User talk:WhatamIdoing

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If you expected a reply on another page and didn't get it, then please feel free to remind me. I've given up on my watchlist. You can also use the magic summoning tool if you remember to link my userpage in the same edit in which you sign the message.

Please add notes to the end of this page. If you notice the page size getting out of control (>100,000 bytes), then please tell me. I'll probably reply here unless you suggest another page for a reply. Thanks, WhatamIdoing

Speedy deletion nomination of Carbitral[edit]

A tag has been placed on Carbitral requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done for the following reason:

The title of this redirect is referential to a commercial drug which has never existed. Parke-Davis' combination of pentobarbital and carbromal was sold as Carbrital, rather than "Carbitral" (Physicians' Desk Reference, thirty-third edition, 1979, page 421) and all other online sources speaking of this misspelling are direct replications or derivatives of either this article or Brian_Epstein. For further information, please see my recent edit of the latter page. My proposed deletion criteria are R3 and G1. Thank you!

Under the criteria for speedy deletion, pages that meet certain criteria may be deleted at any time.

If you think this page should not be deleted for this reason, you may contest the nomination by visiting the page and clicking the button labelled "Contest this speedy deletion". This will give you the opportunity to explain why you believe the page should not be deleted. However, be aware that once a page is tagged for speedy deletion, it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag from the page yourself, but do not hesitate to add information in line with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. If the page is deleted, and you wish to retrieve the deleted material for future reference or improvement, then please contact the deleting administrator, or if you have already done so, you can place a request here. Interops (talk) 05:05, 19 April 2021 (UTC)

A user possessing a far greater measure of Wikipedia experience than myself has determined that the request does not satisfy the specified criteria. I will make no further attempts to delete your redirect. Interops (talk) 07:38, 19 April 2021 (UTC)
@Interops, I'm not sure why you thought this was a good idea. Redirects are cheap. Deleting them is actually more 'expensive' (editors' discussion time, broken incoming links, extra stuff in the database) than pretending they don't exist. And when the redirect exists because we once had the article at the wrong name (which is the case here), then deleting them means that anyone with an old link or looking at an old version of a Wikipedia article will not end up in the right place. So my question for you is: What is so horrible about that redirect's existence that you want to cause confusion for readers and to damage transparency and traceability for any editors who are trying to figure out what happened to a page for years to come? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:41, 19 April 2021 (UTC)

Please consider weighing in.[edit]

Hello. You have been involved with a discussion regarding the red link policy text. The current version of the proposal consists of the following change: In general, a red link should be allowed to remain in an article if it links to a title that could plausibly sustain an article, but for which there is no existing article, or article section, under any name.
One editor is blocking this change, even as a temporary test. Would you please review this matter and offer your thoughts on the red link talk page? Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 19:35, 24 April 2021 (UTC)

The next step is to find out whether the one editor is the only person who objects. I have asked for that information on the talk page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:59, 24 April 2021 (UTC)
I appreciate your help. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 05:49, 25 April 2021 (UTC)

FYI: Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#Francis Schonken Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 00:43, 10 May 2021 (UTC)

WP:CORP hardline style of source analysis for independence[edit]

Hello WAID.

At WT:CORP we started an interesting although sprawling conversation. I think you challenged me on my hard line deductions of independence or not of a source based on the tracing of the source of the information, whether it comes from the subject or the author of the story. I consider Munaf Kapadia to have to meet the WP:CORP stringent standard, he being the CEO of a company, and everything is basically about his company.

Would you mind looking at my analysis of four sources proffered for Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Munaf Kapadia? Do you disagree? Would you make different judgements? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:22, 4 May 2021 (UTC)

Hi, @SmokeyJoe, I'd be happy to get back to WT:CORP, but I have other things to do this morning.
I think the hardline approach taken by some editors in that AFD is wrong. More precisely, I think that they are wrong to say that if some (or even most) of the content came from the subject, then it's non-independent. That might make the source primary per WP:LINKSINACHAIN, but it doesn't change the fact that the journalists and the periodicals aren't working for this guy. (What you describe as being "written from a distinct perspective" could make it a secondary source.)
I think the points of analysis are clearer if we change the subject matter from "Googler starts restaurant" to "politician starts project". Instead of saying that he's going to sell samosas, he's going to announce that he's going to save the world. You have labeled the sentence "He decided to host a dining experience at home" as being non-independent because it's something only the subject could know. But if Fox News wrote "Biden decided to meet with the Republicans", or if The New York Times wrote that "Trump decided to fire someone again", then nobody would say that these were non-independent sources. And if we agreed that any source talking about a subject, and using information from the subject, is non-independent, then Social media use by Donald Trump has to be deleted, because it is not actually possible to talk about what Trump said on social media without using information from Trump. It literally cannot be done.
I think the big problem with these discussions is that editors are going line-by-line through sources and deciding which individual sentences or paragraphs they should accept. Independence is much easier than that. You say, "Does Biden own Fox News? Does Biden control Fox News? No? Then Fox News is independent of Biden." Editors need to evaluate the source as a whole, not the individual sentences.
Remember that with notability, we are not really trying to get a perfectly disinterested POV on the facts. We are looking for independence in the context of notability because we are trying to find out whether the subject has "gained sufficiently significant attention by the world at large" (to quote WP:N's nutshell). The act of paying attention, even if that attention comes in the form of talking about what the subject says, is what matters. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:58, 4 May 2021 (UTC)
Hi WIAD. I think we are having a source-analysis or source-typing discussion, probably better located at a source-typing essay talk page than WT:CORP, I am not sure.
So, we disagree about doing hardline source independence analysis? But you have the wrong line, I am not talking about "if some (or even most) of the content came from the subject", but "if some (or even most) ALL of the <secondary-source> content (loosely called "comment") came from the subject". I mean, every adjective of praise and every comparison and every contextualisation came from the subject, or the subject's company, or mother, or employee. Does this clarification of my line change things?
"written from a distinct perspective". I meant "written from a distant perspective". Is the writer of the independent secondary source writing from (a) a long distance, or even time, and the subject doesn't know they are being watched; or (b) from behind the subject's shoulder; or (c) from behind the subjects eyes, meaning the writer knows the subjects thoughts and feelings and motivations and even memories. Case (c) will not be an independent source, and this case contains some linked examples of (c). The Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Munaf Kapadia case is interesting because sources fall on both sides of my line.
Social media use by Donald Trump has to be deleted, because it is not actually possible to talk about what Trump said on social media without using information from Trump. No, that is not GNG hard line. The GNG hard line is that at least two sources contain comment where the source of the comment is the source writer, not the subject. Having achieved that bar, Wikipedia-notability does not limit content. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:13, 5 May 2021 (UTC)
I don't think that, in the English Wikipedia's conception, all forms of 'comment' are always considered a WP:SECONDARY source. If it were, then we'd have almost no primary sources. Consider a source that says "We ran an experiment. The experimental group baked 200 cookies, and the control group baked 150 cookies. The experimental group baked more cookies than the control group". "More" is comparison, but we're still looking at a primary source. It might conceivably be a secondary sentence, but it's still a primary source. I don't think we should be trying to classify individual sentences/facts/adjectives. The GNG is looking at sources as a whole.
Also, you seem to be looking for intellectual independence (e.g., a second human has separately concluded that the experimental group baked more cookies). Notability, on the other hand, is looking primarily for financial/COI independence. Notability does not really care whether the newspaper is credulous enough to believe a politician who says I am not a crook, and it definitely does not care whether the paper repeats such a claim; it primarily cares whether the newspaper is printing the article because the subject is "worthy of notice", vs. printing it because they were paid to.
This conversation feels like the opposite of the usual one, in which AFD participants declare that breaking news reports are obviously secondary because it's such big news. They ought to just say "Using my crystal ball, and more importantly, my experience, I think it's time to invoke IAR for a week", but instead they try to claim that everything they want to write about fits into the rules, and everything they don't want to write about doesn't. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:18, 5 May 2021 (UTC)

Tabular response
WAID wrote SJ responds SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:57, 6 May 2021 (UTC) Header text
I don't think that, in the English Wikipedia's conception, all forms of 'comment' are always considered a WP:SECONDARY source. Neither do I. The point is that all secondary sources contain comment, or a more sophisticated creative transformation of information. The point is, for GNG-testing, to find possible secondary source content and discard the definitely primary source content Example
The GNG is looking at sources as a whole Yes. But for a source to be classifiable as a secondary source, it must contain some secondary source content. Frequently, sources are put forward that are not secondary sources, because not a single sentence contains secondary source material. Sometimes, the writer quoting the CEO and PR releases does not introduce even a single adjective of their own. They just prosify the facts and first-person secondary-source material provided to them. In these cases, I call it not an independent secondary source. Example
you seem to be looking for intellectual independence looking for intellectual independence of the secondary source content, yes Example
a second human has separately concluded that the experimental group baked more cookies This will fail on depth. "more" is too trivial. Minimally, I would be looking for a word like "better", a qualitative subjective judgement Example
Notability, on the other hand, is looking primarily for financial/COI independence nitpickingly disagree with your "primarily". Wikipedia-notability demands multiple things in parallel, no one is "primary" over another. Failing any one means the source fails the GNG as a notability-attesting source. Example
Notability does not really care whether the newspaper is credulous enough to believe ... This is a pointless non-statement. Beliefs of newspapers are irrelevant. The question is whether independent others have commented on the subject, in sufficient depth, and in a reliable publication. Newspaper's beliefs might feed into WP:V or WP:RS considerations, or even WP:NPOV. Maybe newspaper unsigned editorials go to beliefs? However, newspaper unsigned editorials easily qualify as secondary sources, and the test goes to the newspaper independence (do they run the company ads?) Core content policy defines "editorials, op-eds, columns, blogs, and other opinion pieces, including (depending on context) reviews and interviews" as primary sources. Therefore, in Wikipedia's context, a newspaper editorial cannot qualify as a secondary source. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:18, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
AFD participants declare that breaking news reports are obviously secondary because it's such big news Yeah, that's a poor argument for the winning side. Reporting of facts is a primary source. Commenting on facts is a secondary source. A separate rule of thumb I find to work is: Report implies primary. Story implies secondary. Newspaper reports do not demonstrate notability, but newspaper stories do. "Article" can be either or both. A sign of a report versus a story is that a report makes no comment on what is being reported, no comment, no analysis, no contextualisation, no judgements. In these cases of breaking news reports, I recommend waiting a week or more for follow-up coverage. I recommend against quick AfD-ing big news topics. Example
I think it's time to invoke IAR for a week Agree. WP:N is a good predictor of whether a page will be kept at AfD. Nominating new pages on big news produces loose claims about GNG-meeting sources, and a "keep" result because of new sources at the end of the week, and mistaken impressions of what the GNG says. Example
Example Example Example
Core content policy defines "editorials, op-eds, columns, blogs, and other opinion pieces, including (depending on context) reviews and interviews" as primary sources. Therefore, in Wikipedia's context, a newspaper editorial cannot qualify as a secondary source. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:18, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
That is from WP:NOR. It is very context dependent. It is elaborating on Primary source, to some degree inappropriately. Wikipedia policy should not attempt to redefine real world concepts, such as Primary source. If the article Primary source is in any way inadequate, any of us can fix it.
I disagree that an editorial cannot be used as a secondary source. At AfD, I would definitely take notice of a reliable newspaper editorial that covers the topic being AfD-ed. I would not summarily dismiss it. If the newspaper is independent of the subject, and it discusses the topic, that's a GNG source to me. Appropriate use might require explicit quotation, it being an odd source of information for a borderline notable topic, and then being a source for the quotation that by most measures makes it a primary source, so that might be why the statement was written. Generally, opinion pieces are not written about non-notable topics, so these points are possibly entirely academic. "Blogs" are usually dismissed as not reliable. "Reviews" is hopelessly broad. Interviews (on a paragraph by paragraph basis) are primary sources, but I prefer to dismiss them as non-independent. The article based on the interview well may contain an author-written introduction or follow-up comment, which is not interview, and which makes it a good GNG-attesting source. The critical factor is whether the author generates their own comment. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:48, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
Wikipedia can, and IMO should, redefine real-world concepts. We have redefined notability until it has no significant connection to the real-world concept. We ban original research and encourage editors to cite publications that any academic would be proud to call original research. This is our ruleset. Our ruleset, rightly or wrongly, says that editorials and other opinion pieces cannot be cited for facts (e.g., to say that Big Corp's revenue was $1B last year) and are, and must be treated as, primary sources. Whether a scholar would agree with us isn't really relevant. This is our ruleset even if scholars disagree. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:52, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
I disagree, because redefining real world concepts is to create barriers to newcomers. Wikipedia-notability is a well recognised problem of a badly chosen term, but we haven’t found anything better. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:44, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
You're right; our jargon does create barriers. We hang on to our jargon in unnecessary cases, too. Notability could be re-named "inclusion criteria" without IMO any significant loss.
In the case of primary/secondary/tertiary, however, academia hasn't settled on a perfectly uniform definition. The easy example is that legal studies does not admit that tertiary sources exist at all. The more relevant example is that academic hasn't figured out how to handle editorials. Looking at a few university websites, I see:
As you can see, the sources disagree with how to classify them, and the ones that agree with your view add some qualifications that suggest only some (most?) editorials qualify, and that others (e.g., "This paper endorses the Republocrat") might not. Given the diversity of views in academia, we're going to have to make up our own definition. It might be clearer to call it "wiki-primary" and "wiki-secondary", but we are going to have to adopt a reasonably uniform definition. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:39, 7 May 2021 (UTC)
Notability would need to be renamed “standalone article inclusion criteria”. WP:N does not limit content within articles. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:54, 7 May 2021 (UTC)
That's a good name. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:54, 7 May 2021 (UTC)
Quite right, and well covered at secondary source. This is where I decided on my part that journalism, science, and law, are not good frameworks for an encyclopedia, and that historiography is. I find the Wikipedia works very well viewed as a historigraphical document, and that in particular WP:NOR and WP:N flow very naturally. Historigraphical approaches to sources works perfectly with Wikipedia sourcing policy. Regrettably, WP:A which was even better, failed to implement as intended. I had the impression that you appreciated this historiographical approach to Wikipedia? In any case, I am finding with our current discussions that you are looking at things slightly differently, but I am not getting any hint that you would in the end !vote differently to me in the AfDs I have linked. Would you? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:50, 7 May 2021 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I would come to other conclusions. I have wondered about whether notability should consider the question of primary/secondary at all.
I'm not sure that the historiographical approach works as well for science. If we said that an editorial is secondary, then you could end up with a situation in which an unreviewed, commissioned editorial in an academic journal somehow "outranked" a peer-reviewed research paper (which is primary) and was equivalent to a review article (which is an obviously better source). And while I have occasionally advocated for using an editorial at least temporarily (specifically around COVID, where the literature is always behind, and the editorials have been used to provide a glimpse of what's happened in the last days before the issue was published), I've also seen instances in which this is un-DUE POV pushing.
Also, in this model, is a letter to the editor, commenting on a previous publication, considered similar enough to an editorial that it's also a secondary source? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:05, 7 May 2021 (UTC)
I became very strong in my opinion that WP:N has to distinguish secondary source material from primary source material, considering that WP:N is the extreme case of WP:PSTS. Have others ever written about the topic? “About” implies secondary source content.
Science? I have never fond myself trying to apply the historiographical approach to science at AfD. Genuine science doesn’t feature at AfD. Weak science articles get merged. Do you have some examples for me? WP:PROF is special/different, but WP:PROF is not simply science, even if the professor is a scientist.
Your letter to the editor commenting on anything, is a secondary source. However, it fails the GNG as it is not a reliable source. We cannot have an article built on content coming from letters to editors. -SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:12, 7 May 2021 (UTC)
I'm going to wander off on a tangent for a moment, because I think you're one of the most useful people to talk to about this. Let's start with my fundamental context: When the rules were written, all these many years ago, editors didn't know that Wikipedia:Secondary does not mean independent. Thus we get rules that say something slightly different from what people actually wanted. Now on to the problem:
IMO it is not actually possible to write a neutral article (of non-trivial length) if you write only what the subject wants you to write. But: when you look at a (new/experimental) drug in clinical trials, there is no source of information about that drug that doesn't, one way or the other, reach back to the manufacturer. That's because the only way to get your hands on the drug is to get it from the manufacturer, and they don't hand it out to just anyone who comes asking for it.
This is a case in which we usually have soem "arm's length" independent sources (e.g., the hospital got permission from the manufacturer to run a study), but no absolutely-no-connection-whatsoever independent sources (e.g., someone making a copy of the drug in their own facility and testing it without the manufacturer's cooperation or consent).
This is also (frequently) a case in which we have sources whose status as a secondary source is undisputed.
Should we have an article about this subject? WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:45, 8 May 2021 (UTC)

