Main FAQ - Editing FAQ - Attribution FAQ

Wookieepedia is not a publisher of original thought: all material published by Wookieepedia must be attributable to a reliable published source. The threshold for inclusion in Wookieepedia is whether material can be attributed, not whether it is true. For more details, see Wookieepedia:Attribution, which is policy.

This is a subsidiary page of Wookieepedia:Attribution, answering questions and offering examples that illustrate key aspects of the policy. If you don't find your question here, post it on the talk page.

The essence of Wookieepedia:Attribution[]

All material in Wookieepedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source; that is, a reliable, published source must exist for it. If none does, the material is regarded as original research and should be removed. In reality, not all material must actually be attributed, but attribution is required for quotations and for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged.

Not everything we tell you is a lie. But something can be.

Doesn't Wookieepedia care about truth?[]

Wookieepedians do care about the truth, but we are mindful of our own limitations. We want to produce a high-quality encyclopedia, and by insisting on the use of reliable sources, we ensure that anyone can independently verify the facts (and sometimes opinions) we present. Editors should ensure that all majority and significant-minority opinions are included in articles.

The threshold for inclusion in Wookieepedia is whether material can be reliably attributed, not whether any individual editor holds it to be true. In particular, material that an editor believes to be true but that cannot be attributed to a reliable source should not be included in Wookieepedia. Articles should simply present reliably attributed statements, views, and arguments, and then allow our readers to judge truth for themselves.

Types of source material[]

What kinds of sources are generally regarded as unreliable?[]

Some sources are generally unacceptable for use as references in Wookieepedia; for example, because a source's contents, author(s), or authenticity cannot be reasonably confirmed:

  • An anonymous source is an unnamed person or a work created by an unnamed author. Anonymous sources are not acceptable in Wookieepedia, because we can't know whether they are trustworthy or qualified to comment.
  • An unpublished source is one that is not publicly available, or that has been distributed only through anonymous channels or forums, and for which a publisher cannot be identified. This includes any leaked information about upcoming Star Wars media. Unpublished sources may never be used as sources on Wookieepedia.
  • An obsolete source is one that is out-of-date, or has been officially withdrawn or deprecated by its author(s) or publisher. It should be noted that official Star Wars works remain canonical no matter how old they are, unless explicitly stated otherwise. This, however, obviously does not apply to secondary fan-created sources.
  • A questionable source is one with no independent fact-checking process, or with a poor reputation for fact-checking. This includes gossip columns and sources that are entirely promotional in nature. Questionable sources should usually not be used as sources except in articles about themselves; see the self-publication provision of the policy.
  • A self-published source is material, online or in print, that has been published by the author, or whose publisher is a vanity press, web hosting service, or other organization that provides little or no editorial oversight. The expression "self-published source" may also refer to the author of the material. Personal websites, blogs, wikis, and messages on Internet message boards are considered self-published. With self-published sources, no independent entity stands between the author and publication; the material may not have been subject to any form of fact-checking, legal scrutiny, or peer review. For that reason, self-published material is usually not acceptable as a reliable source, with some exceptions.

What if a self-published source disagrees with a third-party reliable source?[]

Where a self-published source in an article about itself disagrees with canon or with a majority view in reliable sources, the self-published source may be used to demonstrate the author's opinion or the inaccuracy of the author's claims, so long as doing so is consistent with the self-publication provision of WP:ATT. An example is the article on Mickey Suttle, which uses examples of contradictions between his website supershadow.com and Star Wars canon to demonstrate the unreliability of his website.

Reliability of specific sources[]

Are forum postings reliable sources?[]

Posts on Internet forums are almost never regarded as reliable sources, because they are easily forged or misrepresented, and many are anonymous or pseudonymous.

One exception is that some authorities on certain topics have written extensively on Internet forums, and their writings there are vouched for by them or by other reliable sources. For example, many Star Wars authors frequently post on the starwars.com and theforce.net forums under well-known usernames, and those comments are considered reliable representations of their views.

Are weblogs reliable sources?[]

In most cases, no. Most weblogs ("blogs"), especially those hosted by blog-hosting services such as Blogger, are self-published sources; many of them published pseudonymously. There is no fact-checking process and no guarantee of quality of reliability. Information from a blog may be usable in an article about that blog or blogger under the self-publication provision of WP:ATT.

