User talk:Exitil

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standards for "original research"[edit]

Good evening, Exitil. In the discussion at Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Fair Market, you asked for clarification of the specific standards that are used to define "original research". You might want to look at Wikipedia:original research. The one thing I don't think that page does well is to explain why we've evolved that particular standard. It all stems from the basic standards that we think must be maintained if we are to remain true to our goal of writing an encyclopedia. An encyclopedia entry must be written from a neutral point of view and be functionally verifiable by a future reader. An encyclopedia should describe and explain existing phenomena. It should have no role in creating the phenomenon.

Unfortunately, Wikipedia has been abused by people who want to post articles that violate those core principles. One of the filters that we have evolved is the "no original research" rule. Requiring that a topic be somewhat widely discussed helps us to filter out the worst of the conspiracy theory ravings, political or ideological rants, unstable neologisms and vanity articles. (Vanity is our shorthand for articles that say "my cat is orange." The statement is true and NPOV but it is not functionally verifiable by any other reader and does not belong in an encyclopedia. Articles about my garage band would fall into the same category.) If a topic is discussed by a group of people (rather than the point of view of a single person), there is a much higher chance that we will be able to create an article that fairly represents the topic and maintains the balance necessary for NPOV.

By the way, I'm not saying that this article is biased. However, in order to protect ourselves from articles which truly are biased, we have to apply the "no original research" rule reasonably consistently.

There is not set standard to determine how widely something must be discussed in order to be included. An article on an obscure mathematical theorum could pass with only a few references - the possible audience of knowledgable users is small. On the other hand, an article about a new internet portal could be considered insignificant even though it gets several thousand google hits. There are, however, some general rules of thumb. If the topic is discussed in independent, peer-reviewed journals or periodicals, that's almost always sufficient. If a topic is discussed (more than once) in mainstream media, that's usually a favorable indicator. If the topic is discussed in multiple separate media or environments by multiple people, that a favorable indicator. If the topic is discussed only by a single author but the work is cited by other authors, that's favorable.

I'm sure there are more but those are some of the ones that I think might be appropriate here. It's probably not a very satisfying answer but I hope it gives you some of the background on the "original research" rule. Rossami 02:35, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)