On Tue, 10 Oct 2006 16:14:39 -0700, Jossi Fresco <jossifresco(a)mac.com>
If there are multiple sources and one of them is a
USENET post or a
blog, we *may* include that posting as an additional source. But if
that is the *only* source upon which we make an assertion in an
article, in particular when the subject is controversial, we should
deny the use of such source on the basis of lack of reliability.
Obviously if a Harvard professor has a blog we can treat what he says
there as fairly reliable in terms of his field of expertise, but it
has a much lower inclusion threshold than peer-reviewed journals. Yes
is of course the messenger not the medium which is the measure of
reliability, but the medium also establishes the bar to publication
and thus the amount of external scrutiny the message has received.
I am always wary of articles where there are vanishingly few real
sources. The Game is a classic example: the only non-Internet source
we've ever been able to find is a single mention in a Flemish
newspaper, which may well have got its information from the same blogs
as everyone else. We don't have any idea how thorough the research
was which underlies that particular space filler. You'd have thought
that something which is reportedly a global phenomenon would have
attracted more than one mention in real media, wouldn't you?
It comes down, I guess, to how one views Wikipedia: do we aspire to be
an accurate and verifiable source of information, or is it a place
where in the absence of anything better we can simply repeat what is
noised about, regardless of whether we can show it to be accurate or
My bias is probably evident in the phrasing here :-)
For articles that there are not controversial, and that
consensus from involved and knowledgeable editors, exceptions could
be made, of course.
Consensus from involved and knowledgeable editors is very dangerous.
Look how many involved and knowledgeable editors think that crop
circles are of paranormal origin, the "Church" of Scientology is not a
cult, Remote Viewing is a science, the World Trade Center was brought
down by the Evil Corrupt Gubmint (TM). Here of course we have others
involved, but consensus does not scale well; in the case of a minor
crank theory it is very possible to find a consensus of 100% of all
three involved editors agreeing that it most certainly is valid.