Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/Archive 10

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The leap-frogged citations problem

I'd like to raise an issue that is quite a common problem in Wikipedia, especially in articles on controversial historical events, but I don't find it mentioned anyway in these policy/guidelines pages. Suppose someone needs a citation for a claim, say "the butler did it", and they find this stated somewhere, but instead of citing the place where they found it, they copy the citation given by that source. Thus, we will find in the article a citation like

  • Delaware District Court, June 3, 1932.

when in fact the editor just copied this citation from the book Butlers are Murderous Bastards.

In academia, citing like this is not allowed (and even regarded as serious misconduct in some fields). In Wikipedia, it creates several problems. One is that it becomes harder for someone to verify that the claim was published at all (few have the resources to examine old court records). Another is that it hides the quality of the trail that leads back from the Wikipedia article to the original source of the information. We are entitled to know that the only place the editor looked was in a highly polemical book.

I'm sure that usually this is done in all innocence, but it is also done on purpose to hide the use of propagandistic sources (especially that type of source that consists mostly of material carefully selected with little context from obscure places). I really think we should have a policy about it. The essential points would be:

  1. A citation should specify the place where you found the claim. In this example, the citation must be to Butlers are Murderous Bastards.
  2. If it seems important to mention what citation your source provides, you can use the pattern "Delaware District Court, June 3, 1932, cited in Butlers are Murderous Bastards".

I'm happy to write a draft section on this, but I'll wait for comments first. Also, is this the most appropriate page for it? --Zero 14:16, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

As far as I know, the second point above (X, cited in Y) is the only proper way of doing this (per the Chicago Manual of Style, in any case; I'm not sure how MLA handles this). A straight citation of a second-level source is just wrong; I'm not sure we need to add anything specific forbidding it, anymore than we need explicitly forbid entirely falsified citations. —Kirill Lokshin 16:26, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
The rules for encyclopedias are much different than rules for scholarly books. The audiences are different: Wiki's job is not to verify the scholarly credentials of a PhD, it is to help readers in the simplest and most natural fashion. We should give references that non-scholars can actually find and use. Citations to available secondary sources are useful. Citations to primary sources that are not easily available are NOT useful and should not be given. Rjensen 18:24, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
In the specific example you give, I would question that "Delaware District Court, June 3, 1932" was a published source, and would raise the question of OR. That is not a general solution, however. I have quoted from older books (17th and 18th century publishing dates), with sometimes convoluted attribution (Andrews, Charles Mclean and Andrews, Evangeline Walker (1945). Jonathan Dickinson's Journal or, God's Protecting Providence. Being the Narrative of a Journey from Port Royal in Jamaica to Philadelphia between August 23, 1696 to April 1, 1697. Yale University Press. Reprinted (1981) Florida Classics Library.) I think that if someone cites a long out of print source, it would not be unreasonable to ask where the editor found the source. And if the source cited was not published (i.e., printed in quantity and made available to the general public), I would say a case could be made that citing such a source was OR. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 18:41, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Ok, but that is a problem with my example and not with the principle I want to raise. Replace "Delaware District Court, June 3, 1932" by anything you agree is published but obscure and hard to check. --Zero 00:54, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Re "rules for encyclopedias" being different from scholarly books:
Wikipedia is different from traditional encyclopedias, precisely because readers cannot rely on the credentials and expertise of contributors. Citing sources is absolutely necessary to Wikipedia, not because it is a scholarly book, which it isn't, but because of its open contribution policy. The philosophy behind citing sources is very simple: the contributor must say where he got the information. If it is from a source the reader can check, good. If not, the contributor must still cite his source. Later perhaps someone can find a more accessible source.
And the source is wherever the contributor personally got the information. Anything else is simply dishonest. If that source gives another source, it's useful to have that other source as well, but the citation must be clear. To take a concrete example: I thought it was interesting that "in the mid-eighteenth century, the [president of Harvard] personally listed students when they enrolled, according to ... 'to the Dignity of the Familie whereto the student severally belong'—a list that was printed in the college catalogue and that dertermined precedence in such matters as table seating, position in acadmeic processionals, even recitations in class." So I put it in an article. Where I get it? From a chapter note in Karabel's The Chosen, where he references "Kenneth Davis, FDR, p. 135." So, how do I reference it? Simple. I did not get it from Kenneth Davis' book, I got it from Karabel's The Chosen, and I have not taken the time to obtain a copy of the Kenneth Davis book. So, it would be just plain dishonest of me to reference it to Kenneth Davis. I don't even know for sure myself whether there is such a book or what it says on page 135. What I do know is what Karabel says, so that's what I cite.
Wikipedia's verifiability policy is not directly derived from either academic scholarship or the practices of other encyclopedias. Sources are not suggestions for further reading or anything like that. It's all about maintaining traceability of facts: where they came from, what's their provenance.
It can all be summed up in one sentence: say where you got it. Dpbsmith (talk) 18:48, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I would argue that citation serves both to satisfy the verifiability policy and a more general sense of intellectual integrity. The first issue is adequately handled by indicating "where you got it"; the second would at least suggest that if a longer citation chain can be established, it should be mentioned. (For example, if author X cites author Y's theory in his book and we reference it in the article, it would be somewhat improper to suggest that the theory comes directly from author X; we should make mention of the fact that author X has indicated a source for it.) —Kirill Lokshin 19:15, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Citing a secondary source doesn't imply that the author of that source determined the truth of the information personally. That's more or less what "secondary source" means. Also, even though it would be nice to state where that source claims to have gotten the information from, requiring this in a prescriptive manner would be a big deviation from current practice and create a big lot of trouble. Not that that is necessarily a Bad Thing, but I'd prefer just to see some guideless on when quoting the source's source is a really good idea (example: the first source is obscure, like a local newspaper, but it cites something not so obscure) and allow the practice to grow with time. --Zero 00:54, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Quite true. I suspect I wasn't very clear here; I meant a rather more restricted case, where the secondary source makes explicit reference to something else. For example, suppose our source (by author X) contains:
"Text of author X... author Y argued:
"Text of author Y... important theory Z" (Author Y, Very Important Book, p. 87)
More text of author X..."
I would argue that, if we want to reference theory Z in an article, we should ideally cite it as "Author Y, cited in Author X", rather than merely "Author X". This may not have been as general as what you were referring to, though. —Kirill Lokshin 01:08, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm adding a draft section now, please critique the wording. I'm trying to keep it short and simple, as long sections tend to not be read. --Zero 09:02, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Good idea and good addition, Zero. SlimVirgin (talk) 09:13, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Looks good. Kirill Lokshin 16:00, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I have a question related to leap-frog citations. What is the policy for citing a journal, newspaper, or magazine article accessed verbatim from a database such as Jstor or LexusNexus? Is it necessary to say "<journal article>, accessed via Jstor", or can you just cite the journal article? Norman314 23:43, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
I would try to find the original article, double check the contents, and then cite it. Try to cite as close to the source as possible, but only as close as you get. Tycon.jpgCoyoty 18:25, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Many of the databases now include not just text but photographic scans of the relevant pages of the original. While I would include "accessed via [database]" if what I read was full text in which transcription errors could have been introduced, I think the scans are good enough to consider as having read the original source. --TreyHarris 19:25, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
The original source comprises words and the formatting is irrelevant. There is no need to see a paper copy or image of a paper copy in order to get the words right. Just cite the newspaper or journal. Rjensen 19:34, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Your're assuming no mistakes have been made in transcribing. IMO you should indicate both the original source and where you found it. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 23:28, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Hidden source citations

Often, particularly in articles on non-academic topics, vigorously citing sources inline for minor facts would tend to produce an unappetizing text, while footnotes are somewhat ridiculous. I've occasionally used an inline xml comment in the text for the purpose, like this: "<!-- SOURCE -->".


  • This is an unobtrusive way to maintain verifiability.
  • Since there are no formatting and style issues to be considered, it is lightweight (for the authoring editor) and therefore would tend to produce more source citations and thus further the aim of verifiability.


  • What are the disadvantages or pitfalls (if any)?
  • Is it worth spending a paragraph on in Wikipedia:Citing_sources?
  • Should we perhaps create a template {{hiddencite|SOURCE}} and advocate its use where appropriate?

LambiamTalk 02:05, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Very obvious disadvantage: the purpose of citations is to assure our readers (those funny people who don't click on the edit link) that the information in the article is accurate; hidden citations fail miserably at this, for fairly obvious reasons.
I think there already is a template that does this, incidentally, but I can't recall the name offhand. Kirill Lokshin 02:09, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
I can't think of any reason to hide a source. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:20, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
Hiding sources makes them harder to maintain as one must edit the page to see if they have been vandalized or removed, as often happens. Hyacinth 08:16, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
We definately need readers to see the sources. They have to know, that whatever they read is only as reliable as the source. --Rob 05:41, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the average reader should be able to read the sources or link to them just as easily by simply reading the text, not by clicking on edit and then scanning for the sentence and then to see if there is a reference. This is the current case with the use of the template inote. It is in current use on some FA such as India. As stated so aptly above, the purpose of citations is to assure our readers (those funny people who don't click on the edit link) that the information in the article is accurate; hidden citations fail miserably at this, for fairly obvious reasons. Therefore, I propose that inote be withdrawn as acceptable policy for FA, as it is clearly not an example of best work, it should be replaced with something easily verifiable such as cite.php or other. --Bob 17:39, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

A modest proposal

There is currently a small problem with footnotes: until you click, you don't know whether it's supposed to give you additional information, or just a reference. That is, it's common to see footnotes that provide, in fact, notes, but also common to see footnotes that provide sources.

So, my proposal is that we eat stop using baby footnotes for references. Instead, we should use linked Harvard-style citations for references (Simetrical 2006), and use numbered footnotes for notes.[1] This would allow us more flexibility with less confusion, plus the Harvard style is more informative in that it tells the reader the year of publication right up front. And as an added bonus, Harvard-style references wouldn't be subject to the same confusion that occasionally arises over the same number being used multiple times, which I've seen people mistake for some kind of glitch when actually it's just the same reference being used twice. And scientific texts universally use Harvard references, for what that's worth.

If any kind of consensus emerges around this, of course, we can ask for the functionality to be implemented in cite.php; for now this is purely hypothetical, since <ref> is so much more convenient than templates. I also recognize that this is really kind of a solution looking for a problem, but what the heck, I may as well throw this out there. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 05:05, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

A very good idea: Harvard for cites to [Smith page 200] and a numbered not for everything else. Rjensen 05:12, 20 March 2006 (UTC)



  1. ^ E.g., a hypothetical illustration of what should go in a note.


The problem is that due to the nature of Wikipedia (being open to anyone, and subject to sneaky vandalism) we need to have vastly more references than most publications. A substantial number of articles properly have a footnote reference for every sentence (some times more than one). A superscript number is not that distracting. But a Harvard-style reference, done frequently, can be. Also, many readers don't care to know the names of the sources, and the Harvard-style ones are giving them information that's not meaninful to them. --Rob 05:38, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Totally in agreement with Rob. Harvard style references are obtrusive in style and when there are many many references, such as in the AIDS or HIV articles, the text becomes almost unreadable due to the number of harvard references. Numbered refs look much much better, and are easier to use, expecially when they are using the cite.php system --Bob 23:51, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Should we then perhaps eliminate non-reference footnotes altogether? —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 01:38, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Why would that be necessary? There's no reason the two can't coexist. Kirill Lokshin 01:40, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
Just a suggestion, but if footnotes and references use the same system, perhaps footnotes could be lettered and references numbered, each going to a seperate list specific for each group. --Bob 01:50, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
What about footnotes that include both citations and further discussion? ;-) Kirill Lokshin 01:53, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, all good points. I wonder if these issues have already been addressed. I'm trying to pull together a higher-level discussion in my new thread: Summarizing appendices issues. Go there for my response to your points here. --J. J. 14:31, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
No If we eliminate non-reference footnotes then we should just eliminate footnotes. The main point above (which I actually came to this web page to make) is that Harvard style is the right way to do referencing, because it gives you information as you read. I'm agnostic as to whether footnotes should be allowed at all, but they certainly shouldn't be being used for references. --Jaibe 21:10, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

By the way, just found some *really* broken refernces on mathematical biology --- they look like footnotes but are external links to the papers! So you never see the actual reference, you just get a PDF to open! I put the citecheck tag on it, but maybe we really need a tag for incorrect citation style. --Jaibe 21:10, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

A question

Is it okay to use another encyclopedia as a source? I am thinking about making an list and I was wondering if citing the Canadian Encyclopedia and using it as a source is acceptable. !!!!

