Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard/Archive 225

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al-Masdar news at Battle of Aleppo, Stormfront, Neo-Nazis

The source Al-Masdar News is used extensively at the article Battle of Aleppo (2012–16), as well as many other Syria related articles. Now, this source has an obvious and very strong pro-Assad bias, as even those editors who want to use it admit. It's also a fairly new source which has become somewhat popular mostly due to the fact that it's stories get reposted by various alt-right outlets and conspiracy websites, such as Alex Jones' InfoWars. Indeed, they are the ones behind the #SyriaHoax conspiracy theory [1] [2]. They have been designated as a "fake news" website by some outlets [3], although not everything they publish is obvious "fake news".

So I'm pretty sure this source is NOT reliable, generally speaking. However, in the interest of compromise, I'm willing to see it used for non-controversial text such as troops strength or territorial control, especially since this kind of info can often be corroborated with other sources. Per WP:REDFLAG however, there's no way in freakin' heck that this source should be used for anything controversial, as some editors are attempting to, for example here (this has been removed and reinserted several times)

But it gets worse.

Recently it came out that one of the deputy editors of al-Masdar has been active on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront for years, where, in addition to using it to organize violent attacks on minorities and others, he disparaged ethnic groups using terms such as "sand niggers" (sic), "gooks" (sic) and "favela monkeys" (sic). [4] [5]. The CEO of al-Masdar has admitted that this is indeed the case and the guilty editor was suspended... with pay (basically they gave him a nice vacation hoping this would blow over). Another editor at al-Masdar however, tried to play it all down saying the statements on Stormfront were merely "controversial" (because you know, talking about how you like to "beat up sand niggers" is just "controversial")

I've brought this issue up at the talk page [6]. The response from one of the most tendentious supporters of al-Masdar was ... and I am NOT kidding here - that "if a NY Times editor was caught making the same offensive remarks at Stormfront, we wouldn't be dismissing NYT as a source altogether on Wikipedia".

That's right - that was the response. Apparently, it's okay to use a source which employs neo-Nazis, because if in some alternative bizarro world universe, the New York Times employed neo-Nazis, the alternative Wikipedia of that universe would still use the NY Times as a source. You can't make this stuff up. Personally I think a comment such as this is so a blatant statement of non-neutrality, bias, bad faith, WP:BATTLEGROUND and dishonesty, that it should lead to an immediate topic ban from an area, but never mind that for now. This is WP:RSN.

Now, there is a related RfC on the talk page at the article. However, this article has had a problem with sock puppets, meat puppets and tag teams (most likely coordinated off-wiki) for years. Hence it needs some fresh eyes and help from uninvolved editors. Which is why I'm bringing it up here. Also, I think it should be pretty obvious that a few obstinate editors cannot get together and declare a non-reliable source magically reliable in contravention of site-wide consensus as represented by WP:RS which I assume disallows the use of sources that have neo-Nazis writing for them, at least for any controversial info.Volunteer Marek (talk) 05:13, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

This request is highly concerning and dubious for several reasons :
  • Al-Masdar does not employ Neo-Nazis. This is intellectually dishonest and entirely based on a political POV this editor does not agree with.
  • In war articles labelling one side's views as "conspiracy theories" shows a high level of bias against NPOV and in support of factions aligned with Al Qaeda.
  • This editor seems consumed with making WP:DRNC and WP:JDL edits when clear consensus is against him.
  • Argument seems largely based on personal attacks on sources and other editors and WP:JDL POV . The Grudges (talk) 10:20, 30 April 2017 (UTC) (strike sock ~ Rob13Talk 13:58, 30 April 2017 (UTC))
Great, the sockpuppets are here.Volunteer Marek (talk) 10:50, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

The politics of the source are irrelevant when determining it's status as RS. What matters if do they have proper editorial control and check facts, not that they believes a certain ideology. Does the nominator have any evidence they make up facts?Slatersteven (talk) 10:29, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

First, ideology actually is not irrelevant for reliability since WP:FRINGE also applies. And as far as facts go, see the diffs provided above.Volunteer Marek (talk) 10:50, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Yes it is because a person can be a anti-nazi and still (for example) support the flat earth theory. As to the diffs, this may well be the case, that they are aan arm of the Syrian government and thus should be used with care. That does not mean they are not RS for what the Syrian government claims. So lets see what they are being used for, what is it you object to?Slatersteven (talk) 10:55, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
I have a very valid Washington Post source somewhere in my edit history that clearly shows SOHR is impossible to fact check that could be used to WP:BOOMERANG this notion and create a discussion about that. The Grudges (talk) 11:01, 30 April 2017 (UTC) (strike sock ~ Rob13Talk 13:58, 30 April 2017 (UTC))
(ec) We're not talking about flat earth theory. We're talking about politics. And somebody who wrote stories about people he referred to as "sand niggers" (sic). It's like as if you were arguing that the fact someone belonged to the KKK was irrelevant for their stories about the Civil Rights movement. Come on!Volunteer Marek (talk) 11:01, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
I provided a specific diff above.Volunteer Marek (talk) 11:01, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
No, we are talking about war, in which both side tell lies. Nor does that even matter, a person can still be "politically correct" and still tell lies about politics, ideology may be an indicator of intelligent not of honesty. As to your one diff, this could be reworded as a claim (that is what it is), why does only one side get to make accusations of atrocities?Slatersteven (talk) 11:13, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
"Both sides tell lies" is classic deflection and whataboutism. If you can show that some other source "tells lies" go for it! But that is completely irrelevant to the reliability of this source. And as to "why does only side get to make accusations" - they don't. The difference is that we include only accusations reported in reliable sources not any ol' accusations that get thrown around on the internet by some neo-Nazi conspiracy nutzoids. So to the extent that is true (it's not) the difference is that one side's accusations get mentioned in reliable sources, the other side's in fake news websites.
Also WP:REDFLAG.Volunteer Marek (talk) 17:40, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

──────────── Calling a journalist a "neo-Nazi" because he's alleged to have made racist comments sounds like a BLP violation. It should be removed.

The NY Times publishes inaacurate information. When they do they publish corrections. The NY Times published plagarized articles. When discovered they asked the author to resign. We don't demand that sources never make mistakes but when discovered take action to correct them.

A journalist at al-Masdar is alleged to have made racist posts on a website. al-Masdar has suspended the journalist while they investigate. That is exactly what we expect from sources.

VM's most recent argument against al-Masdar (he has campaigned for some time to eliminate it) is:

  • One of their editors is racist, Nazis were racist so the editor is a type of Nazi. Nazis were authoritarian and Assad is authoritarian so the editor favors Assad.

Two points:

  1. There is not, as far as I can tell, any indication that racists would sympathize with one side over another in the Syrian conflcit
  2. Our article on Al-Masdar News describes it as pro-Assad, labeling one editor as an "Assad loyalist." It is and should be used accordingly per WP:BIASED, as we use pro-rebel sources. It would be no great surprise or require action to discover another editor supports the regime

The difficulty in this conflict is a lack of neutral, on-the-ground reporting. Ideally we look for particular claims to be confirmed by all. Failing that, we balance the bias of each with their others.

Note: I checked the contributions of the now-banned editor above. They seem to have specifically targetted VM's contributions for reversion. Almost equally concerning is the edits they reverted: VM's removal of al-Masdar in all (most) articles it was used, concluding on his own that it was unusable: Syrian Civil War (note the edit-summary), Aleppo, Ma'rib, Women's Protection Units, M1 Abrams, Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War, Faisal al-Qassem, Criticism of Amnesty International, Human rights violations during the Syrian Civil War – there may be more.

I have posted a notice of this discussion to the talk page of Battle of Aleppo (2012–16), where most of the discussion re: al-Masdar has taken place. James J. Lambden 🇺🇸 (talk) 18:44, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

"Calling a journalist a "neo-Nazi" because he's alleged to have made racist comments sounds like a BLP violation" - gimme a fucking break. He's been posting to Stormfront for eight years. Have you seen the stuff he's written? And it's not "alleged", it "is", since it's pretty much been acknowledged. Volunteer Marek
You really need to think about how defending a neo-Nazi writer reflects on *you*.Volunteer Marek (talk) 20:48, 30 April 2017 (UTC) talk) 20:48, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
I have never visited "Stormfront." Can you post links (preferably to other sources) so we can evaluate? James J. Lambden 🇺🇸 (talk) 21:07, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Re this:I have never visited "Stormfront." Can you post links (preferably to other sources) so we can evaluate?: Maybe look at the WP article on Stormfront (website), which opens with "Stormfront is a white nationalist,[3] white supremacist[4] and neo-Nazi[5] Internet forum that was the Web's first major racial hate site.[6]" If you doubt the accuracy of the article, each of those descriptions, you'll notice, is footnoted so you can follow them. BobFromBrockley (talk) 09:51, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
If you haven't read the actual postings and basically have no idea of what you're talking about then... why exactly are you here? Because I'm the one that filed this request? Links already provided if you just bother to read before opinionatin' Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:37, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Focus your comments on the reliability of the source. Repeated personal comments about myself and other editors ("your misguided views on Ukraine", "what the hell are you going on about") are not helpful.
My objection is to your claim that the apparent racism of one editor, who was suspended when evidence surfaced, has significant bearing on the publication's coverage of the Syrian conflict. James J. Lambden 🇺🇸 (talk) 21:44, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
  • According to the policy, Questionable sources ... have an apparent conflict of interest. Please also check ref 8 on the policy page. al Masdar News was described in numerous publications as a "pro-Assad" newspaper. Being "pro-Assad" is a conflict of interest with performing journalist duties. Same with any other "pro-something" or "pro-someone" sources. None of them are particularly reliable, especially when it comes to the subject of their bias. However, these particular sources are not simply "pro-someone", but I think qualify as "extremist sources" because they support Nazi or an extremist government (one should agree that using chemical weapons was an act of extremism, for example). My very best wishes (talk) 17:37, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

First, in Syria, basically there are no reliable sources. We ether use pro-government Masdar or pro-opposition SOHR for the most part. The removal of one would lead to the removal of the other as well and it would disturb Wikipedia's balance of neutrality according to which we present both side's POV and not exclude one over the other, regardless what most think about that beligerent. Plus, it would cannibalize most of the content and sources of the Syria-related articles. Second, Masdar is a good source when it comes to territorial changes (advances/losses), when citing commanders and/or units or casualty figures. This can be seen in the fact that 80-90 percent of the territorial changes reported by Masdar are also reported by the pro-opposition SOHR. So in this case they are reliable. Third, there is no evidence Masdar was aware of the personal views of that one specific contributor, they suspended him the moment they were and Masdar itself didn't promote neo-Nazi views or expressed support for Nazis. Four, whether you or me think the Assad government is an extremist government is our personal POV which has no place when editing. Also, sidenote, Marek's unilateral removal of Masdar throughout multiple articles while a discussion on it is ongoing (with most leaning towards using Masdar via RfC) is not in good faith I think. Finally, most editors agreed through discussion (via RfC) that if Masdar's claims are properly attributed to pro-government Masdar there is no reason not to present those claims in contrast to the views of the pro-opposition SOHR or the US/UK/France who are anti-Assad in their views. Thus, I will conclude that I agree with both @Slatersteven: and @James J. Lambden:. EkoGraf (talk) 18:59, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

  • It does not matter if there are no RS in Syria. It only matters there are RS about Syria (CNN, NYT, etc.). We do not need anything else. Let's use RS on the subject. As about "extremist sources", no, it is precisely our duty to evaluate reliability of the sources, and neo-Nazi sources are obviously not RS. My very best wishes (talk) 20:25, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
I refer you back to what I previously said. Exclusion of Masdar would lead to the exclusion of SOHR and that would leave us without 80 percent of our sources on Syria, not to mention a large amount of our content. Plus we would be excluding the POV of one of the beligerents. As for the other thing, you have not provided evidence that Masdar is an extremist source, other than your personal POV, and I will again repeat that Masdar itself has not expressed any neo-Nazi attitudes/opinions or support of them. EkoGraf (talk) 20:41, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
"Exclusion of Masdar would lead to the exclusion of SOHR" - there's absolutely no reason why that would be true. This is just some tactic someone (you?) invented; to hold one source hostage unless another, unreliable, source is allowed. That's not how WP:RS works.
Is Masdar an extremist source? Hell fucking yes. They had a neo-Nazi writing for them. The main CEO has advocated the use of chemical weapons. And called ethnic groups which weren't supportive enough of Assad "dirty trash" and threatened ethnic cleansing of them. Yes. They are extremist and fringe.Volunteer Marek (talk) 20:46, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
I would like to remind you (again) of WP: CIVIL and WP:GOODFAITH. You should refrain from hostile comments towards your fellow editors. I am not holding anybody hostage. I haven't seen any Masdar reports calling for the support of neo-Nazis or for the use of chemical weapons and in fact Masdar reports denied the usage of chemical weapons. EkoGraf (talk) 20:51, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
I didn't say you were holding "someone" hostage, I said you were trying to hold another "source" hostage - by saying, "well, if you don't let me use this extremist unreliable source, then I won't let you use this non-extremist, reliable, source".
You can find the comments from the CEO of al-Masdar on twitter with just a bit of a search. And why are you surprised they're schizophrenic ("it's ok to use chemical weapons! But Assad didn't do it!") - they're in the business of misinformation and propaganda, so being logically consistent probably isn't on the top of their list.Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:04, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
What is a "main CEO"? And can you please include links for these claims? BLP applies to all pages on Wikipedia. James J. Lambden 🇺🇸 (talk) 21:05, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
The guy in charge of al_amsdar. And if you've bothered to actually read my initial comment, you'd be able to find the relevant links already.Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:33, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
This discussion is off on an tangent. Let us assume for the purpose of argument al-Masdar employed a racist editor who they suspended when evidence surfaced. That is the reaction we would expect from a suitable source. It in no way affects the usability of that source particularly on issues unrelated to racism and when the source is already considered WP:BIASED and used accordingly. James J. Lambden 🇺🇸 (talk) 21:18, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Suspended with pay. Until the controversy blows over presumably. And whose remarks another al-Masdar described as "controversial" (sic) - because using racial slurs is just, you know, "controversial". But yes, like I've said many times before, this source wouldn't be reliable EVEN IF they didn't have Stormfront neo-nazis writing for them.Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:33, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
@EkoGraf. You tell: "we would be excluding the POV of one of the belligerents". No, this is wrong idea, generally speaking. For example, we do not need description of WW II from the point of Nazi. Speaking about WP:NPOV, this is not about belligerents, but about coverage in reliable sources. That does not mean all sources, because neo-Nazi sources (for example) are not reliable. My very best wishes (talk) 21:13, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
The Masdar editor at no point expressed his neo-Nazi beliefs in the reports, nor has Masdar expressed support for neo-Nazi beliefs. So calling Masdar a neo-Nazi source is highly miss-leading. What both that editor and Masdar have expressed are pro-Syrian government viewpoints. For the rest I will simply refer to what @James J. Lambden: just said. EkoGraf (talk) 21:24, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Having reviewed this, I believe al-Masadar can be used if properly attributed. The editor posting on stormfront isn't an issue, as he no longer works for them as I believe, and even so his views wouldn't mean much if we source things like order of battle or territorial changes. Mind you there was far more, and clear Neo-Nazi connection in articles about Ukrainian civil war where some of editors were involved and they didn't seem particularly concerned. For example I remember user My Very Best Wishes opposing naming Azov unit as Neo-Nazi(despite numerous sources) under BLP, yet here we see barrage of claims about somebody being Neo-nazi. Seems like a double standard to me.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 21:27, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Funny how quickly you got over this. I have no idea what your misguided views on Ukraine have to do with any of this. Where/are any sources by neo-Nazis being used in those articles? If so, I'll go remove myself right now. If no, then what the hell are you going on about? It seems like you're just trying to derail the discussion.Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:35, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
In addition to the usual incivility, aspersions and character assassinations, VMs post here contains a number of canards. First, VM implies Al-Masdar knew Antonopoulos harbored racist views. There is no evidence of that. Second VM claims Al Masdar suspended Antonopoulos with pay. Evidence? Please don't tell me it's the liveuamap. Liveuamap is NOT WP:RS. Making BLP claims based on liveuamap is bannable. On his twitter feed, Antonopoulos says he resigned. Third, VM claims "the main CEO" presumably Leith Abou Fadel has called for ethnic cleansing and referred to certain groups of people as "trash". I have looked through Leith Abou Fadel's twitter feed, I haven't found any such tweets. Then we have the old guilt-by-association canard, that Al Masdar has been picked up by Alex Jones and other conspiracists. That is not Al-Masdar's fault, they have no control over that. But frankly that's minor stuff compared to the BLP vios based on nothing more than liveuamap. Khirurg (talk) 21:47, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
If you want evidence you can just look up al-Masdar's statement on the matter. And yeah, he "resigned" after the whole thing blew up. As for Fadel's statements, for a sample see here. Just look for the words "mongrels" and "dirtiest"
Interestingly enough, Athenean/Khirurg, Antonopoulous appears to have been some kind of Greek ultra-nationalists, who in addition to "beating up sand niggers" (sic) and such, also hated Turks and Azeris, despised Albanians and believed Macedonians were "confused Serbs". Basically your regular checklist for the Greek far right. He also had a Wikipedia account at one point though that account didn't do much editing so that edit history doesn't highlight those interests.Volunteer Marek (talk) 22:02, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Re: "that's minor stuff compared to the BLP vios based on nothing more than liveuamap" That is my most immediate concern and why I requested sources. James J. Lambden 🇺🇸 (talk) 21:59, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Dude. al-Masdar confirmed it.Volunteer Marek (talk) 22:02, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
The latest from Al Masdar is this [7]. Antonopoulos is not associated with al-Masdar in any way anymore. Khirurg (talk) 22:04, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Right, so maybe, at some point in far off distant future they'll become a reliable source. Won't hold my breath.Volunteer Marek (talk) 22:08, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Exactly the right way to handle it. Good. VM: you have named the individual and must provide RS that support "neo-Nazi" or redact the claim. James J. Lambden 🇺🇸 (talk) 22:11, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
@VM: Do you have proof about Antonopoulos' views on Turks Azeris, etc...? Because that's also a BLP vio and bannable if you don't. Also what was Antonopoulos' wikipedia account, and how do you "know" it's his? Khirurg (talk) 22:17, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Look through his Stormfront posts. I'm not gonna link those.Volunteer Marek (talk) 22:25, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Volunteer Marek stated that Al Masadar employs "Neo Nazi writers"-however I haven't seen any reliable source confirming this allegation. I have requested VM to provide us with a source, but so far none has been provided[8].This is a very serious allegation and I would appreciated if VM would provide sources backing this claim.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 22:55, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────(edit conflict) Stop trying to spin-doctor this, Khirurg, MyMoloboaccount, et. al. We are not talking about a huge WP:NEWSORG with thousands of employees and casual contributors: we're talking about a tiny organisation that we can't even find confirmation of where they're based for. Antonopoulos wasn't some small-fry who could be easily lost in the day-to-day machinations, he is a founding member and Deputy Editor from at least 2015 until a few days ago (see this archived capture all the way through to the latest capture here). All of the posturing aside, this means that al Madsar fails per WP:QUESTIONABLE, full stop. It is absolutely WP:NOTRELIABLE (and that is a policy, not a guideline). Talk about editorial oversight! --Iryna Harpy (talk) 23:09, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Oh, and as an aside, the apology for this 'oversight' was posted on behalf of the BoD. Could someone please find some form of WP:RS to establish who these people are? There's nothing about them on the site itself. "Curiouser and curiouser". They don't seem to have existed until the 'official' apology... In other words, the apology is meaningless because it has been issued by no-one. At best, it's not even an official disclaimer, just thin air. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 23:19, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Claiming that somebody is a Neo-Nazi or that a news agency employs "Neo-Nazi writers" is a serious claim. Now, can we see a source backing it?--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 23:34, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Using this news source in articles for yonks as if it were WP:RS, and edit warring information into articles for the duration is a serious breach of policy. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 23:54, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

