Notability in Wikipedia

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

David Goodman
The question isn't whether the material is verifiable. The question is
whether we want to include articles on all village churches, some of
them, or none of them.  The current answer is we include all of them
that are on official historical monument lists--which makes sense--
and also those that happen to have 2 findable references with
substantial coverage from  third party independent published reliable
sources--which is not necessarily based on anything fundamental, but
does offer a rough screen. The screen will use its usefulness when
Google Books Search gets all of published local history on record.

I mention that information from churches and schools and similar
institutions about their earlier history is not always reliable: they
tend to claim a long connection with prior institutions that may or
may not be correct, and a connection with notable bodies or
organizations that may or may not have been real.



David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DGG



On Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 4:00 PM, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:

> [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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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
In a message dated 4/27/2009 1:01:28 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> 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.>>

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

It is very likely that these webpages are the same as "fan" pages.  Created
by one person, "local historian" or not, and therefore not to be considered
a reliable source.

We do not credit webpages created by person who have not been previously
published in a reliable third-party source.  That's been the policy for a long
time now.  We carefully honed it to that point.  So you will have to show
who is the actual author, since "the village" isn't an author.  And will have
to show, if challenged, that this is not a personal website, masquerading
as an authority on the village history.

Will Johnson




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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by David Goodman
David Goodman wrote:

> The question isn't whether the material is verifiable. The question is
> whether we want to include articles on all village churches, some of
> them, or none of them.  The current answer is we include all of them
> that are on official historical monument lists--which makes sense--
> and also those that happen to have 2 findable references with
> substantial coverage from  third party independent published reliable
> sources--which is not necessarily based on anything fundamental, but
> does offer a rough screen. The screen will use its usefulness when
> Google Books Search gets all of published local history on record.
>
> I mention that information from churches and schools and similar
> institutions about their earlier history is not always reliable: they
> tend to claim a long connection with prior institutions that may or
> may not be correct, and a connection with notable bodies or
> organizations that may or may not have been real.
>
>
>

Fair points.

However, my problem with our "multiple third party sources" algorithm
goes further. It distorts content very badly. Not only does it prejudice
the pre-1995 subjects, as has often been said. It tends mean that the
thresholds for the inclusion of "human interest," and "are passing
newsworthy" subjects are a good deal lower than on places, buildings,
and more "solid" subjects. Because news media feature more on living
persons than they do on other subjects. Sure, an 18th century church
might get a feature in some local paper on a significant anniversary (if
it has had an anniversary since 1995!) - but that local paper is far
more likely to write about Joe, who did something kinky with a kid, or
who founded his own business. And the story on Joe is far more likely to
be picked up by other media - giving you your multiple sources. And even
if Joe's business went bust just after 1997, in 50 year's time, he'll
still have "multiple third party sources" whilst St. Anne's Church (est
1791) may still be waiting for its anniversary write-up.

And when you stop and think about it, which articles are the one's that
give us the maintenance headache? If we allow St. Anne's, we are far
more likely to have content that will remain NPOV and verifiable, whilst
  Joe's article will be subject to his disgruntled attacking him. And,
as much as "potential for harm" is disliked as a criterion, we know
where the problems lie.

We'd do much better, if we didn't apply the same metric of "multiple
third party sources" to all subjects. If we really were serious about
maintainability, posterity, and systemic bias, we'd demand much much
higher standards for the post-1995, popular culture and the BLP, and
we'd drop to bare verifiability for other subjects.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not suggesting we relax verifiability. But
asking "is it reasonable to rely on this source for this information?"
should be the metric. A church website, if it is obviously aimed at PR
and full of blurb,  should have claims of membership and influence taken
with a pinch of salt. However, a page on a small church which narrates
that it was built in 1791, built of sandstone, and has a clock tower of
gothic style dating from 1806 built by village subscription to celebrate
Trafalgar, and that six generations of the family of the Lord of Boggle,
is hardly likely to be lying. And if the same information can be
verified for the website of the county historical society, then common
sense says we have enough.

Can there be some common sense between inclusionism and deletionism?


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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Ken Arromdee
On Mon, 27 Apr 2009, doc wrote:
> Can there be some common sense between inclusionism and deletionism?

As I've said before, common sense doesn't win out, because Wikipedia is set
up such that when one side thinks common sense should be followed, and the
other side has rules behind them, the rule always wins.


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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
 
In a message dated 4/27/2009 1:54:11 PM Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

A church  website, if it is obviously aimed at PR
and full of blurb,  should  have claims of membership and influence taken
with a pinch of salt.  However, a page on a small church which narrates
that it was built in  1791, built of sandstone, and has a clock tower of
gothic style dating  from 1806 built by village subscription to celebrate
Trafalgar, and that  six generations of the family of the Lord of Boggle,
is hardly likely to  be lying. And if the same information can be
verified for the website of  the county historical society, then common
sense says we have  enough.>>


------------------
 
Historical Society websites are not reliable sources.
For the most part they consist of segments written by amateur historians  
and amateur genealogists.
 
