Wikipedia talk:Citing sources

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In-text attribution and no credentials[edit]

YesY John Rawls says that, to reach fair decisions, parties must consider matters as if behind a veil of ignorance.[2]

In the first example for WP:INTEXT which is written in a white box above, the in-text attribution mentions the source for the example statement as "John Rawls", and John Rawls has a Wikipedia page about him, but what if the source lacks credentials and lacks a Wikipedia page about them? Would it still make sense to mention the name of the person in an in-text attribution? I ask this question, because I ran across this issue. I made this 15:25, 12 June 2017 edit where I removed mentioning the author's name and the title of the book in favor of mentioning that the source was a book about forensic anthropology for the in-text attribution. In my edit summary for that edit, I said, "... Mentioning the author's name in the Wikipedia page does not add to the article unless the author had their own Wikipedia page." Due to the size limitations of the edit summary, I was not able to also add in the edit summary that I thought that adding the author's credentials would be another case where mentioning the author as an in-text attribution would be sensible. In a later 05:00, 13 June 2017 edit, I added the author's credentials, but what if the author's credentials were not available? What would be the best in-text attribution then? Would the best in-text attribution consist of mentioning the book's title, Forensic Anthropology, and the author's name, Bradley J. Adams? Would the best in-text attribution consist of just mentioning the author's name, Bradley J. Adams? Would the best in-text attribution consist of just mentioning the book's title, Forensic Anthropology? Would the best in-text attribution consist of mentioning a description of the source as "a book about forensic anthropology"? Most importantly, I want to know about what people think about just mentioning the author's name without mentioning the book's name, without mentioning the book's description and without mentioning the author's credentials, because I think that an in-text attribution that just said that "Bradley J. Adams said" would not help the reader know about the perspective and reliability of the source. The reader would be wondering, "who is a Bradley J. Adams, and is he a reliable source for the statement attributed to him?" I think that this Wikipedia article should have an example like this where an in-text attribution with just the author's name for an author who lacks a Wikipedia page about them is an example, so Wikipedia editors can see if such an example is deemed good, indicated by the green check mark (YesY), or deemed bad, indicated by the red cross (N).--Ephert (talk) 18:29, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

Necessity of inline citations[edit]

I previously discussed at WT:V whether Wikipedia is using too many sources (read more there), though I nearly botched the discussion that I started. This time, I figured out what else to discuss related to this and where to discuss my curiosity about style of referencing: maybe here.

I skimmed through print encyclopedias in past weeks in libraries. I re-realized that most print encyclopedias have seldom or never practiced the style of inline citations. Such practice has been meant usually for academic journals. Over years, inline referencing, by either footnoting or parenthetical referencing, has become a common practice throughout Wikipedia. In print encyclopedias, especially old ones like one of Walt Disney encyclopedias and World Book Encyclopedia, a section or toward the end of an encyclopedia, references, and/or bibliographies has merely been used to merely list references used for sourcing. Those print encyclopedias usually lacked inline citations (footnoting or parenthetical).

However, Wikipedia articles prevalently display inline citations all over articles. Maybe the "Citing sources" guideline is needed to probably combat inaccuracies and vandalism. However, if that's not it, I'm not sure then why else inline referencing has become the growing prevalent style used by most editors. Why not do what most experts have done in the past: merely put sources in "References" or "Bibliography" section, or put them toward the end of the book?

One Citizendium article uses inline referencing, done by experts of the topic. So does one of them, which heavily uses inline citing. In contrast, one Scholarpedia article (didn't know about Scholarpedia until one or two weeks ago) uses the "References" section to list sources, but it doesn't use footnotes or parenthetical referencing. Well, there's WP:NOTPAPER saying that Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia. Still, why not do what past print encyclopedias did: just list sources and not make at least one footnote? Since Wikipedia is not paper, why not reformat references to mere list format and no footnotes? --George Ho (talk) 08:50, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