:::Sure, the guy's own damn twitter (google it). Enough for ya? Volunteer Marek (talk) 16:06, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Oh for goodness sake! All sources about a war are going to have some conflict of interest. You cannot say that one is not a reliable source for that. It is about fact checking, which Masdar does far better than half of the Turkish sources we're probably still using. Turkey banned Wikipedia over the weekend didn't you know, and that's who you want to be buddies with? There's a far bigger problem there than Neo-Nazi throwbacks from the 40s you seem obsessed with casting aspersions about. The bigger issue as I see it is the BLP vio. Volunteer Marek was talking about "Neo-Nazi writers" in the plural so there definitely is one. I would like to know who he meant? Did he mean Leith Abou Fadel, Chris Tomson, Lulu Mikael or all of their staff in his reference to the plurality? Please either clarify, remove/strike through the comment or encourage MyMoloboaccount to take him downtown as this could become a very serious issue. Lawyer Ahmed (talk) 21:40, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Check your English grammar before you speak, Lawyer Ahmed. VM's use of 'neo-Nazi writers' does not encompass a plurality of writers (is the collective noun for writers 'a plurality'), only what you've chosen to interpret it as meaning. Stop nitpicking and pettifogging... and do check what you wikilink to. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 23:40, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
My use of English grammar is entirely appropriate for the circumstances. I can see at least one claim in the aspersions above dated 30th April 2017 claiming al-Masdar "employs neo-Nazis", clearly in the present tense. This is clearly after Antonopoulous resigned and hence my questioning and advice persists. I won't wikilawyer at you but merely suggest that this is naughty...very naughty... Lawyer Ahmed (talk) 01:31, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Please people, if you think a user should be banned report him. This is adding nothing to the debate.Slatersteven (talk) 22:19, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Its bad faith to remove Masdar sources (which were already there for a long time) while the discussion on it has not ended, there is no consensus to remove it and most are in agreement to in fact keep it. Proper course of action would be to hold off on removing them until a consensus is made to do it (which at the moment there is not). Between, Iryna, the sources you provided make no mention that the guy in question was a founding member of Masdar. EkoGraf (talk) 09:12, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Based on comments above, including comments by EkoGraf, we all agree that Masdar is a source of limited reliability at best. Perhaps there are other sources in Syria that are not reliable, but this is not a subject under discussion. Given that, I think Masdar can be used to source something noncontroversial or something that can be also supported by other, more reliable sources. However, sourcing contentious claims based on the Masdar alone is not an option per WP:RS. My very best wishes (talk) 15:47, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Depends on how you and VM interpret the term "noncontroversial" (since it often refers to something else in your cases). EkoGraf actually said that it was a good source for territorial changes, so I'll advise you to stop putting words in people's mouths and resorting to half-truths. Fitzcarmalan (talk) 18:16, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
  • EkoGraf said above: "First, in Syria, basically there are no reliable sources. We ether use pro-government Masdar or pro-opposition SOHR for the most part.". So, yes he did admit that the source is unreliable, and I am not putting words in his mouth. A couple of other contributors agreed with him. And just for the record, I never said that Masdar was a neo-Nazi source. I only said it was an extremist source in sense it supports Assad who is arguably an extremist. My very best wishes (talk) 18:40, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I believe EkoGraf should tell for himself. Fitzcarmalan (talk) 19:09, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
  • @Dervorguilla: Please get off your soapbox and stay on topic. This is the RSN, not personal essays on what is wrong with the world. Do you have anything constructive to add as to why a-M should be treated a reliable source? Oh, and EkoGraf, if I'm mistaken about his being a founding member, I'm working with the same material everyone else is (i.e., virtually nothing available, so it's on a wing and a prayer). Would you be able to enlighten me as to who the Board of Directors are? So far, everyone is sidestepping this crucial issue in order to sling mud instead of addressing the question of its being an RS. Who are these phantasms who have suddenly emerged from the ether to make an official statement on behalf of the publication? Who pays the editor, deputy editor/s + sundry staff, plus makes the top level decisions on the content and contributors to the e-news zine? Is there anyone else who can enlighten us? Fitzcarmalan, Lawyer Ahmed, MyMoloboaccount, Khirurg, James J. Lambden? Any sources for the BoD would be greatly appreciated. Who are they? What about you, EtienneDolet? I know you're watching this thread, and the issue of using a-M as a source was championed by you (plus here). Are you able to edify us as to who owns and runs the site? --Iryna Harpy (talk) 23:49, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
@Iryna Harpy: "This is the RSN, not personal essays on what is wrong with the world." Precisely. --Dervorguilla (talk) 00:18, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
@Dervorguilla: Sorry, but your response makes no sense. Where are you addressing the issues I've raised surrounding a-M as a source in any capacity? --Iryna Harpy (talk) 00:27, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
@Iryna Harpy: I was speaking analogically: All three organizations have reportedly employed alleged "neo-Nazis", "Nazis", or "fascists" (as Deputy Editor, as Secretary General, or as POTUS). Also, I was addressing issues raised by other editors, not by you. --Dervorguilla (talk) 00:49, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────── I think the best way to deal with this, since no better sources are available for this information, would be exercise good judgment and consistently provide attribution to the source. If something is an obvious puff piece about how Assad loves puppies, then it should be excluded, but other facts that might be appropriate can be added with attribution. Seraphim System (talk) 03:24, 2 May 2017 (UTC)


I would like to make the following proposal and have a straw poll on to see where the community stands.

  • For non-controversial information, such as tactical information (e.g. territorial changes, troops movements, commanders, etc...)
    • If Al-Masdar agrees with other reliable sources or is the only source, we report as fact (no attribution).
    • If Al-Masdar disagrees with other sources, we report with attribution.
  • For potentially controversial claims (e.g. massacres, other atrocities, war crimes, etc...)
    • If the claim is picked up by any other reliable source (even if it is to negate or deny it), we report with proper attribution (details to be worked out).
    • If Al-Masdar is the only source for a claim, and no other source picks up the story (not even to negate or deny it), then we don't use Al-Masdar. Proposed. Khirurg (talk) 04:47, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Support as nom. Khirurg (talk) 04:47, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

The next to last part ("If the claim is picked up...") is the one which directly violates WP:UNDUE, WP:RS and WP:REDFLAG. Generally we should strive to avoid this source if at all possible. Also, I would also add "If another, reliable, source, can be found to source the text, then we do not avoid Al-Masdar". The rest of it is fine, I think.Volunteer Marek (talk) 04:50, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
If a story is covered by multiple sources (regardless of whether they endorse or deny), we need to present all POVs, including that of Al-Masdar. WP:UNDUE can be taken care of with proper attribution and brevity. The second part of your comment I don't see the point of (if another source can be found, there is no need to even use Al-Masdar in the first place), but I don't have a problem with it. Khirurg (talk) 04:59, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Define "multiple sources". What we are talking about here is one sketchy-ass source, Al-Masdar, reporting something and then another source saying "yeah, Al-Masdar is full of it as usual". That's your "multiple sources" right there. In that case, it shouldn't be included.Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:07, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

Support per WP:USEBYOTHERS. Volunteer Marek does have a point about WP:RS, however. In particular, WP:RSBREAKING suggests "distrusting unconfirmed reports and those attributed to other news media". The two policies seem contradictory. But, RSBREAKING goes on to suggest that you "wait a day or two after the event. This gives time for investigative authorities to make official announcements". Once the Syrian government has authoritatively investigated and made an official announcement, you can add it, apparently. Ditto announcements by law-enforcement authorities in Moscow, Beijing, Ferguson, or elsewhere. --Dervorguilla (talk) 05:55, 2 May 2017 (UTC) 00:21, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

We have WP:REDFLAG. If this text is legit, it should be no problem finding another source to verify it. If you can't find multiple (and no, one other source saying, "it's not true" doesn't count) reliable sources, then it's bullshit as far as we're concerned.Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:07, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
@Volunteer Marek: You may have overlooked the footnote: "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact..." Also, you may have misread the body. Few of the particular claims made here are "surprising"; and I doubt that the data would be "apparently important" as far as most mainstream sources are concerned. --Dervorguilla (talk) 21:02, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
@Volunteer Marek: To illustrate what WP:REDFLAG means by "miracle": We know that a barrel bomb is a "distinctively indiscriminate weapon with huge destructive impact". And Syria is said to have dropped 12,960 of them last year. Yet a watchdog group (Syrian Network for Human Rights) claims that they killed just 635 civilians. It would appear to be a miracle for the other 12,300 to have exploded without killing even 1 civilian. It may well be true! But you'd have to find "multiple reliable sources" before including such a claim. In contrast, none of claims cited to Masdar would appear to require miracles. Per WP:REDFLAG, you don't have to find multiple RS for them. --Dervorguilla (talk) 05:25, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Oppose In war both sides tell lies, we should not more assume that Al-Masdar is unreliable (or not) as any other involved party (and yes that includes the western media, we are involved). What we should do is attribute their claims to them.Slatersteven (talk) 11:14, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Support Although I agree with Slatersteven that all Masdar claims should be used, if properly attributed, for the sake of compromise I support Khirurg's proposal, which is basically the same one I proposed over at the Battle of Aleppo article's talk page and which got a two-thirds approval already a few days ago. I would just add that when its the only source for some tactical information (territorial changes) we add the wording reportedly. EkoGraf (talk) 11:32, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

  • Comment. This is definitely an improvement. Agree with everything except "If the claim is picked up...". This depends on other sources. For example, consider the following situation: Masdar claims something that was claimed to never happen by other more reliable RS. Then one should simply use these other better RS, rather than Masdar per WP:RS. However, for the sources of equal reliability using them both (Masdar + another source) with equal weight would be fine per WP:RS. My very best wishes (talk) 17:02, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Support This proposal is pretty well thought out and I think it's a good compromise. As long as Al-Masdar's claims are taken seriously by multiple sources, I don't see why it shouldn't be included, even if it is meant to deny or reject their claims. I also do think that some (controversial) stand-alone claims by Al-Masdar should be included as well, provided that there's a large consensus for it. But this should be conducted in a case-by-case fashion. Wikipedia is in desperate need of sources that are on the ground that can present varying viewpoints of the conflict. Al-Masdar is the answer for that. Dismissing it would be a grave disservice to the project's readership. Étienne Dolet (talk) 04:53, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

First and foremost, Al-Masdar has no neo-Nazi leanings. Paul is no longer affiliated with the company; I know this because I work there. The only founding member is Leith Abou Fadel. Zen Adra founded the Arabic version. Paul did not join Al-Masdar until late 2015. None of us knew about Paul's previous history on this neo-Nazi forum, so it came to shock to all of us.

Paul typically wrote op-eds which at times were controversial, so Leith asked him to move it to the opinion section. In general, Al-masdar just deals with breaking news. Op-eds and opinion pieces are not our thing.

While many accuse us of being funded by the Syrian and Iranian governments, we are privately funded and do not have any affiliation with any government.

If you guys want to smear the Al-Masdar page with attacks on its reliability, then we would appreciate the page being removed. It is unfair that the entire section on Al-Masdar is about how unreliable we are and quotes from other news agencies that don't agree with our reports.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Yusufalazma1925 (talkcontribs) 19:40, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Have any reliable third-party sources published any noteworthy information about Paul? --Dervorguilla (talk) 00:28, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
As the CTO and BOD member[1] of AMN I hope I can assist in any questions you might have. A few notes;
* The neo-nazi label of the entire publication and its staff is not only incorrect it's directly libellous, so I suggest it be removed from all further discussion.
* The vetting of sources in a war zone is very hard to do as you might have noticed, we are getting better at it and much like you weigh sources against each other, and if something we publish is incorrect we usually issue correction by way of in article edit or by publishing a new article with updates.
* And yes we have sources in most of the camps of the Syria conflict, all who spin to their advantage, we are aware and balance accordingly.
* The pro-Assad label comes from AMNs habit of naming Terrorist organizations (read organisations whose members wouldn't be allowed into any western country) as "Terrorists/Rebels/Militants" and not "Moderate Rebels" such as White_Helmets_(Syrian_Civil_War), Jabhat al Nusra, Daesh etc. And NOT from AMN writing any puff pieces about Assad.
* It's worth noting that AMN does provide major WP:RS with unpublished information about the state of the conflict.
* AMN is completely AD & Donation funded and have NO governments or organisations influencing how, when or what we publish.
Hope this help. Dfroberg (talk) 15:56, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
Nobody's labeling the publication or its staff "neo-nazi". However, it is true that you guys had a guy who for many years posted on a neo-Nazi website Stormfront writing for you. A lot. And that DOES matter for assessing the reliability of the source, although as I've previously stated, al-Masdar would not be considered reliable even if that whole thing with PA wasn't the case.
Also, the "pro-Assad label" doesn't come from how AMN refers to JaN or Daesh. There's plenty of sources out there which refer to these as terrorist organizations and they're not generally seen as "pro-Assad". The pro-Assad label comes from the habit of making any and all kinds of excuses for various atrocities committed by pro-Assad forces and basically constantly carrying water for him (and for Russia too). And the "habit" of trying to paint the whole conflict in black-and-white "good guy Assad"/"bad guy all-rebels-are-terrorists" terms, which is a phony narrative. Now, being biased doesn't automatically make you unreliable (see WP:RS) though it doesn't exactly help. But to be reliable you would have had to establish a "reputation for fact checking and accuracy" which, at this point, you do not have. Both because it's too new and because of things like #Syriahoax crap.Volunteer Marek (talk) 03:07, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
@Volunteer Marek: Yes I noted the cleanup of the verbiage in regards to neo-Nazi(s). You might want to re-read the #SyriaHoax articles that were syndicated to dozens of sites. You also refer to plenty of WP:RS that prefix a-M with pro-thisorthat, a quick google news search shows this to be incorrect, let me cite the a-M:talk page where this was posted already;
a google news search of: "pro assad" "al-masdar" results in 111 matches.
a google news search of: "pro regime" "al-masdar" results in 89 matches.
a google news search of: "pro government" "al-masdar" results in 173 matches.
No other filters where used, the "pro assad" search shows a large number of matches being the same article (#syriahoax) syndicated over multiple publications. And quite a few where a-M was mentioned in relation to pro-Assad forces actions
I am aware that google news searches are not references by themselves, but they do help in finding ratios, my suggestion ended up being that we simply skip the prefix as Iryna Harpy concluded she had to use WP:COMMONSENSE over WP:COMMONNAME to set the name. Dfroberg (talk) 08:34, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

How does SOHR differ?

@Volunteer Marek: Here is an WP:RS citation that describes the relation between WP:RS vs a-M and news on Syria [2] Dfroberg (talk) 08:44, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Support This would not be my first choice but it's a reasonable and well thought out compromise. James J. Lambden 🇺🇸 (talk) 17:32, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

  • In case I wasn't being clear, Support per nom means that I agree with almost every single word Khirurg (who made this proposal) said, and that I am under no obligation whatsoever to make additional explanations.
Though I'm curious, what exactly are those RSN rules User:Neutrality mentions here below? Sure, polling is no substitute for discussion, but neither is filibustering.
Oh and isn't "!voting" what got Daily Mail "prohibited" earlier this year? Fitzcarmalan (talk) 16:46, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
  • This is idiotic - the whole point of having this at WP:RSN is to get outside input from people who are not neck deep in the WP:BATTLEGROUND that is the article and topic area. But pretty much everyone who commented above is from that battleground area, repeating the same policy-violating WP:IJUSTLIKEIT arguments that have got us nowhere. If all of us managed to shut the fuck up for a day or two, maybe an uninvolved editor might actually care to comment. As it is, this is just more of the nonsense that got us here.Volunteer Marek (talk) 21:09, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I second 'This is idiotic'. We have the same editors pushing for the use of a-M as a source !voting on yet another straw poll when they have failed to demonstrate that it is understood to be RS in any shape or form. I've been working on the article on the site for the last few days and, even if it met with WP:N (per the AfD recently held), it is not for reliability but for notoriety as a purveyor of hoaxes, dubious editor-contributors, et. al. That's distinctly antithetical to demonstrating that it even meets with being a WP:BIASED source worthy of use. There's barely a source for developing the article other than a-M on itself. For all the noise about WP:JDL as the motivation behind excluding it, it is the converse that is true, and a misuse of the RSN for 'mob rule'. The onus is on editors to present a case for its being RS. Where is that case? ... And now the same editors working on Syria related articles are trying to bypass the process again in order to establish how a dubious source should be used. Gimme a break. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 21:47, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - and close this as improper and in flagrant regard of RSN rules.
(1) In addition to everything Iryna said, it's improper to hold a " poll" ascertaining that some source is "generally reliable" in broad categories. See the explicit, longstanding instruction at the top of the page: we need "The exact statement(s) in the article that the source supports" to make a reliability assessment. In others words: no, we are not going to give "blank check" here.
(2) On the underlying premise, I find it beyond belief that this mouthpiece for a combatant in an ongoing armed conflict — one replete with disinformation — would be reliable for almost any claim, particularly without attribution and in Wikipedia's own voice.
(3) I find it completely ludicrous that "territorial changes, troops movements, commanders" would be considered "non-controversial information." Questions such as "who holds what ground? How many fighters are in X location? Who is their leader?" are often heavily contested and easily susceptible to exaggeration, understatement, or just plain misinformation.
Neutralitytalk 23:56, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
@Neutrality: We would not consider it reliable for just any claim. We would write attribution (say who is claiming what) if its a controversial issue (massacres etc) that has potential to maybe be propaganda. As for operational matters (territorial changes etc), Masdar has been shown to be reliable on the basis that 90 percent of the exact same territorial changes they report are also reported by the pro-opposition SOHR (which itself has been deemed an authoritative source on the matters of Syria by reliable sources). So in fact there is almost no contention/exaggeration between Masdar and SOHR when it comes to the matter of who captured what. Still, due to the possibility of something possibly being an exaggeration, we work per the following template... When Masdar reports a territorial change that is reported by SOHR as well, we cite both. When Masdar reports something that is not backed-up by SOHR we attribute the report (to Masdar). EkoGraf (talk) 09:31, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
@EkoGraf: Yes, and this is an indicator of the result of the light-handed touch and highly proscribed usage. How is WP:CITEKILL useful to the content? You know that I haven't had any quibbles with you in the past, but I don't comprehend the value of constant usage of these articles unless you are trying to maintain an illusion that the source is deemed a reliable one. Is the point that the reader see that we liberally use a-M as a reliable source. The calibre of those individual articles alone is so spurious that it's embarrassing. An op-ed by an on-again-off-again contributor who calls themselves 'Guest Contributor' (okay, I understand that people have to protect themselves, but what evidence is there of their being reliable in any sense of the word) and this? Seriously? Are Wikipedia articles supposed to be a grab-bag of absolutely anything editors can find on extremely topical issues and run with it because it's been 'negotiated' as okay by interest groups developing the article. Such page consensus is simply not valid as it flies in the face of policy. Oh, and, er... where's the attribution? --Iryna Harpy (talk) 21:15, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
@Iryna Harpy: First, I reverted his edit because there was (and there still is no) consensus to remove Masdar, or that it is totally unreliable. Second, I reverted his edit because unilateral action such as that while the discussions are still ongoing is not appropriate. Third, I am not trying maintain any illusion, we simply can not discriminate between pro-gov and pro-opp sources when presenting both sides POV. Fourth, the sentences that the sources were removed from were mostly reports of territorial changes that were cited by other sources as well (like pro-opp SOHR) and not just Masdar solely, so it was a verified factual thing and there was no need for attribution. EkoGraf (talk) 12:50, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
@Neutrality: Al-Masdar_News and Syrian_Observatory_for_Human_Rights cite each other when no other sources are available, a quick search on both sites will establish that. a-M also checks up on SOHR when we get Syrian government numbers of casualties as they're frequently exaggerated, I can only assume that SOHR does the same at a-M as their numbers and ours are starting to be more or less the same. -- Dfroberg (talk) 10:28, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Seconding Neutrality's objections. This proposal is inappropriate, and while its logic sounds appealing, it simply doesn't make sense. If our only sources for something are bad ones, we can just not include it. Wikipedia is WP:NOTNEWS; it's best for us to wait until more authoritative sources have covered something than to rely on low-quality ones like these. I am skeptical of the push to use sources that are clearly-tainted by their status as a (functional) propaganda outlet for things that users argue are new, pressing and time-sensitive - that is a reason to use additional caution, not to press ahead with a terrible source. And I'm especially skeptical of the "let's just use it for uncontroversial stuff" argument - first, it won't always be obvious what's controversial or uncontroversial until it's too late (and the immediate nature of some of this means that the potential for harm from a mistake is high). Second, when it comes to a topic this fraught with disagreement, I think anything that appears only in a single tainted source like this one is axiomatically controversial. Third, since, again, our mission as an encyclopedia means we are not supposed to obsessively chase breaking news, there is relatively little risk or harm in just waiting to see if a valid source picks something up. Fourth, and most importantly... a statement of "you can use it for uncontroversial stuff" is entirely meaningless. If someone objects, it's obviously not uncontroversial to them, and we're right back at square one. --Aquillion (talk) 10:10, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Let's just cut straight to the core issue. Does it have a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy? That is he only question that matters. Just looking over its (relatively brief) history and the arguments people are making above, I think the answer is a definite no. In a quick Google search, the story mentioned at the top of this section seems to be the only in-depth reporting on Al-Masdar News. People have taken their eyes off the ball in arguing over those accusations - the point isn't whether we agree or disagree with what the Business Insider article says. The point is that that article - and a few other sources that touch on the same thing in the same tone - are definitely, absent something I haven't seen, the best source to go by for Al-Masdar's reputation; and that reputation is absolutely awful. Therefore, it's clearly a really bad source. The proposal above (and the !voting over it) strikes me as mostly silly - what's the point of saying that a bad source can be used only for uncontroversial claims? Technically the standard for uncontroversial stuff is low, but if a claim is uncontroversal, it should be easy to find it in a better source, and if it's in a better source, use the better source. Don't use terrible sources like this one. --Aquillion (talk) 10:10, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

