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Robert Spencer


Is Robert Spencer a reliable source in the field of Islam? He is the author of The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion, Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't, amongst other books.

He is also the director of "Jihad watch" which is considered a hate and Islamophobic website. (Sources:[1], [2]).

I think he violates WP:RS#Extremist_sources, what do you guys think?Bless sins 07:51, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree - he would certainly seem to qualify as an extremist source (in the sense of being on the fringes). I would be very, very wary of using him as a source for anything much. -- ChrisO 09:31, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
In general, I would agree... At best, he could be cited for a statement of opinion as opposed to a statement of fact. Something along the lines of: According to Robert Spencer, "blah blah Islam is bad blah blah" <citation>. This really depends on whether Mr. Spencer is considered an expert on Islam, and whether his opinions on Islam are notable or not. If he is simply a crank who wrote a book and runs a website, then his opinion does not rate mentioning per WP:UNDUE. Blueboar 14:06, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Agree, per ChrisO. I remember reading how he has very little in terms of scholarly publications. In addition, I doubt he is considered an expert on Christianity either, if he were trying to do a study on comparative religion.Ngchen 14:52, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm, on looking into the subject a bit further... I'm not so sure about that... according to our article on him (see: Robert Spencer) he does have some credentials in the field (He has an MA in Early Christianity). He has authored six best selling books on Islam, and has been an op-ed contributer to several mainstreem newpapars. While his views are controversial, he does have notable supporters. So he is not a complete crank.
Extreme? Possibly... but even extreme views might still be considered notable and worthy of discussion in an article. Controversial? Definitely. I don't think we can simply write him off as unreliable, but I do agree that we should be very careful not to give his statements more weight than they deserve. I would definitely say that anything that is included about his views be carefully attributed as being his views, and not stated as absolute fact. It really depends on the article and how he is being used in that article. This one has to be taken on a case by case basis and argued out in the article talk page. I don't think we can make a blanket determination here. Blueboar 15:14, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Note that I have severe doubts on the context in which he is quotable. As an expert on Islam, for example, he has limited qualifications, and might be considered extreme. As a notable critic of Islam, I thought at first he could be considered quotable in relevant situations, except that he then serves as a primary source of criticism, and we should quote instead those who have analysed his work and those of others and can represent his views in reliable secondary sources. Relata refero 20:53, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
I think you slightly misstate WP:PSTS here... while secondary sources are preferred in general terms, and certainly for any statement of fact, there is no rule in Wikipedia that says we can never cite a primary source. We simply need to do so with extreme care. In fact, when discussing a particular person's views it is better to cite the primary source directly rather than getting it second hand from a secondary source (who might take something the source says out of context). Once again, we have to ask whether we are talking about statements of fact (where we should cite reliable secondary sources) or statements of opinion (where we should attribute the opinion directly and cite the primary source). I really think this gets us far beyond WP:RS... we have to consider what our three core policies (WP:NOR, WP:V and WP:NPOV) say. Please note that I am not arguing that the views of Mr. Spencer should be discussed in an article on Islam... I am simply pointing out that, under some cicumstances, it may be appropriate to do so... and in those circumstances, then we can and should cite him. I don't think we can simply exclude his views as "extremist", or declare his books unreliable by fiat under WP:RS. It depends on the context of what is said in the article. Blueboar 21:28, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't think he qualifies as a reliable source in any way on comparative religion in general. However, I strongly disagree with But I am more concerned with your belief that I have misinterpreted WP:PSTS.Where in PSTS does it indicate that for statements of opinion we should cite the primary source? It would be remarkable and inappropriate if it did so, because in our citing of PSes we are almost certain to fall into the trap of choosing those statements which are outrageous, or unrepresentative. In fact, PSTS says the direct opposite:"Any interpretation of primary source material requires a secondary source", and a PS should not buttress "analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims." In any case, choosing 'representative' statements of opinion from a primary source is the same as saying "here, I argue that this is this source's main thrust", which is clearly original research (for an example, see the history of Max Mueller). I do not claim that this is necessary everywhere - obviously no one would intend it to apply to plot synopses, for example - but for anything even reasonably contentious or challenged, we need secondary sources. Relata refero 15:31, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
If we include a statement such as: According to Robert Spencer, "blah blah Islam is bad blah blah"<citation>, you have to cite exactly where he says this. In this case, it is best to cite the original work and not someone else quoting that work. Note that such wording does not contain any interpretation of the primary source. It simply quotes the source and attributes it to its author. Doing this is definitely not Original Research. Now, if the article contained any further comment on the quote... that would be OR. It would also be OR if we took the statement out of context. Thus the strong caution about using Primary Sources that is contained in WP:NOR... but it is a caution, not a ban. WP:NOR definitely does NOT say we can never use primary sources. There are times when doing so is appropriate, and citing a direct quote is one of them. Blueboar 14:43, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
You are quite wrong. In choosing a quote, we are choosing to represent the author's views. When the author himself is a primary source - "an individual very close to the subject of the article" - then we are, in effect, structuring an argument based on primary sources. In such occasions, we are required to use reliable secondary sources that discuss such arguments as far as possible; wikipedia users ourselves should not be given license to assume we can place all possible statements in the correct context. When Spencer is himself the subject of the article, or primary source, we can quote him directly only if that particular quote is considered relevant by secondary sources, which should also be cited. We should ideally say that "blah blah Islam is murderous blah blah according to notable critic Spencer", but source this to somebody who is an expert on Spencer. Can you seriously look at the second paragraph of this revision of the MM article, my earlier example, and tell me that this is not precisely the kind of OR that a lax approach you suggest to implementation of policy will allow?Relata refero 15:31, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
In the example you raise, the statements being made are not given with direct attribution or quotes. The language used constitutes an editor's interpretation of what MM said. I would say that was OR. But that isn't what I am talking about here. I am talking about directly quoting the source (keeping the statement being quoted in context) and attributing that quote to the source. Doing so is not OR in any way shape or form. But to settle this... I will ask for the opinion of those editing at WP:NOR. Blueboar 16:07, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
No, I think we should exclude his views as "extremist".--Aminz 21:54, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
That source is an Ad hominem attack against him. Yahel Guhan 22:14, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
  • I think his views should be allowed to be presented only in "criticism of Islam" and related articles, and then, attributed to him with According to Robert Spencer... I do not believe he is an extremist in his views, but rather partisan. Yahel Guhan 22:14, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Blueboar and others, here is a reasonable compromise. Spencer's views should be quoted whenever another reliable source quotes it. Thus, if CNN considers some of his views noteworthy, then we quote those views. This ensures that only the most notable of Spencer's views are quoted. Otherwie we shouldn't be quoting extremist views. This is how we treat other extremist sources (such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion).Bless sins 22:14, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

My view was that he should be given space only in "criticism of Islam" and related articles not because of him being reliable in anyway but because he is a notable critic of Islam: The "criticism of Islam" article is supposed to record notable criticisms of Islam and these criticisms may come from every corner. But in practice we encountered a problem: Spencer is only a contemporary critic of Islam. Islam has been around for hundreds of years. It is thus recentism and undue weight to use him too much. Furthermore most of what is attributed to Spencer does not really belong to him. We should not credit Spencer with the criticisms that he has not himself proposed but is repeating those before him.
In my view we should have a section on "contemporary criticisms" and there we include the new criticisms coming from Spencer and people like him. Right now, the criticism article rely too heavily on Spencer. --Aminz 05:34, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
That sounds about right.... although I would allow for quoting him directly. In any case, I certainly agree that his views should be limited to "criticism" sections and articles and should not be given undue weight. This is really more of a WP:NPOV issue than one of RS. Blueboar 14:48, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
As I say in my reply above, his views are notable in relevant articles, but WP editors should not be given license to decide which of his views are. Experts on Spencer or on the criticism of Islam more generally should. Relata refero 15:33, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Absolulte rubbish... While we can debate whether it is appropriate to discuss Mr. Spencer and his views in any given article, if you are going to discuss his views you should quote him directly, and with proper citation so that editors can check to see that the quote is in context. I seriously doubt that there are "Experts on Spencer" to quote. Blueboar 16:36, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Hold your horses. Why should we trust editors to check the context? Show me the policy that says that. And as for 'experts on Spencer', I meant, of course, experts on the criticism or political controversies surrounding Islam who discuss Spencer, of which there are many. Relata refero 17:39, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
...and the names are? Beit Or 09:07, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
But again, that is not what I am talking about. I am saying that, as a noted critic of Islam, it might be appropriate to discuss what Spencer has to say. Once that discision has been made we have to deside how to use him. Now, given his biased (and possibly even extremist) views, I would not use him to support a bald statement of fact (ie "Islam is blah blah blah"), but instead we should use him only for a statement of opinion (ie "According to noted Anti-islamist Robert Spencer, 'Islam is blah blah blah'"). And if you do that, you should cite the quote to where Spencer says this. No more, no less. And while there is no rule that says editors have to check that sources are in context... I know plenty of editors who do check them. I know I do... Since I edit on some fairly controvercial topics, I frequently check the sources in criticims sections, and make sure that POV editors are not taking things out of context. I agree that, all to frequenlty, such quotes are used in ways that constitute OR. But (and this is a big "but") quoting someone directly is not automatically a form of OR. It can be done properly... As long as you keep the quote in context, and do not go beyond what the source is saying, it isn't OR. Blueboar 18:03, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
this passage may be of relevance from WP:SPINOUT: "However, it is possible for article spinouts to become POV forks. If a statement is inadmissible for content policy reasons at an article XYZ, then it is also inadmissible at a spinout Criticism of XYZ. Spinouts are intended to improve readability and navigation, not to evade Wikipedia's content policies." Spencer wouldn't be reliable for content on Islam, Muhammad etc. - not even for criticism - except in the instance of a reliable source (i.e. book review in a reliable publication) covering the claims made by Spencer (that is, after all, how someone becomes noted for criticism). in theory, this restriction should extend to Criticism of X articles, to prevent them from becoming slanted. primary source usage in this instance has major drawbacks, as can be seen in a few such articles, where excessive attention is given to the every musing, argument and deduction emanating from him. he has plenty of books published - and thus, there is virtually no limit to the amount of content that can be added citing Spencer's works. i disagree with using a partisan source (just because it happens to be partisan) in an article which analyses partisan views as documented by reliable sources - or at least, that's what an article should be doing. ITAQALLAH 18:45, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Itaquallah, in this case, there already is a well established Criticism of Islam article. And, in that article, it would be appropriate to discuss what Spencer has to say (he is, after all, a noted modern Critic of Islam). The key is not to give his views undue weight, and not to present his views as being fact, but only as his opinion. Also, according to the folks over at WP:NOR, he counts as a secondary source on Islam. Thus, the cautions about primary sources do not really apply. I would still use him sparingly and with caution, but the point is that he can be used. Blueboar 19:00, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Comment on definitions used in above discussions: Spencer is not a primary source on Islam. He's a secondary source. He may not be a good source, he may be a "one trick pony" who writes of nothing else, he may not be a source worthy of note, but he is a secondary source. Examples of primary source texts on Islam would be the Koran or Hadith texts. Neither primary sources nor secondary sources are totally unacceptable sources in every situation, so I think it would be more constructive to the dispute to focus on whether or not Spencer's views are worthy of note in a general encyclopedia. For example, where else in academia is he being cited? If the claims on the wp article about him are accurate, then his views appear notable but controversial. Where and when controversial sources can be used is the core issue here, and the "primary source" objection is just a misapplied technicality to excuse ruling out this particular source.Professor marginalia 19:06, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
this is how i see the issue (corrections welcomed): Spencer is a secondary source on Islam (albeit unreliable). he is, however, a primary source for his own views on Islam (meaning, he's a primary source for criticism). when the actual article subject is critical views, such as Criticism of Islam, then the critical sources are themselves primary sources for those critical views. the scope of the article (in this scenario) isn't Islam, it's what critics say about Islam. Blueboar, yes - it would be completely appropriate to discuss the views of Spencer in an article like criticism of Islam - but only to the extent that it's been covered in sources secondary to such criticism. as a noted critic of Islam, it's expected that at least his most significant or important claims will have been covered to a reasonable degree in books, newspapers, journals and so on. ITAQALLAH 19:29, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
just to clarify, this works both ways as well. in an article on `Muhammad in Islamic piety` (as a theoretical example), those texts in the form of pious or devotional passages, or other texts reflecting Islamic views, would constitute primary sources in relation to the topic, while studies on such texts and ideas would be secondary sources. ITAQALLAH 19:35, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

<unindent> Confirming my agreement with Itaqallah, Spencer appears not to be a reliable secondary source to base the article on, but in terms of WP:NPOV his views may be notable enough to be represented as a minority view, subject to undue weight requirements. He's a primary source for that view, and if notable enough then there should be reliable sources about his view from a mainstream perspective, which should be used as the basis for the section. However, like all primary sources, he can be cited and, if appropriate, quoted for his views providing care is taken not to introduce original research in interpreting or citing quotes out of context. .. dave souza, talk 19:57, 22 October 2007 (UTC) There is a logical disconnect here... Can someone explain difference between Spencer discussing Islam (where you say he is a secondary source) and Spencer criticising Islam (where you say he would be a primary source)? Are you saying that if he is saying something positive about Islam he is secondary, but that he suddenly becomes primary when saying something negative? Blueboar 21:09, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Not at all. It depends not on what he is saying, but what the subject of the article is. If we are considering quoting him about Islam, whether or not he is reliable, whether or not he is critical, he is a secondary source. If we need material for an article on Criticism of Islam, whether or not he is reliable, he is a primary source, as he is one of the most popular living critics of Islam, and as such is a major constituent of the subject of the article. Relata refero 05:06, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
that's not the implication here. speaking in very general terms (this includes Spencer and others) - a partisan (pro- or anti-) source discussing a subject is a secondary source when the article topic is about that subject ("X"). when the article topic itself is the very partisanship of the partisans ("positive/negative view of X") - the original partisan source is no longer secondary, it is primary. that's just how i believe the sources are classified, and why i think a secondary source on Criticism of X is a source which discusses critics and the views they express, not sources which themselves synthesise critiques (IMO primary). ITAQALLAH 22:20, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

I see that there are RS and NPOV issues, and some PSTS disputes. I suggest focusing on RS, NPOV, and NOR as a whole, without obsessing over PSTS. Jacob Haller 23:39, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

The PSTS issue emerges from OR. The question is who can correctly interpret Spencer's comments and ensure they are taken in context. One solution is that we only quote reliable sources quoting Spencer, making the assumption that reliable sources have done their homework.
Another issue is what to quote. Certainly some of Spencer's opinions are notable and certainly some aren't, and we should quote only notable opinions. One very reasonable way determining which opinion are notable, is that the notable opinion will have appeared in reliable sources, while non-notable opinion will be ignored by reliable sources.
Finally, saying that Spencer is unreliable, but still may be quoted is setting a dangerous precedent. If unreliable, yet popular sources, such as Spencer can be used, then what else? Can I use the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, quite popular, to talk about the Jews? (Obviously not, nor should I be able to use Spencer).Bless sins 01:10, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
I find it quite appalling that you compare Spencer to Protocols of the Elders of Zion; there really is no comparision. Spencer criticizes Islam (and maybe Muhammad), but doesn't specificly call muslims some of the names Protocols does. Yahel Guhan 01:30, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Both are unreliable sources, as far as WP:RS is concerned. Spencer specifically calls Islam as "the World's most Intolerant Religion". His writings are considered "bigotry similar to anti-Semitism and racial prejudice".[3] Anyways, I got a sufficient response out of this. Whether the Protocols are a reliable source (I beleive they aren't) is the topic of another notice.Bless sins 01:41, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
You think your "resolved" tag is a funny joke, because I don't think it is funny; it really is disruptive, considering the discussion isn't resolved. Reguarding your arguement, Spencer calls "islam" intolerant. That is not bogotry. He doesn't say "all muslims are intolerant" which would be bigotry. That quote is one view, which you seem to be repeating throughout this argue. For criticism sections and articles, though, he is a reliable source, as he is a notable critic. Yahel Guhan 02:33, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Yahel Guhan, when he calls Islam "the World's Most intolerant religion" he is calling all Muslim intolerant. This is because, by definition a Muslim is someone who follows the teachings of Islam. If someone doesn't believe in Islam, then they are not a Muslim.Bless sins 04:34, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
While I agree that you have a point that Spencer needs to be covered in Criticism of Islam article, please note that as demonstrated above, he is not a reliable source in such articles, he is a primary source.Relata refero 08:10, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Relata, I disagree... Spencer is a secondary source (allbeit a biased one), even for criticism's of Islam, and from the comments at the WP:NOR Talk page, others agree with my view of the matter. But... even if he were a primary source, you are incorrect in saying that a primary source is automatically unreliable. You seem to equate reliability with "true" or "unbiased"... that is not the case. Your comparison with the Protocols is off base... what makes the Protocols unreliable is not the fact that it contains all sorts of unsubstantiated, hateful and biased allegations against jews... It is unreliable for a host of other reasons, the main ones being: The original was not reliably published. There is no accountability or editorial oversight... We do not know the author, so it is unattributable, even as a statement of opinion.... In Spencer's case, we do know who wrote it... We know who published it... And when we question the accuracy of what he says, we can phrase things as being Spencer's opinion. Blueboar 13:56, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
I miswrote that: he is a reliable source, but a primary source, and thus to be used with accompanying care. Blueboar, the points you've made on NOR, while interesting, have all been satisfactorily answered, I believe.
I didn't mention the Protocols ( I wouldnt) and the comparison was made precisely because it was claimed that Spencer is a sufficiently extremist source: and, thus, we should avoid using it (though not by me, and I disagree with that.). Relata refero 15:04, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Though I agree that Spencer may be covered on Islam related articles, he should be covered by a reliable secondary source. Why? I'm outlining the problems below.Bless sins 04:34, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
It just doesn't make sense to quote him from second hands when we can quote him directly. Beit Or 08:46, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Section break

Why directly quoting Spencer is inappropriate:

  1. Spencer holds some views which are notable, and some views which are non-notable. How do we decide which views are notable? We see if those views have been covered by a reliable secondary source.
  2. Quoting Spencer from a reliable source ensures that a reasonable limit is put on how much space he is given.
  3. I argue that Spencer is an extremist source per WP:RS#Extremist_sources, because he is "anti-religious". Am I right? If yes, he "should be used only as source about [him]self and [his] activities in articles about [him]self, and even then with caution." Using a reliable secondary source, however, solves this problem.
  4. Finally, if we quote Spencer directly, we are setting a dangerous precedent: namely that popular extremists who are not at all experts in the field may be used as sources. Do we really want wikipedia filled with hate-speech that characterizes the faith of 1.2 billion as "most intolerant", that says that the Quran teaches "cutting people's heads off"[4], that "Islam has always rejected it [reason]",[5] and last but not least "Islam is a violent, expansionary ideology that seeks the destruction or subjugation of other faiths, cultures, and systems of government." [6]?Bless sins 04:34, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I gave the Protocols as an example. If I dig down deep enough I could find extremist publications that demonize not just Muslims, but Jews, Christians, Hindus, women, non-whites, and all of the publications would be notable. Is this the type of encyclopedia you want?Bless sins 04:34, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Responding to the points above:

  1. "Spencer holds some views which are notable, and some views which are non-notable." You postulate this distinction, but provide no evidence that it is in any way meaningful.
  2. No, these are good writing, a sense of measure, and adherence to WP:NPOV that put a limit on how much space is given to any individual author.
  3. "Anti-religious" is vague. Betrand Russell is fiercely anti-religious, but is he not quotable as a critic of religion in general and Christianity in particular? I don't think so.
  4. This is based on the assumption that Spencer is an extremist. You have asserted his extremism, but provided no proofs.

Regarding your last paragraph on Jews, Christians etc., please mind WP:POINT. Beit Or 08:42, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

The question of whether he is an 'extremist' is irrelevant to the point that in articles that focus on the subjects to which Spencer is 'close', as in articles about himself, his institute, and critics/criticism of Islam we should, wherever possible, use secondary sources rather than relying on the dubious abilities of wikipedians to extract the most notable and representative strands of his thought.
Extremism is relevant to how much he can be quoted elsewhere, of course. (So is WP:UNDUE).Relata refero 21:23, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
The Russell example above is interesting in that it might help clarify the approach; in a Criticism of Christianity article, quoting large parts of Why I am not a Christian would clearly be OR; we would need to find a secondary source that would summarise Russell's arguments, delineate their context and importance. In a Criticism of Christianity article clearly Why I am Not a Christian is a source text. Relata refero 21:25, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Relata... I have to respond to one of your points above... you say "I argue that Spencer is an extremist source per WP:RS#Extremist_sources, because he is "anti-religious". Am I right?"... Short answer: No you are not right. Long answer: Being anti-religious does not make you automatically extremist. In Spencer's case, he is certainly an ardent critic of Islam, but he falls way short of being extremist. For example, he does not call for the illimination of Islam, or for the eradication of Muslems the way true extremists will. Compare his comments and actions with recognized extremist groups like Hamas, the Neo Nazis, Arian Nation, the KKK etc. and you see a vast difference. No, Spencer is definitely biased, bigoted and POV... but he is not extremist. The point of WP:RS#Extremist_sources is to say that religious or anti-religious extremists have limited reliability... not to say that anyone who has a religious or anti-religious view is by definition extremist. Blueboar 21:58, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
As I said before, I have no opinion on whether Spencer himself is extremist, so your points are irrelevant if addressed to me; I suggest those who do think Spencer is extremist should respond. Incidentally, if that is the interpretation of WP:RS#Extremist, that section needs to be rewritten. And you appear to confuse extremism with militancy. Extremism can be non-militant in nature. Relata refero 09:08, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand your argument, Relata. "...quoting large parts of Why I am not a Christian would clearly be OR." Why? Is he an extremist? Is quoting small parts not OR then? I am lost. Beit Or 22:41, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
As I said, extremism has nothing to do with OR. Quoting large parts of a primary source is the very definition of OR. Small parts of a primary source that have been indicated by secondary sources as being central, might perhaps be quoted. Relata refero 09:08, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
How then do you propose writing articles on current events, for instance, where we have primary sources (news reports) only? Beit Or 10:05, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Newspaper reports are not primary sources for events they cover, but are primary sources for articles about the media. Relata refero 08:38, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Blueboar: Yes bieng anti-religious doesn't make you extremist. But holding extreme anti-religious views does. One doesn't need to explicitly call upon the eradication of one religion to be considered an "extremist". Spreading hatred for a particular religion, without calling upon its destruction, is also extreme. Beit Or asked me to find some evidence for Spencer's extremism.
"The publications of Spencer belong to the class of Islamophobic extremism ... bigotry similar to anti-Semitism and racial prejudice." Source:[7] Carl W. Ernst William Kenan Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations University of North Carolina)Bless sins 10:14, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
One man's remark on his personal website is not sufficient to establish Spencer's extremism. And where and how does Spencer spread hatred for a particular religion? Beit Or 22:44, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I will also point out that WP:RS#Extremist_sources starts off by saying that it is talking about: "Organizations and individuals that are widely acknowledged as extremist..." So, I think real question here should be: is Spencer widely acknowledged as an extremist. In other words, before you can write him off as an extremist, you have to show that a whole bunch of reliable sources have called him an extremist. Biased, partisan, POV... all those I will give you. Blueboar 23:02, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Regarding Jihadwatch

The original poster indicated that Jihadwatch was recognized as a hate site by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and The Guardian. I don't think we can trust either of those sources on anything related to US Foreign Policy. To me, Jihadwatch has been more of a website that attacks radical Islamic terrorism, rather than Islam itself. ----DanTD (talk) 18:07, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Oh my goodness, your opinion of the Guardian is drastically at variance with established consensus and WP:RS. It has an established reputation for accuracy and fact-checking. Some, mostly American, commentators see it as a haven for ultra-leftism and fabrication, but if that were the case, the UK's notoriously strict libel laws would have knocked it out of business years ago. Excluding the Guardian for facts because of its liberal/social democratic editorial line would be like excluding Canada's National Post because of its conservative/neo-conservative editorial line. <eleland/talkedits> 14:53, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

New section; no, he's not an extremist, yes, he is a WP:RS

I argue that Spencer is a reliable source, not an extremist, and not 'anti-religion' (as someone stated above). He is anti-Jihad, and there's nothing extreme about being that, but rather, very rational. Look, this entire opposition to citing Robert Spencer on Wikipedia, comes entirely from biased Muslims who are opposed to Robert Spencer, not because he is wrong about Islam, but because he is critical of Islam. He is not conspiring against Islam. He is simply telling the truth about Islam, from Islam's own sources, whether it be from the actual Qu'ran or by quoting truthful Muslims like Osama Bin Laden and Anjem Choudary. I am seriously beginning to doubt if any of you have read his stuff or seen him in action. — EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 11:38, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

