Template talk:Third-party

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Merge with {{primary sources}}?[edit]

Resolved: No consensus for merge; template reworded to clarify purpose.

It's not really clear to me how the subtle distinction between {{primary sources}} and this template warrants their separation. The former's transclusion count also trumps this one's. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 21:40, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Also, as noted on Template talk:Primary sources, this cleanup template links to two essays that have cleanup (merge) tags on them. That's just wrong. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 21:41, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Oh, I think I get it now, it's about Wikipedia:Party and person - but it still looks like we should have both issues covered in the older template. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 21:59, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Further differentiation, cleanup[edit]

I've reworded the template to better differentiate it from {{primary sources}}, {{self-published}} and other related templates, and (more importantly) to link only to Wikipedia policies and guidelines, not to random, disused essays that are flagged for merging because they are redundant. The tone is borrowed form {{self-published}} and is less hostile (this is important, because 90% of the time or more, this tag will be used on an article created or heavily edited by a noob, since experienced editors know better). — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 20:15, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

WP:INDY is linked (favorably) literally thousands of times in discussions, so it's hardly a "random, disused essay".
I have corrected the confusion you introduced by removing references to self-published sources. This tag is about the need for non-affiliated sources, regardless of whether the source is self-published. If you write a newspaper article about the Queen of England, you are a third-party source. If you write a personal blog post about the Queen of England, you are still a third-party source. Ideal source are both third-party and non-self-published, but the purpose of this tag is to call out only the first need, so that we can easily use if for sources that are inappropriate because they are closely affiliated, even if they are properly published. As an example, if the CEO of a business writes a guest column for the local newspaper about his business, that is still not a third-party source, even though it is properly published. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:28, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Compatibility with multiple issues template[edit]

This template doesn't currently work with {{multiple issues}}, despite the documentation for that template suggests all tags listed at Wikipedia:Template messages/Cleanup should be supported. --BDD (talk) 20:52, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

this template defaces wikipedia articles[edit]

I can see the need for the template, sometimes. But it's inclusion in most cases is not subject to any consensus, and makes wikipedia look plain ugly. Can we at least move it to the bottom of the page for the humans to review first?

Leng T'che (talk) 10:11, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

Please don't. The normal place for maintenance tags is close to the top, per MOS:LEAD. --Redrose64 (talk) 14:42, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

move to bottom - Leng T'che (talk) 02:14, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

As stated at Template talk:Orphan#this template defaces wikipedia articles and Template talk:Unreferenced#this template defaces wikipedia articles, this is not the place to discuss a major change to article layout policy; much better places would be either the talk page for MOS:LEAD, which is Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Lead section; its parent, Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style; or alternatively, WP:VPP. --Redrose64 (talk) 13:01, 12 December 2012 (UTC)


The template uses the phrase "This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject", but the instructions state "This template is used in articles to identify articles that name sources, but that are biased". (Emphasis mine). Although I find it very surprising, this seems to have created a bit of a dispute elsewhere. So I figured that I should check here. Does the wording mean that the template can only be used on articles that both rely completely on non-independent sources and are biased, or is the intent for it be used on articles with no independent sources where there may be a bias, but we don't know? Alternatively, is it the intent to say that articles that rely solely on non-independent sources are biased, by definition, and therefore might warrant the tag? - Bilby (talk) 02:10, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Tags in general are an indication of something closer to "at least one editor believes there's at problem", not "we can absolutely prove that there is definitely a problem". If you believe that there is a problem with the article (many editors would tell you that an article that cites only non-independent sources automatically has a problem), then you can place the tag. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:19, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I guess I'm in the "no independent sources is automatically a problem" camp. :) - Bilby (talk) 05:38, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── According to the template documentation:

This template is used in articles to identify articles that name sources, but that are biased because every source named has a very close connection to the subject [...]

This seems to be setting a pretty high bar for use of this template – is it really necessary that every source have a very close connection to the subject? Based on the preceding comments in this section, it seems that {{third-party}} is appropriate when there is at least some question about a conflict of interest in the sources. Also, "used in articles to identify articles" is pretty clunky. I propose changing the documentation to read more like:

This template is used to identify articles that rely on a significant number of sources that appear to have a close connection to the subject [...]

