This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments should be made in the Senate Hall or new Consensus Track pages rather than here so that this page is preserved as a historic record. The result of the debate was no consensus. Revised proposal here. -- Ozzel 07:17, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
I wrote this up back when I nominated Shadows of the Empire (soundtrack) for FA, but after much time, bickering, and gnashing of teeth, it finally squeezed through. But now, with another article, the same thing's happening, so for this and for OOU articles in the future, I propose the following amendment to the current rules and policy.
Now, this concerns all potential OOU (and even some IU) Featured Articles. The issue regards sourcing (or citing, or whatever you wish to call it). Aside from a few articles before the FA reform, Wookieepedia only has two real world FAs. Other than that, all of our current FAs are about fictional subjects, and our requirements seem to work rather well. However, when it comes to real subjects, our rules, when interpreted in a certain manner, seem to not fit very well at all.
The problem stems from a strict interpretation of the rules, which while usually appropriate for IU content, doesn't apply as well to OOU. Since most of our articles (and practically all FAs) are about fictional subjects and are written in an IU perspective, we don't name book or game titles in the main text. Therefore, this problem doesn't occur (except perhaps within a BTS section). Also, it generally goes that every bit of text in an FA is in fact sourced. But what about a real world article? Now, call me crazy, but I would say that an OOU FA here might have more in common with a Wikipedia FA than one of ours about a fictional character. Without a doubt, it should have to fit in with all of our FA requirements. But what works for fiction doesn't always work for non-fiction. So I propose that we tweak FA Rule 11 and expand WP:Sourcing to better fit real world articles.
This is the current Rule 11:
…be completely referenced for all available material and sources. See Wookieepedia:Sourcing for more information.
I suggest we change it to this:
…be referenced for all available material and sources where appropriate. See Wookieepedia:Sourcing for more information.
Then, we add this section to WP:Sourcing, borrowing some wording from Wikipedia:
All in-universe content from more than one source (aside from introductions) must be completely cited with inline references.
Out-of-universe content can be supported with references in two ways: the provision of general references—books or other sources that support a significant amount of the material in the article—and inline citations, that is, references within the text, which provide source information for specific statements. Inline citations are needed for statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, including contentious material about living persons, and for all quotations.
Hopefully, this would cover the extreme situations that have proven problematic and would allow for a little common sense instead of blindly following the rules just because "them's the rules." Frankly, most of our OOU coverage sucks, and we should be encouraging more FAs, not holding them back with rules meant to apply to fiction. -- Ozzel 19:26, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Not everyone has the same knowledge of the IU and OOU universe that the established users of this site do. Whether some users chose to believe it or not, citing the obvious can/will help those wayward readers of Wookieepedia who only learned yesterday that Vader was Luke's father; or that Burl Ives narrated Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure. Honestly, using the example below, if I were to ask my wife, my father, or my sister who created Star Wars, they wouldn't know...so, while some established users of this site will laugh at that and say "Well, that's an isolated case, and I learned this minor stuff when I was a kid, so George Lucas having created SWs doesn't need a citation", no where near everyone who will read Wookieepedia has the same knowledge of these subjects as we do. jSarek sums it up quite nicely. Greyman(Paratus) 15:16, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Per Greyman. --Imperialles 15:18, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
If it's obvious enough to complain about, it's obvious enough to easily source. Havac 17:14, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Saying "In The Empire Strikes Back, Carrie Fisher kisses Mark Hamill is equivalent to "Carrie Fisher made out with Mark Hamill and he liked it"<ref name="ESB"/> is not what this CT thread is about. We already agree that those two are equivalent. However, as far as I'm concerned, FA is about quality. That means everything should be verifiable in a non-Wookieepedia source. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 03:59, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
So far, no one has presented a valid reason to not source something. If something can be sourced, it must be sourced. If it cannot be sourced, it must be removed. How can anyone logically argue for exceptions to this? -- Darth Culator(Talk) 04:14, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Or you could just leave it. That thing sources itself. I think a fundamental issue here is that some people (not you, jSarek), don't understand the difference between sourcing and inline citations. Thefourdotelipsis 04:45, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Can you please clearify that difference? If you think there's an issue, then help fix it. Help us learn that difference. Michaeldsuarez(Activate Holocron) 04:31, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