Secondary does not mean independent tangent[edit]

When the rules were written, all these many years ago, editors didn't know that Wikipedia:Secondary does not mean independent.

Yes. I discovered this at WT:NOR. It was a surprise to me, because secondary source as so easily and so frequently linked, and it does not really look like “second hand source” with which it was being confused, by some editors. It also partly explained some of the confusion at WT:N, that people were not familiar with secondary source, and policy wonk editors often weren’t reading articles on the terms being used. I think the source of the problem was journalism experience amongst early leading editors, but I also thing the problem was never severe. Journalist editors distinguishing between first-hand and second-hand sources lacked the nuance of language that comes better with primary source and secondary source, but they were writing very good content. The difficulty comes with trying to explain at AfD at the boundaries of inclusion why something falls on one side and not the other. Clarity of language is helpful.
I feel that I achieved more clarity, consistency, and persuasiveness by declaring, as have a few times even here, that an encyclopedia is a histiographical document, and that source typing as defined in the field of historiography is the source typing that should be used. It certainly helps that historiography, alone, defines source typing rules well (the rules are “well-defined”, a strong argument in science).
None of this directly engages with independence of sources. -SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:39, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
Do you think it would be better to scrap the requirement for independent sources, or to make it an either/or arrangement? (That is, if you had lots of non-independent secondary sources, or independent primary sources, then it wouldn't matter that there were no independent+secondary sources?) WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:07, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
No. I think, for the GNG test, the requirement for secondary sources to be independent is essential. Otherwise, "others" have not written about the topic. When push comes to shove, the GNG sources are required to be all of the things listed, each, separately and independently. Each, = both, minimally. I think that no number of primary sources attest notability. Machines write primary sources. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:09, 9 May 2021 (UTC)

a (new/experimental) drug in clinical trials, there is no source of information about that drug that doesn't, one way or the other, reach back to the manufacturer

New. Historiography is harder to apply to new topics with no or few secondary sources except for those from conflicted sources (owners investors employees promoters). Drugs in my book falls into WP:CORP, as they are a commercial product that is being promoted, now. This makes analysis of independence of the secondary source content important. I think a good solution is to limit these articles to WP:Stubs. Simple facts, no comment. Don’t reproduce PR content, and don’t let editors do WP:OR. Apart from the commercial promotion aspect, these new drugs are not terribly different from ancient biographies or scientific species variants, in that all have barely any information or comment. All I think as suitable to be stubs. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:49, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
Notability doesn't control article content. Either you get a standalone article, or you don't. Once you decide whether there can be a (non-redirect) page about this subject, notability doesn't get to limit it to a stub. (WP:DUE can limit it to simple facts without PR content, but no policy can permit the page to exist and limit its size to a maximum of 10 sentences/250 words/1500 characters/whatever your favorite metric is.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:13, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
If you want to take that line, if you won't allow a notability GNG-failing topic to be a stub, then it has to be merged or deleted or draftified. If you want to limit the content on a notability-weak page, the policy for this is WP:PSTS. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:12, 9 May 2021 (UTC)

This is also (frequently) a case in which we have sources whose status as a secondary source is undisputed.

Secondary sources are cheap. All they demonstrate is that somebody cares enough to be bothered to publish comment. Independence matters. Do we care for a topic where the *only* person who cared to comment was a connected and conflicted source? Connected conflicted sources are mostly associated with commercial products. Sometime advocacy, however non-commercial advocacy tend to not be sophisticated in faking independent comment in (ostensibly) reliable sources. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:46, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
I don't know whether to laugh or cry. MEDRS is predicated on the belief that secondary sources are 'expensive'.
Apologies for being clumsy. Not that I mean "secondary source" in an unrestricted sense, no requirement to be independent. MEDRES have a high standard for acceptable sources. MEDRES has Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources (medicine), and MEDRES does not accept any random but independent reliably published secondary source as does the GNG. It think the MEDRES standard is admirable, given the potential misuse of Wikipedia for medical purposes.
In the case of a source about a future drug (which is, after all, a regulated industry, and most of the work is undertaken by publicly traded companies, which have another set of regulations about what they can/can't say), the question isn't whether connected/conflicted sources are the only ones who care. Lots of people care, which is why there is so much published about them. The relevant point is that they're the only ones who know anything about the subject. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:13, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
I think I understand well enough. I think that Wikipedia needn't try to be quick to include coverage of new drugs. I suspect I would frequently want to merge new drugs back to the manufacturer's article, but I have never found myself engaging on such questions. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:21, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
I don't think we can stop editors from writing those articles. The demand (from readers and editors) is strong. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:58, 10 May 2021 (UTC)
Agree. For current affairs, I don’t think WP:N is very useful. For new drugs, I trust the MEDRES community of editors to have formulated good rules. The risks of poor sources being unreliable or vested is high. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:58, 11 May 2021 (UTC)
Having different rules for different subjects, or layering my biases on top of the usual rules, is not a satisfying approach to policy work. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:44, 11 May 2021 (UTC)
It is, however, a reality. Natural science, and distant history, get an easier run through Wikipedia-notability, than do topics that are associated with promotion. A stub on an extinct frog variant, the fossil and DNA sampled, from ancient Egypt will be left alone. A stub on a gas station featuring news that it now sells pizzas, will not. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:33, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
Maybe we should have that be an actual, written rule instead of an undisclosed reality. I wouldn't necessarily object to a rule that says BLPs below the level of, say, heads of state shouldn't get (separate) articles unless a very large number of very long sources could be provided. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:32, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
no absolutely-no-connection-whatsoever independent sources.
We sort of do, but maybe it should be written clearly. WP:CORP interprets the GNG hard. The GNG is relatively softly written. WP:PROF, which supports articles on a research professor’s career, not so much a normal biography, provides a route bypassing the GNG, bypassing the hard independence requirements emphasised in WP:CORP. PROF and CORP clash when a research professor turns to commercialisation of their work, but I haven’t seen much controversy there. WP:NSPORTS remains trouble, and I don’t have a good answer to permastubs of young athletes covered briefly in sports coverage. WP:BLP most certainly raises the sourcing requirements above WP:BIO. I tend to agree that a line in WP:N explaining the reality of different thresholds by subject area would be good for new editors. It’s hard work to improve WP:N, because of multiple different committed readings, the trouble here will be defining different relationships between WP:N and different SNGs. Doable, though, I think. You? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:03, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
I don't think that we can fix the GNG-vs-SNG problem, because too many oxen will be gored.
We could say that different subject areas are held to higher or lower standards, but then we'd have to explain (over and over and over again) that these standards are based on the biases of our editors, and people won't like admitting that. We want to believe that there is a Very Rational Reason why a 19th-century athlete about whom nothing is known gets a separate article while a 19th-century mayor about whom a moderate amount is known does not. Worse, eventually we'd have to explain why a school would get an article if we could prove that it ever issued a single high school diploma even if we know almost nothing else about it, including the school's name.
I don't think that's the essence of our problems with independent sources, though. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:48, 12 May 2021 (UTC)

Should we have an article about this subject?

