Notability in Wikipedia

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Notability in Wikipedia

Carcharoth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notability_in_Wikipedia

Discuss. :-)

Carcharoth

Background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:AN#An_article_on_.22Notability.22.3F

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Charles Matthews
Carcharoth wrote:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notability_in_Wikipedia
>  
Rather misses the points that (a) the "sources" metric for notability is
horribly bad, in that "famous for being famous" rates much higher than
"made an obscure medical advance that only saves thousands of lives a
year", unless you work on it, and (b) notability is a really bad concept
for determining inclusion, except that we have no snappy replacement.  
Inclusion is what matters, ultimately.  "Voting on notability" is
obviously evil piled on evil, but somehow the double negative has worked
for us.

Charles


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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Andrew Turvey
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
Forgive my rather circular logic, I know, but the Wikipedia article on "Notability in Wikipedia" can only refer to issues that have been discussed in reliable secondary sources. It comes back to the whole point about verifiability: we can't add something even if we know it to be untrue unless we can find some other reliable person stating it.

Given that restriction, I though it was a rather good article.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Charles Matthews" <[hidden email]>
To: "English Wikipedia" <[hidden email]>
Sent: Monday, 27 April, 2009 14:26:44 GMT +00:00 GMT Britain, Ireland, Portugal
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Notability in Wikipedia

Carcharoth wrote:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notability_in_Wikipedia 
>
Rather misses the points that (a) the "sources" metric for notability is
horribly bad, in that "famous for being famous" rates much higher than
"made an obscure medical advance that only saves thousands of lives a
year", unless you work on it, and (b) notability is a really bad concept
for determining inclusion, except that we have no snappy replacement.
Inclusion is what matters, ultimately. "Voting on notability" is
obviously evil piled on evil, but somehow the double negative has worked
for us.

Charles


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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Oskar Sigvardsson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
On Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 2:57 PM, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notability_in_Wikipedia

*Delete, non-notable, vanity ~~~~

--Oskar

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Mon, 27 Apr 2009, Charles Matthews wrote:

> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notability_in_Wikipedia
> >  
> Rather misses the points that (a) the "sources" metric for notability is
> horribly bad, in that "famous for being famous" rates much higher than
> "made an obscure medical advance that only saves thousands of lives a
> year", unless you work on it, and (b) notability is a really bad concept
> for determining inclusion, except that we have no snappy replacement.  
> Inclusion is what matters, ultimately.  "Voting on notability" is
> obviously evil piled on evil, but somehow the double negative has worked
> for us.

Another point: I've never understood (at least since starting to think about
it) why notability should have anything to do with reliable sources.  It
seems to me that what we really want is *widely used* sources.  If something
receives heavy coverage in an unreliable source, it makes no sense not to
include it.


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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
Now on AfD as "not notable".

I'll expect the trout on my face later.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
Ken Arromdee wrote:

> On Mon, 27 Apr 2009, Charles Matthews wrote:
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notability_in_Wikipedia
>>>  
>> Rather misses the points that (a) the "sources" metric for notability is
>> horribly bad, in that "famous for being famous" rates much higher than
>> "made an obscure medical advance that only saves thousands of lives a
>> year", unless you work on it, and (b) notability is a really bad concept
>> for determining inclusion, except that we have no snappy replacement.  
>> Inclusion is what matters, ultimately.  "Voting on notability" is
>> obviously evil piled on evil, but somehow the double negative has worked
>> for us.
>
> Another point: I've never understood (at least since starting to think about
> it) why notability should have anything to do with reliable sources.  It
> seems to me that what we really want is *widely used* sources.  If something
> receives heavy coverage in an unreliable source, it makes no sense not to
> include it.
>
>
> _______________________________________________

The sourcing issue on notability is silly. It seems to me to be the
brainchild of scientists who want to deny the fact that what's important
  in human life is subjective and cannot be reduced to some arithmetical
formula: sources *n / PI = notability.

To take an obvious example. An article on an 18th church building, which
has been created using a well-researched webpage from the church and
perhaps some mention on the denomination's site, plus one brief mention
on the site of the village in which it is situation, is deleted as "not
notable" because it lacks "multiple third party sources".

Yes, the sources we have are unlikely to be wrong about the
architectural merits, and quite possibly the building will be mentioned
in some other local history books - it is just that this won't google up.

