Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/Archive 23

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When/How Does "Unreferenced" Get Removed?

In the article on stubs, it says, "Be bold in removing stub tags that are clearly no longer applicable." But what about an "Unreferenced" tag? Clearly, I would think, more circumspection is required for the latter than the former, but surely at some point, after a certain critical mass of supporting citations has accrued the article, it must become appropriate to remove the latter as well.

So, then:

  • What is the critical mass?
  • By whom should the removal be done?
  • Through what process should he or she go, prior to removing? (talk) 10:00, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

As with most things here, it is going to be up to the judgment of individual editors. It is not only quantity, but also quality. Add or remove any of the tags as needed. Remember: edit, revert, discuss; If you make a change and it is reverted, discuss it before getting into an edit war. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 14:59, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Discursive notes

...earlier part archived...

...later part archived...

Doesn't look like this will happen without a wiki developer to sponsor it. Shame 'cos I thought it was quite a good idea. --SallyScot (talk) 17:08, 9 June 2008 (UTC)


The citation should clearly, fully, and precisely demonstrate that the source text is reasonably findable, such as by external link to the source website. Providing an ISBN or OCLC number, linking to an established Wikipedia article about the source, and directly quoting brief context on the talk page also each assert findability sufficiently.

Above text I inserted was reverted by Crum375. Variations of this have also been tried at WP:V and the suggestion was made to try it here. A couple editors seem to have misunderstood the intent.
The question that arose at WT:V was: when have I in good faith discharged my duty to ensure my source can be found, if it's not on the web? I should be able to have guidelines for knowing this at time of insertion, without having to wait for the potential challenge. The answer we developed was: it's sufficient for "findability" if some other link that indicates the source can be found by a reasonable editor. If you cite an ISBN or OCLC number, a link arises to demonstrate that some libraries or archives do in fact contain the source. If you quote the context in talk, that demonstrates that you have the book and (assuming good faith) have summarized it correctly in mainspace. The same is true if you wikilink the source from the citation, as is routinely done: if the publication, author, or publisher has sufficient independent notability to have a WP article, that indicates that the source can be found. For instance, my local paper is reliable but not widely famous. If I quote something from print which is unavailable online (which I have done), the fact that the paper has its own WP article is sufficient to demonstrate that my quotation is findable.
The whole point is that if someone quotes a rare book and leaves, we may well have a full cite with page numbers, but we can't prove that the book and author exist without some findability check. So if no link is provided [add the obvious: or found by another editor's reasonable search], the next editor is justified in deleting the alleged source as unverifiable. If a link is provided, then discussion can turn to the other topics, such as what the source actually says (more V), whether it's reliable (RS), and whether the summary matches the source (NOR), and so on. I think the misunderstanding arises from the idea that this passage confers automatic verifiability on all sources that happen to be mentioned by WP. No, it confers findability. Would anyone else like to comment on the worth of this guideline for settling the question raised? JJB 16:20, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
We depend to a large degree on good faith, so one should not delete a citation to a rare source just because it seems inaccessible to us or because the editor neglected to add an OCLC number, or whatever. If the source cannot be found, the approach should be to seek to verify the information through alternative sources. If you cannot do so, you could then argue that the information itself is too obscure to go in the article and replace it (citation and all) with something more widely known. But that is a different thing to shooting difficult-to-find sources on sight.
Although a comment on a source in the talk page is courteous and useful when adding citations to rare sources, it has no verifying effect on the article text itself, because most readers won't think of checking in the talk-page archives. And a source shouldn't be cut because an editor neglected to add details on the talk page. qp10qp (talk) 17:25, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I may have introduced another possible misimplication in my latest explanation, now refactored. Your first paragraph is exactly what I meant. The issue is that if I have a reliable source so rare that zero information exists anywhere on the web about it (beyond my using it in cites at WP), I should describe some method that someone besides me can access the book directly (such as by directly quoting it, taken in good faith). If I haven't, then a challenger is acting in good faith to request that access method be supplied. That's all. JJB 18:26, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Discussion at WT:V#Demonstrably findable? and WT:V#Extended protection sounds like consensus that the description of findability should go on this page. I am refactoring it based on the need not to make it seem like a demand unless another editor finds the text to be inaccessible, and spelling it out a bit more because guideline not policy:

The citation should state, as clearly, fully, and precisely as possible, how a reader can find the source material, such as by external link to the source website. If the material is not findable online, it should be findable in reputable libraries, archives, or collections. If a citation without an external link is challenged as unfindable, any of the following is sufficient to show the material to be reasonably findable (though not necessarily reliable): providing an ISBN or OCLC number; linking to an established Wikipedia article about the source (the work, its author, or its publisher); or directly quoting the material on the talk page, briefly and in context.

JJB 20:25, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Inserting due to lack of discussion. JJB 16:57, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Embedded links

These break the connection between the place a link is used and the full citation, which is not only a problem for editors, but perhaps more so for readers, since they can't simply click their way to the full citation. I propose to drop this citation method entirely. -- Shinobu (talk) 19:32, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

What is the accepted wikpedia policy on external links as references? There seems to be conflict (either explicit or confusion) about what the proper reference style is. If I were to link to an external site as a reference to a fact, is the proper usage to [1] link it with a numbered link, or to put that link with full information inside a <ref> tag so that the link appears in the reflist and only a numbered link to the reflist is placed? I always thought numbered external links (the first way) was discouraged in favoure of reference lists, but Wikipedia:Embedded citations seems to suggest this as the proper way. TheHYPO (talk) 18:49, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Embedded reference are tolerated, but full bibliographical information is better, because if the link goes dead, there will be better clues to help figure out where the information might have moved to, or where to find equivalent information. The full bibliographical information can be included with <ref> tags or with Harvard referencing. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 19:49, 18 December 2007 (UTC)


With regard to Embedded links (discussion points above from Archive 19 - see also here) I would like to include the following sentence at the end of the section...

Because of the difficulties in associating them with their appropriate full references, the use of embedded links for inline citations is not particularly recommended as a method of best practice.

I'd like to hear any reasonable counterarguments beforehand. Thanks, --SallyScot (talk) 23:09, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Last Name First in Footnotes?

I have noticed that the Citation template lists the author's last name first, first name last (e.g., Shakespeare, William, 134). This makes sense in an alphabetized bibliography, not in a footnote. Why is it set up this way? Is there a style guide which approves this format? Thanks.Editor437 (talk) 02:07, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

The citation templates are designed primarily for making full citations in reference lists. That said, their use in footnotes has become common. I don't think any readers are likely to be confused by this. Christopher Parham (talk) 03:02, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't think there is a style guide that approves the format. It would be nice to have more sophistication, though. I haven't been able to find a correct bibliographical form: full stops, rather than commas. Also, the last-name/first-name reversal repeats with the co-authors, which is redundant. qp10qp (talk) 10:48, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Making sure to point out the page numbers

One advantage of parenthetical citing is that you are forced to point out page numbers. It seems fairly common on here not to do that. Now, the Find function (CTRL-F) is powerful, but not everyone is aware of it. I'm curious: where do I fit these notes in on a footnote citation template, say the cite journal one? I would think location, but the examples have places (e.g. Berlin) in location. ImpIn | (t - c) 02:51, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

There is a "pages=" field in most of the citation templates. Christopher Parham (talk) 03:03, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Err, yeah. I was thinking of a more specific place to put the particular page with the statement rather than all the pages of the article, but I suppose I should just add see <particular pages> to that section. ImpIn | (t - c) 03:09, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Well I would assume that the field could be used either to show all the pages of an article/chapter/etc., if you were making a general reference, or a specific page if you were citing a particular fact. I can't imagine when you would want to show both a range of pages and a specific page within that range, though. Christopher Parham (talk) 03:12, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, yeah. You make a good point. I guess this was sort of a dumb thing to bring up. But when you cite to a particular page, you can't use the reference again, and have to do a new footnote. And that's a hassle. But when you cite generally, people have to search. Personally, I think that many papers could be cited by page number alone in-text; if there's an anchor, the author and date is unnecessary. ImpIn | (t - c) 03:35, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
You can solve this problem by creating a subsection under References to house those general citations, and then use inline cites with page numbers to reference them. See an example of this at University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Facility. So long as the article doesn't use multiple sources from the same author written in the same year, the results are very easy to interpret. Huntster (t@c) 04:09, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
You're describing shortened notes. See Wikipedia:Citing sources#Shortened notes, or (for a longer list of examples) see Wikipedia:Verification methods#Shortened notes. This is the most popular method for citing several pages of the same source. (There are a few other methods, such as {{Rp}}). ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 04:49, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I don't like shortened notes at all. {{Rp}} is much better, and sort of what I was looking for. For large works used often in a complex article, however, in-text referencing of the page numbers is better in my mind because you end up creating less of a mess of footnotes, and you point them directly to the work in question. ImpIn | (t - c) 00:55, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Where's the help? Just awful as basic guidance

I make a few Wikipedia edits a week. I know citing sources is important. So why is the "help" for doing this so garbled and disorganized? I have to troll through paragraphs on different citation styles, lots of WP:This and WP:That, links to subsections, links to absurdly complex tables of reference templates. Nothing explains the difference between cite and ref and footnotes, or summarizes the most useful templates. So every single time I give up and just copy the wiki text of a nearby citation (or reference?), I have no idea if the one I copied is done right or not.

Please, provide editors one simple guide to doing the right thing, and make sure all the other pages feature a link to that simple guide early on.

  • Help:Citations quick reference is too bare-bones. The examples don't look like decent references, and the column "In References" doesn't explain how to make a reference.
  • Wikipedia:Referencing for beginners is promising, but it doesn't give any guidance on standard formats or templates, it's flagged as "just an opinion", and it's longer than Help:Footnotes.
  • Wikipedia:Embedded citations adds insult to injury by saying "For details about the other inline citation methods see Wikipedia:Citing sources." I don't want details, I want the basics. 95% of Wikipedia editors agree! [citation needed]

I shouldn't have to understand the difference between cite, ref, and footnote just to respond to the endless "citation needed" exhortations. If I do, then explain them to me, don't assume anything.

I think it's as simple as, if the document already has a References section, just add <ref>{{some standard citation template|its params...}}</ref> after the text. But I sure didn't learn that by reading all these pages.

Thanks for listening, now I'm off to make a citation reference footnote, badly -- Skierpage (talk) 04:25, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree, there's a lot of noise on the page. This is true for almost all Wikipedia documentation...I believe it may be difficult to change, but let's try. ImpIn | (t - c) 04:38, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree that this page is too long and poorly organized, especially for the beginner. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 12:21, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Agree with this well-formed request, working this, slowly. JJB 15:34, 10 June 2008 (UTC)


  1. The overhead banner should be shortened somewhat. The WP:CITING should be changed to WP:CITEWIKIPEDIA or WP:CITEWIKI; WP:CITING should redirect here.
  2. The intro paragraph should have a description of the basic ways to cite, anchored links to "how to write" each of these, and perhaps an anchored list to "why to cite". At the moment it is redundant.
  3. Why sources should be cited should be moved down to after the basic rundown of how to write ect.
  4. "Use of terms" section can be relegated to a footnote.
  5. In the intro, it should be noted that citations are not always necessary, with an anchored link to the "When to cite sources"; however, this is common sense, and thus that section should be put after the practical details.
  6. The "How to cite sources" section can be cleaned up significantly into a to the point, practical explanation.
  7. Tools should be emphasized immediately in the How to Cite section, as they are very useful. Nobody has time to hand-write really good citations when they're volunteering. I use the Google Scholar Wikify tool a fair amount. Attempts should be made to give different tools short, distinct, and descriptive names.
  8. Structuring citation templates so that they cover much of the page irritates me (this is how the above tool does it by default). If possible, we should come to some sort of consensus on this. I'll take this moment to remind people that we can remove citation templates from the prose itself by voting for Bugzilla:12796. ImpIn | (t - c) 00:55, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Could you make each of these suggestions under a different topic? I.e., make a headline for each of these? It's hard to comment on a things in a numbered list. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 12:26, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
A headline for each? Don't you think that's excessive? I'll start with the intro paragraph ImpIn | (t - c) 00:59, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Revising the intro paragraph: currently redundantly goes over style

Currently the intro paragraph redundantly repeats the information in the headline: that this is a style guideline. It would be better if it summarized the article and succinctly pointed people to the different methods, how to use them, and the tools available. It should be noted briefly that citations are not always necessary, with an anchored link to the "When to cite sources"; however, this is common sense, and thus that section should not be given undue weight. The focus here should be on telling people how to cite, rather than explaining why. ImpIn | (t - c) 00:59, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Reference section fold up

Does Reference section in a big article will be fold up to occpying fixed height whatever how much. (talk) 07:00, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Don't do it, because it won't print. This was discussed before. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 12:09, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Yep. see Wikipedia:Citing_sources#Scrolling_lists. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 02:58, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Dead link guidance

I have a PDF that was published by the Utah Department of Transportation that I downloaded in July 2007 from . On first look, it seems to be in the Internet Archive, but those links don't actually work. I uploaded it to [2], but that won't stay up forever. Some of the information is not in other documents. What should I do here? Remove the URL and say "document downloaded from in July 2007, but no longer online"? An example of a current reference to it can be seen at [3]. --NE2 21:23, 19 June 2008 (UTC)


I hope i am not sounding biased or bad or anything. I am just wondering whether if references have to be or at least should be in english\english translation. Looking at the recent 2008 Iwate earthquake, a good number of the references are in Japanese, for example. Simply south (talk) 01:02, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes and no. Preference is given to English sources of equal quality, but sources do not have to be in English, though translations are encouraged. Read up at the link for more details. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 07:26, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Yeah I really want Wikipedia to make a rule, that if you are contribution to a community you speak their languages and you use sources from their language. You are not allow to cite info from other languages, because using other languages automatically give you an advanatage without any intentions.

Because many languages itself have different grammar, and by using any translation software, there is a good chance that mistake would happen. Unless somebody genius can make a reliable sources, like converting the words into XML data and semantic constraints and then translate into some sort of standard language format(made by an recognized association) in a script, it is very hard to know if any errors are made. Also a lot of words itself have connotations which foreigners won't know even if they translate (like humor), so the intentions and implications can be easily mistaken.

--Ramu50 (talk) 18:48, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

How is using a foreign language source different, for our purposes, than using a rare book as a source? (By the way, we do allow books to be used as sources.) --Gerry Ashton (talk) 20:06, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

I understand that Wikipedia is trying to accept every single language sources without being racist and sexist, elimination of minority groups...etc. But I found that a lot article in Wikipedia which contain other language sources, they are usually not registered user. Also the article they contribute, if you look at their user history, they don't have more than 3 relevant contribution to the topic. So say if they are contribution to graphic card, usually if you look at their history, they don'thave more than 3 contribution in any topic relevant to computers.

So the questions arises, first how do we even know he/she have a roughly good understanding of the topic, if he doesn't contribute to relevant topic. Second I think they should be probably start with contributing to other Wikipedia, instead starting the official Wikipedia. There is one version of Wikipedia that uses lower level english for foreigners.

Ok if remove the language rules, then please tell me how you can solve the language problem. Because in Language

Problem 1: Connotation problem, connotations usually require you to understanding something about the people, the culture and history and we don't have time for. The meaning would change totally, since in some languages joking is okay (like in Britain) while in more Asian Oceanian countries it is not okay.

Problem 2: Non-existant word problem. Some language often refer to things like proverb, idoms which derive from a small region only, people who don't speak their language or don't live there will have no idea what they are talking about.

Problem 3: Reliable sources. Some people cite things from China, but the Chinese government restrict what is allow to be on the Web Server, so how do we know that the information is reliable. (Without freedom of speech, how we know who is right and wrong).

--Ramu50 (talk) 16:55, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia does not discriminate against its users. Just because English isn't a user's primary language does not mean they should be barred from editing here. Yes, they could have edited at their language's site, but they chose this one. Also, how do we know that anyone that edits any given article has a "good" understanding of the topic? We don't, which is why we require valid sources to back up those edits.
The core issue here, however, is the appearance that your proposal would call non-English sources as less reliable than English sources. How can we possibly justify such a mindset? Regarding your points:
  1. Yes, some cultures treat humour in writing in different ways, but most respectable media are going to write in a manner befitting their industry, and will not use sarcasm (for example) is such a strong way that it cannot be easily distinguishable from the true content. After that, it is up to the reader to determine the intent of those words.
  2. I don't see how this is an issue. That idiom comprises but one small part of the overall source, and is likely to not interfere with the overall meaning. If it does, then don't use that source.
  3. We, as readers, cannot know if any given thing we read has been butchered by another person or group seeking to censor material. Unless it is just blatantly done, we don't know if any given thing is trying to push a point-of-view (which almost any written source is going to do, intentional or otherwise). My point is that reading other people's work is an inherent don't know if it is correct. However, if the publication is considered to be a trusted entity, part of that trust is passed on to its writers.
Check out WP:VUE, which states that English sources are preferred over non-English ones, since this is the English Wikipedia. But there are times when the information being sought simply cannot be found in an English source, due to it being a matter of local or cultural importance, or whatever. In the end, this is an open encyclopedia. We can request that sources be in English as a courtesy to readers, but to outright banish all other languages goes against the spirit this site, and all of Wikimedia, tries to establish. Huntster (t@c) 19:00, 20 June 2008 (UTC)


When describing the beliefs of a particular religious group, is it acceptable to use the group's website as a source, and list the website as such? In this case there is little published material to use. Rev107 (talk) 01:39, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Further reading/External links

The Citing sources project page section on Further reading/External links says...

An ==External links== or ==Further reading== or ==Bibliography== section is placed near the end of an article and offers books, articles, and links to websites related to the topic that might be of interest to the reader. The section "Further reading" may include both online material and material not available online. If all recommended material is online, the section may be titled "External links".
All items used as sources in the article must be listed in the "References" or "Notes" section, and are usually not included in "Further reading" or "External links" [...]

If the term Bibliography is taken to mean - a list of source materials that are used or consulted in the preparation of a work or that are referred to in the text (i.e. a dictionary definition of the term) - then I don't think we should encourage the section heading Bibliography as synonymous with Further reading/External links. If all items used as sources in the article must be listed in the "References" or "Notes" section, and are usually not included in "Further reading" or "External links" then using the name Bibliography as a synonym for "Further reading" or "External links" just invites confusion.

If anything, the term Bibliography should instead be an allowable synonym for the References section.

