Monday, March 15, 2010

Myths about Wikipedia: Every article must have sources

One of the most prevalent myths about Wikipedia is that articles must have sources or else they're deleted. It is true that a lot of articles get deleted on Wikipedia, but lack of sources is rarely the real reason, though it may often be given as the official reason. Click "Random article" just a few times and you will encounter:
  • Articles with no sources whatsoever, but the article is not tagged with one of those infamous orange "This article does not cite any references or sources" tags. For example, Fairfax District (Kansas City, Kansas) as of today.
  • Articles that do cite one source in the preferred inline format yet are tagged as unreferenced just the same. For example, Ryers, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as of today.
  • Articles with one external link, which happens to be broken. For example, Oil Heritage Route as of today.
  • Articles cited with a website in a foreign language (which would be just fine if we all spoke all other languages). For example, Asmane Gnegne as of today.
  • Articles incorporating information from another language Wikipedia, where the other Wikipedia has no citations whatsoever, and the English Wikipedia has two or three footnotes all from the same place. For example, as of today, National Mint of Bolivia is pretty much trimmed down from the Spanish article though with the addition of three citations from
And who knows, maybe someone will do something about the specific articles (listed in bold above) mentioned here. (And for some reason "Random article" turns up a lot of geography stubs). But for each of these example there are dozens of Wikipedia articles in similar states of uncitedness.

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