliable source e.g. a book instead. It covers the history of Plymouth very well and it would be great, but I am unsure on its reliability. Some information on it is cited from reliable third party sources. The Plymouth City Council website quotes ""The encyclopaedia of Plymouth history" contains comprehensive content of high quality about all aspects of Plymouth. The site is compiled, maintained and regularly revised and added to by a Plymouth resident." Any feedback would be much appreciated. bsrboy (talk) 16:23, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

The site is essentially a personal website... which is generally not considered reliable. However, given that the author states that he works in collaboration with numerous agencies, librarys, etc... there may be a case for calling him an acknowledged (if amature) expert. I would say it is acceptable to cite the page unless and until someone challenges it. In the meantime, do some research on the individual who publishes the webpage... see what you can discover about his credentials and reputation. Blueboar (talk) 16:46, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I will try and do some research. bsrboy (talk) 17:05, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
On doing a google book seach, he's written several books. Most of which are self-published, but I've found one, which isn't. There may be more books, but I think this is enough proof that he has a good enough reputation. Or am I wrong? bsrboy (talk) 17:12, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I'd say use it, but with great care and restraint. Don't even thinking of using it for anything that might be disputed or controversial in any way, because if anybody disagrees you won't win. It would be best if you could find a better source for everything, because that source is probably stretching the WP:RS guidelines. --TexasDex 20:57, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I'll only use it when I can't find any other source. bsrboy (talk) 21:03, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

ReligiousTolerance.Org

Why are we relying on what is essentially a one-person consulting business, especially since that person has neither scholarly nor journalistic credentials?

From the website of "Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance:"

  • Almost all of the over 4,015 essays and menus on this web site (by 2007-OCT) were written by our main author, and coordinator Bruce A. Robinson. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto, class of 1959, with a BaSc (Bachelor of Applied Science) degree in Engineering Physics. He worked for a large multi-national chemical company for 38 years before taking a "golden handshake" and early retirement during a company downsizing. During his employment, he functioned as a specialist in the development of electronic instrumentation, as a computer programmer working in process computing, and as a group leader. Technical writing formed a major part of his work assignment.
  • Bruce was ... motivated to organize the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance in early 1995, after becoming convinced that religious intolerance was responsible for much of the hatred, mass murder and genocide in Bosnia, and in other world hot spots, like Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Cyprus, Macedonia, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Nigeria, the Philippines, etc.
  • Many visitors to our web site question our authors' theological credentials. We explain that none of our staff have theological degrees. We feel that a formal theological degree would be counter-productive in our work. It would probably tend to bias our authors' understanding of religious matters in a liberal direction. A Bible school diploma would also be counter-productive as it would bias us in a conservative direction. Either would probably bias our authors in favor of Christianity and against other faith groups.
  • Advanced theological training is not needed for our work. We are not theologians or religious innovators. We are simply reporters on religion, spirituality, and ethics.

