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 about the different viewpoints held on a 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.


How reliable are inteviews/autobiographies and such?[edit]

I think such sources are more primary than secondary, and a bit questionable. They are certainly acceptable, but within limits. Should we discuss them in a separate section? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 06:22, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Perhaps, but before you want to reinvent the wheel here you should be aware that this has been discussed many times over at RSN and you might want to investigate what the ongoing consensus on interviews, etc., is over there before trying to formulate a rule here. What I seem to recall is that with interviews that they must be published in a reliable source, so as to insure that they are accurately and fairly reproduced, and then ought to be treated as primary sources. It would seem to me that something very close to that ought to apply to autobiographies, but there may be stuff on that already at RSN as well. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 17:19, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Also the evaluation (as with every source) will depend upon the author, era, publisher, reviews, and what exact claim it is being cited for. Vast difference between using Didion's book as a source for her reaction to her husband and daughter's death, and using James Frey's book for describing his youth. Better to discuss specific instances at WP:RSN than try to formulate universal guidelines. Abecedare (talk) 18:11, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
For interviews, you might want to look at WP:PRIMARYNEWS. WhatamIdoing (talk) 09:32, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

Is a master's thesis a reliable source?[edit]

I'm doing research for a red-linked article on a historical manuscript, on which there seems to be quite a bit of information, and I came across a thesis presented for a master's degree on a university website. I suspect that it is, but I might be incorrect, so I'd like some other opinions. (I can provide a link to the paper if needed.) --Biblioworm 02:45, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

This old discussion may provide some pointers on this oft-discussed topic at RSN. If that's not sufficient, I'd suggest asking at that noticeboard with details of the reference and the material you hope to cite it for. Cheers. Abecedare (talk) 02:59, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
@Abecedare: Well, I thought there would be quite a bit of information on this subject (since the thesis was quite substantive), but the issue seems very controversial, so I just won't use the paper; I don't want to get myself involved in the mess that issue seems to be... --Biblioworm 03:55, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Is Investopedia a reliable source for investment topics?[edit]

Semi-protected edit request on 11 June 2015[edit]

{{edit semi-protected|Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources}} I would like to add Comedian John Carfi to list of comedians -John is also an actor which will show up if you put his name in your search -a reliable source is shown on the Ricki Lake show .

If you go to John's website you can see all of his credits.

www.johncarfi.com If you google John Carfi you can see the proof of his credits -he has been in the business over 33 years.here is a video at a well known comedy club on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K__5DexheU Johncarfi (talk) 12:10, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

@Johncarfi: Hi John. First, this is the talk page of Wikipedia policy on identifying reliable sources, and so it is for discussing that policy. This thread of yours belongs at the talk page of the article you are here about, talk:List of comedians (which article is not semi-protected), or maybe at your talk page. In any event, we only include entries on lists like these where the person to be added has an article. The article you posted (apparently on yourself) was a copyright violation and so has been deleted (if you own the text, we still couldn't use it unless it was released into the public domain or under a compatible free copyright license). Until such time as we have a proper article, the title does not belong at that page. Assuming it is you, please be aware of our conflict of interest guidelines, and that Wikipedia is not a means of promotion of an kind.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 12:30, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Disagree with the suggestion to take this to talk:List of comedians, or to User talk:Johncarfi. List of comedians does not have a "bluelinks only" policy (which would be against policy), "bluelinks only" is for categories. List of comedians does have a "check against reliable sources" policy, like any other list or page, for which reason there's a "lacks references" tag up on top of the page, since 2011.
WP:RSN would be the place to take this (more likely to assess the sources as suggested by johncarfi for the suggested content than the user talk page).
Yet here we are... a quick glance at the suggested sources:
  • Ricki Lake (TV series)#Topicality mentions Carfi at the end of the first paragraph, the source given for that information however does not mention Carfi (so that source unuseable, and the Wikipedia article of course also unuseable to establish notability). Searching for "Carfi" + "Ricki Lake" seems to yield performance programming, blogs, and whatnot, but not actually the kind of reliable sources that would most likely be accepted in a notability logic (example: [1])
  • http://www.johncarfi.com/ – not part of a notability logic (self-published source)
  • youtube: not a reliable source, not unuseable to establish notability.
Johncarfi could help by providing precise links to mainstream newspaper articles (not advertisements) mentioning him, or books devoting attention to him, or whatever that establishes he's significantly more than an actor/comedian expertly doing his job (see Wikipedia:Notability (people) if I'm not clear in explaining this). --Francis Schonken (talk) 13:38, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

RFC: Question on correct/preferred sourcing reg. the instance of A Prize Awarded to Person X[edit]

Replicating here the RFC posted on WP:BLPNOTICE.

