Citation needed

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The display effect of the citation needed template in English Wikipedia

"[Citation needed]" is a tag added by Wikipedia editors to unsourced statements in articles requesting citations to be added. The phrase is reflective of the policies of verifiability and no original research in Wikipedia and has become a general Internet meme. On the English Wikipedia, the display effect looks like this: [citation needed]

Usage in Wikipedia[edit]

By Wikipedia policy, editors should add citations for content, to ensure accuracy and neutrality, and to avoid original research.[1]

Usage outside Wikipedia[edit]

An xkcd comic featuring a protester with a "[citation needed]" placard

In 2008, Matt Mechtley created stickers with "[citation needed]", encouraging people to stick them on advertisements.[2]

"Protesters" at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, 2010

"Citation Needed" was the name of a game show hosted by Tom Scott on YouTube from 2014 to 2018. The show starred the "Technical Difficulties", a group of friends consisting of Tom, Chris Joel, Gary Brannan, and Matt Gray. Will Seaward also appeared on two occasions as a stand-in for Matt. During each show, Tom would (almost) randomly choose a Wikipedia article, and ask questions to the contestants, who would answer in hopes of receiving points or "mystery biscuits". The "prize" for the winner was a pun from Tom.[3]

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. Some participants held placards with "[citation needed]".[4]


  1. ^ 栗岡 幹英 [Masahide Kurioka] (2010-03-01). "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). 奈良女子大学社会学研究会 [Nara Women's University Sociological Study Group] (17): 133–151. ISSN 1340-4032.
  2. ^ Joshua Glenn (2008-01-02). "[citation needed]". Archived from the original on 2018-07-27. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  3. ^ "Citation Needed : Season 1 - YouTube". Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  4. ^ Ted Johnson (2010-11-01). "Satirical rally calls for sanity and/or fear". Variety. Archived from the original on 2010-11-16. Retrieved 2018-07-27.