OK, let's take Ozzel's example. He's already mentioned Star Wars. Within Star Wars, there is proof that George Lucas created it. Therefore, he has already sourced the statement, simply by mentioning the film. Star Wars is the source. It's there. You don't need to provide another footnote saying the same thing. That's Department of Redundancy Department style stuff. That is the thing that people don't get. If I say "Admiral Daala first appeared in Jedi Search", I have sourced the statement. I have provided the source. It's there. To add a footnote is just pointless and moronic. The only thing that could be added in a footnote is the publishing info, which we don't use anyway, because we're too goddamn lazy. If you're asking, while reading a statement "In The Approaching Storm, Shu Mai is shown to be a Gossam," "I wonder where the hell that came from? They should provide a source," then maybe an encyclopedia isn't the right thing for you. In fact, I'd recommend a lobotomy, since that's clearly going to be the only thing that will benefit all parties. Thefourdotelipsis 00:15, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
In other words, this is Wookieepedia, not RicOliepedia. ;) Adamwankenobi 04:55, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I do so hate commenting under votes, so I'll tackle these here. jSarek and Culator are absolutely right. Every fact should have a source, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Again, this CT is about inline citations, not sources. Now, of course I was joking with my Lucas example, but apparently some people actually would go that far, which is why we need to address this problem. 4dot sums it up nicely. George Lucas is in fact the first real name we see credited in Star Wars, so that statement is in fact self-sourcing. So Grey-man's argument doesn't hold up. Havac again implies that everything must have a source, which is right on, but if he thinks everything must have an inline citation for no other reason than because it can, then I would question that reasoning because it goes against the purpose of citations in the first place. Ataru's augment... I'm not trying to be rude, but it genuinely does not make any sense to me. The first part is an appropriate example, but the latter seems to be an assumption with a ref tag, and I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. But I do agree that we should be focused on quality, which is why I brought this up at all. In my opinion, the "everything must have an inline citation" idea reflects poorly on us.
If you think everything must have a ref tag, you are missing the point. We don't name sources IU, because we write IU, and so we use citations for everything to circumvent that. But OOU, we are not bound that way. We can say "In this book, So-and-So says this" and not have to put a tag, because we have given the source of the information already, thereby disregarding the need for a citation tag. People need to understand that this isn't about verifiability of information; it is about sourcing information responsibly and realizing that reality does not always fit the same mold as fiction. -- Ozzel 05:11, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
"So Grey-man's argument doesn't hold up."? Uh, I know it's really hard to believe, but there are people out there who will/have read our OOU articles who haven't seen the movies. How are these unfortunate people going to know what they're reading is right? For it to be a self-sourcing statement, it needs to say something roughly similar to, "As seen in the credits for Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), George Lucas...blah blah blah" -- That's a self-sourcing statement. I completely understand what was just said above regarding inlaid references (and I do use them in the articles I write, mostlyin theBtS), but my point is that saying "George Lucas created Star Wars" does need a reference tag, regardless of how obvious it is to us, here, because it's not a self-sourcing statement. I could say "Paris Hilton directed Episode III", but without a source (albeit, a website, magazine, movie credits, etc.) it's an unsourced statement. To me at least, the same thing applies with the George statement used as the primary, though joking, example. 4dot's example of "Admiral Daala first appeared in Jedi Search" is perfect, and that's not a problem, IMO. Anyways, I'm really not here to argue since I firmly believe in my post/vote, but to me and apparently others, my statement does hold up. Regardless of the outcome of this CT, inlaid sources when written properly are not a problem, and I've never viewed them as a problem. However, if someone doesn't want to take the time to rewrite a sentence like "George Lucas created Star Wars" to make it self-sourcing, that's where I tend to see a problem. Once again...I have never had a problem with inlaid citations, and never will. Anyways, that's it for me with regards to this CT. Greyman(Paratus) 05:47, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok, the Lucas thing was a joke that got taken seriously and it wasn't a proper, or realistic, example, so let's just throw that out, okay? :-) -- Ozzel 06:08, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
After seeing some of the more ridiculous cases of forced sourcing, I'm firmly for this idea. The two in particular:
Both of those highlight the different aspects of this change. The first, sourcing patently obvious and entirely unquestionable information; the second, requiring references for something that sources itself. Havac's argument, and some others, seem to say that we can source them, so we must. I think that's just bad practice. The question isn't "can we", it's "should we". Should we tell our readers how they can know Chris Trevas is a man? Should people have to be told that Knights of the Old Republic is the place to look to find information on Knights of the Old Republic? I think that that's not only unnecessary, it's patronizing.
