Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/Archive 9

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Wikipedia itself as source

"…Wikipedia articles may not use other Wikipedia articles as sources…": surely this is much too strong. They are not considered citable sources, but they are perfectly legitimate sources when writing an article. I doubt that there is a single serious contributor to Wikipedia who never looks at one Wikipedia article when writing another, if only to get correct spelling for link, to verify a date, etc. -- Jmabel | Talk 03:23, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Hi Jmabel, that's what's meant: can't be cited or relied upon as a sole source. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:34, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
I totally agree that they should not be relied upon as a sole source. I'd also agree that articles in the English-language Wikipedia should not be cited in the English-language Wikipedia. However, I would argue that when articles in foreign-language Wikipedia's are used as a source—especially when an English-language article is largely or entirely a translation of a foreign-language Wikipedia article—that should be cited. We do this a lot; for example, from Paragraph 175 (a featured article): "Much of the content of this article comes from the equivalent German-language wikipedia article (retrieved September 30, 2004). The following references are cited by that German-language article…". I think this is much more intellectually honest than any other approach, and also tremendously more useful to anyone attempting factual verification, since it helps sort out who was really an author, and who was merely a translator. -- Jmabel | Talk 01:23, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

I generally agree with what Jmabel writes — yet I still resist calling this "using material from other language wikipedias as a source." These are sister projects and it makes sense that we copy material from one another. I just don't see this copying from sister projects as "research," I see it as a function of a network of wikipedias in different languages. Moreover, we assume that the articles in other languages are themselves based on research that confroms to our policies. In fact, if we encourage borrowing from sister projects (which I think we should do) it is obviously necessary that our policies are coordinated. I know for example that the Spanish wikipedia has an NOR policy [1]. But I do not think they have a "verifiability" or "cite sources" policy. I propose that there be some working group of bi or multi-lingual editors who review policy pages, make sure there are no inappropriate inconsistencies, and promote the exchange of good content from a policy page in one language to another. Do people agree with me? If so, any ideas as to how to proceed? Slrubenstein | Talk 16:24, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Slrubenstein, without my taking on most of what you just said: I don't care whether we call it "citation" or not, but do you agree that we should make it clear that when you translate large quantities from another Wikipedia, that belongs with a mention in the reference section, along the lines of what I described? Because what the project page says right now seems to me to say that you shouldn't make such a mention. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:19, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Jmabel, I guess I missunderstood your main concern. I am honestly not sure &mdah; I would like to hear what others think about this. I do think you raise a good point. But the thing is, I still think that Wikipedia should not be a source for itself, even if we are using wikipedia in another language as a source for an article in English. I think your point raises other issues, like, what were the sources for the other-language articel? Do we want a link to the talk page for that original article? Slrubenstein | Talk 17:33, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

As you can see, the example I gave above from Paragraph 175 ended with "The following references are cited by that German-language article…" (in the article this is, of course, followed by those sources).
I've been too busy to do much article translation lately, but I believe this continues to be the pattern for how people typically do this. If someone translates an under-cited article, it's still useful to let people trace back a step. Are these under-cited articles ideal? Hell, no. But it beats giving the false appearance that the article appeared at a stroke and there is no use pressing the translator for the sources of the original. Frankly, my experience is that when I pressed authors of Spanish-language articles I've wanted to translate for their sources, often as not they've viewed this as an insult. But on some topics, especially related to the Spanish-speaking world, these articles were definitely worth translating, even if under-sourced. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:23, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

With regards to this topic, when an article like Computer summarises the content of a number of other articles, I don't see anything particularly wrong with using other Wikipedia articles as sources, particularly when much of the article is intended as an easy-to-read description of knowledge that is universal to any professional in the field. --Robert Merkel 14:08, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia as a source for Wiktionary

I have on occasion referred to information in a Wikipedia article (typically a permalink reference) as the source of a definition or an etymology in Wiktionary. I've been a bit leary of doing this, but have not done it often and consider it a compromise between retaining Wiktionary-type data in Wikipedia, the gut feeling not to use Wikipedia in this manner, and the "conservation of information" philosophy I try to work under. Should I be confessing my sins at doing this, or just break a sweat and move on? As examples of my actions consider Wiktionary:Abu, Wiktionary:abracadabra, Wiktionary:atom and Wiktionary:Ásgarðr. P.S. I've not brought this up in the Wiktionary community nor have I met with any opposition to date ... but the latter is an especially weak excuse considering the relatively small number of people who contribute to Wiktionary, let alone take it seriously. Courtland 04:40, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Any comments on reference as used in Oleg of Chernihiv article? How would you improve them?--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 21:41, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

Conversely, what about Wiktionary as a source for Wikipedia? CJLippert 01:34, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Use of subpage for extensive references

On the Jehovah's Witnesses-related pages, there are regular arguments over exactly what JWs believe. Each party provides long lists of quotes on the talk page, which soon get archived and forgotten.

The Wikipedia:WikiProject Jehovah's Witnesses is working on redoing the pages to include references for all claims about their beliefs, but there are often claims of out-of-context quoting and contradictory references. (JW publications often do this.) Nearly every statement will need a reference as these are highly disputed pages, and this will lead to a very large references section.

It would save a lot of time and space if a subpage could be used to quote the references and their contexts. I know subpages aren't used for this normally, but I think this would be a useful exception. --K. AKA Konrad West TALK 05:08, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

  • quotes - consider whether wikiquote might actually be the right place for these JW-related quotes, if extended sections of books are quoted, and if there isn't a copyright problem, maybe even wikisource might serve. Then, its always possible to link to these quotes from the wikipedia article, without repeating all the text.
  • About article splits: try to avoid POV splits as explained in Wikipedia:Content forking: using summary style as explained in wikipedia:summary style, is a good technique for splitting long articles, while avoiding POV forking.
  • The cite sources guideline used to contain:

    [...] If [a] sub-topic wikipedia article is duly referenced to specific literature, these references need not be repeated in the general article: instead, try to provide general references for the general article.
    The same applies when using the {{main|<subpage>}} template or the {{details|<subpage>}} template (in summary style) under a section header for referring to a related subpage: detailed references applicable to the subpage don't need to be repeated on the main page.

    ...which is maybe what you were looking for. --Francis Schonken 08:04, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
I think that was something you wrote, Francis, and it wasn't clear what it meant so it was removed. As I recall it was because no one could understand what a "general reference" was in the "general article." SlimVirgin (talk) 19:54, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the ideas, Francis, but I don't think it really fits what I'm talking about.
  • The project isn't creating POV forks; the current pages are huge and we are simply forking out sections to make article size more reasonable.
  • Wikisource isn't any good because most of the publications are still under copyright. I'm not sture that Wikiquote is great either, as the copyright owner zealously sues even those that simply list quotes of their publications ( is currently being sued). I think the safest thing from a legal point of view is quotes for the specific article, as this more clearly comes under fair use than a wikiquote list of quotes.
My point is that even in the specific articles (as opposed to general), if the full reference with context is included, the references section would dwarf the page itself. Because the issues are so contentious, each sentence will require a reference to back it up, which will make for a massive references section. It would streamline the article if we could have a SAMPLE ARTICLE/References subpage. --K. AKA Konrad West TALK 22:20, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
Can the articles be broken up into smaller, more specific topics? But perhaps you should just do what needs to be done first. If the references do indeed get huge then you have an example to deal with. Maybe most articles won't get overly large, or Wikipedia not being paper will change the way it appears. The information is the important part and the formatting can be changed later. (SEWilco 22:34, 1 November 2005 (UTC))
Okay, thanks for the advice. We'll see how we go! --K. AKA Konrad West TALK 22:41, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
One example where this has been done is AIDS/references. Personally I think a subpage is a bad idea in this case. What is really needed is some judicious editing. Most of the references are highly specific and not even cited in the article. Exiling the references to a subpage is the easiest solution, but far from the best one. - SimonP 16:01, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the example. I was thinking more of using the subpage because the quote and context would be included (say 4-5 paragraphs of text). Thanks! --K. AKA Konrad West TALK 22:13, 2 November 2005 (UTC)


Hi SE, please leave the citation examples as examples of what we're actually describing. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:52, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I created examples of what we're actually describing. (SEWilco 19:58, 1 November 2005 (UTC))
I don't understand your latest edits. Could you explain here please? SlimVirgin (talk) 04:09, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
Using templates so the examples show what those templates presently produce in articles. Whatever the "present" appearance is with future versions of the templates. Well, except for that hand-coded footnote-like number that someone inserted. (SEWilco 04:46, 3 November 2005 (UTC))
You deleted the example I gave, which is how most people currently write references, and replaced it with a template, which you prefer, but which isn't used as often. By all means, add your template as another example, but please don't delete mine. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:19, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
I would recommend that the examples of citation style do NOT use templates, since template use is not mandatory. —Morven 06:23, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
Also templates are used. (SEWilco 06:28, 3 November 2005 (UTC))
I agree that it's best to leave templates out of it, except perhaps as extra examples. I've never been able to see the point of them because it's faster to type the citation without the template. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:55, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
They produce a consistent appearance and are easier for automation to parse. (SEWilco 01:11, 7 November 2005 (UTC))

Harvard references not being accepted at WP:FAC

I submitted an article (Canon T90) for featured article status. I had used Harvard-style references. These were not found acceptable by at least one FAC regular, who pushed inote heavily. I'm not very keen on inote, and I notice that this page does not mention it at all. I chose to avoid the issue by switching to Footnote style.

It seems to me that this is another case of the FAC regulars deciding their personal opinions over-ride Wikipedia's style guide. Any other people encountered this? —Morven 05:40, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

I was going to say the below, but upon looking at the article, the problem is you have a strange mix of footnotes and Harvard referencing. There is only one Harvard style reference in the text, but all of the notes have them which is very strange in my opinion. Why not just have each note in the notes section contain the full reference information? I've left the below for general information though. - Taxman Talk 11:50, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
Don't worry, that will more or less be ignored. Unless there is some recent consensus that I am missing, it has long been held that there is no consensus standard for the format of references, and until there is, any form that contains the full reference information somewhere in the page is acceptable. That means objections based on reference format aren't valid. - Taxman Talk 11:50, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
Prior to the comments, the article only contained Harvard references. The notes did not contain the full reference information because (a) all references should be in References, and (b) I didn't want to duplicate information between Notes and References. However, I've now changed them so that the Notes section still describes the source in text and links and the References section gives full information. The lone Harvard reference was simply one I hadn't noticed to convert. —Morven 17:29, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps you could add a link here to a version that you provided/supported and stood at the beginning of the dispute prior to the introduction of compromises to achieve FAC acceptance? That might help clarify this matter. Courtland 04:28, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Publishing dates in book citations

When referring to books with multiple editions, should we use the first date the book was published, the last, or both? This should be made clear in the style guide. --Dforest 10:07, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

The date of the copy which you're reading. (SEWilco 17:08, 6 November 2005 (UTC))
What if you're adding a reference to a book someone else mentioned without citing? Or cases when you aren't quoting from the book, don't have a copy, but make reference to it? Dforest 18:19, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
Sounds as if you then don't know the date. (SEWilco 18:25, 6 November 2005 (UTC))
While it is standard to indicate the date of the copy which you're reading, it can also be useful to indicate additionally an "originally published" date, especially if this would be highly relevant to understanding the nature of the material. For example, when citing a 1980 reprint of a 1937 book on Nazism, I would certainly want to indicate the date of original publication, because it radically changes the apparent nature of the document. -- Jmabel | Talk 00:43, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Right. The reason I bring this up is that I wanted to give an ISBN for a book mentioned, but not quoted, in the article Plain English. Rather than include it in the article text, I thought it better to give a full reference including publishing information. I wasn't sure in that case whether it is better to give the original date or the date of the most recent edition available. The original date would be useful in a chronology, such as of an author's works, but the most recent date would be useful for someone wanting to obtain a current edition of the book. --Dforest 02:11, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

On requiring a single official source

"It is important that all citations in a given article refer to the same edition by the same publisher"

Why must an article use only a single edition of a book? Editors have to go find the specific edition used by a previous editor before they can add new material? (SEWilco 19:49, 7 November 2005 (UTC)) You raise a valid point, but I think we should discuss how best to handle this before making changes. Imagine we refer to a book and provide page numbers for quotes and parts of the book that deal with the points made in the wikipedia article. Now imagine being a reader of the article. It is important to use the same edition so readers can find one edition of the book and find all the cited stuff because any page numbers in citations correspond to the copy of the book the readers has. We don't want readers to have to find three or four copies of the book to be able to find the pages cited. Nor do we want a reader to have one edition of the book, but the page numbers do not correspond so it is a pain in the ass to find those passages. This is why real books and journal articles always refer to one, specified, edition of a book.

Obviously we want the edition to be one that would be easy for readers and editors to find. I do not think that should be too hard. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:36, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Didn't you already make changes before discussion? Editors have to use whatever sources they have to. It is important that whatever edition is used be properly cited, but that does not rule out the use of other properly cited editions. The author of a paper book rarely has reason to use more than one copy of a source, but Wikipedia is not static paper. In encyclopedic time scales there is no easy-to-find edition. We can't expect a book which is now in the 2nd edition to be "easy to find" in ten years and when bookstores are carrying the 6th edition. Go to a used bookstore and pick at random any book in its 4th edition, then try to find its 2nd edition. (SEWilco 22:21, 7 November 2005 (UTC))

Would you agree that it would be ideal that all citations come from the same edition, although if contributors cannot access the same edition, they can use others, and make it clear which edition they are using in the citations/references? Frankly, I think most contributors will have access to the same edition. And more than that, I think different contributors usually bring to the article points from different books, not different editions of the same book.Slrubenstein | Talk 23:11, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

They just need to make clear which books and editions they are using. WP:CITE can not require that only one source be used. (SEWilco 02:29, 8 November 2005 (UTC))

I strongly disagree that "most contributors will have access to the same edition." Some libraries are more apt than others to keep older editions when a new edition is released (and bookstores much less so). And let's not forget the English Wikipedia has contributors from around the world, and some editions, of classical texts, for example, will simply not be widely available outside their country of publication.

So if an edition is agreed upon by consensus, what happens when a new edition is released? Would consensus then have to be reached again to cite the new version? Then someone would have to cross-reference all the page numbers to the new edition, and other editors would have to obtain the new edition to verify the accuracy of the new citations. What about books that have drastic changes or omissions from one edition to another? What about books that are compiled yearly and thus change considerably in content? What about books with multiple translations such as the Bible? Certainly Wikipedians be allowed to compare the differences between editions.

While I would agree that in some cases it would be advantageous to cite a single edition, there are numerous cases in which it is neither practical nor advantageous. The very top of this style guide states "Wikipedia articles should heed these rules." It should be made very clear that this is a guideline rather than a hard-and-fast rule. --Dforest 03:30, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

I think I see what happened. The phrasing:
"It is important that all citations refer to the same edition by the same publisher, and that this information be included in the reference at the end of the article."
was emphasizing that when an article refers to a source, all those references must be to the same source (including same edition), and that source must be cited. However, when Slrubenstein added "in a given article" [2] then the meaning shifted from "every mention of one publication (different editions are different publications)" to also having the meaning of "every mention of a book must be to the same edition". We need a phrasing which emphasizes each source is distinct, whether it carries the same title as another or not. (SEWilco 05:27, 8 November 2005 (UTC))
I do not see how my adding "in a given article" creates the meaning you suggest. All it means — certainly, all I intended it to mean, but also all it still means to me, is that just because one article in Wikipedia uses one edition or a book, doesn't mean that every article in Wikipedia that refers to that book needs to use the same edition. Slrubenstein | Talk 23:04, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
I recognize you're talking about a single article, and one meaning of the phrasing is to imply that only a single edition is allowed. (SEWilco 03:33, 11 November 2005 (UTC))
I don't get that meaning either, SE. I think "in a given article" means what SLR intended it to mean. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:39, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
The phrasing should indicate, as SLR stated, that using more than one edition of a book is not prohibited but must be properly identified (in references and citations). (SEWilco 06:34, 11 November 2005 (UTC))
You are changing the subject, SEWilco. Whether or not using more than one edition of a book in a single article should be prohibited is one issue, and one worth discussion. But you rasied another issue: "However, when Slrubenstein added "in a given article"" that this new phrase changed the meaning of the policy, to mean that one should only use one edition of a work. And my reply is, you are wrong. Your claim is wrong. My adding those four words does not create the meaning you claim it does. No native speaker of English would think that those words create the meaning you claim it does. You are misconstruing what I said, which is unfair. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:35, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
That phrasing has more than one meaning. Someone needs to rephrase it. (SEWilco 19:44, 11 November 2005 (UTC))
Please list the various and distinct meanings of the phrase "in a given article." (I ask because I honestly have no idea what you are talking about). Slrubenstein | Talk 23:13, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm talking about "It is important that all citations in a given article refer to the same edition by the same publisher" implying that only a single edition for one book is acceptable. (SEWilco 05:53, 12 November 2005 (UTC))

SEWilco, please try to focus, not just on what I am saying but on what you have said.

  1. you wrote: "However, when Slrubenstein added "in a given article" [3] then the meaning shifted from "every mention of one publication (different editions are different publications)" to also having the meaning of "every mention of a book must be to the same edition"."
  2. in response, I wrote "I do not see how my adding 'in a given article'creates the meaning you suggest."
  3. in response you wrote "one meaning of the phrasing is to imply that only a single edition is allowed."
  4. in response I wrote "My adding those four words does not create the meaning you claim it does."
  5. in response you wrote "That phrasing has more than one meaning."
  6. in response, I wrote "Please list the various and distinct meanings of the phrase 'in a given article.'" Please note that this four word phrase is exactly the phrase you called attention to in number 1.
  7. in response, you wrote: "I'm talking about "It is important that all citations in a given article refer to the same edition by the same publisher"" Please note that you have just changed the subject again.

