The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia (from the Chronicle) + some citation discussions

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Re: The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia (from the Chronicle) + some citation discussions

Sarah-128
On Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 3:53 PM, Achal Prabhala <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Thank you Tom, and Sarah, for your very helpful explanations - they are
> extremely useful.
>
> There's a discussion on at the reliable sources notice board, for instance,
> which highlights some of the interpretive problems you raise:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard#Oral_Citations
>
> Can I ask you how you would analyse the work of the oral citations project
> (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Oral_Citations) in terms of our
> policies on original research, and verifiability?

Hi Achal,

It's difficult to give an off-the-cuff reply to this, because there
are so many variables. But audio interviews published only by Wikinews
have already been used as sources on Wikipedia. For example, I added a
David Shankbone interview with Ingrid Newkirk to her bio.
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ingrid_Newkirk&oldid=473905868#Early_life

And I have used that interview as a source for at least two other
articles that discussed Newkirk's views.

It's a primary source, but it's unproblematic, in terms of NOR,
because it's clearly Ingrid Newkirk (not an imposter), and she isn't
saying anything controversial (e.g. nothing defamatory or factually
contentious). And I wasn't using it in an interpretive way, but purely
descriptively. The only prohibition regarding primary sources is when
they are used interpretively, as though they are secondary sources --
that's where you get into NOR territory.

In terms of the Verifiability policy, that interview might count as
self-published or unpublished, I don't know. But remember -- that
policy requires reliable published sources for material that is
(reasonably) challenged or likely to be challenged. It would be
entirely contrary to the spirit of that policy to object to Ingrid
Newkirk talking about herself non-contentiously in the article about
her. That is, it would not be a reasonable challenge.

So, to answer your question more usefully perhaps, I do not see the
introduction of oral citations into Wikipedia as a major upheaval (so
long as they are recorded in some way and used appropriately), in
terms of the existing policies. And I think they would liven up our
articles considerably if done well.

Sarah

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Re: The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia (from the Chronicle) + some citation discussions

Achal Prabhala-2


On Thursday 23 February 2012 12:58 AM, Sarah wrote:

> On Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 3:53 PM, Achal Prabhala<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>> Thank you Tom, and Sarah, for your very helpful explanations - they are
>> extremely useful.
>>
>> There's a discussion on at the reliable sources notice board, for instance,
>> which highlights some of the interpretive problems you raise:
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard#Oral_Citations
>>
>> Can I ask you how you would analyse the work of the oral citations project
>> (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Oral_Citations) in terms of our
>> policies on original research, and verifiability?
> Hi Achal,
>
> It's difficult to give an off-the-cuff reply to this, because there
> are so many variables. But audio interviews published only by Wikinews
> have already been used as sources on Wikipedia. For example, I added a
> David Shankbone interview with Ingrid Newkirk to her bio.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ingrid_Newkirk&oldid=473905868#Early_life
>
> And I have used that interview as a source for at least two other
> articles that discussed Newkirk's views.
>
> It's a primary source, but it's unproblematic, in terms of NOR,
> because it's clearly Ingrid Newkirk (not an imposter), and she isn't
> saying anything controversial (e.g. nothing defamatory or factually
> contentious). And I wasn't using it in an interpretive way, but purely
> descriptively. The only prohibition regarding primary sources is when
> they are used interpretively, as though they are secondary sources --
> that's where you get into NOR territory.
>
> In terms of the Verifiability policy, that interview might count as
> self-published or unpublished, I don't know. But remember -- that
> policy requires reliable published sources for material that is
> (reasonably) challenged or likely to be challenged. It would be
> entirely contrary to the spirit of that policy to object to Ingrid
> Newkirk talking about herself non-contentiously in the article about
> her. That is, it would not be a reasonable challenge.
>
> So, to answer your question more usefully perhaps, I do not see the
> introduction of oral citations into Wikipedia as a major upheaval (so
> long as they are recorded in some way and used appropriately), in
> terms of the existing policies. And I think they would liven up our
> articles considerably if done well.


Thanks Sarah - this is very interesting, and I too think that a mix of
traditional and non-traditional citations make for a very good package.
Andrew and Castelo Branco brought up the idea of using Wikinews as a
publisher for interviews that form the basis of oral citations rather
than Commons - taking advantage of its policy on OR. And Andrew further
suggested reinventing Wikinews into a Nat-Geo style feature news site on
an earlier thread.


