Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/Archive 33

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British vs American dates

Wikipedia editors from Europe put the day before the month, but editors from America put the month before the date in the citations. Is there a WP rule that makes it less confusing for us ? Pass a Method talk 10:16, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

This has been debated many times. The consensus compromise is that, in articles on a subject of worldwide scope, either method will do, as long as it is consistent within any one article. The British method is preferred in articles about British or Commonwealth subjects. -- Alarics (talk) 10:21, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
In addition, if a particular article follows a printed style manual for citations, such as APA style, the date format specified in the manual for citations should be followed. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:12, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
What the fuck? Thats pretty pointless to me. I'm still clueless whether 3.11.2011 indicates March or November. Thats a major discrepency. Pass a Method talk 16:21, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Are there no other non-ambiguous dates anywhere in the article? (E.g. 23/5/2005 is clearly the 23rd of May) What variety of English is the article written in? If it is really not possible to deduce the format just ask on the Talk age. Roger (talk) 16:41, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
The only acceptable all-numeric date format in Wikipedia is YYYY-MM-DD, for example, 2012-01-23. That is only acceptable where space is limited. It is allowed in citations if used consistently; it's been decided that is an area where space is limited (although I disagree). In the body of the article the month should be spelled out. Pass a Method's example of 3.11.2011 is always unacceptable and should be fixed, if one can figure out what it means. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:48, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
One extremely helpful aspect of using the YYYY-MM-DD format in citations is that this makes it much easier to check an article's prose for date formatting inconsistencies (because searches for names of months don't result in dozens of hits within citations). —David Levy 16:58, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
This supposes one would want to check only the prose for correct format and not the citations. Jc3s5h (talk) 19:05, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
No, I'm referring to consistency (i.e. the use of a single date format of the two sanctioned within prose). In other words, apart from direct quotations, the prose should contain either "January 23" or "23 January" (not both).
Of course, the citations should have consistent date formatting too. If they don't, those containing month names will show up as hits. Assuming that no unsanctioned formats are present, whichever ones aren't found via searches for month names inherently use the "2012-01-23" format. It's much easier if most fall into the latter category.
If the one or more unsanctioned date formats (e.g. "01-23-2012", "23-01-2012", "January 23rd", "23rd of January") are present, that's a separate issue requiring attention. (They either will or won't appear in searches for month names, irrespective of what style is preferred for prose/citations.) —David Levy 20:03, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Just to be clear, in my initial response to Pass a Method I was assuming the question was about dates in which the month is written out as a word, i.e. the difference between 23 January 2012 (British) and January 23, 2012 (American). From his/her supplementary remark above, I now infer that he/she was actually talking about all-numeric dates. These are a different can of worms altogether, and the settled consensus on WP is that, as Jc3s5h notes, only the YYYY-MM-DD format may be used, e.g. 2012-01-23 (because any other format is ambiguous) and only then if necessary for space reasons. In response to David Levy, there is a script that anyone can use for making the date format consistent in any one article. -- Alarics (talk) 19:49, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

I've never been fond of scripts (though I'd be willing to give it a try). —David Levy 20:03, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I have been using User:Ohconfucius/script/MOSNUM dates for ages. It scrubs the entire article and converts the dates to on format. See also User:Gadget850/FAQ/YYYY-MM-DD dates. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 21:41, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Most of my engineering career was spent in large companies with subsidiaries all over the world. Drawings came in all different languages and formats; some dating back to the late 1800's. All that to say, our general rule of thumb was dates that were NOT obvious (eg, Nov 03, 1912 or 11 Mar 1912) should be interpreted generally like this (in the absence of conflicting information):
- dates with dashes or slashes were assumed to be mm-dd-yyyy (eg, 11-03-12 would be 03 Nov 1912).
- dates with dots were assumed to be dd.mm.yyyy (eg, 11.03.12 would be 11 Mar 1912).
The corporate standard was dd mmm yyyy so newer drawings were unambiguous. JimScott (talk) 06:04, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Here in the UK it's common practice to write all-numeric dates with slashes, although dashes are sometimes used, dots are rare. So, given that (when lazy) I'd write a date as 06/02/12, or 06-02-12, what form is that? --Redrose64 (talk) 14:40, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
FWIW I don't agree that the use of dots is rare in UK. I have been doing it for over 50 years, myself. It seems to be quite common in publishing at least. And I have never before heard of the idea that whether it is dashes/slashes or dots might help to work out what is what in an otherwise ambiguous date. But really all that is beside the point, which is that all forms of all-numeric dates are potentially ambiguous in an international setting and they should therefore not be used in Wikipedia. -- Alarics (talk) 21:35, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Citation templates in editing non-functioning

I think the title says it all. Who's messing with the coding? - Jack Sebastian (talk) 03:00, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Don't see any issues. Details? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 10:17, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Weird; now it's working. I was looking to add a citation to Kershaw Knives, and I couldn't get the drop-down box for the different citation templates. Was something done in the overnight? - Jack Sebastian (talk) 16:24, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
There have been no recent changes to the RefToolbar scripts. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:29, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
What should I be looking for, troubleshooting-wise, if it happens again? - Jack Sebastian (talk) 16:57, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

{{Cite News}} Question

I have read the project page but am still a bit confused as to the proper way to cite different content contained within a single, lengthy news article.

  1. When citing different content from a single article, should an individual citation be built incorporating a "relevant quote" as appears to be suggested by the template guidance?
  2. Where online page numbers are available, should those page numbers also be contained within the citation or is that meant to refer to "print" media only?

Thanks JakeInJoisey (talk) 13:31, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

If there are page numbers, I would go with those. It avoids the risk of the relevant quote appearing at two spots in the article, and the possibility that the reader might print the online source before reading it (in which case searching for quotes would be hard). Or, you could do both. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:40, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
If I might pursue this a bit further, I think you are saying that, where there are multiple page numbers presented in an online newspaper article (which may not necessarily reflect the page numbering of a "print" edition), new citations reflecting a different online page number should be constructed for each. Is that correct? JakeInJoisey (talk) 15:54, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Ordinary websites that are simply HTML documents do not have page numbers. In my experience, an online news article will not usually have a page number unless it is a PDF document representing an exact copy of a (real or notional) printed newspaper or magazine. So the question does not arise very often, but when it does, including the page number is helpful. BUT one or two US newspapers' website articles sometimes say things like "this article appeared on page x of the Blah Times on such and such a date" and in that rather special case I think one might also cite the page number. -- Alarics (talk) 21:48, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
OK. Now let me see if I can correctly summarize your position...
  1. Where "online page numbers" are provided (eg. see [1]), a citation should cite a specific page.
  2. Where specific information on "print" pages are provided, a citation should cite the printed page information.
Have I got that right? Assuming I do, in the case of #1, should the "relevant text" from the source page be incorporated in the "quote" parameter? JakeInJoisey (talk) 03:21, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Including a quotation is entirely optional; one is typically included only when the source is not easily accessible or the fact being cited is controversial. --Cybercobra (talk) 05:08, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
We have some confusion here. That New York Times example that you give is not at all what I meant by online page numbers. That is simply an article that has been spread over several screens. Rather than citing those numbers I would give the URL for the version of the article that is all on one web page (click on "single-page" in the right-hand column), since the NYT happens to provide that option. Where that option doesn't exist, I don't think we should get into the business of mentioning the different "page" numbers, which will bear no resemblance to the real page number of the article in the actual physical paper. No, what I meant by online page numbers is for instance this [2], where the website provides a PDF of the original newspaper page. A more recent example is this kind of thing [3], where the website provides a PDF of the physical magazine. As I said before, this will not apply in most cases. (I am leaving out of account here services such as [4] because the items are kept there for only 3 months so would not be worth citing on WP.) -- Alarics (talk) 09:04, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
I am fully prepared to embrace any determination as to the appropriate use of the "quote" parameter, but the expression of differing "opinions" here as to it's appropriate use demonstrates, I think, the "shades of grey" problem I'm attempting to address. I believe the project would benefit from some greater clarification as to this parameter, but If it is the consensus of the community to allow significant editor latitude in the use of "quote", then I'll simply retire and be on about my citation building business interpreting "quote" as I deem appropriate. JakeInJoisey (talk) 15:53, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Wikilinking in cites. What is too much?

Should everything linkable in a citation be linked to an article? The work? The publisher? The location city? The names of the authors and editors?

If the above answer is yes for even one parameter, should such wikilinks in citations be repeated in each similar citation in an article, or just in the first one? For instance, do we wikilink to The New York Times once, or each time it shows up as a citation? Binksternet (talk) 22:20, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Certainly not the location city, and in my own view not the names of mainstream newspapers if the location is given (or is included in the title, as in The New York Times). If there have to be links, it should only be the first time it appears in the article. Authorlink is OK. I am not sure whether there is any point in wikilinking the names of publishers of books. I think many editors wikilink too much where no purpose is served. Getting the citation right and including all the details that are required seems to me much more important. I have seen people wikilinking the name of an extremely well-known newspaper but not bothering to include the publication date, which is absurd. -- Alarics (talk) 22:41, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Use your judgement. Alarics is spot on here. I would link obscure sources (e.g. Field Artillery) or sources that might be confused with others on the first use. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:06, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I would actually link The New York Times to show that this newspaper is really known, not some obscure newspaper that mimics the name of a known one. Also I wouldn't assume the fact that any newspaper is well-known, given that editors are coming from various places. I've actually never seen the The New York Times in the real life, and I'm not quite sure that I would spot difference if the actual source was eg. The New York Time newspaper. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 06:09, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I think we just had this discussion (or part of it) on WT:LINKING. But, consider that links should be made for relevant information, I would never link a publication's city or conference city as part of a citation, even if the city's not well known, because the link isn't helping the reader to understand the citation, it's just a convention used to assure we've got the right publisher or city for a reference. Linking other fields like author, publisher, or work are germaine to the reference information (it helps you know what the work or person is as an authority), and thus while up the editors of the page, these are recommended. If they are used, they need to be used on all references when possible to be consistent within the citation list, as to make it easy to the reader to find out more on the author/publisher, and to avoid having to relink when reference use is moved around on a page. --MASEM (t) 23:54, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I was the other side of a short discussion on the matter. And my rationale was exactly this one. I would also note, that I believe one should wikilink author, work, publisher and book (provided that targets exist) for each reference, as the references are normally accessed from <ref></ref> by jumping from the article and back. The exception I would also like to note is that authors, works and publishers that are wikilinked in article's body shouldn't be linked in references. All of this is my opinion, and I'm not aware of any policy or guideline detailing this issue. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 06:09, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
The citation block is generally considered it's "own" part of the article; while we avoid relinking in prose of the article body, the citation block should be linked appropriately regardless if the names are mentioned previously. Again, for the reason that readers may jump from a reference link in the article body to the cite block, and if they haven't seen the linked term yet in the prose by that point, they may not know what it is within the citation. It also just makes it a lot easier to manage citations and links within them and to ignore any problems with overlinking in the prose itself. --MASEM (t) 15:02, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
There is a particular danger about encouraging the wikilinking of names of newspapers: many newspapers have the same name as other newspapers, and only the "location" (city of publication) uniquely identifies it. For instance, there is a Daily Telegraph in Sydney, which is a major paper in Australian terms, as well as the one in London. There is a The Guardian in Dar es Salaam as well as the one in London. There are dozens of newspapers around the world called The Times. And so on. Editors who are insufficiently aware of this might just bung double square brackets round the name and, seeing that it produces a blue link, assume that they have linked to the article about the correct paper when in fact they have got the wrong one. This is not just a theoretical problem: I have seen it done. Rather than encouraging linking, I think it is better to just insist on the inclusion of the "location" (city of publication) except, of course, where that is already part of the name of the publication. -- Alarics (talk) 12:37, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I would say that it is a good reason to encourage wikilinking: when done right, it provides the needed information in a more compact and "wikified" way; when done wrong, it may be fixed.In fact, I would encourage editors to create red links for newspapers, journals and alike (eg., The Times (Kiev)), which would help both establishing the reliability of source and the need for article (via "What links here"). — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 14:34, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
I personally try to link as little as possible in a references especially if the reference has a link for verification. We are here to help those expanded there knowledge of the topic at hand. Not link every little thing we can. We don't create red links especially in references in hopes other will make articles for us. Readability and accessibility is much more of a concern then linking every word in a reference, because the more you link in a sentence the harder that sentence is to read. Moxy (talk)
Sorry, but how exactly does wikilinking make something more difficult to read? Is there any research or user experience behind this claim? The only experience change I get with wikilinking is the improvement in information accessibility, and I experience no readability change. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 18:31, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Missing Links - whats better for our readers to understand the topic at hand and get the relevant info about the topic. Not what is better for Wikipedia in promoting our articles when there is no need to. How many links will new users have to click before they actually get the reference info? Moxy (talk) 19:38, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
If you take out the dates and the redlink, its still easy to figure out which is which. The mediawiki helps with offsite links. --MASEM (t) 19:52, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Agree - Keep it simple is best for our readers - no need to overlink in refs at all. Moxy (talk) 20:02, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Remember, references are not prose. They are like a table or list, each part possibly useful information to the reader but they aren't necessarily reading it sequentially and quickly for comprehension. That said, what is linked is certainly a personal preference, and I think that the best advice is 1) never link dates, 2) never redlink (purposely), and 3) be consistent between all refs. If you don't choose to prefer to link the wiki article on the publication, just don't do it for all of them. But you shouldn't editwar over that formatting. --MASEM (t) 20:10, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Consistent style

I propose to remove "(Note that templates should not be added without consensus to an article that already uses a consistent referencing style.)" Adding templates does not necessarily alter the style used and altering style is covered in the section Citation style and applies just as much to non template citations that change the style as to those using templates.

For example if an article uses parenthetical referencing the introducing the template {{harv}} does not change the style. But introducing <ref>A footnoted reference</ref> does change the style. -- PBS (talk) 08:19, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

No; this is a style change. Fifelfoo (talk) 08:29, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
I am sorry what are you saying is a style change? -- PBS (talk) 09:11, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd agree with Filfelfoo. There are also multiple parenthetical referencing styles, and several different templates out there, some of which change over time. Hchc2009 (talk) 09:15, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
I think he is discussing a dichotomy of style: presentation and markup, which has been touched on before. By presentation, I mean the visual appearance of the rendered page; by markup, the markup used to render the page. These two examples use different markup, but have the same presentation:
Markup Renders as
<ref>[[#CITEREFElk1972|Elk 1972]], p. 5.</ref>

<references />
[1]
  1. ^ Elk 1972, p. 5.


{{sfn|Elk|1972|p=5}}

{{reflist}}
[1]
  1. ^ Elk 1972, p. 5.
---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:30, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

The goal of WP:CITEVAR is to discourage several things:

  • Changing the appearance of references in the rendered page (e.g. changing from footnotes to parenthetical citations, or changing from MLA to APA style)
  • Changing the way that the references are entered in the source code (e.g. changing from no-templates to templates, or vice-versa, or changing from one series of citation templates to another). This applies even if the rendered page looks identical.

— Carl (CBM · talk) 12:44, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

I can understand the first, but what is the reasoning behind the second? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:54, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Some editors HATE templates, and they're right. See this failing example. One of the many places this dead horse has been beaten is Wikipedia:Centralized_discussion/Citation discussion. I wish I could find the place where one of the long-time Wikipedia developers lists the introduction of citation templates among his biggest mistakes. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:09, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah... hate. So, performance doesn't enter into it. Understood.---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:17, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Poor performance and brokenness are valid reasons to hate computer hardware or software; performance does enter into it. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:43, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
OK, for both those reasons I hate anything produced by Microsoft since 1995. It won't stop people from switching to the latest version of Windows as soon as it appears though. --Redrose64 (talk) 14:32, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Citation templates have advantages (relative ease of use, once you get the hang of them) and disadvantages (confusing for newbies, and I gather they slow down page load). I hated them at first but use them a lot now. But if people want to restart a discussion on abolishing them, I don't really think this is the right place. -- Alarics (talk) 20:00, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Alaric, including that this is not the right place to rehash templates. As to "style": if it is restricted to the appearance of the displayed result, then I would venture to disagree with Fifelfoo, that changes such as PBS presents do not constitute a style change. But I think this is beside the point. I take WP:CITEVAR to apply (as Carl says) as much to method (way of entering references) as to appearance. Perhaps WP:CITEVAR should be amended to refer to "...a consistent referencing style or method." ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:38, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
"System" was just added, but this is just as vague as "method". If CITEVAR applies to both rendered content and to the underlying markup, then it should explicitly state that. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 02:48, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree. If the intent is to include method/system – and does any disagree with that? – then it should say that explicitly. As an aside, I think "method" is less vague than "system", and adequate for the purpose. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:00, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
There is definitely a format difference between a template's result and a cite formatted to produce that exact result. The difference extends from the fact that I only have to change the template and now the consistency has been blown to heck. I agree that one should not mix template and fully-formatted cites. --MASEM (t) 20:41, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
By "fully-formatted", I presume you mean non-template? Mixing these has not entered this discussion. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 02:48, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Yea, I mean "non-templated, but formatted to match the current output of the respective template". --MASEM (t) 14:45, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Some users find the capacity to manually control citation formatting to be a liberation from the straight-jacket of poorly designed or incompletely specified citation templates. Some users find a citation template style that fills their needs, and they find they have a mastery of that mark-up system. Anyone coming along as disimproving their particular method of controlling the editorial need to cite is doing the encyclopaedic project a disservice. If there is a need not being fulfilled on a particular article, by a particular citation presentation format or mark-up specification, then editors should discuss this on that article's talk page. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:06, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

I am in favour of the {sfn} and {harv} templates, because when used in conjunction with the script available at User:Ucucha/HarvErrors, citation errors are easily detectable. The kind of errors that can be spotted include citations that do not point to any of the books in the bibliography, and citations that point to different editions than the one shown in the bibliography. Pagination is often not the same between various editions of a book, so it is important, for verifiability, to know which edition was used. The script also detects books listed in the bibliography that are not actually cited. These can be moved to a "further reading" section. Another good reason to use citation templates is because then the material is viewable by bots. Citations not in templates are invisible to bots. Bots can help us in several ways, including adding missing authors, adding DOIs, and adding PMIDs. A further advantage to sfn templates is that the citations then become clickable links down to the books which are referenced. Some people do not like then for this reason as the citations then become blue instead of black. I am not necessarily a fan of blue, but I think the clickable links are of value to the reader. On some articles we are running up against template load problems, but I thought I heard somewhere that the limit would be increased soon? Article load times are not a problem for the vast majority of our readers, because most of them are not logged in, and are served a cached version of the page.

Having to defer to the citation style chosen by the original author of a page is actually holding back the development of the website because citation templates did not exist in the early days of the wiki. Therefore some of our core articles are stuck using old-school citation styles. It is often difficult or impossible to convince editors of the technical advantages of citation templates via consensus on the talk page. WP:CITEVAR actually encourages WP:OWN, which is a barrier to collaborative editing. --Dianna (talk) 06:32, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

While you make excellent points in support of your suggestion; I have noticed bots seriously fuck up templated citations, thousands of lazy editors fuck up templated citations either on first insertion or by deleting essential elements of the citation, and observed that new page patrollers don't actually understand what an inline reference is. The greater problem is that the community of editors has very little understanding of what citation is, what it does, and what constituent elements are essential to meet the purpose of citation. Fifelfoo (talk) 06:50, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
If by "the community of editors has very little understanding of what citation is, what it does, and what constituent elements are essential to meet the purpose of citation" you mean things like not knowing that the names of newspapers and magazines go in italics, and putting in an accessdate but leaving out the publication date which is much more important, and using date formats that are not consistent within the article, then I agree with you. Inadequate and inconsistent and just downright incorrect references are all over the place on WP and I spend (waste) a lot of my time fixing them and it is all very tiresome. But what can we do about it? -- Alarics (talk) 08:58, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Its far deeper than that. Most editors don't understand who an author is, why an author can be corporate, and what authoring is. On top of that they don't understand what a "work" is, that works can be contained in other works. Which work is the "superior" work. They don't understand the difference between publishers and works, or publishers and containing works. They don't understand the date of publication, as opposed to the date when a particular printing or impression occurred. Finally, if you give them volumes with titles, or series with titles, or series along side other series, or subservient to larger series; and each with its own editorial responsibility; they go to pieces. Fifelfoo (talk) 09:09, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
The intelligence of the editor and their level of knowledge of citations is a factor outside our control, as Wikipedia is an encyclopedia anyone can edit. Alarics makes the point that people don't know where to put the italics and how to format their refs. Well, the citation templates format the refs perfectly every time. So we actually end up with better citations when they are in templates. Did you realise there is a tool on the toolbar above the edit box that can be used to create citations? All editors get access to this tool, even people who are not logged in. I think we need to promote use of this tool to help people correctly format their citations and to give them a better idea of what all information appears in a comprehensive citation that will later be verifiable. I have seen some talk lately that people want ISBNs to be optional; some people seem to think this identifier is of use only to those in the publishing industry. I am pretty sure that is not true; the ISBN identifies a particular edition of a book and thus is key to identifying where the material appears inside a given edition. I work at a library. Comment on bots: Sometimes the bots mangle the citations, but the person calling the bot should review the result and only insert the good parts of the output into the article. --Dianna (talk) 14:38, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Sure that discussion wasn't about ISSNs? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 15:05, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Here is a diff of SlimVirgin amending the guideline to make ISBNs optional. I do not agree with this change, as I think ISBNs are an essential part of any citation for which an ISBN exists. --Dianna (talk) 19:46, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Diannaa, someone removed that they are optional, so I restored it. They have always been optional in this guideline and in WP:ISBN, as I recall. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 08:43, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
"Well, the citation templates format the refs perfectly every time." No. The citation templates present the contents of their fields rendered according to the field specifications. "Frodo's nose". New York Times Website.  is a perfectly rendered but malformed citation. We end up with crap packaged in a display box. They're unmaintainable junk. They're missing fundamental parameters. The template maintainers can't unbold a volume title after years of requests. And guess what? ISBNs are optional. Wright Management of Labour Melbourne: Oxford, 1995 provides a full edition and publisher specification. Fifelfoo (talk) 20:37, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Support removal - The intention of the "dont change the style" rule is to keep the look-and-feel of the citations uniform throughout the rendered article (not within the internal markup). But this proposal is merely asking if it is okay for an editor to utilize citation templates in an article that does not yet use such templates. (I express no opinion on the issue of whether an editor can go into an article and change all the citations from long-hand to templates ... but that is not proposed, is it?) I see no harm in permitting editors to use templates in articles that do not yet do so. Articles are not owned by individuals, and if the "non template" editor does not feel comfortable editing the templates (which is rather rare: how often are the template contents wrong?), they can ask for help from any of a number of places, including the editor that just added the new template. Here is another way of looking at it: If we didn't permit the introduction of templates into an article, that would force template-familiar editors to type their cites out long-hand. But which is worse: forcing a "cite newbie" to learn templates? or forcing a "template veteran" to use error-prone manual formatting? The latter, I submit, is worse. --Noleander (talk) 14:54, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Noleander's point is virtually moot, because citations written without templates will most likely be a total mess (in which case the article is fair game for any consistent citation style to be imposed) or follow a printed style manual. The commonly used citation templates do not follow any printed style manual (with the possible exception of the vcite family). So in practice, adding templates to an article with existing non-template consistent citations will create inconsistency. Jc3s5h (talk) 17:05, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
It sounds like we are in agreement: if introducing a cite template produces a look-and-feel that is inconsistent with the non-template cites, then it should not be done. But if the template generates a cite that is consistent, then it would be acceptable. Examples of the latter: (1) the original non-template cites were crafted by mimicking template cites (from another article); or (2) all the non-template cites are books, and the new template cite is for a newspaper. --Noleander (talk) 17:41, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm really surprised at this. If a primary author is using parens refs, would it be appropriate to "template under" their editing and make their contributions unmaintainable for themselves? Fifelfoo (talk) 20:37, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

I'd oppose the original change at the top of the discussion. For me, the purpose of the existing guidelines are to ensure:

  • A consistent style of citations in each article, as viewed by a reader. Why? We aim to adopt professional standards, and any professional article will have a consistent style.
  • Avoid changing that visual style to suit arbitrary preferences without first seeking consensus. Why? There are many different citation style out there, most equally good, and this avoids pointless edit wars.
  • Ensure consistency of coding within an article.
  • Avoid changing that coding style without first seeking consensus.

Why do I think the last two are a good thing? Take the following, where some editor has started off with one style (citeref); another editor has added in material but with a cleaner template (harvnb), and another has done the same with yet another (sfn). They all, I think, look identical in style to the reader:

  • <ref>[[#CITEREFElk1972|Elk 1972]], p. 5.</ref>
  • <ref>{{harvnb|Elk|1972|p=6}}.</ref>
  • {{sfn|Elk|1972|p=7}}

[1] [2] [3]

  1. ^ Elk 1972, p. 5.
  2. ^ Elk 1972, p. 6.
  3. ^ Elk 1972, p. 7.

Why don't I think this is good? Firstly, as mentioned above by MASEM, change just one of those templates and the style will no longer be consistent. Secondly, I think working on an article with all three of those (let alone more) would be painful. Thirdly, if you added {{sfn|Elk|1972|p=6}} in somewhere in the article, you'd find that the functionality of the template now doesn't work, requiring you either to use one of the previous coding styles, or change the previous coding format.

Why don't I think allowing changes to that coding style without consensus is a good idea? Because my view on which of those is best may be different to yours, and again, it encourages disputes that can be avoided by initial consensus.

I think the issue of whether or not templates are good or bad is possibly a red herring in this discussion (I think that templates are sometimes good, sometimes not; I've introduced both into articles in the past); all the current policy says is that the matter should be discussed on a talk page. I'd agree with Dianna that WP:OWN is a bad thing, but I'm not convinced the policy actually encourages this. I've seen various articles change styles following consensus, some quite rapidly. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:46, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Ownership is definitely a problem with the way the wording of WP:CITEVAR is frequently used (I can supply examples if you like). Second the templates changing is a red herring: If they change style in the future then a decision can be made in the future. For example if someone adds a full stop to the end of the {{harvnb}} template in the future then someone is going to have to revert all the edits you just made to here and then some because with that change every short citation will end in "..". It seems to me that your argument goes further. What you are saying is that if an article uses templates then editors should not add any cited information unless they use templates. It is not the intention of this guideline to get in the way of WP:V yet following you arguments that is where you end up going, because unless you are willing to edit citations to fit the style presumably the only other option is to remove the the text that is supported by the irregular citation (I can supply an example of this behaviour if you like). However your arguments above are about WP:CITEVAR, they are not about this sentence in WP:CITESHORT, and your arguments apply just as much to none template full citations entries as to short citation template entries. --PBS (talk) 01:21, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Hchc2009, and would add that tools are available to help with various citation styles, including printed style manuals. Since the community is unable to agree on a single citation style, at least we can find a tool to work on a particular article, if and only if the coding within that article is consistent. Jc3s5h (talk) 18:02, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
There has been talk of actually producing a "specification" of how Citation Style 1 should operate, separate from its implementation and help. Much of the community relies on the poorly specified CS1 group of templates. Introducing a specification would allow the testing of conformance of templates, and allow better pedagogy with editors about why CS1 works the way it does. Fifelfoo (talk) 20:37, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

I think that this conversation is getting side tract and it started with "The goal of WP:CITEVAR is to discourage several things:" The request at the top of this section is for the removal of a sentence in parenthesis in a different section (WP:CITESHORT). The point is covered in WP:CITEVAR so it does not need to be in WP:CITESHORT -- PBS (talk) 01:21, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Support. This poor bit of guidance is about impeding development of articles. The toolbar offers to generate citation templates to any editor, including anons; i.e. MediaWiki is implicitly encouraging the addition of citation templates, and anyone reverting them is biting contributors. Taking advantage of cite templates allows various tools to add and correct citation details, such as DOIs, authors and issue numbers. It seems that most of the HATRED of these templates is due to not really understanding them or their value. It's an emotional objection, not a reasoned one. The deference to first major contributors is an end run around WP:OWN. Cite details such as ISBNs should be *required* when available to aid WP:Verifiability. The {harv}/{sfn} suite along with User:Ucucha/HarvErrors help ensure that footnotes actually refer to some source, an error that plaintext methods are quite prone to; they also significantly reduce the page preprocessing burden that cite templates inside ref tags can have on really large pages. The whole notion that using cite templates is a 'personal preference' is a red herring; it's about better structure, better maintainability and better referencing being made available to readers and any who reuse content. The rationale to upgrade is that use of better techniques has merit. Alarbus (talk) 04:23, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Do we not have a FAC/perrenial-discussion page about templates vs handwritten yet? It has been done to death and no change is going to occur. Some people use them and some do not. Each have their reasons. Let's respect them. Leave the citations alone. Colin°Talk 08:20, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose removal. For all the reasons gone into in great detail elsewhere many times, citation templates can really blight an article; in particular they can radically slow down load times and create such clutter in read mode that editing becomes difficult and the writing suffers. No one should be forced to use them, and no writer or set of writers should have them imposed on an article they have worked on. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 08:26, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
    The parenthesised sentence proposed for deletion is not forcing anyone to use templates. It is not in the section WP:CITEVAR, which seems to be the focus of your comment. -- PBS (talk) 20:55, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Mr. Shearer is right, but the second sentence of the proposal is "Adding templates does not necessarily alter the style used and altering style is covered in the section Citation style and applies just as much to non template citations that change the style as to those using templates." So it seems this proposal is to delete a sentence, but if that is done, the fundamental goal of the proposal will not be achieved. Acceptance of the proposal will thus send a mixed message, and the proposal should be rejected for that reason alone. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:00, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
At the risk of getting blasted smile, I pretty much disagree with nearly all of SlimVirigin's sentiments about templates. But I do agree with the central issue: templates should not be added (nor, I would add. removed), without consensus to an article that already uses a consistent referencing style. I think there are overwhelming advantages to using templates, but that does not justify adding them where there is consistent usage otherwise. Whether templates are good or bad is irrelevant here; at issue is making substantial changes to an article without consensus. The sentence should be retained so that well-meaning (and right minded!) editors don't waste their time making changes that won't be accepted. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:48, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
"at issue is making substantial changes to an article without consensus." First if adding a template does not change the style, it is not a substantial change to the article. Second when an editor adds 1000 words to a stub, that is a substantial addition to an article, and we do not insist that every addition to an article is discussed on the talk page to gain consensus before the edit is made, and "I don't like it" is not seen as a justification for a reversal. Further the wording of this parenthetical sentence is so loose that if taken literally no new citation with harvnb could be added to a page with harvnb templates without discussing it first on the talk page as harvnb templates already have already created a consistent style. -- PBS (talk) 00:21, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
An editor producing content for an article gets a say in how the citations are formatted/implemented. Anyone else can go hang as far as I'm concerned. Colin°Talk 15:52, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
For sure, but having a say doesn't mean that you always get your way. Just because someone adds something doesn't mean they can do it just any way they want. We have a requirement for consistency within an article, and we do give primacy to an established style, which is generally that of the original author(s).
I am not quite certain what Philip means (is an "out" perchance missing?). If an article has a consistent style using (say) Harv, then I don't see why further use of Harv would require discussion on the Talk page. Any need to obtain consensus (implying talk page discussion) comes not from making an addition (substantial or otherwise), but from changing an established style. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:09, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
The wording does not say a "different consistent style" it says a "consistent style" therefore if the wording taken literally means asking every time a template {{harvnb}} is added to any article with a consistent style including one created by using {{harvnb}}. -- PBS (talk) 03:37, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
PBS, please cite your quote; your remark is impossible to interpret without context. Also, your contention that adding a template to an article with no templates is not a substantial change is wrong, because the guideline calls for articles that do not use templates to remain template-free unless there is consensus for a change. Changing a template-free article to a mixed article creates confusion for future editors and is thus a substantial change. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:24, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
The sentence was quoted by me in the first entry to this talk page section, so what is it that you want me to cite? -- PBS (talk) 12:15, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
  Undoubtably you are referring to the sentence under discussion: "Note that templates should not be added without consensus to an article that already uses a consistent referencing style." And I think I see the source of your confusion: the interpretation that (where a consistent style exists) no template can be added "without consensus". I think the intended meaning is the introduction of templates contrary to a prevailing style. If templates are already in use – either as a consistent style, or if there is no consistent style – it would indeed be unreasonable to require consensus for each additional instance. But the proper understanding would be that once a style is established the consensus for using it is implicit. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:05, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I am not confused, that is not what it says. I think you are extrapolating. Instead what you are saying is covered in the section W:CITEVAR, and this sentence is unclear (as you have just explained), it is not needed in this section. -- PBS (talk) 12:15, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

ISBNs optional

From the history of the article:

SV why do you think that ISBNs should be optional? -- PBS (talk) 01:30, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

I've noticed an ugly tendency of editors adding incorrect ISBNs over the top of fully specified editions; that is, the attempt to add ISBNs to citations turns a correct citation into an incorrect citation. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:40, 14 February 2012 (UTC) (Per example: consider the difference between the book published London: Routledge and New York: Routledge. Adding the New York ISBN to the London edition makes a mockery of using the ISBN in the first place. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:45, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Philip, I don't know when this was added to CITE, but it must have been recently, because ISBNs have always been optional, per CITE and WP:ISBN. They are sometimes (or even regularly) incorrect; not recommended by many style guides; direct readers to one edition only; and are unlikely ever to be used by readers of WP articles. So making them mandatory is just more instruction creep. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 07:34, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
But surly if something is being cited with page numbers then we do want readers to go to a specific edition. The incorrect problem is true for all parts of a citation. Particularly if the editor who adds the citation misses out other things, like year and/or the publisher (something I see frequently). The advantage of an ISBN is that it allows for cross-checking of the other parts of a citation. -- PBS (talk) 07:59, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
We already mandate publisher and year (obviously). If page numbers differ from hardback to paperback edition within the same year and by the same publisher, add that it's the paperback. You would only need further details if the same publisher, within the same year, had published more than one paperback (or hardback) edition where the page numbers differed. That's unlikely to happen, but when it does editors can decide to add an ISBN. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 08:40, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I recently had a letter returned because the post code was incorrect. The machine that did the reading had correctly OCRed that the printed post code contained a 5 instead of an S. Now in the good old days (like last week!) the Post Office would manually check it, and because the address also included the street could have easily worked out the mistake that 7V5 should be 7VS because the address also included the street and town. Under the British automated post code system all that is need is the post code a slash and the house number. But people include the address (on the envelope) in the old fashioned way as well, as helps the postman [sic] delivering the post (as (s)he is human, and recognises address the human way) and usually the street etc works as a cross check to the post code. Surly including both the ISBN and the other details works in a similar way. As is a guideline, and no one is going to be going to an ANI for either including or excluding ISBNs in a reference,I do not follow your reasoning for saying ISBN optional but publisher not optional, because I would have thought that including one or the other is good, but including both is better. -- PBS (talk) 23:59, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
If your intention is to edit an encyclopaedia aimed at machine readers, meta and the project incubators are that way. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:16, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
It is nothing to do with automation, but to do with helping to make the information in Wikipedia as accurate as possible. I do not intend to actively peruse this, I am trying to understand why some people changed the text (which as far as I can tell is including both is better) and why SV thinks this is not true an important enough point change it back. -- PBS (talk) 00:30, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Many works, such as underground presses and the DPRK and works prior to 19XX, don't have access to the ISBN system, here Location, Publisher, Year is essential. ISBN issuers are notoriously lax about ensuring the honouring of the ISBN system's veracity, such that ISBNs are not trustworthy at even identifying a single title let alone edition. Most wikipedia editors poorly understand the ISBN system, and see it as a way of generating convenience links to Amazon or google books rather than ensuring that the individual edition is described in the citation; many people who add ISBNs later to citations do not bother to verify London versus New York, Hard versus Paper, or far worse, First versus Revised editions. Within the CS1 template system, when people get the ISBN right it is a valuable addition to the encyclopaedia. When they get the ISBN wrong it holds back the encyclopaedia and attacks the verifiability of statements. Adding ISBNs to a handrolled cite is usually not an improvement—if the handrolled wanted and ISBN they'd have probably added it themselves. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:14, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with PBS and I always include an ISBN if there is one. To meet Fifelfoo's point that some books don't have one, in that case I include the OCLC number instead. Either way, clicking on it takes the reader to a page about the book. If ISBNs were of no importance, why would that piece of magic have been incorporated into Wikipedia? This is not _instead of_ the other details, it's _as well as_ the other details, which in my view should always include publisher and location as well as author and year. -- Alarics (talk) 10:28, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
This is already covered at Wikipedia:ISBN#Uses and limitations of ISBNs. An ISBN is a useful identifier, but not a core identifier. And integration into MediaWiki doesn't make it a great idea— anyone remember date linking? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:17, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Gadget850, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your excellent work in the field of citations and verification. Thank you. I appreciate it. Fifelfoo (talk) 21:45, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Collapsing/hiding refs

Hi. I'm working with many other on the overly-large 2011–2012 Syrian uprising article. One thought is to perhaps collapse/hide the refs, which might visually at least aid the long page. Is that considered acceptable practice? And if so, how would one do it? Thanks.--Epeefleche (talk) 09:38, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

There have been a number of requests to add functionality for a collapsible or scrolling reference list. These requests have not been fulfilled to due to issues with readability, accessibility, and printing. The applicable guidelines are at MOS:SCROLL. Links between the inline cite and the reference list do not work when the reference list is enclosed in a collapsed box. To display the reference list in a scrollbox or collapsed per user, see Help:Reference display customization. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 09:59, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the very helpful info!--Epeefleche (talk) 22:24, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Abbr. J. titles in citations

Somewhere in the Manual of Style or related documents, I thought I read that abbreviations should not be used for journal titles in footnotes. Is this still the Wikipedia guidance? The section on Journals here does not address it either way. Under Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations I did find "Always consider whether it is better to simply write a word or phrase out in full, thus avoiding potential confusion for those not familiar with its abbreviation." And in WP:NOTMANUAL "Academic language. Texts should be written for everyday readers, not for academics. Article titles should reflect common usage, not academic terminology, whenever possible." Could that presumable apply to footnotes as well? --Bejnar (talk) 19:32, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

I think I have read somewhere that it does, for the reason you quote and also on the grounds that in WP there is not the same pressure on space as in a printed publication so there is less need for abbreviation. -- Alarics (talk) 22:16, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
In that case would it be a good idea to add a one-liner in the section on Journals such as: "Because the Wikipedia is not an academic text, it is better to cite the title of the journal in full, rather than with an academic abbreviation." --Bejnar (talk) 23:09, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Would you like to add it? -- Alarics (talk) 09:31, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Proposal to speedily delete unreferenced articles

