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Forum:Original research, once again

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Tolkien Gateway > Forums > Original research, once again


We discussed the topic of original research (OR) some years ago, reaching the decision that we should basically try to follow Wikipedia's NOR. Our strategy since then, i.e., to source all claims, has been very wise, in my opinion. I've seen many positive comments (for example, at Facebook) about TG from some of the "big names" in Tolkien studies: all highlight our use of inline references.

There is one aspect of this topic that I would like discuss: how do we treat speculative etymological discussions of names pointing to sources like the Etymologies? On the one hand, I feel that (a) some minor names (like Luvailin) are perhaps not very likely to be explained in scholarly works or at reputable web sites; (b) there could be an intrinsic value in having such etymologies if references are included. On the other hand, this is strictly speaking OR, and I have removed some such speculative etymologies from articles.

A possible solution could be to have a thread at for example the Lotr Plaza (I will be bold and start one right away), where I post our suggested etymologies to check if others think they are sound or not. This would be a way to at least have a source "outside" TG.--Morgan 23:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps we could make a separate page-index of untranslated names and ascertain their etymologies there. And then we can use it as a citeable source. Although it seems like a paradox (TG citing itself), we can create a special policy and consider this index a separate project, bearing our own responsibility. I think it would be legitimate for TG to "write history" and not be only a tertiary source. Perhaps access to editing this page should be limited to older members, or those who have shown some familiarity to Elvish etymologies (unlike articles such as Racism or Inconcistencies which every member can edit).
Look for example Gamling's chronology of the Hobbit. Although it's OR (in the sense that it hasn't been published elsewhere, yet) we do tolerate its existence in TG as a separate "essay". Sage 11:04, 19 November 2013 (UTC)