I think that there's a heavy focus on rules over anything else, and that includes the original point of the rules. I'm asking, what is the purpose of sourcing? Is it to put a little number next to every sentence, or is it so that when people see a statement and ask "How do I know this is true?", they know where to look? Because if it's the former, there's nothing to be done. No matter how obvious a fact is, we better source it, because that's what the rules say (and for no other reason than that). If it's the latter, then we need to not require that little number in places where, frankly, even an idiot doesn't need a source pointed out. Yes, we're making an assumption; we're making an assumption that the readers aren't total dunces who can't identify the gender of humans without being told how. We don't make that assumption, we treat everyone like they're morons, we get...well, we get those two examples above. And we look laughable. And we help absolutely nothing, because I think people already figured out that Trevas was a man without our little footnote. - Lord Hydronium 10:15, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Much as Greyman stated, there's nothing inherently wrong with stating the source of a fact in the course of the article itself; it's not my preferred style, but it IS supported by most style manuals (and I've had professors mark me down for oversourcing statements, so my personal preferences are apparently NOT so supported). But that's not what this proposal is suggesting at all - it's stating, condensed, "Out-of-universe content can be supported with references in two ways: the provision of general references . . . and inline citations . . . Inline citations are needed for statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged. . . ." That wording, to my eye, means any fact seen by the editor as unlikely to be challenged can be sourced strictly with general references. That's not good enough, even if the fact in question may seem obvious to us. There needs to be specific accountability for every fact, be it in inline citations or in the text of the article itself. Further, I agree with Greyman that the original joke statement is not "self sourcing" in its original form, but would be in the form given in Greyman's counterexample. The text must make the source explicit to be exempt from inline citation. jSarek 14:40, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Look, if it's a wording issue that's holding people up, then by all means, suggest an improvement. But we have to fix this issue, and soon. That said, I think people are confusing things like common sense and logic with unverified claims. This isn't an effort to allow us to slip in misinformation. It's simply assuming that anyone competent enough to operate a computer and find this website has the basic sense to determine when information is undeniably true and what could conceivably be false. The "likely to be challenged" part isn't an "if it's not, don't tag" but rather an "if it is, do," and that's only for cases where it isn't black and white. We just need people to think when they use ref tags, not just do it because it is always required. Ref tags are there so that someone can check out the external source to verify the information if they question its accuracy. Say my statement was "Cam Kennedy illustrated Dark Empire." If someone wanted to verify that, they would open up Dark Empire and see if he is the credited artist. Now, could you put a ref tag on that? Of course you could. But it would be 100% redundant and would serve no other purpose than to satisfy this ridiculous requirement. -- Ozzel 18:12, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
"This isn't an effort to allow us to slip in misinformation." --Here is, as I see it, the crux of the issue. If the phrasing of our sourcing rule is too loose, wily fanonists (and well-intentioned but mistaken contributors) will indeed slip in misinformation. If I am to support this, I'd like to see Ozzel's proposal rephrased to allow only self-sourcing content to go without a citation. This puts the onus on the sourcer to figure out what constitutes "self-sourcing." I know it seems hardline and stupid, but yes, we really do need to source things like Mark Hamill's hair color or Chris Trevas' gender(Gonk forgot about the beard!). I don't consider it safe to assume "that anyone competent enough to operate a computer and find this website has the basic sense to determine when information is undeniably true and what could conceivably be false." Gonk(Gonk!) 00:01, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Why do we need to, though? What does it add to the article, and how does it help the reader any more? - Lord