Template talk:Citations missing

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Suggested change[edit]

Kudos to Exploding Boy for creating this template. I hope that it will encourage editors to reference their edits and fact check the edits of others a bit more. It currently reads:

Would anyone object to the following change:

-AED 22:25, 12 May 2006 (UTC)


Other than being more obvious (intrusive?), what's the practical difference between this template and {{Unreferenced}}? GeeJo (t)(c) • 17:21, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

I just chose it over {{Unreferenced}} because (perhaps unintentionally) it applies to cases where {{Unreferenced}} is misleading. For example, in Stalag Luft III, a general list of references is supplied, but the article is missing explicit footnotes that identify the sources for various statements in the article. This distinction is a useful one (and one reason cited for not deleting this template in the deletion vote mentioned above. 22:50, 19 June 2006 (UTC).
In that particluar case, why not simply add {{fact}} to the points needing references? GeeJo (t)(c) • 01:49, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
That is fine when you only need a few footnotes, but it looks much worse than this template when you have too many {{fact}} tags in the article, plus it takes longer to track down every statement needing a footnote. --Lethargy 20:26, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Specific Citations[edit]

I suggest we change the word "appropriate" to "specific", since that seems to be the problem this template addresses --SteveMcCluskey 01:59, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree! That language change is subtle, but helpful. --Yatta! 06:09, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Add tagged articles to Category:Articles lacking sources[edit]

I would like to suggest that we add code to this template so that articles tagged with it are added to the Articles lacking sources category. I realize this template is designed to be used on articles that provide some sources, but do not have proper in-line citations or footnoting. But my concern is that this template doesn't add the article to any category that editors routinely check for article that need cleanup, and thus might not get attention as quickly as it should. This category seems like the closest match: its description says "Wikipedia articles that are missing citations belong in this category." As an alternative, we could add the tagged article to Category:Wikipedia references cleanup, but it should definitely be listed somewhere. --Satori Son 16:03, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

I see that it now includes them it categories Articles lacking sources from December 2006 | All articles lacking sources [1]

Jeepday 15:23, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Change proposed[edit]

Since the great majority of readers aren't experienced editors, I think that "NPOV" should be changed to "Neutral Point Of View" in the template: non-wikipedians will simply not understand what NPOV means. If nobody objects within the next few days, I'll change it. --Storkk 22:27, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

  • I agree. Good catch. --Satori Son 23:51, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Prod it?[edit]

I suggest that this template should be prodded. There are several users who indulge in spamming it aggressively on every page they come across. I don't think that even 5% of articles in the project have inline citations. If the authors of the template want to see it transcluded to every WP page, perhaps they should set up a bot which would uglify the articles en mass. What is more important, I don't recall a single instance when the transclusion of this template led to some positive result, i.e., to addition of footnotes. --Ghirla -трёп- 12:14, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

  • I'm sorry that you think the template is ugly, but I personally have seen numerous articles improved with great references after the tag has been placed on it. And what's the alternative? Going through the article in question and placing a [citation needed] tag after each item of information that is not covered by the existing sources, if any? That would arguably make the article look even worse. Respectfully, though, we should not be concerned with making pretty articles, but accurate and useful ones. Also, this template has already been nominated for deletion and kept at Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2006 May 31#Template:Citations missing, so a Prod would not really be appropriate, but maybe TfD if you still feel really strongly about it. Thanks, Satori Son 13:07, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Are 53 citations enough?[edit]

Talk:John_McCain#Straw_poll:_Use_of_Citation_Tag. Article has over 53 citations but a user wants a banner at the top of the article that says "Citations missing". When are enough citations enough? -- Stbalbach 17:03, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Clearly, there is no magic number of citations that any article should have. The determinant is whether there are a significant number of uncited claims within the article that need attention. --ZimZalaBim (talk) 17:18, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Are in-line uncited claims a free pass to avoid WP:Verifiable? If the article has that many uncited claims, maybe the problem is better solved by removing the uncited claims. -- Stbalbach 17:37, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
You might be correct, but this isn't the place for such a discussion. Perhaps WP:CITE? --ZimZalaBim (talk) 17:51, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Can we have a date?[edit]

I see {{Unreferenced}} has a date parameter that may be useful in finding articles that have been tagged for a long time. What do people think of adding this functionality to this template also? Cheers. SeanMack 08:31, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Done. Added to the template code by Rich Farmbrough, and I have added instructions for its use. -- Satori Son 01:36, 6 December 2006 (UTC)


I've changed the category associated with this template from Category:Wikipedia references cleanup to Category:Articles lacking sources. The purpose of Category:Wikipedia references cleanup is to clean up the citation style on articles that already have citations. The purpose of this template seems to be to request citations that don't exist at all (similar to {{unreferenced}}). —Seqsea (talk) 03:50, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Definitely a useful distinction but needs to be more compact (also a suggestion)[edit]

I've made repeated use of {{unreferenced}} in the past, and kept meaning to establish and use a different template to deal with the subset of the unreferenced articles where a list of general references are provided but are missing inline citations. Now that I've found this one, I'll start using it in those cases.