  • The difference is that print encyclopedias are written by experts... while Wikipedia is written by amateurs. We do not trust ourselves to always get things right or to know what we are talking about... in line citations give us a way to fact check each other. Blueboar (talk)|
  • Blueboar states the reason clearly. Paper encyclopaedias commission experts; we rely on "the public". Inline citations are essential tools to check that opinion, personal observation and original research aren't creeping in. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:26, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Even articles using just offline (or inaccessible) sources? Even ones using just non-English sources, like Ålgård Line (which I learned via "Random article" tool)? --George Ho (talk) 18:07, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes. Encyclopedias try to summarize human knowledge, but not all human knowledge is recorded in English. And certainly not human knowledge only as found on-line. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:48, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
It disturbs me how often editors drift into implying that online English sources are somehow superior to any others, as George Ho seems to be doing. We must use all available reliable sources. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:48, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Um... I also used offline sources for some articles, like Cheers (season 1), where I used microfilms of old newspapers to verify Nielsen ratings. Even I used some Chinese sources to verify some information about dandan youqing. Still, I've occasionally gone to libraries for college work and (mostly) Internet, also used for... sourcing. --George Ho (talk) 22:23, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Just want to double check something... George, are you perhaps thinking that an "inline" citation must cite an "on line" source? That is definitely not the case. Blueboar (talk) 23:37, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
My original intent was the formatting of references in Wikipedia compared to paper encyclopedias. I'll be specific about an inline citation: an inline citation, either footnote or parenthetical, citing an information. (e.g. Example info.[1], Example info (Doe, p. 1) ) However, my original intent wasn't discussing online or offline sources. True that online sources are more efficient and faster to check than offline and inaccessible ones. However, online and offline sources are not the main issue, which we can discuss later at either WT:RS or WP:VPP. Back to the original intent, re-reading what the guideline says, a reference usually comes in two forms in one Wikipedia article: an inline citation and a section listing references in full text. In contrast, in paper encyclopedias, a reference is explained in just full detail at the end of either an article or an encyclopedia. Sorry about befuddling the issue a little bit. I hope I'm clear about the main issue as intended in the OP this time. As for the answers, Blueboar's first answer, Peter's first answer, and J. Johnson's answers help a lot and help me answer the questions I may need. Thanks all. --George Ho (talk) 01:43, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Another note: MOS:REF redirects to this guideline, explaining another reason for coming here to discuss the formatting issue. --George Ho (talk) 01:44, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I think Blueboar and Peter missed George's point: on the necessity of inline citations. (Note that he suggests having no footnotes.) Having citations in-line means attribution of specific content (quotations, assertions, etc.) to a specific source. Verifiability is greatly diminished if it requires substantial searching. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:52, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
I took it for granted that only inline citations allow proper checking; we need to know how to verify every part of an article. So I entirely agree with this point. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:48, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Does the same apply to featured lists, like list of awards and nominations received by Bradley Cooper? --George Ho (talk) 19:27, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
pls see WP:LISTVERIFY--Moxy (talk) 19:33, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Another reason is that our articles are mostly edited piecemeal, so closely associating references with the content by citing them inline improves the ‘modularity’, ensuring that the listed sources are actually relevant (or, when using Harvard & similar styles with separate footnotes & refs, at least make this more likely and easier to check).—Odysseus1479 22:14, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

Recent change to Template:Refimprove[edit]

We need some opinions on the following matter: Template talk:Refimprove#Or better. A permalink for it is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 01:47, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

Discussion of interest[edit]

You may be interested in this discussion, which relates to an interpretation of this guideline. Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Citation underkill. Scribolt (talk) 18:58, 17 June 2017 (UTC)


It's been several times Rockypedia added vertical citation style in articles under my watchlist and that after I cleaned up after them, Rockypedia reverted all my edits as it was, according to them, a violation of WP:CITEVAR. A previous discussion about this problem ended up as a non-consensus discussion. As the horizontal format is, as far as I know, used more often than the vertical format, I don't find it helpful to add an extra citation style to an article. Rockypedia doesn't share my opinion and I therefore wanted to know if WP:CITEVAR was actually relevant regarding this issue. I mean WP:CITESTYLE clearly says : "While citations should aim to provide the information listed above, Wikipedia does not have a single house style, though citations within any given article should follow a consistent style", which seems to contradict WP:CITEVAR, while other editors clearly stated the vertical format is virtually only used for infoboxes. WP:CITEVAR also states that "imposing one style on an article with inconsistent citation styles (...) [is] an improvement because it makes the citations easier to understand and edit", which also contradicts what is previously stated. Synthwave.94 (talk) 20:17, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

