Forums: Forum Home > Watercooler > Opinion vs Fact vs Speculation

As a new contributor here and a believer in the wiki philosophy I want to know everyone's thoughts on this:

Should opinions and speculation be edited?

In my opinion there is a place for reviews on products as well as editorial style pieces in the wiki but within articles opinions stated as fact distract and diminish factual data and severely damage the credibility of the wiki throughout the community and in general. Without elimination of bias in articles opinions will be propagated as fact when readers propagate information from this wiki.

I would like to suggest that we more aggressively understand and improve the content of existing articles by learning to identify and remove/rewrite bias out of articles. Simply put, facts are what help whereas opinions are simply divisive and damaging to credibility and usefulness. I would also suggest editorial and review sections would be highly useful in gathering bias and placing it in an appropriate context outside of articles. Links to editorials and reviews could remain in the articles without masquerading as factual data. A site policy on this issue would be a great thing as well. Especially if it were prominently placed and worded so that people would understand how to write or edit an article to remove bias.

Also I would like to start this myself and wonder if I will be met with understanding or conflict here. This wiki is awesome and the only place one could expect open and unbiased opinion. Almost all other websites are driven by commerce and are inherently biased due to the nature of commerce.

What do you think?

Sixtoe 00:35, May 6, 2010 (UTC)

We should aim to keep everything factual and neutral. It's the first item on the guidelines. The only place I can think of where we want opinions are reviews (although this makes them very hard to edit), which should be clearly separated from the other content.
So, to answer your question: opinion and speculation should be removed. Do you have any particularly bad paragraphs in mind?
We have over 1,400 articles, and I think (or at least hope) that the quality is improving over time. We're certainly getting bigger. Many articles, particularly product articles, are initially created by someone who wants to say "Yo-Yo X is the best ever!", but should be corrected by another editor sooner or later.
If you fancy having a look at a controversial article, the most controversial one I think of is the TheYo.
It's great to see other people contemplating these issues. Kudos to you, sir. --Wilfred (talk|contribs) 17:39, May 6, 2010 (UTC)

I find just about every article I read here has some moderate to severe bias. I am only looking for some acceptance of my desire to remove/edit the bias out of these articles. I know this wiki is about as open as one can get. It doesn't even require a login to be created to edit. I would change this ASAP if I had control of it. If the consensus is that I can make these edits then I most certainly will. I wanted to be sure before I stepped on any toes or ruffled any feathers since it would end up being a sweeping and profound change to the overall tone of this wiki. A hugely postive one IMO. I will review TheYo for bias and submit an edit.
Sixtoe 20:24, May 6, 2010 (UTC)

I agree this is a very positive change. However, I'm not sure what to do about fact citations. Do we need to cite something to say that Yomega calls their team "president's invitational team"? We also need to be careful as sometimes the actual people have edited pages, so there are no secondary sources. For example, when jhb said on the TheYo page that the block was removed, he was speaking with authority. --Wilfred (talk|contribs) 16:50, May 13, 2010 (UTC)

As an editor how is one supposed to know what source is used or who is an authority on the subject without some reference? When there is no clear source IE "jhb-mod of TheYo forums" are we to be investigators of authority or place the responsibility for referential data on the contributor? The User page for JHB is empty... Everyone does not know or have easy access to knowledge of the authority of a contributor so reference of authority on an important issue seems reasonable. I didn't see harm in making that edit because by default a contributor watches pages they contribute to so they are notified of changes and can come back and give more information.
In the case of Yomega's team name, I did not find any reference on Yomega's site, or google for that team name. I seemed likely to be accurate (why would one fabricate this?) and rather than delete it I requested citation. I don't see a need for citation requests except where it seems there is no easily accessible information to a likely credible assertion.
Overall, I find that I fall back on the Wikipedia standards for editing when there is no clear editorial policy available here. As a person on the Autistic spectrum I do not make judgment calls when there are no clear guidelines. For me, I don't understand a "need to be careful" as a rule per se. The wiki is open and edits can be undone or corrected so why be careful in this case? Is there an logical and rational editorial reason for this or is it a respect issue for a contributor where authority is known but only to a few? This issue is for me, at best, a morass of confusion and a mire in which to get stuck between clarity, fact and personal feelings. Is this wiki a fact wiki or something of which I need apprisal? What am I missing? I have a need to understand the reasoning in order to apply it correctly. Please do not take my text here to contain personal feelings or objections that are personally directed. I honestly need feedback in order to proceed in an acceptable manner.
I posit this to everyone: At some critical mass would it behoove an informal sport wiki to transform into a formal one in order to preserve clarity and credibility and therefore become a more serious resource?
Also, I love the edits that have been made to my edits. I find it an opportunity to hone my skills and learn from more seasoned editors. I really had no idea that possessive "it" was "its" not "it's". One would not use "her's" or "hi's" duh! :) . I must have been asleep in school that day!
Sixtoe 18:22, May 13, 2010 (UTC)