I think it's bad policy to cite another general encyclopedia (like Expedia). Specialized scholarly encuyclopedias are ok. I think the Canadian falls in the latter group when it comes to topics like flora, fauna, cities, rivers. I would not use it for biography or history. Rjensen 20:38, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Citing page numbers

Personally, Harvard referencing without page numbers is fine for academic papers, which usually cite other academic papers. It was developed specifically for this purpose. It's relatively easy to find the sourced material when the paper cited is say twenty pages.

It's another thing entirely when one cites books. Imagine the pain we cause the reader, and other editors trying to check us, when we say something like "Some law codes revolve around punative measures." (Bible, KJV, (1611)). How on God's green earth is someone supposed to find and verify that?

In my opinion, we are very weasely when this guideline says "if you add pages it looks like this:". Frankly, we should say that we prefer page numbers for books at least. According to Harvard referencing practice: "When you can (or should) provide a page number, the convention is (Smith 2005: 73)". Most other style guides too consider that an integral part of a citation.

This has probably been hashed-out before, so sorry for re-opening an old, closed, discusion; but this has been an issue for me to check and correct articles I'm active on. MARussellPESE 15:04, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

I'd agree - we most certainly need to cite page numbers and especially so for direct quotations. Re the academic papers issue: let's not forget that published academic papers are peer review by experts and often checked by grad students (for refs etc.). Wikipedia has none of these mechanisms. To foster a reputation for reliability, we need to start getting very serious about citations. Mikker (...) 18:46, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

References WikiProject?

Is there a references/footnotes WikiProject? References and footnotes are very inconsistent across the Wiki and a group of people to get together and fix them would be very helpful. --Cyde Weys 01:34, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Mixing general and in-line citations

I observe that both general and in-line citations are listed under reference section in some articles. Is it an professional way to do?

Xplorer 23:54, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

My impression is that this calls for separate "Notes" and "References" sections, but I could be mistaken. Kirill Lokshin 01:02, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Nitpicking: this article contradicts the Guide to layout

In the present article, the "See also" section is located at the very bottom, below all the other appendix sections, but this is not the place it should have according to the example sequence in the GTL. Or is the standard(?) section sequence covered in another guideline/policy article (which overrides the GTL)? Or is this simply a (somewhat limited) choose-yourself thing? --Wernher 04:34, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't think there's a standard, but I'm trying to compile as many as I can for a draft: Wikipedia talk:Citing sources#Appendices and their order. --J. J. 12:58, 30 April 2006 (UTC)


What does everyone feel about using Template:Unreferenced in articles without any reference? Shawnc 03:06, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

That's where I use it. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 03:29, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
The template page itself suggests that it should only be used on articles that have no references. However, I've added it to articles at the same time that I add a few references, just so that other editors who may be unfamiliar with how citations work can see how it's done. --TreyHarris 04:43, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
The purpose of the template is somewhat undetermined. It states "This article or section does not cite its references or sources". I once edited it into "This article or section does not cite any references or sources", but it was reverted because some feel that the template may apply to articles that cite some sources but not all.
Also, I've received a couple complaints due to the use of the template at the top of articles, for instance: "having the banner at the top of the page gives the impression to the casual reader that there is possibly erroneous or contentious information on the page, or that some datum within is in dispute, when, to the best of my knowledge, this is not the case."
So, I hope we can reach concensus on some issues: 1) When should this template be used? 2) Where in the article should the tag be placed? Shawnc 23:35, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Citations to an individual

The article in question is dnd (computer game). dnd is important because (1) it was the first computer game with a boss and (2) it was the 3rd dungeon crawl type game. There were four of us who wrote the game. How do we reference that we are putting up our own knowledge about the game? user talk:ratwod.

You don't. That could be considered original research and self-promotion, and highly discouraged. References should be to reputable third party publications. If you can find any articles about your work, you can cite those. Tycon.jpgCoyoty 20:10, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Aesthetic issues with the use of superscript

Have you ever noticed that inline citations that make use of superscript (such as the <ref> citation tag) can cause an entire line to be pushed down a few pixels, resulting in a sort of quirky mini-paragraph? I noticed this while working on Final Fantasy X. The following sentences are meant to serve as an example to illustrate this point. "It's not that I'm criticising the referencing style, it's their appearance in my browser that's a little off. Do you seriously not notice that lines that contain superscript get pushed down by a few pixels? If you can't, try shortening the width of your browser program." In conclusion, I still think that the inline citations should be kept as superscript, but is it possible to either move the superscripted text down a few pixels, or, make vertical line spacing a fixed amount? Thanks in advance, from Flooch 16:02, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

I think this is different for different browsers and/or fonts. I've noticed that, on a Mac, Safari exhibits this behavior, but Camino does not (or at least it isn't as noticable). --JW1805 (Talk) 17:36, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree with User:Flooch. Anything that causes anyone to be reluctant to insert references is a Bad Thing. I find this very annoying myself. I've been trying to minimize the effect by collecting all the references for a paragraph together at the end of the paragraph, as shown below, but that has problems of its own. For one thing, it increases the chance that future editors may not be careful about keeping items together with the references supporting them. And it doesn't solve the problem because the last line in the paragraph still has extra spacing. I think it looks slightly less bad, but I'm not even sure about that.[16][17][18]
Personally, I'd like to see every page have an option for turning footnotes off and on. When off, the footnote superscripts shouldn't show at all. (The <references/>section should still be visible). When I'm reading an article, often I'd just as soon not see the footnote superscripts. I only want to turn them on when it occurs to me to wonder about the source of an item... or to get a general impression of how well sourced the article is.
IMHO the footnote superscripts could be considerably smaller... and less superscripted... and I don't understand why they need to have square brackets around them. (Yes, I know I could customize my CSS if I wanted to bother). Dpbsmith (talk) 17:39, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
P. S. Yes, I'm using Safari. But Wikipedia has always been punctilious about supporting a very wide range of browsers. Dpbsmith (talk) 17:40, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
I believe the effect is caused by fonts. Some browsers specify Arial as their default sans serif font. Other fonts, like Verdana and Tahoma, also have the vertical line spacing issue. JW1805, would you be kind enough to find out what the default font is in Camino?
dpbsmith, your idea for showing/hiding footnotes is genius. Who do we talk to get it approved? The increased vertical line spacing would still be present when footnotes were shown though, so that still needs to be addressed. ~ Flooch 00:03, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
I've found a bit of information on WP:FN that points to a fix for the superscript line spacing issue. Flooch 15:12, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

References at *end* of article

I was wondering why references are put above exernal links? Most often there are very few or no references, and the section is small. But in other cases the reference section can be huge. Also, in many cases the references are NOT links - but are book references and are therefore not immdiately usable. I like to think that the most usable things in the article are at the top, and as one progresses lower, things get either more and more complicated and harder, or less and less useful (more trivial). The reference placement convention seems to go against my notion of the organization of an article.

I propose that we change this policy to putting the references at the bottom of a page - because it is the least usable part of that page. It is only used to verify information - not for much else. Fresheneesz 20:07, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

I think that your logic here could have been better but I do agree with the sentiment. The use of comments like "It is only used to verify information - not for much else" seems to impute an opinion to a revatively new editor that doesn't quite comprehend what wikipedia considers important. I don't quite understand how switching reference sections can be justified by your statements. Wikipedia intends to be a serious site intent on the professional inclusion of data and knowledge. References to verify an articles summeries and claims are one of the most important aspects that makes wikipedia a competent source of said knowledge.-ZeroTalk 20:18, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

JA: I always interpreted this guideline to mean "toward the end" of an article. Speaking as a reader who persistently checks the references of every statement, it's a lot of extra eyestrain to run my eyes through the broken fields of "See also" and "External links" sections in order to check the references. So placing "References" at the end of the main text but above the "See also" and "External links" is just less tiresome, ergonomically speaking. Jon Awbrey 21:02, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (headings)#Standard headings and ordering. The stardard orders are: See also, Notes (or References), References (or Notes), External links. The idea is that the see also is really part of the intrinsic article, and so the reader should see it immediately after reading. External links should be at the very bottom because Wikipedia is not a collection of external links. So references and notes go in between. --TreyHarris 21:19, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

JA: I never know what to say to that kind of reasoning. Guidelines are made to serve people. If common sense provides a reason to vary them, then common sense rules. Many of us use the "See also" section as a synopsis or syllabus of related topics, and so they can be extensive. The criterion is: What helps the reader best in a given article? Jon Awbrey 21:38, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

It is hard to quantify the value of standardization. If we threw out all the style guides, we could finely tool a different style that works best for each and every article, but no article would look like any other (in other words, we'd have no editorial consistency), and disputes would run rampant, since these matters are often a question of personal preference. Why do you have to run your eyes through the see also section, anyway? Can't you click the footnote, making the browser jump, and then when done, click the arrow, to jump back? For readers who never check references, their argument would be for all references sections to always go at the very bottom. The style guides are about striking a balance that works for most of our articles. If a particular article has a special circumstance necessitating violating the style guide, explain why and do it. --TreyHarris 21:46, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree that standards are good, but I'm trying to change the standard to a new one - standards are important. And you may be right, I guess I could be considered as a relatively new editor, i've only been editing for a year. I *never* use reference, but simply because I like editing wikipedia in other ways - like making its information the most usable and accessible. References are important, but I truely think that most people do NOT use them. At a glance, I see them as junk - but of course I know that they are important. I use the see also a LOT, and the external links section sometimes too. But I might have looked at an internet reference once or twice. Why does it help someone to see references right when they're done reading the article?
Also, I never read articles from beggining to end. I always look through for something i'm interested in. Thus I try to make the article as easy to look through as possible.
So my question to you is: why must references be where the style says they should be? And what is the downside of my suggestion of placing them at the very bottom? Fresheneesz 05:38, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
References are an important part of the article. Per Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research, references let readers know that the article they're reading is well sourced (or not, in the case of few or no references). External links are, in some cases, nice, but hardly as important to the article as the sources which prove the claims/statements made.
For these reasons I strongly discourage placing references at the end of articles. —Locke Coletc 05:45, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

JA: References are the only thing that keeps WikiPseudonymomania from being a mere discussion list. Jon Awbrey 05:52, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

I *understand* the importance of sources, however you are both ignoring my explicit question: "What is the downside of my suggestion of placing them at the very bottom?". References at the bottom of a page are *just as valid* as references anywhere else, once again - I would estimate less than 10% of all users take a second glance at refs. Fresheneesz 10:31, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
You're not getting it: placing them directly after the article (at least, before the external links) emphasizes that the article is sourced. And your argument works both ways: External links at the bottom of a page are *just as valid* as external links anywhere else. I'd also guess very few people actually look at the external links (but those doing research are much more interested in the article sources). —Locke Coletc 11:04, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Maybe so about the external links, but it seems ridiculous to me to separate the links sections by references. Fresheneesz 00:16, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
The references section is likely to contain links too, Fresheneesz. External links is now often called "further reading" for that reason, and the order of the sections makes sense. First you have "see also" which includes related Wikipedia articles: internal links. Then you have the "references" or "sources" section, which includes external links or off-line material that was used as a source in the article. Then you have "further reading" which includes external links and off-line material not used as a source, but nevertheless regarded as useful for people interested in the topic. There's a certain logic to that progression, in my view. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:49, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I suppose there is logic in that ordering. I feel though, that (ideally) external links should be *only* ones that explain about that topic in a way that wikipedia doesn't. So external links would contain stuff that should be in the article - but isn't. This means that those links would be more of an extension to that article. Of course wikipedia isn't ideal, so I guess that doesn't hold much water. I'll try to leave reference sections alone - they only bother me when they're extremely large. Fresheneesz 04:05, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Font size for references