I am not a Muslim, but a Christian, and I have read material by Spencer and find it biased and unreliable. In my view Spencer is an anti-Muslim bigot and a conspiracy theorist, and I am not alone
  • "Regnery, a conservative publisher, has seen fit to publish another Robert Spencer book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)1. Perhaps some readers will consider this spiteful and rather vile book a camp classic, a hoot. But we Muslims will not. These assaults hurt, not because they hit home, but because they are so wildly off the mark. Spencer's reckless, scattershot approach harries the Muslim American community and leaves very little ground for moderates and humanists..." Modern-Day Crusader by Adem Carroll, The Public Eye Magazine - Summer 2006.
You don't have to be Muslim to abhor Islamophobia.--Cberlet 13:13, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
From Public Eye's "about us" page: "Political Research Associates is a progressive think tank devoted to supporting movements that are building a more just and inclusive democratic society. We expose movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights." Nice unbiased source there, c.... Kyaa the Catlord 13:26, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
So they are biased against "movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights?" Yeah that's a horrible bias. We should add here that the constitution of the United States of America is likewise biased. In fact I think this may be one of the worst systemic biases around in that wretched place we call "the free world." Personally I blame the Enlightenment.PelleSmith 15:03, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Political Research Associates -- SEWilco 15:54, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Excuse me, but you find “Islamophobia” ABHORRING?!?! Anyone in his right mind should be anti-Islam as much as possible. There is nothing good about Islam and if you abhor criticism of Islam, that makes you in alliance with extremists. To criticise Islam, is common sense and a rational thing to do. There is nothing extreme about it. To answer your fallacious arguments: I have read material by Spencer and find it biased and unreliable. — On what grounds? What is unreliable about his books as far as his truthful criticism of Islam goes? How has he misrepresented his sources? Never mind his 'conservative Regnery publisher' because I don't care about which publisher he's released under, what I care about is how Robert Spencer's expertise on Islam meets a WP:RS. Also, he is a notable best seller, which qualifies him as a notable critic of Islam. Being that he is a notable best seller, would he have been a 'right wing extremist' as his opponents on the left are trying to portray him as, he would have been a lot more condemned than he is today. So tell me: how is Robert Spencer misrepresenting genuine Muslims like the righteous Muslims found in Dispatches? In my view Spencer is an anti-Muslim bigot and a conspiracy theorist, and I am not alone — Your view of Islam does not count since you don't know anything about Islam anyway, and to claim that you are not alone, is ad populum. Calling Spencer an anti-Muslim is extremely disingenuous. He is simply anti-Jihad, which means, in reality, that he is anti-Islam (as a political and religious ideology). He is not anti every Arab, Indonesian, or whatever. He is simply anti-Islam (and that's good thing). Calling him anti-Muslim is just a false tactic used in order to portray him as some sort of racist (as if Islam had anything to do with race or any kind of racial aspect for that matter). What matters here is Spencer's reliability as a notable critic of Islam, not your left-wing agenda; for the record, User:Cberlet has a long history of political controversy with Robert Spencer's boss, David Horowitz, as can be read more about in this article. This isn't a personal attack on Chip Berlet, but I'm just warning about the political POV here from his part, and that admins must have this in mind that there is a serious NPOV issue going on here. — EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 20:56, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
You are totally right. There is a serious NPOV problem here. Lets also warn the admins about the person who posted this: "Anyone in his right mind should be anti-Islam as much as possible. There is nothing good about Islam and if you abhor criticism of Islam, that makes you in alliance with extremists. To criticise Islam, is common sense and a rational thing to do." He/she should probably be topic banned ... don't you think?PelleSmith (talk) 04:39, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
whatever the solution... this verbose, incendiary use of Wikipedia as a soapbox must stop. ITAQALLAH 14:14, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Topic banned? Why? I personally don't edit Islam related articles that much to begin with, and when I do, I keep my personal POV out of the articles. It's not like I go berserk and add text that says Islam is a tool for terrorism (which is what Islam essentially is; after all, Muhammed himself stated that he had been made victorious with terror[8]). All I demand is that Islam-related articles be more NPOV and allow writers critical of Islam to be reflected in the articles (which is sort of an impossibility right now due to the influence of Muslim Wikipedians tightly controlling the articles; violating WP:OWN). I have been critical of Islam on talk pages before. But what I say on the talk pages is my personal point of view. The topics/articles is a different matter, where I try to be more professional. And for the record, this discussion is not about me, it's about Spencer's reliability as a WP:RS. If you're going to topic ban me for being critical of a terrorist religion, then you better make sure you follow through with your logic and topic ban all the atheists working on the Christianity article. — EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 05:11, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
From Public Eye's "about us" page: "Political Research Associates is a progressive think tank devoted to supporting movements that are building a more just and inclusive democratic society. We expose movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights." — How about, we protect movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights? Seriously, that's Islam in a nutshell, and it seems that the PRA is protecting Islam. — EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 20:58, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh god, I didn't realize that Chip had referred back to the group he's part of in his initial BLP violation on Spencer. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 01:27, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it seems more like a political catfight between two different political organisations, rather than anything remotely concerning Spencer's reliability as a critique of Islam. — EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 04:54, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Al insan al kamil

Al-Insān al-Kāmil#External links is a very good example of how Robert Spencer is being censored on Wikipedia by Muslim Wikipedians trying to push their POV. See the article's history regarding the link to Robert Spencer's entry on al insan al kamil Examples: [9][10]EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 04:54, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Spencer is not a scholar on Islam. he isn't in a position to discuss concepts in Islamic or Sufi theology. if you have any academic, non-partisan links or references you'd like to use, please do so. ITAQALLAH 14:20, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree. See his bio in his article. His course of study in university included Islam as a focus. He's not a Muslim theologian, but his degree is related to theology. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 14:33, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
as far as i know, his MA is in Early Christianity. you don't need to be a Muslim to be a reliable source on Islam. the general required standard on Wikipedia is a qualification in Islamic studies or in Near East/Oriental studies (as a verifiable demonstration of competence and expertise in the field, the same way a qualified biologist is a reliable source on biology-related topics). most major universities offer them. examples of some prominent scholars include G. R. Hawting, Annemarie Schimmel, Carl Ernst, Montgomery Watt, John Esposito, and the list continues. Spencer isn't in the same league as these individuals - scholars in general don't give his publications the time of day. ITAQALLAH 15:02, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
His degree is Religious Studies, same as the department Esposito chairs. His thesis was on monophysitism and the Church of England, but a religious studies degree doesn't necessarily focus on any one religion, especially in the case of the religions of the Book. They're all very linked and, based on my own experiences, you study them together. (Especially if he focused on early christianity, that's the heart of judaism and islam, the ME). Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 15:08, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
as yourself, i respectfully disagree. i don't believe a general qualification in Religious Studies (and the specific extent of his education in Islam is unknown) necessarily reflects competence in Islamic history, theology, treatises, and associated topics. a contraindication is in the comments of Carl Ernst (part of the same dept. from which Spencer qualified) who dismisses Spencer's credentials and publications.[11] ITAQALLAH 15:40, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Does it matter if his major was Monophysitism and not Islam? The opposition to Robert Spencer is purely because of his critical books on Islam, not his qualifications to speak on Islamic issues (although, that is being used as a case in point against him). His arguments about Islam are well founded and in perfect agreement with Muslims like Bin Laden and Anjem Choudary. He is not misinterpreting Islam. — EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 16:33, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
i suppose it's telling that those two aren't scholars either. ITAQALLAH 16:42, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I would say they know Islam better than most scholars. — EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 16:59, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Two professionals in a field, who have strongly held viewpoints will disagree. This doesn't discredit either of them. They are both carrying degrees in the study of religion, of theology and are published authors in the field. Your, my, hell Allah's opinion doesn't matter. They are published authors writing on their field of expertise. Spencer is a notable author writing for a publishing house. This meets our credentials. Because others, and perhaps you, disagree with his statements does not make them any less reliable and it violates WP:NOR to discredit them in the manner you are attempting to. If you can find rebuttals to his exact statements, those could be used via talk on the articles his words are being used in to discuss the content of his work. He meets RS as it is written. His individual statements... may be up for discussion and review but calmly and in a calculated, reasoned manner. With all due respect, Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 17:02, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
it's one thing when there is scholarly difference amongst peers (scholars know how to disagree without making it personal), it's another thing when one questions the other's very education on the topic ("... he has no academic training in Islamic studies whatever; his M.A. degree was in the field of early Christianity", says Ernst - i am inclined to believe him, he is an Islamic studies professor at the university from which Spencer graduated). i don't oppose scholars just because i disagree with their views - as one who frequents academic journals, i customarily come across views i am at odds with, whether that is Caetani's, Friedmann's, Crone's, or anyone else's . however, if a writer has a noticable lack in pedigree, does not have his work peer-reviewed by scholars nor published by academic press, then the unreliability is self-evident - irrespective of whether he is Ahmed Deedat or Robert Spencer. ITAQALLAH 17:26, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
How many times should we discuss Spencer? He is only notable as a critic of Islam but he does not have any reputation as an scholar. --Aminz (talk) 03:28, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Spencer's reputation

According to this reliable sources are "third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy".

What reputation "for fact-checking and accuracy" does Spencer have?

Please don't answer this by arguing Spencer has a degree, because this would imply that anyone with a degree is a reliable source.Bless sins (talk) 03:17, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

See Robert Spencer#Spencer's responses to critics. He seems to be claiming that his critics have failed to show him to be inaccurate. If he were obscure and his work not examined that would be a weak argument. He seems to have provided plenty of material for critics. Google Scholar isn't much help (notice the other Spencers with work before 1980 aren't him). -- SEWilco (talk) 05:08, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
SEWilco, his work doesn't appear to have received peer-review, nor any sort of review in academic publications. as with most polemic, scholars just don't give it the time of day. ITAQALLAH 16:57, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
What reputation "for fact-checking and accuracy" does Spencer have? — He has never been proven wrong by Muslims. Only personal attacks on his reliability has been made. But never ever have they proven him wrong on Islam. In fact, most Islamist pretty much agree with him on what he's saying about Islam. That said, there's nothing wrong with his reliability as far as Islam is concerned. — EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 12:21, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
reliability (and reputation) is positively established, not assumed until disproven. this non sequitur about not being "proven wrong" is also incredibly subjective. some may indeed argue that they have proved him wrong on various issues (Khaleel Mohammed, or even [12][13]) although - again - it has nothing to do with the criteria specified in WP:RS. Islamists might agree with some of what he says (just as they might with Zakir Naik), certainly not most or all - but that means nothing here. this issue has been discussed ad nauseum... perhaps it's time to give the discussion a rest until some new evidence of reliability surfaces. ITAQALLAH 16:57, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Spencer meets the criteria at WP:V where it states, and I quote: "In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers." He is published by Regnery Publishing and Prometheus Publishing. Do you dispute that these publishing houses exist and are, albeit sometimes controversial, respected? Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 17:03, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
a publishing house is not necessarily reliable by default. respected? are they known for peer-reviewed, high quality publications on Islamic studies (or is this where they are, as you say, controversial[14])? (not a rhetorical question) it goes without saying that a publishing house should have a record of competence or pedigree in the topics it publishes on (Regnery's focus appears to be conservative politics and 'Politically Incorrect Guides™') and that is the spirit of the section you quote when read as a whole, regardless of the semantics of 'respected'. ITAQALLAH 18:05, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Dear Itaqallah, do you know what a semicolon is? Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 18:37, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
i did indeed pick up on it, but it does not exempt publishing houses from needing to possess some sort of authority in a particular field to be considered a reliable source there. peer-review is a standard facet of most reliable sources. ITAQALLAH 18:47, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
Let me let you in on a very well kept secret. Journals are peer-reviewed. Non-fiction books for the most part are not. They have editors, not a peer-review process. This does not make them not reliable, actually it fulfills the same sort of fact checking required by RS... Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 18:54, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

let's assume that peer review is not a feature of standard published texts in Islamic studies - do you concede that a publisher should be known for good quality academic material/books in the field it publishes (non-academic material is also usable where it is mainstream, see WP:SOURCES and WP:REDFLAG) for it to be considered a reliable source on that topic? ITAQALLAH 19:38, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

You do realize that Regnancy has published at least 1 New York Times best selling book? It is a mainstream publishing house. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 19:47, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

<reset>Kyaa, your first sentence i agree with. lots of books, including some written by Spencer, are known to be best sellers. that simply means that the book has been widely sold - something true for many controversial books which inevitably entice peoples' interest. not that it makes the books - or its publishers - reliable. as for 'mainstream' - if you mean the publishing house is well-known, then yes. if you mean that it reflects mainstream literature (in this case, on Islamic studies) - then i'd have to disagree. ITAQALLAH 21:33, 11 December 2007 (UTC) Look, he has been published and has a few bestsellers as well. If he totally made shit up about Islam, some academic scholar on religion would have proven him wrong on what he has written in his books. So far, no one has, because they can't since they know what he's writing is the truth about Islam. All they've done so far is to attack his publisher for being, and get this, "Conservative" (wow, how evil). Let's face it, he passes as a WP:RS. — EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 10:14, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

scholars don't waste their time on every crankish publication released - to claim it's because they secretly know the crankery is true is extremely naïve and reflects a poor understanding of the issue at hand. in any case, he has been criticised precisely for his fundamental lack of scholarship and expertise - by real scholars - and his publishers have been criticised for pursuing a partisan agenda (not surprised after looking at this). it's mind-boggling how a controversial writer and publisher, writing specifically for a Christian Republican target audience (do the staunchly anti-darwinist, anti-feminist, anti-liberal stances give it away?), can be hailed as a reliable resource for information on Islam. ITAQALLAH 19:38, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
You keep repasting that Carl Ernst link as if it had any validity at all. You also make it seem like there's some universal scholarly consensus that Spencer is a fraud, by posting that link when you write 'by real scholars'. There has never been any academic debate involving "real" scholars and Robert Spencer where they have proven him wrong. All you have is one shitty scholar who was probably paid to trash Spencer's publisher (as if his publisher had any relevance beside publishing the books). Again, that link is not worthy of paying attention to, simply because it does not focus on his content. Do you understand what I am saying? Either prove Spencer wrong (not his publisher, but Spencer's statements in his book), or just accept that he is right about Islam. do the staunchly anti-darwinist, anti-feminist, anti-liberal stances give it away? — What kind of a question is that? What does anti-darwinism have to do with Spencer's truthful and accurate criticism of Islam? And what's wrong with anti-feminism and anti-liberalism? — EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 21:02, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Elias, your conditions about whether or not Spencer has been proved wrong have nothing to do with Wikipedia policy - please stop these verbose appeals to ignorance. as per what Wikipedia policy and guidelines actually say, sources are judged by their authors' qualifications, reputation for scholarly works (Spencer fails on both counts, which is what what the link shows), the presence of a peer-review system, the nature of the claim made by the source. few of your arguments have tackled these issues. ITAQALLAH 21:31, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
Does the criticism of the New York Times, Fox News or any other media outlet make them unreliable sources? No. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 19:47, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
New York Times isn't a WP:RS in itself to begin with. And Faux News is obviously biased (although they can make a good point every now and then). — EliasAlucard (talk · contribs) 21:02, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
comparing journalism with academic disciplines doesn't work, IMO. all news media outlets offer a perspective, but at least they are established in their journalism. Regnery's forte is clearly conservative politics - and its publications on that topic might very well be reliable sources (i've not maintained that Regnery is an unreliable publisher as a whole, only that it's evidently not a reliable one in the field of Islamic studies).
however, when it publishes in areas of academic discipline - biology, anthropology, orientalism, and so on - then partisan goals (pro-Islam or anti-Islam, for example) cannot precede scholarly endeavour. to be honest, you've a problem if you find a source or publisher declaring it will challenge mainstream understanding of an academic discipline (that's the impression i get from many of the books in the P.I.G series). when these kinds of publications are rightly criticised as polemic tracts by qualified experts, then that raises a red flag. at the end of the day, if you are going to invest in exploring a scholarly topic, you at least publish authors who have the necessary tools. ITAQALLAH 21:43, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I think there is a serious confusion. Please see Wikipedia:V#Burden_of_evidence. The burden is upon those who add or restore the material. This would be anyone supporting the inclusion of Robert Spencer. Thus users like EliasAlucard (assuming he/she supports the inclusion of Spencer) must provide (not ask for) evidence that Spencer has a reputation for accuracy.Bless sins (talk) 05:00, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

That is a unique interpretation of WP:V. Whoah. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 14:55, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Don't use this

This is a no-brainer - we use the author of the book The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion the day we use the author who writes: The truth about Jesus: Founder of the World's Most Violent Religion. PRtalk 16:03, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

We link to Chip Berlet's work and Theocracy Watch's work in the Dominionism-related articles. These sources are as religiously extremist as you alleged Robert Spencer is. We use sources from ALL points of view. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 17:36, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
there's a lot to be said about current day muslim intolerance and about past christian violence also. the issue is not that of a flamboyant book title, but whether or not the material inside is considered reliable. JaakobouChalk Talk 19:44, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Chip Berlet's Theocracy Watch (or at least, it's web-site) does not appear to be a home of extremism, nor to pander to the violent and hate-inspired. It specifically targets those with significant political and religious influence/power, and it objects to their apparent interest in introducing religion-based government. It specifically disavows attacking individuals: "This web site is not about traditional Republicans or conservative Christians. It is about the manipulation of people of a certain faith for political power. It is about the rise of dominionists in the U.S. federal government.".
Whereas Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch most probably does pander to the violent and hate-inspired. Today's lead story targets individual clerics and people of a minority faith, linking them directly to the killing of a 16-year old by her family. Imam Alnadvi said that judging from the information he received, hijab was only one of the issues. "This girl she refused to stay at home," he said. "There were feelings that she is going in some wrong direction ... going with some other boy or some other thing." This campaign is directed against a group that understandably feels oppressed, excluded from air-lines, discriminated against in employment and harassed in their charitable works. (Note - I've no problem with him campaigning in this fashion, I might easily agree with him - but that doesn't mean we should treat him as an acceptable source).
Unless you have different evidence to hand, it seems reasonable to describe the former as regular participation in the democratic process and the latter as "extreme", as fails reliable sources.
I don't believe there are any circumstances in which you should take it on yourself to interfere with my contributions. PRtalk 17:29, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
PR, it's not just about whether these opinions are extreme or not. it is about whether they are competent to comment in a particular field of study. the question that has been posed here is if Spencer is a reliable source for information on Islam. the answer, taking into consideration his lack of study and competence in this discipline, his publishers' general lack of pedigree in publishing academic works on Islamic studies, and denounciations from qualified scholars in the field, can only be a resounding no. ITAQALLAH 18:04, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree with you (or perhaps I should say, I'm sure I'd come to an identical conclusion if I examined the output of this writer in more detail). But judging someone's literacy and reliability seems to cause a lot of editors rather a lot of difficulty - in fact, if we could do this reliably, we might discover a lot of dross in the editing pool and save ourselves a whole lot of grief. It's often easier to finger particular sources as "hate-sources" (or, in the more restrained language of the encyclopedia, those expressing "extreme" views).
The advantage of this approach is that we have quite well-understood red-lines eg quoting from Holocaust Deniers is a no-no, liable to lead to an indef-blocking (nobody's even bothered to write that into policy, we just accept it). David Irving is a useful touch-stone, since it's often quite difficult to prove that he was guilty of "gross historical fabrication" (it cost Deborah Lipstad some $10 million to prove, as far as I recall, just a handful of cases). It's much, much easier to prove he's an extremist.
Thats why I contributed as I did - not only is unnecessary (and potentially quite difficult) to prove Spencer cheats - making such allegations raises BLP issues. Hate-sources are barred anyway, on a much lower level of proof. PRtalk 19:55, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Any source on religion is extremeist

No source on religion is un-biased, they are either strongly pro the religion or anti that religion. The idea that Spencer can't be used but hundreds of Imams can be used because they are un-biased about Islam is a joke. (Hypnosadist) 09:05, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

As I've posted on PR's talk page, its less a matter of Spencer being a reliable source (which cannot be denied seriously) it is more a matter of making certain his views are attributed to him properly and being shown as his viewpoint on a controversial subject not as fact. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 11:08, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
(which cannot be denied seriously) ... seriously, it can. the evidence for reliability, which, let's face it, is pretty paltry, cannot stand up to the contraindications. use of partisan sources might be accepted on political-oriented articles like Israel/Palestine or Democrat/Republican - but on topics of academic discipline - they aren't. and Hypnosadist, you are grossly mistaken. see the Encyclopedia of Islam, or any other academic work for that matter. ITAQALLAH 17:42, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Not all sources on religion are strongly pro or anti. There are many reputable academics who have spent most of their lives studying religion and are capable of writing in a neutral impassionate way, and who have their work peer reviewed to ensure they don't stray from this.
As for the argument over this particular source, I have never heard of him, but it should be pretty simple to establish whether he is a reliable source or not. If his work has previously been published in peer-reviewed academic journals, and he is widely credited by reputable academics as being an authority on Islam, then you should be able to cite these accolades, and that will establish that he is a reliable source. If not, then he isn't a reliable source. The onus is on the editor claiming that a particular person is a reliable source, to establish that he is considered a reliable source by other professionals in the field. Whether or not you personally think that his work is valid, true, or reliable, is irrelevant; the only relevant thing here is the opinion of other experts working in the same field. The fact that he is notable and has a personal opinion is not in dispute, but that doesn't make him a reliable source for anything other than his own article, and perhaps an Opinions of notable people on religion or something similar. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 18:18, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Musings: Why do some editors insist on this type of source?

For the life of me, I can't understand it. Robert Spencer writes on issues that are extensively discussed, debated, and disputed by reputable sources. It's not as if there's a shortage of academic interest in, for example, the status of minorities under medieval Islamic regimes. And yet, the views of popular ideologues and polemicists like Robert Spencer and Bat Ye'or metastasize through our encyclopedia, sucking away the blood supply from respected scholars writing in university presses. It's as if our articles on particle physics were sourced predominantly to back issues of Popular Science and a smattering of crackpot "unified theory" websites. Not to mention that every — single — book — these clowns publish seems to have a ~50kb article stuffed with praise from the "in-crowd" of Muslim-bashers.

One of the strangest things about this affair is that patrons of Spencer, Pipes, Ibn Warraq et al. genuinely don't seem to realize that their favorite writers are in any way less than mainstream. In fact, they seem to believe that Middle Eastern Studies departments in the West are just stuffed full of Hamasniks and cowed "dhimmis", and that the ideologues are thus better sources than the mainstream academics! It's not uncommon on Wikipedia to see a titled professor of Islamic Studies, heading up a department at a prestigious university, paired with some B.A. Econ with a job at a shady neo-con think tank in "He said, She said" fashion — a violation of WP:UNDUE if there ever was one.

The ideological biases of many editors undoubtedly play a role here, but so, I think, does simple laziness. People like Spencer write mass-produced missives for a general audience, they have frequently updated websites and blogs, and their ramblings tend to be quoted and mindless-link-propagated across the conservative "blogosphere". Finding legitimate academic views of a subject may actually requre — gasp! — going to the library, in order to find out something you don't already know.

In the final analysis, the views of the Spencers and Ye'ors should be confined to articles which are about them specifically, and in a limited fashion, to articles like Criticism of Islam, as long as their view is clearly set-off from the views of proper scholars. They should not be quoted in most other contexts. Notoriety and popularity do not "a reputation for accuracy and fact-checking" make. <eleland/talkedits> 18:23, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes we need more John Esposito and what his 20 million dollar cheque paid for him to say. (Hypnosadist) 18:51, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. We need what more mainstream, respected scholars like John Esposito say, and less of what idiot conspiracy-mongers like the people who perpetuate that dumb smear say. <eleland/talkedits> 20:20, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
20 million from a man who supplies british school kids with the Protocols of the elders of Zion clearly speaks to his bias. I don't listen to what a scientist paid for by a oil company says on global warming. Just read what the donation is for, its not for academic critique of islam. (Hypnosadist) 04:33, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Have you any sources for that libelous claim? <eleland/talkedits> 06:48, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Search for Protocols and British schools on say the BBC news site, you won't believe me or the Jewish Chronicle [15]. (Hypnosadist) 07:29, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Editors of the encyclopedia will be keen not to re-cycle propaganda or give any credibility to hate-sources by eg treating the likes of JihadWatch and Robert Spencer as reliable. It's possible this story is true or partly true, but some/many regular secular sources seem to think it's been tampered with - see the Guardian "BBC2's Newsnight said examination of receipts provided by the researchers to verify their purchases showed some had been written by the same person - even though they purported to come from different mosques." That was on Thursday, so we don't know how this will pan out.
Let me remind everyone that the hate band-wagon is not just targetted on Muslims - more of this bile is aimed directly at the British, see this denial by the Holocaust Education Trust of a nonsense story that has nothing to do with Islam.
I've had a massive slew of allegations levelled at me, most of them obviously false. I face an indef-block with no further warning or possibility of appeal. The ax could very easily fall on me because of what I've said here - apparently, providing evidence in TalkPages is proof of soap-boxing and in my case that's a capital crime. Sorry about that - but I came to editing to find and document "truth", not give a veneer of respectability to propaganda. PRtalk 09:01, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
And i could have read Policy Exchange for more on this. (Hypnosadist) 11:39, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Even if we ignored the forgery, none of your sources mention the name al-Waleed bin Talal. Stop wasting our time with this nonsense. <eleland/talkedits> 23:11, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
The school admitted to having and teaching the Protocols to kids until 2004. (Hypnosadist) 13:14, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
It would appear that you have no RS for this smear on John Esposito or him handing over $20 million to anyone. Furthermore, he's an American academic, unlikely to have funded anyone - and certainly unlikely to have funded a British school. Increasingly, this looks like an attempt to waste the time of good-faith editors. PRtalk 14:09, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

So you woudn't quote from Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins either?

They are just as scathing about Islam. This is daft. You can quote him as long as it does not violate POV or UNDUE WEIGHT. Lobojo (talk) 01:31, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Er, no you wouldn't quote from either of these on the topic of Islam, as neither of them are experts on the topic. Dawkins on evolution - please go ahead. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:04, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. Dawkins is an expert on evolution and certainly citable in that article. He isn't an expert on Islam or Christianity, so his views probably aren't relevant or desirable to cite in those articles.
I am surprised that anyone would argue against this - I mean, hypothetically, if George Bush said that he thinks atoms don't exist, then you think that because he's notable his point of view should be added to the article on atoms? Do you honestly believe that Dawkins' views on religion should be added to the Christianity article? If not, then why would citing him be appropriate in Islamic articles? You can't have it both ways. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 16:39, 31 December 2007 (UTC)


Consensus was reached over here: Talk:Criticism_of_the_Qur'an#Robert_Spencer, that: we agree he is notable, and we agree he should be mentioned as a critic. However, we argue that he is not a reliable source, and should not be given undue space (except on his own article). Still if there are secondary sources that quote him, we let him stay.Bless sins (talk) 19:34, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Mohammad Amin al-Husayni

Are the former journalists Leonard Davis, then second-in-command of AIPAC, now Israel's no.2 diplomat to the USA (as Lenny Ben-David), and Midge Decter, grande dame of the US neo-conservative movement, reliable sources for statements made by the leader of the Palestinians during the 1940s, in the absence of any further confirmation or citation?

