Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where should I ask whether this source supports this statement in an article?
At Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. Don't forget to tell the editors the full name of the source and the exact sentence it is supposed to support.
Do sources have to be free, online and/or conveniently available to me?
No. Sources can be expensive, print-only, or available only in certain places. A source does not stop being reliable simply because you personally aren't able to obtain a copy. See Wikipedia:Reliable sources/cost. If you need help verifying that a source supports the material in the article, ask for help at Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange or a relevant WikiProject.
Do sources have to be in English?
No. Sources can be written in any language. However, if equally good sources in English exist, they will be more useful to our readers. If you need help verifying that a non-English source supports the material in the article, ask for help at Wikipedia:Translators available.
I personally know that this information is true. Isn't that good enough to include it?
No. Wikipedia includes only what is verifiable, not what someone believes is true. It must be possible to provide a bibliographic citation to a published reliable source that says this. Your personal knowledge or belief is not enough.
I personally know that this information is false. Isn't that good enough to remove it?
Your personal belief or knowledge that the information is false is not sufficient for removal of verifiable and well-sourced material.
Is personal communication from an expert a reliable source?
No. It is not good enough for you to talk to an expert in person or by telephone, or to have a written letter, e-mail message, or text message from a source. Reliable sources must be published.
Are there sources that are "always reliable" or sources that are "always unreliable"?
No. The reliability of a source is entirely dependent on the context of the situation, and the statement it is being used to support. Some sources are generally better than others, but reliability is always contextual.
What if the source is biased?
Sources are allowed to be biased or non-neutral. Only Wikipedia articles are required to be neutral. Sometimes "non-neutral" sources are the best possible sources for supporting information about the different viewpoints held on a subject.
Does every single sentence need to be followed by an inline citation?
No. Only four broad categories of material need to be supported by inline citations. Editors need not supply citations for perfectly obvious material. However, it must be possible to provide a bibliographic citation to a published reliable source for all material.
Are reliable sources required to name the author?
No. Many reliable sources, such as government and corporate websites, do not name their authors or say only that it was written by staff writers. Although many high-quality sources do name the author, this is not a requirement.
Are reliable sources required to provide a list of references?
No. Wikipedia editors should list any required sources in a references or notes section. However, the sources you are using to write the Wikipedia article do not need to provide a bibliography. Most reliable sources, such as newspaper and magazine articles, do not provide a bibliography.

Not a new idea[edit]

This isn't a new idea, but I'm not sure who originally floated it, so I'm going to start over. There are basically three ways to use a guideline on reliability:

  1. I want to find sources to learn about a subject, so that I can start writing about it.
  2. I have a source, and I want to learn whether it's useable.
  3. Someone else used a source, and I want to learn whether I should revert it.

Our advice for these different purposes is and should be different:

  1. If you're starting with empty hands and deliberately seeking out sources (especially for a major research project), then you should deliberately seek out several of the best possible sources that you can obtain and understand, ideally from a variety of perspectives/academic fields/POVs.
  2. If you've already got a source that contains some interesting material,[1] and you want to know whether you can cite it in support of said interesting material, then you should evaluate your source fairly, but conservatively. If you're not sure whether it's reliable for the statement you want to make, then leave it out.[2]
  3. If you're looking at someone else's work, you should evaluate the source fairly, but generously, with an eye towards collegiality and collaboration (and maybe even enough humility to remember that it's possible that the other person actually knows the subject better than you). If you're not sure that it's reliable (and BLP doesn't mandate conservatism), then accept it.[2]
  1. ^ User:MastCell stuck around in the early days because people kept telling him that he was adding interesting details from sources he was reading for work. That's the sort of situation I'm thinking of with this item.
  2. ^ a b Of course, if you're sure that it's reliable, then keep it; if you're sure that it's not reliable, then dump it. Those are the easy ones.