I propose making changes to project page on that basis. --SallyScot (talk) 22:56, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

I'd also say that the term Bibliography is suggestive of a more systematic arrangement than simply the same running order in which they're first cited in the article text [4][5][6]. - As such, the term is best reserved for alphabetised ordered reference lists as used with parenthetical (author-date) referencing or with shortened notes. The term Bibliography shouldn't really be synonymous with Reference sections generated via <ref> tags as these are not so ordered and can also include other types of footnotes (discursive/narrative notes). --SallyScot (talk) 19:13, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Merger discussion at Template:citation

There is a preliminary discussion at Template talk:citation#Proposal to merge redundant citation templates that might be of interest to folks here. ASHill (talk | contribs) 13:06, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Multiple citation templates in "ref" tags

Does putting multiple citation templates within a single set of <ref> tags cause problems? Here's an example:

<ref>{{citation|author=Beth Neil|title=Gethin to know you: Exclusive: Blue Peter star is now strictly sex|url=|newspaper=[[Daily Mirror]]|date=[[2007-12-08]]}}; {{citation|title=Who's danced their way to the number 6 slot?|url=|magazine=[[Heat (magazine)|]]|date=[[2007-12-28]]|accessdate=2008-01-19}}.</ref>

NYScholar says it does, but I haven't encountered any issues. I usually view Wikipedia with Internet Explorer. — Cheers, JackLee talk 15:44, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

I would at least separate these on bulleted lines so they are not slammed together as they currently are in Gethin Jones (reference 26 has 8 citations back to back). You also need to fix the first link, as it is busted. Frankly, I don't think this method fixes anything— you do away with the multiple ref links in the body, but end up with these back to back cites. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 16:41, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the useful formatting advice, but that doesn't answer the question whether multiple citation templates within a single set of <ref> tags actually fails to render properly. Also, in what way is the first link (in footnote 26 or footnote 1?) "busted"? It works fine on my computer. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:25, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, multiple citation templates within a single ref render properly. And the link now works, so forget that. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 20:10, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

That's been my experience too. However, NYScholar claims that when there are multiple citations in a single footnote, the external links do not appear properly: see the discussion at "Talk:Jason Isaacs". Has anyone else has encountered this issue, and does it need to be investigated further? If so, by whom? Personally, I see nothing wrong with the use of multiple citations in this way. It's a common usage in printed works. As far as I can tell, there is nothing in "Wikipedia:Citing sources" that deprecates the practice. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:26, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

I would have to see a specific example of a problem. I have seen this method before and I wondered how it would affect linking and machine readability. Testing the links both manually and with LinkChecker reveals no problems and Zotero picks up all of the links. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 18:42, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

anchor to references section

Under the heading Under the heading "How to write them" the following text appears:

Creating an anchor to the References section is highly recommended e.g. (Ritter 2002:40). To cite Ritter one would first create an anchor to Ritter's work in the References section:

<cite id=Ritter2002>* Ritter, R. (2002). ''The Oxford Style Manual''. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860564-1</cite>

When I cut and paste the above anchor, as it appears after being interpreted by the system (i.e., beginning with "<cite id=" and leaving out "nowiki" and "blockquote") into the sandbox and select "preview," the system does not interpret the asterisk as a bullet, and the reference is preceded by an asterisk rather than a bullet. I believe that the asterisk should come before "<cite id=Ritter2002>" rather than after. When the asterisk is moved to before "<cite id=" it is correctly interpreted as a bullet.

If this is correct, then someone authorized to do so (unlike me) may want to correct the entry by moving the asterisk. Neuroscientist1 (talk) 21:54, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Done. (PS. It's a wiki - you have authority ) :) --SallyScot (talk) 22:31, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Discursive notes

...earlier part archived...

...later part archived...

Doesn't look like this will happen without a wiki developer to sponsor it. Shame 'cos I thought it was quite a good idea. --SallyScot (talk) 17:08, 9 June 2008 (UTC)


Developments with Footnotes mean that it's now possible to maintain two (or more) sets of footnotes via the reference tag. The group extension of the ref tag doesn't produce a list style type of lower-roman numerals ( (i),(ii),(iii), etc.), which I'd suggested might be good with a new <nb> tag, but instead includes the specified group identifier along with regular Arabic numerals in the generated link references. Example code and rendering as shown below.


Example text,<ref group=nb>This is an example discursive note</ref> more example text.<ref group=nb name=Discursive>Discursive notes can be shown separately from references or citations - giving a neater appearing alternative compared to having mixed "Notes and references" or "Notes and citations" sections. This is an example of such a note. It is generated via use of group extension of the reference tag.</ref> A point made with a supporting reference.<ref>Author, A. (2007). "How to cite references", New York: McGraw-Hill.</ref> A second appearance of a note.<ref group=nb name=Discursive/> 

== Notes ==
<references group=nb/> 

== References == 


Example text,[nb 1] more example text.[nb 2] A point made with a supporting reference.[1] A second appearance of a note.[nb 2]


  1. ^ This is an example discursive note
  2. ^ a b Discursive notes can be shown separately from references or citations - giving a neater appearing alternative compared to having mixed "Notes and references" or "Notes and citations" sections. This is an example of such a note. It is generated via use of group extension of the reference tag.


  1. ^ Author, A. (2007). "How to cite references", New York: McGraw-Hill.

--SallyScot (talk) 15:35, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

A description of this method has been added at WP:FN, but clarity eludes me. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:02, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

I think it would still be good if something like <nb>+<notes/> tags could be developed, and though I've posted this before and elsewhere I'd just like to say the reason I suggested a list style type of lower-roman numerals (i),(ii),(iii), etc. rather than the use of alphabetic letters, which seem to be favoured by some others in proposing <note> tags, is not only that you can easily go beyond 26 notes, but principally that it avoids any clash with the alphabetic letters already used in back-links with multiple use of references sharing the same name, as in the example shown above ( 2. ^ a b ).

I also thought the tag <nb> in combination with <notes/> would be more concise than <note>, with the abbreviation paralleling the existing use of <ref> and <references/> tags.

--SallyScot (talk) 23:48, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

I started a discussion at Template talk:Reflist; we have a sandboxed update to add the notes list. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 13:17, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
The trouble with Roman numerals is that some of the resulting numbers are really chunky and intrusive. Normal letters look good, I think, and anyone who goes above 26 discursive notes in one article deserves to run out of letters, if you ask me. I have to say that I don't mind the system with two sets of numbers, since the word "note" distinguishes them clearly enough. qp10qp (talk) 16:54, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
General solution for people running out of letter is to continue with aa, ab, ac....zz which adds over a thousand combinations... If you run out of those..... Arnoutf (talk) 17:09, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Alphabetic letters are already used in back-links with multiple use of references sharing the same name. Using letters would mean you could get a clashing and confusing list of explanatory notes that looked something like this...



a. ^ a b This is an example discursive note.
b. ^ Here's an explanatory note.
c. ^ a b Explanatory notes and discursive notes are two terms meaning the same thing.

--SallyScot (talk) 17:40, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Also, you need to reach number twenty-eight before any occurrence of Roman numerals goes above five characters.(xxviii) - And number eighteen before any occurrence over four characters.(xviii) - With the majority of numbers below eighteen being made of three or less characters, like the number sixteen for example.(xvi) --SallyScot (talk) 18:35, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

I still think they look gross. qp10qp (talk) 18:54, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
But now you don't know why :) --SallyScot (talk) 19:32, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
The alphabetic backlinks appear to only be on this site, others use the default decimal numbering. So if they are confusing, there should be a way to format alphabetic links in the default format. -Steve Sanbeg (talk) 20:19, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

A switch to make backlinks use ordinary numbering would only shift the potential for confusion away from the proposed alphabetized Notes section to the existing numbered References section. Like this...



a. ^ 1 2 This is an example discursive note.
b. ^ Here's an explanatory note.
c. ^ 1 2 Explanatory notes and discursive notes are two terms meaning the same thing.


1. ^ a b Author, A. (2007). "How to cite references", New York: McGraw-Hill.
2. ^ Other, Anne. (2006). "How to include explanatory notes", Liberty Press.
3. ^ a b Someone, Elsie. (2008). "Notes and References in electronic documents ", Online Books.

And it's because regular numbers are used already in existing Reference lists, and because alphabetic letters are used already as backlinks, and that these things are already established that I thought it might be an idea to use lower case roman numerals for any new explanatory Notes lists.

--SallyScot (talk) 17:22, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Primary source is wrong, secondary sources are right

I authored a Featured Article, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, that apparently has an error in it attributed to the source, not the article. The issue is that Douglas was involved in the Coconut Grove Slum Clearance Committee with a friend named Elizabeth Virrick. Based on Douglas' autobiography and her transcribed oral history on a site sponsored by Florida International University, the date in the article for her involvement is the 1920s. It has been pointed out to me by someone who is cited in the article - a Douglas scholar named Jack Davis - that the Committee was not active until 1948. So I have two primary sources that state the 1920s, and a scholar and this site as well as a few others that verify it was not active until 1948.

So now I'm embarrassed because I wrote it and it's well-cited with two *2* primary sources that are incorrect. Douglas was 93 and 98 years old when she gave the interviews for those primary sources. Acquaintances asserted she was mentally sharp until the day she died at 108. How do I amend the citation? --Moni3 (talk) 15:36, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

It is extremely common for sources to be wrong, and they are sometimes ridiculously wrong. I also find that two similar things often coalesce over time, causing confusion (perhaps they started with a less formal committee that is not officially documented). I would mention both sides in the notes. This will add to the objectivity of the article rather than undermine it. qp10qp (talk) 16:12, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Being mentally sharp does not mean that you have a perfect memory (see e.g. Elisabeth Loftus work on memory). In principal secondary sources evaluating the interviews are to be preferred over literal interviews. Arnoutf (talk) 16:15, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I realize sources sometimes contradict each other, but this is the first time I've come across secondary sources contradicting two primary ones. So, I need to change the article to reflect the Committee was started in 1948, but how to cite that is the question. Do I need a regular (ref) then (note)? Or two refs or what? --Moni3 (talk) 17:01, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't think the primary sources are wrong. The primary sources truthfully reflect Marjory Stoneman Douglas at the time of those interviews/texts. Her memory was wrong (which has less to do with cognitive functioning then often thought - hence my link to Loftus).
Practically I would suggest something like "In later life Douglas attested being part of the Coconut Grove Slum Clearance Committee in the 1920's (primary sources). However she must have been confused in either the name of the committee, or (whatever the 2ndary sources say) as this specific committee did not exist until the 1940's (secondary sources)." Does this help? Arnoutf (talk) 17:12, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
No need to be elaborate. Just choose which version you want in the article. Then the balancing note can say something like either "Douglas claimed that the committee existed in the 1920s" or "Davis says that the committee was not active until 1948". Done. qp10qp (talk) 17:44, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Please be careful though, I am not sure that is the claim. The actual claim appears to be "Douglas claimed to be member of the committee in the 1920s" which may either imply confusion about the foundation of the committee (ie she was member of that committee; but thought it was much longer ago) or between committees (ie she was member of a similar committee in the 1920's and confused that with a later committee she also joined). Arnoutf (talk) 17:49, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Links in footnotes to newsarticles requiring payment for access

I have a question regarding the appropriateness of including an http link in a reference to a newspaper article, if this link leads to a short abstract/excerpt of the article on the newspaper's site, where payment is required to access the full version of the article. I am unsure on this issue myself. Many newspapers, such as New York Times, Los Angeles Times, etc, have archival sections for older articles where payment (usually a few dollars) is required to see the article. Doing googlenews searches often leads to such sites. On one hand, icluding a link like that in a reference (rather than just giving a plain text reference, with the publication name, date, etc), makes it easier for people who really want to verify the information cited or maybe learn more about it, to access such information quickly. Paying $3.95 to read an article is easier than going to the library, and, with the gasoline prices being what they are, it may even be cheaper as well -:). On the other hand, providing a footnoted reference link to a non-free site might look like a form of advertisement or commercial endorsement of a particular site.

Is there a policy/guideline or at least some preferred WP convention regarding how to deal with this issue? Thanks, Nsk92 (talk) 14:56, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Firstly, if the {{cite news}} template or a similar one is used, it reminds the editor of all of the fields that should be provided and these include the published date, page and other information. Be aware that some pages are free when cited and become pay at a later date. Vegaswikian (talk) 18:19, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, but what about the appropriateness (or not) of including a url when using {{cite news}} if that url does require payment to begin with? Do you have any suggestions regarding that? Nsk92 (talk) 18:25, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Including a URL is fine; generally, subscription websites should not be linked under "external links", but this does not apply to citations. However, I don't think it is necessary if you are giving the rest of the necessary information. If it were me, I would include the URL if I had accessed the material online myself. Christopher Parham (talk) 18:36, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
OK, thanks. That was exactly the case with the link I included (from LA Times archives): I did pay first and have read the full text of the article before linking it. I wish there was some explicit guidance regarding this issue in some WP policy or guideline, though... Nsk92 (talk) 18:43, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Placement of Citations

In the HP7 article, an editor reviewed the article in regards to a GA nomination, and said that all the citations in the article should be at the end of sentences. As far as I know, this was never neccessary. Would the citations have to be at the end of the sentences in regard to this article? ~ Bella Swan? 13:39, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

No. They are usually best placed at the end of sentences, but sometimes it is necessary to place them at the end of clauses. qp10qp (talk) 15:15, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Like Bella, I've encountered the same problem with some GA reviewers who have insisted that all footnotes must appear at the ends of sentences and after punctuation; I've even been asked to insert punctuation marks where none were required to comply with this rule. This is clearly wrong, as "Wikipedia:Citing sources#Ref tags and punctuation" states: "Material may be referenced mid-sentence, but footnotes are usually placed at the end of a sentence or paragraph. Footnotes at the end of a sentence or phrase are normally placed immediately after the punctuation..." [emphasis added]. I think the correct approach should be as follows:
  • A reference should be placed after the fact it supports.
  • If possible, a reference should be placed at the end of a sentence after the punctuation mark.
  • However, if a sentence contains more than one fact that requires referencing, and there is already a reference at the end of the sentence, the additional references should be placed after the facts occurring in the middle of the sentence, preferably after punctuation marks.
— Cheers, JackLee talk 15:29, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Many thanks. ~ Bella Swan? 21:11, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
The above editors are correct that footnotes can appear at the end of sentences, clauses, or even individual words as appropriate. It is worth pointing out that the guideline no longer indicates a clear preference for before or after punctuation, although the after punctuation method is more common. Christopher Parham (talk) 22:16, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

"The use of citation templates is neither encouraged nor discouraged."


In relation to the above point. Citation templates have two advantages: firstly, they allow a consistent style to be applied to the whole of the site. Secondly, and of particular interest to me, they make citation data machine readable. This is A Good Thing because:

  1. It allows the citation data to be expanded and maintained by bots (for instance, adding DOIs or URLs)
  2. It allows readers to easily find a copy of the text they can read, perhaps with software provided by their university or library
  3. It allows citation data to be easily copied and translated into another format, or saved into for example CiteULike.

I can't see any advantage to not using a citation template.

Therefore I'd propose that the above rider is replaced with something along the lines of "Where appropriate, an appropriate citation template should be used". Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 13:31, 24 June 2008 (UTC)


Yes, good idea! --EnOreg (talk) 14:05, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Bad idea. There are at least these disadvantages to using the citation templates
  • It takes longer, if you know what you're doing, to cut and paste all the separate fiddly bits with equals signs into the required citation template format, or to enter the components of the citation separately.
  • Idiosyncratic references often require fonts and formats which the templates will not render, or will not do easily. If you have some of these, it is simpler to leave off the rest of the templates.
    • I also dislike the imposed format of last name first. It doesn't work well for sources from antiquity or from outside Europe, and it makes linking more difficult. The chief reason print sources adopt it is to make alphabetization mechanical, but we don't have printers' devils to do that for us.
  • The format, often adopted, of one line for each element of the citation templates makes them very difficult to read or understand in edit space; even if not, they are noticeably harder to read than hand-formatted references, which just add an occasional '' to the form in text.
There's enough "let's make it policy to do it my way" around Wikipedia; let's not have any more. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:16, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Re your first point, there are plenty of plugins, scripts and bots which make adding a template much quicker, and much less prone to human error, than formatting them by hand. More importantly, this change won't ban anyone from entering references how they wish – it only acts as a guideline, to format references to make them more useful to readers – nobody is going to turn round to you and say "your contribution violated the MOS, therefore was worthless". The only people who end up reading these pages are those concerned about style Those getting bogged down in the style guidelines are unlikely to be those whose key interest in Wikipedia is in developing a reliable, comprehensive, universally useful encyclopaedia. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 19:44, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
That will only be true when FA and GA are fixed, or deleted, which will not be before WP:DEADLINE. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:37, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Re your second point: I can't think of any examples where this is the case. Could you provide some?
  • Giovanni Boccaccio; Genealogie Deorum Gentilium Libri. ed. Vincenzo Romano. Vol. X and XI of Opere, Bari 1951.
    • Both ed. and the volumes would have to be handcoded; the templates seem to have problems with ed. and tr. in general, especially keeping them lowercase.
  • Natalis Comes: Mythologiae siue explicationis fabularum libri decem; translated as Natale Conti’s Mythologiae, translated and annotated by John Mulryan and Steven Brown; Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006. ISBN 9780866983617
    • You might be able to do half of this (although I'm not sure the apostrophe would survive) with {{cite book}}, but as long as the other half has to be done by hand, why bother? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:37, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Granted, they'd be a nightmare to push through a template. But I think I'll fall back on my "Where appropriate" clause in the proposed re-wording; the onus to fit it into a citation template would then lie upon any future editor who wished to argue that the "where appropriate" didn't apply. The templates could easily be re-written to include a "translated by" parameter, in any case. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 19:44, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Re the third point, templates allow any format of author name, using the author = parameter
Your final point may well be valid, but I feel that the benefits to readers outweigh the difficulties to editors. (You may also be interested in discussion for how to remedy the problem of syntax-laden references; links, I think, can be found at WP:CITE).
Finally, the policy isn't intended to make people "do it my way", but to make people do it "the best way". I'm convinced that there are an array of positives to having references arranged in a consistent and machine readable fashion, not least that it saves people a lot of searching for versions of the reference they can access.
That's true of everybody's demand that we all do it their way. See WP:TRUTH. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:37, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Which is why I opened up a discussion. I'm more than open to be convinced that the way I proposed isn't the best! Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 19:44, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Please don't take the suggestion as a personal attack. I just viewed it as an opportunity to increase the amount of articles improved by DOI bot, and at which I can access references without having to go through the rigmarole of a library search. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 18:22, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
And please take my responses in the same spirit. Any proposal to change the way Wikipedia works for the convenience of a bot misunderstands what we depend on: the willingness of the unpaid to do this for a hobby. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:37, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Of course. But the reason I love bots is that they make it much easier for me, as another volunteer editor, to verify and expand articles from their cited sources. I completely respect your preference for entering citations in plain text – indeed I never intended this proposal to stop anybody from doing so. I simply hoped that it would give the "cleanup squad" the incentive to make references easier to access for the people who are most likely to access them – those at institutions which have access to primary literature, and use software to provide that access. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 18:49, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Regarding Smith609's comment that there are many plugins to help with editing, the presence of the templates impedes editing by those who choose not to use these, or by those using a computer where they have limited authority and can't install a plugin.