Hi all. There is a proposal to put the font size for <references/> into CSS and not into article text (by using <div style=...>). Please respond on Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#proposed change to css (not here). Thanks! --Ligulem 08:23, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Bot to fix references

Would anybody else find it useful to have a reference bot that could do things like compare references to the same book in different articles to see if the ISBN/spelling of various fields/etc varies, and add info where deficient (e.g. if one article has a location defined for a book, but another doesn't, the bot can add the location). Would it be possible for a bot to take an ISBN and compare the data to another source and flag down possible problems on the talk page? Tuf-Kat 03:16, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Major major overhaul

This page needs a huge overhaul. I'm going to tackle it soon. I'll probably end up rewriting a lot of it from scratch because this page suffers horribly from Wiki syndrome. It's dense, hard to understand, muddled, huge, intimidating, and completely unlikely to be read by the people who actually need to read it. My new version is just going to cover Cite.php and citation templates (such as {{cite book}}). It'll be nice and simple to understand. --Cyde Weys 21:33, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

It'll also fail to cover a large number of other citation styles, obviously. I think that's a rather bad idea, given this. At the least, it should be made clear that the material is not all-inclusive in very major ways. Kirill Lokshin 21:38, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
That RfAr ended almost four months ago, back when Cite.php was first introduced. Things have changed significantly since then. And all that RfAr says was that no one style be mandated. Citing sources is a style guide, not a policy page. It needs to be simple to understand and put into use. There's no point in covering all of the old deprecated reference formats in it because (1) we really don't want users using them anyway and (2) it just breeds more confusion. --Cyde Weys 21:43, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Cite.php has changed things significantly, yes. This is hardly true for citation templates, which (a) have been around for quite a while and (b) have never been a prominent feature of this page. I have no objection to discussing them here; but it should be made clear that they're not the only acceptable way to format references. Kirill Lokshin 21:47, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm not really aware of any other ways to format references (except leaving them unformatted), so, please, enlighten me :-D Cyde Weys 22:01, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Why, by hand, of course! It's not like the format's going to change anytime soon; for an editor that knows how to do it, the templates provide no real benefit, and remove a certain amount of flexibility. Kirill Lokshin 22:10, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
When I said unformatted I meant by hand :-P And the benefit of citation templates is that they segregate the reference into useful metadata that can be machine-interpreted. Yes, you could write a parser that would get metadata from 100%-properly-formatted MLA citations (or whatever), but how many people do you know who can use MLA perfectly? Very, very few. And you'd still have to take into account all of the varying references styles - MLA, APA, Chicago, Tirubian, etc., whereas the citation template is a single format. The beauty of the citation templates is that they must be processable because the Wiki parser must interpret them; so anything that is broken won't display correctly (and will hence be fixed). --Cyde Weys 22:26, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Ah, that explains it ;-)
As I said, though: while useful, the templates are somewhat inflexible; so while I have no objection to people using them, or their being documented here, I'd like to avoid having some well-intentioned soul run around changing everything to use {{cite book}} because "that's what the style guide talks about". Kirill Lokshin 22:30, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

New message box template for unsourced categories

I created {{Category unsourced}}, to be used, when a category is applied to an article, its use is disputed, and there are no sources to back it up, and nothing in the article to explain its usage. {{fact}} can't be used, because there's no text to add it to. {{Not verified}} is to vague. So, I'ld like opinions if this is a good idea, and on what category such articles should be placed in. Currently I put them in Category:Articles with unsourced statements, but there's probably something better. I don't like "tag clutter", but I thought, in this case, its worth it. Its frustrating so many articles are in categories, with no apparent reason. --Rob 06:29, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Two citations for one statement

See the end of the first section of the second paragraph Seduction Community:

of which there are more than a hundred worldwide[3][4].

Is this proper style? What should be done in such a case? —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 04:25, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Not sure how this is handled by other style guides, but the CMS says that they should be combined into a single footnote that contains both citations. I'm not sure how this would play out if either of them is a back-reference to a citation given elsewhere, though. Kirill Lokshin 11:52, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Both citations are link farms, which IMO do not meet WP:RS, and are really linkspam. In fact, I will remove them as linkspam. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 15:19, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

What about cases where the citations are legit? It may look more tidy to have one superscript, though this becomes more complicated in articles where sources are cited numerous times with the footnote system. Hyacinth 18:49, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

I think it depends on the reference system you are using. As I am now using the cite.php method, I would keep them separate. I think that would hold true for Harvard reference style, as well. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 20:52, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
For Harvard reference it would be impossible to combine them—you'd have to give both names/years. For footnotes, I think it looks kind of sloppy to have two. Any other opinions? —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:25, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
The cite.php seems to be the preferred method for footnotes now, with Harvard references still acceptable, and neither lends itself to combining refs. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 10:51, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
If you're using unnamed ref tags, cite.php will quite happily combine citations, like so: <ref>Source 1; Source 2.</ref>. It only breaks if you need naming to refer to a source already used. Kirill Lokshin 12:53, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Summarizing appendices issues

I've spent several hours searching around the Wikipedia project namespace, Help namespace, and even Meta. I think this talk page is the best place to summarize the issues I've found; as usual, there are lots of different conversations going on around the wikisphere, so hopefully this will help to look at things from a higher level. I've listed several relevant topics at the end of this section in order to bring together their interrelated issues. I think my concerns fall into two main categories, but I think it makes sense to discuss them together:

Footnotes vs. Harvard references

I think Simetrical, Lulu, and others are making very good points about separating references from footnotes. Footnotes in general have come a long way in the past six months. I realize that footnotes are controversial, but I think some of the new templates and tools being developed to differentiate them from reference citations are usable. I think the Harvard referencing example shows the most logical way to set up "Notes" and "References" sections. It would probably make more sense to new users if the extension syntax used <footnotes> instead of <reference>, but it may be too late (or controversial) for that.

Appendices and their order

Note: This issue has been discussed and updated on the WP:GTL; while there isn't a required order, the proposal below is generally agreed-upon. See the Responses subsection here for the latest comments. --J. J. 18:00, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

I've found three lists of "standard appendices" (Guide to writing... and Guide to layout, EDIT: third found in the Manual of Style). First of all, I'm pretty sure they're not standards since they're listed in "guidance" articles. Second, I agree with Gareth that several of the guides he mentions should be combined and/or reviewed for unnecessary redundancy. I would particularly like to clarify a standard order for these appendix sections. Seems to me like "Further reading" (use "References" instead) and "Quotations" (use Wikiquote template instead) are depreciated or unneccessary. (EDIT: On reading some comments and looking further into it, it looks like Biblio and Further have basically the same purpose. EDIT2: See appendices order Response.) I don't think it's necessary to have a "Navigation" section at the end, either. However, a "Notes" appendix section should probably be added to the list (see Footnotes above). How's this look?

  • Quotations (depreciated)
  • See also [or] Related topics
  • Notes [References before Notes is equally acceptable]
  • References
  • Bibliography [or] Further reading
  • External link(s)

I do not mind taking the reigns on some of these issues, although my time is quite limited. Just thought I'd see if others agreed/disagreed with my comments about appendices in general.

Relevant pages

Yes, I know it's kind of ironic that I'm not using the <footnotes> hooks here; didn't seem to be the right thing to do on a Talk page rant.

--J. J. 21:26, 27 April 2006 (UTC)


Just a note: Further reading should not be replaced with References. The Further reading section is for stuff that was not used as a reference, but has additional value for the reader who wants to know more. Tuf-Kat 21:59, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

I actually looked into that... I couldn't find anything that says a reference has to be cited in order to be in the list. Can't you just put relevant books in the "References" section? --J. J. 00:50, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't need to be cited, strictly speaking; the (minimum) qualifications for being listed as a reference are, in my opinion, (1) that the book have actually been examined by the editor in question, and (2) that the book support the material in the article. The second point is the key one; if we put down books as references that later prove to not support the points in the article, we make the entire referencing system quite meaningless. Kirill Lokshin 02:12, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
So are you saying that sources that don't support the material in the article (or just other interesting sources) should be listed in "Further reading"? --J. J. 03:30, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
If the available sources don't support the material, then you have a different problem ;-) But, broadly speaking, yes; (potential) sources that were not consulted by editors working on the article should be listed in a "Further reading" section. Kirill Lokshin 00:11, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Have the pros and cons of Footnotes vs. Harvard references been discussed in more depth anywhere? While using Harvard references is good practice, Rob and Bob make good points that Wikipedia can be unusually heavy with its sources since it's user-edited; Harvard references would make the text much harder to read. On the other hand, I have never seen an article with so many references that Harvard citations would look distracting (even on the HIV and AIDS articles they mention). Make sense? Where do we go from here? --J. J. 14:24, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

I see no need to enforce a single citation standard, though. The use of footnotes for citation remains quite alive in professional publishing, primarily because they allow more flexible citation than pure Harvard references (which are primarily designed for straight citation of journal articles, and don't work very well for unusual types of source); why should we abandon them here? Kirill Lokshin 00:11, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm having trouble following what you're saying. Can you elaborate? What do you mean by "straight citation of journal articles" and "unusual types of source"? As a general point, though, it seems like you're using the "do it however you see fit" Wikipedia mentality; and that's fine with me! I'm just trying to seek out the pros and cons of each method. Hopefully we'll be able to avoid massively re-editing the way we use citations in articles as Wikipedia evolves. --J. J. 15:15, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
A Harvard reference typically includes (a) the author and (b) the year of publication. In cases where these aren't meaningful, though—the Bible or the Declaration of Independence, for example—you start having problems with the citation. In addition, footnotes allow explanatory text beyond a simple Author-Date-Page combination; if the source is disputed or controversial, for example, or if there is disagreement between several sources, this can be given in a footnote. In Harvard style, such annotation must be included in the article text directly or not at all. Kirill Lokshin 17:18, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
Not if footnotes are also used for explanatory purposes. So you could say, for instance,
the sky is neon pink (Bob 1432).1 . . .
  1. Some dispute the validity of Bob as a reference source. See, e.g., Sam 1229.
To be honest, though, if different sources conflict, I can see no reason why this shouldn't be mentioned in the article text, unless one source is a crackpot. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 04:57, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
I suppose that works (but it seems less neat than simply putting everything into the footnote). As far as conflicting sources go, you might have something like casualty figures for a battle given in the article text as 10,000–30,000 and a footnote detailing which sources give which numbers; while the disagreement might be mentioned in the text itself, listing all of the various opinions there might not be the best way to go about it. Kirill Lokshin 15:19, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

In reference to the appendices and their order, let me know if you object to me merging some of the redundant information on two pages: User:RockOfVictory/Appendices order draft. Please respond at Wikipedia talk:Help Project#Guides to improving articles. --J. J. 18:23, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Looks good. I would say that "Further reading" is probably a better heading than "Bibliography", since "Bibliography" is often used interchangeably with "References" in other style guides; but it's a minor point in any case. Kirill Lokshin 19:23, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

I just noticed a couple of discussions about appendix section ordering. While they're from Nov/Dec, I thought it would be good to add them to my master list of references. The Verifiability discussion doesn't seem to have ever come to a conclusion, so I'm going to assume that people agree with the changes I made last week. Furthermore, I'm adding a simple {{See also|Wikipedia:Guide to layout#Standard appendices}} to MoS:HEAD#Standard headings and ordering. --J. J. 18:00, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

When not to cite sources

I hope this doesn't sound too nitpicky, but having read this article through (as well as "Verifiability" and "No Original Research") I'm still left with some question in my mind as to when citing sources isn't necessary. Besides mentioning that Wikipedians should feel free to provide sources for other people's edits, and that disputed text is especially likely to be deleted if not sourced, the only guideline that's suggested under "when to cite" is this:

If you add any information to an article, particularly if it's contentious or likely to be challenged, you should supply a source.

