Wikipedia:Source grading

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Sources, citations, and external links used to support claims made in an article may be graded according to quality. Considerations include the reliability of the source in general, the strength of the specific citation, and the relevance of the citation to the claim made.

Goal[edit]

The goal of our project is to make the best possible citations in every article. Source grading shows us and our readers, honestly, just how well we are able to do. Articles needing improvement are categorized and available to edit.

Method[edit]

A series of templates provides a simple method of grading such citations:

Code Result Note
* {{sa}} http://en:wikipedia.org The highest possible grade, representing an authoritative citation that strongly supports claims made in the article.
* {{sb}} http://en:wikipedia.org A middle grade, representing a good citation that supports claims made in the article.
* {{sc}} http://en:wikipedia.org The minimum acceptable grade, representing a fair citation that casts some support in the direction of claims made in the article.
* {{sq}} http://en:wikipedia.org Not a grade at all but a placeholder for grades which are questioned, contested, or disputed.

Note that there is no "flunking" grade. Unacceptable citations should simply be removed. Note that many external links may be unacceptable as sources of information for claims made in an article, yet of significant interest to readers. These cannot be graded and should not appear under References.

There is no need to refine this process or surround it with qualifications. Each citation must be judged on its individual merits. A plethora of considerations play a part in grading a source: reputation of the publication, reputation of the authors, relevance of the publication's field, relevance of the authors' fields, relevance of the citation to the claim it is used to support, agreement among competing citations, and many others. Expertise in a given field is required to make a good determination of a given citation's quality -- and no such determination is definitive.

Note with caution that grades apply to sources on a citation-by-citation basis. You may see the exact same source cited, say, in Dog and in Isaac Asimov. In the former article, it may merit an {{sa}}; in the latter, only a {{sc}}. Perhaps it is simply worthless.

Finally, do not war over source grading. Simply grade each source to the best of your ability. Let other editors change the grade if they feel such change is warranted. Discuss grades on talk; do not revert. If you absolutely feel a grade cannot stand and you are impatient for resolution on talk, you may change it to {{sq}}. This does not mean the citation is of poor quality; it simply means that its grade is questioned or disputed. This grade, once assigned, should be changed only after consensus has emerged in discussion. Thank you.

See also[edit]