Good point - though most of the "plugins" to which I referred do not require installation on a computer - simply editing of a wikipedia user page. See my user page for information on a couple. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 19:46, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Regarding examples of sources for which templates are not suitable, note that there is a limited set of "Cite xxx" templates, and some of those are either not good enough to use, or not well documented enough to use. The Citation template attempts to identify the type of publication by which parameters are specified, so it can only identify "a book, periodical, or a chapter in a compilation" [7]. Some examples of things that either are not supported, or which one could not guess are supported by looking at the names of the templates, are:

  • Computer programs
  • Computer databases
  • Public records (e.g. birth certificate, land deed, survey plat)

--Gerry Ashton (talk) 18:54, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm going to return to the "Where appropriate" clause in my proposal here. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 19:48, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Although most of the articles I edit regularly do use citation templates, and I find them helpful, I think that making them preferred for general use further raises the already-high bar for new editors; just typing in

Charles Dickens (1859). ''A Tale of Two Cities,'' p. 123

is a lot easier to understand and remember than

{{cite book | author=Charles Dickens | title=A Tale of Two Cities | year=1859 | page=123}}

(Aside: the spirit of the comment in the documentation "If you don't know how to format a citation, provide as much information as you can, and others will help to write it correctly." needs to shouted from the rooftops far more often that in its.) ASHill (talk | contribs) 19:14, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

This might be a workable idea if there were citation templates for anything other than APA-style citations; but, since neither MLA-style nor CMS-style citation is presently supported by templates, arbitrarily converting everything to them will make a lot of articles more difficult to read—there are perfectly good reasons why APA is not universally used—for minimal and largely theoretical benefits.
(It'd also violate the "don't change optional styles" rule, incidentally.) Kirill (prof) 01:03, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Given the discussion above, I suggest that the present wording in the guideline sums up the situation perfectly. Leave well alone, I say. qp10qp (talk) 01:32, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
I want to add my choice to those saying no. I dislike the templates, they are cumbersome and unintuitive to some editors. I also wish to address the point there are plenty of plugins, scripts and bots which make adding a template much quicker, - yes, if you are savy enough to know how to use bots, scripts and plug ins. I'm not dumb, but I haven't figured them out yet. A lot of editors have no background in computers and we need their contributions. I'm happy just to work manually, assuming that I'm not lumbered with tons of regulations mandating that I use complicated templates. Sabine's Sunbird talk 02:54, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Also no. I agree with Sabine's Sunbird. Ty 05:20, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Citation templates are awkward in the prose itself, making it much more difficult to edit articles. This was raised in the discussion "Citation templates considered harmful". Wmitchell programmed a solution to this problem Bugzilla:12796, but until it is fixed, I personally oppose the use of citation templates. II 05:04, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Just in case anyone says that silence is consent for this change. I don't like citation templates either. I can live with them in the References section but dislike them in the text where I think short notes are less intrusive and easier to handle. I especially dislike citations being changed en masse from without to with Citation templates (or vice versa) because it makes for very big diffs in articles which make it difficult to track significant changes to the text. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 00:00, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Typos in quotes

Should typos in references (either printed or internet-based) be transcribed as-is when quoting from the source? - (talk) 23:27, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, unless a different source can be found without the typo, in which case the other source could be cited instead. --Trovatore (talk) 23:32, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes. The reason one ought to transcribe a quote verbatim is that it is not up to the quoter to determine whether or not the original author made a mistake. There are other methods of correcting these problems, and vigilante grammatical adjustment isn't an obligation of a person quoting a reference. This also alleviates problems of a quoter thinking that they are correcting something, when in fact, they could be changing something form its correct form to something different and wrong. Nicklink483 (talk) 06:35, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
You may follow a misspelling within a quote with [sic], to indicate that it is not a transcription error. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 17:22, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Brampton City Hall

The architect was Robert J. Posliff —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bob Posliff (talkcontribs) 06:54, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Linking reference retrieved dates

I am lost when it comes to the linking of retrieved dates used in the reference section. What is the purpose of linking the retrieved date? The current featured articles make use of this practice, yet this style guide makes no mention of it other than the suggestion of hiding the retrieved date

"....and a comment with the date you retrieved it if it is online (invisible to the reader)."

I understand the value of posting the retrieved date, but I can see no value in linking it. If the policy has changed to include linked retrieved dates in the reference section, as is being done by featured articles, then this guide line needs to be updated; otherwise the review process for featured and good articles needs to be updated. Dbiel (Talk) 17:25, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

In my opinion dates are among the most overlinked Wikilinks. Especially those in references seem irrelevant. (Cynically) I think the reason to wikilink retrieval dates in references is to show how advanced we are in programming template codes. Arnoutf (talk) 17:28, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
(1) That suggestion is made specifically about newspaper articles, which have print equivalents and are generally stable. Online-only material, which is subject to change, should include a visible reference date. (2) Whether full dates of this type should be linked is a matter of some dispute; some believe that it is beneficial to enable user date-format preferences, while others believe that it creates link clutter to generate so many links. Either practice is acceptable; generally, be consistent within an article. Christopher Parham (talk) 17:47, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

If the policy has changed to include linked retrieved dates in the reference section, as is being done by featured articles, ... This is an incomplete understanding of current guidelines. See discussion at WP:MOSDATE and many other places. It is now an issue within the citation templates, waiting to be resolved. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:10, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Actually the guideline does not directly address the issue of linking retrieved dates used in reference links. It might also be my lack of understanding of what a date link is. Is it a tool to enable user date-format preferences, or is it link back to articles on various dates? Dbiel (Talk) 22:39, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
It is strictly for autoformatting purposes. If an archived version of the page is being used, we have the archiveurl and archivedate parameters for linking to an old copy. Huntster (t@c) 23:07, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

General and inline refs in the same article

I have asked a question here about whether citing general references and inline references in the same article is considered a violation of WP:CITE#HOW's requirement for an internally consistent style. Your comments are welcome on that page. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:22, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

I believe the best approach is to list inline citations under "Notes and References" with a Reflist tamplate and general citations under "Further reading" with a Refbegin/Refend template, together with external web links.
Sv1xv (talk) 09:52, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Reference Space

I was over at French Wikipedia yesterday, and noticed that they had a Reference Space (i.e. an entire region of wiki dedicated to holding complete bibliographic data of references used in wikipedia articles), and I was wondering if this kind of option has been discussed before (I tried googling the archives to see if this had already been discussed, but didn't find anything, sorry if I missed something). As a user who mainly edits mathematics articles, this would be wonderful. The same "classic" references come up time and again on different articles, and as it is now, I try to think about which article I've previously used the reference I want on, then I go there, open up that edit page, copy the entry, and paste it the page I'm adding it, too. Not only does this seem like a waste of time, but also a waste of space. On the french wiki, you basically just use a template that cites "author, title" and it links to the reference space entry (and the requirement for admission into reference space is that it be used on at least one wiki page). Furthermore, there are bots running around english wiki finding references and adding "doi" tags and such to them. As an interesting side effect, you can find out which articles link to the given reference. Anyways, I'll stop here. RobHar (talk) 14:21, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Basically you suggest creating a BibTex or Endnote style bibliographical database that can be accessed from articles? Sounds like a good idea to me. Arnoutf (talk) 14:50, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
{{doi}} may be along the lines of what you're looking for, at least for any article in an academic journal with a DOI. You do have to know the DOI of the source, but once you (or DOI bot) have entered the details, you only have to enter the DOI in the future and a full citation will be generated. ASHill (talk | contribs) 16:22, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I would like Wikipedia to become a great repository of bibliographies. This could begin with the bibliographies at the bottom of articles, but I'd like to see far more separate-page booklists than we have at the moment. My reason is that it is not so easy for a non-academics to find good book lists reliably. Wikipedia is often acknowledged, even by sceptics, as a good first stop for information: what better resource for a first stop than to offer bibliographies?
It also seems to me a terrible waste that after looking up information, we usually leave no greater footprint of our reading than a page number. I would like to see each article have a hideable set of notes which could contain much more information than the present space-tight system allows. Editors could create vaults of discursive notes and quotations from primary and secondary sources that would be opened by the note tags. Personally, I would probably find this more interesting than the articles, as footnotes provide a layer of background information that is less mediated. I'd like to see note-vaults that contain not just references but scholarly provenances, showing how the scholarship for a particular point of information has evolved over the years. This would entail lists of books and very knot-gardens of cross-referencing. qp10qp (talk) 16:28, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
That is another issue entirely; this post is about supporting editors who are constructing reference lists. As far as I am concerned not a very good idea either as collapsible information is not very printer friendly, and it includes new POV fork options for many articles. Separate lists, perhaps, standard large sections further reading, no. Arnoutf (talk) 16:35, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Do printed books have DOI's? RobHar (talk) 18:07, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Not normally. A similar template that does the same thing given an ISBN would be nice. {{isbn}}? ASHill (talk | contribs) 18:12, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
So, is there a better place for me to bring this up? How would one go about making this happen? RobHar (talk) 16:34, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Ack; I realize now that I meant {{cite doi}} as along the lines of what you're looking for. I don't have the expertise to create a {{cite isbn}} (or something similar), but the maintainer of User:DOI bot would probably be a good person to ask. ASHill (talk | contribs) 16:42, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
I meant more for the creation of a reference space like the one French wiki has. I suppose the cite isbn template would be a good start. Thanks for the help. RobHar (talk) 16:49, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

It's a wonderful idea!

It would at a stroke solve the problems of manually adding references, and of references cluttering up the edit view when you try to edit a well referenced page.

I had created a system whereby one would simply add "{{cite doi|10.1029/restofthedoi}}" into a page, and a bot would look up the DOI, and create the reference in "reference space".

However, the English are clearly less optimistic than the French, as my attempts were swiftly shut down: such a system apparently takes up too many resources, and would bring the 'pedia to a grinding halt - so much so that it's an exception to the rule "Don't worry about performance". Perhaps the French system would be a useful counter-argument to this argument? I don't pretend to know enough to bet on which side is correct. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 19:13, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Interesting. The thing is I don't see how a bot would be necessary for what I'm suggesting, everything could be done by hand as one went along. It looks like what happens is a user creates a bibliographical entry in the "reference space" and a template in "template space", call it "refname", and then when someone references the book in the wiki article, they just write Template:Refname. So no bots are needed to go around to make this happen. Sure you could use bots to do work people aren't doing, or to create a bunch of bibliographical data based on what is already entered, but that's another question isn't it? Am I missing something? RobHar (talk) 20:52, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Creating arbitarily named references for references, as you seem to be suggesting, requires that:
  1. for each reference a user wants to use, they search the template space for the reference
  2. once they find it, they work out what the template linking to it is called
  3. they then include that template in the article;
  4. if it doesn't exist they enter the details by hand in the reference namespace and create an arbitrarily named template.  ::That's a lot of effort! By my approach, a user simply enters a piece of identifying data from the book or journal article - it's ISBN or DOI - in the format given above. If they wished, they could then create a page called "Reference:1-029-39284-21" or whatever the ISBN or DOI is - but why bother, when that information can easily be looked up automatically, and the page created by a bot? Then, when someone wants to use the same source in a different article, they enter the same piece of data and since the page already exists, they'll see the reference appear, without having to do any searching whatsoever.
So yes, bots aren't needed - but what sensible person would use their time doing by hand something that could be done automatically with the same result?0
Anyway, the issue to be addressed is whether creating a separate page for each reference is an acceptable drain on resources. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 22:08, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
All I was trying to say is that it seems like my suggestion is independent of what people think about the amount of resources used by your bot. I'm not against your bot. Having a bot to the grunt work obviously is the optimal solution. Have I misunderstood what you are saying?
As for the issue of creating a separate page for each reference: if a reference is used in two different articles under the current system it would probably take up more space than a reference space page and a template would.
And for completeness, steps 1. and 2. aren't quite right. The user searches the "Reference space" for the work, and once they find it (which shouldn't be very hard if the entry exists), the first information listed is the template to include to reference the article (see example here [8]). RobHar (talk) 23:55, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Are you aware of Category:Specific-source templates, which contains templates very similar to those in the French wikipedia's "reference" space. For example {{Russell Norvig 2003}}, {{Kimberly 1897}}. etc. (sorry to post this so late) ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 04:20, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! I wasn't aware of this. Perhaps for now I'll just add something there if I find myself using it a lot. RobHar (talk) 14:38, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
The bot doesn't use any resources; creating separate pages does. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 17:48, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
I see. I hadn't understood that from your first post. Wiki is so full of random pages that it didn't occur to me that adding more pages was a problem, especially when the added pages reduce the total size of the encyclopedia by avoiding redundancy. Is it that the simple existence of a page takes up a significant amount of resources? I'd be curious to look through the explanations these people gave to you. Do you have a link of where this discussion took place? Cheers (and sorry for the misunderstanding). RobHar (talk) 20:27, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
This specific idea got a "Very bad idea" when I asked for advice here; I am also reminded of discussion regarding "Pageview bot", see here. However, on re-reading these, there's no strong consensus of opposition to a proposal of this nature, and I wonder how many people are speaking from their own personal opinions rather than factual performance issues. Maybe it's worth putting forwards at the village pump? I'd certainly have found it very useful in this last week's edits, as I have been referring to the same few journal articles in a lot of places. I don't have the energy for beaurocracy, though, so I'll have to leave that to another brave volunteer! Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 20:48, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Geographical date format option in cite web

see proposed example at {{cite web/sandbox}}
discussion should be had for now at Template talk:Cite web#Working version and final discussion

See Template talk:Cite web#Edit requested dates: optional links and style about moving away from always having blue wikilinked dates, as these are nolonger required by WP:MOS. More specifically need to be able to specify American style (eg August 1, 2008) or British/European/International style (eg 1 August 2008) as might be geographically appropriate to the contents of an article. Whilst registered editors currently may set a date preference, most have not and this does not apply to all unregistered anon editors both of whom currently see the ISO style of 2008-08-01. There is no immediate wish to remove the current default of wikilinking dates, but only to allow fixed formating where editors choose to in articles.

Unfortunately MediaWiki does not currently allow the best of both worlds - namely always showing in a user's preferred format where this has been set, otherwise for everyone else showing as either the current default ISO or some fixed style set by an editor - for there is no means to test if an editor has set a date preference (meta:Help:Date formatting and linking#Accessibility of date preference for branching).

  • Assuming people do not for now want:
    • cite web dates only ever to be shown in cite web as unlinked ISO yyyy-mm-dd style
    • date parameters to always be totally unprocessed unlinked values - i.e. no user preference ever processed, values not being machine readable etc
    • values to default to an unlinked international format, unless a datestyle parameter set otherwise (I guess Amercians will be unhappy to see all articles on the USA Constitution change overnight to show dates in British style, and likewise I would balk at forced American-style dates forced onto British topics)
  • ... then the proposal (within MediaWiki current constraints) as per {{cite web/sandbox}} is for:
    a) Unchanged default wikilinked dates - for those registered users with a preference set this still respected, for everyone else the current linked yyyy-mm-dd style.
    b) Where an editor selects a specific datestyle, then an unlinked date is shown in this format (user preferences nolonger then apply)
    c) Formating dates is done with the {{#time:}} parserfunction that can't cope with dates before 1970-01-01 and even less so for before 1901. The current sandbox example makes use of a metatemplate {{date style}} to trap all these errors and show unformated iso-style dates (until such time as MediaWiki bugs sorted).

Compare, as an example, current cite web:

Basner (2006-07-25). "Asthma & OSA". American Sleep Apnea Ass. Retrieved 2006-09-23. 

To planned version with datestyle parameter:

Undefined (the default)
Basner (2006-07-25). "Asthma & OSA". American Sleep Apnea Ass. Retrieved 2006-09-23. 
=myd Am-date
Basner (2006-07-25). "Asthma & OSA". American Sleep Apnea Ass. Retrieved 2006-09-23. 
=dmy Br-date
Basner (2006-07-25). "Asthma & OSA". American Sleep Apnea Ass. Retrieved 2006-09-23. 

A couple of further points:

  • The current plan is for all date-parameters ('date', 'archivedate' & 'accessdate') at cite_web to show consistantly with this new coding
  • All references using the cite_XXX family should presumably be reasonably consistant when used together in the same article, so after a trial period perhaps this date flexibility should extend across the other templates (the coding is relatively simple).

I've posted notes at the main cite_XXX & citation templates without really much additional comment, hence this heads-up more afar - further discussion should be had for now at Template talk:Cite web#Working version and final discussion. David Ruben Talk 18:49, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

No redirect to references

I am beginning to implement Harvnb on the History of Northwestern University but I can't get the citation note to redirect to the book listed under references. The example I am using is Pridmore 2000, reference 64. Madcoverboy (talk) 16:02, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

You need to use year= rather than date= in the citation template. ASHill (talk | contribs) 16:58, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Reliable Source Quotes Wikipedia

I've been trying to get an editor on page Dyker Heights to cite some of his statements, to no response. Now the New York Times actually quoted what he wrote on Wikipedia in one of their articles. [9] and [10]. So can we now reference the Times article that copied the Wiki article? CitiCat 16:41, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

That sounds woefully inadequate to me. If the Wikipedia article is insufficiently referenced, that is not changed by the fact that the existence of the article is mentioned by a reliable source. All the New York Times says about the matter is that the editor of the "Dyker Heights" article claims to have written the Wikipedia article. I'm surprised the editor has not bothered to properly reference the article. According to the NYT he wrote a whole thesis on the subject – surely there were plenty of references in there? — Cheers, JackLee talk 16:53, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Jacklee. Also I think the NYT articles says that the editor wrote a Wikipedia article on the topic. The do not say that article contains any verifiable facts. So you would end up with some reference like "NY times reported on the content of this article" which does not solve the issue at all. Arnoutf (talk) 16:58, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
The reporter appears to have done actual reporting himself, so I think material in the article that does not comment on the Wikipedia article is reliable. The article itself is mostly quoting other sources (neither Wikipedia nor Mr. Zaino). Of course, the existence of the Times article that mentions the Wikipedia article does not make the Wikipedia article adequately sourced, and the NYT article is only a source for what it says. ASHill (talk | contribs) 17:05, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
The last section of the Times article (The History) appears to be directly from the Wiki article. CitiCat 04:14, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Other than the initial mention of the Wikipedia article, the remainder appears to be original reporting, much of which would be of use in sourcing the Dyker Heights article. Much of the Dyker Heights artilce will still need to be appropriately sourced, even using the material provided by The Times. Alansohn (talk) 17:38, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Good point, ASHill. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:22, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia talk:Reusing Wikipedia content/Archive 1#Plagiarism of a wiki article is worth a read. Because this is becoming a growing problem. If a reliable sources (not a mirror) uses Wikipedia information and does not cite Wikipedia as a source, unless one is very aware of the history of an article this can lead to loops where information deleted as unsourced, and is then put back on the page in all innocence by a new editor because it is in a reliable source. I think we need a mechanism to record these copies that appear in a reliable source when they do not credit Wikipedia content. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 17:57, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
True, but tricky. It's going to be difficult to spot plagiarism of Wikipedia articles unless the text is almost word-for-word identical, and newspapers and magazines (even the reliable ones) generally do not state their sources. — Cheers, JackLee talk 03:13, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Quick how-to guide

I have a vague impression that most links on citing sources are made to this article, including above the edit box of new articles. But this article is quite complicated and technically discursive, especially when you're new (as I once found it, even though I was very familar with normal citing). I'm guessing as it's not in the help space that it's not meant to be a quick help article exactly? The lead says "This page describes how to write citations in articles" so you think you might be in the right place.

But for inline citations a subsubheading "How to write them" doesn't appear until half-way down, and then starts: "Creating an anchor to the References section is highly recommended e.g. (Ritter 2002:40)." which I think would throw many new people right away. Then the ref tag system is covered but under the subheading of "Footnotes" - as if something different from citations. Only if you realise this is what you want, and follow the link to Wikipedia:Footnotes and then scroll down to start reading the article and notice the link to the simplified Help:Footnotes do you actually get to a more user-friendly summary of how to do it. And then back in this article, the section on citation templates quickly baffles ("There are (at least) two families...The other family has names of the form {{Cite xxx}}..." and then one look at Wikipedia:Citation templates is enough to make you lose the will altogether.