Hi all,
I have been reading on the side lines as is my usual custom, but I feel it is time I say a few words to clarify my feelings. I have been editing hear for a couple years and have a fair number of edits. I have also been yo-yoing quite a while as well as doing various editing on other wikis. In addition I am a history teacher with many years experience in citation and notation. With this said, we do have a fairly relaxed way of keeping track of citations for verification.
I feel this relaxed system with no citations and seemingly no verification is the best we can hope for because of our lack of editors. I believe that new editors are better to research and establish new articles as opposed to critiquing old articles since they do not have as much knowledge about previous events situations and items. As an editor learns more and grows in their own editing abilities and knowledge then they can progress into areas that they have less experience in.
I do not want to see anything taken down because one person cannot Identify if something is correct based on their own potentially limited knowledge of a particular issue. With this said If something is flagrantly wrong or and opinion like " So and So is a jerk" or "This company makes crappy products" then by all means edit it. But when we get into Grey areas, I believe it is best to error on the side of caution leaving up something in question or research it yourself which I have done many times. If you can't find a definitive answer, leave it up and wait for the person who can. This may not be your area of expertise.
In regards to Sixtoe's assertion that "I didn't see harm in making that edit because by default a contributor watches pages they contribute to so they are notified of changes and can come back and give more information." I disagree with this accretion because this is a yo-yo wikki so there is far less adult editors than you would find on Wikipedia or a wiki with more of an adult audience. Many of our editors are either one time contributors putting up there small information that they know about or come by and edit for a few months then leave. So no I do not believe these people will be monitoring their post to see if it has been changed or erased. So when you said "For me, I don't understand a "need to be careful" as a rule per se." This I would submit is the reason not to remove something someone else has put up. I myself have edited and researched some much stuff here and would have to follow so many different pages that I would not be able to remember everything that I have done and I am sure that Wilfred may be in the same situation.
As far as editing almost everything on this cite needs a citation. Add them as we go forward and add them to old articles as you can verify something but do not get rid of information, it is hard to replace. Wikipedia does not do this they leave the information and say it needs citation for verification. This; at the most; is what we should do. I however feel we are not Wikipedia and I do not want to see every single article with this notice on it.
In regards to the citations themselves, even academia struggles with how to cite online information. The internet is constantly changing and being erased and rewritten. This often causes something we cite one day to be missing the next. A perfect example is the The Museum of Yo-Yo History, this was a great cite for yo-yo reference. Then Dave took it down and we had no access to it for a whole year.
My whole point is, it is better as editors to edit forward with new articles and making articles look and sound better than getting rid of valuable information. If something is not broke, and you have only been here a short while, don't try and change everything.

Thanks for reading, I look forward to your edits and new articles.

