Wikipedia talk:Reliable sources

  • frequently asked questions (faq)
    where should i ask whether this source supports this statement in an article?
    at wikipedia:reliable sources/noticeboard. don't forget to tell the editors the full name of the source and the exact sentence it is supposed to support.
    do sources have to be free, online and/or conveniently available to me?
    no. sources can be expensive, print-only, or available only in certain places. a source does not stop being reliable simply because you personally aren't able to obtain a copy. see wikipedia:reliable sources/cost. if you need help verifying that a source supports the material in the article, ask for help at wikipedia:wikiproject resource exchange or a relevant wikiproject.
    do sources have to be in english?
    no. sources can be written in any language. however, if equally good sources in english exist, they will be more useful to our readers. if you need help verifying that a non-english source supports the material in the article, ask for help at wikipedia:translators available.
    i personally know that this information is true. isn't that good enough to include it?
    no. wikipedia includes only what is verifiable, not what someone believes is true. it must be possible to provide a bibliographic citation to a published reliable source that says this. your personal knowledge or belief is not enough.
    i personally know that this information is false. isn't that good enough to remove it?
    your personal belief or knowledge that the information is false is not sufficient for removal of verifiable and well-sourced material.
    is personal communication from an expert a reliable source?
    no. it is not good enough for you to talk to an expert in person or by telephone, or to have a written letter, e-mail message, or text message from a source. reliable sources must be published.
    are there sources that are "always reliable" or sources that are "always unreliable"?
    no. the reliability of a source is entirely dependent on the context of the situation, and the statement it is being used to support. some sources are generally better than others, but reliability is always contextual.
    what if the source is biased?
    sources are allowed to be biased or non-neutral. only wikipedia articles are required to be neutral. sometimes "non-neutral" sources are the best possible sources for supporting information (with due weight) about the different viewpoints held on a controversial subject.
    does every single sentence need to be followed by an inline citation?
    no. only four broad categories of material need to be supported by inline citations. editors need not supply citations for perfectly obvious material. however, it must be possible to provide a bibliographic citation to a published reliable source for all material.
    are reliable sources required to name the author?
    no. many reliable sources, such as government and corporate websites, do not name their authors or say only that it was written by staff writers. although many high-quality sources do name the author, this is not a requirement.
    are reliable sources required to provide a list of references?
    no. wikipedia editors should list any required sources in a references or notes section. however, the sources you are using to write the wikipedia article do not need to provide a bibliography. most reliable sources, such as newspaper and magazine articles, do not provide a bibliography.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Where should I ask whether this source supports this statement in an article?
At Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. Don't forget to tell the editors the full name of the source and the exact sentence it is supposed to support.
Do sources have to be free, online and/or conveniently available to me?
No. Sources can be expensive, print-only, or available only in certain places. A source does not stop being reliable simply because you personally aren't able to obtain a copy. See Wikipedia:Reliable sources/cost. If you need help verifying that a source supports the material in the article, ask for help at Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange or a relevant WikiProject.
Do sources have to be in English?
No. Sources can be written in any language. However, if equally good sources in English exist, they will be more useful to our readers. If you need help verifying that a non-English source supports the material in the article, ask for help at Wikipedia:Translators available.
I personally know that this information is true. Isn't that good enough to include it?
No. Wikipedia includes only what is verifiable, not what someone believes is true. It must be possible to provide a bibliographic citation to a published reliable source that says this. Your personal knowledge or belief is not enough.
I personally know that this information is false. Isn't that good enough to remove it?
Your personal belief or knowledge that the information is false is not sufficient for removal of verifiable and well-sourced material.
Is personal communication from an expert a reliable source?
No. It is not good enough for you to talk to an expert in person or by telephone, or to have a written letter, e-mail message, or text message from a source. Reliable sources must be published.
Are there sources that are "always reliable" or sources that are "always unreliable"?
No. The reliability of a source is entirely dependent on the context of the situation, and the statement it is being used to support. Some sources are generally better than others, but reliability is always contextual.
What if the source is biased?
Sources are allowed to be biased or non-neutral. Only Wikipedia articles are required to be neutral. Sometimes "non-neutral" sources are the best possible sources for supporting information (with due weight) about the different viewpoints held on a controversial subject.
Does every single sentence need to be followed by an inline citation?
No. Only four broad categories of material need to be supported by inline citations. Editors need not supply citations for perfectly obvious material. However, it must be possible to provide a bibliographic citation to a published reliable source for all material.
Are reliable sources required to name the author?
No. Many reliable sources, such as government and corporate websites, do not name their authors or say only that it was written by staff writers. Although many high-quality sources do name the author, this is not a requirement.
Are reliable sources required to provide a list of references?
No. Wikipedia editors should list any required sources in a references or notes section. However, the sources you are using to write the Wikipedia article do not need to provide a bibliography. Most reliable sources, such as newspaper and magazine articles, do not provide a bibliography.