So what I'm thinking is: Let's add a short section on the subject of how to use this guideline to further the goals of the project. I'm not sure exactly what the content is, but if you think it would be interesting or helpful, then perhaps you would also have some ideas about other points that could be made in it. What do you think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:23, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Specific proposal[edit]

Since nobody responded to the general idea, here's a specific proposal:

Sometimes, editors will add properly published sources that verify the material but are not ideal to support appropriate, encyclopedic information. For example, they may add primary sources or newspaper articles when it would be better to source a scholarly publication. In those instances, do not revert or blank the source. Instead, add a better source yourself, or tag it with {{better source}}, {{primary-inline}}, or {{medrs}}.

It only addresses part of the question, but what do you think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:51, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

WP:PRESERVE already addresses this issue more broadly. And I prefer its language of "consider" to "do not", since circumstances (quality of source, claim, article etc) vary and being overly-prescriptive can lead to unintentional consequences. Abecedare (talk) 18:28, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Abecedare, I understand what you say about PRESERVE, but that policy does not seem to be specific enough to stop blanking.
Can you think of any circumstance in which having an unsourced statement is actually preferable to a having statement that is followed by an inline citation to a reliable source? I can think of situations in which it doesn't matter whether a reliable source is present, but I can't think of any in which zero source is preferable to a reliable (if not stellar) source. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:25, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I wouldn't disagree with your proposal if you wrote it up as an essay in order to advice editors on good editing practices. However as a part of wikipedia P& G it is insufficiently motivated, partly redundant, and far too rigid to take into account the varied situations that arise when dealing with millions of edits made every week. It also shifts the burden for finding an appropriate source to the party objecting to the current source ("You don't like the primary medical source I added?! Go find a better one yourself. This stays in till you do that").
Or more concretely, how would you deal with this, this and this edits, which added a borderline reliable, but sexist, source to the lede sentence of three BLPS? Would your answer be different if the source had been a lad magazine instead and the language even more overtly sexual? I am fine if your response to these edits is different than what I actually did, but I would certainly object if my response suddenly was "against wikipedia guidelines" as a result of your proposal. And that's just one example from recent memory.
Again, I want to reiterate that I am not objecting to your editing philosophy, which I agree with as a general principle; just objecting to codifying it as a rule. Abecedare (talk) 06:53, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't quite understand your reasoning. Here's what I'd like to know more about:
  1. BURDEN explicitly says that if you provide a source, such as a peer-reviewed medical journal article, that you (not I) believe in good faith to be adequate, then you have fully met the burden. (Read the footnote in that policy statement.) "Go find a better one" is the policy. So why not say that, or at least tell editors what their realistic options are?
  2. I'm not sure what "insufficiently motivated" means.
For your examples, I'd have removed them as unnecessary on the grounds of WP:LEADCITE, and also as being unreliable under the "an appropriate source for that content" criteria. A gossipy column about who is or isn't sexy is not a BLP-quality source about someone's tennis achievements. And if there were a consensus that citations were wanted in the lead, and also that a gossipy column about who is sexy was actually reliable for general information about a BLP (which I strongly doubt), then I'd have found a better source and swapped it in. (And also wonder if someone had gone round to all the regulars at RSN and dropped heavy objects on their heads, because it's not going to happen.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:11, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 29 April 2015[edit] (talk) 05:49, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Edgars2007 (talk/contribs) 07:52, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Amend rule for primary and secondary sources to cover conflicting information[edit]

The page for "reliable sources". says: "While specific facts may be taken from primary sources, secondary sources that present the same material are preferred". Suppose a secondary source (for instance a news story about a court case) is not in agreement with the (primary source) court records? Or for another example, suppose an article in a popular science magazine (a secondary source) does not report a scientific study (primary source) correctly? To give another example, suppose published documents from an estate (primary) exonerate a deceased person, while a biography (a secondary source) accuses them of some unethical mistake? I propose that this guideline needs clarification, as follows:

When a secondary source misrepresents a primary source used in it's references, editors should quote the primary source (or link to publicly available evidence in English where it can be seen, allowing other editors to examine it.) on the talk page and outline the difference between the erroneous secondary source and the primary source. Then, the error should be removed, replaced with the correct information, report, or material, and properly referenced. Editors should assume good faith on the part of the author of the secondary source, and assume the same for Wikipedia editors who originally referenced it. Once this has been done, the burden of proof should be on the editor who used the erroneous source.