I wanted to check if there is already, or should there be, a single simple help page to serve as the main quick how-to guide (cheat sheet?) on the general basics of citing, and how to in-line cite in Wikipedia (including getting those template bot pages to format it for you)? So more people can easily add what they want to, with a source. EverSince (talk) 21:26, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

I suspect that that would be very helpful. The current page could use a major re-write; I suspect that much of the content may originate from before the ref tag was introduced! Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 22:13, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Part of the problem with this is that there are many different methods for citation and no preference between them, so how do you begin such a how-to guide? Admittedly unfamiliar users may find this confusing. Anyone who finds this too daunting should be directed to the second paragraph of the guideline: "If you don't know how to format a citation, provide as much information as you can, and others will help to write it correctly." Format is a very secondary concern and a useful citation, no matter how incorrectly written, is better than nothing. Christopher Parham (talk) 22:25, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree that relatively minor formatting variations are secondary. And I think relatively minor method variations are secondary. And so neither need cloud the basics that people want to know. It seems to me that a first basic thing you need to learn on Wikipedia is that some articles have automated listing of references at the end, and others don't. And that for the latter you just stick the whole ref at the end (author/year where appropriate in the text), the former you put the whole thing at the appropriate point in the text enclosed in ref or cite tags. Use a template-filler to do the work for you if you want. Give it a name if you want to use it again. Create the automated listing section at the end if there isn't one. I don't know if I'm missing things due to not having the breadth of experience or technical know-how as that how it generally goes? Does the basic outline have to be much more complicated? EverSince (talk) 08:36, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Oh yeah, and how to include a URL or ID link in the citation. EverSince (talk) 11:21, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree that this page is too long and complicated. It's cluttered with a lot of unimportant detail, much of which is duplicated elsewhere. I would prefer this article as quick outline of each of the most popular verification methods, starting with the most popular, which EverSince is describing. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 18:08, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
It sounds like it might be worthwhile, then, to try some edits here as per the above. I'm personally a bit wary of mis-summarizing technical points that I might not fully appreciate myself and people have put a lot of work into accurately describing, but I assume if this happens then it can just be changed again. EverSince (talk) 16:54, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm intending to reorder and reword what is now the "Adding the citation" section, to highlight what seem the most important distinctions and requirements; started to do it but got a bit lost. I'll pause for now anyway in case any objections to the changes already. EverSince (talk) 21:44, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
Well I don't know if it's any improvement...I've tried not to lose anything that was there, I'm really confused by the "Shortened notes" and footnotes stuff, now in "non-automated citation listing" - can anyone clarify? Is some of this what Martin was sayign was written before the ref tags were introduced? Are anchors the same as the wikilinks referred to? In the creating-the-citation section, still need to expand on including links and the different kinds of ID numbers. I'm not sure if I've introduced the citation templates/tools properly.EverSince (talk) 14:38, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

EverSince: there are at least two problems with footnotes.

  1. A large number of sources may be listed in the order they were cited, making it hard to see if any particular source was used.
  2. A complete footnote must be created for each instance in which a different page number in the same source is used, making the text harder to edit and making the list of citations much longer.

Shortened notes just give the author, year, and pages. The reader then looks in an alphetical reference list for full details on the source. This method is not "non-automated"; depending on how it is done, at least the connection from the citation to the short note is automated as usual. Some people have figured out how to link from the shortened note to the reference list as well. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 15:12, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for that. I've made some changes. I think some confusion (in my case at least) is due to the usage of "footnotes" and "notes" in this article and related ones. I'm used to thinking of these as meaning comments rather than citations (although the comments may reference sources of course). It seems that Wikipedia does use these terms in that way, but also in a different sense to do with using the technical "footnotes" and "shortened notes" systems for citations? Is there any way to avoid this? Incidentally I have a feeling the automated vs non-automated headings I added might not be the best - would it be accurate to divide it into "Ref tag system" and "Other methods" or something? EverSince (talk) 17:15, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
I suppose what I mean as well is, in general usage doesn't "footnotes" refer to bits (whether comments or references) at the bottom of each page of a book or long article, whereas a list of all citations right at the end (as in Wikipedia articles) would normally be called references/citations or maybe endnotes? I suppose notes could refer to either...I'm confusing myself now. EverSince (talk) 19:23, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Like most HTML documents, Wikipedia is usually displayed as a series of screens. It has unfortunately common to speak of HTML documents as "pages" even though they often occupy more than one screenful. So for our purposes, every Wikipedia article consists of one page, and "footnote", "endnote", and "note" are synonyms. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 19:59, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

I made one minor change, to remove the distinction between automated and non-automated notes. It is not clear why cite.php is any more "automated" than, for instance, embedded links. I also made a significant change to remove the language that cite.php is considered best practice in most situations. This is a new notion and I think likely to be disputed. In the past, footnotes and Harvard have been considered equally acceptable. Christopher Parham (talk) 22:16, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

I got that statement about best practice from Help:Footnotes (unfortunately I didn't cite my sources :). I'm not sure what you mean by cite.php
The problem I find with the subheading "footnotes" is that every method seems to involve a footnotes section (although it may be called the References section). If I'm understanding properly, a key distinction from an editor's point of view is whether or not the ref tag system (cite.php?) is in use in an article (determining whether citation listing is automated or not). If it is, the choice then seems to be between full citations in text (job done), or "short notes" meaning shortened citations in text + manually adding the full citations in a separate section. If it isn't, the choice is between just manually adding the full citations at the end, or also adding a parenthetical citation (or embedded link) within the text.
This would be a lot easier if "footnotes" and "citations" weren't used in differing but overlapping ways...I guess there's nothing can be done about that. For exmaple, that warning tag for articles that goes "This article or section may be missing citations or require footnotes"... what distinction is that making between the two?...Ref tag citations are discussed in Help:Footnotes under the heading "footnotes" (although the section you make for it is called "References") (unless it's the short note form and then it's called notes!) (but then you can make a separate manually-generated "References" section!) EverSince (talk) 22:51, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
p.s. I finally noticed Wikipedia:Referencing for beginners in the wikilinks at the end of this article, which seems to partly address my initial query. EverSince (talk) 23:00, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
You are overlooking Parenthetical referencing, also known as Harvard referencing. This system uses short information about the source in parenthesis, just after the statement that is based on the source. This is backed up by an alphabetical reference list near the end of the article. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 23:10, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
I mentioned parenthetical citation - I was meaning what you describe anyway. Thanks for clarifying about the html page definition thing by the way, which as you'll have seen I tried to relay into the article. EverSince (talk) 23:16, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Paranthetical citations do not involve footnotes. They involve a full citation at the bottom of the page (in a reference list, not a footnote) and a paranthetical inline citation within the article.
I see where you were confused by Help:Footnotes; cite.php (the <ref></references> system) is currently the prevailing method for creating footnotes, but it is not particularly recommended for referencing articles, compared to other acceptable referencing systems. Christopher Parham (talk) 23:29, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
I removed the "Parenthetical citation" section because it stated that this type of citation might consist only of a list of general references at the end. Not so. If there are no in-line citations in parenthesis in the article text, it isn't parenthetical citation. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 23:35, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
That's why it wasn't headed parenthetical citation previously; it was discussing things according to a different grouping. But I realise that distinction didn't quite hold up anyway. EverSince (talk) 07:56, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for clarifying that the references section is not being referred to as a foonote section if it is linked to inline author-date parenthetical citations, but only if it is linked to inline numbered citations (I guess I should have realised that but I didn't). And I understand from what you are saying that there is no preference on Wikipedia between the two. And I see that the good and featured article criteria don't mention any preference. But I'm quite suprised by that. Are there any guidelines or statistics on it at all? I had the impression that numbered inline citations were favoured for anyting beyond quite a short article, for reasons of flow and automatic linking down to the full reference list. Good or featured articles (nearly?) always seem to have numbered inline citations. Wikipedia:Scientific citation guidelines only covers inline author-date parenthetical referencing (and yet states in the intro that there is no preference either way).

Incidentially that scientific citation guideline includes another exmaple of confusing variation in use of the term "footnotes". Even though it is talking about inline numbered citation thoughout (which both there and here has been referred to as footnotes), it seems to start talking as if notes/footnotes are something else (or maybe I'm just confused). EverSince (talk) 10:00, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

I began the essay Wikipedia:Verification methods partly as an effort to create the "statistics" you are asking for --- I wanted to know what methods of verification (i.e. citation & reference) were in use, and which were most common. I began to sort the FA articles but I didn't get very far past the As. I came to the conclusion that there are really four systems in use: (1) general reference list, (2) full citation in footnotes, (3) "shortened notes" (i.e., author-date in footnote/full citation in general reference list) and (4) "author-date" (i.e. author-date in parenthesis/full citation in general reference list). By far the most popular is full citation in footnotes. There are variations of each and combinations of each. For example, some articles have both a general reference section and full citations in footnotes, some articles have separate sections for explanatory footnotes (Notes) and citation footnotes (References).
I think the confusion about the word "footnotes" is because the most popular system uses full-citations in footnotes, so (in that system), "footnotes" and "citations" are the same thing. They are not the same thing in any of the other systems.
Forgive me if I'm explaining anything obvious to you here. I think the changes you are making to the structure of this article are excellent and long overdue. Be WP:BOLD. Nice work. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 09:09, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for that... Can I ask one more thing - the article on parenthetical referencing talks about two kinds, author-date (harvard) and author-title, with different usage in different fields. This guideline only talks about author-date (the "shortened notes" section does give an example of using author-title instead). Are both used/ok to use on Wikipedia? EverSince (talk) 13:12, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
It's okay to use anything you like, as long as it verifies the article. <ref>Author date, pp</ref> is more common than <ref>Author title, pp</ref>, but author-title has certainly been used in featured articles, such as Ælle of Sussex. Still another option is <ref>Author, pp</ref>, as in The Age of Reason. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 18:31, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
I see, but those examples are using the footnote system right? "Shortened notes" if I'm understanding the lingo. I confused things by mentioning both in the same sentence above but I was meaning parenthetical referencing that's visible in the text to the reader. Author-date parenthetical referencing being covered in a section here and in the verification essay you started (with the example of Actuary) but author-title parenthetical referencing not being mentioned. Just wanted to check if that's on purpose or whether, as you say, any standard method is theoretically acceptable (can't imagine how cluttered it would look in any developed article with significant referencing..). EverSince (talk) 19:31, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Ah, okay. Sorry. As far as I can tell (Author title, pp ) is extremely rare in Wikipedia. I'd be surprised if there was even one such article. In my opinion, it's too rare to be worth mentioning in this article. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 00:46, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

I was wondering whether some basic guidelines on locating and using sources would go in a briefish section here... or in another guideline? Wikipedia:Verifiability, Wikipedia:reliable sources and Wikipedia:No original research briefly touch on issues of primary/secondary/tertiary sources, focused on reliability. Am thinking of stuff like the finding and using of scientific sources for example. EverSince (talk) 09:01, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Citing the source's sources?

I've gotten into the habit of citing the sources used in a source to verify the information derived from that source. Is this acceptable? Here's an example:

Ströhle et al.[19] argue that it is questionable if all hunter-gatherers living between 150,000 and 10,000 years ago in different geographical regions ate a low-carbohydrate diet.[1][116][117]
That's a quotation. Please show how you attribute the quotation; I can't really understand the example until I see that. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 23:42, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
It's not a quotation, it's a sentence I myself wrote here. Thnaks. --Phenylalanine (talk) 23:47, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
As written, it isn't 100% clear if the Wikipedia editor (Phenylalanine) has read 1, 116, and 117, and concurs with the way Ströhle et al. interpreted the sources, or if the Wikipedia editor is just taking Ströhle et al.'s word for it that those sources can be so interpreted. Perhaps it could have been written like this:
Ströhle et al. [19] rely on Lindeberg [1], Jenike [116], and Conklin-Brittain et al. [117] to argue . . . .
--Gerry Ashton (talk) 00:01, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that's a good point. Do you think that it is advisable to mention that "Ströhle et al. [19] rely on Lindeberg [1], Jenike [116], and Conklin-Brittain et al. [117] to argue..." or is it preferable to simply state that "Ströhle et al. argue that it is questionable if all hunter-gatherers living between 150,000 and 10,000 years ago in different geographical regions ate a low-carbohydrate diet.[19]" without indicating the sources used by that source? --Phenylalanine (talk) 00:13, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I would probably just mention Ströhle et al. unless the other sources are a lot more accessible than Ströhle et al. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 02:15, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
If you can get the original source being cited, and the secondary source is not adding value to it, it seems better to me to glance at that article and use it if the language is clear. This is more convenient and honest for the reader, and is strongly encouraged in academic referencing. In cases where you want to add extra weight to the assertion, or the primary article is complex, it is better to use the secondary source; noting their source seems preferable to me, but it doesn't seem to be required. II | (t - c) 03:00, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Hi ImperfectlyInformed, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "primary" and "secondary". In my example sentence, which citations would be the primary and secondary sources? Thanks. --Phenylalanine (talk) 03:15, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Check out PSTS. Strohle would be the secondary source; he is commenting (secondary); he is making claims based on information generated by others. Strohle could be a tertiary source commenting on a secondary source -- in this case, I think it is preferable to use the sources he is using. Strohle could also be a sort of hybrid -- he could be making synthetic, primary claims based loosely on papers cited. In science many papers fall into this sort of mode. Most primary articles are also secondary sources of prior literature. II | (t - c) 03:43, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. The problem with using the Lindeberg [1], Jenike [116], and Conklin-Brittain et al. [117] instead of Strohle [19] is that the former sources are not directly criticizing the low-carb version of the diet. Strohle is relying on these sources to explicitly criticize this type of diet - he refers to the arguments underlying the low-carb Paleo diet approach and attempts to show how they are unfounded by using these sources. So, in this case, if I only source the statement with Lindeberg [1], Jenike [116], and Conklin-Brittain et al. [117], I would be violating WP:NOR. Also, the full-text version of Strohle [19] is not freely accessible on the Internet (no abstract). What do you think? --Phenylalanine (talk) 10:58, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
It is tricky since a reader may want to investigate, but not have access to Strohle, and if you note Strohle's sources, at least they can try to look for those. I'd say it can't hurt to say that Strohle is using those sources, and it can help -- so go for it. At some point it could overwhelm the reader with citations ... II | (t - c) 11:30, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll use the approach you suggest "Ströhle et al. [19] rely on Lindeberg [1], Jenike [116], and Conklin-Brittain et al. [117] to argue..." in cases where the secondary or tertiary sources are not freely available on-line. Thanks. --Phenylalanine (talk) 00:14, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Do I need to self-revert?

In the article Quackwatch, I moved all the inline references to the ends of sentences, as I thought that was preferred. However, in this edit I have been asked to self-revert the changes. Do I need to? I thought I was sure what policy was, but I want to be absolutely 100% certain. The article is under editing restrictions due to edit-warring. Itsmejudith (talk) 13:22, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

A discussion now archived at "Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/Archive 23#Placement of Citations" may answer your query. Have a look at it. — Cheers, JackLee talk 16:03, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Very helpful, thank you. I am surprised, though, that it didn't result in an amendment to the guideline. I was not clear about this when I made a large number of edits. Would you be able to look at the result in the article and let me know if you think it needs reverting? I have said on the talk page that I think the fact that so many sentences are list-like needs addressing. Itsmejudith (talk) 16:10, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
An amendment to the guideline is probably unnecessary since, as was pointed out in the archived discussion, "Wikipedia:Citing sources#Ref tags and punctuation" already states: "Material may be referenced mid-sentence, but footnotes are usually placed at the end of a sentence or paragraph. Footnotes at the end of a sentence or phrase are normally placed immediately after the punctuation..." [Emphasis added.]
I had a quick look at the changes you made and the talk page discussion. I would generally agree with your "According to A, pigs can fly, but according to B, they can't.[references to A and B]" example – there wouldn't be a problem identifying which fact was referenced by which source. But in other cases where the link between fact and source is not clear, I would suggest that those changes which you made be reverted. I'm afraid I don't have time at the moment to scrutinize the changes you made in detail; perhaps another editor can help you with that. I'm also not very sure how your view that sentences in the article are "list-like" is related to the referencing issue. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:56, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
What I meant is that many different points from different sources are condensed into sentences, hence the large amount of mid-sentence referencing (before I changed it). Thanks for your suggestion. I will do some reversion combined with some expansion of the material taken from sources. Thanks again for your time. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:25, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I do find the wording of the guideline confusing and think it must be even more confusing to new users. The sentence you quote seems to be self-contradictory. Is "referencing" material the same as "placing footnotes"? I see it as the same, but perhaps I misunderstand the whole thing. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:28, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, feel free to suggest here on this talk page that the guideline be written more clearly. Like you, I understand the word "referenced" in the guideline to mean "provided with a reference", i.e., "footnoted". — Cheers, JackLee talk 23:22, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

That section of the guideline was solely about whether ref tags go before or after punctuation when they happen to coincide with punctuation. It doesn't say refs must or should coincide with punctuation, nor that they should be moved to the end of a sentence as a general rule. Gimmetrow 23:46, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Ongoing discussion about citing third parties

A discussion at Wikipedia talk:Reliable sources#Government as a Reliable Source is considering whether a source is not reliable when they are using material from certain other sources, and the third parties should instead be the source. Good luck making rules to label which organizations create tainted fruit. -- SEWilco (talk) 04:33, 24 July 2008 (UTC)


Imperfectlyinformed, it appears that your reply here here has caused the following section to collapse... ;-) --Phenylalanine (talk) 10:48, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Sometimes even I am surprised by my power. :p II | (t - c) 11:15, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

The name of the publisher

Currently the article says:

"The name of the publisher, city of publication, and ISBN are optional, although publisher is generally required for featured articles."

I think this should be changed to:

,the name of the publisher, (city of publication, and ISBN are optional).

I can't think of a reason for not including the publisher particularly as without it page numbers are often near to useless as different editions often use different pagination, a problem I have encountered when two editors are using different editions of the same book to add information to a page. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:42, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree the name of the publisher is important, but I would phrase it differently.
  • The name of the publisher, and optionally the city of publication and the ISBN.