Comments?--Cberlet (talk) 18:56, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Where are we relying on it, Chip? I've only come across it used as a convenience link, hosting a government report. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:11, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
A bunch of places. Try searching Google using
  • "ontario consultants" site:en.wikipedia.org
  • "tolerance.org" site:en.wikipedia.org wrong website URL, see comment by user:Will Beback below
  • "religioustolerance.org" site:en.wikipedia.org correct website URL
In some cases they hits appear to be copyrighted news articles. :-( .--Cberlet (talk) 20:29, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Note that "www.tolerance.org" is part of the SPLC, a very different outfit. Here's a link to the over 1000 weblinks to "religioustolerance.org".[70] (Some are to tlak pages or user pages). That does seem excessive considering the source's nature. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:38, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Oooops. Sorry, My mistake. Thanks, Will.--Cberlet (talk) 22:13, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
Dear dear. My impression is that this site can rarely if ever count as RS but I would be interested in reading further comments. I suppose in some cases they will represent a notable viewpoint. But if you are right about the breaches of copyright then they are to be avoided even as a convenience link. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:44, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
No, well, as they admit themselves, they lack academic credentials and so can't really be considered reliable sources on anything. I'd also watch systemic bias. The site appears to have a very heavy focus on US issues. Moreschi (talk) (debate) 21:01, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree that religioustolerance.org does not meet the requirements of WP:RS. It should not be used as a footnote or external link in any articles. It's a self-published website of essays stating the personal opinions of someone who is not a published expert or academic. There are several reasons it's used so much by editors - the articles are easier to find with Google than many more valuable references, and they have full text available that's easy to copy/paste, unlike Google Scholar or Google Books that require more digging, not to mention libraries; and, the opinions of the outspoken author can be tempting to those who might want to convey a particular POV. This has been a concern for quite a while; there's even a whole page about it from 2005-2006 at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/Religioustolerance.org. The site is used so much, it would be a good result of this thread to make a strong statement that could be referenced later when the question comes up again, as it certainly will. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 03:37, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Source clearly does not meet WP:RS standards. Would it be possible to add it to the Wikipedia:WikiProject Spam list? John Carter (talk) 01:28, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
I hope you're kidding. I'm not familiar with this website, but "external links" do not have to meet RS; i.e. wikis with a history of stability are acceptable. If there are copyright issues that's something else. But I certainly don't think this should be wikilawyered onto the spam blacklist. The spam blacklist is supposed to be for spam. Squidfryerchef (talk) 11:37, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
I hope YOU are kidding. ...external links do not have to meet RS. Where did you get that from? Rumiton (talk) 11:47, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Read WP:EL. Not every outbound link from a Wikipedia page is used as a citation for a fact. There's a different policy for the "External Links" section at the bottom, and while those should be kept to just a few that meet the editors' consensus, they are not bound by RS. They're often used to link to other wikis, to directories like Dmoz, or to various important pages about the article topic. Squidfryerchef (talk) 12:08, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
There still has to be a rationalle for providing the EL. If it's essentially there as "Here is what some random people think about the subject" then it shouldn't really be there. Someguy1221 (talk) 03:33, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  • They're notable enough for their article to barely survive AfD, and there is some flexibility for external links, and academic or other external credentials aren't needed for representatives of or experts recognized by relevant religions who explain what their religions believe and do, but nonetheless they shouldn't be provided to every organization that happens to have a web site and the ambition to promote itself. This organization doesn't seem to be authorized to speak for or considered reliable by any relevant significant perspective, academic, religious, or otherwise. These links may not be "spam", and I'm willing to assume good faith, but I see no reason for there to be links to this site all over the place. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 05:34, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
The links are all over the place because they're a high quality source, per WP:EL and WP:RS standards. To even talk about them at all in relation to spam when places like NNDB and one off specialist wikis are spammed all over the site is just ridiculous. DreamGuy (talk) 18:50, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  • As noted in the AfD, I've had personal interactions with these folks. They are known for being fairly biased. Primarily in favor of groups that are labeled by others as "cults" and against more mainstream religions (mainly conservative Christianity). That said, I've found facts on their site to be fairly reliable. However, I'd consider them a reference of last resort at best. Hobit (talk) 12:18, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
You've got to be kidding me. They are not "known for being fairly biased" -- they are quite unbiased, but that objectivity offends many people who would rather they side with them and give certain religions special treatment. I've had interaction with them, and when they had errors pointed out to them in claims made in support of Wicca they cheerfully apologized and removed them. They don't have an agenda other than tolerance of all beliefs, which of course the intolerant are opposed to. DreamGuy (talk) 18:50, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Copyright issues for material they have not authored themselves:
  • Fine to use as a convenience link where they state that they use material with permission (e.g. here).
  • If no permission is stated, don't link.
  • For their own writings, copyright is not an issue, only reliability and reputability. Looking at google scholar: [71], [72], their site appears to have entered academic discourse, and has been cited by numerous reputable and reliable sources (examples include The Lancet, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Journal of Religion and Society, Nova Religio and others). That would appear to be in the site's favour – if the scholarly community accepts them as a source, so should we. Jayen466 15:51, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
The Google Scholar refs don't amount to acceptance by the scholarly community. It depends what texts of theirs (authored by them? hosted by them?) are cited, why, and how. Itsmejudith (talk) 17:03, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Here are some examples:
  • [73] (University of Chicago Press, B. A. Robinson essay included in bibliography)
  • [74] (Ethical Studies textbook quoting Robinson)
  • [75] (Baylor University Press, cites religioustolerance.org as a corroborating source [note 19])
  • [76] (University of Wisconsin Press, cites Robinson article on religioustolerance.org)
  • [77] (academic review of theological web resources, berates undergraduates for dismissing the site in a course assignment, because it carried advertising)
  • [78] (Oxford University Press, lists religioustolerance.org among recommended secondary research literature sources)
Jayen466 17:49, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Those uses do not support reliability in the way Wikipedia defines it. Use of a source in a bibliography does not convey reliability, the context of the use would need to be reviewed. And a couple of those sources use it in other ways, for example one reference mentioned it in passing regarding a student assignment about analyzing website quality, noting that they skipped it because it had advertising, and another noting that it's a "counter-movement" site useful for "triangulating research", indicating that the site's bias can provide perspective. One of the links cites BA Robinson but does not mention that he's also the website's publisher; it seems the author was not aware of that. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 19:59, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  • This source was written by Rebecca Moore Ph.D., who teaches Religious Studies at San Diego State University. She asked her students to evaluate material available online. The undergraduates did indeed dismiss religioustolerance.org because it carried advertising. Moore notes this as one of the "discouraging" results of the test, describing Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance as a "small non-profit group" running "a massive educational program". In her view, the students should not have dismissed the site.
  • The Oxford University Press cite does not list religioustolerance.org among countermovement sources, nor does it describe the site as biased. It lists the site among the recommended secondary research sources, along with peer-reviewed journals. (The triangulation approach, as described in the book, consists in researching and contrasting (1) movement sources, (2) countermovement (= anti-cult) sources, and (3) secondary research sources, within which the author includes peer-reviewed journals and the site we are discussing here.)
  • [79] Another scholarly source, describing Robinson as the "primary architect" of the website, and directing readers to the site for a comprehensive overview of the topic discussed. --Jayen466 21:13, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

You know, sites and people can be reliable sources based upon demonstrated history of solid writing and research, and this site has it in spades. It's certainly far more of a reliable source than, say, news articles written by journalists who aren't experts or haven't even done much with a topic but were selected by their editor to write a story. There's been a pretty massive effort to try to get all mention of this site removed from Wikipedia, and primarily it seems to be led by editors who are opposed to the opinions expressed on the site and not for any question of its reliability on factual matters. The religious tolerance site is accepted by all sorts of sources everywhere as authoritative for the topics it covers, and when I have spotted errors at the site and let them know about it, they have been corrected. If you deem the site as unreliable then most other sites will be as well. If we move over to only accepted accredited scholars for any cite, then, sure, but since we're not at that level (and probably never will be), I can't see any Wikipedia-policy based reasons at all for why people are complaining about this site. DreamGuy (talk) 18:43, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

