Template talk:Unreferenced

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Question[edit]

I was wondering why a specific distinction between Template:Unreferenced and Template:Refimprove is made. Why is the difference between no reference and lack of references an important distinction? Isn't it both simply a lack of references? Many, if not most reimprove articles have less than 3 references in total, which doesn't seem too different from completely unreferenced.

I'm not suggesting anything to be changed (yet), but I am curious why things are as they are~ Maplestrip (talk) 14:04, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

As I wrote at 19:34, 7 September 2014 on Template talk:Refimprove#Should this template be used more sparingly?, {{refimprove}} is a subjective judgment, unlike {{unreferenced}} which is objective - either there are refs, or there aren't. See also: Template:Refimprove#When to use; Template:Refimprove#Differences from {{Unreferenced}} and {{Citation needed}}; Template:Unreferenced#When to use; and Template:Unreferenced#Differences from related templates. --Redrose64 (talk) 18:14, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
Subjective vs objective, that does make sense. I understand why that is desirable. Thank you for the quick reply Maplestrip (talk) 18:17, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

Template-protected edit request on 5 March 2015[edit]

Please replace [[File:Question book-new.svg|50x40px]] with [[File:Question book-new.svg|50x40px|alt=]] as it's a decorative image and does not need an alternative text. Thanks. Dalba 14 Esfand 1393/ 12:46, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done SiBr4 (talk) 12:58, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Challenged, what is this?[edit]

When the word "challenged" was linked to Template:Fact, it was easy to understand what "challenged" is. But now it isn't linked, and I guess that many readers don't know what it means. The same goes for Template:Refimprove. Iceblock (talk) 17:29, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

References or sources[edit]

I find the recent addition of parentheses to this template kind of awkward for such a template; if it is desired to not have "references or sources" then I would suggest simply removing one word(sources). 331dot (talk) 12:00, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit template-protected}} template. I'll agree it's awkward, and nobody had a problem with "references or sources" for over a decade until SMcCandlish's WP:BOLD change, but it's protected to prevent just this kind of situation. Discuss. Bazj (talk) 18:32, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
That's what I'm trying to do with this discussion. 331dot (talk) 18:38, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
Either that, or establish consensus for the change that prompted my comment. 331dot (talk) 18:40, 28 October 2015 (UTC)
Or let's just establish consensus at all. It's not like there was consensus discussion to use the redundant and nonsensical "references or sources" to begin with. I'd suggest we just go with "sources", per WP:Citing sources, and WP:Identifying reliable sources. WP could overall use more consistency in this direction. This template and {{Unreferenced section}} would be better as "Unsourced", which is what most of us actually call an article lacking source citations. "Unreferenced" is unnecessarily long, and seems to imply something like "other pages are not referring to this article", i.e. {{Orphan}}.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:05, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Except that the section where they're noted is generally titled "References", and populated by {{Reflist}} or <references />. Bazj (talk) 12:27, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
@331dot: The {{edit template-protected}} template isn't for initiating a consensus discussion. Please see WP:PER, where it says "consensus should be obtained before formally making the request" and "Once there is consensus for the change, and any final details have been worked out, put a template on the talk page along with a short, clear explanation". --Redrose64 (talk) 09:18, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
@Redrose64: Thank you for the information. 331dot (talk) 11:00, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
I agree with User:331dot that there is an unnecessary redundancy in "references or sources".  +1 for using "unsourced" as SMcCandlish suggested. Dalba 09:43, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Dalba, how do you reconcile that with the places where both are used, such as Franklin Pierce#References? Bazj (talk) 12:27, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Citation on WP has suffered from the start because of ambiguous terms like these. "Source" is pretty straight-forward – it is, well, the source where the material is found, be it a book, a document, or whatever. But "reference" is used in many ways. It can refer (!) to a source (such as reference books), or the set of bibliographic details (more properly a citation) that identify a source, or a [foot/end] note (such as created with <ref> tags) containing such a citation, or the relationship of a citation identifying a source, or of the state of material in the text having – or not – a citation that identifies a source. I suspect "references or sources" crept in here as an attempt to be inclusive. But if (and I am undecided on this) "source" is appropriate and adequate for the purpose here then it should be used exclusively, to avoid the ambiguity attendant upon "references". ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:17, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
To amplify that: What appears in our articles are in fact references [in one use of that word], to sources. So it's appropriate that the usual article section for them be called "References". We sometimes actually do have a section called "Sources" (or "Works cited", or "Bibliography"), in certain citation styles, where the references are given in short form a section above this (often called "Footnotes", but also "Note" or "Endnotes"), specifying page numbers, and a list of sources is given separately. See WP:LAYOUT; a unified "References" section is only one style. So, we don't really care that much how sources are cited (i.e. how they're referenced); we care more whether there are sources and that they're identifiable for WP:V and WP:RS purposes. So, the problem this template flags is more a lack of sources than a lack of formatted citations (references) to them. Analogy: If I'm starving, I care about access to food, not whether it's presented artfully on fine china. It's a sourcing problem, really, not a references one, because if sources have been identified in talk page discussion, one would not tag the page with {{Unreferenced}}, but simply cite them, or (if really lazy) paste them into a "Sources"/"Bibliography" section and tag it with {{No footnotes}}, which is a cleanup template, not a dispute template. The {{Unreferenced}} dispute template is [properly] used when the sources for the material can't be identified. The present template name implies that a "References" section is missing, but no such section is actually required.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:31, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

