Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wikipedia Discussion Pages

My regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my encouragement of people reading the discussion pages behind the scenes of each Wikipedia page.  If you haven't already snooped around you might want to try it one of these cold rainy days.  Sometimes the discussions get very technical, but usually they are very entertaining.  You do not have to have a Wikipedia account or even edit.  Anyone can read these pages, and editors (novice and advanced can weigh in the discussion).

Discussion tab is located on the upper left side of the page you are reading.  Simply click on the tab and start reading.

If you want to contribute to the discussion then you need to "edit" the section you are responding to.  Simply type under the conversation a : so that your words are off-set from the response above.  You can add more ::'s to make it off-set even further.  This makes all the replies easy to follow.  When you are done with what you want to say you need to type 4 tildees like this ~~~~ and the computer will add your name, date and time of response to your reply.

Here is a interesting discussion on the Alien Abduction page.  Note that the editors name appears here.  The editor would not have typed that part in.  Just the 4 tildees.

"I might be mistaken, but it appears there's a Scientologist explanation on the part about possible explanations, second from the bottom, re: memories of birth. It is lacking citation. It also uses some weasel words like "(one that is gaining widespread acceptance"); this really isn't true. It's not scientifically viable, neo-nates don't have developed enough vision or senses, let alone memories, to encode something like that and recall it as traumatic. I have seen the theory before, but I believe it was a scientologist theory and should be both labeled as such and have the "widespread acceptance" tripe removed - it's psychologically ridiculous. I've deleted it on the grounds that upon rereading it, it's so slanted and unsupported that it simply doesn't belong. It touts itself as "one of the most comprehensive theories" as well, but without any support or scientific rigor. [[User:MrKeith2317|MrKeith2317]] 05:06, 9 November 2007 (UTC)"

If you want to start a new topic on a discussion page then you click the "new section" tab. 

Where  it says "subject/headline" this is where you write the reason for your new topic.  I've seen all kinds of topics and discussions.  This may be open to the public to read but more are not aware of this option.  Write as if you were writing to a student or co-worker.  Try to be very specific about what you are asking, also be very polite.  Snarky sometimes happens on these pages, but other editors will call you out for it.  You have talk to these people like they are going to be your next-door neighbor for the next 20 years and you are trying to get them to pay for half the fence that is falling down.

When I remove bad edits, many times I will revert the edit and leave some kind of reason for it (please cite your source).  Sometimes I will actually open up the discussion page and make a new topic and address the person who made the edit. If it was spam then there is no reason to do this, but if the editor seemed to be well-meaning, a nice note why their edit is not staying on the page is polite.  We need more editors and scaring those newbies away isn't going to help.  Number one complaint I hear from people is "I edited a page and the next thing I knew it was reverted and no one said why they did so."  I've learned a lot about how to edit from the comments left for me.

I got one the other day, I had added a external link to Robert Sheaffer's book "Psychic Vibrations" then the edit was reverted.  Why?  They said, "for it to be an external link... there needs to be a link" Duh Susan!  I had just left the cite for a book nothing for people to click on and follow.

I'm going to share some cool discussions I've found lately...

This is from the faith healer W.V. Grant's discussion page.

I would like to know how using wiki's guidelines one could add information one saw as an eyewitness? If there were only people there, no news media etc. I see no issue in stating what you saw, and stating it was an eyewitness case. Using Wiki guidelines, if Wiki existed when Mosew parted the Red Sea you could not include the information because it was first hand information.
I would like to state for the record, that I do not personal know W.V. Grant, I recently attended a service he preached at. I saw actual miracles in front of my eyes within feet of where I was sitting. It was not like he was on a stage, the two people I saw healed were sitting next to me by what I believe was the power of God to glorify the name of Jesus Christ. If you were not there, it would be hard to believe. I was there and it was amazing. No one could have bulled off a stunt next to me. Not even Steven Spielberg could have done this. If this man made a mistake with his taxes or other things, it does not mean God could not use him. None of us are perfect. I would like to add what I saw to the article as an eyewitness. I would like to also point out that I arrived at the church before he did, no one one was there yet. He arrived after me and everything was brought in from his car. People will always say things are not from God, even the magicians told Pharaoh that Moses was using a simple trick and we see how truthful this state me was.
Now I understand that there will be editors that do not believe in God, those of other faiths and finally those that just don't believe miracle happen any today anymore. But with all the negative unbalanced writing that is in this article cannot something be added by a person who saw a miracle from God? Sorry to disappoint any of you that think I am an emotional nut. I know what I saw and it saw it next to me.
Please don't ask me what I saw on my talk page. Either let me add it or refuse, if I told you, you still would not believe.
But you could tell me if you agree to include it.
akc9000 (talk contribs count