Above (number 1) I quote you referring to a four word phrase I introduced. I responded to what you wrote. Now you tell me you were talking about a different phrase. You are being disingenuous and obfuscotory, and evasive. No. 1, above, is a direct quote of what you said. YOU wrote "However, when Slrubenstein added "in a given article"" I challenged you on your interpretation of that phrase. How can you now say you were talking about something else? youwrote that you were talking about how my adding "in a given article" changed the meaning of that part of the policy. You cannot deny that you wrote it, it is right there. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:54, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

In this entire section I've been referring to the phrasing which is at the top of the section: "It is important that all citations in a given article refer to the same edition by the same publisher". My rephrasings got reverted, so you try to fix it. (SEWilco 03:58, 13 November 2005 (UTC))
I agree with SEWilco that the phrasing "It is important that all citations in a given article refer to the same edition by the same publisher" implies that every mention of a book must be to the same edition. Are there any objections to SEWilco's last edit:
It is important that all citations in a given article include in the reference at the end of the article the publication year and edition which was used as a source by a contributor.
This was reverted by Slrubenstein without explanation. Dforest 05:11, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Hi Dforest, are you envisioning a situation where four editors cite the same book four times, using four different editions, and cite those different editions both in the text (say, as a Harvard reference) and also in the References section? The words "dog's breakfast" spring to mind. ;-) SlimVirgin (talk) 05:44, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
That would be an extreme case, but we shouldn't discourage editors from citing different editions of a text. No doubt in some cases there might be good reason for doing so, if one edition omits information available in another. What about the Bible, where different editions may have drastically different meanings? (Perhaps we need a more specific definition of "edition".) On the other hand, if contributors are required to cite their particular edition of a text, we could have dozens of citations of essentially the same source. Contributors should use their discretion to determine if their edition merits an additional citation. Dforest 06:11, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Consolidation of citations can also happen. An editor might confirm all the citations to several editions exist within a single edition and replace references to several editions with a single one. But use of a single edition should not be mandatory. (SEWilco 17:07, 13 November 2005 (UTC))

We should encourage editors to use the same edition, but make allowances for when that is impossible. In any event, I still do not understand why SEWilco thinks that it was my edition of "in a given article" that shifted the meaning of the sentence in question. SEWilco now says he was not referring to that phrase. But if you look at the top of this section, you will see that he is being disingenuous. SEWilco wrote that my adding the phrase "in a given article" shifted the meaning to mean "every mention of a book must be to the same edition." SEWilco was indeed referring to the phrase "in a given article" — just look up top, that is what he says — and I still do not understand why. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:53, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

I was referring to the meanings created by the addition of that phrase. Whether you understand why the change altered the meaning, can you suggest phrasing which clarifies that each source should be properly identified? (SEWilco 17:13, 13 November 2005 (UTC))

The addition by Slrubenstein of "Ideally" along with other rephrasing does make more apparent that several editions may be used although that is not optimal for a polished article. The added mention of page number problems also helps remind people to use sourcing with enough detail to be verifiable. (SEWilco 19:51, 13 November 2005 (UTC))

The fact remains that using multiple editions creates huge problems for in-line references, which is why publishers and journals don't allow it. In any event, you still haven't answered my question. I added a phrase, "in a given article," and you made claims about &again, I am using your words: "I was referring to the meanings created by the addition of that phrase." Please explain what meaning you think that phrase added, and why. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:33, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Adding "in a given article" changed the focus from the citation to the article. The previous meaning was merely emphasis that a citation must properly identify to what edition it refers. The new phrasing added the meaning that all citations in an article must be to a single edition, implying that no more than one edition may be in an article. (SEWilco 15:22, 14 November 2005 (UTC))

What on earth are you talking about? You are not making any sense. #The phrase in no way shifted the focus of the sentence. Do you understand English grammar? The sentences "It is important that all citations in a given article refer to the same edition by the same publisher" and "It is important that all citations refer to the same edition by the same publisher" have the same subject and the same object.

  1. The original sentence, "It is important that all citations refer to the same edition by the same publisher" already has the meaning "that all citations in an article must be to a single edition." It does not at all matter that the words "in an article" are not in that sentence, because this is a style guideline for wikipedia articles ALL guidelines refer to Wikipedia articles!
  2. The original sentence, "It is important that all citations refer to the same edition by the same publisher" must be referring to Wikipedia articles, but does not make clear whether all wikipedia articles have to refer to the same edition of a book, or some Wikipedia articles have to refer to the same edition of a book, or only one article has to refer to the same edition
  3. Adding the phrase "in a given article" makes it clear that the guideline applies to only one article, not all articles. This is the only shift in meaning.

I really wish you would study up on English grammar before you make arguments about English. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:13, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

I agree that the focus of the sentence was not changed. Jayjg (talk) 18:50, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Slrubenstein, I think you are in the right on the substance of this, but it is still not a reason to insult another contributor. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:17, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
Jmabel, I appreciate your point but have to say, in part at least my remark is not an insult but a constructive comment: SEWilco has argued over the wording of this and other pages with myself, SlimVirgin, and others, when it is clear that he simply does not follow proper English syntax or usage. If he wants to argue over the wording of a policy or guideline and the wording is in English, he needs to acknowledge his limitations with English or work to overcome them. That said, I acknowledge I feel great frustration and if you think my comments express irritation, you are right and I do regret that coming through. But I have gotten into long, time-consuming debates with SEWilco over a number of things, and it has become evident to me that the source of the debate is his either deliberately misconstruing my comment from the beginning, or his serious deficit in English syntax and usage. I would actually rather think he was not willfully misrepresenting what I wrote. But if he was not, then all that is left to say is, he really needs to study English grammar. Otherwise, we are left with long pointless debates that waste time and make no sense. Slrubenstein | [[User talk:Slrubenstein|Talk]] 16:53, 15 November 2005 (UTC)



External_links/Further_reading (this wikipage):

"The ==External links== or ==Further reading== section is placed after the references section, and offers books, articles, and links to websites related to the topic that might be of interest to the reader, but which have not been used as sources for the article."

So this sentence says:

  1. References
  2. External links




  1. External links
  2. References

Which is it? I think it is #2. Am I correct? User:Travb

Thanks for pointing this out, Travb. This page is correct; the other page has been changed, so they're now consistent. SlimVirgin (talk) 09:09, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Foreword in Book

I have quoted a person from the foreword to a book. Another contributor, while acknowledging the veracity of the quote, has advised that Wikipedia requires that quotes can only be used if from the actual book author, not from the person contributing the foreword. I can find no such rule. I am attributing the quote to the foreword author, not to the book's author, so that is not an issue. Is there such a rule? And if there is such a rule, does this make any sense? Thanks for any assistance. Jtmichcock 21:31, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

I think the issues are the reliability of the source and properly citing it. The location and format are factors in that. However, we could use something scribbled on peculiar surfaces. The message JFK wrote on a coconut could be quoted and cited as a source. (SEWilco 22:23, 13 November 2005 (UTC))
Assuming that your description here is accurate, you are totally in the right. -- Jmabel | Talk 00:11, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Jmabel. SEWilco is confusing the matter. JFK writing something on a coconut shell would not be a citable source since it is not verifiable. The point is not that "it doesn't matter what matter the writing is in or on," but rather "is it a verifiable source?" If you provide the appropriate information so that I can read the quote for myself, you are on safe ground. It is pretty common in journals to read a quote where the citation is (Quoted in ....) Slrubenstein | Talk 01:09, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Of course the coconut shell would have to be verifiable, that's part of "reliability of the source". The citation would have to provide enough information for verification. In the case of this foreword, that involves mentioning both the author of the book and of the foreword. The book's citation requires its author (so one can find the book), and the quote's sourcing requires the author of the foreword (both to credit the foreword's author and to help confirm the relevant section of text). (SEWilco 02:17, 14 November 2005 (UTC))
The quotation has been verified. The contributor has seen the book's text as have I. The dispute is whether the foreword to the book is a "primary source." My position is that it doesn't matter if an author writes a book or contributes a foreword to another person's book, in either event the person writing can be quoted. Jtmichcock 02:30, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Absolutely. I cannot imagine a reason for saying that the fact that something is a foreword makes it uncitatble. It is of course necessary to be clear that you are citing the foreword, not the main body of the book. -- Jmabel | Talk 04:53, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
A citable source for WP is one published by a credible publisher. Writing something on a coconut shell doesn't constitute publication. A foreword in a book is part of the book's contents, just like any other part. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:45, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Jmabel and SlimVirgin are absolutely correct. The quote to which you refer would be a primary source only if it were a handwritten inscription (like the silly coconut example) -- but if it is a forward or prologue or preface, if it is actually a part of the published text, then it is a verifiable and citable source in compliance with our NOR policy. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:39, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Thanks to all for your assistance. I have referred the person over to the discussion here and my text hasn't been deleted for a while. So I think this has helped. Jtmichcock 13:59, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Good, please come back here if it does get deleted. Published information is verifiable, whether in the foreward or the book contents. As long as it is properly attributed, there is no issue with it. Jayjg (talk) 18:47, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Style identification

Does the style which just appeared at Kyoto Protocol have a name? (SEWilco 03:08, 19 November 2005 (UTC))

How about Vsmith's modified Harvard compromise style? :-) You've even adopted it in your reverts, SEW. That said, it was a preliminary effort to achieve both inline links as the consensus of the page indicates along with a more complete reference section (that's for the rest of the audience as SEW knows this). My intention, if and when SEW quits reverting, is to work it into a more normal Harvard style reference section - while maintaining inline links direct to the web references within the article. Direct inline links were the norm for the article prior to SEW's sudden change, without discussion or consensus, to his pet notes method. Please view the history of the page and the talk there for details. I had no intention of clogging this talk with this, then I came across SEW's question above. Thanks, Vsmith 00:39, 24 November 2005 (UTC)
I was asking because although the style resembles Harvard referencing style, generally the name of the author or institution is called for in the links. (SEWilco 18:41, 24 November 2005 (UTC))
Here's the relevant section of Wikipedia:Cite sources#How to Cite Sources: "If contributors differ as to the appropriate style of citation, they should defer to the article's main content contributors in deciding the most suitable format for the presentation of references. If no agreement can be reached, the style used should be that of the first major contributor."
When using embedded links, which are perfectly acceptable and preferred by most editors (and, I would guess, by most readers), the style is to do this [4] with a full citation in the References section, and not this The Guardian. The full citation in References would look like this:
Personally, I only add "retrieved on" when there are insufficent other details e.g. no publication date. But otherwise I don't bother with that. The point of the citation is to enable the reader to be able to find the article should the link go dead. Hope this helps. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:46, 24 November 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I replaced a mess of URL-only uncited links with citations using links of a style similar to the original appearance. Vsmith recently changed to the above Harvard-like style. (SEWilco 18:41, 24 November 2005 (UTC))
Wikipedia:Cite sources has a summary of those points. Actually, URL-only links are not perfectly acceptable. As Wikipedia:Manual of Style (links) states, there should be a title (descriptive text) as part of an external link. Wikipedia:Verifiability points out that it should be clear which statement used which reference. Crosslinking the text and corresponding citation make that apparent. When only a numbered URL-only link is provided, one has to match the URLs manually to find the corresponding citation. See Wikipedia:Footnotes for details on linking text and citations. (SEWilco 18:41, 24 November 2005 (UTC))
URL-only links SHOULD NOT have a "descriptive text" added in the article, and SHOULD have one added in the References section or in Further reading. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:10, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

Are URL-only links an acceptable citation style?

A straw poll is being taken based on whether using only URLs in an article is an acceptable style for citing sources instead of having more detailed citations. See Talk:Global cooling#SEWilco.2C disruptive reverts.2C and citations. (SEWilco 23:42, 24 November 2005 (UTC))

SEWilco is presenting a misleading view of the debate. The real debate, which he has escalated into a revert war on both Global cooling and Kyoto protocol, is over his pushing of his cumbersome footnotes style into these articles with no regard to the consensus of the editors working on these articles. He has been advised against this [5]. Please carefully consider the debate history on those articles if you plan to comment. Vsmith 01:46, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

Vsmith is presenting a misleading view of the situation, where the original article had dead URL-only links with numbered format, being replaced with standard Wikipedia:Footnote numbered links to citations. See the discussion in Talk:Global cooling, and if you wish see Vsmith's alternative whose errors and weaknesses are described in Talk:Kyoto Protocol. While he complains of consensus, Vsmith's edit is even more dramatic a style change than numbered links. (SEWilco 05:59, 25 November 2005 (UTC))

Please see also Wikipedia:Requests for comment/SEWilco. William M. Connolley 10:15, 25 November 2005 (UTC).

References/external links headers name-change proposal

There's a proposal at Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability#References_title_misread_as_non-web_External_links to change the References header to "Sources", and External links to "Further reading". So far, the proposal has been accepted by all the editors on the page, but because Wikipedia:Verifiability is a policy page, I'm putting it out for further discussion before changing it.

The reason for the proposal is that using "References" and "External links" is confusing. Sources are supposed to be listed under References, and any further reading is listed under Further reading or External links. But many editors think that any external links, whether used as sources or not, should go under External links, so then they list any material that isn't online, like books, under References, even if not used as a source. To cut through all this confusion, the proposal is to change the headers to Sources and Further reading, which are self-explanatory, and don't make the online/offline distinction. Comments would be welcomed. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:53, 25 November 2005 (UTC) 'Agree to change

  1. Slrubenstein | [[User talk:Slrubenstein|Talk]] 23:21, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

I'm correcting a minor oversight, plus proofreading the article

As a newcomer in Wikipedia, but highly experienced outside of WP, who takes seriously his duty to help other newcomers in the future, I feel forced to improve articles like Wikipedia:Footnotes which I'd say was down around 5 (on a 0-100 scale) for clarity and this one which I'd say is about 99 for clarity (=humanly perfect) but has a minor oversight or omission. (I'd say I only raised Footnotes to a 10 because I'm not able to handle the last half of it.) I absolutely HATE this kind of tedious, boring work, for both articles, but am capable in this area... and who else will do such burdensome work?
I'll just proofread right from beginning to end, quickly, one section at a time, and then come back here to explain my changes, if needed, every few sections before I forget my changes.
Section=Complete citations in a "References" section : Neither I nor the average reader/user can understand "inverted commas" enclosing the title of an article, I'm sure, so I changed it to "quotes". Maybe this text was copied from a very old source, since quotes did look like inverted commas in my youth. Similarly, the ISBN information seemed to be missing from the text.
Subsection=What footnotes are normally used for : I and surely most other engineers or scientists or technical people with all of our complications which absolutely require footnotes to help the reader, do feel crummy when they read that footnotes are normally used "for tangential comments or information of interest only to a small number of specialists." I deleted "only to a small number of specialists," trying to change as little as possible.
Subsection=(Correcting a minor oversight in) the subsection Embedded HTML links : I inserted a paragraph repeating the same example link but now using a text fragment following a space in the single square brackets, so the reader clicks on the text fragment rather than on an automatically generated number. This addition merely corrects an oversight in the article. Let me point out that if there are any users who might wish to disallow this type of embedded HTML link, they would thereby be disallowing automatically numbered footnotes which this article otherwise permits. For7thGen 00:26, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Hi Frank, it wasn't an oversight. We like to distinguish clearly in articles between internal and external links. Typing chaos indicates that's internal, and typing [6] tells the reader they're being taken to another website more clearly that typing The Guardian does. It can also be useful to have the links numbered. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:57, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Hi Slim, may I call you Slim? I do have questions for you in response to your good message on the above talk page. 1st, do you wish to disallow automatically numbered footnotes to coexist with embedded HTML links in the same article? If you answer no, you do allow this, then please tell me exactly how it can be accomplished?
Yes, of course you may call me Slim. ;-) We do allow embedded links to coexist on the same page with footnotes, but the reality is that, once the footnote system has been established in an article, if someone adds an embedded link, it's usually converted into a footnote by another editor. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:00, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
2nd, and far less important than the main question(s) above, your revert description was "no link title should be added to embedded links in articles, only in further reading or references." Please tell me where I can find this statement? I would like the source for this or for a substantially-the-same statement which you feel is the most official or highest credibility source in Wikipedia-land. Merely so that I can see where you coming from. Thanks for your kind help, especially on the 1st question(s). For7thGen 01:50, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
It's in this article, in the Manual of Style, and in Wikipedia:Verifiability, which is policy. Of the three, the policy page is the most authoritative (editing in accordance with policy is mandatory), followed by WP:CITE (at least in regard to how to cite sources), followed by the MoS. See WP:V#When_adding_information and WP:CITE#Embedded_HTML_links. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:59, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
I don't understand your latest question on my talk page (questions here, please). If a particular article does it differently, it's wrong. See above for what the policy and guidelines say. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:57, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm finally able to tell you, Slim, that I'm working the problem, and I've learned at least a bit more about how the problem looks seen from your side. I'm writing a Coexistence proposal currently and anyone else is welcome to look at it in draft form and also to edit it themselves. Also, you or anyone else please inform me where to post it. It might be 3 or 4 or 5 pages and right now it is at User:For7thGen/subpage 3 For7thGen 06:25, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Massive feature creep... again

I see this has become a massive tome for academics. A pity, then, that Wikipedia is a general-purpose encyclopedia and nothing more. It's nice if people use Harvard style or whatever, but surely the most important bit is just encouraging editors to tell readers where they got their info from??