@Aquillion: some assistance in determining the value of a-M by way of references could be had in the a-M talk page under the "Mentions & Attribution" section[3]. I'm not sure the reputation is as bad as is portrayed here. AMN does fact-check and does have a policy[4] guiding that effort, AMN does issue corrections and/or issue updates to properly reflect the situation on the ground. AMN does have an Opinion section that is as biased/correct/incorrect as the author(s) behind it. -- Dfroberg (talk) 11:59, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
@Dfroberg: You're pointing to pages that didn't exist until I started questioning who the Board of Directors is a week ago. More and more pages on policy, BoD, editors, etc. have gone up at a-M about a-M over this last week than were pre-existing prior the article on a-M having been developed over the past week. While I believe it to be a good thing that you are providing your readers with more comprehensive material as to how a-M works, and who a-M actually are, it seems that, in your capacity as an editor on Wikipedia, you're putting these pages up in order to create content for the article on a-M and to create the illusion of prior transparency of process as if it can be backdated. I'm sorry if my observations come off as being cynical, but generic statements about Madsar's processes only make me more dubious as to their veracity when they've explicitly been created in order to pander to Wikipedia recognition. How do we know that any of this is true? Making statements and living up to them are two very separate concerns. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 21:50, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
@Iryna Harpy: The BoD was around since the creation of the publication, the addition to our staff page with a separate BoD section came up in relation to questions from journalists who wondered who the BoD was after our first official statement regarding the Deputy Editors extra-curricular activities. Our guidelines have been there since we grew to large staff wise to not have one, lot and lots of egos in journalism. Have I gained a lot of insight into the pro & cons of transparency from this dialog and questions raised here, yes indeed I have, so the Editorial Guidelines was linked for your perusal. We at AMN can always do better and learn, so any and all suggestions are appreciated. Addressing your cynicism; Did I spend some free time trying to answer your question and respond to demands for links, yup I did. Did I do it to create content for a Wikipedia article? Nope, there is some good advice in here, so I figured why not listen. Rest easy Iryna your cynicism is unfounded :) Dfroberg (talk) 23:01, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
@Aquillion: Like I explained up above, when it comes to territorial changes etc Masdar has been shown to be reliable since 90 percent of the exact same territorial changes they report are also reported by the pro-opposition SOHR (which itself has been deemed an authoritative source on the matters of Syria by reliable sources). So here there is almost no contention/exaggeration on Masdar's part. Still, due to the possibility of something possibly being an exaggeration, we write as follows... When Masdar reports a territorial change that is reported by SOHR as well, we cite both. When Masdar reports something that is not backed-up by SOHR we attribute the report (to Masdar). The problem here are controversial issues/claims such as massacres that are reported by Masdar. In this regard, some want to remove Masdar claims, while others (most) have said it would be ok to use it if the claim is properly attributed to the sentence. EkoGraf (talk) 12:58, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
Wait, only 90% have been confirmed? Or, in other words, up to 10% are never reported or confirmed anywhere else and could have been flatly made up? (And if so, I would assume, those would be the 10% that are most significant - obviously, if they're going to fudge or exaggerate the numbers, they'll do it only occasionally, when it is most important to them.) Given that reliable sources describe Madsar as a propaganda outlet, and given that, again, we are WP:NOTNEWS and have no reason to want to push for the newest territorial changes as quickly as possible, I'd say we should definitely try to avoid citing Masdar for them. In-text attribution is not a panacea; clearly almost anything can be cited as an opinion, but the context can still give the impression to the reader that it can be trusted, especially when cited for something that sounds like a statement of fact, and particularly with an obscure outlet like this that few people are likely to be familiar with. In this situation, I see no benefit to citing Madsar. If you want to cite it for its opinions, in places where they're relevant, that's something else, but most of the time we have no reason to cite someone's opinion on territorial control (which seems to be what you're suggesting here.) Now, reliability is contextual; if something is totally uncontroversial and nobody objects to it, a cite to Madsar might sit there for a while and it's not the end of the world. But I don't think citing it should ever be encouraged, and it should be replaced with a better source wherever possible. --Aquillion (talk) 22:23, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
@Aquillion: "Wait, only 90% have been confirmed?" You are kidding now, right? if someone, ANYONE is 90% accurate in reporting on WAR you can DEFINITELY name them a WP:RS without question or hesitation. "reliable sources describe Madsar as a propaganda outlet" you obviously didn't even look at the links on the talk page *sigh*. Not even IBTimes is consistent in labeling a-M as pro-thisorthat but it simply depends on the authors POV (you know, opinion). When AMN reports that territory has changed hands you can bet it has, AMN has a very low margin of error. Feel free to do some research to disprove it otherwise it's just your WP:POV. But I give you some credit too; Territory changes are breaking news and are prone to be reversed in a matter of hours or days, such is the ebb and flow of combat, but then again, we report on both ebb and flow. Depends on how quick your editors are. --Dfroberg (talk) 23:18, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
@Dfroberg: WP:RSBREAKING suggests that editors ought to "wait a day or two after the event. This gives time for investigative authorities to make official announcements". --Dervorguilla (talk)
@Dervorguilla: yes I realize that's the meaning, and they really should, unless they're really quick with updates, if situation reverts, which it does, often! It gets quite silly sometimes. Just my 2 cents :) --Dfroberg (talk) 03:17, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
@Aquillion: The 90 percent that is confirmed by pro-opposition SOHR is for territorial changes that take place in combat areas where they have their rebel/opposition activists on the ground to confirm it (populated areas). So its in reference to the most significant areas of combat. The remaining 10 percent, which SOHR doesn't confirm, is for areas where SOHR don't have their activists and the Army is the only source that Masdar is able to quote. This is, for the most part, the desert/mountainous areas (non-populated areas and no presence of SOHR activists) where combat is also mostly against ISIL (SOHR doesn't have contacts among ISIL, unlike among the rebels). These parts of the frontline also do not get that much attention in the mainstream media and are not considered significant. However, the remaining 10 percent also mostly get confirmed via non-SOHR sources like or So, in other words, the remaining 10 percent are not confirmed by SOHR because they don't have sources in those areas, but they are mostly confirmed by other sources (like the two I mentioned). In addition, there have been cases, among those 10 percent, where Masdar reported on rebel or even Kurdish advances which were not covered by SOHR. Finally, the Wikipedia editors that have objected to Masdar as a source have primarily objected to it as a source for claims of massacres or something similar, they haven't objected to Masdar reports on territorial changes. And the sources they cited regarding Masdar as a whole focused on Masdar's stories that had nothing to do with territorial issues, rather, the ones that were about massacres for example. EkoGraf (talk) 02:44, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
@Aquillion: Territorial claims sourced to Al-Masdar are quite accurate. Al-Masdar is the only news organization with people on the ground in Syria that are fluent in Arabic. A large number of news organizations cite al-Masdar for coverage of territorial changes in syria. And The main Syrian Civil War map [9] is updated using al-Masdar. Khirurg (talk) 06:51, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
@Khirurg: The use of a map permissible at commons in a list entry where it may or may not be appropriate for Wikipedia is a WP:WINARS argument. Again, Wikipedia is WP:NOTNEWS, therefore grabbing at any information for content is a non-argument. Outside of this, you have been pro-actively promoting the use of a-M as if it were a reliable source on Syria related articles well above and beyond territorial claims. You've only modified your position since uninvolved editors and admins became aware of the misuse of PAGEDECIDE. The arguments for its use are punching above their weight class. The project is not about your POV as to 'pro-Western' sources, nor is there any inbuilt 'right of reply' to reliable sources, in fact Wikipedia has fundamental policies about WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. If an article falls behind internet 'news' because there are no reliable sources for developing the content, it falls behind until reliable sources are found... end of story. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 21:01, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Sources on Buddhism

I'm posting here because we were requested to take our dispute here by @Winged Blades of Godric: who closed our DRN with the recommendation[10]:

"There seems to be be little progress towards a common consensus in spite of the extensive discussions. Participants are requested to take this for formal mediation or to WP:RSN."

I don't see how formal mediation can work, as there is no sign of any consensus emerging or likely to emerge on this. But clarification on reliable sources perhaps could help.

First some background. The reason for the DRN is that I wished to tag Four Noble Truths, Anatta, Nirvana and Karma in Buddhism as POV. I tried adding a tag to one of these articles[11], but it was removed[12]. There was no consensus on the talk page to remove the tag. We have tried a DRN in order to resolve the dispute, but there is still no consensus about whether they can be tagged as POV.

One of the main issues in this discussion is that we have different ideas of what count as WP:RS in the Buddhism topic area. My view is that recognized and well regarded experts in Buddhist scholarship such as Walpola Rahula, Bhikkhu Bodhi, the Dalai Lama (who is a scholar with the highest academic qualifications available in Tibetan Buddhism), Bikkhu Sujato, Ringu Tulku, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Ajahn Sumedho, Geshe Tashi Tsering, Chogyam Trungpa, Pema Chodron etc would all count as WP:RS secondary sources in the Buddhism topic area.

@Joshua Jonathan: and @Ms Sarah Welch: often reverts edits which cite experts such as these on the basis that they are not backed up by Western academic sources[13]. They say this is what is meant by the requirement for "secondary sources" because they are "two steps away"[14]. See also the discussion summarized here[15]. There articles, as a result, often have only a few sentences here and there based on these WP:RS while most of the article will cover the views of these western academics and their many criticisms and reformulations of sutra tradition Buddhism.

If Buddhist scholars in all the Buddhist traditions are recognized as WP:RS that can be used in their own right, then the current articles are POV as they only present their views as coloured by the criticisms and reinterpretations of western academic Buddhists, and the balance is also greatly in favour of the views of the western academics. So, we need this clarified first, which I think is why @Winged Blades of Godric: suggested this as our next stop rather than the NPOVN (edited after discussion with @Ms Sarah Welch: below. Robert Walker (talk) 14:35, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

How the reliable sources guidelines for religion relate to the POV tags dispute

@Robert McClenon: summarized my reasons well in his recent post to the DRN[16]:

"As noted, Christianity is presented primarily as it is seen by Christians. Jewish, Muslim, secular humanist, and Buddhist views of Christianity are discussed, but are not the primary way that Christianity is presented. Buddhism should be presented primarily in terms of what Buddhist scholars interpret as the teachings of Gautama Buddha, not what non-Buddhist Western scholars say about the teachings of the Buddha."

It is my understanding from the reliable sources guidelines that this is how WP:RS should be interpreted in this topic area. That it should be represented primarily in terms of what Buddhist scholars interpret as the teachings of Gautama Buddha, not what non Buddhist Western scholars say about the teachings of the Buddha. You can see @Joshua Jonathan:'s view on the matter from his comment here[17]:

"The Four Noble Truths article already contains the line "While the Theravada-tradition holds the sutras to be the complete and accurate records of the teachings and sayings of the Buddha". This line was added by me, without a source; it can be referenced with and expanded on with your authors (though I would prefer a scholarly source, but alas; Prayudh Payutto seems to be as orthodox and indigenous as can be).

Prayudh Payutto is regarded as one of the most pre-eminent Buddhist scholars in Thailand with many honours. Buddhism has a long history of scholarship dating back to before we had universities in Europe. When @Joshua Jonathan: says he is not a scholar, he just means, he hasn't got a PhD etc from a Western university. He is of the view that Bhikkhu scholars - i.e. scholar monks, and those who have been trained as scholars in this tradition in other countries, for instance in the Tibetan, Sri Lankan or Thailand traditions of Buddhist scholarship, are not reliable secondary sources in this topic area. He says that their work can be used only as interpreted by "non indigenous" western scholars. @Joshua Jonathan:has made similar comments in the past numerous times. If I can summarize his views, if I understand them right, he claims that the article is NPOV because the SUBPOV of sutra tradition Buddhism has been demonstrated to be biased or mistaken by western academic Buddhist scholars, and this has to be explained in the article. @Ms Sarah Welch: is of a similar view.

@Dorje108: puts it like this:

"I think the mistake that both JJ and Sarah are making is that they continually insist "assert" that Rahula and other Buddhist scholars (or scholars who happen to be Buddhists) are “biased”, but that Western academic (who are not Buddhists) are “unbiased.” Therefore, by this logic, the Dalai Lama (for example) as a source should be regarded carefully (as biased), but a Western scholar is not biased. Therefore a presentation or POV by a Western scholar should be given more weight. What I think RW is suggesting (and I agree with this suggestion) is that where there are different points of view in presentation of a topic (whether among different Western academics, or between Western academics and Buddhist scholars), that both POVs should be presented. What I encountered repeatedly in my discussions with JJ (from years ago) and what I have observed in recent discussion, is that when encountered with different POVs, both Sarah and JJ insist that one POV is valid (not biased), and the other POV is not valid (biased). Another problem I observed was that JJ seemed to be trying to write a definitive article on the Four Noble Truths. In other words, he seems to be taking on the role of an academic himself, in deciding what is correct and what is not correct interpretation of Buddhist teachings. Apologies for the length of this post. I am sure everyone involved has the best intentions, and we all have our own personal biases. Also, this is a vast topic, so it is not easy to summarize. But in brief I agree with RW’s point that the current article is not written from a neutral POV (for reasons stated above). I hope this helps"

See Dorje108's comment and discussion

I should explain here, that the Dalai Lama, many westerners don't realize, is qualified academically with the highest qualification available in Tibetan scholarship, the Geshe Lharampa degree[18] which requires 15 years study so is more demanding than a Western PhD. Few westerners have passed this qualification. He also, unusually, is thoroughly versed in all four of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and is the author of numerous books on Buddhism. So he is a WP:RS here because of his academic status, as a Buddhist scholar, not because he is a Dalai Lama. Previous Dalai Lamas have sometimes not been academic at all, but the present day one is unusually academically gifted and was recognized as such by Tibetan Buddhist scholars from a young age.

This is a debate that's been going on in the article talk pages since 2014 when @Joshua Jonathan: did non consensus major rewrites of the articles against the objections of other editors of the articles. He did these rewrites to present the topic from the SUBPOV of academic Buddhism. The previous versions were in a stable state and represented the SUBPOV of sutra tradition Buddhism. @Joshua Jonathan: and others keep previously active editors and new sutra tradition editors out of this topic area by reverting their edits whenever they attempt to insert material on their SUBPOV into the articles. He does this on the basis that (in his view) the sources they wish to use are not secondary WP:RS. See DRN Evidence.

Robert Walker (talk) 07:49, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Sutra tradition Buddhism as a major world faith with hundreds of millions of followers

Sutra tradition Buddhists number in hundreds of millions. These countries all have a majority of Buddhists of these faiths, either Theravada or Mahayana or Vajrayana but all rely on the same core sutras of the Pali Canon which is around the size of an encyclopedia.

(from Buddhism by country)

So, sutra tradition Buddhism in its various manifestations is a major world faith according to the guidelines on religous sources. It's hard to get a figure for the numbers who have the views of western academic Buddhists but they surely can't be in their millions. So why should the articles on Buddhism in wikipedia mainly represent the views of the western academic Buddhists as their POV and only touch on the views of sutra tradition Buddhists in a few sentences here and there, mainly to criticize them? Robert Walker (talk) 07:49, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Suggestion of two SUBPOVs - but we have no consensus on this - so wish to add POV tags

My suggestion is for the main articles to represent the views of sutra tradition Buddhists. I agree that the views of academic western Buddhists are detailed and complex enough to require entire articles, but if this is the case, as I believe @Joshua Jonathan: has demonstrated with his rewrites of these articles - I think the readers will be better served by separating these out into separate articles for western academic WP:SUBPOVs, not to try to merge them into one. Indeed I think this would lead to greater clarity about the views of western academics as well as about the views of sutra tradition Buddhists.

Incidentally, for clarity, by the "western academic SUBPOV" I mean the POV of many western academics according to which when Buddha became enlightened as a young man, what happened is that he had an understanding that he would be free of suffering when he died by not taking rebirth again, a view that they elaborate in much intricate detail, and based on questioning the authenticity of the Pali Canon and attempting to unearth the original teachings of the Buddha. There are many variations on this idea explained in the current articles. @Joshua Jonathan: summarizes the view of one of the authors with this POV, at the end of his "Therevadha" section [19] as

"According to Ambedkar, total cessation of suffering is an illusion; yet, the Buddhist Middle Path aims at the reduction of suffering and the maximalisation of happiness, balancing both sorrow and happiness"

By the sutra tradition SUBPOV I mean the view according to which Buddha when he became enlightened realized cessation not just of suffering but all forms of unsatisfactoriness already right there on the spot. Though he became old, got sick, and died, none of these were "dukkha" or unsatisfactory for him. Those who hold this view consider the sutras to be the authentic teachings of the Buddha and don't think there is any need to try to work out what Buddha originally taught or thought on matters such as the Four Noble Truths, Anatta etc as we already know this from the sutras. Many Buddhists have this view not just through faith but also through reasoning based on internal and external evidence, as explained here: Pali Canon#Authorship according to Theravadins. This view is shared by some Western scholars, who would then fall into the SUBPOV of sutra tradition Buddhism on this matter. Walpola Rahula was a famous example of an author trained in both western scholarship (PhD from a western university and professor at a western university for many years) and Buddhist tradition scholarship who held the views of the sutra tradition Buddhists.

For instance Walpola Rahula writes (in his famous book "What the Buddha Taught" on the essential teachings of Therevadhan Buddhism):

"In almost all religions the summum bonum can be attained only after death. But Nirvana can be realized in this very life; it is not necessary to wait till you die to 'attain' it."

Failing agreement to have separate articles, which we don't have currently, I wish to add POV tags to all four articles and since sutra tradition Buddhists will not be able to edit the articles to represent their views, and have not been able to do so since 2014, then the next step seems to be to invite discussion about whether the articles are POV as suggested in WP:NPOVD. So, it seems our next stop is the NPOV noticeboard, if it is agreed that Prayudh Payutto, Bhikkhu Bodhi, the Dalia Lama etc are indeed WP:RS for the SUBPOV of sutra tradition Buddhism.

Both SUBPOVs agree that when Buddha became enlightened he said that this is his last rebirth. They disagree however on whether he realized cessation of dukkha as a young man of 30, or whether he only had an end to dukkha when he entered paranirvana when he died. This difference in SUBPOV has many ramifications and is one of many differences in view that they have.

Robert Walker (talk) 07:49, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

My essay on reliable sources in Buddhism for comment

I've summarized the situation for reliable sources in sutra Buddhism in my essay here: Essay on Reliable Sources in Buddhism and a Proposal. I invite comments on this essay, and for confirmation that I have understood the guidelines on WP:RS properly or indeed, of course correction, if @Joshua Jonathan: is the one who has a correct understanding of the guidelines here. I also welcome any suggestions about where to take this next, is the NPOVN the natural next place to go, or are there other alternatives? Robert Walker (talk) 07:32, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Response by JJ

I don't object to using Buddhist sources; Prayudh Payutto, for example, is fine; he seems to be quite representative of a truly orthodox line of thought in Theravada, so, that's good (and I agreed with using him). Note that there are good Buddhist sources, and also academic scholarly sources by Buddhists; note also that the articles in questions refer to both Buddhist and academic scholarly sources.

What I object to is basing an article solely on a personal (mis)understanding of Buddhism, based on a selective range of popular sources aimed at a large, uninformed audience; writing articles that contain large amounts of WP:OR and WP:SYNTHESIS, and misrepresent even those those pop-sources; and violating WP:NPOV, by relying solely on those pop-sources. Robert's prefered "previous versions" were not in a stable state, nor did they represent the point of view of "sutra tradition Buddhism" (what does that neologism refer to?) in an adequate way.

Regarding Robert's explanation (thanks, Robert) "By the sutra tradition SUBPOV I mean the view according to which Buddha when he became enlightened realized cessation not just of suffering but all forms of unsatisfactoriness already right there on the spot.", let me quote from that DRN:

"Robert thinks that the release of dukkha is the sole goal of the Buddhist path, and that the end of rebirth is not a/the goal. He thinks that "ending rebirth" is a western scholarly re-interpretation, despite more than a dozen references + quotes (section "ending rebirth, note "Moksha", note "samudaya", note "Samsara", note "Nirodha"), from both scholarly sources and Buddhist sources, which say that the Buddhist "goal" implies both. To compare:

* Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta [20]: "But as soon as this [...] knowledge & vision concerning these four noble truths [...] was truly pure, then I did claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening [...] Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'"

* Bhikkhu Bodhi (2011), The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering, p.10: "[the] elimination of craving culminates not only in the extinction of sorrow, anguish and distress, but in the unconditioned freedom of nibbana, which is won with the ending of reapeated rebirth."[5]

* Keown (2009), Buddhism, p.65: "The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to put an end to suffering and rebirth."