) 16:26, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

As I told you on your talk page, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia based on reliable secondary sources, not personal observations. This has nothing to do with someone's personal beliefs. Unfortunately, you talking about what you saw isn't a reliable secondary source. If we open up every article for personal testimony, what's to stop people from coming here to relate their negative experiences with the subject? Dayewalker (talk) 17:20, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Daywalker, as I stated to you. I disagree with your interpretation of the rule. I posted what I believe on this talk page to get other editors opinions (not yours) I know yours already.
Your are incorrect in assuming that an eyewitness case cannot be include if it is not stated as such. In the same way the rule about photo's does not apply about a photo if there is absolutely no other alternative but to include the photo in question that is not in the public domain. For example the person is deseased.
By your interfering with me getting other opinions on this topic, I will assume you have a person bias in this matter and will ask you to remove yourself. You, a person who want to be and Admin should know the rules. I am asking for "Other" editors opinions. I feel that a one time event can be included in the article if there was an eyewitness saw it and I am a person that never met the man, but I will go to church services he attends because of what I saw. This does not mean I want to write pro, but the article is written one sided in a "con". It is not balanced at all, and I now think you are part of the problem. I respectfully let me get other opinions and I respectfully request you not try to influence their decisions. I am a Christan, I do not know what your faith is, but it is awesome to see something happen happen in from of your eyes that is unexplainable.
You are the one who asked me to post to talk page to get other opinions, are you now trying to impeded this? I really don't understand what your motivation is.
akc9000 (talk contribs count
) 17:55, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Me commenting on your post here is not preventing other people from also commenting. In fact, if you'll check the page log here, I moved your comment to the bottom of the page so more people would be able to see it and respond.
Sorry, I will not remove myself from this article. Merely disagreeing with you wanting to add your personal testimony to this page does not warrant me being banned from it. If you disagree, feel free to ask an admin or file a case on one of the notice boards.
If you're interested in hearing more from other editors, you might want to file an request for comment on this issue. That will alert other editors to the situation. Dayewalker (talk) 18:30, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Nope. Not gonna happen. We do not include eyewitness testimony; never have, never will. We require verifiable neutral, third-party references from reliable sources. Any police officer or criminal-practice attorney can tell you that eyewitnesses are notoriously not reliable sources, and stage magicians (among others) make a living from the inability of onlookers to accurately interpret the testimony of their own eyes. This is not reflective of a bias against you, or against religion in general, or against faith healers in general; this is policy and will not be waived just because of what you claim you believe you saw. --Orange Mike | Talk 19:47, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Orange Mike is correct about Wikipedia policy here. (We get used to it after a while... Face-wink.svg) Seriously, even if eye-witness testimony were 100% reliable, we still couldn't include it in Wikipedia. Our policies are pretty strict on that. – Quadell (talk) 20:43, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

And from the same page but another topic...

The Bible Should be an authoritative 3rd party source

I am at a lose of what you two people are trying to do. Truly, This is my point, a person wrote a book stating this was all fake, That person is a magician, the Bible forbids Magic. You actual think that it is my "Opinion about" what I quoted? I have seen in many articles where notes were added. So you make me curious are you really trying to make this article fair and balanced? It seems each edit I make to try to make it fair, gets reverted.
Yes it is my opinion he has something to make by writing a book. Anyone writing a book will have a monetary motive, so exactly why cannot this be stated and if you have an issue with how I stated it, how may this point be made know to the reader?
I really don't have a lot of time quibbling over this, I just have some available time right now I think the POV I inserted balances the negative POV of Randi, is this not a correct assumption on my part? I must be missing something, I thought we were suppose to write from a neutral POV, I see a total negative, and I tried to offset this. Is this not correct?
akc9000 (talk contribs count
) 14:23, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
For a Christian like myself, the Holy Bible is an authoritative source of information on my Savior and his message. For many billions of people on this planet, it is not considered anything of the sort; and it is not considered an authoritative source in Wikipedia, which is a religiously-neutral project.
That's got nothing to do with what you are doing here. You are trying to insert your unsourced speculation about the motivations of a living person with a worldwide reputation in his field, based on your personal speculative interpretation of the Holy Bible, into an article about a third person. If you want to do that kind of thing, do it in your own blog or maybe Conservapedia; it has no place in Wikipedia. --Orange Mike | Talk 15:13, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Not speculation. Randi states that he bent a fork with pysic power, not an illusion or stage magic, he states that he is an atiest. As a Christian, I believe that these powers either come from God or Satan. Randi denies God, therefore the power he attests is from Satan.
Therefore, the quotes I used from the Bible are authoritative for the purpose of what I used it for, I intended to re-insert. Please see Wiki article on Randi for source of evidence.
Comments? I will wait one day for your additional excuses why I cannot quote what is said in the Bible as well as the Wiki article.
akc9000 (talk contribs count
) akc9000 (talk contribs count
) 00:39, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

