Contents 1 Misuse to prove an obvious point 2 Needless repetition 3 Reprints 4 In-article conflict 5 Other views and solutions 6 How to trim excessive citations 6.1 Citation merging 7 Examples 8 Templates 9 See also


Misuse to prove an obvious point[edit] It is possible that an editor who is trying to promote an article to GA-class (good article status) might add citations to basic facts such as "...the sky is blue..."[6]. While this might be a good thing in their eyes, the fact that the sky is blue does not usually require a citation. In all cases, editors should use common sense. In particular, remember that Wikipedia is not a dictionary and we do not need citations for the meanings of everyday words and phrases.


Needless repetition[edit] Shortcut WP:REPCITE Material that is repeated multiple times in an article does not require an inline citation for every mention. If you mention the fact that an elephant is a mammal in multiple places in an article, provide a citation after the first one, but you need not follow each and every occurrence of the word mammal with another copy of the citation. Avoid cluttering text with redundant citations like this: Elephants are large[1] land[2] mammals[3] ... Elephants' teeth[4] are very different[4] from those of most other mammals.[3][4] Unlike most mammals,[3] which grow baby teeth and then replace them with a permanent set of adult teeth,[4] elephants have cycles of tooth rotation throughout their entire lives.[4] 1. Expert, Alice. (2010) Size of elephants: large. 2. Smith, Bob. (2009) Land-based animals, Chapter 2: The Elephant. 3. Christenson, Chris. (2010) An exhausting list of mammals 4. Maizy, Daisy. (2009) All about the elephants' teeth, p. 23–29 In addition, as per WP:PAIC, citations should be placed at the end of the passage that they support. If one source alone supports consecutive sentences in the same paragraph, one citation of it at the end of the final sentence is sufficient. It is not necessary to include a citation for each individual consecutive sentence, as this is overkill. This does not apply to lists or tables, nor does it apply when multiple sources support different parts of a paragraph or passage. This is correct: In the first collected volume, Marder explains that his work is "about the affinity of life", wherein the characters "understand that ultimately they depend on each other for survival". Wiater and Bissette see this relationship as a wider metaphor for the interdependency of the comics industry. Indeed, addressing the potential underlying complexity, Marder suggests that "it's harder to describe it than it is to read it". He also calls it "an ecological romance ... a self-contained fairy tale about a group of beings who live in the center of their perfect world [and are] obsessed with maintaining its food chain", a self-described "really low concept!" Equally, he says, "the reader has to invest a certain amount of mental energy to follow the book", which includes "maps and a rather long glossary". Despite these potentially conflicting comments, Wiater and Bissette reiterate that "there is no simpler or more iconographic comic book in existence".<ref name="Rebels">[[Stanley Wiater|Wiater, Stanley]] and [[Stephen R. Bissette|Bissette, Stephen R.]] (eds.) "Larry Marder Building Bridges" in ''Comic Book Rebels: Conversations with the Creators of the New Comics'' (Donald I. Fine, Inc. 1993) ISBN 1-55611-355-2 pp. 17–27</ref> This is also correct, but is overkill: In the first collected volume, Marder explains that his work is "about the affinity of life", wherein the characters "understand that ultimately they depend on each other for survival".<ref name="Rebels" /> Wiater and Bissette see this relationship as a wider metaphor for the interdependency of the comics industry.<ref name="Rebels" /> Indeed, addressing the potential underlying complexity, Marder suggests that "it's harder to describe it than it is to read it".<ref name="Rebels" /> He also calls it "an ecological romance ... a self-contained fairy tale about a group of beings who live in the center of their perfect world [and are] obsessed with maintaining its food chain", a self-described "really low concept!"<ref name="Rebels" /> Equally, he says, "the reader has to invest a certain amount of mental energy to follow the book", which includes "maps and a rather long glossary".<ref name="Rebels" /> Despite these potentially conflicting comments, Wiater and Bissette reiterate that "there is no simpler or more iconographic comic book in existence".<ref name="Rebels">[[Stanley Wiater|Wiater, Stanley]] and [[Stephen R. Bissette|Bissette, Stephen R.]] (ed.s) "Larry Marder Building Bridges" in ''Comic Book Rebels: Conversations with the Creators of the New Comics'' (Donald I. Fine, Inc. 1993) ISBN 1-55611-355-2 pp. 17–27</ref> If consecutive sentences are supported by the same citation, they can all be visibly shown. There is no consensus for hiding citations with <!-- -->. If citations are hidden, they can be uncommented if new material with different sources is interpolated later. References can then occur after each sentence, which is the preferred style for medical content. However, hiding citations might cause confusion to in the future;[1] for example, putting only one reference at the end of the section might require ongoing maintenance as other editors may mistakenly add {{cn}} tags or delete content as they think it is unreferenced.


