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Beeblebrox talk , 30 October UTC. Continuing to review the edits at the start of the RfC, was it necessary that a new rfcid be assigned? What was wrong with the original one? I also note no one had added the RfC tags for the bot I have just added them , so this was not advertised the way RfCs normally are. Unscintillating talk , 4 November UTC. Unscintillating talk , 8 November UTC. Unscintillating talk , 5 November UTC. Its use seemed to be ignored by PMAnderson. Perhaps PMAnderson could comment? I have found myself in a situation where an editor has repeatedly removing my cite request templates, claiming that end-of-para suffices.

I do not want to edit war with him, but he is adamant in removing my cite requests. What should be my next action? In that verifiability depends on tracing a quote, point, or other material back to its source, and that such trace-backs are greatly facilitated by citing the specific page, section, or paragraph, the common opinion that page numbers etc. Yet it seems there is no definite statement that they should be used, or even required.

Should there be a definite statement that citations should be as specific as possible, to the level of page, section, or paragraph? There is a theme here that we cannot require page numbers because sometimes a general reference is appropriate. Or even that some sources are not paginated. Look, I quite understand that general refererences are sometimes appropriate though mostly for "further reading". But the reality is that the overwhelming majority of citations within most articles do not have page numbers — but should , as they refer to specific points or quotes.

And all of that is condoned because sometimes a "general" reference might be appropriate? And most of you responded to the wrong argument. Look again: I did not suggest that we "require page numbers", let alone require them for all sources in all contexts. I asked if we should have a more definite statement -- perhaps even to requiring -- "that citations should be as specific as possible , to the level of page, section, or paragraph". GrapedApe seems to understand this, but I seem to have caught the rest of while you were asleep.

Nor am I suggesting that "every statement" should be "easily verified". That is covered by this policy, that "requires that all quotations and anything challenged or likely to be challenged be attributed in the form of an inline citation that directly supports the material. Because we condone letting editors make verfication harder we undercut our most basic principle.

The closest any existing statement comes to encouraging specific location and then only for page numbers seems to be that at Wikipedia:Citing sources. Which is, as Blueboar describes, in the context of citation technique and format. As the policy here regarding citation is largely "feel free to roll your own", that statement has the clout of a bird fart as in "who noticed? Providing a specific citation page number, section, chapter, whatever is appropriate is not just "nice", not just a basic requirement of scholarship, but fundamental to Wikipedia.

Why are we not encouraging it?


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Having clarified that "should" does not mean "must", I would like to clarify some other points of possible confusion. There are other points I will argue , but the points here are for clarification. I pause to see if everyone is clear on these. From the section Anything challenged or likely to be challenged of WP:Verifiability , "Cite the source clearly and precisely, with page numbers where applicable. Presumably the caveats regarding "should", "appropriate", and "page numbers" as proxy for specification in general are clear, so I return to the implicit policy issue: should citation be specific?

Don't forget the caveat of appropriate. That is, given the existing policy that sources should be cited, does that extend into specifying the location within a source? I argue yes , on the grounds that it is 1 a basic requirement of scholarship, and 2 fundamental to the Wikipedia principle of verifiability. In anticipation of some previous arguments being recycled I would further argue that supposed difficulty of adding a specification e. So possibly no one objects to the notion that citation should include specific location within a source?

It may be useful to think of citations as having two parts: the first part pointing to the source think of it as a link out to the external world , and the second part pointing to the specific location within the source. The issue I am trying to address is the general neglect of the second part. Given that citations should specify the location within the source e. There are three broad indications of this.

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First, the infrequency of specification when citation is done anywhere adequately. Which is problem it self — just take a romp through random article and see how many have more than urls for sources. Second, the frequency with which the need for page numbers is questioned in various Talk Pages. Third, lack of specific authority or documentation that proponents of specification page numbers can point to; one is usually pointed either to WP:Verifiability generally, which is unsatisfactory, or to something like WP:Citing sources , where as I said earliar any expectation or obligation to cite page numbers is diluted with "usually" or "typically".