It looks like an important new topic? It is in the news (news repeating PR). Might it cure cancer and war?
Failing notability does not mean deletion. Can it be merged? New drugs fit well as a line on the manufacturers article. If not, I think we should allow WP:STUBs for new topics. Current practice is to send such things to DraftSpace. WP:NFF is an excellent guideline here, for movies in production. It is going slightly weak on notability, but notability is just a guideline, and movies that are reported to have begun principle photography always end up as accepted articles. Commercial entertainment gets an easier ride than commercial products or services. My rationalisation of this is that movies are primarily art. The encyclopedia open welcomes science, history, and the arts, and has a complicated unfriendly relationship with commercial products and services. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:57, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
ITSIMPORTANT is not a sign of notability.
I think we should consider another approach: Maybe "news repeating PR" should not be treated like it's PR. Maybe it should be treated like "news". That would mean trusting (reputable) news sources to do their job, and not having editors guessing which unattributed statements of fact originated from the most knowledgeable source (i.e., the company) and which originated from less knowledgeable (but still potentially valuable) sources. Maybe when we decide whether a source is independent, we should be looking at what WP:SOURCE thinks the source is (i.e., the work, the creator, and the publisher) and not at individual sentences. Thus editors' jobs would be to decide whether "this whole article" is independent, rather than "this half-sentence" or "this paragraph", and they would base their decisions on the work (i.e., is it provably a copy of a press release?), the creator (i.e., is the creator independent of the subject), and the publisher (i.e., is the publisher independent of the subject?). WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:24, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
Maybe "news repeating PR" should not be treated like it's PR. It should. The critical word is "repeating". Repeating means no transformation of the information. My approach would be to cut out the repetition, and then look at what's left. If nothing is left, then it is just repetition, and it is worthless.
That would mean trusting (reputable) news sources. I dispute that news sources are generally reputable, especially when reporting on things like new drugs.
editors guessing which unattributed statements of fact originated from the most knowledgeable source. "Guessing" is harsh and I object. Language analysis is not that difficult. In writing of any quality, it is straightforward to tell what are the facts and quotes and comments received and repeated by the writer, and what comments or analysis were created by the author. In a good, reputable secondary source story about anything, writers like to reveal themselves. In native advertising, where the paid author does not really believe a thing they are writing for themselves, they maintain the distant perspective for both the facts and the comment. I am thinking of Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Tommy John (apparel company). Putative reputable sources for secondary source content were provided. Go to these sources and read them for yourself and tell me they read as independent reviews. To be clear, I do not trust any news source to never fail to disclose a connection to a commercial product that they are reviewing, news organisation codes of conduct or not. The news media is a dying industry, journalists have and continue to lose jobs due to lack of revenue, it is very tough for them.
Maybe when we decide whether a source is independent This would be contracting out our decision making process. Analysing the information for source and reliability is something that Wikipedia does well, and should continue to do.
not at individual sentences Note that this is not a routine action. This is for analysis of a dubious sources put forward at AfD (or after) as the WP:THREE best sources for demonstrating notability. Analysing sentence by sentence for author-generated creative content is solely for the purpose of testing right at the edge of "delete" or "keep". While a single sentence is not considered enough, I might accept two flowing sentences, but prefer a whole paragraph. Others have argued Wikipedia:One hundred words of author written creative content. These are pretty low standards of "significant coverage". If I analyse the proffered WP:THREE best sources, and find zero sentences of author-generated creative content, meaning no author-generated secondary source content, having disregarded quotes and comments also found on the company website, then I am pretty strong in !voting "delete". I don't always carry the discussion, as I didn't at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Tommy John (apparel company), but I would like to to comment on my source analysis there. For balance, look at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Munaf Kapadia, also closed as "no consensus", where this same analysis pushed my to a "keep" !vote.
Thus editors' jobs would be to decide whether "this whole article" is independent. I don't disagree, really, except that I am determining whether the entirety of the article is non-independent. An article can contain interview questions and answers (obviously non-independent) followed by the journalists post-analysis (likely independent). If the creative content addition is independent, that's good enough. Three things have to be independent: (1) the publisher; (2) the author; (3) the author of some of the secondary source content. You are pointing to (1) and (2) as sufficient. I see that often (1) and (2) are unclear, but (3) can be deduced, and if (3) is "no", then it is not independent. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:00, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
I'm still thinking about this. While I'm thinking, here's a wild question: If the (true) goal is to determine whether the subject has received attention from the world at large, then does it even matter if the content is intellectually independent? If several very large newspapers (for their own reasons/not for compensation) decide to run 300 words on WhatamIdoing's Gas Station, then does it even matter where the facts came from? It's still "attention". WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:57, 10 May 2021 (UTC)
You’ve asked this question a few times. Does a reliable and reputable editor or publisher choosing to reprint excepts from your autobiography justify using the autobiography excerpts to justify and write your Wikipedia biography? Assume the article is machine written, no hint why some excerpts and not others were chosen, assume they were simply copied from the dust cover. I think a large minority of Wikipedian will say “yes”, depending on some associated subjective criteria such as “is it interesting”. I don’t object to this, if this happens at AfD and those who turned up agree. I choose to not argue hardline GNG on non-WP:CORP topics. However, I maintain that it is not compatible with the GNG, or WP:PSTS.
I think Wikipedia, the community, exercises discretion, and the discretion depends on whether the content is promotional. If your biography amounts to promotion of a product or service or fringe science or medicine, then I think we give no discretion and demand hardline GNG adherence or it goes. Otherwise, and if you are interesting, meaning you did something altruistic, or heroic, or unusual, then discretion is more likely. If you died over 100 years ago, I would !vote “keep”. If you are founder and CEO and sole staff member of a startup company, then no.
If the topic is your gas station, then very likely “no”. Maybe “yes” if your gas station is the only gas station located on a remote tributary of the Amazon River. However, a gas station is almost certainly a WP:CORP topic, and WP:CORP calls for a hard interpretation of the GNG. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:21, 11 May 2021 (UTC)
How about we don't assume that it's purely mechanical. Let's assume instead that an actual human, with experience in the field of journalism, read what you wrote and then decided that this information was something he wanted to run in his newspaper. You've already given him the facts that he wanted ("WhatamIdoing's Gas Station now sells pizza"). Doesn't this newspaper's decision to publish this information indicate some "attention from the world at large"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:42, 11 May 2021 (UTC)
So you agree, mechanical means no. Like how photocopying doesn’t change a primary source into a secondary source. Neither does an hand written copy. Neither does a handwritten copy with spelling mistakes corrected.
Does the decision to do the copying amount to evidence of attention? Yes, it does, but it is not sufficient. The historiological approach is to look for the information added by the decision to copy. What is that information? How do you write a stub about it?
In ancient Egypt, the Library of Alexandria, it is said that they copied every document that passed through the city ports. Does that make every document notable? No.
Your newspaper is reproducing commercially interesting information, because the editor thinks the newspaper customers will be encouraged to buy the newspaper if it contains useful information like this. One of the gas stations now sells pizza. Customers likely will be interested in trying out this new service. This is commercial promotion. It is not encyclopaedic. How can we explain the rule without resorting to the meaning circular “encyclopaedic”? My answer it to declare that this is a historical document, and that the criteria for inclusion is that a secondary source (as defined in historiology) has creatively transformed primary source information. Also, we add, both the primary and secondary source must be published in a reliable source. Also we add, the secondary source must be independent of the subject, especially where one might suspect that the owner of the subject might be secretly paying the secondary source author.
I think you fully agree that the gas station is not worthy for inclusion. I think you are looking for a satisfying rule to cover this decision, and a nice way to explain this rule. Does the historiological approach, as written into WP:PSTS, not offer these things? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:56, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
> This is commercial promotion.
Who is doing the commercial promotion, and who is being promoted? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:36, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
The suspicion is that the gas station owners and newspaper owners are colluding to their mutual commercial benefit. The problem is not collusion, but the complete lack of independent secondary source content. Commercial collusion doesn’t mean that there can’t be an article. A complete lack of independent secondary source content means that WP:PSTS can’t be complied with. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:08, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
I don't want to deal with primary/secondary here, because processing a matrix muddles the question of independence.
Is it, in your opinion, possible for a normal daily newspaper to publish the (undisputed) fact that the gas station is now selling pizza, and have that be an independent source? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:55, 12 May 2021 (UTC)
It could be an independent source, but that is an irrelevant point because it is not a secondary source, and does not have significant depth of coverage, and it is only one. It does not count as one of the two required GNG sources. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:13, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
You don't know whether it's a secondary source; perhaps the newspaper has decided to print hundreds of words comparing this gas station's pizza to the platonic ideal of gas station pizza (which is a thing[1][2]).
So: What does it take for the newspaper to be an independent source for this gas station's pizza? WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:28, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
Show me the secondary source content of the source. It is very hard to hide your conflict when writing your own comment. If the secondary source contents reads as distant perspective honest comment, in the absence of evidence of non-independence, I would accept it. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:44, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
A historiographical analysis can’t be done without reading the document. Step 1 is to identify the secondary source content. Step 2, for GNG purposes, is to judge that secondary source content for independence. It usually is not hard, just tedious. If the secondary source content is non independent reproduced PR material, that PR material will be found elsewhere as PR material. Very clever native advertising may slip through. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:11, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
Is it possible to have an independent primary source? Like, even theoretically possible? Because when I say that I want to know how to identify Wikipedia:Independent sources in a newspaper, you seem to keep going back to "Step 1 is to identify the secondary source content". WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:35, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
Yes, Primary sources can be independent. Easily. Endless examples. But primary sources never demonstrate notability. GNG sources must be reliable AND secondary AND in depth. Satellite images provide independent primary source information on locations, but they do not attest to notability. CCTV record primary source material for every event insight, but CCTV footage does not make an event notable. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:05, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
Is it possible for a short article in a daily newspaper to be an independent source? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:49, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
Yes. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:06, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe, how would I figure out whether a short article in a daily newspaper was an independent (primary) source? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:35, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
How would I figure out whether a short article in a daily newspaper was an independent (primary)? The shorter the article, the harder it is to find signed of independence / non-independence. If the content is primary source material, it is not susceptible to the secondary source writing style and information analysis that I have been talking about. For a short primary source information piece in a newspaper, I would go to straight journalistic methods. Can it be corroborated? It is surprising? Standard WP:V approaches apply. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:21, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
I don't think I'd recommend that approach. Corroboration is irrelevant: if you're starting from the position that I'm secretly paying one publisher to promote my new pizza business, then why wouldn't I pay two? There's nothing surprising about a gas station selling pizza (in the Midwest).
I think that I'd approach the problem simply: Bona fide newspapers are independent of any gas station–pizza businesses they happen to write about unless and until proven otherwise. "Proven otherwise" needs to sound something like "the same person owns the newspaper and the gas station" and not at all like "well, I can imagine a hypothetical scenario". WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:32, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
I think we have no disagreement here. Multiple independent sources are desired for information that is astonishing or likely to be challenged, and this is not really a notability issue. Newspapers are very likely to be independent of a gas station, as it the journalist, unless we are talking a very small town newspaper, the sort that doesn't exist anymore. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:49, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
On 12 May, you were saying that newspapers couldn't be trusted to be independent, e.g., "The suspicion is that the gas station owners and newspaper owners are colluding to their mutual commercial benefit." I can't tell if you've changed your mind, or if you're just telling me what you think I want to hear.
(Small town newspapers do still exist, but they're weeklies or even monthlies now.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:03, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
I was "saying that newspapers couldn't be trusted to be independent"? Given that the newspaper is publishing commercial advertising as news, I suspect non-independence. Maybe the newspaper is doing the gas station owner a favour. This doesn't mean that they are non-independent, it means that I don't trust them to be non-independent. A decent sized newspaper, with an editor in a different office to the journalist, probably is independent from the small gas station businesses, but product advertising in the news section makes me suspicious. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:23, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
Is a bare statement that a previously unavailable product is now available for sale "product advertising in the news section"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:28, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
Also, when you say "an editor in a different office to the journalist", do you mean a different job/position, or do you mean that you only trust publications that have multiple office buildings? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:30, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
I think I meant that a newspaper with only one employee is too small. SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:21, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
I think any statement about a specific product availability for sale raises the question that this is advertising. SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:22, 7 June 2021 (UTC)

independence of a short newspaper article[edit]

SmokeyJoe, how would I figure out whether a short article in a daily newspaper was an independent (primary) source? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:35, 13 May 2021 (UTC)

