Expanded Use of Article Feedback Tool

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Expanded Use of Article Feedback Tool

Erik Moeller-4
Hello all,

This is a heads-up that tomorrow, we're planning to deploy the Article
Feedback Tool, which is currently on 3,000 English Wikipedia articles,
to a larger set of 100,000 articles. This initial expansion is
intended to further assess both the value and the performance
characteristics of the feature with an eye to a full deployment. As
always, we may postpone the deployment if we run into unanticipated
production issues.

Some examples of articles that currently have the tool (at the bottom
of the article):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grassroots_lobbying
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_cuisine

The intent of the tool is two-fold:
- to gain aggregate quality assessments of Wikimedia content by
readers and editors;
- to use it as an entry vector for other forms of engagement.

To assess its value in both categories, we've undertaken a significant
amount of qualitative and quantitative research already. You can read
an extensive summary of our work so far here:

http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Article_feedback

The headline summary is that based on the data we've seen so far, we
do believe that user ratings can be a valuable way to predict high and
low quality content in Wikimedia, and we're especially interested in
engaging raters beyond the initial act of assessing an article. We've
seen very good conversion rates on the calls-to-action that follow a
rating which we've trialed so far, suggesting that this could be a
very powerful engagement tool as well.

Beyond our own research and these engagement experiments, our goal is
to make anonymized data from the tool available regularly, and to also
give editors a dashboard tool that they can use to surface trends in
the rating data.

Please use the talk page for comments, questions and suggestions.
We'll also set up an IRC office hour soon to talk more about the tool.

All best,

Erik
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: Expanded Use of Article Feedback Tool

geni
On 9 May 2011 03:57, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello all,
>
> This is a heads-up that tomorrow, we're planning to deploy the Article
> Feedback Tool, which is currently on 3,000 English Wikipedia articles,
> to a larger set of 100,000 articles. This initial expansion is
> intended to further assess both the value and the performance
> characteristics of the feature with an eye to a full deployment. As
> always, we may postpone the deployment if we run into unanticipated
> production issues.
>
> Some examples of articles that currently have the tool (at the bottom
> of the article):
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grassroots_lobbying
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_cuisine
>
> The intent of the tool is two-fold:
> - to gain aggregate quality assessments of Wikimedia content by
> readers and editors;
> - to use it as an entry vector for other forms of engagement.
>
> To assess its value in both categories, we've undertaken a significant
> amount of qualitative and quantitative research already. You can read
> an extensive summary of our work so far here:
>
> http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Article_feedback
>
> The headline summary is that based on the data we've seen so far, we
> do believe that user ratings can be a valuable way to predict high and
> low quality content in Wikimedia, and we're especially interested in
> engaging raters beyond the initial act of assessing an article. We've
> seen very good conversion rates on the calls-to-action that follow a
> rating which we've trialed so far, suggesting that this could be a
> very powerful engagement tool as well.
>
> Beyond our own research and these engagement experiments, our goal is
> to make anonymized data from the tool available regularly, and to also
> give editors a dashboard tool that they can use to surface trends in
> the rating data.
>
> Please use the talk page for comments, questions and suggestions.
> We'll also set up an IRC office hour soon to talk more about the tool.
>
> All best,
>
> Erik


Given that it is still broken in the classic skin how about no.


--
geni

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Re: Expanded Use of Article Feedback Tool

David Gerard-2
On 9 May 2011 04:38, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Given that it is still broken in the classic skin how about no.


I suspect that the remaining users of the classic skin do not
constitute an obvious and overwhelming veto.

I also suspect that anyone that interested in the classic skin is
going to have to submit patches themselves.


- d.

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Re: Expanded Use of Article Feedback Tool

geni
On 9 May 2011 08:19, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 9 May 2011 04:38, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Given that it is still broken in the classic skin how about no.
>
>
> I suspect that the remaining users of the classic skin do not
> constitute an obvious and overwhelming veto.
>
> I also suspect that anyone that interested in the classic skin is
> going to have to submit patches themselves.

