Author Topic: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia  (Read 5610 times)

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Offline SuzieTampa

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Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« on: July 30, 2013, 10:01:55 AM »
Wikipedia has a page on "Killing of Travon Martin": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Trayvon_Martin

And one on "State of Florida v. George Zimmerman": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Florida_v._George_Zimmerman

If you read them and see any errors, wording that you think is misleading, or stuff you think should be added, please post it in this thread and maybe I or someone else can change it. Millions of people get information from Wikipedia.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2013, 12:38:42 PM »
The first article, third paragraph, says Brandy was Tracy's 'fiancee'. I don't know that this has been proven false, but I think it is very doubtful. It would be more neutral to just say 'girlfriend'.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2013, 12:52:38 PM »
1st article, 3d paragraph.

That TM was suspended only three times, the first time for 'tardiness and truancy', is sourced to Miami Herald, 3/26/12. The Miami Herald report sources the second claim to 'the family', and gives no source for the first. I don't know that either has been officially confirmed. 

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 01:29:37 AM »
1st article, 2nd paragraph.
 
Quote
Trayvon's English teacher, Michelle Kypriss, described him as an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness.

Cited to Orlando Sentinel, 3/17/12.

Not mentioned, Kypriss apparently giving inaccurate information, a few paragraphs down in the same article.

Quote
Trayvon was under a five-day suspension when he was shot that Sunday night, but Kypriss said it was due to tardiness and not misbehavior.

"Trayvon was not a violent or dangerous child. He was not known for misbehaving," the teacher said. "He was suspended because he was late too many times."

Offline IgnatiusJDonnelly

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2013, 07:08:04 AM »
Do they suspend kids for absences or tardiness? I seem to remember that this claim(suspended for tardiness) was one of the earliest debunked stories from this event

Offline DebFrmHell

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2013, 09:35:48 AM »
I guess that they didn't want to mention TM had failed his FCAT.    I think it was the interview in Ebony Magazine.  IMO, that was the interview where she came off as the most truthful.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2013, 10:51:19 PM »
1st article, under the title 'Shooting and investigation'.

Quote
After Zimmerman ended his call with police, a violent encounter took place between Martin and Zimmerman, which ended when Zimmerman fatally shot Martin 70 yards (64 m) from the rear door of the townhouse where Martin was staying.

Citation to Tampa Bay Times, 3/22/12.

Quote
Questions remain about what happened next, but Martin was shot, his body found face down on the ground, 70 yards from the back door of the townhouse.

No source is cited in the Tampa Bay Times report.

There's another footnote, but it appears not to be a citation supporting the '70 yards' claim.

Quote
See The New York Times article The Events Leading to the Shooting of Trayvon Martin for seven aerial views which include depictions of The Retreat at Twin Lakes; the home where Trayvon was staying; the site of the shooting; Zimmerman's home; the site of the 7-11; and other sites of interest.

One of the aerial views has a distance scale for 0.1 mile, and markers for the shooting site and Brandy Green's unit. I have reproduced a segment of it.

The markers are large squares, making for a similarly large error bar in estimating the distance between them. I make it to be between .057 and .075 miles, or 100 and 130 yards.

The '70 yards' meme circulated as early as CBS This Morning, 3/8/12
Quote
Trey [sic] Martin, shot once in the chest, lay dead on this walkway just 70 yards from the home where he was staying.

Unsourced, again.

A 3/9/12 Miami Herald report is the first I know of to source the claim, although ambiguously. I don't have a working link, so I'm quoting from my notes.

Quote
Here’s what happened, according to [Police Chief Bill] Lee and Sanford police reports . . . When officer T. Smith arrived at the scene moments later, he found Martin’s body lying face down on the grass about 70 yards from the family’s home, bleeding from a chest wound.

I don't believe the 70 yard figure is in any of the police reports in the discovery.

The first unambiguos citation I know of is a video from the 3/22/12 episode of Al Sharpton's MSNBC show Politics Nation.

1:41
Quote
Tracy Martin: It wasn't even a football length's field, football field length, away from the back door. About seventy yards. Seventy yards at best.

Using Google Earth, I have estimated the distance to be about 110 yards, consistent with the estimate of 100 to 130 yards based on the NY Times map, as discussed above. (See also my set of related Google Earth maps. Left click a photo to enlarge. Right click for a menu.)

Both of these estimates are self-published, and so unsuitable as Wikipedia sources. I will discuss this issue further in a later post.

Offline SuzieTampa

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2013, 08:37:39 AM »
Keep this coming! If no one else makes the corrections on Wikipedia, I'll dive in

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2013, 02:46:25 AM »

If no one else makes the corrections on Wikipedia, I'll dive in

I would appreciate that. The research will be time consuming enough, and editing Wikipedia isn't something I have experience with.