As it stands now, any published article that's in error can supplant correct information from a primary source. This is especially important for biographies of living persons and controversial subjects. A single biased or unreliable secondary source can be used to manipulate wiki's contents, and violate NPOV while appearing to stay within the guidelines.

Will an editor or administrator who is experienced handling reliable source issues please add this to the guidelines? I look forward to reading any discussions that follow this request, which is a matter of editing guidelines, and not a specific case. I put this question on the [Reliable sources noticeboard] and I got a clear answer with respect to legal instances ("you go with what is in the primary source as being factual and give it priority"), but nothing about scientific or biographical information. I may have put it on the wrong page. To be clear: I am asking that the rule be amended, as above. Thank you.Manyinterests2525 (talk) 18:46, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

1) You need to demonstrate that the issue is an actual problem, not a mere hypothetical. No point in fixing something that isn't broken.
2) The phrasing of your suggested solution all but ignores WP:No original research. The suggestion would pretty much reduce all articles concerning religious texts into arguments between fundamentalist amateurs, with no scholarship whatsoever.
3) Because of WP:Due weight, as far as Wikipedia is concerned, a single source cannot be used to manipulate the site's contents. If only a single source exists, there probably won't be an article. If there is somehow a single source and the subject still qualifies for an article, then that single source is the truth as far as Wikipedia is concerned. If there are multiple sources, they are given proportionate weight. Ian.thomson (talk) 19:00, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I understand your point about religious texts, which is why I asked about mistakes in science reporting, where there is rarely only one source, and where the majority of secondary sources are based on primary sources. In principle, can the rule be amended to cover only science and law? You are right - extending it into scriptures would be absurd. As for WP:No original research, when there is confusion about the accuracy of secondary sources Manyinterests2525 (talk) 19:10, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I think that most of your concerns are addressed by WP:Secondary does not mean independent and WP:PRIMARYNEWS. The first two of your examples are independent primary sources, not secondary sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:10, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

Rule against citing other general-interest encyclopedias[edit]

Today I came across Buddhism, which cites Encyclopedia Brittanica to support the claim in the first sentence that Buddhism is non-theistic. I feel like there should be a general rule against citing other general-interest encyclopedias like Brittanica, Encarta, World Book, and Funk and Wagnalls. Wikipedia is aiming to be a tertiary source, not a quaternary one. I can understand citing topic-specific encyclopedias, like the Catholic Encyclopedia or Flowering Plant Families of the World (which is why we have {{cite encyclopedia}}). These might actually be secondary sources themselves, or they at least provide a higher level of detail than Wikipedia aims to, which makes them useful for readers seeking more information. They are also presumably written by subject-matter experts. I wouldn't expect encyclopedias which have the same audience and scope as Wikipedia to provide any additional information. It would be a bit weird to essentially repeat everything Brittanica says, and cite Brittanica as the source for half of it.. Being too close to primary sources can result in being unreliable due to lack of context, but I think being too far from them also increases the chances of inaccuracy because summaries of summaries of summaries are like playing a game of telephone. Wikipedia should be doing its fact checking against secondary and expert sources when possible; that's the only way it can be the most reliable general reference. -- Beland (talk) 19:48, 9 May 2015 (UTC)