Short? Short means not much information. The less information you have, the less confidence you can get from analysis of the information.
Look at perspective of the writer. Are they looking from a distant hill? Independent. Are they talking as if from inside the subject’s head? Non-independent. (Surely, but not certainly, these are clues).
Are they reporting on something of apparent broad long-term interest? Probably independent.
Are they reporting on a new product or service? Almost certainly not independent.
Do they report prices, opening hours, or link to a website from which you can buy the product or service? Not independent.
For primary sources, independence is not important, what is important is reliability.
For notability decisions, for the GNG test, primary sources are irrelevant. For some SNGs, certain facts are written as indicators, and these indicative facts can come from a primary source, and it doesn’t matter whether the source is independent if it is a fact, only whether it is reliable. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:18, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
This sounds like an analysis for primary sourcing. Let's try a smaller example. You say that you went to the store, and they had toilet paper in stock. Are you an independent source, or are you affiliated with the grocery store and/or toilet paper manufacturer? WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:14, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
If I am not an employee or other affiliate, I am an independent source of testimony that the store had toilet paper in stock. However, I don’t get the point of your questions. They feel like journalism source analysis, where they want multiple independent sources for reliability. The information, primary source information is factual. It is not worthy of historiography. Who cares? Not Wikipedia. Worthier information might be:
* The store always has toilet paper in stock. Or
* The store has a nice variety of toilet paper in stock. Or
* The store toilet paper is of acceptable quality.
SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:06, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
The point of my questions is to see whether we can separate independence from historiography. I don't even think we care about journalism source analysis. If the journalist goes into a store, personally observes that the product is in stock, and the newspaper decides to run a blurb saying "Toilet paper is in stock at Store", is that still independent? Or are we going to worry that the store and the newspaper are colluding to their mutual commercial benefit, so nothing can ever be independent?
(If you think back to this time last year, merely "in stock" was worthy information indeed.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:09, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
My point is that one can use the historiological approach (where did that information come from) to get clues, sometimes very strong and clear clues, about independence. About the only reason to do this is source analysis for GNG testing. Otherwise, for simple information, why worry about independence if not for the question of reliability? I would expect a journalist’s first-hand observations to be considered independent, and reliable. Why would he lie? Is it puff? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 21:19, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
Do you think that a source that has the quality, "independence", has that quality for both notability and non-notability purposes equally? Or could we encounter a situation in which something is independent for the purposes of, say, determining whether the article has a neutral balance, but not independent for the purpose of determining notability?
Source typing depends on how the source is being used. Sources can contain a mix of primary and secondary source information, and a mix of independent and non-independent information. Eg an article may report on a car accident when where what happened, and then go on to describe the terrible impact on the future of the families involved. The article may copy the car manufacturer website for primary source information on brakes, and then interview the manufacturer spokesperson for secondary-source non-independent comment on the history of reliability of the braking system, and then interview an independent car mechanic for independent comment on the braking system. Let’s assume we can and have broken the source apart to elements of distinct shoulder typing.
The journalist’s interview of an eyewitness for when where what happened is primary and independent. It has no relevance to the question of threshold of notability because it is primary source information.
The journalist’s interview of a crash survivor on the anticipated impact of the crash to their family, this is secondary source non-independent information. If then published, this information is good to include in an article, but it does not attest notability because it is not independent.
The journalist’s interview of the neighbours of the family on the anticipated impact to the family is secondary source and arguably good-enough independent. If published, this attests to notability of the crash.
“Neutral balance” you mention. That is yet another question, another angle under a different policy, WP:NPOV. Independent sources would tend to better for neutral POV, but not necessarily. Neutrality is generally achieved by including diverse POVs.
A broken down element of an article that is independent is probably independent for all purposes, but I’d prefer to have examples. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:16, 15 May 2021 (UTC)
(I feel like this is one of those chess-by-mail things. We'd have been done days ago if you weren't always waiting for me to reply.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:39, 14 May 2021 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe, I don't think that this "mix of independent and non-independent information" is how our policies and guidelines conceptualize sources. I think that the policies and guidelines interact with them more like a statutory conflict of interest. If you're deciding what the source says about the subject, and you personally/professionally have no conflict of interest, then you and the source you produced are independent, full stop. There's no "the newspaper is independent of the politician except for the parts where he quotes the politician"; the newspaper is independent of the politician even when quoting the politician. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:02, 15 May 2021 (UTC)
This is a specialised approach, not a general concept. The starting assumption is that we have a challenged borderline-notable topic, and WP:THREE sources have been proffered. How to explain why they pass or fail? Borderline CORP articles are generally seeking to rely on poor sources, borderline. I set my threshold low, but hard. Is any part of that source independent secondary source information that covers the topic? Much of the article may be non-independent, but I set those parts aside rather than dismiss the whole source as non independent. See User talk:Trackinfo/Kyle Kulinski#Evaluating notability for a thoroughly debated example. If we are not on the same page, you and I, please detail the difference, and preferably point to a real example. Surely there are debatable examples in the Kyle Kulinski table? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:29, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
Oh, here is where I think we start converging again. The publication itself is fully independent of the subject, but the quoted material isn't independent of its original speaker. We might count the publication as a whole as being purely independent, but for the nitty-gritty of how to present the information, we might (e.g.,) require in-text attribution: "Paul Politician said that his plan would solve all the world's problems".
I don't think, though, that this is meant to render that part of the source non-independent for the purposes of notability (it's still evidence that the sources thought Paul P's POV worth mentioning, it's still attention from the world at large to Paul P, etc.) or neutrality (if the sources thought his view worth quoting, then we shouldn't omit his view from our articles entirely, whereas we might feel free to ignore him if no independent source actually cared enough to repeat it). WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:25, 15 May 2021 (UTC)
sources thought Paul P's POV worth mentioning. I do not support this as a good argument for notability. I do not support outsourcing notability decisions to what a source/editor/publisher thought, in the absence of content detailing what they actually thought. It may have been a slow news day, and a cancelled column needed filling. I think Wikipedia must look for source content that demonstrates that someone independent thought it worthwhile for them to creative some new information. This applies broadly, but is important for WP:CORP topics where publicity is always a motivation, and loosely connected people like to do favours for each other. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:36, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
Isn't "outsourcing notability decisions to what a source/editor/publisher thought" the primary point of the GNG? We can write articles if there has been "attention from the world at large", and not otherwise.
No, the GNG asks to see the in depth independent secondary source content. If it exists, more than once, then an article can be written, because here is PSTS-compliant content to start from. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:14, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
How is that different from outsourcing notability decisions to the people who are publishing that in-depth independent secondary source content? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:06, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
How is that different? In one case, someone has made a decision, and you are guessing the rationale of the decision to be aligned to notability, while I suggest possible collusion of self serving interests. In the other case, the article author has generated creative content that can be actually used in the Wikipedia article for content. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:26, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
In my scenario, the newspaper thought the subject worth mentioning. In your scenario, the newspaper thought the subject worth mentioning.
In my scenario, the newspaper article can actually be used in the Wikipedia article for content. In your scenario, ditto.
In my scenario, the subject gets attention from the world at large. In you scenario, ditto.
Where's the difference, other than you want to say, without any evidence, that there's a chance that a reputable daily newspaper might somehow collude with all of the article subjects to promote both of their financial interests? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:03, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
One article could be explained away by a slow news day, but surely multiple long ones can't. (Also, in practice, that's not really how it works for a newspaper. If you have a lot less news, you just run fewer pages. If you have a little bit less, you fill the space with a Public service announcement ad. A PSA is free. Writing articles costs money.)
The rest of your reply sounds like an argument for secondary sources ("content detailing what they actually thought"). It doesn't help me figure out whether the newspaper has a conflict of interest. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:22, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
How newspapers work? Newspapers are starving. They accept payment for publishing native advertising. Out-of-the-blue freelance “gosh” type reviews of companies, their CEOs or founders, or their products are not to be trusted. I have thoroughly reviewed a number of them, and found the most telling sign to be that the author reveals absolutely no thoughts of the author, it’s all reshuffled PR. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:20, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
I have looked at the article Native advertising, and I do not find the word news, as in bona fide daily newspaper, in the Wikipedia article. Did I miss it? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:09, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
The concept of native advertising. I link the article to check that you are familiar with the concept. Native advertising is disguised advertising, trying to look like and pass for being content link what it is hiding amongst. In a newspaper, it means advertisement that is trying to be passed off as news. It is like an advertorial, except an advertorial does not pretend to be unsponsored editor/journalist written news. If there is a payment, it is undisclosed. The payment may not be cash, but an in kind return, or a favour. It is dishonest. It is done by newspapers and journalists struggling for survival. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:33, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
Here is a quotation from one of the sources in that article (for an apparently now-discontinued program, but one that did involve a reputable daily newspaper):
“For the six-figure price tag, Dell gets a distinctly blue box on the right side of the Times’ homepage that links to its native ad units, or “paid posts,” as they’re called on the site. Clicking the box opens a new browser window — the URL is, not — where the posts reside on a page that is also clearly labeled, “Paid For and Posted by Dell.” At the bottom of the page is another disclaimer: “This page was produced by the Advertising Department of The New York Times in collaboration with Dell. The news and editorial staffs of The New York Times had no role in its preparation.”
Do you think that this description from a reliable source aligns with your description of native advertising as something that "pretends to be unsponsored editor/journalist written news" or that is "undisclosed"?
Can you give any examples of any bona fide daily newspaper actually being paid to run undisclosed/unlabeled advertisements as if they were normal articles? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:08, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
the URL is, not
... Clearly labeled, “Paid For and Posted by Dell.”
...At the bottom of the page is another disclaimer.
This is three separate and good declarations of sponsored content. This is not "native advertising", which is taken to mean "deceptive". It does not "pretend", but it declares, in three different ways. This is exemplary practice for advertising. Any examples of any bona fide daily newspaper actually being paid to run undisclosed/unlabeled advertisements as if they were normal articles? Not at hand, but I have seen cases. I think I have seen dubious practice in a local newspaper about a local business. I think I have debated User:Cunard about articles in publications of good standing of where I deduced they were publishing undisclosed non-independently, and he argued back that they were reputable and reliable, which I think is a case of argument at cross points. I think I am remembering from DRV discussions. I don't think they were bona fide regional newspapers, but getting into trade magazines. Men's Health is definitely an example, but not a newspaper. I have been on the other side, arguing inclusion of a topic based on what I thought was a good source, before someone pointed out a small pale "sponsored content" tag at the far bottom of the article. No, I cannot give any examples right now. I don't think the problem is common with bona fide newspapers. I think it is a magazine problem. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:17, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
You say " I think I have seen dubious practice" and "I deduced they were publishing undisclosed non-independently". Our suspicions aren't really substitutes for facts. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:41, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
I agree. If I am suspicious about independence, I may fall back on an analysis of the information in the article, and will try to not be prejudiced based on my opinion of the publisher. I can then assert my analysis, eg "no secondary source content came from the author", or "the perspective of the writer is too close", points that I can defend, and which I am sure some will reject as irrelevant, but whatever, it would be my !vote. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:53, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
Why does your analysis involve a lot of attention to the content of the source, and (apparently?) none to the identity of the author? WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:05, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
To figure out whether the newspaper has a conflict of interest, ask yourself: (1) what is the newspaper saying, look for subjective adjectives; (2) ask, why would they say that? The newspaper generated secondary source content reveals the mind of the writer, and with any depth, reveals independence or non-independence. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:25, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
I don't think that's right. That's how to figure out whether a source is biased. To figure out whether a newspaper has a conflict of interest, you need to say "Is the newspaper writing about itself, its owners, a person who is suing the newspaper, etc.?" COI isn't affected by what you say; it is a situation that either exists in your life or doesn't. A source is independent if that source has no COI. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:26, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
I don’t think it is logical to say that is right or wrong. It is a couple of prompts, written as questions, to help critically evaluate the underlying motivation. Under “etc” is the big one. Is an external commercially-motivated source of the content encouraging publication of non-independent content by payment of cash or favour? Look at the feature news article on the Johnny Apparel high end underwear, an otherwise reputable source is clearly compromising themselves to publish an advertisement as news. “Fake news”, some might say. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:51, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
I have looked at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Tommy John (apparel company), and I'm not impressed with or convinced by editors' arguments there. Yes, some of the sources were unreliable, but the main argument from editors, including you, was that the reliable sources said something positive about the product, so they must be getting paid somehow, or at least have put their brains and morals in a blind trust long enough to publish an overly glowing report on the latest trendy thing. I think you were wrong. To give two examples:
  • [3] is a review of multiple products. Compare-and-contrast content is always secondary. Your grounds for declaring it non-independent is – um, that after comparing a few shirts, it liked one of them better than the others? That an experienced, professional journalist who writes anything positive has obviously been paid? Sounds unlikely to me.
  • [4] is a review of this product. It's written by another experienced, professional fashion editor who specifically has a history of writing about high-end men's fashion. You reject this because you just magically know that this fashion magazine was paid to write about it. Your evidence is – that they mentioned it at all? (Because a fashion magazine wouldn't run something about whatever's trending these days?) Or that they mentioned it positively?
You are making really serious, even potentially libelous, accusations against these journalists. Do you have any evidence at all that they got paid to run those articles? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:27, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
Awesome. This is the meaty comment I have been hoping to get from you. It is very serious. Evidence? Subjective assessment. Let me review and reanalyse. Certainly, my assessments like these impress some, upset others, and intimidate many. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:26, 20 May 2021 (UTC)
Note that I'm hoping for a reply that begins a lot like "I am certain that money or its equivalent changed hands here because the following words are present in the article:" and not at all like "I can't believe the American people are stupid enough to pay actual money for a fashion magazine, so the publisher must be getting paid under the table somehow, even though there's no visible evidence of it". WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:33, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
I’m still getting back to this serious issue, but can we start with a simple question back at you? Do you consider this to be evidence in support of Wikipedia-notability of the company? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:41, 21 May 2021 (UTC)

@SmokeyJoe, in answering this, I'm going to use the model in which notability is something that requires a certain number of "points". For example, the subject is notable if we can accumulate ≥100 "points". Maybe a 100-page book entirely about [subject] would normally be 90 points, and a 250-word traditional news article in a daily newspaper that's entirely about [subject] would normally be 20 points. In this model, if you had one book and one article, or five articles, you'd have at least 100 "points" and the subject is notable.

On that sort of scale, I think that source might contribute a very small number of points towards the notability goal for the product (probably one point, maybe two), and zero if the goal is to write an article about the company exclusively, rather than the broader and more usual article subject (for a fashion company), which is to write about the company plus their products.

What I'd like you to focus on is your rejection of them on the grounds that you believe they are blatant sponsored informercials. Where is your evidence that the magazine got paid to run that content? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:41, 21 May 2021 (UTC)