I'm looking over their citation standards.

Introduction to referencing/4

Quote
Wikipedia articles require reliable, published sources that directly support the information presented in the article.

. . .

Academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources. Other reliable sources include university textbooks, books published by respected publishing houses, magazines, journals, and mainstream newspapers.

Identifying reliable sources: Self-published sources

Quote
self-published media . . . are largely not acceptable as sources.

Identifying reliable sources: News organizations

Quote
"News reporting" from well-established news outlets is generally considered to be reliable for statements of fact (though even the most reputable reporting sometimes contains errors).

. . .

Whether a specific news story is reliable for a specific fact or statement in a Wikipedia article will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The last quote is so far the only hint I have found that a 'mainstream' report can be challenged for being itself poorly sourced. This is important, since most of the false or unsubstantiated claims have been published by mainstream newspapers.

The '70 yards' meme is a tough nut. By Wikipedia's standards it is well sourced, having been accepted uncritically by many mainstream publications. So far I haven't found any such source giving a different estimate, or even casting doubt on '70 yards'.

I would have thought the actual distance would have been established for the trial, but O'Mara seems to have been content with speculating about how far Chad could throw a football (video, 1:28:01).

The distance is sometimes stated as '70 feet', and Crump seems to prefer that version.

NBC News, 3/19/12
Quote
“I think Zimmerman has no legal recourse,’’ Crump said. “He was not at his home. He was on the sidewalk, a common area. Trayvon Martin was 70 feet away from the back door — he was almost home. Zimmerman got out of his car, did not listen to the police, and chased this kid. You can’t chase somebody and then claim self defense.’’

I think that suggests one reason Crump night have wanted to play down the distance between the unit and the shooting site. I touched on another in an earlier post. 

A claim is made, no one bothers to dispute it, and it becomes the dominant one in the 'reliable sources'. I think that's troubling.

I'm hoping a journalist, maybe a media critic, will find the question interesting enough to get their publication to send a surveyor to the site, and settle the question. They could also establish which yard the shooting would have happened in, if it had been 70 yards. I think it would have been 1311 Twin Trees Ln.

Offline SuzieTampa

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 07:43:37 AM »
I knew the "70 yards" claim was going to be hard to change. But there is a "talk" page for the main page and I could leave a comment there. But, you're right, without a government record, such as a police report, I doubt I can change it.

Offline SuzieTampa

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 10:58:18 AM »
I guess that they didn't want to mention TM had failed his FCAT.    I think it was the interview in Ebony Magazine.  IMO, that was the interview where she came off as the most truthful.

I tried my first edit on the page today and discovered that it's protected, which I should have guessed. Anyway, there is a talk suggestion where people can suggest edits, and I put in the FCAT information, sourced to Esquire. I'll wait to see if that is accepted.

In the meantime, let me explain that I can't edit without a source. In other words, I can mention that some articles say Brandy Green is/was Tracy's girlfriend and others say fiancee. But a change won't be made unless I could point to a deposition, for example, in which either of them use one word or the other ... or witness testimony ... or a direct quote from one of the other in an article or on TV.

If TM wasn't suspended for tardiness ... I need a link to a source.

I haven't followed the case in as much detail as NMNM and others. I was just hoping that someone would be able to provide links without too much digging.

Offline SuzieTampa

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2013, 01:14:40 PM »
After I left a suggestion about the FCAT, the Wikipedia editors decided to remove the reference to TM's teacher Michelle Kypriss, thus avoiding the mention of the FCAT.


Offline DebFrmHell

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2013, 03:06:41 PM »
After I left a suggestion about the FCAT, the Wikipedia editors decided to remove the reference to TM's teacher Michelle Kypriss, thus avoiding the mention of the FCAT.

Good for you.  When you started this thread, I thought that it would be all for naught.  That you have succeeded in changing any of it is a h/t to you!

Offline SuzieTampa

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2013, 07:03:11 AM »
Thanks, Deb! I was a newspaper editor before I got cancer, and I've edited some other stuff on Wikipedia before.

Offline unitron

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Re: Let's Fact-Check Wikipedia
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2013, 08:19:50 PM »
After I left a suggestion about the FCAT, the Wikipedia editors decided to remove the reference to TM's teacher Michelle Kypriss, thus avoiding the mention of the FCAT.

Wasn't Kypriss his teacher at his previous school?

As in, not necessarily up to date on what was going on with him?

I think Diana Tennis (who's currently running for a judgeship down there) is one of the main writers of that page--maybe you can talk with her about it directly.

 

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