Wikipedia talk:Citation overkill

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Changing kill reference[edit]

In the big scheme of things this is very low priority, but I was updating the Nice shooting article and realized after the fact that using citekill was potentially insensitive and inappropriate. What do you think about getting rid of citekill and citeoverkill as references and just using overcite and the less violent variations? I know it will be a hard thing to unlearn for some people, but in the long run perhaps it will be more sensitive. As far as I can tell all that has to happen is the two variations have to be removed from this article. Thoughts? ----

Mulitiple citations needed because so many disappear, so often[edit]

Mulitiple citations, wtih source links, are needed throughout Wikipedia -- especially with controversial issues and subjects, because so sources many disappear, so often -- linkrot.

Even MAJOR sources sometimes pull the rug out from under Wikipedia.

For instance:

  • Many newspapers cited by Wikipedians across the nation, and world, used to offer their archives online, free -- but now have removed them entirely... or shifted them to limited / subscription-access places, like Newspapers.com. Articles based solely on those citations are now effectively without easily verifiable, online references.
  • The Wall Street Journal used to put its whole articles online, for free -- making the easy sources to cite. Then, a few years later, they started limiting visitor access to the articles after they were a few days old. Now you're limited from the start (you can only read a few lines). Old Wikipedia articles that were heavily based on the WSJ citations, years ago, are now essentially with almost-dead source links (I say "almost-dead" because you can pay for WSJ subscription and get accesss -- but who's gonna do that for a Wikipedia article?)
  • Ditto may of the nation's local "Business Journal" newspapers (e.g.: Miami Business Journal, Wichita Business Journal, etc.), which have been critical Wikipedia sources on many topics.
  • Many newspapers (an industry in sharp, catastrophic decline -- ironically because of the internet) simply go out of business -- and their articles simply disappear from the internet forever. This is especially important for topics in smaller cities, towns and rural areas -- which some snobbish big-city Wikipedia editors refuse to see as WP:NOTABLE, but which are, nevertheless, as important as much of detailed trivia with which big-city contributors flood Wikipedia.
Small towns, and even mid-sized cities, thoughout the U.S. heartland, and in other countries, tend to have far less secure media outlets (even if very credible) which can be very transient, or -- after a century of gradual rural population decline -- are simply running out of customers, and going out of business. See: List of defunct newspapers of the United States.
Most U.S. newspapers and news magazines, and many very reputable ones, heavily cited throughout Wikipedia, have all lost nearly all of their 20th-century subscriber volume, and many are driven out-of-print, or into severely limited online presence. Ditto most of the once-substantial radio and television news organizations.
  • And, also, there is the rise, and then fall, of credible, substantial media outlets, who may not last long, or may lose their credibility as they evolve, or devolve into extreme partisanship (e.g.: CNN, Al Jazeera, and media outlets taken over by very partisan owners like Rupert Murdoch).
  • Media mergers and acquisitions, now incresing in extent and velocity, often result in the retention of a media outlet, but under another regime, which often forces a change in websites -- and sometimes even domain names -- consequently invalidating the original link noted in the Wikipedia citation (although the citations' reference to the media source name, and the source's referenced article title and date, and possibly other details, may remain useful for dogged researchers).
  • Even for "secure and stable" media organizations, simple changes of websites, web tools, or web-service providers, can (and often does) lead to altering the URL (web address) of files, and thus invalidates links stored in Wikipedia citations.
  • These instabilities -- owing to organizational, political and economic forces -- can (and do) also similarly affect other key Wikipedia sources (e.g.: governments, academic institutions and organizations).
For instance, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics is generally a credible, standard reference source for much U.S. economic data, some Presidential administrations trim down, or delete (or just move), data tables, databases, reports and articles placed by prior administrations of the opposing party -- often to apparently favor their own perspectives, or hide embarrasing comparative data.
Ditto for state and local governments, and foreign governments.
Also, agencies may merge, or be eliminated, or redefined and/or renamed (which can also lead to URL, even domain-name, changes -- or loss of online data altogether).
Ditto for all kinds of organizations and academic institutions.