It is worth emphasising that people do not read or heed these kinds of texts. Dan100 (Talk) 18:50, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I think I agree, at least in spirit. I believe it is important that all articles have good references. I do not believe we should dictate the precise form of these references. I do believe we need to explain why references are important (what their functions are) and also provide clear templates for different ways of doing it (without mandating one over another). Slrubenstein | Talk 20:38, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Any published encyclopedia has all of its facts individually checked against sources by the publisher, before it is allowed to be published. We should be held to the same standards if we are to be considered an encyclopedia worthy of reading. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-3 20:47
    • Is that why we make such sport of spotting errors in Britannica and other encyclopedia's? The assertion that Any published encyclopedia has all of its facts individually checked against sources by the publisher, before it is allowed to be published. is a patent fallacy. I don't disagree that most commercial encyclopedia publishers have a much more rigorous fact-checking regimen than Wikipedia. I'm not so sure that we should want to emulate such anticeptic regimes. We should certainly make this directive as clear as possible so that well-intentioned contributors are encouraged to cite sources. However, I think some people also tend to use this policy to bludgeon those who do not cite their sources. As a general-use encyclopedia, Wikipedia is phenomenal and already is an encyclopedia worthy of reading. Is it perfect? No, of course not. But the ideal of a perfectly authoritative reference is a chimera. No encyclopedia is perfect and it is extremely unlikely that any ever shall be. Wikipedia operates on a radically different model than commercial publishers. We need to work with and reinforce the strengths of this different model, rather than hold ourselves hostage to impossible standards. olderwiser 21:48, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
  • There are several formats for providing citations of sources. Not all source citations are equal. More detail is preferred over less detail. "November 22, 2005: President Pardons "Marshmallow and Yam" in Annual Turkey Ceremony [7]" is preferred over "President Bush pardons turkeys [8]", which is preferred over "[9]", which is preferred over "George said". WP:V states policy. WP:CITE has details; creeping details. (SEWilco 05:31, 4 December 2005 (UTC))

Enormous overkill

I am famous as a Bureaucratic Fuck, but what's going on here is way over even me. I understand that the goal is to provide better verifiability of information, but the prime idea of wikipedia as an open source project was that the sheer number of many editors should guarantee both NPOV and verification. Many articles are edited by hundreds of people, many of them addind 1-2 facts. If following strictly this rule, the articles will eventually trun into ugly collections of superscripts and enormous lists of references. It is OK to have a list of fundamental sources or to provide a citation is the case of dispute, but to require a citaion for each and every addition is utterly ridiculous.

Also some seem to forget that this wikipage is a guideline, not a policy. mikka (t) 22:24, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Mikka, even if this were a policy (and I completely agree with you that it is not), like all policies it would express an ideal to which we are supposed to strive, not solely through our individual efforts but through collective efforts. One contributor can add a valuable fact to an article without knowing the proper source; another contributor can go find the source and put it in. Isn't this how everything here works? Slrubenstein | Talk 22:31, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
You totally miss the point: where have you seen encyclopedias with each fact superscripted? It is one thing to source obscure data, opinions, or things that require exact quotation, like various statistics. But to source general knowledge available at hundreds of sources A wikipedia is not a sci journal article. mikka (t) 22:40, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Also, I consider this kind of messages trolling:

Hello, good work on Rises and falls, and thanks for the contribution. However, you forgot to add any references to the article. Keeping Wikipedia accurate and verifiable is very important, and there is currently a push to encourage editors to cite the sources they used when adding content. From what websites, books, or other places did you learn the information that you added to Rises and falls? Would it be possible for you to mention them in the article? You can simply add links, or there are several different citation methods list at WP:CITET. Thanks! — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-4 20:26

So, for each and every policy we will put a warning onto each user's page each time he is a bad boy? Not to say that articles should be discussed at article's talk pages. It is one thing to point newcomers at things he does not possibly know. I myself wrote innumerable number of messages about image copyrighting, but what some our colleagues do here is way overboard. mikka (t) 22:40, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

It looks like this year sees a new generation of wikipedians whose prime interest is not writing articles but policies, whose main domain are talk pages. I am well aware that some people are born to work, while others are born to rule, but I am disgusted with this "social stratification" in wikipedia, which attracts people who just love to twist other's arms for common good. mikka (t) 22:48, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Third, invitation of web references is a road to disaster. There is nothing more frustrating than to click at a link only to see 404. External links is a maintenance hightmare and most inrelieble source possible: how you can be sure that tomorrow the site in question will confirm your sentence, say something relevant at all, or exist at all? mikka (t) 22:54, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more. I had a very similar discussion about workers versus the surveillance team with Angela already two or three years ago when that nonsense was started. Also the "verifiable sources" guideline can be carried ad absurdum, as can clearly be seen at Talk:Stephen Dixon. <KF> 23:04, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Thank you for copying and pasting my comments around as you please. Feel free to continue. -- BRIAN0918  23:10, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, but I don't need your encouragement.This is Wikipedia after all. <KF> 23:33, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps this conversation should be consolidated with Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#A_better_way_of_getting_articles_referenced? - SimonP 00:39, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Mikka, you ask, "where have you seen encyclopedias with each fact superscripted?" To that I answer, "where have you seen encyclopedias written on an open source basis?" If we allowed only trusted people to edit, we would not need such a goal. But that's not what we are.

That said, I personally don't think every fact needs a reference, but I do think that at the moment Wikipedia remains, on the whole, undersourced, not oversourced, and I don't think that I have seen a case were accurate references were ever harmful additions (although I wouldn't be astounded if someone can point at such a case). I am extremely suspicious of utterly unreferenced articles on things I don't basically know about. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:46, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Yup. So requiring citations annoys you Mikka, BFD. Think about it from the other way around. Material without a source is nearly useless to Wikipedia if it can't be verified. In fact I'd say it can be worse than if it wasn't there. All time spent adding material without doing research with reliable sources is wasted. Even if you disagree with my view, which one is the bigger gain--demonstrably reliable material or not having facts cited/having to cite them? And while the format of the citations (this page) is guideline, requiring verifiability is of course policy. - Taxman Talk 13:23, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
You are not deading what I was writing: verification is by the multitude of editors. We are not living in middle ages, so that there was only one authority and everyone had to read an ancient gimoire to find a fact. I didn't deny references completely; I agreed that a reasonable amount of references of general reading, of someone's quotations and of obscure fact is OK, but to require a reference to each fact added is an absurd. mikka (t) 17:04, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I read it, it just doesn't hold up. Lots of articles are read by lots of people that don't know the topic (and even some that do) but still contain horrid errors. The only successful way to combat that is to cite sources. Now I would be most happy with a way the footnotes or whatever form of citation could be hidden from users if they so desire to not be annoyed by them. I do agree they can make readability suffer a bit. But I would say the gain from easily verifiable facts is infinitely greater that the cost of both having to do the research and the cost to readability. I've yet to hear any coherent arguments on any true benefits to less strenuous encouragement of citations and better referencing that are more important that the benefits to increased verifiability. The basic act of forcing an editor to do some research to back up their position is very likely to result in more accurate material and typically reduces POV wars and the like. Is there a limit? Probably, but we're terribly far from it, and like I said, any downsides to greater referencing and citation could pretty much be eliminated by making them invisible. - Taxman Talk 18:44, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Mikka: any published reference book, and in particular encyclopedias, has every single one of its facts listed, connected with a source, and checked against that source, before it is published. They don't list the citations in the final version, of course, because they don't want to clutter up the text. Just because you don't see the citations does not mean they never checked the content. Why we don't hold ourselves up to the same standard, I don't know. It it most likely out of laziness. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-5 13:48

  • In this analogy, what exaclty would it mean for Wikipedia to be "published"? Wikipedia operates on a very different model than commercial publishers. Of course we need to strive for the highest degree of reliability possible. But let's be realistic about what it is possible to accomplish and in what time frame with a Wiki. I, for one (and I don't think I'm alone), find it utterly absurd to expect EVERY SINGLE FACT to be explitly cited. olderwiser 14:13, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
    • Of course not every single fact would have to be cited. Sources have to have their own context too. Thus the simplest of facts will take care of themselves. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-5 14:15
    • "every ref book... every single... checked against source": False. mikka (t) 17:07, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
      • User:Brian0918 may have omitted the adjective "useful" before the words "reference book". Regardless, Wikipedia cannot assert any authority beyond its referencing. Therefore, everything needs to be referenced. Jkelly 17:11, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
        • Everything needs to be referenced? See Talk:Wiktionary#Unsourced? for another pointless discussion on the subject. A group of people seems to be claiming that citing sources is ever so important, but no one seems to be able to give an answer on how one should go about it. <KF> 23:20, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

This discussion is missing a key point. References can be invisible. Thus, every fact could be referenced and at the same time the page could be uncluttered. This can be achieved either with Template:inote or with technical means such as style sheets in other referencing systems. At present, based on a recent quality survey which I can't find any more, the proportion of articles which have one reference is quite small and the proportion which have five or more is negligable. Worrying about too many references is like worrying about the lack of life rafts on the Apollo 12 lunar lander module.  :-) Mozzerati 21:51, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

This needs to be EASIER

This article, on citing sources is very intimidating.

Here's a problem. It's often harder to cite a source than it is to even find a source. For example, I was just writing an article about Boulder, Colorado and my source is the City of Boulder Website. Now, that should be easy to cite, but the fact is there is no obvious way to do it. There should be a citation wizard or better macros for citations, perhaps a consistent, standard way of doing it.

The complexity, decisions, and lack of automation in citations is very much a barrier that will keep authors from citing sources as much as the could.

Fix it.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Kkinder (talkcontribs)

What to do when a reference link "goes dead"

Blimey. I haven't been watching this page and it has certainly changed a bit. What concerns me is the above section, specifically where it says:

  • Wikipedia does not currently have a policy for what to do when none of those strategies succeed, but here are some suggestions.
    • Be careful not to remove a link prematurely. If you reach the site, and it says the particular page is gone, that is pretty definitive, but one failure to access a site does not mean it is permanently dead. In the latter case, note (in an HTML comment) the date on which the link seemed dead.
    • You can place the link in an HTML comment, marked as dead. Date the comment. The Internet Archive deliberately lags by six months, so there is a fair chance that at any time in the next six months we might, again, be able to get an equivalent link.
    • If the link has been dead more than six months, keep it (commented out) as the record of a reference used.

I'm puzzled, because we used to have a poloicy, it used to be on this page and it read:

  • Because the Web is dynamic, it is possible that a web page used as a reference may become inactive. Do not remove such inactive references—even inactive, they still record the sources that were used. Make a note of the date that the original link was found to be inactive. If an Internet Archive copy of the page is known, add a link to that.

Is there any reason why it can't be reinstated. Hiding talk 22:13, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

I mostly agree with the change you made, but we lost the statement about the Internet Archive lagging and the likelihood that the link may be recoverable in the future. Any chance of restoring that? -- Jmabel | Talk 23:53, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Okay, I've added in something to that effect, does that covers it? Hiding talk 14:51, 13 December 2005 (UTC)


I think it was quite clear that this page had outgrown it's original purpose and had become very confusing, intimidating etc. I have now massively cut it down to be purely a guide to why sources should be cited, and then link to the various pages which suggest ways to do it. What was the bulk of this page is now at Wikipedia:Ways to cite sources, which I also gave a See also section pointing to the other suggested ways of citing.

I hope people will appreciate that this change had to happen, and I believe this is the right way to do it. Dan100 (Talk) 10:45, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Dan, I've reverted (as I'm sure you knew someone would), because you practically deleted the page. ;-) We already have two policies explaining why sources should be cited (WP:NOR and WP:V). We also have a guideline explaining what counts as a good source (WP:RS. This page is a style guide: explaining how to write citations. It's not meant to be read from start to finish: it's a reference page. There is no need for an extra Wikipedia:Ways to cite sources. This was it! ;-) SlimVirgin (talk) 13:51, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
I've added a sentence to the top to clarify. Dan, would you mind if the new page you created was deleted? It will cause confusion to have two almost identical style guides, particularly because they may end up being developed in different directions by different editors. It's important that anyone editing this page be familiar with NOR, V, and RS, because it requires vigilance to ensure they remain consistent. SlimVirgin (talk) 13:59, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Actually, I thought Dan100's changes were a step in the right direction. It made the page much more useful and easier to access. Currently it is a horrid mixture of why and howto, and is terribly confusing to someone that doesn't already know the material in it. A single page coordinating all the information an editor would need to create a properly sourced article is what is needed and Dan's version is closer to that than this one. - Taxman Talk 14:50, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Then the whys should be removed from this page, because it's just a style guide. I don't see the point of having two almost identical pages. Unfortunately, we have no mandatory way of citing sources, and we're unlikely to develop one because some prefer footnotes, others Harvard referencing or embedded links. Therefore, we have to offer information on all three styles, and that's why the page is so complex. But regarded as a reference work, I'm not sure I see the problem with that. SlimVirgin (talk) 15:07, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

I am not saying that this page cannot be improved upon — all things at Wikipedia are works-in-progress. Nevertheless, if someone reads this and doesn't understand it, I would have serious doubts as to their competence to research any topic or write an encyclopedia article on it. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:06, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

I've retained my changes (without using rollback, as I know admins should not use that except for vandalism). Slim, I've noticed that you revert any changes you disagree with - you practically claim ownership! I think there's a weight of opinion that this page needs to move on. Dan100 (Talk) 17:16, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Dan, I'm surprised at you: you're deleting most of a guideline without discussion. My reverting isn't claiming ownership, just restoring the status quo ante until it's discussed.
As I see it, what you've basically done is move the page to another title, while retaining a shell of a page here, which I don't see the point of. Again, this is a how to page that contains instructions on the different citation styles. What is your objection to the way the instructions are written? What is it you're trying to achieve? SlimVirgin (talk) 17:35, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
I believe Dan has a point in that this page has become rather long and confusing; perhaps breaking out parts of it to other articles would be helpful. However, I agree with Slim that basically moving all the content from this article to another doesn't simplify - it just moves the complexity elsewhere. —Matthew Brown (T:C) 18:20, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Dan, with all due respect, it is totally unfair of you to accuse SlimVirgin of acting as she has ownership of this page. This is one of the oldest policies at Wikipedia. Many people have worked on it over the years. It reflects a long-standing consensus. It only makes sense to make any changes beyond the relatively minor (fixing links, correcting spelling mistakes, slight word-changes for the sake of clairty) only after discussion in which many people are involved. Many more than one would expect for an article, since this is a policy that affects everyone. We do not edit policies the same way we edit articles; with articles "be bold" is a well-established value for obvious reasons. I should think that the reasons for being much more cautious and conservative with policy pages is evident. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:46, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

I have reverted User:Dan100's changes, pending discussion and the achievement of a consensus here. —Matthew Brown (T:C) 18:18, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Slrub, every time I make any changes to this page Sv reverts. I've noticed that happen to other editors, too.
Now, you mention history: take a look at the original version - it's a guideline, not a style guide. Work through the history and you'll an "example style" (APA) develop as a guide for people who don't know how to cite. Somehow that's taken over the page - it's gone from being a clear, concise "why you should cite" to a monstrous page which draws a lot of complaints, and certainly does not help newbie editors cite sources (or anyone else that matter!).
Take a look at how it was a year ago - clear and simple (and APA - how'd it turn into Harvard?!). A year of feature of creep has created a monster, and it's time to sort this mess out as although we've managed to write what would no doubt be a great guide to referencing for a Dphil student, it's very much aimed at the wrong level for Wikipedia.
We need to focus on what's important here: getting as many articles of Wikipedia referenced as possible, as it's what's really letting us down now more than anything (you all know what I'm referring to). Ask yourself this: what's more likely to get the casual editor to use references: a many dozen kb page of text, or a simple rationale followed by a simple guide? Dan100 (Talk) 08:19, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Dan, I just needed to link to something on the page for an arbcom case and when I came to find it, you had deleted it. Please stop this and say specifically what you feel is not needed. The rationale for citing sources is not on this page. It's on WP:NOR (which you have also tried to delete large sections from) and on WP:V. This page is just a how to and therefore has to contain instructions. SlimVirgin (talk) 17:44, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
But this page was just to say "cite your sources". It isn't Wikipedia:Citing sources, but cite sources, ie a rationale for why one should always cite sources (and people not doing so, imo, is the biggest problem Wikipedia has). A how-to should be on a how-to style page, such as Wikipedia:Ways to cite sources. Dan100 (Talk) 08:44, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Having worked a little on the page myself, I agree that it could do with some copyediting, but I fail to see how deleting most of it, or copying most of it to a different article and then deleting, is particularly helpful. Jayjg (talk) 18:21, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. Massive deletion of a guideline that many have worked on over a long time not only makes no sense, it verges on vandalism. We always discuss massive changes - thoroughly - before making them. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:27, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Others disagree. This page should be helpful to newbies, because we all know (hopefully!) that we should cite sources. Having it subject to massive instruction creep hinders that, not helps.