Will be an info source (publication, website) run by the Awarding Entity, announcing the instance in question, considered a "primary source" in relation to Person X' biography?

Exhibit A: Sir Winston Churchill's Nobel Prize. In Winston Churchill article the used reference is http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/nomination/nomination.php?action=show&showid=3319, i.e. info on nobelprize.org.

Exhibit B: Paul Krugman, living person. Again nobelprize.org is used.

The present question: For Minna Sundberg article in a clause on her NCS Reuben's Award for 2015, can http://www.reuben.org/2015/05/reuben-awards-winners-2015/ i.e. info on the Award's site, be considered as a "primary source" for Minna Sundberg's bio? The alternative is to cite the media reports. Thanks! DBWikis (talk) 13:05, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

Please move your question to WP:RSN - this is not the right place for it, see framed recommendations on top of this page.
At a first glance that is not the most problematic use of primary sources on that page. Although it is easy enough to supplement it with this source, already used on the page.
It are the blog-like websites giving comments on the artist's work that are more problematic: they are "primary" sources for their evaluations, and fail WP:SELFPUB – also they fail to contribute to establishing the notability of the person (as in Wikipedia:Notability (people)). --Francis Schonken (talk) 13:57, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
DBWikis, you might have already gotten the answer you needed, but nobelprize.org is self-published, primary, non-independent—and absolutely authoritative for the list of people that organization has awarded a prize to. You may use such a source to support a claim that someone (living or dead) received that prize. (You may also use properly published, independent, secondary sources, such as a good biography of the person.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:10, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Are video sites such as YouTube considered reliable sources?[edit]

If not, I'd like a section in this article describing why one can't use youtube. Thanks. 88.90.245.52 (talk) 02:35, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Youtube itself is a user generated source (covered by Wikipedia:Identifying_reliable_sources#Self-published_sources_.28online_and_paper.29). There's also potential copyright violation issues for material that would qualify as reliable, like a documentary. Ian.thomson (talk) 02:40, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
And from there, it depends on the details, so you're better off posting a link to the exact YouTube video that you'd like to use, and the name of the article, at WP:RSN, so that someone can help you figure out the specific situation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:11, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
As always, context is king. For most situations, one simply should not use YouTube as a source for anything, for the reasons mentioned above, among others. That said, if you needed to support the statement that YouTube is a Google company then it might be perfectly acceptable to dig into YouTube's about pages and find that reference, although a book or even a news report might be a more authoritative source. Likewise, if you needed to support a statement that a particular person had announced his or her intention to run for a particular office during a particular election cycle by posting a video announcement to YouTube, it would certainly be appropriate to use a YouTube link to the announcement to help support that assertion. That said, the situations where YouTube or any other video sharing site are authoritative as sources are extremely limited, and generally there are better sources that can and should be used instead. Additional information can be found in the WP:Twitter essay. Etamni (talk) 09:15, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Assuming your question is about sources hosted at YouTube, and not YouTube itself as the source (the way your question is couched, the opposite is implied, but I suspect you meant what I am assuming), then sure, depending on what it is. First, as noted, there are huge numbers of copyright violations there, which can't be linked to. There's also truly vast amounts of YouTube content that is not reliable, user generated video. But if that's not the case (in disagreement with some of the above) there are also vast quantities of reliable sources that can be found at YouTube and linked to their hosting there. As an example, BBC News has an official channel with many videos, as does, well, almost any news source you can think of that has a TV broadcast arm. But remember that for this example, YouTube is not the source, BBC News is. The reasons I mentioned that it has an "official channel", is because you will also find that random user Kitten748 has a penchant for uploading BBC news videos. If it's not the organization's official channel, it's presumptively a copyright violation. So long as the context does not make us question whether the BBC News report is genuine, it would be evaluated as a reliable source just like any other, and it's irrelevant to that consideration where that video is hosted.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 10:59, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

Twitter on certain articles[edit]

