Notability in Wikipedia

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In a message dated 4/28/2009 1:15:13 AM Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

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.>>
-------------------------
Yes we are arrogent in assuming that we editors can use judgement.
That is what we're called to do in this project.  Not go willy-nilly  
helter-skelter about, but to use judgement and discernment, to weed out those  
sources that should be used, from those that should not.
---------------------
 
In a message dated 4/28/2009 1:15:13 AM Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

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.>>
--------------------------------------------------------------
I am solely speaking of websites here, but anonymous contributions to  
magazines are also quite suspect.  Without knowing who the speaker is, we  
cannot determine their reliability except by using sources that make it  
unnecessary to use the first party, in the first place.
------------------
 
In a message dated 4/28/2009 1:15:13 AM Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:
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?>>
------------------
 
We do.  The community as a whole.  When in doubt, you ask at  the Reliable
Sources Noticeboard.
 
Will Johnson
 
 
 





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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by WJhonson
2009/4/28  <[hidden email]>:

>
> 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.

No-one is disputing what the policy page says. We can all read. The
dispute is over what policy *should* be. Stating what policy *is* is
not at all helpful.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

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

>  
> In a message dated 4/28/2009 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
>  
>  

Oh, I assure you I can disagree. I can disagree with almost anything.

I disagree that the burden of proof is on the contributing author. The
burden is on those wishing to delete something to achieve a consensus to
delete. What level of "evidence" or "proof" will convince a consensus of
wikipedians is up to the wikipedians participating. I suspect many
people will be satisfied by different things.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Thomas Dalton
2009/4/28 doc <[hidden email]>:
> I disagree that the burden of proof is on the contributing author. The
> burden is on those wishing to delete something to achieve a consensus to
> delete. What level of "evidence" or "proof" will convince a consensus of
> wikipedians is up to the wikipedians participating. I suspect many
> people will be satisfied by different things.

The burden of proof has to be on the author. The person wishing to
delete it would have to prove a negative, which is borderline
impossible (in this case, anyway). How great the burden is is another
question and, as you say, that depends on who is taking part in the
discussion, but there is no choice about who the burden is on.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Doc glasgow
Thomas Dalton wrote:

> 2009/4/28 doc <[hidden email]>:
>> I disagree that the burden of proof is on the contributing author. The
>> burden is on those wishing to delete something to achieve a consensus to
>> delete. What level of "evidence" or "proof" will convince a consensus of
>> wikipedians is up to the wikipedians participating. I suspect many
>> people will be satisfied by different things.
>
> The burden of proof has to be on the author. The person wishing to
> delete it would have to prove a negative, which is borderline
> impossible (in this case, anyway). How great the burden is is another
> question and, as you say, that depends on who is taking part in the
> discussion, but there is no choice about who the burden is on.
>

If that is true, the burden would be on those wishing to retain, rather
than the "author" (which is a concept best left out of wikipedia).

But, as long as a consensus, with good reason, wish to retain, any
burden is discharged.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Ray Saintonge
doc wrote:

> Thomas Dalton wrote:
>  
>> 2009/4/28 doc:
>>    
>>> I disagree that the burden of proof is on the contributing author. The
>>> burden is on those wishing to delete something to achieve a consensus to
>>> delete. What level of "evidence" or "proof" will convince a consensus of
>>> wikipedians is up to the wikipedians participating. I suspect many
>>> people will be satisfied by different things.
>>>      
>> The burden of proof has to be on the author. The person wishing to
>> delete it would have to prove a negative, which is borderline
>> impossible (in this case, anyway). How great the burden is is another
>> question and, as you say, that depends on who is taking part in the
>> discussion, but there is no choice about who the burden is on.
>>    
> If that is true, the burden would be on those wishing to retain, rather
> than the "author" (which is a concept best left out of wikipedia).
>
> But, as long as a consensus, with good reason, wish to retain, any
> burden is discharged.
While it makes sense that a contributor should have a prima facie burden
of showing that his ideas were not pulled out of thin air, this is of
necessity a limited burden.  If someone wants to dispute that the
contributor's source is not reliable, a blanket statement about that
without evidence is an assumption of the contributor's bad faith.


Ec

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Ian Woollard
In reply to this post by Doc glasgow
On 28/04/2009, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:
> But, as long as a consensus, with good reason, wish to retain, any
> burden is discharged.

No.

I'm pretty sure that the principle is that any material that isn't
referenced to a reliable source can be removed at any time,
irrespective of consensus.

--
-Ian Woollard

We live in an imperfectly imperfect world. Life in a perfectly
imperfect world would be *much* better. Life in an imperfectly perfect
world would be pretty ghastly though.