Furthermore, the location of this minimal statement suggests it is a mere matter of citation style, and therefore entirely optional. If that argument is accepted, then my suggestion is that the point needs to be made clear at the level of WP:V that the requirement for citation the existing policy means complete citation, including page numbers or other specification as appropriate. There being no objections in principle, I propose the following change at WP:V Anything challenged or likely to be challenged :. At this point it might be useful to make reference to WP:Citing sources "for further details.

I think that this proposal makes it clearer that the point is to aid verifiability, rather than to create slot that needs to be filled. How would you change the above? Elisa Gabrielli here. Below are some of the Published Articles and other sources about the listing that I have been requested to provide. I hope this is helpful. I will update the listing to make it more informative and concise once this is through the vetting process. It's no secret in Hollywood that big-name stars are cast in these animated epics so studios will have talk-show-acceptable celebrities plugging the movies on TV.

But "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" - in which the animals of the original film crash-land in their species' homeland - shows what really works in these things and augments the state-of-the-art animation : As Skipper, the mad lead penguin, director McGrath is comically possessed; as Nana, the animals' nemesis, 'Elisa Gabrielli is incongruous and hysterical, and Cohen is a scream. So put up with the life lessons, and wait for the laughs.

Among the other ace newcomers are Baldwin's scheming Scar equivalent, out to thwart Alex, and a two-ton Lothario out to romance Gloria, drolly endowed with basso profundo intonations by songmeister will. There were also other reviews and Radio Interviews, guest appearances at Cartoon Conventions for work done on Gargoyles, Batman, Ironman etc as well as a few "local girl made good' news coverage on Television stations back east when I did 'The Brady Bunch Movie" OK, hope this is in the right format Thanks. Juniper99 talk , 7 November UTC.

All participants are thanked for their patience in awaiting a close, the result of which was inevitably going to disappoint a significant number of people. The closers would like to take this opportunity to express their gratitude, on behalf of the community, for the decorum with which the vast majority of participants conducted themselves for the majority of the discussion.

My decision is that the RfC should be closed as "no consensus".

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The primary reason is that WP:V is an important policy document on Wikipedia and changes to it should only be made with strong community support. Additionally, it appears that many editors, on both sides of the aisle, believe that the changes are a policy change rather than a mere clarification. Since that was not the intent of the changes, and since policy is, in the final analysis, solely contained in wording, I suggest that going back to the drawing board is probably a good idea regardless of the level of support.

On the face of it, it appears that there is a clear support of the proposal, indeed that was my initial reaction. However, it is essential to remember that the RfC is not a vote, but rather a discussion. Having looked in depth at the arguments made by both sides, the outcome isn't nearly as clear cut as it appears to be. For one thing, partially due to the structure of the RfC and partially due to the minor nature of the change, there are editors holding the similar opinions, but in both support and oppose areas.

On top of this, there are many editors who have provisos against their vote, large portions of the supporting editors do not support the proposal in full. Weighing up the arguments on both sides, they are pretty even in strength, and to me, the whole thing appears to boil down to one very important question - Is "Verifiability, not truth" clear enough for the first sentence?

Most supporters acknowledge that it is evident what it means when taken in context, but on the other hand most opposers acknowledge that it can be misinterpreted. There are clearly many editors who do not believe it is clear enough to be in the first sentence and this proposal is a "first step" towards making that change. However, whilst there does appear a very strong opinion that something needs to change - notably that the phrase "Verifiability, not truth" needs more focus, there does not appear to be consensus that this proposal is the right way to go forwards.

So, for the time being, the status quo should be maintained. One of the first questions in need of an answer is whether this is a proposal to change the policy or to make a semantic change to a policy page. The answer is that this must be treated as a substantial change to policy simply because of the sheer number and strength of opinions it has provoked.