I started the Local History Project, and not even I would consider a site  
like that reliable and citable.
 
IF one of those authors has been previously published by a third-party  
publisher (who does fact-checking), then it might be considered a reliable  
source.  But not until then.
 
Will Johnson
 
 
 
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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
 
In a message dated 4/27/2009 3:24:07 PM Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

As I've  said before, common sense doesn't win out, because Wikipedia is set
up such  that when one side thinks common sense should be followed, and the
other  side has rules behind them, the rule always  wins.>>


-----------------
 
"Common" sense is not "common", when one sides thinks it's not  "sense".
 
One side of the argument doesn't get a pass on what common sense is, or  
isn't.  If the consensus doesn't agree, then it isn't common sense.   It's
uncommon perhaps, or it's nonsense ;)
 
Will
 
 
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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow

> -----------------
>  
> "Common" sense is not "common", when one sides thinks it's not  "sense".
>  
> One side of the argument doesn't get a pass on what common sense is, or  
> isn't.  If the consensus doesn't agree, then it isn't common sense.   It's
> uncommon perhaps, or it's nonsense ;)
>  
> Will
>  

Which is fine, is the argument is between 5 people who think x is common
sense, and 5 people who think y is. Then sense is not common, and there
is no consensus.

However, if 9 out of 10 people agree something is common sense, then
common sense it is. If 5 of these 9 say "I agree it is common sense, but
common sense should be ignored in favour of applying rule c, because
common sense is not policy".  Then the correct response is to get one's
cluestick out and hit the idiots really hard.

If we can agree something is the sensible thing to do, then we do it.
That's what IAR is all about, and why "multiple third-party sources" may
be a good rule of thumb, but, like most rules, must never become Holy
Writ. (See WP:IAR).

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
 
In a message dated 4/27/2009 3:40:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

If we  can agree something is the sensible thing to do, then we do it.
That's  what IAR is all about, and why "multiple third-party sources" may
be a  good rule of thumb, but, like most rules, must never become Holy
Writ.  (See WP:IAR).>>


-------------------------
 
So we let creep in such chestnuts as "King Arthur is the ancestor of the  
present Queen Elizabeth" because this is repeated on 12 websites of "local  
genealogy" societies.
 
If there is some specific case about which you're on, maybe you might bring
 it up directly.  Otherwise the proper place to thrash it out would be on  
the Reliable Sources discussion board maybe.
 
For the examples given so far however, I'm just not seeing it.  If  some
architectural marvel is so marvelous, then it would be written up, outside  of
some amateur enthusiast's web page.
 
Will Johnson
 
 
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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Thomas Dalton
2009/4/27  <[hidden email]>:

>
> In a message dated 4/27/2009 3:40:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> [hidden email] writes:
>
> If we  can agree something is the sensible thing to do, then we do it.
> That's  what IAR is all about, and why "multiple third-party sources" may
> be a  good rule of thumb, but, like most rules, must never become Holy
> Writ.  (See WP:IAR).>>
>
>
> -------------------------
>
> So we let creep in such chestnuts as "King Arthur is the ancestor of the
> present Queen Elizabeth" because this is repeated on 12 websites of "local
> genealogy" societies.

That's completely unrelated. Using a source to establish notability is
very different to using that source to establish facts. That King
Arthur is mentioned on 12 local genealogy society websites might well
be enough for him to be notable, but some other source would need to
be used for actually writing the article. There is no reason to take
reliability of sources into account when determining notability, just
that the sources exist. This is the point Ken was trying to make near
the beginning of this thread.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
 
In a message dated 4/27/2009 4:14:20 PM Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

There is  no reason to take
reliability of sources into account when determining  notability, just
that the sources exist. This is the point Ken was trying  to make near
the beginning of this thread.>>


--------------------------------
Notability can only be determined from reliable sources.
Websites of local genealogists and local historians are not reliable simply
 because they exist.
 
That's the point I'm making. "Official" or not, we have to judge their  
reliability based on their own particular authorial prominence.  This is  
especially true of websites which do not even name the authors of a piece.   That
is a very suspect activity in my view.
 
Once we can establish that a website does actually speak not only *with*  
authority, but *from* authority, then we could move on to determine if it's  
meets the other criteria to be considered reliable.
 
Again, that 12 websites mention a purported fact, does not in and of  
itself, make that fact notable.  It is only notable when the mentions  themselves
are hosted in reliable sources.  We discount mentions which are  not hosted
in reliable sources.
 