And do the word of an ultra-right talk-radio host and Internet columnist, and the esteemed author of "The complete idiot's guide to Jewish history and culture" vouchsafe the claim? <eleland/talkedits> 01:51, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Since the esteemed editor is a historian who specializes in U.S.-Middle East policy, and the author/editor of 17 books whose work has been published in academic journals and major newspapers, the answer would seem to be 'Yes'. Please do not use this forum to soapbox about "grande dames of the US neo-conservative movements or about "ultra-right" radio hosts. Isarig 02:19, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
What on earth are you talking about? Mitchell Bard has not been cited on the page. The citations 46, 47, and 48 are Leonard J. Davis and M. Decter, Chuck Morse, and Benjamin Blech. Please talk sense, and avoid trying to paint evaluations of source reliability as "using this forum to soapbox." <eleland/talkedits> 02:58, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Do calm down, and adopt a more civil tone. What I'm talking about is that your were asking about "Myths and Facts: A Concise Record of the Arab-Israeli Conflict" - a book whose most recent editor is Mitchell Bard, a noted historian and academic author, which meets WP:RS. Now stop using this forum to rant about your political opponents, and edit according to policy. Isarig 03:59, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
But the 2006 edition isn't cited. The 1982 edition is. The 2006 version is available online, and makes no mention of the Mufti's supposed statement. Accusations of my "ranting" juxtapose oddly with accusations of incivility. <eleland/talkedits> 05:12, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, these are RSs. You are suggesting that we reject a source since they are zionist or neoconservative. Think what you like about these movements but we DO NOT reject academic sources based on their political viewpoint. This is a disgusting and nauesating suggestion. Would you have us reject all sources who happened to be anti-zionist, or Marzist?! Obscene. Lobojo (talk) 01:41, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Update: is a Haganah press officer and later IDF Lieutenant Colonel, a confidant of David Ben Gurion and his personal media strategy adviser, writing in 1947 during the run-up to civil war in Palestine, a reliable source for what Husayni may or may not have said during the 1940s, in the absence of further confirmation or citation? <eleland/talkedits> 15:02, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

I would say that if someone is "a second-in-command of AIPAC" there is reason to suspect them of not being a reliable source on controversial Israeli-Palestinian matters. But suspicion doesn't make one an unreliable source, and the two men may very well be reliable sources. The burden of evidence is (for showing something is a reliable source) is upon those who insist on its usage. As of now I don't see any evidence provided for the reliability of Leonard Davis and Midge Decter.Bless sins (talk) 05:15, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Agree. At the very least there should be some sort of disclaimer about the biases of neoconservative commentators. --Terrawatt (talk) 22:14, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh dear. If there is bias then it cant go in at all. This suggestion is simply obscene. Someone is a Zionist so we need a discliamer before we can quote them, and to label them a neocon. We canont put on such a disclaimer since that vioates NPOV since it is expressing an opition to the effect "this source might be a lying neocon pig, so watch out". This is an obscene suggestion that would seem antisemitic if it were ever put into effect. Lobojo (talk) 01:37, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Look, this isn't the question of someone who is a scholar, but may be biased in some way. All scholars have their biases. The two sources at issue here are:
  • A journalist, Haganah spokesman, and personal confidant of Ben-Gurion, writing in the heat of the 1947 civil war in Palestine, about the leader of the enemey
  • A pair of lifelong "pro-Israel" lobbyists and activists, one of whom was later picked as chargé d'affairs at the Israeli embassy in Washington
Neither are scholars, neither are reliable, and neither should be used as an excuse to sling mud at Husayni. <eleland/talkedits> 01:45, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and the second source was actually published by AIPAC and distributed literally by the caseload, and was condemned by scholars for... oh, why do I bother, you haven't even been reading the discuission you're commenting on, have you. <eleland/talkedits> 01:48, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
They are scholars, he is cited by others, so we cite him. You are free to describe his roles alongside any quotes in a limited and neutral way. I have never understood the motives of editors who seek to defend a confirmed Nazi who spent the war as a guest of Hitler in Berlin from "mudslinging", I think that a little more mud isn't going to make to much difference to a man who drowned in a vat of it. When people come here to defent Eichmann, we tend to view them as sick. Much like I view the suggestion that zoinist scholars and writers be labeled zionists before they can be quoted. You are free to add sources that rebut the claims they make it you want. Lobojo (talk) 02:18, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Leonard Davis is a scholar? Really? What was his academic posting? Seriously, you need to stop just making up the facts to suit your POV. Leonard J. Davis aka Lenny Ben-David was many things, but "scholar" was not one of them. <eleland/talkedits> 04:37, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

The Nation

This this article from The Nation a reliable source? —Christopher Mann McKaytalk 17:50, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Same answer as above. Reliable for what material? "Reliability" is not an absolute distinction: it requires context. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:56, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
the following reference was deleted off the Daniel Pipes article b/c the user said it was a unreliable source: According to writer Kristine McNeil in The Nation, Pipes has anti-Arab views. He said that the customs of Muslims immigrants are "more troublesome than most," and has referred to fundamentalist Muslims as "barbarians" and "potential killers." Pipes is a regular contributor to the Gamla web site, an organization founded that endorses the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians[16]Christopher Mann McKaytalk 03:10, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Reliable. Although this source is biased, it is well-regarded as the premiere source of liberal opinion in the United States. Before people jump over me for having a liberal bias, let me say that National Review is also reliable.Ngchen (talk) 04:14, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
It is not a reliable source for facts, but certainly a reliable source for the views of liberals on the subject. As it is properly attributed, I would see no problem in using it. In any case, you will need to reach WP:CONSENSUS with involved editors there.≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:24, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree about it being unreliable in terms of facts. Sure, it may present facts in a biased way, but I doubt it publishes outright falsehoods as truth.Ngchen (talk) 04:35, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
My opinion is that if you want to show what liberals are saying, quote a liberal source. If you want to cite a conservative opinion, use a conservative source. For other things, it is better to use a centrist source. For example, I am comfortable quoting from MSNBC and CBS for liberal opinions and Fox News for conservative opinions. This is because sources will twist around the words of opposing opinions to make them look bad. However, I find those sources to be too biased to be used for controversial content that is easily skewed like the war in Iraq. I would rather use sources that I think are more centrist like ABC News and CNN for those topics. Even though I am somewhat liberal, I am disgusted by the blatant liberal bias in CBS and MSNBC, and of course I am disgusted with the blatant conservative bias in Fox News. Some people will consider my opinion on who is the centrist sources as bad, and I know that different people will have different opinions. Jesse Viviano (talk) 07:19, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I would suggest that everyone who is offering an opinion on this cite read the actual reference. I'm not certain that the article being used could be used due to the unapologetically biased nature of the article. Wow. I've not read a hit piece like that ever before... it isn't journalism. I'm not exactly certain what it is. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 17:17, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Having read the first page of the cite, I must say that sure, it is biased, and written in an non-encyclopedic tone. But that doesn't mean that facts gleaned from the article are unreliable. It is, perhaps muckraking journalism, IMHO.Ngchen (talk) 18:29, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I'd suggest that it definitely falls under the WP:REDFLAG clause. I feel dirty having read it all. There's focused, driven editorializing and then there is demonizing through propaganda tactics. That article clearly is the latter. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 18:39, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't see how there is any redflag violation. —Christopher Mann McKaytalk 05:16, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure exactly how a fringe opinion such as that is useful as a source in an NPOV manner. I was kind of hoping the last line would be something like "oh yes, and he eats babies too." Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 05:29, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
It's hardly a fringe opinion. By all measures, the Nation is a mainstream rag. That doesn't mean that it's unbiased or doesn't have an editorial slant, but tell me what source doesn't? "Reliable source" doesn't mean no bias; that's a mistake too often made by Wikipedia editors. If there's an issue of balance in the sources used in the article, that needs to be hammered out on the talk page. But to paint the Nation as an unreliable (let alone "fringe") source, including that particular editorial, is absurd. bobanny (talk) 18:53, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
That particular editorial is beyond the pale. I'd love to show you, line by line, how it uses propaganda techniques, but we're all able to read and discern for ourselves. I'd expect that sort of rant from a blog, not a reputable publication like the Nation. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 20:39, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
The use of propaganda techniques doesn't separate the Nation from other reliable sources. Contrary to popular belief, propaganda is not the science of lying. It simply means propagating an idea or perspective through whatever means, whether rhetorical devices, logical argumentation, or whatever, all of which are used by the most respectable newspapers and magazines. Even if you don't agree with how that editorial depicts Pipes, the way it was originally used in the Wikipedia article was simply to say that this opinion of Pipes is out there. bobanny (talk) 20:53, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Bobanny. According to Kyaa the Catlord's logic, most all main-stream media would be considered an unreliable source, especially Fox News--which is widely used on WIkipedia.—Christopher Mann McKaytalk 01:39, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Fox News is at least presenting itself as news as is, for example, CNN. The Nation exists mainly as a journal of opinion. Their conclusions cannot and should not be used as facts. IronDuke 03:03, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
(outdent) Of course, no opinion printed anywhere should be used as a fact. What I am saying is that facts extracted from The Nation can be used. Likewise, the same applies to Fox News and National Review.Ngchen (talk) 16:51, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
IronDuke, in the context the text was used on the Pipes article, it is not presenting any opinion, only facts. What are you suggesting is an opinion?—Christopher Mann McKaytalk 19:50, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Sure, it's reliable. Does something think the facts listed are somehow in error? The opinions can be used for certain things also (say liberal response). Hobit (talk) 02:50, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Publisher's "blurb" quotes and Bat Ye'or

A dispute has arisen as to the sourcing of favorable quotes reviewing Bat Ye'or's work. The sources are the "blurb" quotes on the back cover of her book. One side argues that since publishers of academic books are reliable sources, evidence must be presented that this particular quote is either taken from a longer review or taken out of context, or it is a priori reliable. The other side argues that blurb quotes are often taken out-of-context, even by reliable publishers, and points to a book reviewer griping about a "misleading" blurb "quoted out of context" from one of his prior reviews.

Neither side has located the originals, assuming the reviews were first published elsewhere. <eleland/talkedits> 02:40, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

I see no problems in quoting from backmatter or dust-jacket flaps, if properly attributed. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:52, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Would that mean we say "According to a review reproduced on the back cover of X, person Y said..."? <eleland/talkedits> 06:22, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Not all blurbs are created equally -- I suggest considering them on a case-by-case basis and using common sense. Blurbs exist to sell something, not to convey information. Some quote very selectively from reviews. I'd especially watch out for ellipses (…) indicating something has been removed from the text or brackets [] indicating other editing; those don't mean a blurb is automatically unreliable, just that it needs closer examination. --A. B. (talk) 12:47, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
In this particular case, we already have a source accusing that. Somebody reviewing the English translation of one of Ye'or's books took time out to note that the English edition carried a quotation from him, "quoted out of context" in a "misleading" way, from a past review. <eleland/talkedits> 21:47, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Another problem with using blurbs is that your source then typically consist of a single, or a few, sentence(s). I believe blurbs should genereally not be used as sources since they are either: (i) taken from a larger piece of work that can be sourced, even if finding that work is difficult, (ii) only consist of a few sentences and can hence be considered as random statements. Labongo (talk) 13:36, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
"According to a review reproduced on the back cover of X, person Y said..."? meets the requirements of WP:V. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:56, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
That seems obvious, that if it was put like that then there could never be any problem, even if the quote was manipulated. The publisher is a RS. Lobojo (talk) 01:45, 31 December 2007 (UTC)



Is Altermedia a reliable source? --Gutza T T+ 08:33, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

No - it isn't notable, it doesn't even have an article on Wikipedia. If you think it is, then you would need to establish that before it could be a reliable source. Secondly, it seems to present articles in a very biased way with an anti-Jew anti-black POV. It is also taking a political position in support of various parties, such as the British National Party. It is definitely not neutral. I checked the front page of the UK site, headline : "Islamic beheading in UK"[17]. Contrast this with the same story from a reliable source, BBC News, which has nothing about an "Islamic beheading".[18] They are clearly distorting facts with their POV. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 11:49, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
It is a reliable source for existence of opinions (points of view) about some issues. Reliability as a source for facts should be weighted for every local version of Altermedia separately. --Dezidor (talk) 18:15, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia states clarly that unreliable sources may only be used in articles about themselves. Below, I explain just what is unreliable about it (and "unreliable" is an understatement). Dahn (talk) 22:41, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

How does one determine which local version can be used, and which specific issues it can be used for? --Gutza T T+ 19:10, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

To clarify a bit: this section is a consequence of a long thread on Romanian wikipedia, where altermedia is used as a reliable source. In the process of the discussion, I investigated a bit and it turns out that only two reliable sources (of the academic kind, mind you) even take altermedia into consideration. They are Thomas Greven, Thomas Grumke, Globalisierter Rechtsextremismus?: Die extremistische Rechte in der Ära der Globalisierung, VS Verlag, 2006, pages 171-171 and Wilhelm Hofmann, Franz Lesske, Politische Identität- visuell, LIT Verlag, 2005, page 160. Both cite altermedia as a portal, and both define it as a venue for far right extremism (with, in at least one case, emphasis on its promotion of antisemitism, xenophobia, the Klan etc.). Outside of these sources, altermedia as a whole has little covering: it is simply ignored, in both academia and mainstream journalism.
A larger debate was carried in relation to the Romanian altermedia, which, it was claimed, is an independent section - its independence is, however, easily dismissible by citing altermedia itself, as it defines itself as part of the portal in question. Three main issues have been noted. One is that is run by a high-ranking member of the far right group Noua Dreaptă: Dan Ghiţă, whom altermedia itself indicates as its president and editor, is Noua Dreaptă's vice president (as mentioned here, here, and here) and has for its "reporter" Bogdan Stanciu, who is Noua Dreaptă's spokesman. The other issue clearly observable is its involvement with far right politics and its support for Noua Dreaptă's actions (accompanied by praises of fascist politicians such as Iron Guard leader Corneliu Zelea Codreanu); these activities are, to say the least, bordering on illegality in Romania. See for example here, here and here. I left aside the other myriad of claims it makes on all sections, all of which are visible to the naked eye (from "curing" homosexuality to denying the Holocaust to ranting about Jewish conspiracies to the links leading to "news of interest to white people").
The third and most important issue in respect to altermedia Romania is its reflection in reliable sources. For all its presence in blogs and forums, there are few reliable sources (mainstream or academic) mentioning it at all. Here they are: an article in the Romanian daily Curentul, where altermedia is referred to as an "Iron Guard nest" ("nest" is the terminology used by the Irion Guard to define its smallest active cells), and attributed the qualities of "the Guard's propaganda tentacle", "tool for propagating Noua Dreaptă's fascist ideology" etc.; an article in the magazine Observator Cultural, where altermedia's Holocaust denial is discussed in passing, where altermedia's connection with Noua Dreaptă is again mentioned, and where the author accuses it of promoting an Iron Guard-inspired view of Romanian history; an article in the daily Cotidianul, headlined "Hatred Boils Over on the Internet", where altermedia is mentioned alongside other extremist and neofascist sites; the Wiesel Institute, in a document dealing with Holocaust denial and antisemitism in contemporary Romania, cites altermedia several times (pages 10, 17, 33, 34, 40, and 44) - the document argues (page 17) that "under the cover of 'right to expression and access to information', the publication hosts messages with an antisemitic and denialist character" (a dismissal of both altermedia's character and its claim to reliability). There are a few more informal sources mentioning altermedia's neofascist character, antisemitism etc., but I just concentrated on the most relevant ones (reliable themselves).
The issue of editorial control was also brought up, and altermedia simply states that it encourages anyone to contribute as long as they feel that their material is censored elsewhere (by "the New World Order", mind you). This is a clear indication that the source is self-published and it places itself in contradiction with the mainstream (see WP:V and WP:RS for the implications of that). Altermedia, under any form and with any section, is not cited as a source of information in any reliable source. As shown, it is simply a study case for neofascism, antisemitism, Holocaust denial, racism and xenophobia.
In short: there is absolutely no way that this could be considered a reliable source, under any standards on Earth. Dahn (talk) 22:32, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

For the record, Dahn is correct in stating that this is basically a spill out from the Romanian Wikipedia -- I simply tried to be as neutral as possible in how I asked the questions because I didn't want to risk being accused of tainting the topic with my POV. I hope I have been successful in not revealing my personal opinion on this source's reliability or my motives for asking these questions. However (or maybe even more so), please do try to give this inquiry a bit of your attention, this is setting a precedent on our Wikipedia. Thank you. --Gutza T T+ 23:35, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Technically, the labeling of a source as unreliable and its entire removal from wikipedia (+policing for possible new entries) is not unprecedented. I do believe this was accomplished in the case of Stormfront, Al Qaeda and others, and I have seen editors who simply remove such links from the articles. This may be without precedent for the Romanian wikipedia, but even there, I am led to believe, there has been agreement on at least some links to sites promoting Holocaust denial. As for your query, I find it entirely reasonable. Dahn (talk) 23:46, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

In short: I see that you and Gutza expand disputes from Romanian Wikipedia (see long dispute at this page) into English Wikipedia and I don´t know where else. I think that it is kind of harassment. Local Altermedias are very different as well as language versions of Wikipedia and sources in Romanian language are not problem of overwhelming majority of editors of English Wikipedia. Solve your personal problems with Romanian Altermedia at Romanian Wikipedia and write encyclopedia (this account is not about writing encyclopedia). Thank you, --Dezidor (talk) 23:52, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Actually, me and Gutza agree that it is not a reliable source, as do several other users who formulated their opinion there. Above, I clearly indicate that the only two reliable sources even mentioning altermedia (as a portal, i.e.: in its entirety) do so only to highlight its extremist character. Additionally, the reason why this was posted here is so that the source itself, and in its totality, be exposed for scrutiny by the community. Please make sure you address these concerns, and not ulterior assumptions. Dahn (talk) 23:57, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
And if you drop my account in the pot, please make sure you check out my record of contributions over here (including my two featured articles). I only joined the Romanian project very recently, after a period of contributing as an IP, and after being asked to sign in by several administrators - precisely because they appreciated my input. Dahn (talk) 00:00, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
One additional comment: writing a proper and reliable encyclopedia is precisely why one needs to look into what sources are used and for what purpose. Dahn (talk) 00:07, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

I understand that you both are against this source. But sorry, it is very difficult to believe that there is no connection between your dispute at Romanian Wikipedia and your actions here. It simply look likes that you want to write at Romanian Wikipedia: At English Wikipedia they said... --Dezidor (talk) 00:35, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Dezidor, I don't see what relevancy it has that it is discussed over there, given that I am bringing up the entire source for review here. I could just as well bring it for review because I please - meaning that I have a right, and, ultimately, a duty, to ask that these sources be exposed for scrutiny by any section of wikipedia. I do believe that this is the purpose of this page. Your answer, which was the second one to Gutza's first post, was that different altermedias "should be weighted for every local version of Altermedia separately" - based on what logic, and according to what rule? For the third time: the only two mentionable sources that cite the entire portal (no "Czech altermedia is okay, Portuguese altermedia is bad") discuss it as a source for nothing other than extremism; all other reliable sources that I was able to find discuss the Romanian section (which is not subject to some peculiar and particular rules) say very much the same. Am I missing something? Dahn (talk) 02:32, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
And even if I would want to cite a verdict passed on the English wikipedia as additional information there (as if what I posted there isn't as clear as what I wrote above), what's to say I'm not allowed to, given that the portal we're discussing is international, and that wikipedia enforces the same rules wherever? Dahn (talk) 02:40, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
My argument that different AlterMedias should be discussed separately is based on facts that this websites has own redactions and external contributors, different quality and popularity (for example Altermedia România looks like popular website, Altermedia Österreich doesn´t), different ideological opinions (almost every mainstream and non-mainstream media has own political or economic interests and it would be violation of NPOV to support only media with some opinions), different sort of supporters and opponents (and sources that writes positively, negatively or neutrally about them), different updating (for example AlterMedia România produces new articles every day in comparison with AlterMedia Schweiz which looks like dead project), different kind of articles (for example AlterMedia UK usually includes only comments to articles by another media and external links in comparison with AlterMedia Czech Republic that usually provides articles by its own authors or by authors of friendly media) etc. is rather than one project only domain that hosts different projects with different content. --Dezidor (talk) 19:23, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but: 1) number of clicks does not make reliability; 2) several sources discuss the site in its entirety, and they are the only reliable sources that even mention the site; 3) speculations about the "political interest" of academic works fade in comparison to the burden of evidence regarding the bias of altermedia (and altermedia, for sure, is not academic); 4) the sources that do actually take the site into consideration belong to media so diverse that it would have to be "all the world against altermedia" (which is basically saying the same thing about what that site is all about). I fail to see any proof that the altermedias would be separate projects, and, in fact, I see plenty of evidence that they are not (both in third-party commentary and in what altermedia states about itself). Below, you have what I consider is a full answer as to the reliability of altermedia, with a direct quote from wikipedia's policies.
To the above, I will add this document provided by the Internal Ministry in North Rhineland-Westphalia, which keeps neonazi sites under a close watch. On pages 4-5, the entire portal is exposed as a venue for right-wing extremism, the links between its supposedly separate wings are discussed as facts, and the person holding the strings is identified as the notorious David Duke. Nuff said. Dahn (talk) 00:58, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
This last source that Dahn brought (from the Internal Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia, no land after Rhine there!) clinches the case, if there was any real doubt before that. As a side note: Jürgen Rüttgers, the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, does not sound like a pinko type to me, so the fact that his interior ministry says what it says regarding AlterMedia adds an extra layer of credibility, if I'm allowed to make the inference in this discussion. Turgidson (talk) 15:03, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, never mind all the assumptions. (And by the way, Dahn is among the project's most committed editors, so please.) Yes, the debate originated at, but why not have it here as well? As long as everyone stays civil, I don't see the problem. It's a good idea to establish a solid case here as well that altermedia should be avoided as a source. Biruitorul (talk) 00:47, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
From WP:RS#Extremist_sources:
"Organizations and individuals that are widely acknowledged as extremist, whether of a political, religious or anti-religious, racist, or other nature, should be used only as sources about themselves and their activities in articles about themselves, and even then with caution."
Any publisher of material that advocates far right (or even far left) politics is not a reliable source (with the minor exception of an article about the publisher). The rules are very clear. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 01:24, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

This entire discussion came from Romanian Wikipedia, where several users added altermedia as a source at various articles. As Dezidor pointed there are differences between different branches of Altermedia. Each branch has its own redaction team, the conclusions about American or German altermedia can not be extended on other branches. Romanian Altermedia is a popular site often quoted in various publications. For example: it received an award from the spreading of free information, it was quoted by University of Galati, Romania-Israel portal, Science Academy of the Republic of Moldova, - website conecting catholic parishes in Romania, "Vestitorul", The newspaper of the Greek-catholic bishopric of Oradea, The revue of bioethics, the website of the students of the Free university of Moldova, Dervent monastery website, the website of the Romanians from Australia association, Curierul Conservator website, Christian writers association, the website of a bishop of Orthodox Church in Moldova, "My bussiness" website, a newspaper of the Romanian policemen training center, Orthodox Bishopric of Suceava official site, "Our Moldova" site (a site from the Republic of Moldova), Deca Press agency, - site of the people from Romanian city of Bacau, - site of the people from Romanian city of Lugoj, Site of the Yoga movement, Site of the orthodox young people from the Republic of Moldova and several others. I fully agree with Chris that sites that are widely aknowledged as extremist should not be considered reliable sources. However, in the case of Altermedia Romania, less than 5% of those who are quoting this site are considering it as extremist, it can not be considered as "widely aknowledged as extremist". I have to point also some fallacies in Dahn's message - the article in "Curentul" the he is quoting is mentioning altermedia as a "nest" (it is a derogatory term, like in the movie "Borat, a story for people in Kazahstan"), but not as an "Iron Guard nest", the "Iron Guard" was added by Dahn from his imagination. Both "Curentul" and "Observatorul Cultural" are minor publications in Romania. The refferences at other sections of altermedia are simply irrelevant for a judgement about Romanian altermedia, in my opinion.--MariusM (talk) 18:54, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

It is obviously difficult for non-Romanian speakers to verify those references. Your argument is basically that, yes, the English speaking divisions of Altermedia are extremist and not reliable sources, but the Romanian division is totally different, and is actually a good, reliable source. It is not an impossible proposition, but is extremely unlikely. So I will ask:
  • Is it really necessary to use this site as a reliable source? Are there no reliable sources similar to the BBC or CNN in Romania? No professional newspapers?
  • The English Altermedia had content that was clearly anti-{Muslim, Jew, black}. Is the Romanian site different, or does it have a similar slant? The Romanian site uses the same tagline, "World wide news for people of European descent". The implication is obvious.
  • The regional sites all link to each other without any warning that the viewer is being redirected to a completely different organisation. If you cite it as a reliable source, then how is the reader meant to know that you only believe the Romanian site is reliable?
Chris Bainbridge (talk) 19:21, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I am not saying that Romanian Altermedia is the best source, but sometimes they have good articles which are appropiate for Wikipedia, and other sources about those subjects are missing. When an article is added as a source, the reader is directed at a specific article from Altermedia, not at the entire network. The Romanian Altermedia has a "Frequently Asked Questions" page [19] where they claim being independent from other sections of the altermedia. I am against a fatwa forbidding any link to altermedia articles without an analysis of the specific article which is proposed to be linked (this was Dahn's proposal at Romanian wikipedia). Romanian Altermedia has a wide variety of articles, from far-right to far-left political orientation.--MariusM (talk) 19:40, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
"I am against a fatwa forbidding any link to altermedia articles without an analysis of the specific article which is proposed to be linked" Well, that is the way that WP:RS works. A source is either considered reliable, or it isn't. We don't evaluate individual articles for their reliability. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 04:24, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
MariusM's message is spurious on several grounds: 1) the entirety of the links he cites are themselves unreliable, and most of them are blogs; 2) the publications he dismisses as "minor" are not at all minor, and all of them are mainstream, indisputably reliable, and rating above each and all of the links he so generously provides above; 3) there is no indication that altermedia Romania is an independent project, and I have made available the sources discussing both the project in general and the mainstream rejection of its Romanian branch; 4) anybody with a little knowledge of Romanian will note that altermedia publishes fringe theories of the far right persuasion as a rule (open worship for fascist politicians and war criminals, clams to cure homosexuality, Holocaust denial, etc). I do believe it is perfectly legitimate and necessary for wikipedia not to soil itself by using such stuff as its source. Dahn (talk) 00:54, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Dahn is relying on the fact that few people here speak Romanian and can verify his afirmations. I've noticed that he didn't comment my observation about his wrong translation of the article from "Curentul" (where altermedia is described as a "nest", but Dahn pretended that it is described as an "Iron Guard nest").--MariusM (talk) 05:03, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Nice selective answers. Hoping that this is not the first in a pattern, let me note that: 1) several respected users who speak Romanian have checked the info I provided, and agreed with the terminology (by confirming that the translation was correct, and by empirically noting that it applies); 2) in the case of that particular article, the terminology is quite clear: the text lists a number of neofascist ventures in cahoots with the Iron Guard and its present-day growth Noua Dreaptă, describing all of them with the term "cuiburi" (Romanian for "nests" - n.b.: the term has a select few meanings in Romanian, one of which is part of the Iron Guard vocabulary). This relevant passage is found at the top of the screen, in an introductory section - "Şi-au format cuiburi legionare in toate judetele." ("[The Iron Guard affiliates] have formed themselves Iron Guard nests in all counties.") The article then proceeds to list various such ventures, including musical bands, xenophobic campaigns, their tentative tentacles (heh!) in a government structure etc. An entire section in this succession deals with altermedia. it is headlined "Cuibul Altermedia" ("The Altermedia Nest"). The organization is described as follows: "De fapt, Altermedia nu este decat unealta de propagare a ideologiei fasciste a Noii Drepte" ("Actually, Altermedia is nothing other than a tool for propagating Noua Dreaptă's fascist ideology"). Other such assessments follow, I just gave you the immediate context. I think we have by now moved past this straw man argument. Dahn (talk) 00:00, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

From a comparison of different branches of traffic details:

  • Where people go on
  • - 33%
  • - 21%
  • - 18%
  • - 7%
  • - 3%
  • - 3%
  • - 2%
  • - 2%
  • - 2%
  • - 2%
  • - 1%
  • - 1%
  • - 1%
  • - 1%
  • Other websites - 3%

Romanian Altermedia has 4 times more visitors than American, UK and Canadian Altermedias together. Considering the fact that for one Romanian language speaker with acces at internet there are around 25 English language speakers with acces at internet, I will say that the weight of Romanian altermedia in Romanian culture is 100 times bigger than the weight of English language altermedias for English culture. This is why I consider irrelevant a conclusion about Romanian altermedia based on the tiny and unimportant English-language altermedias. In this case we have a completely different picture than regarding Wikipedia traffic details, where 54% of people are using English Wikipedia, while Romanian Wikipedia is not even listed, it is in the "other websites" category.--MariusM (talk) 23:30, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