Many arguments have been raised for and against this proposal, with the majority of unique rationales to be found in the oppose section, but such is often the way when people are asked to support a proposal or provide a rationale against it. The proposal as written has failed to gain consensus for its implementation. However, the waters have been muddied somewhat by including two separate albeit related changes in one RfC. The proposal to reword the lead, and in particular to remove from it the phrase "verifiability not truth" has met with considerable opposition.

Also mentioned was that the proposal appeared to be expanding the policy into areas already governed by separate policies and guidelines such as reliability of sourcing. I hold no opinion on the merits of the arguments that attempt to address the substance of the proposal, but that these arguments have been independently expressed by multiple editors would suggest that they have legitimacy. I acknowledge that a majority of editors favour the proposal, many of them with excellent and well thought-out, articulately expressed rationales.

However, Wikipedia is not a democracy, and making a major change to a core content policy when the changes is vehemently opposed by about a third of the community would seem foolish and ill-considered. Instead, further discussion should take place in the future at least a few months from now to see if any common ground can be found. It is likely that such discussion might be very productive in the case of the second part of the proposal to elaborate on the meaning of "verifiability not truth" in the body of the policy. An editor's assertion that something is true is not enough for inclusion in Wikipedia.

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It does not matter how convinced you are that some bit of information is true; if the material is unverifiable, do not add it. In this context, Wikipedia requires " verifiability, not truth ". Assertions of untruth i. If the dubious information is not supported by a source, it should be challenged; but the question of how to challenge whether to tag the information as needing a citation or to remove it immediately depends on the nature of the information see: WP:Burden , below.

If the dubious information is supported by a reliable source, the problem should be discussed on the article talk page, with reference to policy concepts such as maintaining a neutral point of view and especially the sub-concept of due weight. Often rewording to present the information as opinion rather than fact can resolve issues of verifiable but potentially untrue information.

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The first sentence of the policy currently reads: " The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true. Out of this working group has emerged the proposal above. It is seen as a compromise—one that addresses the core concerns of both sides. The proposal keeps the "verifiability, not truth" phrase in the policy, but moves it to its own section and clarifies it. It is hoped that both those who are content with the current wording and those who advocate change, to whatever degree, will support this measure as a compromise.

Conclusions : The goal of this proposal is not to change the meaning of the policy, but to clarify it and reduce the potential for real or feigned misunderstanding. The concepts behind the phrase "Verifiability, not truth" should remain part of the policy. But they are complex concepts that need to be better explained. Notice : A change was made to two sentences of the Introduction to the Rationale on the first day of the RfC. This change is documented here.

Also note that there were three intermediate versions of these two sentences on the first day of the RfC.


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Information can only be included in Wikipedia if it is verifiable - that is, if it is possible to check that it has already been published by a reliable source. While this verifiability is a requirement for inclusion, it is not a guarantee of it because Wikipedia has other policies and guidelines that affect inclusion too. In 20 years, 50 years, our grandchildren will look back and scratch their heads at our crazy notions, because, count on it, our current notions of what is true, will turn out to include notions that later seem to be laughably obvious falsehoods. The effect of this major change in our wording, would be a major change in our policy -- a very bad change.

We aren't experts. I don't want us, any of us, to be allowed to challenge published, verifiable WP:RS , unless they are doing so by neutrally presenting opposing ideas from other WP:RS. Consider continental drift -- when first advanced it was considered a kooky notion, and is now widely accepted. This proposed policy revision would allow wikipedia contributors, non-experts to insert their own challenges to ideas like this. Given that we are not experts, it is far better for us to stick strictly to previously published ideas.

With an idea like continental drift we would be far better to include the proponents and opponents of ideas, and let time tell as to which are correct. The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth —whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true. While verifiability is a requirement for inclusion, it is not a guarantee of inclusion. Wikipedia has other policies and guidelines that affect inclusion especially whether specific material is included in a specific article.

So I read through it all with the intent of actually casting a vote, as I think we all should where such a core policy is concerned.

