Wikipedia:Reliable sources

One of the problems that Wikipedia is most criticized for is that it is not always reliable. This is true, since anybody can change most articles and add anything they like. Sometimes bad changes stay in place for a long time. Wikipedia guidelines such as Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:No original research and the additional restrictions for living people at Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons have been made to help prevent this.

These guidelines are there for two reasons:

  • They help make sure that information which is added is true, or at least that it is not made up on the spot.
  • They show us that a topic has received attention from other people, and this helps show and argue notability.

However, many sources are not suitable for use in Wikipedia because they are not reliable.

This is a guideline about the types of sources which are reliable. Wikipedia articles should use reliable, third-party, published sources. (An article is a page in the main namespace. Most other pages, such as Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, do not need sources.) These sources can be in any language, not just English or Simple English.

What is a reliable source?

Sources used in Wikipedia should have been published. Some published documents are written by just one person, and nobody else checks it before it is published. It is easy for these sources to contain mistakes or untrue information. Other documents are written by people who have studied the subject for many years, and many other people have read them carefully to make sure that the information is correct. Although both kinds of documents can contain things that are not true, documents that people have checked are more likely to contain correct information and to reflect the most common views on a subject. These are called reliable sources.

How reliable a source is depends on context. Some publishers like the BBC become well known for having a reliable publication process. This means that they only publish documents after they check them carefully. As a guide, the more people who help with checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and examining the writing, the more reliable the publication.

Other Languages
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Вікіпэдыя:Крыніцы, вартыя даверу
Bahasa Indonesia: Wikipedia:Sumber tepercaya
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Vikipediya:Nufuzli manbalar
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Wikipedia:Pouzdani izvori