Robert is persistent on this personal pov of him; his proposal for a pov-fork is to split off all the scholarly statements and info into a separate article, and revert the main article back to his preferred version. That's not an option."

To add: this is what the Four Noble Truths article says:

* "But there is a way to end this cycle and reach real happiness,[18][note 5] namely by letting go of this craving and attaining nirvana, whereafter rebirth and dissatisfaction will no longer arise again.[note 6][19]"

* "The truth of nirodha, the cessation of dukkha, is the truth that dukkha ceases, or can be confined,[38] when craving and clinging cease or are confined, and nirvana is attained.[19] Nirvana refers to the moment of attainment itself, and the resulting peace of mind and happiness (khlesa-nirvana), but also to the final dissolution of the five skandhas at the time of death (skandha-nirvana or parinirvana); in the Theravada-tradition, it also refers to a transcendental reality which is "known at the moment of awakening."[74][75][76][77] According to Gethin, "modern Buddhist usage tends to restrict 'nirvāṇa' to the awakening experience and reserve 'parinirvāṇa' for the death experience.[78] When nirvana is attained, no more karma is being produced, and rebirth and dissatisfaction will no longer arise again.[note 6] Cessation is nirvana, "blowing out," and peace of mind.[80][81][82] Joseph Goldstein explains:

Ajahn Buddhadasa, a well-known Thai master of the last century, said that when village people in India were cooking rice and waiting for it to cool, they might remark, "Wait a little for the rice to become nibbana". So here, nibbana means the cool state of mind, free from the fires of the defilements. As Ajahn Buddhadasa remarked, "The cooler the mind, the more Nibbana in that moment". We can notice for ourselves relative states of coolness in our own minds as we go through the day.[82]"

* "Within the Theravada-tradition, three different stances on nirvana and the question what happens with the Arhat after death can be found.[74][75][76][77] Nirvana refers to the cessation of the defilements and the resulting peace of mind and happiness (khlesa-nirvana); to the final dissolution of the five skandhas at the time of death (skandha-nirvana or parinirvana); and to a transcendental reality which is "known at the moment of awakening."[74][note 43] According to Gethin, "modern Buddhist usage tends to restrict 'nirvāṇa' to the awakening experience and reserve 'parinirvāṇa' for the death experience.[78] According to Geisler and Amano, in the "minimal Theravada interpretation", nirvana is a psychological state, which ends with the dissolution of the body and the total extinction of existence.[75][77] According to Geisler and Amano, the "orthodox Theravada interpretation" is that nirvana is a transcendent reality, with which the self unites.[77] According to Bronkhorst, while "Buddhism preached liberation in this life, i.e. before death,"[171] there was also a tendency in Buddhism to think of liberation happening after death. According to Bronkhorst, this

...becomes visible in those canonical passages which distinguish between Nirvana - qualified in Sanskrit and pali as 'without a remainder of upadhi/upadi (anupadhisesa/anupadisesa) - and the 'highest and complete enlightenment'(anuttara samyaksambodhi/sammasambodhi). The former occurs at death, the later in life.[172]

According to Walpola Rahula, Buddhism "shows you the way to perfect freedom, peace, tranquility and happiness,"[web 26] which is nirvana.[web 24] According to Walpola Rahula, the cessation of dukkha is nirvana, the summum bonum of Buddhism, and is attained in this life, not when one dies.[web 24] According to Walpola Rahula, nirvana is "Absolute Truth," which simply is,[web 24][note 44] while Jayatilleke also speaks of "the attainment of an ultimate reality."[174] According to Bhikkhu Bodhi, the "elimination of craving culminates not only in the extinction of sorrow, anguish and distress, but in the unconditioned freedom of nibbana, which is won with the ending of reapeated rebirth."[177]"

So, the article uses both Buddhist and academic sources; it represents Robert's supposed "sutra tradition point of view"; in addition, it makes clear that nirvana has multiple meanings in Buddhism, not just what Robert thinks is "sutra tradition"; and it makes clear that nirvana as cessation and peace is reached here in this life, and that it implies that there will be no more rebirth. That's not an academic reintepretation, that's what Buddhism says. See also what Bhikkhu Bodhi on rebirth and Thanissaro Bhikkhu on rebirth, real Buddhist bhikkhus, quotes in the Wiki-article, have to say about the western idea that rebirth is not part of the Buddhist package.

NB: still walls of text...

Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:07, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

In that section, I quoted from your own comment in the DRN there "though I would prefer a scholarly source, but alas; Prayudh Payutto seems to be as orthodox and indigenous as can be" as your explanation of why you couldn't find a cite for Therevadhan views for the sentence "While the Theravada-tradition holds the sutras to be the complete and accurate records of the teachings and sayings of the Buddha" [21]. You also stated your views in this discussion with ScientificQuest Example of Scientific Quest's attempt at editing Anatta as evidence of clash of SUBPOVs with differing WP:RS where you respond to him: ""...If you think that "the words of the reputed scholar monk override those of the academic", then don't edit Wikipedia, but do start your own blog"", the discussion is here[22]. You and @Ms Sarah Welch: have presented this as your reason for reverting edits or not including content on numerous occasions. Here is @Ms Sarah Welch:'s statement on why we shouldn't use Walpola Rahula's famous book in English for the general public on Therevadhan Buddhism [23]

"The best we can do is what many editors and admins have been suggesting to you... rely on multiple WP:RS by well respected, highly cited scholars who are one or two steps away from the numerous translations and interpretations of Suttas out there"

and see @Dorje108:'s comment on this in the DRN[24]:.
You and her say this whenever we discuss reliable sources for the articles. Robert Walker (talk) 08:27, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
On rebirth I don't want to get overly technical here, and embark once more on a discussion we have played through many times - but have added a brief statement to that section explaining that both SUBPOVs agree that Buddha when he became enlightened said that it was his last rebirth. Robert Walker (talk) 08:55, 30 April 2017 (UTC)


Robert, I didn't say I couldn't find a n academic source; I just didn't add one yet. Instead, I added your sources diff. So, what's your point, when I myself add your preferred sources? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:55, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
You said clearly "though I would prefer a scholarly source, but alas; Prayudh Payutto seems to be as orthodox and indigenous as can be"'. Now you have added him as a source, but you said clearly that he was not a WP:RS before. Have you changed your views? Do you now regard Prayudh Payutto, the Dalai Lama, Bhikkhu Bodhi etc as reliable sources in their own right, and not only as interpreted by Western scholars? If that is your view then you will have to agree that the articles mentioned are all WP:POV as most of the content of those four articles, in terms of word count, describes the views of western academics and their comments on the WP:RS of Buddhist scholarship. Your argument for it being WP:NPOV all along has been on the basis that these sources are not WP:RS as secondary sources and so, whenever mentioned, have to be used alongside western "secondary" comments on their views. Robert Walker (talk) 09:04, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Reply by Ms Sarah Welch

The OP's request to tag article(s), and reasons given are inappropriate for RSN. This discussion board is useful when editor(s) in dispute have a "specific source, cite details such as page number(s), article and disputed content", and want to know if the source is reliable for statement X in it? I suggest this case be closed without comment or prejudice.

If the case is accepted, I hope the RSN volunteers will identify which specific source they are talking about. FWIW, the mentioned articles do include Theravada Buddhist scholars (who Robert Walker calls sutra-tradition). @Robert McClenon: I sense Robert Walker or I misunderstood you. In my reading, you are not saying that Four Noble Truths and other Buddhism articles do not include Theravada Buddhist POV and scholarship? You were just saying that the Buddhism articles should be presented from practicing Buddhists POV (Theravada, Mahayana, etc) found in reliable sources. Again fwiw, the articles do!, Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 12:17, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

@Ms Sarah Welch: First, I'm posting here because I was requested to take it here by @Winged Blades of Godric: who said

"There seems to be be little progress towards a common consensus inspite of the extensive discussions. Participants are requested to take this for formal mediation or to WP:RSN."

I will edit my post here to make that clear. Formal mediation doesn't seem likely to solve it, so here is the next step. I'm saying, that Walpola Rahula, Bhikkhu Bodhi, the Dalai Lama (who is a scholar as well as the Dalai Lama with the highest academic qualifications available in Tibetan Buddhism and many books to his name), Bikkhu Sujato, Ringu Tulku, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Ajahn Sumedho, Geshe Tashi Tsering, Chogyam Trungpa, Pema Chodron etc would all count as recognized and well-regarded experts in Buddhism. You and @Joshua Jonathan: often revert edits on the basis that they are only cited to Buddhist scholars such as these, and are not backed up by Western academic sources. which you say are required as "secondary" because they are "two steps away". Which then leads to editors trying to find Western academics who say the same things as these WP:RS, at which point they usually give up. I'm asking for clarification of this. If you and @Joshua Jonathan: have changed your mind on this policy, please post to the talk pages of these four articles making it clear to the editors whose edits you have reverted that you now agree that these can be used as WP:RS on their own without need for them to find a western academic who says the same thing as the Bikkhu scholars. Also if you have changed your views on this, the articles are clearly POV because though they do cite sutra tradition Buddhists, the bulk of the actual content of the articles, all except a few sentences here and there, present the views of Western academics, based on your previous policy that sutra tradition Buddhist views can only be included if also explained by Western academics and commented on by them. So, we need this clarified first, which I think is why @Winged Blades of Godric: suggested this as our next stop rather than the NPOVN. Sutra tradition Buddhism covers Theravada, Zen Buddhism, Mahayana, Vajrayana because they all accept slight variations on the core sutras of the Pali Canon as the words of the Buddha along with some extra texts of their own. Robert Walker (talk) 14:17, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
  • @Robertinventor: Please do not "edit your post here to make that clear". Leave your posts unchanged, per WP:TALK. You can post more addendums and clarifications. This is necessary to let others appreciate the context of JJ, my or other editor's replies after reading your text. Additionally, again I respectfully request that you stop casting aspersions, such as "You and @Joshua Jonathan: often revert edits on the basis that they are only cited to Buddhist scholars", without evidence such as edit diffs. Your cooperation is requested, Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 14:28, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
First apologies for not marking my edits of the main post. I know that you must do this when editing a post in a threaded discussion that's been replied to but I didn't make the connection with the current situation. I understand now. Also yes - I've corrected that - and done it properly with strike out. @Joshua Jonathan: does revert edits on the basis that they are only cited to Buddhist scholars. As far as I know, you don't, but you do support him in his views on this matter on the talk pages. Sorry for writing that. I've edited it accordingly. I already do have a diff to a recent statement you made on my talk page on the subject to show this does represent your views. I will duplicate this in the appropriate place and add a diff for JJ as well. Robert Walker (talk) 15:07, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Could someone please summarize all of this into a breif (one paragraph) statement, outlining what the dispute is about? I got lost about a quarter of the way through that wall of text. Blueboar (talk) 15:40, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
So did I, but I don't think that this is a source reliability discussion, but a long meta-discussion. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:57, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Comments by User:Robert McClenon

Maybe I don't understand something, but I don't see what the purpose of this posting is. This noticeboard appears to be intended to resolve questions of whether a specific source is reliable, but this posting appears to be a long meta-discussion by Robert Walker about general questions about what types of sources should be used with regard to articles on Buddhist subjects such as the Four Noble Truths. I don't fully understand what the thrust is of the OP's wall of text anyway, but the length distracts rather than helps. Are there any specific issues about sources, or is this really a question about how to present articles on Buddhism? I apologize if I have added to the confusion by trying to understand what was being said. I was only trying to say that Wikipedia should focus on how scholars view Buddhism from the standpoint of practicing Buddhists, but maybe that didn't help. In any case, this doesn't appear to be a constructive use of this noticeboard, unless there is a specific source, whether non-Western Buddhist, Western Buddhist, or non-Buddhist Western, that is in question. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:45, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

In view of the length of this post, and most of the other posts, by Robert Walker, I am not sure that I understand what his issue is, other than he has an issue. Maybe there isn't any real meta-issue about what are and are not primary and secondary sources after all. I have stated my own view, which is that Wikipedia should primarily present how Buddhism is seen by practicing Buddhists (and only secondarily the opinions of non-Buddhists about Buddhism) as described by reliable sources including academic sources. Maybe Wikipedia already does that. It isn't clear whether Robert Walker has any specific issues with article content. If this issue can't be summarized briefly, then maybe it should be closed. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:58, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
@Robert McClenon: - I came here because it was suggested by the admin who closed the DRN. Sorry for the length of my post. The issue is exactly as you stated it. I gave some of the WP:RS in this topic area for sutra tradition Buddhists - these are examples of scholars who view Buddhism from the standpoint of practicing Buddhists. They are all practicing Buddhists in various sutra traditions of Buddhism who are also widely recognized as experts for their particular traditions. The 2014 versions of the articles just presented their views as they present them themselves in their books and articles. The current version either doesn't cite them at all, or if it does mention them, their views form only a small part of the article. The balance is hugely in the direction of academic western Buddhists. It's rather like an article on Christianity written by a secular, Muslim, Jewish or Buddhist authors which mentions many of the reliable sources on Christianity, but all the way through discusses them from the perspective of one of those other SUBPOV's and with the bulk of the text in the article written from a non Christian SUBPOV.
So, if we could establish that these are WP:RS then it would make everything clearer. Especially since @Joshua Jonathan: and @Ms Sarah Welch: often explain to other editors including myself that they are not secondary sources. A clear statement that they are reliable secondary sources on their own faiths would be a great help. If that statement was made, then I could take this to the NPOVN and show how the articles have hardly any actual sentences that express the views of sutra tradition Buddhists. I could do a word count indeed, count how many words express their views and how many the other views. I'd be surprised if it is as much as 10% of the article that expresses views of the Buddhists themselves. Robert Walker (talk) 19:42, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @Robert McClenon: I have thought of a simple way to show the change of POV of the new articles. I have colour coded each sentence in the lede violet if it is cited to a western academic source such as Anderson, black if it is cited to sources of both East and West or not cited, and red if it is cited to a sutra tradition scholar. This then sidesteps all those issues of "Prove that such and such a view is a view of sutra tradition Buddhism, or western academic Buddhism". The problem I face here is that none of you have knowledge of sutra tradition Buddhism, and why would you? If someone said "Christians don't believe in the resurrection of Jesus" then they would be laughed at. But imagine if you had to prove that from books, when also you are prevented from using books by Christian theologians on the grounds that they are Christians? And every cite you give, they find a way to re-interpret what you say, and say it is your own personal bias and not what Christians actually believe? What is happening here is as clear as that example, to any sutra tradition Buddhists but of course you can't be expected to know that.

Colour coding by the sources however is an easy way to show the change in POV. The new article uses almost exclusively western academic sources in the lede. The old version used both western academics and sutra tradition Buddhists in roughly equal measure in the lede. If I went further down the page to the main article, it would be more striking still. The old version would be nearly entirely red. The new version would be nearly entirely blue. I can do that if you feel it would be helpful to do so. Here it is as it is so far: Four Noble Truths Colour

Robert Walker (edited - I changed blue to violet because links are shown in blue) Robert Walker (talk) 23:50, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Attempted summary by User:Kautilya3

I think the gist of the question is contained in this paragraph of the OP:

One of the main issues in this discussion is that we have different ideas of what count as WP:RS in the Buddhism topic area. My view is that recognized and well regarded experts in Buddhist scholarship such as Walpola Rahula, Bhikkhu Bodhi, the Dalai Lama (who is a scholar with the highest academic qualifications available in Tibetan Buddhism), Bikkhu Sujato, Ringu Tulku, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Ajahn Sumedho, Geshe Tashi Tsering, Chogyam Trungpa, Pema Chodron etc would all count as WP:RS secondary sources in the Buddhism topic area.

The opposing parties apparently state that these authors are insiders of Buddhism and what they write constitute primary sources, whereas Wikipedia articles should be based on secondary sources. What is your view? -- Kautilya3 (talk) 17:34, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Both can be used, but depending on the quality of the source and the info they provide, the way this info is presented, and the context in which this information is being used. Primary, c.q. 'insider-sources' can be used, if reliable, and properly used and interpreted; academic sources are to be preferred when available. To qualify the authors above a priori as reliable is mistaken. A preference for Buddhist sources is not an excuse to write a substandard article to push a personal pov, with WP:OR, WP:SYNTHESIS, and misrepresentations of a limited selection of non-scholarly sources. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 17:47, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Kautilya3: Thank you for the "apparently state" qualification. If you review Four Noble Truths, not only are the views of Walpola Rahula, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ajahn Sumedho, Dalai Lama, etc included many many times in the article, they are also listed in the Further reading section. Please ignore all allegations without evidence. The issue is not that JJ and I are suggesting or enforcing an either-or between Traditional-Western here, as a review of 4NT etc articles shows. We – the opposing parties – are suggesting a careful consideration and summary of all sides, from the reliable sources. The vague "meta" discussion by RW isn't helpful. It would be easier to discuss specific source, or consider specific evidence. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 18:13, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
@Kautilya3: Yes that is it. Can those sources be used on their own as the sole cites for a sentence or paragraph in an article. This is an example revert by @Joshua Jonathan:[25]

"Reverted 47 edits by ScientificQuest (talk): Reads like a personal analysis from a Theravada point of view. Please start using independent sources."

From the conversation on the talk page it's clear that by "independent sources" he means sources that are independent of the tradition of Therevadhan scholarship. The editor had used Bikkhu Bodhi a well regarded Therevadhan source, as the basis for the content he cited. @Joshua Jonathan: explained to him in the conversation that such sources are primary and can't be used by themselves but must be used alongside "secondary" sources by which he means academic sources outside of the Therevadhan tradition. Please read the discussion here in which @Joshua Jonathan: explains his views on what counts as reliable secondary sources on Therevadhan Buddhism. [26], and explains to @ScientificQuest: as the reason for is reverts of all his recent edits, that Bhikkhu Bodhi does not count as such for articles on Buddhism. I know this is some time back but he explains it particularly clearly here. I could come up with many other diffs saying the same thing from him and from @Ms Sarah Welch: indeed even in the recent DRN discussion. I do not think that this is what the WP:RS guidelines on reliable sources in Religion is saying. So want this clarified. It relates to the POV tag that lead to the DRN because they claim the articles are NPOV. But they make almost no mention of views in WP:RS such as Bhikkhu Bodhi because of this policy of excluding such material if it is not backed up by western academic sources. This I think makes the articles POV. This is a question about a whole category of WP:RS not a particular source, but I was recommended to take it here from the DRN. Hope that is clearer, thanks, and sorry if my post was too long. Robert Walker (talk) 19:17, 30 April 2017 (UTC)


  • I have reviewed this stuff a few times. My sense is that the core of the dispute, is what is the main purpose or perhaps, main benefit, of enlightenment. JJohnson seems to think it is release from the cycle of rebirth/redeath. Robertinventor seems to think it is release from all dissatisfaction. The battles over sources and over "Western" vs Buddhist scholarship, are just about winning the war over that. All this drama over something that is ...quite secondary. Both flow from the primary thing: enlightenment. See (חַטָּא chate) "to miss, to err from the mark (speaking of an archer), to sin, to stumble." Jytdog (talk) 19:48, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
User:Jytdog - If this is about the nature of enlightenment, then I understand that I can't and needn't understand it, because the meaning of enlightenment in Buddhism is, as I understand, different than its meaning in Christianity, and central to Buddhism. I might as well try to explain the filioque controversy to a Buddhist. Robert McClenon (talk) 01:20, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: thanks Jytdog; concise summary, except for one detail: I don't think that Buddhists say that it's sole aim is release from rebirth; Buddhism says it's both. Release of dissatisfaction, and release from rebirth. That's what the sutras say, what Buddhists say the sutras say, what scholars say that Buddhists say, and what the Wiki-article says, based on both academic scholars and Buddhist writers. It's all in the Wiki-article, sutras, Buddhists, scholars. See Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard#Response by JJ. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 21:11, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Robert Walker: *The "47 edits" that were reverted 2+ years ago had much unsourced OR. I see cited in later sections, which being a website is suspect, because the single person who created the website admits, "Some biases, however, inevitably intrude, owing to the editorial choices I've made and to the summaries and short introductory essays that I've written here and there to give some context to the material being presented." So, if your question is whether is RS, my answer is no. Please consider the published texts that meet WP:RS peer review, publishing quality controls and other guidelines. We can't single source an article with a lot of scholarship, with POVs from Theravada / Mahayana / etc traditions. Consider additional published scholarly and such reliable sources. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 22:19, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── That's not what @Joshua Jonathan: said to @ScientificQuest: in the conversation as the reason for deleting his edits. He says [27]

"Regarding "religious knowledge": Wikipedia is not about religious knowledge, it's about verifiable information. Please do read WP:RS. If you think that "the words of the reputed scholar monk override those of the academic", then don't edit Wikipedia, but do start your own blog."

