Wikipedia talk:Party and person

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Secondary sourcesEdit

Which part isn't true? [1] SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:18, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

The only field where the term "third party" can be used with any degree of precision is law. There, it is a person who is affected in some way by a contract, but is not a party to the contract. For example, a surveyor and a homeowner contract for a survey. The next door neighbor sees the metal stakes in the ground, and builds a fence close to the apparent property line. But the stakes were wrong.
Any use of "third party" outside the field of contract law is only a rough analogy. Different people are free to argue for different interpretations of the analogy, and there is no authority to decide who is right. Furthermore, contentious issues are not only discussed with considerable heat in the press and on Wikipedia, but also tend to result in lawsuits, so any attempt to disentangle the general English meaning from the contract law meaning is doomed to fail. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:46, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
I agree in general, but we use it on WP to mean secondary source. WhatamIdoing is saying it's not a secondary source, so I'd like to hear what he believes it is, because it's clearly not a primary source. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 18:10, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
I oppose all use of "third-party" in Wikipedia policies and guidelines because it is too vague to be useful. I reject attempts to devise a Wikipedia-only meaning.
As for a specific point favored by SlimVirgin that is obviously not true, a third-party source is not a necessarily a secondary source. For example, a driver is alleged to have driven away from a gasoline station without paying. The driver is the first party, both in contract law meaning (because he purchased, or ought to have purchased, fuel) and in the general English analogy (because he was directly involved in an event). In contract law terms, the gasoline station is the second party. There is a video tape of the event from a city-owned surveillance camera. The video tape is a primary source, because it is not based upon analysis of other primary sources. Its owner, the city, is a third party for contract law purposes, because the city was not involved in the possible transaction. The tape is a third-party source in the general English analogy sense, because the device itself is incapable of bias, and the city has no vested interest in whether proper payment for the fuel was made or not. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:22, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
As usual, I believe and support the plain English, dictionary definitions of terms like these. If SlimVirgin wants to know what I think the terms mean, she can read this page, or pretty much any dictionary. Or most textbooks that describe historiography, or probably several university web pages that explain this to students—in short, it's not hard to find out what the real world thinks, if you go look for it.
Furthermore, the assertion that Wikipedia uses the terms interchangeably is simply false. The WP:Notability-related pages certainly don't conflate the two. WP:CLUB, for example, specifies "multiple, third-party, independent, reliable sources" rather than "multiple secondary sources". PROF#Criteria specifies "as demonstrated by independent reliable sources," with nary a word about secondary sources. It's really only the GNG (and related broad rules in the SNGs) that actually require secondary sources. (Which, BTW, doesn't mean that I personally think we should write articles entirely from primary sources; I'm just telling you what the actual guidelines have actually said for years now.)
It might well be true that SlimVirgin herself uses them interchangeably; it is possibly true that the content policies that SlimVirgin has heavily edited use them interchangeably, or at least sloppily. (I seem to remember SV's effort to replace one of these terms with 'secondary source' being promptly reverted recently.) But "how SV uses them at NOR" and "how the community uses them, considering all the pages" are not necessarily the same.
I'd be happy to see the usually more appropriate term independent replace third-party in most, if not all, of Wikipedia's advice pages, because that's what we usually mean when we say third-party anyway, but the community hasn't accepted that for various practical reasons (largely amounting to, If we say that, then some POV pusher will reject excellent sources because "That professor is a well-known academic expert, which means he isn't independent, because he's (*gasp*) paid to study this subject!").
BTW, this change has left the page in a state that contradicts itself. It also implies, absurdly, that only one "neutral, outside observer" can exist. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:13, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
A question was asked above: Which part isn't true? [2], and the answer is Line 34. Otr500 (talk) 03:06, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Primary versus first partyEdit