All these factors create insecurity for the credibility of Wikipedia articles -- dependent upon those links to sources for their credibility. Too few citations, and "linkrot" can leave the article vulnerable to "credibility-rot."

~ Penlite (talk) 23:17, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

First, you are conflating the source with the link to the source. They are not the same. Links are a courtesy to make it easier for readers to access the source, but they are not the cited source itself. A source is still valid without any link.
The sources you talk about have not vanished... sure, they might not be instantly available, for free, on your home computer or smart phone ... but that does not mean we can't cite them. Even "dead tree" print papers that have gone out of business are archived at most major public libraries. Yes, they are less accessible than they used to be... but they still are accessible and able to be cited. So, no... you don't need to cite multiple sources just in case the best of them goes behind a paywall or goes out of business. The single citation to the most reliable one is still good enough. Blueboar (talk) 23:42, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
Note that I did not suggest, ever, deleting dead-link reference citations; quite the opposite: I urge their retention for deep researchers...HOWEVER...
You're rather casually assuming that readers trust what they cannot verify. If you cannot (in any practical sense) verfiy a citation (by immediately clicking to it from within the Wikipedia article) the normal person will not have any reason to trust it. Indeed, the "dead" link may be suspected to be a fraudulent citation, having the opposite of the intended effect. This is not unreasonable, given that so many Wikipedia edits are by mischievious folk.
It is spectacularly unrealistic (and wildy out-of-touch with today's society, or simply coldly insensitive to it) to think that a Wikipedia reader will be content to know he could "go look it up" in a library, somewhere. This is the online age, not the bookworm age. And, in any case, this is a global reference. People reading in Canada, the U.K., India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, Nigeria, South Africa and other major English-speaking nations, are not going to trust a reference that requires them to hop a plane to the U.S., to look it up in an American library that might have that publication.
Furthermore, Wikipedia references to electronic-broadcast programs do not afford any realistic way of checking, other than online. CNN, CBS, or the BBC, or any other major broadcast medium that is regularly cited on Wikipedia, is not going to let the curious visitor peruse its precious, very secure, media vaults.
If it's not verifiable, instantly, online, the Wikipedia aricle instantly (and permanently) loses credibility in the eyes of a normal 21st-Century media consumer in the English-speaking world.
~ Penlite (talk) 00:24, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
There are many notable topics about which we would not be able to create or maintain articles at all if we had to restrict ourselves to sources that were directly readable at a web link, and weren't allowed to cite anything to books or archived print-only content. Most dead people, for example, aren't still generating contemporary news coverage — and even some people who are still alive, but aren't still active in the same career that made them notable in the first place, aren't getting as much news coverage today as they did 20 or 30 years ago when the web wasn't a thing yet. So we certainly try to provide a convenience link to a web copy of the material if one is available, but the availability of a web copy of the material is not a core requirement for a source to become usable in the first place — there are Presidents of the United States we'd have to delete if "still getting contemporary web-accessible media coverage in the 2010s" were a core condition of notability.
And even when you're writing a university essay, you don't have to hand it in on top of a wheelbarrow stacked with physical copies of all the books and magazines and newspaper clippings you cited — all you have to do is footnote the essay with enough citation details that your professor can find the source you used if they need to. There's no reason why our citation rules would need to maintain a higher standard of accessibility than that. Bearcat (talk) 19:48, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

Another reason people refoverkill[edit]

Another reason people might overuse references is because their article faces deletion, so they take any reference, good or bad, and throw them at the article in hopes of preventing its deletion. They hope if they throw enough references, some will stick. Should this be added to the article? Jjjjjjdddddd (talk) 20:56, 25 February 2018 (UTC)

  • Very true. I've added some content about this under the "notability bomb" heading. Bearcat (talk) 04:50, 29 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Looks good! I've noticed a lot of times, it's Wikipedia mirrors or five different news articles that are verbatim the same. Jjjjjjdddddd (talk) 02:01, 31 March 2018 (UTC)

Controversial tag[edit]

