Wikipedia talk:Researching with Wikipedia

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Well done![edit]

Brilliant stuff -- Dan and Joe, this is really nicely done. I am particularly impressed with the article's moderate and fluid style: it reads like one of our pages that has been carefully tossed back and forth for months, despite its extreme youth. I am sure it will still merit addition and alteration, but I think it's great that, within a few hours of its creation, the page is already fleshed out and well structured. Jwrosenzweig 04:13, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)I second that. Maurreen 06:13, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thirded; good work! — Matt 18:11, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for linking this from Citing Wikipedia -- excellent stuff! [[User:CatherineMunro|Catherine\talk]] 19:29, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
This is a great article. I think it will be a excellent article to point journalists at, who query the value of Wikpedia. :ChrisG 12:36, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I think this is a very good summary, and a useful set of guidelines. It covers all the major issues I can think of and offers ways to approach or mitigate them. Koyaanis Qatsi 18:21, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Upward Trend in Quality[edit]

What is the support for the assertion that there is in general and upward trend in quality? It depends on enough people looking at the entry and making the necessary improvements. Also depends on potential future vandalism being noticed and corrected. Astompa 14:23, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

What links here[edit]

One item I meant to bring up at the WikiMeet in Seattle about this topic was the strategy of using the "What links here" link to the side of the page. Even for stubs, substubs & pages waiting to be written this can sometimes lead to a fuller explanation of the subject. Sometimes it can indicate that the article is incomplete in one area or another. I know I've used this trick more than a few times, & it has led to more (& useful) information more often than not. -- llywrch 23:59, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Discussion pages[edit]

Another strategy that I think is worth mentioning is reading the discussion pages. When the topic is controversial, I often find the discussion page is more informative than the main article: it often gives a fairly concise, well-structured summary of the points of disagreement (along with lots of vitriol). --Helperzoom 03:56, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

  • The project page makes about half a dozen mentions of talk pages. Do you feel there is something more we should add? -- Jmabel | Talk 07:05, May 19, 2005 (UTC)


Are categories worth a section? Or do we consider the current situation to chaotic to consider it a useful research tool? :ChrisG 12:36, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I think that would be a good addition. Just let's be honest about the state of it, that it's work in progress, etc. -- Jmabel | Talk 19:42, Nov 22, 2004 (UTC)

Notable strengths and weaknesses[edit]

The first two sections are written in descriptive mode; the rest in imperative. I find the mixture to break the flow. Is there any way of rectifying this? DanKeshet 20:12, Nov 24, 2004 (UTC)

Internal links[edit]

I'm not sure that this section is relevant to a page that is mostly about cautioning researchers how to use Wikipedia judiciously. Is this really supposed to be "What Wikipedia is good at"? (Apparently User:Beland, unsigned)

  • When you write about using a tool, you don't just write a list of cautions. You write about un-obvious positive features, as well. Another example of this is explaining how to start a dialogue with the authors of the article. Yes, I think this belongs here. -- Jmabel | Talk 17:10, May 30, 2005 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I think that we should link from this page to some other websites about evaluating sources. This is based on a suggestion made by an educator I was speaking with, who thought this page might be helpful for assigning to her students. Does anybody know of a good web-based resource for this type of thing? If there are none we are comfortable with, should we write our own? DanKeshet

I added a couple guides that seemed pretty standard, one for websites and one for sources in general. I think we should strongly consider writing our own guides, for both. It would serve a double purpose: it would be useful for our growing body of student readers, who are often still learning about evaluating sources (and whose teachers are nervous about Wikipedia for just that reason), and it would be useful for our editors, as a guide for ourselves in evaluating the credibility and utility of sources. I do not dream that it would end all disputes regarding credibility of sources, but I still think it would be a step in the right direction. DanKeshet 04:38, May 31, 2005 (UTC)
Regarding our own guides on sources, we already have Wikipedia:Reliable sources, which could be expanded further. --MarkSweep 08:52, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
OK, I'll work from there. Thanks! DanKeshet 17:23, May 31, 2005 (UTC)

Old reference[edit]

"As of November 2004, there have been no English-language WikiReaders published, although at least two have been issued in German, and a number of English-language WikiReaders are in progress." Well, it´s September 2005 now. What has happened? Cheers. Doidimais Brasil 04:00, September 13, 2005 (UTC)

I haven't heard of any of the English-language WikiReaders coming to completion. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:13, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
I stand corrected: apparently two have just come out in the last month. See Wikipedia:WikiReader. German is still way ahead of English, though. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:17, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

Citing Wikipedia[edit]

