Policy:Verifiability

Men-At-Work.gif This policy is still under construction.
Until it is completed, it has not become official. Feel free to take part in the development discussion.


Nutshell.png This page in a nutshell: As BattleTechWiki's mission is to create a verifiable source for research, all material must be attributed to a reliable, published source.


The threshold for inclusion on BattleTechWiki is verifiability, not truth—that is, whether readers are able to check that material added to BattleTechWiki has been published by a licensed source, not whether we think it is true. Editors should provide a reliable source for any material; otherwise, the material may be removed if challenged.

Policy:Verifiability is part of BattleTechWiki's first five pillars that define the site's character. Editors should familiarize themselves with all five pillars, as well as the site's other policies. To discuss the reliability of particular sources, consider posting your concern either on the source's talk page or to the Research Desk.


Burden of evidence[edit]

For how to write references and bibliographies, see Help:References

The burden of evidence lies with the Editor who adds or restores material. All material must be attributed to a reliable, published source using inline or external paragraph citations. When content in BattleTechWiki requires direct substantiation, the established convention is to provide an inline citation to the supporting references. The rationale is that this provides the most direct means to verify whether the content is consistent with the references. If the paragraph as a whole is represented by the source(s), then external paragraph citations are suitable. Alternative conventions exist, and are acceptable if they provide clear and precise attribution for the article's assertions, but inline & external paragraph citations are considered 'best practice' under this rationale. For more details, please consult Help:References.

The source cited must unambiguously support the information as it is presented in the article. When there is dispute about whether the article text is fully supported by the given source, direct quotes from the source and any other details requested should be provided as a courtesy to substantiate the reference. The source should be cited clearly and precisely to enable readers to find the text that supports the article content in question. Editors should cite sources fully, providing as much relevant information as possible, including page numbers when citing books and links to the source's article on BattleTechWiki (even if redlinked).

If no reliable, official sources can be found for an article topic, BattleTechWiki should not have an article on it, nor should the data in question be used within other articles.

Any material lacking a reliable source may be removed if, when challenged, it goes un-defended or un-cited for a reasonable amount of time. Editors might object if you remove material without giving them sufficient time to provide references, and it has always been good practice, and expected behavior of BattleTechWiki Editors (in line with our editing policy), to make reasonable efforts to find sources oneself that support such material, and cite them. (In other words, if a challenging Editor can reasonably find and cite the material himself, he should do so, rather than delete the material.)

If you want to request a source for an unsourced statement, consider tagging a sentence (preferably) or paragraph by adding the {{citation needed}} or {{cn}} template and a section or article with {{refimprove}}. (The tag {{verify}} should be reserved for articles or sections were the provided information is suspected to be false or mis-leading.) Alternatively, you may leave a note on the article's talk page requesting a source, or you may move the material to the talk page.

Do not leave unsourced or poorly sourced information that may damage the accuracy of the article or BattleTechWiki's reputation.

Exceptional Amounts of Tags[edit]

It is not the intention of this policy to suggest that every sentence, paragraph, article section or even article needs to be tagged as needing citations. Adding an excess amount of tags could actually lead the casual visitor to doubt the overall reliability of the provided material (citations provided or not) and therefore hurt the reputation of BattleTechWiki. While the vast majority of the articles currently existing on the site may not conform with the existing policies & procedures, it is understood that BattleTechWiki remains largely a work in progress. However, as Editors discover areas that need quicker attention (possibly due to the nature of the subject or the concern regarding verifiability) or subjects that would benefit from an organized effort, but need prior identification, the use of an appropriate amount of tags would be deemed beneficial. (An example of an overabundance of citations can be found in this screen capture of a Wikipedia article suffering from an overzealous editor).

Sources[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Policy:Canon and Policy:Neutral point of view.

Reliable sources[edit]

Articles should be based upon reliable, licensed sources. The word "source", as used on BattleTechWiki, has three related meanings: the piece of work itself (an article, book, game, website), the creator of the work (for example, the writer), and the publisher of the work (for example, WizKids or Catalyst Game Labs); all three can affect reliability. Reliable sources are needed to substantiate material within articles, and citations directing the reader to those sources are needed to give credibility to the article, in order to avoid plagiarism and copyright violations. Sources should directly support the information as it is presented in an article and should be appropriate to the claims made; the more exceptional the claim, the sooner a reliable, high-quality source citation is required.

As a vast majority of information regarding the BattleTech universe comes from FASA, FanPro and Catalyst Game Labs sources, these sources are generally accepted as the authority when a contradiction is encountered, and the level of authority within these same products may differ, too, based on attributes that include in-character source, publishing date, material covered, etc. The appropriateness of any source always depends on the context. (Please see Policy:Canon and the article Canon for more details.) Where there is disagreement between sources, their views should be clearly attributed in the text.

To discuss the reliability of specific sources, consult the source article's talk page, or post your concern at Request For Comment.

All articles must adhere to BattleTechWiki's neutrality policy, fairly representing all majority and minority factions in an equal light and in rough proportion to the prominence of each view. Tiny-minority factions, their related events and holdings and fringe theories need not be included, except in articles devoted to them.

Questionable sources[edit]

Questionable sources are those with a poor reputation for fact-checking, with no editorial oversight, or of questionable value because of the context in which they were provided. Such sources include statements made by the licensed authority figures (aka, The Powers That Be) when they are not presented in their full & appropriate context and, most especially, when it is clear their comments are not intended to have authority over material provided in other, more authoritarian sources. Questionable sources are generally only suitable as a basis for citing contentious claims between two disagreeing parties when there can remain no doubt that the questionable source has both authority and proper context to explain the situation.

Questionable sources may also be non-licensed publishers (through the conventional paper definition, hosted online files or website) that claim to be providing whole-cloth previously released & official material. In that case, the questionable source itself should not be cited, but rather the original material, and only after the provided information is confirmed by actual research of the original, licensed material.

Non-English sources[edit]

English-language sources are preferable to sources in other languages (most likely to be German), so that readers can easily verify the content of the article. However, sources in other languages are acceptable where an English equivalent is not available. Where editors translate a direct quotation, they should quote the relevant portion of the original text in a footnote or in the article. Translations published by reliable sources are preferred over translations made by BattleTechWiki editors.

Exceptional claims require exceptional sources[edit]

Certain red flags should prompt editors to examine the sources for a given claim:

  • surprising or apparently important claims not covered by mainstream sources;
  • reports of a statement by someone that seems out of character, embarrassing, controversial, or against an interest they had previously defended;
  • claims that are contradicted by the prevailing view within the relevant BattleTech community, or which would significantly alter mainstream assumptions.


Exceptional claims on BattleTechWiki require high-quality sources. If such sources are not available, the material should not be included.



The text in this article is based on this revision of the Wikipedia article "Policy:Verifiability" used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. See the BattleTechWiki's copyright notice.