I am here to ask for clarification of this. It's not so much the particulars of this case. It's about the statements you make explaining your understanding of the wikipedia policies on WP:RS in the topic area of religion. I want clarification of the statements such as these that you and @Joshua Jonathan: so often give as your stated reasons for your article editing policies as enforced by JJ by edit reverts. I do not believe that what he stated here accurately represents the guidelines on religious sources. It would be good to have clarification on this point, and perhaps have a summary of the conclusions posted to the Buddhism Project Robert Walker (talk) 23:33, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

RW: From that link, you missed quoting the context. Let me state it.... Joshua Jonathan's wrote, "But just simply cite your sources. Regarding "religious knowledge": Wikipedia is not about religious knowledge, it's about verifiable information. Please do read WP:RS. If you think that..." So, JJ is not stating anything special there. Everyone needs to cite his or her sources. Unsourced content and OR, whether religious knowledge or on other subjects, is not okay.
RSN volunteers will likely be consistent with community's best understanding of WP:RS. If your question is, "Are non-peer reviewed websites or self-published sources or blogs alleging to be statements by "religious scholars" reliable as a source for Buddhism topics?" The answer is no. If your question is, "Are peer reviewed secondary publications by "religious scholars or reputed scholar monk or academic" released by publishers of repute reliable?" The answer is yes. If your question is, "Does a reliable source written by reputed scholar monk override a reliable source written by the academic?" on some key point of view. The answer is no. Because they represent two sides, and both need to be summarized to the best of our abilities. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 00:10, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
How many times are you going to come back to the Anatta-article? You have insinuated over and over again that my edits there were mal-practice; I have over and over again linked to my extensive explanations at the talkpage Talk:Anatta/Archive 3#Constructive comments, and ScientificQuest's response Talk:Anatta/Archive 3#Comments on Constructive Feedback:
"Hi Joshua, Chris, Victoria, and Robert. Please don't mind my personal note - since I made some bad personal remarks here earlier, I figure it is only right for me to write a personal apology. And again, instead of writing on your individual talk pages, I decided to own it up in public.
Joshua, thanks a lot for your very constructive feedback. I really appreciate this line-by-line feedback of exactly what went wrong in my post. It keeps it to facts, and states exactly what the problem is with the style. Coming from a background of writing for academic Journals, I can see my tendency to write original research - because arguably that's what academics do (unless perhaps they're editing Wikipedia pages)."
Could you please remember this response, and stop recycling the Anatta-article? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 03:40, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @Joshua Jonathan:, if you now accept that Bhikkhu Bodhi can be used as a secondary source for the Anatta article, and other articles in the Buddhism topic area, can you please say so clearly? And I suggest we post to the talk page there about it, saying that on due consideration you now say that he can be used there, on his own, not just as an additional source. Then we can drop it. I mention this because it is one of the clearest statements of your views on this matter, which you have never retracted, but rather repeated over and over in different ways.

SW, you need to read what @Joshua Jonathan: said there in context. He had already said[28]

":PS: Bikkhu Bodhi is not an academic source; you can use him as an additional source, but academic sources are preferred. "

In that context it is totally clear that he meant that Bhikkhu Bodhi when he said

"If you think that "the words of the reputed scholar monk override those of the academic", then don't edit Wikipedia, but do start your own blog."

This is not in the guidelines to best of my knowledge, that you can only use the sources by well regarded experts on their faith as additional sources, and that you have to have academic sources are preferred. Indeed the guidelines seem to be the other way around, that when you are writing about the faith itself, its core ideas, the beliefs and practices of those who follow it, then the sources written by those in the faith itself are the best secondary sources. For instance in an article about Jesuit spirituality, you would use sources written by Jesuits as your secondary sources, not articles about Jesuits by Quakers (say), and vice versa. You might use sources written by Quakers in an article on Quaker views of Jesuits, but not as the main and most used sources in an article on Jesuit spirituality itself. That's my understanding, which I need clarified.

And - what you just said

""Does a reliable source written by reputed scholar monk override a reliable source written by the academic?" on some key point of view. The answer is no. Because they represent two sides, and both need to be summarized to the best of our abilities.

If you mean by this that every time a Bhikkhu scholar is cited, you have to have a citation by a western scholar on the same topic in the same section of the article, I do not believe this to be in the guidelines. The two SUBPOVs do have to be represented, but they can be in different sections, different articles, written by different authors. In particular an author contributing an article or section on say, Christian views of Resurrection of Jesus does not have to also be an author of articles or sections on Jewish, Muslim or secular authors. The reason @ScientificQuest: gave up was because you required him to back up his cites to Bhikkhu Bodhi with cites to western academic authors. I do not believe this to be a requirement in the guidelines. Robert Walker (talk) 04:13, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

I don't say that Bhikkhu Bodhi can be used as a secondary source; nor do I say that Bhikkhu Bodhi can be used as a source in general, or is to be preferred over academic scholars. Nor do I say that he shouldn't be used at all. It depends on context. Bhikkhu Bodhi is a learned man; his notes to the translations of the Sutras are very extensive, and very helpfull. I often look them up when I read the sutras. But he does indeed have a specific Theravada point of view, which means that some of his interpretations may be coloured. That's why, and when, academic sources, are to be preferred: they have more distance to the subject.
  • For example, when there are inconsitencies in the sutras, Bhikkhu Bodhi's approach is to harmonize them, as can be expected from a faithfull Theravadin; an academic will take a more critical approach, and lay bare nuances and developments which will be missed by the faith-author. You see the difference? How and when to use both of them, then, depends on the context and the information that's being sourced with them.
  • A very good example is John McRae's Seeing through Zen; McRae analyses the Zen-rhetorics about sudden enlightenment, tracing these rhetorics to their origins on dosctrinal disputes and power-struggles. If we rely on the primary sources, as many popular sources still do, we get a picture that is most;y, if not completely, fictional. McRae provided insights which Buddhist sources never could give, that is, without critically analyzing them. Note, by the way, that McRae expanded on the works of Japanese Buddhist scholars!

So, yes, in general I do prefer academic sources; but I do not reject Buddhist sources a priori. It depends on context and subject. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:30, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

This is exactly what I want clarification of

"But he does indeed have a specific Theravada point of view, which means that some of his interpretations may be coloured. That's why, and when, academic sources, are to be preferred: they have more distance to the subject."

I do not think the guidelines say this. Indeed, they say clearly that an expert within a faith writing books and articles for others in his faith is often a WP:RS secondary source for his own faith. He is a WP:RS for Therevadan Buddhism. Western academics who don't have this faith and are writing as outsiders, in my understanding of the guidelines are not preferred over the Theravadans themselves. Indeed, the guidelines say that in this situation, those writing about the faith from outside are usually primary sources, with particular slants and interpretations that they are putting forward on that faith that are not accepted by members of the faith and indeed often are also challenged by other "outsiders". I explain this in my section which I am asking for clarification on by the volunteers here. What you are suggesting is similar to making it a requirement that an article on Jesuit spirituality should rely predominantly on articles by non Jesuits because articles by Jesuits on their own spirituality are coloured by their faith. I do not believe on very careful and thorough reading of the guidelines, and on looking at how the guidelines are applied in examples in the Religion topic area, that this is how they are intended to be used or applied.
See my Examples of sourcing for religious topics in wikipedia - Ignatian spirituality and Jehovah's Witnesses
The example of the page on the Jehovah's witnesses makes it especially clear. In the passages about the beliefs of the Jehovah's witnesses themselves it makes extensive use of their "Watchtower" magazine. This could never by any stretch of the imagination be called an academic source. It is clear from the guidelines and examples that it is not a requirement to use academic sources from outside the religion for sections or articles describing the faith itself as understood by its practitioners. Also when a faith has its own religious academies and scholars, then well regarded scholars of that religion are themselves regarded reliable secondary sources on what they themselves believe. That is my understanding of the guidelines.
Indeed the discussion on the talk page that lead to the current guidelines makes this even clearer Religious sources proposal:

"The proposal attempts to implement a reasonable understanding of the spirit of WP:RS as representing sources regarded as reliable and authoratative within a community and for presenting a specific viewpoint. The intent is to limit what is permissable to only religious opinion that is documentably authoratative and where such opinion is appropriate and properly attributed. It also attempts to avoid the overuse of WP:RS to make what sometimes seems to be a de facto end run around WP:NPOV, explicitly permitting references to religious experts on matters of their own religious expertise. "

What you do when you use edit reverts and talk page discussion to enforce your requirement for every passage in the article to be written from a western academic Buddhist perspectvive, in my view is this "overuse of WP:RS to make what sometimes seems to be a de facto end run around WP:NPOV". I'm not saying this is intentional. But it has the effect that the articles become heavily biased towards western academic Buddhism with nearly every sentence and passage cited to sources like Anderson, Gombrich, Bronkhorst etc, with occasional phrases and sentences cited to WP:RS in sutra tradition Buddhism. See my Four Noble Truths colour coded.

Robert Walker (talk) 10:21, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

No Robert, scholarly sources published by University Presses are not primary sources. I'd like to see a quote from a guideline for that statement. WP:SCHOLARSHIP:
"Material such as an article, book, monograph, or research paper that has been vetted by the scholarly community is regarded as reliable, where the material has been published in reputable peer-reviewed sources or by well-regarded academic presses."
If you think that those scholarly sources are sources "with particular slants and interpretations that they are putting forward on that faith that are not accepted by members of the faith and indeed often are also challenged by other "outsiders"" (I'd also like to see a quote from a guideline for that), then you can supplement those sources with insider sources with their specific point of view, and also those other outsider sources with their point of view. But we don't WP:CENSOR reliable scholarly sources because they are not in line with your personal pov. See also WP:RNPOV:
"In the case of beliefs and practices, Wikipedia content should not only encompass what motivates individuals who hold these beliefs and practices, but also account for how such beliefs and practices developed. Wikipedia articles on history and religion draw from a religion's sacred texts as well as from modern archaeological, historical, and scientific sources."
Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:42, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Bottom-line: practical proposals

Let's get back to the bottom-line: if you come with workable issues and proposals, then changes can be made to the article. extended content moved to User talk:Robertinventor#Workable proposals, in response to Ms Sarah Welch and in response to Alexbrn. If you come with concrete, small-scale examples, things can be worked-out quite fine. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:10, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Central question for RSN volunteers

Dear volunteers. Sorry for the length of my original post, and the confusion leading to much discussion of rather tangential topics. The main thing I want to know is this. I've tried to clarify the situation for WP:RS in the Buddhism topic area in my Essay on Reliable Sources in Buddhism.

My aim was to clarify what counts as reliable sources in this topic area which has been a matter of controversy for the last several years, at least since 2014. This controversy has lead to editors leaving the project because the sources they want to use were not accepted as WP:RS by the other editors here. Have I summarized the guidelines correctly in those sections?

The sections are here:

Also I then apply those guidelines as I understood them to some examples of particular sources in the Buddhism topic area in the sections:

Between them these examples cover some of the main controversies we've had about what counts as a reliable source in this topic area. I would very much appreciate if you can cast your expert eye over these examples. Can these sources be used on their own as citations for articles in central topics for the Buddhist faith? Or can they only be used as "additional sources" so that cites from these authors have to be accompanied by cites from western academic sources saying the same thing - authors like Gombrich, Anderson, Bronkhorst etc? If this can be clarified it will be much appreciated, and will be very useful in future discussions of these articles and editing. Any questions, be sure to say. Thanks! Robert Walker (talk) 04:17, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Now, that's a concise summary! Good. And to give one answer right away: it depends on the concrete context, and how you use those sources. And you'll have to establish that authors like Walkopa Rahula are "pre-eminent secondary sources on Buddhism" before you regard them as such. To quote from Four Noble Truths#Popularisation in the west:
"According to Gimello, Rahula's book is an example of this Protestant Budhism, and "was created in an accommodating response to western expectations, and in nearly diametrical opposition to Buddhism as it had actually been practised in traditional Theravada." (Gimello (2004), as quoted in Taylor (2007).)
Don't confuse "popularity" with "reliability." Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:35, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
  • RW: Your wall of text link to another wall of text which in turn lead to more links with TL/DR. Your personal essay is still a draft in progress, and poorly written. If a RSN volunteer cares to comment, he or she would need to comment on each line by line, with rationale, hardly the scope of this noticeboard. As I mentioned earlier, the pre-2014 cases you have linked relied heavily on non-RS websites / blogs / questionable sources. For the current cases, if you were to ask specific question, such as "is this part in this blog or self published source or peer reviewed journal article or reviewed secondary/tertiary text by such and such monk or nun or professor" a reliable source?, one can answer it. But, vague generic questions cannot have non-vague particular answers. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 05:05, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
  • As an RSN volunteer I'd appreciate it if queries were posted in accord with the instructions that are prominently displayed when posting: state the SOURCE, the ARTICLE and the CONTENT ("The exact statement(s) or other content in the article that the source is supporting"). If posters did that (with three bullet points say) a lot less time would be wasted. Alexbrn (talk) 10:19, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
  • @Alexbrn:. Okay I can do that. The thing is this is a pervasive general issue and I wish clarification of the guidelines themselves. There are numerous cases of these editors removing content heavily cited to WP:RS according to the guidelines. But most are from some years back because nearly all editors who use the sutra tradition WP:RS have now left the project because their edits get reverted. In addition, @Joshua Jonathan:'s editing style makes it hard to pick out a particular diff. He moves content around the page in major rewrites, during which sections get shrunk, merged, renamed, moved to another part of the page, shrunk again, until eventually the original content has disappeared from the page. The articles are often not the same from one day to the next, so it is hard to find the point at which some particular notable content sourced to WP:RS was removed, which is done a bit at a time by attrition, replaced by western academic sources. Anyway there is one example which is particularly clear as an editor tried to reinsert several cited sections back into Karma in Buddhism and this was immediately reverted. Are the cites used in this section WP:RS. I will post this as a separate section with three bullet points as requested. Robert Walker (talk) 10:53, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Example of WP:RS removed from Karma in Buddhism

  • Article: Karma in Buddhism
  • Content removed: [29] - these are deleted sections from the previous mature version of this article before @Joshua Jonathan:. You can see the deleted sections as the section Buddhist understanding of Karma in the page before the deletion. Some of the cite links don't work in this section as they had already been removed from the article, so to get them to work you need to go to the original version, here: [30] - everything from "Meanings of karma" to "Buddha's realization of" inclusive was removed. I can also link to our talk page discussions where we tried to get @Joshua Jonathan: to reinsert it on the basis that it was cited to WP:RS
  • Sources cited:
    • Gethin, Rupert (1998-07-16). The Foundations of Buddhism (p. 119). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
    • Tsering, Geshe Tashi (2005-06-10). The Four Noble Truths: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Volume 1 (Kindle Locations 1220-1226). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition
    • What is Karma? p.2, Ken McLeod
    • Khandro Rinpoche "This Precious Life: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on the Path to Enlightenment"[31]
    • Sogyal Rinpoche (2009), The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Harper Collins, Kindle Edition
    • Ringu Tulku Karma - note this is the website of the Rigpa organization, an international Tibetan Buddhist organization formed by Sogyal Rinpoche, who has studied under masters of all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, which makes this site one of the best NPOV sources on Tibetan Buddhism as understood by Tibetan Buddhists themselves, and it is a closed wiki edited only by members of this organization [32] and Ringu Tulku is a well regarded expert on Tibetan Buddhism who has also like Sogyal Rinpoche studied under masters of all four schools.
    • Bhikkhu Thanissaro (2010), Wings to Awakening: Part I (PDF), Metta Forest Monastery, Valley Center, CA
    • Lamotte, Etienne (1987), Karmasiddhi Prakarana: The Treatise on Action by Vasubandhu, Asian Humanities Press
    • Kragh, Ulrich Timme (2006), Early Buddhist Theories of Action and Result: A Study of Karmaphalasambandha, Candrakirti's Prasannapada, verses 17.1-20, Arbeitskreis für tibetische und buddhistische Studien, Universität Wien

Anyway the list goes on and on, I'd fill this page with citations if I gave them all.

Are these reliable sources for the Religion topic area for Buddhism? If you like to focus on a few examples from this long list, can I suggest:

  • Tsering, Geshe Tashi (2005-06-10). The Four Noble Truths: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought, Volume 1 (Kindle Locations 1220-1226). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition
  • Sogyal Rinpoche (2009), The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Harper Collins, Kindle Edition
  • Ringu Tulku Karma - note this is the website of the Rigpa organization, an international Tibetan Buddhist organization formed by Sogyal Rinpoche, who has studied under masters of all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, which makes this site one of the best NPOV sources on Tibetan Buddhism as understood by Tibetan Buddhists themselves, and it is a closed wiki edited only by members of this organization [33] and Ringu Tulku is a well regarded expert on Tibetan Buddhism who has also like Sogyal Rinpoche studied under masters of all four schools.
  • Bhikkhu Thanissaro (2010), Wings to Awakening: Part I (PDF), Metta Forest Monastery, Valley Center, CA

Those are all examples of sutra tradition scholars that in the new articles would not be cited except as additional sources to back up the Western scholars who are regarded as more authoritative on the topic of what Buddhists believe, because their writings are not coloured by their faith, as @Joshua Jonathan: explained above. I do not believe that the guidelines say this.

I'll do another example from the Anatta article. Robert Walker (talk) 11:21, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

It's still a huge, hard-to-answer question - but to take one snippet: if Wikipedia says "Rupert Gethin states ..." and that relays what Rupert Gethin states, then of course that is reliablly sourced and WP:V (the policy) is satisfied. However, these questions in general seem to have little to do with reliability and rather more to do with neutrality: WP:NPOV is a core policy too. Wikipedia must reflect accepted knowledge as found in the best sources (so for this case I would be looking at scholarly works on religion). In general, an insistence that something is due just because it is reliably-sourcable is a weak argument for inclusion. Alexbrn (talk) 11:36, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
@Alexbrn: in this I'm going by thewikipedia guidelines on Religious Sources[34] where they say

""In significant world religious denominations with organized academies or recognized theological experts in religious doctrine and scholarship, the proceedings of official religious bodies and the journals or publications of recognized and well-regarded religious academies and experts can be considered reliable sources for religious doctrine and views where such views represent significant viewpoints on an article subject. Ordination alone does not generally ensure religious expertise or reliability. Absent evidence of stature or a reputation for expertise in a leading, important religious denomination or community, the view of an individual minister or theologian is ordinarily not reliable for representing religious views."

"Secondary sources are not necessarily from recent years – or even centuries. The sacred or original text(s) of the religion will always be primary sources, but any other acceptable source may be a secondary source in some articles. For example, the works of Thomas Aquinas are secondary sources for a Roman Catholic perspective on many topics, but are primary sources for Thomas Aquinas or Summa Theologica."

They do not say there that they have to be scholarly sources in the Western academic sense. Here Buddhism is a "significant world religious denominations with organized academies or recognized theological experts in religious doctrine and scholarship" and these are experts in religious doctrine and scholarship within the Buddhist faith. The faith itself has qualifications they pass, often ones that few Western academics have attempted, similar to schools of theology in the West.
I also look at examples in my essay from the Jesuits, and Jehovah's witnesses, showing that those articles are based on the writings of Jesuits and of Jehovah's witnesses respectively, whenever they describe the beliefs of the faith itself.
See my Essay on Wikipedia guidelines on reliable religious sources
Also my Examples of sourcing for religious topics in wikipedia - Ignatian spirituality and Jehovah's Witnesses
Robert Walker (talk) 11:50, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
You are citing essays; I am pointing you towards policy. WP:NPOV and WP:V are foundational policies. Alexbrn (talk) 12:01, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
So my question is, can articles on Buddhism have sections based on the journals or publications of recognized and well-regarded religious academies and experts for religious doctrine and views where such views represent significant viewpoints on an article subject.
For instance can Bhikkhu Thanissaro's writings on Therevadan Buddhism be used as the main citation sources in sections about the faith of Therevadan Buddhists? Can the writings of Sogyal Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku etc, who have passed the highest academic qualifications available in Tibetan Buddhist scholarship in the Tibetan schools themselves, be used as the main citation sources in sections about the faith of Tibetan Buddhists? They are of course primary sources in sections devoted to criticisms of Buddhism by western academic Buddhists. But can they be used as the main secondary sources in sections that are devoted to the views of the Therevadhans and the Tibetan Buddhists themselves (which should be included as well for WP:NPOV).Robert Walker (talk) 12:02, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @Alexbrn:, sorry to have missed your comment. Perhaps you missed it? I am linking to policy. In particular, to Wikipedia:Reliable_source_examples#Religious_sources which is what I quoted from above. Or have I misunderstood? Is the page Wikipedia:Reliable source examples not policy? I thought it was. Robert Walker (talk) 12:06, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Read the top of that page. Alexbrn (talk) 12:10, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I see now, I missed that. I know it is obvious now that you point it out, but my eye just skipped over the banner. I understand now. And it directs readers here for clarification, as well as to the talk page of the essay. Robert Walker (talk) 13:09, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Robert, you conveniently skipped the preceding edit by Andi 3ö, which bluntly re-inserted an enormous amount of WP:QUOTEFARM, not to mention WP:OR and WP:SYNTHESIS. I don't even know which talkpage-thread they're referring here to; there's no thread on this re-insertion at the talkpage.
The problems with Dorje108's version of the Karma in Buddhism article have also been thoroughly explained at the talkpage. To summarize: WP:QUOTEFARM, WP:OR, WP:SYNTHESIS, WP:UNDUE, WP:NPOV. In plain English: a scrapbook of quotes from a limited range of spiritual authors. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 13:44, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Add WP:CHERRYPICKING, indeed. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 15:02, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

@Joshua Jonathan: - this is the talk page discussion I was talking about Bold,revert,discuss - conclusions from the past days of discussion. Here is @Andi 3ö:'s comment on your original removal of sections 1-8 of the article just before he tried this reinsertion of the material. [35]

"...So for me it seems quite obvious that an article about a Buddhist concept like karma should first and foremost report what the believers (of different traditions respectively) think about the concept, how it is taught and how it is incorporated into their practices. And by the way, the Buddhism article - right after the lead - continues with a traditional account of the life of the Buddha - not an historical (!)