CFCF, regarding this tag I reverted you on, why do you think the "controversial essay" tag should be included? The community has repeatedly found citation overkill to be a bad thing, with few exceptions as long as the citation overkill is not extreme. The counterargument essay is what was thoroughly challenged, and it was mainly endorsed and advertised by the editor who created it. That editor also reverted your addition of the "controversial essay" tag at that essay's page. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:32, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Citation underkill is not mentioned in lead and body here. I think the tag should remain until it is discussed in overkill. QuackGuru (talk) 19:37, 29 March 2018 (UTC)
Furthermore, if this essay truly was controversial, then it shouldn't have been linked to from a guideline hatnote like it currently is at Wikipedia:Citing sources#Bundling citations. It is currently directing editors from the guideline to this essay citing "Further information". --GoneIn60 (talk) 19:50, 29 March 2018 (UTC)
I obviously agree with your revert of QuackGuru. His essay does not need a mention in the lead of this essay. His counteressay is in the See also section, which is where we put counteressays. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:03, 29 March 2018 (UTC)
Agree... the “See also” section is enough. Blueboar (talk) 23:05, 29 March 2018 (UTC)
I'll put some time into making this tag less obtrusive, but I think it's a good idea to show that there are views to the contrary regarding both. I also wrote much of the underkill essay, but unfortunately much of what I wrote was removed. As it reads right now it isn't very useful, and I find it unnecessarily dense. I'll see what I can do. Carl Fredrik talk 10:00, 30 March 2018 (UTC)
Well, consider that there are a lot of popular essays out there that have contrary counterparts. Is there an existing consensus for mentioning opposing essays in the lead, whether that be in prose or a template notice of some kind? Also, are you planning on adding notices across the board to other essays that are in the same boat? Since it's clear some editors may not agree with a prominent notice at the top (whether intrusive or not), it might be a better idea to pitch the idea at WT:Essays, or if there's not enough participation there, then WP:VPP.
I don't really have a problem with it when the counter-essay is a relative equal, meaning it has comparable widespread support. The concern is that we don't give minority viewpoints undue prominence and recognition when they haven't earned it yet. The "See also" section should suffice until it reaches that point. And for those that have a tag or notice at the top, associating it with the description "controversial" probably won't fly. --GoneIn60 (talk) 12:28, 30 March 2018 (UTC)
CFCF (Carl Fredrik), GoneIn60 has made some good points. I just don't see that we need mention of a counteressay in the lead unless the essay being used to mention the counteressay is a minority view and/or controversial. And, again, the community has generally supported the citation overkill essay. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:32, 30 March 2018 (UTC)
There is considerable support that the citation overkill essay goes to far in certain aspects, even if its premises are good. I won't add the underkill link in the lede here until it has at the very least been sanitized and rewritten to be comprehensible. We can reopen the discussion then. Carl Fredrik talk 22:14, 30 March 2018 (UTC)
If only certain aspects go too far, then the template notice should only be in the sections that are deemed controversial. Secondly, did we miss this conversation in which said support exists? I see the RfC above, but that one had considerable support in the other direction (which interestingly you were in the minority on). Remember, this is an essay, and although I'm not saying this one is controversial, they are allowed to be as long as they don't directly violate any guidelines or policies. Tagging an essay with a controversial notice seems a bit odd to me, unless you are trying to find a backdoor way to mute its viewpoint. --GoneIn60 (talk) 22:48, 30 March 2018 (UTC)
Needless repetition may be seen as going too far and therefore it could be perceived as controversial. I also see the RfC above, but it asked the wrong question. There were no editors wanting to change this essay to allow for including more citations after a sentence. QuackGuru (talk) 14:45, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
The perception of being controversial is not currently supported by consensus. The wording of that RfC could have been better, but a majority of the Oppose responses seemed to identify very clearly what they were opposing. The gist of the opposition's viewpoint, as seen in the closing comments, is that the text of the essay does not need to change. Furthermore, the Discussion section in that RfC established the RfC's true meaning early enough in the survey (in fact, only Flyer22 had voted at that point). It would be merely an opinion to assume that this wasn't read by all those who voted.
We should all realize that consensus can change, but per WP:CCC, challenging a recent consensus without raising "previously unconsidered arguments or circumstances" can be seen as disruptive. --GoneIn60 (talk) 16:48, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
I'd say this essay is definitely controversial; but beyond that, a major problem is that the people who support it frequently seem to cite it as if it were policy. The simplistic "three cites is ideal" suggestion easily gets reduced to a "three-cite rule", while bundling (which should be the default response) is pushed down to a tiny mention at the bottom. Making removing sources the default, purely due to having too many, is damaging to the wiki; certainly this essay is well-intentioned, but it does not reflect current policy or procedure, merely the preferences of a vocal minority. (And, again, I feel that it is poorly-considered in terms of its overall structure - encouraging deletion of sources over bundling is a fairly serious problem, especially when policy encourages the opposite.) --Aquillion (talk) 17:49, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
This page is not supported by a vocal minority, in any sense; nor is it "damaging to the wiki." Anyway, because of your edits made to the WP:Citing sources page, I've taken the matter to Wikipedia talk:Citing sources#WP:Citation overkill. A permalink for it is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:44, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
Off-topic discussion already discussed numerous times on this page