This is a discussion about Stanislaw Burzynski's page.  There is a lot of controversy about this clinic.  Tim Farley is coming out with a blog discussing the skeptic "take-down" of his URL using WOT (I will include the link to SkepticTools when it comes out).  You could spend a hour reading through the discussion page on Burzynski, I choose this tidbit because it shows really how editors discuss changes to the page.  From what I have read it seems that the Burzynski clinic hired some go-getter to change the criticism on the Burzynski Wikipedia page.  That was exposed and the man fired, the Burzynski people came out with a press release apologizing for the act. 

Please add that in a book called "Knockout", Suzanne Somers' wrote about her interviews with doctors who are successfully using the most innovative cancer treatments--treatments that build up the body rather than tear it down. She wrote about Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and how he has effectively treated more than fifty types of cancer.
Princess Freckles (talk) 04:32, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Suzanne Somers book is not a reliable source on the efficacy of Burzynski's alleged cancer therapy. Rhode Island Red (talk) 04:42, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
"The American Cancer Society is concerned. 'I am very afraid that people are going to listen to her message and follow what she says and be harmed by it,' says Dr. Otis Brawley, the organization's chief medical officer. 'We use current treatments because they've been proven to prolong life. They've gone through a logical, scientific method of evaluation. I don't know if Suzanne Somers even knows there IS a logical, scientific method.' More broadly, Brawley is concerned that in the United States, celebrities or sports stars feel they can use their fame to dispense medical advice. 'There's a tendency to oversimplify medical messages,' he says. 'Well, oversimplification can kill'."[22]
Rhode Island Red (talk) 04:50, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
FWIW, Agreed. It's certainly true that she wrote it, and it might arguably be a legitimate part of an article on Suzanne Somers (although "innovative" is I think a WP:Peacock word here), but not here. (talk) 06:42, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Clicking on the blue links for WP terms can help you learn editing rules.  

Here is a bit of discussion on Noah's Ark
Anyway, if we think naturalistic explanations are necessary, where did all that water come from, and where did it go? --Macrakis (talk) 18:35, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Evidence-based investigation into bible stories is pointless and unnecessary in the sense that if a researcher applied for funding to study the possibility of a talking donkey the funding committee would probably tell them that it's pointless and unnececessary.
However, since the research has been published, it's useful to add depth to this encyclopædia article. Many readers may come here with the preconceived notion that noah's ark was just a story - an opinion that I share - but the article must try to take a step back and describe the subject neutrally, and an attempt at naturalistic explanation is much better than "Is true / is not". bobrayner (talk) 20:11, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
The neutral position in wikipedia is the position of mainstream science on all things. Due unweight should not be given to fringe ideas. see WP:FRINGE. (edit: as per Grabergs) IRWolfie- (talk) 01:15, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Skeptical objections to the practicalities of building the ark are not fringe ideas.--Taiwan boi (talk) 01:33, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
IRWolfie-, you meant UNdue weight, right?Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 12:02, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Sure; I probably misinterpreted your position. IRWolfie- (talk
17:47, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

These are just a few of the discussions I have noticed in the last day or so.  My point here is that real people are discussing these topics.  Most want to improve the page and follow Wikipedia rules.  Sometimes the rules are vague and not clearly enforced.  Wikipedia is written by volunteers, some of which are brand new and still learning.  It does not help to attack editors, and always try to clearly explain what you are doing and why.  We are all still learning after all.

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