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The more I did, the more I saw a solution in search of a problem. There are some legitimate concerns, but the most frequent ones seemed to, as suggested above, rely on an assumption that this is the only editorial policy that can possibly govern content. To give some examples:. Plus it's not clear what an "initial threshold" is, as opposed to a threshold, and the cognitive dissonance of the phrase "the threshold for inclusion is verifiability, not truth" helps new editors understand that they shouldn't add their own opinions to articles, or remove opinions they don't like.

This is why I believe the what is truth? Unscintillating talk , 7 October UTC. If the iconic-phrase is divisive, meaning that some fear it has unintended side effects but there will not be a consensus to bury it, this RfC should nonetheless have successfully brought to light together the strong variety of mechanisms already available for countering those feared side effects. Moving forward, it looks a consensus could be built by proposal that, without burying those three words, inserts below in the document a prominent section or passage directly countering those side-effects e.

Keep the icon but rid the fears? Cesiumfrog talk , 31 October UTC. The casual reader needs some help to make the distinction between two definitions of verifiability :. I would also like to see an explicit denial that as a collaboration we are indifferent to truth. My own contribution along these lines is here: Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth Editors are summarizers not truth finders patsw talk , 8 October UTC. Time to close? It received a large number of responses, the results look pretty overwhelming.


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New responses have trailed off, quantities for the last few days have been:. I agree that it is time to close or to announce an immanent close. But I do not consider the results to be decisive. When changing policy we need to reach a consensus. That more than a third of the people who commented are opposed or neutral shows that we are quite far from a consensus. Many of the comments, pro and con, provide important and constructive feedback, which is a principal aim of an RfC.

The question is, how to draw on the critical comments in order to craft a proposal that will generate a consensus? Answering this question may take some time, but that is something we have plenty of. I certainly think that this consensus is achievable. I never used the word unanimity and I did not think anyone here would misinterpret "consensus" to mean unanimity. I do not think we should seek unanimity.

But this is NOT an article. This is a policy. The threshold for change to a policy is much greater than it is for an article. And usually, changes to this page are made through consensus. The purpose for a request for comment is The poll does indicate that This issue needs attention, and it indicates that Blueboar has some good ideas.

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I agree that people disagree for different reasons. Collaborative editing means, working through all the constructive criticisms and suggestions to make a good proposal even better. We may never get unanimity and that certainly should not be an obstacle to change. But thoughtful criticisms can be applied to revising the proposal, just as thougtful support should never be dismissed. This is a request for comment. The comments are the point; it is not just a vote. We should disregard everyone who registered support or opposition without reasons, and there may be comments that are empty of meaning, or unthoughtful or unconstructive.

Whatever is left is what a request for comment is supposed to generate: thoughtful comments. I see no reason why Blueboar's proposal cannot be imporved upon, and I think many of the comments suggest ways that it can be improved. That is what an RfC is for. It is a stage in the development of a consensus through collaborative editing, in which specific comments are solicited as a way to have very focused feedback.

Well, we got those comments. Whether they are in support or opposition is not the point, what matters is that they are thoughtful and constructive.

Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/Archive 53 - Wikipedia

That is what makes an RfC a success. The question is, did the RfC produce comments that could help us improve it? I think it did. I don't see any reason to close this early. I don't want to start leaving notes on user talk pages, in case I'm accused of canvassing. I'd therefore like to get agreement here as to how these editors should be informed. The reason I feel this is needed is that this talk page became so bogged down over the last few months with constant polls that I think lots of people gave up and stopped looking at it e. So I think we ought to alert people to this latest one.

There is an RfC here on whether to change the Wikipedia:Verifiability policy as follows:. The RfC is likely to close in a few days, so if you want to comment please do so soonish. My account was renamed since then. How is the RFC being currently announced? Please give links to the announcements so that anyone can view them. Thank you. In case anyone's still unsure about what it is we seek, the answer can be found at WP:5P : it's "verifiable accuracy"—I'm surprised no-one's mentioned this so far.

Uniplex talk , 9 November UTC. I find it disconcerting that many participants in this discussion appear to treat "not Truth" as a noun phrase , but if one reads the complete sentence it clearly isn't. Treating it as a noun phrase creates a misunderstanding of its meaning. I can't help feeling that at least some people here are in fact deliberately misrepresenting it as a noun phrase in order to skew the debate.