WP:CITEVAR is about how citations appear once rendered, not how they are coded (save for templated vs non-templated). However, traditionally on Wikipedia, when two equivalent things exist, and nothing but opinion differs, you defer to the first major editor. "vertical" citations have many advantages over "horizontal" ones. Vertical citations are much easier to parse, edit and review, while horizontal citations take much less space in the edit window. When there's disagreement over that kind of thing, defer to the style first used consistently / style of the first major editor. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 21:14, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for your answer. Considering I am the first major editor of the three articles where there is a disagreement between I and Rockypedia ("Money for Nothing", "99 Luftballons" and "Rock the Casbah"), I suppose that I made the right decision to keep a consistent horizontal format within these three article. Can you confirm it ? Synthwave.94 (talk) 22:02, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
If I'm reading Headbomb's answer correctly, when he says "first major editor", he's not talking about someone who claims ownership over a particular article, or in your case, every article in the entire English Wikipedia having to do with 1980's music (see this paragraph). I believe he's talking about whoever made the edit in the first place. Just as I don't go around changing peoples' horizontal cites to vertical ones, neither should anyone go around and do the reverse, as WP:CITEVAR (as Headbomb explained) has to do with citations once rendered, or templated vs. non-templated, and neither of those apply to horizontal vs. vertical. Rockypedia (talk) 23:14, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
Looking at before either of you got involved, most references were horizontal [1]. Neither of you get to claim to be the 'first major editor' here. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 23:33, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't claim ownership over every article I edited so far. I simply clean up after other editors and revert vandalism and similar LTA, which is something numerous editors like me do. Anyway the same thing can be said about "99 Luftballons" and "Rock the Casbah" : most references were horizontal before either of us were involved. Synthwave.94 (talk) 23:45, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
So keep them horizontal. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 23:50, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
Or... ask some other, neutral, editors to look at the articles and tell you which style they would prefer. Let them decide. And abide by their decision. Either way... stop edit warring about it. Blueboar (talk) 00:43, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm not looking for the article to have hidden text conform to one style or another; the entire issue here is whether or not that needs to be the case. I'm fine with every editor's horizontally-formatted references staying that way. I'd like the same courtesy in return; to wit, just leave the vertical formatting alone. In my opinion, WP:CITEVAR is clear on this: horizontal and vetical formats can co-exist, it's fine that they co-exist, and one editor should not change references from vertical to horizontal just because horizontal is the way they like it. That's what Synthwave has been doing. There was already a discussion about this, most editors in that discussion agreed that the two formats could co-exist, none stated that they couldn't. Rockypedia (talk) 12:30, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Rockypedia. Paul August 15:32, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Based on what Headbomb said, I restored all versions of the three articles before Rockypedia decided adding a vertical format (and therefore before edit wars started). I then cleaned them up, as I regularly do. Synthwave.94 (talk) 19:57, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't believe horizontal and vertical formats should be used together in the same article. There should be a consistency in horizontal/vertical citation style over an article. Synthwave.94 (talk) 20:23, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
I think you're both edit-warring over something pointless, trivial, and extremely lame. If you don't stop it now, you will likely both get blocked. DrKay (talk) 20:30, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Having read the previous discussions, and the above, I would suggest the following. 1) before either Rocky or Synth edit an article, they should both agree on what the pre-existing citation style was (and thus what the style will eventually be). 2) While they edit they may each use the style they each prefer... but 3) when done editing an article, they will both work to conform their edits to the agreed upon pre-existing style. Blueboar (talk) 20:46, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Blueboar offers a good solution here. Edit how you want, but when you're done, it's perfectly fine to cleanup and bring them inline with how they were before. I much prefer vertical citations myself, but it's extremely simple to convert them to inline after I'm done if people object. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 23:20, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
The difference of opinion here isn't whether vertical or horizontal cites should be used in a given article. The difference in opinion is whether an article needs to have all vertical or all horizontal cites. Synthwave contends that it does. I contend, per WP:CITEVAR, that it does not matter if an article has horizontal and vertical cites mixed. That's the crux of it. Does every article on Wikipedia need to have all vertical or all horizontal cites throughout? Rockypedia (talk) 17:16, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
No, it's a trivial and hidden coding change that has no impact on the read display. DrKay (talk) 19:53, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Not trivial. Even under the hood, so speak, out of sight of the reader, it still matters to have clarity, both in legibility and format. (A position instilled by many years of writing code, and, more importantly, checking code.) Little things like closing up pipes (|) and equal signs with the the parameter name, but setting off the values with spaces, makes a BIG difference in readibility. (And that is regardess of horizonatal or vertical style.)
