[WikiEN-l] Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information

Roger Luethi collector at hellgate.ch
Wed May 17 13:14:12 UTC 2006

On Tue, 16 May 2006 16:30:15 -0400, Jimmy Wales wrote:
> I can NOT emphasize this enough.
> There seems to be a terrible bias among some editors that some sort of
> random speculative "I heard it somewhere" pseudo information is to be
> tagged with a "needs a cite" tag.  Wrong.  It should be removed,
> aggressively, unless it can be sourced.  This is true of all
> information, but it is particularly true of negative information about

I cannot agree with such a general statement that encompasses "all

It is worth noting that the German WP is quite successful while _not_
sourcing information the way the English one does.

Compare the featured articles of the past few days and you will find that
typical English FAs contain several dozen footnotes and German FAs have
just "Literatur" sections [1].

Random speculation and hearsay is usually stated as fact -- few editors
start by saying "I heard somewhere that ...". Many if not most claims in WP
are not specifically sourced. If we removed all unsourced information
because we can't tell the difference between unsourced and untrue, we would
lose a good portion of the useful content in WP.


[1] They appear to be in constant violation of their own guide that looks
    very much like [[WP:CITE]] (stating, among other thing: "Wichtige oder
    strittige Aussagen sollten detailliert in Form von Einzelnachweisen
    belegt werden."). Even the recent FA on the death penalty
    ([[de:Todesstrafe]]) doesn't contain any important or disputed claims
    that would need to be sourced individually. Or so it seems.

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