I don’t like your 100 points model. I like the WP:GNG two points model. You get one point for every source that is all of: independent; reliably published; contains secondary source creative content about the topic, at least 2 sentences or 100 words. This rule derives necessarily from core policy WP:PSTS, with “independence” added. If the article has been deleted before, you get only WP:THREE chances before I give up on the case. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:50, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe the problem with the "two points model" is that when I've tried to enshrine it in the guideline in the past (more than once), the proposal has been shot down because editors don't have consensus around it.
Also, "at least 2 sentences or 100 words" is maybe a tenth (or less) of what some editors think "significant coverage" means. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:04, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
Where did you try? I’d like to read it. At WT:N there is grudging lack of denial that “multiple” means 2, when push comes to shove, and this is backed up by my experience at AfD and DRV.
"at least 2 sentences or 100 words" is maybe a tenth (or less) of what some editors think "significant coverage" means. I don’t disagree with them. 2 sentences or 100 words is the lowest plausible limit, below which i summarily reject the source as plausibly satisfying the GNG, regardless of other considerations, such as quality of content, or how famous the speaker was (thinking trump tweets). —SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:21, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
Here are a handful of previous discussions that might interest you:
WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:50, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
I skimmed these before, and skimmed them again now. At WT:N, you and I have a long history of writing things, consistently, and in agreement with each other. There are many regulars at WT:N, and many write very sensible things. Sometimes, even the good regulars reveal source typing misconceptions, but these misconceptions are rarely worth the trouble, time and space, to comment on. I highly appreciate your essays on source typing.
On how much is SIGCOV, eg WT:Notability/Archive_69#SIGCOV is badly explained, you write very sensibly. I think you are inching to an objective measure of a threshold for SIGCOVerage. I am afraid that I am one who doesn't want it pinned down. It depends on too many other things. It depends, as you note, highly on verbosity. I prefer to look to information content, and specifically to secondary source content. How many separable pieces of information are in that passage. In terms of a lower threshold, I accept 100 words or two running sentences as the minimum for being worth even reading. Sometimes, like with the Tommy John Apparel sources, I found passages far exceeding 100 words, but when filtered for secondary source content, opinion or comment by the author, I eliminated everything, there was no author-generated comment, opinion, or analysis. However, in terms of primary source content, and non-original secondary source content also found on the company website and other advertisements, there was easily a lot of "SIGCOV". So, I think that in difficult cases, when push comes to shove, "SIGCOV" is not a deciding factor. Independence of the secondary source content is the factor. And I believe that I have noticed, if an independent author generates a little bit of secondary source content about the topic, then they generate a fair bit of content. I think this is a matter of any subjective comment requires a moderate amount of work, and having done a moderate of work, a moderate amount of comments comes out easily. I believe that this is true for WP:CORP cases. NSPORTS cases are more trouble, as so often, a sports writer will make a brief comment about a briefly observed performance of the athlete. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:13, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
I don't think that your approach is the most common one.
SIGCOV, as measured in "words wasted on this subject in a single publication", seems to be very impressive to many editors. For many of these editors, a hundred words (which is maybe six sentences?) is unimpressive, no matter how dense the actual information is.
You seem to think that subjective content is the Holy Grail, but many editors reject subjective content entirely. According to some editors, if you write a long source, and you end it with a single paragraph of "biased" content, then the whole thing is garbage. Search for the word 'opinion' or 'opinionated' in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Godi media. That newbie's comments represent a fairly typical understanding. There are many examples at AFD of editors rejecting opinion-based content for notability purposes (e.g., HiMama, Frances Street Squats, SNP Trade Union Group, Sonita Lontoh, Silver Mine Bay Beach, Roko's basilisk, Ambergris (band), etc.).
Do you regularly notice a disconnect between your evaluation and others'? WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:16, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
I think my approach is common enough, but not the most common one. I think it is tending academic, which I think is OK, and I do not reject other approaches out of hand.
"words wasted on this subject in a single publication" does impress, I agree. I consider the wordcount to be worth looking at. AS I have said a few time, 100 word is the lower limit to be worth analysing. This does not mean that 200 or 500 words is good enough.
"subjective content is the Holy Grail". No. *Independent" subjective content is the Holy Grail for meeting the GNG in borderline cases. Have others written about the topic? "Others" means "independent". "About" aligns with secondary source content which kind of aligns with "subjective". You have brought focus in this conversation to "subjective", and I think I like this notion, but it is for me new and unpractised in my borderline notability analyses. "many editors reject subjective content entirely"? Really? They don't sound like my friends. I'd have to see context to comment. Sources can be a conglomeration of different source types, and a paragraph of bias is something to consider, but bias does not make content garbage. I may read these linked AfDs later.
Do you regularly notice a disconnect between your evaluation and others'? Not with all others, no. I rarely find myself arguing in isolation, I regularly find others with similar thinking agreeing with me. The long term regulars at WT:N tend to agree with me. The deletionists tend to agree with me, even when I conclude "keep". I do regularly note a division of schools of thought on whether this hardline GNG style of analysis is the right thing to do, but I find I am usually on the "winning" side. I have worried that I win because this style of analysis is based on self-consistent theory and I can argue it endlessly until the other side gives up, and this is why I think this conversation with you is very valuable. Already on some points I will take more care in future. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:10, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
Blatant infomercials. All positive puff pieces on a commercially available product. A very close writers perspective, as if should to should with the company agent. Disclosing information that only the company would know, and which has not been elsewhere published. These are all things that I can tell, subjectively, from the style of writing. Maybe some parts are objective, like every descriptor being classifiable as strong positive. I feel criticised that these subjective analyses are emotionally based, i.e that I resent being tricked by an infomercial, and on behalf of Wikipedia, seeing Wikipedia being tricked into carrying infomercial content. Emotion is not a good rationale method for decision making. Perhaps I can say that these emotional subjective gut feel writing analysis intuitions are a rationalisation for why a seemingly respectable publication is publishing undisclosed commercial content?
Perhaps I can focus on the objective analysis techniques, and downplay the inferred explanation? All positive, close perspective, I can detail these elements objectively.
There is a legal movement worldwide for making publishers declare sponsored content. It is slow to be taken up. I think it is entirely reasonable to challenge any article that does not assert independence from commercial sponsorship, and which promotes a product, with comment on prices, and links to the sales site, and makes no genuine comparison (eg not “both are good” like to two brands of underwear). —SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:50, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
So, in your opinion, Wikipedia should consider all positive reviews to be unreliable and non-independent? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:05, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
Yes. Can I slot “all positive reviews” into “extreme unbalanced POV”. NPOV is a big thing. The best sources are NPOV sources. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:31, 22 May 2021 (UTC) An all-positive review should be treated with as much suspicion as an all-negative review. I am reminded of an old Wikipedian opinion, that if you stick hard to NPOV, that’s all that matters. Can I say that I am riling against highly POV sources? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:41, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
Here you agree that all positive reviews are unreliable and non-independent, but when I give you a review that is 100% positive, and even explicitly says there are no discernable flaws in the product, you say that you're impressed by the source's objectivity. Objectivity is not independence; subjectivity is not affiliation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:10, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
I'm not exactly sure how we got here, but objectivity is not relevant to deciding whether a source meets the GNG. I may be impressed with the objectivity, but I don't necessarily value objectivity. I don't value objectivity in deciding whether a source meets the GNG, instead, I value the subjectivity of the content, as the writing style of the subjective content reveals the motivation of the writer. What does the writer care about? Why does the writer care? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:32, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
We're here because, when I gave you an example of a 100% positive review, you said at 04:31, 22 May that it was impressively objective and that "Objective analysis sounds reliable", and then ten minutes later you said that all positive reviews were unreliable and non-independent. One of these statements is not like the other. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:53, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
"all positive reviews were unreliable and non-independent"? I didn't say that, but I see that you sort of put these words in my mouth and I said "yes". I don't hold to "all positive reviews are unreliable and non-independent", but would prefer to say "all-positive reviews are to be treated with suspicion". "All-positive" means "extreme-POV", and extreme-POV sources should be used with caution. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:14, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe, I asked "So, in your opinion, Wikipedia should consider all positive reviews to be unreliable and non-independent?" and your reply to that question was "Yes." I don't think I was "sort of putting these words in your mouth".
Then I gave you an example of a 100%-positive review, and you seemed to have no suspicions about that source's independence. Maybe that "Yes" should have been "Sometimes" or "It depends on their writing style" or something else? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:02, 31 May 2021 (UTC)
I think Wikipedia should consider whether an all-positive review is reliable and independent. It could be, but as a rule I am suspicious of an all-positive review. SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:33, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
Let me give you a little more to work with. Imagine that a generally reputable source publishes a review of a consumer product that says something like "Met recommended guidelines.  Especially convenient to use, based on our judgments of setup, operation, and cleanup.  Easy to use.  This model had no discernible flaws.  Excellent in overall performance.  Highest rating for for reliability and owner satisfaction."
Is that a puff piece? Is that independent evaluation or paid promotionalism? Does that count towards notability? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:14, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
Objectivity in analysis would be impressive. Wildly unbalanced subjective review does not impress. Met recommended guidelines sounds like evidence of systemic review of objectively meeting guideline criterion. “Easy to use” is subjective. “No discernible flaws” is getting objective, I will need to read further. “Highest rating” implied a method for rating. Subjective unbiased POV implied unreliable. Objective analysis sounds reliable. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:31, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
You rejected the objective content in the other source: "thin, silky fabric...90% micro modal and 10% spandex...horizontal opening...not quite as silky soft...had a pouch—what they call an “articulated front pouch”...They didn’t ride up my leg...they would bunch up when I sat down...stayed in place...the fourth-softest underwear in the company’s product line...rival the softness of Tommy John..." All of that is objective content (and some of it is negative about the Tommy John product), and yet you rejected the whole thing as a blatant paid advertisement. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:07, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
I did. And I do. I reject objective comment as meaningful secondary source content. The source is, to me, obviously advertorial native advertising, unethical and dishonest, and at odds with slowly developing, slow to be accepted, codes of conduct regarding explicit declaration of sponsored content. It is obvious to my analysis, even if I cannot prove it. I note that the sources do not deny it, that the source authors wrote once about the products and never again, and that the Wikipedia article author was a WP:SPA. I suspect and allege WP:UPE. "thin, silky fabric...90% micro modal" is a primary our source fact that could only come from the company, it is not plausible that a third particle did a fabric analysis, and in any case there is no secondary source comment, which I consider the accurate tell (wikt:tell noun, #1). "They didn’t ride up my leg" is very close perspective, and a better quality source writes from a distant perspective. One of the clear flags (indicators not proof) of undisclosed sponsored content is the all puff-positive writing, however I think it is the writing style that is the real test. Adding a few silly criticisms (eg their colour range is limited) to an all puff-positive review, does not, should not be consider to, improve the quality of the source.
From some other post nearby, you touched onto "reliability" vs "independence". While it is true that a non-independent source should be more suspect with regards to reliability, I don't think that is a useful analysis technique. Reliability speaks to verifiability, and sponsored promotional articles are very likely to be 100% verifiable about the facts, the primary source content, that they contain, to excess. And the few opinions (eg "best", "softest") proffered are writer opinion and not really subject to being challenged for reliability. I think the crux of the GNG style analysis for a commercial topic has to be about independence. Have others, meaning independent others, already written about the topic? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:26, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe, in that source, a professional journalist – one who does declare that he received a sample product for a different brand – wrote words like "I decided to order" and "I bought" and "I was totally sold on Tommy John, and ordered 7 more pair" and "you can always do what I did: Order one pair".
Do you interpret those statements about buying the product himself as meaning "I didn't spend a dime of my own money, and the company is paying me to advertise this for them"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:38, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
I have a late ping to this. “Do you interpret those statements about buying the product himself as meaning "I didn't spend a dime of my own money, and the company is paying me to advertise this for them"? No. I interpret it as a declaration that he willingly and freely spent his own money. It is a half-declaration of independence. The other half is silent. SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:33, 31 May 2021 (UTC). The auto reply tool put this reply in the wrong place. Maybe mid thread late replies are hard to deal with, and indeed maybe they are not good conversation format and not to be encouraged. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:36, 31 May 2021 (UTC)
You have four times now used the term “professional”. Why? Is it puff? Have you googled “is journalism a profession”? —SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:31, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
Because we're talking about someone who is making a career in this field: "professional" as in "paid professional", whose reputation and future employment prospects could be ruined if he doesn't adhere to journalistic standards, such as "don't run undisclosed paid advertisements and pretend that they're genuine reporting". WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:47, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
So many separate pieces here:
  • Have you looked at the labels in your clothes recently? You should be able to determine the fiber your clothes are made from without needing a laboratory to do a fabric analysis.
  • The journalist names specific faults in the product and says another product is better. Is that consistent with your definition of "all puff-positive writing"? Or maybe we should ask: Which company do you think was buying him off, the one whose article you voted to delete or the other one, whose product he recommended?
  • GNG requires reliable sources. Unreliable sources cannot be counted at all. We have to care about reliability.
  • I thought that comparisons (e.g., "best", "softest") were secondary content. But you say those comparisons are present, and that no secondary content is present. (Also, fabric softness is quantitative; doi:10.1533/9781845691462.116 explains some of it, if you happen to be interested in the engineering side of the textile industry.)
  • I feel like your definition of "independent others" is more like "independent others who write in a style that feels serious and academic to me". I doubt that your default style works for pop culture subjects. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:38, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
  • The journalist declares that he bought about $1000 worth of Tommy John product. This implies that he did so voluntarily, and with his own money. It does not imply that he was not paid $5000 to write the article and have it published. So, I consider it a partial declaration of independence, and I consider the "partial" nature of it to raise more suspicion than there was to start with. This is suspicion only and should not be the basis of any decision
  • > The journalist names specific faults in the product and says another product is better. Is that consistent with your definition of "all puff-positive writing"
    This is not "all puff-positive writing", but it could be consistent with it. The faults analysed may be irrelevant detail.
  • > Which company do you think was buying him off
    I don't think "being bought off" is the criteria for non-independence. You can easily fail independence without being bought off. I do not think this journalist was bought off. I think this journalist was engaged in mutual back scratching, and possibly not one cent changed hands and no contract was signed. I think the company supplied the journalist with a lot of information on an interesting topic for the magazine, and he used this material to write a story.
  • > I thought that comparisons (e.g., "best", "softest") were secondary content. But you say those comparisons are present, and that no secondary content is present. (Also, fabric softness is quantitative; doi:10.1533/9781845691462.116 explains some of it, if you happen to be interested in the engineering side of the textile industry.)
    I agree. This is a small bit of secondary content. I may have glossed over it being less than 100 words? The source was a challenge to analyse, not clear cut.
  • > I feel like your definition of "independent others" is more like "independent others who write in a style that feels serious and academic to me". I doubt that your default style works for pop culture subjects.
    I think that is not my definition. In looking for author's independently generated transformative comment, I look for their subject comments on facts viewed from a distant perspective. The comment can be banal. What it can't be is auto-summarised from press release text. However, I find that good sources tend to be more academic in style, and that I avoid pop culture subjects. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:40, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
    Just one for now: I think the company supplied the journalist with a lot of information on an interesting topic for the magazine, and he used this material.
    Which company? (Two companies' products were described in that source.) What specific information is in the source that would not be available to any person who bought the product, read the packaging/labels, and wore the garments? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:33, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
    We are talking about this source? The question is supposed to be: does this source count as one of the minimum two GNG compliant sources. My original assessment was in 2017. Following our recent conversations, I will analyse it again. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:21, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
    Ostensibly, superficially, this article meets many objective measures I expect for a GNG compliant source. There is no apparent connection between writer and product/company/CEO. There is secondary source comment throughout. There is comparison with another product. Apparent motivation for interest is given as Howard Stern’s heavy promotion, which is ok. But I don’t like it. It is all-positive puff, screamingly so from the title and byline. There is no statement of independence, but some of non-independence, namely (1) “ We may earn a commission through links on our site.” (2) The first image was supplied by the second product company, saxx underwear co.
    I am (as I was in 2017) “suspicious” of paid promotion native advertising. So I do some sleuthing. He is a professional product promoter. “And I’ve created custom content and native ad campaigns ...”. Native advertising. I surmise that his 2014 Men’s Health article was both paid, and native advertising, both of which invalidate the article as a GNG source. Nothing at the article says it was not paid, or is not native advertising.
    Am I wrong? SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:55, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
    @SmokeyJoe, the article says: the Tommy John underwear I bought, they would bunch up when I sat down—just like my cotton boxer briefs. Is that your idea of "all-positive puff"? We keep having conversations that in which you say that it's all-positive puff, I remind you that he criticized flaws in the product, and the next day, you're back to saying that it's all-positive puff again. So: Do you personally like clothes that bunch up when you sit or move around? I don't like poorly fitting clothes myself, but if you think that's a compliment to the product's designer, then please let me know. And if you don't think this is a positive statement about the product, then maybe you need to describe your actual problem (overt enthusiasm, maybe?) rather than repeating that a guy who's complaining about the product bunching up uncomfortably is writing purely positive statements.
    The reason that I think all-positive isn't your real problem with this source is because your reactions to the three sources we've talked about here don't line up along those lines. We've got the Men's Health review, which tells you why he reviewed it, that he paid for it, and that he mostly liked it but it had one flaw and then he found a better product. You've decided that this is probably undisclosed paid advertising, or at least something similar.
    Then I gave you two other product reviews, both of which actually 100% positive, and your reaction is much more moderate. You are impressed by the objectivity in the one, and you wish the other was a secondary source, but I don't see any allegations that the others are paid advertising. Why does the 90%-positive review get allegations of paid advertising but neither of the two 100%-positive reviews earn those allegations? It can't be because 90% is more positive than 100%.
    (Your LinkedIn profile only demonstrates that he has changed careers. It does not demonstrate that he was in the business of product promotion seven years ago. In particular, you quoted only the part of the profile that fit your POV, and left out the bit that says "I’ve created custom content and native ad campaigns for BMW, Starz, Red Bull, EAS, and American Ninja Warrior", i.e., not for Men's Health and not for this product.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:49, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
    “Despite all the benefits of the Tommy John underwear I bought, they would bunch up when I sat down”. True, this is a deviation from “all puff”.
    “Puff” and “all positive” are not critical failures, they are indicators of likely non-independence. Yes, I decided the article is very likely non-independent. The LinkedIn profile shows that the author takes pride in creating “native advertising”, and I was already concluding native advertising. SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:28, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
    @SmokeyJoe, are we agreed that it's not "all-positive puff" after all?
    Why is this one nearly-all-positive puff, but the other two aren't? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:54, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
    Agree, all positive puff was an exaggeration, and riding up underwear is an off-putting criticism. It’s small criticism though, not nearly as critical as the many online user reviews of the products (mainly non-durability). A token criticism can add credibility and is a strategy of native advertising, but maybe the article needs to considered advertising for the second product (the product in the first figure).
    Remind me of which were the other two? Can I have the links? Perspective is another indicator, and depth of coverage matters, and I think I was relying on your anonymised quotations from them? SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:23, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
    @SmokeyJoe, I can dig up the links another time, but you've trying to convince me that you can reliably detect undisclosed, unlabeled paid advertisements masquerading as independent news stories based on the wording of the source alone. If you can reliably detect an undisclosed conflict of interest in a magazine that is known for running product reviews and that does not have a reputation for running undisclosed paid advertisements, based on your analysis of what he said and didn't say, then you should be able to reliably detect any undisclosed conflict of interest in the reviews in the two reviews I've copied to this page. If the metric is that 90% positive means non-independent, then presumably both of those 100%-positive reviews are also non-independent. But you don't seem to feel as confident about (both of) those. Why not? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:39, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
    I think the conversation strayed. I do not want to convince you that I think I am reliable in detecting undisclosed advertising, but we have thoroughly discussed one example where I believe I have. I still believe it, though without proof, and you make good criticism. Luckily, these decisions are not up to me alone.
    90-100% positive comment is not a metric for any decision, but is a flag for considering underlying bias, such as undeclared advertising, or COI, or plain old POV.
    What I thought I had been trying to convince you is that significant secondary source content must be independent as well, to meet the GNG, and that independence of the author of the secondary source content (the author of the article, or not?) can be judged to be not the author, sometimes. This is often enforced for WP:CORP cases, but is rarely challenged otherwise. SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:17, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
    I don't think we've strayed from the point. The GNG requires certain characteristics. Those are severable characteristics. If you (i.e., any editor) can't identify whether it's independent, then you can't figure out whether it's GNG-compliant. You don't have to figure out whether it's all the things at once. You can (and IMO should) take these characteristics one at a time.
    Much of the disccussion in that AFD looked to me like the editors voting to delete (not just you; perhaps less you than some others) taking the I know it when I see it approach, and then trying to cram their personal gut feelings back into the language of the GNG. And there is, as far as I can tell, no factual evidence behind that gut feeling. The Men's Health product review gives secondary information (e.g., comparison against how another brand fits on the author's own body), but that's somehow being twisted into concerns about "the independence of the author of the secondary source content". Think about that. For that to be true, either comparison isn't secondary source content, or one of the two companies told the author what to write about his own body.
    I look at this and conclude that the source is formally independent (no evidence of money changing hands + a publication with a long-standing reputation for separating its editorial and advertising content) and intellectually independent (the author was writing about his own experiences).
    I also look at this and conclude that it's a secondary source (multiple points of comparison).
    And finally, I look at this and conclude that it contains almost no information about either company (at all) and almost no information about either company's products that would be suitable for an encyclopedia article. I think it fails – or "counts" only insignificantly – GNG on SIGCOV and WHYN grounds.
    But you look at this and seem to say that it's a bad source about a commercial product, and it must be undeclared paid advertising, and there isn't any secondary content, whoops, I mean all of the secondary content must have come from the company, including the bits that the company couldn't have known even if they were paying him, like how their product would fit on this one author's body. Why go to this much trouble to prove what is not only unprovable but probably factually wrong, instead of saying "It might technically be independent, and it might technically be secondary, but in practice you can't write an article about the company from this source, so delete it"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:21, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
    Yes. You are not wrong. Except the secondary source content in the probably undeclared advertisement does come from the article author, I do not suspect supplied secondary source content there, he really did try the product himself (I believe). The source has a sole failure that I suspect it was undeclared paid, and I cannot give hard evidence. I feel, I felt, uneasy about the sleuthing, whether it’s improper, or expecting too much of an AfD reviewer. It was a difficult AfD.
    Note that the AfD did not find consensus to delete. As a !voter, even as the nominator, I don’t have to be right every time, and I feel the AfD process worked right.
    I am tempted to request undeletion of the improperly deleted article. Also, at worst, it should be redirected to Tom Patterson (entrepreneur) per WP:ATD-R. SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:35, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
    There's something about this source that feels bad, and I don't feel like the language at GNG lets us handle it. I suspect that the source is 100% independent, but I don't like it. It doesn't let me write an encyclopedia article, and even if every party mentioned swore in court that they never had any contact with any of the others, it still wouldn't let me write an encyclopedia article. It's not useful, even if it's technically acceptable.
    (I'm less certain about it being secondary according to Wikipedia's standards: where do you draw the line between "my personal experience of these product" [which is primary] and "my transformative compare-and-contrast evaluation of this product" [which is secondary]?) WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:53, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
    So, you agree that there is something about the source that feels bad! I was feeling thoroughly beaten and cornered for the same conviction and inability to prove it. I have had to give it to you on the debating points, that is is secondary, independent, reliable, and in depth.
    "It doesn't let me write an encyclopedic article"? You mean "it is not encyclopedic"?
    About it being secondary, I take a lax line. If it is obviously, completely, factually primary, devoid of any comment, then I label it as "all primary" and reject it for that. This most often happens for front page news reports in small newspapers. If the sources are sort of secondary, I go inclusionist. It does more harm to beat up article writing editors of borderline notable articles than to have borderline notable articles. The exception is when WP:UPE is involved, and the UPE product is native advertising, advertising disguised as a Wikipedia article. In this case, I don't feel empathy for the author.
    More generally on where to draw the line between personal experience and compare and contrast evaluation, I think that is generally well done by editors, and is not a task for AfD. SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:44, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
    The disconnect between me "beating" you and how we feel about the source is that our GNG-based language doesn't help us articulate our real problems. You will recall that I once estimated the value of the source at being no more than 2% of what's needed. IMO is independent, and it may be (partly) secondary, and it's reliable for certain statements, and it's potentially barely SIGCOV, but it's just not that thing we need from sources, whatever "that thing" is called. If you had three such sources, you could write some verifiable sentences, but you couldn't write a decent article.
    I'm not sure what "it's not encyclopedic" means to you in this context. I don't expect anything except an encyclopedia article to be encyclopedic. Of course magazine articles aren't encyclopedic? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:29, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
    I think our problem is the indecision about UPE, and also but less so undeclared advertising. At WT:DEL, there is strong opposition to listing it as a deletion reason, but at AfC it is a hard rejection reason, and it is also accepted as a reason for backdoor deletion by draftification and G13.
    "It doesn't let me write an encyclopedic article" "It is not encyclopedic". This are equivalent statements, useless to editors who don’t already understand. Useless to the intended audience. Finding better language is the worthy challenge. SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:25, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
    Maybe "would let you write an encyclopedia article"? "Meets the needs of WP:WHYN"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:45, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
    WHYN. I never really looked hard at that. I see it was your addition. I disagree with it stating that one secondary source is enough.
    I don’t think WHYN really covers the problem of the otherwise good source that is basically promotional, to the point that it doesn’t allow the writing of an article. SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:54, 8 June 2021 (UTC)