RfC: Should the current wording of this template be reverted to its prior wording?[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The question of reverting had a consensus of no. The new proposal had enough consensus that the participants changed the template. If a formal close on that is desired leave a post on my talk page. Simply boxing this one up. AlbinoFerret 18:53, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

Should the current wording of this template ("does not cite any references (sources)"), that was boldly changed be reverted to its prior wording ("does not cite any references or sources")? 331dot (talk) 23:08, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

  • No. "References or sources" is redundant and blathery. It's sufficient to use one or the other. I agree that the present "references (sources)" is just as unnecessarily long-winded.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:07, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
If that's the case then we should simply lose the "(sources)" as well, as that seems more awkward than the way the template had been for around 10 years. 331dot (talk) 13:13, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
Sure. My point was that we're not limited to a choice between only option A and option B that each use two words; it's most reasonable to just use the one word (the one that matches the current name of the template).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:54, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
  • No strong opinion, leaning toward single word 'sources'. Let's face it, anyone editing here for long should understand what is missing. This template is (or should be), mainly for the benefit of newbies/careless editors. Whatever most clearly directs such editors to understanding, should be used. Pincrete (talk) 18:35, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
  • No. See next proposal. Nurg (talk) 22:34, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Note: I was asked on my talk page if I'd either boldly just change the wording to "any sources", or revert to "any references or sources". I declined, with the following
 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  23:02, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, revert. My response to SMC (on his talk page) is, in its essentials, that in (hopeful) anticipation of some consensus on a better formulation coming up any time soon it makes little difference if the previous wording is continued a little longer, but that it is very important to respect the basic principle of WP:BRD even where we do not like the result. BRD should not be elective depending on content. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:44, 15 December 2015 (UTC)

Proposal: "This article does not cite any sources."[edit]

I propose the sentence be changed to "This article does not cite any sources." Both the current wording of "references (sources)" and the previous wording of "references or sources" imply synonymy of "references" and "sources", which is not true. (There is synonymy of "citations" and "references".) Sources are things external to WP. Citations, or references, are text we write in WP about those external sources. This is clear at Wikipedia:Citing sources, where the first sentence reads, "A citation, or reference, uniquely identifies a source of information". The proposed wording is consistent with the next sentence in the template, which talks about "citations to reliable sources". Nurg (talk) 22:34, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

  • Support. I mainly was interested in removing the awkward parentheses from the template; whichever word is chosen is fine with me. 331dot (talk) 22:47, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. DoctorKubla (talk) 11:09, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

This discussion started as an edit request ("suggestion"), became an RfC (above), prompted a requested move (below, now closed), and now comes back as a ... proposal? I am undecided whether this is more in the nature of a hang fire, or just a dud. Either way, this discussion is so chewed up it is unlikely to produce any clear result. If you want a change I suggest starting a new discussion, with a better statement of the issue. And perhaps this entire discussion should be closed lest it catches more stray comments. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:38, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