It's quite large though, so attempts to make it more compact would be appreciated.

Also, for articles which appear (admitted subjectively) to have a reliable and lengthy-enough list of general references, I'm thinking this template, or a version thereof, could be placed under the section heading for the article's eference list instead of at the top of the article. I'll check this talk page from time to time to see if a version tailored for such a use gets created.

Thanks to everyone who got this started and helped it survive the TFD discussion. 23:25, 5 December 2006 (UTC).

See {{citation style}}. —Seqsea (talk) 04:29, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
I see that, unlike the other related templates, the second (not-bold) sentence is not <small>. Changing that would bring it in line with the unofficial standard, and make take less space. If there are no objections I'll make the change in a couple of days if no one beats me to it. --Eitch 00:49, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Location to place this tag[edit]

The page Wikipedia:Template messages/Sources of articles list the location to place this tag as “To be Agreed”. I would suggest that the proper place would be at the top of the reference section. Jeepday 15:33, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Inline citations are not required by policy[edit]

No policy requires inline citations. They are often a good idea, and are a requirement for feature article status, but it is not a requirement for all articles. Furthermore, the tag is often used when the article has adequate sources. This tag therefore enshrines a particular editor's view about style (that the article in question should have inline citations) in an inappropriate way. That point belongs on the talk page, not in the article itself. Robert A.West (Talk) 00:13, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Where does it say that featured articles have different requirements then other articles? Jeepday 00:42, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
The whole point in to get citations for all articles so that they meet the WP:V requirements, I have noticed that tags quite often help by bringing this to attention of users, particularly new-ish users. Cheers SeanMack 11:32, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Jeepday and SeanMack. Our ultimate goal should be for every article to be of FA quality. -- Satori Son 01:14, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
That goal is not consensus among editors. But more importantly, inline citations for every fact are not an FA requirement; see WP:FA? section 1c. CMummert · talk 05:00, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
As far as consensus, that is why I said "should be" and not "is". And no one here is arguing that policy requires "inline citations for every fact". Straw men aside, please feel free to share your position on the use of this template. -- Satori Son 14:57, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I was responding to several comments at once. The thing about cites not being required was a response to the comment by User:SeanMack above.
When do I think this template should be used? I don't know for sure; I haven't seen this template in use very much, and the meaning of templates on WP is often determined by their use more than their words. This template seems to lie between {{unreferenced}} and {{fact}}. One reasonable use might be to insert this template and make a list of the desired citations on the talk page instead of adding a large number of {{fact}} tags to an article.
My concern about this template is that unless the person who places the tag also leaves comments on the talk page, nobody will know which facts that person is challenging, and so nobody will know when the tag can be removed. Other tags, like {{confusing}}, have the same problem. I favor discussion on the talk page over tagging the article and forgetting about it; but once the discussion is started, there is no need for the tag in many cases. CMummert · talk 15:08, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

(reset indent) That sounds quite reasonable; explanations on talk pages are always a good thing, and I encourage users of this template to do as CMummert suggests.

Occasionally, however, it is fairly obvious for a long, detailed article that at least some citations are needed. And other times, it is helpful to use both the {{citations missing}} and {{fact}} tags together even in an article that already has some citations. For example, the John McCain article was significantly improved after both templates were used in conjunction, going from ~50 to 90+ citations in a relatively short period. (But note this was accompanied by significant discussion on the talk page.)

