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"Citation needed" is a term used by editors of Wikipedia and refers to the name of a Wikipedia template, added to articles for requesting citations to be added to unsourced material. "Citation needed" is a characteristic of the policy of verifiability in Wikipedia; it has also become a general Internet meme.
Usage in Wikipedia
By Wikipedia policy, editors should add citations for content, to ensure accuracy and neutrality, and to avoid original research. In 2006, Chris Sherlock, a Wikipedia editor with the username Ta bu shi da yu, created the "citation needed" template, to be added to statements without a citation that needed verification. The template is used frequently—as of 12 November 2018[update], over 380,000 articles in the English Wikipedia are marked with the template.[note 1]
Usage outside Wikipedia
In 2007, xkcd published a comic called "Wikipedian Protester". In the comic, a group of people are listening to a politician's speech, and a protester raises a placard with "" written on it. It is the first known use of the terms outside Wikipedia. This also spawned a meme on the explain xkcd wiki of placing a citation needed tag after obvious statements.
In 2008, Matt Mechtley created stickers with "", encouraging people to stick them on advertisements. This kind of graffiti has been dubbed "wikiffiti". Quickly becoming a meme, "" appeared not only on billboards, but also some internet kuso pictures. For example, someone doctored a photograph of George W. Bush's Mission Accomplished speech to place a "" label under the "mission accomplished" banner.
In 2011, German defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was facing accusations that he plagiarized his doctoral thesis. Protesters with "" placards called attention to the many contexts in his thesis where his sources were not labeled.
- "Jarry1250's Wikimedia Laboratory - Template transclusion count". tools.wmflabs.org (The cited URL will run a live query against the current wikipedia database, which might take several tens of seconds to run). Retrieved 2018-11-12.
- knowyourmeme contributors. "". Know Your Meme. Archived from the original on 2018-06-18. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- 栗岡 幹英 (2010-03-01). "インターネットは言論の公共圏たりうるか：ブログとウィキペディアの内容分析". 奈良女子大学社会学論集 (in Japanese). 奈良女子大学社会学研究会 (17): 133–151. ISSN 1340-4032.
- Chris Sherlock. "User Chris Sherlock". Stack Overflow. Archived from the original on 2018-05-10. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- Wikipedia contributors (2005-06-15). "Template:Citation needed". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- Explainxkcd contributors. "285: Wikipedian Protester - explain xkcd". www.explainxkcd.com. Archived from the original on 2017-10-10. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- Joshua Glenn (2008-01-02). "". Boston.com. Archived from the original on 2018-07-27. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- "Wikiffiti -- stickers that read  / Boing Boing". boingboing.net. Archived from the original on 2017-01-14. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- Urban Dictionary contributors. "Urban Dictionary: wikiffiti". Urban Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2016-04-09. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- "[Image - 40120] | ". Know Your Meme. Archived from the original on 2016-03-26. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- TED JOHNSON (2010-11-01). "Satirical rally calls for sanity and/or fear". Variety. Archived from the original on 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- Natalia Dannenberg. "Academics attack German minister in plagiarism row | DW | 26.02.2011". DW.COM. Archived from the original on 2018-07-27. Retrieved 2018-07-27.