The RfC claiming "Should this essay be changed to encourage more citations?" was misleading because there was no editor suggesting we change the essay to promote adding additional citations after each sentence. Citation underkill also discourages adding additional citations after each sentence. According to WP:CHALLENGE "Attribute all quotations and any material whose verifiability is challenged or likely to be challenged to a reliable, published source using an inline citation." That means a citation must be added to each claim for challenged content. This essay claims citations after each claim are needless. Policy does not support this part of this essay. Editors have plenty of time to fix it. Is 6 months enough time or do editors need more time? QuackGuru (talk) 04:33, 31 March 2018 (UTC)

There is nothing to “fix”. Yes, WP:CHALLENGE says "Attribute all quotations and any material whose verifiability is challenged or likely to be challenged to a reliable, published source using an inline citation.". What the policy does NOT say is how or where the inline citation(s) must be placed. There are two possible interpretations... 1) the one outlined here in this essay (essentially taking a minimalist view) and 2) the one outlined in your Citation underkill essay (essentially taking a maximalist view).
We understand that you disagree with what this essay says (that disagreement is partly why we encouraged you write your essay in the first place). There is nothing wrong with having two essays that disagree over interpretation of policy. And since they are essays, they do not need to refer to each other. Blueboar (talk) 11:04, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
You stated "What the policy does NOT say is how or where the inline citation(s) must be placed." Therefore, claiming "There are two possible interpretations..." is coming to a conclusion not found in Verifiability policy. The default then is placing a citation where it verifies each claim until policy states there are two possible interpretations. Further, Verifiability policy states, "In Wikipedia, verifiability means that other people using the encyclopedia can check that the information comes from a reliable source." Other people such as the uniformed reader are unable to always verify a claim when a citation is placed only at the end of a paragraph. When other people are unable to verify a claim that means that is a policy violation. We know readers have complained that the content is unsourced when there is no citation after a sentence. Non-content editors or minor editors are deleting single repeated inline citations not supported by any policy page. One cannot assume there are other interpretations when policy does not provide other possible interpretations. We are following policy when others are able to verify the claim. It is a breach of Verifiability policy when readers think the content is bias or unsourced when there is no citation after the sentence. QuackGuru (talk) 14:14, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
Enough. This discussion is about adding a "controversial" notice of some kind to the top of this essay. QuackGuru, you've already been shown why this essay doesn't violate any policies or guidelines, and where you can go to challenge paragraph citations supported by WP:CITETYPE, since you clearly don't agree. Don't hijack this to make your point yet again. --GoneIn60 (talk) 14:31, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
You seem to conflate “able to be verified” with “easy to be verified”. They are not the same. Sure, placing the citations at the end of a long paragraph or section may make it more difficult to verify the bits of information... but not impossible. There is no “default” position on how and where to place citations. Blueboar (talk) 15:51, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
I created a new section header titled "Does any part of this essay violate Verifiability policy?" I did show what part of the essay could be seen as "controversial". QuackGuru (talk) 14:45, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Quack does not seem to understand that essays are opinion pieces... reflecting a given viewpoint (the viewpoint of those who SUPPORT the essay)... and are not required to reflect (or even acknowledge) the viewpoint of those who hold any other opinions. He has already written a counter-essay to express his views. His continued efforts to amend THIS essay (in addition) is becoming disruptive. Perhaps it is time to take this to the Admin board, and request some form of sanction. Blueboar (talk) 15:35, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
I agree. This is beginning to verge on WP:IDHT and needs to stop. If there is truly interest in moving forward on this issue, we can discuss that, but repeating the same argument over and over is becoming disruptive. Perhaps QuackGuru is not aware of this, so to give the benefit of the doubt, hopefully this collapsed thread will serve as a proper notice and perhaps wake-up call. --GoneIn60 (talk) 19:18, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
Furthermore, he stated that "The RfC [...] was misleading because there was no editor suggesting we change the essay to promote adding additional citations after each sentence." And yet he also stated, "Other people such as the uniformed reader are unable to always verify a claim when a citation is placed only at the end of a paragraph. When other people are unable to verify a claim that means that is a policy violation. We know readers have complained that the content is unsourced when there is no citation after a sentence." The aforementioned RfC is indeed partly about placing a citation after each sentence (it's a focus in my initial RfC paragraph); its focus was not on multiple citations after each sentence, but, yes, any form of excess was a concern. I'm not repeating this discussion with him. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:37, 31 March 2018 (UTC)