really serious, even potentially libelous, accusations against these journalists[edit]

You are making really serious, even potentially libelous, accusations against these journalists. Do you have any evidence at all that they got paid to run those articles? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:27, 18 May 2021 (UTC)

Interesting observation. I can see that maybe I am. However, I consider these accusations to be defensible. Their journalistic product looks like infomercial. It looks like native advertising in popular magazines that cover nominal health topics. Nominal health topics, noting that these are most certainly not MEDRS quality, but they write "health" big and bold. Would it be better for me to add text, explicitly noting that I "strongly suspect non-independence" between the article author and the company whose product is being discussed, when I note the reasons for my doubt, which includes that lack of comment attributable to the author as opposed to the company, and the lack is distance in the perspective of the writing? It is a known serious matter of concern. eg.

sponsored content is gaining ground
boundaries between strategic communication, advertising and journalism are blurring
rising transparency expectations
40 codes of ethics in the fields of communication, advertising, and journalism (United States and Finland) related to sponsored content
excessive variation within the codes of ethics of how transparency of sponsored content is addressed
most of the codes deal with transparency and the separation between commercial and editorial content only vaguely

The sources that I criticised make no claim of independence. If it were real journalism, they would reveal the connection between the author and the source of their content, and note that the company or their agent is citied explicitly. I think my serious potentially-libellous accusations are logical deduction, even if not proof. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:33, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
Or if it was real journalism, then they would say that they paid for the product with their own money, that they decided to investigate it because of a specific, non-company-related trigger? But they did both of those things, and you still accuse them of being paid shills. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:40, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
There is not a lot of space between an independent review of a product, and a non-independent review because the journalist got too close to the company contact. I would call "non-independent" if they had lunch together to discuss the product. There is a very large amount of space between a borderline non-independent journalist and a shill. I think Wikipedia should be very strong on independence in the notability test for commercial companies, their products, CEOs and founders. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:46, 30 May 2021 (UTC)

The world's best underwear[edit]

The title and the subtitle are glowing praise.
The article talks pricing, explicitly giving prices.
"I had been listening to Howard Stern rave about his new Tommy John underwear." This is close perspective, especially noting the word "rave".
"years before he had enlightened me" The writer's connection to the founder is too close.
"I’m a bit of Stern Superfan". Not independent, already a superfan.
"Is he really a believer in the product, or is it just a paid promotion? By my cynical nature, I tend to assume the latter." Is this paid promotion?
Line after line is one eyed endorsement.
After heavy endorsement, its back to playing down the price.
"To see what I was missing, I ordered the “Blacksheep” and “Vibe” styles—#2 and #3 on the Saxx Softness Scale—for $39.95 and $31.95, respectively." This reads at standard US daytime infomercial.
While the article raises the notion of paid promotion, it lacks any statement of independence. Why should you suspect independence. This is not professional journalism by any measure. This is advertorial.
Do you think this is evidence of notability, or do you think that I do a clumsy job of rejecting it? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:04, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
Mostly, I think you did a clumsy job of rejecting it, although I'd actually let sources like this be "the straw that broke the camel's back" in a borderline case. You seem to be looking at style over substance. In your analysis, if the source genuinely holds the views expressed in this article, then:
  • they can tell the truth, and you'll say that enthusiasm is proof that they're secretly getting paid to falsely act enthusiastic, or
  • they can lie, by pretending their views are something other than an enthusiastic endorsement, and you'll count them as notable.
There does not seem in your model any method for a source to gush about the subject without you claiming they've been paid.
I wonder whether you would apply the same standard to political endorsements as you do to product endorsements. Did Trump pay all of those red-state newspapers for their fawning endorsements? Did Biden pay all of those blue-state newspapers for their glowing endorsements? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:53, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
I would say that my dislike for this source, my conclusion that is it undeclared paid native advertising, makes it a negative in deciding notability, a negative straw should other sources be at best on the edge. For me, this would be a straw for breaking the benefit of the doubt going to “yes notable”. SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:00, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
When you say that you dislike "this source", do you mean the magazine, the author, or the words? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:40, 3 June 2021 (UTC)

The title, "A $40 Undershirt — And Why It's Worth It" is blatantly promotion.
At the end: Second skin crewneck stay tucked undershirt ($40) by Tommy John, Product name, price, and where to buy. That alone makes it an advertisement.
It is blatant promotion. It's not that they mentioned it positively, but that it is completely and uncritically positive, even if they did not link to the company website for purchasing. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:09, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
  • Sourcing and notability and deletion arguments aside, there AfD was not a consensus to delete. So why is the article deleted? What do you think of the backdoor deletion process? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:13, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
    I think the "backdoor deletion process" is an expression of our emotional discomfort with paid editing (disclosed or otherwise) and our desire to control Wikipedia. We should probably have an article on that subject, or at least a substantial list entry for it. It could be a very short article (i.e., one with very little room for promotional content), but it should be mentioned somewhere in Wikipedia. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:16, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
    I think that "backdoor deletion process" is a simple word construction idiom that refers to deletions that occur via a process that is upfront and in full view. I think they often happen (meaning unilateral draftifications citing a likely COI or UPE author for a commercial topic) because the draftifying editor is discomfortable with undeclared COI and UPE writing of articles. As a matter of principle about respect of process, I am uncomfortable with the backdoor deletion, especially with it having followed an AfD decision to not delete. I see the AfD decision to not delete as having been swung on the later discovery of a "case study" source, on which I was undecided and made no further comment. I would take the deletion to DRV, except my gut tells me that the article should be deleted, except that I don't know how to comment on the case study source. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:08, 29 May 2021 (UTC)

Alice and Bob[edit]