This proposal may be of interest to anybody lurking here: Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion#New proposal - lack of inline referencing. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 23:48, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

A dilemma

Is it better to cite a source for which a subscription is needed or a source that is not in English? These are both reliable news sources and contain approximately the same information. --Eleassar my talk 09:55, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Best of all might be to cite both. That way, somebody who doesn't have the subscription but happens to be able to read the foreign language would still get some benefit. -- Alarics (talk) 10:00, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Alarics. Hchc2009 (talk) 10:02, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I concur. Thanks. --Eleassar my talk 10:43, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes. See WP:V#Accessibility. And don't forget WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:47, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
See the venerable Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Cost. Both sources have access costs for the English language reader. The idea of citing both is an excellent one. Fifelfoo (talk) 22:35, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Refimprove template

Hi, I made a post about the wording of this template at its talk page. If you have any comments please post there. Eldumpo (talk) 18:32, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Syndicated sources

Is it relevant if a source is syndicated? I was looking for a byline in an Australian online newspaper, when I saw it had no writer's name, but simply AAP at the bottom - that's an Australian news agency. Should AAP be mentioned in that case, and if so, how? Thanks --Chriswaterguy talk 08:18, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

I think it should, though few other editors seem to bother. The "cite news" template has a parameter called "agency". When an agency is mentioned, I use this parameter even if there is also an author name, as it shows the reader that the item is not unique to the particular newspaper cited, but can probably be found in dozens of other newspapers as well. -- Alarics (talk) 08:56, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Exactly the point I would make. In my experience, for statements with four or five news sources, at least some of those sources originate from the same agency. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 10:12, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Why most sentences should be cited

Enjoy my essay on the subject, which I wrote few months ago and promptly forgot to announce :) See User:Piotrus/Wikipedia:Why most sentences should be cited. Enjoy, --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 21:54, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

I really couldn't disagree more with the notion that every sentence should be cited, just in case someone in the future decides to incorrectly split a paragraph without taking account of the referencing. The logical conclusion of the argument is that every clause needs to be cited, just in case an editor decides to insert one in the future. Malleus Fatuorum 22:02, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
... and in a more pointed way, there are instances of "words" being cited and sentences being broken up by multiple citation notes. Typically in a publication in the "outside" world, entire passages can be covered by one reference. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 22:18, 1 March 2012 (UTC).
What Malleus said. Jc3s5h (talk) 22:19, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
If a sentence has multiple elements (clauses?) that need citing, then the citation should be with what is being supported. That some journals group multiple citations at the end of a sentence might be tolerable where there is a higher level of editing, but here we need closer linkage of citation with the material supported. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:06, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but that isn't exactly the scenario being presented here. If an entire paragraph is covered by a single source, Piotrus asserts that each sentence should repeat the citation to that source, while the other commentators above suggest that the single paragraph-end citation is sufficient. Nikkimaria (talk) 23:10, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't it depend somewhat on whether the facts are being challenged, or seem likely to be? I think one has to judge each case on its merits, and that there can be no hard-and-fast rule. In a highly controversial subject where practically every assertion in the article is being fought over tooth and nail, such as anything to do with the Middle East, I suspect you probably do need to cite a source for every sentence. -- Alarics (talk) 23:24, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I generally lean toward more citations rather than fewer for the same reasons as editors note in the topic above this one. I also favor more citations for clarity. At the same time, I agree with Alarics that it is a judgment call and at least partly depends on the material.--Bbb23 (talk) 01:40, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Malleus et al. I think the example at Wikipedia:Inline citation#Citation_density illustrates the main problem with Piotrus' approach. It'd look silly if we spammed in repeated citations for such single-subject paragraphs. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:01, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
@Malleus: indeed the case where a sentence is built from 2+ sources creates a problem beyond that outlined by me. Bundling citations is a possible solution, but it is not done often enough, as it it most likely too cumbersome. I usually stick multiple references at the end of such sentences, but it of course forces one to look them all up if they want to divide them. That said, I am not proposing a solution for all cite problems; I am drawing a line at a sentence level. How to improve bundled citation system is a topic best handled in another thread.
@J. Johnson: yes, I find it somewhat ironic that our referencing standards are usually much higher than those of most published journals. In those, it is often hard to figure out which claim is cited, and many are not cited at all.
@Alarics: I think that the case by case is well covered by WP:BLUE. If it is not obvious to everyone, it should be clearly cited. Putting controversial common issues aside, I'll put on my social science hat, and point out that in many sociology articles I've edited I tore at my hair, trying to figure out which source, if any, supports a given claim or wording. Definitions, even wording, matter when you deal with social science terms. They may not look controversial to you, I look at a random social science example, let's say, Social_network#Overview, and I see one reference, middle of a para, and that makes all but this one sentence suspicious to me. Each other sentence makes me ask: what scholar is used to support this definition, this wording, this claim? Or is it OR perpetrated by some Wikipedian? Nothing there is BLUE to me.
@WhatamIdoing: I prefer silly over useless, as unreferenced content is useless. This harks to the brilliant prose days, where the same argument was made about the introduction of any evil blue footnotes into the pristine text. That said, I understand aesthetic concerns. I've suggested a while ago that we should have a simple button that would allow one to disable the view of footnotes, so if somebody prefers the beautiful view to reliable one, they should have that choice. But I think the default focus should be on reliability, not prettiness, of text. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 21:57, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
It's not about the prettiness. It's about what spamming the same citation after every single sentence in a paragraph, when those sentences clearly are part of the same set of facts says about your idea of the reader's intelligence and attention span. If you think that the reader is fairly smart and able to read a whole paragraph, then you won't think it necessary to tell the reader the name of the source five times in five consecutive sentences. Citations need to match chunks of content, not chunks of grammar.
Put another way: I'm providing citations here so that the reader can figure out which stuff came from which source. You're providing multiple citations so that future editors won't have to copy and paste the citation when (if) they ever rearrange the material. And you're not addressing, much less solving, the big problem, which is people adding new material immediately before an old citation, so your system won't solve the text-source integrity problem. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:22, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

I think that given the unique nature of online wikis there is a need for a software solution that highlights the exact phrase, sentence, paragraph, section, article, covered by a citation. A short term a solution would be to introduce before and after punctuation citations. This would solve the end of paragraph citation problem. If the citation is after the full stop it means everything since start of paragraph or a previous citation (which ever is closer to the end of paragraph citation). If it is before the full stop then it means everything in the sentence since the start of the sentence or a previous citation in that sentence.

The sun is pretty big. The sun is also quite hot.[3]

Notes


  1. ^ Smith, John. The Sun's Heat. Academic Press, 2005, p. 2.

In this case the citation covers the whole paragraph.

The sun is pretty big. The sun is also quite hot[3].

Notes


  1. ^ Smith, John. The Sun's Heat. Academic Press, 2005, p. 2.

In this case it just covers the last sentence.

This system can be mixed and matched, so that there is no need to place a citation on every sentence. There are problems with this system such as this:

The sun is pretty big. The moon is not so big[2]. The sun is also quite hot.[3]

Notes


  1. ^ Brown, Rebecca. "Size of the Moon," Scientific American, 51(78):46.
  2. ^ Smith, John. The Sun's Heat. Academic Press, 2005, p. 2.

Does footnote [3] run from the last citation even though [2] is inside a sentence or the start from the start of paragraph? This is something a guideline would have to give guidance on as it is not intuitive. This solution was suggested years ago but SV and some others rejected it because it is not in a third party style-guide. As a compromise for years we allowed different styles based on either Chicago and the like (after punctuation) or Nature before punctuation, but in the last RfC initiated by SV, the Nature style was voted out (see Talk MOS: October 2010) so at the moment we have after punctuation only with the ambiguities Piotrus describes. -- PBS (talk) 20:43, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

An interesting solution, but I don't think our readers would understand it. What I'd rather see is a larger modification, possibly tied to the WYSWIG editor (yeah, I know I am dreaming here), in which one could simply highlight parts of the text in editing to add them to a reference, and the readers would be able to toggle color codes to see which parts of the text are referenced to which source, and which are not referenced to anything. If this idea is not clear, I could give you a sample, but it is of course not doable with the current mediawiki engine. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 21:57, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
I can say with absolute certainty that the overwhelming majority of readers will never notice whether a footnote reference precedes or follows a full stop, so I'm afraid that idea is a non-starter. -- Alarics (talk) 22:59, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
It might be justifiable just on the possible benefit to the editors (how many readers bother with checking the citations anyway?). But, yes, it does appear to be a non-starter, simply for being contrary to most established styles. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:21, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Edit a reference on the page

Please see WP:VPR#editing references for my proposal to allow Reference-editing, isolated like we can edit a Section. -DePiep (talk) 10:15, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Always, except when not

Kotniski copyedited "When and why to cite sources" last fall, and the sentence "editors are always encouraged to add or improve citations for any information contained in an article" appears to be causing a dispute. The fact is that editors aren't always encouraged to add citations for any information in an article. Editors are actually encouraged to provide citations only when they improve the article, and not, e.g., when it results in WP:Citation overkill. Can someone think of a good way to copyedit this sentence so that it can't be misinterpreted as encouraging a mindless "more is always better" notion? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:59, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Undercited articles significantly outnumber overcited articles. Discouraging overciting could tip the balance even further towards underciting, and as such, I believe that it is better to tolerate too many refs than to passively encourage there to be too few. --Redrose64 (talk) 12:10, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Agree, that under-citation is more of problem (in both extent and seriousness) than over-citation. But while "more" is nearly always better (because of the general under-citation), I think we have yet to establish what is either the optimum, or minimally required, level of citation. This breaks down into two levels.
First is what requires citation. All direct quotes, for sure, and also paraphrases attributed to anyone, and certainly WP:BLP material. But should citation be required for all facts? (See WP:You don't need to cite that the sky is blue and WP:You do need to cite that the sky is blue.) The policy of citing anything likely to be challenged (specifically: "if, based on your experience, a given statement has a greater than 50% chance of being challenged in good faith ...") has a problem here in that most editors seem quite overly optimistic about not being challenged. This is especially a problem in a new article, where there has been no opportunity for challenges to develop. In some cases, by the time some item is challenged the original author has moved on, and the source is lost. Here I think we need greater encouragement of extensive citation initially.
At the second level is how many sources are required per fact. This can be very simple: as many as are needed, and no more. Ideally, a single, solid citation can be sufficient, though it is reasonable that in some cases (e.g., "many sources say...") multiple sources might be needed. But I suspect the real issue is not this, but citation clutter (such as [1][2][3][4][5]...; see extreme example). Note: these are different issues; they have been confounded by the typical practice of placing each citation (such as produced with a citation template) in a separate note (created with the <ref> and </ref> tags). Multiple citations can be placed in a single note (e.g., see this note, which contains five citations), but that has a possible problem in that citations have to be repeated to be used in other notes. (There is a workable solution, but I refrain from mentioning lest it distract from this discussion.)
All of this leads up to the grand question I would ask: which issue should be addressed? Is the concern really of having too many sources? Or is it note-link clutter? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:54, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't worry too much about either of those. How many articles are there with "too many sources", really? Conversely, for some of the articles I work on, getting anybody to cite anything at all is an achievement. I do think it ought to be stressed more clearly that just bunging in a new fact that you happen to know is true (or think you do), without any reference to support it, and expecting somebody else to find a source for it, is not acceptable. Unfortunately sometimes the impression has been given that it is. -- Alarics (talk) 23:16, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
"Too many sources" has actually happened. For example, Schizophrenia had something like 250 sources (and many of them primary sources) back in 2010; it currently stands at a bit more than half that. Many articles have had individual sentences that have been followed by an unreasonable number of citations. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:46, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Redrose, I generally agree with you, but in the particular discussion, the editor objected to a statement that a perfectly obvious, unchallenged fact—"An apple is a kind of fruit" (actual example)—did not normally need to be provided with an inline citation, because this guideline says that editors should always add more citations, and therefore s/he believes that editors really needed to provide citations for that sentence.
I don't want to discourage people from adding appropriate or useful citations, but I think the word "always" is being misunderstood. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:57, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  What is the criterion for "too many sources"? As I said above, there should be as many as needed, which is likely at least one per quote, paraphrase, non-trivial fact, etc., and certainly(??) hopefully no one is saying that only a certain number of sources (or citations of those sources) is allowed per article, or even per sentence. But is having more sources than really needed the problem? Or is the problem the clutter of a string of note-links (the raised numbers in brackets)? Which are we discussing? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:17, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Actually, what we're discussing is whether editors are always encouraged to add citations to any material in an article, including trivial statements (number of fingers on the human hand), statements that repeat information cited elsewhere in the article (thus gutting WP:LEADCITE), and material that is adequately supported by the existing citations (possibly creating a long string of citations, either as superscripted numbers in square brackets or simply a citation section that runs to five screenfuls).
It seems to me that editors are only encouraged to citations if it seems to them that adding those citations would improve the article, and to not add citations when it wouldn't. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:12, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Is that truly, precisely what we are discussing? I suspect that much of complaining of supposed "over-citation" is more about note-link clutter. Which I would allow as a topic of discussion, but it should be clear that is a different discussion. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:12, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that is "truly, precisely what we are discussing". It's not about visual clutter (which can be easily solved with cite bundling). It's about whether or not the actual sentence in this guideline is actually, literally true. Do we always want to encourage editors to add more sources to support any material, without exception or limitation, as the sentence currently reads, or is there some sort of limitation? WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:24, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
In the case of the apples example - direct them to WP:BLUE. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:32, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
A dislike for BLUE is apparently part of the editor's objection. This part of the dispute deals with whether or not editors expect "obviously appropriate material, such as the inclusion of Apple in the List of fruits" will be followed by a citation in a stand-alone list. The editor apparently thinks that whether or not an apple is a fruit, or any similarly basic statement, is a matter of NOTBLUE. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:24, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
So it appears the point under consideration has two general cases: 1) some articles are under cited (some editors failing to provide adequate sources despite fairly strong language requiring it), and 2) other articles are over cited (some editors inclined to sourcing even trivial cases, despite WP:BLUE and general sense). (I note that wiki-linking is also prone to trivialization.) It seems to me this reflects the core problem: the vast difference of editors' sensitivity as to what should be cited. The challenge is how to craft language that prompts one class of editors to do more (less) citation without prompting the other class to do likewise. That is going to take some profound word-smithing. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:17, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
What we've got right now is this:

In particular, sources are required for material that is challenged or likely to be challenged – if reliable sources cannot be found for challenged material, it is likely to be removed from the article. Sources are also required when quoting someone, with or without quotation marks, or closely paraphasing a source. However, the citing of sources is not limited to those situations – editors are always encouraged to add or improve citations for any information contained in an article.

I'm honestly not sure how to fix the last sentence. Perhaps just removing it would be adequate? This concept isn't really within the scope of this particular guideline. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:44, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Egyptian pyramid construction techniques

Resolved: Wrong venue.
I posted this  article at

The Pyramid Construction methods. It is about a new theory and was patented in Egypt in 2007

 I am amazed to see that it was removed by another editor. I want to know why it was removed and how to make it published
This is  what i edited

Hanyra (talk) 11:55, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Citing sources page. Please express your concerns at the article's own discussion page; you can also inform Nickm57 (talk · contribs), who is the editor who reverted your edit, that you have questions on that discussion page. --Redrose64 (talk) 19:40, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

WP:IBID is obsolete and should be deleted

Resolved: Request withdrawn – rescinded by proponent; newer templates like {{sfnote}} make it unnecessary. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 17:20, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Since we now have {{reflist|ref=...REFERENCES HERE}} these days and can keep the references in one place and re-order them with trivial ease, WP:IBID is moot nonsense. I propose that it be deleted. There's nothing at all wrong with not being grossly redundant in citations. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 19:41, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Actually there is something wrong with not providing a modicum of extra information, namely many of our readers are unfamiliar with citation style, and the more you leave out, the less they can find. --Bejnar (talk) 20:02, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
List-defined references merely moved the place where references are defined from the body of the article to the reference list, and has noting to do with the rendered order. Please provide an example of how this would work. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 20:07, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Are list-defined references now compulsory for all articles on Wikipedia? If so, then its about time a standard for reference lists was established. However, I cannot believe this can have happened without my noticing anything, so I must assume that there will still for a long time be referencing formats out there without this feature—even (horrors!) manually formatted references. Under these circumstances, how is WP:IBID "moot nonsense"?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:29, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) With WP:LDR (which are definitely NOT compulsory) you can put the refs in the ref section in any order that you like - the order of display is governed by the order in which they're used through the article.
Markup Renders as
A fact.<ref name=Doep34 /> Another fact.<ref name=Publicp78 /> Third fact.<ref name=Publicp56 /> Fourth.<ref name=Doep12 />
{{Reflist|refs=
<ref name=Doep12>Doe, John. ''A Book by John Doe''. p. 12</ref>
<ref name=Doep34>''ibid''., p. 34</ref>
<ref name=Publicp56>Public, Joe Q. ''Joe Public's Book''. p. 56</ref>
<ref name=Publicp78>''ibid''., p. 78</ref>
}}
A fact.[1] Another fact.[2] Third fact.[3] Fourth.[4]
  1. ^ ibid., p. 34
  2. ^ ibid., p. 78
  3. ^ Public, Joe Q. Joe Public's Book. p. 56
  4. ^ Doe, John. A Book by John Doe. p. 12
Now, which book do those two ibid actually refer to? --Redrose64 (talk) 20:48, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
That would of course not be a useful way to use ibid. here, I agree. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 16:35, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

SMcCandlish: what, exactly, are you proposing to delete?

  1. The wikilink "WP:IBID"? (Silly, but that is literal and precise construction of your statement.)
  2. The anchor at WP:Citing sources#Citing multiple pages of the same source where this wikilink links to? (Also silly.)
  3. The statement at that section discouraging the use of ibid? (But isn't that what we want, to discourage the use of ibid?)
  4. The use of ibid? (The statement already discourages such use. Are you suggesting such uses should be hunted down and deleted?)
~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:51, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
WT:Manual of style#Proposal: Stop deprecating "ibid." explains it more clearly. I'd forgotten I opened this separate discussion here. It's a citation style matter, not a content guideline matter, so it should be discussed further at WT:MOS. The short answer is: No. 3, and no we don't want to discourage all use of ibid. only excessively truncating use of it that is easily broken. There's nothing wrong with "Doe, J. (2005), ibid." or "Joe Public's Book", ibid. to avoid repetitive insertion of redundant citation material like long full titles, full author names, publisher, location, etc., etc. I've raised this in more detail at the WT:MOS thread. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 16:35, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Update: I wasn't aware of {{sfnote}}, only the excessively geeky Harvard referencing stuff many editors and readers hate. Sfnote actually takes care of the issue for me, so I'm rescinding the proposal. Do note, however, that deprecation of ibid. ("same work just mentioned") also necessarily entails deprecation of id. ("same author just mentioned") and its more academic equivalent, the use of "———" to mean the same thing, anywhere citations aren't "tightly controlled with relation to reference style" (as Binksternet put it at the WT:MOS#Proposal: Stop deprecating "ibid." thread), which is essentially nowhere on Wikipedia, so WP:CITE will need to address that. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 17:20, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Sure, and as soon as we discover that we have a significant problem with id. and ———, then we'll do that. So far, we've really only had a problem with ibid, so that's the only one we need to mention so far. Telling people not to make mistakes that they're already not making is WP:Instruction creep that makes our guidelines WP:TLDR. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:09, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
It's also WP:BEANSy. --Redrose64 (talk) 21:46, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Books - John Rawls example

I have a problem with the example under books. If the book title is linked then the link should be to just the book id:

  • Rawls, John. [http://books.google.com/books?id=kvpby7HtAe0C ''A Theory of Justice'']. Harvard University Press, 1971.

If the page is linked then the link should be attached to the page:

  • Rawls, John. ''A Theory of Justice''. Harvard University Press, 1971, [http://books.google.com/books?id=kvpby7HtAe0C&pg=PA18 p. 18].

I would have been bold, since it seems so obvious to me, but this is an important point, so I invite comment about making this change. The example appeared in a footnote in Fall 2010, and then was moved into the text by Kotniski in this edit of 20 September 2011. --Bejnar (talk) 21:41, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

If there is no disagreement, I will make the change. --Bejnar (talk) 04:52, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Pls do not change the link location as it is the normal way of linking here. Its the default as seen at Template:Cite book that is used for thousands and thousands of pages. And is also the format used by our tools that coverts bare url's Moxy (talk) 05:14, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, Moxy. Now how hard would it be to correct all that? Where would one start? There is a real difference between a link to a book and a link to a page. --Bejnar (talk) 16:50, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with providing an example of how to link to a specific page, but there's no reason to replace our normal advice with this new example. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 19:40, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
Except that the normal advice which is quite recent (see above) and received no discussion that I could find, is not precise, it is confusing, and I suspect it is incorrect. --Bejnar (talk) 07:28, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Hhawwal (شحوال)

شحوال: هي كلمة يتراودها الجعاوة في مملكة البحرين بمعنى "كيف الحال" و لكن بعد ثورة 14 فبراير ضد حكم ال خليفة التي انتهت بفشل كبير للجعاوة اصبح لها معنى آخر وهو "عملية كشف الفضائح و الخطط الهادفة الى تدمير و تخريب مملكة البحرين عن طريق التحقيق الشديد و الفصل من العمل مع واجب توافر الادلة كالصور أو الفيديو أو اعترافات" يتغير لفظ الكلمة على حسب موقعها في الجملة فمثلاً "تشحولت الفتاة" أي تمت عملية التشحول لهذه الفتاة بإتمام, أو "جعفر شحوال؟" أي ستتم عملية التشحول لجعفر عما قريب. تمت عملية التشحول للعديد من الجعاوة في مملكة البحرين و هناك عدة اسباب و دلائل لها. تقوم الوزارة الداخلية بجراء هذه العملية تطبيقاً لقانون الدولة . — Preceding unsigned comment added by Meerwa (talkcontribs) 15:33, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Google Translate says this means:

'Hhawwal': is a word Atraodha Aldjaaoh in the Kingdom of Bahrain, meaning "How are you", but after the revolution of February 14 against the ruling al-Khalifa, which ended in failure became a major Djaaoh has another meaning which is "the process of detecting scandals and plans aimed at the destruction and destruction of the Kingdom of Bahrain by the investigation and severe separation of the work with the duty of the availability of evidence such as photographs, videos, or confessions "changed the word to word according to its position in the sentence, for example," Chholt girl "has any Alchhol process for the completion of this girl, or" Jafar Hhawwal? "Any process will be to Alchhol Jafar soon.

Alchhol process has for many Aldjaaoh in Bahrain and there are several reasons and evidence to them. The Ministry of Interior shall ipso facto the process pursuant to the law of the State.
FWTW. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:07, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Proposal to use "Vol.", "pp.", etc. in citations instead of ambiguous formatting like "9 (4): 7"

You are invited to join the discussion at Help talk:Citation Style 1#RfC: Use "Vol.", "pp.", etc. consistently between citation templates, instead of ambiguous formatting like "9 (4): 7". The talk page at Help talk:Citation style 1 is where the discussion about most of our citation templates is centralized. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:07, 19 March 2012 (UTC) — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:07, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

RfC on {{More footnotes}}

You are invited to join the discussion at Template talk:More footnotes#RfC: Should this template be used only in references section, at page top, or on talk page?. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 21:40, 24 March 2012 (UTC) — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 21:40, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Problem with citation script using metadata

The ProveIt user script uses metadata to create full references, however in doing so it appears, at least to me, to violate Wikipedia's requirement that external links should not be used instead of wikilinks, see this edit. I have addressed this on the ProveIt talk page, but I'm unable to get an acknowledgment that this practice is unacceptable. Is it unacceptable, as I think? How should this be addressed going forward? __meco (talk) 08:46, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

This is not a ProveIt issue— the external link was inserted into the citation by the editor. There is an issue, as many of the fields in a Citation Style 1 or Citation Style 2 template generate COinS metadata. I have seen various tags, templates and external links stuffed into fields that were not designed to handle them, rendering corrupt metadata. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 10:11, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Then I may have misread the situation despite attempts to explain it to me at the ProveIt discussion page. Some further investigation seems prudent. __meco (talk) 10:41, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Ref sorting

hello,

someone please name a good tool which sorts references numerically. Thanks.--GoPTCN 12:15, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

I don't think a tool exists, because I don't think anyone would want to do that. But you must disagree, otherwise you wouldn't ask. So please explain more fully, and perhaps link to an article where you think this is necessary. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:27, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
I can't think of a reference system that would need to be sorted. Details? Example? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:29, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Talk:Otis Redding/GA3. No, I definitely know that users have used scripts/tools which sort the references numerically, but I don't remember the name of this script or tool. Regards.--GoPTCN 12:37, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
You can swap the two references to get [7][19], but you cannot change the actual numbers unless you split Bowman 1997 into separate references, which defeats the purpose. This is how the Footnotes system works. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:46, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I need a tool which swaps the references, so they will be sorted in numerically order. Regards.--GoPTCN 12:54, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Unhappily, I don't know of any tool that does it. That's usually required for FA, so I take care to eliminate such problems as I go along.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:05, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
    This is GA, whose reviewers are regularly admonished to stick to the actual criteria instead of making up their own, but even FA shouldn't be doing this. In this instance, the editors have arranged the footnotes from most to least important (after sentences that have multiple footnotes). WP:CITEVAR permits this. WhatamIdoing (talk) 13:34, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Well, I know a particular user who has a tool for that (see this thread). However that particular user was ArbFucked™ in part due to edits of exactly that nature. Hm, I wonder what can of worms I opened this time. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 13:30, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

I expected AWB to sort the refs - I can't see any harm in making one AWB edit of this kind, when someone is asking for it to be done - but for some reason it wouldn't do it. I sorted three references by hand. Feel free to revert me if I've missed the point. -- John of Reading (talk) 13:39, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
This is such a trivial issue; I don't see the benefit and it adds to article churn as it will be a continuous task to keep references in order as they are added or removed in the content. And I really want to see the FA requirement. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:49, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
It isn't required anymore AFAIK. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:45, 30 March 2012 (UTC)


  Color me perplexed. What exactly is meant by sorting references numerically? Isn't this the same as sequentially? And, as far as a reflist goes, where are the notes not sequentially numbered?
  So I look at Talk:Otis Redding/GA3, and it seems this editor wants to control the order in which the footnote links appear. E.g.: [7][19] instead of[19][7]. (Right?) But as Ed said there, just switch their order in the text. So, more perplexment: did I totally miss something? or is this matter as inane as it looks? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:40, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you understand the question. The user believed it was an actual requirement, doubtless because some person he trusted once told him it was. Most of us have been in similar situations at some point on thus complicated project. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:22, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Citation style question

This isn't really a WP-specific question since it doesn't look like there's a "house style" for this, but I am curious what you guys think is the best way to provide citation(s) for a series of sentences all verifiable through one source. For example:
Source 1 states:

  • "A is 1. B is 2. C is 3. D is 4."

Source 2 states:

  • "A is red. B is blue. C is red. D is red."

Then if you're trying to provide refs for the following:

  • "A is 1. C is 3. D is 4. All three of these are red. B is 2. It is blue."

Which format from the below listed is preferred:

  1. "A is 1.<ref1> C is 3.<ref1> D is 4.<ref1> All three of these are red.<ref2> B is 2.<ref1> It is blue.<ref2>"
  2. "A is 1. C is 3. D is 4.<ref1> All three of these are red.<ref2> B is 2.<ref1> It is blue.<ref2>"
  3. "A is 1. C is 3. D is 4. All three of these are red. B is 2. It is blue.<ref1><ref2>"

Must every sentence be reffed (as in #1) or can several sentences all drawn from the same source share one ref (as in #2 or #3)? -Thibbs (talk) 20:53, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

RfC: Are individual refs required or can we collectively ref facts?

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should we ref sentences 1, 2, and 3 from the same source (A) individually or can a single ref cover them all at once? Which of the following is better?

  • Sentence 1.<source A> Sentence 2.<source A> Sentence 3.<source A>

or

  • Sentence 1. Sentence 2. Sentence 3.<source A>

For a more detailed version of the question see #Citation style question (above). -Thibbs (talk) 15:59, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

  • "Sentence 1. Sentence 2. Sentence 3.<source A>" is general scholarly practice. It's suitability for Wikipedia is a bit debatable, since someone could come along and insert another sentence and source in the middle. That isn't likely to happen with a non-Wikipedia document written by a single author, or a group of scholars, all of whom understand proper citation. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:10, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Any of these is okay, and which is best depends on the nature of the content and the article. There are certainly a few editors who are very strongly in favor of repeating citations after every single sentence no matter what, but it is not actually required. You might like to read Wikipedia:Inline citation#Citation_density. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:51, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the responses! That's just what I needed to know. I'll go ahead and close the RfC then. Cheers, -Thibbs (talk) 22:05, 16 April 2012 (UTC)


The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Forced reduction in font sizes

I have brought this up at the Village Pump, and one editor their suggested that it was not a technical issue, but a policy issue.

All footnotes are now obligatorily reduced in font size. This is generally fine for references. However, for explanatory notes it is often a problem. We commonly use notes to give a phrase or quotation in its original script, or pronunciation in the IPA, and such things often contain diacritics, pointing, letter-stacking, or high line densities that make them difficult enough to read when the reader's browser settings are optimized for English, let alone when they are reduced for references.

We used to have an option: the basic <references/> tag left the reader's settings unaltered. The {{Reflist}} template reduced the font size. In various articles, we've used the first for a notes section (for notes that are intended to be read while one is reading the main text of the article) and the second for the reference section, taking advantage of that difference in functionality; this includes articles that passed FA this way. However, the basic references tag has now been modified to force a reduction in font size that matches the reflist template. Is there any reason that all notes, regardless of purpose and without considering the article or context, should be forced to match our standard for references? Shouldn't editors have the option of presenting notes in the reader's preferred format? — kwami (talk) 00:06, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Citing Twitter?

Hi all, I dug through the archives, but couldn't find any good answers to this question (so I hope I'm not repeating this!) The Lupercalia (album) article makes use of twitter for information, since the artist tweeted a lot about the album's history and intent. It's relevant to the article, but the current citation is pretty poor. I was wondering how we should format the citation? I read that we should use web cite (which makes sense), but how should we cite the title and publisher? Should we use | quote= for the tweet itself for context? Thanks for your help! Yaminator talk 02:04, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

You can use {{cite web}} if the article is using the (optional) citation templates. Otherwise, you format it by hand, just like you would if you typed it into a word processing document.
As for what the citation should look like, it should probably look like what you would use if you were citing a specific blog post, except that I don't believe that there is a title—which is a problem if you're using {{cite web}}. To use that template, you will need to make up a title (perhaps something descriptive, like "Tweet on XX Month Year"). The publisher is the owner of the blog, i.e., the artist herself. One normally omits that field in self-published citations. You may use |quote= if you want, but it's not at all necessary. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:09, 18 April 2012 (UTC)


Making up an element of a citation is never good, and a tweet is only 40 characters, so use the entire tweet as the title.[5]
If you are using {{cite web}}, I recommend:
Markup Renders as
{{cite web |last=last |first=first (username) |title=content of tweet |date=date |type= Tweet |url=http:///www.example.org}}
last, first (username) (date). "content of tweet" (Tweet). 
---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 10:46, 18 April 2012 (UTC)


Er, no a tweet is 140 characters not 40. Bit long for a title? -- Alarics (talk) 21:46, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, citing the content of the tweet isn't too long when I tried it on one:
Markup Renders as
<ref>{{cite web|url=http://twitter.com/#!/_PATRICK_WOLF/statuses/55599932115124226 |title=Bad news is release date will now move to the week of 20th June 2011 (worldwide) ex-USA where release date is yet to be confirmed. TW x|publisher=[[Twitter]]|type=tweet|date=6 April 2011|accessdate=18 April 2012}}</ref> 
Statement.[1]
  1. ^ Elk 1972, p. 5.
  2. ^ Elk 1972, p. 6.
  3. ^ Elk 1972, p. 7.
I mean, that doesn't look too bad to me and it's more intuitive than making up a title. In terms of length, it is pretty long, but there are some journal titles that get pretty lengthy. Yaminator talk 21:51, 18 April 2012 (UTC)


Step back a moment — should tweets even be cited in the first place? It's one thing if some other source cites a tweet (in which case one might cite that source), but they seem even less reliable than blogs (which are generally not citable). It seems rather like quoting graffiti on a wall. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:10, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
As always, it depends on the content you're trying to support. If the article content is something like "Alice sent a tweet that said 'Foo'", then the tweet is the most authoritative possible source for that statement. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:54, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Hey, if the MLA can do it...basically as WhatamIdoing says. Nikkimaria (talk) 22:56, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree, I should definitely be able to find a more authoritative source for the one I used above, and there are a few twitter citations that aren't necessary (such as citing the date when he had the physical album produced... definitely not notable), but a discussion on the album title over twitter would be more relevant. I think if used sparingly, it is useful, but definitely not for more than the occasional twitter! Yaminator talk 02:02, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
I hope citing Twitter is going to be frowned upon in general, as with blogs but even more so. It is a very ephemeral medium -- I have read that the tweets do not remain in existence for very long. Perhaps the most important question is who is doing the tweeting, and are we sure it really is that person rather than an impostor? There have already been numerous reports of famous people being impersonated sufficiently successfully to have fooled journalists into thinking it was the real person. -- Alarics (talk) 06:11, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Here is the guidance from APA on citing Twitter and Facebook: [6][7] ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 09:40, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
From the last link: "One last issue is retrievability. Because online social media are more about live updates than archiving, we don’t know if these status update pages will still be here in a year, or 5, or 20 years." While many editors seem to think it very important that Wikipedia be up-to-the-minute, that is more in the nature of news, and quickly becomes stale. Tweeting is so ephemeral, and so lacking in any kind of considered reflection or editorial oversight (even less than blogs), I think it ought to be discouraged. It is essentially casual speech made visual, and collecting tweets seems little different recording a conversation. That such comments are recorded, even distributed, does not necessarily constitute publication. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:14, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree with J.Johnson. There may be exceptional cases but as a general rule I think citing Twitter ought to be strongly discouraged. -- Alarics (talk) 20:22, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Absolutely. I'm working right now to find better sources than Twitter. Until then, I've updated the templates so they're easier for me to see which ones I have to remove. I'll do my best to clean up the article and get rid of them all. Thanks for all of your help and great discussion! Yaminator talk 23:30, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Sources

Isn't it a bit ironic that this doesn't have any references? I don't know if they're needed though... PeterBennettfriedpies (talk) 11:54, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

The verifiability rules apply to the encyclopedia content, the articles. Pages with the "Wikipedia:" namespace prefix are not part of the encyclopedia. Their content is instead determined by consensus, by discussion among the active editors. -- John of Reading (talk) 12:40, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

RfC at WT:Manual of Style

I have created an RfC at WT:Manual of Style#Which guideline for citation style?. Once again proposals have appeared at the talk page for WT:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers to impose new requirements for date formats within citations. I think it's time to settle the question of whether "Citing sources" or "Manual of Style (and sub-pages) should be the correct forum to determine citation style. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:52, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Citing Personal Conversations

I am in the process of building the page Bob Artley. I have contacted his son and have several personal/family tidbits that would expand/deepen the page that he provided my via e-mail - none of which be found on-line. How can these "personal conversations" be cited? Thanks - Ckruschke (talk) 15:12, 7 May 2012 (UTC)Ckruschke

The conversations have not been published in a reliable source so they must not be used in Wikipedia. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:16, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
That was what I feared - oh well. Thanks for the speedy confirmation. Ckruschke (talk) 15:32, 7 May 2012 (UTC)Ckruschke
The criterion for use is not whether something is found "on-line", but in a reliable source. The problem here is that you have original research, which is not appropriate for an encyclopedia. What you might consider is publication elsewhere. E.g., are there any small magazines or such that might be interested in your work on this subject? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:16, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

United States Securities & Exchange Commission documents

Hello -- I've been looking around to see if there is any common format or template which would provide a standardized structure for citing disclosure documents submitted to the United States Securities & Exchange Commission, such as the annual 10-K submission, documents which every publicly traded company in the United States must provide. I've not run across standardization in this, though. Do you think that it would be useful to provide some consensus guidance on how to cite documents which are submitted to government entities and have an official role in the proceedings of or regulation by government? I would be interested in treating this globally rather than US-centric, but I only know about the US-centric instances. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 02:34, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

I can't think of anything different in citing such a source. Are you planning on using a template? Do you have an example? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:54, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

West Point cadet sword

Hi,

I have this on the top of the page,

This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (January 2012) I have corrected all the references, how do I get this removed?

Thank you.