Aslo Slrub, please don't accuse me of vandalism. It's not, it's moving forwards with the best interests of the encyclopedia at heart. Dan100 (Talk) 08:44, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Dan, the problem here is that no single person or group of people has been in control of how the source-related policies and guidelines have evolved. Because of that, there are things about the policies that none of us likes, and there are issues that don't make as much sense as they could. I think what you're really objecting to is the title of the page, not the contents, and I agree with you to some extent. I would much prefer to see the current policy page on sources, now called Wikipedia:Verifiability, be called Wikipedia:Cite sources, because the latter is self-explanatory, whereas the former isn't clear at all, and lots of people think it means they have to go out and check whether what's written in the newspapers they cite is actually true, whereas in fact it means the exact opposite (i.e. it means don't do original research). If the main source-related policy page were called Cite sources, then this page could be called "How to cite sources," which again is self-explanatory, and which could then contain all the optional instructions. If you want to propose that, I think I'd support you, unless others have strong arguments against.
The other thing, Dan, is that these pages aren't for newbies. To some extent they are, and all should have clear intros that newbies can scan for the basics. But the pages are also designed to close various loopholes that more experienced, bad-faith, POV editors use to try to get their own arguments onto pages. That's why, for example, the NOR page contains so many qualifications, which you tried to delete before. The WP:V page is the same and is likely to get more complex, not less, as the regular editors of those pages find weaknesses in the policy. The policies are bound to become more complex as the encylcopedia grows and the number of people testing its weaknesses grows too. If you want to be involved in this, you're more than welcome, but please work with us, not against us. SlimVirgin (talk) 16:52, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Sounds like case-law, and I think it's the path to madness. It would be a lot easier to make the pages simple then just use common sense in their application - writing out more and more complex examples here, that anyone can just turn around and ignore at the end of the day, doesn't really help. If people really get uppity, send them to the arbcom and let them sort it out. Dan100 (Talk) 00:28, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Sending people to the arbcom would be more time-consuming than writing comprehensive policy pages. I agree that using common sense would be the best thing, but unfortunately it's in short supply. And there are people who genuinely don't know what original research is and don't know how or when to cite sources, because they've never done any academic or professional research. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:36, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Inline links

Just noticed this absurd recommendation:

Note that inline links of this kind are placed after the punctuation, not before it, like this. [10] New sentence about something else with a non-applicable link at its start.

This is completely perverse and contrary to all linguistic sense - a reference link should appear in the sentence it refers to, not at the start of the following sentence. Sentences don't start with references, which is what this is advising. I'd like to recommend a change to:

Note that inline links of this kind are placed before the punctuation, not after it, like this [11]. New sentence starts. - MPF 22:20, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
This language seems to have been introduced by User talk:Slrubenstein in late October. [12] A vigorous discussion of footnotes was occurring at the same time on the talk page. [13] I didn't find a specific discussion of the language cited by MPF --Walter Siegmund (talk) 00:58, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
It first appeared a day earlier on 23rd [14], and was then involved in an apparent edit war being removed and added back one or two times; as far as I can tell it appears to be the idea of a single contributor introduced as a fait accompli - MPF 01:26, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

MPF is correct. Just to keep the record straight, I did not introduce that language in question into the article. It is possible that it was "the idea of a single contributor introduced as a fait accompli," but I would not entirely discount the possibility that it has another source. Slrubenstein | Talk 04:38, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

I apologize to Slrubenstein for missing the earlier edit. Slrubenstein makes a good point that its source may be older. I think it is fair to say that in this style guide and its talk page, it is a inadequately vetted recent addition and its antecedents on other pages are not documented. Neither Wikipedia:Ways to cite sources or Wikipedia:Inline Citation have talk page content, so it didn't come from those locations.
I find it disturbing that Wikipedia:Ways to cite sources and Wikipedia:Inline Citation exist in parallel with this page and overlap extensively with it. Is this a complete list? I think it is a maintenance headache to have more than one page on the same topic and an invitation for conflict and inconsistency to develop among them. --Walter Siegmund (talk) 17:24, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

No need to apologize. I should also have said that I too find the phrasing odd, but I'd ask SlimVirgin, SEWilco, or Francis Schonken (I think, aside from me, the most active contributors to this page) and perhaps Jmabel if they know what the source or model for this is. As to your second point, it is a good one. Do you know how old the "inline citation" page is? If it is recent, I would suggest merging it -- putting any important content into this article, and deleting that one. If the two articles remain, there is a clear distinction: one (this one) is a style guideline and as such should provide all the information needed for users who want to know why and how to cite sources. The other (I am guessing) is not a guideline page but simply an article on "inline citation." If I am right about this distinction, I can see the distinction as a justification for maintaining the two separate pages (whatever overlap in content, they are actually about two different things: one is about how we do certain things at Wikipedia, the other is about a specific practice by zounds of editors and publishers. Nevertheless, Wsiegmund's point is well-taken. If we made any change, as I said, I would merge the useful content in the "inline citation" page into this article, and then have a redirect from "inline citation" to this page.

My guess is that at some point in the past year, a n editor who was having trouble distinguishing between different ways to cite sources felt that each way should have its own page. That may or may not be a good idea. But this page is most definitely necessary and needs to be clear and thorough. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:20, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Regarding numbered links and footnotes, I believe these are placed after the punctuation e.g. see here. SlimVirgin (talk) 17:49, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
In standard citation formatting, bracketed numeric references are placed inside the punctuation, while superscripted numeric references are placed outside the punctuation. (See, for example, the LaTeX overcite package which implements the latter, automatically changing the order of the reference and punctuation since default references in LaTeX are otherwise bracketed.) —Steven G. Johnson 18:39, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

First, all I know is that superscripted numbers marking foot- or end-notes go after the punctuation, and Harvard in-linecitation before the punctiation. Is it possible these rules vary from the US to the UK? For other questions, does any one have access to the Chicago Manual of Style? Second point: let us remember that this is a guideline, and not a policy. While uniformity across articles would be nice, it is not mandated. The most important thing is that complite references are provided for sources in a style that is consistent within the article, hopefully with consensus support of the main contributors. No offense to anyone, but next to these major issues, and given that this is only a guideline, punctuation is a trivial matter. Even if all style guides and academic journals and presses had one rule, all we could do is observe that that is the standard practice. We couldn't say that all wikipedia articles have to comply with it. Not in a guideline. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:13, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree. I also agree with Walter's point about the inadvisability of having multiple pages deal with citation formats, because of the risk of inconsistency. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:20, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
  • You can blame me for the inline citation page. Back in May or June of 2005 User:Bschorr and myself were putting the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) through the featured article candiates page, and one of the complaints recieved was a lack of inline ciations. This page had no usefull information on them, so I post a request on the talk page asking if anyone knew what they were and how to put them in. When asked what I would do to make this easier my suggestions ranged from adding a section here to creating a whole new page, and at the time no one seemed to oppose the idea. After I created the page initially I left a note on Raul654's talk page asking him if the page was exceptable. He moved the original page to Wikipedia: Inline Citation and also proposed that the page be merged into one of a handful of other pages here, which I went ahead and did; however, User:Stevenj reverted them almost instantly. A discussion into this resulted in an unofficial dicision to merge and redirect my page, but for some reason he did not do it, and I did not want to insert my edits on the page since I figured that they would be reverted again; additionally, I feel that if someone reverts my edit to a page I should not re-insert the material because I assume the one reverting my edit is more knowlagable about the topic than me. Since then this page has just sort of existed in a kind of vacuum. TomStar81 21:53, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

WP:V citations

Let's rename this page

As proposed by SlimVirgin above. (And maybe WP:V too?) This should be renamed "how to cite sources", which although as I've demonstrated above was never the purpose of this page, it's what it's become. So it's time the name caught up with the contents. Dan100 (Talk) 00:30, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree with this. Does anyone have a view about changing WP:V? SlimVirgin (talk) 00:38, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
It's pretty clear that WP:V has become what "Cite sources" used to be, and "Cite sources" is now just a somewhat scrambled style guide. I'm fine with moving this to "How to cite sources" and WP:V to "Cite sources". —Steven G. Johnson 01:14, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Remember that the point of WP:V (or at least it was), was that information should be written so that it could be easily checked, not that you should cite sources (that was what this page did, back in the day). I think WP:V should probably stay as is, pending better reasoning from others :-). Dan100 (Talk) 12:27, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I propose a different new name: "Citing sources". That implies a "how-to" element but retains the suggestion of information about the ins and outs of citing sources (let's face it, with the existing preamble, this page is not purely a style guide page). Dan100 (Talk) 13:08, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Were you aware that User:Mistress Selina Kyle has changed the redirect target for Wikipedia:Cite sources to point at Wikipedia:Verifiability? User:Ceyockey 03:45, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
I think that's a poor decision; I'll redirect it here, if no one's beaten me to it. -- Jmabel | Talk 08:04, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Uncited, disputed statements

Do I correctly understand from this page that all uncited, disputed statements should be cut from articles? My policy has been that if I think something in an article is wrong, but am not absolutely certain it is wrong, I leave the text in place at least for a few days, while raising the issue on the talk page; if I can trace the text to a particular user who is not clearly watchlisting the article, I leave a note on their user talk page; etc. I've always thought this leads to more harmonious editing. But if the guideline says that I should cut such material to talk, and if there are a reasonable number of people ready to back me up when I do this, sure, I'm willing to be a more aggressive editor, it might even save time. On the other hand, if there are not a reasonable number of people ready to back me up when I do this, please, let's not say this in the guideline, because it is just an invitation to start edit wars.

Comments? -- Jmabel | Talk 03:57, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

For me, it depends on the situation. If it's a harmless claim, I tend to ask for a citation and leave it for a week or so. If it's harmful, I delete it. If it's borderline and/or it's an edit someone has clearly put a lot of work into, I move it to the talk page. But not every single uncited statement should be cut, because not all statements need a citation. SlimVirgin (talk) 07:02, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Slim, do you think that is in line with the current guideline, or that the guideline should be changed? - Jmabel | Talk 23:02, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Joe, which sentence(s) of the guideline are you objecting to so I can take a closer look? This page doesn't (to me) read as though all uncited statements should be cut. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:10, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
"Disputed information should be placed on the article's talk page. Editors should then find sources to support it (if possible) and re-instate it into the article proper, otherwise the information should remain out of the article." Doesn't seem to leave much wiggle room. -- Jmabel | Talk 23:02, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
There's much wiggle room there. If nobody disputes your statement, then it can stay. However, once someone disputes it, then it should be removed and as such they have the right to do so. Further, since people have to actually be specific about what they dispute, it isn't an efficient mechaism for page blanking vandalism, so pretty much you should assume that a person who does it has a good faith reason to ask for a reference. Or put another way, all disputed statements may be cut as long as you can explain why and nobody provides a reference rather than all unreferenced statements should be cut. Mozzerati 23:11, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
If nobody disputes your statement, then of course it's not disputed. Otherwise, I think the policy (correctly) says that disputed statements should be removed until properly sourced, with no wriggle room at all. Why should there be room to wriggle about something so fundamental? -- Grace Note.
OK, then I will start to be a hard-ass when I dispute something, but I expect backup from the others involved in this page, and if I don't get it I am going to feel like I've been hung out to dry. -- Jmabel | Talk 21:50, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
I know what you mean by hard ass is that you're just going to be bold and remove the disputed material, but of course civility can go a long way towards encouraging people to provide sources. I know you mean that too, but it's worth clarifying for others. I pretty much agree with SlimVirgin's dichotomy above for how to decide what to do. But overall one of the best things we can do to improve Wikipedia's reliability is to challenge and/or remove dubious material. It reinforces the message that verifiability and real research are important, and if widespread, can help move us from a culture of just adding whatever editors feel like to adding only verifiable information. Of course we should make it clear removing valid uncited information without a good reason is vandalism. So you have to have a source to back up removing it if challenged too. - Taxman Talk 22:09, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

I have now done this at Paleoliberalism [15]. If you don't mind, I will wait a few days to see the denouement before adopting a more aggressive approach in general. -- Jmabel | Talk 22:05, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Looking at that case specifically, it looks like you had a mountain of evidence and no one was even trying to provide any the other way. Yes, I would have move faster there, and it looks like on the whole you did the right thing. - Taxman Talk 22:12, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Thoughts, in this respect, on Economic spectrum, which just survived AfD? - Jmabel | Talk 08:22, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Do we cite sources when we find a fact?

What do we do for articles that don't have a refrence section, I'm a little hesitant to put sites I found that contain the info under Refrences as thiers no way of knowing if the original author used it as a refrence or not. Does Wikipedia have a policy on this? Deathawk 15:25, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

I'd put it in - it doesn't matter if the original author used that source or not if it backs up the current content :-) Dan100 (Talk) 21:33, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
The original author, like all editors, gets mercilessly edited! It doesn't matter what source they used. -- Grace Note

Major style change without apparent consensus

A series of recent changes to this page appear to me to amount to a major style change without apparent consensus. Looking at the history, the changes all seem to be by Speedoflight who apparently has not, at least under that name, even participated in discussion on this talk page. There are several edits; the key changes can be seen in this series of edits. Normally, I'd just rever, but this has sat for over 24 hours, so perhaps some discussion occurred and I can't find it?

A typical example of the change would be that rather than citing:

… one would cite:

For the record, I'm strongly opposed. The normal reader of the article has no need to see the URL. I'd like to hear from others. -- Jmabel | Talk 23:11, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

It looks to me as though the editor has set the examples as what they consider to be more proper in the given styles of referencing. I think you could argue it either way. Personally, I don't like the first version, because references should be alpha by author in my view. I don't much like the second either, because, like you, I don't believe a hyperlink needs to be written out in a hypertext. This is not a paper work. I'd go for hyperlinking the title in the second version and dropping the URL, although of course I'd use Harvard anyway. --Grace Note

I don't think it would be out of the question to revert (if possible) the bulk of the changes pending further discussion. I've not looked at the history to see if this has already been done, but I don't think it would be overly protective to do so if it hasn't been done. User:Ceyockey 22:26, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

A strange way to do references

Someone put a boatload of references into Colonial America, many of which look something like this:

They link to an online library that requires payment to view materials. No ISBN is provided. Is this okay, or should I change them to a less commercial style? --Smack (talk) 19:37, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

I think you should do what you suggest. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:16, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
Agreeing with User:Slrubenstein ... a less commercial link would be preferable, I think. User:Ceyockey 22:21, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Internet Archive source template

Has there been a discussion about developing a source template for the Internet Archive, something that would sit on Wikipedia:Template messages/Sources of articles, perhaps something that would take the original URL and a date as parameters. User:Ceyockey 22:44, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

I know I've seen something floating around, but if I remember correctly it wasn't well done. Yes, we should make something slod and place it there. -- Jmabel | Talk 04:45, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Quotation marks

Harvard citation style calls for the use of double quotation marks surrounding periodical, journal, magazine, and newspaper articles. See . I've added these in the two examples on this page. Badagnani 01:06, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Naming of the section: "References" or "Sources"

Could you please consider the short discussion thread at Talk:Credibility#References vs. Sources and let me know if the "References" vs. "Sources" usage cited is consistent with current practice? Thanks. User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:06, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

I've left a response. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:14, 1 January 2006 (UTC)


FYI: m:Cite/Cite.php [1]

  1. ^ It looks great!

-- nyenyec  03:07, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

The new cite.php appears, to me, to ahve the potential for defusing a lot of the citation-style format disputes, because it ought to be able to generate either format from the same text. At the moment, unfortunately, it can only generate footnote style URL cites (I think: am I wrong?), but there is no obvious reason why it can't do inline/harvard ones too. I tried to ask about this but didn't understand the answer :-(. It should be possible to have it pick up a page-specific "default style", which could be overridden by a reader-preferences. William M. Connolley 23:07, 6 January 2006 (UTC).

Direct quotes in references

Very often, when I've added specific fact references to an well-fleshed out article, I provide the direct quote from the source that I cite, after the citation.

I believe this form of citation to be valuable because it allows factual verification to be done without requiring particular expertise in the subject. As I believe that any serious user of Wikipedia ought to personally verify all the facts they wish to use, making such a process easy and doable by non-specialists is very important.

If direct quotes are provided, the referenced facts in the article can be verified in a two part process. One step is to verify that the provided quotes are present in the book, web site, or other source where they say they are. This can can be done without needing to know anything about the subject - they just need access to the cited source. The other step, which can be done first, is to verify that the provided quotes sufficiently support the fact in question. This can be done online, within Wikipedia, without needing to access the cited work. If direct quotes are not provided, the process of factual verification requires more subject specific knowledge, and more time and difficulty.

Objections have been raised to providing direct quotes. One objection was that it would severely bulk up the 'pedia. I agree that this is a concern, and suggest that, if such references get too big, they be moved to a subpage called /References, where they will not delay loading of the main article.

