Questionable sources are those that have a poor reputation for checking the facts, lack meaningful editorial oversight, or have an apparent conflict of interest.
Such sources include websites and publications expressing views that are widely considered by other sources to be extremist or promotional, or that rely heavily on unsubstantiated gossip, rumor or personal opinion. Questionable sources should be used only as sources for material on themselves
, such as in articles about themselves; see below
. They are not suitable sources for contentious claims about others.
Anyone can create a personal web page
a book, or claim to be an expert
. That is why self-published material such as books, patents, newsletters, personal websites, open wikis, personal or group blogs (as distinguished from newsblogs
, above), content farms
, Internet forum
postings, and social media
postings are largely not acceptable as sources. Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established subject-matter expert
, whose work in the relevant field
has previously been published by reliable
, independent publications.
Exercise caution when using such sources: if the information in question is suitable for inclusion, someone else will probably have published it in independent reliable sources. Never
use self-published sources as third-party sources about living people, even if the author is an expert, well-known professional researcher, or writer.
Self-published or questionable sources as sources on themselves Self-published
sources may be used as sources of information about themselves
, usually in articles about themselves or their activities, without the self-published source requirement that they be published experts in the field, so long as:
- the material is neither unduly self-serving nor an exceptional claim;
- it does not involve claims about third parties;
- it does not involve claims about events not directly related to the source;
- there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity; and
- the article is not based primarily on such sources.
Wikipedia and sources that mirror or use it
"WP:CIRCULAR" redirects here. For links on a page that redirect back to the same page, see WP:SELFRED
Do not use articles from Wikipedia (whether this English Wikipedia or Wikipedias in other languages) as sources. Also, do not use websites that mirror Wikipedia content
or publications that rely on material from Wikipedia as sources. Content from a Wikipedia article is not considered reliable unless it is backed up by citing reliable sources
. Confirm that these sources support the content, then use them directly.
(There is also a risk of circular reference
when using a Wikipedia article or derivative work as a source.)
An exception is allowed when Wikipedia itself is being discussed in the article, which may cite an article, guideline, discussion, statistic, or other content from Wikipedia (or a sister project) to support a statement about Wikipedia. Wikipedia or the sister project is a primary source
in this case, and may be used following the policy for primary sources
. Any such use should avoid original research
, undue emphasis
on Wikipedia's role or views, and inappropriate self-reference
. The article text should make it clear the material is sourced from Wikipedia so the reader is aware of the potential bias.