Reprints[edit] Another common form of citation overkill is to cite multiple reprintings of the same content in different publications — such as several different newspapers reprinting the same wire service article, or a newspaper or magazine article getting picked up by a news aggregator — as if they constituted distinct citations. Such duplicated citations may be piled up as multiple references for the same fact or they may be split up as distinct footnotes for different pieces of content, so watching out for this type of overkill may sometimes require special attention. This type of overkill should be resolved by merging all of the citations into a single one and stripping unhelpful repetitions — when possible, the retained citation should be the originator of the content rather than a reprinter or aggregator, but if this is not possible (e.g. some wire service articles) then retain the most reliable and widely distributed available reprinter (for example, if the same article has been linked to both The New York Times and The Palookaville Herald, then The New York Times should be retained as the citation link.) A similar case is redundant citation of an article that got its information from an article we have already cited. An exception, to many scientific and technical editors, is when we cite a peer-reviewed literature review and also cite some of the original research papers the review covers. This is often felt to provide better utility for academic and university-student users of Wikipedia, and improved verifiability of details, especially in medical topics. Similar concerns about the biographies of living people may sometimes result in "back-up" citations to original reportage of statements or allegations that are later repeated by secondary sources that provide an overview.


In-article conflict[edit] In controversial topics, sometimes editors will stack citations that do not add additional facts or really improve article reliability, in an attempt to "outweigh" an opposing view when the article covers multiple sides of an issue or there are competing claims. This is something like a PoV fork and edit war at once, happening inside the article's very content itself, and is an example of the fallacy of proof by assertion: "According to scholars in My School of Thought, Claim 1.[1][2][3][4][5] However, experts at The Other Camp suggest that Claim 2.[6][7][8][9][10]" If this is primarily an inter-editor dispute over a core content policy matter (point of view, source interpretation, or verifiability of a claim), talk page discussion needs to proceed toward resolving the matter and balancing the article. If the dispute seems intractable among the regular editors of the article, try the requests for comments process; the applicable NPOV, NOR or RS noticeboard; or formal dispute resolution. If the matter is the subject of real-world dispute in reliable sources, our readers actually need to know the conflict exists and what its parameter are (unless one of the conflicting views is a fringe viewpoint). Competing assertions with no context are not encyclopedic. Instead, the material should be rewritten to outline the nature of the controversy, ideally beginning with secondary sources that independently describe the conflicting viewpoints or data, with additional, less independent sources cited only where pertinent, for verification of more nuanced claims made about the views or facts as represented by the conflicting sources. Sources that are opinional in nature – op-eds, advocacy materials, and other primary sources – can usually simply be dropped unless necessary to verify quotations that are necessary for reader understanding of the controversy.