I'm sure somewhere in their $20.4 million budget the WMF can afford an
off switch. I'm an editor. I do not need articles served with what is
from my POV a pointless ratings box. If I'm rating an article I'm
using the tried and tested {{NPOV}},{{Wikify}}
and{{ThisArticleHasWorseFactCheckingThanTheRelatedCrackedArticle}}
(Jasper Maskelyne).

That it keeps the classic skin usable should be viewed as a bonus. And
it is a bonus since having editors on a range of skins means that
certain CSS and social engineering attacks don't work as well they
otherwise might. It also mildly increases the chance of wikipedians
using mediawiki markup code in ways that isn't utterly skin dependent
(although strangely we still get a fair number of consecutive links
which works in classic which underlines links but doesn't work so well
in vector which doesn't).


--
geni

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Re: Expanded Use of Article Feedback Tool

K. Peachey-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Mon, May 9, 2011 at 5:19 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I suspect that the remaining users of the classic skin do not
> constitute an obvious and overwhelming veto.
>
> I also suspect that anyone that interested in the classic skin is
> going to have to submit patches themselves.
Since the official [foundation] standard is 1% before they get axed
for web browser support, I believe skin usage should be considered the
same in regards to its supportedness.

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Re: Expanded Use of Article Feedback Tool

David Gerard-2
On 9 May 2011 09:56, K. Peachey <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Mon, May 9, 2011 at 5:19 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> I suspect that the remaining users of the classic skin do not
>> constitute an obvious and overwhelming veto.
>> I also suspect that anyone that interested in the classic skin is
>> going to have to submit patches themselves.

> Since the official [foundation] standard is 1% before they get axed
> for web browser support, I believe skin usage should be considered the
> same in regards to its supportedness.


That's roughly what I said. Functionality in Classic was getting flaky
*years* ago, which is why I moved to Monobook (and am now very happy
with Vector).

Of course, that's no reason to *refuse* patches for little-used skins
or browsers.


- d.

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Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Doc glasgow
I've written a little essay which I think serves to illustrate the dangers
of Wikipedia's tendency to create articles (and particularly BLPs) from a
pastiche of newspaper articles.

See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Otto_Middleton_%28or_why_newspapers_a
re_dubious_sources%29

It may amuse (or it may not)


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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 10 May 2011 17:04, Scott MacDonald <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I've written a little essay which I think serves to illustrate the dangers
> of Wikipedia's tendency to create articles (and particularly BLPs) from a
> pastiche of newspaper articles.
> See
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Otto_Middleton_%28or_why_newspapers_a
> re_dubious_sources%29
> It may amuse (or it may not)


Yep. Anyone who calls a newspaper a "reliable source" in terms other
than comparison to even worse sources has clearly never been written
about by one.

Suggestion: move the explanatory box to the top.


- d.

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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

geni
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 10 May 2011 17:04, Scott MacDonald <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I've written a little essay which I think serves to illustrate the dangers
> of Wikipedia's tendency to create articles (and particularly BLPs) from a
> pastiche of newspaper articles.
>
> See
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Otto_Middleton_%28or_why_newspapers_a
> re_dubious_sources%29
>
> It may amuse (or it may not)
>

No it just provides further evidence you haven't really thought about
the issue.  Firstly lets not forget this is all in reaction to the
[[Pippa Middleton]] article which is based on a wider range of sources
over a longer period of time and who quite clearly exists. In any case
Britain has royal watchers in much the same way it has train spotters
so sourcing is not much of a concern.

Secondly if you think that this is limited to BLPs and newspapers you
are sadly mistaken.

