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Wikipedia:Citation needed

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Innovative application for the template in xkcd 285 (Wikipedian Protester)
The {{Citation needed}} template aims to promote accountable discourse (taken from xkcd webcomic 285, "Wikipedian Protester").

To ensure that all Wikipedia content is verifiable, anyone may question an un-cited claim by inserting a simple {{Citation needed}} tag, or by using a more comprehensive {{citation needed|reason=Your explanation here|date=January 2016}} clause.

Example: 65% of people believe in ghosts.[citation needed]

When not to use this tag

Before inserting a "Citation needed" tag, at least consider the following alternatives, one of which may prove much more constructive:

  • Do NOT tag palpable nonsense. Delete it.
  • Do NOT tag controversial, poorly sourced claims in biographies of living people. Delete them immediately!
  • If you are sure the statement you want to tag is not factual, even if it does not come under either of the preceding headings, it may still be appropriate to be bold and simply edit it out of the text (delete it). Be sure to add a suitable edit summary such as "Very doubtful - please do not revert without giving a citation". If the original statement was accurate after all this gives someone the chance to put it back, hopefully with a proper citation this time.
  • If a statement sounds plausible, and is consistent with other statements in the article, but you have honest doubts that it is totally accurate, then consider making a reasonable effort to find a reference yourself. In the process you may end up confirming that the statement is too doubtful to remain.
  • If you feel an article, or a section within an article, needs more than one or two tags then ALWAYS add a {{Unreferenced}}, {{Refimprove}}, or {{Unreferenced section}} tag to the article or section concerned instead of an ugly battery of individual tags..
  • Unless you have very good reason to suppose otherwise, it is fair to assume that a reference at the end of a paragraph refers to the whole paragraph, and a reference at the end of a sentence refers to the whole sentence.
  • NEVER insert a "Citation needed" tag (or, worse, a whole battery of them) to make an extraneous point, to "pay back" another editor for inappropriate behaviour of any kind, or because you generally "don't like" a subject, a particular article, or another editor. Gross examples of this sort of thing are, frankly, vandalism, but otherwise thoughtful and well-behaved editors may at times be guilty of this one unconsciously.

If your work has been tagged

  • If you can provide a reliable source for the claim, please be bold and replace the "Citation needed" template with enough information to locate the source. You may leave the copyediting to someone else, or learn more about citing sources on Wikipedia. Wikipedia:Referencing for beginners provides a brief introduction on how to reference Wikipedia articles.
  • If someone tagged your contributions with a "Citation needed" tag and you disagree, discuss the matter on the article's discussion page. The most constructive thing to do in most cases is probably to supply the reference requested, even if you feel the tag was not justified.

See also

External links