It was suggested to me that I should bring this procedure up for discussion on this page, as it is not currently typical practice on Wikipedia. Thoughts, comments, suggestions, objections? JesseW, the juggling janitor 08:50, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

As a rule, I think extended quotes should be used when (1) they are making controversial claims, so having it "from the horse's mouth" is the safe way to go, and (2) when they are so well-written that any attempt to paraphrase would either rob them of meaning or actually end up taking up more space. Otherwise, I say paraphrase rather than quote. Also, even when long quotes are appropriate and necessary, we should be wary of fetishizing them (as if the quote itself solved all problems). Sometime, even or especially with long quotes, i tis very important to provide contextual information. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:41, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure you understood what I was proposing - I am proposing that it is better, for (nearly) any statement in Wikipedia, to have a corrusponding reference (in any format, I have no opinion on formatting issues), and for that reference to contain a citation, and a quote which supports the referenced statement. None of this would be required, all of it would be valued, and not removed as unnecessary or a waste of space. It seemed to me that you were responding to the use of quotes in the text of articles; I agree with your rule in that case, no agrument. Did you mean to apply your rule to the sort of factual verification aids that I am proposing? If so, can you say how a paraphrase would be as easy and quick to verify the existance of as a direct quote? It seems to me that it would be more difficult. A paraphrase would probably be about as easy, or maybe somewhat easier, to verify that it supports the referenced fact, but at the expense of making it harder to verify it's accuracy in reproducing the cited work. This doesn't seem like a good trade-off to me. I look forward to your response. JesseW, the juggling janitor 23:09, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
One (fairly obvious) point is that many cited statements, especially in articles which consist primarily of historical narrative, may condense material from several paragraphs of source text. Including the appropriate quotes for this type of citation would result in a reference section several times the size of the article—hardly the most readable result.
This would be appropriate, however, if particular opinions are being cited; but in such cases, it may be better to work the quotes into the article proper. —Kirill Lokshin 01:10, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
That is a good point - however, wouldn't in most cases a reputable secondary source be available with shorter and more closely identifable statements? I guess this is another part I hadn't thought to mention - I would mostly be citing (reputable and reliable) secondary(or even terciary) sources, as a means of showing that the known experts on a subject believe something, rather than that the primary sources show it (which could clearly require considerably more space to reference). I hope I'm not rambling too much. JesseW, the juggling janitor 02:27, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
The availability of sources (both primary and secondary) will doubtless vary by subject. For instance, there is enough material published about World War II that we could probably find appropriate quotes to include on any major point. In articles on more obscure subjects (such as this one), the selection of useful secondary sources may be much more limited, and finding a succinct statement on a particular point may be impossible.
In other words: this is a good idea in some circumstances, but there are enough exceptions that we should be careful not to let it become something expected of all articles. —Kirill Lokshin 02:35, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your last paragraph - I totally agree with it. We should do this when it is feasible, but it should absolutly not be required of any article. Do you have any recomendations as to how best to phrase this? "Providing succient direct quotes in citations which directly support the statements being cited is encouraged, but should never be a requirement and the lack of such should never be a reason to remove a statement." added to an appropriate guideline page, maybe? JesseW, the juggling janitor 03:45, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
How about "Including succinct quotes from source material in citations is encouraged if such quotes directly support the statements being cited; however, this is not appropriate in all cases, and should never be a requirement"? I think not removing statements is implicit in it not being a requirement; but maybe someone who deals with more contentious articles sees the need for a stronger wording? —Kirill Lokshin 04:00, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
I like that wording fine. Assuming we get no objections, should we put it in Citing_sources, or somewhere else? JesseW, the juggling janitor 06:21, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
You might also want to point out that if the material is copyrighted, then such quotations, like all other content, must conform to fair use. Also, that this is particularly valuable in the case of obscure sources.
I find myself particularly wondering: how would we apply this in the case of foreign-language sources? -- Jmabel | Talk 09:05, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
Hi Kirill, thanks for posting that here first. Can you clarify what you mean by "should never be a requirement"? A direct quote is something that often is required in contentious cases. SlimVirgin (talk) 09:12, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
My only concern was that otherwise adequate citations (for non-contentious cases) not be rejected on the grounds of not having a direct quote, since providing one may not be possible. Is there some way to indicate that and to stress the need for quotes in contentious cases at the same time? —Kirill Lokshin 14:04, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps I still misunderstand Jesse. But if I do understand him, I think he is mixing up two ways of using footnotes. One way is as a form of in-line citation as opposed to the other form of in-line citation, Harvard Style. In this sense of footnote, I am opposed to putting quoted material in them. But there is a second use of footnote, which is not a system of citation and thus not competing with or an alternative to Harvard Style. This second use of footnote is to provide ancillary or tangential material. In this sense of footnote, I support using them to provide extended quotes. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:44, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

I may be misunderstanding you, but I don't think I'm suggesting either of the two ways you mention. My proposal is bascially unrelated to footnotes - it's a system for making factual verification easier. It does this by providing direct quotes, along with citations to the works they are from, which support particular statements in an article. The way this information is formatted, and the way its linked to statements in the article, is of no concern to me; Harvard references are fine, footnotes are fine, a seperate /References page which copies the article statements is fine, any format is fine. JesseW, the juggling janitor 08:21, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

As people have mentioned, my proposed procedure is already used in the case of controversial or disputed statements; so I guess my proposal is just to state that using it is allowed, but not required, for any statement, controversial or "obvious". I don't think I made that clear enough above. BTW, thanks to everyone for your comments, the've really helped me understand the issues better. JesseW, the juggling janitor 08:21, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Here is another proposed text, that includes all the objections I've seen above: "Direct quotes, used as a method of easing factual verification, can be provided (in whatever format is agreed on by the main editors of the article) for any statement." Any objections? If this gets no comments for two weeks, please copy it into the page, following the WP:BRD cycle. JesseW, the juggling janitor 19:30, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

I've added it; let's see who objects... JesseW, the juggling janitor 18:28, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Newpaper names

Could we have a style for disambiguating newspapers with common names? Try googling Guardian, Independent or Times and you'll see what I mean... And while it's common for outsiders to refer to a paper by adding a specifier (I believe The Times is known as the London Times in the RotW), it is often not part of the masthead, and may never be used by readers. I know clicking or hovering on an external link (if there is one) can help, but this is not much use if you've taken a printout, and excrutiating if you're a dial-up user in a country/area with poor telecoms. I've just been adding "(national UK title)", but that's ugly. Any suggestions? JackyR 14:42, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Assuming the U.S. is part of the RotW, London Times is relatively rare (at least among the literati); "The Times of London" would be the traditional locution. -- Jmabel | Talk 08:39, 7 January 2006 (UTC)
A good eg - so even the non-local names for a given paper vary. (And yes, if I'm using UK examples [or Indian, or ...], then of course RotW includes the US.) Any suggestions for a neat, consistent solution? JackyR 15:39, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Notability (websites)

I've recently rewritten the above page, and there is currently discussion on the talk page regarding the viability of certain websites as reliable sources. Comment would be appreciated. Hiding talk 16:47, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Template tags

I added a section on template tags ({{unreferenced}}, {{Primarysources}}) because I was looking for them, couldn't find them, and this was one of the obvious places to look. Quarl (talk) 2006-01-08 11:03Z

Book citations

I'm confused about what "standard" is being used for citations. I have noticed what I feel is the wrong format for two author citations. I am seeing the following:

Smith, John and Jones, Paul. Book of Smith and Jones. University Press: Hartford, CT.

I believe the proper form for this citation is:

Smith, John and Paul Jones. Book of Smith and Jones. University Press: Hartford, CT.

Can someone help explain which format is correct wiki? JJ 23:38, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

I do not think there is one correct way. Citing sources is a style guideline and not a policy; that is, there is no one rule everyone has to follow (although for what it is worth, I agree with you). The crucial thing is to provide adequate information in a clear way and do so consistently within a given article. Or are you proposing to change a particular part of this style guideline? If you are making a proposal rather thn asking a question, finee - but then we need to discuss it. Slrubenstein | Talk 23:42, 8 January 2006 (UTC)
While there is no official Wikipedia "correct" choice between the two examples cited, when in doubt, use the second one, which is standard (at least in history writing). I don't believe I've seen the first style outside of Wikipedia; it strikes me as someone trying to follow a style without being sure of the precise rules. --Kevin
The second one is definitely standard citation style. Not sure who came up with that first one, but I wouldn't recommend using it. Kaldari 18:14, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I guess I'm making a proposal. Why not be consistent with citations and use the "correct" second form above? In any case, how do I make this a proposed wiki standard? JJ 23:59, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
I think you just did. I second the proposal. Kaldari 02:14, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
The template {{Book reference | First = | Last = | Authorlink = | Coauthors = | Year = | Month = | Title = '''REQUIRED''' | Chapter = | Editor = | Others = | Edition = | Pages = | Publisher = | Location = | ID = | URL = }} provides a standard format for book citations. Template talk:Book reference recommends, Additional author or authors (Firstname Lastname is the standard format for the most common citation styles), separated by ", " (comma space). It would be helpful, if this guideline and the template guideline were consistent. --Walter Siegmund (talk) 02:53, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
The distinction is that the example listed above uses CMS-style citation, while {{book reference}} uses a different style (MLA, I believe). Given that both styles are in use, there's always going to be some inconsistency. —Kirill Lokshin 02:57, 17 January 2006 (UTC)


Does everything need to be cited, or is there a threshold of obviousness? And if so, what is that threshold? As you may know, in the discussion here and on WP:V I've been one of the ones arguing that some things can go without citing, but I've generally been over-ruled. At Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Dixie (song), BrianSmithson has been pressured to remove what some are deeming excessive citations, and has accordingly removed some that even I would have preserved. This makes an interesting test case, I suggest that people look at it. If this policy is going to mean something, we need to look at where the rubber meets the road. -- Jmabel | Talk 01:57, 9 January 2006 (UTC)


Having several standards/accepted formats for citing sources is confusing, and it looks messy if two or more are used in a single article. I think there should be only one set standard each for humanities and sciences. This makes everything more uniform and brings articles closer to how they appear in "real world" off-line publications. Eilu 13:34, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

We'd never agree on a single standard, though. It seems more productive to live and let live to an extent (similar to British/American spelling, Continental/American dates, etc.) instead of having a protracted bloodbath over which form is the one true citation style. —Kirill Lokshin 13:37, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
The guidelines are quite clear that the same style for citation should be used consistently within one article, so "it looks messy if two or more are used in a single article" is not an issue. As for a uniform standard for all articles, the guidline provides its rationale, but Kirill Lokshin's explanation is succinct and sufficient Slrubenstein | Talk 14:41, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Citing liner notes

The primary source for many album articles are the album liner notes or sleeve notes. How does one properly cite liner notes? Kaldari 21:12, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Nevermind, I decided to answer my own question. See Wikipedia:Cite_sources/example_style#Liner_notes. Kaldari 21:40, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Citing television documentaries and news programs

Is there a standard for how to quote a documentary as a source? For example, information presented on a "National Geographic" special? Elonka 21:45, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Sources in translation

"If quoting an English translation, the foreign language original must be given since mistakes may be made in translation meaning that the original should be used for verification." I find this a bizarre policy. Does this mean, for example, that when writing "At the height of his personality cult, Mao was commonly known in China as the 'Four Greats': 'Great Teacher, Great Leader, Great Supreme Commander, Great Helmsman'," we have to track down the original Chinese? That when we quote Flaubert saying of Tolstoy "What an artist and what a psychologist!" and Thomas Mann saying "Seldom did art work so much like nature", we must track down the original French and German, respectively? That Old Testament quotations must always provide the original Hebrew? That every time a non-English-speaking politician is quoted in the English-language press we cannot cite that unless we track down the original foreign-language quotation? Somehow I doubt it. So what, if anything, does it mean? It has the ugly potential to be used as grounds to remove quite well-cited material that someone dislikes and cannot object to on a more reasonable basis. It is hard to imagine its application for any other purpose. I do not believe this should be here. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:33, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

It's been well over 48 hours & no one has responded, so I have deleted the sentence. - Jmabel | Talk 21:22, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Just a thought, but is it not worth placing something along the lines of providing the original text if there is no sourcable translation, i.e. the editor in question has translated the quote. I agree that if the quote is already translated we don't need to provide the original text, although we should cite the translation, for example, as translated by The Guardian. Hiding talk 22:00, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Glad you cut that out, Jmabel. I don't think the guidelines do a good job of dealing with foreign-language sources as things stand. I've written a couple of articles based on foreign sources, for example Puhdys, where I avoided inline citing altogether because almost all available sources were in German. I mentioned some sources in hidden comments but otherwise left the article with a literature list at the end (which listed the books that were, after all, my main sources). The German Wikipedia article wasn't much help, and I'd like to think that what I wrote was more comprehensive, so I ignored it as a source. But I didn't find any guidelines that were really applicable to the situation at hand. ProhibitOnions 00:36, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Numbered external links - before or after period?

I read that the numbered external links should be placed after a period. However, this would seem inconsistent when there are multiple external links in a sentence.

Example: the quick [16] brown fox jumps [17] over the lazy dog.[18]

Does the last external link given refer to "dog"? Or does it refer to the complete sentence? This is unclear by the current style guide.

I suggest that we change this section to reflect that unnamed external links must appear directly after what they represent or are relevant to; whether this is just one word, or a whole sentence or paragraph. --Michiel Sikma 07:25, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

I suspect that this is a fall-out of the great punctuation divide. My own personal opinion, which nicely accords with my Brit-centric punctuation style, is that—as you say—references should be placed immediately after whatever they are supporting. The main problem with showing references after a full stop (what we call the period :-) is that it is then possible, due to Murphy's interference with formatting—i.e. screwing up the line-wrapping,for the appearance to be given that it refers to the next sentence. So I vote for it always being inside the full-stop/period regardless. HTH HAND —Phil | Talk 13:45, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Clarification about ease of checking

I've added a clarification to the policy to address a point that came up on another talk page: does the policy require that a cited source should be easily checkable? If a source is capable of being checked, but there are major obstacles in the way of doing so (e.g. it's a rare publication, or in limited circulation), is it a viable source? Clearly it must be, as the whole point of citing a source is to enable others to track it down. Ease of consultation is another issue altogether and one that I think is out of scope for our purposes. I'd welcome any views on this point... -- ChrisO 21:27, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

IMO, a difficult to check source is better than no-source, but not much better. It would satisfy WP:CITE, but could quite plausably not help in satisfing WP:V, which has to do with the ability of other Wikipedians(and readers) to verify claims we make. A difficult to verify source, imo, is very similar to a "personal meeting" source; it's better than nothing, certainly, but it's not particularly helpful when it comes to WP:V. JesseW, the juggling janitor 06:30, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
I'm a bit confused by your edit summary, Jesse -- how does the editor who hasn't joined the discussion on the talk page get deemed to "have given more explanation so far"? -- Antaeus Feldspar 05:18, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
No problem; I was referring to
  • 22:15, 24 January 2006 Terryeo (removed the dagger. Citations should generally follow these procedures because readers read to learn the subject, not how esoteric the subject is.)
That seemed like some explanation of eis disagreement with the edit, so I reverted to eis version, pending further discussion on the talk page. I'll go drop a note on eis talk page now, so eis fully aware of this. JesseW, the juggling janitor 05:52, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for the communication JesseW. The reason I edited WP:CITE is because before ChrisO edited it, I used it to point out how inappropriate ChrisO's citation was. He quoted and cited a Scientology, confidential, trade secret document which only he has access to. I pointed out the CITE guideline and the appropriateness of easily viewed information. Whereupon he edited the guideline to reflect his personal point of view. In general I understand there will be some instances where a document, perhaps a one of a kind, historical document, will not be very available. But I can't agree we should use unavailable cites when many citations are available for present time controversys. Scientology, as an example. The internet is brimming with controversy. I don't believe we should attempt to act as news reporters, exposing trade secrets. I think it puts us in a class which is not encyclopedic. I am completely against what ChrisO is attempting to accomplish, which is to broadly publish Scientology, confidential documents and using Wikipedia as a platform to do it. I completely believe information should be open and above board, if it doesn't intrude into copyrights and trade secrets. As I understand it, the main point of Wikipedia is to use the internet in full bloom, so a reader can explore the information he wishes to, when he wishes to. But of course some informations will not be readily available. We can cite the dead sea scrolls but can't handle them. Of course. Thank you again for including me in this discussion, JesseW Terryeo 08:12, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
I see I should include the citation which I feel is inappropriate. Here [19] the citation 6 is the citation which promted my comment to ChrisO, which promted him to edit WP:CITE, which prompted me to remove the dagger he added, etc. The talk about that which I have submitted as a "Request for Comment" is here [20] and ChrisO's notification that he modified WP:CITE is here: [21]. Thank you JesseW. Terryeo 08:29, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

This AfD seems like it might indicate some precedent on the subject, as the nominator in that case made similar claims as are being made here. -- Antaeus Feldspar 17:53, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

It is my contention that a subject which has a lot of information available in books, newspapers and on the internet, is not contributed to by citing sources of information which are esoteric in nature, difficult or impossible to find and explore and which, conceiveably, would present some legal risk. While I edit only under this name, my POV is clearly presented at User:Terryeo.
Okay, let's parse the line in question . It says: To ensure that the content of articles is credible and can be checked by any reader or editor. The key point here is that the source can be checked. The "personal meeting" example given by JesseW is a good example of a source that can't be checked, unless I somehow recorded it and made that recording generally available.
Ease of checking is not a criterion. The policy only rules out sources that can't be checked at all. A source may be difficult to check in that it may require access to specialist archives, collections or subscription-based sources of information - in fact, this is quite common, especially if one is talking about historical or specialist material. But as long as it's possible to check a source, even if there are difficulties in doing so, the policy's criteria are met.
As such, I'm going to revert the deletion, as it isn't a change of policy, merely a reiteration of what the policy already says. Terryeo, if you are arguing that ease of checking should be a criterion, that would be a major change of policy. I don't think you would find much support for it. -- ChrisO 22:33, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
A stolen document is not a valid verification, ChrisO. If you had access to stolen military Top Secret Documents, would you cite them too? Plainly you are in error on this issue. Terryeo 18:36, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
It is plainly wrong to cite the source you cite, ChrisO, the cite which begin this discussion. Plainly wrong. You seem to have in your possession confidental Scientology documents. You seemed determined to cite them. I tell you that is wrong. Other persons can not view the citation. As spelled out for you above, it conflicts with WP:V. Perhaps I should have used that instead of WP:CITE. The main point has to do with how our Wikipedia can be used. We do not want to create a secret body of information. We want to create an easily read, readily referenced body of information that is a synergy of internet and encylopedia. Your modifying WP:CITE so you can cite confidential, not availalbe to other people, Scientology documents, trade secrets, trademarks, whatever they are classed as, is wrong. You shouldn't do it. The major point is that there is a vast amount of citeable information on Scientology. Your insistence that it is perfecly cool to modify Guidelines to suit your whims is plainly wrong. Besides, the point is being talked about here. With a few more hours of patience the situation can be reasonably resolved.
I don't see how it conflicts with WP:V. Jayjg (talk) 23:04, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
Let's face it, Terryeo, you yourself can check the references. All you have to do is to take the Class VIII course from which the citation comes, or consult the Sea Org's archives in the example of the other citation. You can do that. What's more, you're in a better position than most of us to do so. The real issue here is that you have POV problems with the citations, which is why you're trying to read a meaning into this policy that simply isn't there. -- ChrisO 23:14, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
I understand perfectly what you have just stated ChrisO. Because you are not commenting on Wiki Policy WP:V nor on WP:CITE (guideline) and because your response is not to the issue in question but to me personally, I choose to direct your attention back to the issue at hand. I believe Wikipedia's intent is to make information more widely available to readers. I believe the internet provides a wonderful opportunity to fulfill our founder's stated intention. I maintain that treading on the fringes of confidential documents (be they Scientology, FBI, CIA or Ford Motor Company) contradicts stated Wikipolicy. I believe further in some articles it might be an issue, but in Scientology articles, with vast amounts of controversial information available, it isn't appropriate.Terryeo 23:32, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

What I'm concerned about is the likelihood that, should verifiability be considered overriding and universal, that the following scenario could be countenanced:

  1. Editor dislikes the POV being documented by fact X, cited with reference R, a book.
  2. Editor drives down to his local public library, finds reference R, and finds fact X correctly represented. Editor withholds this.
  3. Editor drives to the smaller branch a few miles away, finds reference R not in the branch's collection.
  4. Citing WP:V, Editor declares the reference "obscure", showing that the book is unavailable at his "local library" (perhaps documenting that fact with a URL showing the lack of the material in the library's catalogue), and deletes both the reference and the fact.
  5. Edit war ensues over whether the source is "obscure" or not.