Jasper Maskelyne was a stage magician who served as a perfectly
respectable and competent camouflage officer. After the war he had a
set of ghost written memoirs published which are a mix of wild
exaggerations and plain making stuff up. These stories have make it
into various sources beyond newspapers:

http://www.maskelynemagic.com/Resources/SEND%20IN%20THE%20CLOWNS.pdf

But hey it's not limited to people. There's [[Operation Tyr]]
originally a web hoax about a supposed plan by nazi germany to invade
Liechtenstein. It has since made it's way into Michael Sharpe's 5th
Gebirgsjäger Division: Hitler's mountain warfare specialists.

The story about an dummy airfield being bombed by dummy bombs has also
made it's way into an unreasonable number of sources.

Covered here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Geni/WW2_sourcing_issues

The difference is I'm able to document this without a WP:POINT violation.

--
geni

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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Doc glasgow

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of geni

>Firstly lets not forget this is all in reaction to the
>[[Pippa Middleton]] article which is based on a wider range of sources
>over a longer period of time and who quite clearly exists. In any case
>Britain has royal watchers in much the same way it has train spotters
>so sourcing is not much of a concern.

Existence is not really the point. The point is that reliance on newspaper
sources is incredibly dangerous - even when a wide range is used. For
example, on Pippa Middleton, see my critique of this section, which was a
careless pastiche of terrible newspaper stories. http://tinyurl.com/5s6hoxa

The problem is that our metric for keeping an article is that multiple
sources exist. No one ever seems to consider whether the sources are
adequate for a reliable biography, but once the article exists people need
the need to fill it out, and so they use google to find every passing
mention and make as much of each as they can.

>Secondly if you think that this is limited to BLPs and newspapers you are
sadly mistaken.

Nothing is ever limited to anything. But the use of newspapers to write bios
of celebrities, where no proper biographical sources exist is particularly
pernicious.

>The difference is I'm able to document this without a WP:POINT violation.

Writing an essay to make a point is not a violation of WP:POINT - although
I'll admit creating this as an article at the start was a little silly.

Scott


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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Andreas Kolbe
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
--- On Tue, 10/5/11, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> From: David Gerard <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Otto Middleton (a morality tale)
> To: "English Wikipedia" <[hidden email]>
> Date: Tuesday, 10 May, 2011, 17:11
> On 10 May 2011 17:04, Scott MacDonald
> <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > I've written a little essay which I think serves to
> illustrate the dangers
> > of Wikipedia's tendency to create articles (and
> particularly BLPs) from a
> > pastiche of newspaper articles.
> > See
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Otto_Middleton_%28or_why_newspapers_a
> > re_dubious_sources%29
> > It may amuse (or it may not)
>
>
> Yep. Anyone who calls a newspaper a "reliable source" in
> terms other
> than comparison to even worse sources has clearly never
> been written
> about by one.
>
> Suggestion: move the explanatory box to the top.


A while ago there was a discussion at WP:V talk whether we should
recast the policy's opening sentence:

"The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—
whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been
published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true."

(As usual, the discussion came to nought.) That sentence -- whose
provocative formulation has served Wikipedia well in keeping out original
research -- is a big part of the problem.

A.

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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Andreas Kolbe
--- On Wed, 11/5/11, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> A while ago there was a discussion at WP:V talk whether we
> should
> recast the policy's opening sentence:
>
> "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability,
> not truth—
> whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has
> already been
> published by a reliable source, not whether editors think
> it is true."
>
> (As usual, the discussion came to nought.) That sentence --
> whose
> provocative formulation has served Wikipedia well in
> keeping out original
> research -- is a big part of the problem.
>
> A.


Here is how this can play out in practice. This case has been discussed
for the past few days on Jimbo's talk page.

A tabloid accused a minor TV personality of cheating on his wife:

http://mail-on-sunday.vlex.co.uk/vid/romeo-strolling-aficionado-bewitching-68703787#ixzz1LbDAtzox

Two years later, the Telegraph states that the report was the result of
poison penmanship, and that the originator, who first posted the false claim
on Wikipedia, has since apologised.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/8498981/Mayfair-art-dealer-Mark-Weiss-in-disgrace-after-admitting-poison-pen-campaign-against-rival-Philip-Mould.html

"For two years the subject fought to save his reputation, and his marriage,
as false allegations of infidelity and financial problems were planted in
newspapers and on the internet by an unidentified enemy. ... It began with
alterations to his online Wikipedia entry ... After one Sunday newspaper ran
the story, Mr Mould’s wife Catherine temporarily left him."