  • As a self-published website of one person's opinions, someone who is not an expert, is not elsewhere published, and presents comentary from his personal bias, it is not a reliable source. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 20:05, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
He most certainly is an expert, by virtue of studying it for years and being recognized as such by countless other experts (many with credentials that are simply undeniable) who support the site as a reliable source. I also note that in your editing of several articles you have promoted far less reliable sources and with very obvious and undeniable bias if they presented an opinion in accord with the ones you have established as your own. Frankly, this whole attack on the site appears to be politically motivated. At the very least the most your argument could support is the additional of another source to try to counterbalance the supposed bias (not that I see any... being in favor of tolerance of all religions is not a bias, per se... not printing negative attacks on religious groups you oppose is not bias either), not in removing them completely. DreamGuy (talk) 19:39, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
What can be said apart from "you have got it wrong"? I doubt whether anyone who has posted here is opposed to religious tolerance. We might even be very sympathetic to the aims of the site. We are simply trying to pursue consistency in sourcing. My mind is still open as to whether this may in some cases be reliable - I see essays by Bruce Robinson cited in some places - but the bottom line is that we are looking for peer-reviewed and fact-checked sources. You will find the regular respondents on this page to be rigorous on this point. Itsmejudith (talk) 19:47, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
David G. Bromley in the above Oxford University cite specifically mentions the site as a secondary research source to consult, along with other WP:RS such as peer-reviewed journals, specialist academic websites and mainstream media. If we have one of the world's most prominent scholars in this field categorising the site in this way, and have a professor of religion teaching her students to take the site seriously as a reference source, and have various other scholarly texts that use the site as a WP:RS or expressly refer their readers to it, do you expect us to discard all these scholarly judgments because a few Wikipedia editors are saying, "I'm not sure" or "I don't like it"? Are Wikipedians now more reliable sources than scholars? Has anyone here, against these positive assessments by scholars, brought just a single academic reference stating the opinion that the site does not deserve to be taken seriously? If anyone wants to make a case against the site, I suggest they bring scholarly references supporting their case. Otherwise this discussion is over; WP sourcing policy does not give a hoot about editors' personal opinions and WP:OR. (And by the way, the article on Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance is a complete and total mess. I don't think there are three sentences in that article that are not blatant WP:OR. Not a single media or scholarly source is referenced, even though there are literally hundreds of them available. The whole article is Wikipedians' analysis of primary sources.) Jayen466 22:26, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
I've used the site as a link of convenience for the executive summary of a report cited on satanic ritual abuse. They used to be a straight-up EL on that page, but as the quality of sources used have been slowly ratchetted up, it's been removed. I enjoy reading it personally as it gives a good skeptical summary of various controversial issues, and I've mined it for the respectable amount of references it cites. Ultimately I think it is a good link to be aware of but I would only use it as a source on a page that is a fringe topic where no other sources are available. I'd rank it below Skeptic's Dictionary in terms of reliability from a purely wiki standpoint. Yes it's a good summary from a lay-person's perspective. It's probably a reasonable depiction of the mainstream skeptical view on many topics. But if there are better sources, particularly scholarly sources, it is not a good choice. WLU (talk) 13:03, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Allmusic.com continued

Resolved

Right, it's time now to continue my move to have allmusic removed as a reliable source on heavy metal genres.

Previously when I put this forward, the general response was that regardless of what case could be made, it was no good without reliable sources to back it up. So since then I have gone and found such sources, with more to come in the future if necessary. So far I've made use of three significant sources, all published books: Ian Christe's "Sound of the Beast: A Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal" (which I still have yet to go through in true detail), Essi Berelian's "The Rough Guide to Heavy Metal" and Garry Sharpe-Young's "Metal: The Definitive Guide". In each of these books I have found direct quotes and statements that contradict allmusic and prove it's unreliability as a source. The Definitive Guide has proven particularly useful given it's bredth and detailed information on many bands.

Here are specific examples of the evidence gathered, kept in short language:

Agent Steel - allmusic: not thrash metal. Definitive Guide: thrash metal.
Annihilator - allmusic: "progressive metal". Definitive Guide: "power/thrash metallers", no mention of progressive, just technical (distinctly different).
Atomkraft - allmusic: no thrash tag. Definitive Guide: within the "thrash metal" section.
Chimaira - allmusic: "punk revival". Rough Guide: they are "modern metal with a dash of hardcore" and "progressive metalcore", with comparisons to Slayer. Definitive Guide: within its New Wave of American Heavy Metal section, which is specifically described as rooted in traditional metal "as opposed to punk roots".
Edguy - Allmusic: no power metal tag. Definitive Guide: "Edguy are a young power metal outfit".
Epica - allmusic: described solely as "progressive metal". Definitive Guide: clearly casts them as gothic metal ("Visionary goth-metal", "female-fronted gothic metal").
Godflesh - allmusic: "grindcore". Sound of the Beast: no where in the grindcore section, instead simply within the industrial metal one.
Grave Digger - allmusic: no thrash tag. Definitive Guide: described as "true survivors of the early-1980s German thrash metal scene", "lumped in with the emerging thrash acts of the day".
Hatebreed - allmusic: black/death metal. Definitive Guide: "a hardcore-influenced metal band", no mention of black or death metal.
Helloween - allmusic: thrash metal tag. Rough Guide: "power metallers", "power metal classics", "speedy metal", no mention of thrash. Definitive Guide: "A Hamburg power metal band", no mention of thrash.
Helstar - allmusic: "hardcore punk", no power metal tag. Definitive Guide: "Power/thrash metal", no mention of punk anywhere.
Kamelot - allmusic: "black/death metal". Definitive Guide: "Noted progressive metal", not black/death.
Katatonia - allmusic: no mention of their gothic style anywhere. Definitive Guide: "heavy gothic elements".
Killswitch Engage - allmusic: "power metal", "thrash metal" and "progressive metal". Rough Guide: "metalcore", none of the others mentioned. Definitive Guide: "Metalcore", none of the others mentioned.
Lacuna Coil - allmusic: "symphonic black metal". Rough Guide: No mention of black influence. Definitive Guide: placed in the gothic/prog/symphonic section, again black influence never mentioned.
Lamb of God - allmusic: just "black/death metal". Rough Guide: "elements of thrash, old school, hardcore punk and math metal", black/death never mentioned. Placed in the metalcore section. Definitive Guide: "metalcore scene leaders".
Massacre - allmusic: no death metal tag. Definitive Guide: "influential death metal pioneers".
Nevermore - allmusic: "alternative metal". Definitive Guide: "technical power metal".
Nightwish - allmusic: "symphonic black metal". Rough Guide: "gothic film-score metal", "combining progressive power metal, orchestral music and opera, with a strong element of drama and atmosphere". Definitive Guide: "Undoubtedly the foremost exponents of the operatic metal genre".
Powerman 5000 - allmusic: "heavy metal". Not mentioned in any of the sources at all.
Rammstein - allmusic: "progressive metal". Likewise, never mentioned, certainly not as progressive.
Razor - allmusic: no thrash metal tag. Definitive Guide: "A prolific thrash outfit known for their low-budget yet aggressive releases".
Reverend Bizarre - allmusic: "black/death metal". Definitive Guide: simply described as doom metal, no mention of black or death metal elements.
Saint Vitus - allmusic: among other genres, they're classed as "alternative pop/rock". Definitive Guide: Just pure doom in description, nothing along those lines.
Shadows Fall - allmusic: "punk metal". Definitive Guide: Like Chimaira, NWOAHM, and thus classed as having no punk roots.
Slammer - allmusic: no thrash metal tag. Definitive Guide: "Bradford thrash metal band".
Strapping Young Lad - allmusic: "punk metal" (among others). Definitive Guide: Doesn't outright contradict it, but no mention whatsoever of anything like this.
The Black Dahlia Murder - allmusic: "black/death metal". Definitive Guide: "metalcore act".
Theatre of Tragedy - allmusic: no mention of their later techno influences. Definitive Guide: The album Musique "jumping brazenly into techno-pop".
Trouble - allmusic: no mention at all of their stoner metal/rock style. Definitive Guide: "Stoner legends".
Within Temptation - allmusic: just "goth rock". Definitive Guide: "Gothic doom metal act".
Xentrix - allmusic: no "speed metal" tag. Definitive Guide: "a speed metal act".
Last, and most definitely not least, allmusic lumps black metal and death metal together as a single genre tag, something all three of these sources (and no doubt every single other reliable heavy metal source) do not do at all.

So there you have it. The case against allmusic. If even this is not enough, there are further sources that will, I'm sure, only back up my argument, and mass opinion could easily be added in if necessary. Also bear in mind that given the lack of published sources that distinctly lay out genres, there are likely many more classifications which published sources would contradict allmusic on, they are simply not stated outright. There are also many other classifications that can be challenged, but not so definitively, these are the most obvious.

In the face of this evidence contradicting their genre classifications, I see no reason whatsoever to consider allmusic one of Wikipedia's reliable sources for heavy metal genres. Prophaniti (talk) 16:32, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

