sotnd conservaleaks

2008-04-14 ZB1 user Rocky
2008-04-14 ZB1 Falsifiability of Creation
2008-04-14 ZB1 Guidelines change
2008-04-14 ZB1 Anti-Christian image
2008-04-14 ZB1 FernoKlump

Guidelines change, Mon, 14 Apr 2008 08:58:55 -0700 (PDT):

The Guidelines page has to have some changes to it.  At the moment,
I'm going to concentrate on the subtopic "sources", which currently

"We should not allow any and all citations to newspaper stories.
Journalistic opinions are not authorities, and journalists are not
authorities on scientific issues. It is better to cite the scientific
article directly."

This is my proposal for a change:

====Primary sources====
1.  Printed books
2.  Journals
3.  Diaries (when necessary)
4.  E-books, and other public-domain books published on the internet
5.  First-hand newspaper accounts

All sources must be in MLA format, citing the author, book, page
number, date and place published.

====Internet sources====
Use of the internet as source material is restricted to the following:
1.  Primary news agencies (AP, Reuters, FoxNews, etc)
2.  Actual books which were previously printed, and now in the public
3.  Major, authoritative websites which promote the subject being
written on

Websites deemed personal in nature cannot be used as authoritative
source material.

Image uploading is restricted to the following:
1.  Images made prior to 1923 are considered "public domain" in
accordance with U.S. law; they may be uploaded to the article in
question.  This includes all images made by and for the U.S.
2.  Images made after 1923 are considered "copyright" and as such are
restricted to "fair use" policies, including restricting placement
only on certain articles.
3.  All images must bear a relevent licence tag, indicating copyright
status, ownership of the image, and source.

"Brian Macdonald" <>, Mon, 14 Apr 2008 11:05:37 -0500:

Of course, there's going to be a brief explanation added as well...

"Philip Rayment" <>, Tue, 15 Apr 2008 07:11:56 +1000:

I'd like to comment on this at some length.  Please don't make any changes until I do.

Philip Rayment

Ed Poor <>, Mon, 14 Apr 2008 18:08:37 -0700 (PDT):

Philip, I'm eager to hear your comments but am in no rush. I know you
do very good work when it comes to documenting our standards. If I
thought I could do a better job, I'd give it a try.

Karajou, I think I know where you going with your suggestions, and
obviously your heart is in the right place. I anticipate only good
coming out of this discussion. :-)


"Brian Macdonald" <>, Mon, 14 Apr 2008 22:59:41 -0500:

Since this involves upgrading or improving our site policies, I won't make a
change until we all looked at the proposal and make comment's and/or
suggestions first.

"Philip Rayment" <>, Tue, 15 Apr 2008 21:30:06 +1000:

Regarding newspapers, I made the following comment on the sources guidline talk page over a year ago:
  [The policy] presupposes that the citation would be for a scientific matter. What about an event where a newspaper could be the only source, and for which it is likely to be unbiased, say for the date of death of a public figure, for example? A blanket ban on any newspaper citations seems to be going too far.
So I support an easing of that restriction.  By the way, that link above has other comments on sources that may be worth reviewing.

In some ways, I would endorse this suggestion of Brian's.  However, I am concerned about a factor that we've discussed recently, that being over-legislating.  Listing the acceptable sources does not allow for things that we haven't thought of.  If the list was a list of example sources rather than a definitive list of sources, that would be better.

Secondly, the items in the list are somewhat ambiguous, although your "brief explanations" might cover that.  What, for example, is meant by "diaries"?  Is my personal diary okay?  (Just kidding).  But what diaries are acceptable, or what diaries do you mean?

You don't mention blogs.  No doubt this is because blogs are usually considered unacceptable.  The problem with that idea is when the blog is written by someone with suitable qualifications or expertise, such as that of Professor of New Testament Interpretation Ben Witherington who wrote, for example, about the supposed Jesus Tomb on his blog.

Also, the proposed rules will likely spark as much debate as they prevent, with arguments over what constitutes an "authoritative" web-site.

Although it doesn't make a major difference, I think we should recognise where modern technology is heading, and not make a distinction based on the medium, i.e. between printed material and Internet material.  There are businesses these days that print books on demand (so you could write a history of your grandparents and get 20 copies printed for all their grandkids, for example), but are they really any more authoritative than quality Internet-based material?  Some organisations (e.g. Creation Ministries International) sometimes publish an article on the Internet then in printed form.  Does the printed form make it more authoritative then when it was only on the Internet?

I think that it would be better to have a generic statement about sources that emphasises authority, expertise, ideology, and rigour over simply listing types of sources.

None of those comments above relate to your Images section.  That's more of a copyright issue than a sources issue (although it does need to be addressed).  But on images, your section about that either doesn't mention recent U.S. government images, or confusingly includes it under pre-1923 images.  And what's special about 1923, by the way, or is it really "more than 85 years old"?

Philip Rayment

"Brian Macdonald" <>, Tue, 15 Apr 2008 07:24:59 -0500:

I'll have to do more research into this, but in Wikipedia, 1923 seems to be
a "copyright cut-off date", in which there is a law on the books stating so
(I don't know the law itself).

Diaries would include those of historical value, like Ann Frank's.  Diaries
belonging to Jane Doe just down the street don't count, obviously.