New tangent:
If it's a thoroughgoing secondary source (something you've been strongly advocating for), do you really care whether the source is independent? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:23, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
Yes. Autobiographical content does not meet the standard: “Others have already written about the topic”. The GNG requires the GNG-satisfying sources to be independent of the subject. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 09:31, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
Alice and Bob running for political office. Alice says that Bob is a bad candidate. Alice is not writing autobiographical content, but Alice is not truly independent, either. Does Alice qualify as "others" (but biased) for this purpose, or as non-independent? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:29, 17 May 2021 (UTC)
So, the hardline source analysis for independence of two GNG sources is about making it clear to the proponent of the article that not a single paragraph of their best sources qualify, and that their topic fails Wikipedia-notability, and no amount of “improvement” will help in the absence of a new better source. This works best for WP:CORP topics, where the article is about a financially motivated founder, CEO, company, or product. It does not work best for current events, including elections. So, noting that, I will comment anyway... Alice is sort of independent, and it may depend on context. It will depend on the publisher. If Alice is another candidate for the same position, her comments on her Twitter feed are not good enough to count as notability evidence for Bob, but if Alice’s comments are published by a newspaper, then probably yes. I consider newspapers to be the worst source sources that are sufficient. Twitter, blogs, newsletters, No. So, Alice says “Bob is a bad candidate”. That is a subjective secondary source comment, but it is too short for “in depth”. I was two running sentences minimum. Someone else wrote the essay advocating one hundred words. So, it is not good enough. But if Alice’s comment on Bob were printed in a reliable source, I would let it pass as “others”, even if she is highly biased as a competing candidate for the same position. It is to be expected that secondary source content includes bias. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 03:12, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
  1. I don't think that Alice is independent at all. Alice and Bob are direct competitors with obvious self-interest in elevating themselves and running down their opponents. Why do you say that she's independent?
  2. Is all "subjective" content also/always secondary content?
WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:27, 18 May 2021 (UTC)
1. This is less serious, but still interesting, and is easy to discuss. The “independence” of Bob and Alice will need to be subject to careful definition of terms. I was treating “independent” in terms of Alice is not working for Bob in any way. However, other ways of interpreting “independence” are obvious. Eg Alice’s statements on Bob likely derive from Alice reading/hearing Bob’s statements on Alice, and then there is not intellectual independence. But again, I don’t think the GNG works well for candidates in an upcoming election, and personally I lean to allowing generous leeway for candidates with the option to AfD them after the election if there is no ongoing coverage after the election. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:33, 20 May 2021 (UTC)
Alice's statements on Bob might derive from any source at all, or from none, but direct competitors (e.g., any two humans vying for the same elected office) are never independent of each other. This isn't about their intellectual independence; this is about the conflict-of-interest type of independence.
We don't have to invoke a special exception for politicians to see the rule here. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are not independent sources about each other. Microsoft and Apple are not independent sources about each other. Israel and the Palestinian Authority are not independent sources about each other. Any entity listed in the List of sports rivalries or its related pages cannot be an independent source about whoever their rivals are.
WP:IIS says "An independent source is a source that has no vested interest in a given Wikipedia topic and therefore is commonly expected to cover the topic from a disinterested perspective." Politicians campaigning against each other definitely have a vested interest and we have no reasonable expectation they they will describe their opponents from a disinterested perspective. They cannot be independent sources on their opponents, even if they achieve intellectual independence. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:57, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
Under the WP:IIS standard, Alice and Bob are not independent sources on each other. So where was I coming from there? Notability comes from “have others written about the topic”. I counted Alice as an “other” to Bob, as opposed to being an agent for Bob. That was a large weakening of the meaning of “independent”, and is one I will back away from. A major candidate criticising another candidate, I might allow myself to be influenced by that at AfD, but this is not a well considered position of mine. —SmokeyJoe
What do you think of this?
  • If Alice wrote and published an article about Bob, it would not be an independent source. It does not count towards notability; it does not count towards any BALANCE-related effort to have an article Wikipedia:Based upon independent sources.
  • If The Daily Independent quotes Alice as part of an article on Bob, then the resulting news article, including the parts attributed to Alice, is independent of Bob. That article counts towards notability [at least as far as the "independent source" aspect is concerned]; that article counts towards BALANCE (at least if editors are using the whole article, and not cherry-picking Alice's POV out of it to give extra attention to Alice's POV).
Does that sound about right? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:04, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
The first dot point sounds about right, yes. It may be a straw amongst many making an impact on reviewing editors, on questions of notability and balance, but on a hardline analysis looking for the minimum two, what you write is right.
The second dot point I choke on something. The source typing of the Alice quote is not altered by its being copied, or even others commenting on it. Delete “, including the parts attributed to Alice,”. Parts attributed to Alice belong to Alice, and what matters in The Daily Independent article are the parts that are not directly and completely attributed to Alice. A secondary source should contain mixtures of primary source information (repeated) and secondary source information created by the author of the secondary source, and what matters is that secondary source information. Delete that clause, and I agree. The Daily Independent may amplify Alice’s POV, and give independence to Alice’s POV as beautifully expressed in her quote, but the quote itself will never be independent. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:15, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
Is there such a thing as a pure secondary source? One that is (for Wikipedia's purposes) only a secondary source for its contents?
Consider a school textbook that quotes the preamble to the United States Declaration of Independence. Is the school textbook now a primary source? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:40, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
Pure secondary source? Sure. Consider a review where the author never speaks directly to the subject matter, but assumes the audience is completely familiar with is. It makes for hard reading if you come in cold. Running newspaper columns can be like this, where the writer assumes you are not only familiar with the topic, but everything they have previously written. Generally, I think these are low quality sources. A good source has balance, fact and opinion, and introductions to the topic being discussed. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:25, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
A good source for notability, you mean? WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:25, 26 May 2021 (UTC)
No. Whether a source meets the GNG, and contributes as one of the two required GNG-meeting sources, is a binary question. It does, or it doesn't, although in practice there is a grey zone and I may allow myself to be influenced by subject matter, interest, and non-reliable sources. Notability is "yes"/"no", the article will be kept or not, when tested at AfD. The quality of sources I was referring to was for supporting content that is subjective and opinionated. Highly POV newspaper columns are low quality sources, and an NPOV-reading source, that itself refers to multiple opinions, as well as referencing (even if implicitly) the accepted facts, is likely a high quality secondary source. I think that in all matters encyclopedia, an NPOV writing style is desired. This includes the choice of best sources, and projectspace guidelines and essays. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:01, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
I don't agree that a good source has balance. I think a good Wikipedia article has balance, but it is a largely irrelevant quality in sources. The best sources have a well-developed view of the subject. A source that can't make up its mind is not the best source. The best sources will know enough about the subject to go beyond "Well, he said it's good but she said it's bad". I expect to see that sort of thing in textbooks for kids ("Some people thought he was a good president, but others didn't") but not in serious sources. Also, there are subjects for which no reliable sources hold differing opinions: Literacy is good. Genocide is bad. Trump lost the election. We don't need "multiple opinions" when there aren't any.
This thread reminds me of something I read many years ago, possibly from The Underground Grammarian: We don't need balanced books. We need balanced libraries.
Of perhaps more importance, if we are to solve the mystery of notability: How much does/should source quality (which is not mentioned in the GNG at all) matter? According to the GNG, if you have two or three very long, independent, secondary sources that just barely squeak past the post for being reliable, then you can justify a separate article, even if 100% of the sources in existence are low quality. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:24, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
I definitely agree that the best sources have a well-developed view of the subject. NPOV is not listing all POVs. NPOV is having a POV that can be defended as neutral, or balanced, but it does require a developed POV.
Of perhaps more importance. I said a few times at WT:N, without disagreement or agreement, that in the GNG, the word "reliable" should be swapped for "reputable". "Reliable" is not a meaningful quality of a secondary source, "reputable" is the relevant quality in assessing secondary source publishers. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:52, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
I do sometimes wish that your 2007 attempt at that wording change had gotten some traction. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:43, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
Yes, I was disappointed by the lack of traction. Once or twice someone state explicit lack of opposition. SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:32, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
In re "NPOV is having a POV that can be defended as neutral, or balanced": Yes, that's true. But it's not what I want in a source. If you're writing about Chicago school of economics, you want Milton Friedman and his full-throated defense of that school and you want Ludwig von Mises explaining why they're all wet. What you don't want is a source that says "Well, there are good things to be said about both sides, and I'm taking the neutral, balanced POV, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯". WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:07, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
2. No. Subjective comment might be primary. It depends on context, and use, and time since the event. A the time of the comment it is probably secondary, but with the passage of time, the eyewitness’s explanation “oh that is terrible” becomes only more certain to be considered primary. I am tempted to suggest a time based mathematical rule, such as: If the time between the event and the source is less than 10% of the time between the event and now, then it is not a good secondary source. This is meaty historiography. Eg Opinions on Julius Caesar in the first century AD will consider the secondary sources of the first century AD as secondary sources, but a current treatise on Caesar will consider them but only in the context of recent opinion, rendering them as primary sources for ancient opinions. However, the converse is “yes”, all secondary content contains subjectivity. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:41, 20 May 2021 (UTC)
That's what I thought (both: that's my view, and I thought that was your view, too). In that case, what makes you decide that Alice saying Bob's a bad candidate is a secondary source, rather than a primary one? (My hypothetical election isn't over, although the outcome is foregone: Alice always wins.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:59, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
What makes you decide that Alice saying Bob's a bad candidate is a secondary source, rather than a primary one? A secondary source adds transformational creative content, such as comment, contextualisation, or criticism, to existing accepted facts. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:53, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
I'm not sure that I'd count Alice's simple statement of her personal opinion as really being "transformational creative content". More to the point, I don't think that it would be accepted as secondary content according to either the general practice of editors, or under the same policy footnote that says opinion pieces always count as primary sources for Wikipedia's purposes. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:29, 30 May 2021 (UTC)


I just saw she died. Shocking, gutted. Relevant, because she and I debated source typing, and source rules that depended on the source typing, which depended on the academic framework. I deduced from the way she said things, that she was in the framework of a journalist. I was emphasising historiography. She made a point, good journalistic sourcing is good sourcing, and I dwelt on that for years and think she was right, completely. But I noticed that she tended to write mostly in biographies, living and recently deceased. Apart from politicians and celebrities, contemporary biographies tend to not draw so much third party secondary source comment. Instead, biographies tend to have writers discuss the subject’s impact, and more so, discuss the topics that the subject worked on, with really only passing comments, perhaps extensive passing comments, on the subject. In this respect, interesting people, going towards social activists, remind me of WP:PROF, where the topic is not really the subject, but the subject’s interests. Some people draw comment drawing attention to the topics that they find interesting, as opposed to drawing topic to themselves. I think historiography is the best approach for the encyclopedia, but it works best for historical topics, works less well for contemporary biographies, and works well for being harsh on current commercial topics. Hmmm. One can steer the results by choosing the method of analysis. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:46, 26 May 2021 (UTC)

@SmokeyJoe, I knew she had a serious and ultimately incurable medical situation, but I had hoped that we would still have years left. I've also had source-typing conversations with her, and I wanted to have more. I agree with your "framework of a journalist" description of her view, and I think it led her to think that anything secondhand was both independent and secondary: Alice tells Bob that they made a million widgets last year, and Bob posts Alice's information on his blog, and that's "independent" (because Bob has no connection to Alice) and "secondary" (because Bob relied on another human to get him the numbers).
I might be wrong, but it feels like the idea that one steers the results by choosing the analytical method is unsettling to you. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:24, 26 May 2021 (UTC)
Unsettling? Invigorating? I call it healthy and important to challenge one’s buried biases. I think the historiographical approach is right because an encyclopedia is an historiographical document. It is now news, not an archive, not a debate forum, not a publisher of new research, analysis or reviews. It is convenient to have an academic method that gives commercial promotion a hard time, because I dislike commercial promotion in Wikipedia. I am chewing on your criticism of my criticism of the sources for the expensive underwear company. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 11:01, 26 May 2021 (UTC)
We should consider whether it would be useful to have a definition of "promotional". Editors seem to vary greatly in their views of promotionalism. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:47, 26 May 2021 (UTC)
A definition of "promotional"? My experience tells me that there is not much issue with non-corporate promotion, and the trigger criteria for being suspicious about an un-declared non-independence, is that the article is about a currently trading company, its products, its CEO or its founder. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:50, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
So you are suspicious of 100% of sources about existing companies? Every single article in the business section? Most of The Wall Street Journal, Aviation Week, PC World, Interior Design, and other business- or product-focused sources?
Do you apply the same standard to culture-related subjects (e.g., films, books, music)? WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:36, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
No, I am not suspicious of 100% of sources about existing companies. I take a suspicious, or critical, approach to the WP:THREE best sources proffered by the article advocate following a previous decision at AfD to delete the article due to being non-notable. This only happens if someone is already alleging non-notability of the company. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:59, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
But whatever the source is, if it's about an existing company and someone argues that it's good evidence of notability, you'd be automatically suspicious of the source. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:44, 3 June 2021 (UTC)

Pure puff[edit]

I wonder how your model works on similarly positive sources. Here's one that I've been thinking of, written by someone who traveled a lot (pre-pandemic, obviously):

[Expensive brand] travel vest with many pockets. OMG I love my [Expensive brand]. It has 17 internal zippered pockets including ones perfectly sized for passports and ID cards, plus built-in channels for holding earbud cabling. I carry in it anything and everthing that I might need for flying: travel documents, pens, disinfecting wipes, nasal sanitizer swabs, Purell, eye drops, a tiny flashlight, lip balm, various adapters and cables, Sudafed, Benadryl, painkillers, zinc lozenges, tiny toothbrush and toothpaste, a notebook, mini-kit for repairing things, kleenex, stain removal pen, and immigration/residency documents. I wear it to and from the airport, and leave it in my suitcase otherwise.

Drawbacks. None. Zero!

Variants. There are other versions of this vest out there (like this [Other brand] one or this from [Another brand]) but I’ve never tried them. The built-in cabling solution is unique to [Expensive brand] AFAIK, and that alone would keep me with that company. Annoyingly, women seem to be underserved in this category by everyone, with nowhere near the amount of product variety that men get.