Weblog material written by official Lucasfilm Ltd. affiliates, such as Star Wars authors or Leland Chee, may be acceptable.

Are wikis reliable sources?[]

Wikis, including Wikipedia, Wookieepedia and others, are not regarded as reliable sources. However, wikis are excellent places to locate primary and secondary sources. Many of them license content under the GFDL, which might be worth importing into Wookieepedia, but once imported, the material is subject to Wookieepedia:Attribution and Wookieepedia:Neutral point of view.

Is IRC a reliable source?[]

Transcripts of chatroom sessions are not reliable sources because they are unpublished, and we have no way of knowing who the authors are. Transcripts are also easily forged or altered.

However, if a Star Wars author confirmed the authenticity of a transcript, it can be used. An example is a transcript of an IRC session held by TheForce.Net with Jan Duursema, which gave some details about the then-new Star Wars: Legacy comic series and which is used on Wookieepedia as a source in some "Behind the scenes" sections.


How do I write references?[]

Quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged should be attributed to a reliable source using an inline reference. This can be in the form of an embedded link, or a footnote. The level of sourcing to strive for is exemplified by the featured articles.

Don't let complicated referencing structures prevent you from adding a source: if you don't know how to format the reference, provide as much information as you can, and others may fix it for you. Be bold!

What if a statement lacks attribution?[]

While any edit lacking attribution may be removed, the best practice is

  1. try to find a source for it;
  2. dispute the statement on the talk page, perhaps moving it there;
  3. add the {{fact}} template to request a reference; or
  4. remove it.

When should I tag unattributed material?[]

To summarize the use of in-line tags for unsourced or poorly sourced material:

  1. If it is doubtful but not harmful to the whole article, use the {{fact}} tag to ask for source verification, but remember to go back and remove the claim if no source is produced within a reasonable time.
  2. If it is doubtful and harmful, remove it from the article, and do not move it to the talk page, particularly if it concerns a living person.

When should I use prose attributions?[]

In many case it is appropriate to include prose attributions for sources. A prose attribution is the explicit ascription of an assertion to a source in the article's text. For example (taken from the article Carth Onasi):

According to John Jackson Miller, the bearded man in a helmet depicted on the bridge of the Courageous in issue 8 was not actually meant to be Carth; Dustin Weaver was not told to draw anyone specific, so he based the man's appearance on Miller himself. However, the writer now considers it the first appearance of Carth in the comic series.

Prose attributions have the effect of distancing Wookieepedia from a particular statement. Rather than conveying the message that Wookieepedia endorses the statement, a prose attribution conveys the message that Wookieepedia merely acknowledges that the named source has indeed made the statement. Prose attributions should be used to introduce direct quotations, and to credit a source. Per the neutral point of view policy, they should also be used whenever a statement is controversial, disputed, widely believed to be false, or concerns a matter of opinion.

The following describes the sources precisely; whether it is brilliant prose, and how much of it should be put into footnotes, are editorial decisions:

John Smith argues throughout Chapter IV of the November 2005 edition of his The Very Reliable Star Wars Commentaries that the length of the Dubious-class Star Destroyer is 14 km, while George Gordon completely disagrees in a lengthy essay ("Paging Smith") published in a June 2006 article on The Reliable Unofficial Website. The February 2007 update of The Very Reliable Star Wars Commentaries repeats Smith's arguments, but adds, in a note in Section 8, that "Gordon has completely convinced me."

Redundant prose attributions may be excised for clarity; it is not necessary to prepend "according to..." to every place that a controversial source is cited. Prose attributions which overstate the support for a position, which engage in value judgements, or which constitute ambiguous or unfalsifiable "weasel words" should be avoided (See Avoid weasel words).

No original research[]

Will rewriting source material violate the NOR provision of the policy?[]

       Relevant policy: WP:NOR

Original writing is desirable; it is original ideas that are prohibited.

In order to avoid copyright violation and be licensed under the GFDL, articles must consist mostly of original prose. However, the ideas, facts, and arguments must have been published already by a reliable source. (Information may be copied verbatim from sources that are licensed under the GFDL, or are in the public domain.)

For example, an original plot summary is acceptable, because it merely summarizes the narrative and provides background for understanding the attributed critical and interpretive material that the article should contain. Condensing a complex fan debate into a few paragraphs is good writing, not original research, provided that the debate is described as accurately as a reasonable article length and the needs of an audience of non-specialists will permit.