Template talk:Primary sources

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Template proposal[edit]

Previous related archived discussions: Primary Sources, REWORD, Primarysources = Unsourced?, Wording misses the point?, Reliable sources, "Primary sources ...", Secondary does not mean third-party, Template_talk:Primary_sources/Archive_3#Let.27s_work_out_what_it_should_sayLet's work out what it should say, This template does not make me happy, Propose making the contents match the title

Pinging previous participants @BesigedB: @Danielfolsom: @Jeepday: @Centrx: @HJ Mitchell: @Skier Dude: @MSGJ: @Str1977: @Debresser: @LeadSongDog: @WhatamIdoing: @Jinnai: @Hrafn: @North8000: @Joy: @Jc3s5h:

I would like to propose that, once an article title has been chosen in reference to the more reliable amongst the sources available to us and once a topic has been proven to be notable, then there is nothing wrong with many uses of Primary sources. I'd also propose that in many cases the use of primary sources may even be preferred. Obviously some primary sources, perhaps being put together by a webmaster or similar, may contain some of the errors that may be generated through the use of secondary or tertiary sources but, in general, a primary source of information will be closer to the source of information.

The template text currently states: "...relies too much on references to primary sources. Please improve this article by adding secondary or tertiary sources."

Here "primary sources" is a link to WP:OR. How does that figure? An editor might just be going to a primary source for a basic information that the primary source might be more likely to get correct.

I would prefer content to read as something like: "...relies heavily on primary source references. Please improve this article by validating or correcting its content through an addition of secondary or tertiary sources." I would also be happy if the entire "primary source references" linked to WP:verifiability. I think that a different "original research" template should be used on articles with those specific problems. gregkaye 22:49, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure that addresses the basic problem of wp:SYN in the selection of specific primary sources. This is the underlying reason we must rely on secondary sources to establish the "good" primary works upon which we can rely. It isn't just how to verify statements, but how to maintain NPOV: not just which papers are correct, but which papers are important in understanding the material. In biomedical topics this is a very frequent issue that wp:MEDRS tries to address. The wording "Please improve this article by validating or correcting its content through an addition of secondary or tertiary sources" leads one to the idea that neutral perspective can be grafted on after the fact, but it can't. One starts from secondary sources, then only if they show it to be necessary does one expand using primary sources that they have cited. This outsources the choice of perspective to the experts who wrote the secondary sources. LeadSongDog come howl! 23:08, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with your points in the first paragraph, and I also agree that the link to WP:OR is better removed. I oppose changing the text of the template, as I find the current wording to be more correct and precise than the proposal. Debresser (talk) 00:10, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • A couple of quick thoughts:
    • The link to NOR is because WP:PSTS is still part of NOR (for better or worse). It probably ought to be a link directly to PSTS (the shortcut, not the section heading, because that shortcut will always get updated if the section heading is changed).
    • The content policies require that articles be primarily based on secondary sources. This tag accurately reflects the policies in that way. If you disagree with the policy (and it sounds like Debresser might, too), then you need to change the policy first.
    • Also, from several comments on this page: "primary" does not mean "self-published". WP:Secondary does not mean independent. There are three different axes in operation here: primary vs secondary; self-published vs traditionally published; and independent vs affiliated. This tag should only be used to deal with the first. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:16, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I've retired from editing (just happened to notice this because I happened to log in, and thought it important), so probably won't be around for any extended discussion. I would however like to make a few points:
    I emphatically disagree that "once an article title has been chosen in reference to the more reliable amongst the sources available to us and once a topic has been proven to be notable, then there is nothing wrong with many uses of Primary sources." Turning primary sources into a coherent account is an inherently synthetic process, of determining what is important for the exposition of the subject, and of creating a narrative out of this. This synthesis can either come from secondary sources or from the editor's own original research, and Wikipedia's policy is emphatically WP:NOR. The purpose of primary sources in Wikipedia articles should be to 'flesh out' a skeleton provided by secondary sources. If this secondary source skeleton does not exist, then either the article becomes an unstructured blob of random PS-based material, an artifact of the editor's own WP:SYNTHESIS of these sources (or often something in between). HrafnTalkStalk(P) 13:30, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't quite see how the proposed wording would be an improvement. You can fine-tune the link use WP:primary sources, sure, but it will still lead to the section of WP:NOR that deals with this problem, and which exists for good reason. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 13:54, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
  • This does not work for several reasons. Those listed above as well as logistical. It is bad for the reasons listed at Wikipedia:No original research, and even if there were cases where it was not bad, how would you clearly define the cases where it was bad and where it was not bad? Jeepday (talk) 13:18, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

Template-protected edit request on 7 November 2015[edit]

A consensus has clearly been reached at the relevant merge discussion. Please remove the merge tag, so that it no longer imposes the additional confusing visual pollution upon readers, at all places that this important and necessary tag appears. Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 22:32, 7 November 2015 (UTC) Leprof 7272 (talk) 22:32, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

No need for such requests. After the discussion will be closed, in die time and by a competent editor (usually an admin), he or she will take care of the merge. Debresser (talk) 22:43, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Template-protected edit request on 16 January 2016[edit]

The template should have a "Section" variant as many other templates do. I ask this because a biographical article may be cited well in most sections but rely on, for example, a subject's resume entirely or primarily for one section. People have been known to pad their resumes. Tenebrae (talk) 00:45, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

Feel free to mock up the changes that you would have made if this wasn't protected in Template:Primary sources/sandbox, then reactivate this edit request. — xaosflux Talk 01:22, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Wait a second. This template already takes "section": {{Primary sources|section}} renders . Debresser (talk) 15:45, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

" Got it. The first one did, the second was always "article". Done now. Debresser (talk) 15:51, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

Template-protected edit request on 12 February 2016[edit]

Please change the link from the Wikipedia article defamation to Wikipedia:Libel as that pertains more to Wikipedia's policies. Thank you! <<< SOME GADGET GEEK >>> (talk) 15:44, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 16:04, 12 February 2016 (UTC)


Please implement the "small" parameter so that the template can be presented in a similar manner to {{refimprove|small=yes}}. Bright☀ 19:32, 3 April 2017 (UTC)