Citing sources; footnotes in-text make editing painful

I've said it before, and I'll still raise the issue. I do not like the cite.php style from day 1. Simply put, it makes editing, especially copyediting a pain. Wiki is supposed to be simple. As a workaround, how about listing all the reference details in the ==References== section, and using the <ref name=""> in the text? Or something on those lines? =Nichalp «Talk»= 08:33, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

You're not alone. Check out this discussion, which is over at Perennial proposals, and vote for Bugzilla:12796 so that we can create a base list of footnote references. The code has been done; it just needs to be reviewed, and then we can do this and just use named cites in-text. I've got this Bugzilla at the top of my userpage; I can't wait till it gets implemented. II | (t - c) 08:46, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks :) =Nichalp «Talk»= 08:54, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Why not just use {{Ref}} and {{Note}}? All that you need to put in the text is a microscopic {{ref|1}} and all you need to put in the general reference list is :1 {{note|1}}{{cite book|...}}. (This isn't my favorite system and I'm not advocating that people should use it. I'm just pointing out that it exists, it's simple, you are free to use it, it's already working and it seems to solve the problem that you guys have with <ref>{{cite book| ... }}</ref>.) ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 19:21, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't aware of that system. I've dug deeper and found Wikipedia:Ref reform. This is a major problem which has been noted since August 2006. The Bugzilla bugs have not really been looked into in that time. It is pretty disappointing. While I think that the {{Ref}} method is an improvement over the current, I doubt people would like me using it, and it's not the ideal system .... II | (t - c) 08:09, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Charles! ImperfectlyInformed, what's wrong with the {{Ref}} and {{Note}} system proposed here?? --Phenylalanine (talk) 09:58, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
For one thing, that doc. page makes my head spin. But I don't think that system is going to jive with <ref> references, and I suspect people will get upset if I try to use it in articles with them. And since that includes pretty much all articles ... sigh We need to fix Cite.php rather than use the older system. You do understand that it is older, and that it is considered by many to be "deprecated", right? II | (t - c) 11:11, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Deprecated schmeprecated. The system is still fairly common in older featured articles. (More common than, for example, parenthetical referencing, I'd wager) I don't see any reason to extend cite.php to allow yet another citation system that is pretty much the same as {{ref}}/{{note}}. There are too many citation systems as it is. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 14:30, 26 July 2008 (UTC)


I have an unusual problem: an editor who wants to change the title of a reference to conform with his/her personal preferences. This seems obviously wrong: even if the word was patently offensive in every context (which is not the case here), you quote titles verbatim. But I haven't been able to find an explicit statement to that effect. Am I missing something? Or is this the first time in Wikipedia's history that someone has tried to bowdlerize a reference? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:06, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

If the publication is in a foreign language and what is in dispute is the translation into English of the title, there could be a case for more than one choice. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 20:12, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, of course, references should use the precise title of the published work if feasible. This should always be possible if the title is alphanumeric. As Gerry says, it can be more difficult in exceptional cases. However, if the title is simply in another language, it is best to give the actual untranslated title if possible. Here is a typical example:
Fraenkel, Abraham A. (1922), "Der Begriff 'definit' und die Unabhängigkeit des Auswahlsaxioms", Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Physikalisch-mathematische Klasse, pp. 253–257  (German). Reprinted in English translation as "The notion of 'definite' and the independence of the axiom of choice", van Heijenoort 1976, pp. 284–289.
— Carl (CBM · talk) 20:16, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
No, this is a case of merely not approving of the authors' word choice. The ref is entirely in English. Only one word is being changed in the title. Do we have an actual rule on this? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:21, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Of course you can't change the title of a published work! What will be next - changing the name of the journal it appeared in, and modifying anything in volume 13 to volume 12a in case the reference brings bad luck? Not approving of the authors' conclusions, and misquoting them too? All details should be exactly as on the published source. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 20:42, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Oh no, we better make one up!</sarcasm> This is one of those "common sense" things, I think. II | (t - c) 20:40, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
The talk page discussion is here. If you review the article's history and the talk page, you'll find that the editor explicitly cites the Manual of Style and Wikipedia policy as authorizing changing the title of a reference to reflect preferred terminology. I'd be astonished to find an official statement that approves his actions -- but surely the opposite already exists? Surely this is not the first time this problem has come up? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:27, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Quick summary ADDED

There's substantial agreement that this page is too complex, but there isn't a good intro elsewhere. So I created "Quick summary" at its start, compressing stuff from Wikipedia:Referencing for beginners and my own primitive understanding into three steps and three examples. That's enough for casual editors who just want to "do the right thing". So feel free to edit the Wikipedia:Citing sources/Archive 23#Quick summary section but don't make it any more complicated or any longer!! Wikipedia experts can always improve an existing citation, but it's hella hard to fabricate them after the fact and the previous crummy over-complex state of the documentation actively discouraged casual editors from citing sources. -- Skierpage (talk) 09:36, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

I have reverted the change. You need to get agreement for this here on this talk page as you have ignored Harvard referencing. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:55, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Moving this down. First of all, thumbs up -- looks like good work to me. Philip, you can mention Harvard referencing if you want, but it does mention that there are other methods. Why not adding or tweaking instead of knee-jerk reversion? The next thing I would like to do is move all of the "When to cite" down below the mechanics; most of this stuff is self-explanatory. We should discuss how much of a mention Harvard referencing should get. Although I like it, it is a specialized method which most newbies aren't going to want to deal with. Those who will want to use it can quickly see it in the Contents titles. II | (t - c) 10:02, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
I personally think a quick summary at the top like that could be helpful. I guess the intro could also be reworded to reflect the flow of the article. EverSince (talk) 12:11, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
I would agree with that. Citing sources is one of the trickier things to do on wikipedia. It's especially intimidating to people not familiar with Markup languages. Something that guides people towards a 90% compliance with the standard would be a good addition. I would avoid any reference to any particular style of refs in the intro, but we can leave that to the edit warring discussion over the summary when that happens.GameKeeper (talk) 21:21, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Citing a chapter in a book with multiple authors

How do I cite one chapter, written by one (set of) authors, in a book with multiple authors? I'm looking for something along the lines of

Smith, John. "How to properly cite chapters," in Working with citations," J. Doe, ed. Some publisher (1903).

I can't find a way to do this using citation templates. --Amble (talk) 21:18, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

King Arthur is a mine of complicated templates. What about this one:
Charles-Edwards, Thomas M. (1991), "The Arthur of History", in Bromwich, Rachel; Jarman, A. O. H.; Roberts, Brynley F., The Arthur of the Welsh, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, pp. 15–32, ISBN 978-0708311073 .
qp10qp (talk) 23:26, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Perfect! Thank you. --Amble (talk) 23:58, 26 July 2008 (UTC)


I think more directions are needed on pages such as Template:Cite web. For instance, saying "put publisher name here" does not go into detail on what the format should be. Should it be in italics? Should it be a website or the owner of the website? Grk1011 (talk) 22:41, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

For information about when to use italics, see WP:ITALICS. This page should be reverted back to a week or so (more?) ago, as it's now repeating info that belongs elsewhere, like on the individual citation or cite xxx template pages, and keeping the info synced has already proven to be a problem. The excess how-to detail shouldn't be here at all. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:46, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
I disagree, it should be said exactly how to use the template. Its not just use it as you please. There must be a format that is consistent. Grk1011 (talk) 22:49, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Oh, are you saying I shouldn't have asked here? Since templates usually have a slow response, I always ask on the main project page. Grk1011 (talk) 23:03, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
First, there isn't a consistent format, so whether there should be one is a separate question. Second, the info here is often wrong or out of sync with what is at the actual template page. Third, the info here is repetitive and hard to keep in sync. Finally, no, I wasn't saying you shouldn't ask the question here, but I was saying the page needs a major revert (more than a month, turns out) and rewrite. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:30, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
I just want someone to add an explanation and make it consistent regardless of the problems of this page. I'd be happy to help out. Grk1011 (talk) 02:57, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Cite web

When citing a source, say with cite web, how should the publisher entry be formatted. Usually i put who owns the website. For example the European Broadcasting Union owns Someone put as the publisher but i prefer a pipe linked with EBU. Is there a convention for these links? cite web does not specify on the formatting. Grk1011 (talk) 21:05, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, the template documentation at {{Cite web}} doesn't deal with this issue. Personally, I'd put "work=[[Eurovision Song Contest]]", and "publisher=[[European Broadcasting Union]]". — Cheers, JackLee talk 02:07, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
I would do the same. --Adoniscik(t, c) 14:42, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Question about "ref name=" tag

Hi everyone. The "ref name=" tag is useful, but is there a way to change the page number that is displayed for the same source in different instances? For example, can I define a source as "Smith 1998", but indicate a different page number each time I use "ref name=" to cite it? – SJL 02:29, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Currently there is no such feature. Christopher Parham (talk) 02:53, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Not by using a "ref name=" tag, I'm afraid. One solution is to give the full citation the first time it occurs, then subsequently to use an abbreviated citation like this: "Lee, Citing Sources, p. 12." Then put the full citation in a "References" section at the bottom of the article as well. Another editor has reminded me that if there are several references to page 12 of a particular work, then "ref name=" should be used on the footnote containing the abbreviated citation. — Cheers, JackLee talk 02:56, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
That's too bad. I guess I'm just used to using EndNote, and was hoping to save some work. :) – SJL 03:02, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Another option which I've seen in some places is to use superscripts for this ref.[1], p. 100. I'm not terribly wild about that option myself, however (I think it's rather ugly); I prefer the abbreviated tag in a footnote, often using {{harvtxt | Lee | 2008 | loc=p. 100}}. —Alex (ASHill | talk | contribs) 03:13, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Template:Rp seems to do what you're asking. II | (t - c) 03:15, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Yuck! It has none of the advantages of Harvard or footnotes with the disadvantages of both and the complexity of yet another template thrown in for good measure. I think it is beter to use: <ref name=author-12>author (2007) p. 12</ref> or <ref name=author-13-18>author (2008), pp. 13,14,18</ref>. Then they can be used as often as needed. The full book reference can be added at the end in a references section as recommended in shortened footnotes section and the guideline WP:LAYOUT --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 08:19, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Would you mind mentioning some of these advantages/disadvantages, cause I'm not seeing them? {{rp|number}} is appended to the footnote. It's not that terrible and these are much less obtrusive than parenthetical references. Shortened footnotes are annoying in that you can end up with 50 footnotes referencing a single work; it clutters up your references section and then forces you to glance through the bibliography. Ideally, it means that all your footnotes should be anchored as well. II | (t - c) 03:57, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Endless fiddling is destabilizing this page

  1. Per other guidelines, pls take care with changing section headings, which renders past links unuseful. The information about not mixing styles was previously in the section "Citation styles", and then was moved to the nebulous section, "Technical details", which rendered all past links to the info invalid.
  2. This change is likely incorrect, so I've reverted. Even if the citation template was made to conform with cite journal (I'm not yet convinced), that doesn't necessarily address the inconsistency across other templates in the cite xxx family.
  3. The page is beginning to duplicate a lot of information found elsewhere.

This is an important guildeine page; stability and accuracy here would be appreciated. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:36, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Regarding #2 above, I have now compared, and that change was incorrect. For an example, see the journal citations at Samuel Johnson (which uses {{citation}}) and compare them to cite journal templates at autism. That change was incorrect, and I've reverted. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:42, 26 July 2008 (UTC)


{{cite journal}}

As always, citation still uses commas where cite xxx use periods, and accessdate is currently missing from citation. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:58, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

FYI, the Template:Cite journal description states that the accessdate will not be shown. It is shown, but that's not consistent. If the cite journal template worked the way it says it works, then the only difference would be a period instead of a comma, and that a rather insignificant quibble isn't it? – Quadell (talk) 19:12, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
And Citation also lost the accessdate yesterday (without consensus) and still hasn't fixed it; more examples of the kinds of decisions that might have gone to a broader audience before implementation. If they don't repair it, I suppose we'll have to add them manually. Too many changes being made without broader input and reflected incorrectly or with too much detail on this page. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:48, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Quadell asks "if the cite journal template worked the way it says it works, then the only difference would be a period instead of a comma, and that a rather insignificant quibble isn't it?" The authors of the Chicago Manual of Style do not seem to consider it insignificant, because they take the trouble to use commas when for their footnote system but full stops for their author-date system. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 20:06, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Fussy gits like me hate using comma style for bibliographical references. The Chicago/Turabian style is commas for footnoes, full stops for bibliographies. Does it matter? Not much, I suppose, but mixing these up comes over as a bit amateurish, I think. Harvnb, for example, is very clever, but it does look a bit naff, in my opinion, in both the footnote part and the bibliography part.
On the wider point, I think this page should recommend two or three favoured styles (Harvard, footnotes, embedded, or whatever) and leave the details of all the different templates and mechanisms to other pages.qp10qp (talk) 20:42, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
There has been a large reorganization of this page in the last week or so. (By other editors, by the way.) It will stabilize soon. I think the older version of this page was poorly organized and I think the recent changes were sorely needed. Having said that, I agree with your original three points: (1) the links into sections need to be carefully repaired, and more work needs to go into checking that these are repaired at the same time changes are made. (2) the editors at {{Citation}} are hard at work merging the templates. Eventually they will share the same functionality, appearance and (I would hope) the same core code. (See Template talk:Citation). This project is not yet finished, but is nearing completion. The edit you reverted will, if all goes well, need to be put back in when they are finished. For now, you are correct. (3) I agree strongly with you here, but I think most of the redundant material was in the old version of the article as well. I would support removing large swaths of material that is better suited to other articles. (Do we need all those examples of unusual parenthetical references? Do we need such a detailed discussion of "when to cite" when these policies are actually set elsewhere (i.e. at Wikipedia:Verifiability)?) ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 22:10, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
If you're saying that citation is going to lose its commas, or the cite xxx family is going to lose its periods, in either case, a lot of editors are going to be unhappy, and that discussion (in fact, the entire matter of solving the many different inconsistencies in citation and cite xxx templates) should be taken to a broader forum, like the Village pump. In the meantime, these fiddles affect WP:FACs that are underway, as WP:WIAFA crit 2c requires consistent formatting in citations. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:41, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Re no. 1, personally I wasn't aware across enough guidelines to know what was linking in to which headings - not sure what an efficient way is to check that? For the record, as far as I can see the comment about not mixing citation templates was actually previously in subsection "How to use them" within the section on citation templates, and it is still in the section on citation templates, but subsection renamed technical details just because it seemed bafflingly technical to the non-initiated (but presumably could be easily renamed again). The point about keeping to a consistent style within the article is also made in intro to the citation templates section. EverSince (talk) 22:33, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Charles that these changes were sorely needed. Broken links will be fixed in time; they are not a good enough reason to prevent positive change. II | (t - c) 01:54, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Cite book controversy

Is there any Wikipedia consensus (sigh, if there CAN be) on whether it is acceptable to take references using Template:cite book which have multiple fields filled out (specifically, authors last name, authors first name, author link, publisher link, publishing year, page number) and the transform it into a non-template reference giving only author's last name, book name and page number? It goes TOTALLY against my grain that someone would actually remove useful information, (apparently) solely on the basis that the existing style of citations is the simpler version? Sadly, "Wikipedia:Citing sources" seems to infer that he can, as me adding new sources in a diferent style could be considered a change to an established cite style. Ingolfson (talk) 08:40, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

I would revert the change you describe per Wikipedia:Citing sources#Citation styles, as the author's full name and publication date are required and the other information should be provided if available. However, separate Notes and References sections where the notes refer to the references (as in Wikipedia:Citing sources#Shortened footnotes and this morning's version of Horses in warfare#Notes) is certainly OK and should not be reverted.
On a side note, would anyone object if I adjust Wikipedia:Citing sources#Shortened footnotes to suggest (without necessarily recommending) that the short note can link to the longer note to help readers to find the full version of the information? Anomie 12:00, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I missed the fact that the author had kept the full info (though with the publisher link removed, natch) in a bibliography section. Don't like it too much, but at least its still there. Ingolfson (talk) 21:25, 30 July 2008 (UTC)


We are having problems in Balkan related articles and I want to hear comments/advices/wiki rules about quoting. For example I will use this version of article about Miroslav Filipović. In that version we are having 40 lines which are taken from books (quoting) and 30 lines (39 if you take data about his birth and beginning of article) of article which are speaking about other things. In this article it is possible to see that this is not only example of that sort of editing. Now 90 % of users which has been edit warring for that sort of articles is blocked or banned but question about that sort of editing is not closed. In my thinking this is POV pushing but I am interested to read wikipedia policy about that or if nothing else comments about this style of editing--Rjecina (talk) 03:57, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

"Wikipedia:Quotations" and "Wikipedia:Summary style" are relevant guidelines to look at. — Cheers, JackLee talk 14:56, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

monthly update of changes: request for hints

Dear colleagues, the diff for July 1–31 is very hard to extract substantive changes in the guideline from, such has been the amount of copy-editing and re-organisation of text.

I wonder whether anyone could help me by either (1) summarising the really important changes during the month, and/or (2) pointing me to the relevant sections. It's in the Signpost now for a week, and I'm hurriedly cobbling together the update after returning from holidays yesterday. Tony (talk) 04:38, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Italics for primary news entities

Should primary news entities be italicized?


Instaed of: Headline News. CNN


Instead of Associated Press. (c/o Dallas Morning News)?

Marketwire services sell their content to news outlets, like the Chicago Tribune, should AP, UPI, Marketwire, Newswiere, Reuters, Bloomberg, be italicized?



Meet the Press. NBC

I don't feel that marketwire service providers should be italicied, nor should the just the networks themselves. But only the individual newspapers, magazines, and TV programs that either pickup the story, or are within the networks? The CBS Evening News, yes, just CBS, no. (talk) 19:58, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree with you. Italics should only to be used for the purposes set out in "Wikipedia:Manual of Style (titles)#Italics". Company names should not be italicized. — Cheers, JackLee talk 08:52, 10 August 2008 (UTC)


Is there a guideline anywhere that says, "Never use 'Ibid' in a Wikipedia reference, because another editor could come and edit the text, making your 'Ibid' unclear"? Because I think there should be. I come across it from time to time and it is very annoying, and often difficult to fix. Peter Ballard (talk) 00:52, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes, there is: WP:FN#Style recommendations. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:54, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Peter Ballard (talk) 01:00, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Also WP:FOOT#Style recommendations. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 01:31, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Citations and footnotes

I am involved in an argument over a reformatting of an article (Battle of Berlin see Talk:Battle of Berlin#Layout, footnotes and citations that uses ref tags for footnotes and citations with sections in the standard WP:LAYOUT.

user:Dapi89 insists that breaking out footnotes and citations is the way to go and " I suggest you check out the Battle of Britain article, or the Battle of Kursk, and you will find it is perfectly acceptable. Putting 'notes' with 'citations' doesn't make any sense. They are two different things. "

The change from the standard notes and references sections was made by user: Minorhistorian Revision as of 02:03, 25 May 2008. The battle of Kursk was changed by user:Dapi89 Revision as of 11:07, 16 July 2008.

I have pointed out that this is not standard and that if he wishes to impose this on articles then he ought to get the guidelines changed, but he seems determined to impose his format on the article and is willing to edit war over it.

What do others think? --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 02:45, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

I take issue with you regarding "edit war". I find you obstinate, not only about formatting but in general. And given that you have more or less accepted there isn't much of a problem with it, you can hardly imply I am determined to wrongly edit war over it can you? Dapi89 (talk) 12:11, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

I see nothing wrong with separating content notes and citation notes; IMO it makes it much easier to read when they are not all jumbled together. I also find content notes easier to read in a single column, while I find citations easier to read in 2. Others' opinions differ on the column issue, of course.
The problem is that nothing really addresses the distinction between content notes, citation notes, and references when all three are separated.
  • WP:LAYOUT doesn't really address the difference between content notes and citation notes, lumping them both together as "notes". Fine for most articles that don't really use content notes, but not too helpful here. If nothing else, WP:IAR applies when separating content notes and citation notes improves the article.
  • WP:REFGROUP addresses the case of separating content notes and citation notes, and additionally points out how to use the new group parameter to the <ref> tag if you prefer that to {{cref}}/{{cnote}}. But it doesn't address separating citation notes and references.
  • WP:CITESHORT, of course, addresses separating citation notes and references, but doesn't touch on content notes at all.
But the Battle of Berlin article is still not laid out per WP:LAYOUT, anyway: the order should be Citations, then References, then Further reading. Footnotes should be an h2-level heading rather than h3, and should either go before or after Citations (I prefer before) to really fit with WP:LAYOUT.
On a side note, it looks like there is some discussion on WT:Layout, but it doesn't seem to have reached much of a conclusion (at least partially to unclear terminology). Anomie 03:29, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the info on WP:REFGROUP (I did not know of that option). It seems the way to go on this as it is a fairly minor change to the text and it is easy to move a footnote from one group to another. To work around the Layout issue it seems to me best to place a couple of comment headers in the Notes section


*Author, Anne A Book
-Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 09:20, 1 August 2008 (UTC)


I think use of the term Citations as a section heading should be encouraged with the shortened footnotes method - as used in former featured article Sophie Blanchard for example.