Of course there should be room for historical critical analysis and comparative studies, which is what (western) academics seem to be mostly occupied whith. But if you think about what matters to the world, i.e. the reader? How does karma, i.e. the concept of karma, not the "real" thing, come into the world, leaving the ivory tower? It is through its workings in the minds of Buddhist believers. So it is our foremost duty to report what believers say, think, do - again: not (western) scholars!

" Of course, in order to report this accurately there are many ways and one of them - undoubtedly one that Wikipedia actively encourages - is to use academic secondary or tertiary sources (that report those beliefs). "

"To conclude: there is still a lot of work to be done; i will definitely not be engaged in some kind of edit war but i will definitely also not put up with the pity rest of the "detailed exposition of the workings of karma" that you left over from the previous version, precisely because these "workings of karma" take up a very important part in (contemporary) Buddhist's beliefs and practices (as proven by the very quotes you removed alone). BTW: Wouldn't "detailed exposition of the workings of karma" be a good title for a nice little large section where a lot of the missing stuff could find its way back in? ;) Kind regards, with metta, "

It's clear from the discussion that there was no consensus at all on your view that the former sections 1 to 8 should be removed, and so no justification for removing it again when he attempted to reinsert it. As for "quotefarm" - that was again just your own view and there may have been other editors who agreed with you. But most of us were saying that the quotes were carefully selected according to the guidelines on quotes with material before and after each quote discussing it, and there is no prohibition on using carefully selected quotes in an article. You weren't following any policy or guideline by removing all the sections with these quotes together with their citations and the material discussing those quotes.

This material which you removed had many cites to the most well regarded and notable of religious experts in the Buddhist faith. Robert Walker (talk) 16:36, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

See Talk:Karma in Buddhism/Archive 3#Bold,revert,discuss - conclusions from the past days of discussion and Talk:Karma in Buddhism/Archive 3##Further explanation (#3?) for the full discussion. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 18:14, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
It gets out of sequence in the archives. The next post after your revert was your Further Explanation (#3?) which you posted to explain your revert. The discussion there makes it clear that nobody else in the discussion agreed with either your original deletion of those section or your revert of Andi's insertion.
@Andi 3ö:'s last reply in that thread was rather illuminating I thought[36], and bears repeating here, as it is relevant to this question of whether sources "coloured" by the faith of their authors can be used as the main cites for sections of wikipedia describing their faith, e.g. sources by Buddhist scholars on Karma for an article on what the Buddhist faith has to say about Karma in Buddhism in this case.
To set the context you said that the article has to present verified truth, as part of your explanation for deleting the material. I answered saying that this is not encyclopedic, and Andi replies to that:

"Very important point! And applies to Joshuas edits to the karma article as well (see my first remarks in this same section and his answer to it)."

I find this policy guideline quite striking in that regard:

"Scholarship is, in every sense, fundamentally opposed to Wikipedia policy. The core of scholarship is original research, synthesis, and asserting that a scholar's vision of reality is in fact the correct one (some would call this bias). High quality scholarship relies on primary sources, and only engages the secondary literature in order to either acknowledge the sources of ideas or attempt to refute points made by others. Particularly in the humanities and social sciences, scholarship is little more than an extended argument."

He is quoting from an essay on the "Neutrality of Sources" As with me, he took one of the Wikipedia essays as a guideline, it's an essay instead, if you check its banner. But I think it is relevant. "Reliable sources are never neutral".
I would welcome comment from the volunteers here on this point, on whether we should be striving for articles that present academically verified "truth" in these articles on Buddhism, as @Joshua Jonathan: so often attempts to do, or whether we should present what Buddhists write in books and articles describing their own faith, coloured of course by their faith in the path of the Buddha. If the latter, then also another question is about whether it is best practice to mix the statements of the sutra tradition Buddhists with the western criticisms in the same section so that every assertion by a sutra tradition Buddhist is followed in the next sentence by a criticism of it by a western academic scholar? This is how @Joshua Jonathan: does it in the articles at present. Or should we separate out these western criticisms, and their search for what they deem to be the academic truth into separate sections?Robert Walker (talk) 20:08, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Incidentally in my view, @Dorje108:'s article on Karma in Buddhism was one of the best articles in wikipedia, especially in those deleted sections. It explained a complex and difficult subject with great clarity and insight, representing the sources it used accurately and carefully. That's why I devoted so much discussion and effort to try to get the material he wrote kept in some form in wikipedia. Robert Walker (talk) 20:12, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Anatta article example

  • Article: Anatta
  • Content, see diff [37]
  • sources cited
    • 'The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, by Bhikkhu Ñānamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom Publications
    • Translator's introduction by Thanissaro Bhikkhu to Salayatana-vibhanga Sutta: An Analysis of the Six Sense-media, and several other translator's introductions to translations of the sutras, mainly from translations by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, I.B. Horner, etc
    • "The Five Aggregates: A Study Guide", by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Metta Forest Monastery'

The main question here therefore is, Thanissaro Bhikkhu a WP:RS for the views of Therevadan Bhikkhus on Anatta. Here Anatta, or "non self" is one of the most central topics in all branches of the Buddhist faith. This translator is undoubtedly a well regarded translator and author in the topic area of Therevadan Buddhism. See the wikipedia page about him. So is it correct that his work should not be used in the Anatta article except as additional material to back up material cited to Western academic sources? This is what @Joshua Jonathan: gave as his reason for removing the material[38]:

":PS: Bikkhu Bodhi is not an academic source; you can use him as an additional source, but academic sources are preferred. "

He followed this up with[39]

"Regarding "religious knowledge": Wikipedia is not about religious knowledge, it's about verifiable information. Please do read WP:RS. If you think that "the words of the reputed scholar monk override those of the academic", then don't edit Wikipedia, but do start your own blog."

Full discussion here: Comments on Constructive Feedback and About Reliable Sources for Articles on Religion

This may seem old discussions. But @Joshua Jonathan: has not changed his views, he continues to say the same things, even in the discussion here, also @Ms Sarah Welch: as you can see above. So there is no reason to believe that if @ScientificQuest: or anyone else were to try to insert content like this into existing articles or use them to write a SUBPOV article about Anatta as understood by Sutra tradition Buddhists - the content would undoubtedly be reverted / deleted by @Joshua Jonathan:. Do please clarify. Thanks! Robert Walker (talk) 11:41, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

"is [...] Thanissaro Bhikkhu a WP:RS for the views of Therevadan Bhikkhus" <- obviously yes. But that is the wrong question. The issue is really are the views of Therevadan Bhikkhus due? That would depend on how they are covered in good secondary sources. Wikipedia reflects such sources. If they use this source, we do; if they don't, we don't. Alexbrn (talk) 12:04, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
As Alexbrn points out, discussions about RS often overlap into other areas, including due weight, along with neutrality, notability and original research. My opinion only: if a particular religious practitioner is considered to be the main spokesman for the views of a religion or sect, then there will be neutral third-party academic sources stating their notability and their views. In that case, a religious leader could be quoted, but from a third-party source. Otherwise one is cherry-picking and practicing some original research, and also not showing that the person's views are even considered notable by the (neutral) religious academic community. So my view is similar to Alexbrn, except applied to any individual teacher or practitioner, rather than to Theravadan Bhikkus in general. If neutral sources also discuss the general views of Theravadan Bhikkus, then of course those academic views should be included. The massive walls of text here discouraged me from adding to the discussion earlier. Thus, please note that I'm only adding one view to this very particular usage, and have no time to enter into the meandering philosophical meta discussion above and in the countless linked discussions. First Light (talk) 12:18, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @First Light:, first, that's fine - I'm absolutely fine with ignoring the meta discussion above. I meant my original post to be focused on the WP:RS issue only and that was my reason for posting here, I was just verbose and didn't express the reasons well. Sorry about that. There is no need at all to comment on the meta discussion.

@Alexbrn: - a bit of context. Theravadan Buddhism is the faith of an estimated 150 million adherents. See Buddhism by country. It is the majority religion of the countries of Cambodia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Thanissaro Bhikkhu, though he is Australian and writing in English is in a tradition from Thailand which has an estimated 93.2% of its population which follow variations on Therevadan Buddhism.

Each of these authors is of course speaking for his own faith, which may be a branch of the Therevadan tradition. So Thanissaro Bhikkhu for instance is speaking for the Thai Forest Tradition. One would expect an article on central topics of Buddhism to have sources from many different versions of the Buddhist faith, and that indeed is what the previous version of this article did. Nearly all the material in the current version is cited to Western academic sources.

It would be a matter of discussion on the talk page of which are the most representative authors for a particular branch of the Buddhist faith. Just as, for instance, one might have a discussion of which Jesuits are the most representative of Ignatian spirituality in their writings. But generally - I'd expect an article on Ignatian spirituality to be sourced to writings by Jesuits on this topic. So it's the same here, there are many Bhikkhu scholars in various branches of Therevadan Buddhism, and it would be important to label them clearly according to which branch of their faith they represent, especially in sections where those distinctions are important. Then, there are many other branches of the Buddhist faith also. This is indeed how the original Anatta article was presented before @Joshua Jonathan:'s rewrite in July and August 2014. See [40] where different sections describe the understanding of Anatta according to various schools of Buddhism, citing sources within those schools to descriptions to the views on Anatta by those schools, and often with quotations from well regarded sources within those schools.

So I'm not asking about that, but whether they can be used as the main sources at all, because the material is often reverted on the basis that what they write is coloured by their own views on their own faith, and that we need to source them to authors who don't have their views on Therevadan Buddhism coloured by being themselves trained as Therevadan Buddhist scholars. If I understand you right, I think you are agreeing that it is okay to use the Therevadan scholars themselves as the main sources, though of course one may need to provide evidence that they are well regarded and notable, and need of course to explain if their faith differs in significant ways from other Therevadans.

On evidence of his notability as a translator, and to show that he is well regarded, Thanisarro Bhikkhu has many cites in google scholar, e.g. his "The middle length discourses of the Buddha" has 256 cites [41]. So, these cites were cites to introductions to sutras by a notable and highly cited translator of the sutras - which are the primary texts for Therevadans - and indeed shared with the other sutra schools too, which differ mainly by adding extra sutras to the core collection. The introduction to a text by a translator according to my understanding would count as a secondary source on that text. Robert Walker (talk) 13:04, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Anatta again... That edit by ScientificQuest was part of a series of edits, which I reverted wholesome: "(Reverted 47 edits by ScientificQuest (talk): Reads like a personal analysis from a Theravada point of view. Please start using independent sources. (TW))"
I explained this revert extensively at the talkpage, after which I received a very positive response from SQ, and an explanation, admitting that his writings were original research. I mentioned this before at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard#Attempted summary by User:Kautilya3; I may as well copy my comment from above:

How many times are you going to come back to the Anatta-article? You have insinuated over and over again that my edits there were mal-practice; I have over and over again linked to my extensive explanations at the talkpage Talk:Anatta/Archive 3#Constructive comments, and ScientificQuest's response Talk:Anatta/Archive 3#Comments on Constructive Feedback:

"Hi Joshua, Chris, Victoria, and Robert. Please don't mind my personal note - since I made some bad personal remarks here earlier, I figure it is only right for me to write a personal apology. And again, instead of writing on your individual talk pages, I decided to own it up in public.

Joshua, thanks a lot for your very constructive feedback. I really appreciate this line-by-line feedback of exactly what went wrong in my post. It keeps it to facts, and states exactly what the problem is with the style. Coming from a background of writing for academic Journals, I can see my tendency to write original research - because arguably that's what academics do (unless perhaps they're editing Wikipedia pages)."

Could you please remember this response, and stop recycling the Anatta-article?

So, how many more times are we going to repeat this? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 13:59, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Robertinventor: you said, If I understand you right, I think you are agreeing that it is okay to use the Therevadan scholars themselves as the main sources". No, quite the opposite, I said that, "In that case, a religious leader could be quoted, but from a third-party source." That means a third-party neutral academic source that shows: notability of the person in the context of this article; notability of what is being said; the academic has neutrally analysed or chosen the statement as representative, rather than a WP editor cherry-picking quotes. First Light (talk) 14:37, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Oh, did I create the impression that these authors are religious leaders? No, they are not. Sometimes they may be teachers, but not leaders in the sense of formulating religious views. They are already secondary sources. Someone like Walpola Rahula or Bhikkhu Bodhi or Bhikkhu Thanassiro- they are Buddhist scholars who are commenting as secondary sources on the views of those of their own faith.
We don't actually have religious leaders anyway quite as Buddha said that we shouldn't take anyone as our leader after he died - so we don't have a Pope, and generally there isn't any hierarchical structure in the sense that anyone can determine what others should or shouldn't do, or believe. We are encouraged to develop our own understanding, and the Buddhist path is taught that way, and then that's backed up by the sutras themselves, which we go to for guidance, helped by advice from those we consider wise, which is an individual decision of which of the many Buddhist teachers you go to for guidance. The Dalai Lama for instance is not really a religious leader in the sense of a Pope or even a Bishop. Not in terms of religious views. It's more of an administrative role, even for the heads of the Tibetan schools. Plus they give teachings clarifying understanding of the teachings. As a teacher, only his own immediate students go to him for guidance. The same is true for Ringu Tulku etc.
Let me put it another way - with 150 million adherents to Therevdhan Buddhist faith worldwide - is it plausible that there are no well regarded Buddhist secondary sources that are Therevadan and that all the sources of that type are western academic Buddhists of whom there are only a few thousand probably at most worldwide? I'd say that Bhikkhu Thanassiro is an example of such a source. Walpola Rahula, Bhikkhu Bodhi and Prayudh Payutto also would all count as notable Therevadan scholars who are all well regarded as religious experts on the views of the Therevadans. At any rate, is it right to rule out all such scholars on the basis that they can only be used as sources if there is a western academic paper about them, and only to the extent that that paper approves of their views?
@Joshua Jonathan: on @ScientificQuest:, he was being polite there. He was a former editor of the article and after your reversal of his edits and your explanation that he couldn't use the scholar Bhikkhus as sources on their own, then he never attempted to edit the article again. In any case the main thing is not what happened in that example, but your views that you stated to him. Do you hold to those views still, or have you changed them? If your views are changed, then do you now regard Bhikkhu Thanassiro as a reliable source who can be used for a cite on Therevadan Buddhism on his own without a western academic to back up his views. Or - do you think there are any of the scholars from the population of 150 million Therevadans that can be used in this way without western academic authority to back them up? Robert Walker (talk) 16:12, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
I have already answered that question - I think ... diff 1 diff 2. Sorry Robert, but I'm losing track too. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 16:21, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Well your answer seems still to be no then.

" But he does indeed have a specific Theravada point of view, which means that some of his interpretations may be coloured. That's why, and when, academic sources, are to be preferred: they have more distance to the subject."

Would you say the same about the Jesuit authors cited in Ignatian spirituality that it is preferable to have that article cited to non Jesuits because they have more distance from the subject and their interpretations of the Bible aren't coloured by their Jesuit faith? Surely when you are talking bout the faith of Therevadans, you want articles by Therevadans just as when you the article covers the faith of Jesuits you want articles by Jesuits as the source? The "colouring" by their faith is precisely what the article should be presenting. Like the way Resurrection of Jesus presents the death and resurrection of Jesus as coloured by the faith of Christians. If we couldn't do that there would be no way to write articles that present clearly the views of those with religious faiths here. The current Four Noble Truths, Anatta, Karma in Buddhism and Nirvana articles nowhere clearly present the faiths of sutra tradition Buddhists in any detail at all. But that is what most readers will want to know about when they come to these articles. Robert Walker (talk) 16:43, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Neutral third-party sources reporting on what Christians (or Buddhists) believe is the best way to do this, as I've already said. I would say the same for those articles you link to, even though they ignore that approach to some degree. My own approach towards various Hinduism related articles that I edit is the same. Quoting directly what this or that swami or baba teaches/believes doesn't give a neutral article, when it comes directly from their books or teachings. If their views are notable, they will be neutrally reported by those neutral third-party sources. Wikipedia is not a platform for giving the religious views of all the different parties to a dispute - again, unless neutral third-party sources report on the subject. First Light (talk) 03:46, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Oh, I see. But these are scholars primarily. Even the Dalai Lama when he writes his books is writing as a Buddhist scholar, not as a teacher promulgating his own ideas and interpretations - he is presenting the views of Tibetan Buddhists generally as best he can and would not be expected to add anything new to this in terms of ideas of his own. Especially on core teachings such as the Four Noble Truths. Buddhism is much less lead by spiritual leaders than Hinduism, because of Buddha's teaching that we have to rely on the sutras and not take on any other teacher after he died. Other sources are not teachers at all - Walpola Rahula was just a scholar like any western academic scholar, but trained in a Buddhist tradition originally. Same also for Prayudh Payutto. And the problem is that these third party sources are not "neutral". They say themselves that their objective is to reinterpret the Buddhist teachings, not to present them as understood by those who have this faith themselves. Carol Anderson did write a book presenting the faith of Therevadan Buddhism, her "Basic Buddhism" and it said different things from her academic study "Pain and its Ending" which was a kind of deconstruction and reconstruction of Buddhism into a new structure of ideas. Most of the western commentaries are of that sort, and they say so themselves, and this is what @Joshua Jonathan: is using as his principle sources for the articles. I hope this brief reply is in order - I've been taking a wikibreak and just logged in again. I'm going to voluntarily limit my number of posts in order to avoid verboseness. Thanks! Robert Walker (talk) 13:04, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

I don't have expertise in what is an academic or scholar by Wikipedia standards for the basis of being a reliable source. My basic understanding is that they are faculty at universities, published by university book publishers such as Oxford Press or other neutral non-religious publishing houses. Certainly self-published books/authors would not qualify. WP:Academic gives the general idea, though that guideline is written for notability. Being recognized as a scholar in the Buddhist community isn't relevant, except with some qualifications, I would guess. First Light (talk) 09:38, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

Message to RSN volunteers

First thanks for your help so far. I have an action against me in WP:ANI with a proposal to topic ban me from the Buddhism topic area for six months. One of the reasons for doing this is my verbosity in this discussion. As a result I think it is necessary to take a wikibreak. I hope you can understand and I appreciate your kind replies once I managed to formulate my question correctly. Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Specific_Unpleasant_Remedy.2C_Topic-Ban - Specific Unpleasant Remedy Topic Ban . Robert Walker (talk) 22:34, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

General Note

There doesn't appear to be any specific procedure for closing a case at this noticeboard. However, it appears that this filing was well-meant but misguided because it didn't have to do with specific sources but with a meta-question about types of sources (Western non-Buddhist sources, Western Buddhist sources, Asian Buddhist sources). Robert McClenon (talk) 03:05, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Neverthelesss, I found Alexbrns and First Lights comments helpfull and workable,(just like User:JimRengeJimRenge]]s reminder of WP:RNPOV), so thank you for your efforts. All the best, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 03:45, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Are published scientific journals and scientists and random youtube martial artists more reliable sources for logical fallacies than textbooks and peer-reviewed publications on the subject of logical fallacies?