The essay lists "Speeches given by politicians or activists about their views and goals." as an example of a primary source and "A press release from a political campaign." as an example of first party. The trouble being that the two may make exactly the same claims, and even be written by the same speechwriter. In fact all the examples of a "first party" source also appear to be primary sources. This does not help in distinguishing the two. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 05:54, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Did you read the Wikipedia:Party and person#Combinatorics section, which explicitly gives examples of first-party secondary sources, etc.? Also, you might like to read Wikipedia:Identifying and using primary and secondary sources if you're looking for more information. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:21, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
Ummm no, it gives a single example of a non-primary first person source ("Scientist combines data from a dozen of his own previously published experiments into a meta-analysis") that does little to overcome the multiple conflating examples given greater visibility by being higher up in the article. No, I am not "looking for more information", I am pointing out that this essay does a fairly poor job of clarifying 'party and person'. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 03:04, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
The fact is that most first-party sources are also primary sources, so giving few examples of first-party secondary sources seems reasonable to me. If you'd like to expand the list of examples, then feel free. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:28, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Unexplained revertEdit

See here: [3]. No clue why this was done. aprock (talk) 20:27, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

You gave no explanation for your changes. They seem to be aimed at strengthening you own POV in a content dispute in another article[4] by changing the rules. Academica Orientalis (talk) 20:30, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
This is not a policy page. As noted in the edit summaries, the changes I made clarify the essay according to existing policy: WP:PSTS. If you have a specific issue with the changes I made, please discuss them. If your only purpose here is to revert constructive edits without discussion, then I suggest you self-revert. aprock (talk) 20:32, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
You did not "clarify" it. You changed is substantially from being about sources to be about material in general. This likely in order so you can then argue that one is not allowed to quote numbers even from from reliable sources, numbers being primary material, and so you can then "win" the content dispute. Academica Orientalis (talk) 20:37, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
That you do not understand the policy is clear. From WP:NOR, A book by a military historian about the Second World War might be a secondary source about the war, but if it includes details of the author's own war experiences, it would be a primary source about those experiences. Being explicit with respect to the fact that a citation can be both a primary and secondary source, depending on the material cited, does not change the policy. Given that this is and essay and not a policy page, and hasn't been referenced in any of our discussions, your assertions that this is somehow being used against you is curious and quite paranoid. aprock (talk) 20:44, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
WP:NOR is still talking about whether sources are secondary or not. It does not state that a secondary source that is about the topic can still have some material that primary even if this material is also about the topic. It seems that what you want do is to argue that all data tables in Wikipedia are primary "material" and must therefore be deleted from Wikipedia. This is obviously an enormous and bad change that should be discussed by the community at large. You made these changes immediately after I pointed out that WP:PRIMARY is about sources, not material, and therefore could not be used to delete a data table you dislike. Academica Orientalis (talk) 20:58, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Your reading of WP:NOR is clearly incorrect. The excerpt I provided clearly illustrates that a source can be primary and secondary. If you have problems with the policy or are still confused, I suggest you take your concerns to WT:NPOV. Your concerns about Talk:Heritability of IQ can likewise be handled on that page. Dragging your conflicts from page to page is unproductive editing. aprock (talk) 21:00, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
WP:NOR is still talking about sources, not "material". See my above comment. More generally, your enormous change could used as an excuse for deleting any claimed "primary" number or data (not just all of Wikipedia's data tables) found in scientific research from Wikipedia even is stated in a reliable secondary or tertiary source. Attempting to win a content dispute by changing the rules or their interpretation, thereby arguably causing widespread disruption to Wikipedia as a whole, is unproductive editing. Academica Orientalis (talk) 21:24, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
I have tagged the questionable statements as per above. I also have tagged the claim that a "Novel conclusions in scientific report" is necessarily primary material! Aprock may be unfamiliar with academic literature since he does not know that secondary sources such as literature reviews often draw "novel conclusions" regarding what material has best empirical support. Aprock's change would for example mean, for example, that one cannot cite medical literature reviews drawing "novel conclusions" regarding what medical treatments have best empirical evidence. Academica Orientalis (talk) 22:18, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
You're confusing synthesis with original research. It might help if you could cite actual policy in explaining why you think the edits are problematic. One of the main reasons for using secondary sources is that they provide the appropriate context and evaluation of primary sources, establishing proper weight. From WP:PSTS, secondary sources rely on primary sources for their material, making analytic or evaluative claims about them. Nothing in the edits I made suggest that secondary sources should not be used as intended. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with policy. aprock (talk) 23:14, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Your changed text is ambiguous and can be used to attack "novel conclusions" in secondary sources. There should be consistency in order to avoid misunderstandings and misuse. The earlier text "The first report of a scientific experiment" was much better and clearly excludes secondary sources. Academica Orientalis (talk) 23:28, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
At this point, unless you being quoting specific policy, there's not much to discuss. As you've demonstrated above, your interpretation of policy can at best be characterized as uninformed. aprock (talk) 23:31, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
I have interpreted policy correctly. You have dramatically changed the focus from "sources" to "material", apparently in order to "win" a content dispute, as well as changed a clear statement to something ambiguous which can be interpreted as contradicting policy regarding secondary sources. Exactly why did you change "The first report of a scientific experiment" to "Novel conclusions in scientific report"? Academica Orientalis (talk) 23:38, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
As an illustration of the disconnect you seem to be suffering from, here is the first sentence of primary from WP:PSTS: Primary sources are very close to an event, and are often accounts written by people who are directly involved. Scientific conclusions by a researcher are exactly a written account of the person directly involved, the researcher in question. To suggest that novel conclusions are not primary sources is silly. You appear to be hanging your hat on a illustrative example instead of understanding the actual policy. And again, you are conflating novel conclusions with synthesis and establishing weight. Secondary sources are used for properly synthesizing and weighting the novel conclusions found in primary sources. If you want to argue whether or not synthesis and weighing of primary sources constitutes "novel conclusions", the proper forum for that is WT:NPOV. At this point, it's become clear that you are acting as a disruptive gatekeeper in some strange attempt at continuing a content dispute on another page. As such, until you return with specific and relevant policy, I'll leave you to beat the WP:DEADHORSE. Enjoy. aprock (talk) 23:41, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, for example weighing and evaluating primary sources, judging some of the sources to give poor support for their claims and others to give good support for their claims, and then making, say, specific medical treatment recommendations based on this is obviously "novel conclusions". I see that you have also removed "meta-analysis" as a secondary source. The reason for this is unclear. Is it because you think meta-analyses make "novel conclusions" while literature and systematic reviews do not? If so, then you are misinformed. Academica Orientalis (talk) 00:06, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
meta-analysis is redundant with respect to systematic review. As for your other concerns, I suggest you raise them at WT:NOR. aprock (talk) 00:11, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
This is the place to discuss your changes to this article. Academica Orientalis (talk) 00:17, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