Andy2159 (talk) 02:43, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Hey Andy, if you feel you've addressed the issue pointed out by the tag, you can just remove it yourself. Near the top of the article/section in which the tag appears, you should see something that looks like {{more footnotes}}; just delete that and the tag will disappear. Cheers, Nikkimaria (talk) 04:39, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
And thank you for your efforts to improve the article! WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:24, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

RfC to forbid APA style

See the Request for Comments by 1exec1 that would forbid APA style. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:52, 9 May 2012 (UTC), link to RfC fixed 14:20 UTC)

  • (Nominator here) I was unaware that my proposal would forbid APA style. Could you give an excerpt from APA style guide or relevant publication to back up your claim? Given this your comment I think a clarification is more than necessary. 1exec1 (talk) 09:06, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
The publication date format may be confirmed by example 11 on page 200 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.):

Brody, J. E. (2007, December 11). Mental reserves keep brain agile. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

This example also illustrates that APA style does not include an access date for online material unless the material is likely to change; that is explicitly stated on page 192. I have not found an example of an access date within the APA manual, but I have found that both Zotero and the Wikipedia "Cite this page" tool found in the toolbox to the left of articles would format access dates like "May 9, 2012". Jc3s5h (talk) 14:39, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Further investigation shows Microsoft Word 2010 also uses the same date formats as described above for publication and access dates in APA style. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:50, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

odd performance

Anyone know what's going one here? Three of the books cited appear in a weird format, and I can't see why. pablo 10:16, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

  What do you mean by "weird format"? Could you replicate it here? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:24, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Is this referring to the inclusion of Digital object identifier (DOI)'s, PubMed Central (PMC)'s and PubMed identifier (PMID)'s?Media-Hound 'D 3rd P^) (talk) 10:26, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Publisher and location for well-known periodicals - comments requested

A couple of editors have strenuously objected (absurdly, accusing me of vandalism) to my removing superfluous cite parameters such as publisher and location from citations to well-known periodicals such as Time, Billboard, New York Times. The guidelines WP:CITE#Newspaper articles don't mention publisher at all, and only require location when it's not included in the name of the newspaper. This makes perfect sense to me - no-one looking at a citation gains anything from being told that the New York Times is located in New York, or that Time is published by Time Inc, or that the publisher of USA Today is headquartered in McLean, Virginia. I remove such redundant information as clutter (and moreover, clutter that goes out of date - Billboard has had at least three publisher in the last few years). I don't see anything here to suggest that this sort of cleanup is controversial at all. Are there other views on this? Colonies Chris (talk) 14:50, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

i think this is very reasonable. --Enric Naval (talk) 14:54, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Agreed completely. For myself, I have never added such superfluous information. It's not needed and only serves to clutter the references. Been through many, many FA and GA nominations where nobody saw an issue with it. Resolute 15:02, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
See the /FAQ. Editors at an article are free to choose any style they want, including a style that you and I think is a little silly. For example, it might be important to those editors that the location be machine-readable, in which case they will choose a style that both uses citation templates and always includes the location of the publication even when that's patently obvious to a human reader. They are permitted to do so, and you can't force them to change it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:10, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
I would put it towards the idea of "first editor's choice, then consensus" that is used to determine how one uses US/UK spelling, date format and citation format. If the primary editor has been adding both work= and publisher= fields to most citations, that convention should be followed, until agreed on by consensus on the talk page to remove. --MASEM (t) 15:13, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
I've been viewing this dispute from the outside and I think this mass removal of content is ridiculous and is not worth the effort. To start, what you did wasn't 'cleanup', it was mass removal of information from pages - you didn't have consensus to do so and then reverted your edits back even after other editors objected. Further, the publisher field exists for a reason - the publisher is a notable aspect of a source and should be included. How are we to judge which information is 'superfluous' or not? Further, why the heck would we want to go and remove this information from the tens of thousands of articles that use it? This is a bad idea and even if it was a good idea, it would still be near impossible to implement. Toa Nidhiki05 15:17, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Citations should follow reasonable, established conventional formats that are also used outside Wikipedia. Editors are free to choose between the many systems that exist, per WP:CITEVAR, but they should avoid making one up themselves. As far as I'm aware, all normal citation conventions for journals used in academic writing omit place and publisher, and I'd expect much the same is probably true for publishers of newspapers. In this matter, WP:CITEHOW reflects reasonable outside conventions and should be followed. Fut.Perf. 15:30, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
"Publisher" is never required for modern-day mainstream publications, as long as the city of publication is included (except of course where the city of publication is part of the title of the publication). It serves no purpose, and I always remove it when I come across it. I wish this parameter were not included at allin various tools as part of "cite news" because it wastes the time of inexperienced editors who think they ought to include the information. I don't at all see this as part of the optional style of a particular article. However, I don't agree with the OP that "location" falls into the same category. City of publication is a standard piece of information to identify newspapers especially, and should always be included to avoid ambiguity. -- Alarics (talk) 15:54, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Fut Perf, that is not how the English Wikipedia works. In fact, almost none of our articles, including FAs, follow a specific real-world citation format. CS1, for example, is very widely used, and it is definitely a made-up Wikipedia-only style.
We actually tell editors this at CITEVAR: "Editors may choose any option they want; one article need not match what is done in...professional publications or recommended by academic style guides." When we say "any style", we mean "any style", including styles that the editors made upon their own. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:55, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
That total freedom applies to formalities such as where to put commas or full stops, or whether to use inline or footnoted citations. It is not reasonable to apply it to the question of what information to include. In this far more substantial matter, there is certainly still a lot of flexibility, but it is not a total "anything goes". Fut.Perf. 16:00, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
You need to include the minimum required to identify the source, but there is no set maximum amount of information. Personally I prefer not to include publishers for newspapers, but if someone wants to do so, there's no reason why they shouldn't - and going around removing these without consensus would be against WP:CITEVAR. Nikkimaria (talk) 16:24, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
I'd agree with Nikkimaria on both counts - I wouldn't normally include publishers for newspapers, but its covered by CITEVAR. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:40, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

@Masem, first editors choice for NATVAR was done because there is no "correct" spelling and the wording used to be "If all else fails, consider following the spelling style preferred by the first major contributor" (Introduced in 2003). I think you are extending the concept too far, as the usage you are suggesting encourages ownership behaviour and resistance to change under "I don't like it! As I got here first, I don't have to explain why". That is OK for spelling -- as it is a matter of choice which editors have agreed to disagree over -- but for many other things editors should have to give substantive reasons (such as adherence to guidelines) for opposing such changes. -- PBS (talk) 17:17, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

I think you're taking that too far in the other direction - citation style and formatting is another of those things editors have agreed to disagree over, which is why we have WP:CITEVAR and why the OP's actions were incorrect. Nikkimaria (talk) 17:47, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
CITEVAR really isn't relevant here, as Fut.Perf. has pointed out - what's relevant is CITEHOW, which has no requirement to include publisher or location (Alarics, I explicitly stated that I'm only removing location when it repeats what's in the name of the publication - we're agreed on that). Toa Nidhiki05, I've already explained exactly how I judge what parameters are superfluous - if the publication has its own WP article it doesn't need a 'publisher' parameter, and if its name includes the city where it's published, it doesn't need a 'location'. And we need to distinguish between an attempt to reach consensus by discussion, and what happened to me - an editor twice reverted my edits as 'vandalism' and tried to report me to WP:ANV as a vandal and repeatedly placed anti-vandalism warnings templates on my talk page and threatened me with blocking. (He was turned away from ANV, of course). That's not a good-faith attempt to reach consensus, it's just ownership. The requirement for consensus isn't intended to allow an editor to block reasonable change just by being obnoxious. Colonies Chris (talk) 19:07, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
On the contrary, if the established citation style includes publishers for newspapers and you remove them, that is absolutely a CITEVAR issue. While CITEHOW doesn't require including these parameters, it also doesn't forbid them, and there's no real reason to do so when the editors working on a particular article would prefer for them to be there. Now, I agree that reporting you as a vandal wasn't right. However, I see at least two posts on your talk page about this issue before the vandal templates, several editors objecting to your edits on other pages, and you reverting attempts to restore the parameters you removed even though it was quite clear that people objected (against the guidance of WP:BRD and CITEVAR, among others). Now, it would be best for you to stop making this particular type of edit altogether, because there is no consensus for this on a large scale. Nikkimaria (talk) 20:43, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Nikkimaria, your statement that I had been reverting other attempts to restore the parameters is completely untrue. The only changes I have reverted were those by the editor who accused me of vandalism. Two editors (User:BlueMoonset and User:WolfmanSF) questioned my edits - I explained my reasoning on their talk pages and no more was said or done. Another editor (User:RobHar) disagreed on a different topic (the removal of a wikilink to a specific publisher in a template) but, again, there were no reversions. Colonies Chris (talk) 08:39, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
My statement was "you [were] reverting attempts to restore the parameters you removed". These are reverts. QED. Now, as I said, using the "vandalism" revert was inappropriate, but so was your reversion. Nikkimaria (talk) 18:15, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

The content and style can dramatically change when a new publisher acquires a magazine (or just the title). Popular Science Monthly was a serious journal until the cash strapped publisher sold the title to the publisher of World's Advance in 1915. The journal was renamed to The Scientific Monthly and was published until 1958. Popular Science is still published today. Amazing Stories is another magazine with numerous publishers. The 1980's saw a lot of leveraged buyouts in the magazine business. The new owners often "improved" the magazine's content. Removing valid information from a citation is not always a good idea. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 19:38, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

I presume you're talking about a situation where a reader is trying to judge whether the cited periodical is a reliable source. But only an editor who already has your level of detailed knowledge could determine that just from looking at the 'publisher' parameter (and with your depth of knowledge, just the date of the citation would tell you how reliable it is). Almost everyone would have to go to the periodical's article to find out its history to make that judgment. Colonies Chris (talk) 20:11, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
When I am researching an article I may learn details about the sources that I add to the citations. I thought these details were worth noting. A future editor on a mass tidy-up campaign may know nothing about the subject and discard this potentially useful information. I don't think every field in a Cite template needs to be filled in. -- SWTPC6800 (talk) 21:14, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

The point, Chris, is that there is no justification for spending your time removing accurate information. We all have better things to do with our time than to spend it diminishing the content of the project because it offends our sense of consistency. There are so many hundreds of thousands of articles that need serious improvement, from spelling to copyediting to serious BLP violations to spamming. Please turn your energies to a task which will accomplish something of value. --Orange Mike | Talk 19:57, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

I suggest you look at my edit history. I perform many gnoming tasks, includng many of those in your list. and cleaning up this sort of clutter is just an extra on top of those. On only a handful of the articles from which I removed these parameters was that my primary purpose. This is all performed by regexes I've set up, in much the same way as AWB general fixes, while I'm making other more substantive improvements - it doesn't take up any additional time to do it. Colonies Chris (talk) 20:11, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm not denying the good you do; I'm just saying that you are the only one who thinks this is a good idea, and all the things I listed add to the information content of this project and/or improve its accuracy. These regex edits diminish content, for no justifiable reason save an Emersonian hobgoblin of "consistency". --Orange Mike | Talk 20:17, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
'Consistency' is your word. I've never used it. That's not my purpose. Whilst making various improvements, I'm also removing valueless information and links that make the useful stuff harder to find. That has nothing to do with consistency. And your insinuation that I am small-minded is uncalled for. Colonies Chris (talk) 20:44, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Okay, now I understand your reasoning better; sorry about that. Nonetheless, I disagree with it fiercely. The "valueless information and links that make the useful stuff harder to find", in my opinion, is all the template formatting crap that I have to read around in order to understand a templated reference. I despise templated references, and never create them. Obviously, we disagree. --Orange Mike | Talk 20:49, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
We certainly disagree over the value of cite templates, but that has nothing to do with this. I'm not adding cite templates, just simplifying the ones that are already in place. I would do the same for non-templated refs, but it's much harder to set up regexes to operate on those. I would think you'd be pleased I'm removing unnecessary parameters - you'll have less 'crap' to read around. Colonies Chris (talk) 21:44, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
I completely agree with Colonies Chris. It is never wrong to remove pointless clutter like who publishes the Washington Post. Nikkimaria is wrong, in my opinion. -- Alarics (talk) 07:42, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
When you have been told to stop it because the editors at the specific article actively want what you deride as "pointless clutter", then, yes, you are wrong. Everyone has different ideas of what counts as pointless clutter. You say it's the publisher, but other people have said that it's ISBNs. We have agreed to do this by consensus at the article, not with edit warring and unilateral changes. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:28, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. This is not something that Chris should be doing on a large scale. Nikkimaria (talk) 18:15, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
Agree. First achieve consensus at the article level, then remove. Hchc2009 (talk) 18:20, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
The only time there has been active opposition (as distinct from merely seeking an explanation) was the hopefully rather unusual case of the articles 'owned' by the editor who accused me of vandalism and has refused to discuss the matter at all. There has been no other opposition at the article level. Colonies Chris (talk) 19:54, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
But here you're seeing active opposition at the site/policy level. Nikkimaria (talk) 20:05, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
  • These parameters should not be removed in a scripted way for at least four reasons:
  1. It diminishes the information provided to no useful purpose
  2. Editors may not have used the parameters in the expected way and automation based upon such assumptions may then do more damage than expected
  3. If there were a consensus to depreciate particular parameters then this is best handled at the template level
  4. The edit history of the article becomes cluttered with the edits and reverts of same
Warden (talk) 16:47, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

This guideline under attack

These edits to this guideline show no regard for WP:CITEVAR. The RfCs at WT:MOS#Which guideline for citation style? and WT:MOSNUM#RFC on requiring consistent style of access, publication and archive dates in footnotes indicate a number of editors think this guideline is a "how-to" and has no brief to establish any style guidelines. As far as they're concerned, WP:CITEVAR is null and void. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:21, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

The proposed text requires (not just recommends), among other things, that editors type out names in SMcCandlish's preferred way ("A. E. Jones" instead of "AE Jones") and spell out journal titles (Jourmal of Oncology rather than J. Onc.). We have something on the order of twenty thousand articles whose sources have been cited using Diberri's tool, which cannot do this. So it doesn't really matter what SMcCandlish puts on this page: what he wants is not going to happen. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:58, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Citation templates, yet again

Despite past discussions that established that it's inappropriate to add cite templates to an article without agreement, a set of users have elected to force citation templates on an article over objections. It is my view that a group of editors have formed a posse to force changes they are unable to get consensus for at the guideline level. I believe this is quite serious, as it significantly undermines the notion of WP:CONSENSUS. Please see specifically Talk:Sean_Combs#Arbitrary_break, for concerns about adding citation templates. Gimmetoo (talk) 03:41, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

The appropriate guideline—as I am sure you are aware—is WP:CITEVAR. I don't see anything beyond this one article, so the dispute should be at that article talk, where it is now. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:22, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

"Despite past discussions that established that it's inappropriate to add cite templates to an article without agreement," You write "templates" what do you mean? Let us suppose there is a list of references in a general references section. Someone adds a new general reference. If the addition, with or without a template does not alter the style then it is not inappropriate. Or are you saying that information that is added to an article should be removed if the additional information does not contain what other editors consider to be an appropriate citation method? If so where does it say that in this guideline? -- PBS (talk) 09:57, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

WP:CITEVAR includes the bullet "whether citations are produced using citation templates" meaning this is one of the variations that, once established in an article, should not be changed without consensus expressed on the talk page. New information, if otherwise appropriate for the article, is accompanied by a citation which does allow one to find the information, should be kept and the citation should be reformatted to conform to the style in the article. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:36, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
We've had discussion in the past about whether the invisible-to-the-reader bits, like whether a citation is constructed using {{cite book}} vs being typed out by hand, "counts" under CITEVAR, and the answer has been yes. NB that I personally think it a bit silly, but I'm not always on the "winning" side when it comes to these things.
What is most important is that one adds the citation at all, even if it is imperfect and incomplete. (See "While you should try to write citations correctly, what matters most is that you provide enough information to identify the source. Others will improve the formatting if needed." at the end of the introduction.) But you may not switch to citation templates without consensus, and you may not insist that "your" citation use/not use citation templates in defiance of the style established in the article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:48, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
There clearly is no consensus on this point! Jc3s5h I disagree with your interpretation of style of what CITEVAR says and what is meant by it. If the style is not changed by the addition of a citation there is no need to change it (whether that addition is with or without a template). If content of the new edit is to be changed then the usual consensus edition approach should be followed with regards the content of that edit including the way the citation was put together. That some people extend the meaning of CITEVAR to justify ownership of all aspects of an article's citations is I think wrong. -- PBS (talk) 08:37, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree with PBS and WhatamIdoing. If you really want to, reformat the citation as Jc3s5h says but most certainly do not remove the citation just because it is a template (or for that matter just because it is NOT a template). -- Alarics (talk) 09:13, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
The issue here is reformatting the existing citations in an article with 77 references. Gimmetoo (talk) 09:20, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
Then don't do it. If they all LOOK the same to the reader of the article that is all that matters. -- Alarics (talk) 11:26, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
I have no position on the consensus, or lack thereof, for a change in the citation style of Sean Combs (if indeed the article ever had a consistent citation style). But I emphatically disagree that "if they all LOOK the same to the reader of the article that is all that matters." In addition to my interpretation of the guideline, which I believe will be supported by the talk page discussion at the time the bullet was added, if one wanted to force a citation template to look like some other citation style, one would have to put in false values for parameters. I would consider an editor who, had been made aware of CITEVAR and the allowability of any style and the lack of any requirement to use templates, insisted on putting false parameters into templates, to be guilty of adding false information to the encyclopedia and subject to the corresponding adverse actions by administrators. Jc3s5h (talk) 12:34, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
The question of whether turning a hand-crafted citation into a templated citation with the same appearance to the reader counts as non-consensus introduction of templates was discussed at Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/Archive 31#Guideline creep towards discouraging use of citation templates.
Jc3s5h, I don't understand your previous paragraph. What "interpretation of the guideline" are you referring to? What "bullet"? And what do you mean by "forcing a cite template to look like some other citation style"? Gimmetoo (talk) 14:04, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── For my interpretation of the guideline and the bullet I cited from the guideline, see my posting at 13:36, 15 May 2012 (UTC). When I say forcing a cite template to look like some other citation style, I mean putting the wrong value in a parameter so the formatting will look like some different style one is trying to emulate. For example, APA style calls for the titles of journal articles to have no special typographic treatment, just plain text. But {{cite journal}} would put the title in double quotes. So an editor trying to use cite journal in an article that otherwise uses APA might omit the title and year parameters, and set author = Sillick, T. J., & Schutte, N. S. (2006). Emotional intelligence.... (This example was taken from page 199 of the APA manual.) Jc3s5h (talk) 14:53, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes, but the handwritten citation might already emulate the style of the citation template, and in that case it would look the same to the reader without putting wrong values in the template parameters. -- Alarics (talk) 16:07, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
Bullet #4 says "whether citations are produced using citation templates" is a point of variation in citation styles, and the section plainly says, "citations within a given article should follow a consistent style" and "Editors should not attempt to change an article's established citation style merely on the grounds of personal preference, or without first seeking consensus for the change." This means, for those who haven't connected the dots yet, that 100% of citations in a given article should either "use: or "not use" citation templates, and that you "should not attempt to change whether citations are produced using citation templates merely on the grounds of personal preference, or without first seeking consensus for the change."
If we didn't agree that mismatched coding was undesirable, or that unilateral changes to whether or not citation templates were used was undesirable, then we wouldn't have written it this way. "abuse" of the templates is really a red herring here: you should do what the other citations are doing (or at least not object if someone reformats it for you). WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:18, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree with WhatamIdoing's statement "this means, for those who haven't connected the dots yet, that 100% of citations in a given article should either "use: or "not use" citation templates" with one or two exceptions. Handcrafted citations that imitate the style produced by templates may be used if no template exists for the type of source cited, or arguably, if there is a template but the editors who maintain it make no effort to be similar to other templates in the same family. And of course any style may be used on an interim basis by an editor who does not know how to produce proper citations; such cases should be reformatted as soon as a willing and able editor comes along.Jc3s5h (talk) 16:29, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

RfC on using External links inline

We're getting close to ending an RfC on using external links inline, but haven't gotten too many responses from the outside community. Any final comments would be appreciated. The RfC is here. This message is being posted because it involves application of this guideline. Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 17:09, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Non-english citations

I've recently run across an issue where an article has references that are not in English. After reading several WP policies, I'm uncertain what policy is on such citations, as I've not seen an explicit mention in this project. I've found the following that suggest that references should be in English:

  • Wikipedia:Language "This Wikipedia is written in English."
  • Template:Uw-english "When on the English-language Wikipedia, please always use English..."
  • Template:Welcomeen-fr (and other similar) "While efforts to improve Wikipedia are always welcome, unfortunately your contributions are not written in an English that is good enough to be useful."
  • Wikipedia:Pages needing translation into English "If an article has been listed here for two weeks and is still untranslated, it should be nominated for deletion". ... "Articles that are not in English ... can be nominated for deletion by prod or afd should an editor feel they warrant deletion for a reason other than the language it is in, an article not being in English is not itself a criteria for deletion until the two week period has passed." Emphasis added. This text isn't very clear. I elided the parts noting that language itself is not a criteria for a speedy deletion. My understanding of this text is the langauage other than English is a criteria for WP:PROD or WP:AFD after it has first been listed at Wikipedia:Pages needing translation into English.

The above suggests that citations should be in English. Further, it suggests that if sufficient citations (used, for example, to establish notability are not in English, then the article could be subject to deletion by PROD of AFD if sufficient citations in English were not included in order to establish notability.

I recommend that Wikipedia:Citing sources be updated to explicitly address non-English citations. As a first step, I offer this new section of the talk page. Apologies if I've missed some WP policy somewhere that already addresses this issue.

Thank you, JoeSperrazza (talk) 16:27, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

First, notability does not care if the sources are in English or not. It may be completely possible to have an article that only uses foreign-language sources and still be notable per WP:N. That said, of course, that we should be sure of said translations and availability of said sources per WP:V, and if we are citing these works, we should whatever translations may be necessary for quotes or clarifications. And of course the article on WP needs to be written in English. --MASEM (t) 16:31, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments. It is this part that I question: "It may be completely possible to have an article that only uses foreign-language sources and still be notable per WP:N". Regarding WP:V, if the citations are only available from WP:RS in other than English, how can those citations be verified? Would not translations done by WP editors be a form of WP:OR? Thanks, JoeSperrazza (talk) 19:53, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
They can be verified by learning the language in question, or by hiring a translator, or, in a pinch, to a reasonable degree by using a service like Google Translate. This is covered by WP:NOENG. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:59, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I would hope that is not the final answer on this issue (but, if that's WP:CONSENSUS, so be it). It seems reasonable to me that if "This Wikipedia is written in English", as noted early, is the rule, that having all citations in an article be in other than English would not be a good thing. It seems there are several possible outcomes:
  1. Leave WP:CITE as is. I think this is least preferable, as it does not address the issue.
  2. Update WP:CITE to explicitly state that non-English references are perfectly acceptable, in whole or in part.
  3. Update WP:CITE to state something in between the two extremes, above (ideally, based on other policies).
I've opened an RFC on this topic to get some additional editors' points of view. My goal is to update WP:CITE to offer explicit guidance on non-English language references. Cheers, JoeSperrazza (talk) 20:08, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
Stephan is correct, but his reply is incomplete. You can also ask for help from your fellow Wikipedians. NOENG lists a general place for such help, but there are also WP:WikiProjects that are willing to help (e.g., WP:WikiProject Norway if you need help translating something in Norwegian).
CITE does not care what the sources are. It only covers how you type up the information about the source (i.e., author, date, title, publisher, etc. underneath the ==References== section heading). The actual policy on this point is at the NOENG section of WP:V. If you wanted, we could update CITE (similar to your number 2) to say that if the title of a source is in a different language, then there is no requirement to translate the title for the footnotes. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:23, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
  • This is explicitly addressed in policy (just not on this page) - see Wikipedia:Verifiability#Non-English sources. "Because this is the English Wikipedia, English-language sources are preferred over non-English ones, assuming English sources of equal quality and relevance are available." - ie, English is preferred but non-English material is acceptable in the absence of an equivalent English source. Andrew Gray (talk) 20:21, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
  • This would appear to settle matter. It seems like a sensible and well established policy. --soulscanner (talk) 02:01, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
I totally disagree. Notability in one language does not automatically translate into notability in another. English wikipedia includes lots of pages regarding hit singles and one hit wonder bands that are not included in other wikipedias because they just were not notable in that language/region (see Superdrag, Popular (Nada Surf song). Suggesting that throwing a source through a machine language translation is not acceptable. If "an unedited machine translation, left as a Wikipedia article, is worse than nothing," using that for a "verifiable" source must be even worse!
Verifiability means much more than just verifying the content is the same in both languages, it means verifying the published source is known, recognized, and credible. Expecting English users to be able to verify foreign language sources is an undue burden on the users of wikipedia. WP:NOENG strikes me as an incomplete policy. Using a foreign language source should be acceptable as a reference within an article with established notability, but notability cannot be established through non-English sources. Wikipedia is not a indiscriminate collection of information. With so many foreign news bureaus, and English language newspapers around the world, if you cannot find a credible English language source for a topic, then it is not a notable topic in the English speaking world.Joshuaism (talk) 14:49, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
You may want to take a look at Wikipedia:Systemic bias. The English Wikipedia is a universal encyclopedia that happens to be written in the English language. It's not an encyclopedia only for monoglots. You don't have to verify every article yourself. Many Wikipedians are multilingual. And it's much harder to verify an advanced maths or physics or philosophy source in English then to e.g. learn Swedish to verify a popular press account of a royal wedding. Anyways, WP:NOENG has been around in this or similar form since approximately the dawn of time. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:31, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Keep in mind that the systemic-bias link is an essay; it doesn't have consensus. Frankly I disagree with the systemic-bias folks. It's natural and appropriate that an encyclopedia will tilt towards the interests of the people who read it, and those tend to be the people who use the language in which it's written.
That said, I agree that there's nothing wrong with establishing notability using sources in any language. There's a practical issue involved in making sure that other editors can verify them, but that can be overcome. --Trovatore (talk) 22:06, 8 May 2012 (UTC)


WP:GNG specifies that sources in any language count towards notability.
You are not required to verify the credibility of a foreign-language source and its accurate use in an article. The rule is only that someone be able to do so. The English Wikipedia has some 35,000 active editors in a typical month (>5 edits that month). We only need one of those editors to be able to verify the source. It doesn't have to be you. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:11, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Except WP:GNG doesn't state that. It says that if a subject has received significant coverage from reliable and independent sources there can be a "presumption, not a guarantee, that a subject is suitable for inclusion." But obviously these sources need to be verifiable. And Wikipedia:Verifiability "is the reader's ability to check cited sources that directly support the information in an article." Not the ability of an editor, or someone, or just anyone. It is the reader's ability.
I have no problem with foreign language citations. I don't believe every citation needs to be verifiable by every reader. But I have a problem if the average reader cannot verify a single citation within an article through the use of an internet connection, library, or pay-walled database. Essentially my problem is with articles that have ONLY foreign language citations.
English Wikipedia is not a universal encyclopedia (how presumptuous), it is just a part of the multilingual Wikipedia project. I wouldn't even consider the entire Wikipedia project as a universal encyclopedia, you would need to eliminate Wikipedia:IINFO to meet that criteria. But inclusion in one Wikipedia is not carte-blanche right to exist in all of them. If you can't get noted by a single reliable English language source, then you aren't notable enough for inclusion in the English language wikipedia.
I'm not some monoglot extremist nor some monolingual moron. I see this topic has been discussed by you guys before. I am aware that notability and verifiability may lead to systemic bias. But there are reliable English language sources around the world covering all kinds of different topics that cater to English language learners, native English speakers, and people with all levels of English proficiency in between. If the subject is a notable topic, it shouldn't be hard to find a source in English. Again, my issue is with articles that cite no English language sources. How useful would English wikipedia be if there was not a single citation in English? --Joshuaism (talk) 04:36, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
The average reader won't be able to check easily many of most sources because often they are from special subject books and offline. Moreover at for now most of our best (high quality sources) are available freely available online either, which makes your point regarding the average reader already moot within the English language. There is nothing wrong with a preference for sources which can be verified by the average reader (i.e. being available online for free and in English), but only as long as as it doesn't come at the cost of a loss of quality and reliability. Simply put we are not switching from offline or paywalled scholarly articles to online newsportals or blogs, just because it simplifies the "verification" by the average reader.
En.wp without citations in English is a scenario anybody is arguing for nor one that ames much sense, as for most subjects in the English speaking world the best sources are in English. However for the argument's sake I see no problem with a (fictitious) en.wp without English citations provided all citations that are used are reliable and we enough editors checking them. The most important aspect for the average reader is that WP provides him with correct content, which would be still the case in that scenario.--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:06, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
How presumtuous of you to tell us "English Wikipedia is not a universal encyclopedia" when that is exactly what the mission statement of this project says - "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment."[2] If you can't accept that then may I suggest that perhaps you should take a long hard look at your motivation for being here and consider whether you really are a suitable person to be editing Wikipedia articles (in any language). Roger (talk) 20:06, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
That's the mission of the Wikimedia Foundation[[8]]. Wikipedia is one of the many projects that are a part of Wikimedia. Wikipedia is not the only means by which they intend to reach that goal. And en.wikipedia is just another portion of the Wikipedia project. Clearly Wikimedia would not be invested in other projects if they believed en.wikipedia was the sole answer to meet their purpose. Nice try though! --Joshuaism (talk) 00:32, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Let's take the example of a person well-known in sources in India, but only written in Indian. A en.wiki editor, well proficient in both English and Indian, uses said sources and his own translations to write the en.wiki article about that person. As best as this editor is aware, there's no english sources. What is the problem with this article? A reader in India can verify the sources (WP:V doesn't require universal verification, hence why we allow paywall sources). --MASEM (t) 04:46, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
The problem is that in all of India, a former colony of the British Empire with a large population of English speakers and readers, not a single English language publication (of which there are many in India with wide circulation[9]) could be bothered to write about the supposed well-known person. Supposed well-known person is an excellent candidate for inclusion in Sanskrit Wikipedia or whatever language he is published in, but if they are not notable to English speaking Indians, why would they be notable to English speakers world-wide? Perhaps it would be better to promote supposed well-known person in the wider world before promoting him through wikipedia, see WP:PROMOTION.
Moreover, Wikipedia:Verifiability states "the reader", not "a reader". There is value in the choice of a definite article over the indefinite article. The use of a definite article suggests specificity regarding a specific reader, likely the person reading the definition or the reader of an article himself. Had the definition stated "a reader" then I could understand allowing any singular person to pronounce an article as verifiable, but that is not what it states.
Such nuance can be difficult to parse out, even for the native reader, yet another reason why I take issue with allowing an article to stand that only contains foreign language sources. The main thrust and purpose of a source can hinge on the use of nuance in a single word to greatly alter the tone, purpose, or reliability of what is said or reported. These things can be easily overlooked by a translator, even one of great skill. If an article is about a contentious matter, an editor could easily game the system by using only difficult to find, or difficult to translate sources. This is my concern with articles with no English language sources. --Joshuaism (talk) 13:14, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Joshuaism - you mention the issue of parsing. Yes it says "the" reader, a very definite article, but it does not indicate the level of skill or knowledge a reader has to bring to access wiki - equality is implicit. It may be hard for the reader to verify a source in another language - it could be 1 source or 20. That is why there are talk pages where a reader can even ask for help. I understand your points and they are well made, but you may be better raising it as a general accessibility issue referencing diversity. The Wiki position is clear, even if you disagree with it. Systems are designed by fallible humans and always open to gaming. You have identified a loophole. How does it get closed and still meet quality standards? Media-Hound 'D 3rd P^) (talk) 21:48, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Easy enough Media-hound. Just as wikipedia has created WP:Bio guidelines, a general guideline for notability that a topic at least get a cursory mention by some reliable English language source in order to merit it's own article is a reasonable goal. --Joshuaism (talk) 00:32, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Notability on en.wiki simply does not consider the language barrier: we are not including topics that would be notable to English-speaking readers, but simply including notable topics of interest to any reader. That's how we avoid systematic bias. All of our policy is towards writing and presenting the information in English whereever possible, but requires absolutely nothing like that from sources. --MASEM (t) 13:23, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
If there were some wild, world-wide conspiracy of English language publishers ignoring notable events and people around the world maybe I would worry about systemic bias in these cases. But there is no conspiracy. This isn't systemic bias, this is the system working properly. WP:INDISCRIMINATE, "merely being true, or even verifiable, does not automatically make something suitable for inclusion in the encyclopedia." Notable information gets reported by reliable sources in all languages, unnotable information is ignored. --Joshuaism (talk) 14:09, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
One example where this has come up (well in the past, so I can't point to any immediate discussion) is regional politicians, the equivalent of district-electric representatives for the US House of Representatives. Some of this in other countries will certainly gain national and in some cases international recognizition and thus will easily have English sources, but for several, the only sources are regional in the country's native language. As we generally include these people for English-speaking countries, there's no reason to omit them from non-English-speaking countries. I agree that there's a limit to this before indiscriminate inclusion becomes a factor, but it's not just as simple as "the lack of English sources". --MASEM (t) 15:07, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS, "There's an article on x, and this is just as famous as that" doesn't justify notability. But more importantly, other stuff DOES exist. English wikipedia is not the only wikipedia. It should not be the arbiter of whether something exists or is important. There are foreign language wiki's where this kind of information is useful and appreciated. If foreign language wiki's are ignored by editors they will wither on the vine and die.
In the case of Random foreign regional politician, his notable actions may garner attention within a larger article about his foreign region's politics, but without an English language source it probably doesn't justify his own page. Make edits where they are most appreciated. --Joshuaism (talk) 16:00, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
(ec) Incredibly useful, if it provided information that would otherwise be inaccessible due to a language barrier. It's not just language that can make sources difficult to verify; if a source is available in only one library or archive in the world, or if it's a small-town paper from a hundred years ago, or costs hundreds of dollars to access, it's still a viable source because someone can verify it. By compiling information covered by such hard-to-use (for whatever reason) sources, we spread knowledge. Such topics can certainly be notable, even if the "average reader" (and who decides who that is?) can't easily read about them anywhere else. Would it be preferable if every topic was covered by a reliable internet-based English-language source that anyone could access? Sure. But then who would need us? Nikkimaria (talk) 04:48, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, these are all viable sources, but if these are the only sources perhaps you should consider notability. Events only covered in a small-town newspaper from a hundred years ago, or items that are available in only one location, or articles that can only be accessed behind a paywall with no other mention anywhere else in the world do not meet the criteria of "significant coverage". If you cannot find with multiple sources a single English language source (difficult to obtain or not) then perhaps this item is not as notable as you thought. That is okay. Promote your cause elsewhere on the internet. Write significantly about the topic in all languages, including English. Become a source for the English language presses about your topic of interest. Work on the article in the appropriate foreign language wikipedia. Wouldn't it be terrible if all foreign language wiki's died because people only went to the English wiki for information? --Joshuaism (talk) 13:14, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
As pointed out above already notability is not really depending on language (though local wikipedias may have different criteria for assessing notability). en.wp is an international encyclopedia in English on what's notable in the world and not merely what may appear notable to American, Brit or somebody from any other English speaking nation. We have a requirement that sources need to reliable, but that doesn't restrict them to the English language. What we have however is preference for English sources, i.e. if we have 2 different sources having the same degree of reliability/reputation/quality and covering the same content and one is in English and the other one is not, then we're supposed to use English one.--Kmhkmh (talk) 15:42, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
And English is an international language. Not everything published in English is for English speaking nations and native English speakers. What is wrong with requiring at least one English language source for consideration as an article? --Joshuaism (talk) 17:50, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
What wrong with requirement instead of preference? It will impair WP's scope, quality and usefulness - simple as that.--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:12, 8 May 2012 (UTC)--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:12, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
We have subject specific guidelines for notability that are above and beyond the general notability guideline. I don't think wikipedia is hurt by WP:ONEEVENT, WP:NALBUMS, or especially WP:GEOSCOPE. Hell, if WP:GEOSCOPE could be promoted to the general notability guideline I think I would be a happy man. --Joshuaism (talk) 00:32, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
All these guidelines do not use your language argument, what they state is essentially language independent. Nobody here is arguing that WP should cover every event or every event. What we argue here is that it is perfectly fine to use non English sources and that the assessment of notability does not necessarily rely (solely) on English sources (or their existance).--Kmhkmh (talk) 01:03, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
But I would be amazed if many articles that meet GEOSCOPE lack an English language source, or one could not be found. So what do people say to promoting GEOSCOPE to a general notability guideline? --Joshuaism (talk) 06:17, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Well this is now an argument regarding notability (rather than about sources) and needs to be discussed at Wikipedia:Notability rather than here. So you should raise the question there, personally however I'm rather skeptical and see no need for change their either. WP:GEOSCOPE is right where it should be and there good reasons to have it "just" as an important guideline rather than a core policy.--Kmhkmh (talk) 06:38, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
But not everyone speaks English - en.wiki articles are frequently translated on foreign-language wikis for the benefit of such people. Just as we frequently translate foreign-language source information, and even full articles, for the benefit of those who only speak English. A topic can certainly satisfy notability requirements with only foreign-language sources; after all, for most topics there is no requirement for international coverage or awareness. We have dozens if not hundreds of articles on Baron Whatzisname from the UK or Mayor Smith from Podunk, USA; why shouldn't we have articles on Freiherr Schmidt from Germany or 市長 Xi from China? Nikkimaria (talk) 15:37, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Then why don't we go and write articles for Baron Whatzisname in French wikipedia and Mayor Smith in Japanese wikipedia? Have you seen the article count for the foreign language wikipedias? Clearly these wiki's are in much need of these articles and they could use the traffic. If it is necessary that every Wikipedia include everything, perhaps we should start with those wikis that have less. Or we could consider WP:OTHERSTUFF and WP:IINFO. --Joshuaism (talk) 17:50, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Do you speak Japanese well enough to contribute to jp.wiki? If so, go ahead and write an article on Mayors Smith over there. However, such an article wouldn't be all that helpful to someone who speaks only English. Here, your suggestion that English-language sources are required to prove notability has been overwhelmingly rejected. Nikkimaria (talk) 18:28, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
The en.wiki has the largest number of volunteers to write material. Eventually, we would expect that every English WP article would be brought to the foreign language ones in time, but there is no deadline for that. --MASEM (t) 18:00, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Well if we can get general consensus that wikipidea actually is an English language mirror or a repository of all information then maybe I will rescind my line of questioning. WP:NOTMIRROR,WP:NOTREPOSITORY,WP:NOTEVERYTHING --Joshuaism (talk) 00:32, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
We do have such articles and (frequently) translate or adapt content from non English Wikipedia into the English as well. In fact many of our editors are bilingual or even multilingual and contribute various Wikipedias rather than just one. Btw this language question regarding sources has been discussed repeatedly in the past already and result of these discussion is contained in the links give further up.--Kmhkmh (talk) 15:47, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
I know, who do you think provided those links? But I don't believe it has been addressed that entire articles without any English language sources are likely not notable and are hardly verifiable. If I am wrong I would appreciate you providing a link to that discussion. Thanks. --Joshuaism (talk) 17:50, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
We have perfectly adequate mechanisms for dealing with verifiability in any language - the fact that you don't know Zulu or Gujarati is your problem, not en.Wikipedia's - we have plenty multilingual friends who can verify any source. Roger (talk) 19:09, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Joshua, have you noticed the increasingly impatient tone in the responses? It's because this has been discussed repeatedly in multiple forums, and the answer is always the same. Have a look at the archives for the Village Pump and WT:V to see only some of the prior discussions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:34, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Well I must say, I have not been convinced. My further research and these dialogs have only toughened my resolve. Wikipedia has good policies, they just need to be promoted to more general cases and given wider mention. If every editor knew that wikipedia isn't everything and we could promote WP:GEOSCOPE to a general notability guideline then we could end this today. --Joshuaism (talk) 00:32, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes WP has good guidelines (for the most part) and you won't mess them up (no matter what your resolve is). You are arguing a point which is not covered by current guidelines and in fact even contradicting some directly. In addition it is contradicting the actual practice in WP as well, we have plenty of perfectly fine articles using reliable non English sources and at least of them some use no English sources at all. So give it a rest.--Kmhkmh (talk) 01:10, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Except WP:GNG doesn't state that.
GNG doesn't state that? What do you think the meaning of "Sources may encompass published works in all forms and media, and in any language" is, if it is not an indication that sources in non-English languages count towards notability? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:51, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
But what is your opinion of articles that have NO English language sources? Are they verifiable? --Joshuaism (talk) 17:50, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
At this point, you need to review the FAQ in the header of WT:V, specifically the second and third point. WP:V basically states that articles only backed by reliable non-english sources are acceptable contrary to your position. --MASEM (t) 18:00, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
If the information has ever been published in any reliable source, anywhere in the world, in any language, then that information is verifiable. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:36, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Joshuaism; to extend your argument slightly. Consider an article cited purely to several very good books. In theory those, compared to an online foreign language source, are even less easy to validate. At least in the case of the online source almost anyone could get a rough translation in Google translate. And there are likely many people in the world that speak a particular language. But the cited books might only be available when ordered at a local library; a process often taking weeks. --Errant (chat!) 21:13, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
So what if verification takes several week - or even years. We don't have deadlines. Roger (talk) 21:41, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, that being my point :) --Errant (chat!) 21:58, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Language has absolutely nothing to do with notability - Period/Full Stop/Finis/The End. Roger (talk) 16:01, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Roger-Dodger, are you angling for a barnstar? - Ref Media-Hound 'D 3rd P^) (talk) 21:35, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
No. What gives you that idea? I seriously doubt there is a barnstar for attempting to correct someone's faulty reasoning. Roger (talk) 21:41, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
{{The Socratic barnstar}}, maybe? There's a barnstar for almost anything... WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:54, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Now I'm wondering how reliable a barnstar is and whether non English versions are available :)--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:59, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Roger-Dodger - correcting another's faulty reasoning is second nature for those who are associates (even by proxy) of Paul Hunt. I suspect a {{The Socratic barnstar}} may be required even for daily life. That aside, I did appreciate the brevity of whit. "Language has absolutely nothing to do with notability - Period/Full Stop/Finis/The End." The multiple language references and translations, covering two major English language groups and French was a master class. Media-Hound 'D 3rd P^) (talk) 22:08, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Strongly oppose any effort to change Wikipedia:Verifiability#Non-English sources, nor to suggest that the language of sources used has anything to do with notability whatsoever. I note, by the way, that the difficultly of accessing non-English sources is generally smaller than the difficulty of accessing off-line or very highly-technical sources. There is no value whatsoever to the Encyclopedia about removing good content verified by non-English sources. --joe deckertalk to me 15:25, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose, of course. English Wikipedia aims to include all encyclopedic knowledge, not just that of interest to Anglophone countries. To do otherwise is to pander to the systemic bias that is naturally caused by the choice of language. This proposal would go far further than amending WP:CITE. It would change the very mission of Wikipedia. WP:V already specifically permits non-English sources. WP:N and probably numerous other policies and guidelines would also need amending or clarifying. In short, this is a non-starter, WP:CITE cannot be amended in this way because it implies a major change in direction which would first have to be debated and approved by the wider community. SpinningSpark 17:03, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Documenting the non-need of citing plot summaries

As a result of a discussion on my talk page, I think we need to add a clear line here, probably under "When and why to cite" that WP generally does not require citations for plot summaries on the assumption that the plot summary is a terse accurate account of the work incorporating no novel interpretations, and that the work itself is implicitly its own source. This is not to discourage editors of including cites when appropriate, but that for most works, they are just not a required element. --MASEM (t) 22:46, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Etiquette - Foreign Language Sources

What is the etiquette for citing foreign language sources?