You seem to be stating that there have been too many discussions so your solution is to start yet another discussion. I don't think we need to do that here. It just took some time to sort out what was actually needed(my initial edit request was rejected as lacking consensus even though the original bold change made that prompted my comment also lacked consensus) 331dot (talk) 22:49, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
No, I am stating that this discussion is too chewed-up and fragmented to tell just what we are ivoting on, and so needs a fresh start. So in regards of the matter you have raised (which I think does warrant discussion) I suggest we try to extract what ever was sorted out here to form a succinct and clear statement of the problem, which can be the basis of a fresh start. If you want, lets meet (your page or mine) and see if we can work up such a statement. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:27, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
I would be happy to post on my talk page. I will start a section there shortly. Thanks 331dot (talk) 23:36, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
I am quite happy for this subsection I created to be raised to a top-level section and moved to the bottom of the page. The proposal I have made can stand on its own – it does not hang on the earlier discussions, although people may wish to peruse those discussions. The proposal is to remove a single word (and the parentheses, which would have become redundant). Nurg (talk) 04:30, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
Your proposal was made in this context; moving it would change the context and (arguably) subtly change the proposal. Let's close this entire discussion, and start afresh. 331dot has started a disscusion on this at his talk page; let's meet there and see if we can craft a good proposal. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:40, 13 December 2015 (UTC)
I have joined the discussion at 331dot's Talk page. So far, no improvement on this proposed wording has emerged there. I don't agree with closing this discussion. Let it run its course. And I will keep an eye on 331dot's Talk page in case a better proposal emerges. Nurg (talk) 08:32, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. WP:V, WP:RS, and WP:NOR all refer to sources not "references". The choice of "unreferenced" instead of "unsourced" for this template was simply a random decision, and doesn't agree well with the wording we use in various WP:POLICY pages. Even the guideline on "referencing" is named WP:Citing sources, not "Citing references" or "Referencing". I think this happened because in some fields the term "referencing [a paper, article, etc.]" is more common than "sourcing" one, but WP basically WP:DGAF about that. WP has its own jargon and isn't a slave to any particular external usage.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:59, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. It would be much more useful if editors stopping discussing SMcCandlish's actions, which were unquestionably well-intentioned, and concentrated on the substantive issue, namely what is the best wording. Personally I prefer "sources (references)" – "sources" fits the linking of the wording to WP:V, which uses the term "sources"; "(references)" because, rightly or wrongly, "references" is often used as a synonym for "sources", as it is in the title of the template. But I'm quite convinced it is of very little importance; most people won't notice. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:10, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Per the apparent consensus of editors in this subsection I have reworded the template. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 14:23, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
  • If the message is going to be "does not cite any sources", then that should be carried through to the information summary, which still says "no citations or references at all". And if "references" are replaced with "sources" than we are back to the previous question (below) of renaming the template to "Unsourced". (Something like "does not reference any sources" would have avoided this, but we seem to be past any consideration of that.) ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:42, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
This would probably be better discussed in a new thread. Terminology is confused, but "does not reference sources" is likely to be read as "does not have inline references to sources", and that's not the purpose of this template. It's important that users understand that the absence of citations of sources is the problem, not the absence of inline references to citations. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:09, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
I had not thought that the difference between "does not reference any sources" and "does not have inline references to any sources" overly subtle, but WP editors do have a propensity for free interpretation. Prior discussion of this might have been useful, but (as I just said) we seem to be past that point. That comes from doing knee-jerk ivotes before there has been any broad or deep consideration of any implications or consequences. Which I suspect comes from the blogging experience, where getting noticed (read) depends more on being first to comment than on depth of comment. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:04, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
@J. Johnson: you are welcome to update the documentation yourself. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 22:49, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
Declined. Let those who make bold changes take responsibility for their own cleanup. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:05, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
I've fixed one incorrect use of "references" in the documentation, but the rest of it seems fine to me. DoctorKubla (talk) 09:21, 17 December 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Requested move, pursuant to the above discussion[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved – This is a very nuanced issue and it is clear from the discussion below that a clear understanding of what “Unreferenced” and “Unsourced” mean is lacking. The template in question should be applied consistently to articles that exhibit the deficiencies it highlights. Apparently that is not the case. While “Unsourced” may be a more explicit tag, there’s clearly no consensus in the discussion below to make the change now. I would strongly suggest that this discussion be addressed more broadly at either WP:Verifiability or WP:Citing sources via a widely advertised RFC. Establishing explicit conditions where this template is applicable in either of these policy/guideline pages would then help determine the best name for the template. In other words, the template exists to tag a symptom and should be named appropriately only after there’s consistent and widespread consensus on what that symptom is. Mike Cline (talk) 17:29, 8 November 2015 (UTC)