What happened in Wikipedia was that the editor trying to remove the spurious
material was accused of conflict of interest, and of removing referenced
material in contravention of WP:COI and WP:V policy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Philip_Mould&diff=prev&oldid=319397169

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Emmahenderson

What should have happened in Wikipedia is that the fact that the subject's
alleged infidelity was only reported in the Daily Mail, well known for its
tabloid journalism and frequent inaccuracies, should have set off an alarm
bell. Rather than being defended on the basis of WP:V, the material should
never have been admitted.

Our much-quoted "verifiability, not truth" mantra is partly to blame here.

As long as we instruct editors, in policy, that --

"The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is *verifiability, not truth*—
whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been
published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true."

we are teaching them a lazy and irresponsible mindset where they no longer
have to think about the merits and real-life consequences of adding a
particular bit of content. They can switch their minds off and simply
respond mechanically:

"It's been published, therefore having the content is good. Anyone
deleting it is a bad person. Even if it's untrue, it doesn't matter, because
my job is simply to ensure that Wikipedia repeats whatever has been published."

Life requires a bit more intelligence.

Given that Wikipedia will come up as a person's first Google hit, and has
a huge echo chamber effect, it's irresponsible to tell editors that truth
does not matter.

The point about OR can be made without denigrating truth, and absolving
ourselves of any editorial responsibility, especially when it comes to
salacious stories about living people's private lives.

A.

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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Mark
In reply to this post by Andreas Kolbe
On 5/11/11 2:40 AM, Andreas Kolbe wrote:

> A while ago there was a discussion at WP:V talk whether we should
> recast the policy's opening sentence:
>
> "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—
> whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been
> published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true."
>
> (As usual, the discussion came to nought.) That sentence -- whose
> provocative formulation has served Wikipedia well in keeping out original
> research -- is a big part of the problem.

I think that sentence serves a good purpose in the *opposite* direction,
though. An opposite common source of Wikipedia-angst is people who have
good first-hand knowledge that something is both true and notable, but
sadly, lack any good sources to back that up. So it's worth emphasizing
up front that our criterion is verifiability as a descriptive matter,
not truth and notability in some sense of absolute truth. So, some
legitimately interesting and important stuff may be excluded, at least
for now, because it hasn't been properly covered in any source we can
cite. We just aren't the right place to do original research on a
person, music group, or historical event that the existing literature
has somehow missed, *even if* it's a grave oversight on the part of the
existing literature. I wrote a bit more about this elsewhere:
http://www.kmjn.org/notes/wikipedia_notability_verifiability.html

But it does get more problematic in the opposite direction, as you say.
I see the motivation there too: there is a sense in which, if something
is being discussed a lot, it becomes something we have to cover just by
virtue of that fact. Meta-notability is also notability, so it would be
absurd imo to claim that [[Natalee Holloway]] shouldn't be covered.
Regardless of your opinion on the merits of her media coverage, she
received such a large amount of it that her disappearance is an
important event in early-21st-century popular culture. Heck, if we
wanted *absolute* and philosophical rather than descriptive notability
standards, I would delete almost every article on a 21st-century noble
family as irrelevant nostalgic garbage (should anybody care who's the
pretender to the French throne?).

As one of the replies to your post notes (sorry, I seem to have
misplaced who it was by), one of the problems is more pragmatic. Perhaps
we *should* cover some such figures, but only in a limited sense. But
once we have an article, there's a slippery slope where everything
tangentially related now can flood in. Perhaps that's what we should
tackle, though. Is it possible to improve our methods of keeping
marginal junk out of an article, while stopping short of entirely
deleting and salting the article?