To me this is a confusing statement. Setting the "particularly" clause aside, since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, I would assume every sentence would "add information to an article", but obviously, citing every line is not a common practice. Even featured articles for the most part seem to conform to the standard of "only cite explictly when a statement is controversial, contrary to common belief, or likely to be considered original research". I'm curious. Is there another, perhaps contradictory, statement on the subject elsewhere, either in guidelines or policy? And more to the point: is there a guideline somewhere on how much citing is too much? Or is there any such thing?
Lee Bailey 23:32, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

My understanding is that every statement in an article has to be supported by one of the sources cited for the article. That does not mean that every sentence needs a citation. General sources are usually listed at the end of the article, in References or External links. Items in the article text that might be questioned, or that are particularly interesting, should have specific citations. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 01:06, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
My preference would, indeed, be to reference almost every sentence, and the reason is that experience shows that otherwise you get fairly rapid "reference deterioration."
When I first started editing Wikipedia, many articles cited only a general reference or two at the end; were primarily the work of one editor; and most of the material in the article probably could be found in the cited sources.
But over time, people add things, and are by no means punctilious in adding only published material. (" popular culture" sections are a good example). The result is that it becomes difficult to know which items in the article are actually supported by the listed references and which are not. Even within a paragraph, when you have, say, three or four sentences followed by a reference, it is not unusual for someone who thinks there is too much detail to tighten it up and cut it down to one or two sentences... and if that involves removing the last sentence before the reference, the reference is often removed, too.
This is partly a technical issue. In order to be verifiable, Wikipedia really needs a much denser system of citation than a traditional print work. Ideally, I'd like to turn on something like Word's "track changes" feature to say "everything I type for the next ten minutes is all referenced to source XYZ."
I'd like to see article text marked only by, say, a subtle change in color that could be turned off if desired, showing, say, referenced text in black and unreferenced text in dark grey. And a system where hovering the mouse pointer over text would show a brief form of the reference, and clicking on it would take you to the full form, or something like that.
As of today, most facts in Wikipedia are difficult to trace to a published source. And quite a lot of the unreferenced information, when checked, turns out not to be very accurate. Dpbsmith (talk) 01:18, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
Thank you; this really clarifies a lot. Dpbsmith, your theorized citaton system immediately makes sense to me... I'm sorry it's not something that's implimented now, because I can already see where it would save editors the heartache of seeing well-referenced articles degenerate in time.
On the more immediate side of things, perhaps this page could afford make the difference between adding sources and citations a bit more clear for the benefit of new users. Lee Bailey 02:28, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Harvard referencing

And the complete reference would be:
Marx, Karl [1867] 1967 Capital: A Critique of Political Economy Vol. I. Edited by Frederick Engels. New York: International Publishers.

No full stop after name? Or just a mistake? Skinnyweed 21:58, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

It could be a mistake. --Siva1979Talk to me 15:35, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

"Note: Wikipedia articles can't be used as sources"

Why not? Pcb21 Pete 19:03, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

Put simply, Wikipedia isn't a "source" of information. See Wikipedia:No original research. We aggregate (with brilliant prose) information that comes from other places; we don't create new information. So, instead of citing another Wikipedia article, cite that article's sources. Warrens 20:23, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
The restriction is far harsher than simply not allowing original research. Suppose I'm writing a mathematics article about theorem X, but to prove that theorem, I need to reply on theorem Y. The current wording suggests I am not allowed to rely on the Wikipedia article for theorem Y, but must instead go elsewhere. I.e. every article stands alone. This is not at all helpful. "No original research" covers what we really mean completely adequately. Pcb21 Pete 21:59, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
There is an important difference between linking to another article on Wikipedia for further reading on a specific subject or term, and citing an article as a "source" or as "proof" of what you're trying to say. The latter can only be done through external links. That said, if understanding theorem X relies on an understanding of theorem Y, and we have an article on theorem Y, then this is a perfect candidate for an internal link. You can include that link, then write as if theorem Y is already understood. However, you're still on the hook in the article on theorem X to provide external cited sources that prove what you're writing is accurate. The article on theorem Y needs to do the same, of course. Warrens 03:01, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
I think it is really just about style, then? You don't cite (i.e. put in the references section) other articles, you just use internal links. Every time we use internal links we are using Wikipedia as a source, in a sense. This is simply just good style, books don't reference themselves, they just say "see chapter 8 for more", which is what we do. Pcb21 Pete 07:41, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
It isn't about style -- it's about terminology. A "source" is where information originates, like the beginning of a river. Information doesn't originate at Wikipedia, so the term "source" is never appropriate when describing articles, or internal links to those articles. Not even "in a sense". Internally linked articles are there to aid in understanding a particular subject better, that's all. Warrens 08:18, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
You are being unduly restrictive. Let's say we have List of 10 highest mountains in Africa which uses a reliable external source Z. Now I come to start the Mount Kenya article. I want to write "Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa". I can use List of 10 highest mountains in Africa as my source for that. There is no original research. Pcb21 Pete 08:44, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
I think it would be best if the Mount Kenya article contained the same external source Z as the list. That way, if Mount Kenya were included on a CD or paper version of Wikipedia but the list was not (or if the list was deleted for whatever reason), the source would still be valid. --Allen 09:01, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
If Z is a website, then it isn't going to help a paper version anymore than List of.. is.
But to say "if the list was deleted for any reason" is to say "have no faith in any other article". We may as well write all articles completely independently of each other. It is not an efficient way to do things. Pcb21 Pete 09:13, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
I think what Pete is saying is that it is too restrictive to disallow copy-editing from other wikipedia articles. However, people very often copy-edit a page, and simply say "copy-edit from [[somewhere]]" and thats considered fine. Fresheneesz 09:32, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Dedenting: That is part of it but it is more than that. I want to establish the principle that we can trust other Wikipedia articles. If we can't trust our own work we are doomed. And, as currently phrased, this policy page suggests we don't. Pcb21 Pete 10:14, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

I did not understand Pete to be saying that it is to do with a copy-edit of text from one article to another. It is about using Wikipedia articles to establish a fact eg in an article about architecture in Europe I might write "Since the end of World War II in Europe on May 8 1945, ..." Do I have to include in an article about architecture , all the references from that EWW2IE article, including the references that explain that it was not May the 8 but May 9 Zulu time, or that other dates could be used depending on what is meant by the end of the war, and that the date of events also depends on where the observer was located at the time of the event? All that for a clause in an article about post war architecture in Europe!
Suppose the list of the highest mountains in Africa had been derived from 100 sources, with a detailed analysis of why those particular peaks have been chosen for the Wikipedia list. Allen are you really suggesting that all 100 sources should be included every article which uses the list of 10 highest mountains in Africa? Placing every reference in every article for every Wikipedia link used as a source becomes a real maintenance issue: suppose that the sources for the list change, then it would be necessary to edit all the subsidiary articles which use the list as well as the list itself. With popular articles with 100s of links this would be very time consuming --Philip Baird Shearer 11:03, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
You put in much better than me, Philip. Thanks. Pcb21 Pete 13:49, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
This is at a tangent but in meta:wiki is not paper there is a section on Style and functionality. I think that this is a similar issue and it needs a section which says that if a Wikipedia article uses in in-line link to an article which cites its sources then the article making the link does not have to duplicate the citations. Obviously articles linked in which do not cite sources do not qualify and the article using the link should find suitable sources if they wish to be fully cited. One reason for this is that otherwise one can find oneself stepping through lots of links looking for a citation and a source (like a child looking up the meaning of a word in a dictionary). In the worst cases these become recursive loops without any source at the end of it eg:
Länder->State (subnational)->States of Germany->State (disambiguation)->state (sub-national)
See also Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/archive8#Explicitly say Wikipedia articles cannot serve as references for other articles where there is a similar thread. --Philip Baird Shearer

Should stubs be tagged as unreferenced?

There is a worthwhile discussion at Template talk:Unreferenced, over whether the {{Unreferenced}} should may be used on stubs (or whether the stub itself suffices). --Rob 22:13, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

The discussion isn't whether the tag should be used on stubs, but whether it may be. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:22, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
Yep, you're right. --Rob 00:53, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

RfC: Interpreting WP:CITE in the context of Mnemonics

Talk:Mnemonic#RfC:_How_should_WP:V.2C_WP:NOR.2C_and_WP:CITE_be_applied_to_unsourced_examples_of_first-letter_mnemonics.3F. The article contained about seventy-five unsourced examples of "first-letter mnemonics," probably representing a mix of well-known but uncited mnemonics, unpublished orally transmitted folk culture, and original creations. Should the WP:V, WP:CITE, and WP:NOR policies be interpreted as allowing such material, on the basis that it is self-verifying (i.e. anyone can see by inspection that the initial letters of "Kinky People Can Often Find Good Sex match those Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species, and the source of the mnemonic is of no practical concern)? Dpbsmith (talk) 22:28, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Link abbreviation ( etc)

Brought up by recent edits to Kerry Packer:

Is there a policy/convention/etc on the use of link abbreviation services in Wikipedia references? Various websites exist (,, that will input a long and unwieldy link and output a much shorter one that then redirects to the original link. (Removed link to blacklisted site because editing this page is otherwise forbidden. Gerry Ashton 19:44, 9 June 2006 (UTC))

This is very handy when sharing links with friends, but I don't think it's appropriate for Wikipedia services. The URLs they offer are persistent, and some of those sites have been around for years. But it still adds another potential point of failure, and it obfuscates things; there's no way to tell where such links go without following them, which has obvious possibilities for stealthy vandalism etc. The referencing system already means we can offer readers a plain-English description instead of the URL, and I don't see concealing the true URL from editors as desirable, even if it is long and ugly.

(Apologies if this has already been covered; I looked but couldn't find anything on the subject.) --Calair 02:12, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

I would say your right. This edit of yours seems very justified. We should pretty much always point to the "target" url. The rare exception, is when linking to somebody's official web site, and the person/organization, has a registered a domain, based on their name (indicating permenance), which temporarily points to another url that looks obviously temporary. --Rob 03:27, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Tinyurl is already on the spam blacklist as a vector for vandalism. If snipurl works, then it is only because the admins who maintain the spam blacklist haven't discovered it yet. Never use them. Pcb21 Pete 07:39, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, there are several discussions about TinyURL, Snipurl, and other "URL shortener" sites: m:Talk:Spam blacklist. You mention the "rare exception," but unfortunately with blacklists, it's all or nothing; you can't have exceptions. Also, it looks like someone is having a technical problem with extra long URLs in WP; doesn't look like this one has been resolved yet. --J. J. 15:36, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Unreferenced GA

Just a quick note to make you aware of this budding wikiproject. If you know of any existing projects with similar scope, are interested in participating or have any other suggestions, please drop us a note there!


