I'm going through my watchlist now, and I found some talk pages
about [[AIDS Kills Fags Dead]] and all its many variations.
These pages were deleted sometime, and they were deleted long enough ago
that even though I'm an admin on [[en:]],
I can't view the deleted revisions anymore.
I hopped around links for a while,
until discovering that old talk is at [[Talk:AKFD]] and its subpages.
>From the edit history, I see that Martin reorganised the subpages,
although I'd have to look through all of his edits in order
to discover ''where'' my watched material ended up.
Fortunately, my plans are to remove all of this stuff
from my watchlist, and nothing more, so I'm OK.
But what if I'd wanted to track down changes?
With some work, I think that I could straighten it out --
but if I were inexperienced with Wikipedia,
then I might have never found [[Talk:AKFD]] in the first place.
If another person, following our advice at [[Wikipedia:Copyrights]]
had linked back to the edit histories of these pages
in lieu of determining 5 significant authors,
then this other user would be in violation of the GFDL.
All of this is why, when we change the title of pages,
we should turn them into redirects instead of deleting them.
I almost left out the word "should" in the line above,
and a year ago I would have been able to do that.
The matter of pet scientific theories and personal biographies have
something in common: we can't verify them because the only material we
can find on them is written by the author.
So I suggest that we focus on this angle. We already have a policy that
"Wikipedia is not a primary source".
This provides sufficient justification for not having these types of
articles in WP.
We should perhaps try to come up with loose guidelines as to how many
primary sources we require.
> Should we write a specific policy page about this, to expand the entry
> on WWisNot, in a similar way to what I did recently for
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_original_research ?
We had this debate some time ago, at [[Wikipedia:Auto-biography]].
At the time I left it, it imposed a blanket ban on starting articles
about oneself. Some people wanted a broader imposition. Others like
Cunc objected to it (primarily on the basis that rules are bad - a
sentiment I can understand, but disagree with in this specific case).
Eloquence rewrote this later to tone it down - suggesting merely that
creating an article on yourself is probably not a good idea, and that
it is likely to be listed on VfD and that some people strongly
disapprove of the creation of pages on yourself.
Personally, I still think a blanket ban on creating articles about yourself
or your own works is a good idea.
It means "patience is a virtue."
>From: Rick <giantsrick13(a)yahoo.com>
>Reply-To: English Wikipedia <wikien-l(a)Wikipedia.org>
>To: English Wikipedia <wikien-l(a)Wikipedia.org>
>Subject: [WikiEN-l] "working..."
>Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2004 13:20:28 -0800 (PST)
>What does it mean why I try to bring up Wikipedia and all I get is a blank
>screen that says "working..."?
>Do you Yahoo!?
>Protect your identity with Yahoo! Mail AddressGuard
>WikiEN-l mailing list
Add photos to your e-mail with MSN 8. Get 2 months FREE*.
Ed Poor wrote:
>I think Jimbo mentioned last month that there is a
>problem with self-written biographies: other contributors
>may be excessively reluctant to 'contradict' the person
>who presumably knows himself best. This issue arose
>over the Sheldon Rampton article, although it little
>or no problem for the William Connelley article.
Jimbo expressed his opinion that this might be a problem, but he
didn't offer any evidence to support his opinion, and he didn't
propose any policy for dealing with it. Jimbo's theory was that
people might be reluctant to contradict an article about me to which
I have contributed, but his _reasons_ for thinking this were
(1) Jimbo thought people might not want to risk clashing with me,
based perhaps on a perception that I have been combative on this
listserv. There are several reasons, however, why this assertion
doesn't hold up under scrutiny. To begin with, most Wikipedians don't
subscribe to the listserv. Furthermore, there is no particular reason
to expect that most Wikipedians consult an article's history before
editing it, so many people wouldn't even _know_ whether I have edited
the Sheldon Rampton article before undertaking their own edits. In
fact, seven different people have made edits to the Sheldon Rampton
article since I first contributed to it.
(2) The other issue, which Ed raises here, is whether other
contributors would be "excessively reluctant to contradict the person
who presumably knows himself best." This is indeed a bit of a
dilemma, but the problem isn't in way unique to articles that happen
to be self-referential. The same question would arise if someone with
a PhD in biochemistry contributed to an article about serotonin, or a
musicologist contributed to an article about Mozart. The fact is that
people without special knowledge about a topic _should_ be somewhat
careful about contradicting someone with special knowledge -- which
of course doesn't mean that they should refrain entirely, just that
they should be careful. But does Wikipedia want to adopt a _general_
policy that says people should make a special effort to avoid
contributing to topics on which they have special knowledge, for fear
of inhibiting lay contributors? That would be bizarre, and I think it
would be equally bizarre to adopt that policy with regard to
(3) Perhaps the best argument against self-written biographies is
that we all have a strong point of view about ourselves. There might
be a problem with someone inserting a passionately slanted biography
about himself and then adamantly defending it against all contrary
points of view. However, I don't see any evidence that this is a
worse problem than other POV conflicts that occur on Wikipedia, and
in practice thus far it seems to be rare.
