Roth is an elderly man googling

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Re: Roth is an elderly man googling

Charles Matthews
On 10 September 2012 17:32, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Mon, 10 Sep 2012, Charles Matthews wrote:
>
>> Besides, once he is verified to be himself, he is a reliable source.  The
>>> issue was that he was a primary source and the secondary sources had
>>> preference.
>>>
>> The issue appears to be something different. Roth's biographer wanted the
>> existing secondary sources zapped from the article as simply worthless,
>> and
>> we couldn't accept that. Roth's unpublished view as funnelled through his
>> biographer might have had to have waited until the biography was
>> published,
>> in which case we would have cited it without trouble. Via what appears to
>> be an OTRS mail Roth was given what appears to be the wrong advice,
>> phrased
>> in terms of secondary sources.
>>
>
> Let me get this straight:
>
> He was given the wrong advice about secondary sources...  and it's his
> fault?
>
> This is definitely Wikipedia's problem.  Wikipedia's policy *as practiced*
> failed him, and failed us.
>
>
> I believe he was given somewhat inaccurate advice, and I say this from the
snippet he quoted in the New Yorker; which was not the whole mail, just the
part he decided to quote. The mail as a whole may have been more accurate.

It looks as if there was some mutual incomprehension. If you go to the bank
and ask for a loan, and say "I fully intend to pay it back", the bank may
ask for collateral (on which they can rely), without saying that they don't
believe you.  That is the nuance differentiating "credible" and "reliable",
if you want.

I didn't say that it was Roth's fault that the mail he got apparently gave
excess weight to secondary sources. I'm not in a position to say that it
was the fault of the author of the mail either; and OTRS volunteers run the
risk of blame, often unfairly IMX.

There has been the usual pile-on blaming the community as a whole for a
lack of courtesy. I was contesting that by trying to infer where something
went wrong here, so that we get an accurate case study. The result stands
as perfectly good in encyclopedic terms, as far as I can see.

The furore about daring to doubt an author's word seems to need bringing
down to the actual facts.

"Failed us": I don't agree with that. Adverse publicity based on inaccurate
rendition of the facts is bad reporting. We suffer bad reporting quite
frequently.

Charles
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