It's a bit late in the day to object to citing EB. Whole swathes of articles still get most or all their text from the out of copyright 1911 EB. I'd be happy to see the others never cited, on the whole. It's by no means always true that specialist encyclopedias "provide a higher level of detail than Wikipedia aims to". Johnbod (talk) 20:36, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
The EB (talking about recent editions here) will usually give one person's POV, and almost always better sources will be available. What really irks me is when I add a citation request to something copied from the 1911 version and am told it's already sourced. I guess I should then add a 'dubious' tag or some such, but I feel that in the case of an encyclopedia over a century old a cite tag should be a legitimate request for a better source. Dougweller (talk) 12:45, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
Certainly an out of date edition of any Encyclopedia (such as the 1911 EB or the old Catholic Encyclopedia) should be used with extreme caution ... and I think any information taken from one needs to be attributed (so the reader knows that what they are reading may be outdated). However, I can not go to the next step and support banning all use of tertiary sources such (general encyclopedias and the like)... especially modern editions. Sure, they may not be best source for a specific statement, but they are considered reliable. WP:BURDEN does not require a citation to the most reliable source possible... it simply requires citation to a reliable source. If the challenging editor wants an even more reliable source, the burden is on the challenger to go out and find one. Blueboar (talk) 13:40, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
Most of the comments above, in different ways, are confusing concerning tertiary sources - or confusing concerning Wikipedia process (apart from the modern/superseded comments) -- tertiary sources of course are generally reliable sources and play an important role in NPOV and NOR analysis. It's Wikipedia editor's pov, which must be rejected, emphatically -- RS's pov (incl. tertiary sources) are not to be rejected in favor of Wikipedia editor's pov. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:16, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
Agree ... but a 1911 source on Buddhism? There are surely many, newer, and better sources. - Cwobeel (talk) 23:10, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
True, but even so that would not lead to a rule against tertiary sources - it would seem rather un-self-aware should wikipedia ever say we cannot look to tertiary sources, because we want to be a tertiary source. What is going to tell wikipedeans what a tertiary source is and does and covers and presents is looking to tertiary sources. Moreover, if that is where a wikipedian got the information, they actually have multiple obligations to cite it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:41, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
I agree: a century-old source is probably not great for anything except a pointer to the century-old source itself (e.g., in an article about a century-old book). But the BURDEN is to provide a source that you sincerely believe to be reliable, not to provide the source that other editors think is ideal. If you don't like having primary sources, tertiary sources, century-old sources, etc., in an article, then the burden is on you to substitute a better one.
We're having this conversation fairly often. I've a proposal above at #Specific proposal to actually write this down so that everyone can be on the same page. I don't like having unwritten rules. Please feel free to comment above, particularly about how we might phrase a "rule" that is useful and still appropriately flexible. Also: would "century-old sources" or "general-interest encyclopedias" be good examples of okay-but-not-ideal sources for that? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:06, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

Guidelines on journal impact factors[edit]

A discussion is ocurring on the Talk:Acupuncture page regarding the use of journal impact factors to identify the reliability of sources. I decided to research this. I have searched various WP pages (below) for statements regarding the impact factor of journals.