Interestingly, the concerns expressed in points (1) and (2) above
could be entirely eliminated simply by adopting a policy that says
people should contribute _anonymously_ whenever they contribute to a
biography of themselves. If I had adopted some user name other than
"Sheldon Rampton" when I contributed to the Sheldon Rampton article,
no one would worry about clashing with me or about the presumption
that I "know myself best." This, however, would come at the price of
less transparency, and as a general rule I think transparency is a
As another interesting aside, the Disinfopedia recently had an
exchange with Philip Stott, a British professor who is profiled
there. Stott himself made a number of contributions to the Philip
Stott article, and I think his participation improved it. Moreover, I
saw no evidence that people who disagree with Stott's self-assessment
were at all reluctant to contradict him. If people want to see how
that article has developed to date, they can read it at the following
Having said all this, I think there _is_ a potential problem with
"vanity biographies," but this is really just a special case under
Wikipedia's NPOV policy. It might be a good idea to have a policy
against people _creating_ biographies of themselves, even though this
would be impossible in practice to enforce.
| Sheldon Rampton
| Editor, PR Watch (www.prwatch.org)
| Author of books including:
| Friends In Deed: The Story of US-Nicaragua Sister Cities
| Toxic Sludge Is Good For You
| Mad Cow USA
| Trust Us, We're Experts
| Weapons of Mass Deception
On Fri, Jan 02, 2004 at 12:33:30AM +0000, wikien-l-request(a)Wikipedia.org wrote:
> The recently written "No original research" provision appears to focus
> on science, and "new scientific theories" and completely ignores other
> areas of study. The most disturbing aspect is that it uses Jimbo's
> comments from the mailing list as though he were speaking "ex cathedra".
> Jimbo has on several occasions stated that he avoids editing articles
> to avoid a misperception that he is exercising his dictatorial powers.
> There are times when he has opinions like any others of us and should
> have a right to express them without creating a big splash in the wading
> pool.. From my perspective, the degree of authority with which he
> speaks should depend on how close the subject is to the core values of
> the general undertaking and its operational necessities. His
> recognition that other projects within the family will develop their own
> policies based on an infinite range of parameters speaks to that.
That was added to "What Wikipedia is not" way back in January 2003. It
has recently been modified to state "no *primary* research", which is a
better description of what the rule was intended to cover.
> Using Jimbo's mailing list opinion as a technique for imposing a
> particular POV does not address the issue. That article does appear to
> give objective criteria for determining when a scientific article is to
> be viewed as original research. It gives no reason for why these
> articles should be excluded other than "Jimbo says so." It is
> completely silent about original research in fields outside of
> "science", and how to identify it In one sense every article in
> Wikipedia is original research except those that plagiarize another source.
See above. Yes, this rule has problems for areas not covered by
academic journals, but so far these kind of disputes have not come up
that often in such areas.
As far as "Jimbo says so", I think you'll find that this rule has wide,
though not necessarily universal, support, for very good reasons. One
is that original research has not yet gone through the peer review of
experts in the field and is thus unverified and possibly unverifiable.
It is therefore an excellent tool for weeding through patent nonsense.
> The fact is that the history of science is strewn with these false steps
> and original ideas which led nowhere. Their historical value is what
> makes them encyclopedic, not their content and not their theories.
> Their dubious value to science needs to be remarked but not ridiculed,
> and not obsessively disproved. (Remember, the burden of proof for any
> scientific theory rests with its proponent; if he hasn't carried that
> burden it is sufficient to say that as simply as possible.) Most of
> these ideas can be adequately covered in a single page, and take much
> less space than what is used arguing about them. Why should
> contemporary crackpots be viewed with any less regard than those from
> the last century?
If a crackpot theory attracts enough attention, Wikipedia should write
about it - case in point, [[Timecube]]. Until that attention is gained
through other means, we shouldn't.
If the Wikipedia had existed back in the 1530's and
user:Copernicus had added a piece on [[Sun-centred universe theory]] we
would have been perfectly correct to delete the article after listing on
VfD and suggest that he first publish his work elsewhere.
>Do we want to inter-wiki-link disambiguation pages?
Yes, I think they're useful.
> there may be a disambiguation page for a term which
> is ambiguous only in English and not in other
>languages ([[jack]] comes to mind).
Then there wouldn't be a disambiguation page in
another language to link to, so that wouldn't be an
issue. Only languages which have a disambiguation page
that matches one in another language would have these
inter-language links, so I don't see why [[jack]]
would cause any problems.
Often a disambiguation page does map well to those in
other languages, such as [[Mars]], which has links to
[[Mars (god)]] and [[Mars (planet)]] in English, that
maps to the [[Mars (Mythologie)]] and [[Mars
(Planet)]] on de for example. There will also be links
on the foreign disambiguation pages that aren't
included on en, like fr has [[Mars (mois)]], but that
doesn't mean the English Mars page has to link to
[[March]]. I don't think that's a problem.
What benefit is there to removing them?
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