How is this concoction supposed to be an argument, and how does anything about internet traffic spell out "reliability"? A rhetorical question, MariusM, as it looks like you have yourself very well understood that it does not. Never mind that the deduction about what it means to Romanian culture is bogus (comparatively, there are nowhere near as many internet users in Romania as there are in the Anglo-Saxon world). I also object to the notion that antisemitism, fascism, xenophobia, and other such ills are "acceptable" in Romania or in areas dealing with Romania, especially when based on the non sequitur according to which a larger percentage of internet users who bother to visit that site will visit that part of the site. Let me remind you all of WP:NOT, and let's not flog this dead horse any longer. Dahn (talk) 23:46, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I used the traffic data from to show the irrelevance of the tiny and unimportant English-language altermedias in a judgement about Romanian altermedia. I never told that Romanian altermedia is a fascist site, your assumption that "fascism and other ills are acceptable in Romania" is a straw man argument. The reliability of Romanian altermedia is based on several reliable sources that are quoting this site, some of them I listed above (and those are not blogs, like you fakely pretended). The 2 articles that you found in minor Romanian publications which are criticising Romanian altermedia are not enough for a conclusion that Romanian altermedia is "widely aknowledged as extremist".--MariusM (talk) 00:26, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Nope, this is what I said, in case you have not read it before: 1) there is no argument in which it would matter what the alleged popularity of altermedia is in Romania or anywhere else - since what wikipedia is interested in is how a topic is viewed by reliable sources, not by people clicking links (WP:V: verifiability, not truth"); 2) neither of the sites you cite itself meet the criteria outlined in WP:V or WP:RS, as you have already been made aware elsewhere - despite their fancy titles, all but a handful are informal, fringe and self-published portals, blogs and fanzines, and the remainder (who do not actually cite or discuss altermedia) are sites of some monasteries and publications of absolutely no reputation. On Romanian wikipedia, these "sources" were reviewed by other editors, who noted that they have absolutely no reputation. 3) the newspapers I cited are mainstream and widely cited in third-party sources, which, unlike speculations about popularity, is what matters here; if we are discussing your speculations about popularity, then I have to point out that they are all printed and in general circulation, and they are all more widely circulated than anything you cite above - Observator Cultural is a leading cultural magazine (virtually all of its regular contributors are academics, and the journal is widely cited by other respectable sources, both Romanian and foreign - like all but one cultural magazines, it is not audited, but, according to this article, claims to sell approx. 4,500 copies on average per issue, when the best-selling magazines in that area sell 15,000 and 8,000 respectively, and it is probably the third-selling or so; according to the same source, most cultural magazines sell, on average, 1,000 copies per issue), Cotidianul is one of the most respected, as well as popular, newspapers (2.5 million copies sold in the first half of 2007), Curentul is also quite popular (260,000 copies sold for the same period). Note that the data I am providing is verifiable and relevant, not based on number of clicks or filling this page with linkspams to all sorts of forums that we are supposed to assume are somehow relevant. Interestingly, all of the "magazines" you list above are published as posts in a thread on the internet, and not on paper. 4) In addition to the magazines in question, there is the Wiesel Institute, which was created through a decision of the Romanian government as a panel of scientists to monitor and report on, among other things, Holocaust denialist messages in Romanian society - I will not repeat the terms in which it describes altermedia as a whole, as their available for viewing above. 5) At any point in this discussion, the issue of editorial control and reliability will inevitably target altermedia more than any other source mentioned, since whatever necessary criteria are met by the sources dismissing altermedia are simply not met by altermedia itself (no audit, peer review, mainstream quality or editorial policy to speak of). And finally: 6) if the reputable sources discuss altermedia (in whole and in part) as a neofascist site, if the Romanian branch of altermedia is supposed to be "spared" the scrutiny made available for the site as a whole (because?), and if you invoke alleged popularity of one branch as some sort of panacea protecting us from these ills (n.b.: ills attributed by sources, regardless of whether I agree with what those sources say), then you're either not getting the point or are actively trying to fool us. Dahn (talk) 01:15, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
When you compare the circulation of a daily newspaper (like "Curentul" or "Cotidianul") you should consider the number of copies printed daily, not to add all the copies they print in half a year. "Curentul" is selling zero copies, as it is a freely distributed magazine [20]. I wonder if free-distributed magazines are reliable sources. "Cotidianul" didn't labeled Altermedia as a fascist site. As you know, at Romanian Wikipedia there was no consensus regarding altermedia. I didn't make "speculations" about the popularity of different branches of altermedia, I gave verifiable data from, which I consider to be a reliable source.--MariusM (talk) 01:53, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not going to jam myself in this useless debate. If you note the original point I was making, popularity, if at all relevant, is secondary to the issue (if at all relevant in establishing verifiability). To this, I have added the same criterion for all newspapers I took into consideration - precisely because newspapers in general have moderate sales in Romania by world standards. As you will note, Curentul still sold copies for the given period - see the statistic in question, where the two criteria (sale and free distribution) are listed side by side, and it apparently still sells at least part of its copies. I'm leaving aside the obvious fact that, freely-distributed or not, Curentul is still mainstream and has editorial control... which altermedia does not. Your "Altermedia has 1.5 million visitors" argument is completely spurious, since number of clicks does not make individual copies or individual visitors (obviously, altermedia does not sell any copies on the market...), since site ranking does not work the same ratios as sales, and since I did not take into consideration stuff like the ranking of Cotidianul 's page. No, Cotidianul did not label altermedia fascist, for whatever reasons - it did not have to for the purpose of what is being discussed here, since it simply included it among other such sites in a study of how (literally) hatred spreads on the internet, and described as among the sites "specialized in promoting nationalism", in the same breath as the Greater Romania Party papers Tricolorul and România Mare. And, finally, I don't care where you got your data from: the speculation I was referring to is in reference to what conclusions you drew from it, and to the absurd implication that this stuff matters in assessing verifiability and reliability (such a reasoning would make Blogger, Myspace, Computer Games Online and other such sites among the most quotable ones out there!).
Now, from my part, this conversation is pretty much over, as I don't feel capable of maintaining a standard of WP:AGF. This after being confronted with all these poor attempts at twisting and turning arguments just to have altermedia quotations disgracefully seep (back) into wikipedia. Dahn (talk) 02:27, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
You are right about "Curentul", I didn't scrolled down to see that in half year they sold 16000 copies and distributed freely 248000 copies, and currently they seem to be only a free-distributed magazine. You are right also about the fact that "Cotidianul" didn't labeled Altermedia as fascist, why are you still using the argument "Cotidianul" in this case? As I told, is a straw man argument that I used data to prove reliability, I used it only to show irrelevance of tiny English language altermedias. For reliability, I provided other sources (even more sources in our discussion in Romanian Wikipedia, including one printed source which is appreciated even by "Observatorul Cultural" [21]).--MariusM (talk) 02:45, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
About Curentul: I'm afraid you need to scroll down again. Not that this endless speculation of yours has anything to do with the letter and spirit of the relevant policies, but just for fun. Well, if you don't consider the reference to altermedia as a tool for propagating hate and a source with a nationalist agenda a problem as per WP:V and WP:RS, I'm afraid you need to look into those policies again (and, btw, I quote my original statement about the Cotidianul article, in case you may want to attempt another piece of proof by verbosity - "The third and most important issue in respect to altermedia Romania is its reflection in reliable sources. For all its presence in blogs and forums, there are few reliable sources (mainstream or academic) mentioning it at all. [...] [The article in Cotidianul is] headlined "Hatred Boils Over on the Internet", where altermedia is mentioned alongside other extremist and neofascist sites"). All that concoction about the relevancy of the "tiny English language altermedias" is itself irrelevant: there is a single project discussed in all relevant links that discuss as a whole (as I have pointed out, they do discuss the project in its entirety and several branches at once, and they do indicate that it has a single source); the Romanian altermedia is itself noted for its "special" and "supplementary" far right connections (both attested in sources and visible to the naked eye); no branch, corner, lair, pit etc on and its various sprouts fits any of the syllables that line up to form words that become guidelines here on wikipedia.
As for the "printed sources" you brought up, they are actually one, where one author is allowed to express his point of view and cites himself with what he wrote on altermedia. It is, basically and yet again, altermedia saying that altermedia is reliable. The rest of your sources are basically what you posted above, and, since they themselves do not make the cut under any provision of WP:RS, methinks you should reread the part where I tell you why spamlinks don't prove anything. Dahn (talk) 03:42, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I quote what "Cotidianul" (the only serious newspaper you came with) is saying about Altermedia in the article you brought in our attention: "Spatiul virtual romanesc are parte si de publicatii specializate in promovarea nationalismului, cum ar fi (...) „publicatia online de gindire si atitudine ortodoxa Altermedia“". Translation: "The Romanian web has also sites specialized in promoting nationalism, like the magazine of orthodox thinking and attitude Altermedia". What the article is saying about other sites is not relevant for Romanian Altermedia. The article didn't label Altermedia as "fascist", "extremist" or "propagating hate" - those are only your inventions or your original research. Regarding printing sources which are quoting altermedia, there are many, I focused on sources available at internet because I already know that is too difficult for you to go to a library to check what is written in a printed book. However, in the list of links which I provided above there are also some printed publications like the newspaper of the Romanian policemen ("jandarmi") training center or the newspaper of the Greek-catholic bishopric of Oradea (despite being labeled as "orthodox" in "Cotidianul", Romanian Altermedia gained sympathies also from catholics). In a previous discussion I told you about the book coordonated by Bogdan Murgescu - "Revoluţia română din decembrie 1989. Istorie şi memorie", Polirom publishing house, ISBN 978-973-46-0695-5 (commented favourable here in "Observatorul Cultural" - the magazine you used against altermedia). Mr. Bogdan Murgescu, Phd. in history, profesor of history at Bucharest University, vicepresident of Romanian Historical Society, former visiting professor at Pittsburg University and Central Europe University from Budapest, member of the executive commitee of EUSTORY network, is quoting altermedia at page 212. Altermedia is also quoted by the scientific revue "Memorial 89" nr. 2/2007 - edited by the National Center of Documentation and Research about the Romanian Revolution of 1989 (established through Law 152/2000 and financed by the Romanian Government), by the newspaper "Evenimentul Zilei" - Vest edition from 15 December 2007 or "Bănăţeanul" from 17 December 2007 [22]. Those are few examples to show that there are more sources which are quoting in favourable terms Romanian Altermedia than sources which are criticising it, while in a democratic society everybody can be criticised at a certain moment. A small adition: The "Observatorul Cultural" newspaper didn't pretend that they sell 4500 copies. They pretend, in the article you provided, to print 4500 from which they received back 1000, that mean they pretend to sell 3500. I'm not saying that this is making a relevant difference for their reliability (anyhow, is only their claim without an independent audit), it is relevant only for your habit of manipulating through misquoting articles, relying on the fact that few people here speak Romanian language.--MariusM (talk) 22:43, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
It seems you are unwilling to quote an article fully: Cotidianul, which is one of several newspapers discussing Romanian altermedia's political agenda, includes altermedia among sites propagating hate, as per the very subject of that article. The part I have quoted directly form that article, which you have left out of your quote, traces a direct link between it and all the other sites, and a direct link between it and the two other sites also listed as "specialized in promoting nationalism" (a term obviously used negatively, as per the title and introduction to the article, and as per the quotes Cotidianul itself furnishes). This is enough to clarify that it perceived as having an extremist agenda by Cotidianul as well.
The quote in Murgescu's work (assuming it does exist), just as well as the two other articles you mention, do not in any way validate the site, but simply discuss Marius Mioc, a 1989 Revolution participant and Timişoara resident who was deemed notable and who publishes part of his work on altermedia, ahem. They all seem to be exclusively about this material: the two sources that are available for seeing, both of them local newspapers based in Timişoara, mention in passing that Mr. Mioc has collected his material on altermedia, without quoting that material in any way. One provides some links in a section outside the article, attributing them to Mr. Mioc, the other, also at the end of the article, posts two films with the caption, verbatim: "with the approval of Marius Mioc, we present on our site as well a few fragments posted by the revolutionary on the altermedia site". These are hardly an acknowledgment of any form of reliability for altermedia itself.
Once again: wikipedia has very strict rules about reliability, and any form of material posted on such a questionable site cannot be used as a source for anything other than itself; as was said, these rules are strict precisely because it should not fall upon users to determine what is reliable about x portion of an unreliable site (if Stormfront of Aryan Nations start publishing cooking tips or ballroom dancing schemes, they would still not be quotable based on the assumption that they "are not"part of the political agenda). MariusM may see for himself that this was already clarified above and elsewhere, so I find little room left for discussion at this point. Will there be anything else before we let an admin close this debate? Dahn (talk) 23:27, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
To summarize: "Cotidianul", in an article where it labeled other sites as extremist and propagating hate, is mentioning Romanian altermedia but without pretending that it propagate hate or that it is extremist (and without any specific example of an altermedia article - this is why I hardly can consider that article from "Cotidianul" as an "analysis" of Romanian altermedia). Similar situation is with the article you provided from "Observatorul Cultural" (3500 self-claimed sales) - which is criticising many Romanian organisations and media sources, main target being the mainstream newspaper "România Liberă" which happened to publish an article considered extremist (however the mainstream character of România Liberă newspaper is undisputed), and Romanian altermedia is mentioned only with the guilt to quote something from "România Liberă"; the third source is the mainly free-distributed newspaper "Curentul" which is using wrong and outdated information about the political affiliation of some members of Romanian altermedia. However, there are plenty of other sources (not only blogs, as you pretended) which are quoting Romanian altermedia in different situations without any hint about the supposely "extremist" character (which need to be widely aknowledged, based on Wiki policies, in order to justify a conclusion about a site). Comparison with tiny English-language altermedias are irrelevant, same can be told about your comparison with Stormfront (it seems you are the only one who made this comparison) or other sites.--MariusM (talk) 00:27, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I've read most of these sophistic arguments before, and congratulations on the new ones. Regardless, I'm simply tired of answering to you just so that you can start over every three posts or so. If anyone else has any questions, I'll be happy to answer. Dahn (talk) 00:38, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry this has essentially turned into a local issue after all, this hasn't been my intention at all. As far as the original request is concerned, this is closed -- and I want to thank the (few) people uninterested in the Romanian Wikipedia who have chosen to get involved. --Gutza T T+ 01:16, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


Is ArabNews a reliable source? —Christopher Mann McKaytalk 17:50, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

For what material? The reliability of a source, depends in many instances in the context in which they are used. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:54, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
On Daniel Pipes: In October, 2001 Pipes said, before the convention of the American Jewish Congress. "[The] increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims...will present true dangers to American Jews." [23]Christopher Mann McKaytalk 03:07, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
If properly attributed, I do not see why it cannot be used. Please discuss with other editors that are actively engaged in that article. WP:CONSENSUS on this as a valid source, is still needed. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:21, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
It probably is reliable. Although I must admit I am not familiar with it. Considering how it's distributed worldwide, and its own stub article doesn't have anything denouncing it for false or misleading stories, I would make the educated guess that it is reliable.Ngchen (talk) 04:22, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Do other reliable news sources quote it? Is a news outlet out of Saudi Arabia free from legal constraints about what they may write? Hard to see how we can use this as a WP:RS. IronDuke 03:05, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

I think Arab news is a reliable sources since it is a mainstream newspaper (thus satisfying Wikipedia:Verifiability#Sources), much like the The Washington Post, or Vancouver Sun. Infact, it is Saudi Arabia's oldest English newspaper. With regards to Daniel Pipes, you better get another source to support a contentious claim like that.Bless sins (talk) 04:20, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

It is really bias. Doesn't seem reliable at all to me. Yahel Guhan 06:28, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Is this reliable to determine if he made such a distasteful statement? He also says that he said it on, so it seems ArabNews is perfectly reliable and acceptable. Lawrence Cohen 06:40, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
"It is really bias" Why?Bless sins (talk) 19:07, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
When Pipes makes a controversial statement at the American Jewish Congress, it is likely to receive wide coverage, and you would not be limited to Arab News as the only source. The same Arab News report that was linked above claims to be quoting from an unpublished grant proposal written by Pipes's Middle East Forum and 'obtained by journalists.' I would be more cautious with anything obtained that way. EdJohnston (talk) 19:39, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
The problem of bias in this case is here by editors, with inappropriate comments. On the Daniel Pipes talk page, Ironduke made reference to the source being unacceptable because it is from Saudi Arabia, and references to theocracy. Arbitrarily saying here, "bias", is another problem. There is no excuse for comments that dismiss Arab sources out of hand. Arab or Saudi sources are just as valid to use on Jewish topics as Israeli or other Western sources. Lawrence Cohen 19:52, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Lawrence, you're welcome to respond to the substance of my point above, and I'd certainly welcome it. Slurring insinuations on the motives of other editors and baseless accusations of bias are not as welcome. IronDuke 23:55, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
What "insinuations"? At Talk:Daniel Pipes you openly claim that sources from Saudi Arabia are inherently unreliable due to "differences of journalistic integrity and freedom of speech". The latter may or may not be true but the concept that no Saudi has any journalistic integrity is an absurd, racist generalization. Amaliq (talk) 00:09, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
"the concept that no Saudi has any journalistic integrity is an absurd, racist generalization." That is indeed correct. Good thing I never advanced such a concept. IronDuke 00:28, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Still, "differences of journalistic integrity and freedom of speech" does not mean a source is not reliable. Do we maintain a list of nations that we devalue sources from? Who maintains the list, where is it, and who decides what nations we think aren't worth noting in Wikipedia? A Saudi source is as valid as an Israeli source, as a Pakistani source, as a Japanese source. Nation of origin means nothing. Lawrence Cohen 16:43, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

"Nation of origin means nothing." That is, of course, wholly incorrect. It would be difficult, in fact, to overstate precisely how wrong that is. I'll just say that countries which do not value journalistic freedom, and in which journalists are heavily censored, do not produce reliable, quality journalism. IronDuke 02:52, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Telephone interview as source

A user reverted my removal of this difficult-to-verify and highly general statement from the Malt liquor article: "Country Club is now owned by Pabst and is still sold today, though its sales were eclipsed years ago by almost every malt liquor on the market" (emphasis added). He also added a source--of sorts: Gary Galeke, Brand Historian, Pabst Brewing Company. Telephone. October 1, 2006. I'm not sure telephone interviews with alleged experts are considerable reliable sources, by Wikipedia's definition--and they are certainly not verifiable. What is the best way to handle this? Delete the unverifiable source? Request a better one? Engage in an edit war? (just kidding)--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 13:21, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Sounds a lot like original research if he called him up and asked. // Liftarn (talk)
    • Certainly fails WP:V, so not a reliable source Mayalld (talk) 14:50, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
      • Feel free to call the source up, I'll give you his number. Unfortuantly when it comes to nitch topics such as Malt Liquor sales, not every source can be published through traditional means. The source it's that web savvy thus the lack of email backup or web postings. However, I knew this person was a good source for the desired info not only on his job position, but several talks he gave in the local area. Why Fat Man is so honed in on these two sentences when the rest of the article is such junk, I have no idea. --Brownings (talk) 15:18, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
        • That is the definition of original research, which is not allowed. If somebody edit wars to restore the original research, let me know and I will help them stop. - Jehochman Talk 15:36, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
          • No worries, it doesn't look like an edit war is getting ready to start. FYI, I'm the other party in Fat Man's dispute. Since the majority here seems to be siding with Fatty, I guess I don't have a leg to stand on, which is fine. However, I am a tad upset that Fatty seems to have taken things so personal and bent on removing such a small comment from a rather insignificant article. His/Her efforts would be much more useful in actually contributing to the article, rather than perusing this nonsense. While Fatty has singled out these couple of sentences, if they are to be pulled from the article, then all information pertaining to Country Club should be deleted. While I won't do Fatty's dirty work for him/her, I'll gladly kill off the other bits if Fatty zaps the area in question. --Brownings (talk) 01:50, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
            • It's not nonsense. It's basic Wikipedia policy. Indeed, in the 2005 formulation of the No Original Research policy, a private conversation with someone, even someone who is an expert, was given as an explicit example of sources that one should not be basing one's Wikipedia contributions on. Until the experts get their information peer reviewed and published, it does not belong in Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a tertiary source, and our sources when making it are things that have been written down, peer reviewed, fact checked, and published, so that readers can check articles for correctness against published sources that they know to be fact checked, reliable, accurate, and actually documenting accepted human knowledge. If you aren't building Wikipedia that way, you are doing it wrongly. See User:Uncle G/On sources and content. Uncle G (talk) 22:36, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
        • Indeed... clearly original research. Wikipedia is not the forum for introducing unpublished material. Blueboar (talk) 15:39, 20 December 2007 (UTC)


The following two sources: Source #1 and Source #2 are being given reliance for a statement that Samuel Hahnemann was accused of quackery. Both of these sources are excerpted in relevant part in this talk page discussion. Readers are left with the impression that some verifiable accusation exists supported by reliable sources. That is not the case in my opinion.

A third source, Hahnemann himself in Section 74 of the Organon of Medicine was a strong critic of the common medical practices of his day such as the regular use of mercury and leeches as curatives. We would call those practices quackery and Hahnemann condemned them in equivalent terms. In my opinion it is a violation of NPOV to allow unreliable second- and third-hand smears by these very practitioners to be used to label Samuel Hahnemann an accused quack in the Wikipedia without balancing it with a clear explanation of the controversy.

This is especially egregious because the article is on Quackery and Hahnemann is used as the first prominent example of someone accused, when no reliable source accuses him of having been a quack. To the contrary, these sources upon which reliance is being made are supportive of Hahnemann. To cherry pick words, not even whole sentences, out of context and then formulate these vaguely made slurs as "accusations" which should stand unopposed seems strongly at variance with the sources. —Whig (talk) 07:02, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Some important points to keep in mind in this dispute:
  • The truth or falsity of the accusations is not the issue and is irrelevant to this discussion.
  • Hahnemann's opinions on other matters, and his life in general, are not relevant here. Even the worst of criminals may well have done some good things in their life. That would not legitimize attempts to document the fact that they had been accused of crimes. (I'm not saying Hahnemann was a criminal. That's just to illustrate the point.)
  • The only thing we are after here is whether he was accused of quackery and whether the sources we are using to document that undeniable fact are RS.
The interesting thing here is that if we had used anti-homeopathy sources to document charges of quackery, we could be accused of cherry picking from biased sources to find documentation. Even though that might well be legitimate, we totally avoid this accusation by going to pro-homeopathic sources to find that even they are not in doubt that Hahnemann was accused of quackery, even while he was alive. That his accusers were right about him and wrong in other areas is irrelevant to the fact that he was accused. That is clearly documented by pro-homeopathy sources. If they were in doubt, then they wouldn't have mentioned it. To illustrate from the "other direction", it's always easy to find nice comments about oneself from one's friends, but when one's enemies make nice comments about oneself, it is even better to quote them....;-) That removes the possibility of being accused of cherrypicking or inaccuracy. If one's enemies will concede that you are a nice person, then there must be something to it. It's hard to find more RS in such a case. -- Fyslee / talk 15:37, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
As Fyslee indicates, this is an interesting situation. From a strictly "reliable sources" perspective, the articles on the websites are signed, which is a good start, but one website is an open project [24]and the other is to all intents and purposes a personal website.[25]. Neither meets Wikipedia's standard in my opinion per WP:SPS, and since I cannot find any evidence that the authors are "established expert(s) on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications," the articles cannot qualify by that route either. However, what makes this unusual is that, as Fyslee points out, these articles are published on supposedly "friendly" homeopathy websites, which you would think would downplay or omit any allegations of quackery, but don't. However, there is in fact there is no need to rely on these websites, as the comments can be reliably sourced elsewhere. In the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 44 (5), 435–437, E. Ernst's 1997 article "Homoeopathy: past, present and future" makes clear that Hanhemann and homeopathy had from the start been subject to criticisms amounting to accusations of quackery:

From its very beginning, homoeopathy received fierce criticism. In his book: ‘Anti-Organon oder das Irrige der Hahnemannschen Lehre im Organon der Heilkunst’ (Anti-Organon or the errors of Hahnemann’s teachings in the organon) [5], J.C.H. Heinroth for instance stated that medicine was misguided to accept from Hahnemann ‘much that would not have stood the test of a sharp mind’. Others called homoeopathy ‘the highest triumph of ignorance and mysticism’ [6] and ‘a public scandal’ [7]. Oliver Wendel Holmes analysed Hahnemann’s three basic assumptions (the ‘like cures like’ principle, the theory about infinitesimal dilutions and the origin of all disease) in some detail and concluded, ‘when one man claims to have established these three independent truths, which are about as remote from each other as the discovery of the law of gravitation, the invention of printing, and that of the mariner’s compass, unless the facts in their favour are overwhelming and unanimous, the question naturally arises, is not this man deceiving himself, or trying to deceive others?’ [8]. Many physicians agreed: ‘either Hahnemann is right, in which case our science and the basis of our thinking is nonsense, or he is wrong, in which case this teaching is nonsense. There is no third option’ [9]. The Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1891 summarized the orthodox view of that time: ‘Hahnemann’s errors were great. His doctrine of specifics was highly retrograde … He led his followers far out of the track of sound views of disease … But … he had the great merit of disturbing and discrediting indefensible modes of practice’

I can email the full article to anybody who wishes. Incidentally, once again, Ernst is a homeopath himself.
::And a quick search of google books confirms that multiple contemporary sources. The Oxford Illustrated Companion to Medicine, p. 210, by Stephen Lock, John M. Last, George Dune (2001) makes the same association in a highly reliable source. [26] --Slp1 (talk) 16:27, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Some excellent points. It is true that we are not dependent on these two sources, since there is pretty much universal agreement in the scientific world that homeopathy is nonsense and that Hahnemann, regardless of any good qualities he undoubtedly had, was deluded and very unscientific in his theories and conclusions, even while seeming to use some aspects of the scientific method, but in a misguided fashion. As to Edzard Ernst as a source, we would be hard pressed to find a better source, especially when we consider his credentials and professorship, although some prominent ex homeopaths are equally scathing in their criticisms. Please send the article to me by my email and post the URL here if you have it. -- Fyslee / talk 01:10, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
The article is not available free online unless you have specific access to the journal via a university etc. Here is the Pubmed listing, however. I have sent Fyslee a copy of the article and can do so to others who want it.Slp1 (talk) 21:53, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
I think if you want to suggest other sources be included that should be discussed in Talk:Quackery. The sources we are currently making reliance upon are the sources that I am seeking comment on. Additional sources would require further inspection. —Whig (talk) 22:22, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
  • The two sources fail RS. . . they are self-published.TheDoctorIsIn (talk) 03:48, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
I thought you were out - User:DoctorIsOut - but apparently you are still active. -- Fyslee / talk 22:09, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Please see WP:SELFPUB as well. For what we're using these sources to claim, this may meet the criteria. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 23:52, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

(indent) From an outside view, I do not believe that WP:SELFPUB ("Material from self-published and questionable sources may be used as sources in articles about themselves") applies here, since this article is about quackery, not about homeopathy per se. However, notwithstanding Whig's desire not to discuss other sources here, it appears that there are manifold contemporary sources that described homeopathy and Hahnemann as quackery and quacks respectively. Just try a google-books search for "Hahnemann quack homoeopathy" [27] . Given these, I am not sure how anyone could try to claim that he hasn't been accused of being a quack. But anyway, the answer, as stated above, is to substitute reliable sources. Here is another one that makes the claim, from History of science; an annual review of literature, research and teaching 39 (125 Pt 3): 255–83. "Homeopathy and "the progress of science" [28]. "In spite of a seemingly secure polymathic foundation, Hahnemann was vilified like his iconoclastic predecessors, and his proposed solution to the therapeutic anarchy of the day earned him even more notoriety than his critique. Typically, he was portrayed as a quack unable to earn a living from orthodox medicine, dishonest or insane, and, in a dismissal extending to all who followed his precepts, as “too weak mentally to practise medicine or even to take care of himself”." Slp1 (talk) 18:45, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

That sounds fine to me. I'm sympathetic to the effort to use pro-homeopathic sources to support this detail, but the effort apparently isn't fulfilling its goal of making it unarguable even to homeopathy supporters. I guess my question now is: Should we remove those citations now that we have other, reliable ones? I don't see anything in WP:SOURCES that says we can't use sources such as these in addition to reliable ones to back up the claim when they serve a purpose in doing so, but I'm not an expert in sourcing. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 21:25, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
  • A fourth source (Source #4) has been added to the first two sources as reliance for the same statement. It is precisely the same relevant text as Source #1. I believe it is unacceptable for the same reasons that I have already set forth in the posting of this notice. —Whig (talk) 02:49, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
The only reason you've given is that these aren't reliable sources in your opinion, which isn't really a reason. Could you please explain why this isn't a reliable source? --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 05:11, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I thought that the new one was the one provided by Slp1. I've added that one in now, and there should be no problems with that one being considered reliable. --Infophile (Talk) (Contribs) 05:19, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
What sources are you asking about? does not appear to be a reliable source; for a start, it appears to be self-publishing by Robert Séror. Is there any evidence that experts and professionals in the field consider this to be an expert source? Chris Bainbridge (talk) 02:13, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure I understand Whig's comment that the 4th source Source #4, is the same as the first source [29] as they are by entirely different authors. The fourth source is actually a very colourful retyping of a fairly widely quoted book published in 1895 called the "The Life and Letters of Dr Samuel Hahnemann" by one Thomas Lindsley Bradford, M.D. (as can be seen by this googlebooks recent re-printing by a homeopathy publisher [30])
As such it is one of many 'older' publications that makes the claim that he was called 'quack', as pointed out above. I believe this book would also be reliable sources for the claim that he was called a 'quack', but suggest that you cite the book per se not the this rather unlikely-looking (and more unreliable) website, though a link to googlebooks would be good.Slp1 (talk) 13:57, 31 December 2007 (UTC) is a repository of scientific papers on cold fusion. Its home page says "It features a library of more than 500 original scientific papers in Acrobat format, reprinted with permission from the authors and publishers.". When providing sources for statements in the cold fusion article, we cite the full references to the original article and include a link to the copy on We believe that it is line with the wikipedia policy on copyright, which only says: "However, if you know that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work."

