Talk:Flat Earth Society

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Links to two Flat Earth Societies[change source]

I had made a change concerning these two links.

The "defunct" site mentioned was theflatearthsociety.net for the "International Alliance of Flat Earth Groups" which is no longer under operation and simply redirects to theflatearthsociety.org . It makes sense to have both the sites, if they are both legitimate, I agree.

Are you certain that the tfes link does not lack notability and these links aren't being placed as COI? I can find no reference to it in the media and the content seems largely duplicated from the other site which lead me to assume that tfes was simply somebody copying over theflatearthsociety and spamming wikipedia for Self Promotion. The site I linked however seems to be referenced from several notable sources such as The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/global/2010/feb/23/flat-earth-society and Paste Magazine http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/03/a-conversation-with-a-flat-earth-believer.html as well as books like https://books.google.com/books?id=sFgXAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA286&lpg=PA286#v=onepage&q&f=false and http://www.amazon.com/Bogus-Science-People-Believe-Figures/dp/B00BQAJBPI and academic papers such as http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.0393 .

Their library also looks to be significantly larger which leads me to believe they are the original source of the materials on both sites. The site I added looks to be established far earlier as well in 2003. I can also find no instance of the other sites existence outside of their online forum and some reddit posts. https://simple.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Flat_Earth_Society&diff=4658129&oldid=4528640 This is the change where it was added, corresponding to the date that tfes claims to be founded. This looks to me to be COI or Self Promotion. What are your thoughts? WakingJohn (talk) 16:53, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

@WakingJohn: I wondered about that myself. Here is what I've found: Samuel Shenton formed the International Flat Earth Society in 1956. It was successor to an even older organization called the Universal Zetetic Society. Shenton ran the organization from his home in Dover, England. Sources for all of this can be found in the EnWiki article called en:Modern flat Earth societies.
Samuel Shenton died in 1971. Charles K Johnson inherited Shenton's library and started the International Flat Earth Research Society of America, based in California. Johnson died in 2001.
Daniel Shenton (apparently not related to Samuel) reorganized the Flat Earth Society and started a web-based forum. That organization grew and is the one that owns theflatearthsociety.org. This can be verified here. (This site was registered in London, England, on 3 July 2004.)
In 2013, there was a split in the organization and part of the society broke off to form their own group. This is the group that owns tfes.org. This corresponds to the registration date shown here. (This site was registered in New South Wales, Australia, on 8 May 2013.)
Also of note, there are and have been a number of other flat earth societies besides those under discussion here.
So in one sense, neither website belongs to the original Flat Earth Society, but then, it wasn't the original society either. To the extent that the tfes group has existed for three years now, we can say that it is one of the flat Earth societies.
I think this is akin to having multiple religious groups that have similar doctrines -- each may claim to be the most-correct or original organization, but to outsiders there may not be a lot of difference.
For now, I think we should keep both official websites. Etamni | ✉   23:03, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
@Etamni: This makes sense. Thanks! WakingJohn (talk) 14:52, 3 May 2016 (UTC)