Recently I deleted a good amount of information from Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, claiming that Twitter was an unreliable source. User:TonyTheTiger reverted me and said it can be used in certain situations. Who is correct? Most of the information sourced to Twitter on both articles was rather fluffy anyway. I would revert but I don't want to start a revert war. ~EDDY (talk/contribs)~ 01:44, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Assuming that it was a verified account from the subject and the tweets are not talking about a third party tweets could be reliable due to WP:TWITTER. Other things to consider though would be if there are stronger sources covering the facts in question because, obviously, if there are stronger sources they should replace the tweet. Also, if the tweet is the only source covering a particular fact there could be a case to remove per WP:WEIGHT but it is hard to know for sure without knowing what the tweets in question are. In this case it would make sense to show what the tweets are since it is not as simple as all tweets are reliable or unreliable.--64.229.165.154 (talk) 02:38, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Please move your question to WP:RSN - this is not the right place for it, see framed recommendations on top of this page. --Francis Schonken (talk) 02:44, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
If and when there is a discussion at RSN, ping me. I am not watching this page. I concur that this is not the place for this discussion.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 00:04, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Regarding the current event templates[edit]

It should be mentioned on WP:RSBREAKING that the current event templates are "not intended to be used to mark an article that merely has recent news articles about the topic; if it were, hundreds of thousands of articles would have this template, with no informational consequence." These points have been discussed and debated extensively on Template talk:Current, Wikipedia talk:Current event templates and elsewhere well before WP:RSBREAKING was added in December 2014.[2] And I see no mention of this specific issue addressed on the original discussion at Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources/Archive 45#Breaking news. So the original consensus on Template talk:Current should still prevail. Thanks. Zzyzx11 (talk) 11:51, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

Proceedings, Festschriften, industry journals, and masters theses[edit]

Three related issues, and suggestion of what to do about them:

  1. We do not have anything at all about citations to conference proceedings. Present practice is to cite these exactly like journals, and I see no evidence that they're being treated as less reliable, but they probably should be, on par with PhD dissertations, or perhaps even masters theses (depending on the prestige and exclusivity of the conference and the panel reviewing papers to be presented), since while they're subject to some degree of peer review (enough to be accepted, and enough, in reaction, to be criticized in later publications if they turn out controversial), it's usually less than would be required for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
  2. How should we treat non-academic, industry/trade journals? Most major (even most minor) industries have multiple trade-insider publications, and their content is usually written by subject-matter experts, but they're not subject to the peer-review rigors of academic journals. My feeling is that these should be treated with the same care as other primary-or-mostly-primary sources, but like academic journal papers are liable to be high-quality sources when they aren't presenting anything controversial. Where they contain material more in the form of journalistic reporting on their field, they should be treated as news sources as long as they're acting independent of the topic (i.e., not just regurgitating press releases, giving all-favorable product reviews, or otherwise acting like house organs).
  3. For a Festschrift/Gedenkschrift/liber amicorum, I think we should treat them (as paper or online publications) exactly the same as journals when subjected to the same sort of peer-review and publication process, but as primary or mostly-primary sources on par with doctoral dissertations otherwise, as in many cases the peer-review process is less rigorous, and/or they may not be published by a university faculty. A specific case has come up in already-written encyclopedia content, at Vlfberht, where an online Gedenkschrift source has been cited. The paper was written by a published expert, on a site devoted to papers by professional archaeologists in honor of one of their regional mentors who died recently. A Gedenkschrift like this is essentially a virtual conference. This is thus about as much peer review as a masters thesis at least, perhaps as much as a doctoral or journal paper; while we don't know the exact criteria, it is written and published by people with academic reputations to maintain, in a narrow field (Scandinavian archaeology), where errors or controversial claims would be noted by colleagues. The specific work in question is straightforward, mostly a matter of gathering raw data about the inscriptions on Viking swords, and drawing statistically-based inferences from it. I've flagged this material in the WP article as (presently written) being improperly cited to a primary source. It's thus probably subject to removal if not re-sourced some other way (I've only found one journal paper that can source some of it, so some material would still be lost). It seems preferable to me to attribute the work carefully, and state in WP's voice that it's hypothesis by this specific researcher, not to state the claims in the article as if they're known facts. That should be sufficient. The hypothesis presented in noteworthy and relevant, and appears to have influenced a 2012 PBS Nova documentary on the topic, though they did not cite it by name.
  4. How do we feel about carefully attributed (or directly quoted) use of a masters thesis, e.g. "[Researcher_name], in a 2011 [University_name] masters thesis, drew parallels between the results found by [Peer_reviewed_paper_1] and [Peer_reviewed_paper_2]"? (I.e., secondary work, not the presentation of new data, which would be primary sourcing.) I'm especially thinking not of hard sciences (e.g. claims to have mastered cold fusion :-), but rather of non-controversial work in obscure topics in the social sciences, like archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, and mythographic details about which there is very little peer-reviewed material yet, and very little funding for further research (some subjects in these fields get examined once only in journals). Whether good encyclopedia writing or not, common WP practice right now seems to be to simply say "[Peer_reviewed_paper_1] concluded [X], and [similarly|dissimilarly], [Peer_reviewed_paper_2] concluded [Y]", letting the reader connect the dots. It seems better to cite someone else connecting those dots, even if indicating clearly that the synthesis is only from a completed thesis. This would frankly seem far better sourcing that much of what it done in pop-culture topics, where we cite random journalist connecting the dots between two other random journalists' work, without any peer review of any kind other than whether an editor thinks it's due-diligence enough to publish and will interest their newspaper/magazine readers. We regularly quote/attribute primary sources "with caution". Simple attribution in cases like what I have in mind would seem to be sufficient caution, for material that is not controversial, either in making extraordinary claims or contradicting prevailing scholarly views. As a concrete example, I've found a thesis, Prehal, Brenda (2011). "Freyja’s Cats: Perspectives on Recent Viking Age Finds in !egjandadalur North Iceland" (PDF). New York University.  Among quite an array of material, there's a section suggesting continuity/verisimilitude of use, reported separately in previous peer-reviewed publications, of various Northern and Western European words for "cat" as vulgarities, simultaneously in reference to female genitals and to imply male cowardice. I haven't found a peer-reviewed paper that makes the same connection, which is only barely synthetic/analytic (namely that "puss" and its equivalents have a triple use with a long, multi-language history). I actually need the same paper for another pretty obvious, non-controversial synthesis of prior work, this time about cat demographics in historical Scandinavia (about which very, very little has been published in journals, even in the Scandinavian languages; one of the only two papers I can find on this is a doctoral dissertation, with only one journal paper on the subject).