However, this approach is challenged by Guy, saying that, if we want to add the link to, we need to prove that the website does not violate copyright. Is he right ? (see the full discussion here)Pcarbonn (talk) 16:36, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Relating to the same article on cold fusion but a separate issue: what is the status of the reports of two United States Department of Energy reviews of research in this field? Are they to be regarded as reliable secondary sources or as primary sources? Also, what is the status of the following academic journals: the Journal of Electroanalytic Chemistry, Physics Letters A, the European Physics Journal, Thermochimica Acta, the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics and die Naturwissenschaften? Is the fact that a journal is listed by the Institute for Scientific Information relevant? Can we use the ISI's citation indices and other bibliometric indicators as a guide to reliability? Also (while I am making this query, although it has not been challenged) can we treat news reports in magazines such as the New Scientist as reliable for describing the current standing of this field of research? Itsmejudith (c) 17:02, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
If there is no doubt as to the fact that the papers are published with permission then i don't see a problem with it. --Neon white (talk) 17:06, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
Use of ISI's citation index for ranking journals would help to weed out the fringe journals that nobody reads. The list above by Itsmejudith seems to include some very respectable ones. The New Scientist is not peer-reviewed and it has some tabloid aspects to its science coverage. I'd not take everything which appears there at face value. This has been discussed in other threads, which could be looked up if necessary. EdJohnston (talk) 18:29, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
You said "If there is no doubt as to the fact that the papers are published with permission then i don't see a problem with it". The question is "where is the burden of proof ?". Do we have to prove that there is no doubt that the papers are published with permission (how could we prove that ?), or can we assume that it is so until proven otherwise ? Pcarbonn (talk) 22:21, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I have reviewed a number of links to this site. In one case I found that a purported link to a major paper started with an editorial by the site's "librarian", [[user:JedRothwell], spinning the content to promote the fringe view that he promotes. In other cases the papers are clearly marked as copyright, and there is no evidence of permission from the rights owners. This site is not an acceptable source. Almost all the content sourced to it can be cited directly to the original journal of publication, and should be so cited; links to material hosted with no evidence of copyright permission are problematic, and where such links are on a site whose mission is to promote a fringe view it is much more of a problem. It is not, itself, a source anyway, only a repository of other materials; there is no evidence that Jed Rothwell's commentaries are authoritative here. The only uses of links to this site that I have found anywhere in Wikipedia have been to serve the agenda of advancing the low-temperature fusion fringe view. Guy (Help!) 11:26, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Where full bibliographic details of a paper are available then that is sufficient, no need for a link. But I don't see that we need to make a blanket ban on lenr-canr in the cases where it is just providing web space and when a reader can click on the link and go straight to the paper. A comparable case is the satanic ritual abuse article discussed above, where the page links to an FBI officer's report hosted at the website of a POV organisation. It is just the convenience of having the web link that is sought and the link does not endorse the POV of the site. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:52, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
It would appear there is a case of ownership going on at this article. I happen to have one of the books that's been removed from the Bibliography, I put the entry back in. As I said in my edit-summary "Mizuno was published by Kogakusha, translated and reprinted by Infinite Energy Press with permission. He is Dr at Dept Nuclear Eng. at Hokkaido Uni, has papers and a 2nd book on same in Japan." I was reverted with the insulting "Infinite energy press is a vanity press. Removed".
It will be impossible to produce a reasonable article on subjects such as this as long as high-handed and completely unnecesary actions, apparently motivated by some form of vendetta, are carried out by the likes of User:ScienceApologist. PRtalk 15:45, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
An unhelpful, uncivil, confrontational and ultimately irrelevant statement. The site is not reliable, the copyright status is questionable for at least some links, the content can be better cited from the original source, and Wikipedia should not succumb to FUTON bias. Guy (Help!) 18:04, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikinews: Please post definite answer

Okay, the discussion is stale, and has begun wandering far from the topic. There is clearly no consensus that Wikinews is a reliable source. That's your answer. This can, and probably will, change in the near future, and the issue can be re-examined then. --Haemo (talk) 01:57, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

If people want to discuss the matter further, they are welcome to do so. There is no reason to "close" this discussion unilaterally. Vassyana (talk) 21:45, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

I would like a definite answer to the question: Is Wikinews to be considered a reliable source? David Shankbone is currently insisting that it is, that if a private citizen asserts that he has conducted an interview with a famous person and placed the results of that interview on Wikinews, that interview can then be used as a source for Wikipedia -- even though he acknowledges that if the same private citizen asserts that he has conducted an interview with a famous person, trying to use that interview as a source for Wikipedia would be original research. To my knowledge Wikinews meets none of the requirements for a reliable source such as fact-checking; can someone please tell me where a general policy decision has been made that Wikinews will be accepted as a reliable source regardless of this? -- (talk) 17:34, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

No. Other wikis are never considered reliable sources.--Crossmr (talk) 20:01, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Agree with Crossmr... Wikis are not reliable sources by our criteria. Blueboar (talk) 20:08, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Interviews should not be used in the biographies of living people unless weight is established. See Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard#Wikinews redux. This is a general rule for interviews: they represent the interviewee's views alone and are analogous to a self-published source. The quote, as argued on the talk page, appears self-serving to me, and is unverifiable (except as Sharpton's avowed view). In this case, I don't think any bare interview would be an acceptable source, wikinews or not, and I would be much more comfortable waiting for secondary coverage (ideally not written by the same editor who inserts it). On the other hand, it's not a BLP violation because it is only presented as Sharptons's views, so perhaps it's fine—unless we treat Wikinews like other wikis.
As for the verifiability of Wikinews generally, Blueboar has started a new thread: Wikipedia talk:Verifiability#Wikinews interviews. Cool Hand Luke 21:08, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree with other that wikinews is self-published, there's no guarantee to the reliablity of anything posted there. --neonwhite user page talk 21:59, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

I firmly but politely disagree with all the comments posted so far. Wikinews interviews can be of high quality, and Wikinews has a vetting process to help ensure that. These interviews can and should be used whenever they are of good quality. Indeed, in many cases, they will be of higher quality than any interview done by the mainstream press, because the author of the interview is available to clarify any questions, and the actual audio can in many cases be made available. Interviews are different from other forms of journalism in the way they are used in Wikipedia and in the way they are conducted by journalists.
The correct answer is surely not a blanket prohibition, and of course not a blanket acceptance. We need to have some assurance that the interview was actually conducted (in a newspaper, that assurance is put forward by the reputation of the newspaper, the editorial process, etc. in a wiki, or other form of citizen journalism, there has to be some parallel reasonable method). In the current case, we are discussing interviews which were reported on in the mainstream media, by a trusted member of the Wikinews community. This is very different from a random alleged interview by an anonymous ip number.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:45, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Was this interview reported? I find no mainstream reference to this interview with Al Sharpton. You may be thinking of the more recent interview with Shimon Perez. Cool Hand Luke 22:56, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I am thinking of the interview with Shimon Perez.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:04, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
by a trusted member of the Wikinews community. This is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. If we begin analyzing information based on the reputation of an individual user we're moving far away from WP:V. The reputation the user has with you may be very different from the reputation the user has in my eyes. As well, unless an entire publication can be said to be reliable, we're moving in to the realm of original research by having an editor evaluate a piece from wikinews and form their own conclusion on whether or not they feel its trustworthy. When it comes to a self-published source what is trustworthy to one person is not trustworthy to another. This is just begging to get us in to POV issues.--Crossmr (talk) 23:24, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't agree. I think it is perfectly valid, as a part of considering the validity of a source, to consider the reputation and history of the person making the report. Consider an interview conducted and presented by Michael Moore or Ann Coulter. Cause for alarm there, since both are noted as polemicists more than as reporters. So we do consider the authorship of an interview even in those cases, naturally. The same can apply to Wikinews or other citizen journalism. The full context has to be considered.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:04, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Michael Moore and Ann Coulter are very visible public figures with a long trail of information about them. Its very easy for someone to find multiple sources on these individuals and form an opinion on them. The less public the individual the more difficult it is to determine if there is a bias or anything else involved. With a non-notable wikinews editor I doubt you'd find anything from a reliable source on them for which you could base an opinion on. You'd be left to form an interpretation on their own words and again you're in to original research. How you view an editor and how I view an editor could be vastly different. We'd be basing this on personal opinions on how we view what they've done or said.--Crossmr (talk) 01:22, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
David Shankbone is a public figure in a sense: if you want to judge him, you can check his 12K edits on WP, his countless images, his talk page, his work on Wikinews, ... you can even see how he looks, find out his real name and email address! You can get to know him a lot more than any other journalist. --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 20:36, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Is he a public figure outside wikinews? then no, he's not really. His edits to wikinews are a single pov that I, a non-reliable and point of view entity, must analyze and insert my own bias as to whether or not I believe him. Where as Michael moore and ann coulter likely have reliable sources writing about them that would help us make the determination on whether or not they have a particular bias in regards to a particular subject. If an editor is analyzing facts and drawing conclusions which reliable sources haven't drawn, its original research and has no place here.--Crossmr (talk) 04:50, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Wikinews original reporting should not be used, unless you can check facts with a video or something. You shouldn't source facts because Shimon Perez says something to Wikinews. Articles can remain in the "See Also" section however as they supplement the encyclopedic content, same as Commons or Wiktionary does. Can you show us articles were quotes have been attributed to Wikinews and removed?--Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 22:49, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

A couple of very interesting comments from Wikinews imply that this interview may indeed be unverifiable, and that "Wikinews cannot and should not be used as a source on wikipedia." See Wikinews:Water cooler/miscellaneous#Wikinews on Wikipedia Cool Hand Luke 23:18, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

  • See also Talk:Tawana_Brawley_rape_allegations#Pull_quote_from_Al_Sharpton. Adding a quote from an interview you've conducted yourself on Wikinews could be considered conflict of interest and original research. I'm sure it's reliable information, but I can't check it, I just trust the author and the source -but basically, it's non-verifiable. Appropriate for the article? Probably not, even then it might be better to suggest it on the talk page and see what others with no conflict of interest think about inclusion into the article. --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 23:21, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
    • I think that's the main issue here. Wikinews might be an acceptable source in some cases, but this user's behavior leaves a taste of COI and OR in the mouth. User should know better than to cite their own research. Cool Hand Luke 23:31, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
      • From your point of view maybe: I'm seeing someone who is providing 10x more good content than anyone else out there, in pictures and interviews, and somebody who is just trying in an honest manner to improve Wikipedia. This is not about User:David Shankbone's behaviour: he's traveling to Israel and working 14hours/day to get pictures and interviews! He's breaking grounds for Wikinews and Commons and he should be highly respected for that. --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 23:36, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
        • No doubt. I think there's no bad faith here, and the user has produced thousands of free images, tons of content. Cool Hand Luke 23:40, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
          • And I do agree that it would be best to avoid any appearance of impropriety if Wikinews reporters refrain from citing their own work in Wikipedia. I would say the same thing for New York Times reporters.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:04, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

The entire question is formulated wrongly at the outset. Is it a reliable source? Wikipedia isn't reliable, so why should any wiki be? The question is: is Wikinews a verifiable source? No, unless you have video or audio. --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 23:33, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Is the Arkansas Herald-Times of Little Rock, Arkansas a reliable source for a quote by the current Governor of Arkansas? Well, this is a hypothetical paper because I deliberately made up the name of the newspaper, but the point is: a good quality local newspaper, is it a reliable source? In general I think we would say yes, although of course in any given particular case, there could be reasons to doubt. I see Wikinews in the same light. Something randomly appearing by an anonymous ip number on a Wikinews talk page is not a WP.RS. An interview with accompanying audio files, conducted by a reputable reporter with a longstanding history in the project(s), surely is. How about the same interview without accompanying audio files? Well, it's just going to depend: how pathbreaking is the quote, how likely is it that the reporter is manufacturing the quote, or distorting it. Those are the same kinds of judgments we might make about the hypothetical Arkansas Herald-Times, and for the same reasons.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:04, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
As an experiment, I went to the Sharpton interview in question... and changed something (I know... BAD Blueboar! But I had to see if it could be done. I reverted myself immediately). Right there... the fact that I could go in and change the interview... tells me that Wikinews is not and can not be considered reliable under Wikipedia standards. How are we to know if the version being quoted in the wikipedia article accurately reflects what the subject actually said... how do we know the Wikinews interview has not been vandalized? We don't. We can not verify the interview. We can not rely on it any more than we can rely on another Wikipedia article. The problem isn't Wikinews... the problem is the wiki format. This isn't about dismissing Wikinews as a project... I am sure most of Wikinews is great reporting... just as most of Wikipedia is great enclyclopedia writing. But as long as "anyone" can post an interview, and more importantly as long as "anyone" can change the interview... we can not consider it reliable.
Listing it under See Also or as an EL is a different matter. Blueboar (talk) 00:24, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
That's a glitch: normally, interviews fall under the Archiving policy and are fully protected -but we have an admin backlog. Anyway, we would still have reverted you. To address the greater issue: anyone can post an interview, as long as they provide proof (e.g. hand-written notes, audio, video,...) that satisfies the Wikinews community. We've been lazy as of late, and accepted simply to trust our own accredited reporters, although some still do this. It's just an awful lot of extra work. There's no reason to assume things are being made up if there are pictures etc; a lot of interview subjects check the interview anyway. --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 20:45, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Jimbo hopes to solve this problem by outlining a "best practices" guideline, which would make certain articles verifiable. For example, an interview would be verifiable with the primary source if reporters posted an audio recording of the interview, like User:Stevenfruitsmaak suggests. I think that would solve the problem, although I agree with Jimbo's observation that it would be best if reporters (on Wikinews and elsewhere) don't cite their own work on Wikipedia. Per WP:COI, talk page suggestions would seem more appropriate. Cool Hand Luke 00:44, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Original reporting is just as good as CNN or any other agency. The fact that you say we are not reliable because its "wikinews" is ridiculous. Me including a handful of other Wikinewsies go through a lot of trouble and research and such to get the interviews or exclusive story. If you want to say all we do is recycle news, well CNN does, FOX News does etc etc. So again another excuse. We don't have accredited reporters to not get good news, we have them so others will see us as a good news site. If you want to go and say Wikinews is unreliable because its a WIki, then WP is just as bad...pot, kettle, black. DragonFire1024 (talk) 00:51, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

No one here will deny we're "just as bad." "Articles and posts on Wikipedia should never be used as third-party sources." This is about the verifiability of sources, not the credibility or worth of Wikinews. Cool Hand Luke 00:56, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
When you question a reporters credibility, you question Wikinews's. We don't add bylines to articles and regardless of who does an interview about who, all articles are Wikinews's. So telling us just because we are a Wiki makes us unreliable is just an excuse IMO. We don't have a bunch of accredited fake reporters making up fake stories to go on WN or WP. They work just as hard if not harder than mainstream media. They don't get paid to get someone to say what they want them to. In our case, they have nothing (financially) to gain whereas CNN and or FOX News have everything to gain. We don't just give any tom dick or harry a pass and woohoo let them go nuts. Yes you can edit a story, its a wiki. But edits by anon users, who make obnoxious edits will get reverted. We watch our site closely. And to target us to make a point about editing, is just another lousy stab in the back. DragonFire1024 (talk) 01:04, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Guilty as charged m'Lud. But it goes to the core of what reliability and verifiability mean here on Wikipedia... as long as the text can be changed, we here at Wikipedia have no way of knowing if it is accurate. This isn't about whether Wikinews is credible... it is about whether Wikinews is reliable by WIKIPEDIA'S rules. It isn't... no Wiki is (not even Wikipedia itself). Now, Jimbo's suggestion that an audio version of the interview be posted would go a long way towards fixing the problem. But as long as the potential for someone to come along and change the text exists, Wikipedia can not consider it reliable. The difference between Wikinews and any other news outlet is that once the interview is published it remains intact. If Wikinews is willing to protect interviews so idiots like me can't change them... then we can reconsider. Blueboar (talk) 01:16, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
No, its the truth, its not an excuse. Unless there is editorial oversight on articles there is no way for an editor to independently verify the source. This is a requirement on wikipedia. If I go to an article and say "Hmm that looks dubious. It comes from wikinews. Who is this that wrote it? I have no idea, I can't verify where he got his information from, but randomeditor says this guy is a solid guy, so it must be true". When we go down that road, we're done as far as I'm concerned. Unless articles are verified as true and locked as such, I can't see their use as a source.--Crossmr (talk) 01:22, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
That's what policies are for. References and sources. We don't publish a story if the person does not cite sources, or provides good OR notes. That's called verifiable. WP might be large and have enormous traffic, but if you are having trouble with verifiable information, then that boils down to watching who posts what and where on WP.
Prime recent example, the WMF COO. The register published a flaming BS story, so we thought, with nothing to verify it or back it up. Yet at WN we came up with a heck of a lot more than the Register. But does that make us unverifiable because we are not the Register (bad example to compare with I know but replace the Register with your favorite news source)? No. But yet Wp will jump all over a Register article or CNN or whatever, before they think ONCE about coming over to WN.
Again...contradicting. We don't protect right away because it is a Wiki. WP doesn't protect at all. At least in terms of infinity. But thats an ultimatum thats rather disturbing. Your point is if its not protected we don't allow it?? Correct me if I am wrong...but it's Wikinews? These are rather lame and just unfounded excuses.
Jimbo is right. We do have several areas with "practices" but in messages, policies, mission statements and our own accreditation policy. Maybe we need it centralized, but I somehow sense that verifiability is not the only reason WN is not allowed to be sourced........DragonFire1024 (talk) 01:29, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, verifiability and editorial oversight.--Haemo (talk) 03:04, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Seemed to me that there was quite some common ground being found above, so maybe go it easy Dragonfire :). One thing I wanted to point out (which Dragonfire just stated): Articles are "locked" after a certain amount of time (its not a bot doing it, so the time varies). And I agree with the above statements made, that Wikinews articles can't be cited if they're still editable. Two solutions to this(a blend being possible):

  • Wait longer till using a Wikinews article as a source (and the article is non editable), or
  • accelerate the locking of interviews (as there's not much to be contributed later on in contrast to other articles).

On editorial oversight... I'm not too deeply into what goes as sources for WP, but I would have thought that using an interview is OK, even without oversight. For articles I would agree, I personally would not find it appropriate for, say the articles I wrote on the Climate conference in Bali, to be used as sources for a WP article, if there were not some sort of review (which I guess would necitate far more thourough Original reporting notes, but that would be our problem, not yours [as in WNs' not WPs'[).Sean Heron (talk) 09:42, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

What about this diff: a Wikinews interview used as a reference. The interview took place in IRC, and the original text can probably be retrieved from User:TheFearow. --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 20:23, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

I see two points being raised in the foregoing discussion:
1. Is Wikinews a reliable source?
Wikinews is no more or less reliable than any other source of "citizen journalism." That is, without the editorial oversight to ensure mistakes are kept to a minimum, and with no incentive to ensure that the 'facts' are correct. As we speak, there is one article on the Wikinews main page (Dec. 22) that suggests that an aircraft crash had something to do with the fact that the plane was refueled. This is bad journalism (or poor language), and I can't imagine that a editorial oversight would not have caught it.
2. Are Wikinews and Wikipedia far enough removed from one another?
For the public, news that first appears on any 'wiki' source is going to be associated with the encyclopedia. That this is not true is immaterial; the 'wiki' name blurs the distinction between Wikinews and Wikipedia.
Further, the 'pedia doesn't have a mandate to up-to-date, so if the "news" is not something exceptional, it can be probably be avoided. But then again, exceptional claims require exceptional sources.
The request for a "definitive answer" can be fulfilled thus: Like any other source of "citizen journalism," Wikinews can be cited, but shouldn't.
-- Fullstop (talk) 00:06, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia/Wikinews research arm

It's sad that we sell ourselves so short. We have built one of the most influential news sources in the world, yet we do not trust ourselves. On my User page is a photo of me with Shimon Peres, President of Israel, who spoke with me not so much for my affiliation with Wikinews, but for my affiliation with Wikipedia. For him, it was a chance to speak to all of us, and to also clear up some incorrect information on his page. I was one of the first people who made a big push to obtain free use images of hard-to-obtain people, places and things. When I started this in July 2006 there were not many images on the project, and I was constantly hit with "You shouldn't put your own photos on pages." I was told my photography was OR, that I had a COI in putting my own photos up, etc. Now the same arguments are raised.