MjolnirPants and I find ourselves at an impasse on the argument from authority page: can a scientific source, such as Carl Sagan or the Medical Press and Circular journal be taken as a reliable source on that page, or is the proper procedure to remove them since only philosophers may be cited for it? PraiseTheShroom (talk) 03:55, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Also, David Tornheim, Kleuske and Endercase oppose your position, and the former editors Original Position and Lord Mondegreen, both philosophy majors previously opposed your position before being driven from that page by editors endlessly advocating it despite explicit denials from numerous impeccable sources. One must not miosrepresent the facts when opening a noticeboard discussion lest one fall afoul of WP:CANVASS. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 04:10, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
The use of non-philosopher sources seems minor compared to the original research concerns, and misuse of sources themselves. Those more serious matters aside, while Carl Sagan and the writers at medical journals may be very smart people indeed, Wikipedia will give predominant weight to the views from the field itself (except when that field is full of deranged crackpots). Someguy1221 (talk) 04:17, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
To be clear; the question is whether the following logic and philosophy sources;
[42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] and [48]
are overwritten by the following random scattering of sources;
[49] [50] [51] [52]
as well as whether [53] and [54] clearly support the claim that an appeal to authority is always a fallacy. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 04:19, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Those are not the sources I have in mind. I specifically mean mine from the Medical Press and Circular which was deleted, and that from Sagan. You sir are, frankly, running wild! PraiseTheShroom (talk) 04:27, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Well, thanks for the incredibly tame personal attack. Thanks also for the reciprocal edit warring notice you left on my talk page after I declined to revert you a third time and explained why at article talk. Thanks for obfuscating the fact that this isn't just between you and I, but between you and virtually every editor active at that page in the past year who hasn't been subject to sanctions for their editing there. Thanks for further obfuscating the fact that this isn't a dispute over whether your sources are accurate, but whether they are more appropriate than sources about the actual subject of the article, written by individuals who are generally considered authoritative on the subject. Thanks, finally for failing to present the actual sources you wish to use, with the text you wish them to support, as is explicitly requested at the top of this page. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 04:33, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
You seriously want to alter the entire course of an article, a viewpoint supported by multiple on-subject textbooks and other high-level sources, based on one quote from someone outside the field, and one >100-year-old source discussing a single form of the argument? Someguy1221 (talk) 04:47, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment MjolnirPants has correctly described the situation. --David Tornheim (talk) 04:52, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment The only one at an impasse is PraiseTheShroom, who seems to be flying the WP:IDHT-flag. The consensus, from all I have read, is firmly against his position. Kleuske (talk) 09:13, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
  • To answer the question in the title. The answer is no. (As an aside, relying on Carl Sagan on what is an appeal to authority would itself be an example of a fallicious use of it, and therefore, proof of the opposite.)— Preceding unsigned comment added by Only in death (talkcontribs) 11:28, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
As I said at ANI, Shroom's argument is that his authorities are more authoritative than my authorities when they lend their authority to the claim that authorities are never authoritative. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 12:30, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Usage of "serious" articles from Buzzfeed, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan

One phenomenon that is happening in the US is that previously-"vapid" sources like Buzzfeed, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan have increasingly made their journalism serious:

For now I am not in an editing dispute involving any of these magazines, but it may be good to note possible changes in status and/or to distinguish between "vapid" and "serious" Buzzfeed articles (I'm sure somebody already posted to the noticeboard about the changes in Buzzfeed) WhisperToMe (talk) 02:56, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

I believe Cosmopolitan has OK fact checking, described here -- "Every word in Cosmo, surprisingly, is verified with a professional rigor that far exceeds virtually all Internet publications and daily newspapers", the writer claims. The other ones I don't know. Herostratus (talk) 03:01, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Republishing my comment when a similar thread came up in April 2017: Buzzfeed News has, somewhat surprisingly, developed a legitimate news operation in recent years, with actual journalists, separate from its better known listicle/clickbait side. Notwithstanding its reputation for "light fare" (which does reduce reader' trust levels, see this piece in Columbia Journalism Review):
  1. Buzzfeed has a professional journalistic staff (editor in chief is Ben Smith, formerly of Politico; the head of its investigative unit is Mark Schoofs, formerly of Pro Publica, and a Pulitzer Prizer-winner).
  2. Buzzfeed received its first-ever National Magazine Award in 2016, in the public-interest category (see here, also mentioned in the CJR piece)
  3. They formed an investigative unit in 2013 and has done original reporting, with a fairly robust WP:USEBYOTHERS: see, e.g., Associated Press (meeting between U.S. senator and White House official "first reported by BuzzFeed"); CNN (layoffs at Guardian Media Group "first reported by BuzzFeed"); USA Today (customer data breach at Saks Fifth Avenue "was first reported by BuzzFeed"); Washington Post (controversial USDA science non-disclosure order "was first reported by BuzzFeed"); LA Times (authenticated leaked Colin Powell emails "were first reported by BuzzFeed News").
So it's not the New York Times or anything, but it is certainly usable in many cases. Neutralitytalk 03:11, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
It's usable when it supports your own viewpoint, let's be honest here. --Pudeo (talk) 12:22, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Pudeo: Please review Wikipedia:Civility. If you can't make a substantive comment, it's better to not contribute at all. Neutralitytalk 22:31, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree that Buzzfeed's political reporting can, with care, be considered a reliable source as it's written by professional journalists overseen by professional editors. Buzzfeed Australia has broken some mildly significant stories since it established an Australian political reporting team, and the general standard of their work is OK. Nick-D (talk) 22:47, 6 May 2017 (UTC)

Reliability of Sports reference

The site in question is [55] with all its dependant sites. These sites are being extensively used, and I have seen them to be referred as reliable sources. However, are they? They seem to be openly editable, and there seems to be no team large enough to ensure accuracy of all data here. Some of these entries were possibly stitched together with WP:OR, if this is true. I have two reasons for bringing this up here: If this source isn't reliable, then we have a lot of articles with information from an unreliable source, which is bad. I have seen at least one article only sourced via this site. Also, if I can be convinced this source is reliable, or reliable in a specific context, then I could use it myself on articles that seem to meet WP:N.Burning Pillar (talk) 22:08, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Hi User:Burning Pillar. To address your concern, 1) The data on the site is provided by a sizeable (over a dozen members) team of researchers led by Bill Mallon, an internationally recognized authority on Olympic history (the "About" section is down for some reason at the moment, but I'll link it if/when it comes back up). Mistakes do crop up, but are usually remedied rapidly (well, when the site is being updated at least), 2) It is not openly editable. Only the webmaster of SR can update the site and only from Mallon's data, and 3) there's another post here somewhere (can't remember where it is at the moment) that notes that the SR data is actually going to be transferred to the IOC and will thereafter be available on the official IOC website instead of SR. So I would submit that if it's good enough for the IOC, it should be fine for Wikipedia's purposes. Hope that addresses your concern! Canadian Paul 07:53, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
I would echo this for basketball-reference. It is generally reliable and is not openly editable (though there is a form where users can submit corrections where they are verified before adding them to the site. These sites aren't sufficient to use as proof a subject meets WP:GNG but for verifying factual information they are sound. Rikster2 (talk) 12:24, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

Question on Blogs

Hello. I'm not sure this is the right place to ask this question, but I'm currently doing a project on Wikipedia and would love any input on the topic of blogs. Pretty much, I believe blogs should not have this negative stigma as an unreliable resource when it comes to citing them on Wikipedia. As a hip-hop fan, many of the places that cover the genre are blogs, and so I believe it is a bit unfair to the industry as well. Also, in terms of Wikipedia appealing to younger generations, I think it would be beneficial to allow more blogs as sources since many millennials read them and would be able to cite them in articles. What are your thoughts? Thanks! AdamtheGOAT (talk) 21:17, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Adam, see WP:BLOGS and WP:NEWSBLOG. Wikipedia generally does not allow citation to most blogs, because those are not considered reliable sources - they are self-published, often anonymously written, are not scholarly or journalistic in nature, and don't have strong editorial controls (i.e., professional editors/fact-checkers/a reputation for retracting inaccurate pieces/making corrections).
An exception is made for scholarly/journalistic blogs run by professionals and accepted within the field as a useful resource. Citations to these sources are permitted on Wikipedia. For example, SCOTUSblog, Just Security, Lawfare Blog, and The Volokh Conspiracy are examples in the field of law. The Monkey Cage (which is published on the Washington Post website) is an example in the field of political science. And Skeptical Science and Retraction Watch are examples in the field of science/science policy.
A trickier question is what happens when the blog is personal in nature (i.e., run by one or two people), but those people are recognized experts. An example is Juan Cole's Informed Comment. Those are a little more borderline. Neutralitytalk 00:01, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
We do allow citation of blogs from recognized experts (when writing about topics in their area of expertise)... however, we have to use them in a specific way - they should only be used to support an attributed statement about that expert's opinion on the topic. We never cite blogs to support statements of unattributed fact about the topic. Writing: "Joe Expert has stated that X is true (cite blog where Joe says this)" is fine... writing: "X is true (cite blog)" is not. Blueboar (talk) 00:22, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Erm I don't know if that's true User:Blueboar; if it is true shouldn't be. Let's think about this. Let's suppose Paul Krugman writes "Inflation in Indonesia was 6% in 2010"... Let's look at the difference between if he writes it in his blog and in a book. Paul Krugman has both good and markers as a source. As good markers, he is a recognized expert and in fact has a Nobel Prize in economics, is a well-known public figure with a reputation for veracity, and has the experience, education, intelligence, access to sources, and so forth to be able to know what the inflation rate in Indonesia was in 2010. Since he has public reputation to protect, he has the motivation to not be slipshod or lie. A bad marker for Krugman is that he's got a political point of view on stuff (lefty). That doesn't disqualify him as a source but it's something to watch. How meticulous Krugman really is I don't know. Having a Nobel Prize proves little in that regard.
All of the above applies equally to Krugman as blogger and as a book author.
If Krugman writes "Inflation in Indonesia was 6% in 2010" in his blog, it is just as reliable as if he writes in a book IMO. I get that a lot of Wikiedpedians are all "Ugh, a blog" versus "Ooooh, a book! Obviously reliable!". But in fact that's simplistic.
Mass-market trade books (which Krugman's would be) are not fact-checked. Simon & Schuster will hire a copy-editor to check for grammar and and spelling etc.; she might check an occasional fact but that's not her job nor does she have time for much of that. Krugman might hire a fact-checker on his own dime -- he's the rare author who will sell well enough to do that, and he has a motive to. Whether he does or not I don't know; most authors don't.
The blog is not fact-checked either (I assume). But a least it's published in an environment where an error might well be seen and pointed out to Krugman (via the New York Times contact email if not directly to Krugman) and he can quickly fix it. (I don't know if he would or not.)
But in both cases we are essentially relying in Krugman's ability and motivation to get his facts right.
To state first principles, the only real question to ask about a source is "How confident can we be that this material is correct?". All of our rules are intended to that one end: to answer that question. Our rules are generally good about this. But in fact it is a hard question to answer, and taking "blogs are out for statements of fact, period" is simplistic IMO. Herostratus (talk) 01:58, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
Herostratus, Blueboar said we can use them with attribution. In the example you provide, we could certainly write "Paul Krugman wrote that inflation Indonesia was 6% in 2010." ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:42, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
  • the problem with blogs in popular culture is that it opens the door to sliding to the gutter of content that is gossip and trivia. Talking about Paul Krugman and economics or SCOTUSblog in the context of the OP is really off point. The OP was a great question. What is a high quality source for content, oh say here for example: Sorry_Mrs._Carter#Critical_reception? Jytdog (talk) 05:30, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
But also in popular culture we are looking for the media outlets that regularly carry authored reviews. For TV, for example, a review in the London Evening Standard would be a good source, even though it also carries celebrity gossip. It would not surprise me if a blog were a good source for a hip-hop review. Itsmejudith (talk) 17:13, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
This too does not answer the actual question that the OP asked. So really, any old blog? How do you tell a low quality blog from a high quality blog for hiphop? Jytdog (talk) 05:23, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Yeah I'd be interested in knowing what criteria differentiate the two AdamtheGOAT (talk) 19:20, 8 May 2017 (UTC)


Well let me address your question User:Jytdog.

I just used a blog (not by a recognized expert (by an undergraduate in fact), and not published under the aegis of a news organization) as a source. I did it and it felt good and I'd do it again. And here's why.

Here's the passage: "A plaque in the building commemorates its hosting of the 5th International Congress of Chambers of Commerce and of Commercial and Industrial Associations in 1912, attended by American President William Howard Taft and delegates from fifty-five countries". And here is the ref.

(Note that we're not saying that the 5th International Congress of Chambers of Commerce and of Commercial and Industrial Association was held at the place. There may never have been such an organization or event for all we know. We're just reporting that there's a plaque that says it.)

When looking at source, of course what I want is assurance that's its been gone over either in scientific peer review, or by an independent professional fact-checker. But a lot of times you can't get that. So then it's on to Plan B, and when I look at the source itself four of the things I think about are:

  1. Motive: Does the source have any motive to lie (this includes outright lies, but also cherry-picking, eliding some facts, spinning, and so forth)
  2. Incentive: What is the source's incentive to care whether or not she gets her facts right
  3. Competence: Does the source have the competence to report the fact (for instance, did she really see the event, does she have the background and experience and intelligence to be able to comprehend it and report it accurately)
  4. Internals: What are the internal forensics of the source? What does looking inside the source document tell us? (I'll explain this further presently.)

Regarding the person who reported this fact:

  • What is is motive to lie? He has none. I mean, sure, he could be lying -- there may be no such plaque. It's also possible that he's not a real person and the post was written by someone else. Or maybe the entire site is a spoof, or the Boston Architectural College is just a big scam and doesn't exit. But then, it is also possible that the entire city of Boston does not exist -- after all if you've never been there you have to take it on faith -- and it's also possible that you are a Boltzmann baby and none of this exists (except you!). In that case there are no "reliable sources", just a featureless thermodynamic soup. But, I mean: come on. We have to be reasonable in life. It's unreasonable to worry that the person would just lie about this.
  • He doesn't exactly have an incentive to worry if he gets it right. He's not being paid for or graded on this post. It is under his name (probably) and he does know it will be read by his peers and possibly professors, although we don't know if he cares. I'll talk about this more under forensics.
  • As to competence, not much is required: sufficient eyesight and literacy to see the plaque and copy down what it says.
  • So now let's look at the forensics.

All of this could be an elaborate hoax. But it's not. The entire article (blog post) clearly shows the work of an earnest architecture student who sees details and knows a bit about what he's seeing. "I began to notice the detail within the masonry... One of the things that I noticed... I paid close attention to the ornaments..." and so forth. He then describes some of these details, and correctly I believe. Everything he says that I do have from other sources checks out as accurate. Everything about this articl, what he says and the way he says it, indicates that he is the kind of person who would care about getting details right, especially about a building that he is describing

So then, finally, "I noticed... a large metal plaque. The plaque talks about how in this space in 1912, the 5th International Congress of Chambers of Commerce and of Commercial and Industrial Associations was held for three days, with President William Howard Taft in attendance, along with delegates from fifty-five countries"

He's not quoting the exact text, so we don't have to worry if we're getting a quote exactly right. He's just reporting what's on the plaque. And as I say it doesn't make sense for him to describe the building in great detail, and then make up a plaque for no reason.

How confident can we be that all this is true? >99% (which of course is the highest assurance we can ever have for any source).

There is a city called Boston. There is a Flour and Grain Exchange Building there. And there is a plaque in it that says there was that 1912 confab was held there. And that blog post is all the evidence we need. Herostratus (talk) 16:08, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

This is an interesting and long post that is also entirely off-topic with regard to the OP. Please respond to the question that was asked, about the use of blogs for popular culture topics. Thanks ! Jytdog (talk) 16:12, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
Well but it is on topic. And you can apply the same process to hip-hip. Does the person know what she's talking about? Is she trying to make some point, or not? Does he have an incentive to spin the truth? Do other assertions that the source makes check out? If everything checks out OK, use the source. Herostratus (talk) 16:15, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
User:Herostratus you are hanging in there, I give you credit for that. But you keep picking low hanging fruit like "does Boston exist". I asked a specific question above and I would really be interested in hearing your answer. C'mon get your hands dirty - what are reliable sources to provide content for Sorry_Mrs._Carter#Critical_reception? And don't forget to describe the criteria when you answer. Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 03:44, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
What, me work? I'd rather write Finland does not exist, User:Jytdog, so I did. As to the specifics, right. I mean my post was just to lay out how a blog can be used IMO (although use should be rare, limited, and carefully justified), and it shouldn't be a shibboleth that they never can. Whether it's appropriate here I don't know, I was just saying it could be IMO. I'll look more into the specifics of this case presently. Herostratus (talk) 06:52, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
A specific case wasn't brought, but rather a question about blogs in hiphop. I gave a specific example to anchor it. Jytdog (talk) 12:44, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

A different tangent - on technical topics blogs are sometimes very authoritative in my opinion, but they are open to the "oooo a blog" attack. For instance, what is more reliable, the blog of a named security researcher with a reputation in the topic, or a gee-whiz sidebar in The Caller? Don't laugh; I've lived that one. It's a fringe case but it happens. Also in high tech, reporters' blogs are often better than their published stories, as they have not been dumbed down for a mass audiemce. But as you were; I am just muddying the waters, saying that I've seen problems with this one too. I don't have an across-the-board change to propose though. I'm not watching this page so ping if you have a question. Elinruby (talk) 08:09, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

No, muddying the waters is good. Because it is complicated, and the "No, Bwana! Taboo!" approach to blogs is simplistic IMO. The main problem with blogs is that they are definitely not fact-checked; the writer makes a mistake (or lies on purpose) and there's no backstop. But that's true of most trade books too, and people don't have a fit when they are used. A lot of sources we use, I suspect their independent fact-checking is pretty poor actually. Herostratus (talk) 08:31, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

NIH content as promotional material?

I recently added what I thought was a well-cited, direct quote of a public-domain website of the National Institutes of Health, which was reverted as "blatant promotional content" by Jytdog. I wasn't aware that NIH was not a WP:MEDRS or even a WP:RS. I realize that I shouldn't have used the honorific per MOS. Is NIH text "blatant promotional content" when used describing an official's qualifications? Toddst1 (talk) 02:48, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

I would consider the NIH web site to be a primary source and thus it should be treated with care: okay with basic facts (i.e. the subject's position or dates of service), but not for evaluative commentary. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:07, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
It is one thing for the NIMH to put out a piece saying how awesome she is after they recruited her, and another for that to be in Wikipedia. This was just lazy editing grabbing promotional copy from the source that was at hand (that I found) instead of going out and finding good sources and building a decent article. The copy/pasted content was not even quoted, so it was plagiarism on top of that. The article is OK now, like this, after I put in time I do not have right now to have a decent article about this person in WP. The current version can of course be improved. Jytdog (talk) 04:03, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Jytdog. What you essentially have is an employer saying they have a great employee. It's a media hype job. Now if some reliable source she didn't work for calls her all those things, the conversation may be different. Niteshift36 (talk) 17:36, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree with the others here. The problem wasn't the source so much as the content of the edit. If someone is the "leading" professional in some field, then we would need independent sources to say this. Preferably, multiple independent sources, as it's valuing their work above the work of their peers, and we should always be very careful with value judgements. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 18:34, 11 May 2017 (UTC)


I oftentimes see FamilySearch gets cited usually as a reference to BLPs' date of birth, genealogy, etc. Is FamilySearch WP:PRIMARY, or reliable even? Bluesphere 03:25, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

Its a geneological website. So it will list lots of primary documents, eg birth/death records, which are sometimes useable depending on context. The website itself should not be used as a reference for anything except on itself. It is reliable however in that the records it holds can be said to be accurate for the information they present, but the information they contain may not relevant - how do we know person X's birth cert is the same person as celebrity Y for example. Only in death does duty end (talk) 07:52, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
There are zero perfect genealogy sites. Really. And books published in the 19th century are often the worst offenders. I suggest that genealogy is rarely useful in BLPs, and that the sources should be clearly noted. FamilySearch is, however, as good as any pretty much. Collect (talk) 13:49, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
I would make a distinction between official vital records that have been put online by these sources (occasionally with the cooperation of the vital records agency) and user-contributed data. The former is reliable except for deciding whether a person mentioned in the Wikipedia article is the same as the person mentioned in the vital record. The latter is unreliable. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:13, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Agree. This is one of those cases in which it all depends. Some of the information on FamilySearch consists of user-generated family trees - not reliable. Some consists of transcriptions or indexes of other documents - not a good source. Some consists of images of primary sources (censuses, vital records, church records) - these are primary sources and often require original research to interpret (e.g., is this John Doe the same as the one in the WP article?). Finally, FamilySearch also has pdf images of books. Just like Google Books, these can be used as reliable sources. (talk) 22:25, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

WP:FANSITES question

While I was working on the Modest Mouse discography page a couple months ago, I was researching for information on the music video for their song "Coyotes" and found that this article from Interstate-8, a Modest Mouse fansite, was referenced in articles by Consequence of Sound, Chicago Tribune, and Pitchfork, among others. Since the original Interstate-8 post has been treated as legitimate by several reliable sources, then does this make Interstate-8 as a whole a reliable source for other information related to Modest Mouse, or should the "Coyotes" thing be treated as an isolated exception to the rule? I ask because I have been trying to find sources to prove that "The World at Large" was released as a promotional single, but aside from the single's page on Interstate-8, the only sources I can find so far are Discogs and Rateyourmusic, neither of which are RS's from my understanding. --Dylan620 (I'm all ears) 03:29, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

I would say not, the RS may have other sources they used to confirm certain details (for example).Slatersteven (talk) 08:16, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
I'd also say no. The media often refers to Wikipedia too and we know it's not a RS. Niteshift36 (talk) 17:31, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
The media often refers to Wikipedia too and we know it's not a RS. Right, I probably should have thought of it from that angle before coming here. Back to the drawing board wrt finding sources, then. --Dylan620 (I'm all ears) 01:07, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Epodunk used for random information

Epodunk seems to be OK to use for population data because it relies on the U.S. Census Bureau. But how about using it for other information? For example, the epodunk entry for Walnut Grove, Minnesota asserts that "Charles Ingalls, was the community's first justice". There is no source on epodunk for that assertion. Where does epodunk get such random information and should it be considered reliable? (talk) 18:21, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Off-topic discussion that does not address the question
comment -- you do know that this is the same source you used for the alternate/former town name of "walnut station", right? (the precise useage of which is not specified in said source) & while i have no particularly strong opinion on the merits of this website (& i am not the person who introduced it to the article), i would assume the info was taken from some book or the other abt the ingalls family. of the many such books now published. Lx 121 (talk) 18:30, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Nope. I never added any source to the article in question. And unlike some editors, I don't jump to conclusions. I don't presume to know where epodunk gets its random information. That's why I'm asking the advice of other editors here. (talk) 18:35, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
but you did revert to it, when i tried to modify the text, to more accurately reflect the "unclarity" in the source info. Lx 121 (talk) 10:41, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
You might find that a little searching will get you the information you seek. A good source to turn up is an actual book: Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia by Warren Upham. The answer you seek is on page 486. You might find this more a better use of your (and other editors') time than tag-bombing articles, hoping someone else will supply the information for you. ScrpIronIV 18:39, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
@ScrapIronIV: so, don't keep us in suspense, what does it say!? xD - i have no access to this book, unless you can link it online? & i only got into this thing "sideways", because i was adding a resource-link & some info to a related page... Lx 121 (talk) 10:41, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
I added a tag to one single paragraph of the the Laura Ingalls Wilder article. That's hardly "tag-bombing". I'm fed up with editors who don't know how to read. Wikipedia should require a literacy test to edit. And let me remind you all again that the burden for sourcing falls on the editor adding information. The onus is not on other innocent editors to clean up everyone else's mess. (talk) 21:47, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
correction - you added tags; & in several articles Lx 121 (talk) 10:41, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Comic books as sources for (kinda) real-world claims?