Samsara (talkcontribs) 12:36, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Wish to add "See" reference

I've just added to Finding a good source.... Does anyone object to adding a wiki link to this in an appropriate place here? --CTSWyneken 12:33, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

When to delete uncited information

How long should uncited info be left on a page before it is removed? William conway bcc 19:23, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

I'd say if the info is not disputed, don't delete it at all (although to be a good Wikipedia citizen, you could go out and find a source for it yourself and add it). If the information is disputed, I'd put something about it on the article's talk page ("I don't think this is correct--can anyone provide a source?") in addition to noting it in the article itself (either the "dubious" or "citeneeded" template), then if no one provides a source after a week or two it can be deleted. Chuck 13:41, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

The timeline of when to remove is based on the potential harm. Negative claims of living people must be removed immediately, if unsourced, even if you know they're true. For instance, if you can know through original research (e.g. phone call, e-mail, message board) something negative about a living person (example: they're being investigated in a criminal matter), you should remove that claim if its unsourced, without delay. Even if you are certain its true. Anybody putting that back, without a source, faces being blocked, and even banned.
Now, for other things, where there's less potential harm, the question is, do you think it is eventually sourceable. If you're confident it can easily be sourced, and there's no dispute, but you haven't the time/interest to do the sourcing, leave it. For instance, if I think the likely source is a hard-to-get paper book, I probably won't go to the library, and I'll leave the claim in the article. I might tag it for others to deal with, depending on the situation.
For other cases, where a source probably isn't available, but might be, then it may be good to wait several days (after putting on a tag), then remove it. The key here, is we go by verifiability, not by truth. Certainty of truth is not sufficient to add or keep information in the enyclopedia. Verifiable truth is needed. Also "a good Wikipedia citizen" should try not to add information to Wikipedia without sources in the first place. --Rob 14:03, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Separate Page for Plagiarism

When I was trying to find out what to do about plagiarism that I found on the United Nations Secretary-General page(Talk) I went to Wikipedia:Plagiarism and was redirected to this page, which has no information at all about plagiarism or what to do about it. This isn't a case of someone needing to cite a source, but rather that someone deliberately copied text directly from another web page on the same topic and pasted it here. As such, I believe there should be a page separate from this one describing plagiarism, how to spot it, what to do about it, and the consequences of it. Uniqueuponhim 11:29, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

plagiarism is not copying, it's when someone takes personal credit for material written by others. Wiki has no personal credit system and hence no plagiarism. Rjensen 12:40, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
That might be technically true—in the sense that most plagiarism would also qualify as some sort of copyvio—but certainly it's valid to speak of, say, adding GFDL-licensed text from an external source without crediting the author as being in the spirit of plagiarism. Kirill Lokshin 12:45, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
And technically, if you want to talk about taking credit for something, while no one person would be taking credit, it can still be considered as wikipedia 'taking credit' for something, which obviously we want to avoid at all costs. I would personally make the page, except that I am not knowledgable enough on Wikipedia regulations and procedures for this type of thing, so I'm not really qualified to. It would be nice if somebody else would, though. Uniqueuponhim 22:11, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
most encyclopedias (and textbooks) have no footnotes or detailed references. The rules of plagiarism do not apply to them--only to real people who falsely claim credit. Rjensen 22:28, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

So is nobody going to create a page for plagiarism?Uniqueuponhim 12:09, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

On a practical level, it's probably already covered by the copyright policy; I'm not sure if we would really benefit from another obscure policy page at this point. Kirill Lokshin 13:09, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, the reason I ask is because the plagiarism on that page that I mentioned is still there, and I don't know what is supposed to be done about it. None of the material on wikipedia should be plagiarized, and if someone finds materials which are, they should be able to go to a page which explains what to do about it. Uniqueuponhim 17:28, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Can you point out the plagiarized section(s) and exactly where it comes from? SlimVirgin (talk) 17:32, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I did, in the talk section for that article. Sorry I didn't mention that here. Uniqueuponhim 19:05, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Legal Citations

Is there any move to standardise legal citations where the name of a case is the article name, i.e. Roe v Wade? Two things are particulary beginning to frustrate me:

  1. the use (or non use) of a period after the "v" (contrast Roe v. Wade and Roe v Minister of Health; see the mix and match at: "Category:English case law")
  2. the use of corporate suffixes (see confusion between Salomon v Salomon and Salomon v. Salomon & Co.)

I haven't been able to find anything which suggests move to standardise this, but if I have missed something, I'd be grateful to be pointed in the right direction. If there isn't such a move, should there be?

Legis 10:32, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

See Case citation for a description of how cases are cited. That is an article, not a style guide, but it is referenced by Wikipedia:WikiProject U.S. Supreme Court cases as guidance. IMO, the article names should match the citation style (except perhaps in cases where a specific case might have a more common popular name). olderwiser 15:01, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Unpublished sources?

How do you cite unpublished sources, or does that count as "original research"?

Example: I'm wanting to write an article about Browning Hill in Indiana. Browning Hill is near Brown County State Park. The sources I'm finding, both on-line and in book form, seem to have contradictory information as to whether or not Browning Hill is actually in Brown County State Park or just private property near Brown County State Park. My intention is to call Brown County State Park on the telephone and ask so that I have reliable information for the article.

Is that "original research"? If not, how the heck do I cite a telephone call? ONUnicorn 14:27, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

In my experience (the hard sciences) unpublished sources are as a rule "bleeding edge research" that one can expect to see in print within the year. What you are referring to is of no urgency at all, the question can be solved by consulting an official map. Dr Zak 14:45, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Citing scriptures

What is the convention for citing verses from the Quran or the Bible? External link to (for example) Bible gateway? Or just leave it as unlinked text? ntennis 11:17, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

OK, seems to be fairly common practise to link to the actual passage through for the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, and do the same on for the Quran. Wonder if this info should be added to the manual of style somewhere? ntennis 11:35, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Because of the variety of interpretations, I think one needs to cite the exact publication as with any other book reference, along with the passage numbers. Tycon.jpgCoyoty 01:51, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Citing e-books - cite web or cite book?

Is there a correct way to cite an e-book? I've tried using cite web to include the URL & cite book to show the ISBN but am having problems combining both into one citation.

The ref is in the article on Stowey in the section on Sutton Court. A resident in the late 19th & 20th century wrote an autobiography which talks about his life there. The book is available via project Gutenburg as a e-book from but I've ended up with a citation which looks like:

St. Loe Strachey, John (1922). The Adventure of Living A Subjective Autobiography (1860-1922). ISBN 1404356568. Retrieved 2006-05-21.  Text " e-book " ignored (help)

Is there a better way? Rod 19:22, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

What you are citing there isn't an e-book, it's an ordinary book on paper whose text has been made available via Project Gutenberg. The authoritative source is still the book on paper, we don't know about scanning and proofreading errors made by the Gutenberg folks. This the electronic text is merely a convenience. Dr Zak 22:05, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Dr Zak, Thanks for your comment (although I don't want to disagree about the definition of e-book), my question was about which citation template to use. "cite web" includes the URL but not the IBN & "cite book" can't include the URL which may be useful to other readers. My solution is a hybrid of both & probably doesn't fit with style guides etc. Rod 07:53, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

==How to cite?==

I imagine a lot of people come to this page to find the wikimedia syntax for standard citations, and this does not appear to be here.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your comment, but isn't that what this section is for: Wikipedia:Citing sources#How and where to cite sources? You'll notice that there is an "example styles" subpage linked there, as well. --J. J. 16:30, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Where's the Boundary? Or, Citing the Unnecessary

In the article Ayyavazhi, many statements are made that lay out the fundamental beliefs not just of Ayyavazhi but also the Hindu (and Vedic) world-view, subscribed to by many hundreds of millions of people and taken as fact, without the need for citation. Someone has requested citations for each of these. It would be like asking for a citation to justify a statement that Jesus is the Son of God, and to provide a citation for each request would be unnecessarily laborious. That is, the act of citation would add little and would vastly elaborate the process of writing a Wikipedia article, in many cases. My question is: where is the boundary? For example, for someone who knows nothing about the Vedic view of the cycles of civilisation, mention of the Kali Yuga would mean nothing. But for the hundreds of millions of people who know what this mean, a citation would be completely unnecessary. In this specific example, I believe no citation is necessary. Maybe I've missed something or I haven't looked hard enough, but guidance would be appreciated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Punanimal (talkcontribs)

If you read the said articles carefully, the citation required tags have been placed by me and by other users not for beliefs or philosophical theories, but where the article asserts something tangible, such as number of followers, or the birth date of the founder, and for statement such as 'there were followers from all over India', etc. - Parthi 19:50, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the input. I don't dispute that such specific things or detailed points would need citations and I agree with what you say on this point. I'm more concerned to address whether bigger concepts such as the Kali Yuga should need a citation. I think the guideline about providing a citation when a statement is likely to provoke controversy is too vague, and too much of a "catch all". - User:Punanimal 21:00, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
All facts should have some source somewhere in the article. For facts without dispute, its appropriate to provide only general references at the bottom of the article, which state them (no need for footnoting everything). It should be possible for somebody who knows nothing about the topic, to verify the information from external sources referenced. Providing full sources to an legitimate topic, is not a serious burden. In many cases one general reference (such as a comprehensive book), can serve as a source for almost an entire article. --Rob 20:15, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
I see your point - but consider this. "2 + 2 = 4" is a fact, but does it need citation? No, because it's something we all know (the alternative would be for every almost sentence to need a citation, which would be impractical). Now, consider that there is some other, equally true fact, but that either nobody knows about it, or few people know about it. Stating this fact would therefore need a citation. So we have two extremes. Thing is, most facts fall somewhere in between. So to restate my question, how do we judge where the boundary between "citation needed" and "no citation needed" falls? Is it a sharp boundary? Is it a fuzzy boundary? etc. etc. And one last point, a lot of times the "citation needed" tag is put against things that are obscure, rather than contentious. This is clearly a different circumstance. --Punanimal 23:58, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Punanimal brings up a topic that has been irritating me for a little while though -- there is a point where citing just becomes plain out stupid. When something is not making a claim that there would be any need, reason, or likelihood of disputing, all it does is make a Wikipedia article a pain to read, distraccting, and thus reduces it's usefulness. Seeing things that border on the banility of 'Apples are often red, green, or yello [citation needed]' and 'In English, the cound made by a cat is usually referred to as a "meow" [citation needed]' and so on... it's annoying. Maybe the powers that be could consider adding a user option to simply ignore [citation needed] tags altogether -- because for the most part I see the majority of these as doing more harm to the readability of an article than they do good, and they reach the point of the absurd.
As a for instance, the White cracker article states 'Usage of the term "cracker" generally differs from "hick" and "hillbilly" because crackers reject or resist assimilation into the dominant culture, while hicks and hillbillies theoretically are isolated from the dominant culture. In this way, the cracker is similar to the redneck.[citation needed]' This is an example of a common interpretation fo the meaningof a word. No one needs to bloody cite this! What, should someone set up on a sidewalk in Macon and take a survey? Get real.
The fact is, yes citations are often needed, but there really needs to be a limit on when people stop insisting they need a citation to say that during daytime the sky is usually blue[1]

Dodger 18:56, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

First, if something is truly widely known then it is not hard to find a someone, somewhere, who has said it in a publication and, unless the request for a citation is being made in obvious bad faith, the simple thing to do is to supply one instead of complaining about it.

Second, Wikipedia is now sufficiently mature that nobody should be relying on their memory when putting material into it. When you put something into Wikipedia, you know where you got it, and it is much, much less work to cite something at the time you're putting it in than to try to find it later.

Third, it is really amazing how many things that "don't need citations," when checked, turn out to need them. Some months ago someone took great exception for my asking for a citation for the statement "The New York Liberty, New York's professional women's basketball team, has the Statue of Liberty as their mascot and it appears prominently on their logo and team jersey"[1]. But it turned out that this is, in fact, incorrect; their mascot, is in fact a dog named "Maddie.".

Now, with respect to the sky being blue, this is something that (to a first approximation) everybody knows. The issue is not with the things everybody knows. The issue is usually with things "everybody who knows anything about the topic knows." If you review edit histories and talk pages, you will find that it is not at all rare to see two editors backing up very different statements by saying that "everybody who knows anything about the topic knows" something. I, the reader, may well be someone who does not know much about the topic

For example, editors of the Cheesesteak article suggest that everyone in Philadelphia know what is and is not in a real Philadelphia cheesesteak. The problem is... that they have said different things. What can one make of a statement in the article that "Philadelphia locals know that, if anything, Cheese Whiz is "the" cheesesteak cheese," contrasted with a statement on the Talk page from another self-claimed Philadelphian that "Maybe Whiz is the standard, but most of the people I know get provolone or white American?"