In other words, I'd suggest that there's no need for Footnotes and Citations comment headers under an inclusive Notes section, but simply...



*Author, Anne A Book

Part of the problem with the guide the way it stands currently is that it tries to oversimplify the terminology in its use of terms section, saying - "This guideline uses the terms citation and reference interchangeably."

Actually, the terms citation and reference only happen to be one and the same thing with particular use of the footnote system - i.e. when full references are included inside <ref> tags (when in edit mode) in the body of the article text. The simplified use of terms section was originally written by an editor who favoured this use of the footnotes system over all other approaches. However, with the use of parenthetical referencing or with use of shortened footnotes it's conceptually clearer to understand citations as the short forms (e.g. author-date format appearing in the article text parenthesised or listed separately via the use of <ref> tags) and references as the full forms (full references) appearing in a References section.

--SallyScot (talk) 18:31, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

For what it is worth, here is an outline that I posted at Wikipedia talk:Layout#Back to the drawing board that, with the exception of the use of the phrase "no consensus," has not drawn any negative responses:

1. Articles should be supported by citations to source material (“citations”) and may also contain explanatory comments (“comments”).
2. There is no consensus establishing a particular layout or set of layouts for the presentation of citations and comments. Similarly, there is no consensus establishing the names of the sections into which citations and comments are put.
3. Approaches for presenting citations and comments found in featured articles include:
3.a. Putting linked short citations in a “Notes” section followed by a list of full citations in a “References” section. See, e.g., Starship Troopers (this article has no comments). (A variation on this approach is to put linked short and full citations in a “Notes” section followed by a list of additional full citations in a “References” section as in Palazzo Pitti.)
3.b. Putting linked comments in a “Notes” section, followed by linked short citations in a “References” section, followed by a list of full citations in a “Bibliography” section. See, e.g., Jane Austen. (A variation on this approach is to name the last two sections "Citations" and "References" as in Pericles).
3.c. Putting linked full citations in a “Notes” section, followed by a list of full citations in a “References” section. See, e.g., Rosa Parks (this article has no comments). (Or reversing the order of presentation, as in Absinthe.)
4. In addition, particularly for articles with fewer citations and comments, the citations and comments may be combined in a “Notes and references” section.

If you want to suggest changes to this oultine, please do so at Wikipedia talk:Layout#Back to the drawing board. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 19:27, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Spacing for readability

I would like to ask your opinions:

I find this harder to read:

Sragow, Michael. "Casting a 'Vote' for satire". Baltimore Sun,, August 1, 2008. Retrieved: August 1, 2008.
Ebert, Roger. "Swing Vote Review." Chicago Sun Times, July 31, 2008. Retrieved: August 5, 2008.
LaSalle, Mick. "Movie review: 'Swing Vote'." San Francisco Chronicle, August 1, 2008. Retrieved: August 5, 2008.

Than this:

Sragow, Michael. - "Casting a 'Vote' for satire". - Baltimore Sun. - - August 1, 2008. - Retrieved: August 1, 2008.
Ebert, Roger. - "Swing Vote Review". - Chicago Sun Times. - July 31, 2008. - Retrieved: August 5, 2008.
LaSalle, Mick. - "Movie review: 'Swing Vote'." - San Francisco Chronicle. - August 1, 2008. - Retrieved: August 5, 2008.

I find the first one awkward and hard to read, it runs together in some pleaces. When you are reading an article that then go to the references, and where there is a dash is much easier on the eyes. There are times when it is difficult to see the spacing. I find the second much more pleasant and readible on these old eyes.

Please reply, (talk) 19:58, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Use of dashes is nonstandard, why not just a space if you find it difficult to read? Making up new formats is problematic? Editors can substitute anything they wish, but why invent new systems? FWiW Bzuk (talk) 04:44, 10 August 2008 (UTC).
Well, the use of dashes is not exactly non-standard – it is the usage prescribed by the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition. However, I don't really see how it improves readability, particularly if hyphens are used instead of em dashes. — Cheers, JackLee talk 08:57, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
AACR2 only prescribes dashes as a replacement of other punctuation such as a semi-colon, as in the example: "Movie review: 'Swing Vote'." to read as "Movie review –'Swing Vote'." but again, why do that, especially since the actual title is often already given? it looks distinctly odd to use dashes and especially the double dash that AACR2 uses "--". FWiW Bzuk (talk) 01:42, 11 August 2008 (UTC).
It's been a while since I used the AACR2, but back then when preparing catalogue cards (do any libraries still use these?) we used to separate each element of a work's imprint with a full stop followed by an em dash. Perhaps newer editions of AACR2 no longer prescribe this. In any case, to me the inclusion of dashes does not really improve readability and looks odd, since outside the world of cataloguing librarians no citation systems used in books and journals use them. — Cheers, JackLee talk 07:21, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Unnecessary overlap

Why does this page have a section called "Further reading/External links sections"? Other than saying that citations to references belong in the ref/notes/footnotes/etc section instead of here, why is this present on this page at all? As far as I can see, it needlessly duplicates other style guidelines, which just means that much more to keep synchronized.

I propose deleting it entirely. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:56, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

The way reference sources are usually described is as print and non-print. While external links takes the reader outside of Wikipedia for an electronic source, it appears to be a sub-variant of the non-print information source, and a case can be made to have the external links clustered with other reference sources. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 19:59, 12 August 2008 (UTC).
No, the question is, "'Why does Citing sources have a section that has nothing to do with citing sources?" WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:42, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Ambiguous terminology in use of references

This discussion had befun obliquely on the WP:FORMAT forum but it may need to migrate here for further input: "The term references generally applies to all sources of information whereas, notes can clearly be linked to foot/endnotes. A refinement of the term to allow a bibliographical listing (bibliography) is often made within the overall usage of references and further reading. The last term is the ambiguous one in that it implies that the information is in addition to that provided, or leaves the impression that it may be of use to the reader. The format that has been adapted for some articles is to place all sources of information under the general heading (L2) of References, and then define other information sources below including: Citations, Notes (End/Footnotes), a Bibliography and if needed, Further reading, as well as External links. The reasoning behind this approach is that all sources of information are generally "references" while specific sources are identified as to type. Comments. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 20:24, 12 August 2008 (UTC).

Plans to change this guideline being discussed elsewhere

Three verbose editors are having a very long conversation at WP:LAYOUT, the major point of which is that they think Wikipedia editors should quit using ==References== as the section title for the list of citations, and instead use ==Bibliography==, because (1) they like it better, (2) their English lit teacher's style guides suggested it, and (3) the dictionary definitions allow such a use of this term.

Making this (ill-advised, strongly opposed, anti-consensus, highly controversial, etc.) change, obviously, would require changing Wikipedia:Citing sources#Use of terms, which supports the current Wikipedia convention and rejects their preferred approach. I don't know whether they're ever going to bring the discussion over here, which I've suggested twice now, but I wanted to give you a heads-up in case they persist in their current view that WP:CITE should reflect the advice of WP:LAYOUT for citing sources, instead of the other way around, and just start making changes to this guideline without discussing it here. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:25, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

This page has turend into one of the MoS's biggest messes; it needs a complete rewrite and restructuring, probably with attention from User:Tony1. It is a much-needed resource, and I wish whomever is fiddling it into a state of disuse would stop. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:33, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Not quite the argument being forwarded, Please read note directly above. Let me elucidate further (verbosity alert): I am not advocating dropping the term "References" but refining its definition and use to refer to all sources of information in which specific print and non-print resources are then listed.
Here is an example:
References (L2 heading), Notes/Citations, Bibliography, External links.
The one section note that may be amended is "For further reading" which may be additional sources not used in formulating the article. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 20:51, 12 August 2008 (UTC).
The issue is over the definition of Bibliography: WhatamIdoing and Wednesday Next advocate that the section should be defined as a section describing works authored by the subject of the article, and for a some degree of usage in citation; Bzuk and myself advocate that the section should be defined as a section reserved for citation. Some editors believe that this issue should belong to WP:CITE since it would concern citations; other, however, believe that this issue belongs in WP:LAYOUT since layout defines the guidelines in arranging article sections and ultimately its alternative names. We need to centralize discussion, much of the discussion is already developed and developing in Wikipedia talk:Layout/Archives/2008#Bibliography vs. References — therefore I advocate it there. ChyranandChloe (talk) 07:45, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Clarification: Boracay Bill (myself) does not advocate that the section should be defined as a section reserved for citation. Rather, I am unconvinced that such usage should be disallowed. I also count myself among whatever group of editors might believe that this issue should not belong to WP:CITE, but rather to WP:LAYOUT, since it concerns the layout of articles rather than describing how to write citations in articles (see the lead sentencees of WP:CITE and WP:LAYOUT). I do agree that discussion needs to be centralized. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 11:47, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
For the record, I don't recall advocating anything with regard to the bibliography/reference issue. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 14:10, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
You don't consider this statement: "Making this (ill-advised, strongly opposed, anti-consensus, highly controversial, etc.) change" as such? FWiW Bzuk (talk) 15:29, 13 August 2008 (UTC).
I do consider that to be a statement advocating a position on this issue. I just don't think I am the one who uttered it. Perhaps you have me confused with WhatamIdoing. Butwhatdoiknow (talk) 15:44, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Right you are, my error, please accept my apologies. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 22:11, 13 August 2008 (UTC).
To clarify the original request for discussion, the initiation of a discussion relating to the ambiguity of terminology used for referencing sources of information was submitted to the respective "Cite: and "Layout" talk pages. A review of the definition of terms was what was asked for. Within the discussion, a clear understanding was given that "References" was a valid term that represents all forms of information sources, both print and non-print. The grouping of individual types of references stems from the already established use of the terms "Notes" and "External links" wherein the first category was to represent the notes as either footnotes, endnotes or citation links in either full or abbreviated (Harvard citation) form, that are already established usage. "External links" is taken for a list of electronic sources of information. The use of the term "Bibliography" in relation to "references" is to prevent confusion, since they were both interchangeably used as a list of reference sources, as well as the term "For further reading" which was argued as being an unclear term, to some, implying sources of information that were not cited, or simply a list of additional information that may be of use. The use of a bibliography list as a list of works by a subject is not in dispute, but a bibliography usually represents a more comprehensive bibliographical notation of references. The gross mis-characterizations of various positions have to be redressed; what positions I and other editors advocate are found in the statements provided, and other embellishments of those positions should not be taken into consideration. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 15:29, 13 August 2008 (UTC).
There is gross misconception of each other's positions — perhaps we need to clarify in a section devoted to understand where we each other stand. I apologize to Boracy Bill for miscategorization; and to Butwhatdoiknow for placing you as one of the advocates in the discussion. ChyranandChloe (talk) 22:05, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Technical details

The technical details section with regard to Citation templates and tools goes into an esoteric level of detail which I think is inappropriate and confusing for the purposes of this guide. The information is better suited on its dedicated main page Wikipedia:Citation_templates. Thus I propose moving it.

To counter argue by simply imploring "Please STOP fiddling endlessly with this page" is suggestive of trying to draw some arbitrary line, and is rather contrary to the spirit of Wikipedia I think.

This section heading hasn't been in place too long.

Let's strip it down if we can.

--SallyScot (talk) 21:22, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

It didn't always go into esoteric details; it used to be simple and easy to find. This page has gotten out of control, necessitating cleanup, and that is a key item that is needed on this page. The entire page needs to be rationalized, I suggest a revert back many months to when it was a simple and intelligible guideline, but losing what used to be key simple text because the rest of the page has become a mess and because text has grown too much isn't the way to go. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:27, 12 August 2008 (UTC)


There seems to be two issues here. Firstly, whether it's a good idea to move Citation template related technical detail from this Citing sources project page to the Citation templates main project page, and secondly, whether the Citing sources project page as a whole has become something of a mess.

About the wider issue of the Citing sources project page: - There was a recent (13th - 25th July) series of edits by EverSince which made significant changes to the content. It looks like other editors by and large stood back to see how this would turn out. I have mixed feelings about how it stands at the moment, but I think the edits were generally well intended and introduced some fresh perspective.

I see the wiki way of progressing the content from where we are now as a more collaborative and iterative process. In some sense this does mean endless fiddling. - That's kind of what a wiki is, isn't it? - Though I prefer to understand it as a process of continual overall improvement. I think it's more constructive to tackle outstanding issues in manageable chunks rather than suggesting that the entire page be reverted to how it was sometime back in the good old days and trying to impose some kind of moratorium on further changes from here on, but anyway, perhaps that can be further discussed in another talk section.

As for the issue of moving the Technical details section, it should be noted that the section above it, Citation templates and tools, remains in this project page. Thus, if it is felt that there is some key material in Technical details which should stay here then it can easily remain on this page. That which we agree is more esoteric technical detail should, practically by definition, then be moved to the Citation templates main page.

--SallyScot (talk) 18:02, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Page "out of control"?

<snip> About the wider issue of the Citing sources project page: - There was a recent (13th - 25th July) series of edits by EverSince which made significant changes to the content. It looks like other editors by and large stood back to see how this would turn out. I have mixed feelings about how it stands at the moment, but I think the edits were generally well intended and introduced some fresh perspective.

I see the wiki way of progressing the content from where we are now as a more collaborative and iterative process. In some sense this does mean endless fiddling. - That's kind of what a wiki is, isn't it? - Though I prefer to understand it as a process of continual overall improvement. I think it's more constructive to tackle outstanding issues in manageable chunks rather than suggesting that the entire page be reverted to how it was sometime back in the good old days and trying to impose some kind of moratorium on further changes from here on.

--SallyScot (talk) 18:02, 13 August 2008 (UTC) </snip>

The only reason I put effort in to this guideline, rather than the initial idea of a quick how-to guide (which I now realise already exist), was because the balance of comments from other editors seemed to suggest it could do with it here, which was what I felt. When I got to it there didn't seem to be any way to manage it but by altering the structure in some way, while going to tedious efforts to try not to lose or misrepresent anything. I don't know whether it had previously been clearer than at that time, I know that about two years ago I spent a fair bit of frustrated time struggling to understand how to inline cite using the footnote system. I don't know when the stuff in the technical details subsection was added/changed but it wasn't by me. I don't personally care if the whole thing is reverted or not as long as it ends up a clear guide for the uninitiated as well as those familiar with the technology and jargon. EverSince (talk) 20:09, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
I feel like I should step up to EverSince's defense here. It's not fair to criticize the work simply because it was too WP:BOLD. I think the article needed some major changes. It simply did not function as a readable introduction to the topic -- there were far too many details and digressions that obscured the main ideas, both at the level of organization and in individual paragraphs. I think EverSince's prose is a big improvement, since most of it is clear and introductory. I also liked the decision to organize the article into a discussion of how to write a citation and how to add a citation. I think this separates the issues nicely. The old structure was lopsided and unclear. There is still much work to be done (see my posts below), and when it is finished I am convinced that this guide will turn out to be a far more useful and readable introduction to citing sources. Anyway, I'm writing this mostly because I don't like the argument that these changes "out of control". They are an honest effort to improve an article with serious problems. These is nothing wrong with being WP:BOLD. ----- CharlesGillingham (talk) 18:28, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I'd add that the suggestion was raised & discussed beforehand, including the question of the basic outline, and there were pauses for any objections and for queries which several editors helped with. Clearly the stability and headings of this guideline are particularly important; it would have helped to have had that issue raised at the time rather than just after the fact. EverSince (talk) 18:49, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

If I haven't made it clear, I must agree, I also think that EverSince's bold edits have made an overall improvement to the article. I also don't like the general argument that the page is out of control. Suggesting that the article is simply a mess is not particularly helpful or constructive criticism. And suggesting that it should be reverted back to a many months ago version is I think rather retrograde. We can and should improve the page from where we are now. Charles's posts below are a further step in the right direction.

--SallyScot (talk) 20:19, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree with you by the way, SallyScot, that it could have ideally happened a bit more gradually & iteratively... and with the suggested pruning as below. EverSince (talk) 22:24, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Shortened notes as author-date references

I guess I may as well make all my suggestions at the same time. Bear with me, here.

Shortened notes are currently covered as a sub-section of "footnotes". It seems to me that shortened notes are actually more similar to author-date references (currently called "parenthetical references") than they are to citations-in-footnotes. A shortened note is essentially a parenthetical reference with the parenthesis replaced by <ref> and </ref>. Both require the full citation in a References section. They are used for similar reasons: they don't clutter up the source code, makes multiple page numbers easy and allows you to sort your list of citations alphabetically. Anyone object if I make this into a subsection of parenthetical references? Or perhaps it should be it's own section, on the same level with parenthetical references and footnotes. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 07:32, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Since the system uses footnotes, it certainly doesn't seem to fit as parenthetical. An alphabetical bibliography is less relevant to whether something is parenthetical than its in-text citations. You could put it in its own section I suppose. II | (t - c) 17:08, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Shortened footnotes are like a hybrid between ordinary footnotes and parenthetical referencing as they combine the shortened citation forms as used in parenthetical referencing with <ref> tags, which simply take the place of the brackets. It should properly sit in a section of its own, rather than just a subsection of Footnotes. Not only that, but this is actually how it was before recent edits, so it shouldn't be too controversial to revert it back that way, as I have done. --SallyScot (talk) 17:34, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

References placement and punctuation, Nature vs Chicago

It is not true that reference citations always go after full stops or other punctuation. Nature (journal) places references before any punctuation, but Chicago Manual of Style erroneously (in my view) recommends placing them after punctuation (see also Wikipedia:References#Placement and punctuation). What happens here is that some people follow Nature's convention while others follow Chicago's. However, these two conventions are not equal, but one is correct while the other leads to ambiguity, and the reason is that when you place references after punctuation you create a barrier separating the reference from the sentence to which the citation is attached, and it is possible that some readers may perceive the reference as being attached to the next sentence (since it is perceived as being a logical part of it, as it is separated by the previous sentence by punctuation).

See here:

Trees breath air(ref). Earthquakes happen.

The above is unambiguous since the reference is attached to the first sentence.

Trees breath air.(ref) Earthquakes happen.

Now this is not unambiguous. The reader sees two sentences with a full stop separating them, and they see a reference at the beginning of the second sentence. Some readers could assume that the reference supports the fact that earthquakes happen.

Thus, just like Oxford comma, placing a reference before full stops or other punctuation helps to remove ambiguity and help all readers understand to which sentence the reference is attached, and in this way this style is inclusive as it tends to accomodate all readers, regardless of whether they are familiar with citation style or not. However, placing a reference after punctuation (especially after full stops) is exclusive, as this style assumes that the reader should be familiar with citation styles and aware of the way Chicago style works (while Nature's style does not need the reader to be aware of it as it unambiguously keeps references within identifiable sentences).

With the above in mind, I would like to see Wikipedia adopting Nature (journal)'s style and let the reference citations be displayed before punctuations in order to improve clarity. NerdyNSK (talk) 03:40, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

I disagree. It looks much neater with the ref after the punctuation and I don't see it as confusing. Your examples are not accurate as they do not reproduce the visual appearance of superscript, which reads as an appendage, and is not likely to be taken as the beginning of a sentence. Ty 03:48, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Tyrenius. Anyway, I don't think there are any major citation systems that place citations in front of the facts that they reference, so this is not likely to be a source of confusion. — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:11, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Currently, the guideline permits the use of Nature's style. The main principle is that articles should be self-consistent and use one option. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:54, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
The current text (which recommends footnote placement after punctuation, except dashes, but allows for Nature's style) is fine, long-standing, and should be retained. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:39, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Translating foreign sources

I was wondering, considering the FA criteria etc, what would be the best way to do such? Could I just translate them within the reference note like this:


1.Croatian John Smith (2007-10-09) "Croatian story". Retrieved on 2008-08-14. Translation - 3rd paragraph: The Croatian national team has played games sine 1909 and had its first international game against Indonesia. This was during the first world war and all further Croatian teams ceased to exist after this game.

