[WikiEN-l] Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Sat May 20 20:01:39 UTC 2006

Steve Bennett wrote:

>On 5/19/06, Jimmy Wales <jwales at wikia.com> wrote:
>>If you see an unsourced statement that would be libel if false, and it
>>makes you feel suspicious enough to want to tag it as {{citation
>>needed}}, please do not do that!  Please just remove the statement and
>>ask a question on the talk page.
>Agree with this. Is it added to the relevant policy pages?
>Here is an example from an article I deleted:
>>"The most recent disaster that <name omitted> claims his organization
>>has responded to is the 2004 South Asia Tsunami, although there is no
>>convincing evidence that he or any of his team has been there.[citation
>>That is really really really awful.
>It's also just stupid, bad writing. "Nobel peace prize winner Jim Smith said
>all people should donate money to charities. Ironically, Smith has never
>given money to the [insert name of charity picked at random here."
The real problem with the last statement is that it is a negative one.  
Saying that someone has _never_ done something is virtually impossible 
to verify.  (Unless he was out of contact with everyone when his Oceanic 
Airlines flight home from the Nobel ceremonies crashed on a South 
Pacific Island)

>IMHO this kind of writing breaches NPOV and almost NOR - we start to make
>claims about the person by connecting unrelated facts together. We should
>never attempt to expose hypocrisy in our subjects - if it exists, we should
>find reliable sources that have already done that. This was the problem with
>[[Safe Speed]] - editors had tried to debunk claims made by the group,
>whereas what they should have been doing was citing others who had debunked
>them, not just general research that apparently contradicts their claims.
It's still a matter of how you expose the hypocrisy.  In the case of the 
Massachusetts congressman who openly campaigned for a maximum of four 
terms, it was a verifiable fact that he was in his seventh term.

>Selective juxtaposition of facts to imply something is definitely out. You
>either say it and cite a source, or you don't say it at all.
Yes, but a skillfull wordsmith can still find ways around that.


More information about the WikiEN-l mailing list