Policy articles
Wikipedia:Verifiability - No relevant statement
Wikipedia:Neutral point of view - No relevant statement
Wikipedia:No original research - No relevant statement
Content Guideline
Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources - No relevant statement
Wikipedia:Offline sources - No relevant statement
Wikipedia:Fringe theories - No relevant statement
Wikipedia:Non-free content - No relevant statement
Notability Guideline
Wikipedia:Notability - No relevant statement
Wikipedia:Offline sources - No relevant statement
The only article I have found (possibly) mentioning impact factor is WP:MEDRS which states - To access the full text, the editor may need to visit a medical library or ask someone at the WikiProject Resource Exchange or WikiProject Medicine's talk page to either provide an electronic copy or read the source and summarize what it says; if neither is possible, the editor may need to settle for using a lower-impact source. Note this states "lower-impact source", not "lower-impact factor source".
I feel editors need guidance on this matter.
DrChrissy (talk) 13:14, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
  • A bit of context: one of the issues we face on alternative medicine articles is weighing the value and quality of contradictory sources: it's not at all unusual to find small journals (with correspondingly low impact factors) publishing results that are either contradicted by studies in more impactful journals or, more normally, never expanded upon. Some editors (myself included) look at the impact factors as an indicator of reliability: I'm generally not going to object to a new and exciting result published in a journal with an impact factor of 40 or 50, but if you take that same new and exciting result and publish it in a journal with an impact factor of 1.6, I'm going to counsel waiting until we see other journals publishing corroboration.—Kww(talk) 13:51, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I strongly recommend that anyone who is preparing to contribute to this discussion reads the Impact factor article. It is a brief, but informative article, giving a flavour for the potentially considerable dangers of using impact factors in assessing sources.DrChrissy (talk) 14:18, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
Impact factors are generally used in academia as a rule-of-thumb for getting a general sense of the quality of journals. There are limitations to the use of impact factors as a proxy for journal quality, and it should not be used as the sole determining factor of the reliability of a source. However, it is widely used in academic circles as a good proxy for journal quality, and while it is not perfect, it is probably the best we have to get a good, objective, general sense of the overall quality of a specific journal. Surprising or controversial conclusions coming from low impact journals should generally be viewed skeptically. Yobol (talk) 15:49, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
More recent sources indicate a widespread rejection of the use of impact factors to assess the quality of journals.
It is stated in a source updated in 2007 here[1] that "...they [impact factors] are not a direct measure of quality and must be used with considerable care."
In another source published in 2011 it is stated[2] "On the basis of the evidence presented here, I assert that the citation index and the impact factor are only weakly correlated, at best, with true quality,..."
In 2013, it was stated here[3] that "Increasingly, scholars and scientists are objecting to the use of impact factors to assess or judge quality of research and the quality of journals."
DrChrissy (talk)
Yes, I realize that there are both arguments for and against the use of impact factors. That being said, it is generally used as such amongst rank-and-file journal readers and writers, and is the reason why most journals have this factor somewhere on their webpage: the reader (often academics) find it important. It is one more piece of information on determining the quality of the source, amongst many. We should neither elevated it to as the only factor to use, nor should we say we cannot use it at all. Editorial decision making and establishing a consensus on the talk page or atWP:RSN can help when it is not clear how reliable a source is. Yobol (talk) 18:48, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
@Yobol What I am suggesting in this thread is that we discuss inclusion of a statement/section/paragraph in these guidelines about how impact factors should be used in the assessment of the reliability of sources. At the moment, WP says nothing about this. It seems to be a glaring omission, unless it was decided that impact factors were simply too unreliable to include.DrChrissy (talk) 19:35, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
Not sure this particular guideline would be the best location to discuss this; a discussion of impact factors would necessarily get into some technical details that would be not be appropriate here (WP:MEDRS or WP:SCIRS would seem to be more appropriate locations for such content). Yobol (talk) 19:41, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
My own feeling is that this issue is certainly way, way beyond the rather focussed concerns of WP:Medrs and also much broader than WP:SCIRS. We can leave this to further discussion.DrChrissy (talk) 21:16, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
Calling DGG.
Some people might benefit an essay on this, but I'm afraid that the content isn't going to be useful for black-and-white thinkers. A "good" IF depends upon the field, the age of the publication, the breadth of the publication, language, the editorial policies, and several other factors (some game-able). Yobol is correct: it's widely used, but of limited value. It is, to adapt a familiar formulation, the worst objective way to measure a source's value except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. The best way to measure a source's value is by using your best judgment, not by looking up a number in a list. RSN can help you review sources.
Also, in the particular instance, it's important to remember that the goal is to fairly represent the views of all sources, including the views of sources that are biased in favor of Asian medicine. That means, for example, that we shouldn't be excluding sources based on the country of origin, based on whether skeptical editors decide that there is an editorial bias in favor of acupuncture, or any other POV-based test. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:17, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
There has been considerable discussion of this in the information science literature, mostly aimed at examining the correlation between this and other factors in journal importance. There's enough that a separate article would be possible.
In summary, as I understand it:
  1. Numerical values by themselves are irrelevant. The relevant measurement is the comparative impact factors within a field. The factor was first conceived by Garfield with a primary eye on biomedicine, but even within this field there are wide variations between specific subfields. Fields and subfields vary by the density of publication, the relative tendency to publish many small parers, the publication lag, and many other factors.
  2. There are also variations between types of journals: review journals are other things being equal, cited more than research journals.
  3. The numbers are averages. Every journal, even the best, will sometimes publish papers that are totally or partially uncited. Many journals will once in a while publish a fairly widely cited paper.
  4. The usual measurements show an extreme bias for the English language and the most developed countries. To some extent, this represents the actual influence of the scientific literature. The major challenge to this is the rise in both quantity and quality of Chinese, Japanese and Korean science, much of which is published in their own journals. At present, just as in the mid 20th century with Russian science, the best papers from these countries are published in the major English language journals. This means that for topics that are particular to an individual country , such as most of the applied sciences, there is for work relevant to a less developed country no journal in WoS or Scopus with a high impact factor, because almost all such work is published in their national journals, which are almost unknown elsewhere, even when available.
  5. There is also a bias against fringe subjects. There are relatively few journals in the formal academic system interested in them, and the journals that do publish them are cited relatively little. This reflects the fact that few people write and publish in them. For many such topics, most of the people who are interested are outside the formal Western publication system. This is a reflection of the very nature of fringe. If this were not the case, they would not be fringe. In particular, almost all the interest in traditional Chinese medicine is published in Chinese language journals, and analogously for Auryvedic medicine. Though there's no language factor in homeopathy or parapsychology, there's the same publication limitation. This will obviously affect our coverage, but it is not only inevitable, but intrinsic. It's the proof that fringe is fringe. DGG ( talk ) 21:10, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
@User:DGG Thank you for this detailed and insightful posting. Given the potential for mis/use of impact factors in editing, do you think there should be a statement about these in guidelines?DrChrissy (talk) 12:20, 12 May 2015 (UTC)