Would that be acceptable or would I need to use inline citations (which I have already posted help for because I have absolutely no idea how they work even after reading all the help articles!) Please get back to me ASAP. THANKS! Domiy (talk) 03:37, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

The "1" on your reference suggests there is a corresponding "1" in the text, to direct the reader to this particular reference. So how are you putting the "1" into the text? --Gerry Ashton (talk) 04:02, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Well that "1" is the automatically generated number which Wikipedia lists. I'm just using that as an example. So that "1" would be the first reference of the article, and a "4" would be the 4th reference of the article and so on. Thats how the article at question goes, yes there is another "1" in the article which directly leads to that note or reference. What I'm asking is would it be acceptable under FA consideration to make the translation of the foreign link within the reference or is it mandatory/much better to use an inline citation (which is a reference within another reference). I've been trying to do that but I cant really get it. Somebody told me this example would be a fine way to go about such, so I was thinking of simply using it. Domiy (talk) 04:47, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Citing sources/Example edits for different methods should help. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 11:18, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I have never heard of a reference-in-a-reference, neither on Wikipedia nor in any other publication. I would put the translation in the endnote. Be aware that I have commented on the Featured Article status of an article only once. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 16:16, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

The CIA taken as an Authority

Why exactly is CIA factbook taken so easily as a source in (English) Wikipedia? Nearly every article on a country uses it. This is an organization that has been Multiple Times exposed to be involved in corrupt operations of disinformation and para-military acts. Apotetios (talk) 11:17, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

This question is more appropriately asked at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 11:44, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
If anyone from the CIA World Factbook staff is reading this, please provide references so that your information will be more credible. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 16:18, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
In my view it is used so often because it gives an easlily accessible, well known, English language, broad listing of many relevant numbers for almost all countries. Digging up these numbers from local sources is not always easy (language issues, non-public access, where to find the source) or providing better information (e.g. in countries where a non-democratic government has vested interest in misrepresenting information). Nevertheless, the I share the critisism here, and prefer the much more detailed sources if these are available and of unsuspect quality. Of course good sourcing by the CIA factbook editors would help a lot too Arnoutf (talk) 16:52, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Citation examples

EnOreg, can you please explain this change you keep making? Since this page is about citing sources, it should be correct, and it has several areas that are not. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:16, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

(ec) And please don't refer to "examples below" when this page has been so badly written over the last few months and is in dire need of a revert to about three months back whenever someone finds time to pay attention to it. The sample goes against all common citation and against citation templates. All of those samples should be eliminated (along with a lot of the rest of what was added to this page) as they duplicate text contained elsewhere and often contradict it. Eliminating accessdates from online sources just isn't necessary, and in fact, what is the basis anyway for these examples, which differ with citation templates and with common practice and who added them? See {{Cite news}} and the following sample produced by cite news:
I invite you to browse the last 500 articles promoted to WP:FA and produce one that follows the style you advocate. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
And, for good measure, the same thing produced by the {{citation}} template:
I'm sure someone thought that hiding accessdates sounded nice; why? What is the benefit? Where is the consensus? And why does this page, such an important one, disagree with widespread and common practice and with all citation templates? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:33, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Also, speaking of contradictions, Wikipedia:Citing sources#Embedded links shows it correctly, exactly as the citation templates I listed above do; the section I removed contradicted this very page. As I'm working my way through this page, the other thing I'm seeing is an overwhelming TOC that needs rationalization and consolidation. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:47, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
EnOreg's change is in accord with another part of the guideline; search on "and a comment with the date you retrieved it if it is online (invisible to the reader)". The idea seems to be that if something has a publication date, but is on line, the access date should be hidden in a comment, but if it has no publicaton date, the access date should be visible. --Gerry Ashton (talk) 02:24, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Which was added by whom, when, based on what consensus? It disagrees with citation templates and with common practice. There is no reason to hide the accessdate. Anyone who has dealt with LA Times or Miami Herald archives knows that. Please produce the consensus that changed long-standing practice on this page, which has quickly become the most deteriorated guideline page in all of MoS. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't think there's any expectation that manually entered citations should agree with the format of citation templates. Otherwise I mostly agree. Christopher Parham (talk) 03:28, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you there (I manually cited Tourette syndrome), but this page was implying (in fact, stating!) that was the only way to format a citation, which is simply wrong; there's just too much text on this page that needs to refer out to the main sources of the info, other pages. This page has gotten off track, grown too big, and has too much contradictory and duplicate text. Serious trimming and rationalizing is needed here; I ran through and did a bit, but I saw a lot more that requires sustained attention. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:34, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Outch, sorry Sandy, I certainly didn't mean to aggravate the pain you're in—very understandably—in trying to improve the sub-optimal general state of this guideline. I support your initiative. I'm afraid, however, we do have a disagreement here and I would prefer that the contentious passages not be changed before we reach consensus. To your points:
  • This discussion is exclusively about sources that have an official publication date, i.e., mostly print sources. Web-only sources with no publication date, such as the MathWorld example I provided to the now deleted section, should absolutely show an access date. The current guideline agrees.
  • IMHO, the citation templates and examples should follow this guideline, not the other way around. In fact, attempts to change consensus there is routinely redirected here.
  • The citation templates don't mandate providing an access date for sources that already have a publication date. It is straight forward to implement the current guideline using the templates.
Hope this makes things clearer. --EnOreg (talk) 04:24, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Is this #Retrieval dates for online versions of old printed sources, again relevant? Is this the consensus that SandyGeorgia is asking about? (The subject bores me, I'm afraid, so I can't bring myself to read it.) ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 21:15, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Redundant detail

Incorrect and redundant detail added with this edit. Some of this information disagrees with our most common citation methods, and it's not necessary to repeat all of this detail on this page, there are many different citation styles; we don't prescribe one. This page is bloated, and there is no need for this sometimes wrong and repetitive text. A link to examples suffices, and creating text in multiple places that needs to be kept in sync just leads to problems. 03:56, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

C'mon Sandy, you know that this edit only reverted your deletion of the text in question. ;-) It had been there for some time. See #Citation examples. --EnOreg (talk) 04:36, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
How long had it been there? I was relying on User:Tony1/Monthly updates of styleguide and policy changes to keep me up to speed on changes to these pages, so I stopped watching as closely as I used to. Apparently they aren't covering this page in depth, and since many editors are now relying on the Style guide updates, many may have missed the changes on this page. I started to dig back into history, and gave up; too many changes. Anyway, let's get to work making this a tighter page; it's all over the place. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:51, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Almost everything on this page repeats text taken from elsewhere, and is redundant. I'm going to go back in history and try to find an older version to revert to. There is no logical reason for this page to try to supplant, for example, a policy page like WP:V. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:00, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
All that material at the top was added when inline citation was not substantially addressed in WP:V. We still need to be careful about removing this material where it doesn't actually duplicate WP:V's text because this page also functions as the subpage of WP:V regarding when/how to use citations, in addition to its MOS role. That's why the policy template appears at the top right rather than the MOS template. Christopher Parham (talk) 17:42, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Have to go too far back to find a good version, and that would create too much collateral damage. So, trudging on:

Several issues

(Section break added ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 09:28, 19 August 2008 (UTC))
There is a proposal to this effect above. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 06:14, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Done. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 09:28, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Almost everything written in "When to cite sources" is a derivative of text on WP:V (and it it's not, it should be). Why don't we just refer to WP:V?
There is a proposal to this effect above. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 06:14, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
This is now being discusses below at #Let's get the relationship with WP:V right ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 09:28, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure "When uploading an image" is accurate or complete; it needs to link to a better page.
  • This is simply wrong: "A citation ideally includes an external link to a source, or to information about the source" (and most of that section is the same). This contributes to the mistaken notion that sources must be online. Remember libraries and books? Good sources, too.
Just noting that I've since reworded that sentence to clarify that it meant a URL or ID link. EverSince (talk) 10:54, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
  • This is wrong, too (bad date linking, which we don't prescribe): For web-only sources you should also include a "Retrieved on" date in case the webpage changes in future: Retrieved on 2008-07-15.
  • The text in "Sources in different languages" does not agree with the text in WP:V; this occurs throughout this page because of duplicate text. Links to a policy page should be used instead of repeating text here.
  • "Citation templates and tools" needs a rewrite for clarity and accuracy; makes several generalizations that are just confusing.
Rolled this back to the version from April, but kept the topic sentence. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 06:14, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
  • "Adding the citation", hard to decipher what the first three paragraphs are intending to say. Looks like a lot of redundant text that doesn't add anything.
  • Text needs to be better wikilinked, example: Many Wikipedia articles, particularly the more developed articles and those which meet good or featured article criteria ...
  • Page needs to be audited to conform to MoS, particularly WP:DASH and Wikipedia:MOS#Bulleted and numbered lists

I stopped there; the page needs sustained work. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:19, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree with most of these points. --EnOreg (talk) 04:36, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with all of these points. Fixed one. ----CharlesGillingham (talk) 06:14, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I went back (randomly) 500 edits, to this version, which was 36KB and had a fairly clean TOC. The current size is 51KB, and it's not clear that this 50% addition has been necessary (as opposed to redundant) growth. I suggest trying to reduce repetition relative to important policy pages like WP:V, and pages where text is already better covered, like WP:EL, WP:MOS#Quotations, WP:LAYOUT, etc. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:28, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree that we should remove the repetition, as I suggested above (in #Page too long). The version you point to is no improvement, however-- the repetitive sections you mention above ("Further reading" and "When to cite") are essentially identical between the two versions. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 17:20, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, a little research shows that your first three comments above, plus the one about foreign language source, all apply equally well to the older version. All of these edits [11], [12], [13],.[14] actually apply to the older version as well.---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 17:41, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Preferred methods, consistent methods and standard methods

(Section break added ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 09:28, 19 August 2008 (UTC))
I'm glad to see more productive work finally underway :-) The general picture of one wrong direction this page was taking was in appearing to prescribe citation methods and styles, sometimes incorrectly. Citation and cite templates are loathed by some editors, and they chunk up load time and make article editing more difficult. I cited Tourette syndrome manually for those reasons. It is a consistent style, consistent on date linking and delinking, and uses the bibliographic style taken directly from PubMed. We shouldn't be telling editors which style to use as much as encouraging consistency, much as we do at WP:FAC and WP:FAR, with the wording in WP:WIAFA. Perhaps the notion of a consistent biblio style, rather than a prescribed format, can be worked in here somewhere. This is why I believe specifics of citation methods belongs at WP:CITE/ES, not here. There have been a string of FACs from certain WikiProjects that, even though they use one citation method (cite xxx templates), do not use a consistent bibliographic style (for example, they switch up punctuation, date formats, the way they write author names, etc.) What citation method is used can be explored elsewhere. How to write citations in a consistent bibliographic style, whichever chosen by the reader, might be better explored here. See Tourette syndrome (manual citation), Ima Hogg (cite xxx family of templates using US style dates, delinked) and Samuel Johnson ({{citation}} templates, using international style delinked dates) for three different styles. We need to encourage consistency within an article, and refer out to other pages on specific citation methods and templates. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:55, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Boy, do I agree with you on most of the points you have made re: citation templates and consistency, the hobgoblin of Wikipedia. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 16:33, 18 August 2008 (UTC).
Perhaps, given this, the "nutshell" expressed in the draft of the lead above should be changed to something like "Articles should use a consistent referencing style that clearly connects the article's content with reliable sources." Christopher Parham (talk) 23:49, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
or "Articles should use a consistent standard referencing style that clearly connects the article's content with reliable sources." The main concern I have is in leaving the statement as a general one, giving the impression that any referencing style would be suitable or approporiate and I have seen a large number of variances that are non-standard. Just look at the citing of an author: Jan H. Smith or Smith; Jan H. or Jan, Smith H. all crop up as well as every illiteration of punctuation including comas, colons, semi-colons and full stops (periods). FWiW Bzuk (talk) 00:32, 19 August 2008 (UTC).
Without a clearer understanding of what "standard" means I think this is empty verbiage. Additionally, it seems to me a waste of time to complain about an article that is cited clearly and consistently, simply because one does not recognize the style as adhering to one of the dozens of available standards. Christopher Parham (talk) 00:36, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Like it or not, there is no agreed-upon standard. Even if we agreed on a paper style manual to follow (and that will never happen) there would still be various methods of adapting it to take advantage of Wikipedia technology (such as linking the title of a work to the web site where it may be read). --Gerry Ashton (talk) 00:39, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Christopher Parham, it goes farther than that, editors are simply making up styles rather than using ones that are currently available and are in use. If you make a statement that leaves it to interpretation, than that is what you get, someone's interpretation. If a certain number of style guides are at least presented as appropriate whether as Gerry Ashton indicated, they are not even recommended, at least, an editor happening upon an article cited in a completely made up style, can at least refer back to a so-called style guideline. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 00:48, 19 August 2008 (UTC).
How do you determine whether a citation is in a made-up style or in a standard style that you do not recognize? Christopher Parham (talk) 00:53, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, my case may be different than most, as being a reference librarian for 30+ years and now an author and editor, I have been cognizant of most if not all referencing styles. In Wikipedia, a listing of MLA, APA and Chicago style guides is given as examples and most newcomers will familiarize themselves with these styles, although there may be a new variant "on the horizon" that may be suitable. If it has that WP:DUCK feel about it, than I probably would be suspicious, especially if the style being used is not appropriate. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 01:33, 19 August 2008 (UTC).

←I agree entirely with Christopher Parham and Gerry Ashton. Give newbies a model of several standard formats for references, sure, but don't insist they they're the only choice. I'd love to ban the use of citation templates, by the way. The only things that matter are (1) consistency within each reference list, and (2) the provision of all of the mandatory details, which do need to be specified somewhere (is there a page that sets out the standard ones?). My penchant for minimising punctuation in refs is a purely personal preference, for example: I think it should be admissable as long as I satisfy (1) and (2), but I don't think it should be the subject of policy. Tony (talk) 01:44, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Don't get me wrong, I also agree that mandating styles or formats is nonproductive, but given a choice of selecting a style already out there, compared to making up another one, even if it is followed consistently, still... FWiW Bzuk (talk) 01:48, 19 August 2008 (UTC).
I don't think we need to require "standard" styles. That just leads to a discussion of whether this style or that style is "really" standard. Furthermore, if we've got an internally consistent format that communicates all the necessary information, I'd be very sorry to have to tell the editor to go change all the refs to a different style because it isn't "standard". Imagine the silliness this could cause: "Great article, easily FA class -- but I see you didn't put a full stop at the end of any of these 97 refs, and the "standard" version of this citation style requires full stops. So as soon as you add 97 full stops to this file, we can promote it." I doubt that anyone thinks that the article would actually be more readable, more useful, or otherwise better for making such a minor change. (But I'll happily nominate Bzuk to make all ref formatting changes for all FACs, if s/he really wants to insist that all articles use a citation style that s/he approves of.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:59, 19 August 2008 (UTC) See later comment.
I agree with Parham, Ashton, Tony and Doing. ;) ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 07:59, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Look, I am in agreement with the general tenor of the issue, but I am still uneasy with the idea that any style goes. BTW, let's stay on topic, and the snarkiness can be done away with. Bzuk (talk) 12:38, 19 August 2008 (UTC).

←So, just for the sake of this debate, if I want to consistently use the following "minimalist" formatting in an article, it would be OK?

  • [41] Abrams SG & Zuber BL (1972) Some temporal characteristics of information processing during reading, Reader Research Quarterly, 8(3), 46–51

Tony (talk) 13:25, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Tony, I think your approach is just fine. Adding a few more points of punctuation is not going to improve the readers' comprehension. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:04, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Open issues

In July and August, substantial changes were made to this guide and even more substantial changes are planned. I thought it would useful to list the open issues and provide links to the relevant discussions.

  • Recent changes. Many sections were rewritten (this July) with the intent of making them more useful and comprehensible to new editors and first-time readers. These edits still need to be carefully checked for accuracy, clarity and MOS issues. Most of these rewrites were in the sections "Putting together the citation" and "Adding the citation". A few things that might need to be fixed are mentioned in #Several issues.
  • Page too long, duplication and repetition. It has been pointed out that the page is far too long to be useful to new editors, and that large parts of this guide duplicate other guides, which creates synchronization problems. There are several proposals to shorten and simplify the guide. These are the proposals:
  • Suggestion for a new lead. This is on its #Second Draft.
  • Quick summary has been reintroduced recently. Does this need to be discussed?
  • Access date Has this been resolved? Mentioned in #Several issues.

I hope this list helps. Please discuss these issues in their respective sections (just follow the link). As these issues get settled, I will update this list. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 19:49, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

There is still an ongoing discussion about terminology in WP:LAYOUT that spills over to other guidelines. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 12:49, 21 August 2008 (UTC).


Hello. Where can I find official guideline saying that we shouldn't cite other Wikipedia articles on Wikipedia? Thanks. - Darwinek (talk) 15:34, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

WP:SPS, in the Wikipedia:Verifiability policy. A case could be made that a specific version of a well sourced article would pass verifiability, but in the vast majority of those cases you can just copy the relevant sources from the article you would be citing instead (and the blanket ban prevents questions over just how "well sourced" it must be before being citable). There is also an IAR exception for situations like this, which again are vanishingly rare. Anomie 16:56, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
My understanding of the reason behind the prohibition is that WP:V#Reliable sources says, "Articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." WP is not a third-party source, is not a reliable source, and does not have a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 11:27, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, third-party sources means not a source that's affiliated with the subject of the article, so Wikipedia's OK on that score except for articles about Wikipedia itself. However, from WP:SPS: "Articles and posts on Wikipedia may not be used as sources." —Alex (ASHill | talk | contribs) 15:32, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Let me try again, quoting the prohibition itself from Wikipedia:Verifiability#Self-published sources: "Articles and posts on Wikipedia may not be used as sources." -- Boracay Bill (talk) 23:47, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
To clarify with some history: this is mainly to prevent unsourced material from propagating from one article to another and appearing (in the latter article) to be well-cited. In uncontroversial areas it should be OK to just copy citations from the Wikipedia article you might otherwise cite if you were allowed to. However, it is a very good idea to check these sources when possible. Slavishly copying someone else's citation also has potential to propagate an error. It's usually worth indicating in the edit summary that you've done so, because it might raise a warning flag for someone. - Jmabel | Talk 20:31, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
OK, I have to ask, where is the term third-party source defined? User:Ashill is saying that it means "not a source that's affiliated with the subject of the article", however my understanding is that it means no original research, and no reporting of a second party's research (I cannot use what Stephen Hawking said to me, but I can use something that he said to reliable third party). Any comments on the meaning of this phrase are welcome. Also, the phrase "sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy" -- from whence do we divine this reputation? What are the criteria for deciding if a source is "accurate"? What source do we use to obtain the information as to the reputation for fact-checking? I feel like I'm asking for the definition of the word 'definition' or something, but the question is entirely sincere. User:Pedant (talk) 04:41, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I understand it's a fair question. I'm not sure if I can tell you exactly where it's defined, as it is pretty difficult to define overall. I agree it can get very subjective at times, and that is why we have talk pages to hash things out. Having a reputation for fact-checking an accuracy is not always easy to determine, as there are in fact many journal publications that consider themselves peer-reviewed scholarly journals but in fact are not at all reliable. (I won't get too controversial by naming any specific ones, though I have several in mind.) In the end, you have to use your judgment, and if you're uncertain as to whether a source is reliable, it's best not to use it. (talk) 23:24, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

The term "third party" is only useful for evaluating the reliability of a source in limited circumstances. It really is an metaphor based on contracts (which often have two parties) and law suits (which always(?) have two sides). So a third party is an outsider.

