[WikiEN-l] Removal of unsourced material

John Lee johnleemk at gmail.com
Thu Jul 12 02:40:51 UTC 2007

On 7/12/07, jf_wikipedia <jf_wikipedia at mac.com> wrote:
> There is a discussion at ...
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
> Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability#Age_of_unreferenced
> ...  in which proposals are being made to remove unsourced content
> from articles and/or delete articles all together if material is not
> sourced within 30 days after placing a warning template.
> I am no inclusionist, but I see this as a dangerous narrow
> application of policy that may cost us a lot of lost content that
> *is* verifiable.
> My view is that editors should endeavor in *looking for sources*
> rather than deleting content that is not sourced. After all, we are
> here to build an encyclopedia,  and the tens of thousands of
> occasional contributors that do not know of our policies, are after
> all, those that *add* most of the new material to our project.

This proposal is alarming. As someone who works on articles where academic
sources or other secondary works are sometimes difficult, and often don't
meet our "Reliable sources" guidelines (I once wrote an article about an MBE
whose authorised biography was self-published by a friend of his, making it
theoretically verboten under our guidelines), I think it is ridiculous to
enforce a blanket deletion on unsourced articles.

As someone who takes an interest in following up on references from time to
time, I find it alarming that we may soon see bogus/useless references
inserted for the sake of procedure rather than for the sake of providing a
reference for interested readers to look into.

Oh, and not to mention that most newbies don't know how/are afraid to cite
sources. I myself have reduced my editing quite a bit because I've never
managed to find a way to quickly cite a source for some tidbit of info I'd
like to add - sometimes I think the {{cite}} templates people insist on
using hurt more than help because I have to keep on going to the template
page to see what arguments to add.

In short, this is an argument for a blanket deletion. It is a bad idea. Do
not pass go. Do not collect $200.


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