[WikiEN-l] Proposed {{prod}} for articles with no sources

Andrew Gray shimgray at gmail.com
Wed Jul 18 11:52:42 UTC 2007

On 18/07/07, Ray Saintonge <saintonge at telus.net> wrote:

> If it's so easy to do why can't the people pushing this proposal just
> find one.  Either they're too goddamn lazy to do it themselves, or they
> are insisting that the original contributor do it just to be dicks.
> It gets very tiresome when a gang of nitwits insists on sources that
> they don't understand, just for the sake of having sources.  These guys
> might as well use their personal stack of comic books as references for
> any random article.

These two paragraphs... don't gell very well.

a) the complainant ought to find sources
b) the complainant won't understand the sources

Adding sources you yourself don't understand? Incompetent and stupid.
Asking people who do understand them and know the literature in the
field to provide sources? Appropriate.

I don't think "do it or die" is useful in most cases (see below), but
this insistence that the person demanding a source be obliged to
provide it is silly. There are no ends of topics where - well, yes,
you could google and find something supporting that, but you don't
understand the topic well enough to know what that source is, if it's
reliable, if this is a common misconception on the Internet...

A "source" is not just "a website that says the same thing".

> There are at least two librarians posting to this list, and both have
> supported cautious and informed views about handling these issues.

I'm a third one, and for what it's worth I support the use of "cite
this *now* or it dies a flaming flaming death" in appropriate cases.
[[Demographics of Latvia]] is not an appropriate case. [[Notorious
rapists]] is!

There are some articles that basically consist of nasty claims, yet
have no sources. If we remove all the unsourced and potentially
defamatory claims, we get "Joe Smith (b. 1964) is a Canadian" rather
than "Joe Smith (b. 1964) is a Canadian criminal best known for
molesting several young moose over a seven-year period in 1992", and
at that point the article is pretty much worth quietly losing.

So I take out the claims, slap a prod tag on it, and let it be. To my
delight, this has been mostly successful - only two or three got
reverted with whiny edit summaries, and one of them got taken to AFD
and deleted anyway (on the grounds that we really, really aren't a sex
offenders registry). I strongly feel the encyclopedia was
substantially better for doing this, and isn't that the point?

- Andrew Gray
  andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk

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