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Gwern Branwen
On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 12:43 PM, Ian Woollard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 28/04/2009, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> But, as long as a consensus, with good reason, wish to retain, any
>> burden is discharged.
>
> No.
>
> I'm pretty sure that the principle is that any material that isn't
> referenced to a reliable source can be removed at any time,
> irrespective of consensus.
>
> --
> -Ian Woollard

One of the favorite credos of Immediatists & WP:DICKs.

But I was a little surprised to see a lone outpost of sanity in WP:V:

"Any material lacking a reliable source may be removed, but editors
might object if you remove material without giving them sufficient
time to provide references, and it has always been good practice, and
expected behavior of Wikipedia editors (in line with our editing
policy), to make reasonable efforts to find sources oneself that
support such material, and cite them."


--
gwern

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by WJhonson
[hidden email] wrote:

> [hidden email] writes:
>
> 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.>>
> -------------------------
> Yes we are arrogent in assuming that we editors can use judgement.
> That is what we're called to do in this project.  Not go willy-nilly  
> helter-skelter about, but to use judgement and discernment, to weed out those  
> sources that should be used, from those that should not.
> ---------------------
>
>  
But you aren't even allowing editors to use judgement when you dictate
what is reliable.  You're substituting your judgement for theirs.


> [hidden email] writes:
>
> 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.>>
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> I am solely speaking of websites here, but anonymous contributions to  
> magazines are also quite suspect.  Without knowing who the speaker is, we  
> cannot determine their reliability except by using sources that make it  
> unnecessary to use the first party, in the first place.
> ------------------
>  

I have no shortage of 19th century periodicals which do not show the
author of articles.  "Chambers's Magazine" was only one such.  I trust
the reader's ability to interpret these sources in a way appropriate to
his needs.

>  
> [hidden email] writes:
>  
> 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?>>
> ------------------
>  
> We do.  The community as a whole.  When in doubt, you ask at  the Reliable
> Sources Noticeboard.
The "Reliable Sources Noticeboard" does not represent the community as a
whole, and the "doubts" there are only raised by those who question a
source.  Like AfD it has its own swarm of fellow travellers, who find it
convenient to concentrate their misery in one place. The normal
contributor is at a disadvantage there because he does not have the
culicid persistance of its regular inhabitants.

A better place to discuss the reliability of a source would be the
article's talk page.

Ec

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
In a message dated 4/28/2009 6:34:21 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> I disagree that the burden of proof is on the contributing author. The
> burden is on those wishing to delete something to achieve a consensus to
> delete.
>>
------------------
That's right, but that isn't what I spoke against.
So you can disagree, but you're not disagreeing with anything I said.

Will




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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
In a message dated 4/28/2009 9:07:27 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> If someone wants to dispute that the
> contributor's source is not reliable, a blanket statement about that
> without evidence is an assumption of the contributor's bad faith.>>
>

------

The issue in this thread is "Notable" not "based on Reliable Sources"

Will





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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
In a message dated 4/28/2009 10:14:47 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> But you aren't even allowing editors to use judgement when you dictate
> what is reliable.  You're substituting your judgement for theirs.>>

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

By "you" and "you're" are you referring to me myself?
If not, then to what do you refer.
If so, then please point out where I have stated that I am a dictator.

Will




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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by WJhonson
[hidden email] wrote:

> [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.


One fact is that local histories are seldom written by people who live
far away from the community in question.  Most are indeed written by
amateurs, and they often draw unsophisticated and unwarranted
conclusions. I've seen awful work done by professionals too, so I'm not
about to abandon my judgement when I see academic or professional titles
attached to somebody's name.

Reliability depends just as much on context as anything else.

Ec

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by Ray Saintonge
On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 6:13 PM, Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:

<snip>

> The "Reliable Sources Noticeboard" does not represent the community as a
> whole, and the "doubts" there are only raised by those who question a
> source.  Like AfD it has its own swarm of fellow travellers, who find it
> convenient to concentrate their misery in one place. The normal
> contributor is at a disadvantage there because he does not have the
> culicid persistance of its regular inhabitants.
>
> A better place to discuss the reliability of a source would be the
> article's talk page.

The debate over whether some discussions are better held at a
centralised,  specialised venue, or on the article talk page, is a
long one. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.
It would be good to have a discussion here about that.