Wikipedia is a worldwide project. Any given editor's access to reference material is going to vary greatly based on where he or she is located and what occupation, institutional status, or subscriptions the editor has affiliation with. A source "obscure" to you may be readily available to me, and vice versa. Sources that are demonstrably obscure to the vast majority of editors, for instance a personal interview or an untranslated foreign-language text, can probably be flagged as obscure and could be used as justification for marking an article for cleanup. But it shouldn't be used as justification for deleting material. --TreyHarris 23:29, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

There might be topics where such a situation might arise. WP:V#Dubious_sources states: "For an encyclopedia, sources should be unimpeachable." In articles which have very little information available, that situation might arise. But in articles which have vast amounts of information published, that situation need not be confronted most of the time. In this particular situation, as you see, ChrisO is attempting to bait me to read a particular document which can not be purchased, can not be obtained, which no copy of exists anywhere except in locked files (and apparently in ChrisO's closet). The document in question is only available to very trained Scientology persons and then only while they do a particular course in the Church and further, my understanding is the document never leaves the grounds. Yet he cites it. That's clearly wrong in this one case. Though I see what TreyHarris is saying.Terryeo 23:48, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
It sounds like what you are saying, Terryeo, is that the general principle must be determined by the result it would have in this one case -- rather than determining what the general principle should be because of the effect it would have on all cases, and then determining what that general principle means for this one case. That sounds like an appeal to consequences argument, not the sort of thing we can base Wikipedia policy on. -- Antaeus Feldspar 00:38, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Very well Antaeus, since you mention that. It was ChrisO who cited a source far from "unimpeachable." I stated how people could not view his verification (confidential Class VIII lectures) He then modified WP:CITE with the dagger that is mostly there now. As you know, WP:CITE is guildeline while the base it rests on is WP:V. WP:V states: "When adding information; the burden of evidence lies with the editor who has made the edit." It states sources should be "unimpeachable." WP:CITE then tells how to do the ideas of WP:V. The dagger presently reads: Note that this does not require that a source be easily checkable. In many cases, such as rare books or historical documents, it may not be. However, as long as it exists, can be cited and is capable of being accessed, it is still a viable source and may be cited. Please note that the contents of many rare books are on the internet. Note further that the content of many historical documents are easily available. I don't agree with the dagger is it reads now. I believe (some rare exceptions) we generally want to produce articles any editor can contribute to and any reader can read. We want to produce a springboard of information rather than a peek into a hidden closet of information. In some articles there may be only a small amount of information. In such situations when a reader wants to understand the article, cited information may be difficult to find. But to use that arguement to cite confidential, lock and key documents which are both protected and unpublished, contested in legal battles by the Church of Scientology is plain wrong. Terryeo 01:37, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
You keep repeating the conclusion you want the argument to come to ("it is plain wrong") as if it was a premise, Terryeo. The contents of the dagger do not contradict the passage you cite from WP:V and the passage you cite from WP:V does not support your position, as it does not say anything about how heavy the burden of evidence should be. I mean, if I went on a tear and decided that no one should cite any source that they were not willing to FedEx the original of to me, personally, I could call that "the burden of evidence" and cite WP:V and it would support my position to just the same degree as it does yours (i.e., not at all.) -- Antaeus Feldspar 02:35, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
ChrisO has quoted from the document. He has stated the document is a Class VIII confidential Church of Scientology document. Because I know how the Church of Scientology handles such documents, I know that ChrisO's copy has been stolen from the church. I say he is in the possossion of a stolen document. I do not accuess him of stealing it, but nonetheless, he possess it. My objection is, that is not an appropriate document to use as a verification. It is against WP:V, it is against WP:CITE and it is wrong by other stated policies as well. Terryeo 19:12, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

This is a strange discussion. To quote WP:V: "One of the keys to writing good encyclopedia articles is to understand that they should refer only to facts, assertions, theories, ideas, claims, opinions, and arguments that have already been published by a reputable publisher." Secret documents, by definition, are not "published." A one-of-a-kind historical document, generally, is not "published." Anything that has not been made available to the public has not been published, and is not an acceptable source here. Indeed, quoting from primary documents should be strongly discouraged in all cases, because it often veers into original research.

If there's one thing I try to tell people on Wikipedia, it's this: Do not cite original documents, ever. Unless you're published, you're not qualified to make assessments of them. Cite experts who have published about the documents. Anything else is original research and should be deleted mercilessly. --Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 04:53, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

I think you're being a bit overly bureaucratic. For most articles, that policy statement you quoted is valid, but even in non-obscure cases, there are exceptions. For instance, the article Perl 6 cites the documents written by the authors of that programming language. They are available online, and are hence eminently verifiable, but they haven't been published by any publisher, let alone a reputable one. Would you delete all the information there, or intentionally make the article wrong because those books that have been published on Perl 6 by reputable publishers are currently out of date? That's an edit war I don't want to see—the people with the true facts warring with the people with the published facts. --TreyHarris 07:18, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Actually, while I was being overly dramatic, I'm not bureaucratic at all -- I keep a low profile and ignore the Wikipedia bureaucracy with the hope that they ignore me. So far, so good. But, while working on history articles (my primary focus), I do try to enforce the "no original research" policy, because people quite frequently think Wikipedia is about being amateur historians. That's an error of course: when it comes to history, we're more reporters than historians. We report on what historians have written about; the historians examine primary documents, not us. If you want to write on Wikipedia about George Washington, for example, don't read his papers: read his biographers. Some Wikipedians don't like that idea, because while his papers are available online, you actually have to read a few books to write well on Washington. Historians have done the broad reading required to properly assess the primary documents. Most of us have not. Stay away from primary documents unless you're an expert.
But you're right to point out that this policy doesn't really apply in areas where published expert opinion is non-existent, such as certain current events, offbeat popular culture, and other miscellanea. In that case, the Wikipedia article is based on primary sources. The Wikipedia guidelines call this "source-based" research as a way of pretending that it's not original research, and we can live with that even though we know better. That being said, I'm not sure the Perl 6 article even fits this loose interpretation of "no original research", since the NOR guidelines say that "any primary-source material, as well as any generalization, analysis, synthesis, interpretation, or evaluation of information or data has been published by a third-party reputable publication (that is, not self-published)..." I'm not sure the Perl 6 article documents are available from a reputable third party (I didn't read the whole article, since it's written in geek, not English). But hey, I don't care, Wikipedia is chock full o' original research of this type. But where published expert opinion is available, Wikipedians should not delve into primary sources, and that's where I apply the rule, bureaucrat that I am. --Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 15:39, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
I am unsure how to deal with this issue of "scientology haters" linking to what are obviously stolen documents, audio lectures, etc. It seems obvious to me that such sources of information are not encyclopedic citations or even should be used as links. But more than one editor is citing and linking to Scientology "confidential" information from Scientology - type articles. Terryeo 22:04, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
If the documents have not been made available to the public (i.e. they've not been published), they are not verifiable and thus not suitable as sources, and can be reverted on sight without apology. In the Perl 6 example above, at least the primary documents are online. All of this is original research, to be sure, but like I say, there's plenty of that on Wikipedia. --Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 23:39, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't read WP:NOR and WP:V as outlawing primary sources when they are readily obtainable. To the contrary, WP:NOR says,
...research that consists of collecting and organizing information from existing primary and/or secondary sources is strongly encouraged. In fact, all articles on Wikipedia should be based on information collected from primary and secondary sources. This is not "original research," it is "source-based research," and it is fundamental to writing an encyclopedia.
But you appear to be saying that only secondary sources are allowable or else one is engaging in original research. Are you? --TreyHarris 23:45, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Sorry to respond to my own comment, but I've thought about this some more and I think the source of my argument with Kevin Myers is this: there's a big difference between what constitutes original research in history and literature and what constitutes original research in science and engineering. If a scholar takes a primary source from history and writes an interpretation of it, I think that would be considered original research. (After all, you're not going to resurrect Thomas Aquinas and interview him.) For this reason, it would seem to me that Kevin is correct in feeling that primary sources should be eschewed in favor of secondary sources, other than for the purpose of quotation. Going "straight to the source" and interpreting it for a general audience would be original research.

But in science and engineering, I don't think the same is true. Whereas the purpose of an article in history or literature may primarily be to interpret, the purpose of an article in science or engineering is to explain. Anyone with the proper grounding can read a scientific article or a technical document and can explain it in terms better suited for the general audience of Wikipedia. Performing this service of going "straight to the source" and interpreting it for a general audience is not original research. For example, if I read in a specification "the abs function is universally idempotent", I could cite that specification to tell you it means, "abs(abs(x)) will equal abs(x) for all x", and I would not be doing original research. But citing the text of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and telling you what it means would most definitely be original research.

Think of the difference between an art museum and a science museum. Both have exhibits ("primary sources"), and both have placards ("secondary sources") that tell me what I'm looking at. But in the art museum, the placards will go on to interpret the exhibit or contextualize it. In the science museum, the placards will go on to explain the exhibit. The art museum's placards are, themselves, original research. The science museum's placards are not; anyone with sufficient scientific background could reproduce the content of the placard.

I apologize for my long-windedness. But thinking this through was helpful for me to better understand what WP:NOR really means; in different disciplines, original research means different things, and so what constitutes a legitimate source for a statement will differ, too.--TreyHarris 06:30, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

That's a helpful clarification, at least for me. And it almost addresses the difficulty which roused this section of discussion, which was about citing sources. Specifically, why a publishing company used a particular picture on the cover of a book. The publishing company has not declared why they chose a particular cover picture but ChrisO cited a source which he thought was the reason that picture was chose. The problem is that the source is itself a confidential document that can not be owned. The Church of Scientology doesn't sell it, keeps it under lock and key, only allows it to be viewed by persons who are doing a certain course of education. ChrisO cites it. I maintain that source isn't an "unimpeachable" source to cite, per WP:V. ChrisO maintains the document, while not generally available, could be viewed if someone paid for and took that course of education. Terryeo 11:29, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Trey's explanation above. In history, writing from primary sources, even published ones, is original research and best left to scholars. History articles in encyclopedias are generally tertiary sources, based on a survey of the work of scholars in the field. That's the standard Wikipedia should enforce when it comes to disciplines where professional scholarly studies are readily available and more trustworthy than amateur efforts. The "no original research" page should be clarified on this point, using pretty much the words Trey uses above.
But to get back to the original point of this discussion: all sources cited in Wikipedia must have been published in some manner (i.e. made available to the public). How accessible must something be to be considered "available to the public" is a tougher question. If this Scientology source is only available to paying members, and not available online or through, say, a large university library, I'd say it's unpublished and thus does not meet Wikipedia verifiability standards as a usable source. Certainly if the document is actually important to an issue in Scientology (hardly an obscure topic), somebody somewhere has published information about it, and that published work can be cited. If this document has never been discussed in published works, I think an editor is clearly justified in removing all references to it from an article. It doesn't matter if the document is the Scientology version of the Pentagon Papers; Wikipedia is not the forum for an original exposé. Find a publisher, or a published reference. --Kevin Myers | (complaint dept.) 15:02, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

I removed the dagger, based on my reading of this (old) quote from Jimbo, on the Wikipedia talk:Fame and importance page. It says, in part: "The information[in a fictional example mentioned earlier in the page] is not verifiable by the Wikipedia community. When I say 'verifiable' I don't mean 'in some abstract fantasy theory' I mean actually practically verifiable by Wikipedians." I think that makes it pretty clear that sources which are not generally available, i.e. private surveys, personal documents, and the like, are not acceptable as citable sources. They can be mentioned, of course, if they have been talked about in "generally available sources", but they cannot themselves be used as sources. Further thoughts? JesseW, the juggling janitor 11:18, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Thank you very much JesseW. Especially thank you for including me in the discussion. My input was being by-passed and I appriciate your having messaged me. Terryeo 11:30, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree.
Of course, should there be published SECONDARY sources which in themselves are obtainable and verifiable which attest to information in documents which are not publicly accessible, that's a different matter entirely. Not every primary source is readily verifiable, by their very nature.
e.g. in the case of secret leaked documents; if they have not been published somewhere they cannot be referenced as a source. However, if some journalists, say, have used these documents as the basis for an exposé, we can cite the journalists' work as a referenced assertion that an unavailable primary source contains this information. —Matthew Brown (T:C) 12:26, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, JesseW. But while we're getting closer to consensus on what sources are definitely not verifiable, I still don't understand where we draw the line for sources that are verifiable. For instance, could I use LexisNexis as a source? LexisNexis is available to anyone, but it always requires a subscription or institutional affiliation. So is it verifiable, or not? --TreyHarris 18:52, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
LexisNexis and other such services are definitely acceptable sources. A source does not have to be free to be acceptable. It just has to be readily available, which such services are. I'm sure with any such, one would be able to find someone with access who could verify, if one doesn't want to pay for it oneself. —Matthew Brown (T:C) 19:40, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
It might be worth noting, people have been considering what makes a good source for some while: Wikipedia:Reliable_sources#Efforts_to_identify_reliable_sources Terryeo 21:51, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

What to call the References section when using footnotes

I would like to suggest, we make things simple, and always call the relevant section "References", and put footnotes, and more general references together. Here's my logic: for notes its insignficant what you call it, as somebody gets to the section by clicking on the footnote number. For references, its important to have a standard name. Also, I find with the new "references/ref" tag, its much easier than before to take a "general" reference (something that supports facts throughout the article) and turn it into a "footnoted" reference. Since a single reference can easily be used to support/footnote multiple sentences, without retyping it, it always makes sense to put all the detailed reference info with the "note" itself. Of course, its trivial what people call references, as long as they do it, but I just want the recommendations to be ultra simple. Also the word "Notes" is sometimes used for different purposes (e.g. side items, worthy of "note", but not included in the main body of article). --Rob 18:07, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

It says somewhere (WP:MOS?) to use "Notes and references" in such a case. Jkelly 00:40, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I wasn't clear. I'm not asking what the current standard is, I'm suggesting we adopt a new standard of using just "References" as the one and only section name; instead of "References", "Notes", "Notes and references", and "Footnotes". --Rob 01:08, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
There are valid reasons (not least of which are simply aesthetic ones) to allow footnotes and general references to be in separate sections, however; I don't see the benefit of forcing everyone to combine the two. —Kirill Lokshin 01:11, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Echo that. Not all footnotes are references. ··gracefool | 00:58, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Citation for Oral sources?