This diff removed a statement about notability (that if there were no independent sources about something, then Wikipedia should not have an article about it). Is that okay with everyone? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:20, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

It is obviously okay with me, and I think my rationale speaks for itself. --Izno (talk) 18:47, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
Agree with the edit. The thing seemed tacked on - making things more prolix (going on to discuss something else). Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:33, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
I think we should include the sentence in the guideline, but it was a non-sequitur in that specific section. Blueboar (talk) 12:54, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
Are we aware that it's the related catchphrase in Wikipedia:Verifiability#Notability. Logos (talk) 13:38, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
And at WP:N. The other problem I have with the sentence is indeed its duplication. Do we need to have the exact same (or nearly so) phrase in 3 different guidelines, only one of which is actually on notability? I suspect it's a holdover from when this guideline was titled WP:Reliable sources, but now that the scope is somewhat different, I don't think it bears mentioning in this guideline. People are pointed to WP:N often enough that a page scoped to identifying reliable sources has no business saying what WP:N already says (and with all the nuance that WP:N brings to itself). --Izno (talk) 15:36, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
Its placement in the lead is better but still unsatisfactory per reply to Logos. --Izno (talk) 15:36, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
WP:N is not a policy, but WP:V is; that is it has more power than WP:N per WP:PG. What I mean is, guidelines can borrow some key points from policies. Repetition of bulk of the material can be pointless, but excluding some key points/sentences may lead to inconsistencies and confusions. This issue might have been discussed in the past already. Logos (talk) 16:04, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
I don't have a firm opinion on its inclusion either way.
Logos, let me recommend WP:PGE to you. On a question of whether the English Wikipedia should have an article about something, WP:N is more powerful than WP:V, because it's more specific. WP:V is repeating (as of just a couple of years ago) what's been in WP:N almost since the guideline was written. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:22, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't agree. It appears that your understanding of "power" is different than mine. However, there is an explicit "hierarchy of power" specifically mentioned here. That is, all users; should normally follow policies, and should attempt to follow guidelines (though they are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply). Essays are the weakest because "they are the opinion or advice of an editor or group of editors for which widespread consensus has not been established and they do not speak for the entire community and may be created and written without approval". As long as these definitions stand there, do you think that your WP:PGE can be superior to WP:PG or any other policy? Definitely not: WP:POLCON. Besides, I see that you have been heavily editing both WP:PG and WP:PGE, and it was your edit which placed the link of an essay into a policy as a reference/guidance [4]. Had you sought any or wider consensus for that change? I don't think so. I recommend you to remove that "see also" link to WP:PGE in WP:POLICIES, because there are outright contradictions and possible conflicts in WP:PGE. For example, your WP:PGE says that "all policies need to be applied with common sense" which directly contradicts with clear definition of policies in WP:POLICIES. Even the very first two sentences of WP:PGE are all wrong: (The difference between policies, guidelines, and essays on Wikipedia is obscure. There is no bright line between what the community chooses to call a "policy" or a "guideline" or an "essay"). Due to the clearcut hierarchy of power in WP:POLICIES, "mainstream view" (i.e. the majority of the editors) will not care about what WP:PGE or any other essay grumbles about. As an example, as you will see here, although half of the arbitrators disagree about the verdict, it is pretty clear from their comments that all of their grasps of essay are in-line with WP:POLICIES. There might have been some/many more cases in arbitration or other venues of wikipedia. Similar to the bias against fringe as put forth by DGG in their comment above, there will always be a strong bias against essays in wikipedia. Logos (talk) 01:31, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