If the Rough Guide says a band is A and allmusic said it is B, then how do I know which is correct? Do you want us to comment on the reliability of the Rough Guide, the Definitive Guide and the Sound of the Beast? Itsmejudith (talk) 17:19, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
There are two ways to tell which is correct. Firstly, the three sources I've given agree amongst one another with regards to these bands, it is only allmusic that stands out. Secondly, mass opinion. I can quite easily turn up general votes regarding these genres, and I am confident very very few, if any, people will agree with the above classifications of allmusic. Given these, it is fairly obvious they are the ones with the incorrect information. Ultimately it would come down to this: no one will agree with allmusic on these bands, be it published source or mass opinion. In addition, the classifications given above by allmusic do not fit generally accepted standards of the genres they give (e.g. Nightwish do not fit the specifications for "black metal"). Prophaniti (talk) 17:52, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Disagreements among sources about music genres are common; this is not just about allmusic.com, but in general. The solution is to attribute the opinions. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 17:38, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Disagreements may be common, but at wikipedia we need to give bands genres, and thus need to determine which sources can be considered reliable and which cannot. My point is that allmusic very obviously isn't reliable, and so should not be cited as a "reliable source" in genre debates. Prophaniti (talk) 17:52, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
The solution at http://www.discogs.com is to allow for 3 genres per record. Works really well. 206.248.134.130 (talk) 18:19, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Claims of unreliability on so subjective a matter as music genres are fairly weak. It's a matter of opinion. Even if the band steps forward and says, "We only want to be classified as death metal, period" there are still serious journalists that will go ahead and label them something else. --Laser brain (talk) 18:50, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Music genres are most definitely not just a matter of opinion. So many people seem to make this mistake. Just because they are in part subjective, doesn't mean it is entirely. There are many points in between "Entirely objective" and "Entirely subjective", and it's not good enough to just say "It's subjective". If it's entirely subjective, then why bother with the concept of reliable sources at all?
So no, I'm afraid it's not. Example: Thrash metal is a fast-paced genre. To qualify, a band will almost certainly have to play at a high tempo. Now, this isn't an absolute (very little really is of course), but it's a strong rule. Therefore, while it cannot be said with total objectivity that if a band plays at a slow tempo, it's not thrash metal, it can be said with a 90%+ degree of objective certainty. This is the sort of thing I'm talking about. Music genres are not subjective, they have defined characteristics and traits. The exact details of this may be debatable, but my whole point is that allmusic makes genre classifications that are very clearly wrong, because they don't even fit the most basic of accepted traits of said genres.
Another specific example: that allmusic lumps black metal and death metal together. I have just cited three separate, published sources that disagree, that describe them as separate musical genres. Add in millions of people who listen to the music to back that up. All that vs. allmusic. It's not hard to see which is in the wrong.
Granted, there is no ultimate reliable source. I freely admit no source can ever be called totally reliable, because there is a degree of subjectivity. However, we need sources that can be termed "reliable" within the context of the subject matter, or else we have nothing.Prophaniti (talk) 19:08, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, we agree on one point: If there is a published source available, I say it is highly likely to trump allmusic.com unless it is a vanity press or something. The book you mentioned above has favorable reviews and seems to be considered somewhat authoritative. I would support any genre in an article that is only sourced to allmusic.com being replaced by one sourced to a reliable print source. --Laser brain (talk) 19:47, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Allow me to put it a little more directly: in light of all the evidence above, can anyone come up with a specific good reason to consider allmusic a reliable source on heavy metal genres? More to the point, until someone can provide real reasoning for why they should be considered a reliable source on heavy metal genres, I will take it as an accepted unreliable source and act accordingly. Prophaniti (talk) 14:24, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Allmusic should be used when no other sources can be found. Also, consider reading Allmusic's bios for each band, they are usually more accurate than the labels, because those are just categories. I've found that the bio often contradicts the categories they put the band in. Plus, having actual text to back it up makes it much more verifiable than just labeling a band "death metal" or whatever. But either way, I stand by my previous statement: you should only use Allmusic if no other reliable sources are present. — FatalError 20:34, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, there were a good number of occasions when the text descriptions of the bands elaborated and were more accurate than the genre tags: but I left those ones out, as much as I could see. So the mistakes above are not including those.
Anyway, I'm glad to see at least that much is getting accepted. The only thing I'd suggest beyond that is also that allmusic not really be considered reliable if a genre is contested. Part of the reason for me doing this was a genre dispute being cut down when someone simply says "Allmusic says they're this", and that's that. In some cases there isn't another actual reliable source to use, and while I can see the validity of the "Something's better than nothing" argument, sometimes if something is contested I feel allmusic doesn't work as an end-all.
Example: Allmusic label Evile "black/death metal". Anyone who's heard them will confidently tell you they're thrash, not black or death. There's not even the slightest influence. But because Evile are relatively new and little-known band, there aren't other sources that actually mention them. In cases like this, and others like it, it doesn't seem right that allmusic can be used to override any amount of logic and reasoning (e.g. "Evile don't bear the following characteristics, the core ones of black or death metal"), when it's got such obvious flaws in this area.
Cheers for the reply. Prophaniti (talk) 22:54, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Too long, didn't read. I don't see why we can't use the All Music Guide as a source; not only is it a website but it's also a published book. However, if people are uisng Allmusic, or any other source, to justify crufty lists of genres in band articles, then I agree with an above comment that we should do what Discogs does and only allow three genres to be listed. Squidfryerchef (talk) 15:17, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
And if you had read it you would have seen that I've provided three separate published books which all contradict allmusic. Just because something is published, doesn't mean it's reliable as a source. Example: There are plenty of published books stating that the holocaust didn't happen. However, because there is A) sufficient weight of published works saying otherwise, and B) sufficient logical errors in the theory, such books are not taken as reliable. I have provided both counter-sources and logical reason why allmusic's classifications are incorrect, and since no one's managed to come up with a remotely convincing counter-argument yet, I see no reason to treat it as a reliable source. The three genres thing sounds fine, but I don't see how it's relevant to this discussion. Prophaniti (talk) 17:28, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Just because something is published, doesn't mean it's reliable as a source.. Actually, yes, that does make it a reliable source. "Reliable source" is a term of art on Wikipedia which means that we may cite it. It does not mean that its true. For example, there are all kinds of books about urban legends, conspiracy theories, and paranormal phenomena which aren't true, but we can cite them, and can cite other sources that contradict them. We're certainly not going to blacklist Allmusic as a source because they say some band is "speed metal" and some other source calls it "dark metal" Squidfryerchef (talk) 20:52, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