Now I find that a generally vertical style works for me. But I also find that it is a lot easier, and a lot faster, to check (e.g.) author's names if the first and last name are on the same line. Likewise with volume/issue/page: they fit together. So that's the way I put them in. If I was just passing by, and had a good source to throw in but don't plan to be back, I don't mind what that article's habitues do with it. But when I am maintaining an article (likely because, having done a deep dive into researching and writing/revising it in the first place, I am the editor with the best grasp of the topic), I find it really annoying when some bot comes along and makes all my templates all vertical or all horizontal, just because some bot writer prefers it that way. Likewise for some pass-through editor who is unlikely to stick around and work in the mess he makes.
So these matters do have an impact. Not on the superficial aspects of text display, but on the more subtle aspect of making the editing clearer, and incidentally easier.
Where two or more editors disagree on how formatting is to be done it can be difficult. If the matter cannot be resolved on any other basis (such as original style, or as a courtesy to somoene who has done substantial work on an article), then we should probably handle the matter of how citation is done just as we do for "style" overall: be tolerant. However, we do not need consistency of method where that does not affect consistency of display. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:44, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
No bot is approved to switch citations from horizontal to vertical, or vice versa. If you see those, please follow WP:BOTISSUE and notify the bot's operator. I note that some bots will fill citations in a specific way, but you always have the freedom to convert them to the established format. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 23:49, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
So far, I've seen several editors that have expressed that vertical and horizontal-formatted cites can co-exist on the same page ("under the hood", as it were), and none that have stated that a page needs to have all vertical or all horizontal. Would you say that's accurate? Rockypedia (talk) 03:58, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
No policy— certainly not CITEVAR— requires that citations be either all vertical or all horizontal. Paul August 16:35, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
That is true, but there is also a (somewhat unfortunate) clause that says it is "generally helpful" to be "imposing one style on an article with inconsistent citation styles (e.g., some of the citations in footnotes and others as parenthetical references): an improvement because it makes the citations easier to understand and edit;". So, in the long run, this tends to encourage editors to take an article with a mixture of styles (e.g. both horizontal and vertical formatting of templates) and impose one style. — Carl (CBM · talk) 17:14, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
"Imposing one style on an article with inconsistent citation styles (...) [is] an improvement because it makes the citations easier to understand and edit" contradicts with what most editors here (including Rockypedia) say about the mixture of horizontal and vertical formats. If you want to introduce a new style or format then you should reach an explicit consensus first (instead of blindly edit warring) before changing everything. Please do not forget I'm the main editor of these 3 articles and I entirely cleaned them up way before Rockypedia started editing them for the first time. While I appreciate the addition of new sources in an article, I cannot accept the fact editors like Rockypedia almost instantly revert my clean up edits for personal preferences only (let's not forget the horizontal was entirely used in all three articles, apart from the infobox, before they started making their own contributions). I'm sorry but it doesn't work like this at all and you cannot accuse the main editor of an article of "ownership" just because they want to keep a consistent format thorughout the article. Synthwave.94 (talk) 19:15, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
This is one reason that I think that language in the guideline is unfortunate. It seems to me that editors who arrive at an established article should ensure that newly added citations match the style of the existing ones; if they don't to do so, the resulting inconsistency should not be a reason to change the older citations to the format introduced by the more recent editor. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:24, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
If you read that section, the portion that states it's "generally helpful" to be "imposing one style on an article" is talking about different styles of citations, such as "switching between major citation styles, e.g. parenthetical and <ref> tags." To me, that pretty clearly defines what it means by "style". By contrast, horizontal and vertical is defined as a "format", not a style. The horizontal and vertical cites are already the same style. They're just formatted differently. Rockypedia (talk) 20:23, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
For the purposes of CITEVAR, both the outward appearance and the formatting used in the wikicode count as part of the citation style. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:58, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
I tend to agree, but (like others) have a little problem in that "style" does seem to be more the display aspects. Perhaps we should say that CITEVAR applies to the "style and method" of citation? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:43, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
There was an inconclusive RFC last year, so finding the right language for the guideline may be challenging [2] . The middle way is that key kinds of formatting do count - particularly vertical versus horizontal templates - but not every triviality. But the situation in this thread shows the reason for CITEVAR to apply equally well to formatting: we don't want people to waste time arguing over the formatting, when no version is better than any other, so it's better to just have an easy rule of thumb: use the existing method when you start editing another article. — Carl (CBM · talk) 21:48, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
How about an even easier rule of thumb - when an article uses <ref> tags, you should also use <ref> tags, but vertical vs. horizontal formatting doesn't matter because it's not part of the outward appearance of the page. Rockypedia (talk) 22:03, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