Yet, the subject, as minor as it is has reasonably reliable sourcing and
  a degree of enduring importance. Sure, it isn't very significant, but
such significance as it has will persevere.

Meanwhile anyone who gets 4min of media fame passes the "multiple third
party sources" test and gets included. Despite the fact that their fame
is passing. Oh, the notion that notability isn't temporary is quite absurd.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

geni
2009/4/27 doc <[hidden email]>:

> The sourcing issue on notability is silly. It seems to me to be the
> brainchild of scientists who want to deny the fact that what's important
>  in human life is subjective and cannot be reduced to some arithmetical
> formula: sources *n / PI = notability.
>
> To take an obvious example. An article on an 18th church building, which
> has been created using a well-researched webpage from the church and
> perhaps some mention on the denomination's site, plus one brief mention
> on the site of the village in which it is situation, is deleted as "not
> notable" because it lacks "multiple third party sources".

If an 18th century church has managed to avoid appearing in any of the
books on random bits of village architecture and in any of the local
histories that fill the shelves of libraries it's not very notable. If
a church has managed to exist since the 18th century without being the
subject of even one local news piece it's heading towards impressively
non notable territory. I can see it happening with some of the 60s
built churches (assuming the local newspaper has a ban on printing
anything religion related) but even 19th century would be rather
surprising.

--
geni

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Charles Matthews
geni wrote:

> 2009/4/27 doc <[hidden email]>:
>  
>> The sourcing issue on notability is silly. It seems to me to be the
>> brainchild of scientists who want to deny the fact that what's important
>>  in human life is subjective and cannot be reduced to some arithmetical
>> formula: sources *n / PI = notability.
>>
>> To take an obvious example. An article on an 18th church building, which
>> has been created using a well-researched webpage from the church and
>> perhaps some mention on the denomination's site, plus one brief mention
>> on the site of the village in which it is situation, is deleted as "not
>> notable" because it lacks "multiple third party sources".
>>    
>
> If an 18th century church has managed to avoid appearing in any of the
> books on random bits of village architecture and in any of the local
> histories that fill the shelves of libraries it's not very notable. If
> a church has managed to exist since the 18th century without being the
> subject of even one local news piece it's heading towards impressively
> non notable territory. I can see it happening with some of the 60s
> built churches (assuming the local newspaper has a ban on printing
> anything religion related) but even 19th century would be rather
> surprising.
>
>  
There always are going to be edge cases.  Discussions of the inclusion
business do tend to resolve into people denying that the given case is
an edge case. Nothing much we can do there - an eighteenth century
church would be much more notable in Idaho than in Ipswich anyway.  
Don't tell me such a thing in England wouldn't be in Pevsner, though.

Charles



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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by geni
On Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 7:02 PM, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2009/4/27 doc <[hidden email]>:
>> The sourcing issue on notability is silly. It seems to me to be the
>> brainchild of scientists who want to deny the fact that what's important
>>  in human life is subjective and cannot be reduced to some arithmetical
>> formula: sources *n / PI = notability.
>>
>> To take an obvious example. An article on an 18th church building, which
>> has been created using a well-researched webpage from the church and
>> perhaps some mention on the denomination's site, plus one brief mention
>> on the site of the village in which it is situation, is deleted as "not
>> notable" because it lacks "multiple third party sources".
>
> If an 18th century church has managed to avoid appearing in any of the
> books on random bits of village architecture and in any of the local
> histories that fill the shelves of libraries it's not very notable. If
> a church has managed to exist since the 18th century without being the
> subject of even one local news piece it's heading towards impressively
> non notable territory. I can see it happening with some of the 60s
> built churches (assuming the local newspaper has a ban on printing
> anything religion related) but even 19th century would be rather
> surprising.

You snipped too much:

"Yes, the sources we have are unlikely to be wrong about the
architectural merits, and quite possibly the building will be
mentioned in some other local history books - it is just that this
won't google up."

Doc's saying that people delete based on Google results.