-Mark


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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Andreas Kolbe
Mark,

I agree that "verifiability, not truth" has done a good job in keeping out
original research of the kind you describe. I just think that the situation
with regard to OR is no longer what it was five years ago -- there has long
been a critical mass of editors who know that Wikipedia is not the right
place to add interesting bits of personal, but unpublished, knowledge.

When I started editing Wikipedia, I had to think long and hard about that
sentence, "verifiability not truth", and I appreciated the insight. I just
think its time has come and gone, and that it does more harm than good now.

A.

--- On Thu, 12/5/11, Mark <[hidden email]> wrote:

> From: Mark <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Otto Middleton (a morality tale)
> To: [hidden email]
> Date: Thursday, 12 May, 2011, 22:15
> On 5/11/11 2:40 AM, Andreas Kolbe
> wrote:
> > A while ago there was a discussion at WP:V talk
> whether we should
> > recast the policy's opening sentence:
> >
> > "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is
> verifiability, not truth—
> > whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia
> has already been
> > published by a reliable source, not whether editors
> think it is true."
> >
> > (As usual, the discussion came to nought.) That
> sentence -- whose
> > provocative formulation has served Wikipedia well in
> keeping out original
> > research -- is a big part of the problem.
>
> I think that sentence serves a good purpose in the
> *opposite* direction,
> though. An opposite common source of Wikipedia-angst is
> people who have
> good first-hand knowledge that something is both true and
> notable, but
> sadly, lack any good sources to back that up. So it's worth
> emphasizing
> up front that our criterion is verifiability as a
> descriptive matter,
> not truth and notability in some sense of absolute truth.
> So, some
> legitimately interesting and important stuff may be
> excluded, at least
> for now, because it hasn't been properly covered in any
> source we can
> cite. We just aren't the right place to do original
> research on a
> person, music group, or historical event that the existing
> literature
> has somehow missed, *even if* it's a grave oversight on the
> part of the
> existing literature. I wrote a bit more about this
> elsewhere:
> http://www.kmjn.org/notes/wikipedia_notability_verifiability.html
>
> But it does get more problematic in the opposite direction,
> as you say.
> I see the motivation there too: there is a sense in which,
> if something
> is being discussed a lot, it becomes something we have to
> cover just by
> virtue of that fact. Meta-notability is also notability, so
> it would be
> absurd imo to claim that [[Natalee Holloway]] shouldn't be
> covered.
> Regardless of your opinion on the merits of her media
> coverage, she
> received such a large amount of it that her disappearance
> is an
> important event in early-21st-century popular culture.
> Heck, if we
> wanted *absolute* and philosophical rather than descriptive
> notability
> standards, I would delete almost every article on a
> 21st-century noble
> family as irrelevant nostalgic garbage (should anybody care
> who's the
> pretender to the French throne?).
>
> As one of the replies to your post notes (sorry, I seem to
> have
> misplaced who it was by), one of the problems is more
> pragmatic. Perhaps
> we *should* cover some such figures, but only in a limited
> sense. But
> once we have an article, there's a slippery slope where
> everything
> tangentially related now can flood in. Perhaps that's what
> we should
> tackle, though. Is it possible to improve our methods of
> keeping
> marginal junk out of an article, while stopping short of
> entirely
> deleting and salting the article?
>
> -Mark
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>

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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Ian Woollard
On 12/05/2011, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Mark,
>
> I agree that "verifiability, not truth" has done a good job in keeping out
> original research of the kind you describe. I just think that the situation
> with regard to OR is no longer what it was five years ago -- there has long
> been a critical mass of editors who know that Wikipedia is not the right
> place to add interesting bits of personal, but unpublished, knowledge.
>
> When I started editing Wikipedia, I had to think long and hard about that
> sentence, "verifiability not truth", and I appreciated the insight. I just
> think its time has come and gone, and that it does more harm than good now.