Roger talk , 14 November UTC. Given that most people will be reading this on a VDU, reading a "bit of information" has a specific meaning in computer science and so the phrase is open to misunderstanding. Why a bit, and not a byte, or a word? I think that it need to be replaced. Why not just drop "bit of" and instead have "an editor's assertion that some information is untrue" or if one must! The "percentage of total" description is a spin version which obscures If some were successful in inventing rules that even with a a 1. North talk , 4 November UTC.

I think we can trust those three uninvolved admins to determine what constitutes a consensus and what does not constitute a consensus , and we can leave it up to them to determine when to close. I trust their good judgment, and I think they understand all sides in this. They will give all sides a fair hearing. Blueboar talk , 4 November UTC. That Alanscottwalker talk , 4 November UTC.

It's a strange and mysterious logic that makes them six or eight or twelve separate reviews! I'm also perplexed by your description of the proposal above as "generally acceptable". It looks to me like it was only "generally acceptable" among the minority who oppose Blueboar's compromise.

North talk , 5 November UTC. This looks like yet another angle at undermining the RFC. At the moment, percentages aside, there are more "support" votes than there are "oppose" votes. That appears to be the biggest lead for an RfC proposal in the history of en. I don't think it will make a difference. Even if the vote becomes 20, Support to Oppose, the opposers will never admit that there is a consensus. That's because they are certain they are right, and that this policy is right.

But consider: The opposers who refuse to change the policy, despite this consensus, are basically arguing "This policy is the correct policy; therefore no matter how many editors vote for the change, we know that those editors are idiots who don't understand the True And Objective Importance of the V-not-T Policy. A delightful irony.! My apologies; in my first paragraph I stated that everyone who voted "oppose" was of a like mindsent, and I was ethically and factually wrong to say so.

My second paragraph was meant to be more precise, in referring to "the opposers who refuse to change the policy, despite this consensus. As a quick skim of this page will show you, some editors -- a minority, surely, but a vocal one -- have made it clear that they are convinced that the correct wikipedia policy is V-not-T, even if the vote goes against it. And I am mystified as to what, other than the agreement of large numbers of editors, could possibly constitute the ontological foundation for any Wikipedia policy.

But claiming that people who vote "support" don't really mean that, or that they are just voting out of "vanity", is not a persuasive argument to me. The idea that verifiable information should be excluded if it is untrue would seem to suggest that contradictory information shouldn't be incorporated in an article.

The editor should do his WP:original research to figure out whichever one of the reports he thinks is wrong, then leave only the remaining one. I disagree with this: I think contradictory reports have value, and if both are published, the reader should hear them both, without the editor making up his mind for him which is right. For example, recently I added some information to Anonymous group citing a threat they'd reportedly AP wire made against Los Zetas ; then the next day read an article saying it was bunk and most Anonymous members in Mexico disagreed with the idea.

What I did was leave both sources, side by side. I can't imagine it would make sense for any responsible amateur historian to do anything else. Wnt talk , 7 November UTC. Which of course makes a bit of a mockery of "verifiability, not truth". Actually our objective is to achieve truth through careful analysis of sources. With minority points of view, there's more than just the question of whether to include them. There's also the question of how to include them—how much weight to give each source—and this is something the working group discussed in detail over the course of the preceding nine or now ten months that we spent building up to this RFC.

It's what Blueboar is trying to express with his very compressed phrase, "opinion rather than fact". Now that you've stepped back from including "all significant points of view", you really aren't telling us anything we didn't know or hadn't taken into account. The process of deciding which sources are reliable is evaluating things like editorial supervision, reputation for fact checking, peer review, and so on.