On the other hand, if someone provides a link to this Web page[2] I can read for myself a recipe from a famous cheesesteak restaurant that calls for "Cheese {we recommend Cheez Whiz®} American or Provolone works fine." And everybody can agree that, whether or not this statement is correct, this restaurant did make this statement publicly. Dpbsmith (talk) 17:52, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

This is a special case, not the norm. If anything can be said about people in Philly 'always saying' anything abour cheesesteaks, it's that they're arguing about them. Is or is-not Geno's or Pat's or Jim's better, is Whiz or Provolone proper, can you put this or that on it without having to call it something else, is-or-is-not a chickensteak a atrocity in da eyes'a God'n'man, should you or should you not get peanut butter Tastycakes as dessert, at what geographical distance is it acceptable to start calling them 'Philly' cheesesteaks instead of just cheesesteaks, at what distance does it become unacceptable to call them cheeseteaks at all and does the Jersey state line modify this, ad nauseaum. Aside from this the only relatively universal thing said in reference to cheesesteaks is the odd greeting, 'djeet?'
Perhaps a better example of what I am talking about, one which I consider a *good* example though who knows how long before this is undone if I mention it, but can't make an omelette... anyway...
The article at samosa says: "Samosa is a favorite snack loved by young and adult alike. It is often savored with tea or coffee." It's not requesting a source. It's not asking some ethereal 'official' representative of young-in-india to come along and corroborate whether or not some of them do, in fact, love samosas. It's pretty obvious to anyone other than a moron in a hurry that the converse is probably also true, that some, be they young or adult, do not like samosas in the same way that a surprising number of Australians will cheerfully say they can't stand Vegemite sandwiches despite the rumours that everyone in the country eats them avidly.
It's not the kind of statement that *needs* backing up and I, for one am happy not to see a [citation needed] tag next to every sentence in the article. The article goes on to assert that, "It is often savored with tea or coffee. It can also be prepared as a sweet, rather than savory, form. In the city of Hyderabad, India, a smaller version of the samosa with a thicker pastry crust and mince filled center is called a Luqmi," and does is not riddled with demands to back up every single one of these sentences with citations. Has a chef somewhere, in fact, documented the fact that they can be prepared as either sweet or savoury? Has there been an article in a magazine that documents that samosas have not only been enjoyed with coffee or tea, but to such a degree that the term 'often' can be used with impunity? How about some backup for the Luqmi thing... what if that's just a complete fabrication, and Hyderabadians would be shocked and appalled at the concept that they might bastardise the blessed samosa in this way?
The article on samosas is, in fact, pretty much fine as it stands. There are a few sentences which could us ea rewrite to sound not so 'chatty' but to turn it into some sort of uncertain-factual ghetto riddles with [citation needed] bulletholes would simply turn it into an impossible-to-read mess and the more this [citation needed] infestation spreads, the more Wikipedia becomes less and less useful. And while that statement may sound terribly un-NPOV, originally-researched and biased, it can be argued logically that even if only to me, if more and more articles shift into a form that I cannot find as useful, even if no effect is had on any other user, a concept I find unlikely, then if overall the useability remains constant, but Wikipedia becomes less and less useful to ME, then wikipedia becomes less and less useful, however fractionally. And that's a { { fact } }.
Argue whichever way you like, I think this policy need more refinement and a limit to when it reaches the point of the absurd. 15:56, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
  1. ^ Schaefer, Vincent J.; John A Day (1998). A Field Guide to the Atmosphere. Houghton Mifflin Field Guides. ISBN 0395976316.  p. 155, "The blue sky is so commonplace that it is taken for granted, but it makes a good starting point.... The sky is less blue when the air is dusty..."
Just a note on the cracker example above -- that does need to be cited. It's certainly not how I'm familiar with the words. Tuf-Kat 11:17, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Ultimately it comes down to just one thing: what is Wikipedia for? Do we collaborate to produce something that is useful for the pooling and advancement of (human) knowledge? Or do we do it to satisfy some set of rules that have another intention? I would definitely prefer the former and, to my mind, that would mean a marginal preference for expedience and readibility, over fastidiousness. Another example springs to mind. Kateda is a martial art that I used to practice, but about which very little is written. Most people don't even know it exists, but it's an important and interesting story. If citation of every point was needed, then most of the article would probably be unacceptable and thus the opportunity to share the knowledge would be lost. Over time more knowledge about Kateda will appear on the web and thus citations will be added. I do in fact own the Kateda book, but citing it is presently largely futile, since it's basically an out-of-print rarity and nobody can check for themselves. I suppose I'll add citations in due course. But what I would hate to see is that Wikipedia becomes a forum for suppressing or ignoring emergent knowledge of things that definitely do exist, or for people suppressing things that they simply don't like to see in print. Punanimal 18:25, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Citing sources: the theory and the reality

There is an interesting discussion above titled "When not to cite sources". However, as recognized by at least one contributor to that discussion, there is a gap between the idealistic principle of sourcing every statement to a reliable source and the actual practice "in the wild".

What follows is my observation based on two months of editing that included some articles that range from mildly controversial to highly controversial (Criticism of the Catholic Church,Global warming,Expulsion of Germans after World War II,History of the United States).

The basic theme of this posting is that the guideline describes an idealistic world that doesn't exist so we need a more realistic understanding of how Wikipedia editors actually behave and some meta-guidelines about how to apply the guidelines in WP:CITE in a civil and harmonious way.

I would guess that many editors write from their knowledge rather than with a source in front of them with which they are verifying their contributions. I do this. Yes, I know this violates the guidelines but, based on experience of the last two months, I doubt I am in the minority here.

Proof by contradiction: If every statement was sourced, there would be much less controversy than I have witnessed. Every controversial statement would be tagged with a citation which would, in many cases, be a defense against deletion. The ideal text would say: "There is controversy over this topic. Source A says X because of P. Source B says not X because of Q."

My perception is that, when a dispute arises, it is usually because one or more of the editors involved is more interested in putting forth their POV perception of the truth than on focusing on a verifiable presentation of the various POVs as documented in reliable sources.

I try to adopt a much more NPOV perspective that includes all POVs provided they are adequately sourced. However, the general approach I take to editing is that I write based on what I deem to be widely accepted knowledge and generally without sourcing it. Yes, it's lazy and yes, it violates the guideline but it is the most efficient way for me to contribute.

I figure if someone else believes it's worth providing a citation, they will. If someone wishes to challenge what I write, I will then go out to the web to find sources.

What annoys me no end is people who delete text, saying "unsourced". Yes, I know Jimbo says that's what people ought to do. However, if you really applied what Jimbo said, there's a good chance that much of Wikipedia would get deleted. Thus, focusing on one statement and saying "unsourced" is more a way of saying "unsourced and I don't believe it so I'm going to delete it".

Unless you backup every statement with a URL that points to a web copy of the relevant section of the reliable source, there is no easy way for a reader to verify the statement. Thus, it is possible for an editor to come along a unsourced statement (or even a sourced one) and say "unsourced statement, delete".

I have had this happen to me on one article (Criticism of the Catholic Church) where an editor who didn't believe what I wrote deleted the text and kept on deleting it after I provided sources challenging the validity of the sources. Eventually, he gave up but only after I had sourced every sentence with a citation. From my perspective, this is abusive use of the sourcing/citation guideline to harass people who disagree with something you wrote. It's easier to delete and demand citation than it is to provide the citation. It's far more civil to ask for sourcing and allow the unsourced statement to stand pending provision of citations. If the citation is not forthcoming within a day or two, then it seems more reasonable to delete it for lack of sourcing.

It's not that I object to providing citations. It's that the text in question stated something that was widely known but unknown to some (to wit, that some Protestants don't consider Catholics to be Christians). Picking on this one assertion as being "unsourced" and then deleting it was, in my opinion, an uncivil way of pushing a POV.

Another case (different article, same editor) involved the assertion that "conflict arose between English settlers and Native Americans due to the settlers increasing demands for land". This is a widely held belief and I'm sure I can source it but it's incredibly annoying to have the statement deleted and challenged for sources. If the editor in question had just slapped an "unsourced" tag on it, I would have been a lot less annoyed.

I've seen this kind of behavior in other articles where I was not party to the POV dispute. It seems to be a basic tool of edit-warring although deletion without even claiming lack of sources is also a common tool. I have advocated extensive citation of sources as a defense against this sort of attack. If the text has citations, I will help defend against deletion.

Thus, my recommended modus of operandi runs like this:

  1. Write based on what you know and believe can be sourced
  2. Provide sources and citations if challenged or if you are trying to bring an article to GA or FA status
  3. Try not to delete other people's contributions. Instead, try to incorporate multiple POVs into an NPOV description of the range of POVs held. If the POVs are controversial, make sure they are sourced.

So, that's my rant for this morning. Thoughts?

--Richard 16:48, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Richard, that's an outstanding comment and I agree completely. I would simply state here that lack of citatation alone is insufficient grounds for immediate deletion. I like the "pending citation" idea a lot and would like to propose that a new tag is created specifically for this! A challenge is much more constructive than Stalinist suppression of views that one does not agree with, or truths of which one is simply ignorant. The more democratic solution is to issue a challenge and see what comes back. Much better. Any other views? Punanimal 17:09, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
That's what the {{fact}} or {{citation needed}} tag is for. Tycon.jpgCoyoty 01:03, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, and maybe I just get too emotional about it but I would understand if you slap a {{fact}} or {{citation needed}} tag on my text and then delete it after an appropriate amount of time (24 hours - 1 week). But, if you delete it immediately without even giving me a chance to add a citation and it is apparent that there are other unsourced statements next to it that you didn't delete, then I feel like this is just a POV attack. How am I supposed to know in advance what statements don't need citations because they are generally accepted as true and which ones should have a citation because somebody has a POV which differs from what I believe is generally accepted as true?
In practice, there's not much difference between (1) adding a citation to challenged text and (2) restoring deleted text and then adding the citation. However, having your text deleted just feels like a slap in the face. It feels like the editor felt your text was so egregious that it needed more than a tag, it just had to be deleted right away. Grrrr.....
Thanks for letting me vent.
--Richard 04:01, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Verbal: Referenced from the Source?

There's an article I want to add a lot of content to, Jacqueline_Pascarl-Gillespie, and I want to make sure the citiation/reference police are happy with what I add, as quite rightly they have been quite active there. I can't point to anything in a book or the Internet on what I wish to add, as I have been talking directly with the subject of the article, Ms. Pascarl-Gillespie herself. What is the policy on information gleaned verbally like that? Can I, and how do I, reference such material in the article? --Commking 04:32, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

I asked a similar question a while ago, in reference to citing a telephone conversation and did not get any useful response. That makes two people who would like to know. ONUnicorn 15:57, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Information has to be verifiable. Readers will not be able to verify unpublished information gathered like this, so it can't really be included. Worldtraveller 18:25, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Seconded! Unpublished information is really not usable on WP. A personal conversation with a subject (either of a bio, or an expert in a given topic) may assist you in developing a basic set of facts that seem worth mentioning, but each fact needs to be supported by published sources. I've worked on a number of articles where I have personal knowledge of a topic; and as much as I might find that information interesting or relevant, I know I can't put it in without some neutrally verifiable source of the same information.
On the other hand, some sort of publication outside of WP isn't hard to achieve. If you interviewed Ms. Pascarl-Gillespie, and she's notable (I haven't even followed the link to see who she is yet), quite likely some other source might want to publish your interview—even a web-based publication. Once so published, it becomes citable. If the facts purported are contentious, additional sourcing is likely to be requested. But a lot of articles have quite minimal sourcing on non-contentious facts. LotLE×talk 19:02, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Followup: I just looked at the article. Ms. Pascarl-Gillespie is an Australian actress who apparently had a marriage, divorce and custody dispute with a Malaysian prince, all of which was subject of public attention. Given those facts, I would think that all these facts are well avaialable in published sources, likely in newspaper coverage of the events. Her acting career is presumably covered in published credits of TV and movie productions, and perhaps in fan or publicity materials.
Notice that in many of the events discussed in the article, Ms. Pascarl-Gillespie is a particularly poor source. Many of the facts addressed concern a custody dispute with international and religious significances. Having never heard of any of it before just now, I have no reason to believe or disbelieve facts that may have been provided by Ms. Pascarl-Gillespie. But as a general question, parents in custody disputes are not very neutral sources about the causes and actions of such disputes. LotLE×talk 19:13, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
So according to this, all I need to do is put it my blog, therefore it's published and citable? --Commking 01:42, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
To a limited extent. A blog isn't completely non-citable, but it's not really a "preferred source" according to WP:RS. The boundaries of "blogdom" aren't really sharp; many quite respectible online sources are sometimes called blogs (for example, a site I read called Groklaw is widely cited in many Wikipedia articles). On the other hand purely individual personal websites (whether technically blogs or not) tend to be less authoritative. That's not really a matter of being online though: if I were to print a flyer and hand out a few thousand copies to my neighbors, the mere fact it exists on paper doesn't automatically make it more reliable than if I were to post the same information online. Certainly better than a personal publication of whatever sort is publication by an established, edited, and possibly peer reviewed, source. LotLE×talk 02:43, 31 May 2006 (UTC)


WikiBib mentioned in the project page (in the section Citing sources) seems not to work anymore. Does anybody know whether this page has been moved somewhere? Thanks in advance. (I've already tried to ask at User Talk:Alterego and WikiBib at wikimedia.) --Kompik 06:41, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Problem with including sources in templates

Is it possible to include references in templates? For example, consider Template:RRHF500. You'll see that there is a link to the external web-site, that should be included on each page that this template is included. (If this is wanted is another discussion, one for the talk page of the template, here I only ask about the technical details.) However, for example Surfin' USA uses this template. Look at the page to see a [1] next to the inserted template, but no reference list below. A better example is maybe God Only Knows. The template is included (currently below "Recognition and Influence"), and the number [10] is next to it. However, number [9] is below it. And in the sources list, there is no number 10.

