Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Where should I ask whether this source supports this statement in an article?
At Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. Don't forget to tell the editors the full name of the source and the exact sentence it is supposed to support.
Do sources have to be free, online and/or conveniently available to me?
No. Sources can be expensive, print-only, or available only in certain places. A source does not stop being reliable simply because you personally aren't able to obtain a copy. See Wikipedia:Reliable sources/cost. If you need help verifying that a source supports the material in the article, ask for help at Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange or a relevant WikiProject.
Do sources have to be in English?
No. Sources can be written in any language. However, if equally good sources in English exist, they will be more useful to our readers. If you need help verifying that a non-English source supports the material in the article, ask for help at Wikipedia:Translators available.
I personally know that this information is true. Isn't that good enough to include it?
No. Wikipedia includes only what is verifiable, not what someone believes is true. It must be possible to provide a bibliographic citation to a published reliable source that says this. Your personal knowledge or belief is not enough.
I personally know that this information is false. Isn't that good enough to remove it?
Your personal belief or knowledge that the information is false is not sufficient for removal of verifiable and well-sourced material.
Is personal communication from an expert a reliable source?
No. It is not good enough for you to talk to an expert in person or by telephone, or to have a written letter, e-mail message, or text message from a source. Reliable sources must be published.
Are there sources that are "always reliable" or sources that are "always unreliable"?
No. The reliability of a source is entirely dependent on the context of the situation, and the statement it is being used to support. Some sources are generally better than others, but reliability is always contextual.
What if the source is biased?
Sources are allowed to be biased or non-neutral. Only Wikipedia articles are required to be neutral. Sometimes "non-neutral" sources are the best possible sources for supporting information (with due weight) about the different viewpoints held on a controversial subject.
Does every single sentence need to be followed by an inline citation?
No. Only four broad categories of material need to be supported by inline citations. Editors need not supply citations for perfectly obvious material. However, it must be possible to provide a bibliographic citation to a published reliable source for all material.
Are reliable sources required to name the author?
No. Many reliable sources, such as government and corporate websites, do not name their authors or say only that it was written by staff writers. Although many high-quality sources do name the author, this is not a requirement.
Are reliable sources required to provide a list of references?
No. Wikipedia editors should list any required sources in a references or notes section. However, the sources you are using to write the Wikipedia article do not need to provide a bibliography. Most reliable sources, such as newspaper and magazine articles, do not provide a bibliography.


Not unexpectedly, my edit to state that internet forums can be a useful source of reliable sources was reverted by Sławomir Biały with the comment that it was "obvious". This might be well-known by experienced editors, but I don't think it is "obvious". Is there a better way to phrase this and include it, or should it stay off the page? Mjroots (talk) 19:34, 9 August 2016 (UTC)

It doesn't matter where you get the sources. Internet forums, chats with your hair stylist, peyote-induced visions. What matters is that the sources are reliable as defined by this guideline (somewhat). I think the suggestion that internet forums are a good "source of sources" is just WP:BEANS asking for abuse. Sławomir Biały (talk) 19:48, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
What I'm trying to say is that some internet forums can be useful for finding reliable sources, particularly on "breaking news" items such as aviation accidents, shipwrecks, train crashes etc. I'm not advocating that that forums themselves are in any way reliable sources. I find Pprune a useful tool when there has been an aviation accident, as evidenced at talk:Emirates Flight 521. Mjroots (talk) 20:04, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
But so what? Why must that be enshrined in an editing guideline??? Sławomir Biały (talk) 20:11, 9 August 2016 (UTC)

Song review[edit]

Reliable Sources Noticeboard is thataway and Dispute Resolution is thataway. This page is for improving this guideline. — TransporterMan (TALK) 20:00, 10 August 2016 (UTC)

I would appreciate input on a discussion at Talk:Blink of an Eye (Tori Kelly song).

One editor says PopCrush is not reliable. The other says it's the author, not the website, to whom reliability applies.

Thanks in advance. —ATS 🖖 Talk 18:59, 10 August 2016 (UTC)[edit]

Is a relaible source? (talk) 23:37, 17 August 2016 (UTC) is mostly reliable source only about itself, see WP:ABOUTSELF. Everything else published on this website as a publishing platform is self-published and is generally not a reliable source for wikipedia, with certain exceptions, see WP:SELFPUBLISH. Therefore please be more specific with your question: which webpage do you have in mind? Staszek Lem (talk) 23:44, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
Just the website itself. (talk) 23:54, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

Improving the RS Guidelines regarding Lifestyle reporting[edit]

