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Nutshell This page in a nutshell: All material in TESWiki must be attributable to a reliable, published source.
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This page is considered an official policy on TESWiki.

It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that everyone should follow. Except for minor edits, please make use of the discussion page to propose changes to this policy.

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TES:ATT

TESWiki is an encyclopedia, not a publisher of original thought. The threshold for inclusion in TESWiki is whether material is attributable to a reliable published source, not whether it is true. TESWiki is not the place to publish your opinions, experiences, or arguments.

Although everything on TESWiki must be attributable, in practice not all material is attributed. Editors should provide attribution for quotations and for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, or it may be removed. The burden of evidence lies with the editor wishing to add or retain the material. If an article topic has no reliable sources, TESWiki should not have an article on it.

The Elder Scrolls Wiki:Attribution is one of TESWiki's two core content policies. The other is The Elder Scrolls Wiki:Neutral point of view. Jointly, these policies determine the type and quality of material that is acceptable in articles; that is, content on TESWiki must be attributable and written from a neutral point of view. Because the policies are complementary, they should not be interpreted in isolation from one another. For examples and explanations that illustrate key aspects of this policy, see The Elder Scrolls Wiki:Attribution/FAQ.

Key principlesEdit

TESWiki does not publish original research or original thoughtEdit

Original research refers to material that is not attributable to a reliable, published source. This includes unpublished facts, arguments, ideas, statements, and neologisms; and any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that appears to advance a position. Material added to articles must be directly and explicitly supported by the cited sources.

TESWiki articles must be based on reliable sourcesEdit

Any in-universe articles must be based on canonical sources officially licensed by Bethesda. For out-of-universe articles and behind the scenes material, the situation is more dubious.

Generally, reliable sources are credible published materials with a reliable publication process; their authors are generally regarded as trustworthy or authoritative in relation to the subject at hand. As a rule of thumb, the more people engaged in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing, the more reliable the publication. How reliable a source is depends on context; what is reliable in one topic may not be in another. For an incomplete list, see The Elder Scrolls Wiki:Reliable sources.

No original researchEdit

What is original research?Edit

Material counts as original research if it:

  • introduces a theory, speculation, or any other original idea;
  • defines or introduces new terms (neologisms), or provides new definitions of existing terms;
  • introduces an argument without citing a reliable source who has made that argument in relation to the topic of the article;

or

  • introduces an analysis or synthesis of published facts, opinions, or arguments without attributing that analysis or synthesis to a reliable source who has published the material in relation to the topic of the article.

Note the difference between unsourced material and original research:

  • Unsourced material is material not yet attributed to a reliable source.
  • Original research is material that cannot be attributed to a reliable source.

The only way to demonstrate that material is not original research is to cite reliable sources that provide information directly related to the topic of the article, and to adhere to what those sources say.

What is not original research?Edit

Editors may make straightforward mathematical calculations or logical deductions based on fully attributed data that neither change the significance of the data nor require additional assumptions beyond what is in the source. It should be possible for any reader without specialist knowledge to understand the deductions.

Original images Edit

Pictures have enjoyed a broad exception from this policy, in that TESWiki editors are encouraged to take photographs or draw pictures or diagrams and upload them, releasing them under the GFDL or another free license, to illustrate articles. This is welcomed because images generally do not propose unpublished ideas or arguments, the core reason behind the no original research policy. Also, because of the copyright laws of a number of countries and their relationship to the work of building a free encyclopedia, there are relatively few publicly available images we can take and use. Wikipedia editors' pictures fill a needed role.

A disadvantage of allowing original photographs to be uploaded is the possibility of editors using photo manipulation to distort the facts or position being illustrated by the photo. Manipulated images should be prominently noted as such. If they are noted as manipulated, they should be posted to The Elder Scrolls Wiki:Images and media for deletion if the manipulation materially affects the encyclopedic value of the image. Images that constitute original research in any other way are not allowed, such as a diagram of a hydrogen atom showing extra particles in the nucleus, as theorized by the uploader.

Reliable sourcesEdit

Using questionable or self-published sourcesEdit

Some sources pose special difficulties:

  • A questionable source is one with no editorial oversight or fact-checking process, or with a poor reputation for fact-checking. Such sources include websites and publications that express views that are widely acknowledged as fringe or extremist, are promotional in nature, or rely heavily on rumors and personal opinions. Questionable sources may only be used in articles about themselves.
  • A self-published source is material that has been published by the author, or whose publisher is a vanity press, a web-hosting service, or other organization that provides little or no editorial oversight. Personal websites and messages either on USENET or on Internet bulletin boards are considered self-published. With self-published sources, no one stands between the author and publication; the material may not be subject to any form of fact-checking, legal scrutiny, or peer review. Anyone can create a website or pay to have a book published and then claim to be an expert in a certain field; visiting a stranger's personal website is often the online equivalent of reading an unattributed flyer on a lamp post. For that reason, self-published material is largely not acceptable.

There is one exception. Material from self-published or questionable sources may be used in articles about those sources, so long as:

  • it is relevant to their notability;
  • it is not contentious;
  • it is not unduly self-serving;
  • it does not involve claims about third parties, or about events not directly related to the subject;
  • there is no reasonable doubt as to who wrote it
  • the article is primarily based on sources independent of the subject of the article.

Exceptional claims require exceptional sourcesEdit

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

  • surprising or apparently important claims that are not widely known;
  • surprising or apparently important reports of recent events not covered by reliable news media, or reports of recently released Elder Scrolls works not covered by a reliable third-party source;
  • reports of a statement by someone that seems out of character, embarrassing, controversial, or against an interest they had previously defended.

Exceptional claims should be supported by the best sources, and preferably multiple reliable sources.

Citing yourselfEdit

You may cite your own publications just as you would cite anyone else's, but make sure your material is relevant and that you are regarded as a reliable source for the purposes of TESWiki. Be cautious about excessive citation of your own work, which may be seen as promotional or a conflict of interest; when in doubt, check on the talk page.

LanguageEdit

English-language sources should be used whenever possible, because this is the English Elder Scrolls Wiki. Sources in other languages are acceptable if no English equivalents have been found. Published translations are preferred to editors' translations; when editors use their own translations, the original-language material should be provided too, preferably in a footnote, so that readers can check the translation for themselves.

How to cite and request a sourceEdit

Further information and examples: The Elder Scrolls Wiki:Sourcing

Material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, and quotations, should be accompanied by a clear and precise citation, normally written as a footnote or an embedded link; other methods, including a direct description of the source in the article text, are also acceptable.

In principle, any edit lacking attribution may be removed, and the final burden of evidence lies with the editor wishing to add or retain the material. However, this policy should not be used to cause disruption by removing material for which reliable sources could easily or reasonably be found. If you encounter a harmless statement that lacks attribution, you can tag it with the {{fact}} template (which will insert the following text: [source?]), or move it to the article's talk page with a comment requesting attribution. If the whole article or an entire section is unsourced, you can use the verify template. Absurd claims and original research should be deleted rather than tagged or moved to a talk page.