Will Johnson
 
 
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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Thomas Dalton
2009/4/28  <[hidden email]>:

>
> In a message dated 4/27/2009 4:14:20 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> [hidden email] writes:
>
> There is  no reason to take
> reliability of sources into account when determining  notability, just
> that the sources exist. This is the point Ken was trying  to make near
> the beginning of this thread.>>
>
>
> --------------------------------
> Notability can only be determined from reliable sources.

That's the point we are disputing, you can't use it as a premise for
your argument...

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Thomas Dalton wrote:

> 2009/4/27  <[hidden email]>:
>> In a message dated 4/27/2009 3:40:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
>> [hidden email] writes:
>>
>> If we  can agree something is the sensible thing to do, then we do it.
>> That's  what IAR is all about, and why "multiple third-party sources" may
>> be a  good rule of thumb, but, like most rules, must never become Holy
>> Writ.  (See WP:IAR).>>
>>
>>
>> -------------------------
>>
>> So we let creep in such chestnuts as "King Arthur is the ancestor of the
>> present Queen Elizabeth" because this is repeated on 12 websites of "local
>> genealogy" societies.
>
> That's completely unrelated. Using a source to establish notability is
> very different to using that source to establish facts. That King
> Arthur is mentioned on 12 local genealogy society websites might well
> be enough for him to be notable, but some other source would need to
> be used for actually writing the article. There is no reason to take
> reliability of sources into account when determining notability, just
> that the sources exist. This is the point Ken was trying to make near
> the beginning of this thread.
>

No. That's worse. The reliability of the site is precisely the point.
Lot's of popular culture stuff will be discussed over multiple sites,
but may have little verifiable substance (see e.g. internet rumours of
Richard Gere and his hamster). Where if my exampled 18th Cent village
church does have an internet presence it may be limitted -  but if it
has concrete reliability that should be enough.

Let me give an example:
Barry Mill (for which we have no article) is a working watermill
It is on the National Trust's website (but that's not a third party
source, because they own it)
http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/10/

Now, it does actually appear on other websites,
http://www.geo.ed.ac.uk/scotgaz/features/featurefirst111.html

However, even if it did not, I'd say that the National Trust's website
alone is a sufficiently reliable source to verify existence and content.
And the information given on the NTS site is sufficient to convince any
reasonable party that this property is notable enough to merit
inclusion, regardless of whatever other web presence it might have.

Now, there are fairly likely also to be mentions of this in written
sources - but it is equally the case that no-one may locate them during
a 5-7 day afd.






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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
 
In a message dated 4/27/2009 4:27:02 PM Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

That's  the point we are disputing, you can't use it as a premise for
your  argument...>>


----------------------
I know you are disputing it.  I'm stating that it's a given.
It underlies our policy that we only consider reliable sources.
Sources which are not reliable sources, do not count as anything, anywhere  
in the project.
They don't count to determine notability, they don't count to determine  
extent of coverage, they simply don't count.
 
That's my opinion of what our policy states.
 
Will
 
 
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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
 
In a message dated 4/27/2009 4:39:24 PM Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

Now,  there are fairly likely also to be mentions of this in written
sources -  but it is equally the case that no-one may locate them during
a 5-7 day  afd.>>



----------------------------
I'm not convinced that a property's mere existence on the National Trust  
website makes it "notable".  We have many cases where things are mentioned  
in this or that place and yet that thing is not "notable" the way we use the  
word.  It would be up to the author to explain why this particular property
 is notable if any AfD were brought.
 
On a second note.  With
_http://books.google.com/books?oe=UTF-8&um=1&ei=v0v2SbnOH6DmsAOC6szcAQ&ct=pr
operty-revision&cd=1&q=the&btnG=Search+Books_
(http://books.google.com/books?oe=UTF-8&um=1&ei=v0v2SbnOH6DmsAOC6szcAQ&ct=property-revision&cd=1&q=the&btn
G=Search+Books)
 
over six *million* books now scanned, I think it's a much harder cry to  
claim that some thing *not citable in Google Books* is yet still notable.
 
I think six million books probably covers almost all territory that we want
 to cover this decade.  I'd have to be convinced as to why a person or  
thing, which cannot be found there, is notable.
 
Will Johnson
 
 
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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow
[hidden email] wrote:
  I'd have to be convinced as to why a person or
> thing, which cannot be found there, is notable.
>  
> Will Johnson
>  

Fine.

As long as you are willing to listen to any argument that something is
significant, and aren't going to spout some arithmetical google mantra
to replace having that discussion.

The lack of entry in google books may well be indicitive, but it is not
conclusive.

If you remain open to "being convinced" then we are not disagreeing.