Seems that references in templates are counted after the references in the original article, and they are not included in the articles references. Is there a solution for this problem? Or is there some guideline forbidding to include sources in templates? 09:50, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

It's a known issue with Cite.php. Refs in templates get numbered after "regular" refs, and end up missing from the endref section. See here for a short demo of these issues. Gimmetrow 17:24, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

MLA Citation Style

Someone added MLA citation style to the list yesterday. I noticed while fixing what looked like just a typo. But this is a major change, and I don't see any discussion here?

(Sorry I'm not logged in; I'm in Nairobi using someone else's computer. 16:20, 1 June 2006 (UTC); Robert Ullmann 18:29, 1 June 2006 (UTC))

I'm getting rid of it because not only is there no discussion about it on the talk page as you noted, but MLA also is not appropriate for Wikipedia articles in most cases, in my opinion. Bayerischermann 19:08, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Dead WikiBib

I just looked more closely at this bullet today. Unfortunately, the domain name does not currently exist in DNS; I would have liked to try it out. If this resource is mirrored elsewhere, it would be great to have it, but I took it out pending location of a live version (LotLE×talk):

  • Further assistance may be derived from WikiBib, a simple bibliography maker written in Javascript that has most of these templates built in. (Note: WikiBib uses a deprecated template for book references.)

Page numbers?

Is anyone else bugged by the fact that articles citing books or journal articles rarely include page numbers (that's my experience anyway). It seems to me that such references are, practically speaking, unverifiable.--Chris 01:46, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Journal article citations should include page numbers in any standard citation style; without at least the starting page number they are hard (but not impossible) to look up. As for books, it depends. If the material in question is easily found from the table of contents or the index, a page number is not a big deal. —Steven G. Johnson 04:45, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Chris. My preference is to refer to the specific page being cited, especially when citing books or long articles. Articles should (as a minimum) have the page range (it's what librarians need if you order it by interlibrary loan), but as a matter of courtesy it's helpful to add a reference to the particular pages being cited.
Remember, the main purpose of citations is as a courtesy to the reader. It's just rude to expect your reader to plough through the 9 entries on a topic in a book's index to find the particular one you've cited in your discussion. Furthermore, it's not that difficult to do when you're adding to an article and have the source in front of you; it's always a nuisance to try to run down a source after the fact. --SteveMcCluskey 14:38, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Citing an article in another article

Would I be able to use another article as a source for a claim in another? Pacific Coast Highway (blahtypa-typa) 13:53, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

No, just copy the citation over. Jkelly 15:39, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Of course if there is no citation to start with, we have a problem. See my comment few sections below about a similar case in regards with interwiki translations.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 21:04, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
I have encountered a fair number of real problems of this type. Article A says something; I ask for a citation; an editor says "it says so in our article on B;" article B has no citation; and, indeed, the fact turns out not to be accurate. This occurred for example in the Statue of Liberty article, which used to say that Emma Lazarus's poem was "the winner of a contest underwritten by the New York World." I queried the person who inserted it... since I personally couldn't find any evidence supporting this, and a certain amount of evidence against it... and he said it was in the Emma Lazarus article (as indeed it used to be. Oddly, it was the same editor who had put it into the Emma Lazarus article... and could not apparently remember specifically what source he had used. I'm about 98% sure it's incorrect...
I've even seen circular cross-citations, particularly in regard to List of people known as father or mother of something—which since then has been drastically purged—in which it at least appears that someone put "so-and-so is the Father of thus-and-such" in the list, then another editor thought that factoid was worth adding to the article on so-and-so... so that the article and so-and-so appeared to be confirming the list entry.
The propagation of unsourced information from one Wikipedia article to another can be very insidious. Dpbsmith (talk) 14:16, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Citing statement sources?

I grow kind of tired of people putting up citation needed at general (weasel word-ish) meanings, statements, and viewpoints. For example, the article on Mario states that "...most do not consider the animated series part of the Mario video game canon.".

Most people wouldn't have any difficulty accepting a statement like that, but it is marked with "citation needed"... how are you going to cite a source for things like that? --Ifrit 12:45, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Anything that can't be verified somehow (and thus, by extension, sourced) doesn't belong in Wikipedia. If you can't conceive of a way to source a statement, you should probably consider removing it. In this case, changing "most" to "some" and citing one or two Mario fansites is probably the way to go. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 21:55, 7 June 2006 (UTC)


I noticed that here it is suggested that citations be placed after the period, or when placed within a sentence after a clause, then after the comma. I assume this might be some sort of an Anglo-Saxon tradition, as in where I live it is more common to add citation marks and references before the punctuation marks. That way it is clear to which sentence is the reference referring to. My question is: is this some kind of a rule in English or is it yet another wiki-only convention? //Halibutt 07:50, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

As far as I know, it's a standard rule in (American?) English. Kirill Lokshin 09:49, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
I believe it depends on whether or not you are using in-line citations, such as Harvard, or footnotes. For footnotes, The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS 16.30), “A note number should be placed at the end of a sentence or at the end of a clause. The number follows any punctuation mark except for the dash, which it precedes. It follows a closing parenthesis.” There is one minor possible exception in the paragraph regarding a parenthetical phrase within a sentence, in which case it may be preferable to place the number after the punctuation and before the closing parenthesis. For text (in-line) citations CMS 16.112 states “Author-date citations are usually placed just before a mark of punctuation.” Block quotations are handeled differently. -- Avi 13:55, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
    • "Documentation I: Basic Patterns". The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press. 2003. pp. 601 & 622. 

In other words, outside of wikipedia it is in fact left up to the author to decide whether the footnote is a citation or not. In most cases I use a combination of both (either a {{cite}} template and a quote or a short note on the source). Or do I get something wrong? //Halibutt 00:06, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I prefer using in-line citations for references using the {{ref_harvard}} and {{note_label}} templates to link the parenthetical citation to the full reference list at the bottom, where I use the various {{cite}} templates. I think having those <ref>...</ref> notes interspersed in the text just adds confusion. I will sometimes use them for footnoting, or sometimes use {{ref_num}}. It is a matter of preference. I just do not like how the cite.php/ref system works so much. De gustibus non est disputandum. -- Avi 00:14, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Referencing translations from national wikis

Please see here for discussion about two (possibly there are more?) templates indicating that the article is based on translation from non-English wikipedia and how they may be made more useful, especially in terms of citing reliable sources (reference as a translation from other wiki is poor but better then no reference, and the original texts have various levels of quality in their refs).--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 21:03, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Form of citation when an article is copied from public domain

One of the lists of missing articles calls for an article on "Hybrid coupler". I've found a U.S. Navy article, Power dividers and directional couplers, which is in the public domain, and which I intend to copy into Wikipedia. The Navy article covers hybrid couplers as a subset of directional couplers. I will edit it to change the markup from HTML to Wiki markup. What is the best way to cite the original source? Gerry Ashton 19:44, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

How about (see source for template): Avionics Department of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. "POWER DIVIDERS AND DIRECTIONAL COUPLERS". ELECTRONIC WARFARE AND RADAR SYSTEMS ENGINEERING HANDBOOK (report number TS 92-78). Retrieved June 9, 2006. 

My question was not so much about the mechanics of writing the reference, but rather, whether I should include some statement that the WP article will have started out as a copy of the Navy article, and if so, if there is a template or custom about what form the statement should take? Gerry Ashton 20:58, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
Often such a free source (which would also include translation from other-language Wikipedias or the 1911 PD Brittanica) include a little blurb at bottom that "this article was based on

Invalid language.

You need to specify a language like this: <source lang="html4strict">...</source>

Supported languages for syntax highlighting:

4cs, 6502acme, 6502kickass, 6502tasm, 68000devpac, abap, actionscript, actionscript3, ada, algol68, apache, applescript, arm, asm, asp, asymptote, autoconf, autohotkey, autoit, avisynth, awk, bascomavr, bash, basic4gl, bf, bibtex, blitzbasic, bnf, boo, c, caddcl, cadlisp, cfdg, cfm, chaiscript, cil, clojure, cmake, cobol, coffeescript, cpp, csharp, css, cuesheet, d, dcl, dcpu16, dcs, delphi, diff, div, dos, dot, e, ecmascript, eiffel, email, epc, erlang, euphoria, f1, falcon, fo, fortran, freebasic, freeswitch, fsharp, gambas, gdb, genero, genie, gettext, glsl, gml, gnuplot, go, groovy, gwbasic, haskell, haxe, hicest, hq9plus, html4strict, html5, icon, idl, ini, inno, intercal, io, j, java, java5, javascript, jquery, kixtart, klonec, klonecpp, latex, lb, ldif, lisp, llvm, locobasic, logtalk, lolcode, lotusformulas, lotusscript, lscript, lsl2, lua, m68k, magiksf, make, mapbasic, matlab, mirc, mmix, modula2, modula3, mpasm, mxml, mysql, nagios, netrexx, newlisp, nsis, oberon2, objc, objeck, ocaml, octave, oobas, oorexx, oracle11, oracle8, oxygene, oz, parasail, parigp, pascal, pcre, per, perl, perl6, pf, php, pic16, pike, pixelbender, pli, plsql, postgresql, povray, powerbuilder, powershell, proftpd, progress, prolog, properties, providex, purebasic, pycon, pys60, python, q, qbasic, rails, rebol, reg, rexx, robots, rpmspec, rsplus, ruby, sas, scala, scheme, scilab, sdlbasic, smalltalk, smarty, spark, sparql, sql, stonescript, systemverilog, tcl, teraterm, text, thinbasic, tsql, typoscript, unicon, upc, urbi, uscript, vala, vb, vbnet, vedit, verilog, vhdl, vim, visualfoxpro, visualprolog, whitespace, whois, winbatch, xbasic, xml, xpp, yaml, z80, zxbasic

".  However, I've taken out those blurbs at times, when I think they're not really informative.  For example, I think some programming-related article I edited was based on the German Wikipedia, but that source was from 2001, a thousand edits earlier (or whatever).  At some point, the source seems less interesting.  Of course, even then, the citation to the Navy document you mention would still be relevant as a "reference". <font color="darkgreen">[[User:Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters|LotLE]]</font>×<font color="darkred" size="-2">[[User talk:Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters|talk]]</font> 22:05, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

== When is it OK NOT to cite sources ==

I noticed that this page is silent on when sources need NO citation. Reading the article, one would get the idea that every other sentence may need a cite. As a newbie trying to figure out all these rules, it seems like I’ve seen screen-fulls of text without any sources being cited at all. I realize, of course, that it depends on the nature of the material and that it may not be so black & white. But it may be a nice thing to add a section on when it’s alright to not cite the source. At times, I have noticed that there are statements made which border on opinion. These probably don't get challenged because it's the POV of the readers of that particular article… Just thinking out loud here ;-) … So is it even possible to state in no uncertain terms when a cite is not needed. Maybe the question should be, Can you have to many cites? Thanks. [[User:Leon7|Leon7]] 01:37, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Really, every other sentence ''should'' be cited. All quotes should absolutely be cited. Any uncited sentence that introduces a new fact should be challenged. That's pretty much the guideline. -[[User:Sethmahoney|Smahoney]] 01:50, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
In practice, most sentences do not have citations although every sentence ''should'' be locatable in one of the sources provided at the bottom of the article in the "Sources" section. In truth, many sentences never get a citation provided unless someone challenges the sentence and demands a citation to prove the truth of the sentence. Well, even then, that may not be enough to convince them.
--[[User:Richardshusr|Richard]] 05:18, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

== Slight confusion ==

In the ''[[Wikipedia:Citing_sources#.22Notes.22_section|"Notes" section]]'' section, it says "<nowiki>==Notes or Footnotes==</nowiki>". Was it not intended for this to actually say "<nowiki>==Notes== or ==Footnotes==</nowiki>" (alternatively a seperate bullet point for "<nowiki>==Footnotes==</nowiki>")?

