Talk:National Fuel Gas

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 Definition An energy company incorporated in 1902 and based in Williamsville, New York. [d] [e]
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This article was authored by User:Gregory J. Kohs, as a demonstration. The content first appeared on in 2006, was modified September 12-14, 2008, and then was copied into Wikipedia by an administrator of that site. It is hereby released under the provisions of the GFDL and the CC family of licenses. As an additional assurance to the reader, neither Gregory Kohs or have any payment, employment, customer, or family relationship or history with the subject of the article (National Fuel Gas) or any of its subsidiaries.

As a result of a discussion on Larry Sanger's page, I am advised to seek the opinion of other Citizendium editors to comment on this article's quality, style, and tone... as to whether it is appropriate content for Citizendium or not. Dr. Sanger is understandably too busy to comment. Note, the provenance of the article was not funded or influenced in any way whatsoever by the National Fuel Gas company, and the author has no financial, familial, or emotional relationship with the company, either. -- Gregory J. Kohs 17:49, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Several thoughts

I think it would have the potential to be usable, but let me suggest some context and procedures that might help. Let me also add the caveat that I am an Engineering editor, and have never claimed to be an Economics editor, or to have played one in a dramatic production.

One of the ways CZ can differentiate itself is by having a more advanced knowledge navigation structure than other encyclopedias. Our "Related Articles" subpages are part of that structure.

At present, we don't seem to have articles for several "parent" articles. The tiles here are hypothetical.

One of the keys to making the company article a viable part of the encyclopedia would to ensure that it is not "orphaned". A tentative rule of thumb is that a "strongly linked" article is not an orphan when it has at least three other articles that link to it.

So, I would ask the question, "what other articles would reasonably link to this article?" If there are no existing articles that would do so, could you create some legitimate generic-subject articles that themselves would be strongly linked to existing articles, and then link the specific company to them, in a manner that adds value beyond the company name?

The more you generalize, the better. We have, for example, considered asking the manufacturers of some military equipment to contribute articles on the technology. I don't think anyone would turn away someone from Microsoft who wanted to write about Vista technology, although the content might trigger a few giggles. The supply-and-demand technique that National Fuel Gas uses appears to be both a technology and an economic case study, but I defer to my economist colleagues on the latter.

I'm not comfortable with the paragraph about "balanced billing", and generally am not comfortable with using slogans unless they really have become part of culture, or are illustrative of a more general topic. For example, I once worked for a manufacturer of telephone company equipment that had an informal motto, which I never actually saw on a sales document but was used in many presentations, of "once up, always up". This led into a considerable engineering discussion of building fault-tolerant, maintainable systems, and I may, indeed, use the phrase when I get around to doing a fault tolerance article.

Does this help? The more you show us how the article links to other content, which might require you writing some generic topic articles, the stronger the article becomes as a case study. Indeed, even writing one or more articles on competitors, at least to identify them, would help neutrality. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:32, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Howard, you may want to review Larry Sanger's opinion about companies editing on topics that are specifically in their self-interest. -- Gregory J. Kohs 20:53, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
I read it earlier. These are my thoughts, independent of Larry's. Especially if a system develops by which academics can get some publishing credit in their field, at some level, there is self-interest. Not too long ago, I had a potential consulting client ask about a subject, about which I had written an article here, and I referred him to it. The article existed before I ever knew the client, but, in the broad sense, I suppose it was in my self-interest.
There are certain articles in which I believe some individual articles with them have the appearance of conflict of interest. Others think not. There are articles where I've used material from professional books I've written -- not that I ever expect to see once cent in royalties. It has to be a reasonability call. My responses suggest some ways I could see increased reasonability.
Another factor, I believe, would be if the contributor only writes on companies, and makes no other editing (lower-case e) or authoring contributions. Such a person might get less of the benefit of the doubt than a more general and regular competitor.
You asked for opinions. I gave them. I will not be drawn into the middle between you and Larry. Howard C. Berkowitz 21:05, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
I deeply respect Larry Sanger, and I am pulling for the success of this project. However, I just think he's wrong on this count. Average people dismiss the site, because it lacks breadth. Sanger also believes that a paid editor could "never" write neutral, encyclopedic content about the client. What that fails to address is the self-interest of the paid editor to establish a reputation for neutral, encyclopedic content (that doesn't cause trouble on the destination site). As I've mentioned... I have many articles thriving on Wikipedia, which were paid for. In my estimation, they are no less "neutral" than their cohort articles on Wikipedia, purportedly written by volunteers. Indeed, one of my finest articles about a pharmaceutical remedy initially included a section that discussed the controversial social implications of the treatment. The client was fine with that. A few months later, that section mysteriously "disappeared" at the hands of an anonymous IP editor. If my reputation were publicly attached to that article, I myself would have restored the paragraph. But, since Jimmy Wales and the rest of the deluded crowd insisted that I not be writing paid content for Wikipedia, I didn't go back near that article, ever again, for fear of them "catching" my interest in the subject. There are two ways of addressing the issue of paid editing, in my opinion: (1) realistically, or (2) naively. One leads to successfully educational content being generated. The other leads to either a dead site or a clandestine black market of information. I won't apologize for being a realist. -- Gregory J. Kohs 21:34, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
CZ is meant to become an encyclopedia. To me, this means that all major topics (and this certainly includes companies whose stocks are traded at the New York Stock Exchange) should eventually be covered and put in a suitable context. I see nothing wrong with Microsoft people providing information on Vista (in fact, this sort of thing is already happening at homeopathy), and others could then jump in to balance it out, which is certainly a prerequisite for moving towards CZ:Approval.
Of course it would be nice if those who put in an article about a natural gas company would also contribute to natural gas and other related articles but everybody here is a volunteer with a limited amount of time they can devote to CZ, and so they may choose, in my opinion, to specialize in some things, be these more oriented towards topics (covering the natural gas sector), categories (covering all companies traded at major stock exchanges around the world) or even bibliographies or images, as long as these contributions can be woven into the wider encyclopedic web structure CZ is on the way to become.
As with the vast majority of articles here (and elsewhere, by the way), the quality usually rises through constructive interactions with others knowledgeable in the topic or neighbouring fields, and the approval process at CZ (though it can certainly improved still) actually demands that. I understand Gregory such that he is prepared for such interaction in the interest of improvement towards encyclopedic standards, and so I wish to welcome further contributions from his and similarly motivated sides, albeit my limited expertise in economics or natural gas matters will probably not lead me to much direct interaction with these contributions. --Daniel Mietchen 10:07, 17 December 2008 (UTC)