Tolkien Gateway

Template talk:Or

How hard do you all think we should be on the issue of No original research on TG? I can't remember seeing any guideline or that we have discussed it in any meeting. --Morgan 21:23, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

I clicked on the link to No original research and it says that the article has been deleted. Therefore I'm not sure what the definition is in regards to this site. It is an unsupported claim or something like calculations of casualties in a battle with no explanation of how it was done? --Gamling 21:44, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
Link should be working now. A good example is the usage at Smaug#Etymology, deriving a most likely conclusion without being able to cite a source. --Hyarion 03:13, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
It's probably worth noting what our stance is, as I don't think it has really come up before. In my opinion we don't need to be as strict as Wikipedia as long as the original research is essentially common sense or can be generally acceptable. Wikipedia assumes content worth having has already been published, while I like to think in the future we might have scholars publishing their finds directly to the wiki. What is your opinion Morgan? --Hyarion 03:13, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I am also against using Wikipedia's (and Wookieepedia's) strict policies here. I think that editors alone should vote for or against about challenging theories, but others which are voted as 'interesting' or 'useful' should stay. A consensus would dictate if a theory is too tentative (eg. Tom Bombadil is a disguised Elrond) and therefore perhaps unwanted.
I should also mention that I have been making original research here, mostly while providing etymologies to words and names, or similarities to real-world names. I think that if such 'original research' is banned from TG, it will be much less interesting. Sage 09:17, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I guess we need to decide (or at least discuss) if TG should be only an encyclopedia (striving to only present information from reliable, published sources), or if "original research" can be included as well (and if so, in which way). My main point is that we need to distinguish clearly between the two types of claims. As Hyarion pointed out, the case of Smaug#Etymology is a good example - as a reader of the article I would want to immediately know if Tolkien himself thought of the name Smaug as having "echoes of 'smoke', 'smog'" or if he was aware of the likeness of Polish smok. The two earlier claims in the section (on Smugan and Trāgu) have inline references, and can therefore easily be verified. The latter statements cannot.
In some articles, when I've encountered claims (or created my own) which likely are "original research", I've added a note or reference saying something like "Suggested by User:X". However, this practice isn't very suitable for a Wiki, since everyone is encouraged to contribute to the wiki and if someone else edits the particular claim, it would no longer be attributable to User:X.
I believe that Sage's suggestion of voting on "challenging theories" is good in theory, but unrealistic. It would require that (1) editors are enough active to actually vote (2) that the editors voting are informed, being experts on the subject voted upon. For example, let's say that we wanted to vote on the claim that there is a connection between Smaug and smok. As amateurs, we perhaps see a likeness between the two names (and the Polish word even means "dragon"). However, I haven't studied linguistics, and can't therefore say if there's an etymological link between the Germanic smugan and Polish smok. And I don't have access to the archived, unpublished manuscripts of Tolkien, where perhaps he could have noted (who knows?) the similarity between the two names. I am thus very badly informed about the subject. --Morgan 18:22, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Morgan, first of all, let's discuss how OR can be presented. As of now, I doubt that Pl. smok is related to smugan but whatever the case, I find the similarity interesting. Even if Tolkien was not inspired by the Polish word, it is still an interesting coincidence and from my point of view, it adds some value to the article. We don't have to delve into the possibilities that Polish has been an inspiration for Tolkien; just mention the (coincidental) similarity and that's all. We can't know more. It's interesting, it's useful (one got to know one more Polish word) and doesn't harm anyone. Sage 06:21, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
The problem - and this is a technique which disreputable politicians and journalists use - is that by having two (potentially unrelated) facts next to one another, the reader will assume they are related unless it is stated otherwise, even then you have created an impression of some sort of link. After all, if it weren't relevant, why would an editor put it in an article?
Morgan accurately highlights the problem with "voting"; the easy solution to think is that when a fact/sentence/section is challenge it can be easily commented out (<!--BLA-->) whilst the dispute is sorted.
On a side issue, I don't think the template should link to a Wikipedia policy when our policy is different. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 19:15, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
How about if I change (the current) original research? to Original research Would anyone disagree if I started inserting this template after statements suspected of being original research? --Morgan 10:45, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not for it nor am I against it. So, unless somebody's arguments convince me, I won't vote. --Amroth 12:55, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Please consider checking and reviewing User:Sage/Original_research :) Sage 19:29, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

Good work, Sage! I support your suggestions. Perhaps the wording of "the insertion of {{Or}} as a warning" is too strong? I would rather suggest "the insertion of {{Or}} as a clarification", or something similar.--Morgan 07:49, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
If there is no objection, I am going to copy it over in a few days. Sage 09:52, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Keep the "?"