My main point, however, is that just because there is no specific policy that states all articles must use inline citations, that does not alleviate the need for this sometimes useful template. -- Satori Son 15:42, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Recent edit[edit]

I've reverted the recent edit that expanded this template; it was quite unnecessary in my view, and only served to make the template more intrusive. The sentence "Failure to use citations when needed will be considered a sign of possible plagiarism or factual inaccuracy." seems like a harsh warning where none is needed. BuddingJournalist 01:27, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

The above post is a case in point as to why my expansion was necessary. The function of citations is to give credit to the source of information or writing whenever a text is using the ideas or words of other texts. They are necessary to prevent plagiarism, or simply adding fiction. Their function is not simply verifibility. (After all, plagiarized work can be verifiable too!) I don't think the language is too harsh either; note the qualification: "...a sign of possible." 172 | Talk 11:03, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
That's why there are links to the relevant guidelines. Take a look at the other cleanup templates for examples of succinctness; they don't throw around vague accusations of plagiarism either. There are other templates for stuff that is copy and pasted. There really is no need for three long, wordy sentences to explain citations to readers. It's all clear in the guidelines. BuddingJournalist 02:36, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
The tag is meaningless unless it conveys the function of citations. This conveys the function: Failure to use citations to support claims outside the realm of elementary factual knowledge of the subject may be considered a sign of possible copyright violation or factual inaccuracy. The subequent sentence about Wikipedia policies, however, uses terms in ways that are unfamilar to users who are not familar with the website. 172 | Talk 03:15, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Then why do the other cleanup templates not go into long detail about the function of sources? By the way, your blanket revert removed the {{{1|article or section}}} functionality I added. I also fail to see how "This article or section uses words or ideas of other publications in its text, without citing the source(s) of the information" is better than the much more succinct "This article or section uses words or ideas of other works without citing sources". Ditto for "Knowing the source of information of particular claims" instead of "Knowing the source of particular claims". BuddingJournalist 04:49, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Not all clean-up templates require detail about the function of templates. Take the case of the following tag: This article includes a list of works cited but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. The said suggests that editors understood the function of citations, but just did not follow particular guidelines for including them. (2) I prefer the following: "This article or section uses words or ideas of other publications in its text, without citing the source(s) of the information." This distinguishes the article/section from the text it contains. It's less confrontational in that it suggests the problem is some of the text contained in the article/section, not the entire article/section. (3) "Knowing the source of information of particular claims..." was a typo. I was typing "claims" and then changed my mind and settled on "information." Skratch that. I changed my mind again. "Particular claims" is better, as we do not want to convey the misunderstanding that all information requires citations. 172 | Talk 05:02, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I agree that templates intended for article, rather than the talk page, should be succint, because they are read by everyone rather than just by editors familiar with WP policies. And a link into the Wikipedia: namespace should not appear in the article namespace; that's the spirit of WP:SELF.
Moreover, the claim

Knowing the source of particular claims is required to conform to Wikipedia policies regarding neutral point of view, original research, and verifiability.

is certainly not consensus.
I edited the template to make it useful for readers, not editors, and to remove the non-consensus claim. CMummert · talk 05:11, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
OK, but why did you comment out the date functionality? I re-added it. BuddingJournalist 06:24, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
...Wikipedia policies regarding neutral point of view, original research, and verifiability. I'm glad the line was removed. Indeed, the references to 'neutral point of view, original research, and verifiability' are incomprehensible to anyone not familiar with WP policies... In my defense, I kept the reference to "neutral point of view, original research, and verifiability," which was in the template before my edits, in my drafts because I had assumed there would be a strong consensus supporting the line. 172 | Talk 11:23, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I think the way it reads now is just fine. It says exactly what it needs to say without hitting you over the head with it.--Aervanath 09:19, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree. My rewrite improved the old version. BuddingJournalist and CMummert then did an excellent job rewriting my rewrite. 172 | Talk 11:25, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

And then there was peace throughout the land...--Aervanath 11:31, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, it is a lot better. I looked at a bunch of other maintenance templates, and they seem to usually include a link to the talk page and a link to edit the article. Some of them do link to editing help, so I reintroduced the link to the footnote guide.
I am still confused about the the first sentence - this template is for article missing citations, not for articles missing footnotes. So why isn't the first sentence This article or section is missing citations ? CMummert · talk 12:06, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I have added some citations, though I think much of the article is from the Ascent Media website and most of the claims could be referenced to this site. Is it really necessary to cite all of the article pieces to that site? —Preceding unsigned comment added by LizGere (talkcontribs) 20:15, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Change Categories[edit]

