This is a really interesting and thoughtfully complete project.
As an editor I am cautious of how well these could be used as citations
without falling afoul of "original research".
The first problem I see is that presentation becomes difficult:
"Interviews with members of the Sk8r
tribe in 2011 indicated that they have a deep animosity towards the
Clearly marks the source, but does not clarify who made the interviews,
where the indication came from (i.e. did they say this outright, or did they
just moan about the Emos constantly - the latter, of course, being a
problematic conclusion), or who drew the interpretation (if applicable). On
top of that it is not a *great* way to write content - better to stick to
straight facts where possible ("the Sk8r tribe have a deep animosity toward
This can probably be addressed by working out a good way to cite oral
The second issue I touched on above; in that editors may have difficulty
drawing purely factual material from the source, rather
than making interpretations. Whilst I could see an argument for a little
leeway on oral material being interpreted, I also think it is a bad idea to
encourage too much.
Of course, material from academically qualified people (as much of this
particular project seems to be) could happily be treated in the same way as,
say, an academic writing a book or an article (with the slight caveat of no
independent review). But from unqualified people - who is going to draw it
together? I've always been in favour of giving experts in a field some
leeway in how they record/report/source/present material in Wikipedia.
However shifting that to an oral citation is not necessarily a simple task.
*What I do think is incredibly important though is that this material has
huge value in itself - and every effort to encourage more of the same should
be taken! *
In fact we should get as much material such as this as possible, host it,
translate it, make it accessible - and encourage secondary academic sources
to make use of it. This could work both as a "hack" to get around the issues
of citing oral material directly as well as contributing to the effort to
expand knowledge of these areas of study.
I'm excited to see the next step for this... is there going to be more of
this work? Can we get some publicity for this in the relevant academic
circles? Is there potential for the foundation to fund efforts to collect
more and more material? Can we look at expanding it to other areas (for
example - although I appreciate the focus is areas not covered by written
material, this would be equally valuable in some parts of the global north;
even in the UK I could see advantages to recording interviews with different
Long term we could perhaps even consider a new project that is intended
specifically to collect oral evidence, host it (through commons), translate
it and make it easy to cite/use. Such a project would be horrendously
valuable and provide insight into all manner of cultures.