[WikiEN-l] A challange to those who say the system works

Bryan Derksen bryan.derksen at shaw.ca
Sun Apr 22 09:12:42 UTC 2007

Matthew Brown wrote:
> On 4/21/07, Eugene van der Pijll <eugene at vanderpijll.nl> wrote:
>> I guess the list shows that {{unreferenced}} is overused. Most of the
>> articles on the list are not in the least problematic.
> I sampled ten articles - 3331 through 3340, just because they happened
> to be at the top of a column.

Here's my ten, 4390-4399 (chosen by spinning the scroll wheel on my
mouse and then picking the first round number that caught my eye)


A short article with one inline reference and two external links.
They're not very good sources but the inline reference appears to back
up many of the basic biographical details. Could use more but for an
article this size what we've got seems enough to remove the
{{unreferenced}} tag.


A medium-sized article with a lot of unsourced information about legal
problems he's had, and one inline reference down at the bottom about an
unrelated matter. Definitely needs improving. A quick Googling found a
whole bunch of news stories, though, that backed up many of the basics.
I added some links but didn't take the time to go through some of the
later details so left the tag in place.


A short article about a Playboy model. There's an external link to an
interview that's pretty fluffy but that appears to back up some of the
basics about her. With just that one link it'd be pretty sparse, but
Google's first hit on her name was her homepage with extensive
biographical information so I tossed that in.


A Japanese poet and translator. A fairly lengthy article that appears to
have been translated from the Japanese Wikipedia,  there are only two
external links. One is to a bit of biographical information but the
other appears to be just an essay he's written. Needs more.


A singer. Lengthy article with no inline refs, but external links
contains links to his homepage with a biography that backs up some of
it. I added a few inline refs but not enough to take the tag off yet.


Voice actor with a two-line stub and a list of works he's been in.
External links includes an IMDB and a profile on another page. The other
profile is currently offline but I found it easily enough in
archive.org. Taking the tag off.


Stub article about a musician along with a short list of random trivia.
There's one external link to a fansite with an extensive bio and a
profile that seems to back up much of what's here. I'm leaving the tag
on simply because the bio at the web site is long and poorly organized
so I can't spend the time to pick out the details, but I suspect it's
all there.


Stub about a soccer player. One external link to a profile giving only
the most basic biographical information, but there isn't much more than
that here so I'm taking the tag off.


Stub about an Indy 500 race car driver. The article has no links or
references. Google didn't provide any easy sources in the first page of
results but a quick glance does confirm that he's a race car driver who
was active around the time the article claims.


Mid-sized article about a football player. The {{unreferenced}} tag in
this case was completely misapplied; the article had nine inline
references already that were scattered throughout the text. Removing tag.

So, of the ten I sampled most already had external links that backed up
a bunch of the material in the article, some to such a degree that I
felt the tag was inappropriate. None of these middling-quality articles
had controversial-looking contents.

One had a lot of potentially controversial unreferenced stuff about
legal problems, but references could be quickly found using Google.

One had no references whatsoever and wasn't quickly fixable with Google
but was noncontroversial.

One was highly referenced, I have no idea why the unreferenced tag was
put on it.

So my impression from this sample is that most of the articles tagged as
unreferenced are actually just _poorly_ referenced, with only a handful
being dangerously unreferenced and a roughly equal handful being in
actually well-referenced articles that have been mislabelled as
unreferenced. So rather than almost 7000 problem articles I suspect
we've got closer to 700. Out of 1.5 million this strikes me as a pretty
good score.

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