But the term becomes useless if the subject of an article is not a person or company. If the subject of the article is the solar system, then we're all insiders, are we not? It is also not helpful when an involved organization has the authority to decide a matter. For example, decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court are reliable because it has the authority to make final, binding decisions. But they may not be third party documents, because one of the litigants might be another branch of the U.S. government. Are we to say that we shouldn't quote the U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller because D.C. is under the control of the federal government, and the Supreme Court is part of the federal government? --Gerry Ashton (talk) 23:41, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Too many citations??

I am starting to review Hylton Castle as a potential "Good Article". One of my problems with the article is that the sheer number of footnotes is distracting. There are roughly 130 separate footnotes. Most sentences have at least one, and several have three or four.

Now, on some contentious issues there can be a need to document each statement, bur this is a rather dry subject. What say ye, the assembled masses, regarding the multitudinous footnotes here? Thanks, Madman (talk) 03:43, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Typically, repeated consecutive footnotes like "blah blah.[11] blah blah.[11]" can be consolidated into "blah blah. blah blah.[11]". In this particular article that would go a long ways. There looks to be a handful of committed contributors to the article so perhaps you would have more luck soliciting their feelings on the talk page. Christopher Parham (talk) 03:51, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Christopher. This is an occasional but persistent problem in FAC nominations, and in the absence of written guidelines it's often hard to convince nominators to prune their wildly excessive citations. The main problems are citation repetitions in successive sentences and two or three or more citations bunched up at the end of an uncontentious statement. I strongly feel that it's possible to frame wording (here or at WP:V?) that will help editors to determine what is overkill. Of course, at FAC, the motivation for overciting is that "you can't be too cautious when reviewers are apt to criticise for underciting". When it occurs, it's as bad as or worse than overlinking in its power to distract the reader, interrupt the flow and reduce the visual attractiveness of the text as a whole. What say you? Tony (talk) 13:15, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
One of the reasons for the proliferation of cites is that FA reviewers often recommended that each passage should have at least one citation. Some editors took this advice to heart and literally "peppered" the page with cites. I have seen as many as three cites in a sentence. In that case,I have coaxed editors to consider that many of the same page cites can be consolidated and that an overall citation can stand for an entire paragraph or passage. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 13:28, 19 August 2008 (UTC).
In general for each new fact a reference has to be provided. But if a single line lists more facts, and your reference holds them all, the consolidation is fine (see above).
For non contentious issues a single reference will always be sufficient (ie it is definitely overkill to provide more than one reference stating that Bush is the current US president)
For disputed issues where there are more viewpoints in science it maybe necessary to provide more references, especially if you use quantifiers of the plural like "Many scientists say A[multiple sources needed] but others say B [also multiple refs needed". Also more vaguely phrased multiples for disputed issues would require multiple refs "In mainstream science [multiple refs]," or "it is generally accepted [multiple refs]" Arnoutf (talk) 13:37, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments. I agree wholeheartedly. Madman (talk) 15:02, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes, but we're getting one cite per sentence when most sentences are not contentious; and many are successive repetitions of the same cite number. Tony (talk) 14:08, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
    • People don't agree whether to put the single citation for the paragraph after the first sentence or after the last. Either of those would be better than repeating the footnote after every sentence, however. — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:21, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Although in principle I agree with restricting cites, in practice I find that putting one ref at the end or beginning of a paragraph is a system that soon breaks down. We are supposed to cite all quotes, for example; if there is one in the middle of the paragraph, we have to add a cite there. This might give the reader the impression that our "whole paragraph" cite only goes down to or up to the quote cite. We also have to cite anything controversial, and this may require a spaghetti junction of balancing cites: once again, the "whole paragraph" cite becomes sequestered. The quote and controversy cites may also appear to refer to material above or below the point they were provided for. And then there's the very common process where editors arrive and add unsourced information to articles, making the existing cites appear to back up material that they don't. So, ugly though it all is, I fear over-the-top referencing is often unavoidable and a price that has to be paid. qp10qp (talk) 18:29, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
It's the "later additions" that make me nervous. If you don't label each sentence (a practice that looks remarkably awful), then it's very easy to end up with refs that don't actually support what they look like they support. This may be more likely in controversial topics, like Multiple chemical sensitivity, where POVish editors redraft things to sound more sympathetic every few weeks.
Furthermore, you end up with {{fact}} tags being added to mid-paragraph sentences. I don't know how to solve this, short of putting a hidden message after each ref that says something like <!-- This source supports the whole paragraph (as of 2008-08-25). --> WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:47, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
This is a general problem. Sometimes I place a footnote at the end of paragraph and just describe what material it covers, e.g.:
1. ^ Proper use of clown noses: see Bozo (1993, p. 45) and Smiley (1951, p. 1). Clown nose injuries: see Shapiro (2008).
There is no perfect system for making a precise connection between citations and the text of the article. But since this is (in my view) Wikipedia's a highest priority, we have to do what we can. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 21:15, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Multiple sourcing

Sometimes users do something like this[2][3][4][5][6], often for trying to push a certain point of view by including a large amount of sources after a single sentence. Is there anything about that in this guide? A certain policy? I'm sorry I haven't read the entire guide from word a to to z but it's quite a lot. Grey Fox (talk) 16:28, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

If your question is about whether it's necessary to cite a large number of sources, it may be better to raise your query over at "Wikipedia:Verifiability". However, if your question concerns whether it is stylistically appropriate to have a string of footnote numbers after a sentence, I think there is no guideline against that. My own practice is to combine multiple {{citation}} or {{cite xxx}} statements into a single footnote to cut down on the number of footnotes, unless it is necessary to refer to a particular citation elsewhere in the same article using <ref name=xxx>. — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:57, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Who do I contact for biography pages?

The "Unsourced material" section says that one should ask for admin assistance if the unsourced material is on a biography page of a living person. In this otherwise extremely verbose policy, that crucial contact infomation has been left out. A link would not have hurt; this is a wiki after all... —Preceding unsigned comment added by VasileGaburici (talkcontribs) 20:43, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

The assistance of an administrator can be sought by leaving a message at "Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard". I shall leave it to the editors who maintain this guideline to decide if a link to that page should be inserted. — Cheers, JackLee talk 07:00, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Are you sure that's the most appropriate initial action. That page itself suggests to first add Rfc to the bio page in question, which is what I have done... VasileGaburici (talk) 07:56, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I've no idea what the most appropriate initial action is, not having encountered this problem before. I was just answering your question about how to contact an administrator for assistance on issues relating to biographies of living persons. You should follow the directions on the BLP noticeboard, as you've done. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:32, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Grasby Church Spire

Sir, The Grasby church Spire was taken off around 1950 ad not during the 1800, I just thought I had to correct this statement, Ernest Balderson

[REMOVED HOME ADDRESS]—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:49, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

I edited the page to reflect your comment. Christopher Parham (talk) 17:01, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Need help with the article 'Britannia Driving School'

Hi, Quick question, I have added some citations to the article "Britannia Driving School", one is a government webpage and another is Windows Vista Magazine which published 3 pages on this school. Let me know if this sufficient. This school has trained over 163,242 students and trains over 50 driving instructors every year. We do have articles on culinary schools and even articles on private schools on wikipedia, driving schools should also be given a chance. Let me know if my explanation makes sense. If not, tell me how I can improve my message. Please leave a message for me on what I can do to help.


Carley.ashford (talk) 23:22, 1 September 2008 (UTC)Carley Ashford

It isn't enough for you to put links to two websites in a section called "Citations". As a rule of thumb, there should at least be one reference at the end of each paragraph in the article to show where you got the information in the paragraph from. For an example of a short article about an organization that is properly referenced, see "Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society". For information on how to reference articles, see "Wikipedia:Citing sources#Putting together the citation", "Wikipedia:Citing sources#Adding the citation", "Wikipedia:Referencing for beginners" and "Wikipedia:Footnotes". — Cheers, JackLee talk 07:10, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
This article uses a "general reference" style. Have we finally killed it off (except, presumably, for stubs, where anything's better than nothing)? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:29, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Page too long

This guide is 18-20 pages long (on my printer anyway), twice the recommended length. There has also been some discussion that the guide is too complicated. Here are my concrete suggestions on where to cut it down. The basic idea is: if this material can be covered by another guide or policy, it doesn't belong here. After making these cuts, my printer shows the article to be 14 pages long, still 4 pages too long, so additional cuts will have to be made. (I've separated them so that each can be discussed on it's own merits. Feel free to add more.) ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 03:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

When to Cite

This material, in my opinion, belongs in WP:VER, Wikipedia:When to cite, WP:BIO, etc. I would merge this material into those articles and cut this entire section down to 1 or 2 paragraphs, describing the principle and a few examples. There isn't enough room in one guide to describe both "When to cite" and "How to cite". This guide should be about one or the other. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 03:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

This entire section should exist on WP:RS. It does not, so why not move it there? Brimba (talk) 02:13, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I strongly agree: This guide should not try to describe both "When to cite" and "How to cite". This guide should be about one or the other. Moving material related to "When to cite" to Wikipedia:When to cite would be my preference. --SallyScot (talk) 16:57, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, less is more, in this case. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 17:02, 16 August 2008 (UTC).
This discussion has moved down to #Let's get the relationship with WP:V right ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 08:26, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Citation templates and tools

Cut this down to one paragraph, basically getting the word out that citation templates are optional, and please see WP:Citation templates. Move the material from this section into WP:Citation templates and Template:Harv. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 03:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

I concur, as also mentioned in the Technical details talk post above, and have accordingly moved the details to WP:Citation templates. --SallyScot (talk) 16:15, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
And I disagreed and you have no consensus to remove that. There is no question that this page has spun out of control over the last few months with some really unproductive and non-consensual changes and redundancy, and that trimming and consolidating is needed, but the text about mixing citation systles is frequently cited in many places, and belongs here, not buried in a how to use portion of multiple citation templates. It is a global issue. Please don't make changes without consensus; that's what ails this page to begin with. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:25, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
As I said in my talk post earlier, for the issue of moving the Technical details section, it should be noted that the section above it, Citation templates and tools, remains in this project page. Thus, if it is felt that there is some key material in Technical details which should stay here then it can easily remain on this page. That which we agree is more esoteric technical detail should, practically by definition, then be moved to the Citation templates main page.
Personally, I think the point about mixing citation styles is a little esoteric, or at least a little unbalanced in its fussiness, because I'm not sure that the same issue of such minor differences in punctuation would be so strictly applied to an article written using freehand citations (i.e. not using citation templates).
But as I suggest, if consensus really is that part should should remain in the main article then so be it.
--SallyScot (talk) 16:48, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
A lot (far too much) of this page is detail that is either covered elsewhere or pertains to one specific citation style or template. The text I reinstated applies across citation templates and styles, and is cited daily at WP:FAC. It is not esoteric. I agree the page is out of control and needs a complete revamping, but that is general text that is cited often, and every time it gets moved, section headings change, or removed, confusion is created at FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:56, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose largely because it's been here forever, and moving it causes headaches for lots of people. I wouldn't mind slightly reducing it, and I see the merit of the arguments -- but the point with these guidelines is to help us write an encyclopedia, not to create model documents for the enlightenment of the world. If an otherwise reasonable makes writing the encyclopedia harder -- and this change IMO would do just that -- then we should not make it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:37, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done, by SallyScot, a few days ago. (Although, if it were up to me, I cut a little deeper.) ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 21:21, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Sources in different languages

SandyGeorgia argues below in regards to this section "Links to a policy page should be used instead of repeating text here" and I agree. I suggest cutting this to a single sentence. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 06:27, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Footnote system

Most of the detail here is or should be covered in WP:FOOT. See WP:SS. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 08:19, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

I think the sections below are ready to be cut. I've checked that all this material is covered in WP:FOOT. I'd appreciate it if someone else would double check before I delete these. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 00:00, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 09:18, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Reference tag placement and punctuation

Merge this section into WP:Footnotes. Drop it from this article. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 03:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Agree. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:20, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 09:18, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Using the same citation again

Merge this section into WP:Footnotes. Drop it from this article. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 03:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Agree. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:20, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 09:18, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Making an article use the footnotes system

Merge this section into WP:Footnotes. Drop it from this article. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 03:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Agree. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:19, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 09:18, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Annotations via the footnote system

Merge this section into WP:Layout. Drop it from this article ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 09:09, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

No, please don't move the mess that has been added here to WP:LAYOUT, which is an orderly page. Layout deals with overall page layout, not citation and footnote issues. It doesn't go there. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:19, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose moving this to LAYOUT. It does not belong there. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:32, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

For the record, this was previously covered in the article but mixed in with the use of the footnote system for references, under the heading "What footnotes are used for" and saying: "A footnote is a note placed in the proper end section of a page to comment on a part of the main text, or to provide a reference (a source) for it. The connection between the relevant text and its footnote is indicated by a number or symbol which appears both after the relevant text and before the footnote. Footnotes are often used to add information that might be helpful to later fact-checkers, such as a quotation that supports your edit."

I think this topic is better covered in WP:FOOT#Separating reference lists and explanatory notes, and can safely be deleted from here. SInce the only opposition here had to do with WP:LAYOUT, I'm not seeing any opposition. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 00:02, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 09:18, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Parenthetical referencing

Just do a one paragraph summary, and direct the reader to the article Wikipedia:Parenthetical referencing. Merge this material into that article. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 03:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Most of the detail here is or should be covered in WP:Parenthetical referencing. See WP:SS. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 08:19, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Agree Brimba (talk) 02:07, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I have synched and merged the extra material into Wikipedia:Parenthetical referencing. Most of this section can be safely cut. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 00:04, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm going ahead with this. If there is any objection, just undo my edits on this date. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 05:26, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done Parenthetical referencing is only summarized in this article. All detail is handled over in WP:Parenthetical referencing. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 07:06, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Embedded links

Since these are not particularly encouaraged, why not lose this section all together and just add Wikipedia:Embedded citations as a "See Also". No one will miss it -- I think most embedded links are created by editors who just copied an example somewhere. I doubt anyone learned to use embedded links from this guide. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 03:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Strongly oppose You can not tell someone that they need to cite a source, and then not tell them up front that they can use an embedded link. Most people cannot make heads or tail of this page when they get dumped here by a fact tag. Its far better to tell them up front that they can use an embedded link, and hope that someone will come along later and fill out the details in a better citation form. I see I am behind on the times and that fact tags no longer send editors here, sorry for the mix-up. Brimba (talk) 02:05, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Need to qualify sources

It seems to me this belongs in WP:When to cite. Merge it over there. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 03:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

No, When to cite is not even a guideline. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:16, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
For points which are more controversial, where there are contradictory studies or different expert opinions, qualifying sources in the article text is essential. I think this is a key section which should remain on this project page.
It should also be moved up. It currently sits as a section on its own after all the technical detail of the different citation systems. As qualification involves the article wording around the citation I would argue that it's really a consideration of "putting the citation together" and should be higher up as a subsection of that.
As well as being an important consideration it's also quite a short section, so I wouldn't mind seeing it repeated in WP:Verify too.
--SallyScot (talk) 12:39, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Further reading/External links

Belongs in WP:Layout. Merge it over there. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 03:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Agree, but please don't muck up WP:LAYOUT as this page has been mucked up. KISS. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:17, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
A bit more WP:Good faith and WP:civility please. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 20:19, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Support removal from this guideline. Don't really care where it ends up. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:31, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done This is gone. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 00:06, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Scrolling lists

Covered in WP:MOS#Scrolling lists. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 08:19, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree. This isn't an issue particular to citing sources. It's inclusion here causes confusion. The section should be removed.
Disagree, this issue comes up almost exclusively in references and citations, and only recently did I press for it to be added to the main MoS page. It is much more of a citations issue than anywhere else, and it comes up often. It needs to be here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:15, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've never seen anyone confused by its inclusion here, and I don't think I've ever seen a scrolling list used in the article namespace that wasn't related to refs. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:41, 15 August 2008 (UTC)


Archive_21#scrolling lists? - here's an example of someone else (apart from myself) confused by its inclusion --SallyScot (talk) 19:01, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
That makes an argument that the text wasn't well written (not surprising, considering the state of this page), not that the text doesn't belong here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:16, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
This section has been unchanged since at least 2007. Most of my these suggestions for simplifying this article involve text that has been here for years. The constant slagging of recent edits is unnecessary, off topic and boring. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 20:49, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Sally, that link doesn't show the least bit of confusion over why this is mentioned here. It's just a note from a new (<200 edits) editor who didn't know what a scrolling list was. The question at hand is only whether, on balance, mentioning this prohibition here (as well as elsewhere), instead of just elsewhere, is useful for the main goal of writing the encyclopedia. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:11, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
The link doesn't simply suggest confusion over what scrolling lists are. The first sentence - "if you're going to say that something shouldn't be used, you should probably mention what this thing is" - would be quite reasonable coming from someone who does know what they are. The instructions should be intelligible new editors. There's no point in having a 'how to' guide which can only be understood by people who know it already. --SallyScot (talk) 23:48, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
This is getting off topic. This article is too long. This material is already covered in the MOS. The question isn't "does it bother you?" or "does it make sense?". The question is "Could we live without it?" I think the answer is yes. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 06:40, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

How does one cite a Wikipedia article?

I can find no instructions on how to cite another wikipedia article. In this article Rasa Shastra I made a potentially contentious edit and added a reference to another wikipedia article. I used the citation template for web pages, but this feels clumsy. Is there a standard way to do so? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eduardgrebe (talkcontribs) 19:28, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles are not considered reliable sources, so there is no standard way of citing them. Generally, we look for published sources that have a reputation for fact-checking and editorial control. For the statement you are trying to cite in that article, it should be simple to find such a source. Christopher Parham (talk) 19:40, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree, the answer to the question is "One does not cite a Wikipedia article". (1) It is not necessary as there should be no original information on Wikipedia (no original research) and that all information should be verifiable; in other words, the used sources should be given; and thus easily retrieved for further use in other articles. (2) Wikipedia articles are not (always) stable, so information maybe altered or disappear, this problem does not exist with external (printed) sources (3) When sources are not given in a Wiki article, this Wikipedia article is not to be trusted and should not be used as reference. Hence referring to Wikipedia articles is (1) not necessary (2) not a good idea as the source may easily change (3) not a good idea as the source article may not be reliable in itself. Arnoutf (talk) 20:13, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
See Wikipedia policy Wikipedia:Verifiability#Self-published sources, which says: "Articles and posts on Wikipedia may not be used as sources." -- Boracay Bill (talk) 22:29, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Try to find the source cited in the original Wikipedia article and cite that instead. If there is no source for the "potentially contentious" claim, then add a {{fact}} template right after it in the original article, and discuss it on the article's talk page. If no source can be found after a reasonable amount of time, the information should probably be deleted. VasileGaburici (talk) 15:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
    • ^ Cite error: The named reference test was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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