  • Should only the Translated name of the source be used?
  • Should the name in the Originating language be used?
  • Should both be used?

The citation templates seem to have no problems in accepting the markup for different languages, but it does seem that where the direction of language is right to left the editing can become confusing - so it gets done in a text editor and copied over.

I'm lining up a clean up list which address Persian and Indian subjects, but there is no policy (that I can find in the Wiki Labyrinth) or consistent pattern at present.

Also - do the available citation tools need to be updated to allow a rational field for sources to be given in the "originating language" to aid clearer citations? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Media-hound- thethird (talkcontribs) 12:53, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia does not have a house style for citations. Use whatever style has been established for the article you are editing. If the article is following the style of a printed manual, such as APA style or Chicago Manual of Style, do whatever the manual says to. If the article is following some kind of ad hoc made-up style and there are no foreign language sources cited so far, do whatever you want. If the article is using citation templates, there is no style manual for these, just documentation for the individual template parameters, so again, do whatever you want.
In my mind, the purpose of a citation is to help the reader find the source. If the source is a translation into English, the important thing is the English title, because that is what the reader will be looking for. If it is a foreign language source, the important thing is the foreign language title, because that is what the reader will be looking for. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:01, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Always, always, always cite the source that you actually read. If you read Zola, Emile, La Terre [French] then cite that. If you read Zola, Emile, The Earth trans. Fred cite that. If you read Zola, Emile, The Earth trans. Jane cite that. If you're citing works in languages other than in English and there's an English edition available, it is polite to note that an English edition is available with the English title. If you're citing works not available in English it is polite to provide a translation or transliteration of the title but not required. Ideally, if there is an English version available, you'd refind the fact in that, and cite the English version. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:16, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Citing Google translate using a cite web template

What are people doing with Google translate citations?  I sense the need to include the untranslated url.  But the way I've done it is to make an alternate use of an existing option, like at Public restrooms in Bratislava#Additional references, I've put information in the "publisher" line:

| publisher  = Google translate of spravy.pravda.sk

Unscintillating (talk) 00:28, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

A google translation is no reliable source, hence normally it is not supposed to be cited in the first place.--Kmhkmh (talk) 02:53, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
per Kmhkmh, not reliable, do not cite. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:17, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Not reliable - Do not cite - Original text from source should be copied over - a "valid" translation provided - Wikipedia:Verifiability#Non-English_sources +Common Sense! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Media-hound- thethird (talkcontribs) 12:06, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Concur. Machine translations are not reliable and should never be used as a source. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:43, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
The original text should not be copied over, because that's likely to be a copyright violation. You cite the source that you use. If you can read the untranslated version, then cite that non-English version. If you can't, then ask for help from someone who can. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:19, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Citing a live show

Hi, I was wondering how one would cite a live stage show (ie. stand up comedy, not yet available on DVD). Thanks --Tim1423 (talk) 12:49, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Being broadcasted on TV or not? Without a broadcast it would be a primary source that isn't even verifiable in the WP sense, i.e. you shouldn't cite it at all. For broadcast presumably an archived tape does exist at least, hence that might be cited as a primary source by providing the exact broadcast data (tittle, channel, broadcaster, date, time). But even that is a scenario that usually should be avoided, because availability in private archives only might be an issue and in general one should try to avoid primary sources anyhow (if possible).--Kmhkmh (talk) 13:14, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Published for more information. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:20, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Consider: how do you know anything about this event, the live show? If it is from your own observation and experience, then it is original research. That would be fine for journalism, but not allowed for an encyclopedia, where everything must be filtered through a reliable source. So you don't "cite" an event, you have to cite some source about the event. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:22, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Types of citations: categories?

I find the "types of citations" summary paragraph very confusing, and I think it is because the six types listed are not orthogonal. To me, it helps a lot if I'm trying to understand something new if I can separate out categories of mutually exclusive types. So, for example, inline citations and general references are (?) mutually exclusive: you can't have one citation that is both of these types. So, I'd like to reorganize this section a little bit and make it clear that there are the following categories of types, but I am not 100% sure I've got it correct. A: Full citation vs. short citation. B: inline citation vs. general reference. C: in-text attributions (with or without footnotes to further details) vs. citations that occur completely within footnotes. Klortho (talk) 12:29, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

There is no agreed-upon definition of a general reference. Some people use it to mean a reference that is not pointed to by any inline citation. Others would say it is any reference that provides general information on the article topic and had been read by one of the editors to generally acquaint the editor with the topic, whether or not there are inline citations to the source. Jc3s5h (talk) 13:23, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
That's interesting, but it doesn't agree with the way the article reads. "A general reference ... is not displayed as an inline citation", and "... as a supplement to inline citations". These seem to me to be drawing a distinction between two mutually exclusive types. Of course, if this gets rewritten, as category B, then this caveat you mention would be worthwhile to add. -- Klortho (talk) 01:06, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Wikilinking repetitive sources

What is the preference for putting wikilinks in citations when the item in question is used more than once? In other words, let's say I've got a citation to an article on CNN from yesterday, and later in the article, I've got a citation to an article from last year. Am I supposed to wikilink CNN in both (and every) occurrence of the name? Same question for publishers, authors, etc. Do you only link the first instance, or do you link every time? Torchiest talkedits 19:03, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

I think first time only is the general rule -- if indeed at all (I would not bother to wikilink CNN, myself). -- Alarics (talk) 21:24, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

A citation, or reference, is a line of text?

This edit by User:SlimVirgin indicates that citation or reference is a line of text. I think that's meaningless. There are lines of text in source code, meaning character sequences separated by newline characters. There are lines of text displayed in Wikipedia's editing software. There are lines of text displayed to the reader. The latter two depend on how wide the editor or reader have made the Wikipedia web page on their computer, and how much they have zoomed in. Then there are the line numbers displayed by the "Difference between revisions"; I still haven't figured those out. Also, the passage is unclear which is intended: the full bibliography entry or the inline indicator that links the claim being supported to the full bibliography entry (possibly by way of a short footnote). Jc3s5h (talk) 22:52, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

I dislike using "reference" to mean "bibliographic citation", as it seems to confuse some people.
But for your concern, what would you say instead? Assume that what is needed is a definition that encompasses any and all written pointers or descriptions of the source that supports the text, including parenthetical citations, short citations, and full bibliographic citations. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:06, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
(ec, to Jc3s5h ) Nevertheless, people know what a line of text is. :) I didn't understand your last sentence. Could you clarify? SlimVirgin (talk) 23:09, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
SlimVirgin, I mean there are as many as three character sequences, as viewed by the reader, that may be used to associate a claim with its source:
  1. something right after the claim, which might look like "(Smith 2012, p. 7)" or "[18]"
  2. a shortened footnote in a "Notes" section, which might read "18. Smith 2012, p. 7"
  3. a full bibliography entry in a "Bibliography" section, which might read
Smith, A. B. "Town select board cries for two hours at last meeting". Trepidation Tattletale. February 18, 2012.
So which one is the line of text?
Whatamidoing, I might write something like:
A citation system connects a passage in an article to a source that supports the passage, or gives credit to the author(s) from whom the concept or words were taken.
Jc3s5h (talk) 23:28, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Since we don't have a house style, our citation methodology generally comprises two elements:
  • The in-text citation in either superscripted alphanumeric or author-date format.
  • The full citation which consists of notes giving bibliographic information about each source.
Where the source is the media that supports statements made in the content and meets the reliable sources guidelines.
Examples: Footnotes and Citation Style 1; Shortened footnotes and Citation Style 2; Parenthetical referencing and Citation Style Vancouver.---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:58, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Actually the superscripted in-text citation can be a full citation as well.--Kmhkmh (talk) 01:55, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Do you have an example of an article that uses that? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 02:18, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Actually I do that in most of my articles or edits (unless a particular existing citation style may force me to avoid it), simply because I prefer to keep my (foot)notes section self contained and independent of any other section such as literature or references. For a typical example see: Mattium--Kmhkmh (talk) 23:21, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
That article uses standard Footnotes with hand-crafted citations. The inline citations are rendered in the Notes section and some of them are hand-replicated in the References section. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:24, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Jc35h, I see what you mean now, thanks. I think that gets us bogged down in detail, which we don't need in the first sentence. The point is simply to introduce the reader to the idea of a citation -- Ritter, Ron. The Oxford Style Manual. Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 1.
We then explain that there are various ways to write that. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:31, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The confusion in distinguishing citation/reference/etc. is a profound problem and general impediment to adequate citation, which is not going to be resolved in the first sentence. But characterising "citation or reference" as "a line of text" seems distinctly unuseful, and introduces more confusion. So how could it be improved?
There is much to be said for "a citation system connects a passage in an article to a source ..."; it takes a high-level view which transcends all of the different methods and piddling details of "connecting". Perhaps the first sentence could be a variant of this, like: "Citation is the means of linking material to sources...." ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:58, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I basically agree with J Johnson's beginning: there is much to be said for Jc35h's proposed definition. Unfortunately, the first thing to be said about it is that it is not a definition of the term that needs to be defined here. We haven't reached the point of defining an WP:Inline citation (=the kind that links particular bits of material to the sources). We're still trying to define any kind of citation, including the description of those sources used as WP:General references (=the citations that don't link particular bits of material to the sources).
So, again, how do you tell people "We are now going to talk about how the way you write out author, title, publisher, date, etc. information so that the reader knows which book, website, newspaper article, or other kind of source you are talking about", i.e., what a bibliographic citation is? ([1], by the way, isn't a citation, but your other three examples (parenthetical citations, short citations, and full citations) all are.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:33, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I think you are confused. For starters, what do you mean by "... not a definition of the term that needs to be defined here"? Are you referring to my comment that all this confusion "is not going to be resolved in the first sentence"? Of course we need some clearly stated definitions; I was just saying it is not all going do be done in the very first sentence.
Or are you criticising my particular use of "citation" above (which I meant generally, in the sense of any system of citation) as not distinguished from the various ways in which you used it? For sure, all these uses need to be clarified, and perhaps we need to clarify some concepts here for use in this discussion. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:05, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
What we need to do here is to tell people that we're talking about the way you write out the author, title, publisher, date, etc. information so that the reader knows which source you're talking about. This is called a citation. We are not talking about which of the many options you choose for associating that source with particular bits of the article, which is an inline citation system.
The part that needs to be defined here is just the list of information (the author, title, date, and so forth) that tells you which source we're talking about. Look at the example given in the diff at the top of the section:

Ritter, Ron. The Oxford Style Manual. Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 1.

That's a bibliographic citation. We need a definition here that says "We are now going to talk about stuff like authors, titles, publishers, dates, and page numbers, i.e., citations." WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:16, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
  Okay, I think I see where you're at. You want to talk about the presentation of the bibliographic details, such as illustrated in the box above. You don't want to call such an item a reference (as I often do) because that is an ambiguously used term. (For sure.) Likewise, I am inclined to object to citation for exactly the same reason. I agree with you whole-heartedly that we need to define some terms here, but the problem with adopting either of these terms is with all the people that know it should be the opposite way. This seems to be at least a three-pipe problem.
  I also agree with you that the presentation of the bibliographic details is separate from their association (or as I say: linkage) with material in the text. "In-line citation" is confusing (and confused), especially as it tends to blur the distinction between the details and the link to the details, when we really need to emphasize the distinction.
  In that regard I think this page would be greatly improved if it first treated the presentation of the bibliographic details, independently of particular citation "systems", and then treated the various places where that information can be placed and how it gets linked to the specific text.
~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:37, 5 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you've got it—and you also see why it's so important for us to define these terms. Feel free to consider it purely wkikjargon, with as little relationship to the real world as terms like "neutral" or "notable". But given what we're talking about, which we choose to call a "citation" on this page, how would you define it? Do you, for example, agree with SV that it is a "line of text"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:01, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
No, "line of text" is quite meaningless here, even misleading, and ought to be considered as a place-holder waiting for a suitable term. But what term? Part of the problem is that the concepts are screwed up. So we have to straighten out the concepts first, using previously unindicted, neutral terms, then we can determine what term best fits the concept. Only, what you and I agree on won't amount to beans without consensus. Getting there would be a grand and noble project, but so far I have been intimidated by the time and energy it would take. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:26, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
Well, perhaps if you don't want to do it yourself, then you'll let other people do their best, with the expectation that eventually we'll get something that's useful? Or are you still planning to object to all efforts at improvement on the grounds that they don't perfectly line up with your personal opinion about which words the community ought to be using to describe the various components that this page describes? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:57, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't want to do it ALL by myself, and I am leery of taking a leading role in getting this herd on their feet and headed in the same direction. And having to put up with a lot of attitudinal flack. Like your imputation that I might "still be planning to object to all efforts at improvement...." Please keep in mind that you and I seem to be in accord on some key elements. E.g., in the proper use of terms (concepts), even though our preferences differ. But perhaps you might backoff a bit on the attitude? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:11, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Pages

I've currently been going across pages tagged with link rot, and a few pages have references linking to other pages on Wikipedia associated with the topic, and not going to any websites, books, etc, out of Wikipedia. Is this allowed or not?--Mjs1991 (talk) 01:21, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

It might make a big difference by what you mean by "references". It would definitely help if you could provide some examples, perhaps links to the pages you have in mind. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:49, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Very good description

  • //Social and human nature described in his career.// — Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.192.30.102 (talk) 17:43, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Question

How do I cite two authors in one reference? Till 11:51, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

There are specific parameters for that. For example if you want to use cite web there are two options: either "author1" and "author2"... or "first1" - "last1", "first2" - "last2".... It depends what type of format you use.--GoPTCN 12:19, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Can you check to see if I've done it correctly? It's In the Middle, reference #10. Thank you very much. Till 12:32, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Looks OK. This is covered in the documentation for {{cite web}} and the other templates. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:07, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

using a photo as a reference

Hi, couple of quick questions that I can't find an answer to:

1) Can you cite a photo as a reference?

2) If the answer to 1 is "yes", then what about this particular case: if I'm writing an article about something but I can't find any references on the web, can I cite a photo (that already exists in wikimedia commons) as proof that the subject in question exists?

Thanks! Azylber (talk) 16:30, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

1) I'd say no, because it would require interpretation, and adding something "not explicitly stated by any of the sources" is synthesis.
2) Off-topic for "Citing sources". I would suggest looking at WP:Notability.
~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:21, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
Sure, you can cite a photograph, painting, or other artwork, but it's a primary source, so you can't draw any sort of interpretation from it. So "The famous image shows a sailor kissing a woman" is okay, but "Men were so happy when the war was over that they kissed women in the street" isn't. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:55, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
thanks JJ and WhatamIdoing. So, for example, if you want to write an article about a train station, and there are no websites at all about this train station, but there is a photo in wikipedia commons that proves that it exists, can this photo be used as a reference for the article? Azylber (talk) 23:19, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
A station that is never mentioned in travel guides, maps, tourism brochures or at the very least train schedules, does such a thing exist? Roger (talk) 06:30, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Well, in a western country, it wouldn't happen. But in China, everything is possible... I can imagine how surprised you must have been when you read my message, and that is also how surprised we are when we see the kind of stuff that happens here!! Azylber (talk) 10:41, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
"No websites" is hardly a demonstration of non-existence, and if your research is only of websites then it is pretty superficial. For sure, if it was a station on a now abandoned branch line, something like a railway schedule (what libraries call "ephemeral" materials) might be hard to find. But such things do exist, and sometimes can be found in the oddest places. Also, there is much material (such as old periodicals) that can be accessed on the Web, but may be not be indexed. So you have to look around for it. E.g., have you looked for old maps of that area? And by all means do not forget that there is much historical material not on the Web.
You should also consider that a photograph is not necessarily a proof of anything (have to consider context and provenance and all that). And if a single photograph is the only evidence you have, then there is a real question of WP:Notability, and any question of citation is premature. But we really do stray from the proper topic of this venue. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:15, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Hi JJ, if you reckon the problem is that one photo is not enough, I'm feeling very tempted to go to the actual place and take more photos! Azylber (talk) 20:28, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Sure, and then you could personally vouch for their authenticity. But that would be WP:original research (not allowed). It is the difference between, on one hand, a reporter or historian, what we cal primary sources, and, on the other hand, and encyclopediast. Now if someone else took the pictures, and then published them in a manner and place that qualifies as a WP:reliable source, then it would be good. But please note: this is not an issue of citing sources, this goes to the nature (or existence) of the sources themselves. And here is not the right place to be discussing these. Come to my talk page if you want to discuss this further. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:42, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Hi JJ, I was only joking because of this bit you said: And if a single photograph is the only evidence you have.. Sorry I wasn't clear enough.
I'm really at a loss with this bloody station, it really doesn't appear anywhere, but it exists. Azylber (talk) 18:42, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
If you are determined to write on this station, then, for lack of sources, it seems you must do the research and documentation yourself. Which would be doing history, and not appropriate for Wikipedia. If you want to write a Wikipedia article, then this station seems not sufficiently notable, and you need to select another topic. At any rate, the problem is lack of sources (i.e., notability), not citation of sources, so not appropriate for this venue. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:26, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Citing Websites: work or publisher?

Which field should we use for the Website name when citing a Website? I know that "work" automatically italicizes the inputted text, and IIRC you are *not* supposed to italicize Website names when citing them. SharkD  Talk  23:13, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Work is correct, in most cases. For example, if you were citing this page, "Wikipedia talk:Citing sources" would be the title, "English Wikipedia" would be the work, and "Wikimedia Foundation" is the publisher. If you use homepage URL instead, you'd still format it as en.wikipedia.org (that is, as a work), although some citation styles opt not to italicize. Nikkimaria (talk) 23:30, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Correct. This has been discussed several times, and is documented at {{cite web}}. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 01:14, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikisource content as a source?

When citing references for mostly historical articles, i hit upon content in wikisource that exactly proves my point, but is it possible to cite that as a source, it being that its difficult to procure the original text from a reputable source? Écrivain (talk) 03:47, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

To the extent that this is a question regarding the reliability of presumably primary sources for a historical article: no, do not do that, we don't "prove points" using primary sources—that is the job of historians (professional and amateur) not encyclopaedists.
Regarding wikisource, wikisource may or may not be an adequate archive of sources. When Wikisource is presenting a duplication of an out of copyright printed work with scans, then cite the source as in its original publication, but note with commentary that the edition you consulted was the Wikisource reprint—here wikisource is acting as a reprinter, and seems appropriate for reprinting. Where the source was not published, no, you can't use it. Wikisource isn't an archive, and wikipedia should not be constructed out of archival materials—wikisource isn't a credible archive. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:06, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
The content in question is in the Rig Veda, which obviously has no original text, all we have is an English translation, and most of the websites having them are either religious websites, or aren't too user friendly, so I thought it would seem biased. Many books state that the northwestern region of India was reported as a woolen textile center in the Vedas, and referred to the Rig Veda, Mandala 10, hymn 75. Now, I could put the book in as a reference, but that would be blindly following a book, if you could understand, I want a source that goes from the very root of the matter itself, so I went here and used a sanskrit dictionary to check the line itself, which does correspond. I know I sound a bit too obsessive and might even be paying too much attention to detail, but I, personally wouldn't be satisfied with just citing a book that cites another. I hope you understand :) Écrivain (talk) 04:21, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
The Rig Veda is not an appropriate source for archaic Indian history. The appropriate sources for archaic Indian history are secondary sources published by scholars in scholarly presses or journals—works by historians. You should not be citing primary sources, such as the Rig Veda for this. If the matter of the Rig Veda's description of historical India is significant to the appreciation and interpretation of the Rig Veda, then theological, literary or religious history scholars will comment on the appreciation of the Rig Veda's description of historical India. Reading identifying reliable sources may help you here. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:27, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Gottit, thanks! :) Écrivain (talk) 04:29, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
No worries! Happy editing! (The Rig Veda article could do with someone reading the major interpretations and improving it) Fifelfoo (talk) 04:38, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Sure, I'll tell my fellow members of WP India, who're good at it, to take a look into that ASAP. Écrivain (talk) 04:45, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT

Please can someone explain why the WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT guideline has been removed? It's a very relevant instruction that is often referred to and it seems to have been pulled from the page. It is imperative that editors who use second-hand references such as archives actually cite where they got the material rather the original work, which they may not have seen. Betty Logan (talk) 18:11, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

As usual, no-one can be bothered to reply to a validly raised point on the talk page. I'm betting I will get templated within five minutes though if I restore the guideline, which I fully intend to do unless someone can point out the discussion where its removal was agreed to. Betty Logan (talk) 18:09, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Two days of silence is neither here nor there. Congrats on being bold. I like the restoration anyway. Fifelfoo (talk) 09:55, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
As a point of fact, archived sources are truly the least of our worries here. The real problem is this: I read at WildlyBiasedBlog.com that Scholarly Source says ____, and then I write "____ is true" in the Wikipedia article and cite <ref>Scholarly Source</ref> (not the blog), even though I personally have never see Scholarly Source and have no idea whether WildlyBiasedBlog is accurately describing it.
To give an example that we've had a minor spot of trouble with, a few years ago, the blogs about Multiple chemical sensitivity all passed around a claim that "the German government recognizes MCS" as proof that MCS was caused by the things they blamed. The list of problems surrounding this source is long, beginning with the source being a letter from Austria, not Germany, and all it actually said is that Austria's labor department uses the same bureaucratic code numbers as Germany. But neither the blog writers nor the Wikipedia editors could read German, so they all sincerely believed that the letter was from a German health agency and affirmed their beliefs about their disability. We don't want that friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend kind of misinformation to be supported by <ref>Official announcement by German government</ref>; we want it cited to <ref>Blog posting by a patient</ref>. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:23, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Reference style issues

Suggestions:

  • delete "title of the article within quotation marks" in the sections for journal articles and newspapers, or change it to say "avoid quotation marks around the title of the article." They're kind of redundant, since subsequently providing the publication title in italics generally makes it clear what the article title is. To my taste, the additional punctuation make citations look cluttered.
  • change subsection heading 5.1.2 Journal articles to say Journal and magazine articles, to reduce ambiguity.
  • change "year and sometimes month of publication" to "year of publication for journals, and year, month and day (if available) for magazines." This could make references easier to access if they aren't on the Internet.
  • change "volume number, issue number, and page numbers (article numbers in some electronic journals)" to "for journals, the volume number, issue number, and page numbers (article numbers in some electronic publications)." Ease of access again, and recognizing distinctions between journals and magazines.
Ralph Dave Westfall 17:37, 9 July 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Westfalr3 (talkcontribs)
Perhaps it would be more beneficial to create a new subsection for magazine articles? As far as quotation marks, though, including the quotation marks is standard practice is many citation styles, though we could clarify that they're optional. Nikkimaria (talk) 18:01, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Everything is optional. Editors may use or invent any style they want for any article. We really don't need to be giving advice on the inclusion or exclusion of quotation marks around article titles. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:26, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

People from New York City doesn't cite Paul Simon

Paul Simon's biography states that he was born and raised in NYC, specifically in Forest Hills, Queens. Having grown up in neighboring Corona Queens I was living there when Paul made his breakthrough hit, "Sounds of Silence". His former duet mate, Art Garfunkel is already listed, so I'm not sure how they missed Paul. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 205.214.239.102 (talk) 23:43, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Inconsistent citation problems

I'm having a little trouble getting my citations organized for the WP:FAC for KMFDM. One of the problems is that some cite templates put the publisher in parentheses and others don't. The other issue I'm having is what to do what citing multiple formats from the same umbrella publication. The example I have in mind is Billboard. When citing an article from a printed copy of the magazine, I used {{cite journal}}. When citing information from the website, like chart information, I used {{cite web}}, and when citing a story from the website, I used {{cite news}}. The news and journal templates use parentheses, while the web template doesn't, so this is tied into the other issue as well. Thanks for any clarification. Torchiest talkedits 15:19, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

What I tend to do is use the 'news' template for news organisations regardless of whether they are web or paper based; for instance, I would use the the news template for both the paper and online versions of the New York Times. I would use 'journal' for academic journals and monthly periodicals such as magazines regardless of their medium, and the 'web' template just for web based organisations only i.e. Internet Movie Database. Consistent citation styles sometimes have different styles for websites, newspapers, journals etc, so they are not necessarily inconsistent by merely looking different. I tend to omit the publisher anyway in the case of newspapers, journals and magazines. Betty Logan (talk) 18:58, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
By definition, "cite web" is compatible with "cite news", "cite journal", etc. Any consistent style is acceptable on Wikipedia, and "this article uses the cite XXX templates" is a consistent style. There is no requirement that the output of the different templates has to be the same, and as an article writer you don't control the output of the templates anyway - it could change at any time, in principle. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:29, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Bundling citations

see earlier discussion in Archive 32

When it was discussed and agreed to change the section In-text attribution several points that were then raised negates some of the statements made in the above:

  1. It avoids the confusion of having multiple sources listed separately after sentences, with no indication of which source to check for each part of the text It was pointed out that this is not true as it is quite possible to add to the individual inline citations any wording that is added to a bullet point in a bundle.
  2. It makes it less likely that inline citations.. I do not see this as an issue and it can be just as easily argued the other way.

The points that bundling does support are:

  • (a) It can be aesthetically pleasing as there comes a limit to how many citations should appear clumped together.
  • (b) Reviewers often alter the sequence of grouped citations so that the lower numbers appear before larger numbers. So bundling the citations protects the ordering of the citations against such changes.
  • For example suppose we have the sentence "The Sun is pretty big,[3] but the Moon is not so big.[2]" That has been rearranged so: "The Sun is pretty big, but the Moon is not so big.[3][2]" bundling the citations will keep their ordering against a reviewer who insists on "...not so big.[2][3]"

--PBS (talk) 12:30, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

The original wording looks fine to me. For your arguments to hold we have to assume that someone removes or tampers with the explanatory footnote explaining which source covers which points in the text. DrKiernan (talk) 12:58, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Huh? What, exactly, do you feel was agreed to in the previous discussion? For I don't see it. Nor do I see any specific proposals here, just a few observations. Perhaps this discussion needs to be reopened? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:22, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
What was agreed was to change the previous wording of the section text-source integrity. Yes these are some observations, and I am opening a discussion about the section "Bundling citations". -- PBS (talk) 10:54, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I have added numbers and letters to the points above to make them easier to reference. DrKiernan with regards to "1." it is just as easy to add text to unbundled citations as bundled ones to indicate "which source to check for each part of the text" this is also true for point "2.". So it has nothing to do with text removal. As to fiddling see my point (b). -- PBS (talk) 10:56, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I see what you mean now, thanks. DrKiernan (talk) 11:18, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
So it is my intention to remove the two bullet points I have numbered above and combine the other points that remain with the points I have mentioned above. I am willing to discuss it in detail here or change the text in the guideline expecting the results to be edited further. -- PBS (talk) 00:58, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

From the edit history "14:41, 6 July 2012‎ Nikkimaria (it was intended - previous version was clearer and more accurate)" Please explain in more detail. -- PBS (talk) 15:06, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Several issues: link to integrity is helpful and useful; distinguishing between aesthetic and functional issues is necessary; style of citations was previously clearer, and multiplying examples is confusing; assertion of numerical order is not "often" asked for at FAC, and certainly shouldn't be at GAN (any reviewer doing so at GAN is doing something wrong), but your revision suggested the contrary. Nikkimaria (talk) 15:43, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
  • It does not help "readers and other editors see at a glance which source supports which point,..." any more than separate citations do. Separate citations can be placed by a point and separate citations can also carry all the note information that is included a bundled citations. So even if the individual citations are placed in a row at the end of a sentence, with additional annotation the can hold exactly the same information as they would bundled together. Therefore bundling citations does not improve text-source integrity.
  • I don't understand what you mean by "distinguishing between aesthetic and functional issues is necessary", the changes I made still make that distinction, but emphasise different functional issues.
  • I am not fussed about the examples (I think it helps to show the differences) but I am willing to leave that as is as it is a side issue.
  • We can change the word "often" to "may", but can you think of an example of a Good Article or a Featured article where the ordering of separate footnotes are not in numeric sequence?
-- PBS (talk) 09:12, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Three thoughts:

  1. The good article criteria say nothing about numerical order of footnotes. I've only been involved in a handful of good or featured article nominations, but I've never seen any requests about numerical order. If such a request came along, I would oppose it on the ground that if at some later point someone decided to rearrange paragraphs to present material in a more comprehensible way, the footnote numerical sequence could change, but it would be folly to mess with the article to correct this "problem" because the risk of introducing an error or omission while messing with it would outweigh the miniscule aesthetic improvement.
  2. A point in favor of bundled footnotes with an explanation about which source supports which claim is that if readers do not have immediate access to the sources, the explanation can help them decide which sources might be worth checking out from the library. If there is no explanation, it is usually necessary to look at the source to decide what the source supports.
  3. The bullet list of advantages appears before any statement that a bundled citation contains an explanation of why each source was cited, not just several citations between <ref>...</ref> tags. Without this understanding, the reader may feel the claimed advantages are false.

Jc3s5h (talk) 10:24, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

In regard of having footnotes in numerical order: they are numbered in sequence by the software. I believe the objection is where a footnote is subsequently reused — note that this involves only "named refs" — and its numbered link appears out of sequence with the accompanying links. (E.g.: [5][6][1].) Now I would allow an aesthetic value for having all footnote links in sequence. But ABSOLUTELY this should not interfere with having a footnote (whether it contains citations, comments, or whatever) as close as possible to the material to which it applies.
The basic "out of order" problem is in the re-use of footnotes (<ref>s) as a means of re-using the contained citation (or comment). This is a problem that is resolved by the use of short citations (in various forms). And what we are discussing is really the use (at a given point) of multiple footnotes of a single citation each versus a single footnote with multiple citations. E.g.: "<ref>Smith. </ref><ref>Jones. </ref><ref>Brown. </ref>" versus "<ref> Smith; Jones; Brown. </ref>."
Right? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:21, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes the sequence problem is about the reuse of footnotes (otherwise they are automatically in sequence). There are aesthetic reasons why footnote may not be "as close as possible to the material to which it applies" (see WP:INTEGRITY). yes your description of the two types is what we are discussing, but the alterations I am proposing is the reasons why one might wish to create a single footnote with multiple citations, because I think the current given reasons are not correct. -- PBS (talk) 07:49, 13 July 2012 (UTC)


See Wikipedia talk:Good article criteria#Footnote ordering of those who have replied it seems that reviewers do reorder multiple footnotes after punctuation so that they appear in sequential order. -- PBS (talk) 07:49, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

No- while a few may do so, they don't, and can't, require it. Nikkimaria (talk) 12:34, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I am not sure what your "No-" means, because the majority of those who have replied say that they do reorder multiple footnotes after punctuation into a sequential order. Please could you explain. Also my proposed wording does not say that they "require" it. I am proposing (with your suggested modification "It makes it less likely that inline citations will be moved inadvertently. For example reviewers for good article and featured article often may ask for multiple citations at the end of a sentence or paragraph to be listed in numerical sequence ..." -- PBS (talk) 16:53, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
But that's just wrong - anyone who asks for this to be done at the GA level is not doing what they're supposed to do. They may be asking for this, but we should in no way encourage, facilitate, or otherwise acknowledge them doing so, because it simply shouldn't be done at GA. That's not part of the GA criteria, and privileges aesthetics over function. Nikkimaria (talk) 18:08, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I suggest that you raise that point Wikipedia talk:Good article criteria#Footnote ordering. My proposed wording for this guideline neither encourages or discourages such practices, it merely notes that "bundling" protects the function over the aesthetic of such a practice. -- PBS (talk) 20:29, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Nikkimaria in which way is the text to which you reverted "clearer and more accurate"? -- PBS (talk) 14:28, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Previous version explained why citations were unlikely to be moved inadvertently; your version introduced a misunderstanding of the comments at WT:GAC (where only one person said they'd ask for ordering). Previous version included point about integrity; your version overemphasizes the aesthetic arguments. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:53, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree that the current version is clearer. Philip, looking at the version you added, I couldn't understand much of it (e.g. what is numerical sequencing?), except for the first sentence, and you removed text-source integrity. Also, listing refs alphabetically/chronologically isn't needed; what is needed is to make clear which ref covers which point (for X, see A; for Y, see B). SlimVirgin (talk) 16:10, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
SV for an explanation of numerical sequencing see the indented buttle point For example suppose an article contains the sentence "The Sun is pretty big,[3] but the Moon is not so big.[2]", that has been rearranged to: "The Sun is pretty big, but the Moon is not so big.[3][2]" bundling the citations will keep their ordering against a reviewer who asks for the citation to be listed in numerical sequence: "...not so big.[2][3]". Also please read Wikipedia talk:Good article criteria#Footnote ordering to see why this is a problem. While chronology and alphabetically is not needed, it is useful when there are a lot of citations such as appear in Holocaust denial article and in the example given in the modification I made Cromwellian conquest of Ireland#cite note-genocide-32. -- PBS (talk) 17:27, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
That's what I don't understand about the version you added. Citation bundling would produce a footnote that said: "For the sun, see Smith (2012), p. 1; for the moon, see Jones (2011), p. 2." There should never seldom be so many refs in a footnote that you have to worry about alphabetical order. There are too many in the Cromwell example, I would say; are they all needed to support the sentence? SlimVirgin (talk) 17:33, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Lets tackle on point at a time (and put aside for the moment the lots of citations in a bundle -- such as appear in Holocaust denial). Did you read the Wikipedia talk:Good article criteria#Footnote ordering? The example I give explains how bundling protects the ordering of the citations, against rearrangement that can occur by editors placing unbundeled citations into numerical sequence. -- PBS (talk) 17:54, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Nikkimaria who is the one and only person you think "said they'd ask for ordering"? -- PBS (talk) 17:14, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Imzadi. Nikkimaria (talk) 17:23, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
From that section:
  • "Otherwise, as a matter of keeping things looking professionally, I put the numbers in order at the end if the whole sentence" Imzadi
  • "I always do it myself when reviewing an article, if the footnotes are out of sequence" MathewTownsend
  • "If I was cleaning up minor ... an out of order sequence of cites at the end of a sentence looks untidy" Pyrotec
That was 3 out of five people who commented said that they did put such citations into numerical ascending sequence. AIRcorn said that "no obligation for the reviewer or nominator ... don't know any who do" and Jc3s5h commented because like you I informed Jc3s5h of the section. -- PBS (talk) 17:54, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
And that's exactly the misunderstanding I'm referring to: the people you quote aren't saying they'd ask for it as part of the review process, they're saying they'd do it themselves. That's a different issue, and one reflected better in the original version here. Nikkimaria (talk) 20:36, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Anyone who is trying to get an article up to good article status is unlikely to refuse such a "request" from a reviewer! How does the current wording reflect this?-- PBS (talk) 12:59, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
They are not requesting it (except for one individual). They are, in some cases, doing it themselves, as reviewers not nominators. And they shouldn't be, so I'd support WaId's suggestion below. Nikkimaria (talk) 13:54, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
If you think people should not be doing it then why not raise it at Wikipedia talk:Good article criteria#Footnote ordering? The point I am making is that bundling citations protects them from this type of reordering (what ever the pros and cons of such reordering are). -- PBS (talk) 15:03, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Whether the numbers at the end of a sentence say [1][2] or [2][1] isn't really about bundling citations, since bundled refs always produce only one number at the end of the sentence or paragraph. But perhaps we should add this as an example of a CITEVAR issue, with wording like * Rearranging re-used footnotes so that they are always listed in numerical order, e.g., [1][2] versus [2][1], rather than by importance, the part of the sentence they refer to, or some other criterion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:42, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Please see the changes I am proposing. Using bundling protects the ordering from such changes. What it does not do is what it currently says "It helps readers and other editors see at a glance which source supports which point, maintaining text-source integrity;" as the same information used in bundled citations can also be placed into separate citations. -- PBS (talk) 12:59, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Third opinion on interpretation of WP:CITE sought...