Ctrl+F List of DC Multiverse worlds for the words retconned to have migrated from Earth-Two.

It's possible that the actual source is a letters page (as I understand, those were still a thing in American comics in the 1980s) but I can't shake the feeling that one of the comics cited is an earlier book in which the characters were not from Earth-Two, and the other a later book in which they were. My OR senses are tingling. But I'm wondering whether, if the comic proper included, for example, an editor's note that described it as a retcon, it would still be inappropriate.


Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:26, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Well my first thought is is this an RS thing as you are not even sure the source exists. But I can see no reason why an editor saying X is not RS (even if on the letters page of a comic, as long as we can confirm it is the edd, of courses).Slatersteven (talk) 08:35, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Wait... where did I say I wasn't sure the source existed? The cited sources (two comic books) almost certainly exist. I think that if those books contain letters pages or other real-world information, those specific pages might be RSes, but since there is no mention of letters pages (or the like) in the citations, I have no reason to assume we are not citing two random pieces of fictional writing that a Wikipedia editor has taken as contradicting each other. Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:08, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
My mistake I took you to be saying you were not sure if one of the comic books implied "the characters were not from Earth-Two", sorry if I misunderstood.Slatersteven (talk) 12:00, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm getting that you think the "(kinda) real-world claim" is the description of it as being a retcon, is that right? I would say that this would need to be verified. If it's from the letter page (They don't do that anymore?!?!) in a response by the editor or writer (or anyone who worked on it, really) then that's perfectly acceptable. But if the citation merely shows that the Freedom Fighters were from Earth 2, whereas earlier books showed them as being from another Earth, then that's synthesis. And while it may seem to be a good candidate for IARing, I might point out that unless one can show that there's no in-universe explanation given for the change (like comic books would ever play with alternate universes and time travel, amiright?), then one can't know if this is actually a synthesis with any truth value. Wow. I used a lot of parentheses in that comment. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 12:45, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, it's probably a verification problem one way or the other, so tagged appropriately.[56] As for letters pages, my understanding is that they have become significantly less common over the last few decades, at least in American superhero comics from the Big Two. Personally, I have never read all that many conventional "comic books". Growing up in the early 1990s in Ireland, I read Sonic the Comic, which did have a letters page in every issue, but was published by a British magazine company and so was not really the same kind of book as the standard American comic, and then in the period between fall 2003 and spring 2004, I read Meridian (comics) and similar titles from CrossGen and some fantasy comics from Dark Horse and other smaller companies. I gave up comics temporarily to study for my Junior Certificate, and when I had more free time in the summer I found out that my favourite publisher had filed for bankruptcy and most of the books I had been reading had been cancelled. The books I read during this period ... did have letters ... I think. But they likely weren't a fair sampling of comic books in the early 2000s. In recent years my main exposure to comic books has been through Atop the Fourth Wall, which naturally is not a great source for information on whether currently-published monthly comic books include letters pages (he cites descriptive essays included in trade paperbacks quite a lot, but most of the comics he reviews are quite old), but I would swear I heard him (or perhaps someone on NerdSync, which I also watch from time to time) saying at some point that letters pages are no longer commonplace. It would make sense, wouldn't it? People don't write letters like they used to, in general -- the modern equivalent would be the "e-mail page", surely. :P Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:43, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
BTW, I actually hadn't checked the dates, but they were apparently published a month apart. Meaning that, if it is just two fictional stories that appear to contradict each other, it's almost certainly not a retcon, as the only way it could be would be if Roy Thomas changed his mind between the April and May issues. The more natural reading, if the two just happen to contradict each other, is that Thomas had the "retcon" planned in advance, and if it looks like a retcon that was more likely a miscommunication between the writer and the editor, the latter of whom would have inadvertently added something that contradicted a plot element that the writer had not made explicitly clear -- essentially nothing more than a printing error. All of this is OR, mind you, but it's just to say that even if there was no in-universe explanation, IAR still wouldn't really apply because the "retcon" explanation is not as intuitive as other OR explanations. Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:57, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Okay magazine

Hi, Apologies if this is in the wrong place,
On the Chloe Khan article a sentence stated "She has one child, a daughter called Destiny, who was born in 2008, by her former boyfriend, Ian Hough.[1]"

I had removed the childs name per WP:BLPPRIVACY as well as per WP:BLPPRIMARY as other than tabloids no one reported on the child and Chloe herself has never mentioned the childs name on any of her social medias,

So my question is Is Okay magazine fine as a WP:reliable source and not actually classed as a tabloid ?,

One editor at Talk:Chloe_Khan#Daily_Express.3F believed said source was fine so figured I'd ask here,
Thanks, –Davey2010Talk 21:08, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Well, there's no list of editors, no stated editorial policy, and the only information about the publisher is a list of magazines they publish (including the National Enquirer which I think probably fails most of our tests for reliability). So I'm going to say that this is a source I would be extremely cautious about using for any reason, and would never cite it for a BLP. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:32, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Plus the US version at says "we pay for scoops" which would put it in the same category as TMZ. Kendall-K1 (talk) 22:22, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Hi Kendall-K1, the link above goes to Radar Online (owned by American Media) and OK! is owned by Northern & Shell (Express Group), I can't find anything to say it is the American version of OK! Magazine although I'm guessing you have? I would still say OK! should be judge on its own merits though. Boleyn (talk) 04:31, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
No, I haven't, just jumped to that conclusion because they have the same name. Kendall-K1 (talk) 11:17, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying, you might want to strike the comment as it doesn't look like there's a connection. Unless you found one, MjolnirPants? It looks like it is Radar Online which your comment refers to rather than the British OK! Magazine. The confusion seems to be that redirects to Radar, but that doesn't seem to be a connection to OK! Magazine, which we are discussing. Boleyn (talk) 13:46, 12 May 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Rihal, Seetal (5 August 2016). "Chloe Khan's ex slams reality star and claims she only sees their daughter 'once a mont".

I'm basing my opinion on being familiar with OK! magazine as an occasional reader. It was bought by the Express Group, but they own a wide variety of publications and I think OK! should be judged on its own merits, it is nothing like the National Enquirer. The article also features a clip from Khan's social media where she refers to her daughter as 'DesDes' and has the hashtag '#Chloe'sDestiny' so the subject is not hiding her daughter's existence or name. Boleyn (talk) 05:07, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

For American IP's, at least, redirects to which is generally not considered a reliable source, and is clearly identified as the mother publication. If the mother publication isn't reliable, then I doubt the daughter publication has any legs to stand on. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 01:33, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

I think it's disappointing that people are commenting on a publication's reliability without actually checking things out. So far, MjolnirPants, you have made one comment alleging that OK! is owned by the same people as the National Enquirer and assessed Radar Online as if it is OK! Magazine. You haven't struck this comment (as yet), although the information is totally wrong. Kendall-K1 commented, also making the same errors, and has clarified that it was an assumption, although this hasn't been struck through, so someone skim reading may not see the clarification. We have a responsibility to get this right. It seems is difficult to access for American IPs for some reason -this is a technical issue and says nothing about its reliability. When I type it in (from Britain), it goes straight to the right page. OK! is owned by Northern & Shell, which publish a range of magazines, newspapers and owns TV channels. When Northern & Shell bought the Express Group, I didn't notice any changes to OK! Magazine, which from what I can see they had owned for 7 years already. I see no evidence it is a 'daughter publication' of any other publication. Can we please actually take the time to analyse this source, not make assumptions without looking at the source itself? I realise this is more difficult for people who have not actually seen the publication or read it. As I've said before, I wouldn't use it to confirm a fact about physics, but having actually read it many times, I would feel comfortable on its basic facts about the lives of well-known people. Boleyn (talk) 10:15, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

The OP mentioned a source. When I googled that source, I found one site, which I checked out, contrary to your assertions otherwise. When you came along and pointed out that this is actually a different source, I then checked that out contrary to your assertion otherwise and corrected myself. The result was still the same. An honest mistake made earlier in this discussion isn't something that requires being struck out. On the other hand, falsely accusing other editors of not looking into the matter immediately after they demonstrated that they've looked into the matter is exactly the sort of comment that should be struck out. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:26, 13 May 2017 (UTC) and

Would these sources count as reliable sources?


I am thinking on the article Kadurugoda Vihara, where these sources are used. Is it okey to use these sources in this article?Xenani (talk) 17:34, 12 May 2017 (UTC) appears to be one persons (whos) site, no evidence that what they think is worthy of note or mainstream (or well researched and edited). Not overly sure about either, who are they.?Slatersteven (talk) 17:56, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

I don't know either who they are. It is used in the article Kadurugoda Vihara, and I removed the sources because it seemed not reliable but it is constantly been added back by the same user over and over again. Thats why wanted to be sure if the sources are reliable or not. I have also noticed that similar sources are used by same user in other articles. Xenani (talk) 18:06, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

I smell self promotion.Slatersteven (talk) 18:08, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Not trying to promote myself, only to be more familar with wikipedia standards. Anyway, are these sources correct to use or not? Xenani (talk) 18:14, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Sorry, I mean the person who keeps re-inserting this smells like someone promoting their site.Slatersteven (talk) 18:15, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Oh I misunderstood, sorry. But shall I remove the references or shall I just leave it? I think I should remove the Amazinglanka references and also the name part because it is obviously original research. What do you think? Xenani (talk) 18:30, 12 May 2017 (UTC) Did just see that you dealt with it. Xenani (talk) 18:31, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

There's no indication of reliability within our meaning (WP:RS), so no — it's presumptively unreliable. However, if the author/photographer wants to contribute his or her photographs, with the proper licensing, to Wikimedia Commons,then that would be most welcome. Neutralitytalk 01:27, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Hi Slatersteven: I saw your comment that you had a smell of self promotion upon the usage of a website by a user over Wikipedia articles as references. Without clear indications those statements shouldn't be expressed. I keeps re-inserting the removed contents after a newly created User:Xenani account delete some of contents in few articles by citing about the citations (As the user did here) is a travel magazine that not gives much sense over the topic. Amazinglanka is also a locally vast website gives lot of information with valuable and rare photographs and not seemed to be maintained by one person. Photographs can be used as references and considered as highly reliable materials. These website links have been used as reference in number of articles in Wikipedia by various users. However these links were initially put as inline citation and after they were removed and list under the external link section. However User:Xenani had removed the whole name section reciting it is a original research (As here). But these facts are confirmed by local refs and i didn't put them as most readers can not read them. However I was learnt that we can put local references in to the articles. And I also like to hear explanation how did you find out the some of references in this article as unreliable (according to WP:RS). It will help me to correct my future edits.--L Manju (talk) 03:11, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

I added the unilaterally removed contents again with local references. It had ask on this page to explain why this is reliable source (Amazinglanka website). I don't want to convince the accuracy of this web site. But I would like to point out followings.
  1. - Contents copied from Daily News article published on 23 July 2002 paper by Rohan L. Jayetilleke
  2. - Contents from M.H. SIRISOMA, Asst.Commissioner, Archaeological Dept. (Source:- ” EELAM THE TRUTH” -pps submitted to Sansoni Commission, Source :
  3. - Contents from ‘Ceylon Observer’ Friday Evening on 14 October 1949
These information are clearly show on the bottom of the each website. Before remove the references unilaterally please at least read the source/article completely.--L Manju (talk) 06:11, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
If they are quoting other sources, then use those sources. You do have to (by the way) "convince the accuracy of this web site", it is down to you to justify inclusion of this source. As to Reading the whole thing, I do not need to read "the bloke from down the pubs opinion of it, report" to reject it as an RS.Slatersteven (talk) 11:27, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Hi L Manju . It is allowed to use sources that are not in English, although they should still be reliable and should also provide the quote supporting the content with a translation according to Wikipedia:Verifiability#Non-English_sources . It seems that the sites you have used are still not RS, also the sources the sites itself doesn't seem as RS. Who is "Rohan L. Jayetilleke" or the author of "Eelam the truth"? Are they any professional scholars? The website link you provided at point 2 doesn't work either. Also the new citation you added to the name section indicating the Kantharodai is a Tamilised word, particulary the source "Yapanaye Iethihasamaya Urumaya". It doesn't exist? I can't find anything about the source at all. Although I found another work from the author called "Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya", maybe this was the one you meant? Anyway according to WP:SOURCE, the source should be published or else it isn't reliable. Xenani (talk) 15:02, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Dear Xenani. I previously told that I don't want to convince the accuracy of Amazinglanka website. because if I do it some editors may feel the smell of self promotion as happened above. However I pointed out that the content in the given websites were taken from news paper articles and reports. I don't know why you are reciting these references (Including the citations on the Kadurugoda Vihara article) are not reliable again and again even you have still failed to prove why these are become unreliable? Because most of the refs are either books or news paper articles. You may can easily say that ref is not RS, that is not too. So do you have another idea about the reliability of references far from usual WP:RS standards. We know that the wrong information can be included in many references or resources even in highly reputed sources. That is a common thing. I noticed that you are very keen on this article (specially on the Name section) than other Wiki articles where lot of unreliable sources have been used. Do the contents in the Name section not agreeable with your personal opinion? Without showing your points, how I convince the reliability of the web content or other resources? Also if Rohan L. Jayetilleke is not a professional scholar, can you prove his publication as fake or baseless thing? The cited link doesn't work I already noticed it. A live web link may be become death after some time period and it is an usual thing. Numerous dead links are included in Wiki articles but some of them are still gives the traces to find out its new web link or resource. Sorry I had added the ref name wrong but the name mentioned by you is the correct name ("Yapanaye Aithihasika Urumaya"). Finally I have to ask you before remove the given references as unreliable sources, pls show the relevant points why they are unreliable. Otherwise it is a fully vain thing to even discuss here. Regards--L Manju (talk) 23:48, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Hi L Manju. I am not sure but if you use a website like Amazinglanka, isn't it your responsibility to prove that this is an accurate website? I don't say that the content published by Rohan L. Jayetilleke is baseless, but how can I know that without knowing his position? Even I can write something without you knowing if that content is correct, but I am not a professional scholar and thus I don't except you to believe me and in the same way, how can I or others believe in what Rohan L. Jayetilleke has published? It is not about my personal opinion about this person, but according to WP:RS, "If available, academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources, such as in history, medicine, and science.". That is why I asked you if he was professional in his field or not. It wasn't me who used him as source, it was you. You used a website which didn't seem professional in the beginning, that is why I removed the references. You should have used the direct source instead of the website in the beginning. The reason why I was extra observant with name section is that Kantharodai has long been a place of Tamil settlement. When just a random claim about the name not being original Tamil, then it should be proved by a academic person who is professional in that field. The source used to prove this was just a random website, which didn't seem reliable. At least now you have used a better source, but still I am not sure if that is reliable, and that is the reason I mentioned it here, to ask if someone could prove if it was reliable or not. At least you could prove if the source is reliable since it is you who have used this as a source. Peace Xenani (talk) 07:40, 14 May 2017 (UTC)


Since I edit lots of U.S. politics and current events pages I've been running into Mediaite a lot lately. It's one of those new-ish progressive websites that straddles the line between news and blogging, and I've been having trouble figuring out whether it's generally reliable or not. I'm leaning against.

  • I haven't managed to find any any evidence of it being cited by other, established, reliable sources.
  • Its journalistic credentials are questionable. Take this article, for instance, which is the latest I've tried to evaluate. The author did some freelance work before joining Mediaite, but the amount she did for reliable sources was thin at best.
  • Then take a look at Mediaite's masthead. The "founder/publisher" is Dan Abrams, an established TV journalist. But of the three members leading its editorial staff, only one, Rachel Stockman, appears to have a meaningful background in professional journalism. The managing editor, Colby Hall, has been in marketing his entire career, and the other senior editor, Josh Feldman, went to Mediaite straight out of college.

This is not to say that Mediaite is a bad organization, just that I haven't seen much evidence of a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 17:47, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

My feeling with a lot of high-profile news-oriented blogs like that is that whenever it's worth considering citing them, you will either be able to just 1. go to their source, which will be a better source anyway, or 2. cite a second, more reliable source quoting / referencing them in order to show that their take on a particular issue is relevant. In the example you posted, for instance, it links a Salon piece, so... why not just use that? Some people might object to Salon, which obviously has a perspective as well, but it's still clearly a better source than Mediaite. --Aquillion (talk) 07:46, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Well I would never rely on a site like Mediaite personally, but it's not always easy to convince other editors. And some of the material on sites like that is original, synthetic analysis of other sources, such as press statements, tweets, etc. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 20:11, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
I haven't managed to find any any evidence of it being cited by other, established, reliable sources. - I've seen them cited in the more mainstream press several times. A google search for "mediaite", for example, returns 220 hits, with 1900 on WaPo, and a handful at all the rest. That's a superficial measure, of course. As far as quality, well, it does have a political bent, and does pull a lot of its content from other sources that could be cited instead. I'd put it at about the level of Talking Points Memo or the main Huffington Post site, and certainly lower then e.g. Salon or On the Media (not a website, obviously, but similar subjects and a similar perspective but with a lot more rigor). $0.02. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:12, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Looking at the first twenty of those New York Times hits, the title "The Rising Stars of Gossip Blogs" caught my eye. The featured Mediate editor had a notable scoop but also a notable gaffe: "Last August, reported that Fox News’s Twitter account had been hacked and littered with nasty comments about Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly — a juicy scoop, except that the account was a hoax." Generally the hits aren't "cites" to Mediaite as if it's a news source, they're giving news about Mediaite, and referring to it as a "blog" more than once. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 21:30, 7 May 2017 (UTC)
Right, you really can't take the number of Google News hits as an indication of how a a given source is used by other sources. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:50, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Well, sure. As I said, it's a superficial measure. But, having now clicked even more of them, there are most definitely many legitimate citations. It's referred to as a blog, site, website, etc., yes, which it is, and which isn't mutually exclusive of being news. I find that an odd thing to highlight in terms of how it's being used. I see many instances of "Mediaite reported that..." for example, which is hardly "such and such happened to appear on gossip blog Mediaite". I started to copy/paste here, but it became tedious and spammy, so will only suggest clicking more of the links. They're frequently cited for their work covering the media and its coverage of politics. Again, it's not a top tier source, but I stand by my previous statement that it's about the level of the main HuffPo site or TPM. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 22:40, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
A blog can be a site and a source but blogginess affects WP:UGC and WP:BLPSPS judgments. NYT also quotes Shakespeare, we don't conclude he has "a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy". Peter Gulutzan (talk) 14:31, 14 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I give this site a highly emphatic "meh". I've confirmed Rhododendrites' claims about being cited, and I've seen plenty of red flags for the blurring of opinion and news. So I'd place it somewhere between Breitbart and Fox News in terms of reliability, closer to Fox. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 23:02, 12 May 2017 (UTC)