Carcharoth

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Bill Carter
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
Notability in Wikipedia is a joke, as is NPOV. Need I remind you about the article about Alan Cabal that is waiting to reach mainspace?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:MichaelQSchmidt/sandbox_The_unloved_article

There is a Squidoo lens about Alan Cabal that establishes his notability beyond a doubt:

http://www.squidoo.com/Alan-Cabal

Best,
Bill



________________________________
From: David Gerard <[hidden email]>
To: English Wikipedia <[hidden email]>
Sent: Monday, April 27, 2009 1:42:01 PM
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Notability in Wikipedia

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

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
In a message dated 4/28/2009 12:23:46 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> I've seen awful work done by professionals too, so I'm not
> about to abandon my judgement when I see academic or professional titles
> attached to somebody's name.>>
>

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

I agree that credentials don't necessarily make something a reliable
source.  Our standard is that the author must have been previously published by a
third-party, known for doing fact-checking.  Or something close to that
paraphrase.

Will




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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
In a message dated 4/28/2009 12:50:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
[hidden email] writes:


> The debate over whether some discussions are better held at a
> centralised,  specialised venue, or on the article talk page, is a
> long one. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.
> It would be good to have a discussion here about that.>>

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

What I find is that in many cases they do start on the Talk page, and
migrate to the RSN based on a few factors.

Firstly the "no one is here" factor.  Some pages have very light traffic
and it could be months before anyone responds to a comment on say, "Berengaria
of Navarre" as to whether "Runciman really is reliable for early Spanish
kingdoms?"

Secondly the "I don't like it" factor where either justifiably or not, the
source you're trying to bring, or discredit, is discredited or brought, by a
strong counter-voice and you want more weight on your side.

Will




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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by WJhonson
[hidden email] wrote:

> [hidden email] writes:
>  
>> But you aren't even allowing editors to use judgement when you dictate
>> what is reliable.  You're substituting your judgement for theirs.>>
>>    
> --------------
> By "you" and "you're" are you referring to me myself?
> If not, then to what do you refer.
> If so, then please point out where I have stated that I am a dictator.
>
>  

It's good to see that sophistry is alive and well.

I'm sure that my comments were consistent with the statement to which I
was replying, and which you conveniently omitted.  In all probability,
my use of "you" might very well have been equivalent to the more
stylistically awkward and Victorian use of "one".

I can assure you that I do not waste my time in an orgy of deletionist
fervour viewing or analyzing your edits .  If indeed you personally
behave as you previously described, and were not merely tacking across
tendentious winds, only your own confession would brand you a dictator.

Ec

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by WJhonson
[hidden email] wrote:

> [hidden email] writes:
>  
>> I've seen awful work done by professionals too, so I'm not
>> about to abandon my judgement when I see academic or professional titles
>> attached to somebody's name.>>
>>    
> ------------------------
> I agree that credentials don't necessarily make something a reliable
> source.  Our standard is that the author must have been previously published by a
> third-party, known for doing fact-checking.  Or something close to that
> paraphrase.
>
>  

We mostly don't know, and mostly have no way of knowing, whether the
publishers of 19th century magazines checked their facts.  "Gentleman's
Magazine" (published 1731-1907) was highly regarded for the information
it provided, but I have no way to measure the amount of fact-checking
that it did.

Ec

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Re: Notability in Wikipedia

Ian Woollard
In reply to this post by Gwern Branwen
On 28/04/2009, Gwern Branwen <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 12:43 PM, Ian Woollard <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>> On 28/04/2009, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> But, as long as a consensus, with good reason, wish to retain, any
>>> burden is discharged.
>>
>> No.
>>
>> I'm pretty sure that the principle is that any material that isn't
>> referenced to a reliable source can be removed at any time,
>> irrespective of consensus.
>>
>> --
>> -Ian Woollard

> But I was a little surprised to see a lone outpost of sanity in WP:V:
>
> "Any material lacking a reliable source may be removed, but editors
> might object if you remove material without giving them sufficient
> time to provide references, and it has always been good practice, and
> expected behavior of Wikipedia editors (in line with our editing
> policy), to make reasonable efforts to find sources oneself that
> support such material, and cite them."

Yes, and after I've spent 1.5 seconds with google failing to find it,
then the material is gone.

This thing about:

>>> But, as long as a consensus, with good reason, wish to retain, any
>>> burden is discharged.

Is simply a lot of crap; the material has to have a reference or two
or it can go at any time. And that's the bottom line.

This may sound harsh, but it's the only thing that stops people adding OR.

And you might argue that certain things are 'common sense' but I've
spent significant fractions of my time on wikipedia talk pages
laboriously listing multiple sources *in addition* to the reliable
sources in the article to prevent people from replacing referenced
facts with "common sense"... that was actually completely incorrect
and unreferenced. I've had people explain to me that they have
first-hand experience of things... and still get it completely and
utterly wrong.

Bottom line: this is not negotiable.

> --
> gwern

--
-Ian Woollard

We live in an imperfectly imperfect world. Life in a perfectly
imperfect world would be *much* better. Life in an imperfectly perfect
world would be pretty ghastly though.

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