Hi - I was wondering if I could seek a third opinion on the interpretation of WP:CITE at Armathwaite Castle? We're discussing on the talk page whether this difference constitutes a change than needs consensus under the guidance that when "an article already has citations, adopt the method in use or seek consensus on the talk page before changing it" or not. The difference involves the unbundling of citations and the use of harvnb templated formatting; for example the citation "Pettifer, p.34; Fry, p.179." becomes two citations, "Pettifer 2002, p. 34" and "Fry 1980, p. 179" respectively. Any thoughts gratefully received. Hchc2009 (talk) 05:57, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes templating existing styles constitutes a significant change. Fifelfoo (talk) 06:01, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, and the individual trying to change it should discuss on talk. Nikkimaria (talk) 12:39, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Changing shortened references to {{harvnb}} or {{sfn}} is most definitely a change in citation style. The reason we have such awkward rules about citation style is partly motivated by the fact that some editors like templates and some hate them.
Pragmatic, non-judgemental, realistic advice: The proper way to change a citation style in an article is to get consensus from local editors on the talk page, wait a month or two, make the change. It's not impossible. It just important to give anyone interested in the article a chance to object to the change. In practice, someone will object in only a very few cases, because most editors don't care. But if it does happen, don't pursue it, because the people who care about citation style can get extremely cranky. (also posted at Armathwaite Castle) ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 19:26, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Changing to templates is not a change in style. Style is things such as harvard citations and footnotes. Long and short footnotes. It is not the method by which they are displayed. -- PBS (talk) 16:58, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Wrong, changing to templates, or changing the type of template used, is absolutely a change of style. Nikkimaria (talk) 18:03, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Citing sources#Citation style. Under what definition is the type of template used a style and not a method for displaying a style? -- PBS (talk) 19:05, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Changing the type of template changes the style, and CITEVAR specifically advises against adding templates when an article uses manual citations. Nikkimaria (talk) 19:24, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
But you SHOULD use templates. :-) J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:59, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Nikkimaria you have twice asserted that changing the type of template changes the style. I have indicated where style is defined in the guideline. In that section there is no mention of templates. So where are you deriving you definition of style, which indicates that changing templates is a change of style and not a change of method for displaying a style? -- PBS (talk) 08:44, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Of course there's a mention of templates, under "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". That's what the issue was in this case. Changing the type of template (for example, from {{citation}} to {{cite}}) will change what is displayed and how, and so is also a change in citation style. I think perhaps you're taking too narrow a viewpoint, which is understandable given that the section you cite, despite its title, never directly defines "style". Nikkimaria (talk) 19:58, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
The difference in the first paragraph of this section shows that citation templates are already in use in the article, so the second bullet point is not an issue. As to the first one: templates that are shown in the diff do not initiate changes as described in the first bullet point "Switching between major citation styles, e.g., switching between parenthetical and <ref> tags or between the style preferred by one academic discipline vs. another", they only show minor modification to the short footnote citations that already exist. -- PBS (talk) 00:14, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────PBS above seeks to separate editorial style from presentation style and to discuss just the latter. Subsequent discussion conflates the two. Changing between raw wikitext cites and templated cites is definitely a change in editorial style. Such a change may or may not result in a change in the presentation style of the rendered wikitext. Changing between individual full cites and shortened footnotes is a change in both editorial and presentation styles. Consensus should be obtained before changing either editorial or presentation citation style in an article which has an established consistent citation style. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:49, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
An elegant argument, but I do not think it is one supported by the wording of the guideline. The use of style in this guideline refers to citation styles (editorial style is possibly something for the MOS but is not in this guideline).-- PBS (talk) 00:14, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
If you're going around templating formatted citations, or varying one template to another, let us know—because initial steps in dispute resolution ought to commence. Thanks, Fifelfoo (talk) 01:28, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Yes. And the guideline says at one point, "The use of citation templates is neither encouraged nor discouraged: an article should not be switched between templated and non-templated citations without good reason and consensus – see Variation in citation methods above." Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 02:28, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that anything (i.e., citation templates) that are invisible to the reader should be considered a significant stylistic element, but so far, every time we've had this conversation, people have vehemently declared that it is. And I second Charles' excellent advice: have a friendly discussion on the talk page to choose a style. I personally hope that whatever style you choose won't include separating and labeling "Online sources" from the others, but the style you choose is 100% up to the editors at that article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:30, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
A few of you are missing the point. Changing the style to or from templates makes a few people angry and is therefore disruptive. That's it. No other definitions or arguments are relevant. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 14:54, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
It is not a change in style it is a change in method and in this specific case templates were already in use in the article. -- PBS (talk) 10:30, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
The change in method necessarily changes the style, and in this specific case manually written short citations were replaced with templates. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:54, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
See my reply of at 00:14, 16 July 2012. What wording from the guideline are you using to deduce that a "change in method necessarily changes the style"? Where are style and method defined as the same thing? -- PBS (talk) 17:11, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
When you add templates you change the way the citation looks in edit and in read mode. The latter is a style change; arguably the former is too. But regardless of that, this guideline says that templates should not be added without consensus. So we don't need to worry about whether it's a change of style or method. SlimVirgin (talk) 17:26, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
(ec) As I already said, the guideline specifically mentions the addition of citation templates as a change in style - since you refer to templates as a change in method, this would logically mean that style and method are the same. You could also look at the effect of the change on what appears to the reader in this specific case, and notice that the addition of templates does change the apparent style of citation. Nikkimaria (talk) 17:31, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
If a template changes the method, but there is no change to "citation styles, e.g., switching between parenthetical and <ref> tags or between the style preferred by one academic discipline vs. another" then I do not understand how you argue that "logically mean that style and method are the same" because I do not see where says that "templates [are] a change in style". Please can you indicate where this is said. -- PBS (talk) 12:52, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
PBS, you can't reasonably expect the "e.g." clause to cover all possible examples. There is a section called "Citation style", a subsection of which is "Citation methods". Nikkimaria (talk) 13:19, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
WP:CITEVAR covers both things that change the appearance of the formatted citations and changes to the way that the appearance is achieved in the wikicode. The text directly mentions that adding templates to an article that was established without them, or removing templates from an article established with them, is to be avoided. Switching an article that uses un-templated short references so that it used templated harvnb short references is certainly covered. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:39, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I disagree with you over the issue that it in this case it "certainly covered". In this case the version of the article before the edit at the start of this section, is not using a consistent form of citation (there are short and long inline citations in the article). But that is a side issue to the point I was making, I do not think that the use of templates automatically changing the style (as defined in this guideline) and I think that coupling "method" and "style2 as one and the same thing can not be fairly inferred from this guideline. BTW the second bullet point that you recently edited is biased in favour of not using templates (as it is at the moment, one can add a non templated citation to an article (just not convert those already there), this is not true for templated citations. In reality if someone adds text to an article with a citation, then whatever citation style they use, the whole edit should not be reverted using this clause as a reason for doing so (which is how some interpret it). What this whole argument goes back to was to the mass conversion of harvard citations to footnote3 citations in the dim and distant past. The arguments I have read here would still have lots of articles using WP:Footnote3 citations. More appropriate wording would make the points (1) that it is not desirable to change from one consistent style of citations to another unless there is a consensus to do so, and (2) that a consistent style is preferable to inconsistency. -- PBS (talk) 14:54, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
It may behelpful to look at historical versions such as [10] and [11]. There has been a longstanding compromise that articles that do not use templates should not have templates added by those who prefer them, while at the same time articles that do use templates should not have the templates removed by those who prefer not to use them. The guideline here takes no side on that argument, it simply instructs everyone to use the style that is already established, unless there is a visible consensus for the change that goes beyond personal preference. In the case of Footnote3, there was a widespread consensus to change that system to the <ref> system. There is no such consensus for the harvnb templates. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:08, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
PS. the current language does "allow" one to add a non-templated cite to a templated article, or vice versa. You can always add new references, although eventually they will have to be cleaned up to match the existing style. What the guideline does not allow is unilateral conversion of existing citations from one style to another. However, editors who are experienced and who are editing cooperatively can be expected to realize that when they edit an article they need to check the citation style for that article, along with the ENGVAR style and the date formatting style used in the article. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:16, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Your historical and mine are different! I do not think that the letter of the current bullet point says what you claim as it starts with an "add" is not an "alter". -- PBS (talk) 19:02, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

PIKE IN USE IN 1798

Your reference to the weapon "pike" states in use up to 1700. Pikes were used in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. - Source - the traditional song "The Rising of the Moon." "I bear orders from the Captain. Get you ready quick and soon. With your pike upon your shoulder, a the rising of the moon". David Inger Cannot find tildes — Preceding unsigned comment added by 168.167.156.247 (talk) 06:13, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Print versus online citations

I have had a couple of situations lately where my print references were removed by other editors adding a convenience link to an online article. For example, here and here. It seems to me that the print reference is the most lasting as it will be around when the online link goes dead. Ideally there should be both the print ref and the convenience link, I believe. I'm not sure why other editors would remove references to the print edition, but as it has happened a couple of times recently with different articles and different editors I thought I would bring it here for further discussion. Thanks, 72Dino (talk) 13:47, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

The second instance keeps enough information that the source could be verified either online or in print, so it's not a big deal. The first, though, is odd, and the reference to WP:SOURCEACCESS in the second editsum is wrong, as that links says the opposite of what the editor seems to assert it does. I would support your "ideal" of both print and convenience link, and certainly don't see any strong reason to remove details like page number that would allow verifiability via the print source. There's no mandate to prefer online sources. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:19, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
Editors shouldn't be removing sources just because they are print sources. WP:SOURCEACCESS does not impact on Verifiability, so the reason given to you is not correct. In truth both have their advantages: print sources offer durability (since websites can be taken down) and online sources offer convenience. Obviously, the correct source to use is the one that is the most authoritative in regards to the claim, but in truth I don't see them as mutually exclusive. One of each—one print, one online—offer the best of both worlds. Betty Logan (talk) 14:23, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
Definitely agree the print information shouldn't be removed. Our newspaper and other print-source cite templates all support URLs and archiveurls for any print-equivalent so if both can be used. --MASEM (t) 14:38, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
Agree, it is completely unacceptable to remove print sources just because an online source is also available. I hope you are taking this up with the editors concerned so that they will know in future. -- Alarics (talk) 17:06, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
Agree. Major libraries all over the world make a serious and successful effort to keep permanent long-term access to print sources--they talk in terms of hundreds of years. The 2012 internet sources are problematic, to say the least--how available will they be 2 or 10 or 100 years from now no one knows. Rjensen (talk) 02:06, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Agree, I strongly prefer print sources whenever available for the reasons given above. No one should ever prefer an online source when a printed one is available and they certainly should not ever remove the printed source in favour of the online one. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 02:11, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree that to remove print sources just because an online source is also available, is counterproductive. There is nothing wrong with having both in the citation, even if only some items in a given set of references have both. and yes, it is true that there is often a different ISBN or OCLC number for the electronic version, which helps to tell them apart. --Bejnar (talk) 04:02, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

I'd rather say nobody should favour print sources over online sources or vice versa, because it is misleading criteria and somewhat of a distraction. Sources should always be selected by quality, reputation and longevity. Now in particular case these criteria may or may not be met by an online source or print source or by both, but in general they are not automatically met by either. In addition for many sources there is an online and a print version available, in that case we simply should provide both. Also while it is true that most high quality sources tend to exist in print versions today (and hence an average preference of print sources is currently justified), this will become increasingly less so in the future.--Kmhkmh (talk) 11:53, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

ISBN ??

Including an ISBN is rarely useful to most readers. It can be seriously misleading when a book has multiple ISBN's (reprints of classics & many textbooks have multiple isbn's depending on bindings and package deals) and the student can't find a copy even if the campus library has the same book under a different ISBN. Requiring an ISBN is not a good idea and it's not recommended in any of the major style guides like Chicago Manual, Turabian, APA for social sciences or MLA for literature. Rjensen (talk) 07:28, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

As you say, an ISBN is not required by Chicago and the rest. This doesn't concern me. WP needn't ape these guides. And as you also say, an ISBN can be seriously misleading. (It can even be funny at times, with an account of how such-and-such an obscure 19th century author wrote such-and-such, whose ISBN was so.) But the undeniable fact that unthinking (or slow-witted) WP editors make goofy use of ISBNs shouldn't deter thinking WP editors from supplying them. Or I like to think that I'm a thinking editor (you may disagree), and I supply ISBNs wherever I think their use is appropriate and might be helpful. (If I'm aware of problems with them, I note these too.) ¶ Let's suppose for a moment that (i) you are interested in the work of Yutaka Takanashi, (ii) you don't know how to type Japanese, (iii) you're in a Japanese library, and (iv) you want to look at the book that the WP article on Takanashi calls "Hatsukuni (初國) / Pre-Landscape" (of which there has only been one edition of which I'm aware). Although "Pre-Landscape" appears in and on the book, it's unlikely that the book will be retrievable under that title or as "Hatsukuni". Instead, you'll need to type 初國 or 初国. Or then again, you could just type in "4582277276". Would the latter not be easier? -- Hoary (talk) 07:52, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
the RS do not recommend ISBN -- actually nobody does and there has never been a Wiki policy that recommends it; we cannot impose a rule by fiat. The imaginary Japanese example is pretty bad--it applies to a reader who can read Japanese and is in a Japanese library but can't type Japanese???? That's a very rare hypothetical indeed for the English version of Wikipedia. Editors like Hoary who think an isbn is useful in a particular case are not prevented by using them. But the confusion is a serious matter for users. The most basic example is a book published in hardcover & paperback & Kindle etc-- all with identical texts but different isbn's. Rjensen (talk) 11:12, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Actually there is no guarantee that all 3 texts are 100% identical and I've already came across a (rare) case in WP where there was not only a difference but the even difference mattered for sourcing content (correct spelling of a name). Nevertheless the ISBN is certainly not needed, but it is an additional service for readers who might be interested in it and furthermore WP itself offers a link service for readers based on the ISBN. So I don't quite see where the harm is with optionally providing one. As far requiring it is concerned, I'm not sure what you are talking about. Where exactly is guideline requiring it?--Kmhkmh (talk) 11:40, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the same book may be published in different versions with different ISBNs. Page numbers are encouraged in citations, and there is no guarantee that all versions use identical pagination; this is especially true of ebooks v. print. The use of an ISBN can help a follow-on editor to refer to the particular edition used. Please consider that Chicago, APA and other style guides were not designed for a massively collaborative online effort like Wikipedia. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:41, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Pagination/localisation is another important difference, which matters for citation. Above however I was talking about real differences in content, usually due to typos or small last minute corrections.--Kmhkmh (talk) 11:56, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
the RS do not recommend ISBN I suppose that this means that other style guides don't recommend them. No they don't. We know that. One reason why they don't recommend them is, I'd guess, that these style guides are primarily intended for books on paper, or student papers on paper: ISBNs use up space and therefore trees. WP is not (primarily) on paper. // we cannot impose a rule by fiat. For better or worse, MoS does present guidelines. // The imaginary Japanese example is pretty bad--it applies to a reader who can read Japanese and is in a Japanese library but can't type Japanese???? That's a very rare hypothetical indeed for the English version of Wikipedia. Blame your imagination, not mine. I said nothing about being able to read Japanese. (The ability to read Japanese is not necessary for appreciation of this photobook.) // The most basic example is a book published in hardcover & paperback & Kindle etc-- all with identical texts but different isbn's. As many ISBNs can be provided as exist, if providing them seems helpful. -- Hoary (talk) 22:07, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I definitely support the inclusion of an ISBN where possible. Sometimes when sourcing something, I've noticed that an electronic copy like those hosted on Google Books can be page numbered differently. You could just say edition=Google Books, but I have noticed on two occasions that the version on Google Books has actually changed. Similarly with hardbacks and paperbacks, it's possible to have page number differences. On top of page number differences, you can have content differences between different editions. This is an encylopedia that mostly uses books to cite specific claims from specific books, so generally it's good practice to be as specific as possible about where the information came from. There are potential automation benefits too, where tools can be created to check/complete relevant reference information when the isbn is supplied. Betty Logan (talk) 11:51, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
ISBNs are more useful here on WP than might seem at first glance - several bots and automation tools use them for a variety of purposes. One example is a tool that constructs a complete citation with only the ISBN as input - this is very useful for editors inexperienced in the "dark art" of building complete correctly formatted references. These are considerations that do not apply to "dead tree" style guides, so what they do is irrelevant. There is no logical reason for not including them. Roger (talk) 12:09, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
However, an ISBN should never be added to an existing citation, except by the original editor. There is no way for follow-on editors to know the exact version that was referenced. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:27, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Unless only one version existed at the time of the reference, or if all extant versions match for the pertinent text, or even if they don't match but the subsequent editor verifies that the ISBN being added does reliably source the information being cited. The original editor doesn't own the reference. -- JHunterJ (talk) 12:53, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
There is no definitive way to determine if there was only one version of a source. there is no way for a follow-on editor to determine that a version matches the existing citation. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:17, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
If a follow-on editor cannot verify that a version matches an existing citation, then the original citation would have to be unverifiable original research and should be removed. The citation cannot be editor-dependent. OTOH, an editor with a version in front of him can read that version, read the information being cited, and improve the encyclopedia by adding the ISBN if the version verifies the information. -- JHunterJ (talk) 16:42, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Is Wikipedia improved by excluding ISBNs? No. Is Wikipedia harmed by including ISBNs? No. Then leave the advice to "Add ISBNs where available" just as it is. The "where available" modifier makes it obvious that leaving it out is not a wikicrime. I really see no reason for deleting that from the guideline. Roger (talk) 14:04, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Roger is right. I have followed several thousand history articles in recent years and have never seen an editor use the ISBN to challenge a citation. Scholars in all disciplines never have that need either -- it's primarily a device for book stores & publishers to keep track of their stock. Rjensen (talk) 14:13, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
So now that you agree with me are you withdrawing your objection to the guidance on including ISBNs? Roger (talk) 14:45, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
My apologies I misread Dodger. I disagree. The inclusion of isbn should be optional in my opinion. I have never seen an actual case in Wikipedia (in history articles) where an editor used it or said it was useful. Scholars do not find it useful--book dealers use it to track inventory. Rjensen (talk) 15:19, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Are you a native English speaker? I ask because the way the guideline is written it is obvious that it is optional, it has always been optional. Your insistence on removing it from the guideline creates the impression that you want it to be forbidden. Roger (talk) 15:50, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't get the premise, "Including an ISBN is rarely useful to most readers." It isn't? I use it all the time. How could providing an ISBN, with its WP:Magic word properties, be anything but useful? It gives you one-click access to dozens of ways to find the exact version of the source being cited through libraries, booksellers, Google books, etc. ISBN 1234567890 is more immediately useful to our readers than the publisher, date, or other basic information: one click on that magic link, and you're looking at a list of ways to get that source right now. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:41, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
I have never seen a case on Wikipedia or the real world where it proved useful to anyone. That is why all the style guides do NOT recommend it. It can harm students looking for a book because the ISBN search will say the local library does not have it when it actually has the paperback version of a book, and the isbn given was for Kindle or Nook or the hardcover. Rjensen (talk) 15:24, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Maybe you need to open your eyes. The poster above just explained why it is useful to reader. Whether traditional citation styles use ISBN or not is somewhat irrelevant as they were primarily developed for print media and not something like Wikipedia. Exactly for that reason WP amends them as needed/as useful for readers and ISBN is exactly such a case.
Also please do not change guideline without consent and only after a consent was achieved.--Kmhkmh (talk) 15:35, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
With all due respect - how the fuck can you even say that when a number of uses for the ISBN have been pointed out to you right here in this conversation? A number of tools and bots that specifically use ISBNs exist here on WP. It's time to drop the stick. Roger (talk) 15:50, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
ISBNs have always been optional, but someone changed that here without discussion in February 2011, and the change apparently wasn't noticed, so I've restored the previous version. Saying "where available" makes it sound as if they must be added when they are available, which is almost always.
Rjensen is right about them often being either irrelevant or problematic (and also not infrequently wrong on Wikipedia), because they direct the reader to just one edition, when the same material on the same page number is often available in more than one edition. Editors can choose to add them in situations where they actually make a difference. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:55, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Also, just to note a practical consideration: I've noticed that new editors will sometimes change ISBNs to match whatever edition of a book they happen to be reading, thinking that the previous editor has made a mistake. So unless someone is reverting these changes, there's an increasing likelihood over time that the ISBN after any given citation will not refer to the edition that was used as a source anyway. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:07, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Editors usually cannot know whether the ISBN makes a difference or not (regarding pagination or content), because to know that they would have to go through all the editions and compare them and safe it is kinda safe to assume that nobody does that. They may however provide the ISBN of the edition they've use, just to be on the safe side and to provide readers access to the ISBN service WP offers.
As far as the "changing of ISBN by other editors" is concerned. In general other editors have no business in changing other people's references, unless full access to them and check that everything is correct after their change (content is still sourced correctly, page or chapter information is still correct etc.). If they do that however, then there is no problem. Note that in WP the concept of whether source was used by the original or first author makes no sense. For WP (readers) it only matters that the current sources match the current content, which source some editor may have used in the past however isn't really of any interest.
Now, I think so far everybody here agrees that a citation can be complete without an ISBN, i.e. nobody wants to require ISBNs. However many editors consider them useful for the reasons stated by various people above. So the question we need to figure out here (and the only possible real dispute), is whether we simply mention them as optional or whether we recommend them. Personally I can live with either option.--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:27, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
I think we could weakly recommend them. They're useful to me, but there are times when including them is a bit silly, like including an ISBN for the Bible or for Shakespeare's plays. I'd also accept simply saying that editors may optionally choose to include them if they want. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:55, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
For something like a Shakespeare play having the ISBN is an absolutely perfect indication of exactly which edition/print the editor sourced the quote from - if there happens to be a typo in that edition knowing the ISBN is an advantage, not a disadvntage. If the content is correct (i.e. identical to other editions) it doesn't matter what edition was used. I cannot see how having an ISBN can ever do actual harm. One of the claimed disadvantages of using an ISBN is that students may become fixated on finding only that specific edition of a source - well so what, it's not our job to teach library skills. In any case students have no business using WP in their studies - it's not a Reliable Source. Actually an ISBN is more useful for editors than most readers here on WP because of all the "automagical" editing tools that use them - this is not a factor at all for other (dead tree) style guides. Roger (talk) 22:55, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
IMO, the ideal citation for a Shakespearean play would say that your edition is (for example) the second quarto for Hamlet, regardless of which particular publisher printed the copy you happen to be holding. If you know that the edition cited is Q2, then it doesn't much matter what the ISBN is. I don't exactly object to including it, if you want, but it's superfluous. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:22, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
The change from February 2011 made the text internally consistent, since the guideline also said ISBNs should be used where available, until that was changed to "may" without discussion afterwards. I restored that consistency. -- JHunterJ (talk) 23:10, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
And of course that change is met with demands for consensus first, as if it is somehow different than the need for consensus for this edit. Frustrating, although predictable. -- JHunterJ (talk) 23:14, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
JHunter, ISBNs are almost always available, so if we say "where available," we are in fact requiring them. That would be a major change (insofar as anything to do with ISBNs could be described as major), and there are objections to it. In fact, I can't see anyone on this page arguing that we should either require them or imply that we do. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:23, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
SlimVirgi, saying "should ... when available" is not in fact requiring, even if they are always available -- it's still "should" and not "must". If they are available and you "should" add them, that remains distinct from you "must" add them. Whatever we say, we should be consistent. You say there is no consensus for my change (actually not a change, but a reversion of an edit that was made in February of last year without discussion) and so you reverted. However, there's no consensus for your change either (actually not a change, but a reversion of an edit that was made in February of last year without discussion), and yet you do not accept its reversion, even though when it was made (in February 2011) it was harmonizing the text. -- JHunterJ (talk) 00:05, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Can't we just have our cake and eat it? You could say that "An ISBN is optional, but including it may be helpful to readers." Somehting like that seems to capture the sentiments from both side of the fence. Betty Logan (talk) 21:59, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Quite frankly by the logic of some of the arguments here we should next attack the usefulness of DOI and other academic index systems too. Roger (talk) 22:55, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
I have no problem retaining that they are optional, but I have seen editors try to require them, so I wouldn't want to see the advice strengthened in any way. And Kmhkmh, while you're right, strictly speaking, that anyone changing ISBNs should check the page number too, it doesn't happen. Some editors like to add ISBNs and some like to change them -- it's one of the details I see new editors/IPs change a lot -- so over time they end up out of sync with the other citation details if someone isn't watching over the page. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:06, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Well without doubt there some people doing nonsense with references, but that isn't something we can regulate. It's no different from people changing content without checking the new content against the existing sources, which happens all often as well. Regulations won't fix that problem, but in such cases the affected authors need to advised directly.--Kmhkmh (talk) 23:37, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

The page currently says Citations for books typically include: [...] ISBN is optional. At first I dismissed this as a slightly unfortunate but passing and understandable result of hurried editing, but I now notice Citations for journal articles typically include: [...] DOI and/or other identifiers are optional and Citations for newspaper articles typically include: [...] page number(s) are optional. Uh ... not my notion of good style. Yes of course the ISBN should be optional; but if so, "ISBN (optional)" or some such formulation. ¶ That little matter aside, I sense that a problem with ISBNs is that they're misunderstood. Consider this example from a current AfD: "The literary career of the subject is not questionable. All her literary subjects possess valid ISBN numbers." Perhaps the writer innocently believes that an artefact that has an ISBN is somehow certified to be a real book, as opposed to bogus books, booklets and other impostors that would not receive such certification. If I'm correct here, then some people will insert ISBNs less in order to help than to impress. -- Hoary (talk) 00:03, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

  • ISBNs are needed because books have different editions. If an editor happens on the Pink Floyd article for example, they will need to know the ISBN for several books used to source the article as the UK and US versions of Schaffner, Mason and Harris have different pagination. If we excluded ISBNs an editor may start adding cites from the wrong edition, and we could end up with 50 cites to the US edition and 50 cites to the UK edition, making half of these cites appear incorrect depending on which edition the editor owns. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 00:04, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
    • No, ISBNs are not needed. Until WP came along, readers of books got on well enough without them. But they can indeed be very helpful. They're very helpful when there's a single edition of a book that can otherwise be hard to find, and they're also very helpful when people who understand what they're doing are referring to particular editions of books that came out in more than one edition. ¶ But consider the article "Nicholson Baker", which now has a list of his books with ISBNs. An unsightly mess, and one that probably omits newer editions. (It was me who added many of these ISBNs. This was probably unwise, and in weak defense (i) it was a long time ago and I was young and naive, and (ii) at least I corrected the notion that there was just one ISBN per title.) Are these ISBNs helpful? I really wonder. ¶ All of this is hard to summarize. I tentatively suggest listing "ISBN (optional)" and then adding a paragraph -- or (groan) more -- about how and when ISBNs can help, and how and when they can mislead. -- Hoary (talk) 00:32, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
The section about "Links and ID numbers" does go some way to explaining the usefulness of ISBN, DOI, PMID and other similar "index" number systems, but IMHO the explanations can certainly be improved. Roger (talk) 10:31, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

ISBNs are not required—an article wide consistent citation style is required, and such a citation style would need to be adequate to identify the work in question. Citation styles may include ISBNs, but this is not required. Additionally, changing from a CS1 citation style where ISBNs are not identified, to a CS1 citation style where ISBNs are fully specified should go through a CITEVAR discussion at the article talk page. When ISBNs are specified, the ISBN specified should match the edition of the work cited in the article (including location of publisher, publisher and year published). Bad ISBNs are just as bad as any other bad element of a citation style. Some users find ISBNs helpful, but as a CITEVAR issue it should be discussed amongst the community of editors interested in a particular article. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:56, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

  • The ISBN is certainly not required, but it is an additional service for readers who might be interested in it. In some cases it is the only easy way to verify the existance of a book, especially where there is considerable variance in the orthography of the author/title. Or to verify a point where there are multiple editions. Correct ISBNs can lead one to the correct page for the specific edition, and pagination, especially for re-typeset classics can be quite different between. I strongly disargee that just because one ISBN has been provided in a list, that all books in the list require them. That would be foolish, especially since trying to put them in without the book cited in hand, can, as some stated above, be disasterous. Requiring a CITEVAR discussion at the article talk page before putting in a useful ISBN would also be foolish. It sounds like the kind of over-uniformity that Emerson called a hobgoblin. ISBNs are not required, but they can be quite useful. And, I note in passing that my work life became easier when ISBNs became wide-spread long before Wikipedia. --Bejnar (talk) 04:02, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
    • Being BOLD is fine, but if adding valid courtesy ISBNs to a fully specified manual Turabian cited article drives someone up the wall, expect a CITEVAR discussion. (I can't see why courtesy ISBNs would be a problem, but people get religious about citations and I know I myself am religious). Fifelfoo (talk) 04:12, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
      • On that note regarding citevar, I'd like consider an convenience ISBN link like a convenience link to an online copy, so probably not even a part of the original citation format. However if some other editor for a fight over such nonsense, it is probably best not to pursue it anyway (usually a waste of time).--Kmhkmh (talk) 07:42, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Reference added

Hello, I am new to Wikipedia editing and I hope I've entered the information here correctly. In reviewing the page for Thermistors I noted a Reference that does not belong. The Reference was not noted in the article and just leads to a website for the manufacturer of the type of product being discussed. I was under the impression that this was unacceptable. Should this Reference (which was added in May 2012) be removed? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermistors Last entry under References:

ntc thermistor and temperature sensor exsense Thank you. Chestercheryl (talk) 14:07, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Good catch. I see it was first added by someone using two IPs. That was deleted, but was later restored by a new account making that only edit. I'll fix it and mark the accounts as socks of each other. -- Brangifer (talk) 14:33, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for your fast reply and fixing the information! Chestercheryl (talk) 14:54, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

citing an intro not written by the author

I would like to cite some information found in the introduction of a book. The problem is, the book is written by one author, while the introduction is written by someone else. How exactly do I cite this? It seems weird to cite the author of the intro because it then looks like they wrote the book (which they didn't), but I also don't want to credit the book author with information they didn't write. Any ideas? --Bachrach44 (talk) 08:04, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Manually or using CS1? Chapter Author, (Date) "Chapter Title" in Book Author (Book Author) Book Title Place: Publisher. If you're using CS1, use other=Book Author (Book Author) IIRC. Fifelfoo (talk) 08:47, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Here is an example I recently did:
{{cite book |last=Palmer |first=R. Barton |chapter=2001: The Critical Reception and the Generation Gap |editor-last=Kolker |editor-first=Robert Phillip |title=Stanley Kubrick's 2001: a Space Odyssey: New Essays |publisher=Oxford University Press |year=2006 |isbn=9780195174526 |page=16}}
which yields:
Palmer, R. Barton (2006). "2001: The Critical Reception and the Generation Gap". In Kolker, Robert Phillip. Stanley Kubrick's 2001: a Space Odyssey: New Essays. Oxford University Press. p. 16. ISBN 9780195174526. 
Betty Logan (talk) 10:16, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
The format depends on your style, of course, but you would normally treat it the same way that you would treat a textbook that has a different author for each chapter, or a literary anthology that you're citing only one selection from. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:39, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Bachrach, if the concern is what to call it, simply call it "Introduction." I would write something like:
Smith, John (2012). "Introduction," in Paula Jones. Name of Book. University of Cambridge Press.
Followed by a page number or range if the material you're using is on one particular page or set of pages, or simply cite the introduction in general if you're summarizing the essence of it. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:46, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Ditching retrieval dates for paper books

I was just helping out with the FAC of Adriatic Sea and noticed that illogical use of the "accessdate" for paper books that have been looked up on Google Books. I looked up the discussion and found the following threads.

Most editors seemed to agree that giving information on "retrieval dates" for online digital copies of paper books is not beneficial to normal readers. But later on, it the idea of making the dates visible only to editors was declared controversial and a "compromise" was given where all accessdates should instead be displayed. Which basically ignores all the problems with the "accessdate"-parameter when it's used with {{cite book}}.

This makes very little sense to me as 99% of all usage of {{cite book}} is bound to be references to paper publications. I don't doubt that there are occasional exceptions for digital books, but how this is relevant to the run-of-the-mill link to Google Books is a mystery to me. As I see it, guidelines should be adapted to suit the vast majority of book citations and to benefit readers, rather to accommodate a few odd exceptions. The way the guideline is worded right now more or less guarantees that information which is essentially just pointless clutter (and quite possibly confusing) is forced on average, non-editing readers. I know the issue has been discussed before, but I fail to see that it has actually resulted in any sensible solutions.

Peter Isotalo 14:16, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Indeed, it hasn't, because there was no consensus on how to deal with it. I have repeatedly taken part in discussions on this and related points. People simply can't agree. -- Alarics (talk) 15:38, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
I suggest that the meaning of "book" is evolving faster than our editors will be able to revise existing citations. This possible shift in meaning is similar to the way "mail" and "note", in some circles, mean email; the rare case of paper mail is now called "paper mail" or "snail mail" in some circles. So caution is advisable. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:59, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Any kind of "digital" publication has a potential issue of subsequent changes. This wasn't so much an issue where there were widely dispersed physical instances to refer to, and the exigencies of publication tended to curb trivial republication. Purely digital publications, being so ephemeral, need to have an effective date of access and/or publication, and this does make them distinct from publications that have a physical basis. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:56, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't think so, even (purely) digital books usually have an ISBN and an edition, remaining unchanged, i.e. as wit the printed version it should be enough to provide the exact edition and/or ISBN. Moving targets are lecture notes, various websites, online encyclopedias and such, but not books.--Kmhkmh (talk) 22:30, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Even if a purely digital book has an ISBN, how do we know that the "publisher" (author?) is not slipping in changes on the fly? Well (to answer my own question), I can imagine a system of archival, or digital signatures, which might suffice to establish immutability "as good as the 'real' thing". ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:29, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
Well we need to distinguish here whether we are talking about the normal practice or intentional deviation. Of course we don't really for sure, whether editor didn't slip something in without issuing a new edition/ISBN. On the other hand strictly speaking we don't know that for the printed version either. The publisher could print a new set of copies with text changes but without without issuing a new edition/ISBN either. Imho we do not need to require a protection against intentional deviation, unless such behaviour becomes widespread.--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:21, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree. We must assume that we can trust an international standard like ISBN and normal publishing standards unless we have good reason to believe that they are untrustworthy. Otherwise we might as well lapse into pure paranoia.
Peter Isotalo 16:55, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, {{cite book}} is used almost exclusively for paper books and this will continue to be the case for a long, long time. I have absolutely no bias against any format, but I'm aware of how important paper still is. We have numerous citation templates, like {{cite web}} for anyone who wants to reference digital publications. And if there's still actually problem, just create a separate {{cite e-book}} or whatever. Perpetuating the spread of this much pointless meta data clutter is not an acceptable status quo.
Peter Isotalo 22:27, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
I personally don't add accessdates when citing a book regardless if there is a fiscal page to be seen or not. That said I would suspect that tools like Google book tool and Reflinks that adds accessdates automatically is a big reason we see them alot.Moxy (talk) 22:36, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
We have 23 Citation Style 1 templates and a lot of them overlap or are frankly redundant— I must note that I have converted a lot of citation template to CS1 over the last year or so, but at least we now have a common style. I can't think of anything different that {{cite e-book}} would have from {{cite book}}. I once thought accessdates were a great thing, but now I find them annoying. Preemptive archiving with an archivedate would be more useful. Chicago 16 pretty much agrees:

14.7 ACCESS DATES: An access date--that is, the self-reported date on which an author consulted a source--is of limited value: previous versions will often be unavailable to readers; authors typically consult a source any number of times over the course of days or months; and the accuracy of such dates, once recorded, cannot readily be verified by editors or publishers. Chicago does not therefore require access dates in its published citations of electronic sources unless no date of publication or revision can be determined from the source (see 14.8). For such undated sources--or for any source that seems likely to change without notice--authors are encouraged, as an additional safeguard, to archive dated copies, either as hard copy or in electronic form. Because some publishers in some disciplines--in particular, research-intensive fields such as science and medicine--do require access dates, authors should check with their publishers early on, and it never hurts to record dates of access during research. (Students are typically required to include access dates for citations of online sources in their papers.)