Carcharoth

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:

> 2009/4/27 doc <[hidden email]>:
>> The sourcing issue on notability is silly. It seems to me to be the
>> brainchild of scientists who want to deny the fact that what's important
>>  in human life is subjective and cannot be reduced to some arithmetical
>> formula: sources *n / PI = notability.
>>
>> To take an obvious example. An article on an 18th church building, which
>> has been created using a well-researched webpage from the church and
>> perhaps some mention on the denomination's site, plus one brief mention
>> on the site of the village in which it is situation, is deleted as "not
>> notable" because it lacks "multiple third party sources".
>
> If an 18th century church has managed to avoid appearing in any of the
> books on random bits of village architecture and in any of the local
> histories that fill the shelves of libraries it's not very notable. If
> a church has managed to exist since the 18th century without being the
> subject of even one local news piece it's heading towards impressively
> non notable territory. I can see it happening with some of the 60s
> built churches (assuming the local newspaper has a ban on printing
> anything religion related) but even 19th century would be rather
> surprising.
>

Fine in theory, but doesn't actually work.

Because the 18th century church, unless it is architecturally unique or
historically significant, may well be in print sources, but almost
certainly none that anyone can find during the 5 days in afd. Local
histories for location y, are not generally held by libraries in place z
- even if any afd person bothered to look. Whilst one click on google
will provide "multiple third party sources" for Numpty the
one-hit-wonder for Kentucky.

No, some element of common sense and subjective judgement needs to be
used, as much as the afd objectivists hate it.

Why on earth delete something, when the source is trustworthy, and the
thing obviously has some degree of sustainable significance?

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
In a message dated 4/27/2009 11:27:27 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> "Yes, the sources we have are unlikely to be wrong about the
> architectural merits, and quite possibly the building will be
> mentioned in some other local history books - it is just that this
> won't google up."
>
> Doc's saying that people delete based on Google results.>>

---------------

Google Books changes everything.
If they delete based on Google and fail to search Google Books for items of
historical note then they are acting without a duty of actual research.

I'm not saying that people should delete based on Google results in the
first place.  In fact I am the one who put that note on historical subjects
into the policy in the first place a few years back.  Subjects who are not
necessarily currently talked-up might have been quite the popular rage back in
1920 or 1920 or 1420, and should not be deleted based on current Google
searches.

With Google Books we can now allow the Chair Potato to see that for
themselves.

Will Johnson





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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

David Gerard-2
2009/4/27  <[hidden email]>:

> I'm not saying that people should delete based on Google results in the
> first place.  In fact I am the one who put that note on historical subjects
> into the policy in the first place a few years back.  Subjects who are not
> necessarily currently talked-up might have been quite the popular rage back in
> 1920 or 1920 or 1420, and should not be deleted based on current Google
> searches.


I must say, the blindness of some AFD participants to anything that
happened before 1995 can be more than a little annoying ...


- d.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by WJhonson
[hidden email] wrote:

> In a message dated 4/27/2009 11:27:27 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
> [hidden email] writes:
>
>
>> "Yes, the sources we have are unlikely to be wrong about the
>> architectural merits, and quite possibly the building will be
>> mentioned in some other local history books - it is just that this
>> won't google up."
>>
>> Doc's saying that people delete based on Google results.>>
>
> ---------------
>
> Google Books changes everything.
> If they delete based on Google and fail to search Google Books for items of
> historical note then they are acting without a duty of actual research.
>
> I'm not saying that people should delete based on Google results in the
> first place.  In fact I am the one who put that note on historical subjects
> into the policy in the first place a few years back.  Subjects who are not
> necessarily currently talked-up might have been quite the popular rage back in
> 1920 or 1920 or 1420, and should not be deleted based on current Google
> searches.
>
> With Google Books we can now allow the Chair Potato to see that for
> themselves.
>
> Will Johnson
>
>

Google books is fine, as is google itself.

Neither is a substitute for common sense.

I'll take the subjectivity of human common sense over the arithmetic of
search engines any day.


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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

David Gerard-2
2009/4/27 doc <[hidden email]>:

> Google books is fine, as is google itself.
> Neither is a substitute for common sense.
> I'll take the subjectivity of human common sense over the arithmetic of
> search engines any day.


Certainly. But when someone seems not to be engaging it, it can be
useful to wave the actual book (or a scan), not merely say "there's a
book."