Other views and solutions[edit] Contrary views (and approaches to addressing their concerns) include: A cited source usually contains further relevant information than the particular bit(s) it was cited for, and its removal may be thought to "deprive" the reader of those additional resources. However, Wikipedia is not a Web index, and our readers know how to use online search engines. In most cases, if a source would be somewhat or entirely redundant to cite for a particular fact, but has important additional information, it is better to use it to add these facts to the article. Or, if the additional material is not quite encyclopedically pertinent to the article but provides useful background information, add it to the "Further reading" or "External links" section instead of citing it inline in a way that does not actually improve verifiability. An additional citation may allay concerns of some editors that the text constitutes a copyright violation. This is usually a short-term issue, and is often better handled by discussing the evidence on the talk page, if the additional citation does not really increase verifiability (e.g., because the original citation, with which the added one would be redundant, is to a clearly reliable source, and there are no disputes about its accuracy or about the neutrality or nature of its use). As alluded to above, an additional citation may allay concerns as to whether the other citation(s) are sufficient, for WP:RS or other reasons. While this is often a legitimate rationale to add and additional source that some editors might consider not strictly necessary, it is sometimes more practical to replace weak sources with more reliable ones, or to add material outlining the nature of a disagreement between reliable sources. How to approach this is best settled on a case-by-case basis on the article's talk page, with an RfC if necessary, especially if the alleged fact, topic, or source is controversial. Adding competing stacks of citations is not how to address WP content disputes or real-world lack of expert consensus.


How to trim excessive citations[edit] This barber has the right idea...trim away the excess. If there are six citations on a point of information, and the first three are highly reputable sources (e.g., books published by university presses), and the last three citations are less reputable or less widely circulated (e.g., local newsletters), then trim out those less-reputable sources. If all of the citations are to highly reputable sources, another way to trim their number is to make sure that there is a good mix of types of sources. For example, if the six citations include two books, two journal articles, and two encyclopedia articles, the citations could be trimmed down to one citation from each type of source. Comprehensive works on a topic often include many of the same points. Not all such works on a topic need be cited – choose the one or ones that seem to be the best combination of eminent, balanced, and current. In some cases, such as articles related to technology or computing or other fields that are changing very rapidly, it may be desirable to have the sources be as up-to-date as possible. In these cases, a few of the older citations could be removed. For many subjects, some sources are official or otherwise authoritative, while others are only interpretative, summarizing, or opinionated. If the authoritative sources are not controversial, they should generally be preferred. For example, a company's own website is probably authoritative for an uncontroversial fact like where its headquarters is located, so newspaper articles need not be cited on that point. The World Wide Web Consortium's specifications are, by definition, more authoritative about HTML and CSS standards than third-party Web development tutorials. Try to construct passages so that an entire sentence or more can be cited to a particular source, instead of having sentences that each require multiple sources. Citation merging[edit] Shortcuts WP:Citation merging WP:Citemerge See also: Wikipedia:Citing sources § Bundling citations If there is a good reason to keep multiple citations, for example, to avoid perennial edit warring or because the sources offer a range of beneficial information, clutter may be avoided by merging the citations into a single footnote. This can be done by putting, inside the reference, bullet points before each source, as in this example, which produces all of the sources under a single footnote number. Within a simple text citation, semicolons can be used to separate multiple sources.


Examples[edit] Each of these articles has been corrected. Links here are to previous versions where a citation problem existed. Iris graminea Way too many to count 2004 Madrid train bombings – 17 citations for one sentence Combatant Status Review Tribunal transcripts – 54 citations to verify one statement (all but one from the same domain) Educology – 172 citations for one sentence (article was not in the mainspace at the time) Generation Y – 18 citations for one sentence Palestinian Christians – 65 citations in opening paragraph Stewie Griffin – many unnecessary citations White power skinhead – 14 citations for one statement William Evans (Medal of Honor recipient) – 16 citations New York Chiropractic College - 18 citations for notable alumni Ora Golan Larry Marder – 6 consecutive citations of the same source in one paragraph Carrfour Supportive Housing – 33 citations for one sentence Drifting (motorsport) – 29 citations for one sentence