---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:59, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Access dates are obviously pointless for paper books, and most Google Books are just scanned versions of paper copies. For electronic-only books, I still can't see the point. In fact, there is almost never a point in adding an access date. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:13, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

That reminds me: a class was added to {{citation/core}} ages ago to hide accessdates for editors who change their CSS. I need to document that. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 01:27, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree with SlimVirgin. The fewer accessdates, the better. -- Alarics (talk) 07:39, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I think we all agree that for a book (or other "work") with a fixed form (e.g., printed on paper) an access date is rather pointless, as we don't expect it to change. And scanned books are only reproductions of the fixed form. (Presumably the chances of someone monkeying around with a scanned image are low, and readily discoverable by comparison with the fixed form.) But! where content is highly mutable, even ephemeral — such as web pages — and different versions may not be readily identifiable, that is where we need the accessdate: to resolve different versions.
I suspect the problem of pointless use of access (or retrieval) dates comes from editors who do not understand the distinction of (relatively) fixed vs. mutable sources, and think that retrieval form the Internet must be dated. So is this issue of "illogical use" of access dates just a matter of editor education? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:19, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
That sounds reasonable. People may not realize that the source that is really being cited is the immutable printed copy which is stored in libraries, not an electronic version that happens to be found somewhere online. Abbreviations like SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT tend to be misunderstood to encourage this misconception, I fear. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:55, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I think so too.--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:12, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
The only two examples I can think of where an access date might be useful would be:
(1) where a website has changed a lot, and there are so many different versions in the Internet Archive that a date helps an editor find the right version when the link goes dead. But in eight years of editing, and of fixing lots of dead links, I have never seen an example of a website changing so much that I was unable to find the content without an access date;
(2) a rapidly changing news story, where newspapers change their online versions without noting the changes (a couple of British newspapers do this regularly). But in those cases you need a time as well as date, and neither will help you if you're challenged, unless you also somehow make a screenshot available to readers, which would then be deleted as a copyright violation.
SlimVirgin (talk) 21:28, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree. This is true even if the deadlink wasn't archived, because then you won't be able to find it anyway. Second when citing changable websites editors should be encouraged to add the archive info right-a-way rather than adding an access date. --Bejnar (talk) 23:22, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
Let's not confuse access dates and archive dates. Archive dates indicate the date the URL was archived, and are very important as the archive host may have different versions from different dates. Citation Style 1 required archivedate when archiveurl is defined. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 00:12, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
I can't see how either is needed, or how they would differ in practical terms. The only point that matters for an online source is whether readers can see it (ignoring whether they might have to pay a subscription to do so). If it's still online, and we link to it (whether to an archived copy or the current version of the webpage), they can check the source. If it's not online and we therefore can't link to it, they can't check it, and it fails verification. Adding dates and calling those dates different names ("access date," "retrieval date," "archive date," "original archive date" "copied from the original on such-and-such a date," "saw it with my own two eyes date") doesn't change that. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:54, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Well there is a difference between permanent verification and temporary verification and access date can help to recognize that and distinguish between them. Ideally we want only the former, but the latter is still better than nothing and differs from having no source at all. To put it this way, if I come across a context sourced with a nonexistent url I most likely simply delete it. If I come across a content sourced with a (now) nonexistent url with an old access date, I'm more likely to leave the content for now and try harder to find a replacement source. This is because I have a stronger reason to assume the content to be legit, since (ideally) the source was already checked by fellow editors when it was still available.--Kmhkmh (talk) 05:43, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
So what are the arguments for keeping "accessdate" as a parameter in {{cite book}} that is visible to non-editors? Or, indeed, keeping it at all.
Peter Isotalo 16:58, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
If "book" is restricted to sources that are (in some way or another) relatively immutable and unlikely to have unidentified changes (versions), then there seems to be little argument for documenting any date of access. But! if you have "books" that are "purely digital", and there is no way to either lock-in a version, or to otherwise track changes, then the usage of book has changed, and access dates are needed to identify possibly discrepant versions. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:10, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Well even purely digital books have isbns and editions as long as they get published through a publishing company. Of course if digital books is meant to be any arbitrary bigger digital document on the web, then that would be different.--Kmhkmh (talk) 22:09, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
If the particular digital books are changing at a speed beyond that of individual ISBN, then in most instances they'll provide old revisions (editions/versions/diffs), and if not, we can provide accessdate-equivalent information via the published-date parameter ("We are sourcing from the November 23rd 2016 edition of this ebook"). So, I'd support framing that up as a very concise "If circumstances warrant, ..." addendum to whichever guidelines need it.
Separately, I fully support making accessdate into a default hidden parameter, in all citation templates. It can be useful for finding archiveurl's, but that's about it (afaik?). -- Quiddity (talk) 01:10, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Access date is useful when there is no publication date. That is seldom the case for books, but is common for web sites. Jc3s5h (talk) 01:25, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Ah, yes. Are there other/numerous examples of utility? If it's a shortlist, it could be placed directly in docs. -- Quiddity (talk) 02:05, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

I think the parameter is generic enough to be useful even for paper books - it tells the reader the time someone had cited from that book, in a sense it's just another parameter more specific than e.g. the book's edition. It allows readers to see when was the last time an editor (claimed to have) verified the reference, which is much clearer than having to roam through a large amount of diffs in the page history. It can be argued that this is excessively detailed, but I've yet to see an article where there's a more pressing need to have a slimmer bibliography section as opposed to a need to improve the referencing by adding more such meta data. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 08:10, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Having the information is fine, (and displaying it in {{cite web}} is fine) it's whether to display it by default in all other cases, or not, that is under discussion. There is (1) a small potential of basic confusion (1 entry, 2 dates), and (2) a small problem of overwhelming size, at eg Olympic Games#References. That's 25318 characters with "Retrieved on [accessdate]", and 20719 without (a difference of 4599 characters) - obviously some of those would need to remain, as they're otherwise undated, but there's still a great potential for cleaning up the clarity of uselessly-double-dated citations. (from one perspective :) -- Quiddity (talk) 09:42, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Joy: I wonder if you misunderstand something here. If a source is effectively fixed ("immutable"), the date it is accessed should make absolutely no difference in what is found; it is useless information. It is only when there is some liklihood of a source changing between accesses that the date of access has any significance. Also: page history shows edit dates, which are not the same as access dates. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:04, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Joy, readers only need to have specific enough information to find the book and preferably in a format they recognize. This type of metadata only provides (fairly unreliable) timestamps for a very specific kind of edit. In other words, it seems to have nothing to do with either WP:V or WP:RS. So why should it be in article space?
Peter Isotalo 23:05, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
This conversation revolves around online access to books and I think that people are looking at this the wrong way. The conversation to date seems to be about the use of access dates as a replacement for edition, and while that may be true in some cases I do not think it is not the primary motivation for adding access dates. For books like the ODNB there is absolutely no point in adding access dates as they provide a DOI and visible in-text most recent edit date. But most sites do not provide such a copper bottom method of preserving access (and version information). The need for access dates is directly proportional to the likely hood that the site will alter its URLs because as access date helps in finding archived versions of a text -- in a similar way that a summary of title, rather than a precise copy, makes it more difficult to find another online copy.
Using the argument that one can always access the book in hard copy, is I think disingenuous, as some books that are online may well be out of print (and from a original limited print run) or not available in the country where a reader who wishes to verify a fact resides, so access via a URL may be the only practical method by which verification can be done.
So I think having the access date available to editors can be of benefit for URL maintenance (looking back through an article that has had hundreds of edits to find an edit when a book was added to an article can be very time consuming), but whether that date information needs to be visible to the reader is another matter. Editorial judgement has to be used when judging whether the visual clutter and extra page size is outweighed by the additional editorial utility access dates provide -- I do not think that guideline advise can be whittled down a simple good/bad choice without damaging the content of some articles. -- PBS (talk) 09:45, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Links to digital copies of paper books are extremely useful and should be encouraged, no doubt about that. But access/retrieval/reading dates merely documents someone's (reported) reading habits. and has no bearing on the relevance, reliability or availability of a source. As far as reference citation metadata goes, it has zero relevance on the actual citation. Why show it to everyone in article space if it's only useful to editors?
Peter Isotalo 14:56, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Philip, can you give an example of an access date helping a reader or editor to find a book in the circumstances you describe? SlimVirgin (talk) 19:58, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
As always seem so happen in cases like this, I came across one only a few weeks ago but I can't find it! I had been hoping to find it or another one during my edits of articles, but I have not located any yet. -- PBS (talk) 11:05, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Peter: your earlier comment suggested that access dates could in some sense be a timestamp for some kinds of edits. I would say, not at all. If an access date came after the last edit there might be a question of veracity, but you would have to find the edit date first. In your last comment it seems to me you have missed the whole point of having (in some cases! as discussed above) an access date. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 01:10, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
JJ, I believe we're on the same page here, even if I might not have expressed myself clearly enough above. In my view, the factual accuracy of article content is verified by directly checking (or discussing) sources, not by examining editing habits. In terms of sources that have fixed editions, access dates are at best general clues on how to identify specific edits and nothing else.
Peter Isotalo 07:10, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
Your "page" seems significantly different (check the access date? :-). Specifically: I deny that access dates are useful in identifying specific edits. E.g., I often write from notes I made of a source some months earliar. If I used an access date for such a source it would be a negative clue, leading you away from my edit. But I would not do so, because the access date is pointless for a fixed edition (documents, as you said earliar ["14:56, 14 August"], only someone's reading habits). Its value is only for mutable sources, where it constrains the time of possible edits to the source. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:52, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

isbn

I've had a couple of interesting cases where an ISBN might not be sufficient. In the case of one particular book I have been using to source some data, I came across a curious case where the exact same book has been rendered in two different versions on Google Books. See Book 1 and Book 2. They seem to be the exact same book as far as I can tell (same ISBN, edition etc) but the layout is different so the page numbers don't match up. So even if the content doesn't change the rendering of the layout might be subject to further changes which affects the citation. Another example I encountered was a corporate manifesto by Sony, which was published as a book in PDF format on its website. This had no ISBN number or any other bibliographic information which books usually have, but this manifesto was basically a book in PDF format. It was later removed from the US website and I tracked it down to the European site to correct the reference, but strangely I had to change the page number. This was identified as the same document, but at the very least its layout didn't match up. It's entirely possible that Sony could have added quarterly or annual data at some point, or had a slightly different version for their European operation. Obviously traditional bibliographic information is failing in some cases to identify different versions of the same work, but I don't see how access dates offer a solution either: I personally believe the same version of the same work should have the same bibliographic details, so then what does an access date even mean in that context? Does an online book with a hundred different access dates constitute a hundred different versions? It doesn't really tell us anything if the access dates are different, since it doesn't enable us to identify and access a version of the book. Obviously, an archive may catalogue a version using access dates, but then the date is serving in a similar capacity to an edition or ISBN number, and will always stay true for that particular incarnation of the work. There are obvious shortcomings with how we reference online works, but the bottom line is that including an access date isn't really a solution, because it doesn't make a book any more verifiable after the link dies/changes. Betty Logan (talk) 08:27, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

Your first example seems to be some sort of glitch on Google Books since it has no page specifications, not even on the site itself (try searching in it). In such cases, the working, accurate facsimile of the book (the second version) should be used while the other should be ignored.
Peter Isotalo 09:28, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
The one without page numbers has some kind of 'link' number i.e. page 353 in the paginated edition is equivalent to PT661 in the non-paginated version. In truth this isn't such a problem because a paper edition exists, but I was just highlighting this particular instance since someone could unwittingly source the non-paginated version using the PT numbers and the isbn doesn't differentiate them. Betty Logan (talk) 09:47, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
This example seems to be pathological: if Google Books has two variant scans of a physical book, then (theoretically) one corresponds to actual item, and one does not, and the issue is resolved by referring to the original (physical) item. But suppose that an e-book, with no physical exemplar, is assigned an ISBN, and is then revised, without changing the ISBN. If there is only one original, then the revision date distinguishes the different versions. In such a case an argument between two (or more) editors about the text might be resolved if their access dates were on opposite sides of the revision date. (Off course, we don't normally use access dates for books, but I am speaking hypothetically.) On the other hand, if there were two co-existing versions (in an extreme possibility, perhaps a publisher gives two different books identical ISBNs), any dates of accesses, revision, etc., are useless — the versions co-exist. To distinguish between them — which is the real point of the exercise — requires some other difference, perhaps a title, or url, or something.
To get back to Betty's initial statement: yes, ISBN might not always be sufficient to distinguish sources. Which can be said of any bibliographic datum, and why standard bibliographic practice is to include as much detail as possible, just case there is some pathological case. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:21, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
The whole point of having an ISBN number is to have a reference to something that doesn't change. If a book changes, electronic or not, it's considered to be a new edition, which will have a different ISBN. If publishers are actually doing this, I'd love to a see an example of it. Purely hypothetical situations aren't really relevant here.
Peter Isotalo 15:02, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Purely hypothetical situations are entirely relevant in illustrating some point, As to having different isbns for different editions: that is so common place that I am surprised you need an explicit example. (Did I misunderstand something?) But no problem, here you go: Christopher Scholz's The Mechanics of earthquakes and faulting, in two editions:
I hope that helps. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:07, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
You posed an argument that the same ISBN could be shared by several different editions. That's the purely hypothetical example I was asking for.
Peter Isotalo 07:02, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't have an example to hand, but this is certainly a known though rare issue - I've encountered it a couple of times when cataloguing. It may reflect cases where there was only a slight correction rather than an overall rewrite; if the publishers chose to think of it as "the 1984 printing with corrections" rather than "the 1984 edition", they may have chosen not to assign a new number. It may also simply be a mistake; in the 1980s and earlier, the low level of computerisation meant that it was a lot easier to put out a book with a faulty or duplicate ISBN without noticing. Nowadays, it's almost impossible! Andrew Gray (talk) 17:26, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

  Yes. Peter, I suspect you and I are differing in our notions of "edition". A change (revision) made in a subsequent printing, or even in the course of a single printing, or where a revised page has been "tipped in" after printing and binding, does not amount to a different edition. That would not be "several different editions" sharing the same ISBN, but a single edition with several revisions. That is where additional information of some form might be needed to resolve an issue where two editors report differences in the text.
  There is also, as Andrew says, a possibility of two entirely different books having the same ISBN; that would be an outright mistake. And not hypothetical! There is a report of such, apparently an error by the publisher. (Check ISBN 0943161851, and there are two different books.) Definitely a case where ISBN alone is not sufficient. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:03, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Note that in the first case a publisher can choose to describe it as a new edition and assign a new ISBN; many do. It's just not guaranteed. I am fairly sure I've encountered at least one case where a new edition was explicitly described as such, renumbered and everything, but retained the same ISBN. (I was cataloguing using Heritage at the time, which identifies editions by ISBN and assumes they're unique, so cases like this were a real headache...)
For multiple editions sharing one ISBN, I've remembered and confirmed one I came across "in the wild" - two volumes of the New Naturalist series, both published as ISBN 0002190842. Another book in the same series, I forget which, had the correct ISBN on the title page, but the ISBN for the previous volume printed on the back (just to make our lives complicated). Andrew Gray (talk) 21:05, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Last name first in author citations

Why do we list authors in citations with the last name first? Dickens, Charles as opposed to Charles Dickens. I could see having the last name first if we were going to sort the citations by the authors last name, but we do not. We have citations appear in the reference section in the same order that they appear in the article. It seems like an nonsensical affectation left over from print media. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 15:29, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

We do not have a house citation style. So:
  • We have no requirement that the family name be listed first (but it makes sense when the sources are in alphabetical order).
  • Sometimes we do cite the sources by the author's name, and list the sources in alphabetical order.
  • Sometimes articles are printed and it is helpful to still be able to identify sources when the article has been printed.
  • Editors may use tools to help them produce citations in one of the many widely-used formats, such as Zotero. For some formats these tools will list the family name first; it is convenient for editors to be able to use the unmodified output of these tools. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:35, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
  • When an author is cited in full in a footnote, it should be written Charles Dickens. If the full citation is listed in an alphabetical References section – instead of, or as well as, in the footnote – it's Dickens, Charles. Personally, I usually cite "last name, first name" in footnotes too, when I'm not using shortened refs, in case I want to move the citations in the footnotes into a References section, and it's easier to do that if I don't have to fiddle with the names. But if you look at academic publishing houses – in the humanities, at least – they usually (or always?) write "first name, last name" in footnotes, and "last name, first name" in the References or Bibliography section. SlimVirgin (talk) 16:01, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
What tag can I use instead of "reflist" or "references" to compile a reference section by the authors family name? --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 16:38, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, Richard, I don't understand the question. SlimVirgin (talk) 16:42, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
If you're talking about auto sorting on last name, there is no feature (reflist/references sort by appearance in article) but you don't have to use the reflist/references and simply use a list compiled in the order that you desire. --MASEM (t) 16:46, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This page explains it well re: MLA style:

"When mentioning a work for the first time, a full and complete Footnote or Endnote entry must be made. [Second and subsequent references in the footnotes to the same work need only include author's last name, perhaps the year, and the page number(s).]
"NOTE: Only one sentence is used in a Footnote or Endnote citation, i.e., only one period or full stop is used at the end of any Footnote or Endnote citation. In a Bibliography, each citation consists of a minimum of three statements or sentences, hence each entry requires a minimum of three periods, e.g., a period after the author statement, a period after the title statement, and a period after the publication statement (publication/publisher/publication date).
"First Footnote or Endnote example:
"G. Wayne Miller, King of Hearts: The True Story of the Maverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery (New York: Times, 2000) 245.
"Bibliography example:
"Miller, G. Wayne. King of Hearts: The True Story of the Maverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery. New York: Times, 2000."

SlimVirgin (talk) 18:15, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Of course, there's no requirement to follow that style, or any other sensible style. You could decide to lead with the title or year or middle initial or country of origin. So if you prefer "Joe Smith" to "Smith, Joe", then you are free to do so for any article whose citation style you are establishing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:06, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
You all seem to have missed a key assumption in Richard's question: "citations appear in the reference section in the same order that they appear in the article." More accurately, it is the notes (footnote, endnotes) created using the <ref> tags that appear "in the same order...." But if you pull the "full citations" — aka "full references" — out of the text/notes, and put them into a separate section (e.g.: "References") as a list, then it is handy to have them order in some way. And then alphabetically by last name is handy and conventional. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:05, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't think we missed anything. Yes, reflist puts them in order of usage rather than alphabetical by last name, and yes, the last-name-first approach is helpful if you're going to be looking for a last name in a list alphabetized by last name.
But it doesn't matter. The original rationale for the last-name-first system (you were going to refer to "Smith, page 12" in your text rather than "Mary, page 12", so a format that emphasized last names made it easier to find the item of interest in the list) doesn't apply in this situation, but it doesn't matter. People might choose a last-name-first format now because they think it more formal, or more scholarly, or more familiar. Just because last-name-first isn't especially useful, in the way that it once was, doesn't mean that you can't do it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:43, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
As has been noted, the Footnotes system using <references> or {{reflist}} renders the reference list in the order of use. Manually created bibliography style reference lists are used in Shortened footnotes and Parenthetical referencing styles.
I don't understand how you think that "last-name-first isn't especially useful, in the way that it once was". For sure, a Harv link (or even a manually constructed link) in the text will find the citation no matter where you put it. But if a reader wants to, say, see if a certain source (perhaps an especially authoritative one) is used in the article, it is quite tiresome if the sources are not collected together, or not in some kind of order. And last-name-first just happens to be the most common, and arguably most useful, form of ordering.
The point I was trying to make was about Richard's implicit assumption that citations have to be in the same order as the notes (<refs>). This goes back to the general misunderstanding that the note is the citation, rather than being the container for the citation. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 19:24, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Last-name-first was especially useful to the reader back in the day when the bibliography list was alphabetized by the first author's last name. When you know that the reader will be searching down the list in the hope of finding a particular item, then you put that element first, e.g., last names first if the reader will most likely be looking for a particular last name.
In most of Wikipedia's articles, the bibliography list is not alphabetized by the authors' last names. The reader is not searching down the list in the hope of finding a particular last name. Therefore writing the citation so that the authors' last names are the most prominent element that the reader sees is not "especially useful, in the way that it once was". The most common order for the citations list in a Wikipedia article is the order in which they are used. It is "some kind of order", but it is not an order in which prominently featuring the authors' last names is at all relevant. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:16, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
A part of the problem is the original ill-judged decision to call the templates/tags used for footnotes things like <ref></ref>, <references/> and {{reflist}}. It would be helpful if this could be changed. --Hegvald (talk) 04:13, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
<ref> and <references /> are part of the {{cite.php}} extension— you would have to file a bug report, convince a developer that this should be changed, then go through and change the millions of uses on every language Wikipedia. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 05:27, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
I quite agree about <ref>s. But those are HTML entities, and have been around before Wikipedia, even before Papa Ed (<g>), so we're stuck with them. I think we have to develop a general awareness that "ref" doesn't mean "reference" in the same sense as "source". ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:24, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
<ref> is not an HTML entity, nor is it an HTML tag— it is an extension tag parsed by the Cite.php software extension. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:15, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
Come to think of it, yes, you're right. I think the same complaint can be made of both forms of <ref>, but the bottom line still is: we're stuck with them. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:14, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

We have two types of reference lists that include the full citation:

  • The generated by {{reflist}} or <refererences /> where the <ref> tags include the full citation. This reference list is ordered by the use of the <ref> tags— there is no way to ensure the full citations are in any order.
  • The reference list used by the Shortened footnotes or Parenthetical referencing systems. This list is a manually created bibliography and can be in any desired order, including alphabetic and/or split into sublists. This is the only type of list that |authormask= can be used with. Since this list is almost always sorted, then last, first is the better choice.

Last, first is used by Citation Style 1 and Citation Style 2. If you are establishing the style for an article, or gain consensus to change the style, then do whatever you want. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 22:43, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

I am afraid that your comment illustrates the confusion created by the name of this template:
"...two types of reference lists that include the full citation: The [one] generated by {{reflist}} or <refererences /> where the <ref> tags include the full citation. This reference list is ordered by the use of the <ref> tags [...]"
...Except, of course, that what you are describing and what is generated by the {{reflist}} template is not a "list of references", but a set of footnotes. The foot- or endnotes and the list of references (which may be titled "Bibliography", "Works cited" or something else) are different parts of the scholarly apparatus that usually coexist but play different roles in a publication. The point of the list is to give the reader an overview of what sources have been cited by the author and an easy way to check for individual titles. That requires it to have a coherent order of its own.
Another thing: most academic works, in the humanities at least, use the same set of footnotes both for citations and for other types of explanatory or subordinate content that may not be significant enough to allow it to disturb the flow of the main text. The naming of the {{reflist}} template has apparently influenced some users to think that these footnotes should not be used for anything but references/citations, and has resulted in a large number of articles with two sets of footnotes, one for citations and another one for explanatory content. This rather unnecessarily increases the technical complexity of editing these articles. I can see how this may be a price worth paying if there was any significant advantage of having two separate sets of notes, but I just cannot see where that advantage would be. --Hegvald (talk) 16:34, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
I agree that having two sets of footnotes is another example of unnecessary clutter. As to the first point, there are academic publishing houses that don't include an alphabetical bibliography. They will include the full citation on first reference in a footnote or endnote (using first name, last name), and thereafter a shortened ref (Smith 2012, 1), so that you're forced to go back through the notes to find the full citation. SlimVirgin (talk) 16:48, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
Not all academic disciplines agree with Hegvald's assertion that bibliographic citations placed in order of use are "footnotes". The style guides by the Council of Science Editors, the APA, and Vancouver style calls those things "References". Explanatory footnotes and bibliographic citations are never mixed.
It is hardly surprising that a technology-oriented place like Wikipedia would have adopted the style used by both the hard and soft sciences as its most common choice rather than the styles used by the humanities. It would be a gesture of collegiality for the non-science editors to quit acting like the styles used by other major academic divisions are wrong merely because they aren't the styles preferred by historians and artists. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:46, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
I think you may have misunderstood Hegvald's point. Footnotes are placed at the bottom of each page, and endnotes at the end of the book/paper. Notes, whether they are footnotes or endnotes, don't list the sources in alphabetical order, but in the order they were used, and are not intended to include only sources, but also include asides, quotes, expansion of the text (that was H's point, I believe). Sources alone are then listed in a separate (last name/first name) bibliography at the end of the book/paper (but not always, which was my point -- some publishers leave out this separate list). SlimVirgin (talk) 17:52, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
In the sciences, the style guides call the list of sources placed in the order of their use "References". They do not call them "notes". These lists are always "sources alone". These lists are always in citation-sequence order and never in alphabetical order. There are never any explanatory notes, "asides, quotations, expanation of the text" or anything else in these citation-sequence lists. And while individual journals may choose not to conform, in the published style guides, they are always titled "References", not "bibliography" or "notes" or "works cited" or anything else. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:30, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
The IAU style manual from 1989 appears to call for Harvard style citations with an alphabetical is list of reverences, with the heading "REFERENCES". But I don't have free access to their publications, so I don't know if the style manual is actually observed. Jc3s5h (talk) 19:02, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
I know that the social sciences do call footnotes and endnotes "notes," so I assume you mean the natural sciences. So what do those authors do with additional text that would normally be placed alongside a source in a footnote or endnote -- if, say, they wanted to quote the source next to the citation? SlimVirgin (talk) 18:58, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

In mathematics, references go at the end of the paper in a numbered list, sorted alphabetically (the first reference cited in my last paper was [10]). This list is called "References" and it never has anything other than references; it is essentially just a bibliography. Footnotes can be used at the bottom of each page, but they are very rarely used in general, and are even discouraged by some journals. Footnotes do not duplicate information from the reference list. Most papers have no footnotes at all apart from the "formal" footnotes that some journals put on the title and authors' names on the cover page to give addresses and acknowledgements. In natural sciences, the situation is usually similar, except that references are often sorted by order of use rather than alphabetically. It is not common in any way to quote from a source when citing it, outside of historical analysis. — Carl (CBM · talk) 19:37, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the explanation. I looked around PubMed for some science examples. See here for a free article. It uses Harvard (parenthetical) refs linking directly to the online source, not to a footnote. At the end of the article, there's a separate set of notes (entitled Footnotes) for commentary, and an alphabetical bibliography section (entitled References). SlimVirgin (talk) 22:29, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

I am fully aware of the fact that the natural sciences and mathematics do things differently (in various ways). But, in response to WhatamIdoing's comment above, I don't see how the problem in this area of Wikipedia editing could be with "non-science editors [acting] like the styles used by other major academic divisions are wrong"; I would personally never dare have an opinion on the referencing style in articles on mathematics or chemistry. We may have a bit of a problem with editors with a science background acting as if their preferred styles were always valid, regardless of the subject of an article. The main problem, I think, is with editors with a programmer/computer geek/script kiddie background acting as if every article was a software problem in need of a programming solution and refusing to accept the validity of any disagreement with that approach. --Hegvald (talk) 08:28, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

You've been channeling my thinking so closely I was getting worried someone might think we're socks. But we seem to differ a bit here: I think the main problem is the general confusion of concepts. As a secondary problem lots of editors — all backgrounds — tend to want to hang on to both the style and the terminology they used in college (or where ever), but we should be very careful not to be pointing fingers (too many of them coming back at each of us).
At this point perhaps we might all agree (?) that notes (encompassing "footnotes" and "endnotes") 1) tend come in the order as they appear in the text, and that any other ordering generally requires a separate list, and 2) notes can contain full citations, short citations (pointing elsewhere), or explanatory comments, 3) regardless of what ever name is applied to the list. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 18:35, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Massive wiki-links

I would be interested in views regarding massive wiki-links in citations, such as provided by |author-link= or explicit links. On one hand it could be argued that linking to additional information is always good. But is it useful that an author who is cited many times in an article, or a well-known source (e.g., the WSJ) is wiki-linked in every place? On the other hand these do create a lot of blue links that may distract from other parts of the citation. In some cases, these, combined with other linkages, can create an entirely blue citation. I don't know that anything is wrong with that, but would be interested in what folks have to say. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 17:55, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Should only be linked the first time seen ... For an entry in a long bibliography, use |authormask= to avoid repeating the author's name. For example, |authormask=1 gives the result:

— (2000). Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War 1754-1766. Random House Digital, Inc. ISBN 978-0-375-70636-3. 

...Moxy (talk) 18:25, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, but I am not talking about a series of entries for one author. I have in mind a large article with couple hundred sources, often multi-authored, and the first mention of "Smith" might be as co-author in "Brown and Smith". It seems unreasonable that one has to go to "Brown and Smith" to link to Smith, etc. All of this exacerbated by the article being in active development, so "first time" today is not necessarily so tomorrow. It seems to me that, between under-linking and over-linking, there is little middle ground, and even a considerable overlap of both(!). ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:25, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Any individual article can adopt as part of its citation style that every author in the references is linked, even if they have been mentioned before. When there are many citations, that might be more sensible than trying to make massive edits to the authorlinks every time the references are rearranged. — Carl (CBM · talk) 21:34, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. It seems there is no great body of strong feeling about this, so we are free to explore. I think linking on the first instance, similar to how acronyms are handled, is fine in the text, where there is some expectation that the text (or some major division of it) is experienced sequentially. But references, particularly for co-authors, is more likely to be scattered, and the "first" instance, even in a stable article, may be hard to find. I may try an experiment in linking all instances, and see how that works. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 17:33, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Can someone help me with an unclear citation style on a wiki I created?

I need help as I have an unclear citation style stated on the top of a wiki page that I created and do not know how to fix it. Thank you.

Angelinagirl317

(Angelinagirl317 15:57, 10 September 2012 (UTC)) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Angelinagirl317 (talkcontribs)

I've made one change from external link to inline citation. This is the kind of fix sought. -- JHunterJ (talk) 16:03, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Crediting ghost-writer

When a book is sort of an autobiography, but written with the help of a ghost-writer, the book usually credits the subject as author, and add "with xxx". This isn't really a co-author. How should it be cited? Do we pretend it is a co-other? The real instance is in 1992 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament, where I recently added an anecdote from Shooting from the outside : how a coach and her Olympic team transformed women's basketball. The ghost-writer is Joan Ryan. (I'm using the "others=" option until I hear a better option.)--SPhilbrick(Talk) 19:21, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Per CMS 16:

14.89 "WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF" AND THE LIKE

The title page of some edited books carries information that must be dealt with ad hoc. The usual formats, phrases, and abbreviations may not work. If a title page lists, for example, one editor, followed in smaller type by "Associate Editor So-and-So" and "Assistant Editor So-and-So," the secondary names may be included with such wording as "With the assistance of So-and-So and So-and-So" (or simply omitted). For ghostwritten books, with is usually sufficient.

Markup Renders as
{{cite book |last=Rodman |first=Dennis |title=Walk on the Wild Side |others=With Michael Silver |location=New York |publisher=Delacorte Press |year=1997}}
Rodman, Dennis (1997). Walk on the Wild Side. With Michael Silver. New York: Delacorte Press. 
---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 21:13, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, I made the change.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 21:22, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

What does WP:CITEVAR cover?

The opening paragraph in the citation style section, WP:CITATION#Citation style gives a number of examples of citation style (such as APA or Chicago) that might be used, and notes that the style used in an article should not be changed without prior consensus. A subsequent paragraph (WP:CITATION#To be avoided gives some examples of unacceptable style changes, such as changing from one major citation style to another, or from non-templated to templates.

As part of my general gnoming, I will often remove citation template parameters 'publisher' or 'location' for well-known periodicals when they are superfluous (for example, no-one gains anything from location=New York for the New York Times, or publisher=Time Inc. for Time). An earlier discussion at Template_talk:Citation#Publisher_and_location_for_periodicals concluded with consensus that publisher and location for periodicals should not normally be included when they are superfluous in this way, and the guidelines for using the template were changed to make this explicit (e.g. Template:Citation_Style_documentation#publisher).

However, my attempts to modify templated citations in line with this consensus by removing these parameters have been repeatedly reverted by another editor, who insists that any such changes are covered under CITEVAR, and therefore that prior consensus is needed. It seems to me that CITEVAR was never intended to concern itself with such minor adjustments, which should be subject only to the normal rules of WP:BRD. As a compromise, I've proposed that we should test the acceptability of these changes by letting them stay in place for a limited period, to see if any editors object (in which event I would self-revert and discuss), but the other editor will not accept this and is adamant that prior consensus is needed before any changes can be made. Is the feeling that such changes were intended to come under CITEVAR, or is BRD sufficient, just as with any other edits to an article? Colonies Chris (talk) 15:58, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

I would say the Citation template (which is different from Help:Citation Style 1) forms a style just like APA style or The Chicago Manual of Style. So if Template:Citation/doc says certain parameters should be omitted in certain circumstances, then you are just following the adopted style for the article when you omit those parameters. It is less obvious whether discussions on the template's talk page form part of the style. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:36, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Where an article consistently uses (or doesn't use) location or publishers for well known periodicals, I would consider that to be part of the article's style, and I would consider CITEVAR to apply. That's partially on the basis of my interpretation of the policy guidance, and also because I think it is also in the spirit of what CITEVAR attempts to do, namely reduce the likelihood of difficult editorial disagreements over stylistic differences. True, including those details might not be what I personally would look for in a typical citation style, but as you've noted, some other editors clearly don't agree, and perhaps the details might be appropriate to include in individual articles. If we're aiming to limit the use of locations and publishers of well known periodicals generally across a range of articles, I'd argue the best place to start is by changing the Citing Sources policy. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:36, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
The Citing Sources policy (Wikipedia:Citing_sources#Newspaper_articles and Wikipedia:Citing_sources#Journal_articles) lists the information typically required for a periodical citation. That list does not include publisher, and it specifically says "city of publication, if not included in name of newspaper" - so the edits I'm trying to make are actually bringing the citation closer to the current recommendations. Would you have any objection to a proposal to adding the words "Publisher normally omitted for periodicals" to make it consistent with the wording at Template:Citation_Style_documentation#publisher? Colonies Chris (talk) 19:47, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Even if it was "normally" omitted, if an article consistent uses it, CITEVAR would say to keep it even if it differs from what is normally done. The lists of things that are "normally included" are not meant to be exhaustive, and they can't be because we don't have a house citation style. — Carl (CBM · talk) 21:01, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
If an article was established with a publisher and location for all periodicals (or, say, for all print references), this is a consistent style that should not be changed without discussing on the article's talk page first. It would not make a difference, with respect to location and publisher, whether the citations are made with templates or with plain wiki text. That is exactly the sort of thing that is intended to be covered by WP:CITEVAR, because different articles are permitted to have vastly different citation styles. One thing you can ask yourself is whether you are editing the article to fix a typo or omission in the citation, or to change the choice of how the citation is formatted or presented. Removing the publisher solely for the purpose of changing the style to not include the publisher is the latter type of change, and thus is discouraged. There are a few issues for which there is consensus that allows overriding an article's style (for example, dates may not be formatted as 08/04/2010). But the inclusion of the publisher and location is not one of those few things. — Carl (CBM · talk) 17:41, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
When the wording of the CITEVAR section talks about a 'style' it clearly and specifically is talking about APA vs. Chicago, or template vs. non-template. It's intended to stop people from making that sort of major change to the citation style without prior consensus. There is not a hint that it's concerned about the sort of fine detail I'm talking about, which is a minor tweak within an existing style, not a change of style - and moreover, one which is in line with existing consensus and recommendations (see Wikipedia:Citing_sources#Newspaper_articles and Template:Citation_Style_documentation#publisher). On your reading, any change at all to a citation could be considered a style change. Colonies Chris (talk) 19:47, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
The possible styles are not just Chicago, APA, or even previously published styles. An editor who writes an article can use any consistent citation style for the article, subject only to some minor MOS limitations such as date formatting. I tend to evaluate CITEVAR issues by looking at the intention. If the intention is to add a new citation or reference, or to fix a typo, that is certainly not a problem. If the intention is to change the way that all the citations are done, either by changing their appearance or the wikicode for them, then CITEVAR comes into play. There are lots of other things that can be changed in articles; citations are one of the few where we do not encourage bold changes to the content. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:59, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
See the /FAQ: "Editors on Wikipedia may use any style they like, including styles they have made up themselves. It is unusual for Wikipedia articles to strictly adhere to a formally published academic style."
If the editors at that article have made up a style in which they needlessly point out that The New York Times is headquartered in New York, then they are permitted to keep that style even if the rest of us think it silly. The only thing I would do in that case is tell them that the Gray Lady's publisher is named Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. rather than The New York Times Company (which is the paper's owner; these things are separate in American newspapers). WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:49, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, if people are free to use any format they like how do you explain MOS:REFPUNC so beloved of Tony1 and SV? -- PBS (talk) 23:23, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't attempt to explain Tony1 and SV, or the decision to restrict this one aspect of the placement of citations. But where the citation is placed is not the issue here: the issue is with which elements to include or to exclude in the citation itself, which is very obviously within the remit of this guideline and is very obviously something that CITEVAR covers. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:48, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Where to put punctuation, before or after a footnote marker, highlights a peculiarity of the English Wikipedia. Most publications have one style, but Wikipedia has MOS for most of the article and CITE for the citations; CITE in turn allows any consistent style. So where the two meet is a fault line that is bound to be troublesome. Jc3s5h (talk) 23:54, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
But my point is that the recommendations and guidelines at Citing Sources and at Template:Citation are independent of whatever citation style is used. Following them is good practice, not a style. The sort of changes I'm talking about are not changing the style, they're simply bringing the usage of an existing style (whatever it may be) closer to the agreed overall citation policies and guidelines. I can understand the restrictions on changing major citation style, but this very narrow interpretation of CITEVAR is incomprehensible to me. Where is the value in effectively preventing changes that would bring citations closer to the practices recommended for any and all citation styles? No prior approval should be required, just (as always) discussion if any editor subsequently objects. And then it would be up to the objector to explain why those particular citations should be exceptions to recommended practice. And, BTW, I think you'll find that 99% of those citations that do supply a publisher for the NYT will incorrectly give it as the New York Times Company. The logic of some of the opinions expressed here is that correcting those would be acceptable, but removing them (even though the information is both wrong and valueless) would be unacceptable. Makes no sense to me. What if - to construct an extreme case - an article's citations all pointlessly included the publisher's street address and telephone number? Would you just say that constitutes a legitimate alternative style and noone can touch it? Colonies Chris (talk) 22:21, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
No, you're trying to inflict your personal style guide, which you source from Template:Citation, onto articles. Do not do this without discussing it at the article talk page first. It is very easy to discuss it on the article talk page first, and in most cases you'll get silence or tacit approval. And in the one percent of cases you'll avoid a shitfight over a cherished aspect of someone else's favoured style guide. Fifelfoo (talk) 22:31, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Colonies Chris, welcome to politics of this page. The original discussions and arbcom ruling about changes of style were to do with changing from inline citations (harvard style without the brackets) to an early form of ref/tags see this RFC (November 2005) and this arbcom (March-December 2005), some months later there was this conversation on this page started 1 August 2006 on using templates and this edit to on 5 August. Personally like you I take style to mean things like parenthetical or footnotes for which there are two styles long and short, not details the like of which you are describing. But in the last few months we have had some editors here arguing that placing a template into an article is a change in style not just a change in method, even if the template does not change the appearance of the citation style to the reader (which I think is a very restrictive reading of the guideline given the meaning of style presented in the section Citing sources#Citation style). I think that WP:CITEVAR is being interpreted by some in a way that is detrimental to the project and against normal editing practices. -- PBS (talk) 23:23, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the background, PBS. It seems it's a very charged subject where having a dispassionate debate is all but impossible. It perhaps goes some way to explaining how one person can acknowledge that my proposals are in line with the agreed guidelines and simultaneously accuse me of trying to 'inflict' my own style, particularly when I've been completely clear that WP:BRD would apply to any changes. Colonies Chris (talk) 23:37, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes CITEVAR is being roundly abused, the purpose was to avoid the fairly short lived wars between systemic styles, no to set some random citation in aspic. The wiki-lawerly interpretation that has been used to justify blocks and reversions would also forbid, for example, adding an ISBN. This year or next year we need to really think hard about citations and how they work, what we need to do improve the citation system, what research is needed to establish usability, and so forth. Rich Farmbrough, 15:53, 28 August 2012 (UTC).
No, it only prohibits adding an ISBN if there is a consensus at that particular article that there should not be ISBNs in the citations for that particular article. If you expect no opposition, then you may make bold improvements (like Chris did). It's just when you learn that there is actually a consensus at an article to do something odd (like telling everyone that The New York Times is published in New York), then you have to respect that consensus. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:02, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
If only that were the case. My reason for starting this discussion was that my attempt to make that sort of modification (removing superfluous location/publisher) to citations in some articles has been opposed not by a local consensus to do things differently, but by another editor who insists that any such change must gain positive approval (or at least silent consent) in advance by discussion on each and every article's talk page; this editor is insistent (and several others above seem to agree) that WP:BRD is not sufficient. By implication, adding ISBN would fall into the same category. Colonies Chris (talk) 08:50, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Someone trying to add ISBNs would need to look and see if there are any ISBNs in the article. If all but one reference has an ISBN, adding the ISBN to that one reference would be fine. But if none of the references has an ISBN, or only one out of many has one, then, yes, the editor needs to discuss it on the talk page before adding lots of them. There really is no consensus that ISBNs need to be included, and some editors intentionally leave them out. Because we don't have a house style for references, an editor can't assume that any particular article will use the style they are familiar with; this is particularly true for articles the editor has not edited before.
The task you are describing - intentionally editing many articles to change the citation style by removing the locations - is not something we encourage. If you want to do it, you do need to get consensus on each article. This would not be an issue if you were going to spend a while editing the article. If it seems burdensome, that may be because you were planning to only change the citation style, and then move on. Imagine if we had 100 editors doing that, except they all disagreed on which style to use... that is why the MOS in general, and CITEVAR in particular, discourages this sort of thing. — Carl (CBM · talk) 10:30, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
As I've said above, I don't see that changing that sort of detail (locations, ISBNs) constitutes a change of style - unlike changing from Harvard to MLA, for example. However, that clearly is not a view with which most people in this discussion concur, so I won't pursue it any further here. Colonies Chris (talk) 13:47, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I support CITEVAR, but I agree with Chris here. There would never be a need to add location and publisher to, say, The New York Times. Doing so would be an error, not a style variation. Adding unnecessary parameters can be a bar to editing -- first, by creating citation clutter in edit mode, and second, by making new editors think they have to spend time hunting down these details.