Wikipedia purports to circumvent corporate interest, but we have become so beholden to the MSM that we have lost site of the DIY spirit that made Wikipedia what it is. Do it yourself. Wikinews should not be seen as a threat to Wikipedia's reliability, but a way to enhance it. Wikipedia is an inappropriate place to conduct an interview; but Wikinews is not. I recently spoke with an aging soap star named Victoria Wyndham, who spent a long time discussing what was wrong with her Wikipedia page (she's not Mexican, but Spanish, her son was featured in a play, not her, etc.), what she thought was important in her own career.... There is great potential here, under the watchful eyes of our fellow editors, to use Wikinews to improve Wikipedia further and "Do it Yourselves" instead of waiting for the MSM to tell you information they may never get around to telling you. If the idea here is to build an encyclopedia, to not have--and develop more fully--a research arm that can undertake the sort of work I have undertaken seems ridiculous and amateur. --David Shankbone 01:39, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm very opposed to any form of original research on Wikipedia, and to the use of "citizens' journalism" websites, because they often publish nonsense. But I have to say I agree with David here. His work is outstanding, and it seems crazy to question its use, especially because, as he says, he was granted the interviews because the subjects respect Wikipedia.
David, would it make sense for you to take the initiative here (assuming you have the time or inclination), and try to set up a research arm of Wikinews or Wikipedia, where original research/journalism of the kind you undertake can be encouraged and strictly monitored? We already allow original images. Original text is the next step, though the dangers of it mean we'd need a very, very strict accreditation system, so that the people allowed to produce material that Wikipedia could use as a "reliable source" are really the very best editors Wikipedia has. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:48, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Isn't this theoretically what the Wikinews accreditation is? Cool Hand Luke 01:53, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
I know nothing about how they work or how strict they are. Any system producing original material for Wikipedia would need to almost set up the apparatus of a newspaper, in effect. We'd need some guidance on ethics, we'd need to know the reporters/researchers were professional and mature (not necessarily in age, but in attitude), they would need some guidance on how to interview and write up a story. I don't know how much of this wikinews already does. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 01:56, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
before you insult the accreditation policy, (Wikinews:Accreditation policy), read it. We vote on people for accreditation, and again not just some joe schmo tom, dick or harry. People vote based on trust. Have they done work? Maybe OR? etc suggest we hand out a press pass like it was a cereal box prize is just insulting, and a low hit. DragonFire1024 (talk) 01:59, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Excuse me, where on earth have I insulted anyone, or suggested passes are handed out "like a cereal box prize"? I said above that I have no idea how strict they are. Please read what people have actually written (this is one of the things good researchers need to be able to do, actually). SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:12, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, this is what the accreditation system is for, but we can use more people to develop exactly what SlimVirgin suggests. To be honest, my interviews took Wikinews a little off guard and we could stand to have more help over there not only in conducting them with notable people--I had trouble finding people to interview Senators and such who were willing to do interviews--but also in developing guidelines and standards. Can anyone envision instead of a YouTube Presidential debate, but a Wikipedia/Wikinews Presidential debate moderated by our own editors? Why not? In terms of content I have inserted into Wikipedia that I have created on Wikinews, it has only been from the interviews I have conducted. I think Cool Hand Luke's criticism about COI falls flat with interviews. In an interview, the interviewer is not the source of the information, the interviewee is. Al Sharpton is quoted on Tawana Brawley, not David Shankbone. I think the interview is a great place to start for us to develop an OR/Research arm, because in the end, when you quote someone, it is their words and we know the questions to ask ("Alex Kapranos: Do you consider yourself Scottish of English?" (he's coming up, by the way)). The fact is, we could use more people on Wikinews helping with this sort of work, not completely eject it from Wikipedia. We could use more people helping us to develop standards around these interviews and how to use them between the projects, not being completely shunned. There is great potential for us here. --David Shankbone 01:59, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
David, it's true that it's Al Sharpton talking, not David Shankbone, but interviewers can certainly influence what's said, and what's left out. This is why we'd need an excellent accreditation system and some kind of training for people wanting to do these interviews. But in theory, I think your ideas are inspired. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 02:17, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
COI is adding your own work into articles; although interviewers might slightly influence their subjects, the more important thing is that the quote might not be notable for the article, and as the author of the interview, you are a poor judge to whether or not it is.
I agree with SlimVirgin's idea for a Wikipedia research arm: it already exists', it's called Wikinews and you are welcome to join. A few weeks ago, I edited ' on the Dutch Wikipedia. Before, it said that Wikipedia could not give out press cards for things like getting images of news events. Now it explains about Wikinews and how people can ask me to go out there in the name of Wikinews and help out.--Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 20:59, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
David... who's this "we" you are talking about? I see Wikinews as a very different and seperate thing than Wikipedia. Yes, they are owned and run by the same company... but they have very different goals and very different rules. For example, The amount of OR that is allowable at Wikinews is completely unacceptable here. Different projects, different rules. It isn't that Wikinews is seen as a "threat" to Wikipedia's reliability... it is simply that it isn't considered a reliable source by our rules. No wiki is. Blueboar (talk) 02:01, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the "we" is all of us. Commons is there for a reason: to provide media. Wikisource is there for a reason. Wikinews is there for a reason. These projects can all join together to create one source that everyone uses. Yes we - There is a "big picture" to Wikimedia's projects, and Wikinews is a part of that. It's just up to us to now start fulfilling a big picture vision here. There are roles that all the projects play. Research/interviews is one for Wikinews. We can use help from our fellow Wikipedians who want to see Wikipedia improved. --David Shankbone 02:08, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Except Wikileaks right? DragonFire1024 (talk) 02:04, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
David, I agree that there is a big picture to Wikimedia... and that there is some connection between Wikinews and Wikipedia. This is why I would allow Wikinews articles to be placed in the "See Also" section of a Wikipedia article. But the connection does not negate the fact that Wikipedia has very different goals and rules than Wikinews. They are seperate projects under a common banner. Wikinews has rules and guidelines that fit Wikinew's purpose... Wikipedia has different rules and guidelines that fit Wikipedia's purpose. Face it, sometimes those rules and guidelines will conflict. This is one of those times. Blueboar (talk) 14:05, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Blueboar, I think there are levels here and I think this discussion suffers from not differentiating between types of OR that can be done on Wikinews and cited on Wikipeida. For instance, if Wikinews was to create it's own poll of Iowans about who plans to vote for whom for President in the caucuses, conduct the poll and then attempt to have it included on the 2008 campaign page, I would have a problem with that. But if Wikinews conducts an interview with a Presidential candidate about the issues, as we have done, I see no reason why Wikipedia should not acknowledge and use the information (especially when a candidate does so). There is a difference between interviews and a "story". Getting people to talk to us on the record seems to me to fall outside the realm of what we should be concerned about, and the issues are conflated as if these interviews are coming out of thin air. So if we talk to Al Sharpton about Tawana Brawley, I see no good reason why, if our goal is to educate and provide information, we should not actually use information that is provided to us via Wikinews. Not only do we have audio available, but we also have e-mails available if anyone questioned the veracity of the information. This is a very useful way to use Wikinews on Wikipedia, by giving our editors a chance to talk to the people who we write articles about, provide a source to correct inaccuracies about their work, and discuss with newsmakers the issues we cover that would help our project flesh them out better. I think as far as interviews go, this is a chance for us to get around regurgitating the corporate rags that have come newspapers and websites and pursue knowledge for knowledge sake. --David Shankbone 14:52, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Well that goes to show many Wikipedians, particularly the ones involved in the debate actually read Wikinews...? How many of you have looked through our OR since this debate? How many have actually took the time to look at us? And I don't mean a simple edit to prove a point. DragonFire1024 (talk) 02:02, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Ultimately all wikis are self publiushed by definition. Wikinews isn't well known for fact checking or it's editorial policy and that makes it unverifiable. --neonwhite user page talk 03:55, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Fact checking? I am sorry but that's just totally untrue. Prime example: Wikinews:Former Chief Operating Officer of Wikimedia Foundation is convicted felon. If you want to talk more about fact checking: Wikinews:Death of Nancy Benoit rumour posted on Wikipedia hours prior to body being found and probably the best one because it was made with the help of three projects and maybe 100 people: Wikinews:Kenya Airways jet with at least 114 on board crashes. I can show you many more, but these are our best IMO. DragonFire1024 (talk) 04:25, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting that good article don't exist on wikinews but reputation are gained over many years and as far as i know wikinews does not have such a reputation yet. --neonwhite user page talk 03:19, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately we are judged by our worst not our best, providing an unedited audio tape of the interview is the ONLY way to provide Verifiabilty. (Hypnosadist) 10:09, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

The OR firewall

I have no problem with OR on Wikinews—that's the purpose of the site, what makes it better than a mishmash of already-published news. I don't even have a problem with Wikinews OR being certified with best practices and cited on Wikipedia, as Jimbo has proposed. In fact, this is a great idea, that will finally remove doubt over the use of Wikinews. However, SlimVirgin's argument that written original research is the logical progression from original photographs terrifies me. The fact that it's being proposed as a limited sort of "license to OR" is only slightly better. Frankly, we've not had a stellar record of selecting most-trusted Wikipedians. More importantly, it would topple the good rule we have against OR, replacing it with instruction creep and evasion.

I'm all for new and exciting OR projects—on Wikinews. As Durova said, this is not the time for us to ignore one of our fundamental rules. Cool Hand Luke 08:45, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

True... the OR on Wikinews is actually a good thing... at Wikinews. But not at Wikipedia. Different projects, different rules. Blueboar (talk) 13:09, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
I think a number of the project's main attributes run counter to any effort to make Wikinews a better source for use on Wikipedia, including the fact that Wikinews reporters may report under pseudonyms or anonymously and the fact that there is no central editorial structure. As far as I can tell if a Wikinews article contains an appallingly false statement nobody within the project actually suffers for this -- and therefore nobody has any particular incentive to prevent it from happening. It's difficult to see how this problem can be rectified without undermining central values of the wiki. Christopher Parham (talk) 07:06, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
We don't allow OR on Wikipedia because we allow anyone to edit, so editors can be anonymous, and even when they use a real name, we have no way to verify their identity. We also only report on material that has already been published. But once something is published on Wikinews as OR there, it is no longer OR here on Wikipedia. In this case we are only left to decide if Wikinews is a reliable source for the material to be used on Wikipedia. In most cases, I would say not, because Wikinews also allows anonymous or un-verified editors, and the editorial supervision is by other editors. Perhaps once the editorial process meets the Google News standard that will change. For now, it would be too easy to do an end-around on the WP:NOR policy by publishing to Wikinews first, then using the material here.
However, in the specific case of interviews with notable people conducted by accredited reporters on Wikinews who provide a complete transcript or recording of the interview, I think we can use the interview as a reliable source. I have read the Wikinews Accreditation Policy, and find it provides the key ingredient of assuring that the source is a real identifiable person with a known track record, and a reputation to protect. Because reporters must reveal their real legal name to be accredited, it is not possible to create throw-away accounts for doing mischief. As to the editorial supervision, there is a process for revoking credentials in that process. I think we can also safely assume that material will be removed if it is substantially questioned to protect the reputation of Wikinews, so this meets the needs of Wikipedia for editorial supervision. The material should not be considered self-published, because although reporters initiates the process, they do not have ultimate control of the publication process, as they would on a blog.
So the blanket dismissal of Wikinews, while convenient, is not in the best interest of either Wikipedia or Wikinews. Like most "problems" on Wikipedia, we need to use common sense, and avoid creating and following self-sustaining rules. Dhaluza (talk) 23:49, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Dhaluza is correct. Furthermore, there isn't original research here going on since we have the interview on Wikinews. Wikinews interviews are by people like David who have their names public and have confirmed their real life contact info with the Foundation. Thus, they have the basic elements of a reliable source. JoshuaZ (talk) 16:05, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikinews editorial control

Allusion was made about to Wikinews having some kind of editorial controls, but looking the place over, I can't find any evidence of that. Is there anything that seperates it from a collectively written weblog? WilyD 13:46, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

In fact, they appear to be claiming they have good rules but lack the manpower to enforce them; meaning that in practice they lack actual functioning reliable editorial control. WAS 4.250 (talk) 20:07, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
That issue is being addressed by having approved versions live. But the key is not to sink a project for a temporary project, but to improve it and find ways to address the issues. If Welfare is not working, the key is to fix it, not to get rid of it; social security, public education, Wikipedia, Wikinews...etc. --David Shankbone 20:11, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Until it becomes clear that Wikinews has editorial control and a reputation for fact-checking, it's not a reliable source. No one is trying to "sink the project" — we're simply saying that without some serious editorial controls, it's not reliable. This can change, naturally — however, verifiability is an issue. --Haemo (talk) 20:55, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Those who follow foundation-l and the development of flagged revisions should be well aware that I have invested a great deal of time and effort towards soliciting input on how, with the help of this extension, we gain sufficient editorial control over the default display of Wikinews to get Google to list us on their news site. The aim there is to significantly increase the site's profile and attract new contributors and readers. Anyway, it annoys me no end to see some Wikinews contributors reacting to people's comments here by not fully digesting them and reading the worst into what is said. Nearly as much as the Wikipedians who've never even read a single Wikinews policy and dismiss us out of hand as "just a wiki - anyone can edit".
Wikinews has an archiving policy, and I have protected over 3,000 articles as part of the implementation of this policy, roughly 30%+ of Wikinews' article count. Before I do so I read every single one, although as I'd expect people to understand, I do significantly less of that work now. Perhaps our policy needs tightened up and interviews protected 36 hours after publication. Perhaps accompanying audio requires uploading to permit citing, IRC logs may be required with signatures of authenticity from various of the participants, or emails require vetted through OTRS to authenticate via details that should remain private. There is an effort to build consensus on Wikinews' Water Cooler as to what should be guides for making an article citeable, ignore the bit at the top where the loudest contributors dig their trenches and shout "you're wrong!" at each other. --Brian McNeil /talk 22:47, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
The concept of a WA wikinews article is heading in the right direction. (Hypnosadist) 11:48, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
WA? --Brian McNeil /talk 12:10, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I would like to invite user Blueboar to attempt his disruption on any one of these listed articles, vandalism to prove a point is stooping pretty damn low and in this case proves procedures are not followed, not that you have an argument-winning point. --Brian McNeil /talk 12:25, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Please do not falsely accuse Blueboar. He edited a Wikinews entry to see if he could and immediately self-reverted. That is neither disruption nor vandalism. Vassyana (talk) 12:57, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
It is the very definition of n:WN:POINT --Deprifry (talk) 20:48, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
He immediately reverted and caused no disruption. That's hardly a POINT edit. Vassyana (talk) 01:12, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Comment. The problem is that Wikinews, regardless of its worth and credibility, is essentially a self-published source. We would not allow a user to post information from their interview with someone or the results of their personal investigations. To say we should allow it if they instead post to Wikinews first is simply absurd. While I appreciate the good work people do at Wikinews, it simply is not a reliable source. Without significant editorial control and review, it's just another self-published source. That doesn't mean honor code rules and superficial community review. That means real fact-checking, reviewing interview audio, calling agencies to verify official statements and so on. Such editorial review would require fundamental changes to the project, which seems unlikely. The contributors to Wikinews are passionate, earnest and dedicated to their project, and I admire that. However, whether or not Wikinews is a worthwhile project has nothing to do with its reliability as a source under Wikipedia conventions. Vassyana (talk) 12:57, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Ask yourself this: Will Wikipedia:Stable Versions make Wikipedia a reliable source? Once you realise it'd be absurd to suggest it will, ask then what would make Wikinews fundamantally different from a Wikipedia with stable versions? WilyD 13:35, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

We're not talking about Wikipedia stable versions, which are a half-assed attempt at discouraging vandals until they get bored. I want Stable Versions for Wikinews with but with an editorial board that is - potentially - prepared to put their names behind contributions. Now, can we close the "no, nay, never" discussion here and move on to how Wikinews needs to improve? The discussion for that - surprisingly enough - is on Wikinews. --Brian McNeil /talk 14:19, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree that we should not be saying "No, nay, never"... This has to be a "No, not yet" discussion... Wikinews wants to be a reliable source for us and, assuming this desire is achievable, we should assist them in doing so. They are going to have to make some fundamental changes for that to happen, but if they are willing to make those changes, we should not discourage them from doing so. This is a conversation that needs to take place in both locations... as they have ideas they need to come to the appropriate talk page here and ask: "If we do such and such, will that make Wikinews more likely to be accepted as a source on Wikipedia?" I would hate to have the good folks at Wikinews make changes to their proceedures, only to discover that we still don't consider Wikinews acceptable. They will need to have imput from us so they know what they will need to change. As a start, I encourage them to "read, mark and inwardly digest" our policies and guidelines... especially WP:NOR and WP:V. Blueboar (talk) 18:03, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
there are other good reasons for Wikinews to have stable versions that have been discussed elsewhere--prime among them in my opinion is the acceptability for GoogleNews, which not unreasonably wants to have something fixed that can be cited. But this is up to the people who work there. DGG (talk) 20:01, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Stable versions will introduce editorial control on Wikinews because only a selected group of Editors will be able to flag revisions. That's pretty much installing an Editorial Board. It's a totally different approach from Wikipedia, where it is aimed at reducing vandalism. --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 22:17, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
How is it functionally different? Stable versions have multiple purposes, including some form of editorial control - indeed, only a selected group of editors will be able to flag revisions (assuming it ever happens (HA!)) and so forth. Weblogs often have specific, named people approving and publishing the content, and yet are usually not considered reliable sources. The defenses of Wikinews as a source are missing the problem entirely (and why Wikinews would want to get endorsed as a reliable source here to attract a mass migration of POV warriors is beyond me. ;) Cheers, WilyD 01:52, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
I disagree that Wikinews is a self-published source for the purposes of Wikipedia. The editor does not have ultimate control of the publication process, which is the defining characteristic of a WP:SPS. Although anyone can start an article, they do not own it, and will likely be challenged if they are making false claims or pushing a POV. Just because a Wikinews article is not self-published, that does not mean it is a reliable source, and your garden variety Wikinews article probably is not. And for the garden variety Wikinews subject, we probably have other mainstream sources to use. But in specific cases, Wikinews could be a reliable source, and should not be dismissed summarily, but objectively evaluated like any other source. Dhaluza (talk) 23:58, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


This shows what some Wikipedians think of sister projects; I'm delighted to see most people who participate in deletion requests reacted with a WTF? But it is symptomatic of a noticable portion of the Wikipedia base who think this project is the be all and end all. I recall a certain contributor standing for board on a basis of shutting all sister projects. Individuals who have clearly expressed such opinions have obviously (AFAIK) rescinded any right to comment on the validity of Wikinews and other sister projects and - in utter ignorance - think people will migrate to Wikipedia from sister projects. I would - again - encourage people to join the Wikinews discussion to create best practice procedures and guidelines. We have Sue Gardner on the board - former head of; yes, she's busy, but she is the best person to help finalise such guidelines if there is an effort to produce them. --Brian McNeil /talk 12:10, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

The WikiMedia Foundation involves itself in content dispute as little as possible to maintain its legal status as a service provider and not a publisher. The English language Wikipedia community decides its criteria for reliable sources; and we decide that criteria to maximize our credibility, not for other purposes, and certainly not to push David's anti-media POV (which I agree with, but NPOV rules). WAS 4.250 (talk) 16:51, 26 December 2007 (UTC)


I don't see how it can be used as a source any more that wikipedia can. The content of the page can change at any time and the "anyone can edit", so no, wikinews is no more reliable than wikipedia, and I belive that we don't consider WP a RS. Thatve is the only non-trivial point here. Have I missed something? Lobojo (talk) 01:51, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Wikinews will be a reliable source when other news organisations and other experts begin to treat it as a reliable source. The issue of the content changing is something that is not fatal; content already changes on reliable source news sites as new information comes in. The issues are oversight/responsibility and reputation. Oversight/responsiblity can be added by policy. Establishing a reputation takes time. But there is no fundamental reason why a community based news organisation can't be considered as a reliable source. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 03:17, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, interesting. I see your point. I am doubtful that "wikinews" will ever become viewed as a reliable source though, sad to say. I wonder if wikipedia should just ditch its NOT NEWS policy (which anyway only applies to trivial news stories) and incorporate Wikinews. Lobojo (talk) 18:27, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia ditch the not news policy?! Wikipedia is an encyclopedia! WMF's goal is to create and spread knowledge and this is the encyclopedic branch of that, just as Wikiquote collects quotes and Wiktionary is a dictionary. Wikipedia and Wikinews have two very distinct purposes.
Now for Wikinews never being able to be viewed as a reliable source, however, why not? Try using Wikinews for a bit. Anyone can create an article, but those articles are not published. When the template {{publish}} is put on an article, lists all around the site are automatically updated. If an article was really not ready for publishing (by not citing sources, etc.), the tag can be quickly removed. For original reporting (ie. interviews, etc.), the reporter should post notes, an audio clip, or whatever on the article talk page. A few days after publishing, the article is permanently protected and is "archived". Now not "everyone can edit".
So without just saying "Wikinews is a wiki", how come it is unreliable? Greeves (talk contribs) 19:02, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Turn the question around: which other reliable sources have cited it? Show some evidence that it has a "reputation for fact-checking and accuracy" amongst other reliable sources. By default, sources are considered unreliable. To become reliable, evidence must be shown that notable people and other reliable sources consider the source to be reliable and cite it. Establishing a reputation takes time, and it may not be possible to show that Wikinews is considered a reliable source at the moment, even though it may have the necessary editorial and oversight policies. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 17:45, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


WP:V is clear: Reliable sources are those which have a "reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." Wikinews does in fact have such a reputation, and also has a means of editorial oversight, which WP:RS used to mention before it was gutted to 1/3 its size by people hoping to merge it into WP:V. :( MilesAgain (talk) 18:11, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

  • ☑Y Agree - especially given accreditation of editors, the same oversight process we use here (read: watchlists), and the same penchant for verifiability. -- SatyrTN (talk / contribs) 02:29, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

"Over-Unity" and "Anti-Gravity"

I'd like to get some comments on inclusion of weblinks and use as sources for these two sites:

  • Linksearch
  • Linksearch
My own assessment, on which I'd like to receive comments:
I've pruned back links to these sites and content only sourced to these sites for years, but as the pruner:inserter ratio seems to swing towards the inserter-faction in the the recent past, links and content are on the rise again.
Jean-Louis Naudin is a hobbyist experimenter who discusses and tries to reproduce nearly every claim of "over-unity" (a.k.a. perpetual motion machine) and "anti-gravity" and often claims success. He has no (known) formal education in engineering, physics or related fields and doesn't published in reputable sources.
American Antigravity is something like the "professional" version of JN Labs -- professional not in the sense of any linkage to the professional societies in engineering, but regarding better web layout and more direct attempts to sell something.

--Pjacobi (talk) 12:28, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

They don't look like reliable sources to me. --Haemo (talk) 21:12, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
While some of the links, are being used in reasonable places to document pseudo-science topics, for which they might possible be acceptable, some may not be. This should go the the SPAM notice board also. DGG (talk) 18:32, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Part of the question, I'd like get feedback on, is whether sources like the above really should be used for pseudo-science topics. Is it a good idea, to let crank #1 testify in support of crank #2 -- or should denying the first and second law of thermodynamics be considered to be an extremist view, per Wikipedia:RS#Extremist_sources? I sometimes get the impression of some crackpot-link-exchange-program taking place, where Naudin or Matti Pitkänen (not the skier Matti Pitkänen, but the physicist [31] of same name, compare Wikipedia:Votes_for_deletion/Matti_Pitkanen) give positive feedback for every strange idea, just to get themself linked back and linked in Wikipedia as reference, e.g. at Searl_Effect_Generator#References. --Pjacobi (talk) 23:40, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Is it a good idea, to let crank #1 testify in support of crank #2? Is crank #1's testimony published in a reliable source, like a peer reviewed journal? Does their opinion carry the same weight as the laws of thermodynamics? Of the sites you list, appears to be a self-publisher of Jean-Louis Naudin. Since it's self-published, it isn't a reliable source for any article other than one on the site or author. As for - this doesn't look like a reliable source. The onus is on the person claiming it is a reliable source to show that it is considered reliable by other physicists working in the same field. As far as I can see, it isn't a peer reviewed journal with any notability or respect in the physics world. So no, they wouldn't be considered reliable sources. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 01:23, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Sources are not simple reliable or unreliable in and of themselves. They are reliable or unreliable depending on what you're using them to cite. If you say "Jean-Louis Naudin says that he has reversed gravity with device x that does y.[]", it's a reliable source. If you say "Newton was wrong and gravity is an elaborate conspiracy.[jnaudin]" then it's an unreliable source. Cranks can be used as references for statements about themselves or their theories. Wikipedia:SELFPUB#Self-published_and_questionable_sources_in_articles_about_themselves is close. — Omegatron 03:01, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Omegatron is correct in this... except that WP:SELFPUB is is discussing articles about themselves. In other words it is appropriate to include something like "Jean-Louis Naudin says that he has reversed gravity with device x that does y.[]", in the article on Jean-Louis Naudin... but it may not be appropriate to include the same statement in the article on Gravity. WP:Undue weight is an effective counter-balance to WP:SELFPUB. In a case like this, I would also recommend that people read WP:FRINGE. It gives good advice on when the theories of cranks should and should not be included in Wikipedia.Blueboar (talk) 03:30, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
No. WP:SELFPUB needs to be changed to remove the "in articles about themselves" clause. I've fixed this several times and it eventually winds up the way it is now again.
For instance, this is a perfectly legitimate reliably-sourced statement that could be put in the Ionocraft article:

Jean-Louis Naudin claims that he has operated lifters in a pure vacuum.[32]

There is no rule that sources like this can only be used in articles about the source itself. — Omegatron 00:45, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Just another example and a specific case:

  • Linksearch

And the specific case: was once used to source Viktor Grebennikov. As far as I judge the consenus here, it was removed for good reason -- leaving the problem, that all other sources for the Grebennikov article I've found, are of similiar quality (I cannot judge the source in Russian and can only hope the best). Is this enough reason for deletion? --Pjacobi (talk) 14:02, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

It's too bad! The Viktor Grebennikov article is rather entertaining. Under our rules, since the content is unsourced, it needs to go. If the article could say the same thing from sources I think it would be OK. (Everything that I could find about Grebennikov's work seems to be self-published by one person or another). EdJohnston (talk) 14:44, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Talk:Waterboarding again

Would quite a few people be willing to read this, in particular starting at Talk:Waterboarding#Shibumi2 second attempt at new article lead, and weigh in? The level nastiness and POVishness based on politics is astonishingly bad in the commentary. This page has been protected repeatedly from absolutely horrific edit wars, and given the ingrained political bitterness on the topic, the level of political dismissal of sources is amazing. The tone has gotten so horrible I'm tempted to wash my hands of the whole thing to let myself work on other articles again. Lawrence Cohen 03:35, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

I think it's already been pointed out many times that this is not about the reliablity of sources and doesn't belong here. I suggest a request for comment. --neonwhite user page talk 04:59, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
People saying sources aren't valid because they're (examples)
  • From New York, a "liberal" city
  • From an expert in France who also is a member of a civic group that at one point in WW2 offered support to Stalin (note the expert wasn't even *alive* in WW2)
  • "American" views have more value because other countries haven't been through what "we" have
  • Further abuse of RS is the fact that some are saying that if 100+ sources and people saying "x is x", but 1-5 say "x is y" that you can't say that "x is x" because it would violate NPOV and be biased to America (I did post to the NPOV talk page, no one seemed to care).
Is the point of this noticeboard only to judge if a source is worthy to include, but not the other way around as well, if arguments to exclude a source are worthy? Or for general abuse of how RS works? I'm posting it here again because I'm frankly frustrated at such flagrant political nonsense. It doesn't seem like something for AN or ANI. If not here, what is the best venue to ensure that out-of-policy damage to the encyclopedia is stamped out before it can take hold, when multiple people swarm in a gang to enforce it? Lawrence Cohen 14:25, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I just skimmed that talk page and it seems you forgot a good reason to exclude a source is because it represents:
  • "fringe opinions from 100 law professors whose previously published writings indicate membership in the lunatic left-wing fringe"
It appears that you're arguing against people who, like football supporters, will back their side to the end without any willingness to compromise. I would suggest a compromise like global warming, "While individual X have voiced disagreement with Y, the overwhelming majority of X are in agreement". But would this satisfy your vocal opponents in this case?
Is the point of this noticeboard only to judge if a source is worthy to include, but not the other way around as well, if arguments to exclude a source are worthy?
People on this noticeboard comment both ways.
If the article had been written five years ago, nobody would've batted an eyelid at calling it torture: nobody argues against calling the rack torture, and yet "A History of Torture" (Scott 1940) states that waterboarding was "generally adopted when racking, in itself, proved ineffectual." There may be a difference between the legal definition of torture in the United States, and the meaning of the word in the English language. Maybe the article can make that difference clear, and make it clear that the US lawyers are only commenting on US law. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 16:10, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
The problem is that neither side is willing to compromise, and the side that is supporting calling it torture is the one completely backed up by policy as far as I can see. When a page is overrun by people pushing advocacy for a fringe viewpoint like this, what is the policy-based mechanism that exists for stopping the nonsense of wasting everyone's time? Lawrence Cohen 16:19, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, how did the global warming editors do it? It must be possible, otherwise that article would still say that global warming was a left-wing UN plot to take over the world. I suspect it involves significantly raising the bar of what is considered a reliable source, and only allowing citing peer reviewed journal articles, whilst at the same time acknowledging that there's some minority view point. And even with all that, they're still reverting vandal edits to the article every day... Chris Bainbridge (talk) 16:30, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Another thing that might've helped in the global warming case was separating it from global warming controversy. Given that the waterboarding article focuses too much on the US controversy (as the Good Article reviewer noted) it's currently poorly weighted and suffering from recentism. Maybe it could be split, with waterboarding in the U.S. controversy or something similar for the US stuff, and the main article for everything else. Having said that, it might just lead to a POV-fork. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 16:50, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the historical perspective is more relevant to this article than fringe views. --neonwhite user page talk 15:46, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Is a poll of the general public a reliable source per our standards?


People on Talk:Waterboarding are citing this poll as evidence that the status of Waterboarding as a form of torture is heavily disputed. I have not seen polls used before, for a core RS on a contentious issue. Is this acceptable usage? Lawrence Cohen 17:38, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. telephone poll of 1,024 American adults was carried out over the weekend and had a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points From the above poll. (Hypnosadist) 17:52, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

The poll is citable as a reliable source for the opinions of American adults on waterboarding. It shows that, in 2007, there is some disagreement between the American public.
The question of whether the opinion of the general public of the United States is, or should be, a factor in determining the content of Wikipedia articles is a completely different one. There are certainly precedents for not following U.S. public opinion (e.g. global warming, intelligent design etc). Chris Bainbridge (talk) 20:17, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
The only thing it can really cite is the result of a poll, drawing your own conclusions from results of a poll would be original research. However if, say a newspaper or journal, publishes a conclusion or interpreation based on the result that would be a different case. --neonwhite user page talk 15:16, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
That is true - a poll itself is a primary source of statistical data, and should be avoided. However, when the poll is carried out by a reputable polling agency, and results published in a reliable source, then it is fine to cite it. In this case, the research appears to fit those criteria. Having said that, if there's any dispute regarding the poll methodology or results, and that has been covered in reliable sources, then it is fine to cite that as well.
As to whether saying there is "a dispute" when poll results show disagreement over some topic is a case of WP:SYN; I think not, the word itself suggests an elevation of a mere "disagreement" . In fact, the WordNet definition of "dispute" is "a disagreement or argument about something important". And if it wasn't important, then the poll shouldn't even be mentioned in Wikipedia in the first place. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 15:49, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

THIS IS AN ABUSE! Please STOP to eliminate the Quotations about Leonard Oprea's work!

