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Citing TOEOT in Wikipedia

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Saved by Andrew Alder
on January 1, 2010 at 9:17:54 pm
 

The Online Encyclopedia of Tunings is probably a better source than many sites that are already in Wikipedia reference lists. But there are also good reasons to take pause before citing it.

 

The main reason I created this site in the first place was that I was looking for online sources to cite in an article in Wikipedia, see about this site and its creator.

 

If you think that this site is ready to cite in Wikipedia, don't let me stop you. I hope it will be in time! But do have a good look at the Wikipedia guideline concerning Iinks normally to be avoided and particularly item 12: Links to open wikis, except those with a substantial history of stability and a substantial number of editors. Whether this wiki is open is borderline, as you do need to create an account to edit it, but it has been in the past and may be in the future, and there's never been a lot of checking of the credentials of contributors. 

 

It's worth noting that this is mainly about the External links section. The requirements for a reference are in some ways less demanding. The Wikipedia policy Ignore All Rules might also be worth reading.

 

It is probably better to look at the External links sections on many pages here. They may contain better citable sources than this site itself, or they may not. In particular, I hope that this site has been checked and cross-checked a bit more carefully than some of them! There's a lot of inaccurate stuff out there, and we even unapologetically link to some of it, see our external links policy. We check our stuff, not theirs.

 

Based upon those principles, my original suggestion went like this:

  • Use this site at best as your primary source of information and understanding, and at least as an introduction.
  • Check it against other sites and paper references (and if we've got anything wrong here please help us to fix it).
  • Cite those other references in Wikipedia.

 

But there are a couple of problems with that approach.

 

  • It could be argued that it goes at least against the spirit of Wikipedia's guideline on citing sources. It complies with the letter of it, and avoids a lot of potential conflict., in particular I certainly don't want this site blacklisted as a source of wikispam. But maybe that's being a bit cowardly.
  • These sites are in many cases themselves primary sources, and citing them is arguably original research. On the other hand, this site is explicitly a seconday source, and hopefully it's reliable in a literal sense. The question is, is it reliable according to Wikipedia's policies and practices?
  • If I do say so myself, this site compares favourably with some other Wikipedia sources that seem accepted, such as the Nuclear Weapons FAQ.

 

The Nuclear Weapons FAQ is an interesting comparison. It was being cited in almost three hundred different Wikipedia articles as of December 2009. Like this site, it was created by an enthusiast with no professional qualifications on the exact subject. In ts favour, NWFAQ is widely cited elsewhere on the WWW, so perhaps errors would have been detected and flagged or correc ted. On the downside, the current edition of NWFAQ (August 2001) cites no sources at all, instead its bibliography is an entry in the TOC with no corresponding text. There is just a short list of thanks, concluding with Various contributors and critics who wish to remain unnamed

 

The point is not to rubbish NWFAQ, just the opposite. The argument is that the information here is at least as accurate, and far more verifiable, so TOEOT should be a citeable source too.

 

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Weapons-grade#Nuclear_Weapons_FAQ and probably other Wiki[pedia talk pages for some discussion.

 

Anyway, good luck! If you do decide to link here (and thank you for even considering doing it, just by the way), have a look at the permalinks page here for some thoughts as to exactly how you should do this. The page at The Online Encyclopedia of Tunings, which is an alternative link target to the site home page, might also be of interest.

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