User talk:George Swan/sandbox/Chatter (signals intelligence)

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George Swan 05:40, 21 November 2007


First, it's not "war on terror". There is a link there, which explains where the term is used literally. While I happen to consider the term asinine as defined by the Bush Administration, putting it in quotes is approximately equivalent to preceding it with a deprecating but information-free phrase such as so-called.

Second, the sources quoted are journalistic impressions of what, I suspect, politicians said about intelligence. In my experience with signals intelligence, "chatter" might be used casually between a few analysts, but, as a metric in traffic analysis, is simply not what an intelligence professional would say. Actual reports are more likely to use graphic or statistical impressions of changes in traffic patterns, and the all-source intelligence analysts will simply refer to SIGINT, COMINT, or perhaps a code word for a particular source.

This article links to an article on traffic analysis, which has a link from SIGINT#Traffic analysis but really doesn't provide more information in a systematic way. I would be delighted if there were an extensive article on the SIGINT discipline of traffic analysis, rather than what seems to be a rephrasing, in informal language, of what is in the SIGINT article.

There is little, if anything here, of substance that isn't already in less journalistic detail elsewhere. I recognize it does get in some little comments about the war on terror and Algerian 6, and yes, I do consider that non-neutral. Rather than go journalistic, link the Algerian 6 article, if that is notable, to SIGINT#traffic analysis. The term "chatter" could be added to the SIGINT article as a journalistic/political term. Show me some evidence that chatter is routinely used by anyone in the SIGINT community, especially in reports, and I'll reconsider my opinion. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:53, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

You are the subject field expert. You are completely authorized to nix the use of the term "war on terror". I no longer use it here, since you made your opinion clear last June. But I wrote the passage you are complaining about a year ago.
Could you explain your concern over the sources used here more fully? Lots of articles here use newspaper articles. I am not aware of any other citizens being concerned over using newspaper articles as sources. Could you please clarify whether you are concerned over the use of any newspaper source, anywhere?
Finally, I am very concerned over your repeated challenges to my personal integrity. I've asked you to stop. Is there any point to making another request for you to stop? George Swan 03:51, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
War on terror is a valid term when used in its proper context, which is a public position taken by the George W. Bush Administration, and used with respect to its own documents. I emphasize documents, rather than second-hand press accounts.
If, however, I learn that I am incorrectly using a term or I misunderstood something, I make a conscious effort, as soon as I discover it, to go back and update all the articles in which I used it. Honestly, I am puzzled when I find things that have been unchanged in a year, or topics with active developments not being added, yet a steady flow of new short articles. In some cases, I may make only incremental improvements to some of my articles, but I make a point of reviewing and improving as well as adding new topics. Sometimes, writing a new article gives me an insight into something about which I'd written earlier, and I try very hard to take that insight everywhere it is useful.
I am concerned over the use of any newspaper source, under certain conditions. News media are perfectly reasonable as a matter of record of a public event or statement. I used them today with David Petraeus, quoting specific, verifiable recent events. When one uses a technical term such as signals intelligence, the discussion moves into the realm of the technical, where general news media are often unreliable. It would not have been inappropriate to say, if an identifiable official or proceeding used the term "chatter" to have used a news report that they had done so. war on terror, a term deprecated by virtually every expert on terrorism, is valid when identified as a slogan. Simply because a politician uses such a phrase does not make it accurate or useful. Chatter is not a term of art in signals intelligence, and an article associating it with signals intelligence, and an oversimplification of techniques of traffic analysis already detailed, is not useful as a separate article.
As a small addition to SIGINT#Traffic analysis or traffic analysis, saying that it was used as by nontechnical officials, I would have had no problem with it. I do have a problem with creating separate articles for essentially content-free statements by politicians one may despise. You might be surprised how much we agree about some of the individuals, but I separate my opinions from encyclopedic content. Part of my concern with these small articles, seemingly always focusing in on some variously silly or questionable activity in the Bush 43 Administration claims of fighting terrorism, is that they do not reflect collaborative and incremental improvement of articles in existence. As I said, "chatter" could have been useful as an addition to several articles, as long as it was not suggested to be an actual term used in SIGINT.
Mr. Swan, it is my considered opinion that for whatever reason you write them, you have been writing many articles, not in-depth or linked to collaborative work, which give the gives the appearance of using CZ as a platform to project political criticism or indignation. If you do not choose to examine that your writing may appear as such to others, and regard it, instead, as a challenge to your personal integrity, I can't help that.
Do consider that what may seem randomly spaced comments comes because the articles are found randomly, rather than, for example, being able to follow a structure documenting actions of the Administration. I have created several Related Articles pages to show how, indeed, they may relate, although if I were writing on many of these topics, I believe the significant information, from a CZ standpoint, could be consolidated into more in-depth articles. A more in-depth article might, for example, rather than cite multiple newspaper reports, or copied text about a CSRT for each individual, could show a pattern of actions that are not evident in many separate articles. I urge you to consider suggestions of consolidation, wikilinking to relevant articles by others or editing more information into them, and not putting in details that do not clearly add content not easily found otherwhere. This is not WP, IMDB, or any of a host of other knowledge sources with different models.
It does not help to lecture me about your views of what CZ should be. Indeed, there are active, collaborative discussions underway, at CZ Talk: Usability, about methods and ideas to create better linkages among information. You might find that I am not the only one that prefers to see high linkages and insightful knowledge navigation guidance. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:29, 4 November 2008 (UTC)