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Citation needed

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
An example of the citation needed template as seen in an article on the English Wikipedia

The tag "[citation needed]" is added by Wikipedia editors to unsourced statements in articles requesting citations to be added.[1] The phrase is reflective of the policies of verifiability and no original research on Wikipedia and has become a general Internet meme.[2]

Usage on Wikipedia[edit]

The tag was first used on Wikipedia in 2006,[2] and its template created by user Ta bu shi da yu. By Wikipedia policy, editors should add citations for content, to ensure accuracy and neutrality, and to avoid original research.[3] The citation needed tag is used to mark statements that lack such citations.[1] As of June 2023, there were more than 539,000 pages on Wikipedia (or roughly 1% of all pages) containing at least one instance of the tag.[1] Users who click the tag will be directed to pages about Wikipedia's verifiability policy and its application using the tag.[4]

Usage outside Wikipedia[edit]

A 2007 xkcd comic by Randall Munroe featuring a protester with a "[citation needed]" placard
Poster at the 2017 March for Science

In 2008, Matt Mechtley created stickers with "[citation needed]", encouraging people to stick them on advertisements.[5]

In 2010, American television hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert led the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where some participants held placards with "[citation needed]".[6]

Randall Munroe has frequently used "[citation needed]" tags for humorous commentary in his writings, including in his 2014 book What If?[7][8][9]

It was also used as the name of a 2014–2018 YouTube series by the British comedy group The Technical Difficulties. In the show, Tom Scott gives the title of a random Wikipedia article to the other members, and they try to guess on what the rest of the article is about with a 'ding' and points for correct guesses.[10]

Many social media personalities also use "[citation needed]" when talking about an unsourced claim. Hbomberguy used it in his video about Bill Nye.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Redi, Miriam; Fetahu, Besnik; Morgan, Jonathan; Taraborelli, Dario (May 13, 2019). "Citation Needed: A Taxonomy and Algorithmic Assessment of Wikipedia's Verifiability". The World Wide Web Conference. WWW '19. San Francisco, CA, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 1567–1578. doi:10.1145/3308558.3313618. ISBN 978-1-4503-6674-8. S2CID 67856117.
  2. ^ a b McDowell, Zachary J.; Vetter, Matthew A. (2022). "What Counts as Information: The Construction of Reliability and Verifability". Wikipedia and the Representation of Reality. Routledge, Taylor & Francis. p. 34. doi:10.4324/9781003094081. hdl:20.500.12657/50520. ISBN 978-1-000-47427-5.
  3. ^ 栗岡 幹英 [Masahide Kurioka] (March 1, 2010). "インターネットは言論の公共圏たりうるか:ブログとウィキペディアの内容分析" [Can the Internet be the Public Sphere of Discourse? : Contents Analysis of Blog and Wikipedia]. 奈良女子大学社会学論集 [Nara Women's University Sociological Studies] (in Japanese) (17). 奈良女子大学社会学研究会 [Nara Women's University Sociological Study Group]: 133–151. ISSN 1340-4032.
  4. ^ McDowell, Zachary J.; Vetter, Matthew A. (July 2020). "It Takes a Village to Combat a Fake News Army: Wikipedia's Community and Policies for Information Literacy". Social Media + Society. 6 (3). doi:10.1177/2056305120937309. ISSN 2056-3051. S2CID 222110748.
  5. ^ Glenn, Joshua (January 2, 2008). "[citation needed]". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on July 27, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  6. ^ Johnson, Ted (November 1, 2010). "Satirical rally calls for sanity and/or fear". Variety. Archived from the original on November 16, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  7. ^ Munroe, Randall (2014). What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. Hachette UK. ISBN 9780544272644. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  8. ^ Hill, Kyle (September 2, 2014). "Review: XKCD's What If?". Nerdist. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  9. ^ Poole, Steven (September 19, 2019). "Book Review: 'What If' by Randall Munroe". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  10. ^ "The Technical Difficulties". www.techdif.co.uk. Retrieved February 6, 2024.
  11. ^ Bill Nye VS Pseudoscience (Part Two!) | Measured Response. Retrieved March 31, 2024 – via www.youtube.com.

External links[edit]