If it doesn't matter, perhaps you should allow the other person to simply change the page to match their preference, and then leave it the way that they change it? That is to say: if CITEVAR applies to horizontal / vertical, then as the newcomer to the page you should match the existing style. If it does not, then you should not complain (or use CITEVAR as a reason to change it back) when someone changes it. — Carl (CBM · talk) 22:04, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Except that if it's content that I've added and sourced, and I revisit it later, I could ask the same question of the other editor: if it doesn't matter, why not just leave it alone? I don't go changing other cites to vertical format, even on pages that I've created. Why would anyone need to change vertical cites to horizontal? I also point out that WP:CITEVAR, when talking about styles, is very specific about what constitutes a style: the example even specifies "e.g. parenthetical and <ref> tags"; it doesn't say "vertical <ref> tags", just <ref> tags. That's the style. The horizontal vs. vertical is just a format, not a style. Rockypedia (talk) 22:16, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
My point is that, if someone wanted to that claim CITEVAR doesn't apply, then they can't use CITEVAR to complain if someone changes it... But, really, CITEVAR does apply to these things, and as a new editor of a particular page someone should take care to match the existing formatting in new citations, or at least be ready for someone else to clean up the new citations to match the existing ones. Beyond CITEVAR that is also common courtesy as a newcomer to an existing page; CITEVAR just formalizes this courtesy. — Carl (CBM · talk) 22:19, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
I think CITEVAR does apply. And that it's pretty clear it applies in cases of "parenthetical and <ref> tags", which are different major citation styles. Rockypedia (talk) 22:33, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
If CITEVAR does apply to the formatting under discussion here, then new citations should (eventually) be brought into accord with the existing citations, of course. It seems like you are arguing that CITEVAR doesn't require you to match the existing formatting, but that it does prevent anyone else from changing the different formatting. That isn't how it works: if it applies to your formatting, then it applies to the previous formatting just as well. — Carl (CBM · talk) 22:35, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
CBM puts it clearly, and I can only agree. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:48, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
That's not what I'm arguing, and CBM is conflating two different points. CITEVAR applies to different styles, which it defines as parenthetical vs. <ref> tags, and it specifies "major citation styles." There's no way you could argue that horizontal vs. vertical are two different "major citation styles." That's just a formatting difference. To the second point: if one editor formats their <ref> cite vertically, and it's a good cite, then other editors shouldn't be changing it to horizontal, and vice versa, especially since this is an under-the-hood change and isn't even visible to a person just reading the article. If I come back to a cite that's on a page that's on my watchlist, it's more difficult (to me) to look at a cite I had formatted vertically and has now been changed. I give the same courtesy to editors who format cites horizontally; there's no reason to change them to vertical cites and I don't do that. If an editor has license to go and do that, then what's stopping every editor that prefers vertical or horizontal cites from changing every cite on every page they're watching to their preferred format? It'd be endless edit warring; it makes no sense. Just leave the vertical or horizontal as is formatted by the editor that added the cite. Rockypedia (talk) 16:59, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
Citevar does apply to both how a citation is rendered and how it is formatted under the hood, hence editors should not change horizontal to vertical or vice versa without consensus. I personally hate vertical format as it obscures the prose in the raw wiki text making it harder to edit. Citations are meant to support the prose, not the other way around. As a compromise, if someone really, really wants vertical format, it should be moved to list-defined references so as not to make the prose in the raw wiki text unreadable. Boghog (talk) 17:28, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, the evidence that it also applies to "how it is formatted under the hood" is the clear understanding that editors cannot change between plain text and templates, even though the displayed output is the same. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:30, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
I disagree there has never been consensus for that view. -- PBS (talk) 18:34, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
@PBS: see Wikipedia:Citing sources#To be avoided: "adding citation templates to an article that already uses a consistent system without templates, or removing citation templates from an article that uses them consistently". Personally, I wish this wasn't the consensus, because I believe strongly in using citation templates, but I know from experience that there are plenty of editors who will object to converting to templates, referencing this part of CITEVAR. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:47, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
There has been a lot of instruction creep since this was originally discussed back in the middle naughties. The original intention was to try to stop a bot being used to mass change pages from one style to another ie from inline to footnotes. To see how this section has suffered instruction creep just look at how is was in June 2010 and compare that with today. As far as I know there has never been a wide acceptance for the current wording and how it is used to justify things far beyond the 2010 "Citations in Wikipedia articles should use a consistent style." More recently since it has been pointed out that it was a style issue at some point "method" was added, a sticking plaster to try to make it more restrictive. I do not believer that there is a consensus for the current wording because it can be and is widely misused (because it is used to cover much more than style), for example I have seen it used to justify opposing changing <ref>{{harvnb|author|date|p=1}}.</ref> to {{sfn|author|date|p=1}}, despite the fact the the latter is clearly better as it automatically combines short citations with a similar format. -- PBS (talk) 19:26, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