How would one cite Oral sources, such as Oral history and oral Didactics, especially if there is a lack of written documentation but can easily be verified by asking another person? (In the world of Oral transmissions, there are little or no written sources but plenty of confirmations, and if confirmable, it isn't considered original research). If the issue is over unglossed word translation, how would one cite words, without being a dictionary, if the words are common-knoledge words that just haven't previously been recorded or have been recorded but poorly glossed (... since this is Wikipedia is not a Wiktionary)? CJLippert 01:31, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

We don't. Obtaining information from oral sources is original research and is outside the scope of Wikipedia. If you wish to do this kind of research, publishing elsewhere is advisable. —Matthew Brown (T:C) 12:21, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Well, then. What about written sources that broach the topics but only through oral sources the specifics are given, and specific recording of an oral source is forbidden? Unless *strict* guidance on oral sources can be established, Wikipedia will exclude cultures with very strong oral traditions and will become very European-based, rather than being truely international. In an oral culture, oral sources with verifiable confirmer is not considered original research. In oral societies, they ensure information is transmitted accurately. In this day of age, Informational Racism, Technological Racism, or any other excusion based on print-media alone is unexcusable. If Wikipedia continues with this approach without setting oral guidance, Wikipedia might just as well delete all non-Indo-Euopean pages. CJLippert 19:48, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
As a point of information, WP:V states: "Information on Wikipedia must be reliable. Facts, viewpoints, theories and claims in articles must only be included if they have already been published by reliable and reputable sources" and it is this publication (i.e. published to public) that is the foundation of Wikipedia. Admitedly this prevents some informations from being included. On the other hand it circumvents the knotty problems of confidential information, military secrets, expose' (as newspapers do) and establishes a foundation of a certain broadness for any article. To state it in another manner, If it isn't published, it isn't real. Perhaps there is some criteria for acknowledging oral publication in oral cultures? Terryeo 21:15, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
There is. Citation usually goes in the formula of "As it was taught to me by XXX of xxx, and confirmed by YYY of yyy and by ZZZ of zzz, it is said that ...." In transmission of oral information, there must be a "chain of custody" of information that must be cited as well as the confirmers. The term for "traditional teachings" in the Ojibwe language, for example, is aanike-gikinoo'amaadiwinan, which literally means "the chain of teachings down to each other." The oral tradition is considered "invalid" if that oral chain is broken or cannot be confirmed. Even if Wikipedia includes oral sources under strict guidelines, since is ultimately a written document collection, there would be many oral information that would not be transmitted (since it would be considered "original research" as well as breaking the "chain" of teachings), so what would be acceptable for putting in print would be limited anyway. The Talmud is a good example of oral teachings. However, in the case of the Jewish societies of the past, being nearly extinct, the Rabbis of the past chose to write things down. This yielded recording of two different types of Talmud: Babylonian and Jerusalem. However, in the case of many Indigenous peoples of the Americas where oral teaching are still strong, having the specific details recorded by ethnographers are now considered stealing of culture, but yet there is the need to ensure the information the ethnographers have recorded are accurate, this puts many Indios/Indian Tribes/First Nations and their close friends in a bind to try to correct the incorrectly recorded information without divulging the actual teachings. For example in the case of the Ojibwe language, Fr. Frederic Baraga lists "Manâbisi. A kind of small swan; pl. -wag." which will tell you that the word exists, but it doesn't tell you that it is specifically the "maanaabizi(-wag)" to mean "Red Swan" (often found as part of a woman's name Maanaabiziikwe). As for what exactly the "Red Swan" is, that is something that is restricted under the Oral Teachings of the Ojibwe. CJLippert 21:50, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
That is fasinating information. Do such people use the internet much? Terryeo 00:10, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
I cannot speak for other Indigenous peoples, but I can say something about the Ojibwe, who are my employer, neighbours and friends. Some do. Others do not. Some are writers and share just enough without giving specific details. Others never write and require one on one instruction. Some live among the European Invaders: Wooden-Boats (Franco-Canadians), Soldiers-Here (Anglo-Canadians) and the Long-Knives (Americans). Others refuse to associate with non-Indians, let alone have the outside world further "steal" their culture and continue with "covert genocide." (And yes, they do often express these sentiments.) Some recognize cultures change but Traditional Teachings cannot. Others say culture must not ever change. However, no matter what their personal views of the world in general, when it comes to oral transmission of Traditions, history, mythology, medical arts, etc., due to the rules of Oral Transmission, the student learns from the teacher (the chain of teachings) but then must confirm the teacher have instructed correctly and would require to study with others to provide the confirmation. CJLippert 03:31, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
This is fascinating stuff, but as far as I can see it the position of Wikipedia is simple. Wikipedia isn't the appropriate place to first record such oral knowledge. Maybe Wiki technology can help such material to be recorded. But not this specific Wiki. --Robert Merkel 03:40, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

citing a source twice

Is there a way to make two footnotes that go to the same source in the References when using {ref|whatever}? I understand you can say "Ibid" if it's sequential, but what if it's not? It seems to be a lack in the software, unless I'm missing something. RJII 21:36, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Template:Ref label. Jkelly 21:37, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

You can also use what's discussed at , which seems to be the most effencient way of making and maintaining footnotes, as you don't need to make a redundant {{note_label}}. --Rob 12:17, 1 February 2006 (UTC)


I believe there is a fair to great need for an effort to maintain citations. I do this to the best of my ability with articles I have added citations to. I find commonly that citations are removed without reason, information is added to cited sections indicating that this new unsourced information is sourced, and sources cited in other sources are unindented or deleted. Hyacinth 09:39, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Citing sources not used in writing the article

Sometimes we find on the internet references to sources dealing with the subject of a Wikipedia article, but for some reason the source itself is not available. Do we mention that source in the article? And if we do, where? The article was not written based on that source, but we know that it would be a good further reading. — AdiJapan  08:20, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Because of the strange mode of collaboration here on Wikipedia, and because all articles are perpetually works in progress, it is perfectly acceptable to bolster material already in the article with additional sources, even when that is not the original source of the material. People often add sources after the fact to weakly sourced articles, and more often would be better. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:57, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
The policy is a little obscure on this point; if I use a source to doublecheck all the facts, but don't see anything to change, then I would argue that it still counts as a "source" and should be listed as a reference. However, others will move it to "further reading" or even delete the mention altogether, because "it wasn't used to write the article", as if we're forever limited by whatever was used for the first draft. Stan 15:11, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
That's bad. Jkelly 20:34, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Stan, you could refer to the source in the text after whichever point(s) it's a source for, and then add a full citation to the References section. That way, hopefully no one will remove it. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:12, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Jkelly, et all. That's bad. Please bring instances of this to my talk page, and I'll be happy to join in forcefully explaining the inorrectness of removing references to anyone who needs it. JesseW, the juggling janitor 06:46, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I'd like to add that I wonder how people can be so certain that the source was NOT used? —Matthew Brown (T:C) 06:50, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I can be very sure that a source was not used in the article when I write the article myself. This is why I started this section, after I wrote Lexical similarity. The third reference in that article was not used in writing the article but I found it mentioned on the internet and just from its title I am sure it would be a very good reading on the subject.
Anyway, thanks for all the opinions you guys expressed here. I will leave that reference there, hoping that someone will actually have access to it, read it, and add something to the article from it. — AdiJapan  05:00, 20 February 2006 (UTC)


The above DRV is voting to undelete a template that has been used to make external links to google searches in articles. The consensus is that the template has bona-fide uses outside the article space, but never in the article space. I think it would be useful to include a note in this guideline indicating that search results do not constitute encyclopedic references and should never be used in articles, but I'm not sure where best to put this. --- Charles Stewart(talk) 20:03, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Seems intuitive to me that google searches, as a link, are good for talk pages (to indicate commonality, to indicate popularity of a POV) and googled, searched out pages (webpages) are good cites for articles.Terryeo 13:42, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Citing user manuals

How should I go about citing information from user manuals, specifically for the List of Final Fantasy VII Characters page which contains information from the character biographies? QmunkE 20:29, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't believe that we have a standard. If it were me, I would enter the reference as if it were a normal book, and include [User manual] after the name of the book. Jkelly 20:33, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

URL date of access

Ideally, should the date that an URL is accessed be included, as in the MLA style manual? Shawnc 04:09, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, and we often do. It's a optional paramter in {{web-reference}}. JesseW, the juggling janitor 04:36, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I just asked to add similar parameters to {{book reference}}. ··gracefool | 04:47, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Footnotes better than inline URLs?

Isn't it true that, instead of an embedded link as well as a full citation (which leads to the two links getting out of sync), a footnote linked to the full citation is preferred? ··gracefool | 04:02, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

It's an incredibily fraught issue. See SEWilco, etc, ad nasuaum. Unless you enjoy pain, and causing lots of trouble and stress for lots of people, I'd avoid the issue. If you really want to work on it, write a new article, and you can use whatever kind of footnotes you like. Or learn MediaWiki and write code to allow it to be a preference. Other than that, IMO, all roads lead to great pain and stress. JesseW, the juggling janitor 09:21, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the wise answer. ··gracefool | 10:10, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

"References", "External links", and "Further reading"

Style guides don't have to go on forever. One thing a good style guide should do is advise what good style looks like. We should clarify what the standard set of reference sections should be for articles; if there is more than one good standard, we should mention both. Having all three of these sections in an article, at the same outline-level, seems wrong to me.

My thoughts:

  • Every article should begin with a "References" section -- all content has some reference, whether an author's private memory or a newspaper report or a pov official-website that someone tried to npov and summarize.
  • Articles should eventually develop a "Further reading" section, for all other external links, books, journals, and other sources that somehow didn't get explicitly cited or referenced; with a short 3-word to 1-sentence description of each item's relevance (perhaps with its own look; e.g., small italics).
    The "Further reading" section would include good secondary sources that had once been References, but were supplanted by better ones.
  • Articles that have long "Further reading" lists may break it down into subsections. "External links", "Books", "Articles and essays", "Blogs and fansites", ...

+sj +, comma zealot

    • In history articles we often have hundreds of edits a month and keeping track of the references would be hopeless. In that case the reference section should guide the reader to the best sources. Rjensen 12:26, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Citing a DVD

How to do you a DVD, DVD documentary or even a DVD book? The DVD docos are very useful with background information such as production and casting. So how can one cite these? Thanks. Forever young 02:30, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I said to ask here in the hopes that someone would immediately have the right idea. Failing that, try looking up a citation guide such as MLA, etc, the links are in the further reading section of this article. - Taxman Talk 05:23, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., 17.273: DVDs and videocassettes. Facts of publication for video recordings generally follow that of books, with the addition of the type of medium. Scenes (individually accessible in DVDs) are treated as chapters and cited by title or by number. Ancillary material, such as critical commentary, is cited by author and title. Note that in the second example, the citation is to material original to the 2001 edition, so the original release date of the film is omitted.

Note: 7. "Crop Duster Attack," North by Northwest, DVD, directed by Alfred Hitchcock (1959; Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2000).
Bibliography entry: Cleese, John, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. "Commentaries." Disc 2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail, special ed. DVD. Directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. Culver City, CA: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment, 2001.
Bibliography entry: Handel, George Frederic. Messiah, selections. VHS. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus, Robert Shaw. Batavia, OH: Video Treasures, 1988. —Wayward Talk 10:43, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Five Ws

I think this guide should have the Five Ws. Hyacinth 11:10, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

When referencing books: Are page numbers needed?

In this section books are referenced, but no page numbers or other details are given. I think this is quite unhelpful, are there guidelines that deal with this question? The author is unwilling to make amends. --tickle me 06:33, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Page numbers are certainly prefered. While any source is better than no source for our readers, and for the help of future editors, at last IMO, a specific quote from a specific page of a specific book or other reliable source is the proper response to being challenged as to the validity of a statement. If such confirmation cannot be provided, move the statement to the talk page, until it can either be disproved or supported, with such a sourced quote. JesseW, the juggling janitor 10:07, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
In the specific case mentioned above, it seems like the best solution there is for as many of the editors involved to get copies of the books that have been mentioned (as well as adding any others they may be aware of and consider useful) and start throwing lots of quotes on the talk page, working to nail down as many statements as possible. I would help, but I am somewhat too busy at the moment. Good luck everyone. JesseW, the juggling janitor 10:14, 20 February 2006 (UTC)


The number of references in articles which are making it through FAC has been rising, seemingly inexorably, for some time now. I often object to articles with more than about 40 references because I think it's almost always unnecessary to cite so many sources, and very distracting for readers to see so many footnotes in the text. In every case I object to, people are citing things which really don't need citing, like uncontroversial facts and things which are just common knowledge, and they commonly respond to my objections by saying they're only following guidelines here. So, I think it's time to include guidelines on when citations aren't necessary, and possibly a guideline on how many citations are likely to be appropriate for articles of a given length. What does anyone think? Worldtraveller 17:22, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

I think that over-referencing is a valid concern, but very few articles reach a problematic level. There's no need to cite thing that are common knowledge; but I think it's desireable to cite facts—even uncontroversial ones—if they are obscure or difficult to find. This tends to be the case for many FAs on historical subjects. —Kirill Lokshin 17:51, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
OK, so what would you say would be a problematic level? If we aren't reaching it now it looks like we inevitably will reach it at some point. I really agree with what you say, but I believe we've reached a situation of over-referencing if an article on a minor actress has 89 references. An article on World War I or the British Empire or something like that, I could understand needing this number of references... Worldtraveller 00:57, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Err, that one would probably qualify as problematic. I suspect that both the overabundance of footnotes and the length of the article (56K!) are caused by the inclusion of too much trivia. —Kirill Lokshin 01:41, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Footnotes at the bottom of the page in no way destract from the reader. They're in a separate section, anybody can ignore. We need to cite more than a typical publication, because an uncited claim in Wikipedia has the reliablility of a UseNet posting. Also, if something truly is known by everybody, and needs no citation, than why are we writing about it? Why are we telling people things, that everybody already knows? Generally, we should write about things not already known by everybody, and those things need citations. Remember, the very readers who are learning about something from the article, are also our "fact checkers" and editors. It is absolutely essential fact-checking be done by non-experts. There simply aren't enough experts to catch maliscious sneaky vandals, as soon as they slip rubbish in. Other publications don't need so many citations, because they don't let just anybody write the origianl version, or fact-check it later. I suggest thanking people for "over-citing". Now occassionally there is true over-citing. Sometimes a citation is used for a fact already well supported by other sources, or if the fact was removed from the article (but the citation was not). But rarely, is there true over-citing. Quite the opposite. --Rob 17:58, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Very well said, top to bottom. Very good points. - Taxman Talk 23:38, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
It's these: [1] all over articles which I am saying are distracting, not the footnotes section. Look at the first few paras of Katie Holmes and tell if you don't think that's messy looking. And we should certainly be telling people things they already know, as well as things they don't - otherwise we wouldn't be comprehensive. I find for the scientific topics I write about, 20 references is about the most I feel the need to include, and no-one's yet complained they're under-referenced, so when I see minor actresses with 89 listed references I think that's excessive. Worldtraveller 00:57, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
First Katie Holmes is not a "minor actress"!. And yes, I know what you were referrring to. No, those are *not* distracting at all. I think Harvard(?) inline references can be distracting, like "(Smith et al, 1986, p. 3)". But "[1]" after ever sentence is perfectly fine. Katie Holmes has a little maintainability problem, because its useing the ref/label (which can get out-of-sync) instead of the new <ref><references>. But, basically it is seems to be doing what it is supposed to (I haven't read it thoroughly though). I've written a number of articles with more footnotes then sentences, and will continue to do so. The beauty of these footnotes, is you only have to follow/check the ones you care about, and can ignore the rest. A fact checker doesn't have to check all 89. They just check the ones they doubt. If there were 20 citations, but the fact they questioned was one of the other 69 other uncited facts, they'ld have a real problem. --Rob 13:48, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I've no idea why you think you can say as if it's objectively true that the superscripts are not distracting. To many people, they're very distracting. In the case of this minor actress (has she won an oscar? Has she been in any major films? But that's beside the point), large numbers of the citations are for the sources of direct quotes, which are completely overused. A proper encyclopaedic article would not rely so heavily on them, and that alone would cut the references down. Worldtraveller 19:01, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
There are two technical solutions possible. a) short term - use template:inote for some of the references b) long term - use style sheets and classes to make only key references visible by default. Given this, there's no justification for reducing the number of references in an article. They do not have to add clutter to the end user. Mozzerati 21:31, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree, it's fairly easy to hide them (especially with cite.php) if readability is the prime concern and the value they offer in verifying material is so high that I see no benefit to holding back from encouraging the citing of all important facts. What's common knowledge to you may be novel to me and I appreciate the verifiability and the evidence that someone researched it, so it's much better to err on the side of more rather than less. We have to be careful to avoid dishonest citations and making articles appear more authoritative than they are, but that's standard content negotiation and research. More reliable sources wins out all the time. - Taxman Talk 23:35, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
But that's my point really, is that I see a lot of things being cited that there is very little value in citing. Also, faced with 89 references in an article, I personally would feel very disinclined to check very many of them. If there were only 20 I might. I think in this way excessive referencing can be harmful. Worldtraveller 00:57, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
That's not the point I made and I don't agree that's happening very often. My only qualification was referring to not using high enough quality sources. Again, what's common knowledge to one person is novel to another. I'd rather have 500 references in an article if there were that many important facts in it given they are easy to hide and if hidden, they wouldn't hurt readability which is the only drawback to them. And you don't have to check all 89 references. Check several and if they all check out well the chances of any being fraudulent are much lower. If a few don't check out that calls into question every citation that editor made, allowing effort to be directed to where it needs to to improve the article. Only in a type of formal review process would every citation need to be checked, and in that case again more is better. I think its a fantastic thing that we've finally turned the corner were editors are reallizing verifiability is the most important thing we can work on. Other people have already given the reasons why WP is different from other types of reference works and why we need to cite infinitely more than they do. Finally, why did you make the same post here and at WP:V and not note that in your post? - Taxman Talk 13:28, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't think it's unfailingly true that a citation adds value to an article. If you think it is, then I disagree, and I have seen many articles that cite things there's little value in providing a citation for. Obviously I know I don't have to check 89 references - what I was saying is that I am much more likely to check some if there are, say, 20 to choose from than I am with 89. I am, you may or may not believe, as in favour of verifiability as you are, and one of the most significant aims of the Good articles page I started was to encourage referencing in all articles. I just think that there is a balance to be struck and that 500 references would be excessive and counter-productive, and would not make us look any more credible than having no references. I started discussions in two places as I was not sure which would be the most appropriate place, and forgot to mention that in my post. Worldtraveller 19:01, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Could you link to some articles as examples of over-referencing (or to a specific version in history)? --Rob 19:43, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
See, I'm not interested in looking reliable, I'm interested in provable reliablity. If the footnotes or whatever citation system can be hidden so there is no damage to readability, then there is no reason in principle not to cite every fact to the most reliable source available or multiple if needed. With hideable citations, the only downside I see in the issue is gone, as long as high quality sources are used. The only major problem comes in from using a bunch of low quality references and citing a ton of them to make it look well researched. But that's a problem in quality of sources, not how many there are. If there are 500 facts in an article and all are cited to high quality sources and we have a system were we can demonstrate the citations were made correctly and checked by multiple trustworthy editors, then we have a provably reliable article. It doesn't guarantee correctness of course, but it's probably as close to ideal reliability as possible. The only way to get there is encourage citing every fact to the best source possible. I think what you're doing is overlaying the way you work (more than a certain number causes you to ignore them) and thinking that's the way everyone should work, so we should discourage large numbers of citations. I simply see no actual negative aspects to more citations that can't be handled. - Taxman Talk 14:40, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
I do see negative aspects to trying to cite all facts. For example, many facts are so well known that it's actually quite difficult to find a source for them. A while ago someone for some reason challenged the assertion in Sun that it's a G2V star. You can find plenty of web pages which also say it is, but references in the astronomical literature are surprisingly hard to come by.
Also, a visible reference to a fact like, say, water is H2O actually looks quite silly I think, and harms our credibility by giving the very strong impression that our articles must be written by utterly clueless people. An invisible reference may be better but still in my view is just not necessary. Worldtraveller 00:24, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps you have trouble finding references to the Sun being a G2 star in the astronomical literature because it is not necessarily settled that it is. See The Second Annual Lowell Observatory Fall Workshop - On the Difficulty of Observing the Sun as a Star - Robert F. Garrison. Don't be so sure that things that are "well known" don't need references. -- Donald Albury (Dalbury)(Talk) 01:16, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Michael Jackson, which I found on WP:FAC, is definitely the exception which proves the rule (where proves means tests). It has 65 citations. However, looking at them, they are in almost every case valuable. (unsigned comment by me Mozzerati 07:12, 28 February 2006 (UTC))