You see I would argue precisely the opposite; I think we *should* have
an Otto Middleton article where we explain that there was once a
belief that this dog existed, but it has since been disproven, and
link to the various sources.

That way if somebody believed in the dog, and searches for it later,
the Wikipedia article would pop up and set the record straight; even
if the various newspapers had deleted it from their sites out of
embarassment or whatever.

And I think this is part and parcel of verifiability, not truth thing.
It's a *good* idea to include things that are actually *wrong* like
Otto Middleton as it gives us a place to point this out.

> A.

--
-Ian Woollard

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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Doc glasgow


-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Ian Woollard
Sent: 12 May 2011 23:56
To: English Wikipedia
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

>You see I would argue precisely the opposite; I think we *should* have
>an Otto Middleton article where we explain that there was once a
>belief that this dog existed, but it has since been disproven, and
>link to the various sources.

>That way if somebody believed in the dog, and searches for it later,
>the Wikipedia article would pop up and set the record straight; even
>if the various newspapers had deleted it from their sites out of
>embarassment or whatever.

>And I think this is part and parcel of verifiability, not truth thing.
>It's a *good* idea to include things that are actually *wrong* like
>Otto Middleton as it gives us a place to point this out.-Ian Woollard

Ian, you've slightly missed the point of the essay. Of course an article
could be written on "Otto Middleton (the hoax)". Because the story of the
hoax is true and verifiable from multiple "reliable" sources. Indeed, I
argued to keep it as such.

The point is that the story of "Otto the true earring-eating Dog of Kate
Middleton" was also verifiable from multiple reliable sources, despite being
a crock of shit. (Indeed you can find articles published as late as last
week referring to
"Kate's dog Otto" - despite the hoax being identified a year ago).

The points are:
*stories verified from multiple newspaper sources are not always true
*More importantly, the existence of "quality newspapers" reporting a story
means little. Quality newspaper are often simply repeating tabloid claims
under "it is reported" weasel.
*The fact that an article has apparently many sources, does not preclude it
being untrue in substance.
*Many sources != independently reported in many sources

We tend to associate "reliable source" with the quality of the publication.
So "the NYT has it, it must be reliable". We need also to look at the genre
of the story within the publication itself:

*an interview with the subject, even in a tabloid, is likely to be reliable
and even journalistic commentary associated with such is liable to be
reliable, if story have the subject's cooperation.  
*statements by an expert commentator, with a reputation, in a newspaper are
most likely to be reliable
*gossip columns and celebrity stories on page 27 are not. Even if they are
in "quality papers" - they are likely to be written by people filling column
inches with little time for fact checking. Quality papers are so often going
to be using material they've found elsewhere - tabloids, internet, or even
Wikipedia. Watch out for "it is being said" "according to some reports" "I
have been told" - or really anything written by a general journalist who is
not citing a source.

Scott





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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Ian Woollard
In reply to this post by Ian Woollard
On 13/05/2011, Scott MacDonald <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The point is that the story of "Otto the true earring-eating Dog of Kate
> Middleton" was also verifiable from multiple reliable sources, despite being
> a crock of shit. (Indeed you can find articles published as late as last
> week referring to
> "Kate's dog Otto" - despite the hoax being identified a year ago).

We're never going to avoid untrue things being in the Wikipedia.
Sometimes, the sources make mistakes. (And yes, it's much more likely
to be a mistake with The Daily Mail).

But I don't in any way agree that that impacts on verifiability over
truth. We have no way to know the real truth about anything for
certain, but verifiability of sources is at least possible.

That's one part of the Wikipedia that has to remain as bedrock. We
have to build the Wikipedia on rock.

> Scott

--
-Ian Woollard

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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Doc glasgow
Yup.

But my point is celebrity stories in newspapers, if they use unnamed or
unattributable sources, are not reliable and should never amount to
verification.

We might as well source things from random internet blogs and claim: "but
this is verification (it may be true or not, but we don't care about
truth)".

