[WikiEN-l] Is this overciting?

Steve Bennett stevagewp at gmail.com
Wed May 17 17:35:31 UTC 2006

On 5/17/06, Erik Moeller <eloquence at gmail.com> wrote:
> The level is not a problem. I tend to agree that there's no such thing
> as overciting, though I'm sure someone will eventually WP:POINT out an
> exception to that rule. As you say, the problem is more with the
> nature of the sources used. Much of the article is currently sourced
> to a web site called "Megalithic Walks" which is only attributed to
> "Graham and Angela" and which does not, itself, cite sources.
> However, citing such amateur websites is perfectly fine -- it's
> basically one step above "citation needed" and tells other editors
> that it would be nice to have a more authoritative source for the
> claim (and also that it's OK to remove it if it is in dispute).

Yes, I feel that for a reader, knowing that the information that a given
stone circle is 23 metres wide came from an amateur website is a hell of a
lot more useful than just being told "this stone circle is 23 metres wide".
However I still have two unresolved problems:
a) How to elegantly express the fact that two different sources have
contradicting accounts. Do I write: This stone circle is 23 [1] or 28 [2]
metres wide, and ... or do I actually have to incorporate the metadata about
the sources into the body: The size of the stone circle is reported
differently in different accounts, as being either 23 [1] or 28 [2]
b) How to elegantly express the fact that I simply don't know something
which is pertinent. Wikipedia does not have a narrator's voice. A newspaper
might say "The Age was unable to determine the man's name", and a book or
blog might simply use "I". I feel it's misleading to say "The origins of the
rock are unknown" when surely someone *does* know them - but we (I) don't.


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