MEpedia:Citation needed

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  • MEpedia:CITENEED
Citation needed. Please add more references.
The {{Citation needed}} {{Citation needed}} template aims to promote accountable discourse.

To ensure that all MEpedia content is verifiable, anyone may question an uncited claim. If your work has been tagged, please provide a reliable source for the statement, and discuss if needed.

You can add a citation by selecting from the drop-down File:VisualEditor - Cite Pulldown.png menu at the top of the editing box. In Wikitext markup, you can add a citation manually using an inline citation using <ref>tags. There are also more elaborate ways to cite sources.

In source editing, you can question an uncited claim by inserting a simple {{Citation needed}}

{{Citation needed}} tag, or a more comprehensive {{Citation needed|reason{{=}}''Your explanation here''|date{{=}}{{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTYEAR}}}} clause ({{fact}}

{{fact}} will produce the same result). This displays as:


"Citation needed" statements are part of backlog of maintenance tasks. Currently there are a large number of articles with "Citation needed" statements.

When and how to use this tag[edit | edit source]

A "citation needed" tag is a request for another editor to verify (check the accuracy of) a statement: a form of communication between members of a collaborative editing community. It is never, in itself, an "improvement" of an article. Though readers may be alerted by a "citation needed" that a particular statement is not supported, many readers don't fully understand the community's processes. Not all tags get addressed in a timely manner, staying in place for months or years, forming a growing backlog—this itself can be a problem. Best practice recommends the following:

  • Tag thoughtfully. Try to be courteous and consider the fellow-editor who will, we hope, notice your tag and try to find the citation you have requested. When adding a tag, ask yourself: Is it clear just what information you want cited? Is the information probably factual? (If it is not, then it needs deletion or correction rather than citation!)
  • Some tags are inserted by people well placed to find a suitable citation themselves. If this is the case, consider adding these articles to your watchlist or a worklist so that you can revisit the article when you have the opportunity to fix the verifiability problems yourself.

When not to use this tag[edit | edit source]

Before adding a tag, at least consider the following alternatives, one of which may prove much more constructive:

{{Clarify}} instead.

  • If the content is nonsense or is very unlikely to be true, be bold and delete it!
  • Do not tag controversial material about living people that is unsourced or poorly sourced. Remove it immediately!
  • If you are sure the statement you want to tag is not factual, even if it does not come under either of the preceding headings, it may still be appropriate to simply remove the text (delete it!). Be sure to add a suitable edit summary such as "Very doubtful – please add a citation if you return the content". If the original statement was accurate after all, this gives someone the chance to put it back, hopefully with a proper citation this time.
  • If a statement sounds plausible, and is consistent with other statements in the article, but you doubt that it is totally accurate, then consider making a reasonable effort to find a reference yourself. In the process, you may end up confirming that the statement needs to be edited or deleted to better reflect the best knowledge about the topic.
  • If an article, or a section within an article, is under-referenced, then consider adding an {{Unreferenced}}

{{Unreferenced}} tag to the article or section concerned – these tags allow you to indicate more systemic problems to the page.

  • A reference at the end of a paragraph typically refers to the whole paragraph, and similarly a reference at the end of a sentence may almost always be taken as referring to the whole sentence. If a particular part of a sentence or paragraph seems to require a separate citation, or looks as if it may have been inserted into the text at a sentence or paragraph level, try to check the original reference rather than adding tags to text that may already be well referenced.

If your work has been tagged[edit | edit source]

  • If you can provide a reliable source for the claim, then please add it! If you are not sure how to do this, then give it your best try and replace the "Citation needed" template with enough information to locate the source. You may leave the copyediting or Wikifying to someone else, or learn more about citing sources on MEpedia. This beginners' referencing guide for MEpedia provides a brief introduction on how to reference MEpedia articles.
  • If someone tagged your contributions with a "Citation needed" tag or tags, and you disagree, discuss the matter on the article's talk page. The most constructive thing to do in most cases is probably to supply the reference(s) requested, even if you feel the tags are "overdone" or unnecessary.

How to help reduce the backlog[edit | edit source]

File:1lib1ref - Adding a reference to Wikipedia.gif
A gif showing how to fix a citation needed by adding a reference

Currently, there are a large number of articles with "Citation needed" statements. You can browse the whole list of these articles at Category:All articles with unsourced statements.

Frequently the authors of statements do not return to add citations, so other editors have to do work checking those statements. With a large number of statements that need Verification, sometimes it's hard to choose which article to work on. The MEpedia:Sources#Suggested_sources, Google scholar and Citation Hunt tool makes that easier by suggesting random articles, which you can sort by topical category membership.

See also[edit | edit source]

{{citation needed}}

Links[edit | edit source]