Newspapers are first-hand sources of historical events, so that's pretty
clear.  I insist on the printed form because 1) too many people rely on the
internet for their sources, and behave in such a manner as to think that if
it's not online, it doesn't exist; and 2) they force the writer to pull out
a book and use it.  If high schools and colleges can demand it, so can we.

On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 6:30 AM, Philip Rayment <>
wrote:, Tue, 15 Apr 2008 08:06:24 -0700 (PDT):

This is the link to U.S. government laws, regulations, and meanings of
copyright.  Since the server on which Conservapedia is hosted is
located in New Jersey, we are subject to American laws for the content
on the website.

However, we should be as considerate as possible, if for example we
cite something that is copyrighted under Australian law.

"Philip Rayment" <>, Wed, 16 Apr 2008 22:26:38 +1000:

There may be some differences between countries, but by and large
international copyright laws basically accept that anything that is
copyright in one country will be accepted as copyright in other countries
also, I believe.

Philip Rayment

Ed Poor <>, Wed, 16 Apr 2008 05:55:24 -0700 (PDT):

Thanks for your long, thoughtful analysis. You were wise to pick up on
the over-legislating aspect. Liberals want to tie as down with strings
(like Gulliver in Lilliput).

The point is to choose trustworthy sources, and that's always going to
be a matter of judgment. The last thing we want is some smart-mouth
kid making us take out good info just because there's a line of text
on some guideline page that justfies his desire for Liberal
Censorship. (Or, what can be worse, a guideline which *requires* us to
give credence to something which we all know is bogus, simply because
it fits a category.)

We need to use our God-given capacity for judgment. Applying rules
blindly is for machines, like the computer that serves up our web

Ed Poor
A Highly Experience Computer Programmer

"Brian Macdonald" <>, Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:00:04 -0500:

Blogs, as a rule, should never be used as they are a mass of personal
opinion; the exception being when someone on a blog has written down
something which is absolutely vital to the article in question.  For
example, if Richard Dawkins has a blog on his own opinions regarding
Christianity, we can use that to describe his character in the article about

"Philip Rayment" <>, Wed, 16 Apr 2008 23:44:16 +1000:

Your reasons for favouring printed sources don't seem to be relevant to providing references for Conservapedia.

Philip Rayment

"Brian Macdonald" <>, Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:50:19 -0500:

Yes, they are relevent.  The majority amount of source material is still the
printed work; very little of what was printed has made its way online.
Using the printed work...the actual act of pulling out a book and opening
it...forces the writer to get to know more of what he's talking about.

And the pleasant side-effect from that is that the writer may be forced to
think about his writing style, perhaps seeing an improvement from the "Dick
and Jane" grammer that we've seen from the amatuers who come to
Conservapedia and choose to write as though they're still in second grade.

On Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 8:44 AM, Philip Rayment <>

"Philip Rayment" <>, Wed, 16 Apr 2008 23:58:06 +1000:

That the majority of source material is still printed has no relevance to which is preferable.  Reading something on a web-site can be just as educational as reading a book.  And yes, there may be "pleasant" side effects from reading a book, but that's not relevant for Conservapedia sources.  There's no reason I can see why writing style will be improved by reading a book over reading something of similar quality on the Internet.

Philip Rayment

"Brian Macdonald" <>, Wed, 16 Apr 2008 09:33:02 -0500:

The majority of source material the writers pull from the internet are
suspect in content, and the edits made as a result are amateurish in style
as well as showing a severe lack of education. We have to break this
over-reliance on the internet as the sole source of material.  In order to
make the reader confident that we are the "trustworthy encyclopedia" we have
to be as professional as possible.

On Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 8:58 AM, Philip Rayment <>

Ed Poor <>, Wed, 16 Apr 2008 11:30:48 -0700 (PDT):

Online material tends to vary in quality. Can university students cite
Wikipedia as a source?

Companies which can afford to print books generally pay more attention
to fact-checking.

Ed Poor

"Brian Macdonald" <>, Wed, 16 Apr 2008 13:32:50 -0500:

As a rule, at least here at MTSU, the professors tend to discourage or
outright ban the use of Wikipedia as a source, because of the fact that it
is edited by people who don't check their facts properly.

"Dan Holmes" <>, Wed, 16 Apr 2008 17:19:51 -0500:

At KU, it's generally understood that Wikipedia is not to be cited as a source.

"Philip Rayment" <>, Fri, 18 Apr 2008 00:36:26 +1000:

True, online material /does/ vary in quality.  Which implies that /some/ of
it is quite good.

Which is why we need to emphasise /quality/ over /medium/ (paper or

Philip Rayment

Ed Poor <>, Thu, 17 Apr 2008 09:11:44 -0700 (PDT):

I'm biased in favor of electrons (designed and created by God) and
against paper (a man-made invention). But I'll follow the consensus on
this one. ;-)

Ed Poor

2008-04-14 ZB1 user Rocky
2008-04-14 ZB1 Falsifiability of Creation
2008-04-14 ZB1 Guidelines change
2008-04-14 ZB1 Anti-Christian image
2008-04-14 ZB1 FernoKlump

Last updated 12 Apr 2011 by Georg Kraml.