I thought this issue had already been settled somewhere. SlimVirgin (talk) 16:51, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Location information might be handy if you're dealing with a dispute over whether the sources all come from the same place. Unfounded complaints about systemic bias from POV pushers aren't exactly unusual. I've been seriously tempted recently to add location information to the sources at Special education, where I've had a user tell me for a couple of years now that all of the Ofsted and other official UK education agency sources, which form the bulk of the sources in the article, make the article "too American". Sometimes nominally redundant information helps people understand it better. (Maybe I should add little flag icons to the citations, too.)
So I don't think that it's always the case that you should avoid such information, although I personally wouldn't choose to duplicate it under normal circumstances.
I don't think that CITEVAR intends to completely prohibit bold efforts at improving reference formatting, so long as there is some significant reason beyond "but I personally like it this way better". For example, avoiding publisher information or redundant location information seems to be supported by the {{Cite news}} documentation, so I think a bold effort, with a strict WP:0RR commitment, would be okay, assuming that we have no reason to believe that the inclusion of that information was intentional in that article. But at the first sign of complaint for that article, the first sign that this really was an intentional stylistic choice, CITEVAR's preference for the chosen style takes precedence. Then your options are either give up or gain consensus in a talk page discussion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:38, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
It is impossible, by definition, to make an "error" about stylistic issues for which we have no house style. Even if I individually dislike the style used in an article, someone else is free to set any style they like, and I need to accept it. Claiming that my personal preference is better than the personal preference already in place, without an actual mandate in the MOS, is exactly what CITEVAR is meant to stop. Citation styles are one place where we explicitly say not to be bold; we don't want people going article to article changing the styles to their preference, mostly because if everyone does that it leads to interminable disputes everywhere that have no "right" solution. Fortunately the issue already has been settled, in WP:CITEVAR. — Carl (CBM · talk) 01:45, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
It is possible for consensus to exist that a particular article will use a named style, such as Help:Citation Style 1 or APA Style. It is then possible to make errors in implementing those styles; such errors would be subject to correction by any editor who notices them. It is also possible to create sub-styles, such as deciding that with Citation Style 1, the access dates will be in a certain format. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ‎Jc3s5h (talkcontribs)
A style error would be something that would puzzle a professional editor, such as "John Smith, Name of Book, Cambridge University Press (England, Europe, the Earth, the Milky Way, the Universe)." This isn't that far removed from writing "Time magazine, published by Time, Inc." So removing those parameters seems fine to me, CITEVAR notwithstanding. SlimVirgin (talk) 17:04, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
CITEVAR does not require that the style in an article would look good, or even reasonable or decent, to a professional. Editors are free to make up their own styles when they start new articles on Wikipedia. That does not mean the styles they pick cannot be changed, but the styles should not be changed without getting consensus on the talk page first. For everything that I find "puzzling", someone else finds something that I do equally "puzzling"; that doesn't mean we should go around changing things just because we prefer something different. — Carl (CBM · talk) 17:44, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Why do you you think that CITEVAR ought to be the exception to the general rule of WP:BOLD and the WP:BRD? -- PBS (talk) 13:49, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
It don't have to think it ought to be, because it is. But I can explain why it is. The reason is a combination of two factors.
  1. Unlike other bold improvements, stylistic changes are rarely objective improvements to the article. In the most common case, they consist only of reformatting information that is already present, or adding or removing secondary information that some prefer to include and others prefer to omit, such as the locations of the publishers. Thus style changes do little to make the article genuinely better, assuming it was already internally consistent. They just make it different than it was.
  2. History has shown that many editors have strong preferences about how they prefer to see citations formatted, and conventions differ greatly between fields. There is no consensus about a single "right" way to format citations across all articles, and there is little chance of such a consensus every developing. In fact there is so little chance of agreement that we have a tie-breaking rule: if parties cannot agree, we simply use the first style that was established in the article. A firm tie-breaking rule like that is rare on wikipedia - it is present here because disagreements about stylistic issues are particularly hard to resolve.
Taking both of these factors into account, in order to prevent editors from wasting productivity arguing about minor stylistic changes, there is a general rule in CITEVAR to simply leave the style as it is in each article. This is particularly important for editors who do nothing else to an article but change the citation style. We do not want editors to be bold in that way, because if many editors did it we would have a chaos of constantly changing citation styles everywhere, and corresponding talk page arguments everywhere about the right style for each article. Without CITEVAR, I could make a list of every featured article and begin to change the citation styles to match my preferences - and so could 20 other people. — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:04, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Break 1

CBM you wrote "I don't have to think it ought to be, because it is." yet it was you who added this, so I suggest that we remove "or without first seeking consensus for the change" as it is incompatible with the usual WP:BOLD and the WP:BRD method of editing. -- PBS (talk) 15:33, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Actually, it was added no later than the beginning of 2011 [12]; I merely restored it after someone removed it without consensus. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:43, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
However, the rule against bold edits dates back to 2008 [13] with the sentence "if an article already has some citations, an editor should adopt the method already in use or seek consensus before changing it." Note the word "before" there. This sentence is still visible in the lede of the guideline today. The language added in 2011 was only intended to emphasize the existing rule against bold changes, it did not create that rule. — Carl (CBM · talk) 16:07, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
The spirit of CITEVAR goes back to 2005, and perhaps earlier. For example, October 2005: "If contributors differ as to the appropriate style of citation, they should defer to the article's main content contributors in deciding the most suitable format for the presentation of references." That doesn't say "don't be bold," but it implies it ("defer to the article's main content contributors in deciding"). SlimVirgin (talk) 16:02, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
See my comment above that starts "Colonies Chris, welcome to politics of this page..." the point was that there was broad agreement that one should not convert whole articles from Harvard style citations to ref tags back in 2005 without consensus. That was what the arbcom decision was about and I suspect that most people would agree that is reasonable. But extending that to whether one should have to initiate a conversation on the talk page on whether one can delete "location=New York" from a template citation to a New York Times article, is I think pushing the envelope far beyond the meaning that was intended for not changing styles without consultation.-- PBS (talk) 16:07, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
This argument essentially comes down to the definition of a 'citation style'. I think we would all agree that changing from Chicago to APA style, for example, just because that's what you personally prefer, is not acceptable. The hardliners here would have it that any change at all, such as adding ISBNs or removing superfluous locations, is a style change. To my mind, that's taking the definition of a style well beyond its intended meaning in the guidelines. Adding useful information or removing useless information within a style, should be perfectly OK, subject to the style-independent overall guidelines at WP:Citing sources and Template:Citation_Style_documentation and to WP:BRD. This narrow interpretation leads to the notion seriously put forward above that it would be wrong to add ISBNs without prior consent because an editor might have intentionally chosen, as a style, not to supply them. A rule intended to prevent conflict becomes, by this very restrictive interpretation, an obstacle to the improvement of the encyclopaedia we're trying to build. Colonies Chris (talk) 13:27, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
The standard citation styles (Chicago, APA, and Turabian) do not include ISBNs, so it is not so strange to think a style without ISBNs might seriously have been chosen, and there is no way to add ISBNs "within" the style. But the deeper issue with ISBNs is that there is no consensus that they should be added, even if we ignore style issues; the archives of this talk page have lengthy discussions where it is clear a significant number of editors feel ISBNs should not be added "just for the sake of completeness". So the issue here is not that CITEVAR is preventing people from doing things that are generally considered helpful (which I agree would be bad for it to do). The issue is that there is a lack of agreement that ISBNs are generally helpful, and CITEVAR serves to hold back editors who would ignore that lack of consensus and go around adding them anyway. If there was actually a consensus that ISBNs should be added to all book references, CITEVAR wouldn't apply. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:08, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
Well I certainly don't want to get into an argument about the value of ISBNs. So let's confine the discussion to the specific case of locations and publishers. You say that if there were consensus that ISBNs were a good thing, then adding them would be OK. On the matter of superfluous locations and publishers, there is consensus - it's here, in the documentation of the Cite template: Template:Citation_Style_documentation#publisher
  • publisher: Name of publisher; may be wikilinked if relevant. Not normally included for periodicals.
  • location: Geographical place of publication; generally not wikilinked; omit when the name of the work includes the location; examples: The Boston Globe, The Times of India.
(emphasis added)
So the agreed guidelines for using the template recommend against those parameters, but it's not acceptable to remove them. How does that make sense? Colonies Chris (talk) 22:02, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
The page Template:Citation_Style_documentation is not part of the MOS at all; at best it applies only to articles that use Citation Style 1. Presumably an article that includes locations for all publications does not follow that citation style. The lede of WP:MOS says, "Where more than one style is acceptable, editors should not change an article from one of those styles to another without a substantial reason." This is why it is possible to have an MOS recommendation (but not requirement) against something, while still not allowing that it to be universally removed. But in this case there is not even an MOS recommendation, just a recommendation for articles that use a particular, optional, Wikipedia-specific citation style. WP:CITE does not include firm requirements for what information to include in citation, it just says what is "typically" included. — Carl (CBM · talk) 11:04, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
But this whole discussion, right from when I initiated it, has been solely to do with citations that use the cite template. And that template uses Citation Style 1. Any article that uses cite templates but includes superfluous publishers and locations is following citation style 1, but doing it badly. So what's wrong with correcting it to more closely follow the recommendations for that style? Colonies Chris (talk) 12:03, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
I did not realize you were talking about CS1. Not every article that uses the "cite XXX" templates uses Citation Style 1 - the same templates can be used to achieve many styles, and I think many editors use the templates without even knowing that something called "Citation Style 1" exists. (Also, the original post just said "templates", which would include non-CS1 templates such as "citation".) If an article does use CS1 then it's fine to fix things that are out of compliance with CS1. But the existence of templates is not a guarantee that the article uses CS1. It's not very hard to just ask on the talk page whether an article is intended to be in CS1 before starting to edit the article to bring it into compliance with CS1, and doing so it the best practice before assuming that the editors of the article wanted it to be in CS1. — Carl (CBM · talk) 12:41, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Please clarify for me - how could an article use cite templates for citations but not use CS1? The documentation for CS1 lists all the commonly used cite templates as CS1-compliant. Colonies Chris (talk) 15:23, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
You have already said one way: the articles could intentionally specify locations that CS1 would not. Or they could use the separator parameter to turn the periods into commas - this is what that parameter is for, but CS1 requires periods, so if the parameter is used to make them into commas, the resulting article is not CS1. There are several similar "display" options in the templates. CS1 requires that the templates have to be used in a certain way, but the templates themselves can be used to achieve a broad range of styles including both CS1 and CS2. — Carl (CBM · talk) 16:26, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Colonies Chris raises a valid question. The documentation for each of the templates in Citation Style 1 contain the {{Citation Style 1}} navigation box. But is this really sufficient notice to editors that each of these templates is part of a consistent style, and the documentation and function of each template should be maintained to be consistent with CS1? Is it sufficient notice to editors that when they use one of these templates, they should comply with any style statements at Help:Citation style 1? In my view, it isn't sufficient to provide top-down notification to editor by creating Help:Citation style 1 and expect everyone to somehow know about it. It is also necessary to provide bottom-up notice so anyone reading the documentation of any of the templates in that group will understand the significance of Help:Citation style 1. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:26, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

I doubt very much whether most editors using the cite templates know (or much care) anything about citation styles. They just supply values for the parameters that are recommended in the template documentation and trust that the template will format it in an acceptable way. And this is as it should be. There are many different styles of citation, appropriate for different purposes, but most editors don't need or want to bother about that. They just want to provide sufficient information to allow their statements to be verified, not get into the fine detail of how it ought to be formatted. There perhaps needs to be some guidance on the circumstances where CS1 is not the best option. Colonies Chris (talk) 17:05, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
So, Carl, let me get this straight. If an article uses cite templates, adding ISBNs is not acceptable because they're not mentioned in the CS1 documentation. However, if an article use cite templates in an absolutely standard CS1 way (i.e. not messing with separators or anything of that sort), but also adds redundant locations, contrary to the CS1 template guidelines, it's not, in your opinion, simply using CS1 badly, it's creating a brand new style (let's call it CS1+RL), and therefore it's inviolable? Colonies Chris (talk) 17:05, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Templated vs. non-templated cites

I just stumbled into this discussion, and noticed that the To be avoided portion of CITEVAR seems to lack balance on this. One item listed there as to be avoided currently says,

  • 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

It seems to me that in order to equally balance this, that item should read something like

  • Adding citation templates to an article that consistently uses a system without templates, or adding non-templated citations to an article which consistently uses templated citations.

I have observed that perfect consistency either way in this regard is rare in WP articles. Personally, I think that consistency of citation presentation style ought to be a separate topic from consistency of editorial style in placing citations into article wikitext. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 23:01, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

At least one exception would be required for "adding non-templated citations to an article which consistently uses templated citations": it is acceptable to add a non-templated citation to an article that otherwise uses templates if the templates do not support the citation that is to be added, for example, because the source is unusual and no one has created a template suitable for it. Jc3s5h (talk) 23:18, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
If you dig back a few months, you will find some sort of consensus that CITEVAR applies to visual style (how the citation renders) and technical style (the markup that creates the citation). ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:49, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
My impression is that lumping these two different things under this one guideline has proven less than perfectly effective. I think that it might be more effective to address these two separate areas separately. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 02:04, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
I think you are possibly misinterpreting the guideline. The guideline is not about adding citations, it is adding or removing templates to citations already in the article. Adding templates to a citation system that does not use them, or removing templates from a citation system that does use them is prohibited. It is the switch between templated and non-templated systems that is prohibited. If an article uses a templated style and someone adds a citation in a non-templated style, that is permitted, and likewise, someone can add a templated citation to an article that does not use templates. Obviously that's not as desirable as someone adopting the article style, but it's not a hanging offence. Betty Logan (talk) 01:02, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
The third paragraph of the lead says, "This page contains information on how to place and format citations." (how to add them and how to format them). The heading of the subsection on which I commented is Variation in citation methods. However, the subsection does go on to caution about changing an article's established citation style merely on the grounds of personal preference rather than to address the subtopic which the heading might be taken to describe. IMO, addressing citation presentation style and editorial style re insertion of citations together probably adds more confusion than it prevents. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 02:04, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
The text is not very clear; when it says "adding citation templates" it means "converting all the existing references to templates". It is always acceptable to add a new reference to an article in any format whatsoever; eventually that new reference will need to be standardized to the format that the article is supposed to use. But in the short term, we don't want to burden editors, particularly new editors, by telling them they can't add a new reference without first researching the citation style of the article. If they have the info to add a reference, they should do it, and if they don't know how to put it in the right format then someone else can clean it up for them. CITEVAR is not intended to stop that process. — Carl (CBM · talk) 11:11, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
If the text means "converting all the existing references to templates", then it should say that. What it says at the moment is "adding citation templates" and I have had cases where the text I have added along with the citation have been reverted because the template used was not already in use in the article and when asked why the answer is "'I don't like it' see WP:CITEVAR". -- PBS (talk) 15:46, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
To be fair, you personally have enough experience that you already know to investigate the right format before adding a citation. So the person who reverted you might have been more gracious with a new editor. But in any case, there are two competing goals: (1) WP:CITE and WP:MOS both say that edits to an article should follow the existing style of the article, and we expect experienced editors will make an effort to do this; (2) we nevertheless encourage editors to add references when they can, even if they can't get the format completely right. The same conflict between adding new content and following the established style occurs with every stylistic issue, not just citations. There's no way to control how it will be resolved in every individual situation. — Carl (CBM · talk) 16:36, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
The guidance at the top of WP:CITE captures it for me. "Each article should use the same citation method throughout. If an article already has citations, adopt the method in use or seek consensus on the talk page before changing it. While you should try to write citations correctly, what matters most is that you provide enough information to identify the source. Others will improve the formatting if needed." I'd agree entirely that I'd prefer a newbie to get on and start editing; equally, an experienced editor certainly should be adopting the method in use (with patience from other editors when we make the inevitable mistakes!). Hchc2009 (talk) 16:42, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Carl is right. I don't think anyone cares how a brand-new citation is added. It's large scale changes that are disruptive. We should recast the language to make sure it is clear that we are really talking about a particular kind of WP:GNOMEing. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 16:09, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

I care about it marginally; that is to say, there's a difference between someone adding in a brand-new citation in a different style because they don't understand how the wiki works, or by mistake, and someone adding it in a different style because they simply refuse to follow the local article style. It's rare, but you do find some editors doing the latter, and it puts the burden onto others to clean up after them. Hchc2009 (talk) 16:47, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
I concur: there are several kinds of cases.
Do we have any tags that can be used to mark specific citations that need to be made conformable with existing practice? All I could find are {{citation style}}, which tags a whole article, and {{inconsistent citations}}, which is more about cite/citation differences. Should we get such a tag? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:35, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
I hate when people tag things in the article space without discussing them or fixing them. Just fix it. Discuss it if controversial. Follow up. ---- CharlesGillingham (talk) 23:19, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
On the other hand, I hate having clean up after other people. Not that I won't do it on occasion. There are plenty of times when a tag could be useful in alerting people that there is a problem, even become a teaching opportunity. And sometimes I see citations that are just wretched, that require a great deal of effort to figure out what was intended. Even where I am willing to fix a citation, I don't always have the time; adding a tag might help me find it some days later. And if there is a question of proper form, then it could be an anchor for any Talk discussion. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:26, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Content in templates

I've challenged content in {{Zodiac date}}. I think this once again brings up the failings of our citation guidance for templates. The failings that I've noticed are

  • Editors rarely provide a citation contained in the article for content that comes from a template, and even if they wanted to, it often wouldn't be obvious how to do so.
  • Templates rarely cite sources for content contained in the template. Since it is rarely done, there is no convention on how to do so.
  • If a template is used in more than one article, and the citation is to be transcluded into the article, there is no mechanism to make the citation from the template match the style of the citations in the article.
  • The cleanup templates available to indicate citations are needed are only intended for articles or sections. If a template is protected, there is no way to indicate to readers that the content from the template is unverified. If the template is unprotected, inserting a notice that citations are needed might impair the function of the template.

I believe this area should be addressed by a convention on how to do this. I'm leaning toward a footnote referring the reader to citation information located at a subpage of the template. Perhaps something like this:

99. Citations for the Zodiac dates may be found at the Wikipedia Zodiac dates template.

Jc3s5h (talk) 14:12, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

I fully agree. Template content is NOT exempted from being supported by reliable sources, yet nobody seems to care, and even if references are provided, this does not stop editors to change the content of the template to something to their liking without any link to the reference. My own experience relates to the 2 emotions listing templates Template:Emotion-footer Template:Emotion which provide (somewhat different) classifications of emotions, with editors just slotting in their heartfelt emotion word of the day without any evidence the word is an emotion (or indeed exists in the English language).
Including a fact tag inside templates is always immediately removed, since that would flag up each and every page that uses the template as unsourced, but we have no other reader warning sign that a template may be rubbish.
Some reference checking and/or warning specifically for templates, visible in articles using the template should be developed, and stricter action to get rid of non-sourced information in templates is needed. Arnoutf (talk) 17:12, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Try <noinclude>{{fact}}</noinclude> --Redrose64 (talk) 18:27, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
I have done that, and as a consequence it is on the template page, where nobody ever looks, and not on each article page the unsourced template is used and where the reader should be warned about the unreliability of the template. It is better than nothing, but does not give due warning to the readers. Arnoutf (talk) 06:41, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
It seems simple to me that templates which are challengable and which are true content templates (in so far as they are only used in few or one articles and that they are of paragraphs or bulleted lists of items or somesuch) should be substed and the appropriate articles fact tagged (possibly before substing). Templates which are challengable and which are not true content templates—I would deem the OP's template such a template, as all it does is compute values, or the given navbox templates by Arnoutf—should have their citations listed in the documentation section of the template, or as inline comments if the contents of the templates are especially prone to addition or removal based on fancy. I see no reason why citations should be called out as something special among templates. For those templates, such as infoboxes, which sometimes employ citations on a regular basis, I think there's a reasonable consistency already: either your template handles the citation addition and you are expected to add a <references/> tag or equivalent, or you're expected to provide the citation when you fill in the template on the article's page. Special guidance on that point seems unnecessary. --Izno (talk) 00:19, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
I agree that Artnouf's navboxes don't require citations. A navbox is just a colorful ==See also== system.
When citations are actually useful, they tend to be stored on the /doc pages, and anyone who transcludes the template is welcome to copy over the citation(s) into the article. This works like you would cite sources related to an image. It's not hard. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:28, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I strongly oppose the remark that navboxes do not require citations as a rule.
By prominently placing such templates on a page the reader will be made to believe the listed entries are indeed all (in this case) emotions. See also is a much much less strong claim; as that only refers to (potentially vaguely) related articles but does not make any claim about the classification of these articles. Note that in the case raised on emotions this is not at all a trivial topic, as the classification of emotions, and even the labelling of pyschological states as an emotion (or otherwise) remains the topic of research (and discussion) in the academic world. There is no way that listing emotion words without a source in whatever combination claiming them to belong to a single group is anything else but original research.
On the other hand, I agree that in many cases listing topics in a navbox is trivial, and unlikely to raise a problem. However, this is already allowed under the policies. Unsourced information is ok, as long as nobody requires sourcing. As soon as someone asks for sourcing this has to be provided.
In practice, I think that for 90% of all navboxes no sourcing will be asked, it is about those 10% we should worry, and I see no reason why these should be exempted from the policies. Arnoutf (talk) 09:21, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
WP:SEEALSO and navboxes are the same thing. The primary reason we invented navboxes—navboxes, as in navigation—was so that we could quit re-typing the same things under ==See also== on all the pages. We only "classify" the articles in them when it's necessary to provide some structure to the list by way of making it readable. We do the same thing under ==See also==, like this, which has since been replaced with this. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:37, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
The emotion sidebar template is not a navbox. The emotion footer could be a navbox, but if these are indeed the same than per 'see also' a "brief annotation when a link's relevance is not immediately clear", which in this case would translate to a brief annotation for each single emotion (as such listing is not clear) or a source. I still see no reason why people can dump stuff into such templates anywhere in the guidelines. Arnoutf (talk) 17:07, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
The sidebar is also a navbox. In fact, there is no content in it except links to other articles, so there's nothing except navigation that you can do with that template. The navbox guidelines specifically call out sidebars as a type of navbox. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:34, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Thank you to User:JHunterJ

Thank you so much! Let me know if there is anything else that I need to do. Also, is there a way that I can be notified when changes are made to the page? I've gotten a few emails. But there are a lot of people editing Dr. Ivan Rusilko. Also, why, did they take the Dr. out of his title? Thanks again!

(Angelinagirl317 18:44, 11 September 2012 (UTC)) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Angelinagirl317 (talkcontribs)

WP:LASTNAME will answer one of your questions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:40, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Question

Hello,

is an in-line citation required for "the first rock and roll album ever to make it to the top of the charts." in Elvis Presley (album)? Looking at the prior charts, there were indeed no rock albums, but rather adult contemporary/pop soundtracks or similar. Also it is hard to cite such claim. Regards.--Kürbis () 12:37, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

How do you know(?) this album was first? Most likely because someone else has made the claim. And that is what you cite — the claim made by someone else, including who, when, and where. (But keep in mind the requirement for reliable sources.) On the other hand, if you know this because of your own researches ... sorry, that would be original research, and not allowed here. Okay? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:14, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
I know that because there were simply no albums in this caliber. Alright, then I am allowed to keep plot and gameplay sections unreferenced, but such a minor and self-evident claim should be cited? Furthermore, if it was the first million-selling rock and roll album then the prior statement must be true. Regards.--Kürbis () 08:48, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
  Not quite. How do you "know" (for example) that "there were simply no albums in this caliber"? Broadly speaking there are two possible sources. 1) You obtained the information from someone else (either you read it some where, or someone told you). In this case, like I said above, you document "who, when, where". 2) You obtained this information from a) direct observation, or b) "figuring it out" in some way. Either of these probably constitute "original research" (not allowed here). The latter could even get into what is called "synthesis" (also not allowed). E.g., if you consider this album to be the first rock and roll album to hit the top on the basis that all previous top hits were not rock and roll ("adult contemporary/pop soundtracks or similar"), then you are making a distinction, and the question is: does any one else make such a distinction?
  If you find a source (presumably a reliable source) that says this album was "the first rock and roll album to hit to the top", by all means include it, being careful to cite that source. But if you cannot find such a source, then there is nothing to cite; the "fact" you would add would be your own invention, and not allowed. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 17:51, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Surprisingly I found a ref... Regards.--Kürbis () 18:32, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Great! So cite that source. Do be careful about any caveats, etc.; you don't want to say more than the source itself says. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:10, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
"if it was the first million-selling rock and roll album then the prior statement must be true" - no. Some million-sellers never made it to the top, because their sales were spread out over many years: The Dark Side of the Moon, for example, peaked at no. 2 in the UK. --Redrose64 (talk) 19:23, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Auto-download pdf?

Hi, I would like to use the following pdf [14] for filming dates on the movie Iron Man 3. However the link automatically downloads the pdf for the user instead of opening it in the browser window. Is it acceptable to use that source as is? Should I make some sort of note about the auto-download nature of the link in the citation template? How? Thanks for any help. -Fandraltastic (talk) 15:58, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Audiovisual Citation Guidelines

These new, draft Audiovisual Citation Guidelines, for citing things like DVD extras, YouTube clips, etc, may be of interest. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:29, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

Definitely. Will you be keeping an eye on the drafting from a wiki perspective? (NB: it would be great if you did!) Hchc2009 (talk) 14:54, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

findarticles.com

Since August 2012, all addresses relating to this site are redirecting to the search.com main page. (There's almost no information available about why this has happened - presumably a corporate decision to close down the findarticles service). This renders hundreds, possibly thousands, of cites useless. Is anyone aware of this? Has anyone proposed a solution? Colonies Chris (talk) 11:22, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Subsection: "Citations embedded in quoted material"

In this edit MachineElf removed this subsection without Talk-page discussion, ignoring back-and-forth at the Village Pump, found here and here. In that discussion, several approaches to this matter were considered, and the best alternative was brought to Citing sources.

The in-line edit justification provided by MachineElf was:

footnotes at the end are better, but I object to these examples which were discussed ad nauseum at Talk:Mind–body problem#Removal of links to sources and earlier at Talk:Mind–body problem#Mind-body interaction and mental causation

These edit-line links have no bearing upon this subsection other than to point out that the example quotation does appear in the article Mind–body problem. That appearance does not argue against the presentation of a guideline governing quotes with internal sources, and also does not mean the example should not be used here. The example illustrates very well how the guideline works using a real example with actual WP templates like Template:Cite book, Template:Cite journal and Template:Cite web. Brews ohare (talk) 05:51, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Personally I think this suggestion is much too specific for the page, and implies that this is a recommended way of handling the procedure. At the very least, the section should be refactored to indicate clearly that the example provided is just a suggestion without any official support and that any reasonable method an author wants to employ would be equally acceptable. I think removal altogether is also appropriate. In this specific situation I think the best solution would tend to be eliminating the block quote. Otherwise, I'd just put all that information into the single footnote citing the source the author has actually consulted. Christopher Parham (talk) 16:29, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Christopher: I've removed the example. I don't think the point of a guideline is to present the one and only solution to the question of how to refer to embedded sources. The point is to provide a good solution, and to suggest it be followed. It is a guideline. There are a variety of opinions on how to do this as evidenced in the discussion at the Village Pump. However, so far, this approach is the least awkward that has come up. Brews ohare (talk) 21:05, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
It is to be expected that some contributors will employ unsatisfactory approaches to this issue, and arguments will result. An acceptable solution identified in a guideline helps to avoid this eventuality. Brews ohare (talk) 21:12, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Providing a good solution and suggesting it be followed is the role of an essay; a guideline is a "generally accepted standard". I think there are still problems with your section in this regard. For instance, you state that it is helpful to use citation templates. This goes against existing language on the page stating that templates are neither encouraged or discouraged, and is bad advice - editors ideally shouldn't be introducing them to pages that systematically don't use them. You also address specifically identify the use of footnotes, when that is just one acceptable citation style; either the section should be rewritten to apply more broadly or moved to the page on footnotes specifically. Honestly I think the only thing here that could be described as generally accepted is the idea that if cited material includes mentions of other sources, it would be useful to provide as much detail about those as well, in whatever format makes sense for the particular application. The situation arises rarely enough that particulars of formatting are best left to the discretion of editors on scene. That could be covered in one sentence under "What information to include: additional annotation". Christopher Parham (talk) 22:18, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

I agree with Christopher Parham; this is just one way to do it, and it's not clear why it should be recommended or suggested here. It's not 'the one and only' solution, and is not one I've seen adopted in articles. Remember guidelines are meant to describe common practice, not introduce new rules, Personally I don't see the point of adding references to quotes. References are needed to support the article content only. The only reference needed for a quote is a reference to its source. If the quote is unclear without footnotes it probably should be avoided altogether. As WP:QUOTE describes,

quoting a brief excerpt from an original source can sometimes explain things better and less controversially than trying to explain them in one's own words.

But if a quote is so unclear it needs citing itself then it would be better removed and paraphrased, then any references added as normal to the article.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 22:00, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

I also oppose the proposed section. It seems too specific and is also confusing. It would be unusual to add the citations from a quotation, but it people want to, they can add them to the footnote containing the citation for the quote (as a bundled ref). Also, we shouldn't recommend using templates as though there is no other option. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:20, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Brews, it's not me who needs to justify your 'WP:BOLD' addition... or will you continue to misrepresent the largely ambivalent, even dissenting, feedback you've received at the Village Pump as some sort of mandate? In fact, I did not ignore that discussion—footnotes at the end are much better than what you originally had in mind: alternative citations ("not necessarily" matching the aurthor's) above each of the author's harvard references. In the "back and forth", I did notice that you have taken many of my concerns on-board, and thanks for that.
Unfortunately, you're unwilling to even consider using an example that's unencumbered by your protracted, though hardly less recent efforts... on display at those so called "edit-line links". As you're willing, nevertheless, to somehow disclaim its relevance, except for several straw men "to point out that the example quotation does appear in the article"... contrary to your phantom detractors...
Of course, your example footnotes of paraphrased citations do not appear in article, and you've discovered no examples of WP:PARACITEs in the wild... Regardless, the fact of the matter is that the quote appearing in the article is much larger than your example: it has six of the author's harvard-style citations and a nested quote of its own. What your example illustrates very well is that most editors think it should just be refactored—even at a fraction of the actual size—and that without the dubious benefit of "not necessarily" genuine copies taken from the SEP's bibliography in addition.
All in all, I would agree it should neither be here nor there... but for the fact you insist.—Machine Elf 1735 00:16, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
I object to the most recent approach, which says that "it is better" to follow one editor's preferences. Which approach is better depends on all the facts and circumstances.
Also, it'd be worth reading WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT, which deals with this and which provides the most common way of handling this. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:04, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
I at least would like to mention that I have no interest in or opinion on the dispute at mind-body problem which seems to have spurred this discussion, and would just prefer that single-article problems be resolved at the talk page rather that spill into guidelines. Please don't interpret comments here as supporting any position in that dispute. Christopher Parham (talk) 07:15, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, I did not say “that "it is better" to follow one editor's preferences”. What I told Brews, was that I agree he chose the best formatting offered at the Village Pump, that's hardly an endorsement of his proposal... Unfortunately, WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT does not address direct quotations: Brews wants to supply the author's bibliographic entries, he's not trying to cite those entries as his own sources, (directly, or even indirectly), which of course he could do, were he paraphrasing... but in fact, that's precluded under the circumstances.
Hi Christopher Parham, I don't know what you've mistook for an interpretation on my part, but please be assured that I've taken no notice of your comments on any matter whatever.—Machine Elf 1735 11:00, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Like some others, I doubt it would be possible to write a concise section that would apply to enough instances of citations in quotes to be worth the space it takes up. I also don't agree with the version that was recently removed because it does not provide for making a clear statement about whether Wikipedia, through the editor who added the quotation, verified the correctness of the quoted author's citation, or whether Wikipedia is merely attributing the citation to the quoted author. There is no statement about whether it is a good practice to retain the quoted author's citation if the Wikipedia lacks access to the source in question.

My usual approach, which I employed recently at Year, (although not in a direct quote situation) is to cite a sub-source only when it adds something to the Wikipedia article that is not present in the main source, or when it is more authoritative than the main source. It is likely that a prose description of the relationship of the sources will be necessary so the reader will understand the significance of the sub-source. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:10, 9 November 2012 (UTC) ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It is wonderful to see so many contributors to WP turn their attention to this rather minor matter. I hope that some clarity will result. To further the analysis, it is helpful to carefully define the issue and to avoid wandering off in peripheral directions. I think a simple example can help to focus. I'll present an example, and then consider how each of the above comments apply to it. I hope the participants will then comment once more.

Here is a possible example:

"Some philosophers (e.g., Davidson 1963; Mele 1992) insist that the very notion of psychological explanation turns on the intelligibility of mental causation. If your mind and its states, such as your beliefs and desires, were causally isolated from your bodily behavior, then what goes on in your mind could not explain what you do. (For contrary views, see Ginet 1990; Sehon 2005...)."[R 1]

—Robb, David and Heil, John, "Mental Causation", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

This example is real-world inasmuch as MachineElf has employed it as part of a much longer quotation from the same source in Mind-body problem. The original authors, Robb & Heil, introduced their own choice of sources and used an (author year) format to identify each item in their appended bibliography. These sources serve in part to support their statements, but even more than that, they serve to assist the reader to find extended published discussion of various topics and broaden their perspective upon the subject.

The issue here is how to handle these embedded (author year) references inside the quoted material. How do the opinions of those assembled apply to this example?

Substantial comments follow:

  • Christopher Parham: "Honestly I think the only thing here that could be described as generally accepted is the idea that if cited material includes mentions of other sources, it would be useful to provide as much detail about those as well, in whatever format makes sense for the particular application. The situation arises rarely enough that particulars of formatting are best left to the discretion of editors on scene."
I take this as saying no guideline is necessary, let each contributor invent their own procedure.
  • John Blackburne: "Personally I don't see the point of adding references to quotes. References are needed to support the article content only. The only reference needed for a quote is a reference to its source. If the quote is unclear without footnotes it probably should be avoided altogether."
Now, it is the original authors that added the references, not the WP contributor. One can argue that the original authors felt these sources provided useful material to their readers, and to that extent it is a misquotation to delete these sources. The omission of these sources is also an emasculation of the quotation, because it provides expert guidance to the literature on the subject.
  • WhatamIdoing: "it'd be worth reading WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT, which deals with this and which provides the most common way of handling this."
The link WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT says Don't cite a source unless you've seen it for yourself. However, in this case it is the original authors citing the source, and these sources they cite arguably are part of their concept of the subject and color their words.
  • SlimVirgin: "It would be unusual to add the citations from a quotation, but it people want to, they can add them to the footnote containing the citation for the quote (as a bundled ref)."
This suggestion sounds very much like the existing proposal, which doesn't bundle this information in the footnote to the source, but adds a second footnote that says more or less "The original authors have suggested references so-and-so."
  • MachineElf: "will you continue to misrepresent the largely ambivalent, even dissenting, feedback you've received at the Village Pump as some sort of mandate? In fact, I did not ignore that discussion—footnotes at the end are much better than what you originally had in mind: alternative citations ("not necessarily" matching the aurthor's) above each of the author's harvard references. In the "back and forth", I did notice that you have taken many of my concerns on-board, and thanks for that." ..."What your example illustrates very well is that most editors think it should just be refactored—even at a fraction of the actual size—and that without the dubious benefit of "not necessarily" genuine copies taken from the SEP's bibliography in addition."
I accept that the discussion at the Village Pump has not proved adequate to please the assembled parties, although it is the origin of the proposal here as originally conceived there by Noleander. I am unclear about MachineElf's specific objections to the proposal other than the concern that the added source material is "not necessarily" genuine. That concern is directly addressed in the proposal by (i) placing the WP footnote outside the quotation marks so it is clear it does not form part of the quotation and (ii) wording the WP footnote with a leading caveat that this source material is not exactly what the authors provided, containing (for example) links, isbn numbers or whatever that the original source failed to provide.
  • Jc3s5h: "I also don't agree with the version that was recently removed because it does not provide for making a clear statement about whether Wikipedia, through the editor who added the quotation, verified the correctness of the quoted author's citation, or whether Wikipedia is merely attributing the citation to the quoted author."
I've sought myself to verify the author's source identification when using this approach. In some cases it is not possible to find the source because it is out of print, or some other reason. In cases where felicity to the author is not certain, the proposal is to include some caveat in the WP footnote, such as, It appears that the following is a later edition of the source cited: etc. etc.... It may be that the proposal needs to address this issue more clearly, but I don't think that is hard to do.

I hope that my short excerpts of your comments catch at least part of what you all had to say here, and that you might amplify your concerns.

The use of templates like Template:Cite book is found objectionable by several of you. There is no difficulty in downplaying this method of providing source material, so these objections amount to rewording of the proposal, not its abandonment.