Bundling vs. removal.[edit]

I mentioned this on another page, but I feel that it ought to be brought up here, too. My biggest objection to this essay (and, I think, one of the main reasons it's sparked so much controversy) is because it's structured in a way that generally encourages removing sources over bundling them. I suggest that it be revised to state within the first paragraph, and to repeatedly reiterate further down, that (provided they are useful, valid, and contribute something unique) bundling sources is always preferable to removing them, and that a source that fits those criteria (valid, useful, passes WP:RS and contributes something unique) should never be removed entirely. --Aquillion (talk) 18:41, 22 April 2018 (UTC)

The supposed controversy was being driven by one editor -- QuackGuru. As for bundling instead of removing, I'm not sure since bundling can be unnecessary clutter even when some sources are useful. Furthermore, bundling is not always about the sources being unique; it's sometimes to show that a number of sources support the same thing. See this bundling example in the case of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi article, for instance. That section was crafted after much talk page and draft debate. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:52, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
Bundling isn't clutter! In the displayed article, it only takes up one citation spot (and space at the bottom of the page, which isn't really a concern); in the source, it can be moved to the bottom inside the ref tag. Is your argument that it's defensible to remove an otherwise-usable and otherwise-valuable source rather than have a list the bottom of the page? And, regarding that example.. I suspect we both agree that summarizing multiple reviews into one sentence like that is a less-than-ideal way to approach the issue (it raises potential WP:SYNTH issues), but I don't feel that that's actually related to citation overkill except in the sense that excessive citations can sometimes be a sign that they're being misused or that a secondary source summarizing coverage of the topic would be more ideal. This page, as it's currently interpreted and written, goes way beyond that and is clearly being read as "more than three sources justifies aggressively removing citations to get down to three" rather than "it may be a sign of other problems, such as [these], but you need to determine what those problems are and if they exist rather than just auto-trimming down to an arbitrary count of three; if there's no other problems, then, as a stylistic issue, they should be almost always be bundled and not removed.") Either way I think it shows why this page needs to be revised - there needs to be more discussion of why large numbers of sources might appear, what sorts of things it's a sign of, and when bundling is preferred over removal or when removal is justified over bundling. Clearly, that Star Wars discussion should not have required large amounts of talk page and draft debate; bundling is easy and (when done properly, with the ref moved into the reflist at the bottom of the page) has no downside. If this essay were doing its job and giving more useful guidelines, all of that wasted time debating and arguing could have been avoided. Naturally, the fact that there was such an intense debate also shows how controversial this essay is in practice, at least in its current form. --Aquillion (talk) 19:08, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
Also, our "Citation merging" section does already state the following, in part: "If there is a good reason to keep multiple citations, for example, to avoid perennial edit warring or because the sources offer a range of beneficial information, clutter may be avoided by merging the citations into a single footnote." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 18:57, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
