Cool. I think about [citation needed] all of the time when I am at work and
we are expressing opinions.


On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 7:37 PM, Chris Sherlock <>

> > On 28 Feb 2016, at 2:25 PM, Chris Sherlock <>
> wrote:
> >
> >
> >> On 28 Feb 2016, at 1:16 PM, Andreas Kolbe <> wrote:
> >>
> >> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 8:44 PM, Anna Stillwell <
> >> 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!
> Chris
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> New messages to:
> Unsubscribe:,
> <>

Anna Stillwell
Major Gifts Officer
Wikimedia Foundation
* <>*
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
New messages to:

Reply via email to