Talk:Timeline of the Anglophone Crisis (2019)

Active discussions

Quality of sources, particularly National TimesEdit

I’m concerned about the quality of the sources in this article. I added the Wikipedia:Current_event_templates to show that the situation is still evolving and may contain inaccuracies. While this is true for all current events, even from reliable and reputable news sources, I have concerns about some of the sources that are being used, particularly the “National Times” which is quoted 105 times on the page (out of 211 citations).

Reasons:

  • The National Times has no imprint, which is highly irregular for a professional news source.
  • The National Times does not appear to be a recognized news source and I don’t think it meets the criteria of WP:Source, such as “mainstream newspapers”. According to Alexa Internet only 30 other sites link to it. According to Crowdtangle, even the sites homepage was only shared on Facebook 76 times and some articles I checked had no shares at all. Also, the National Times does not appear to be quoted extensively by other media. All of this gives me the impression that the site is not a publication of record and should not be used as a source for Wikipedia.
  • At least some articles on the site have been republished from other sites, which would be unlikely for a reputable and professional site.
  • The site is running on an outdated version of Wordpress using this free Wordpress Theme - again, not something you would see a reliable and mainstream news source to do.
  • The writing on the site is very partisan. While Wikipedia:Neutrality of sources discusses that while the use of non-neutral sources is acceptable all statements coming from such a source should be clearly attributed with qualifiers such as “according to”. That is not the case in the current text.
  • The first three references in the text were 404 errors, suggesting that the content doesn’t stay online for a long time. I then randomly clicked on some of the links further down in the article and found more dead links. Again, for me this speaks against this being a publication of quality or record.

All in all, it seems to me like the National Times is a self-published source rather than a reputable source of record. I would therefore suggest replacing uses of the National Times with more reputable sources. Timoluege (talk) 18:56, 4 July 2019 (UTC)

@Timoluege: The 404 errors can be worked around using Wayback Machine, and a bot will probably get around and do so eventually. While I may agree that using other sources (not to mention a larger variety of sources) would be ideal, there is simply not a lot to pick from -- unfortunately, The National Times and Journal du Cameroun are the only sources I've found that report on the Anglophone Crisis on a reliably frequent basis. While they both seem somewhat biased against the Cameroonian government (not that they are sympathetic to the separatists either), I have found them to be accurate whenever events they report do get attention in mainstream publications.
For now, I'd say the Current event template should suffice as a general disclaimer that information might change. While other sources should be used whenever they are available, I think getting rid of The National Times altogether is counterproductive and a bit extreme. Hopefully, a) the Anglophone Crisis will get more attention in mainstream newspapers going forward, and b) reports by organizations such as Crisis Group can be used to verify individual news stories. Mikrobølgeovn (talk) 22:51, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
(By the way -- I'm glad to see that in addition to writing this, you did a great job adding better sources to the article. Mikrobølgeovn (talk) 22:56, 4 July 2019 (UTC))
@Mikrobølgeovn: Thanks for responding to my concerns so quickly. I appreciate that! Regarding the sources, I guess this is the kind of thing where reasonable people can disagree. Personally, my preference is much closer to Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a newspaper and I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to sources, particularly where current events are concerned. But I hear you, when you say that it's difficult to find good sources on this. Again, my preference would be to then reduce the number and frequency of updates and stick to the few more established sources. My approach in this situation would be to only stick to the dates that are, for example, in the timeline of International Crisis Group, rather than add details from sources that I consider to be of lower quality. So I guess that is just something where we have to agree to disagree :-). I'll see whether I can add alternative sources, at least for the last two months. Timoluege (talk) 14:28, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
@Timoluege: I greatly appreciate that you're so solution-oriented :) By the way, while I agree that Wikipedia is not a newspaper, it's hard to ignore that if the events in the timeline happened elsewhere (say, in Europe or the Middle East), each and every event would have had its own article. I think Wikipedia is biased enough already in regards to its focus, so I don't think an updated timeline can hurt.
How about we let the general disclaimer stand for now, and gradually work to replace NA Times? Crisis Watch is a great starting point. It may take a while, but I believe the consequences of deleting a large portion of a year's work outweighs the urgency of replacing the source.
By the way - what are your thoughts on Quartz, Journal du Cameroun and Cameroon News Agency? Mikrobølgeovn (talk) 14:44, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
@Mikrobølgeovn: Both CNA and JdC look more professional and certainly have a much higher reach than NA times according to Alexa, Crowdtangle and by looking at their social media profiles ad websites. While I don't know what their editorial standards or bias might be, both appear to be professional media houses, rather than a self-published blog. As for Quartz: I think they are a professional news organization (maybe similar to Buzzfeed), but I don't know how good their coverage of Cameroon is. But this is just my personal take and not based on verifiable sources. Timoluege (talk) 16:01, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
@Timoluege: Thanks. The reason why I asked is because NA Times and JdC usually report on the same things, and I've consciously used both for the sake of variation. Most NA Times citations can probably be replaced by JdC. While this can't be done overnight, I will certainly make some effort. Mikrobølgeovn (talk) 16:06, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
@Timoluege: I have purged the January chapter. Unfortunately, it seems that not every event covered by NA Times is also covered by JdC. I made some effort trying to identify events in the CrisisGroup timeline, with little luck. Going forward, I will probably carry on the purge, month by month, and later return to those chapters using timelines. I was hoping I'd be able to do both things at once, but I think this is how it has to be done. Mikrobølgeovn (talk) 20:05, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
@Timoluege: I have removed every citation of The National Times from this article. Thankfully it is only quoted 20 times in the 2018 article, so that should be a lot less work. I will make it a long-term project to weed it out from articles related to this subject. Thank you for raising this issue, I guess this serves as a warning not to cite something solely on the merits of being on Google News. Mikrobølgeovn (talk) 12:20, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
@Mikrobølgeovn: Thanks! I can appreciate how frustrating it must be to remove a source after you spent hours adding content from that source, but I think the article will be better for it! Timoluege (talk) 16:18, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
@Timoluege: It has indeed been frustrating to remove events that doubtlessly happened, but I have started the process of reversing the purge with better sources. The main article, all the timelines and the article for international reactions are now in a better state. Thanks again for bringing this to my attention! Mikrobølgeovn (talk) 16:39, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

Journal du CamerounEdit

@Mikrobølgeovn: About the reliability of your sources: Journal du Cameroun is decribed by Courrier International as "a reference media in the country. Independant, it is managed by a team of collaborators based in Yaounde but also in Europe and the USA."--Le Petit Chat (talk) 15:42, 29 September 2019 (UTC)

Return to "Timeline of the Anglophone Crisis (2019)" page.