On a side note, I kept the question mark ("Original research?") to mark the possibility that the specific claim might already have been made outside Tolkkien Gateway, unbeknownst to us.--Morgan 08:02, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Usage

I get the feeling that sometimes this template is used to "excuse" unreferenced sentences and speculation. I was under the impression this was used (like[source?],[who?],[when?]) to challenge a statement and warn the reader, not forgive the editor. Have I got this wrong? --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 19:21, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree with you. The problem is that it can be hard to decide what's speculation and what's valued "original research". When I don't want to be the sole judge in such matter, I add the or-template (to non-trivial statements in articles). However, I'm unconvinced that there's any value in having all the unattested Old Elvish forms, which are scattered all over the linguistic articles. Are these, for example, to be considered "or" or "speculation"?--Morgan 19:33, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I would argue that in 90% of the cases where I've seen this used, it is not used to mark research but just on statements which seem "likely" or "possible" but for which we seem to have no reference. The problem with Elvish forms is that we could have a situation in which five difference editors have five different views on what's "likely" and then five difference forms with five "OR"s! --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 16:01, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, of course, we need to avoid such a situation. However, it's good to define what's speculation, and what could be a help for the reader of the article. An example of what I would clearly define as speculation is adding an older form of a word, which doesn't appear in a source.
What I had added as OR to our article on is slightly different, IMO:
The source (a letter) only says that derives from the word yagā and YAG. This is how Tolkien did (for hundreds of words) in the Etymologies: presenting an older form and a root for a "modern" word. In some cases the "older" forms are given a language, like "Old Noldorin" or "Old Sindarin", and sometimes it appears without any language (where it is most often supposed to be a Primitive Quendian/Common Eldarin word). And thus, we can come to the non-controversial conclusion that yagā is supposed to be either an Old Sindarin (as is a Sindarin word) or a PQ/CE word. IMO, it's more confusing for the reader to not explain anything about yagā. One might argue, though, that the use of OR here would be to overdo it (that's it's clear from the context that it's either an OS or PQ form). Another point would be to say that all this is unnecessary - if it's not given any designated language - why have it? I'm not certain which option is best! ;) --Morgan 16:24, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I think we should keep this template, since it's still used on 10% on the good way to with it was suppossed. If we delete this template is deleted readers cannot find out anymore what is Orginal Research and what is not. Where {{OR}} is used in the sense of {{fact}}, it should be replaced. If people don't use the template on hte "right" way that should be discussed with them. --Amroth 13:41, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
What I would suggest is that sections/articles which contain original research should be indicated in a similar way to the adaptations template. At the moment, it doesn't seem as if any genuine original research is taking place on TG. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 11:26, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I guess I am part of the problem since I have been the one most likely misusing the template, and of course I have co-wrote/expanded it after Morgan's suggestions. Morgan's initial draft of the template usage was not to challenge but to clarify and warn the reader. I tried to make it clear in my rewrite and to see if there would be any objections. I can understand that perhaps I should put my proposal in some more visibly obvious place, like a Forum, and not this talk page. TG is not Wikipedia and can be forgiving.
Now I wouldn't imagine that there would be a thin gray line between 'warning the reader' and 'excusing the editor for writing his own theories'. As a countermeasure, I tried to make a distinction between OR and fanon.
As for the term 'original research', Wikis call like that any original claim, deduction, educated guess or calculation, even if it doesn't involve any kind of scholarly research. So yes, educated guesses on ancient linguistic forms or anything else is 'original research'.
However I must note, that even if I, or others, have misused the template, to my knowledge there has been no OR-chaos, edit wars, or quarrels about whose editor's interpretation should be on an article. Sage 14:05, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

[edit] Delete

Can I delete this, then? --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 22:31, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

I wouldn't mind. --Morgan 05:13, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I think we should have OR. --Amroth 11:13, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Why? --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 12:26, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
This is annoying me now. Either we delete this, or we don't. I don't want it hanging around on my Daily To-do with a {{delete}} tag. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 11:18, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
+1 Delete. --Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 11:32, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
One more in favour of deleting and it's going. --Mith (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 14:45, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
+1 delete.-- KingAragorn  talk  contribs  edits  email  14:53, 17 November 2011 (UTC)