No it doesn't make it a reliable source. It may make it fit the technical definition of "reliable source", but what I mean is it isn't actually "reliable", in the real sense of the word. It might be considered -technically- a "reliable source", but many sources may fit this definition while not actually being -used- as a reliable source, because their credibility in a subject area is too low. It's also a lot more than them "saying some band is "speed metal" and some other source calling it "dark metal"". As I have shown above, it's MANY bands being very badly miscatagorised by allmusic, and SEVERAL sources contradicting them.
While wikipedia may utilise any published source, with such sources always contradicting one another, wikipedia must decide which to go with. In this case, for example, allmusic will call a band "A", while other sources call it "B", and the two cannot both be right. Given the large number of cases when allmusic is blatantly incorrect in it's catagorisation (as evidenced by both published sources and, if you wish me to gather it, mass opinion too), it cannot possibly be taken as a reliable source on this particular topic.
Also, allow me to pose a question, one I've asked numerous times previously but never once gotten an answer for: what precisely WOULD it take to have allmusic blacklisted? Because the impression I'm getting so far is it's impossible to get a source blacklisted in any way, no matter what argument or evidence is placed against them. Prophaniti (talk) 22:18, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
There's only two ways to have a site blacklisted as a source. One is for extremist websites, and the other is for spam. Allmusic is neither of those. I believe the argument you're getting at is that they might not be the best source for heavy metal genre names. This is more of a matter for WP's music projects, or talk pages on individual articles. It's not unusual for different editors to pick different sources and then agree that one source has better information than the other, but that's something you talk about with other editors on the talk page. Remember that Allmusic might be a perfectly fine source for classical or jazz music, and it wouldn't be right to remove it as a source for those articles. Squidfryerchef (talk) 02:25, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Oh certainly, I've only ever been speaking of allmusic's reliability regarding heavy metal genres. My knowledge extends little beyond that, so I leave it's reliabilty in other areas to others entirely.
I agree, allmusic is neither spam nor extremist. But there are two issues I still feel need raising specifically:
1.) Part of the major problem is when there isn't an alternative source. As I mentioned above, Evile is a fairly new and not that well known thrash metal band, so very few (if any) published sources mention them. Allmusic terms them black/death metal, but anyone, I mean ANYONE with the slightest knowledge of heavy metal and Evile will tell you they're not at all black/death. This is an extreme example, but my problem is it doesn't seem right that allmusic can be utilised in this particular area when it contains so many errors. Especially since books are very rarely comprehensive in music genres (i.e. they might not outright say what a band is or is not, or cover them all).
2.) While allmusic may be qualified in some areas of music, music as a whole is very broad indeed, and qualification to catagorise music in some form doesn't equal qualification to catagorise all forms. Take history as an example: a historian may be a real expert in modern history, but know next to nothing about ancient history, or vice versa. And given that allmusic itself is part of a large company, it wouldn't seem hard for them and their writers to have works published regardless of any actual qualification in that field. Their very claim to cover "all music" would suggest a low reliaibilty because of this very nature. Prophaniti (talk) 08:32, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Still waiting on why it can be cosidered unreliable.72.81.227.98 (talk) 13:42, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Then I suggest you actually read my post. Because I'm still waiting on why it can be considered reliable. Prophaniti (talk) 16:19, 21 July 2008
And I'm waiting for the opposite. You give us sources that say something other then AM and tell us they are right because 1 they agree with each other and 2 majority opinion. 1) So what? I still can't tell that they are right over AM. It's not uncommon for sources to be in agreement with each other. How many sources call, let’s say fall out boy emo? A ton. A ton of sources also call them Pop punk. We'd report both. It's not our job to figure out which is right. An example:
Within Temptation - allmusic: just "goth rock". Definitive Guide: "Gothic doom metal act".
Both would be put in the info box. 2) Neither I nor wikipedia care about the "random idiot in the street test" as my friend put it. What mass opinion is, is irrelevant.72.81.227.98 (talk) 23:17, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
(reset indentation to save cluttering)
They agree with each other and yet none agree with allmusic, that's the point. If you have three sources saying one thing on one side, and another saying a different thing on the other, the weight lies clearly against allmusic. It's not uncommon for sources to agree with one another, but the point you fail to mention is that here you have a number of sources on one side and a single one on the other.
Mass opinion -is- a factor, because there is an element of subjectivity involved in musical genres. There's plenty of objective fact too, but a mixture of the two overall. It's not a science, so while it's not true that "there are no right and wrong answers", it's equally not true that mass opinion counts for little.
For what it's worth, your own argument can be turned against you: you see, while you might not be able to tell how ridiculous allmusic's classifications are, anyone who has had any expeirence of heavy metal and the bands in question can. This is why I bring up mass opinion. So while the "random idiot in the street test" may be meaningless, I'm afraid it's you who represent the "random idiot" in this case (no offence intended). What I mean by mass opinion is the opinion of anyone who has had any experience of the band(s).
It's okay to report two genres if they are not mutually exclusive, and indeed some of the examples I've found aren't mutually exclusive, they are in to add to the overall case. But a lot are exclusive, and regardless are just plain wrong. Yes, we could put "power metal" into Killswitch Engage's info box. But their music doesn't fit the defintion of power metal, as given by any reliable source.
The fact is, there are very few actual published sources (comparatively) on this sort of subject matter. I've turned up three that contradict your one, allmusic. Three against one. Until you, or anyone else, can provide sufficient sources that back up allmusic, there simply isn't a reason to consider them a genuinely reliable source on heavy metal genres. Prophaniti (talk) 23:57, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Right, you need to read Wikipedia's policies on varifiability, personal attacks, civility, andoriginal research. As far as Wikipedia is concerned, mass opinion is not a factor as it is neither reliable nor verifiable. People with experience will write an article about it. Second, again sources agreeing with each other means nothing. It's not uncommon for sources to do so. "Yes, we could put "power metal" into Killswitch Engage's info box. But their music doesn't fit the definition of power metal, as given by any reliable source." that's what I mean by original research. It's not our job to figure out which genre is true. BTW, when did I say that AM is right?72.81.227.98 (talk) 19:36, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I accept sources agreeing with one another doesn't inherently mean they're right. But it's a clear sign when you have several sources agreeing against a single one that stands out.
And while it might not be wikipedia's job to figure out which is right all the time, it's still important. In some of the above cases, both genres can be incorporated. But in many, they can't. We have two directly conflicting sources, one has to be right, the other wrong. In these cases, it is our job to figure out which is wrong.
Basically, it comes down to this: I can accept allmusic qualifing as a technically "reliable source", fitting that definition on wikipedia due to it's publication. However, clearly some sources are more reliable than others, and I have outlined how allmusic has made a large number of, sometimes quite fundamental, errors in it's classification of heavy metal band genres. These can be deemed mistakes by other published sources, mass opinion (no one, and I mean no one, will agree with most of those) and simple logic and reasoning (the band genres above do not fit the genre classifications as accepted by any number of published sources).
So, what I'm moving for is for allmusic to be considered a largely unreliable source on heavy metal genres. This isn't to say it can never be used, but rather that if it comes under challenge, it should always be considered the weaker of sources, and indeed be open to dispute sometimes even without directly conflicting sources, if it has no others to back it up on whatever the point may be (because often another reliable and relevant source is not available on such points). Prophaniti (talk) 11:49, 23 July 2008 (UTC)