Biased is omitted because there are other templates that directly address bias, such as {{POV}}. Also, whether an article is biased or not, a significant lack of reliable, third-party sources seems sufficient reason to tag the article for reasons of verifiability alone. I'm open to any suggestions. —Coconutporkpie (talk) 22:58, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for this interesting comment. The reason that we care about this issue is NPOV and NOT, not WP:V. Here's an example that I think will illustrate that aspect:

Widgets, Inc. manufactures widgets. The company was founded in 1924 by William Widget.[1] The current CEO is Bob Barnacles.[2] The headquarters is in Lake Wobegon.[3] As of 2016, they employ 250 people.[2]

[1] www.widget.com/history

[2] www.widget.com/staff

[3] www.widget.com/contact_us

Every source listed is the company's website. Every source listed fully, and even authoritatively, verifies the material. These are all permissible uses of self-published sources according to WP:V and even WP:BLPSPS.

But there's no reason to believe that this article is unbiased. Where's the information about the factory fire in 1937? Where's the information about the bankruptcy in 2008?

We can and should trust such sources to provide reasonably accurate information. But we cannot and should not trust such sources to provide complete and unbiased information. For example, a university website can be relied upon to provide an accurate title for a staff member and a list of projects and accomplishments, but it is highly unlikely to provide any unfavorable information about that same staff member. If you build an article solely from non-independent or "COI" sources, then you will not get an NPOV article. You will get a fully verifiable, but "subject's own POV" article.

Now you have proposed two changes:

  • Does it need to be 100% of sources? Probably not, but I'm not sure that it's desirable to change this. They are are usually applied to articles that contain just one or two sources. And we really wouldn't want someone to say that it's bad because 50% of the sources are from the subject – when only two sources have been cited.
  • Does it need to be used only when an article is biased? Probably not, but I'm not sure that there is any value in the tag if the article manages to be neutral (which does sometimes happen) while citing only the subject's own sources. It may also be worth remembering that such tags have limited efficacy in producing additional sources. Unless there are significant problems with the article's content, then the sources aren't that important. The point is to get the content right, not ticking boxes on a checklist that says "cite more of these reliable sources than those reliable sources".

Consider this:

Widgets, Inc. manufactures widgets. The company was founded in 1924 by William Widget.[1] The current CEO is Bob Barnacles.[2] The headquarters is in Lake Wobegon.[3] As of 2016, they employ 250 people.[2]

[1] www.news.com/widget-anniversary-story

[2] www.news.com/new-ceo-for-widget-inc

[3] www.news.com/widget-factory-relocation

Same article. Same neutrality problem, due to the omission of all unfavorable information. 100% independent sources. This is not a material improvement in terms of educating our readers about this company.

TLDR: The tag should be used to identify important problems in article content, and to give interested people a hint about how to fix them. Please don't encourage people to use it when the article content seems (to the best of your current knowledge) to be okay. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:06, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

Dispute about tag[edit]

There is a dispute about the application of the tag here (items 2, 3, and 5 in the table of contents), and at the related article, that might warrant the attention of those familiar with the tag if they have interest/time.--Epeefleche (talk) 08:45, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 13 December 2016[edit]

I suggest that "This article may rely..." be changed to "This article possibly relies..." for the sake of eliminating ambiguity. The same should go with some other templates. Gamingforfun365 (talk) 17:39, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

Note: Why don`t you change it yourself? I Suppose you are an extended confirmed user. regards, DRAGON BOOSTER 18:01, 13 December 2016 (UTC).
Not done: According to the page's protection level you should be able to edit the page yourself. If you seem to be unable to, please reopen the request with further details. 🔯 Sir Joseph 🍸(talk) 20:51, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
But I was told on my talk page a long time ago by @Debresser:, @Redrose64:, and @Ahecht: that I should always discuss changes before changing anything in templates. Gamingforfun365 (talk) 21:02, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
Yep. See here, there are other threads too. --Redrose64 (talk) 23:35, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, always discussing things about Maintenance template makes imminent sense. What is the ambiguity your proposed edit eliminates? Debresser (talk) 19:06, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
The "may" in the sentence has two meanings: it can indicate permissiveness or, more likely, a possibility, and we are looking for a word that only indicates a possibility, which happens to be possibly. Gamingforfun365 (talk) 15:44, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
I don't personally perceive any ambiguity in the statement. It wouldn't make sense for it to specify what references the article is allowed to rely on. In addition, "This article possibly relies" sounds much more awkward to me. V2Blast (talk) 09:59, 17 June 2017 (UTC)