As I can see right now, most editors disagree with you, Rockypedia. You cannot decide to introduce a new style/format to an article and then complaining about someone like me cleaning up after you. WP:CITEVAR does apply to vertical and horizontal formats, as some editors pointed out, even if I agree they are not visible to a person who is simply reading the article. Sure you clearly prefer the vertical format and you don't change horizontal and vertical formats on pages you created or often edit. However you shouldn't try imposing this format in articles you never edited before, especially if the main editor of a specific article disagree with you (and if you start edit warring by the same way). Synthwave.94 (talk) 22:51, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
"most editors disagree with you, Rockypedia"??? That's complete fabrication on your part. Most editors in this discussion, as in the previous one, that have stated an opinion, have stated that "editors should not change horizontal to vertical or vice versa without consensus", as Boghog just did. I don't change horizontal cites to vertical, and you don't change vertical to horizontal. Very simple. Rockypedia (talk) 03:38, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
You never had an explicit consensus to begin with. Carl said "the resulting inconsistency should not be a reason to change the older citations to the format introduced by the more recent editor" (in this case, you) and that "new citations should (eventually) be brought into accord with the existing citations" (Peter coxhead agrees with this argument and so do I). Boghog also pointed out that "as a compromise, if someone really, really wants vertical format, it should be moved to list-defined references so as not to make the prose in the raw wiki text unreadable." As far as I can see, you didn't introduce list-defined references, and you still don't have a consensus to add vertical formatting in the articles for "Money for Nothing", "Rock the Casbah" and "99 Luftballons". Synthwave.94 (talk) 20:56, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Not one editor agrees with you that an article needs to have either all vertical or all horizontal citations. Not one. You're taking Peter coxhead's comments about plain text and citation templates out of context, and attempting to contort that into some kind of support of your opinion that all the cites need to be either horizontal or vertical. There's no support for that argument of yours. None. In other words, you should leave the citations alone that other editors add, just as other editors leave your citations alone. It's really simple. Rockypedia (talk) 12:41, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Meanwhile, Boghog and Paul August have explicitly stated that vertical and horizontal cites can co-exist, and that no editor should change horizontal to vertical, or vice-versa, simply to satisfy their own personal preference. Leave the cites as they are. You've been changing my vertical cites to horizontal for months, and it's really disruptive editing at this point. Rockypedia (talk) 12:49, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
What CITEVAR says is that once a citation style has been established, it should be maintained unless consensus is to change that style. That includes additional citations that are added after the style has been established by the first major contributor. Hence CITEVAR implies that all the citations within the same article should be horizontal or vertical. I prefer horizontal, but that is merely my opinion. Boghog (talk) 13:01, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Actually if you read CITEVAR carefully, it's clear that when it says "styles" it's referring to differences such as those between "parenthetical and <ref> tags". This implies that as long as all the cites are ones using <ref> tags, they're all one style. If you look at any of the cite templates, like this one, they all refer to horizontal and vertical as a "format", as in "horizontal format" or "vertical format." Both are part of the same style. Rockypedia (talk) 14:06, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
The implication "that as long as all the cites are ones using <ref> tags, they're all one style" is a gross simplication. I could come up with a dozen distinct "styles" (likely more with a little exertion), all using <ref> tags. Similarly, "parenthetical" style – putting references in the text, and in parentheses – is a class of "styles" (see Parenthetical referencing), including but not limited to the often disparaged "Harvard referencing style". None of which get into the details of how such styles are implemented.~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:52, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm talking specifically about the definitions and distinctions that Wikipedia policy pages draw. CITEVAR doesn't differentiate between horizontal and vertical, but does call <ref> tags a different style from parenthetical, and the template pages for cite:book, cite:web, etc, all refer to the difference between horizontal and vertical as formats, not styles. Rockypedia (talk) 20:17, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
I still don't see any explicit consensus, Rockypedia. Also, as per WP:BRD, you should discuss to reach a clear consensus and not just reverting my edits over and over until someone blocks you. Remember that between both of us, you're the one who introduced a new style/format to several articles. Synthwave.94 (talk) 20:51, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
I did not introduce a new style; I added valid citations, and the vertical and horizontal formats can co-exist, according to policy and several editors' opinion, so you need consensus, per WP:BRD, as your changes are completely unnecessary and based on your own personal perferences of <ref> formats. I don't mess with horizontal cites to change them to vertical. You're the one being disruptive. Rockypedia (talk) 20:56, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Incorrect, you added a new format that was not in the articles you edited. You're still trying to impose the vertical format and are now misusing the BRD cycle. Please wait for an explicit consensus before making new changes again. Synthwave.94 (talk) 20:59, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Vertical citations are not a "new" format. They're a perfectly acceptable format that co-exist with the horizontal format on thousands on wikipedia pages. I added a new citation, not a new format. There is nothing in CITEVAR that requires any article to have all vertical or all horizontal formats with <ref> tags. Therefore, your edits are disruptive, and your attempt to use WP:BRD to justify your edit warring is a desperate reach. Rockypedia (talk) 21:04, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
@Rockypedia: yes, CITEVAR does not explicitly cover vertical vs. horizontal layout, although it does explicitly favour consistency in other internal formatting of citations. But what follows from this is not that editors are free to do whatever they like, since the requirement to seek and follow consensus always applies. So in the absence of agreed over-arching guidelines, as Synthwave.94 says above, you need to seek and obtain consensus article by article when challenged. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:04, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