I'd recommend that you look into the history of that {{supplement}} (it's in the policy's talk page archives), and also that you spend some time contemplating WP:UCS and WP:IAR. It's not "my" essay in any sense. If you interpret POLICY as having a "clearcut hierarchy of power, then that only means I did a worse job of writing POLICY than I'd hoped. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:56, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
It's kind of a loophole that, you're referring to other essays to advance your point. All {{supplement}}, WP:UCS and WP:IAR are essays; which means they are far down in the "hierarchy of power". I've searched the archives of WP:PG already; there seems no discussion or consensus seeking for the addition of "see also" link to WP:PGE in WP:POLICIES.
Contrary to your claim, these links tell me that WP:PGE is "your" essay, and you have some kind of obsession for publicizing it: [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16]
People reading your above statement might think that all of the policies had been devised/created/designed by you; could you state the policies which you have contributed to heavily. Logos (talk) 20:38, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
Funny, but when I personally go to WP:IAR, I find that there's a {{policy}} tag at the top of that page. That page has been considered an official policy since 2004. Maybe you should read it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:57, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Answering your question: It’s probably faster to state what areas of advice I usually avoid: copyright and most other legal stuff; admins and arbs; and bots and other technical issues. My favorite policies are the core content policies: WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:NPOV (off and on), as well as POLICIES itself. You will also find me at IRS, MEDRS, EL, MEDMOS, several image-related and MOS pages, and the guide for WikiProjects. The guidelines I spend the most time at usually related directly to one of the core content policies.
I am not the single most prolific editor of policies and guidelines in Wikipedia's entire history, but I would probably be on a top-ten list. On the specific question of POLICY itself, approximately two-thirds of the current content was originally written by me, including almost all of NOTPART and PGLIFE (whose early development you can track if you look through Wikipedia:Policy/Procedure's history). So, basically, yes: if you misunderstand our policy on policies, then you can safely blame me for your confusion, because it is either something I wrote or something I should have fixed already. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:56, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Look @WhatamIdoing: if your contributions to all those policies have been similar to the ones in WP:PG, then all of those should be checked carefully. I am sorry, for not checking WP:IAR beforehand, and for adding to the others right away. I guess you see the kind of impression you left upon me.
I'm afraid that impression will not change a bit until you can find clever responses to the other more important issues that I raised above, and which you didn't answer by now. You said WP:PGE was not yours, but the links above asserts the opposite. You implied that there was some sort of consensus/discussion for the addition of "see also" link to WP:PGE in WP:POLICIES, but the archives say otherwise. If you prefer to bend the truth in such simple matters, how can you expect the people to value your contributions in policies and/or guidelines. My advice regarding your "see also" link to your WP:PGE stands. Logos (talk) 21:51, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
PGE was created as a result of a discussion at WT:POLICY. Note that "created" and "linked to" are not the same things. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:05, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
I would be more than happy to see the link to that discussion. Logos (talk) 18:12, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

WP:QUESTIONABLE misleading[edit]

It appears that WP:QUESTIONABLE is misleading in its current form in that, when compared to WP:NOTRELIABLE, part of the policy which the lede of this guideline makes clear controls, it:

  • Omits mention of apparent conflicts of interests when it says, "Questionable sources are those with a poor reputation for checking the facts, or with no editorial oversight." whereas the policy adds apparent conflicts of interest to the end of that list. (And "apparent" is very important: real conflicts of interest aren't necessary to make a source questionable.)
  • Says, "Questionable sources are generally unsuitable for citing contentious claims about third parties... The proper uses of a questionable source are very limited." (emphasis added) whereas the policy says much more dispositively, "Questionable sources should only be used as sources of material on themselves, especially in articles about themselves.... They are not suitable sources for contentious claims about others. (Emphasis added.)

