steven l. rubenstein wrote:
It is natural that as we grow our values take more
certain form, and
our understanding of them, and the reasons for them, develop.
I believe that Verifiability and No original research are two policies
essential to the future of the project, which is to produce a
high-quality encyclopedia. If other encyclopedias are not rigorous on
these matters, it is because their articles are generally written by
PhD.s or graduate students, and are peer-reviewed. I do not want our
articles to have to be written by PhD.s or go through mandated and
rigorous peer-review. Therefore, I think these two policies are
necessary. And hand-in-hand with them, our Cite sources guideline is
just as important.
Although I may have a slightly more liberal attitude toward NOR; I would
still view NPOV as having equally high sources. To me citing sources is
implicit in verifiability.
I sometimes feel uncertain about the extent to which other publications
have been peer reviewed. How often are the peer reviewers credited? A
PhD's reputation is often more influential. I think that our approach
which credits everyone who has worked on an article is superior to
If I have been following this discussion adequately
(and I admit I
often miss things) many people have concerns about how realistic it is
to expect every editor, especially newbies, to comply with these
standards. And I appreciate these concerns. However, I do not think
the issue is compliance with these standards as such. I think there
is a different issue.
Specifically, it is our articles that must comply with these
standards. This I think is important for one simple reason that gets
at the heart of our project: it is a collaborative work in process.
If Wikipedia is as I believe it is and ought to be a collaborative
work in process, then our policies are ideals to which we expect our
articles to aspire, but no one editor can bear the full responsibility
of achieving this.
This is perfectly sensible. It's about the articles rather than their
This, at least, has always been my understanding of
our prized NPOV
policy. For example, I just added considerable material on the role
of "love" in Judaism in the "Judaism and Christianity" article. I
have no doubt that I have failed to express the full range of Jewish
views. Moreover, I am not qualified to explain the Christian views.
Does this mean I have violated NPOV? I do not think so, because I
have identified which point of view I have represented (and here,
citing sources is practically a requirement). And I have left notices
on a variety of talk pages, of both articles and users, inviting them
to add more Jewish views and Christian views. This is what I mean by
a collaborative effort. It may not be this week or this month but I
have no doubt that in a year this section of the article will
represent a variety of views fairly.
There is the ideal of writing for your opponents, but that should not
extend to creating controversies where there are none. In the absence
of a controversy your writing can only be based on your own experiences
In other words, I wrote my contribution so as not to
break our NPOV
policy, and so as to leave room for others to contribute.
Is the early maxim, "always leave something undone" still valid?
I just think we should take the same approach to
one should deliberately add unverifiable information in an article,
and if they do, it should be deleted. Moreover, no one should bear
the bull responsibility of providing all sources. In the Capitalism
article someone has made claims about communism. I did not
immediately demand that they provide a source. I first when to my
books by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, and Mao. I could not find
confirmation in any of the books for some of those claims added by
another editor. Had I, I would have added the sources myself -- this
is what I mean by collaboration.
There is also a question of relevance here. I have not recently viewed
the article, but the question that stands out is, "In an article on
capitalism how much should we be talking about communism or any other
economic philosophy." These subjects have articles of their own, and
can be easily linked. Assuming that the material does indeed belong
there, you have done what you can by checking available fundamental sources.
In one case I could not find a source and said so, and
contributor provided the source -- this is what I mean by collaboration.
Absolutely, but if no others can find appropriate sources the
responsibility comes back to the person who made the original assertion.
I would demand that the specific editor adding
provide the source only if I could not find the source myself and
suspected that the information were unverifiable. If the contributor
in question, as well as other contributors, cannot find a verifiable
source, I do believe that warrants deletion. But my point is this: I
believe verifiability should and will be achieved through a
Often that contributor is no longer active or available for us to question.
That said, I also insist on the corollary: our
should be dedicated to producing articles based on verifiable
sources. A collective process requires a collective commitment.