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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by WJhonson
[hidden email] wrote:
> I'm not convinced that a property's mere existence on the National Trust  
> website makes it "notable".  We have many cases where things are mentioned  
> in this or that place and yet that thing is not "notable" the way we use the  
> word.  It would be up to the author to explain why this particular property
>  is notable if any AfD were brought.
>  

Why would it be listed in the National Trust if it's not notable.  Your
use of the royal "we" is not sufficient for projecting your
idiosyncratic view of "notable" on the rest of us.  Requiring the author
to explain why a property is notable makes it easier to have shifting
goalposts for notability to satisfy the AfD denizens.
>  
> With over six *million* books now scanned, I think it's a much harder cry to  
> claim that some thing *not citable in Google Books* is yet still notable.
>  
> I think six million books probably covers almost all territory that we want
>  to cover this decade.  I'd have to be convinced as to why a person or  
> thing, which cannot be found there, is notable.
>  
That speaks to a very narrow outlook on notability.  I'm sure that there
is much which they have not yet scanned.  I am a little more
discriminating than to believe yhat the two O's in Google's logo are two
moons to be kissed.

Ec

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
 
In a message dated 4/28/2009 12:30:58 AM Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

Requiring the author
to explain why a property is notable makes it  easier to have shifting
goalposts for notability to satisfy the AfD  denizens.>>



-------------
 
We have always placed the burden of proof-of-notability on the contributing
 author, not on the rest of the AfD posters.  That's been true across each  
AfD for notability that I've seen.  I doubt it's going to change.  I  did
not create that, it's just the way it is.
 
Will Johnson
 
 
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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow
[hidden email] wrote:

>  
> In a message dated 4/28/2009 12:30:58 AM Pacific Daylight Time,  
> [hidden email] writes:
>
> Requiring the author
> to explain why a property is notable makes it  easier to have shifting
> goalposts for notability to satisfy the AfD  denizens.>>
>
>
>
> -------------
>  
> We have always placed the burden of proof-of-notability on the contributing
>  author, not on the rest of the AfD posters.  That's been true across each  
> AfD for notability that I've seen.  I doubt it's going to change.  I  did
> not create that, it's just the way it is.
>  
> Will Johnson

I disagree. To delete requires a consensus to delete. That is, a
consensus of people believe the article has no place on wikipedia.

There are still some of us who remember that [[WP:N]] and other
notability guidelines are only guidelines for a reason, they indicate
how debates have tended to go in the past, they don't determine them, or
legislate them.

For myself, I look at the merits of the article, and use common sense.
Actually, I NEVER read notability guidelines.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by WJhonson
[hidden email] wrote:
> Notability can only be determined from reliable sources.
> Websites of local genealogists and local historians are not reliable simply
>  because they exist.
>  

They're not unreliable either.  I prefer to site my sources as precisely
as possible, and trust the reader to decide the reliability of those
sources for himself.  Dictating to a reader that only our preferred
sources are reliable is outright arrogance.

> That's the point I'm making. "Official" or not, we have to judge their  
> reliability based on their own particular authorial prominence.  This is  
> especially true of websites which do not even name the authors of a piece.   That
> is a very suspect activity in my view.
>  

Why narrow the discussion to websites?  The same arguments on both sites
can be applied to printed material. What do you mean by "authorial
prominence"?  Failure to name the authors is not fatal.  Pseudonymous
and anonymous articles are very common in magazines throughout the lat
three centuries.  That is not sufficient reason to jump to the
conclusion that they are unreliable.

> Once we can establish that a website does actually speak not only *with*  
> authority, but *from* authority, then we could move on to determine if it's  
> meets the other criteria to be considered reliable.
>  

Speaking from authority imposes a logical fallacy.
> Again, that 12 websites mention a purported fact, does not in and of  
> itself, make that fact notable.  It is only notable when the mentions  themselves
> are hosted in reliable sources.  We discount mentions which are  not hosted
> in reliable sources.
>  

Of course notability is not a matter of numbers.  The obsession of
gutter journalist Nancy Grace on CNN with the child murder of Caley
Anthony and the reporting of such events by other programs does not make
that child notable.  Who determines when a source is reliable?

Ec

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
 
In a message dated 4/28/2009 1:15:09 AM Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

> We  have always placed the burden of proof-of-notability on the
contributing  
>  author, not on the rest of the AfD posters.  That's been  true across
each  
> AfD for notability that I've seen.  I  doubt it's going to change.  I  
did
> not create that, it's  just the way it is.
>  
> Will Johnson

I disagree. To  delete requires a consensus to delete. That is, a
consensus of people  believe the article has no place on wikipedia.>>


-----------------
You can't disagree, because I never said what you are disagreeing to.
Read what I said more clearly and you will see that I'm not speaking about  
a consensus, nor a lack of consensus.  I'm not talking about deletion, nor  
keeping.  I'm speaking of *who* has the burden of proof to show  
"notability", or the lack of notability.  The author? Or everyone  else?  We've always
recognized that it's the contributing author who has  that burden-of-proof.
 
Will Johnson
 
 
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