I would also add that you are going against the spirit of WP:OWN by saying that others must not change edits you make. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:09, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
If you weren't introducing a new format - if it was really no different than what was there before - then it would make no sense to object when someone changes the formatting you've used... In any case CITEVAR does apply to these things. While no editor is force to match the existing style and formatting, we expect that eventually someone else will edit new citations to match the existing style and formatting. So it is just a matter of time, in the end. It is not appropriate in any way for someone to claim that the new citations they have added cannot be edited to match the previously existing citations in the article. — Carl (CBM · talk) 12:25, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm not the one making superfluous changes. I added citations that were necessary, and Synthwave made a formatting change to them that added nothing. It is not appropriate in any way for someone to claim that the format change to the citations they didn't add can't be reverted to the original format. That's a violation of WP:CYCLE: Synthwave made a superfluous change, I reverted it, and now we're discussing it. Meanwhile, nothing in CITEVAR says that all the cites have to be vertical or horizontal, and there are thousands of articles where the two formats co-exist - with good reason, there's no policy against that! Your statement that "we expect that eventually someone else will edit new citations to match the existing style and formatting" is pure opinion; YOU may expect that, but it's just not supported by policy in any way, as policy only states that style needs to be consistent. Formats, in terms of horizontal and vertical, can be mixed, as there's no policy prohibiting that, and in the current Wikipedia, they do co-exist everywhere. Rockypedia (talk) 14:41, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Converting to the established style is acceptable. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 20:02, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
There's no policy against adding additional references, but if someone adds one in a way that differs from the rest, we expect that eventually it may be cleaned up (compare WP:DEADLINE for why this is OK). This guideline says "If the article you are editing is already using a particular citation style, you should follow it; if you believe it is inappropriate for the needs of the article, seek consensus for a change on the talk page. " - and the choice of horizontal vs. vertical template usage is one aspect of the style that an article may use. The argument that someone can add citations in a way different from the existing ones, and then nobody can change them to match the existing ones, is exactly the opposite of the actual practice. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:38, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
@Rockypedia: The revision history for "Money for Nothing" clearly shows that you started making controversial changes without any consensus on 3 February 2016‎, with an edit war ending on 25 March 2016 after a discussion. You then resumed this behaviour on 20 and 21 October 2016‎, and started making other controversial changes since 4 May 2017‎ and haven't stopped ever since. You even started adding vertical formatting in the articles for "Rock the Casbah" and "99 Luftballons" (one week ago), again without even discussing your changes. From my side, I started two discussions (a discussion on the talk page for "Manual of Style" and this current discussion. None of them ended up on an explicit consensus that would confirm you can use a vertical format wherever you want. You therefore misused the WP:BRD cycle twice.
It's true you added several references to "Money for Nothing", "99 Luftballons" and "Rock the Casbah", and I appreciate the addition of sources in articles under my watchlist. Your persistent use of the vertical format is not acceptable, however, as pointed out by several other editors. WP:CITEVAR says that "imposing one style on an article with inconsistent citation styles (...) [is] an improvement because it makes the citations easier to understand and edit", which implies that even horizontal and vertical formats may be modified to match a consistent format chosen by the main editor of an article and for readibility purposes. Per Carl, WP:DEADLINE confirms that you should not attempt to impose your own style/format in an article which already uses a consistent citation style/format. There are no differences between horizontal and vertical formats and other citation styles you can find in an article: if you want to change them, respect the BRD cycle and reach a consensus and do not start an edit war. Note that I don't care if there are other articles with a mixture of horizontal and vertical formats, considering they may not be cleaned up correctly.
I therefore suggest that you stop using the vertical format in the articles for "Money for Nothing", "99 Luftballons" and "Rock the Casbah" and that you to stick to the horizontal format used in all three articles. I spent too much time on this issue and I don't want to waste my time edit warring with you again. Synthwave.94 (talk) 21:50, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Your phrasing "I appreciate the addition of sources in articles under my watchlist" is further proof, straight from the horse's mouth this time, that you consider those pages "yours" and anyone else editing them is subject to your approval. That's not the way it works. Furthermore, when I added the sources, you are the one who made the controversial edit by changing the formatting for no reason other than WP:IDONTLIKEIT. There's still not one editor, not one, who agrees with your your assertion that horizontal and vertical cites cannot co-exist in the same article, and WP:CITEVAR does not support that assertion either, as multiple editors agree that H/V are just formatting, and not different styles. So, when you made your edit, that would be the BOLD part of WP:BRD that you set in motion. I reverted it, because your edit was not based in policy, just personal preference and your feeling that you owned those pages. Despite the fact that in both discussions, no one agrees that all of the cites have to be horizontal, you have reverted the revert dozens of times, in direct violation of WP:CYCLE. Rockypedia (talk) 23:43, 26 June 2017 (UTC)