OK, here's a few observations, and hopefully this can be moved to another forum:

  1. According to our article about Allmusic, it has a large staff of professional music critics, its database was made into a published book, it's widely used in the industry, so it meets all our sourcing guidelines.
  2. Categorizing metal bands into subgenres is really something that should be settled by a consensus of editors. Isn't there a "heavy metal" Wikiproject? If not, start one.
  3. Your project might want to standardize on six or seven categories of metal and decide the rest are synonyms or subcategories. Pop culture writers make up "genres" all the time, and sometimes the same style of music has different names in different countries ( a very common cause of disputes in these articles) You might also decide on a pecking order of which sources you prefer for metal genres.
  4. However, you don't want to rely too heavily on one source for this information, for copyright reasons. Quoting a book about rock bands for what genre they consider some band to be in is fair use. Quoting the same book thousands of times to get that information for every band becomes a copyright violation.
  5. I might suggest you use news articles, articles from rock magazines or guitar magazines to get this information too. You'd have a more authoritative cite, with a well-known reviewer and a well-known source. Squidfryerchef (talk) 22:24, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
The key thing I'd dispute there is allmusic being qualified to catagorise simply because they are general music critics. It means they can be used some of the time, but it doesn't make them particularly reliable. After all, music is a very big area, people can be experts in one field and know nothing about another. There's nothing I've seen to specifically qualify them to talk about heavy metal music, and while they could be reliable, the above evidence implies that they make a lot of heavy mistakes. This needs to be taken into account when using them as a source, especially as they get used so often (in my experience, if there's an incorrect music genre tag, chances are allmusic is at the root of it). Prophaniti (talk) 11:49, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

That is one of the things that makes them qualified,they are peer reviewed. The above evidence implies nothing. Again, we cannot tell which source is correct. 3 on 1 means nothing because none of the sources state the other as wrong, they merely have a different catagorization. Info boxes are NOT a one genre deal ever... you seem to think they are. Looking at a bands playing style and looking at a genre as described by a source and deciding that the band is not that genre is a violation of WP:OR.

"And while it might not be Wikipedia's job to figure out which is right all the time, it's still important. In some of the above cases, both genres can be incorporated. But in many, they can't. We have two directly conflicting sources, one has to be right, the other wrong. In these cases, it is our job to figure out which is wrong." Again that is false. Both genres can be put into the info box regardless of wheather the genres are similar. It's originale research that cannot be used. When you want to decide which genres to be in the info box you bring up the sources and decide via consensus which source should be used. You do not argue which genre they do or do not fit IF YOU DON'T HAVE A SOURCE. And this should be done on the indevidual articles talk page. BTW, there is a Wikiproject heavy metal already.72.81.227.98 (talk) 00:03, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

"Again, we cannot tell which source is correct. 3 on 1 means nothing because none of the sources state the other as wrong, they merely have a different catagorization. Info boxes are NOT a one genre deal ever... you seem to think they are."
As I have stated twice now, I fully understand that genre info boxes can have several catagories in. But a lot of the above genre clashes are too direct, they cannot fit into the same box unless they describe different albums, which there's no indication they do. And this is also the whole reason I cite mass opinion: no one who knows anything about this music will agree with allmusic. If three sources vs. one means nothing when they clearly DO state the other is wrong (in as much as possible, because no book will ever say "Oh by the way, allmusic is wrong" like that), in an area where there are so few published sources, then it would seem various editors are just being mindlessly fussy and stubbornly refusing to accept what is plain and apparent: allmusic cannot catagorise heavy metal bands reliably.
Nightwish, for example, are NOT black metal. They never have been. This, like many other examples, are plain and obvious to anyone who knows anything about the band. I do have other sources, and if they're not enough then I don't particularly care whether it counts as original research, it's accurate and that's that. Although I question whether it truly is original research given that it's based on published source's and their classifications of said genres, which is what allmusic clashes with. In addition, you admit that consensus is used to decide which source is used when there is a conflict: so you admit that general opinion does have an influence after all, and that is part of the argument: that in given conflicts, allmusic would lose every single one of the above examples, because they're accurate.
Also, I don't know where the "IF YOU DON'T HAVE A SOURCE" point comes from, as I have got a source, that's rather the point. I'm becoming tired of arguing the same points over and over and people simply refusing to listen to them. Prophaniti (talk) 10:15, 24 July 2008 (UTC)