This really should be probably be catagorized in Category:Articles lacking reliable references, rather than Category:Articles lacking sources. The category it is in now is for articles with no sources in any form. Maybe their is a better categoy than the one I suggeseted but the current one is not a good one to to use.--BirgitteSB 20:37, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Mmmm ... it's tough - but it seems like the reliable references one is for pages with citations, just crappy ones. I think the best place would be the same place that {{fact}} puts them, Category:Articles with unsourced statements (it can also by done by date "Category:Articles with unsourced statements since [date]). Essentially, this template is just an alternative to a lot of fact templates, and if everything that had this and everything that had fact went in the same place - then editors going through the categories/backlog would have an easier time.danielfolsom 20:51, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm going to go ahead and make the change - since the one it's going to now clearly says it shouldn't be there.danielfolsom 14:51, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree it makes sense for this to agree with the fact template. CMummert · talk 15:11, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Redirect to Refimprove[edit]

Given that we have {{unreferenced}} and {{Citations}} I think that this template should be redirected to {{Refimprove}}. The wording of this template is not a precise as {{Refimprove}} because WP:PROVEIT does not specify the type of citations to use (no preference is given to footnotes over Harvard style citations) so the wording "or needs footnotes." is redundant and therefore I think the wording of {{Refimprove}} " This article needs additional citations for verification" is better. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 14:20, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Like the template, not the instructions[edit]

Why do the instructions say to put it on the main page? This template (and many other editorial templates) belongs on the discussion page. It does nothing to contribute to the facts or navigation to other similar subjects that are on the article page.

This template (and many others) gives an opinion which needs to have some specifics to at least be considered a valid observation. This class of template is not much different than a project template that offers a rating. Those are placed on the discussion page.

The template itself calls attention to the scholarly minded that some footnotes and references would be nice. Comments could be placed below the template on the discussion page. These would be a sign of collaborative, scholarly effort and cite some specific places where a cite should be placed. Otherwise placement of this template is just lazy academic graffiti or is a sign of some robot wikipedia tagger who is keeping score on template tags.

I just don't get it. Could somebody enlighten me about the placement. Thanks --Rcollman (talk) 03:04, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree completely. I've seen several articles where this tag was slapped on over a year ago, with no explanation on the talk page, and everyone seems to just ignore it. -- Avenue (talk) 18:15, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

The reason the instructions say to put it on the main page is twofold: 1) it alerts readers of the article about possible inaccuracies due to a lack of credible sources and, 2), it makes the problems more easily seen, immediately once an editor goes to the page he can see that it needs citations.--danielfolsom 04:16, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Grand Unified Citations Complaint System (GUCCS)[edit]

Have a look at User:Thinboy00/Template editing#Make a new template, or retool an old one? (please read, title is counterintuitive). Why don't we do that? --Thinboy00's sockpuppet alternate account 03:42, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

I've crossposted to Wikipedia talk:Template messages/Sources of articles#Grand Unified Citations Complaint System (GUCCS). Please comment there and not here. --Thinboy00's sockpuppet alternate account 20:43, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Style tweaks[edit]


I've started a sandbox for this page which includes some updates to the style to match the prevailing ambox layout. just needs synced. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:00, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Why the default message was changed from article or section to article. Ruslik (talk) 13:41, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
That's the prevailing style. If the template is added to a section, then "section" should have already been specified; there is therefore no need to be ambiguous if it is not specified at the top of the article. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 15:31, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done Thanks, PeterSymonds (talk) 07:08, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

The doc subpage[edit]

I just added a table to the doc subpage. The table shows more specifically worded templates that can be used instead of this one. Since this template is not needed (see the table, everything has a more specific template for it), I propose we deprecate it. Existing instances will continue to work, but new ones will be discouraged. Once the template is orphaned, it can be disabled with a deprecation notice. If anyone can come up with any use of this template which does not already have a more specifically worded alternative, I will reconsider (and note that I am of course not the only person making the decision; if I was, I'd be concerned about the safety of the wiki and its inhabitants)--Thinboy00 @202, i.e. 03:51, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

How is this template unneeded when it appears than in two cases of that table one would need to substitute it with two templates to achieve the same effect? I'm not a fan of dragging community discussion into the documentation either; the wording seems to suggest that this talk page has some kind of conclusion that this template shouldn't be used, when it has no such thing. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:57, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
  1. One template should not attempt to mark two unrelated problems (footnotes and references).
  2. This template is ambiguous between those two all 03:54, 15 February 2009 (UTC) cases from the table, but using two templates is not.
    1. It is also frequently used for drive-by tagging, exacerbating the ambiguity.
  3. Feel free to change the wording to something weaker if you feel that is appropriate.
  4. The template has not been deleted primarily because the community either didn't understand the existence/uses of this and other templates, or didn't know what to do with this template (TfD was the wrong venue for deciding that, it would need to be deprecated first, which is my proposal).
    1. I'll admit that community consensus is unclear on what should occur, so we should probably not rush into this (there's no deadline, after all), and we should seek further community input before we do anything.
Any other concerns? --Thinboy00 @203, i.e. 03:52, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
After re-reading my wording, I agree that it is too strong, and have weakened it accordingly. If you feel it is still too strong, don't hesitate to further weaken it. --Thinboy00 @210, i.e. 04:03, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