Not sure we should be spamming new editors with Template:Welcome-citation that links to Wikipedia:Citation underkill over our guidelines or policies on the matter. Was going to ask for deletion as misleading....but perhaps we should just fix the links?--Moxy (talk) 00:14, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

This is not the right venue. I fixed it. There is a link to five pillars and other sources. No worries. QuackGuru (talk) 00:29, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
So your removing the links to a contentious essay with our P/Gs on the matter?--Moxy (talk) 00:34, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
I included different links. Balance is the key. QuackGuru (talk) 00:35, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
So to be clear your still spamming Wikipedia:Citation underkill on new editors pages.--Moxy (talk) 00:37, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
This is the wrong venue. Linking to an essay along with other links is not spamming. What does this have to do with improving this page? QuackGuru (talk) 00:39, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Your going out of your way to bypass this guideline with an essay you wrote that as you know is dont think its related?--Moxy (talk) 00:44, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
If you think there is a link missing then fix it. QuackGuru (talk) 01:14, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
I have fixed the template to point to this guideline, rather than the essay. Blueboar (talk) 01:33, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Moxy and QuackGuru, the "Welcome-citationunderkill" is nominated for discussion. QuackGuru, may I revert Template:Welcome-citation back to its origins, so I can take this to TFD then? Thanks. --George Ho (talk) 03:58, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
I restored it at your request. QuackGuru (talk) 04:44, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
I gave you thanks, QuackGuru. Actually, may you please take it to TFD instead? I voted "delete" on "welcome-citationunderkill". --George Ho (talk) 05:29, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Why? QuackGuru (talk) 05:58, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
If taken to TFD, and you or someone else nominates it, I would have voted "Keep" because it helps more. If I took it to TFD, I would say that I would request comments on it or something. I don't favor deleting it. Also, see WP:TFD#REASONS. --George Ho (talk) 06:03, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Actually, I wonder whether you still want to delete it. If not, then let's leave the template alone and use it more often. Would that do? --George Ho (talk) 06:04, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

Just looking for a little help[edit]

Greetings and felicitations. I occasionally see in an article's references section an entry along the lines of "Attribution: [Source]", but I've forgotten where in the MoS or elsewhere this specific type of reference is covered. (As opposed to the standard citing of sources.) Would someone please be so kind as to point me in the right direction? —DocWatson42 (talk) 11:57, 26 June 2017 (UTC)