Rick-- MadYoer (Talk) 22:59, May 13, 2010 (UTC)

@Rick-Thanks for your frank and honest talk concerning the issues I have brought up. I am glad you are getting in the game here and off the side lines. I respect your authority on this wiki regardless of your place and history in academia. I have been looking for some guidance here and I will be sure to re-read your posts a few times each to glean all possible information and advice towards becoming a better contributor to this wiki and towards life in general. I mean no sarcasm or ill will in these statements.
I am a new person here no question there. Do I need to "earn my chops" or can my points be seen as valid on their own? I am indeed trying to change what I perceive to be fundamental issues underpinning the wiki. I also understand that my opinion is not the only valid one. I know there is a skewed ratio of mature to juvenille contributors here. As a person who has an analytical mind capable of many things I would like to do everything I can to improve this wiki and not just limit my contributions to article creation or minor edits. I wholly agree with your assertion in bold type. It is better. Although I don't see why in particular my JHB or other edits have removed valuable information.
My own user page testifies to my level of primary education, or more pertinently to my decision about when I left my primary education behind. Does this make me less capable in your eyes? If I should submit my IQ test from my kindergarten evaluation I will in order to CLEP out of the Chops 101 here.(rolls eyes) It really is the only proof of my abilities aside from my mother's glowing reviews. ;) I don't mean to be rude but I do mean to defy any intentional or unintentional stereotyping of myself as "the new guy". This is a damaging stereotype that I feel belittles ones ability to contribute. I know that I certainly feel a whole lot less excited today about being here and adding what I can to this wiki than before reading your replay which seems to bite more than it encourages and informs but I could be missing many of your points. I do that.
I also defy the inderect assertion that I am trying to change everything. As a teaching statement it has little merit to me because it of its ambiguity and structure. What exactly is "everything" anyhow? In this context it could only to refer to what I have done so far, not to "everything". The things I have done so far are requests for policy clarification, removal of reviews, attempts at citation and specific edits to pages. What little else have I done here? Why is this an issue enough to warrant reaching overstatement? Is the point to display that because I have done few things my contributions, now and future, less valid somehow? Is there a threshold of editorial quality or number of contributions to achieve before my edits stand alone? Am I merely rocking the boat and upsetting the status quo? Enlighten me.
As I have re-read your post I perceive an undercurrent of defensiveness towards the wiki. I can understand this. It is normal to feel protective of ones creations. The problem here is that I am not attacking this wiki. I see issues and I am attempting to open a rational dialogue about changes that I feel would ultimately benefit the wiki. These are valuable contributions I am trying to make. If this is not in keeping with the spirit or purpose of this wiki, please feel free to unambiguously and directly say so.
I do not share your opinion of "this is the best we can hope for". I find this statement to be extremely negative and engenders helplessness. However I expect it was honestly meant with total rationality and pragmatism but this doesn't change my view on the statement. I have enthusiasm and desire to improve this and I hope you will see this in nothing other than my replying to your post in a dignified and open way. I also don't agree that it is not broken. I think the credibility of this wiki is broken. No personal attack there. IMO it has been devalued by a less stringent approach to submission policy. I realize that this may have been beyond the ability of the small group of mature editors here to manage but does it need to stay this way? Why accept something when a change can be made for the better?
Indeed it is more important to add articles than remove valuable information. I would ask, where does the value lie in maintaining bias except to oppose objectivity? I did not remove the assertions from JHB in TheYo article because I felt it would be trivial to add them back but because they were not easily verifiable to anyone outside of a limited group of people. Who is this JHB? In a verification that is best resolved by talking directly to both persons involved and when only one person remains it would be impossible verify to the inaccessible person's reasons for doing something. This left only secondary verifications of an assertion that is already biased. The second of the assertions by JHB fell due to the lack of verifiability of the first one since they were correlated. I believe my edit to the article was sufficient to portray the controversy without including the bias of the assertions I removed. These were no simple factual assertions but a controversial point among many in the community. IMO the article needed immediate action to remove or edit the controversy section. I disagree that it is better to leave bias until it is verified than remove or edit it and leave the burden of verification lying on the contributor. I am not talking about fact or relevant data but about bias. If one disagrees about what is relevant data that can be discussed specifically wouldn't you agree?
