Forums: Helping Hand > "Sources" sections cropping up

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I have noticed on articles like Moonsea and Aglarond that there is a "Sources" section at the bottom, but I'm afraid I cannot see a purpose to this section. We already include a "References" or "Notes" section on articles that contains a list of sources with (hopefully) page numbers. This "Sources" section appears to simply reproduce the list of references, without page numbers, and with editions.

In addition, there are some instances, such as on the Moonsea article, where books appear in the sources list but are not present in the references. If the article does not reference the book, I don't see how the book can be a source for the article.

In short, I would like to show my favour for a single list of references with page numbers at the bottom of the article. They serve two purposes: to provide a factual reference for each individual statement in the article, and to provide a further reading list for those interested in doing so.


Fw190a8 01:41, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
I've seen those sections as well, and I suspect I understand the intent. In any case, as long as we merge the two sections, and don't lose any of the source material, then I feel we should do so.

Here's my take on why we occasionally see this:

  • For some articles (even lengthy ones), the entire article comes from one source (ex.: Winterhaven). Rather than putting a reference on every paragraph (or statement... where do you stop?) they just list one source.
  • For some articles, since we don't wish to copy the entire text verbatim we therefore summarize the important parts. For further information though, the reader may wish to know how much of the original source to read.
  • For some articles, the important parts only come from one source and we cite those, but another source has other (less important) info (example is Winterhaven once again). For further info, the reader may wish to know of the other (unused) sources.

Either way though, all of these can be solved one way or another... it typically involves either 1) some work to add proper referencing, or 2) listing the source in its entirety in the Reference section (rather than split it out into a separate Sources section) if appropriate.

For example, you mentioned Moonsea as having some sources that weren't used as references. Namely, both the FRPG and the FRCS 3e/4e have info on Moonsea, but they're not used as references in the article itself. They probably should though -- the person adding the "Sources" section probably didn't have the time (or willing to do the work) of adding the proper references from the FRCS 3e/4e and FRPG.

SkyeNiTessine 04:10, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't think there should be a Sources section at all. The references/notes give you all the needed information. A Source section is just wasted space. Granted, some articles are very small and have only one book to get the information, but even then a reference is better as it gives the page number. And this will effect 4E stuff the most, as there will be little lore for the 4E Relams
Bloodtide 07:04, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Sources, references, it's kinda the same deal, but I agree we should keep it consistent and just go with references
Zeraktalk 11:32, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
Ah, That's me guys.

I'll stop it if you want, however I'll explain why I've been doing it.

  • It only applies to articals that have "significant" amounts of information in a "Source"; Usually one (1) or mores pages in the source
  • In reality References and Sources are different. (BTW: What are References in this wiki should be Footnotes and Sources should be References see Wikipedia for more information, but we had that discussion some time ago now.)
  • A Reference (in this wiki) refers to a small section (usually a paragaph or a sentence) justifying the text written, where;
  • A Source (in this wiki) referes to an artical, chapter or even an entire book and is used as a guide/index to source reading about the subject.
  • It is also a good way of pointing out where more information to be written into here (this wiki) can be found. (as quite rightly pointed out by User:SkyeNiTessine)
  • Also by pointing out the Type of Source, eg Map or D&D version it allows the reader to be selective in thier source reading. eg I'm not going to read 4E stuff
  • Go and have a look at my home page. It's explain more. Also ask any questions.
  • <edit> almost forgot, We've had References and Sources for all the time I've been on this wiki (almost 2 years) I just standardised it.
Hurtzbad 13:58, 26 December 2008 (UTC)
I just noticed our Featured Article has the Sources section as well. Actually, in that context (see the Waterdeep article) I don't mind it as much. It's a sub-section of the References section, and it's essentially a list of books and web resources to read for further information. The Winterhaven article has something similar, though it makes it a bit more explicit by calling it Further Reading instead of Sources.
SkyeNiTessine 01:33, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
If you want it changed to Further Reading, that's no problem. (actually any agreement on a standard would be good Help:Citing_sources)
Hurtzbad 02:52, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
I have done it similiar, not sure in wich articles, but I have done it with the same reasons Hurtzbad mentioned. Sources are a list of books and other stuff, wich are normally included in every scientific article (and I thought of an encyclopedia the same as if I am writing a complete article for a written book). It has the purpose to let the reader of the article know where he can find more details about it, more details I used for the article (the reason may be, that I do not have the time or do not want to make it as long as a whole book, etc.). Footnotes are something complete different, they serve to make clear where I got the special detail from. Every source used in the footnotes must be also part of the sources list, but not every book/website/article etc. of the sources section must have shown somewhere in the text as a footnote. The sources are only something to show the reader I the writer read this for this work and it could be interesting for you, if you want to know everything I learned for this special work. But footnotes are only to make sure, where certain ideas I am following, or thinking about for the work, can be found. To make it easier to verify them. But that does not mean, that they include everything you can find about the topic. Normally the footnotes would be on the end of every page in a book, sometimes all footnotes are collected at the end of the book. The sources are a list of literature, it is in most cases the last chapter of a (scientific) book.
Historicus 17:35, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
I can see valid arguments for doing things in a few different ways here. My primary concern, as always, is that the reader is given the most useful information possible. I'd like to suggest we:
  1. Find a model article (or articles) on Wikipedia that represents the best method of referencing for us here.
  2. Turn one of this wiki's articles into the model article.
  3. Come up with a policy (it doesn't have to be ruled with an iron fist) for the wiki based on the model article that will show everyone how the wiki suggests articles are referenced.

Some footnotes, in bullet format, since that seems popular in this thread!

  • Three or so years ago, in this wiki's early stages, referencing was pretty much unheard of, so it's always been a process of playing catch-up. I think the wiki is pretty well referenced indeed, considering how few regular editors we have.
  • I think ideally every paragraph will have at least one citation. If the entire paragraph is from the same source, one should do fine. If not, one for each different source. If the entire 3-paragraph article is from the same source, each paragraph should still contain a citation because people might later add information from other sources, and suddenly a single reference at the bottom of the article won't be enough.
Fw190a8 21:07, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
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