Regarding the use of a WP article in a Colorado court — nice find to include in this article, by the way — would it be prudent to remove the specific reference to a profanity? I wouldn't typically think to do so, but in the case of this article, it's something intended for a broad audience that would likely include younger kids doing school research. I'm not sure if any sort of convention exists for the tactful use of profanity (sounds like an oxymoron, eh) on WP, but given the audience of this page, perhaps the point could come across just as well without the specific mention. Deadsalmon 01:48, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Mixed feelings on this, myself. It's not gratuitous, but I understand your point. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:36, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
I'd oppose this. We have our disclaimer, we have the simple Wikipedia, and most of people reading it will not be kids anyway - we should not decrease the functionality for majority for a marginal and uncertain benefit of a minority.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 17:28, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
"Decreasing functionality" is a little far-fetched, but the point's clear, and I agree. Leave it. Deadsalmon 19:22, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

While I recognize the value of an example of a citation of a WP article, I'm sure that a better example of one can be found than the one with profanity. Until I or someone else finds one, though, I will leave it. --SpellcheckW7 20:01, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

    Update: I found an example that was a little better.--SpellcheckW7 21:14, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

More pages like this we could use[edit]

At the recent Seattle meetup (notes available, including the rationale for this proposal), we came up with some ideas to supplement this page with some more related project pages:

  1. Wikipedia:How a Wikipedia article is built, which would explain the various mechanisms that facilitate collaboration (Recent Changes, Watchlists, etc.) and the policies (No original research, Verifiability, etc.) that support reliable content.
  2. Wikipedia:How to read an article history, about what to look at in an article history to help evaluate an article. (SchmuckyTheCat said he might get this one started.)
  3. Wikipedia:A researcher's guide to discussion pages: how to read discussion pages as part of determining reliability, and how to use them if you have doubts.

-- Jmabel | Talk 05:59, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

List of places where wikipedia is cited[edit]

I've been asked, repeatedly to come up with a list of academic sources that cite wikipedia. Preferably sources where wikipedia is not itself the subject :) There should be a wikipedia page for that. Mathiastck 19:48, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Wikipedia as an academic source is probably your best bet, but it doesn't make the distinction of whether Wikipedia is cited for its content or as an example. - Jmabel | Talk 07:19, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
We need a list of sites that cite wikipedia for content. It is important that wikipedia proudly display proof of it's legitmacy :) Mathiastck 17:10, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
When you say "sites", what do you have in mind? There are a mind-boggling number of Mirrors and Forks; all the legal ones cite Wikipedia for each article. Wikipedia:Wikipedia as an academic source is mentioned above; there are also pages about press citation of Wikipedia. I'm not sure what additional you have in mind. - Jmabel | Talk 18:16, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

A Question[edit]

While working on a page where there is little information about the topic, it occured to me while compiling a "Further Reading" list that it might be appropriate to make note of directions for further research, based on the related reading list where there is not a much specifically on the subject of the article itself. While a relatively new user, I am familliar with the "No Original Research Policy." Notation on directions for further research would not be original research, but offer directions for those developing research in an area - evidently outside Wikipedia. I am an idea person that doesn't have time to do original research in everything I have ideas for, but do have very valuable insights for those that may be researching an area. Does anyone have any opinion on adding "Research Directions" content to a site? I believe that it would provide for, and enhance the type of knowledge-mapping Wikipedia has sought to provide. --Kenneth M Burke 19:44, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

What you've written here seems rather vague, but from what I can follow this sounds more like material appropriate for a talk page or a WikiProject than for an article. - Jmabel | Talk 06:26, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Encyclopedias for academic papers[edit]

Any professor can tell you that an encyclopedia is not a good source for serious academic research, Wiki or no. This article doesn't seem to recognize that encyclopedias are casual reference sources even when they're Britannica. Andre (talk) 20:52, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

The issue is simple: you can start your research with an encyclopedia, but you should never finish with one.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk 22:39, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but this page seems not to show awareness of that. Andre (talk) 00:18, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Be bold...-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk 10:44, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

i really hate this being in the top corner[edit]

for example here [1] where it covers up the time and stuff. im just like >=o how do i get rid of it already Backsigns 01:47, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Popular culture[edit]