YES, dear Victoriagirl, I READ and I understood very well the Wikipedia's policies concerning self-published sources and Self-published and questionable sources in articles about themselves. Therefore, I have to tell you firmly: this book of Leonard Oprea is published in the USA by a POD Publishing House. I mean - a book published by a Publishing House, NOT by a self-publishing venture etc. More - these quotations BELONG to their authors, cultural American VIP beyond any doubt, NOT to some other people. And this you or anybody else can easily check up. Thus, if it will be necessary I will RE-introduce again and again these quotations and I am telling you again:

What is your question? It seems you are angry at Victoriagirl. Please try discussing your issues politely with her on Talk:Leonard_Oprea. Thanks. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 01:12, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I have responded to the post by User-multi error: "Judetadeus" is not a valid project or language code (help). at Talk:Leonard Oprea. Victoriagirl (talk) 04:47, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
The article is AUTO. Judetadeus wants to put complimentary quotes in the article which appear on the backs of books he has self-published. I have stated this is not acceptable. Situation seems to be resolved now. Tyrenius (talk) 20:14, 1 January 2008 (UTC)


On the IE article, there is a [Talk:Internet Explorer#About Acid2 compliance|discussion]] going on over its performance in ACID2 test. Specifically whether it needs a change in the test (via opting in to a third rendering mode apart from quirks mode and standards mode). There is no official clarification on whether the mode exists or whether the Acid2 test does/does not trigger it. In this situation, this link was added which says the existence of the mode. However, I have questions on whether he can be considered reliable and his words put to canon? I want others opinion on this. --soum talk 00:39, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Specifically these quotes from the talk page discussion are relevant: (talk · contribs): According to the MVP FAQ here, IE8 DOES introduce another (a third) "IE8 standards mode". However, I don't see how it means IE8 "cannot be considered to pass the Acid2" as stated in the article.
Soumyasch (talk · contribs): Any evidence Abhishek has access to the inner working of the IE team and that he is not under an NDA ro reveal such information and that he is singing the official tune and this is not just a friend-of-a-friend-told-me rumor? --soum
Remember the dot (talk · contribs)"This Q&A guidance is taken from the MVPannounce mail I received from my MVP lead". As a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, yes, he does have access to such information.Remember the dot
Soumyasch (talk · contribs): You know what an MVP is? S/he is an independent and recognized expert on one or more products. They need not be on MS payroll. And are no way automatically a part of any MS product team. Just by being an MVP you do NOT gain access to such information. And my question is still unanswered: How the hell does he publicize information that is still under NDA (if it were not under NDA it would have come directly from the official sources or the developers). And I asked about Anand, not Vasudev. Vasudev mentions his source, Anand does not. Since he is not officially known to be a part of IE8 project, he does not consitute a source reliable enough for citation. --soum talk 00:39, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Incidentally, these statements are also backed up by the MIX07 presentation by Chris Wilson, Internet Explorer Platform Architect. The Vasudev source is simply more convenient, since it is in text form. The Vasudev source reproduces, verbatim, statements from Microsoft.

Microsoft is under no obligation to share with the public the information it shares with its MVPs, and I doubt that the MVPs are required to not pass on the information they receive from Microsoft. —Remember the dot (talk) 01:15, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

No these are not backed up. The MIX 07 talks was plans, this states as facts. True they speak of the same essence, but the MIX talks never says it has already happened. So, they are not a verbatim repro. Yes, MS is under no obligation, but there in not just one MVP. If they are not required to restrain their, don't you think there will be more confirmation? Even beta testers are under an NDA (unless the beta is public) and you expect MVPs to be given a discount? I highly doubt that. Btw, I posted it here not against you but to get a fresher perspective, sans mine or your bias. We can talk on the article talk page or on our talk pages. --soum talk 01:28, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Blogs are not usually considered a reliable source. From Are blogs a reliable source: In most cases, no. Most weblogs ("blogs"), especially those hosted by blog-hosting services such as Blogger, are self-published sources; many of them published pseudonymously. There is no fact-checking process and no guarantee of quality of reliability. ACID compliance of browsers is widely discussed, so if this information is true it will eventually be published in a reliable source, but until then it shouldn't be cited as fact on Wikipedia. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 12:19, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

world policy council

The World Policy Council of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity is a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank established in 1996 at Howard University to expand the fraternity's involvement in politics, and social and current policy to encompass important global and world issues. They describe their missions as to ‘’address issues of concern to our brotherhood, our communities, our nation, and the world.‘’

The council has issued 5 white papers in its 11 year history covering topics such as the AIDS crisis, Middle East Conflict, Extraordinary rendition and other issues it deems of national or international import.

This link here is the current position paper in PDF format. The nine board of director who research and write the papers are listed on pages 2-4 and consist of Senator Edward Brooke, Ambassadors Horace Dawson and Kenton Keith, Educator Henry Ponder, and congresmen Ron Dellums and Charles Rangel. The mission of the WPC is listed on page 5 and their positons on five issues follow.

  1. The council is cited here for obtaining global headlines for their position on Nigerian Politics.
  2. This video shows Senator Brooke describing the council during the last 1:30 minute. on YouTube
  3. This video continues the discussion by other council members regarding purpose, compostion and the audience for the white papers for the firt 3 minutes. on YouTube

Would you consider the research and opinion of this council a reliable source to cite within wikipedia articles?--Ccson 04:14, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

It's clearly a reliable source for the views of the World Policy Council and of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. The reliability of think tanks in general has to be viewed with extreme caution. Raymond Arritt (talk) 20:59, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. I'll make it clear that any cited text is the position of the WPC. I'll wait to see if additional editors respond.Ccson21:08, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Agree... position papers by the council are reliable for statements about the opinion of the council. Such statements should be directly attributed (in text) as being the opinion of the council (ie: "According to the World Policy Council...."). That being said... the question then becomes one of NPOV and other policies. Is the opinion of the WPC notable on a specific topic? Would discussing this opinion violate the Undue weight clause? etc. etc. In other words... Under WP:V and WP:RS we can say that the position papers of the WPC may be used, but we can not say if they should be used in any given article. Blueboar (talk) 15:36, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Exactly. It's reliable as far as the World Policy Council and APA are concerned. It's not reliable as an expert on ER. And it does violate Undue weight. SWATJester Son of the Defender 19:50, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

For those of you who don't know what APA's a college fraternity. It's not a scientific think tank. It's not a political organization. It's.....a college fraternity. It's not the American Enterprise Institute. It's not Brookings. It's not the AIPAC. It's not Center for Freedom and Democracy. It's......a college fraternity. Guess what, my fraternity's members include presidents of the united states. Does that make them a reliable source to discuss world politics? No, it does not. It's just another lame attempt to give undue weight to an article that is entirely critical already. There are plenty enough RELIABLE organizations criticizing Extraordinary Rendition, that we don't need a fraternity to do so. SWATJester Son of the Defender 19:58, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

As noted above by others above, I would agree that the position papers would be reliable for the opinion of the WPC. Reliable, yes, but then the question is whether it is notable or not. This is not the forum, perhaps, but if it is any help based on a google search I do not find any secondary sources indicating that others think it is [33] --Slp1 (talk) 00:10, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
See Jet Magazine and Divine Nine. Thanks for your comments--Ccson (talk) 14:29, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
These are above the WPC, and not about extraordinary rendition at all. We need to find something about extraordinary rendition that mentions the WPC and their views on the subject, to show that the WPC's opinion is notable. But really I do think that this is a subject for another forum, since the discussion is not really about reliable sourcing. --Slp1 (talk) 17:13, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

News of the World and Yedioth Ahronoth for BLP?

Talk:Chabad-Lubavitch related controversies#Dovid Jaffe. -- Jeandré, 2007-12-29t22:01z

  • While the "News of the World" may be a tabloid it is part of News Corp along with the WSJ and The Times. I don't think there is any dispute as to their fact-checking being basically good. And Yediot Aharonot is the principal newspaper of the state of Israel. While I may not like the journalistic style of the NOTW, it remains true that it is subject to libel laws like everyone else. Lobojo (talk) 22:21, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
(ec) Given its focus on sensationalism I wouldn't use NotW as a source for something that could be damaging to a person. If the fact in question is worth mentioning it should have been picked up by a serious newspaper or news magazine. If it hasn't, then the point likely isn't sufficiently important or noteworthy to include (see also WP:WEIGHT). I don't know anything about Yedioth Ahronoth.Raymond Arritt (talk) 22:25, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
It was picked by Yediot, undoubtably a serious newspaper no? It was also picked up, and followed up by the Jewish Chronicle, which I forgot to mention. Lobojo (talk) 22:27, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
If those are in fact reliable sources (I'm not familiar with them), then cite them instead of NotW. Raymond Arritt (talk) 22:34, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
The Yediot one is in there. I cant find the Jewish Chronicle one right now, it must have got deleted. I think though in principle while I sympathise with your view of the NOTW as sensationalist, I am reluctant to agree that it is not an RS just because of that. While you may have to translate the information into an encyclopedic format and remove the curse words and so on, they cannot print anything that The Times cannot print. The libel laws are equally strict, and it is the same company. While some people have litigated the NOTW and won, many people have tried and failed, and the same applies to all major news outlets. I dont think that the style (however much I look down my nose at it) prejudices the RSness of a source. Lobojo (talk) 22:43, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
The argument that NotW somehow must share the reliability of some of its better-regarded sister publications in News Corp is erroneous. To make a parallel, the parent company of CNN also owns properties that we wouldn't use as reliable sources. Again, if better sources are available, use them; if better sources aren't available, then one has to question the noteworthiness of the material proposed for inclusion. Raymond Arritt (talk) 22:55, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not really making that point. The point I'm making is that they are subject to the same libel laws, and since they are owned by the same company they are subject to similar factchecking requirements to ensure they are not litigated. Lobojo (talk) 23:02, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

2007 (UTC)

A tabloid reporting a "rumor" is not a Reliable source for what is written there. Not to mention the BLP issues. Everything is subject to libel laws, but not everything is a reliable source. There is also the issue of this topic not being relevant to this article. Chocolatepizza (talk) 23:03, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
The onus is on the editor citing the News of the World to show that it is considered a reliable source. Framing the language of articles to reduce the probability of being sued is a completely different thing from being considered a reliable source. Given what I have seen of the News of the World, it is extremely unlikely that you could show that its standards of journalistic integrity are held in the same regard as BBC News, The Times, etc. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 04:10, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

There is nothing about a rumor. The paper says he did something on a certain date and time, he repsonded by threatening to sue, 18 months later his case is yet to materialize. Lobojo (talk) 23:07, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

The real question is: what are you trying to state in the article? If you are trying to state that the subject of the BLP actually did "such and such on X date" and citing News of The World as the source for that "fact" then no, it is not a reliable source. If on the other hand, you are trying to state the fact that News of the World claimed that the subject did such and such on X date, then it might be considered a bit more reliable (with lots of caveats). That said, it would be best to find a third party source that discusses the fact that the News of the World maded these claims, and cite that source instead. Blueboar (talk) 15:59, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
WP:BLP is pretty clear: "Material about living persons available solely in questionable sources or sources of dubious value should be handled with caution, and, if derogatory, should not be used at all in biographies of living people, either as sources or via external links". Chris Bainbridge (talk) 17:11, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
The point I was trying to make above relates to the notability of the News of the World's claim and of the subject's subject's lawsuit against it. I agree that using the News of The World as a source to back a statement of fact (say a statement such as: "Yedioth Ahronoth kissed Bigfoot on July 12, 2007") would violate WP:BLP. However... if the fact that "On August 9th, News of The World published an article claiming that Yedioth Ahronoth had kissed Bigfoot, and now Mr. Ahronoth is suing that publication for libel" is considered a noteworthy event that should be included in a biography of Yedioth Ahronoth, then we are dealing with a slightly different situation. In such a situation, we need to establish the fact that the claim and reaction is noteworthy... and to do that you need to have a solidly reliable third party source (ie a source other than News of The World) that mentions the fact that News of the World has made a claim and that Mr. Ahronoth has reacted to it by filing a lawsuit. Once you have established that the claim and lawsuit are noteworthy, then the claims made in the original News of The World article can be discussed and cited in context (ie as verification that the claim was made, and not as verification of what the claim happens to say). If we are discussing the fact of the claim, as opposed to the facts behind and within the claim, then we are essentially dealing with a WP:Undue weight issue rather than an RS issue. Blueboar (talk) 19:16, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
LOL!! I see what you are saying and I completely agree, I also believe that the paragraph in question conforms. Here is why. Mr Yedioth Ahronoth (!!) is not the name of an involved party! It is the name of Israel's premier newspaper that published an article recounting the NOTW story and adding further comment an analysis! Funny funny!! So I think the sources are good when taken together - though an investigative report printed in the NOTW that didn't get any further coverage probably would not do, though I am reluctant to class the paper as a unreliable source, it does publish real journalism (and has had many history changing scoops over the years) along side the titties and "readers wives". But seing as the story was picked up by other (more classy) newspapers, I don't doubt the RS status of the sources when taken together. Lobojo (talk) 19:44, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
You can't add two sources together to create a composite reliable source. I have no idea if the Israeli newspaper is a reliable source. However, if they're sourcing articles from the News of the World, then that would certainly count against them.
"I am reluctant to class the paper as a unreliable source, it does publish real journalism" - Are we talking about the same News of the World? The one published in the UK with topless photos of women with large breasts in every issue? The one that showed us "proof" that "Maddie McCann was abducted ALIVE"? The one that reported as truth that "90 per cent of people on benefits are scroungers" and that "Criminals are now officially entitled to better housing than war heroes"? It would be very, very, very hard to show that this tabloid is considered a reliable source by anyone, but you're welcome to try. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 23:17, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes precicely. The main thing is that they are subject to editorial review and libel actions like any other major corporation, that is to say, any error about a living person puts them at a risk of unlimited liability. All the examples you quote have nothing to do with living people and are just polemic which we shuold not quote. But when they make an accusation against a living pesron they have to be meticulous with their facts, and on the few occasions when they have not been they have faces lawsuits. While I share you disdian for the paper and similar ones, we need to avoid bringing our own value judgements into this. We need to ask are the NOTW and the The Sun etc. reliable sources for information about people. Here is a list of some of the major journalistic scoops they have exposed in recent years along with some of the notable journalists who work for them: [34]. I doubt there is a newspaper in the world that has not quoted or taken stories from the NOTW or The Sun (its weekday sister paper.) (sunday veriosnLobojo (talk) 01:22, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
"The main thing is that they are subject to editorial review and libel actions like any other major corporation". By your argument, every single British news publication is automatically a reliable source, just because it is subject to British libel law.
I wouldn't go that far, but major ones, that have significant assets and readership, rather than just minor private local rags would do, that is the primary issue with BLP, to cover wikipedia's ass. As long as we are merely citing an established source, then we cannot face legal action. Note that the NOTW submits to the PCC's restrictive code of conduct and abides by its rulings (see here).
"All the examples you quote have nothing to do with living people and are just polemic which we shuold not quote." You can't pick and choose which articles are considered reliable - it is the source that is considered reliable, not individual articles.
The articles are not unrealiable, they are just polemical, attention grabbing, and sensationalist. They need to be much more careful when libel is involved. I think this is clear. A source does not need to be reliable for everything. The BMJ is not a reliable source on political discourse, but is on medical matters. Lobojo (talk) 02:03, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
"Here is a list of some of the major journalistic scoops they have exposed in recent years" Five famous scandals since 1843 does not make them a reliable source. Please read WP:RS. If you want to use the News of the World as a reliable source, then you must show that it is considered a reliable source by other experts and other reliable sources. You may personally believe that it is a reliable source, but your personal beliefs don't hold any weight here. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 01:52, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
It has external regualots and ombudsmen and so on. It is regularly cited in other newspapers, who clearly think that it is something of a reliable source. Lobojo (talk) 02:03, 31 December 2007 (UTC)


The point of WP:RS is not "to cover wikipedia's ass" or that "we cannot face legal action". It is to ensure that articles are "based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." Otherwise you'd just have people adding any old rubbish to Wikipedia.
"A source does not need to be reliable for everything. The BMJ is not a reliable source on political discourse" Your example makes no sense - the BMJ is a medical journal, they do not publish articles on politics.
"It is regularly cited in other newspapers, who clearly think that it is something of a reliable source." Prove it. If the News of the World really is a reliable source, then you should be able to easily demonstrate that it has a "reputation for fact-checking and accuracy" with academics, professionals and other news organisations.
"The articles are not unrealiable" In a couple of minutes of Google searching I found "Maddie McCann was abducted ALIVE", "90 per cent of people on benefits are scroungers" and "Criminals are now officially entitled to better housing than war heroes". In what possible way are these articles reliable? And again, we don't judge individual articles for reliability - the source is either a reliable source for third party articles on Wikipedia, or it isn't. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 03:03, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
NOTW is a tabloid. We can't quote it in anything related to BLP. Simple as that. Relata refero (talk) 13:16, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Where does it say that being a tabloid automatically invalidates a source, all the newspapers in the UK are now in tabloid form apart from the Daily Telegraph, what does the size of the paper have to do with reliablity? Also this is not exactly the question. The question is also asking if Yediot is a reliable source. Lobojo (talk) 13:20, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
YA is fine. On NOTW, see Jimmy Wales' quote on the BLP page. Relata refero (talk) 13:35, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Use some common sense. If NOTW is a reliable source, then it would be okay to add the following to an article: "In Britain, criminals are officially entitled to better housing than war heroes"(citeNOTW). That would clearly not be a good thing for Wikipedia.
You might want to check that your understanding of the word "tabloid" in this context of British English is correct - see Tabloid#As_a_sensational.2C_gossip-filled_newspaper, as you seem to be confusing it with the print form factor. I guess it's an easy mistake for a non-native English speaker. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 16:48, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
People in Britain still do refer to the popular papers as "tabloids" but I would bet that the usage will gradually die out now that the serious papers are also printed in that format. "Red-top tabloids" or "red tops" is another attempt to distinguish between the two kinds of paper. Whatever way we look at it though the NoTW is a good example of the kind of paper not considered a reliable source in WP. Itsmejudith (talk) 18:16, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

(outdent)Non-native english speaker?! Thats nice, would you be so good as yo show me the linguustic errors I am making that would give you that idea? I suspect you are just joking or trying to be unpleasant, but I'll asume good faith. The stories you quote and mock, actually have quotes from various notable people and sources. So the question is can we refer to NOTW to cite those quotes. Do we think they are fabricating their sources? Nobody is suggesting that we use the opinion of the NOTW as sceintific sources. Lobojo (talk) 18:36, 31 December 2007 (UTC) Well, if Yediot is a reliable source I am satisfied. Lobojo (talk) 18:36, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

This is going nowhere. Lobojo, you're welcome to reply here and have the last word but the consensus is clear that NotW is not a reliable source. Raymond Arritt (talk) 18:46, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Thats nice, would you be so good as yo show me the linguustic errors I am making that would give you that idea? I didn't mean to offend you, but you mistook "tabloid" as a reference to the form factor of the paper when it was clear from the context that the writer meant a different usage of the word. This is not a mistake a native English speaker would usually make. I also noticed that your posts contain many spelling mistakes (linguustic precicely shuold disdian pesron unrealiable reliablity asume) and non-capitalisation of "wikipedia" "english" etc., and the fact that you were asking about an Israeli newspaper led me to think you were probably not a native English speaker. I fully accept that this may have been an erroneous assumption on my part, and I apologise if you interpreted my writings as a deliberate attempt at offence. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 17:46, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Yediot is Israel's premier newspaper? Not. It is the most widespread newspaper and but it is a tabloid. When I read anything in it (I try as little as possible) it is with a grain of salt. I would limit references to it in controversial issues. --Shuki (talk) 19:57, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Uncovering the Right on Campus

I'd like wider input on this book Uncovering the Right on Campus: A Guide to Resisting Conservative Attacks on Equality and Social Justice ISBN: 9780945210078,[35][36] specifically its chapter on its piece by Jennifer Pozner (formerly of FAIR) called 'Female Anti-Feminism for Fame and Profit.'

I agreed with this source's removal for Misandry because it is not directly linked to the subject and it would constitute WP:NOR to include it there. However the user who removed it did so becuase they consider its author to be "far left". This characterization is utterly incorrect and borders on being a BLP issue. I think this is a reliable source in regard to its primary subject, Christina Hoff Sommers, and that it should be useful in articles directly relating to her and her work. Any thoughts?--Cailil talk 16:40, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Asian fetish

One editor persists in repeatedly re-inserting unreliable sources (blog posts, articles in student newspapers) into the article. This same editor is also trying to discredit an article published in Salon (which generally is a reliable source) because he claims it was "heavily panned" — but all he has cited in favor of this premise is the same unreliable sources. This editor, User:Tkguy, has made virtually no edits outside of this topic. His understanding of Wikipedia policy seems to be relatively sketchy, though he has been advised of sourcing requirements several times. *** Crotalus *** 02:34, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

This does not seem to be an issue for this noticeboard. You already know that blog posts etc. are unreliable sources in general. What, specifically, are you questioning the reliability of here? Chris Bainbridge (talk) 03:08, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I know that blog posts are unreliable sources, but apparently he refuses to accept this - he's put them back in a couple of times. Also, there is some question as to whether student newspapers should be included at all (this isn't just limited to him), and also whether repeated citations of AsianWeek constitutes undue weight. It would be nice to get a broader perspective on these latter two issues. *** Crotalus *** 03:11, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
A student newspaper might be a reliable source - it depends on the paper; some are, not all are. "Asian Week" does not look like a reliable source to me, but it is up to the editor claiming that it is to show that to be the case. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 03:31, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
The blog post has been reinserted, in what appears to be a violation of WP:3RR. He's claiming now that since the blogger is labeled a "managing editor," it's OK to cite a blog. Nonsense, of course; many of the more prominent bloggers (especially in the political arena) are professional or semi-pro, but their blogs are still blogs and not reliable sources. *** Crotalus *** 04:08, 31 December 2007 (UTC)


Are dissertations considered a reliable source? I've never had to deal with using them as a reference before so I've never run into this. I would assume that because they are reviewed by a panel of academics that they would be but I can't find a specific reference within WP:RS and I'm not sure what the verifiability of a dissertation would be. Thanks. --ImmortalGoddezz 05:46, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

I've seen dissertations used as references effectively in a few articles. One criteria that could be helpful would be to look at the sources quoted in the paper. If it's well-referenced, that would lend credibility. Another criteria could be - was it self-published by the student on their own website, or by the university? If published by a university, that seems to add some reliability. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 05:54, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Since the dissertation was added by a person other than myself I haven't had time to check what it's sourcing. However it does look like it's been published by the university, Columbia.[37] The only links I can find for this online seem to be either columbia login only or one of those 'pay for full copy of the dissertation' sites. Not sure if this has any influence over the reliability or not. --ImmortalGoddezz 06:05, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
In general dissertations will be a reliable source. However, if they are a primary source for new research, and your interpretation is disputed, then it would be best to find a secondary source discussing the dissertation. Also weight it appropriately - an undergraduate dissertation will usually not have been subject to as much review as, say, a PhD thesis. In fact, some undergraduate theses don't undergo formal review, but are merely marked, so falsehoods aren't corrected; in these cases, it would not be a reliable source. The fact that you have to pay for a copy has no relevance; books also cost money. Googling I found the author of the text you cite is now "assistant professor in the Holocaust and Judaic Studies Program and the Department of History at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida." and the article you cite is not just a dissertation but has now been published as a book [38] by Wayne State University Press. It's a reliable source, but you should probably cite the book. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 13:47, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Ah interesting, I'll have to get my hands on a copy then. The content that it is sourcing is not disputed, it just needs a source, however when I read that it was a dissertation sourcing it I began to wonder about the reliability of using one as a source since I'd never used a dissertation before and I'm not all that knowledgeable about th ins and outs of that process. Thanks for all the answers! --ImmortalGoddezz 17:46, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Warning, warning, warning. Even what seems to be an unimpeachable source can not always to be trusted. ex. As part of my profession I once dealt w a man who used "University of Chicago" as a reference. When I tried to call, the telephone operator was very clear "There is no such place as University of Chicago. There IS a University of Illinois AT Chicago". Surprise, no one at the university had ever heard of this man. Checking sources is ALWAYS much more difficult than it seems. (talk)
Some details of the example may have escaped you. See our article on the University of Chicago, founded in 1890. EdJohnston (talk) 02:20, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

In Britain some PhD thesises are published and a great many are deposited, unpublished, in National Libraries or in university archives. If published it is more than likely that, unless they are ground-breaking revelations, the print run will be minute. But again, copies will be in the National Libraries as it is a legal requirement. Therefore, upon request at those places, you should be able to access those source materials. So I cannot see why such scholarly works cannot be offered as sources. Regards, David Lauder (talk) 19:01, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Domestic violence information

An anon editor removed this information[39] from Father's rights movement. I double checked it and reinstated the info that was borne out by the sources[40]. These sources are available online.

The first source is 'Claims about husband battering' reprinted from Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre Newsletter, Summer 1999, authored by the academic Michael Flood.[41]

The second is a reprint of Michael Flood's fact sheet on How the fathers’ rights movement undermines the protections available to victims of violence and protects the perpetrators of violence.[42]

The fact sheet might be debatable as a RS - however both was removed by User:Blackworm on the grounds of Wikipedia:Verifiability#Self-published sources (online and paper) - ie not "reliable, third-party, published [source] with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy". I believe he is quoting selectively. Policy states clearly that (as long as the self published source is not a blog/personal website etc): "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."

Michael Flood lectures in Sociology at the University of Wollongong. He was a Postdoctoral fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society. He has published on this field, but from the opposite point of view of many Father rights advocates, as can be seen on his article here on WP. Also this source is only being described (as per WP:PSTS) it is not being used to interpret anything else. It was included to make the section comply with NPOV.