I do believe a guideline is a helpful approach to this issue in providing a way to deal with this minor issue that many contributors might not think of, and that would help settle any disputes that will inevitably arise should anarchy prevail. The proposal is not the only acceptable way to handle the matter, but it works. With no guideline contributors must use their own imagination, which I discovered for myself at Village Pump, may be unacceptable. Thank you all for your careful consideration of this matter. Brews ohare (talk) 15:48, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

You are suggesting that we might write this as a quotation: "Some philosophers (e.g., Davidson 1963; Mele 1992) insist that ..."[R 1]|Robb, David and Heil, John, "Mental Causation", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy}}
But quote farming should be avoided. That should be written: "Davidson and Mele argue that ... " and the footnote would contain citations to their work, preferably directly, or at least "Davidson (citation) and Mele citation) cited in ('say where you got it' citation)." What you're suggesting here (quoting a tertiary source that cites the philosophers) would not be the best of editing, so to add a section on how to format it would seem odd. SlimVirgin (talk) 16:02, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
SlimVirgin: If I were an expert in the subject and familiar with the work of Davidson and Mele, then I'd have no difficulty in discussing their work directly and sourcing it. But that is not the case, and most WP contributors do not have the expertise of Robb & Heil. Including the (author year) reference in the quote as cited by Robb & Heil, the implication is that these authors (not the WP contributor) feel that the Davidson and Mele publications are worth the reader's attention, and can be considered pertinent to the topic. It also is much shorter to stick with the Robb & Heil reference to Davidson and Mele than to digress upon an extended presentation of the work of Davidson and Mele, which may be unwarranted in an overview of the topic.
For these reasons I believe there is a place for leaving the (author year) references as they originally appear and adding a WP footnote after the quote to identify more carefully what the (author year) designation refers to. Brews ohare (talk) 16:17, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
You don't need to be an expert on Davidson and Mele; you just need to be able to summarize the quoted material, rather than quoting two writers citing two other writers. SlimVirgin (talk) 16:34, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
SlimVirgin: Your observations suggest that a recasting of the proposal requires a better formulation of the reasons for using authors' embedded sources. In the present example, Robb & Heil state:

"Some philosophers (e.g., Davidson 1963; Mele 1992) insist that the very notion of psychological explanation turns on the intelligibility of mental causation. If your mind and its states, such as your beliefs and desires, were causally isolated from your bodily behavior, then what goes on in your mind could not explain what you do.

I'd take it that you would prefer a direct statement such as:
Rob & Heil[R 1] suggest that some philosophers, including Davidson and Mele,[R 2] "insist that the very notion of psychological explanation turns on the intelligibility of mental causation. If your mind and its states, such as your beliefs and desires, were causally isolated from your bodily behavior, then what goes on in your mind could not explain what you do."
In other words, is it your recommendation that paraphrase be used to avoid incorporation of the embedded (author year) references? That will work in some cases, but in others it can be awkward and it is prone to accidental misinterpretation. It seems to me that the option of this proposal has a place, and can be simpler and less error-prone than paraphrasing. Brews ohare (talk) 16:58, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
You don't need to be an expert but you at least need to understand the subject well enough to be able to write about it coherently and without errors. If you can't do that then find some other topic to edit – there's no shortage of e.g. geographical articles woefully short of content and citations, or absent altogether and in need of creation.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 17:45, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Quotation marks, references and punctuation

Twice recently an article to which I have given some attention has been bombarded by a bot which appears to force a rather illogical world view on the poor Wikipedia reader.

Specifically the bot seems to insist on imposing the view that punctuation is just decoration, and not in fact punctuation - an interruption. Punctuation exists to allow us to delimit sections of text as quotations, spoken text, or simple emphasis (sometimes with irony or sarcasm etc.); place a hierarchy of interruptions in our texts; and/or create different forms of lists. An interruption means that what comes before the interruption is 'one thing'; while that which comes after the interruption is 'another thing'. If a reference refers to 'one thing' its logical location is for it to be on the same side of the punctuation as 'one thing' itself. It should most certainly not be on the 'another thing' side, as it has nothing to do with 'another thing'.

Let me put the argument for using logical punctuation like this ...

Any text 'one thing'<reference to 'one thing'>; more text 'another thing'<reference to 'another thing'>; yet more text 'yet another thing'<reference to 'yet another thing'>.

... and, hopefully, reinforce the illogicality of the alternative by using the alternative rules to punctuate the same text ...

Any text 'one thing';<reference to 'one thing'> more text 'another thing';<reference to 'another thing'> yet more text 'yet another thing'.<reference to 'yet another thing'>

While investigating the sources of the aforementioned bombardment, I discovered, rather to my shock, that the policy being enforced by the bot is, in fact, the 'official' policy of Wikipedia. The following quote is from the Wikipedia Manual of Style at MOS:PUNCTFOOT#Punctuation_and_footnotes:

citation markers are normally placed after adjacent punctuation such as periods and commas.

Now, I realise that in touching on this subject I am walking onto hallowed ground. However, while fully conscious of that realisation, I would like to suggest two rules for dealing with this matter:

  • firstly, text in a table should not be processed for punctuation by bots such as AWB; the vast majority of the time text in a table is not in sentence form; it is much more often in a form of shorthand; the author's exact positioning of punctuation in such text may often be critical to the understanding of that shorthand.
  • secondly, I would like to suggest that a form of truce be established on this matter; I would like to suggest that the truce be based on a division of the world into the old and new worlds; under the terms of this truce any article which refers to a matter, person or place, of, from, or in the old world should be allowed to follow the traditions of the British school of punctuation, the so-called logical school; similarly, any article which refers to a matter, person or place, of, from, or in the new world should be allowed to follow the traditions of the US school of punctuation, as reflected in the above citation from the Wikipedia Manual of Style. Such a division of the world of punctuation may help inform how other categories of articles be preferentially punctuated; I do not believe a single rule on this matter should be enforced throughout Wikipedia; the maximum we should aspire to is consistency within an article as informed by the terms of the above truce.

Is this an appropriate place to propose a vote on these two suggestions? If it is not, where should I go to make such a proposal?

Cricobr (talk) 22:53, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

We used to let editors decide for themselves, but that was eventually changed (three years ago? It will be in the talk page archives, both here and for whichever MOS page repeats it) in favor of a bot-enforceable approach. Rules can change, but I have no idea if enough people will support a reversion to the old "liberty hall" approach any more. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:15, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Refactored proposal for embedded citations

Embedded citations

It may occur that a quotation incorporates references to other sources. An example is the following excerpt:

"Some philosophers (e.g., Davidson 1963; Mele 1992) insist that the very notion of psychological explanation turns on the intelligibility of mental causation. If your mind and its states, such as your beliefs and desires, were causally isolated from your bodily behavior, then what goes on in your mind could not explain what you do. (For contrary views, see Ginet 1990; Sehon 2005...)...If psychological explanation goes, so do the closely related notions of agency and moral responsibility (cf. Horgan 2007)..."

—David Robb and John Heil, "Mental Causation" in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The question arises as to how to deal with the (author year) embedded sources in this quotation, or whatever other form particular authors might use to refer to their appended bibliography.

There are various ways to handle this matter, some better than others. Several issues should be kept in mind:

  1. The (author year) sources are recommendations of the quoted author(s), and their presence in the quote is an essential part of the quotation because (i) they supply the reader with the sources the authors themselves have selected as support for the authors' assertions and (ii) they supply the reader with the authors' evaluation of appropriate guidance to the literature on the subject, should the reader wish to pursue the matter further.
  2. The reader can search the bibliography in the original source for the meaning of the (author year) references. That requires some dedication on the part of the reader, and in some cases the bibliography may not be available, or be lacking in some details, leaving the reader hanging. For these reasons, it is preferable where possible to provide the reader with information about the embedded sources.

Assuming the desirability of identifying embedded sources, how is it done? The first approach that comes to mind is simply to insert WP footnotes containing the information in the cited work's bibliography. Some difficulties arise in doing this. One is that the bibliography may not contain information the reader might find useful, such as links, isbn or doi numbers. Another is that the source may be out of print or otherwise unavailable. For example, the original source may available only by paid subscription, but an accessible pdf version may be supplied on an author web site, or available in a Google-accessible collection of journal reprints. Thus, the bibliographic information might be usefully supplemented, but because that departs from the original work, any modification of the original bibliography should be identified as separate from the quoted material.

Here are two approaches to this issue. One is to paraphrase the source and add WP footnotes outside the quoted material:

Robb and Heil[F 1] suggest that some philosophers, for example, Davidson and Mele,[F 2] "insist that the very notion of psychological explanation turns on the intelligibility of mental causation. If your mind and its states, such as your beliefs and desires, were causally isolated from your bodily behavior, then what goes on in your mind could not explain what you do." [For contrary views, these authors suggest Ginet or Sehon.[F 3]] "If psychological explanation goes, so do the closely related notions of agency and moral responsibility" [The authors suggest comparing this view with that of Horgan.[F 4]]
Notes
  1. ^ Quotation is from Robb, David; Heil, John (2009). "Mental Causation". In Edward N. Zalta. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2009 ed.). 
  2. ^ Versions of the sources cited by Robb & Heil are: Davidson, D. (1963). "Actions, Reasons, and Causes". Journal of Philosophy 60 (23): 685–700.  Reprinted in Davidson, D (2001). "Chapter 1: Actions, Reasons, and Causes". Essays on Actions and Events (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 3–19. ISBN 0199246270.  and Mele, A. R. (1992). Springs of Action: Understanding Intentional Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 019507114X. 
  3. ^ Versions of the sources cited by Robb & Heil are: Ginet, C. (1990). On Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 052138818X.  and Sehon, S. (2005). Teleological Realism: Mind, Agency, and Explanation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0262195356. 
  4. ^ The source cited by Robb & Heil is: Horgan, T. (2007). "Mental Causation and the Agent-Exclusion Problem". Erkenntnis 67 (2): 183–200. doi:10.1007/s10670-007-9067-9. 

A second, not-very-different, approach avoids paraphrasing and includes WP footnotes outside the quotation marks:

According to Robb and Heil[F 1]

"Some philosophers (e.g., Davidson 1963; Mele 1992) insist that the very notion of psychological explanation turns on the intelligibility of mental causation."[F 2] "If your mind and its states, such as your beliefs and desires, were causally isolated from your bodily behavior, then what goes on in your mind could not explain what you do. (For contrary views, see Ginet 1990; Sehon 2005...)"[F 3] "...If psychological explanation goes, so do the closely related notions of agency and moral responsibility (cf. Horgan 2007)..."[F 4]

Notes
  1. ^ Quotation is from Robb, David; Heil, John (2009). "Mental Causation". In Edward N. Zalta. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2009 ed.). 
  2. ^ Versions of the sources cited by Robb & Heil are: Davidson, D. (1963). "Actions, Reasons, and Causes". Journal of Philosophy 60 (23): 685–700.  Reprinted in Davidson, D (2001). "Chapter 1: Actions, Reasons, and Causes". Essays on Actions and Events (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 3–19. ISBN 0199246270.  and Mele, A. R. (1992). Springs of Action: Understanding Intentional Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 019507114X. 
  3. ^ Versions of the sources cited by Robb & Heil are: Ginet, C. (1990). On Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 052138818X.  and Sehon, S. (2005). Teleological Realism: Mind, Agency, and Explanation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0262195356. 
  4. ^ The source cited by Robb & Heil is: Horgan, T. (2007). "Mental Causation and the Agent-Exclusion Problem". Erkenntnis 67 (2): 183–200. doi:10.1007/s10670-007-9067-9. 

The WP footnotes begin with disclaimers warning the reader that the source identification is not exactly that of the quoted source. Where appropriate, these disclaimers can be very explicit about the differences. For example: A later edition of the cited source is:....


Such is the refactored proposal. Are there comments? Brews ohare (talk) 18:04, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

I don't think that this is worth putting on this page, because I don't think that we have an established community practice or any reason to believe that this is the best practice. I believe that citing "Davidson 1963 and Mele 1992, as cited in Robb and Heil 2009" (except spelling out the whole bibliographic citation—just like we do in SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT—is going to be the most common practice when the second-hand citations are included (usually, they won't be). The information could also be handled in an explanatory footnote, or as text after the Robb and Heil citation ("Robb and Heil 2009. The authors name Davidson 1963 and Mele 1992 as examples of proponents, and Horgan as an opponent.") which I suspect would be the second most common approach on wiki.
You could write up your proposal as an essay, if you wanted. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:11, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
Definitely not. The same problems as before: this is not the place to be recommending new practices which aren't in common use or the solution to some significant (i.e. frequently arising) problem. And the new example is even worse: quotes should never be inlined like that so it's impossible to pick them out easily from article content. And now it's into tl;dr territory, far too long to be useful advice. Again, if the quote is so unclear it needs footnotes then don't use it, explain in your own words instead. Editors should not be using unclear quotes like this so this is not a problem that needs solving or addressing.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 03:53, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
John: The situation is not one of a quote "being unclear" and so "needing footnotes", but one of a quote already containing footnotes that are put there by the authors of the quotation, with a purpose in mind such as guiding the reader wanting more. Some decision has to be made about what to do with these embedded quotes. You suggest paraphrase, and that approach is outlined in the example above, in case you did not look at it carefully.
I don't know what you mean by "quotes should never be inlined like that". The impression I have is that you think (author year) designations as used by Robb & Heil are poor form. Is that your meaning? Brews ohare (talk) 04:33, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I see no reason to try further to explain the issue of embedded sources here. For anyone interested, they may consult Wikipedia:Quoted Citations. Brews ohare (talk) 05:20, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Having posted this proposal as an Essay with some necessary changes, I'd appreciate further commentary and suggestions appropriate to an essay at Wikipedia talk:Quoted citations. Thanks for your help here, and in advance, there. Brews ohare (talk) 18:05, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Having investigated this discussion further, I've found that it's an offshoot of a dispute between Brews ohare and another editor. Consequently, I've listed Wikipedia:Quoted citations at MfD. See Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Quoted citations for details. — Hex (❝?!❞) 18:23, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

I am glad Hex has alerted readers of this page to his action, and hope those involved here will participate. Brews ohare (talk) 17:25, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

Citing chapter authors in edited books

I have been looking at the Elephant article which makes massive use of a multi-authored book. In the text of the article, all the reference markers link to a general reference which gives only the editor's name. Surely this approach does not appropriately attribute the original source of the information (i.e. the author of the chapter). Is this acceptable on Wikipedia?__DrChrissy (talk) 17:46, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

The object is to be as precise as is reasonably possible in citation. That is why the Cite book template has a specific place for the "chapter" parameter which the "author" will link to, and "editor" will be linked to "title". Pinpoint page cites are also appreciated. Citing to a long article for a single point, one would write "pp. 323–567, page 402"; or using the template: "pages=323–567, page 402". Lots of editors are not professional editors, so go ahead and clean up after them and help them develop better citation skills. --Bejnar (talk) 18:16, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks very much for the advice.__DrChrissy (talk) 18:27, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
See {{cite encyclopedia}} which is for edited collections. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 18:34, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
Note the introductions and prefaces are often written by others than the author of the published work. Such initial material is often cited for biographical information. Proper attribution would be to the actual author of the introduction, etc. --Bejnar (talk) 23:26, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Technical question about how to cite a particular "type" of website

Apologies – I may not be able to explain this clearly without a lengthy explanation. For guidance on how to cite information from a website which seems to be based on database queries but for which the URL is the same no matter what criteria are selected (and even if no criteria are selected): should I ask here, at Template talk:Cite web, or somewhere else? Thanks, Hassocks5489 (Floreat Hova!) 21:50, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

It depends. Which specific database?
The webpage in question is http://www.jw.org/apps/index.html?option=FRNsPnPBrTZGT, which is part of http://www.jw.org. This is a basically a "church finder" function for Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses, stating which congregation(s) use which buildings. This info would be a useful addition to the various "List of places of worship in <xxx district>" lists I do (such as this and this): I have never found this specific info anywhere else, online or offline. So what I am trying to do is ... taking East Sussex as a random example, I am looking for a way of providing a direct citation for the fact that the "Hastings, Central" and "Hastings, Hollington" congregations use the Kingdom Hall at Church Wood Drive, St Leonards-on-Sea. To see this, select "Location" = Britain, "State/Province" = East Sussex, hit the Search button, then hit "+ Expand all details". Thanks for any help you can give. Hassocks5489 (Floreat Hova!) 18:44, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I've seen people add plain text descriptions, like "Search for Foo in the Bar field". That might work. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:06, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I've had some discussions at my talk page with User:Bejnar (who added the unsigned comment above), who found a way of drillinga more specific URL by which one can drill down to individual county level. It turns out that each county has a 4-digit code which I can see in the HTML source code by selecting "View source" in my browser. By using that more specific URL, and doing something like you've suggested, I should be able to make a robust enough citation. Thanks, Hassocks5489 (Floreat Hova!) 23:11, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I would be a bit cautious wit "hacking" databases in any way. They may change their html structure and you will end up with lots of dead external links. I'd suggest to give both links: directly inside and via "search" page. - Altenmann >t 05:28, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Web sites and bibliographies

Should all web sites be listed in bibliographies? If I look at a FA such as The Smashing Pumpkins, I see that only one web page is listed among books/magazines, and the remaining ones are placed directly into the <ref> tag. On the other hand, the FA Gustav Mahler places Internet sources both among books and inline citations, and in the latter case, does not use the abbreviated <ref>Anon. (n.d.)</ref> way of referencing. Is there some policy on this matter? Toccata quarta (talk) 19:54, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

The requirement is only that an article be internally consistent in what sort of citation style it uses. There's no requirement that this be consistent across articles. On a quick look, though I do see a couple of minor errors on both articles, they do seem to use a logical and consistent citation style - even though the two styles are different. Nikkimaria (talk) 04:19, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
  Any attempt to list "all web sites", unqualified, would be audacious, to say the least. Presumably you are asking about where to cite such web sites as are used in the article. Several considerations here. First, I would point out that a naked url (in brackets) is not a citation. A citation should incorporate (directly or indirectly) as much bibliographic detail as possible (author, date, publisher, etc.). Second, those details — the "full" cite — can be incorporated directly into a note using the <ref> tags (and presumably collected in a Notes section at the end of the article), or all of the full cites can be collected together in a single section (such as a References section), with the <ref> tags in the text containing only a "short" cite that links indirectly to the full cite (t15–16ypically using Harv templates). Where an article uses the indirect style then all of the citations in the text should be indirect, via the full cite in the "References" (or similar) section.
  But! Even though we have a policy of not having external links in the text (and I think this should also include the notes), there are cases where an external link seems reasonable. Is this perhaps the kind of situation you have in mind? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:23, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Generally bibilographies are used when you wish to cite multiple pages from the same book. When editors cite from a web page, it seems insane to split the citation from the reference; it just makes it more difficult for a reader to verify. The system in use at The Smashing Pumpkins is much better if you are looking for a recommendation. Betty Logan (talk) 20:40, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
"More difficult for a reader to verify" meaning he has to click twice instead of once? That's an old argument which I find rather absurd. On the other hand, for a reader to determine if a given source was used (or not), or to examine the range of sources, is MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than having to do one extra click. And I haven't even touched on the massive benefits in ease of editing, verification, etc., in having all of the references (full citations) collected in a single, convenient location. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:58, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
The particular difficulty in the Mahler example is that the citations aren't linked to the references, so once you have clicked and got your citation you have to manually search the bibliography for the reference. In the two examples given the system used The Smashing Pumpkins is certainly preferable to me. Betty Logan (talk) 01:51, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
I don't like the The Smashing Pumpkins article as an example either
  • It also doesn't link Harvard refs in Footnotes to the full cites in References.
  • The Azerrad footnote (currently #18) duplicates the full cite in the references section, which is not done in other footnotes for Rolling Stone articles.
  • The page information for that Azerrad item is placed in the full cite (implying that it's a single-page article, which the likely copyvio web page suggests that iHave you even read any of the IPCC reports?t was brief enough to have been) and not in the ref'd footnote, where it would indicate on a single click that the support for the related footnote-linked assertions is found on that particular page.
How about History of the Philippines? (don't take that as a proposal -- there are no doubt better example articles than that; I see that a couple of the items (Dolan 1991-3 and Fish 2003) currently listed in the References section there are orphans) Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 03:15, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
  Yes. Although The Smashing Pumpkins has a section named "References", that is unconnected with actual citation of sources, which is done with what I call direct citation: full citations (using {{cite xxx}} templates) in the text (notes). Indirect citation uses short citations, typically using {{Harv}} templates, to link to the full citation.
  I took a closer look at the Mahler article, and now I understand Betty's complaint: the short cites are plain text, and (as Wmitchell said) don't link to the full citations. Yes, that is a problem, but not in the concept, only in the implementation. If the instances of (e.g.) <ref>Blaukopf, pp. 15–16</ref> were replaced with <ref>{{Harvnb|Blaukopf|1974|pp=15–16}} (and a small adjustment to the {{cite xxx}} templates) the notes would automatically link to the sources. Similarly for the Smashing Pumpkins' Azerrad note: instead of replicating information already in the reference, just put in: {{Harvnb|Azerrad|1993}}. (And small adjustment.) This results in Azerrad 1993, which links to:
* Azerrad, Michael (October 14, 1993). "Smashing Pumpkins' Sudden Impact". Rolling Stone (667). p. 19. 
  See Hockey stick controversy for examples. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:12, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
It's a preference, allowed per WP:CITEVAR. I personally dislike the links produced by T:Harv and co. The writer of Smashing either a) has/had a similar dislike, or b) doesn't know of the utilitiy of T:Harv and co. --Izno (talk) 23:46, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Sure. And probably is unaware. But the point is that the lack of hyper-links (which can be written by hand!) seems to be the crux of Betty's complaint. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:25, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Point of correction over title of Maada Bio or Valentine Strasser as Presidents

Point of correction: Julius Maada Bio's title was not called President but Head of State. There is a constitutional difference between the two. A President according to the Constitution of Sierra Leone is democratically elected. He or she can also be a Head of State and Head of Government. Head of State on the other hand, doesn't necessarily be democratically elected, as was the case of Maada Bio and his predecessor Valentine Strasser. He or she can assume power through a coup, for instance. So, it will be wrong constitutionally to refer Maada Bio or Valentine Strasser as Presidents in Wikipedia — Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.55.73.40 (talk) 04:27, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Why not part of Manual of Style

I wonder why isn't this article part of Manual of Style? I think this article reads like a style guide. Cantiun Talk 02:15, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Maybe it is just a matter of size; the Manual of Style would be too big if this were added. Also, the Manual of Style makes quite a few choices, so for example, we use only a full stop as a decimal point; the comma is never used for that purpose. This guideline, on the other hand, lets editors us any consistent citation style. Jc3s5h (talk) 02:32, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
There's no good reason; it's just what we've done. I think it silly to call it a content guideline, though. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:22, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Reverts based on Citation variation

I've been trying to add content at Earthquake prediction and find my contributions being edited based on WP:CITEVAR, that is, wrong citation style. This seems entirely wrong, even an abuse of this guideline. Under the citation variations sections, I think we should add as something to avoid "reverting new content only due to the wrong citation style, instead fix the citation style and inform the contributor on their talk page." Comments? Ego White Tray (talk) 23:21, 4 November 2012 (UTC) - Addendum: I think that reverting due to failure to use a correct citation style qualifies as biting newcomers if the editors are new, and also violates Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy for reverting a useful edit for a petty reason. Ego White Tray (talk) 23:23, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

This regards this edit, about which we are having a bit of a tussle. The specific issue here is where I have asked him to conform to the citation practice established in the article (specifically, Harv short-cite in the text going to a citation template in the References section). He cites Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy as grounds for ignoring this "rule", I have argued that applies only if "the rules" prevent improvement of the encyclopedia, and inconsistent citation does not constitute improvement. (See Talk:Earthquake prediction#An injudicious edit.)
After this the debate starts getting squishy. EWT cites WP:SOFIXIT, implying that if I don't like it I should "fix it", whereas I would argue that I consider reversion an adequate fix. I would also point to "Wikis like ours develop faster when everybody helps...", and I ask that he help me maintain a high standard of consistent citation, and not undermine the work I have done. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:56, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
The edit summaries seem to claim more than just CITEVAR - it looks to me like the summaries say "this does not have consensus, and it also violates CITEVAR". I would suggest asking on the talk page what the objection to the content is. Separately, Ego White Tray's edit count is over 11,000 edits - by that point, I think it is reasonable to ask an editor to look at the citation style used in an article before adding new material. In other words, any issue with CITEVAR is something that could be avoided entirely. For new users, I do think some leeway is justified, but experienced users know that different articles use different styles. — Carl (CBM · talk) 00:01, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
Your assertion is certainly incorrect. I, for one, have rarely needed to edit a page that used anything other than <ref name="...">{{cite...}}</ref>, since I usually edit less developed pages. Originally he claimed to remove it due to the content itself, then on the talk page said it was because of citation variation, so that policy has been cited as the sole reason for at least one of the reverts. Finally, reverting isn't fixing, reverting is deleting. A revert doesn't fix a problem unless the problem is so difficult to fix that there is no other way, which is simply not the case here. Ego White Tray (talk) 00:23, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
It should be straightforward to fix the citation style, put the content back, and see if it gets removed again. If not, great. If so, presumably some other reason will be given. I am suggesting that as a faster way to make progress overall. — Carl (CBM · talk) 00:29, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
  EWT has made the requested adjustments (and any fine tuning I am quite happy to do myself), so CITEVAR is no longer in issue in this case. (Any other basis for removing the text/citation in question is not relevant to this discussion, nor is is this a newbie issue.)
  However, I think we need to clarify whether WP:BURO and WP:SOFIXIT (and conceivably WP:IAR) relieves an editor of the requirement of WP:CITEVAR to conform to existing citation usage. EWT's essential point would seem to be that reversion is not allowed: once material is added (in good faith?) heroic efforts must be made to retain it. (Please explain if that is not a correct assessment.) I would argue that having to clean up after other editors (or arguing the issue) reduces the time I have for adding other material. (And that is the case here, as I am having to abandon other work) ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:17, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
Standard rules apply; do your best, and if it's not good enough, then someone else will clean it up, in a WP:There is no deadline kind of way. The big issue isn't someone adding material and "accidentally" not noticing that all the citations are/aren't using citation templates or are/aren't putting the publication date at the end instead of near the front or something like that. The big issue with CITEVAR is someone deliberately changing the style for the whole article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:29, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
A mass change would certainly be questionable. But the issue here wasn't that; it's whether CITEVAR requires consistency at the level of individual edits, who is responsible for that, and whether BURO (and presumably IAR) makes all that meaningless. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:51, 7 November 2012 (UTC)


On a related note, I have a newbie edit-warring to remove WP:Parenthetical citations from Breast cancer awareness (which has always used parens). Apparently, some inexperienced person on chat told him to just change it. If someone who knows what he's talking about wants to explain the basic facts of life to him, I'd appreciate it. It's a plain violation of CITEVAR, which says: "Editors should not attempt to change an article's established citation style...without first seeking consensus for the change.....As with spelling differences, if there is disagreement about which style is best, defer to the style used by the first major contributor."
(It's bad enough hat the's trying to suppress the well-sourced, mainstream and scholarly criticisms, e.g., that much of the funding for "Pinktober" promotions comes from multinational corporations that hope to sell more drugs and mammogram machinery as a result, but the intensity of this particular formatting dispute is just silly.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:12, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
Where the citation style is established and unusual (read: doesn't use <ref>...</ref> but does identify source down to at least page number level) and the article is subject to multiple attempts to change the style, it may be worth using an editnotice. I see that the page in question already has one - Template:Editnotices/Page/Breast cancer awareness - so the editor changing the style away from that should already be aware that they are going against consensus. --Redrose64 (talk)

Ref JJ's query, I think that call's always going to be on a case by case basis. Neither WP:BURO and WP:SOFIXIT give hard guidelines here - BURO says that we're not a law court, and SOFIXIT says "be bold!" - which can be applied in several different ways (e.g. being bold and correctly editing the material, or being bold and reverting back to a better version, knowing the intervening version has never been truly lost), depending on what helps the encyclopedia project most. If experienced editors choose to consistently ignore community guidelines of whatever sort (as opposed to making genuine mistakes), despite talk and discussion, it will cause tensions and resolving them will be hard. Hchc2009 (talk) 05:30, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

The top of this guideline says, "While you should try to write citations correctly, what matters most is that you provide enough information to identify the source. Others will improve the formatting if needed."
This applies to CITEVAR issues just as much as it does to anything else. If someone puts in enough information to identify the source, but doesn't follow the correct citation style, then the solution is "Others will improve the formatting if needed", not "so you can delete all the verifiable, sourced information that was just edited". The people "responsible" for fixing the formatting are those people who both (1) know how and (2) care whether the citation style is consistent (e.g., care enough that they're tempted to delete good information just to save themselves the bother of correcting the formatting). WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:42, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Which I believe is the essence of WP:SOFIXIT, and the point I referred to above regarding who is responsible for "fixing" citations. A fuller statement would seem to be "so fix it yourself if you don't like it" because no one else has any duty or obligation to do it. I believe this attitude harms Wikipedia, and is the core issue here.
(My apologies for the following lengthiness; it seems to me a clear and full statement would be useful.)
While the question of what constitutes proper citation could be debated, I propose that we leave that aside, and focus instead on the question of whom the primary responsibility for proper citation devolves upon. There is also a very important question of whether the addition of any and all material (provided it's sourced) is always good, and deletion of same is therefore always bad, but that issue is tangental to this discussion, and perhaps could be left aside. Also: the issue here is not about "minor formatting" (which I am fine with fixing myself) but the basic form and method (loosely, "style") of citing.
Whatamidoing suggests that "the bother of correcting the formatting" (method) does not warrant the deletion of "good information". I challenge that in two regards. First, information is "good" only if it is properly sourced, such that it is readily verifiable, including consistency with existing citation. (This the basic import of WP:V and WP:CITEVAR.) If certain information or text is so important that it really should not be deleted, then the entire weight of "too important to delete" falls back on the requirement to do citation properly.
While the question of what constitutes proper citation could be debated, I propose that we leave that aside, and focus instead on the question of whom the primary responsibility for proper citation devolves upon. There is also a very important question of whether the addition of any and all material (provided it's sourced) is always good, and deletion of same is therefore always bad, but that issue is tangental to this discussion, and perhaps could be left aside. Also: the issue here is not about "minor formatting" (which I am fine with fixing myself) but the basic form and method (loosely, "style") of citing.
Whatamidoing suggests that "the bother of correcting the formatting" (method) does not warrant the deletion of "good information". I challenge that in two regards. First, information is "good" only if it is properly sourced, such that it is readily verifiable, including consistency with existing citation. (This the basic import of WP:V and WP:CITEVAR.) If certain information or text is so important that it really should not be deleted, then the entire weight of "too important to delete" falls back on the requirement to do citation properly.
Second, if the "bother" of correction is as slight as Whatamidoing implies, then it is as slight for the first editor as the second. (That the first editor is unfamiliar with the "proper" form is beside the point, and readily correctable. At any rate, in this case specific instruction was provided.) The larger problem here is that in failing to enforce the standard of CITEVAR these "slight" problems accumulate to form great thickets of difficulty. As someone who has done substantial review, correction, and reconciliation of citations (most recently at Hockey stick controversy), I can attest to the difficulties of "fixing" citations when the original editors fail to do so initially.
Therefore (as I argue) it is not a matter of retention versus deletion of "good material", but who should expend the time and effort to bring material up to a necessary standard. (Alternately, the time and effort I spend bringing someone else's material up to snuff reduces the amount of good material that I can add.) If WP:SOFIXIT relieves editors of all responsibility under WP:CITEVAR, then it is meaningless, and citation practice in Wikipedia is "anything goes".
~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:54, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
  • information is "good" only if it is properly sourced...: Our existing policies disagree with you. Information is "good" if it could be properly sourced, assuming someone has the time, interest, and resources to do so. That's why the policy requires material to be "verifiABLE" rather than "ALREADY verifiED".
  • the "bother" of correction is... as slight for the first editor as the second.: How long's it been since you were a newbie? Have you ever tried to work in a Wikipedia whose language you don't speak especially well? How about in an article that uses a style you're thoroughly unfamiliar with?
It's not a case of "anything goes". We are, however, trying to live within real-world constraints, which includes the fact that we're all WP:VOLUNTEERs here. We can't force anyone to do anything. Our goal is collaboration. That means that if you add some information but screw up the citation formatting, and I happen to notice it and know how to fix it, then I'll fix your mistake. I won't violate WP:PRESERVE by removing your good material over a solvable problem. We need to work together, remembering that WP:There is no deadline, not even for getting the citation formatting perfect. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:01, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Of course, in this case, the information was properly sourced, because properly sourced means that enough information is provided that another person could confirm it. My original post to the article included the full info, title, author, date, what-have-you. Ego White Tray (talk) 02:00, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Whatamidoing's second comment is largely not relevant here because we are not talking about newbie issues. The remainder — the difficulty of working with an unfamiliar style — is (I believe) exactly why we have the CITEVAR requirement for consistency in the first place: so that maintenance of an article is not made more difficult by use of variant forms of citation. I agree that EWT provided full information, but the essential question here is whether it should also be in a consistent form. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:18, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Inexperienced editors are a major source of poorly formatted citations. Your current dispute is not representative in that respect. And you, as an editor with the skills to fix mismatched citations, are not required to wait until the article is filled with screwed up citations. You can fix them one at a time, as they happen. Surely fixing one citation won't be too difficult for you.
The question is not, "should it be in a consistent form". We know the answer to that: yes, it eventually should be put into a consistent form. The question here is, "when it is already mismatched, how should we respond?" The answer is, someone (not necessarily the person who originally added it) should eventually make the citation match the others. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:56, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
  I agree that inexperienced editors pose problems, and also that we are tolerant of them. I thought it was also understood that this discussion is nothing about inexperienced editors, so I don't know why you bring that up.
  When you say that "someone" (not a newbie), not necessarily the person who originally added it, should fix a citation, you are saying that no one is required to abide by CITEVAR. It becomes a mere desire for consistency, with a hope that altruistic souls with lots of time and nothing else to do will magically make it all right. (Someday.) Nor is the issue whether I have time to fix one citation: it's a matter of whether CITEVAR applies to any citation. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:27, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
CITEVAR is no more, and no less, optional than any other "rule" on the English Wikipedia. Bare URLs are bad—but we don't revert good material solely because it was supported by a bare URL instead of a properly written-out bibliographic citation. Bad grammar is unacceptable—but we don't revert good facts solely because the edit contains a grammatical error. Blank lines between list items violate our guidelines—but we don't revert good lists solely because somebody added an improper blank line. We (eventually) fix the problems without removing the good material, regardless of who created the problems.
Wikipedia is a collaborative effort that depends on the actions of altruistic souls to clean up the mistakes, inconsistencies, and messes created by other altruistic souls. If you want an encyclopedia that reverts imperfect edits rather than collaboratively building on other people's contributions, then you'll want to see WP:FORK and get your own website. Removing good material because of a problem with its presentation isn't how this particular community works. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:49, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
  The key point where I differ from you is this: CITEVAR is entirely optional if there is no inducement (positive or negative) sufficiently strong to get people to abide by it, if not abiding by it makes absolutely no difference to the editor(s) involved. And in that case it becomes meaningless.
  If there are other ways of encouraging citation consistency I should like to hear of them. Reversion does have the distinct advantage that it is a strong inducement. And I think the alleged disadvantage — that reversion reduces the number(?) of "good facts" — is fallacious. If we accept that fixing citations is good, then the "good" work I do saving someone else's additions reduces the material I can add in the time I have; the supposed advantage is offset. (I would also argue that, overall, editors that can do citations consistently are likely more skillful than those who can't, and cleaning up other's messes is results in a net loss of material.) But if all this is rejected, then I have to ask: why should anyone bother with CITEVAR? ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 00:11, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
How's CITEVAR any more "entirely optional" than the entire MOS? There is no inducement, either positive or negative, to get people to abide by the MOS, and not abiding by it makes absolutely no difference to the editor(s) involved. Cleaning up after someone whose spelling style or writing style or formatting style, as displayed in sentences or paragraphs, is bad is absolutely no different from cleaning up after someone whose citation style is bad.
Your claim that cleaning up someone's citation style is a waste of time that could be better spent is a zero-sum fallacy. We have people who can fix citations but can't contribute as much to the content. If your time is better spent adding content, then I encourage you to quit wasting it here and go add some content. But that doesn't mean that you get to remove other people's imperfect contributions on the fallacious theory that everyone's time is better spent adding content than fixing formatting.
CITEVAR is just a style guideline. The entire MOS, just like CITEVAR, only works because some people with skills are willing and able to clean up after those who are either not willing or not able. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:35, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
  The problem I have with the view that CITEVAR is "just a style guideline", which "some people" (other than the original editor) will effect, is: that is not what WP:CITEVAR. It says: "Editors should not attempt to change an article's established citation style..."; it says that if a particular citation style is in place "you should follow it" (emphasis added). Also (emphasis in original): "if there is disagreement about which style is best, defer to the style used by the first major contributor."
  Perhaps the bottom line here is: I don't see CITEVAR as being elective ("just a style guideline"). If it is, then any editor is entirely free to do as he or she pleases, and CITEVAR is largely meaningless. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:54, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

WhatamIdoing: I really do appreciate your strong, vigorous prosecution of the argument; I hope you are not bailing out on us. And if anyone else can add something to the discussion, please do. I think the key point is important enough that, however it goes, we should strive for some shared agreement. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:19, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

So the result is: no result? One possibility is that CITEVAR is no longer required, and may be ignored at will. Alternately, I suggest that the existing text — particularly, "defer to the style used by the first major contributor" — still applies. As well as WP:NOCITE ("remove the claim if no source is produced within a reasonable time"). ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 22:17, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

My apologies for disappearing; it's a real-life month.
The answer is no. CITEVAR is part of this guideline. This guideline has long said that you should do your best, and someone else will clean up after you if necessary. CITEVAR may not "be ignored at will". However, it may be WP:IGNOREd for good cause (like nearly any other guideline or policy), and it must be interpreted in context. The context is that if you don't know how to make a perfectly formatted citation, then CITE (of which CITEVAR is only one small part) says you are not required to. Material that is supported by an incomplete or improperly formatted is still cited. Therefore NOCITE does not apply at all. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:18, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
  I understand about WP:IGNOREing a rule that prevents us from improving Wikipedia. But the requirement of CITEVAR does not prevent improvement here: there is nothing preventing proper and consistent citation, so IGNORE is not applicable. Nor is this about making a "perfectly formatted citation", nor even "failure to use a correct citation style"; its about a reasonable expectation of consistency.
  And I understand that we are to be tolerant of newbies that may not (yet??) have all the requisite skills. But (as was discussed at the top), this issue is not about biting newcomers; it is about whether an experienced editor has any responsibility to adhere to an established guideline, whether CITEVAR is entirely elective.
  In an earlier comment (8 Nov.) you said that the people responsible for fixing formatting "are those people who both (1) know how and (2) care whether the citation style is consistent...." It seems to me that by this standard anyone who claims they don't know or don't care can thereby claim exemption. Such a result does allow CITEVAR to be ignored at will. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:35, 12 December 2012 (UTC)


Cite error: There are <ref group=R> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=R}} template (see the help page).