Excuse me, but should really articles about popular culture (TV, film etc) be held out as a strenght of Wikipedia, when many of the core administrators are against the content industry, want no featured articles about the subject, want to remove all fair use etc?-- 04:11, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Do you have a citation for your claim? Yes, we do want to avoid using an excess of non-free images. Yes, many people are opposed to an excessive proliferation of popular culture articles. Yet these don't mean we don't want to have good and neutral articles on these subjects. I've seen no instances of any administrator claiming that we want no featured articles on the subject. I've certainly seen no one with any real standing seriously saying that we don't want any at all. To me it appears that you're sour about something not going your way, but there is a big difference between not doing everything you like and rejecting pop culture articles entirely. Even if most admins didn't like the pop-culture articles, they would still be a strength of Wikipedia as it stands today. As such, I've reverted your change.--Gmaxwell 22:07, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
They don't just want to avoid an "excess" of non-free, they want it removed completely as in the German Wikipedia, which I've seen held out as an example. "Anti content industry" sentiments are sometimes expressed in featured article candidates and article of the day related discussions. It's now becomming hard to put up an article of the day about in-copyright works with an adequate illustration.
And as you say, there is sometimes resistance to so much popular culture stuff going in here, but I guess that's an understandable and even valid objection - systemic bias at work. What's not so good is if there's a resistance against information about a software project or other work based on what kind of license it's under.
As for things "going my way" I have no idea which way things are going as a reader of this thing, because it seems more like Brownian motion with ressonance breakdowns than a consensus-driven process.
Being a free media advocate should be about showing how great free media can be, not about giving a preview of how it would suck if we had less freedoms, or about suppressing interesting and verifiable information about stuff that is under some kind of copyright or patent or whatever. -- 14:18, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Fix grammar[edit]

"like all sources, not everything in Wikipedia is accurate, comprehensive, or unbiased." Right there at the top. Wikipedia is the source, not "not everything". 16:55, 1 October 2007 (UTC)


OK, so the [[Wikipedia:Arbitration committee|Arbitration Committee] has something called "tranches". This seems to be an unusual sense of the word; I don't even see any relevant explanation on our own page for tranche. Since this is a guide for the general public, could we either avoid using the word "tranches" or provide an explanation of what a tranche is and why that information is important in this context and to this audience? Sylvar 14:32, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

See Tranche (disambiguation). A tranche is basically a part - one third of people have one-year terms, another third have two-year terms and so on. That's not important for a general audience so I've removed it; the important thing is that members of ArbComm are elected by the community. Graham87 04:04, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Change the World[edit]

Wikimedia is never going to change the world... it'll make a little fuss in it... and thats that. You want something earthshattering? How about a nuclear holocaust? Another World War? Or how about the expansion of the sun as it turns into a red giant?

There was a time when I thought wikipedia "was" something, but alas I've discovered what it really is... a site that plagiarizes other sites. It may "refrence" the other sites, but when a large majority of the site is copied, you're getting second rate material.

The fact is, Wikipedia hasn't done anything that a search engine couldn't. And infact, Wikipedia has hurt search engines by being over linked.... instead of more veracitious sites. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:25, 5 November 2007 (UTC)


I have written an essay about assessing the reliability of different articles. I was hoping to get other editors to review, add to it and edit it. Currently, it is in my userspace at User:Billscottbob/Assessing reliability. Thanks for any input you may have. If you have anything you wish to discuss about it please do not discuss it here. Please discuss it on the talk page of the essay. Billscottbob (talk) 02:10, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Academic use[edit]

The essay linked to seems redundant to this one, should it be merged here? Fences&Windows 02:14, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Organization/page structure[edit]

It's confusing to have WP:RESEARCH and Wikipedia:Research point to different places; and I believe it's inconsistent with the way namespaces/pseudo-namespaces were designed to interoperate, and Wikipedia's conventions around them. However, I don't see a simple and unobtrusive fix.

A related issue is that Wikipedia:Research points to an essay about research of Wikipedia. But it's unclear to me whether readers typing in WP:RESEARCH or Wikipedia:Research would be predominantly interested in researching Wikipedia, or in using Wikipedia for research; they seem equally plausible.

My suggestion is twofold: (1) that WP:RESEARCH should redirect to Wikipedia:Research, and (2) that Wikipedia:Research should be remade as a very simple portal, or diambiguation page, that helps people find something relevant to the kind of research they're interested in. (The essay currently at Wikipedia:Research would need to be moved; I think Wikipedia:Reasearch of Wikipedia would be a natural home for it.)

Since this is a substantial reorganization, I thought I'd better seek other opinions before doing anything. Or -- is anybody already working on an improved structure to the Wikipedia-space articles relating to research? -Pete (talk) 22:17, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved.ΛΧΣ21 21:46, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Researching with WikipediaHelp:Researching with Wikipedia – It is a help page -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 01:20, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose. How is this a help page? Per Wikipedia:Project namespace, the Wikipedia namespace consists of pages with information or discussion about Wikipedia. The main point of this page, as stated in the nutshell box, is giving information about the nature of Wikipedia: Do not use Wikipedia by itself for primary research. Zzyzx11 (talk) 04:23, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Exactly, it is a help page. -- Alan Liefting (talk - contribs) 04:34, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
    Again, a help page gives information about using Wikipedia, not about Wikipedia. I do not see any advantage about moving it. Zzyzx11 (talk) 04:47, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.