But the thing is that everything that makes a source more reliable is also something that makes it more likely to be true. Indeed, if we disregard the concept of "truth", reliability is meaningless. It seems quite obvious and incontrovertible to me that we use reliable sources as a route to the truth, not as an end in itself. I also think that encyclopaedia writers are educators, and I think there's something very sinister about an educator who doesn't care about truth. I have no time at all for editors who wish to introduce lies into the encyclopaedia. Some folks are going to great lengths to say that editors are confined to being just transcription monkeys when it comes to leaving out material.

They are either saying that you need a source-based reason to leave something out of an article, or giving examples of the other extreme. Since editors for any given article will "leave out" about And then there is the ambiguity of the mechanics of exclusion based on probable falsity. Does such mean that it gives someone license to unilaterally exclude something where wp:npov balancing is in force, or where there a difference of opinion on exclusion?

Of course not. Does it mean that on a single-editor non-contentious article the editor can decide to just not put in something that they found based on irrelevance or implausibility or Does it mean that, in a discussion about potential exclusion, that an editor is allowed to merely discuss possible falsity of the material? IMHO yes, they can discuss it, and should not be shut down by people saying that policy prohibits such from entering into the discussion. North talk , 8 November UTC. The first sentence says "All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable published source We need to explain what published means.

We mention "a document, article, paper, or book" but not TV, radio or You Tube etc. Maybe this is a good opportunity to cover it here. Moriori talk , 9 November UTC. During that run a reader noted that where it said in the info box it was powered by a 2-cylinder steam turbine made no sense. I agreed, turbine propulsion does not involve cylinders. Though I knew the answer beyond "know, it was no-brainer-obvious to anyone with basic knowledge in this area , I went through the sources, and a preponderance of them said what agreed with the obvious, that it had steam turbine powered with no mention of cylinders.

A couple sources had the wrong info with identical wording, i. Of course no source said it wasn't powered by cylinders, just as no source said it wasn't powered by ice cream or the million other things that it wasn't powered by. Note that this used a combination of knowledge of the participants at the talk page, review of the sources, and consensus via no objections and the talk page dynamics context there to decide to exclude erroneous false material.

Since this was to exclude NOT include material, wp:ver as-intended was not violated. Two "what if's" representative of common situations are worth exploring; Wikipedia succeeds on the first and fails on the second:. Basically, you do need to be motivated by truth about what the current scientific understanding of a topic is, and you can't get around that with the way verfiability is currently defined on Wikipedia i.

Otherwise, you would not needs years of study at university to master a scientific topic. In the essay I say that what Jimbo argued for would not be ok. I mentioned this because it makes clear that there is an ongoing discusion about the "truth" issue, people have different opinions.

Also it makes it clear that what can work for certain class of articles, may not work well for a different class of articles. North talk , 14 November UTC Here is an actual conversation with an experienced editor as an example:. North talk , 14 November UTC. Lord Kelvin's opinion that heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible belongs in some articles—such as, perhaps, Lord Kelvin. It does not necessarily belong in aerodynamics.

Several are missing the point. Of course there are times that false material should stay in, notably when there are opposing points of view in which case in becomes a wp:npov balancing situation. I mean think about it What is the criteria that had to be satisfied for leaving out those items? I think that the real answer comes out when you structurally dissect this. The first division between the scenarios is: Is the removal contested? If not, the reality is that it's going to go out. Then there is true statements covering false beliefs. Like "the flat earth society claims that the earth is flat" is an absolutely true statement.

Then there is a question on whether or not the statement of the material is contested. The next is the specifics of what one means when talking about the concept of removal based on falsity in a contested situation, here are the three main possibilities:. Number 1 is not even a possibility, although folks keep giving it as a straw-man example.

IMHO 2 should be the case, and the proposal only helps make that the case. And 3 is often claimed during battles; the proposal would tend to reduce that. The argument for this change is that as currently written the policy is ambiguous and open to being misunderstood. Start from there. Nobody has claimed that Blueboar's proposed wording is perfect or that it will not evolve after being implemented.

Your desire to delve deep into the exact details of the wording is shared by few others at this stage. We're deciding about the principle of the change. Interested editors will do all this quibbling after it's agreed that we have a mandate to make the change at all.

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