Conclusion: It's important that we include something about academic (and tech, and other industry) conference proceedings and how to approach them as sources, because of the frequency with which they publish material we want to cite. My take: they are primary or mostly primary (unless just summarizing the state of current research, in which case they're tertiary), and should be used with caution, attributed as such presentation, and replaced with secondary, or at least peer-reviewed primary sources in journals, when possible. Tech and consumer conference presentations of new products, technologies, methods, and draft standards should be treated as strictly primary sources. But when inclusion criteria in academic conferences are very stringent, presentations can be treated the same as journals if publicly available in [e-]paper or recorded form. I think what I wrote above about industry journals can easily be directly adapted into guideline wording about them. Finally, the statement that "Masters dissertations and theses are considered reliable only if they can be shown to have had significant scholarly influence" is a bit overbroad. As long as they present nothing controversial, such a paper should be treated like any other primary or semi-primary source, if it"s completed, approved, and published/archived by an accredited university, in publicly available form, or is in the online equivalent of a Gedenkschrift/Festschrift or other scholarly compendium, and it isn't making controversial or extraordinary claims. This would of course not extend to undergraduate papers, unfinished theses/dissertations, and other pure-primary sources that are not from reputable publishers.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:49, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

  • @SMcCandlish: Reliability is related to notability, so for 1 and 2, make sure the proceedings and magazine have their own article under, respectively, Category:Conference proceedings and Category:Magazines. Also, I've noted in conference proceedings that there are different levels of quality control applied in the article selection process, from an accept/reject decision to a fuller peer review. I also sourced how their indexing in bibliographic databases differs from that of journals (e.g., often no impact factors). Fgnievinski (talk) 05:59, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
    • Reliability is tied to reputability of publisher among other factors, including reputation of the authors, and of the reviewers (if any), the target audience, the breadth and depth of the work, the nature of the claims made and their relation to currently-accepted thinking on the topic, and much more. Some of this relates to notability, but does not equate to it. Disreputable publishers can be notable, and reputable ones can surely fall short of notability, since that requires significant coverage in multiple, reliable, independent secondary sources, and not many articles in off-WP publications are written about publishing companies themselves, meanwhile even coverage of universities does not often cover their publishing operations. The notability of an institution as a campus people go to does not automatically make it notable, or reputable, as a publisher; notability of any kind is never transferable. Whether something already has an article on WP doesn't equate to notability either, especially for something like conference proceedings, since we have hardly any articles on any of them at this point (less than 10!). Nothing in WP:V or WP:RS suggests that a source's publisher must have a WP article before we can use that source on WP. The fact that we have a huge category full of articles on mainstream magazines makes really clear how little that relates to reputability; WP:RS categorically considers most magazines to be lower-quality sources by their very nature (though there are exceptions of course, since some publish, e.g., serious investigative journalism, not just mixed secondary-tertiary summary fare.