>
> Sarah
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

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Re: The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia (from the Chronicle) + some citation discussions

Sarah-128
On Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM, Achal Prabhala <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> On Thursday 23 February 2012 12:58 AM, Sarah wrote:
>>
>> On Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 3:53 PM, Achal Prabhala<[hidden email]>
>>  wrote:
>>>
>>> Thank you Tom, and Sarah, for your very helpful explanations - they are
>>> extremely useful.
>>>
>>> There's a discussion on at the reliable sources notice board, for
>>> instance,
>>> which highlights some of the interpretive problems you raise:
>>>
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard#Oral_Citations
>>>
>>> Can I ask you how you would analyse the work of the oral citations
>>> project
>>> (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Oral_Citations) in terms of our
>>> policies on original research, and verifiability?
>>
>> Hi Achal,
>>
>> It's difficult to give an off-the-cuff reply to this, because there
>> are so many variables. But audio interviews published only by Wikinews
>> have already been used as sources on Wikipedia. For example, I added a
>> David Shankbone interview with Ingrid Newkirk to her bio.
>>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ingrid_Newkirk&oldid=473905868#Early_life
>>
>> And I have used that interview as a source for at least two other
>> articles that discussed Newkirk's views.
>>
>> It's a primary source, but it's unproblematic, in terms of NOR,
>> because it's clearly Ingrid Newkirk (not an imposter), and she isn't
>> saying anything controversial (e.g. nothing defamatory or factually
>> contentious). And I wasn't using it in an interpretive way, but purely
>> descriptively. The only prohibition regarding primary sources is when
>> they are used interpretively, as though they are secondary sources --
>> that's where you get into NOR territory.
>>
>> In terms of the Verifiability policy, that interview might count as
>> self-published or unpublished, I don't know. But remember -- that
>> policy requires reliable published sources for material that is
>> (reasonably) challenged or likely to be challenged. It would be
>> entirely contrary to the spirit of that policy to object to Ingrid
>> Newkirk talking about herself non-contentiously in the article about
>> her. That is, it would not be a reasonable challenge.
>>
>> So, to answer your question more usefully perhaps, I do not see the
>> introduction of oral citations into Wikipedia as a major upheaval (so
>> long as they are recorded in some way and used appropriately), in
>> terms of the existing policies. And I think they would liven up our
>> articles considerably if done well.
>
>
>
> Thanks Sarah - this is very interesting, and I too think that a mix of
> traditional and non-traditional citations make for a very good package.
> Andrew and Castelo Branco brought up the idea of using Wikinews as a
> publisher for interviews that form the basis of oral citations rather than
> Commons - taking advantage of its policy on OR. And Andrew further suggested
> reinventing Wikinews into a Nat-Geo style feature news site on an earlier
> thread.
>
Yes, I saw Andrew's suggestion and thought it was a very exciting idea.

If the oral citations (audio and video) were used as an adjunct to
more traditional sources, I think there would be no problem at all.

On the Holocaust page, we used to highlight a quote (now removed) from
a witness who talked to the BBC at the time of the British liberation
of one of the concentration camps, Bergen Belsen.
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Holocaust&oldid=358632356#Liberation

"We heard a loud voice repeating the same words in English and in
German: 'Hello, hello. You are free. We are British soldiers and have
come to liberate you.' These words still resound in my ears."

This kind of personal memory is very moving and compelling. Imagine if
we could link to an audio or video interview of an eyewitness by an
editor. WP is lagging behind with this because we are so afraid of OR
by anonymous interviewers. But if we make sure there is nothing
contentious said -- no attempts to rewrite history, as it were -- I
think it would be almost entirely unproblematic -- people talking
about "this is how I felt when X happened; this is how it was for me
...".

The Foundation could set up a wiki dedicated to eyewitness accounts
that people could upload themselves, then Wikipedia could incorporate
them as appropriate, using the current restrictions on primary sources
(i.e. using them purely descriptively in articles about that subject).
Yes, I know, potential problems with libel and nonsense, but no more
so than we have already, and we deal with them.

Sarah

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Re: The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia (from the Chronicle) + some citation discussions

Ray Saintonge
On 02/23/12 11:41 AM, Sarah wrote:

> If the oral citations (audio and video) were used as an adjunct to
> more traditional sources, I think there would be no problem at all.
>
> On the Holocaust page, we used to highlight a quote (now removed) from
> a witness who talked to the BBC at the time of the British liberation
> of one of the concentration camps, Bergen Belsen.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Holocaust&oldid=358632356#Liberation
>
> "We heard a loud voice repeating the same words in English and in
> German: 'Hello, hello. You are free. We are British soldiers and have
> come to liberate you.' These words still resound in my ears."
>
> This kind of personal memory is very moving and compelling. Imagine if
> we could link to an audio or video interview of an eyewitness by an
> editor. WP is lagging behind with this because we are so afraid of OR
> by anonymous interviewers. But if we make sure there is nothing
> contentious said -- no attempts to rewrite history, as it were -- I
> think it would be almost entirely unproblematic -- people talking
> about "this is how I felt when X happened; this is how it was for me
> ...".
>
> The Foundation could set up a wiki dedicated to eyewitness accounts
> that people could upload themselves, then Wikipedia could incorporate
> them as appropriate, using the current restrictions on primary sources
> (i.e. using them purely descriptively in articles about that subject).
> Yes, I know, potential problems with libel and nonsense, but no more
> so than we have already, and we deal with them.
>
Why would the quote have been removed?

Ultimately most historical events resolve themselves into a series of
narratives. Some, like personal diaries are unofficial; others like
testimony in a court are official. All can be subject to error.  What
the narratives say is what they say, nothing more nor less.

We are indeed so afraid of OR, to the point where we trust nobody. When
we apply a strict true-or-false test to a statement we lose our ability
to recognize truths that lie at the intersection of multiple absurdities.

Ray

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