BTW It seems a cheap and backhanded shot to suggest that verification may not be my area of expertise. My edit to that article was investigative enough for this wiki and had updated links to and rewrites of bias to keep data in but exclude bias. At best the comment was an unqualified statement with little value to add to this thread and at worst an indirect attack in a style that absolves the one making it from the responsibility of making it. Come on. Let's be nice ok? I may be Autistic but when I am reading, with great effort, I can even do it between the lines. Also my wife tells me daily I lack expertise in a certain field. So I don't need to be reminded by you guys. ;) (joke, my wife is awesome!)
My lack of understanding of "why be careful" needs a bit of clarification here. I was speaking about bias not about factual data and only in reference to the JHB edits. I understand the overall need to keep relevant data. My statement was made in the context concerning being careful about editing the bias out of a specific article. Why be careful in removing bias if one has already gone to lengths to rewrite with the explicit intention of keeping data while removing bias? It is my understanding that bias directly subverts objectivity. If I can rewrite to keep data but remove bias in a statement I will and in light of that, when unable to do so, there has yet been no sufficient argument shown why I or others should not. The argument that bias should be retained in the face of lack of reasonable verifiability has not been shown to me by your post. Simply to say that my lack of understanding is enough for me to not edit without elucidation on why I should not have edited in the first place is to imply I need to learn but then be enigmatic about what that is exactly should be learned. There will always be something that one does not understand, this in and of itself is not a reason to refrain from action on an issue where one does know what one is doing. Now you personally may have a reason I should have left that article alone but I have yet to read it. Please make a point to be explicit in your reasoning so that I may better understand you. Let's try and separate bias from data. Another quick point on this: How does ones infrequent, scarce or passing contribution contribute to the reasoning of keeping bias in an article? I can agree on the principle of keeping data for these reasons but why is there a seemingly special rule for bias? I'm pretty confused on this point.
So far, I have concluded that I can continue to contribute to the removal of bias with an eye for keeping reasonably verifiable data. Please show me where I have fallen in the assumption that this is not a viable course of action. I also cannot see why pointing out the need for citation on all articles which need it is a problem. This only serves as an example that there is a problem in the first place. Why keep a skeleton in the closet when we can shine al light and call for action? I know this isn't Wikipedia. Why not strive towards the higher standards of Wikipedia? I know it isn't perfect but for every flaw it has it has 10 benefits. My obivously biased opinion here. ;) It is a terrific model and I would welcome someone to point me to a better one for this wiki.
Everyone please keep in mind that I will best understand explicit reasoning with clinically detached verbiage. Doing this will help all of us since I do not understand without great effort what one means when speaking indirectly nor do I understand how to best handle these things with aplomb and diplomacy. I am often mistaken to be adding emotional value where I am not. I am more robot than human, truly. Disbelieve this at your peril when interacting with an Autistic person. We really do have social development disabilities but try and make up for them with tenacity and loquaciousness. Emoticons and parenthetical references are extremely helpful to my understanding of emotion in text. I use them to convey my own emotions as well when they are not better explained directly. Please help me to become a better contributor by not needing so much clarification so I can go back to spending my time contributing directly to articles. I am not a "normal" person who has walked through your door here. I am different in peculiar ways but I come in peace. ;)
Sixtoe 04:50, May 14, 2010 (UTC)