An example of over-referencing as I see it is Hugo Chavez. Taking the intro, I see a citation for him being 53rd president, which seems a little bit ridiculous. Next is a citation for the fact that he is known for criticism of US foreign policy, and I really think citing such a thing to one particular source doesn't help anyone, as it's not really a fact, simply a very widely held opinion. Attributing it to one single source looks silly. Next, you've got two links to other Wikipedia articles followed by citations, which seems redundant as the election articles will contain the reference. Similarly with the three citations following a link to the article on the recall referendum. So of 10 references in the intro, 5 are redundant as they follow directly relevant links to Wikipedia articles; one cites an uncontroversial fact that probably doesn't even need to be in the article; one cites a generally held opinion to a single obscure source; only three seem actually necessary to me. Worldtraveller 00:24, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
With the first example given I have to strongly disagree. Take, for example, this edit of mine from yesterday, reverting what seems to be a deliberate attempt to put in misleading information. Bill Gates is known as a Harvard CS drop out. What his actual degree is isn't totally trivial to remember. I found that edit doing revert patrolling. That's a time when non-experts have to make decisions about article contents based only on what they find there. I had to search for the answer to be sure. If someone did an edit with a comment "Dominguez didn't actually take the title of president, so Chaves is only really 52nd" and changed that to 52nd, how many people would be sure enough to revert? If they followed it up with some legitimate spelling fixes would you spot the changes in your watch list? The second one I sort of agree with, not because it isn't a fact, but because the article should give specific examples, so the reference becomes redundant. Mozzerati 07:12, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Citing people with no surnames

A minor issue to be aware of with referencing is that some people (e.g. most Javanese people) have no surnames. For example, if Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wrote something, a Westerner might be inclined to reference the source with

  • Yudhoyono, Susilo Bambang (2000)...

but presumably the correct way is

  • Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (2000)...

The reason I mention it is that I'm starting an article on Kamal Kar and referencing his works. I don't know if (Bengali?) people use surnames... I'll assume so, but will check with an Indian friend. --Singkong2005 00:45, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Proposed changes to format for Wikipedia Cite extension

Discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#Changes to Cite.. Michael Z. 2006-02-23 18:06 Z

Citing a patent?

Is there an accepted standard way of citing a patent? See Chemnitzer_concertina#Innovations, where I have cited several. Would it be worth creating a template that would automatically link to the appropriate document on a patent database, such as USPTO or the EPO? --Theodore Kloba 21:52, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

After paragraph

  • "For one author, add the author's surname and the year of publication in parentheses (round brackets) after the sentence or paragraph, and before the period: for example (Smith 2005). (Jones, 2006)"

Regarding the above, how can one put the surname and year after the paragraph and before the sentence? Hyacinth 12:18, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

That's not what it's saying. It says after the (sentence or paragraph), and before the period. So it's saying you can either put it at the end of the specific sentence cited or at the end of the paragraph, but in either case it goes before the period. Now I had always thought that for a single sentence it can go before the period, but for a paragraph it should go after to be more clear it's just not for the final sentence (Foo 2006). - Taxman Talk 13:18, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I meant period. So still, how can one put the surname and year after the paragraph and before the period? Hyacinth 08:33, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Just like I added above. After the whole paragraph, but before the last period. Maybe I'm missing something here, because that seems straightforward. - Taxman Talk 11:18, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Okay, how does one tell the difference between a citation which applies to the last sentence and one which applies to the entire paragraph? Hyacinth 11:55, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Well like I said, putting it outside the last period seems workable for making that difference clear. In the above Smith would be for the last sentence and Jones would be for the paragraph if there was one. Now that just makes common sense to me, but I haven't consulted any citation guidelines to verify what their position is. If you really want to settle the issue, you'd have to check all the major citation style guidelines. - Taxman Talk 14:22, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Movies, etc.

The article List of movie appearances of the Statue of Liberty presently contains no references as such.

In material such as movies, do we accept that the work itself can serve as its own reference? If so, what is considered an appropriate citation?

We would not accept a book reference that didn't give a page number, even if it described a scene or a context. We don't expect a reader to page through an entire book to verify a reference.

It seems to me that a reference to a movie should give a specific DVD (or other) edition, and the number of minutes into the film that the scene occurs.

Is there already a policy on this? Dpbsmith (talk) 13:25, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

well yes we do accept book references that do not give the page number. (for example the books online at Gutenberg do not have page numbers). Rjensen 13:55, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
I hadn't thought about that, but it's not a problem as you can perform a text search on a PG text. I don't know how you'd automatically search a movie. Dpbsmith (talk) 15:44, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

I think the work itself would serve as its own reference. I don't think it's necessary to log the precise moment where the appearance occurs, unless someone specifically requests the information or the editor already has it at hand. Otherwise, a lot of needless time would be spent when it doesn't matter. --Coyoty 19:22, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

I think we should require a source other than the movie. If the only source is the movie itself, it looks like OR to me. If no one has regarded the question as important enough to have created a published source, then it probably fails notability. -- Donald Albury (Dalbury)(Talk) 00:57, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Most movies are fiction and can be treated like a novel. Some are documentaries and can be treated like a history book. Rjensen 01:43, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
If the statements are purely descriptive, I don't see why a film cannot be cited as a source. If the statements are putting forward an interpretation, that would certainly need a secondary source. However, even for purely descriptive statements, not every factual statement that can be made about a movie is relevant to any given article. olderwiser 01:50, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
The name of a movie, by itself, isn't an good citation because it takes an unreasonable amount of work to verify the source. It's sort of like saying "it says so somewhere in the laws of Massachusetts." Dpbsmith (talk) 03:01, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
If someone want to study how the Statue of Liberty is being used (which is where this thread started), they will very much want a list of movies. They may or may not watch each movie--that will take only 2 hours or less-- but may be more interested in the year, the director, or the genre. It's a waste of Wiki effort to tell them at which minute the scene appears. Rjensen 03:09, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Citations when calling people hookers

I would like input on List of famous prostitutes and courtesans. Perhaps responses specific to the article could be there, but general thoughts on such lists (e.g. lists that a person wouldn't want to be on), could be discussed here. There seems to be a few levels of sourcing

  • uncited redlinks - This seems totally bad to me
  • uncited in list, but cited in article - Normally this is ok with me, but I feel in articles like this (or sex offendor lists, homosexual list, criminal lists, etc...) one should have some citation.
  • uncited, but mentioned in article - seems just bad
  • cited, but only an allegation - That means anybody can be blacklisted. You just have to get a rumor published somewhere

I feel, normally uncited material, if not doubted, should be left, at least initially. But I feel if something is negative claim (being a prostitute is negative) then it should be remove on-sight. We shouldn't leave fixing these articles to people who are experts on the history of prostitution. Researching these claimes should be the up to the person adding them, not to others. If we make it to difficult to remove uncited claims, they'll just be left in, and nobody's going to go through the laborious process currently required. --Rob 08:10, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree with everything you've said there. Well done. I urge you to put it into practice. JesseW, the juggling janitor 11:46, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes. These things are troublesome. I notice that the category Alcoholics was recently deleted. In any case, anything particularly negative about any person, dead or alive, needs to be well-documented. I agree that such entries can be summarily removed until properly sourced. -- Donald Albury (Dalbury)(Talk) 12:59, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

New proposal WikiProject Reader

I have made a new proposed project. WikiProject Reader aims to group people reading through sources to add references throughout Wikipedia. It's complementary to Fact and Reference Check. You could help by

  • suggesting sources (e.g. ones you find when fact checking an article)
  • joining and reading sources.

Hopefully we will be able to help Fact and Reference Check by leaving sources in place which you can use when you get round to fact checking the articles that have been improved by Wikiproject Reader. Anybody who likes the idea and wants to help please add your name to the project page. Mozzerati 20:54, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Link to subscription services?

Yes: Some editors insist that Wiki should ONLY link to totally free and open sites, and should never link to sites that require some sort of registration. Taken to an extreme that says we should not list books because you have to buy them. In fact tens of millions of Wiki users--I think a majority--have access to many subscription services through their libraries. In the US that includes over 15 million college students for example, and about 25 million high/middle school students. So these 40 million users have access but usually do not know they can download free articles and books from digital libraries. Wiki can really help them by providing links to sources. I might add that people who are not students, like me, are probably paying about $40 a month to a cable provider to get access to WWW and Wiki. They can get free access at their local library (and of course there they can free get access to subscription services like EBSCO.) Rjensen 14:02, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

No: (Anything "Taken to an extreme" can be bad. See, e.g., Slippery slope.) Wikipedia itself is a free encyclopedia. Anyone, registered or not, may access all of its articles. Fee-based or free-but-registration-necessary-based services are not available to all wikipedia readers. Therefore, actual specific links to their sites are unwise. —Mark Adler (markles) 14:11, 27 February 2006 (UTC).

Unfree resources can be cited if they are used as references, but they are not helpful as external links. External links sections are for freely accessible resources that people can go to. References sections are for citing resources that were used to add or verify material in the article, and any reliable source that was used for that should be cited. So why are you two creating controversy out of a non problem? - Taxman Talk 14:17, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes Books are not available free either--unless you go to a library, but the library has these subscription services. The restrictive rule "free-but-registration-necessary-based services " also kills and and the New York Times. Let freedom soar here--let's not hurt tens of millions of users and let's not hobble the judgment of our editors. As for Taxman's comments: in fact editors use these sources for their article and therefore they should be cited and linked. Rjensen 14:21, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Please stop creating controversy where there does not need to be one. Again, if a source is used, cite it with full citation information (publisher, year, author, etc) as long as it is accessible by some manner whether that is free, paid access, or going to a library. That's all that's needed for a resource that isn't freely accessible to all. If the resource is freely accessible online it can be beneficial to also link to where it is available. For non freely accessible resources it is not helpful to link to pay access databases. If someone has access to those they can use the citation information provided to look up the resource in the database, they don't need a link to it from the Wikipedia article. That's common sense. - Taxman Talk 14:51, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Who are Wiki users and what access do they have? Nobody actually knows, so it's a weak argument to say that as long as 1% of Wiki users do not have access then the other 99% should be kept in the dark. I suggest that well over 90% have access to libraries for books, and they have access to the same libraries for Digital Libraries. Wiki should be at the forefront of promoting digital access to information. Rjensen 14:56, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
No one is being kept in the dark. If they do have access to pay access databases, they can look information up by using the citation information, just like you can by going to the library. But linking to resources implies they are available for all. If they are not, it amounts to an advertisement of those services which is innapropriate. We're not here to promote pay access digital libraries. - Taxman Talk 15:13, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
This is ridiculous. It seems fairly self-explanatory to me. If a free reliable source is available then cite it. If not, but a source that costs money exists, cite that. That's freedom of information, that's making an article useful. If the user doesn't have access to that information, then that's hard lines, because a free equivalent doesn't exist. Books are obviously preferable to the NYT, not only because they are more likely to be more serious but because they are more accessible. Anyone can open a book in a bookstore. Although you could always peer over someone's shoulder in a net-cafe. BigBlueFish 15:58, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
You're missing the issue. Of course you cite whatever was used as a reference. You cite it whether it's available for free or not. That is self explanatory, so ignore that part of it. The question becomes, do you link to a proprietary database/subscription service that makes the full text/book/article available to paying customers. The answer to that is clearly no, because if you include one, you'd have to include others to be fair, and there is no need for them. For example Mdconsult is a paid medical journal and text book service I have access to. It is very proper to cite the specific paper or textbook I found with the service because someone else can use whatever resources they have available to go look up that citation and get the article. What is not proper is for me to cite the book I used and in the citation link to That's an advertisement and isn't appropriate, and in any case it isn't needed. - Taxman Talk 17:05, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable to me. -- Donald Albury (Dalbury)(Talk) 18:04, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
In a nutshell, directing people to a subscription library is like citing a book and linking it to Tycon.jpgCoyoty 19:02, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Sometimes there are additional free materials such as excerpts and tables of content that are available nowhere else. Our users who may not know how to access it will appreciate our help. Rjensen 00:59, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

No Links to pay cites should not be used. They are advertisments, plain and simple. As Coyoty says, that would be like linking to Amazon (which also has some free services like excerpts, table of contents, and user reviews. But it is still a bookseller). Wikipedia has a system to use ISBN which links to the "Book sources" page, and the user can decide for themselves where to purchase a book. --JW1805 (Talk) 02:23, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Is there a difference between a library and a subscription service? I think not. The fact is that students are turning away from libraries, which Wiki supports, and turning instead to subscription services which Wiki should support. These services get their $$ from libraries, which usually subscribe to multiple services. Note that public libraries are free only to taxpayers, and are closed to outsiders. I fear some Wiki editors havbe a POV theat they are imposing on users and other editors--a violation of the open free spirit that motivates Wiki. We get these THOU SHALT NOTS, to the detriment of users and Wiki itself. Rjensen 02:49, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Sometimes but... I think they should be placed into their own subheading of external links clearly marked and only allowed to registration-needed sites (so no sites where you need to pay money to get in -- maybe let it slide if some students can get in through libraries). — Ilyanep (Talk) 02:53, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Students are not the only users of Wikipedia. I find it very annoying when I click on a link and get a log-in screen. (I don't like 'registration-only' sites, either, but that is another issue.) If my local library doesn't have a book, I can request it thru inter-library loan. If my local library doesn't subscribe to a particular service, I'm stuck. Wikipedia is for everybody, not just for those fortunate enough to have access to libraries rich enough to pay for subscription services. -- Donald Albury (Dalbury)(Talk) 12:07, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Let's allow connections to all free services, available to all whether or not the user pays for premium services. But don't assume libraries are free--many of them limit usage to taxpayers (Denver is a good example of that--I live in the Denver suburbs and can NOT use the city library.) As for inter-library loans, those cost the libraries an average of $30 each to service. (two staffers at each end are paid twice.) As for Wiki--I think most of us pay $$$ to internet providers to get the access--it is NOT free.Rjensen 13:59, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry you can't use the Denver library, but that really doesn't have anything to do with the topic at hand. We're not talking about libraries, we talking about what is appropriate content for a free encyclopedia. Advertisments are not appropriate. I too find it highly annoying to click a link from Wikipedia and get a screen telling me to subscribe to some sort of service. Use ISBN, and let the user decide where to get the book, whether from a library, subscription site, or wherever.--JW1805 (Talk) 17:53, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
"Free" sites that require registration are money-free but still have a cost. Users can expect to get emails from the site or its partners, which they may consider spam. That said, however, I think there are or should be exceptions in and only in cases where the subject of an article is available only through subscription or registration, such as some webcomics. In those cases, it should be clearly noted that registration or payment is required for access. Tycon.jpgCoyoty 20:02, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Further reading should not contain books, articles already cited

I want to gain some insight into this policy. I understand the desirability to not repeat the same sources. On the other hand, in the further reading section one might include more detailed information about the book or article that would be useful to the reader. Increasingly, people have been adding weblinks to online versions of the book or article.

What are the best practices around this? Are there any guidelines on how the Further Reading should be structured? joshbuddytalk 00:40, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Citing episodes from televison series

For better or worse, there are a lot of articles on Wikipedia about things out of fiction TV series. Such articles are ripe for "no original research" violations, which can be combated more easily with better citations. I couldn't find an appropriate citation template so I created Template:Cite episode, anyone have any suggestions for ways to improve or standardize it? I've never created a template like this before so I figured I should mention it somewhere to draw more experienced eyes. Bryan 03:01, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Other people citing wikipedia

I feel the following should be added to this page in an appropriate location, as many people will land here looking to cite wikipedia (I did so myself). This is also on the Citing Wikipedia page.

Noting reprints in citations?

What is the proper way to note the reprint of an article in a book?

  • Article full citation
  • Book full citation (reprinting Author (year))


  • Article full citation (reprinted in Book full citation)


  • Book full citation (reprinting Article full citation)

? Thanks. Шизомби 22:58, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Separating policy from style

Right now this page starts with a good amount of policy before getting into the style guide. I believe that style guides should be just that. The "why to cite sources" is covered in Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Reliable sources and Wikipedia:No original research. The "When to cite sources" deserves its own page as it's a separate guideline, which I've tenatively created as Wikipedia:Try to verify.

In other words:

--The Cunctator 05:25, 7 March 2006 (UTC)