"Verification not truth" must not be a suicide pact and certainly not an
excuse for sloppy publishing of gossip on BLPS.

Scott

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Ian Woollard
Sent: 13 May 2011 01:30
To: English Wikipedia
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

On 13/05/2011, Scott MacDonald <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The point is that the story of "Otto the true earring-eating Dog of Kate
> Middleton" was also verifiable from multiple reliable sources, despite
being
> a crock of shit. (Indeed you can find articles published as late as last
> week referring to
> "Kate's dog Otto" - despite the hoax being identified a year ago).

We're never going to avoid untrue things being in the Wikipedia.
Sometimes, the sources make mistakes. (And yes, it's much more likely
to be a mistake with The Daily Mail).

But I don't in any way agree that that impacts on verifiability over
truth. We have no way to know the real truth about anything for
certain, but verifiability of sources is at least possible.

That's one part of the Wikipedia that has to remain as bedrock. We
have to build the Wikipedia on rock.

> Scott

--
-Ian Woollard

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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Carl (CBM)
In reply to this post by Ian Woollard
On Thu, May 12, 2011 at 8:38 PM, Scott MacDonald
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> But my point is celebrity stories in newspapers, if they use unnamed or
> unattributable sources, are not reliable and should never amount to
> verification.

Unfortunately, the current language of WP:V not only declares that
professional newspapers are unilaterally reliable, they are even
decreed to be secondary sources, which removes some slight limitations
on how the material in newspaper stories could be used.  It seems that
some editors of WP:V actually believe this is the appropriate way to
handle newspaper stories; in any case it is unlikely to change.

> We might as well source things from random internet blogs and claim: "but
> this is verification (it may be true or not, but we don't care about
> truth)".

This is essentially what we already do. Moreover, many editors like
the fact that we cover stories quickly using primary sources (e.g. the
death of Michael Jackson) rather than waiting (for years?) for a
definitive account to be published in secondary sources.

> "Verification not truth" must not be a suicide pact and certainly not an
> excuse for sloppy publishing of gossip on BLPS.

The idea that someone cannot challenge a source fact simply because
they doubt its truth is very useful, though. It reduces many arguments
where editors "know" they are right, when they are really wrong.  If
we can't use sources to judge truth, and we can't use expert knowledge
without sources, what third option remains?

- Carl

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Re: Otto Middleton (a morality tale)

Andreas Kolbe
--- On Fri, 13/5/11, Carl (CBM) <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > "Verification not truth" must not be a suicide pact
> and certainly not an
> > excuse for sloppy publishing of gossip on BLPS.
>
> The idea that someone cannot challenge a source fact simply
> because
> they doubt its truth is very useful, though. It reduces
> many arguments
> where editors "know" they are right, when they are really
> wrong. 

Yes, it's useful, and I suspect that is why there is such resistance to
changing even the "not whether editors think it is true" at WT:V right now,
let alone "verifiability, not truth".

But as useful as it may be in shutting novice editors up: this is not the
job of WP:V policy; it's the job of WP:NPOV and W:OR.

If all mainstream science says that water boils at 100°, and one editor says
he knows it's 98° because he measured it in his kettle, WP:OR and WP:NPOV is
the proper way to address that. Not WP:V.

The job of WP:V is to make sure that assertions in Wikipedia are verifiable;
it's not to ensure that verifiable stuff cannot be deleted.

Scott's argument is that many press reports publish shite, and that as a
result we have lots of shite in our BLPs. My argument is that much of that
shite is defended by editors saying, "A reliable source wrote about it, and
you wanting to delete it violates WP:V, because you see, policy says it does
not matter whether editors believe it is true or not."


> If we can't use sources to judge truth, and we can't use
> expert knowledge
> without sources, what third option remains?


Editorial judgment -- we have to be allowed to judge the reliability of
sources, and the quality of their research. Otherwise we're just
indiscriminate parrots, regurgitating a random mix of knowledge and crap.

A.

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