Templates[edit] Template:Overcite


See also[edit] WP:Citation underkill - An essay with a contrary viewpoint suggesting to cite every sentence Wikipedia:Bombardment Wikipedia:Wisps' Law Wikipedia:You don't need to cite that the sky is blue Wikipedia:Masking the lack of notability Wikipedia:Overlink crisis mw:Extension:HarvardReferences – extension to improve references into Harvard style Wikipedia:Why most sentences should be cited Category:Citation overkill, for Wikipedia articles that display a case of citation overkill v t e Essays about Wikipedia Essays on building, editing, and deleting content Philosophy Articles must be written Avoid vague introductions Be a reliable source Cohesion Concede lost arguments Eight simple rules for editing our encyclopedia Don't lie Explanationism External criticism of Wikipedia Here to build an encyclopedia Most ideas are bad Need Neutrality of sources Not editing because of Wikipedia restriction Oversimplification Paradoxes Paraphrasing POV and OR from editors, sources, and fields Product, process, policy Purpose There is no seniority Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia Tendentious editing The role of policies in collaborative anarchy The rules are principles Trifecta Wikipedia in brief Wikipedia is an encyclopedia Wikipedia is a community Construction 100K featured articles Acronym overkill Advanced source searching Adding images improves the encyclopedia Advanced article editing Advanced table formatting Advanced template coding Advanced text formatting Alternatives to the "Expand" template Amnesia test A navbox on every page An unfinished house is a real problem Articles have a half-life Autosizing images Avoid mission statements Bare URLs Be neutral in form Beef up that first revision Blind men and an elephant Cherrypicking Children's lit, adult new readers, & large-print books Citation overkill Citation underkill Concept cloud Creating controversial content Criticisms of society may be consistent with NPOV and reliability Dictionaries as sources Don't demolish the house while it's still being built Don't hope the house will build itself Don't panic Editing on mobile devices Editors are not mindreaders Endorsements (commercial) Featured articles may have problems Fruit of the poisonous tree Give an article a chance Ignore STRONGNAT for date formats Inaccuracy Introduction to structurism Law sources Link rot Mine a source Merge Test Minors and persons judged incompetent "Murder of" articles Not every story/event/disaster needs a biography Not everything needs a navbox Nothing is in stone Organizing disambiguation pages by subject area Permastub Potential, not just current state Printability Pruning article revisions Publicists Put a little effort into it Restoring part of a reverted edit Robotic editing Sham consensus Run an edit-a-thon Temporary versions of articles There is a deadline There is no deadline The deadline is now Walled garden What an article should not include Wikipedia is a work in progress Wikipedia is not a reliable source Wikipedia is not being written in an organized fashion The world will not end tomorrow Write the article first Writing better articles Deletion Adjectives in your recommendations AfD is not a war zone Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions Arguments to avoid in deletion reviews Arguments to avoid in image deletion discussions Arguments to make in deletion discussions Avoid repeated arguments Before commenting in a deletion discussion But there must be sources! Confusing arguments mean nothing Content removal Counting and sorting are not original research Delete the junk Does deletion help? Don't overuse shortcuts to policy and guidelines to win your argument Follow the leader How to save an article proposed for deletion I just don't like it Immunity Liar Liar Pants on Fire Nothing Overzealous deletion Relisting can be abusive Relist bias The Heymann Standard Unopposed AFD discussion Wikipedia is not Whack-A-Mole Why was the page I created deleted? What to do if your article gets tagged for speedy deletion When in doubt, hide it in the woodwork No Encyclopedic Use Essays on civility The basics How to be civil Compromise Accepting other users Enjoy yourself Expect no thanks Thank you Apologizing Truce Divisiveness Encouraging newcomers Relationships with academic editors High-functioning autism and Asperger's editors Obsessive Compulsive Disorder editors Philosophy A weak personal attack is still wrong Advice for hotheads An uncivil environment is a poor environment Be the glue Civility warnings Deletion as revenge