(I left out the URLs, but there were links to websites where you could buy the products.) Using the model you explain above, would you conclude that this was written by an independent person or a paid person? WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:44, 30 May 2021 (UTC)

Well, I can't conclude conclusively, but if I am going to participate in the AfD, I have to say something. Based on the given text being the extent of the text, the lack of comparison is a small negative. More important, a worse negative is the lack of statement on the impact the product has to people, the travelling public, or airlines. It's great that the journalist loves the vest, but that is very close perspective writing, the journalist was wearing the vest. He could have been wearing any vest. Maybe this article should be about many-pocketed vests, not specific to one brand? A more impressive source will speak to information concerning others loving the vest. Eg "on yesterday's flight, I saw 20 other passengers wearing this vest, so it must be very popular". A negative statement, such as "I have never seen another person wearing a dirty old vest from this brand, which suggests that they don't last long" would impress me as a not-all-positive distant perspective comment. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:11, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
That's all she wrote in this case. In particular, there is no disclosure (either way) related to independence in the review.
Much of your analysis here is about secondary-ness, but to find out whether it could be one of the two required GNG-meeting sources, we need to know more than just whether it's secondary. We also need to know whether it's independent. This review is even more enthusiastic than the Men's Health product review, and it provides less comparison than the Men's Health product review.
What would you need to know to figure out whether this review is independent? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:51, 3 June 2021 (UTC)
"would you need to know to figure out whether this review is independent"?
I think it is very hard to know if something is independent, but it is easier to catch non-independence. I would trust an explicit statement of independence. SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:25, 7 June 2021 (UTC)

Does notability require intellectual independence?[edit]

I'm wondering whether it would be helpful to have an RFC (or maybe a straw poll) about what "independent source" means in the context of notability. For example, if a source gives the subject's birthdate, which they're unlikely to have checked themselves, do we discard the source/that part of the source? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:33, 4 June 2021 (UTC)

I think it might be helpful. As I’ve said before at WT:RfC, I think case is needed to ask the right question for a good RfC. SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:38, 4 June 2021 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe, if we do this, I think it'd be best to avoid technical terms like "intellectual independence". I think it would be more effective if people were looking at examples. Here are a few offhand that I've thought of.
  1. "These shoes contain leather" – The author probably read this on the packaging. It's unlikely that the author sent the product off for independent lab testing, etc.
  2. "The screen on an iPhone 11 is 1792x828 pixels" – The author probably looked this up on Apple's website. It's unlikely that the author personally counted the pixels.
  3. "The charity paid their executive director US$80,000 in 2019" – The author presumably got this number from the charity. There are no realistic/legal alternative methods of obtaining this information.
  4. "The company has offices 3,400 employees in six countries" – The author probably got this information from the company. An author could not realistically independently determine this information any other way.
  5. "Joe Film's birthday is 15 January 2001" – The author presumably got this information from the celebrity (or someone connected to him).
  6. "After selling off their struggling consumer division, the company's strategy will focus on business-to-business sales" – The author probably read this in a press release, heard it in an earnings call, or otherwise got it directly from the company. (If the author didn't get this information from the company, then the source probably wouldn't be reliable.)
  7. "The company's SEC filings indicate that they have reserved US$15 million to cover the cost of pending litigation" – The author says that this information came from the company.
Do you think these help people understand? Would you accept any of these as being obviously intellectually independent? Is the key point intellectual independence for simple (true/false) facts, or intellectual independence for the analysis? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:25, 7 June 2021 (UTC)

I encountered the following, and liked it:

Sample notability table
Source Significant? Independent? Reliable? Secondary? Pass/Fail Notes
The New York Times Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN A single-sentence mention in an article about another company
Profile in Forbes Green tickY Red XN Red XN Green tickY Red XN Most of such posts are company-sponsored or based on company's marketing materials
Tech blog post Green tickY Question? Red XN Green tickY Red XN Blog posts are often sponsored and self-published sources are generally not reliable
Court filing Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN Red XN Court filings are primary sources
Total qualifying sources 0 There must be multiple qualifying sources to meet the notability requirements

What do you think? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:03, 7 June 2021 (UTC)

I think the table in CORP promotes the long-disputed idea that a single source must contain all such qualities, so it assumes one of the disputed conclusions. I'm also concerned about it's generalization from "most" and "often" to seeming to declare all sources in that category unacceptable. Also, it's classification of court filings as independent is wrong; I should go fix it.
For the instant purpose, the bit about "based on company's marketing materials" is exactly one of the questions that editors need to rule on. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:36, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
I am firmly in the camp arguing that the two GNG sources must contain all the qualities simultaneously. SmokeyJoe (talk) 23:13, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
That is the approach that was adopted at SIRS "recently" (i.e., relative to how long you and I have been editing), but we haven't been able to get a clear consensus for that in GNG-focused discussions.
I have another question that I'd like your POV on, but I think it should have a broader audience. Maybe meet me at WT:NPOV in a little while? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:39, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
I think the approach is de facto policy. It rules the day both at AfD and DRV. A challenged topic must be shown to have multiple GNG compliant sources. Two, meeting all four criteria at once. History and science topics are rarely challenged. FRINGE topics are not considered science topics.
Meet you at WT:POV? Sure. Ping me. I like the state of WP:POV, always have, to the point that I have never come up with anything meaningful to contribute. In terms of effective communication to the intended audience, I was unhappy with WP:N, and was slightly unhappy with WP:NOR, but with enough others we fixed it. I think WP:SOCK is the worst is being convoluted and confusing to the wide eyed newcomer who happens to come across it. SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:02, 8 June 2021 (UTC)
I gave an answer, but others are slow to engage. I think the talk pages of the core content policies are dominated by academic leaning editors, and the questions are unlikely to generate anti-academic replies. Perhaps smaller pointier examples of academic-popular media conflict? Covid lab leak hypothesis, and the Holocaust, are perhaps too big, and new users are unlikely to be usefully adding content on these big topics. Can you think of OTHER examples that are at the low notability range, the sort of article a new user might write, and need advice from WP:NPOV? SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:46, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
@SmokeyJoe, I'm not really thinking about that question in notability terms. I'm more concerned with disputes within an academic field. Should we treat one reasonably qualified expert who says something on the nightly news as being equivalent to a similarly qualified expert who says something (different) in the academic literature? If there seems to be a dispute within the field, should we use only the academic literature? (What if one 'side' of the dispute can't get their views into the literature, because peer review quietly rejects it as nonsense, but they can get in the popular press, because it serves somebody's political agenda, or because the publisher prefers a false balance to no balance?)
I have thought of one known situation: psychiatric patients have an informed view of the systems they're subjected to, but they have trouble getting their POV into the formal literature directly. If we resort to the formal literature alone, we are privileging an academic/healthcare provider POV over a personal POV. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:35, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
Hi. My suggestion is not for thinking about it in notability terms, but that these issues are more debatable on low-notability topics where there is not an abundance of sources to swamp difficult sources. I think the question could go to how two treat poor sources, academic vs other, when poor sources are all there are. I don't think healthcare is the field to go to, because MEDRS is already well developed for scrubbing poor sources, and because people with my POV will say: If a medical topic that could be read as promoting medical opinion does not have exemplary sources, then delete it. SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:55, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
What happens if the topic itself is indisputably notable, but there are two competing hypotheses – one largely promoted by a loud minority in the popular press, and one largely supported in academic sources? You can't just delete Supply-side economics. There's a tag at the top that says it needs to rely less on newspaper articles and more on scholarly sources. I believe that shifting the source type is going to shift the POV of the article. Would that be a good thing? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:35, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
I looked. Don’t be so quick to skip “needs attention from an expert in economics”. That’s a bigger call than more academic, less newspapers. I’m not sure it will shift the POV so much as shift the quality. I’m also uneasy with the call for academic or scholarly research. Newspapers and “research” all call for primary sources, or at least sources that will soon be regarded as primary, and recentism. I would advocate instead for historical sources. Always, wha do we know, and how do we know it.
I think the article would be improved y reframing the lede in terms of changing economic ideas over time. Supply-side economics is difficult now because it is recent history, and is not completely eclipsed. It is partially eclipsed, which I think means that there is difficulty in finding neutral POV review articles. I think the answer is to address the controversies explicitly. I think the call for the expert in economics is a POV mistake, it needs a more distant perspective, and for facts it should be citing text books, not research, and not newspapers.
I think all three, experts, research, and newspapers, are poor sources for Wikipedia. Academic and scholarly for sure are better for facts than newspapers. Newspapers are good for notability and perspective (establishing that some care, and the angle of that care). Expert editors are dangerous for their unconscious bias and ability to intimidate other authors. SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:26, 13 June 2021 (UTC)
If we take that approach, then we should have almost no BLPs, and probably no subjects that involve anything that happened within the last several decades. What's your second-best approach, given that we can't realistically re-write notability to exclude any subject that is partially or completely in the present? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:57, 13 June 2021 (UTC)

NOR, common sense and the nature of a Good Article[edit]

I understand that not everything needs a cite, but that is more specific to 2b, and the "facts" part of 2c. We should not add any opinions or synthesis to an article without providing a source for them, even if that opinion is common sense.[5] Aircorn (talk) 07:33, 13 May 2021 (UTC)

@Aircorn, in principle, I don't think that it's a good idea for written rules to assume common sense; see, e.g., the reviewers complaining that they should be free to issue commands that noms change the citation formatting because they're sure any nom would know that this isn't required and that they'd never hold it against them if they rerfused.
More importantly, the words "common sense" do not appear anywhere on that page. The statement is about common knowledge, like "fire is hot" or "apples are a kind of food". We don't actually require editors to omit such basic information if the common knowledge doesn't happen to be in "the [cited] sources" in that article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:55, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
I guess I am a bit wary about this as what as one persons common knowledge is anothers controversial opinion. I see the point though. Most articles start with a common description of the topic and this is seldom sourced, or just sourced to a dictionary. I was hoping this essay could be made more public as I think it contains good advice for reviewers. Aircorn (talk) 19:00, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
@Aircorn, I don't think I've seen any disputes in which one editor says that something is common knowledge ("Paris is the capital of France"), and another person says that it's just an opinion ("Coffee tastes good"). Have you? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:16, 13 May 2021 (UTC)

A kitten for you![edit]

Iris cat.jpg

Thanks for all you do!

NRodriguez (WMF) (talk) 04:12, 18 May 2021 (UTC)

Your thoughts?[edit]

Following up on this discussion, I have drafted text to propose to add to wp:Consensus#Through discussion:

Lack of consensus, standing alone, only supports removal or reinstatement of content when the content is the subject of (a) a current discussion or (b) a prior discussion that reached consensus. In such cases editors should link to the applicable discussion. In all other cases editors should instead cite policy, sources, or another substantive basis for the removal or reinstatement.

I would appreciate your "pre-publication" thoughts and improvements. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 17:39, 27 May 2021 (UTC)

@Butwhatdoiknow, can you tell me a story about a dispute, and the outcomes you imagine if we do or don't have this proposal in the policy? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:32, 28 May 2021 (UTC)
The text is designed to discourage "no consensus," "discuss first," and similar vacuous edit summaries and talk page assertions (I disagree so there is no consensus and I win) - the sort of activity that Francis Schonken engaged in. The recipient of such treatment could cite this text and say "got anything else?" At that point, one hopes, the discussion would turn substantive. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 01:57, 28 May 2021 (UTC)
@Butwhatdoiknow, I don't think it will fit the scenario you mention.
  • You: Bold edit
  • Them: I disagree, so there is no consensus and I win.
  • You: Policy says that's not good enough. You can only revert if it's the subject of a current discussion.
  • Them: Yeah, well, this discussion right here is "a current discussion", so I win again.
It might be more pointful to try to convince people to adopt a rule that "'No consensus' requires at least two people on both sides of a dispute. When only one editor holds a viewpoint, the consensus is against that viewpoint." WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:05, 28 May 2021 (UTC)

Okay, how about:

Lack of consensus, standing alone, only supports removal or reinstatement of content when the content is the subject of (a) a current substantive discussion or (b) a prior discussion that reached consensus. In such cases editors should link to the applicable discussion. In all other cases editors should instead cite policy, sources, or another substantive basis for the removal or reinstatement.

Is that better? Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 04:19, 28 May 2021 (UTC)

@Butwhatdoiknow, in practice, I don't think that will help. All of my objections are always, automatically substantive.
Also, you last sentence seems to rule out common sense. Is "bad grammar" a substantive basis? Or "confusing"? (What if it's perfectly clear to you, but I can't figure out what it means?) WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:28, 28 May 2021 (UTC)
Boy, you are a tough customer. Let's say you're right and my proposal won't have the benefit that I think it will have. Do you have any concern that it will make things worse? Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 06:37, 28 May 2021 (UTC)
@Butwhatdoiknow, I see only indirect losses with this (e.g., loss of transparency, because a newcomer will read the rules and then have to discover that the written rules aren't the real rules). It's more pointless than problematic.
I think that there's some potential for doing something that's actually useful on this subject. If you want to explore this, try (off wiki, if you want) re-writing your idea into a series of if...then statements for both sides, and see if that produces useful insights. For example, "If you were a bold editor and you got reverted with an explanation of 'no consensus', then you may/should/must..." WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:33, 28 May 2021 (UTC)
I'm trying for more of a generic policy statement rather than a how to. For that see Wikipedia:Don't_revert_due_solely_to_"no_consensus"#How_to_respond_to_a_"no_consensus"_edit_summary. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 22:16, 28 May 2021 (UTC)
@Butwhatdoiknow, IMO generic policy statements tend not to affect behavior as much as a handful of "Do not" statements. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:27, 30 May 2021 (UTC)