Hydronium 00:06, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Okay, several of us discussed this issue on IRC and were all able to better understands the arguments. So we're gonna start a new section here and try to finalize a solution that makes [almost] everyone happy. We might close the above vote and start a new one, but let's work out a better wording first. -- Ozzel 02:41, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Based on input from several people, I've rewritten the proposed addition to WP:Sourcing. While there was some concern about the words "where appropriate" being added to Rule 11, it seems to have been based on the the misconception that WP:Sourcing was a set of guidelines; however, it is in fact a policy, so all FAs are required to follow it regardless. "Where appropriate" simply applies to whether the content is IU or OOU, and since the policy is an extension of the rule, there shouldn't be much room for interpretation. So, I would keep the revised rule wordage, but would instead propose this revised addition to WP:Sourcing:
All in-universe content from more than one source (aside from introductions) must be completely cited with inline references.
Out-of-universe content must be verifiable by external sources. Information should be sourced with inline citations (with introductions and infoboxes exempt, provided the facts are sourced in the body of the article). However, citations are not necessary in some instances:
For media, if the source itself is the topic of the article. (E.g., no need to cite Dark Apprentice when the article is Dark Apprentice)
If the source of the information is already mentioned in the text, or is "self-sourcing." Examples:
Even in similar situations, inline cites may also be needed, particularly for statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged or include contentious material about living persons. Also, references may be needed if information is exclusive to a particular edition or version of the source (e.g. a trade paperback, a 3rd edition, etc.)
Now, I'm not starting a new vote just yet because I'd like more input. I may have forgotten particular points that I discussed with someone or certain parts may just need more work. If you wouldn't support this proposal (but are still open-minded to the general idea), then please tell me how we can fix it. I'd really like to get everyone on the same page here, because I think it is crucial that we solve this properly and that we do it soon. -- Ozzel 06:52, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm quite happy with this revised sourcing policy, and I think it's sufficiently clear that we would not need to change the FA rule to say "where appropriate," which is just inviting misinterpretation. Leave the link to WP:Sourcing in the FA rule and all bases seem, to me, to be covered. Gonk(Gonk!) 17:10, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Per Gonk, entirely. This would solve my number one issue, which is the looseness of the term "where appropriate" and how that might be interpreted. Also, thank you for being less intractable with this CT than you could have been; this is noted and much appreciated.—Graestan(This party's over) 17:17, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
While I'm glad this is better, I still feel it is essential that we change the rule somehow, because it's the wording as is that is being abused. What if we made it "…be referenced for all available material and sources where required by policy. See Wookieepedia:Sourcing..."? -- Ozzel 23:35, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I think I'm comfortable with both the new Sourcing addition and this reword of Rule 11. jSarek 23:45, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
This, I can work with. Compromise FTW. Don't add "where appropriate" to the FA rules. That's just asking for trouble. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 06:05, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, is this ready for a new vote then? If anyone else can see any possible loopholes, please do speak up. -- Ozzel 13:47, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I'd just like to point out that your KOTOR example would still require a ref; the fact that the series is currently ongoing can impossibly be sourced by the comics themselves. --Imperialles 13:54, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Er, yes it can. Every comic has a date in it and an announcement of the next issue. -- Ozzel 23:30, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I would think that would fall under the "exclusive to a particular edition", meaning that it would require a reference. Atarumaster88(Talk page) 03:39, 10 December 2007 (UTC)