&ndash;&nbsp;[[User:AndreasBlixt/Tab 1|<span style="background:#cfc;color:#080;font-weight:bold;">Andreas&nbsp;Blixt</span>]]&nbsp;[[User talk:AndreasBlixt|<span style="color:#800;font-size:1.5em;line-height:0;">☺</span>]] 20:43, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

== Controversy on Footnotes + Popups ==

From the guideline:

"Footnotes are normally simply numbered numerically. Thus, determining who said what typically requires a reader to continually jump back and forth between the main body and the footnote/endnote to see if there is something of value. When footnotes are simply providing a much more detailed argument, this is often not a problem, but if the footnotes are the primary citation method, this can be critical (since it is sometimes important to keep track of who claims what)."

I know most Wikipedians don't use [[Wikipedia:Tools/Navigation_popups|popups]], but they are a great way to get around this problem. Also great with [ tabbed browsing], so you can check the source without navigating away from the main article. Should this option be mentioned in the guideline? Thanks, [[User:GChriss|GChriss]] 20:36, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

pop-ups also have a tendency to cause your cursor to freeze when you do not want them to, I have found. Regardless, another reason to use in-line citations and the {{tl|ref_harvard}}/{{tl|note_label}} system, IMO. -- [[User:Avraham|Avi]] 20:41, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

== Citing at the "root of the cause" ==

IMO it is necessary to add a clarifying sentence, something along the lines

''"Normally it is sufficient to cite sources only in articles which are most immediately relevant to the fact in question. For example, it is natural to cite the source for the population numbers of the United States only in the [[United States]] and [[Demographics of the United States]] articles and refer to these from other places for numbers."''

This would achieve four goals: coherence of citations (and the resulting ease of maintenance), prevention of unnecessarily long lists of citations, proviving a slightly broader context to the reader, and last but not least (which is actually the reason for this proposal) it would be a cheap way to kill possible trolling and system gaming by formally requesting quotations for each and every sentence one does not like (not to say about outright deletion as "unreferenced" in "strict" accordance with wikipedia policy)

Opinions, please. `'[[user:mikkalai|mikka]] [[user talk:mikkalai|(t)]] 18:52, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

== Intermediate sources ==

I have added ''Note that both the intermediate sources as well as the source citing that intermediate material, must be [[WP:RS|reliable sources]] in their own right to be used as such.'' to that section. This is needed to clarify to editors that this guideline cannot bypass [[WP:V]]. [[User:Jossi|≈ jossi ≈ ]] <small>[[User_talk:Jossi|t]] &bull; [[Special:Emailuser/Jossi|@]]</small> 17:42, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I amended because it is suffficient if the intermediate source quotes the [[WP:RS]] correctly. The intermediate source does not have to be reliable in other respects. [[User:Andries|Andries]] 17:45, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
In which case, you are not quoting the intermediate source, but informing readers that the quote from the ultimate source has been used in the intermediate source. That makes sense ''if'' you have seen the ultimate source, it's not easily accessible, and you already know this other easily-accessible source quotes it correctly. [[User:Gimmetrow|Gimmetrow]] 17:51, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
I understand your point, but what I meant to say is that intermediate sources have to be reasonably reliable i.e. one must be reasonable sure that they have quoted the reliable sources correctly. It is irrelevant what the intermediate sources say and if they are crap as long as there is good reason to assume that they quote the reliable sources correctly. [[User:Andries|Andries]] 17:57, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
No, Andries, No. You cannot bypass [[WP:V]]. That is non-negotiable. Your use of ''reasonable'' does not appy here in the way you intend, as it is not reasonable to assume that anon-reliable source is reliable for citing another source! [[User:Jossi|≈ jossi ≈ ]] <small>[[User_talk:Jossi|t]] &bull; [[Special:Emailuser/Jossi|@]]</small> 18:57, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
The whole point of [[WP:RS]], [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:V]] is to avoid these value judgements. We only cite reliable sources as defined. Your interpretation of this guideline breaks havoc on these principles. You cannot cite from non-reliable sources, and you cannot make a "reasonable effort" to ascertain if the cite from that unreliable source is accurate, for the simple reason that it is not verifiable! [[User:Jossi|≈ jossi ≈ ]] <small>[[User_talk:Jossi|t]] &bull; [[Special:Emailuser/Jossi|@]]</small> 19:03, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
I disagree. Sources have to be sufficiently reliable for the purpose for which they are used. If sources are only used for a quote of a [[wikipedia:reliable source]] then they do not have to be perfectly reliable in other respects. [[User:Andries|Andries]] 19:08, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
So, what you are saying that it is OK to bypass [[WP:V]]. Citing sources is for the purpose of verifiability. A citation of of a purported reputable source in a non-reputable source such as a partisan website, cannot be used in Wikipedia as per [[WP:V]] and [[WP:RS]] [[User:Jossi|≈ jossi ≈ ]] <small>[[User_talk:Jossi|t]] &bull; [[Special:Emailuser/Jossi|@]]</small> 19:12, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
It is fine to use the a partisan website as an intermediate source for a reputable source, as long as there is good reason to believe that the partisam websiste cites the reputable source correctly. [[User:Andries|Andries]] 19:16, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
And how exactly, one makes that assessment, Andries? There is no way that I, as a reader, can trust a non reputable source for ''anything''. And what you are saying is that it is OK, trust that the editor made the correct value judgement. ???? That is in total contradiction with Wikipedia content policies. [[User:Jossi|≈ jossi ≈ ]] <small>[[User_talk:Jossi|t]] &bull; [[Special:Emailuser/Jossi|@]]</small> 19:26, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
I admit that this is a difficult question for which there are no easy answers. It is just as difficult to assess which sources are reputable or not which is also a central issue in Wikipedia policies. [[User:Andries|Andries]] 19:31, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
That is why we wil be better safe than sorry, and that is why we have such policies in WP. If you beleieve that the policies need to be tightened in regard of [[WP:V]] and [[WP:RS]], discuss it in their respective talk pages. [[User:Jossi|≈ jossi ≈ ]] <small>[[User_talk:Jossi|t]] &bull; [[Special:Emailuser/Jossi|@]]</small> 19:46, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
If you do not want editors to make difficult judgement calls regarding sources then please abandon Wikipedia. [[User:Andries|Andries]] 05:31, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Jossi, I never proposed any extra leniency in [[WP:V]] and [[WP:RS]]. You are making the policies stricter than they used to be and stricter than necessary to create quality articles. [[User:Andries|Andries]] 09:58, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Recently I dealt with a quote from a 1963 journal article that had been copied from a website. All attribution was to the original journal author, with only the footnote referring to the website article, and then only though a hidden link. It turned out that in addition to a minor misquote, the quote had (in my opinion) lost some relevant context. Just a note of caution. I'm tempted to suggest that intermediate sources should only be mentioned when the primary source has been checked. [[User:Gimmetrow|Gimmetrow]] 18:28, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

In my not so humble opinion, the "intermediary sources" business gets it totally wrong. What are the possible reasons, these intermediary sources come up?

  1. You, as author of the article, don't have read the cited book. Uh, uh. Thin ice. When you don't know the context of the cited passage, you may be mislead by the intermediary source.
  2. Our brave vandal and POV-fighters have an easier job verifying the cite. Bad argument. From all books and journal articles, which are not immediately available for any article watcher to check, only a small minority will have a "intermediary source". So, if 80% have to be checked the hard way anyway, why intriduce a troublesome alternative for the remaining 20%?
  3. Our valued readers have it easier to look it up. Gosh. Make them turn off the computer and move their physical self to a library would be more eduacting alternative. Also, if they have heard of Google, they can look for web mirrors themselves.

[[User:Pjacobi|Pjacobi]] 19:18, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I fully agree... Maybe we need stronger wording here. Care to come up with a proposed rewording of that section? Thanks. [[User:Jossi|≈ jossi ≈ ]] <small>[[User_talk:Jossi|t]] &bull; [[Special:Emailuser/Jossi|@]]</small> 19:23, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Right now I'm not having time and motivation to wade through the history. I'd like to learn who, and driven by which case, inserted this clause. It's always good to consider concrete cases.
[[User:Pjacobi|Pjacobi]] 19:52, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
It is my experience that wikipedia editors use intermediate source very very frequently, for convenience, but do not mention this. Forbidden it is out-of-proportion, I think. It is better to make the use of intermediate sources visible by following this guideline. [[User:Andries|Andries]] 20:17, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Based on which evidence are you making that assertion? The guidelines are clear, and if an editor choses to "cheat" and not disclose that he/she is citing an intermediate source, we can only [[WP:AGF]], and hope that interested editors verify the information and the cite. [[User:Jossi|≈ jossi ≈ ]] <small>[[User_talk:Jossi|t]] &bull; [[Special:Emailuser/Jossi|@]]</small> 23:01, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
It is based on my long experience and a careful comparison of what intermediate sources are availabel on the internet and the the edits that some people make in Wikipedia. I think I will advise people to hide their intermediate sources. 05:31, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Looking at the articles on history and politics, I argue the main goal is to help users, and therefore they should be pointed to the best sources. It may be a book, and the editor did not read the book but used a detailed book review. We should cite the book, not the review. There is no reason that Wiki should follow the guidelines for scholarly journals--we should follow the guidelines for scholarly encyclopedias. [[User:Rjensen|Rjensen]] 00:32, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Whatever we do with this style guide, and whatever wording we use, we cannot bypass [[WP:V]]. To that effect, citing from source that cite other material is only acceptable, if the former ''and'' the latter are ''both'' reliable sources. Think of the reader. [[User:Jossi|≈ jossi ≈ ]] <small>[[User_talk:Jossi|t]] &bull; [[Special:Emailuser/Jossi|@]]</small> 04:35, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

I think this version goes too far. If the intermediate source is reliable, we can trust it to accurately quote otherwise unreliable source. For instance to summarize various partisan views. We do this all the time when we use a newspaper article which contains quotes from an interview - the person interviewed would not be a reliable source on his own. If you cite an intermediate source, the intermediate source needs to be reliable. If you check the primary source and cite it directly, then the primary source needs to be reliable.[[User:Gimmetrow|Gimmetrow]] 04:40, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

The current version addresses the opposite, a non reliable source citing a reliable one. Your example does not need clarification in this guideline as it is consistent with [[WP:V]]. I have ammended the wording accordingly. [[User:Jossi|≈ jossi ≈ ]] <small>[[User_talk:Jossi|t]] &bull; [[Special:Emailuser/Jossi|@]]</small> 05:09, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Your edit, Gimmetrow, is pretty good as it addresses the main issue. Thanks. To Andries: please dor no mark a revert as a minor edit. Thanks. [[User:Jossi|≈ jossi ≈ ]] <small>[[User_talk:Jossi|t]] &bull; [[Special:Emailuser/Jossi|@]]</small> 14:56, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

''Also see [[WT:RS#Convenience_Links.2C_definition]]'' [[User:Armedblowfish|Armedblowfish]] ([[User_talk:Armedblowfish|talk]]|[[Special:Emailuser/Armedblowfish|mail]]|[[Special:Contributions/Armedblowfish|contribs]]) 19:22, 6 July 2006 (UTC)