Guys, easy there. I know lots of editors are worried about so-called "original research" but we are definitely ok to act as a filter and choose the best/most accurate information out of the thousands of sources availiable to us. We are definitely _not_ supposed to tack on what each and every source says about a band because like I explained in the numbered list above, we'd have a copyright problem. I'd suggest, after merging some of the genre articles together, so we know we're talking about universally recognized genres, to do the "original research" first, agree on what style of music a band is, and then use the most authoritative source to back it up. You could also try Googling the band name against the major genre names to see if there's a consensus on the rest of the net, then cite the best source that backs it up. And please take this off RS to one of the WikiProjects. Squidfryerchef (talk) 04:17, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

First off, Prophaniti, you need to read WP:NPA. You've violated it a second time now. Continue to do so and you will be reported and likely blocked.

"As I have stated twice now, I fully understand that genre info boxes can have several categories in. But a lot of the above genre clashes are too direct, they cannot fit into the same box unless they describe different albums, which there's no indication they do." whether they come from 2 albums, or whether they clash or not is irrelevant. All we need to know is a source has stated them as such.

"Although I question whether it truly is original research given that it's based on published source's and their classifications of said genres..." again looking at a source for the description of genre X and listening to band Y and coming to the conclusion that band Y plays genre X is original research. If you don’t like this policy you have some options: 1) Ignore the policy and be blocked from editing wikipedia. or 2) Follow the policy. or 3) Try to change the policy on the relevant talk page. or 4) Stop editing wikipedia. Simple as that.

“If three sources vs. one means nothing when they clearly DO state the other is wrong…” no they do not. You seem to be dead set on a one genre to rule them all thing but no band is ever one genre only. Every song and every album differs down to the smallest detail. It is these differences that make more then one genre applicable.

Again what the mass opinion of a bands genre is, is irrelevant. Unless there is a source stating what a bands genre is, we don’t add it regardless of majority opinion.

“In addition, you admit that consensus is used to decide which source is used when there is a conflict: so you admit that general opinion does have an influence after all, and that is part of the argument: that in given conflicts, allmusic would lose every single one of the above examples, because they're accurate.” Nowhere did I say that general opinion has an influence on what genre the band plays. I said it is decided via consensus of the editors as to which sources for a genre to use. This is done NOT by arguing which genre the band sounds most like but rather the majority of verifiable sources. Indeed, if you were arguing this on a given bands article talk page, you’d likely succeed. Of course, this kind of thing is only done when the genre section gets too long, so as long as it’s 3 genres long, don’t expect to get very far on most bands articles. BTW, AM wouldn’t lose because the other sources are accurate, it would lose because there are more of them... granted print sources are usually NOT the best for this sort of thing.

“Also, I don't know where the "IF YOU DON'T HAVE A SOURCE" point comes from, as I have got a source, that's rather the point.” You completely ignored my point with that. I was talking about individual band articles.

Regardless, this is something to take up on the wikiproject page, not here. 72.81.227.98 (talk) 05:28, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

First off, no I haven't attacked you or anyone else even once. I've become frustrated, but I've never attacked anyone. If you've taken offence at something, I'm sorry for that, but do not start threatening me with blocks or the like.
Anyway, I've now given up hope of people seeing sense here. I'll take specific disputes to the heavy metal project page, but I will make one last appeal for sanity:
Never have I said I insist on only one genre. But that also doesn't mean that just because a source says a band is a genre, it is. Sources -can- be wrong. The argument I outlined is that we have a lot of weight on one side of this (three sources, each on their own more specific to heavy metal and thus slightly more reliable than allmusic with it's broad scope, any number of individuals, and simple logic and reason) and a single isolated source on the other. Granted, none of the sources say outright things like "Nightwish aren't black metal", but that's because those things are such absurd suggestions in the first place. You won't find a source, I'm sure, that says outright "Harry Potter is not a science fiction series", but that doesn't mean any source is saying it might be. These books go into sufficient detail that not mentioning a genre of a band is as close to saying they're not it as any source on this topic will ever get. As such, the sources -do- disagree with allmusic, and given the hefty outweighing of one side of that disagreement, it's obvious that allmusic is incorrect in many cases.
I'll say it one more time, although it seems to have been ignored the times I've said it so far: I've never said one genre for each band, nothing of the sort. But just because a band -can- have a genre, doesn't mean it should, not when several other, more focused sources say otherwise.
Anywho, I've given up hope of convincing people here. i've shown allmusic to be unreliable, something I knew even before I found any sources. Whether or not certain people will accept this doesn't matter much, I shall simply treat it as such when it comes up.

Resolved tag added. Prophaniti (talk) 09:52, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

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