Sixtoe, Like I said before...
" I believe that new editors are better to research and establish new articles as opposed to critiquing old articles since they do not have as much knowledge about previous events situations and items. As an editor learns more and grows in their own editing abilities and knowledge then they can progress into areas that they have less experience in."
Right now we are spending a lot of time talking about things you want to change and it can be very tiring since you just got here. When you first show up at a new place, try to fit in for awhile first.
So make great articles for a year using citations and verification and no bias like this (Please Click). Just like you said we should. Then and only then worry about changing all of the problems you see in other peoples work.
This is nothing personal I just wanted to let you know how I believe the polite way to enter new surroundings is.
I look forward to seeing you lead by example in making new articles like this one (Please Click) that have citations, evidence and no bias.

Thanks for reading,-- MadYoer (Talk) 06:35, May 14, 2010 (UTC)

[ I subscribe to the KISS (Keep IT Simple Stupid) method ]

@Rick-Thank you so much for your direct and no nonsense approach in your last post. I value this beyond words.
I do respect tradition and protocol but without explicitness I was unable to imagine what was required. I would like everyone to know that I was not aware that it was perceived I was being critical of anyone's work. I have thought of articles as if they existed independently of their creators or as the wiki as a whole relevant to its creator. I do not easily spread a state beyond the individual person or objects I attach it to. It is as if the cosmos is made up of single pieces only bound in ephemeral ways to any conglomeration of other pieces. The emotional connection between ones article and oneself was not something I would have just grasped without being pointed in that direction. I generally do not share the same connection to my own creative endeavors but these connections are understandable to me. It seems similar to ones ownership of their child and similar to ownership in general. I have never been able to easily grasp things I could not relate to unless they are pointed out to me. I assumed it was ok to step in and take responsibility overall and not just expect that my articles were actually my own in any fashion so this was what I thought others were thinking as well. I am assuming that you are speaking not just for yourself since the authority you communicate with seems to imply this.
I will contribute by making new articles here for the remainder of the years duration I have already begun so by then hopefully I will know when "awhile" has elapsed. When ones perception of time is finely divided and the ticks are numerous in frequency, being patient in order to be accepted on the time scale of others seems to take an eternity. I realize this is considered child's perspective but after 39 years I have not been able to make a dent of progress in this. Apparently this is something that by adulthood is internalized by most people.
I will use citation, verification and write with the goal of objectivity just as you suggested. I also will be sure to read all the articles here in this next year. I want everyone to know I have been yo-yoing as an adult since August 2003 and eidetically storing all information to which I have been exposed. My recall ability varies with my mental and physical state but generally it is accessible after the initial week in which I learned it. As this is one of my primary interests I think this will be valuable. I have been a long time reader of this wiki but only felt brave enough to contribute recently. I will refrain from elaboration and continuing discussion on the issues I have already addressed but this will not be without some great effort since I have no assurance that my next day will surely follow this one despite its occurrence with regularity. I think this is also a child's perspective, impatience. I also know that a year's time will elapse and by then I will have forgotten my current feeling of impatience. Waiting a year doesn't seem too much to ask a person. Maybe this could be a posted policy so others will know.
I hope that everyone knows if I find something to take issue with that it is the thing not the person connected to it. I do not believe I can change this personal trait. I will keep it in mind to the best of my ability. Please accept my apologies if I have hurt anyone's feelings in my blundering into this community here at YoYoWiki. I blunder everywhere I go and can only hope that I can make sure everyone knows I didn't mean harm. I have not yet been able to master politeness because it is so dependent on shifting social cues and norms of which I am very nearly oblivious. So I hope everyone can please excuse my impoliteness. Let me know if I am tiring you since this is also something I usually miss. I wear people out and tend to end up pretty isolated even given that I know many people whom I have called friend. A movie quote might be appropriate here: "Green means go. Red means stop. Yellow means go very fast." I don't have many divisions in my inertial controls where others are concerned.
@Rick-I do not take the admonition to be polite personally as it is something I have regularly experienced in life and not related to me but to the effects of my Autism. I have not yet been able to somehow become affiliated with or belong to any group without some sort of rebuff or rebuke being involved. I know this is causally mine to own. So far, I do not perceive that I am well accepted anywhere but I don't give up.
Thanks everyone. See you on this page in a year! I am going to set my calendar for stun.
Sixtoe 08:38, May 14, 2010 (UTC)

Hey Sixtoe,
With your last comment, I was worried that we would not see you for a year. I want to see you participating here. What I meant by "So make great articles for a year using citations and verification and no bias like this (Please Click). Just like you said we should." was that you would be making articles at the yo-yo wiki (Like this) with full citation and verification for the whole the next year then we can move forward on you addressing issues on the other pages. I just wanted to be clear that I am looking forward to your participation in the form of your edits and new articles.
Thanks for reading,-- MadYoer (Talk) 20:27, May 15, 2010 (UTC)
Hey MadYoer,
No worries. That is excatly what I got from what you posted. I mean to stick around. 21:09, May 15, 2010 (UTC)