[Taxacom] Wikipedia rewrites

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Wed Feb 11 19:54:05 CST 2009

John Grehan wrote:

>I plan to go viral more or less and track down every
>traditional assertion about our purported common origins with the
>chimpanzee and provide the alternative. Its going to be very interesting
>to see what happens. This may not be a first, but it will be a first for
>human evolution theory where the orangutan theory has been successfully
>excluded from traditional accounts. In due course if I get comfortable
>enough with the techniques I might also add an orangutan origins page.

Just as a reminder for what we *were* discussing here, Wikipedia has 
a strict policy against the inclusion of original research. One 
excerpt in particular is especially informative in this case:
The prohibition against original research limits the extent to which 
editors may present their own points of view in articles. By 
reinforcing the importance of including verifiable research produced 
by others, this policy promotes the inclusion of multiple points of 
view. Consequently, this policy reinforces our neutrality policy. In 
many cases, there are multiple established views of any given topic. 
In such cases, no single position, no matter how well researched, is 
authoritative. It is not the responsibility of any one editor to 
research all points of view. But when incorporating research into an 
article, it is important that editors provide context for this point 
of view, by indicating how prevalent the position is, and whether it 
is held by a majority or minority.
The inclusion of a view that is held only by a tiny minority may 
constitute original research. Jimbo Wales has said of this:
	*	If your viewpoint is in the majority, then it should 
be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted 
reference texts;
	*	If your viewpoint is held by a significant minority, 
then it should be easy to name prominent adherents;
	*	If your viewpoint is held by an extremely small 
minority, then - whether it's true or not, whether you can prove it 
or not - it doesn't belong in Wikipedia, except perhaps in some 
ancillary article. Wikipedia is not the place for original 

So, if there are multiple researchers who have published on the 
human-orangutan hypothesis, then it's fair game for Wikipedia, though 
it must be clearly stated that it is a minority hypothesis.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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