– Just reverse the direction of the redirect. This is a dispute template about a lack of cited sources, not a cleanup template about a lack of a "References" section, so the current name is misleading (as evidenced by the redundant wording issue flagged in the immediately previous discussion). Also adding the "section" variant of the template to the nomination.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:31, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

  • Support, per nom and clearer Wikipedia language. Randy Kryn 11:12, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Support per nom; will make the intent clearer. 331dot (talk) 11:16, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose the first, {{unreferenced}}, is a template about a complete lack of anything in the references section or having one. The equivalent for lack of cited sources is called {{nofootnotes}} where a references section exists, or more generally {{citation style}} -- 70.51.44.60 (talk) 18:14, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
I think you are confused on what constitutes a "lack of cited sources". What we are talking about is not a failure to connect text to a source (which can happen even when there are cited sources in the article), but where there are no sources at all in the article. Which is what {{Unreferenced}} clearly, even boldly, states that it should be used for: "on articles that have no sources at all". Not merely "lack of anything in the references section", which in some "styles" is not even required. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:30, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:32, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. Editors often say "references" when they mean "sources" (and occasionally do the opposite) but official language should be as clear as possible. —GrammarFascist contribstalk 11:17, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Unreferenced is a term of art on Wikipedia unsourced is not. Therefor unsourced is confusing. -- PBS (talk) 20:50, 1 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the sake of consistency: ==References==, {{Reflist}}, <references /> etc. Bazj (talk) 09:10, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
For consistency? As I said above (and Mac amplified), the existing uses of "references" are ambiguous, which leads to various and inconsistent usage. The proposal here is to remove some of that ambiguity in regard of this template. It does not change the meaning or use of ==References== (etc.), and makes it clearer that the situation to be addressed with this template is not the lack of "references" in a "References" section, but the lack of any cited sources. For the sake of consistency you should support this proposal. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:44, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
J. Johnson, I don't agree. Is there something wrong with having my own opinion? Are you going to harangue every Oppose opinion?
The text prior to the BOLD change had stood for 10 years without controversy, it's only since that change that it's suddenly become imperative that one or the other MUST be imposed. I disagree with that. The argument revolves around which is better without making any case for not having both. Bazj (talk) 09:29, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
You're over-reacting. You are quite welcome to disagree that " it's suddenly become imperative that one or the other MUST be imposed", because that is not the issue at all. (It's not even a factual statement.) And if you are so emotional about the current formulation that you can't see how it contributes to the general confusion and muddledness in the use of "references" and "sources" then it's probably a waste of time to discuss it. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:20, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The unreferenced template is used in a hell of a lot of articles here and I think changing it would probably lead to confusion & arguements, As Baz notes we already have the Ref header, the reflist template etc etc so IMHO we should be consistent and keep this as it is. –Davey2010Talk 22:09, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
@Davey2010: It's already been changed; do you believe it should be changed back? 331dot (talk) 23:25, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
331dot - Nothing's been changed yet well not that I can see ? cheers, –Davey2010Talk 23:29, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
It originally said "This article does not cite any references or sources"; it now says "This article does not cite any references (sources)". I originally questioned the need for parentheses, which has prompted the above discussion. 331dot (talk) 23:32, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Strangely enough I did wonder if it had changed but assumed it was me!, Ah I didn't even realize the above so it all makes sense now Face-grin.svg, Meh I still believe "Unreferenced" is fine, Thanks, –Davey2010Talk 21:49, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: does "consistency" mean that 1) we should always do things the way we have always done them? Or 2) should it mean consistency in the understanding of the purpose and application of this template? From several comments above it appears that we do not all have a consistent understanding of the problem for which this template is applicable. (This in addition to the ambiguity of what "references" refers to.) We're not likely to reach any kind of consensus as long as we have different concepts of what we are talking about. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:49, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. "Unreferenced" is ambigious and dosn't accurately describe the problem identified by the template. "Unsourced" is nice and clear. DoctorKubla (talk) 21:27, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.
  • @Mike Cline: I understand the result of the above discussion; in prompting it I was actually more interested in obtaining consensus for the change in the wording of the template from "references or sources" to "references (sources)". Should that not be changed back as well, as it didn't seem to have consensus? 331dot (talk) 21:26, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
Changes to the content of the template are outside the purview of the RM and should be resolved within the discussion preceding this RM. --Mike Cline (talk) 21:47, 8 November 2015 (UTC)