[WikiEN-l] Verifiability equating to notability

Russell Blackford russellblackford at bigpond.com
Mon May 1 10:19:48 UTC 2006

It's dangerous to apply the notion of "original research" too literally 
outside of its original context (dealing with crackpot theories, or simply 
novel ones, student essays, and so on). Beyond that context, I'm not 
literalistic, and I don't need a lot of guidlines. I think I know it when I 
see it, and I think I know what is not intended to be covered by the 
expression when I see it, even if it could be brought under the literal 
description that is used. Common sense has to prevail, I think, which is why 
we have all these processes involving shared community perceptions.

An example of something that is probably NOT "original research": "Bloggs 
has approvingly cited the work of Derrida to attack the philosophy of 
bohemian snarkism. According to Bloggs, it is all 'words, words, words.' 
<reference, Joe Bloggs, Anti-Snark, p. 300>"

An example of something that certainly IS original research: "Bloggs, who 
has attacked the philosophy of bohemian snarkism, could have found further 
support for his view by applying certain claims famously made by Derrida. 
<reference, Jacques Derrida, Words/ Words/ Words, p. 300>"

We all make these kinds of distinctions reasonably confidently, don't we? 
When in doubt, at the margins, we do indeed want to call on our collective 
wisdom. The process seems straightforward enough to me, though I suppose I 
might change my mind if I got caught in an edit war over it.

As for notability, I'm not sure I properly understand the argument. It seems 
to me that we have a (loose and largely unofficial) body of criteria to 
apply to decide whether or not something is notable. We don't apply novel 
theories, we just find the facts and apply the criteria. The facts should be 
publicly available ones. The criteria themselves get clarified and developed 
from case to case, with commonsense input from the community to resolve 
doubts in individual hard cases. That seems like the right way to go about 
it to me. I'm not sure whether I'm in disagreement with anyone here or not, 
but it just doesn't seem all that complicated at my end.

Russell Blackford (a.k.a. Metamagician3000)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "charles matthews" <charles.r.matthews at ntlworld.com>
To: "English Wikipedia" <wikien-l at Wikipedia.org>
Sent: Monday, May 01, 2006 7:35 PM
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Verifiability equating to notability

> "Steve Block"  wrote
>> It attempts to close the door on the possibility of allowing wikipedians
>> to decide what is and isn't notable, something I believe is against both
>> the original research and POV policies.  We should seek to summarise
>> claims of importance, where those claims are verifiable.
> Err ... why?  This may be what we resort to in some cases (garage bands).
> But it is a bad idea in other cases (e.g. academics).  And I think we all
> should be allowed to express opinions on notability.  In some areas, for
> example the arts, poetry, if you go by tallying up awards and honours and
> suchlike 'objective' credits, you will only reproduce the contours of the
> 'academic art' of the time.  Thus missing what is coming up, for example.
> Further, there could hardly be a better example of how 'original 
> research',
> launched by Jimbo as a way to deal with crank theories, has been spandexed
> as an argument.
> Charles

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