One of the things that came out of a recent deletion discussion was the fact that the RS guidelines are unclear as to when things that appear in well established news organizations are not reliable, specifically Lifestyle Section reporting. In this case, the subject had been on almost a half dozen morning news shows like Good Morning America (on three continents) and had features with ABC News and Inside Edition, in addition to print features in Vogue Magazine, Marie Claire, and many others. And consensus was that the article should be deleted. One of the editors that voted to delete agreed that the guidelines were unclear, and I myself believe that there should never be "unwritten rules" or guidelines, as that also promotes confusion. So I'd like to open a discussion as it how WP:RS can be improved so that it is clear that it doesn't matter if it is the NYT, the WSJ, or Forbes, if it is a Lifestyle feature, reliability is a) nonexistent, b) questionable, or c) not assumed just because of the news organization (and a, b, or c is precisely what we should discuss. I'm leaning towards c). There should also be a set of concrete criteria to determine whether or not a source is reliable. The current guideline (a particular paragraph of WP:NEWSORG that comes closest to dealing with this) reads:

Editorial commentary, analysis and opinion pieces, whether written by the editors of the publication (editorials) or outside authors (op-eds) are reliable primary sources for statements attributed to that editor or author, but are rarely reliable for statements of fact. Human interest reporting is generally not as reliable as news reporting, and may not be subject to the same rigorous standards of fact-checking and accuracy (see junk food news).

So at this point I'd like to open the floor to others to get their take on how we should go about improving WP:RS so that guidelines are crystal clear and match established practice. I'm Tony Ahn (talk) 07:53, 3 September 2016 (UTC)

In short: "Celebrity Gossip" is not worth the paper it is printed on. Especially on websites. Collect (talk) 20:42, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
The case cited above had nothing to do with a celebrity. The guidelines need revision. I'm Tony Ahn (talk) 03:13, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

document that uses Wikipedia as a source[edit]

I realize that I can't cite a Wikipedia article directly as a source in some other Wikipedia article. Also, it's a bad idea to cite some document as a source in a Wikipedia article, when the person who wrote that document based it entirely on a Wikipedia article (see Wikipedia:Citogenesis).

Is it forbidden to cite some document as a source in a Wikipedia article if that document lists a Wikipedia article as one of its sources, no matter how many other sources that document may have or how reliable that source may otherwise be? Should I unconditionally delete on sight any references in a Wikipedia article that refer to some document that itself uses Wikipedia even once as a reference? --DavidCary (talk) 21:35, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

No, of course not. But I don't see any real discussion besides edit comments. Are you sure that's the only objection? --GRuban (talk) 22:18, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

Heat Street[edit]

I thought I'd open a discussion about Heat Street since there's been quite a lengthy debate about it here. The site is basically a news, opinion and commentary website belonging to the Murdoch stable and founded in April 2016 by former British Conservative MP Louise Mensch. A user wishes to reference an opinion piece from the site as part of Traingate, but has been advised this would not be appropriate. My own thoughts on Heat Street are that it hasn't been around long enough to establish a reputation. As I understand it, a website such as this one would build up a reputation as en encyclopedic source by being referenced by other reliable sources, which does not seem to be the case so far. I believe a similar stance was once taken with the Huffington Post, although that seems to have changed over time as it has entered the mainstream media. Given the tone of the discussion at Talk:Traingate about this source, I thought it would be sensible to mention it here. Any thoughts on this topic? This is Paul (talk) 13:46, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

I will start by saying I am uncomfortable with having the same topic being the subject of concurrent discussions in more than one forum. This is a recipe for confusion. I suggest that we treat this as a courtesy FYI notice and post any comments at the original discussion linked above. -Ad Orientem (talk) 14:37, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
Seems fair enough. The idea of posting here was to generate more discussion, so it makes sense to have that discussion in one place. This is Paul (talk) 14:48, 8 September 2016 (UTC)[edit]

Is (a commercial book site) a reliable source? I found a newly created page Ranadeep Bhattacharyya which cited a number of sources from this website so I want to check if we can accept it as reliable or not before going for a cleanup also the article says Ranadeep also regularly writes on heritage and culture for Heritage India Magazine, isn't it pointing to WP:RSSELF. Thank you – GSS (talk) 10:18, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

User:GSS-1987 You really should ask at the reliable sources noticeboard. Doug Weller talk 20:22, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Done and it's fine to archive this conversation now. Thank you – GSS (talk) 08:55, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

Video documentation a reliable source ?[edit]

I would like to ask, if Video Documentation such as [copyvio link of a C-Span video redacted] is considered a reliable source for Wikipedia ? & if it is not considered reliable, then why ? --Ne0 (talk) 20:16, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

User:Ne0Freedom You really should ask at the reliable sources noticeboard. Doug Weller talk 20:23, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
I believe this is the proper place to ask, since it is a general question. The "Reliable sources/Noticeboard" is for questions about specific sources. Whether video documentation is a reliable source depends on the author and publisher, and is evaluated the same way any other medium would be evaluated, such as books, websites, newspapers, etc. Jc3s5h (talk) 21:30, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

RFC on Wikidata[edit]

Some time ago there was an RFC about whether it was appropriate to import claims from Wikidata to Wikipedia articles. Does anyone remember where that RFC was? Jc3s5h (talk) 15:02, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

@Jc3s5h: Here. Nikkimaria (talk) 03:49, 20 September 2016 (UTC)