See the question, "How do I correctly identify an individual who goes by multiple names?"

The circumstance involves a collection of sources that might, or might not be about the same person. Benny is asking how to approach solving the problem of identity given this circumstance.

Twice I have added the tag , and it has been removed as many times.

I'm wondering why the tag , is being removed.

  • OT: I've just rejected an edit to the Proof tag description since it is not just a conclusion based on evidence that supports a theory. – ACProctor Dec 13 '12 at 16:19
  • @ACProctor, See below, for "proof" I intended to post the definition from Mills. Ala, Proof is a "conclusion backed by thorough research, sound analysis, and reliable evidence." – GeneJ Dec 13 '12 at 16:21
  • That's fine with me – ACProctor Dec 13 '12 at 16:31
  • @acproctor, I beat GeneJ to it with a Mills-based definition. – user104 Dec 13 '12 at 17:27
  • @ColeValleyGirl I just clarified your wiki add to accomodate ACProctors comment. – GeneJ Dec 13 '12 at 17:28
  • 1
    @GeneJ, and I just approved it. – user104 Dec 13 '12 at 17:29

I removed it the first time because proof and evidence appeared to be the same thing to me. You pointed out that they have subtle differences and re-added the tag. I can only imagine Luke was thinking the same thing as me when he removed it the second time.

I suggest creating tag wikis to point out the difference so that it people don't continue making incorrect assumptions.

  • I heartily endorse this suggestion. If there is to be a disagreement over the use of two (possibly synonymous) terms, then the tag definition is the place. To date, I have been resisting the strong temptation to remove all references to empty tags! – Fortiter Dec 13 '12 at 2:56
  • I agree we should have tag wiki's and meta should be the place to hash out difference/similarities between tags. Is there meta question specifically on proof vs evidence? – Duncan Dec 13 '12 at 12:32
  • @Fortiter - I tried to create a tag wiki and couldn't. Note, according to genealogy.stackexchange.com/privileges, you need a 1500 rep to create the wiki page for a tag. Only you and several others have that power. So please recognize that contributes to the amount of empty tags. – Duncan Dec 13 '12 at 13:44
  • @Duncan you can still suggest edits to tag wikis. There isn't a meta question about proof vs evidence. I figure we'll let someone create the tag wikis, then if there's a dispute about it we can create a meta question. – user47 Dec 13 '12 at 15:04
  • @ustinY, have created the tag wiki for Proof. – user104 Dec 13 '12 at 15:50
  • @JustinY That's actually precisely why I removed it. It seemed the same thing as [evidence]. – American Luke Dec 13 '12 at 17:02
  • @luke, does the new definition I've provided help? – user104 Dec 13 '12 at 17:27
  • @ColeValleyGirl I'm not sure if sources go in the excerpt, but that clarifies. Thanks. – American Luke Dec 13 '12 at 18:19

I've re-tagged something with Proof and generated a tag wiki to go with the tag.

  • Thank you and ha! The tag wiki two step review process got me again. I gave my approval to two wiki entries that I wanted to look at further. By the time I got through the other review entries, I couldn't find the buggers I wanted to look at or add to. More likely those entries aren't effective yet because they need another approval. – GeneJ Dec 13 '12 at 16:02
  • Tag wiki editing has me totally confused... There's nothing I haven't done that's waiting for me to review. But I know I passed over some things that should still be there to look at and I didn't skip them, just backed out... – user104 Dec 13 '12 at 16:48

The tag wiki is a good suggestion.

Evidence and proof are not the same thing.

Evidence is direct, indirect, circumstantial and/or negative.

"Direct evidence" is something that answers the question or solves the problem all by itself.

In most cases, we don't have direct evidence--we have a mixture of different forms of evidence, which need to be weighed, etc.; we will need to explain the logic and reasoning by which the different evidence was used. Ala, we need a genealogical proof.

  • do we have a glossary question in faq, or a specific question in faq explaining this (with references if available)? – Duncan Dec 13 '12 at 12:34
  • For evidence, I had planned to quote add the definition from Mills, Evidence Explained, "information that is relevant to the problem. Common forms used in historical analysis include best evidence ... direct evidence ..., indirect evidence ..., and negative evidence .... In a legal context, circumstantial evidence ... is also common." For proof, "a conclusion backed by thorough research, sound analysis, and reliable evidence." – GeneJ Dec 13 '12 at 14:14

Apparently someone has deleted the tag "proof." Wow. So much for the importance of that distinction.

  • Rollback Luke's edit and it will reappear. It disappeared because there were no longer any questions with that tag. – user47 Dec 13 '12 at 3:45

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