- d.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
In a message dated 4/27/2009 11:47:09 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> Google books is fine, as is google itself.
>
> Neither is a substitute for common sense.>>

---------------

The point being that now we can actually answer a question such as "Was the
7th Duke of Marlborough really anyone special?"  If no book mentions
anything about the person except their place in the descent of the title and a few
vague claims than we can know the answer.  And know it based on some
authority in the field.

A person who was the President of the Turkey Company in 1650 was certainly
important in his day, regardless of whether anyone has heard of him today.  
Google itself, in terms of historic personalities is heavily weighted toward
those who have living descendents as many many many webtrees will cite as
many of their own obscure ancestors as can be identified regardless of
notability.

However those people who did really interesting things in their day, who
failed to create living progeny, get often overlooked in the short term just
because their lives are told in books covered in dust instead of in glowing
praise on some blue-haired web page.

Will Johnson




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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard wrote:

> 2009/4/27 doc <[hidden email]>:
>
>> Google books is fine, as is google itself.
>> Neither is a substitute for common sense.
>> I'll take the subjectivity of human common sense over the arithmetic of
>> search engines any day.
>
>
> Certainly. But when someone seems not to be engaging it, it can be
> useful to wave the actual book (or a scan), not merely say "there's a
> book."
>
>
> - d.


You are missing the point. I should not have to. If we have reasonably
trustworthy information on something that commonsense tells us has some
level of enduring significance, then finding a book should be unnecessary.

Commonsense, where it is more than just one person's view, should be
sufficient.


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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
In a message dated 4/27/2009 12:06:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> You are missing the point. I should not have to. If we have reasonably
> trustworthy information on something that commonsense tells us has some
> level of enduring significance, then finding a book should be unnecessary.>
> >
> --------------------

How can you have "reasonably trustworthy information" without a citation?
Maybe what you mean is, "I have a citation, it's just not on Google Books".
If that's what you mean, than of course you can use it.  You have to show
that the subject is notable, that is still up to the contributor.

Commonsense is notoriously slippery.





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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Doc glasgow
2009/4/27 doc <[hidden email]>:
> David Gerard wrote:
>> 2009/4/27 doc <[hidden email]>:

>>> Google books is fine, as is google itself.
>>> Neither is a substitute for common sense.
>>> I'll take the subjectivity of human common sense over the arithmetic of
>>> search engines any day.

>> Certainly. But when someone seems not to be engaging it, it can be
>> useful to wave the actual book (or a scan), not merely say "there's a
>> book."

> You are missing the point. I should not have to. If we have reasonably
> trustworthy information on something that commonsense tells us has some
> level of enduring significance, then finding a book should be unnecessary.
> Commonsense, where it is more than just one person's view, should be
> sufficient.


I'm not saying you should have to, I quite agree. I just lack faith in
the common sense of 100% of AFD regulars ...


- d.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by WJhonson
[hidden email] wrote:

> In a message dated 4/27/2009 12:06:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> [hidden email] writes:
>
>
>> You are missing the point. I should not have to. If we have reasonably
>> trustworthy information on something that commonsense tells us has some
>> level of enduring significance, then finding a book should be unnecessary.>
>> --------------------
>
> How can you have "reasonably trustworthy information" without a citation?
> Maybe what you mean is, "I have a citation, it's just not on Google Books".
> If that's what you mean, than of course you can use it.  You have to show
> that the subject is notable, that is still up to the contributor.
>
> Commonsense is notoriously slippery.
>
>
>

Human life is slippery and subjective - and encyclopedia that wants to
record and reflect it needs to take that on board.

The initial scenario was an article, created from sources connected with
the subject - sources that common sense tells us are fairly reliable -
yet lacking "multiple third party sources" (or at least ones produced by
  an afd).

To be precise, the case study I had in mind was (and I can't find the
afd - it was some years ago) an old village church. The sources were 1)
a write-up on the church's website giving its history and some
architectural details. 2) A similar page on the local village website.

Now, the chances of those sources lying are fairly low. Yet, because no
one could produce "multiple third party sources" we got people wanting
to delete. There are quite likely to be written sources of local history
- but they may not appear on the internet, in any case we have neutral,
verifiable information of a building which will have some level of
sustainable significance.

Common sense says this is verifiable, neutral and accurate - indeed more
so than the average borderline BLP with 25 hits on googlenews.


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