[WikiEN-l] BLP messiness

Todd Allen toddmallen at gmail.com
Wed Jul 11 20:17:39 UTC 2007

The Cunctator wrote:
> On 7/11/07, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> What if the material is accurate and can be checked with a quick
>>> google search?
>> The burden of proof is always on the person adding the information.
> That doesn't make sense. If someone adds "the famous mass murderer
> Charles Manson" to an article, deleting that addition because it
> doesn't have a source is silly.
>> "Source" does not mean "somewhere which can be used to verify the
>> information", it means "the place where the information came from".
>> Only the person that added the information actually knows the source,
>> so they should be the one citing sources. The whole idea of adding
>> sources to existing articles is completely backward. We need to work
>> on getting people to actually *use* reliable sources, not just cite
>> them. If people were actually using the sources then they could cite
>> them as they went along with almost no additional work.
> In the real world of editing Wikipedia, source does not always mean
> "the place where the information came from". It often means "somewhere
> which can be used to verify the information".
> For example, a lot of people get knowledge of things from television,
> friends, parents, family, local newspapers, blogs, teachers, etc., all
> of which are unacceptable or difficult to reference.
> Maybe you only learn things from proper sources, but if so, you would
> be the exception.
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I learn things that way, but I sure don't put it into articles! If I
hear something interesting from a friend, and think it might work for an
article, I go -look it up-. For one thing, I've more than once found out
the information from such a source was dead wrong (or at best
incomplete), and even when true, that gives you a source to cite besides
"my friend told me." Wikinews is damn strict on citing sources, from
what I've seen there (you make a sourceless edit that adds anything
substantial, it gets removed, period, no matter how plausible), and I
don't think that's a bad idea. The -only- edits that should happen
without sourcing are minor copyedits (spelling/grammar correction,
etc.), or edits for clarity or flow that move or rearrange but do not
add material. Any addition should be sourced.

And how hard -is- it to source that Charles Manson is a mass murderer?
Remember, the world is not American, and someone in another country may
not have the first clue who Charles Manson is, just as I don't know who
most of their country's national (anti)heroes are. Common knowledge, in
the context of the entire world, usually isn't.

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