A few points:

  • Aprock isn't required to explain his/her changes. WP:POLICY explicitly permits WP:BOLD editing of even official policy pages.
  • Explained or not, nobody's required to accept Aprock's bold changes. The reason for opposing them, however, is supposed to be rather more substantial than "unexplained" or "not discussed in advance".
  • Aprock is absolutely correct about the possibility of sources being a mix of primary and secondary material. Acadēmica, I suggest that you read WP:USEPRIMARY, which has a whole section on that very issue.
  • That supplement also explains that there are differences between fields. Among scientists, the novel conclusions of a recent meta-analysis are secondary material. Among historians, the same sort of material would be often considered a primary source. Both fields normally agree that new experimental results are primary material, which is why the smaller statement was originally in this page. However, you should know that a minority claims even this to be secondary, and the only true primary source to be the original raw data and notes collected in the lab, e.g., handwritten notes in a lab book.
  • Changing any page in the middle of a dispute and then trying to pass it off as the long-standing version is poor form, but so long as the key players know you've done so, it's really not that big a deal.
  • {{dubious}} should not be used in the project space. Try {{Under discussion-inline}} instead. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:21, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Going back to the original dispute between aprock and me. Do you think data tables from secondary or tertiary sources allowed in Wikipedia? Academica Orientalis (talk) 01:45, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Sometimes. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:11, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Secondary source on own workEdit