Failure Forgive and forget It's not the end of the world Nobody cares Most people who disagree with you on content are not vandals Old Fashioned Wikipedian Values Staying cool when the editing gets hot The grey zone The last word There is no Divine Right Of Editors Most ideas are bad Nothing is clear The rules of polite discourse There is no common sense Wikipedia is not about winning Writing for the opponent Dos Argue better Assume good faith Assume the assumption of good faith Assume no clue Avoid personal remarks Avoid the word "vandal" Beyond civility Call a spade a spade Candor Drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass Deny recognition Encourage full discussions Get over it How to lose Just drop it Keep it down to earth Mind your own business Don'ts Don't give a fuck Don't be inconsiderate Don't be rude Don't call a spade a spade Don't call the kettle black Don't take the bait Do not insult the vandals Don't come down like a ton of bricks Don't be ashamed Don't drink the consensus Kool-Aid Don't spite your face Don't call things cruft No angry mastodons No, you can't have a pony Don't be an ostrich Don't template the regulars Don't be a fanatic Don't accuse someone of a personal attack for accusing of a personal attack Don't fight fire with fire Don't be prejudiced Don't remind others of past misdeeds Don't throw your toys out of the pram Don't help too much Passive aggression Don't cry COI Don't be obnoxious Don't be a WikiBigot Don't confuse stub status with non-notability Don't eat the troll's food You can't squeeze blood from a turnip Wiki relations WikiLove WikiHate WikiCrime WikiBullying WikiPeace WikiLawyering WikiHarassment POV Railroading Essays on notability Notability Alternative outlets Articles with a single source Bare notability Bombardment Businesses with a single location But it's true! Citation overkill Clones Coatrack articles Common sourcing mistakes Discriminate vs indiscriminate information Every snowflake is unique Existence ≠ Notability Fart Google searches and numbers High Schools Inclusion is not an indicator of notability Inherent notability Insignificant Masking the lack of notability Make stubs News coverage does not decrease notability No amount of editing can overcome a lack of notability No big loss No one cares about your garage band No one really cares Notability/Historical/Arguments Notability cannot be purchased Notability is not a level playing field Notability is not a matter of opinion Notability is not relevance or reliability Notability means impact Notability points Notability sub-pages Obscurity ≠ Lack of notability Offline sources One hundred words One sentence does not an article make Other stuff exists Pokémon test Read the source Run-of-the-mill Significant coverage not required Solutions are mixtures and nothing else Subjective importance What notability is not What is and is not routine coverage What to include Wikipedia is not here to tell the world about your noble cause General notability guideline Independent sources Significant coverage Trivial mentions Humorous essays Humorous material Assume bad faith Assume faith Assume good wraith Assume stupidity Assume that everyone's assuming good faith, assuming that you are assuming good faith Avoid using preview button Avoid using wikilinks BOLD, revert, revert, revert Boston Tea Party Barnstaritis Don't-give-a-fuckism Edits Per Day Editsummarisis Go ahead, vandalize How many Wikipedians does it take to change a lightbulb? How to put up a straight pole by pushing it at an angle Newcomers are delicious, so go ahead and bite them No climbing the Reichstag dressed as Spider-Man Please be a giant dick, so we can ban you Please bite the newbies R-e-s-p-e-c-t Shadowless Fists of Death! The Night After Wikimas The first rule of Wikipedia The Five Pillars of Untruth Things that should not be surprising The WikiBible Watchlistitis Why not create an Account? Inactive historical references Bad Jokes and Other Deleted Unblock Emails About essays About essays Essay guide Value of essays Difference between policies, guidelines and essays Don't cite essays as if they were policy Avoid writing redundant essays Finding an essay Quote your own essay Policies and guidelines About policies and guidelines Policies Guidelines How to contribute to Wikipedia guidance Policy writing is hard Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Citation_overkill&oldid=824928371" Categories: Wikipedia essaysWikipedia essays about verificationWikipedia essays on building the encyclopedia


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