      Anyway, yes, I myself made the point that quality control differs; that's the essential issue. It even differs for mainstream academic journals, though not as widely. I'm suggesting we account for this, in the guideline, because current WP de facto practice is to cite conference proceedings precisely like journals, other than the template is different. I have yet to find a single case of conference proceedings being challenged on reliability grounds. Admittedly I haven't been searching for it, but in almost 10 years of editing (over 10, counting early anon editing), I should have seen it by now. We have a reliability blind spot here. The impact factors note is interesting (I hadn't noticed that before), but we do precious little with impact factors to begin with, unless one heck of a dispute breaks out. WP relies mostly on secondary sources, but other than literature reviews, most material in academic journals is primary, or a mixture of primary and secondary, that we must "use with caution", because it is presenting novel claims for others to test and develop, and does not yet represent the mainstream, accepted view or even necessarily a noteworthy minority one. Much of it, especially in the hard sciences, is just experimental "noise". The second point of my original post (aside from the blind spot) is the "inverse" blind spot, of treating certain primary sources published as theses by universities as if verboten, when they're really just published primary sources like any others. They're not as useful as fully peer-reviewed ones, but in cases like I've outlined, the idea that they must have had a notable impact is probably too stringent, if we at least directly attribute them, and make it clear what kind of publication they are, in the article text, not just cite them as if authoritative. For some topic like the early history of domestic cats in Scandinavia (one of the above examples), it may well be that there will never be any further research. At bare minimum it should be enough that something in a peer reviewed journal has cited the thesis in question. I think the language we have about graduate theses was written with big, hard-science fields in mind, where new ideas are usually wrong and are very difficult to test. In many of the softer disciplines this isn't really the case, and much of the work in question is rote reporting of data with minimal synthesis. The "caution" needed is lower, and we can probably account for that in the guideline without much effort.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:23, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

  • *Groan* This is a huge number of words that ought to just say 'case-by-case basis'. This stuff is so variable from one academic field to another than trying to write general guidelines is hopeless. And anyone who doesn't have a reasonable sense of the landscape in the field they're trying to write about shouldn't be writing about it anyway. How "we" "feel" about individual academic communities' publication norms is irrelevant. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:32, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
    • I don't think the attitude is necessary, thanks. I never said anything about how we feel "about individual academic communities' publication norms"; you're just making up weird stuff and putting it my mouth. I'm talking about how we decide, internally, to approach particular types of sources in, e.g. anthropology and linguistics (I have one of those degree things in those fields, so you can keep your assumptions to yourself about what I know about their publication norms). I'm fairly confident I can write serviceable guideline text to cover all of this, despite the pessimism. I've written substantial portions of quite a few of our guidelines. I also decline to apologize for writing clearly, and with sufficient detail to cover what needed to be covered to forestall various (though clearly not all) distracting objections that miss the point, and for tying these matters to actual, specific examples (which is almost always required for proposals to go anywhere). Even if we conclude on "case-by-case basis", we don't presently indicate anything to suggest some of these categories of publication be treated on a case by case basis. For some we say nothing (leaving them in limbo, and with conf. proceedings, leading to over-citing), while with others we're being over-inclusive (not distinguishing industry "journals" from peer-reviewed academic ones, which has implications for our tech industry coverage in particular), and for another category we're a bit too exclusive. I'll just draft something I guess, in absence of any constructive suggestions.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:23, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Regarding your point #2, could you post a link to an example of the type of journal to which you refer? As things stand, I'd agree that academic journals would be more reliable than trade journals, but even US Weekly is reliable enough. RS is a pass/fail criterion. We only need to establish a hierarchy when sources contradict each other.
As for masters' theses, if they've been reviewed, then why not? Though I concur that "case-by-case basis" is relevant here.
As for establishing rules/guidance/call-it-what-you-like for conferences and to a lesser extent rules for theses, I could support adding specifics to WP:IRS if the Wikieditors are having problems that adding such rules could solve. Are people citing conferences using a confusing mishmash of jury-rigged formats? Are people deleting conference-sourced material because they assume conferences are not RS? Any other problem? These questions are not rhetorical. Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:34, 3 July 2015 (UTC)