> On 28 Feb 2016, at 2:25 PM, Chris Sherlock <chris.sherloc...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 28 Feb 2016, at 1:16 PM, Andreas Kolbe <jayen...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 8:44 PM, Anna Stillwell <astillw...@wikimedia.org>
>> wrote:
>>> Jimmy,
>>> I have a ridiculous amount of respect for you and what you have
>>> accomplished. I have watched from afar (I was living a lot in other
>>> countries) as this radical experiment in trust *exploded* on to the world.
>>> It blew my mind. And some of the early rules that were set were nothing
>>> short of genius (e.g. NPOV, AGF and due weight come to mind). It was an
>>> ideal experiment: an open frontier with simple, limited rule sets. And the
>>> icing on the cake is that "citation needed" ended up not just influencing
>>> how I thought about an encyclopedic text, but how I thought about
>>> discussing ideas.
>> Anna,
>> Hold on just a moment. :)
>> It's important to understand that Jimmy Wales didn't accomplish the things
>> you speak of alone.

Funny you should say this :-) I’m the “inventor” of [citation needed].

You know why I created [citation needed] on Wikipedia? Because the amount of 
ill-informed, badly thought out, ridiculous claims on Wikipedia articles were 
getting out hand. I started removing them to the talk page, but then that same 
person not only refused to explain where they got their information from, but 
would put the "fact" back into the article. This would then perpetuate 
incorrect information.

One day I had an epiphany. I realised that you can't just argue with these 
people, you need to have a reverse citation system - you need to clearly mark 
out information that is dubious, ill-informed, the result of ingrained 
prejudice (often unconsciously so) and almost always inaccurate.

At the same time, there needed to be a way of allowing controversial views and 
sometimes accurate but controversial facts be detailed on the encyclopaedia.
There was only one way I could see to do it - use the same citation system that 
referenced sources but invert it to highlight information that needed a source. 
Hence I created citation needed (originally without the square brackets, 
whoever added them was a genius in their own right).

Guess what? It worked. 11 years later, despite the many issues on Wikipedia, 
finding out the source of assumptions is no longer a problem. People can go to 
the citations and see where the factoid is documented, or whose opinion is 
being expressed. It allows ordinary people to judge the view being expressed 
more accurately, or to look at how the data was extrapolated, to understand how 
the academic study was conducted, or to verify that what is claimed is actually 
what the original claimant was indeed claiming.

But I’d like to make the point: I could *never* have created [citation needed] 
if someone had not created the policy to cite sources, and hundreds and 
hundreds of other editors didn’t have a commitment to sources. So whilst 
[citation needed] was probably one of my best ideas (sometimes I wonder if this 
might not be an indictment to my creativitity!) I have to say that it was only 
possible because of the commitment by my peers on Wikipedia to making the 
project great, and because of those who came before me. 

And I’m happy to know that my good idea has literally influences and improved 
the critical faculties of so many people who use our encyclopedia today!

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