The passage that these were added to is here. The removed content criticizes the use of certain studies by Father's rights groups. --Cailil talk 16:05, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Update: After a little digging I was able to find (just using Google Scholar) 7 documents citing Flood's [43] - the majority of them Australian government documents. wider input on this issue would be much appreciated--Cailil talk 14:08, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Sources have to be evaluated in the context they are used, as we are not only concerned with the reliability of sources (which is not an absolute measurement), but with WP:NOPV as well, in particular undue weight aspects. You will need to discuss this at article's talk. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:26, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply Jossi. I think it is an NPOV issue really. These sources were being used to reference a 2 line academic criticism of some Father's rights movement statistics. The POV of the father's rights movement takes up the majority of the paragraph - its critics take up 2 lines. Considering the number of criticisms of these stats 2 lines is short but I think anymore would indeed be undue. The talk page was deadlocked - I have found other sources published in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health and by the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration - we'll see if this resolves the issue. Thanks for the reply--Cailil talk 17:00, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Football Teams

This is related to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Vojvodina national football team. A large number of articles about "national" football teams have been created using this source . There are no other seeming sources. Can on its own constitute a reliable source? JASpencer (talk) 18:53, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

I would have to say no, it does not constitute a reliable source. I don't see any "about us" information on the page that tells me it is anything more than a personal fan website. How do we know that the information listed is accurate? Where does the website obtain its information? What sort of fact checking is in place? Since we don't know, we can not rely on it. Blueboar (talk) 19:04, 3 January 2008 (UTC)


Hi, there is discussion on User_talk:Mion#Hydrogen_car about Roads2HyCom, which is a project from the university of Aachen, it runs as a wiki however editors are granted acces on request, point is they are collecting extensive information, like on watermanagement in fuel cells, hydrogen valves, hydrogen infrastructure, etc, articles in general are referenced, so as it is not set in stone and should be treated with common sense and the occasional exception, (read the last two words), i would like to have your opinions on it. thanks. Mion (talk) 16:49, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikis are not generally considered a reliable source because of the fact that anyone can publish there. However, this may be ok if it is the only source on a particular subject. If a better source is available i would leave this one out. --neonwhite user page talk 18:21, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Broadcast - Television and radio industry news, data and analysis

I've never really understood where there line is drawn, particularly when the legal disclaimers, naturally, try and disclaim liability for everything. I haven't looked, but it is it the case that even the likes of the BBC, The Times etc have such disclaimers ?

Anyway, on to this one -

"Whilst we take every care to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and complete, some of it may be supplied to us by third parties and we are unable to check its accuracy or completeness."

Published by medium sized publisher Emap -

"A mostly paid-for publication, Broadcast has a circulation of 12,269 (ABC audited) and readership of over 72,000 industry professionals"

If it wasn't for the 3rd party supplied material or if it was syndicated from PA/Reuters etc, I'd have said reliable, but since we don't know, what do you make of it ? Thanks -- John (Daytona2 · Talk · Contribs) 20:12, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

I think legal disclaimers shoiuld be largely viewed as a 'get out' in case someone doesnt fact check properly, i doubt it effects the reliability a great deal. --neonwhite user page talk 18:17, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
If a news source isn't willing to go to court to validate the truth of what it claims, then it probably isn't a reliable source. Such "get out" clauses are generally used by tabloids and other popularist news organisations to try and avoid legal action, or any requirement to correct errors in what they report. Reliable sources like BBC News don't have disclaimers saying "we don't check what we print, and don't claim that it represents an accurate version of events". Chris Bainbridge (talk) 11:56, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

The reliability of a source

See the discussion at Talk:Chocolate Thai#RfC: Cannabis culture as a source. Uncle G (talk) 18:50, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Saul David: The Indian Mutiny

How neutral, reliable and third party source can Saul David and his book be considered in context of Indian Rebellion of 1857. This author is a BBC commentator, with this book as the only proof of his acquaintance of Indian history. However, his views appear so much oriented in favour of a certain POV that he is extensively cited on the said page to edit facts that were written there for ages now. He has become such a God of that page that sometimes it is stiffling. --Bobby Awasthi (talk) 18:08, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Not really a scholarly book; "the most recent 'popular history' of events", according to one mention in peer-reviewed work; "bracing if conventional"; "a narrative histories reiterating the British version of the ‘Mutiny’"; and so on. I would urge against relying too much on works of popular history written by a popular broadcaster without peer-review. Even a review in the mainstream press has doubts about it. Relata refero (talk) 09:50, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Saul David does not just work for the BBC, he has made programs for all of the UK’s TV stations. Moreover he is visiting professor of military history at the university of Hull, as such he is a recognised academic authority in the field of milliray history.[[Slatersteven (talk) 18:55, 12 January 2008 (UTC)]]

Dr Saul David did a PHD in the Indina Mutiny. [[Slatersteven (talk) 18:53, 15 January 2008 (UTC)]]

Wikipedia articles cannot be quoted?

I understand that Wikipedia articles cannot be quoted, but can a writing in another article with a reference to an existing Wikipedia article be outright rejected on basis of this policy? That would simply amount to acknowledging that the original article used is a farce and the editors there are idiots? Reference: Talk:Indian Rebellion of 1857 Patiala & Jaipur (history sections of later two used). --Bobby Awasthi (talk) 18:13, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it is not verifiable. What it acknowleges is that wikipedia articles are not always accurate and also subject to change. --neonwhite user page talk 18:25, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Pajamas Media

Is a collaborative blog like Pajamas Media a reliable source? // Liftarn (talk)

link to their page -
link to their contact -
the source is being used to state that "pajamas media reported that...." [44]
is it reliable enough for that style of phrasing? JaakobouChalk Talk 11:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Now you're also getting into the issue of notability. // Liftarn (talk)
Why would you claim Pajamas Media is a blog? Jayjg (talk) 03:29, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, the obvious reason is that it is a blog (or a collaborative blog). // Liftarn (talk)
In its "About Us" section it states "Besides adding to its blog network, through its portal, PJM now provides exclusive news and opinion 24/7 in text, video and podcast from correspondents in over forty countries. Pajamas Media also has its own weekly show on XM satellite radio – PJM Political – and syndicates its original material like a news agency." That seems to be more than a "collaborative blog". Jayjg (talk) 03:18, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I fail to see how. Relata refero (talk) 06:11, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Pajamas Media is a right-wing politically extremist organization, and not all that notable. If they have anything worthwhile to say, it will be repeated in mainstream outlets, and we can use those as sources. If something is said only by Pajamas Media and not picked up by anyone else, it's probably either non-notable or inaccurate and should not be included in Wikipedia articles. Although it isn't a blog per se, it is a blog aggregator (see [45], cited in the Wikipedia article) and thus is not a reliable source for anything except information about itself and its own operations. *** Crotalus *** 08:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Right-wing yes, but "extremist" - that's just hyperbole. Pajamas Media appears to be the right-wing counterpart of Common Dreams. Currently Wikipedia links to Common Dreams 1435 times. Admittedly, the majority of these are not actual references in articles, but certainly a significant number are. Until we have a new policy that covers these kinds of sources on both sides of the political spectrum, we're going to have to be a wee bit more even-handed. Jayjg (talk) 02:52, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure how valid that comparison is, given that much of CommonDreams' content is reprints from mainstream sources like the AP. I just randomly opened links from the first 500, and got the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Times, two stories from The Independent, and a transcript of Q&A at the White House with Ari Fleischer. <eleland/talkedits> 03:08, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
We shouldn't be re-publishing original content from Common Dreams either; it is not a reliable source, and for many of the same reasons. We should only cite Common Dreams when they are the only available source for notable content that was published elsewhere. According to their Wikipedia article, Common Dreams "re-publishes syndicated content from Associated Press, columnists such as the late Molly Ivins, and news stories from a number of mainstream mass-market newspapers." If the same reliable material is available freely from a more neutral site, we should use that other site instead. If Common Dreams is the only way to get the content online without charge, then that link is better than nothing and aids in verifying the content of the citation. *** Crotalus *** 04:18, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps a better comparison is to CounterPunch, which is currently linked to over 1000 times on Wikipedia. Jayjg (talk) 03:18, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
PajamasMedia is more than just a collaborative blog. It includes notable media personalities, including names on the left, and it has attracted $3.5 million in venture capital to start with.
If it says "pajamas media reported that...." then it's worth using as a reference. In the example at the top of this section, a link goes to a PajamasMedia article by Nidra Poller, who also writes for National Review, City-Journal, among others. It's definitely not just some blogger without an organization standing behind them.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 04:11, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
That's just the problem. Any right-wing extremist can go to Scaife, Bradley, or Coors for a handout, and suddenly they've got an office, a respectable-sounding think tank name, and an "organization standing behind them." We need to take into account whether we're talking about a genuine movement, or just astroturfing. The Scientologists have tons of money, too, but we don't go around generally citing them as reliable sources just because they have a big and rich organization. *** Crotalus *** 04:23, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
I seriously doubt it. There's clearly money in this. It's a real media business.
Furthermore, it's possible to believe they could fool a lot of people but not David Corn.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 04:27, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually we do treat the Scientologists as reliable sources on issues concerning the Church of Scientology. Though obviously we would not treat them as a reliable source on, say, psychiatry, where their views are so fringey and extreme that citing them would be a clear violation of WP:UNDUE. -- ChrisO (talk) 01:44, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Is there any evidence that this source is considered reliable by recognised reliable sources? Where is its "reputation for fact-checking and accuracy"? If this really is a reliable source, show that they're cited by other reliable sources, and that they have such a reputation with those sources. The issue of money is irrelevant; tabloids often have a large income and are highly profitable, but that doesn't make them a reliable source. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 11:29, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
That's a fair question but I don't think it can be the only criterion. PajamasMedia is still quite small in comparison to the networks. I think a lot of sources considered reliable on WP wouldn't pass that test.
The track records of its contributors is a gauge similar to what you're asking for. If their writers are commonly accepted by other reliable sources, then that says quite a bit.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 19:02, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
It's not really a determining factor. To quote WP:V, reliable sources are defined as "third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." The determining factor is the reputation of the publishers, not the writers. The majority of blogs are unreliable sources, as WP:V acknowledges, because their publishers do not exercise editorial control. Pajamas Media seems to be no exception to that rule. -- ChrisO (talk) 01:11, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Like anything, it depends on the context. Pajamas Media is probably not going to be the most reliable or objective source on most topics. But blogs can be reliable sources about themselves. It is possible that if Pajamas Media had some notable involvement in a subject, then we may want to go and cite Pajamas Media as the original source to ensure accuracy (along with 3rd party sources to show relevance), and in that limited case at least, they would be a reliable source. Dhaluza (talk) 02:14, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
In addition, it's hardly a blog any more. It has a number of editors, correspondents in 48 countries, and syndicates its original content. That doesn't make it the New York Times, but it's considerably more than just a blog. Jayjg (talk) 03:18, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
So does the Huffington Post. They're both still blogs. If a notable individual writes something on PJM, we can quote that person; but a person does not become a notable opinion purely through writing for HP or PJM. Relata refero (talk) 06:09, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I note in the page that Jay helpfully links above, PJM describes itself as a news blog. Relata refero (talk) 06:10, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • "About Pajamas Media: Pajamas Media is a new blogging venture..."
  • Luntz, Frank (2007). Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear. Hyperion. "right-wing bloggers, and a new group of centrist and conservative bloggers led by Roger L. Simon and Charles Johnson named their new blog Pajamas Media"
  • Bruns, Axel (May 2007). "Methodologies for Mapping the Political Blogosphere: An Exploration Using the IssueCrawler Research Tool". First Monday. Chicago. 12 (5)."the usual suspects, U.S. pundit-bloggers Instapundit and Talking Points Memo, as well as the commercial conservative group blog Pajamas Media"
<eleland/talkedits> 06:44, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
"That's a fair question but I don't think it can be the only criterion." - It is the criteria. WP:RS says:
This page in a nutshell: Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.
"I think a lot of sources considered reliable on WP wouldn't pass that test." - Then they aren't really reliable sources, their use in any article should be strongly discouraged, and they should definitely not be cited in any controversial, notable, or BLP articles. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 10:24, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
You've made a big jump from "based on" to "use". While an article based only on Pajamas Media as a source, without 3rd party verification, would probably be deleted; that does not mean we cannot use them as a source in any possible context. Dhaluza (talk) 12:35, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I think your semantic interpretation, in which it would be allowable to use any source in an article, so long as some other reliable sources are also cited, is a much, much larger leap, and one that I doubt you will find much support for. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 12:53, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
You have misinterpreted what I said. I did not say it was allowable to use any source in an article, what I said was that there are some exceptional cases when it would be allowable to use a source like Pajamas Media. People tend to take policy and guideline to their absolute extremes, and we need to remember not to throw common sense out the window. Dhaluza (talk) 00:55, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
the source is being used to state that "pajamas media reported that...." [46]
is it reliable enough for that style of phrasing? JaakobouChalk Talk 18:10, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I strongly doubt it; they don't have any reputation yet for the rigorous fact-checking that goes with investigative journalism. If their claim is picked up by RSes - say the Jerusalem Post, which might well be interested in this instance - then it can be reported as a notable claim. Otherwise I think we are stretching things a little too far. Relata refero (talk) 19:27, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Let's get back to basics here. As WP:RS says, "in a nutshell: Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." The political orientation of the source isn't a criterion, nor is the medium used to publish it, nor is the number of editors nor even the fact that it has editors in the first place. (What do they actually do?) The nutshell statement instead gives five distinct criteria. Let's consider these and how they apply to Pajamas Media, and by extension to any other group blog:

  • Reliability. Some people seem to interpret this as meaning "is it compatible with my ideological outlook?", but it's more useful to think of it as a function of the remainder of the criteria. If a source meets the remaining criteria, I'd consider it reliable.
  • Third-party. Is the source published by the writer or a third party? Blogging platforms such as PM blur this division. The platform may be owned by the third party (PM in this case) but as far as I'm aware, the act of publication is carried out by the writer. I'm not aware of there being any intermediate stage, such as a piece going to an editor for review, before something is published. (Correct me if I'm wrong here.) It seems to be essentially a self-publishing platform for a number of approved contributors.
  • Published. Obviously unpublished sources can't be used, since they're not verifiable. This at least isn't a problem with online sources, though it may be an issue if pieces disappear from the web without being archived in places like
  • Fact-checking and accuracy. This is the key issue. Does the source go through a process of review and checking? Quality publications have a highly structured approach to doing this (see for instance the Detroit Free Press editorial checklist). Blogs generally don't have a process like this. Even newspaper blogs don't operate the same way as the rest of the operation - for instance, the Guardian's "Comment is free" blog editor, Georgina Henry, says: "I won't be doing what I've spent my life as an editor on the paper doing - close copy editing and going back and forth to writers working with them to change their pieces, improve their pieces or think about arguments they haven't thought about. The nature of the blog is that we will have to try and let go a bit and let peple say what they want within the bounds of libel and the constraints of our blogging guidelines." [47] I'd be very surprised indeed if PM was run any differently.
  • Reputation. It's not enough to have a review process - the process also has to work and to be seen to work. If other reliable sources agree that a particular source is reliable and quote from it, we can say that it has a reputation for reliability. Is PM ever quoted by mainstream sources? A look at Google News suggests not.

I'd also like to highlight two other important points mentioned in WP:V: "If the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else is likely to have done so." If a blog is the only source for an assertion of fact, that should raise warning signs. We should never rely on a blog as a sole source. Second, "Questionable sources ... include websites and publications that ... rely heavily on rumors and personal opinions." Most blogs are heavily reliant on personal opinions; they're effectively web-based op-ed columns, and we've always been wary about using op-eds as reliable sources (see e.g. Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/Archive 21#Op-Ed pieces - verifiable sources?).

Given all of these issues, I think it would be advisable to avoid using PM and similar blogs as sources. -- ChrisO (talk) 00:34, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Avoid, yes. Eliminate all possibility, no. Dhaluza (talk) 00:55, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Just so. We shouldn't shut the door on blogs - after all, it's possible that some might meet the criteria - but if we're faced with a choice between a blog and a non-blog RS, we should prefer the non-blog; and if the blog is the only source for a fact, we shouldn't use it. -- ChrisO (talk) 01:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree completely, but this is not a mere blog. To quote:
"PJM now provides exclusive news and opinion 24/7 in text, video and podcast from correspondents in over forty countries. Pajamas Media also has its own weekly show on XM satellite radio – PJM Political – and syndicates its original material like a news agency." [48].
They have a "Supervising Executive Editor", "Supervising Editor" and regional editors with Nidra Poller, the writer of the article in question as the Paris Editor. They even have a 'Director of Business Development' a 'Technical Advisor – Advertising' and an 'Attorney'.
It is my belief that there should be no problem with mentioning a report made by one of their regional editors and reporters as: "pajamas media reported that...." [49]. JaakobouChalk Talk 12:23, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that input, Jaakobou. However, it actually highlights several of the issues that I raised above. There often seems to be a misconception that the status of a publication (newspaper, blog, broadcast or whatever), its output (commentary, original reporting, etc) or its organisation are what counts. Your comments address all three aspects - the fact that PM does original reporting and distributes its material via a number of outlets, and has a number of individuals described as "editors". But these aren't determinative factors. Go back to the nutshell criteria in WP:V: "reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." The criteria are about editorial process and the publication's reputation for applying that process. In the case of PM, it's completely unclear that they have any kind of process for fact-checking and accuracy (what do those "editors" actually do?), and from the lack of reliable third-party use of their reporting it seems unlikely that they have a mainstream reputation as a reliable source. -- ChrisO (talk) 12:37, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I'd appreciate a policy based explanation on what makes for "reputation for fact-checking and accuracy" for the requested phrasing. JaakobouChalk Talk 15:48, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
If "reputation for accuracy" depends on the organization and not the writers and editors, then what you're saying is that no new news organization can be considered a reliable source, no matter who stands behind it.
I would then suggest that we not say "PajamasMedia reported" but say instead the author's name, and see if that name can stand on its own. As I said above, the article we're talking about is by Nidra Poller, who's written for several publications most of us would call reliable.
It seems to me that right-wing sources tend to be challenged here more often than left-wing ones.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 16:55, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
It seems to me that a blog is a blog is a blog, with inherently uncertain fact-checking and accuracy standards, so therefore it should be treated as just a collection of opinions regardless of who's writing what. It's one thing for a reporter to write something for his/her newspaper, where that paper's editorial policies are in force, and a completely different thing if that same reporter is opining on a blog site, where that blog's policies, or lack thereof, are in place. The exception would be if the blog is only being referenced because it has a reprint of a newspaper piece, or news broadcast video that can't be otherwise easily referenced. Another possible exception could be newspaper blogs that have the same editorial policies as the news section in their main newspaper. An example would be the Washington Post, which has this as its editorial policy. The Post also maintains a number of blogs, like this one called The Fix. According to this Washington Post blogging guide, the Post's blogs are suppose to be "All blogs should draw on our principles for Washington Post journalism on the web, including meeting our standards of accuracy and fairness and rules for expressing personal opinions."
Yes, and this appetite for a blanket ban on blogs would also eliminate blogs by journalists, where they report the story behind the story, or include additional details on stories that were cut due to time and space limitations. These are an excellent source to bring additional detail and context into articles. Dhaluza (talk) 01:21, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Dhaluza: The problem is that WP editors will never really know the reason why certain "facts" are deleted from a published newspaper or magazine article. Either the legal department or the editor-in-chief could have conceivably objected to these "facts" for a variety of possible reasons. As WP editors, we'll never know what happened and taking the journalist's word for why these certain "facts" were left out of the article sets a dangerous precedent. My opinion? Any information presented on blogs, unless they represent the opinions of a notable blogger and used in the subject's own WP article, should be taken with a grain of salt and not used to source facts in other WP articles. J Readings (talk) 01:38, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
It perhaps might be worthwhile for Wikipedia to start a "Reliable & Unreliable Sources" project to mark at least the most popular alternative news media outlets like the Washington Post blogs, Common Dreams, Pajamas Media, and so on as being acceptible, unacceptible, acceptible under this circumstances, unacceptible under these circumstances, and such as a guide to Wiki editors unsure about which news outlets can be considered reliable. -BC aka Callmebc (talk) 18:36, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


I'm sure this has come up before but i can't find it. Are bio's on Imdb considered unreliable or self-published? Do they have enough editorial oversight to be included in an article about a living person. --neonwhite user page talk 15:14, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

There has been much debate on the reliability of IMDB. There has been no consensus that it is considered a reliable source, although some assert that it should be. IMDB republish information from anonymous users that is often wrong, and they don't name their sources. According to some editors in previous discussions on Wikipedia, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get such errors corrected. There is a discussion here on user ratings but it branches off into the topic of generally reliability of IMDB for everything else. Also note that the use of IMDB references in biographies has been criticised before eg. here. I have not seen any evidence that IMDB is considered a reliable source by other reliable source and by film industry experts, so in my judgement it isn't one, but if anyone wants to present such evidence and argue that it is, then they're welcome to try. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 11:45, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Basically some items of trivia appeared recently on a imdb profile in the exact wording that unsourced info appears on the wikipedia article which suggests to me that the imdb bios might be using wikipedia articles as a source making it unreliable itself. --neonwhite user page talk 18:25, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Amusing isn't it? The issue of the Wikipedia/IMDB feedback loop has come up before, and was one of the reasons IMDB was discounted as a reliable source. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 10:15, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Islam and domestic violence, Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Bukhari, Aisha and Mohammad, Robert Spencer

Please comment/rule upon the reliability of these sources:

For the material removed through this action.

My personal view is that the first two compel the conclusions underlying the inclusion of the content. An additional and secondary source was requested so I provided the Quran commentary of Robert Spencer, who's a published writer on the subject of Islam and also occasionally engaged as a commentator on that subject by the BBC, CNN, the New York Times and numerous other publications and news sources. (talk) 11:55, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Given that Robert Spencer is not a scolar in the subject his views are basicly no more reliable than any other random person. If notable enough (and avoiding WP:UNDUE) you could use it as a source to his own views. // Liftarn (talk)
The first two are strong reliable sources. And using Spencer as an additional secondary source here seems to be exactly how he should be used, regardless of the POV issues some editors have with him. (And saying he's not a scholar when he's got multiple degrees in the study of religion is awfully silly.) Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 12:13, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
He has one masters degree in religious studies with a thesis about the conversion of an Anglican (John Henry Newman) to Catholicism. So in other words he has no academic credentials as a scholar of Islam, and he certainly has no academic credentials as an expert on Islam and domestic violence. If any reliable authority considers him a "scholar" in this area it would have nothing to do with his degrees. In the realm of silliness Kyaa's suggestion reigns supreme.PelleSmith (talk) 13:13, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I think you're under the mistaken belief that a masters of religious studies only focuses on one religion, it does not. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 13:18, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I am not mistaken at all. I have years of first hand experience in the field of religious studies and ample knowledge of the nature of degrees in the field, at least here in the United States. Even if Spencer's thesis related directly to Islam and domestic violence he would not have academic credentials as an "expert" since he holds only a masters degree. However, the truth is even more bleak since he may have taken a course or two on Islam at most given that his thesis belongs in the History of Christianity or some related field. From his academic credentials it would be correct to claim that he is a scholar of John Henry Newman, and possibly whatever framework within which he undertook his thesis work (although the latter would be a weak claim since masters work is very superficial, and only the thesis work even remotely suggests intensive study of a subject matter). Your suggestion still remains silly and I suggest you stop making it unless you want to keep on pointing to Spencer's lack of academic credentials as an expert on Islam. Also, could you please explain what other degrees he holds in the study of religion as you claimed there were multiple such degrees above? Thanks.PelleSmith (talk) 13:38, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Being needlessly picky much? Thanks. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 13:41, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
So its picky to point out that you're suggestion about his academic qualifications simply doesn't hold water? Or is it picky to ask that you produce evidence of the multiple degrees you claimed he has? I don't find it picky to insist on the truth, particularly when something untrue is being flung around to support a particular perspective over another. Cheers.PelleSmith (talk) 13:50, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The first two sources are primary sources not secondary sources. Spencer was discussed before. Spencer is not an scholar on Islam. He does not publish his works in presses that practice blind peer-reviewing. Having said that spencer is notable as a critic, so his views may be used in criticism of islam article but not in the main space--Be happy!! (talk) 13:25, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and the first two sources were removed. It was only after the Spencer secondary source was added that it was removed. Removing the spencer source would have made sense and discussing that would make sense, removing it all is somewhat less sensible. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 13:30, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
That content dispute position should be addressed at the talk page. --Be happy!! (talk) 13:45, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Remember, there are three ways to think about the word "source": It can refer to the Author (in this case Spencer), it can refer to the specific work by the author (in this case his opinion piece entitled: "Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 4, “Women,” verses 17-34") and it can refer to the medium (a book, a TV show, a website, a blog, etc.). Reliability can be affected by any of the three... Spencer the author is a reliable source for his views... "Blogging the Qur'an" is a reliable source for Spencer's views... but blogs are generally not considered reliable except in specific situations... and the Hot Air blog site is not a reliable source. If he had written the same thing in say the New York Times, or published it in a book, there would be no problem... but a blog posting changes things. Blueboar (talk) 14:14, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
We have discussed Spencer in the past for numerous times. He writes for public not for academic circles. He does not publish his works through academic presses that practice blind peer-reviewing. His essence of scholarship and his agenda has been questioned by several academics. Of course he is a reliable for his own article but not for other articles. If he says something that no respected academic says he should not be used, otherwise that scholar should be used instead of him. --Be happy!! (talk) 14:21, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
WP:V does not require that an expert be published for academic eyes only to be an expert. If it does, please quote exactly where it does so so I may become enlightened. And simply because his viewpoint is challenged by others does not negate the fact that it is reliable and verifiable. IDONTLIKEIT doesn't hold much water, Aminz. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 14:24, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
In contentious issues, we should stick to peer-reviewed product, not just the product of a person who has also published peer-reviewed work. Relata refero (talk) 08:01, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
As Aminz has said, we've discussed this issue of Spencer numerous times already. It's not simply his viewpoint which is challenged by others. It is his very competence in the subject which is challenged. The precise nature of his qualification, as well as the publisher, have all been examined in previous discussions. ITAQALLAH 18:39, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
His competence has been challenged by one scholar whose objectivity is open to doubt. Daniel Pipes has a PhD in medieval Islamic history from Harvard, and has strongly endorsed Spencer's approach. Arrow740 (talk) 09:35, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
And Daniel Pipes' objectivity is not open to doubt? Don't make me laugh. Relata refero (talk) 06:16, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Daniel Pipes now grants credentials too and takes the responsibility of Spencer's works?!! Do you think Pipes has much time reading Spencer's books? According to the Nation, he seems to be pretty busy: "Based in Philadelphia and headed by anti-Arab propagandist Daniel Pipes, Campus Watch unleashed an Internet firestorm in late September, when it posted "dossiers" on eight scholars who have had the audacity to criticize US foreign policy and the Israeli occupation"[50] --Be happy!! (talk) 11:15, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Agreed in spirit. I think that Spencer's views could be considered an expert in the case, but this topic should be easily found elsewhere so we should avoid using his self-published blogging of the material and make an effort to find similar content published by a third party. I can't imagine that Islam is different enough that there aren't "Muslim Book Stores" out there with tomes of experts picking over every stroke of the pen of the Koran. I've suggested that the editors of that page find one of these on the talk page of the article. Kyaa the Catlord (talk) 14:24, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
This is a third party publishing Robert Spencer where he raises on of the first two reports (re domestic violence and Aisha) in his analysis. (talk) 11:26, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
FPM has already been discussed on this page and is considered unacceptable. Relata refero (talk) 06:16, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

All three sources are unreliable. The first two, because they are primary sources. The third one, because up to date, no rationale has been given for his reliability.Bless sins (talk) 11:48, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

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