(undent)Striking my old text, because I feel we need wider community input, and the text implies that deprecation is imminent, which I (now) feel is certainly not the case (more discussion is needed first; an RfC might be the next order of business). --Thinboy00 @224, i.e. 04:22, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

RFC:Proposal to deprecate[edit]

There has been some controversy regarding the usefulness of this template and its redundancy. This can be seen at this template's more recent two TfD's (see top of this page). An alternative to deletion is deprecation (see Template:Qif for an example, but note that it is possible to deprecate a template without disabling its functionality -- namely, by prepending {{Tdeprecated-inline}} and retaining existing code.). There has been intermittant discussion on the talk page, and wider community input is desired.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Thinboy00 (talkcontribs) 23:56, 25 March 2009

Actually, I reckon this template is better worded than {{refimprove}} is. This template clearly asks for things which are not cited to be cited, whereas {{refimprove}} simply valuely asks for "more references". I agree that there is no need to have two templates, but I'd prefer the merge to be into this one. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:04, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, {{refimprove}} does not simply ask for "more references" it states "This article needs additional citations for verification." -- no mention of references -- PBS (talk) 21:14, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Edit request[edit]


Can an admin please remove the {{DMCA}} from the template? It adds all pages with this template to Category:Articles with unsourced statements and Category:All articles with unsourced statements. Both of those categories are only for articles with {{Fact}} or {{Citation needed}}. Thank you. Samwb123T-C-@ 01:28, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Those categories are populated by quite a few templates, this one among them. See e.g. the category page. Debresser (talk) 07:14, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Edit request[edit]

I don't like the current wording "Please help add inline citations to guard against copyright violations and factual inaccuracies".

  • It doesn't make any sense - how do inline citations mean that something isn't copied verbatim?
  • It's vaguely annoying to readers who would rather see copyright on the dustbin of history.
  • It misses the point of inline citations in any article in any publication for any purpose!

Which is better expressed by: "Please add inline citations to document facts to reliable sources and facilitate further research."

March 2011[edit]

The current wording does not make a lot of sense. Particularly now that a list of general references are not considered on their own to be adequate as citations and that to meet policy requirements if text needs a citation it must be an inline citation.

The major problem is that "This article is missing citations or needs footnotes." is not clear. It implies that citations are separate from footnotes but in most articles that carry in-line citations the citations are in footnotes (If not then then are in parentheses). This template would be less confusing if the first sentence was dropped.

The table in the documentation section is also inaccurate, because despite the name {{unreferenced}} it does not ask for references it states "This article does not cite any references or sources". and then asks "Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources." No where does it ask for references. -- PBS (talk) 21:28, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Remove copyright language[edit]

This template was obviously written by a cart00ney. Footnotes have no relevance for copyright law purposes. Adding a footnote would not be a defense for large blocks of text copied verbatim. The lack of a footnote where only an idea has been taken is not copyright infringement. Citations are good for Wikipedia, but they have nothing to do with copyright. This template should not falsely imply otherwise. Savidan 17:18, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Remove the copywrite language - Fourth request[edit]

Remove the copywrite language or unprotect.—Machine Elf 1735 13:04, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

{{ambox | name = Citations missing | subst = <includeonly>{{subst:</includeonly><includeonly>substcheck}}</includeonly> | type = content | text = Please help improve this {{{1|article}}} '''by adding [[Wikipedia:inline citations|inline citations]] to [[Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources|reliable sources]]. Unsourced material may be [[Wikipedia:Verifiability|challenged and removed]]. | cat = Articles with unsourced statements | date = {{{date|}}} | all = All articles with unsourced statements }}

opps... please. Thanks—Machine Elf 1735 01:14, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Senator2029 | talk | contribs 00:13, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Done. Ucucha (talk) 11:38, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Redirect to Unreferenced instead of Refimprove?[edit]

This redirect seems like it should point to {{Unreferenced}} instead of {{Refimprove}}. There's some ambiguity in the phrase "citations missing". Does it mean some or all? I think that "all" is the stronger connotation. Jason Quinn (talk) 21:06, 3 April 2014 (UTC)