That's backwards, though. Bundling needs to be the default. The bulk of the page should suggest bundling, with the last section mentioning that over-citation is frequently a sign of other problems that require removals but that it should generally not be used as an argument for removing sources on its own. The default should be to preserve sources in some form; removal should almost always require some justification beyond "there are too many" (though I agree that having a huge number of sources is often a sign of problems that require removal, and it could be useful to list those secondary reasons here.) You don't need "a good reason" to keep multiple citations - you need a good reason (other than just 'too many') to remove any citation. Redundancy, low quality compared to other sources, large numbers of sources used as WP:SYNTH or WP:OR to support a fundamentally weak point, I agree that there are lots of reasons why overcitation could be indicative of a problem - but removal should require pointing to such a specific problem, and not just "too many sources." --Aquillion (talk) 19:08, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
Bundling can be clutter in the sense of article editing. I've bundled a lot. So I know. In the case of the example above, it's to present a sample of what the overwhelming majority of literature shows and is to avoid weasel, unsourced and WP:Undue wording such as "some authors" and "some sources." It's also to avoid inappropriate use of WP:In-text attribution since it's not simply a few or just several reviewers characterizing the film in that way. It's not the only instance on Wikipedia where bundling is presented like that, but I agree that it's less than ideal in the case of that article and that it would be preferable to use sources that state "many reviewers," "most reviewers," or those otherwise noting what reviewers have generally stated about that matter. We are likely to do that, but we didn't get around to it. There was so much being debated regarding that section. The debating had/has very little to do with this essay. The debating there can't be blamed on this essay at all. But enough about that article. To repeat something I just told you at the WP:Citing sources talk page: "As for staying at three references, I see experienced editors preferring to stay at two references more than three, but three is also often accepted. I also still see four accepted at enough articles. Editors usually don't bundle; this is because they usually don't need to. But the bundling section at the page does encourage bundling when it's needed. So the essay is not saying that additional sources or repetition of sources are bad. It's just saying that needless repetition is bad. Furthermore, stating that 'bundling is always preferable to removal' could lead to editors (mainly newbies and otherwise less experienced editors) bundling many sources just to fix the citation overkill problem even when the additional sources are not needed. And where does it stop? It could go up to 20 unnecessary citations in a bundle." Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:32, 22 April 2018 (UTC)
Here is an example of where I bundled after an RfC on the definition of "serial killer" at the Serial killer article. It's to show how the term is usually defined by academics, and includes reliable sources noting that it's usually defined in that way. I'm obviously fine with this type of bundling. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 19:43, 22 April 2018 (UTC)

This edit started the controversy. The edit showed us that readers seem to want a citation after each statement. We edit to provide content for the benefit of readers. QuackGuru (talk) 22:37, 22 April 2018 (UTC)

Citation overkill states "In addition, as per WP:PAIC, citations should be placed at the end of the passage that they support. If one source alone supports consecutive sentences in the same paragraph, one citation of it at the end of the final sentence is sufficient. It is not necessary to include a citation for each individual consecutive sentence, as this is overkill." What is the good reason to delete single repeated citations? QuackGuru (talk) 22:37, 22 April 2018 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Citation underkill#Bundling citations for how to bundle correctly. Bundling all the citations at the end of a sentence when different citations verify different parts of a claim is not helpful to our readers. Is Citation overkill obsolete? Removing or commenting out citations could be perceived as violating verifiability policy by our readers. QuackGuru (talk) 22:37, 22 April 2018 (UTC)

