Wikipedia:Conflicting sources

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Sometimes, although not often, our policy that our threshold is verifiability, not truth means that although something can only be one or another, we cannot determine which one it is. This happens, when two (or more) equally reliable sources contradict each other about certain facts.

Handling conflicting sources[edit]

In many cases, when two (or more) reliable sources conflict, one (or more) of those sources can be demonstrated to be unreliable. Additionally, in the case of subjects about which the general or academic consensus has changed, the older work should be clearly distinguished as such, and should be used primarily to show the historical development of the subject. Be aware that sometimes older works are re-published with very minor changes making their statements seem newer than they really are.

If the conflict cannot be resolved by demonstrating the conflicting source(s) to be unreliable, in order to maintain a neutral point of view, include both. In those cases, it is up to the reader to choose which source they want to believe personally and not the task of Wikipedia editors to choose for them. Instead the article should contain a mention that different information exists.

Of course, if the matter concerning which the sources differ is of at best marginal encyclopedic interest and reporting on several views may lead to giving it undue prominence, then a reasonable approach is to omit it entirely.

How not to handle conflicting sources[edit]

  • Do not remove the conflicting sources just because they contradict the current sources.
  • Do not choose which one is "true" and discard the others as incorrect.
  • Do not cite (the lack of) official announcements by the subject of the article or people related to it as a reason why a source is unreliable.

See also[edit]