The essay contains the following statement: "Scientist combines data from a dozen of his own previously published experiments into a meta-analysis". I don't think the source be considered secondary in that instance, as the scientist is just too close to his work. In general, if someone publishes another article and cites their own work, they are still reporting on their own work. The table perhaps doesn't work quite as well if you take it out, but I think it is confusing. II | (t - c) 05:21, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

A meta-analysis is always a secondary source. The identity of the original authors is irrelevant.
Fortunately, this will almost never come up in practice on Wikipedia, since so few people bother to publish such things. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:47, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
No, that's just your opinion. Sorry, it's just not a fact. There is some grey to the definition of 'a step removed', which is the definition of secondary. II | (t - c) 20:01, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps you would like to provide a source—any reliable source—that says a meta-analysis is a primary source, rather than just asserting that 'a step removed' is about the author's identity rather than the intellectual work of transforming a set of primary sources into something new. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:36, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
I have just encountered (for the first time I've noticed this since this conversation five years ago) PMID 28234315, which is a narrative review of mostly the authors' own work. At a guess, this might be more common in smaller/niche fields, but it is not common overall. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:26, 2 September 2018 (UTC)

Examples table at "What is a primary or secondary source?"Edit

I'd like to suggest a replacement table for this section, that includes more examples, and has more verisimilitude between the examples in the different sections. This would help editors a) better conceptualize what kinds of publication fall into each category, and b) better understand how the differences between them applies regardless of topic or medium, and c) trace the changes in material from primary to secondary to tertiary for each "story" in series. Here's what I've drafted:

Examples
Person Simple cases
Primary source material
  1. An account of an event, written by an eyewitness
  2. A scientific paper or government report with novel findings
  3. A court filing, law, or patent
  4. A speech given by a politician or activist about their goals and values
  5. A performance and safety review of a vehicle at the website of a motoring magazine or consumer organization that did the testing
  6. A technical standard promulgated by an organization
  7. A press release (whether issued by an individual, company, nonprofit, or government office)
  8. The breed standard for a strain of livestock
Secondary source material
  1. A book about a historical event, based on letters and diaries written at the time
  2. A magazine article, or systematic review, synthesizing the results of previous research without presenting new findings
  3. A documentary film about a legal case and its ramifications
  4. A conference presentation that summarizes a public policy debate (even if non-neutrally)
  5. A newspaper article on the most and least safe cars, based on the testing of others
  6. A book on integrating standards compliance reviews into software development cycles
  7. A news broadcast covering the public reaction to a press release.
  8. A veterinarian's column in a dog breeder publication on medical problems common in particular breeds
Tertiary source material
  1. An entry about an event in a modern encyclopedia or dictionary
  2. A database of scientific data.
  3. A cross-referenced compendium of laws and legal citations.
  4. A TV "infotainment" documentary outlining the history of a public policy debate, as it was laid out in a previous book, without new investigative journalism
  5. A "coffee table book" about sports cars based entirely on other people's books and articles, and presenting no significant new analysis
  6. A textbook on programming, especially if intended for children, secondary school students, or university undergraduates
  7. A timeline of events in an industry, based on TV and newspaper reportage
  8. An overview of a breed in a cat fancier magazine or a horse breed guide.

I've been fairly WP:BOLD in tweaking this essay, but this would be a major change.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:37, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

The usual. --Izno (talk) 14:31, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Template parameter missing?Edit

"This essay is an explanatory supplement to Error: No page specified."

So to what exactly was it meant to be an explanatory supplement? --SoledadKabocha (talk) 14:30, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

No shortcuts?Edit

Why are there no "WP:" shortcuts to this page, unlike most other project pages and essays? As for ideas, "WP:P&P" would be a pretty good one. Geolodus (talk) 13:42, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

Since nobody has replied yet, I'll just go ahead and create the shortcut myself. Geolodus (talk) 09:26, 23 May 2019 (UTC)