or, at least see underkill to find out how to bundle according to QuackGuru... whether that is the “correct” way to bundle (or not) is debatable. Personally, I think there are multiple “correct” ways to do it. Blueboar (talk) 00:14, 23 April 2018 (UTC)
QuackGuru, do not attempt to hijack another thread by repeating the same mantra you've been running with since day 1. Let others, particularly the OP here, the chance to voice their concern and stay on topic. Further comments that risk derailing this thread will be collapsed and hidden. If you wish to weigh in on bundling, I advise that you find a way to do so constructively or excuse yourself from this talk page. We do not need to engage in yet another conversation about your opposition to paragraph citations. --GoneIn60 (talk) 03:22, 23 April 2018 (UTC)

Ideal number of citations[edit]

Someone called my attention to this sentence: A good rule of thumb is that, except for certain controversial topics, one footnote after a sentence is almost always sufficient. Two or three may be a good way of preventing linkrot for online sources or providing a range of sources that support the fact, but more than three should usually be avoided. I feel while one citation is obviously the bare minimum, the idea that it is usually sufficient does not reflect common editing standards, nor does it generally reflect the way even this essay, controversial though it is, is ever interpreted. Outside of this page I have never - not once, in years of editing - seen anyone suggest that WP:OVERCITE could be applicable in a situation with fewer than four citations. Beyond that, multiple citations serve a vital purpose, since they avoid placing WP:UNDUE weight on any one source - something that is a potential danger even with the highest-quality sources. I propose revising the sentence to something along the lines of "A good rule of thumb is that one citation is a bare minimum, two or three citations is almost always acceptable, and that over-citation may be an issue beyond that." Encouraging people to rely on a single citation when more than one exists is absolutely not something we should be doing. --Aquillion (talk) 04:29, 23 April 2018 (UTC)

You are inserting the interpretation that "more than one footnote after a sentence is insufficient or not preferred". Nowhere in this essay is that being stated, and if you have come across an editor who has interpreted it that way, simply correct them. --GoneIn60 (talk) 04:56, 23 April 2018 (UTC)
After further review, I can see how ambiguous the passage in the lead could be. A better alternative and compromise might be:
A good rule of thumb is to cite at least one inline citation for each section of text that may be challenged or likely to be challenged. Two or three may be preferred for more controversial material or as a way of preventing linkrot for online sources, but more than three should generally be avoided; if four or more citations are needed, consider bundling (merging) the citations.
This maintains some of the language that was there before while borrowing additional language from existing policies/guidelines. Also, the phrase "at least" should make it clear that more than one is perfectly acceptable. Thoughts? --GoneIn60 (talk) 05:29, 23 April 2018 (UTC)
Seems like a good compromise. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 05:36, 23 April 2018 (UTC)

Aquillion: Does the suggestion above satisfy your concern? If so, I'll go ahead and make the change. It doesn't seem like there is any opposition to it. --GoneIn60 (talk) 17:15, 1 May 2018 (UTC)

That seems good to me. --Aquillion (talk) 23:53, 1 May 2018 (UTC)

Merging Wikipedia:Bombardment here[edit]

Since PrussianOwl proposed that Wikipedia:Bombardment be merged here, but didn't start a discussion on the matter, I've started the discussion. I think that if we do merge, Wikipedia:Citation overkill should be the default page. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:18, 19 January 2019 (UTC)

  • Comment – Citation overkill focuses on several perspectives, while Bombardment hones in one of those. On that basis alone, merging Bombardment into the "Notability bomb" section and turning Bombardment into a redirect to that section could make sense, but I'm not sure that's absolutely necessary here. I agree with Flyer though. If a merge happens, we should retain Citation overkill as the default page. --GoneIn60 (talk) 03:03, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Unnecessary duplication. I can't find any strong reason why it has to be a separate page. --DBigXray 20:54, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Support as nom. PrussianOwl (talk) 21:23, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I think you cn probably just go ahead with it per WP:BOLD and WP:SILENCE. Beeblebrox (talk) 05:42, 30 January 2019 (UTC)