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Main Concepts of Reliable Wikipedia Sourcing: Part II

In this article, we continue to examine proper (and improper) sourcing choices for your Wikipedia page. Please visit Part I for more information!

Examples of reliable source categories

You may use any of the following, so long as their authors are not associated with the topic of the Wikipedia page:

☞ Books published by recognized publishing houses.
☞ Official academic publications.
☞ University-grade study books.
☞ Journals and magazines, both printed and digital.
☞ Nationwide newspapers: The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post etc.
☞ Other encyclopedias.

Regional worldwide newspapers can also be used, however, take care to not have those as your only sources: remember the notability requirement. Your topic must be significant enough to warrant its own Wikipedia page.

Examples of improper sources

There are also lots of sources which do not meet the above criteria.

A common mistake is to use your hand-crafted press-releases for sourcing: they are expressly forbidden! Press-releases have apparent conflict of interest because they originate directly from the owner of the information. Such material is not objective as it is purposely created in favorable light towards the primary subject.

According to the same principle, you cannot use:

⚑ Any information from your personal/company website.
⚑ Internal company newsletters.
⚑ Press-releases, as well as organic & covert re-prints of press-releases.
⚑ Content from originator-controlled social media.
⚑ Personal blog posts.
⚑ Any sponsored content, posts, articles.
⚑ Platforms with user-generated content (since the identity of these users can not be verified).
⚑ Call transcripts.
⚑ Unreputable outlets, tabloids, aggregators.
⚑ And generally, anything quoted directly from the subject of the Wikipedia topic.

You may see existing, posted Wikipedia pages which do not follow the above sourcing criteria. Do not get confused: this is not the common practice among the Wiki community, meaning experienced users have not gotten to those articles ━ just yet. Maybe the subjects are not noteworthy enough to be noticed promptly, or the changes were made recently. In any case, you and your business do not want to be on the wrong side of Wiki history. Such articles are time bombs and will eventually get flagged or marked for deletion altogether; at the very least, the unsourced information will get rightfully removed.

Crisis management

Below is the outline for managing expectations if the material goes unsourced or with questionable sourcing quality:

☯ The specific unsourced portion of the article might get removed by another user.

The entire editing history for a given Wikipedia page is preserved and open to public: you can always access it through "View History" tab on your page. Normally, an editor will leave a comment with a reason as to why the information was removed.

☯ Another editor might insert a "citation needed" tag at the end of questionable

passage. This doesn't require immediate action; however, the tag must be replaced sooner rather than later with a reliable, suitable source reference. In some cases, it might even prompt another editor to find a source for you.

☯ Another editor might find different information about your subject, backed by a

better, more suitable & reliable sourcing, and include it on the page.

If some portion of your article was deleted because of lack of sourcing, trying to simply add it back to the article is the worst course of action and will take you down a spiral of trouble. You must find (or provision) reliable sourcing to back your claim before moving any further.

Persistently re-adding unsourced information will see it promptly removed and your page getting close editorial attention, taking it as far as to a temporary edit lock. This will result in any future changes to be substantially more difficult to exercise. In a rare case when you apply a suitable source, but the information gets deleted anyway ━ do not get involved in a back-and-forth edit war over the same content. Instead, the right course of action is to start a conversation at the article "Talk" page and ask for second opinion.


Sourcing your Wikipedia article may prove to be a very challenging task. However, being armed with proper information will help you achieve desired goals.

As always, we stand ready to help in your media coverage needs. Cheers!

© 2023 HC Media & PR Strategies.
Other articles
Main Concepts of Reliable Wikipedia Sourcing: Part I
Main Concepts of Reliable Wikipedia Sourcing: Part II
Core Principles for Writing Wikipedia Articles
Google Knowledge Panel 101
Introduction to Crisis Management
Stages of Crisis Management
Media Publishing
Contributing on Wikipedia
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