Citation needed

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The display effect of the citation needed template in English Wikipedia

"[Citation needed]" is a tag added by Wikipedia editors to unsourced statements in articles requesting citations to be added.[1] The phrase is reflective of the policies of verifiability and no original research in Wikipedia and has become a general Internet meme. On the English Wikipedia, the display effect looks like this: [citation needed]

Usage in Wikipedia[edit]

By Wikipedia policy, editors should add citations for content, to ensure accuracy and neutrality, and to avoid original research.[2] The citation needed tag is used to mark statements that lack such citations.[1] As of February 2019, there were more than 350,000 pages on Wikipedia containing the tag.[1]

Usage outside Wikipedia[edit]

An xkcd comic featuring a protester with a "[citation needed]" placard

In 2008, Matt Mechtley created stickers with "[citation needed]", encouraging people to stick them on advertisements.[3]

"Protesters" at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, 2010

In 2010, American television hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert led the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Some participants held placards with "[citation needed]".[4]

Randall Munroe has frequently used "[citation needed]" tags for humorous commentary in his writings, including in his 2014 book, What If?.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ a b c Redi, Miriam; Fetahu, Besnik; Morgan, Jonathan; Taraborelli, Dario (13 May 2019). "Citation Needed: A Taxonomy and Algorithmic Assessment of Wikipedia's Verifiability". WWW '19. San Francisco, CA, USA: Association for Computing Machinery: 1567–1578. doi:10.1145/3308558.3313618. ISBN 978-1-4503-6674-8. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ 栗岡 幹英 [Masahide Kurioka] (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" [Can the Internet be the Public Sphere of Discourse? : Contents Analysis of Blog and Wikipedia]. 奈良女子大学社会学論集 [Nara Women's University Sociological Studies] (in Japanese). 奈良女子大学社会学研究会 [Nara Women's University Sociological Study Group] (17): 133–151. ISSN 1340-4032.
  3. ^ Joshua Glenn (2008-01-02). "[citation needed]". Archived from the original on 2018-07-27. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  4. ^ Ted Johnson (2010-11-01). "Satirical rally calls for sanity and/or fear". Variety. Archived from the original on 2010-11-16. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  5. ^ Munroe, Randall (2014). What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. Hachette UK. Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  6. ^ Hill, Kyle (2014-09-02). "REVIEW: XKCD'S WHAT IF?". Nerdist. Retrieved 2021-07-12.
  7. ^ Poole, Steven (2019-09-19). "Book Review: 'What If' by Randall Munroe". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2021-07-12.