I get it that this guideline isn't intended to just be a regurgitation of the policy, but the current phrasings are actively misleading. I propose rewriting the section to read:

Questionable sources are those with a poor reputation for checking the facts, or with no editorial oversight, or which have a conflict of interest. Such sources include websites and publications expressing views that are widely acknowledged as extremist, that are promotional in nature, or which rely heavily on rumors and personal opinions. Questionable sources are generally unsuitable for citing contentious claims about third parties, which includes claims against institutions, persons living or dead, as well as more ill-defined entities. The proper uses of a questionable source are very limited to use as sources of information about themselves, see [[Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources#Self-published and questionable sources as sources on themselves|below]].

(Link nowikied for draft purposes.) Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:55, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

Can you share a link to any dispute where this matters? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:25, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Reliable sources/, though that's not a particularly difficult case. At the bottom line, however, the Policy policy says that we have an obligation to make sure that policies and guidelines say what they really mean, so it shouldn't really be needed to show that this is causing problems. It has the potential of causing disruption and incorrect results, so it ought to be fixed. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 03:11, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Some observations:
  • The omission of "...or have an apparent conflict of interest" in WP:QUESTIONABLE might have been thought as compensated by adding "..., that are promotional in nature," in the following sentence.
  • While policy states what questionable sources should be used for, guideline states what questionable sources should not be used for. "Third party" phrase/set mentioned in the guideline is the opposite of the specific "set" mentioned in the policy. Logos (talk) 21:23, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
No strong opinions about the rest, but I wouldn't delete the or between the "those with a poor reputation for checking the facts, or with no editorial oversight". For example, some British tabloids (or even National Enquirer) have editorial oversight, but since they do not have reputation for fact-checking (quite the opposite) they qualify as questionable sources. Wouldn't want that to change. Abecedare (talk) 22:08, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

The Western Pacific Railroad Presidents[edit]

Today I discovered your listing of Railroad Presidents and I noticed that there are several missing from the Western Pacific Railway and Railroad. The information contained herein is from the March 1983 issue of Mileposts, the railroad's house organ. The 12 presidents are follows:

1. Walter J. Bartnett  March 3, 1903 - June 23, 1905
2. Edward T. Jeffery   June 23,1905 - November 6, 1913
3. Benjamin F. Bush    November 6, 1913 - March 4, 1915   (listed already)
4. Charles M. Levey    July 14, 1916 - March 30, 1927
5. Harry M. Adams      March 30, 1927 - December 31, 1931
6. Charles Elsey       January 1, 1932 - December 31, 1948
7. Harry A. Mitchell   January 1, 1949 - July 1, 1949
8. Frederic B. Whitman July 1, 1949 - June 30, 1965
9. Myron M. Christy    June 30, 1965 - November 30, 1970

10. Alfred E. Perlman December 1, 1970 - December 31, 1972 (already Listed) 11. Robert G. "Mike" Flannery January 1, 1973 - June 9, 1982 12. Robert C. Marquis June 9, 1982 - January 11, 198322:26, 26 May 2015 (UTC) (talk)

Janaury 11, 1983 was the day the Western Pacific became part of the Union Pacific and ceased to exist fro then on.

i have a question[edit]

does this rules valid to all the languages on wikipedia or just in english? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:02, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Policies, guidelines, and other administrative documents at English Wikipedia pertain only to this Wikipedia, not other-language Wikipedias unless they have expressly adopted them at their sites. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:41, 29 May 2015 (UTC)