MarioWiki:Citations

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This policy covers the guidelines of citing sources and references in articles.

Why sourcing? What needs it?

On the Super Mario Wiki, we take most of our information directly from the Mario games, TV shows, movies, publications and the like. However, in some cases, we also take information from guide books and magazines, as well as official, fan-run and press websites reporting on unreleased games. In order to ensure that all information covered is official, and not speculation by fans, we need to cite our sources.

For the most part, you don't need to provide a reference for basic information taken directly from the games. This includes level layouts, gameplay mechanics, item and enemy descriptions, characters, the plot of the game, etc. However, if information is more obscure and its validity may be questioned, citing specific text found in the game (i.e. dialogue in an RPG), its manual or some other official guide book will help maintain the wiki's credibility. Similarly, controversial and/or complex topics benefit from having direct quotations, especially if any translation work or other analysis is performed. However, even backed up with solid references, excessive speculation should be avoided, with only the most straightforward and logical coverage of ambiguous or inconsistent information being permitted (see here for more info). For translations, the original writing should be provided along with a translation, and whenever possible, translations should be done by members of the wiki, rather than relying on third parties.

As well as games and their manuals, information may come from official websites, guide books and magazines, as well as third party print and internet sources, all of which must be cited when used. Rumours and misleading info is commonplace online, so showing readers that we are not fabricating our info and in turn, letting them evaluate the trustworthiness of our sources is especially important. Users should also be aware of the dangers of using internet sources and must use care in choosing what websites to reference: whenever possible, stick to reputable, well-known and/or official sites, and always try to track down the original source, rather than citing something that, in turn, is citing something different. Also, while some sources are more reliable than others, even professional outlets may make mistakes sometimes (see here for an example), and it is important to be vigilant about the information you're bringing to the wiki, especially if it concerns specialized fields such as game development or internal policies. Using the games themselves or otherwise getting information directly from Nintendo is ideal, however this is not always possible, such as when dealing with upcoming games, in which case, citing something is still better than nothing.

Finally, keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive summary of where references should be used: no matter what you are writing about, it is always best to err on the side of caution and when in doubt, cite your sources.

What to put as references

To cite a written source, which you cannot provide a link to, you only need to state it exactly. Remember that a reference section does not always need a link. For example:

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisici elit, sed eiusmod tempor incidunt ..." ~ Super Mario Sunshine manual, page 9.

To cite external websites, you include the the author (when available), the date when the info became published (when available) in parentheses, an external link to the page with the article title (if applicable) or page title as the link name, the name of the publisher in italics, and the date in which the reference was retrieved. For YouTube citations, the name of the channel should be used as the author, the upload date should be the publication date, and the title of the video as the link name. Here are two examples of how all this information should be formatted:

Campbell, Evan (July 17, 2014). The Cat Mario Show Announced. IGN. Retrieved July 22, 2014.

Nintendo. (January 14, 2015). Wii U - Mario Party 10 Trailer. YouTube. Retrieved April 26, 2015.

Here's an example where some information was unavailable:

Smash Bros. DOJO!!. Nintendo. Retrieved June 14, 2010.

How to add references

We have a system of references that is quite similar to Wikipedia, if you are familiar with it. (This does not mean we go to the same scale as Wikipedia, but rather we use the same code.) The special tags you will need are <ref></ref> and <references/>.

Using the reference system

Take the Bowser Crush article as an example. It features a paragraph of information which was not present in the game at all, but came from Nintendo's official guide. A reference is given in the first sentence of this paragraph:

The giant Mecha-Koopa used for the attack was developed by Koopa researchers for several months in a top-secret laboratory located deep within Bowser's Keep[1] The giant Mecha-Koopa was finished just as the Smithy Gang invaded Bowser's Keep and the Mushroom Kingdom.

The end of the page features the reference section, where the reader can see the source of this text:

  1. ^ Miller, K. 1996. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Nintendo Player's Guide, pg 13.

When looking at the code of this example, you can see that the content of the note is not given at the end of the article under the References header, but directly in the text:

The gigantic Bowser Crush Mecha-Koopa was developed by [[Koopa]]
researchers in a top-secret laboratory located deep within [[Bowser's Keep]]
<ref>Miller, K. 1996. ''Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Nintendo Player's Guide'', pg 13.</ref>.

The end of the article, the Reference header, just features a single line:

==References==
<references/>

As you can see, the reference given between the <ref></ref> text is automatically placed at wherever <references/> is put in the text. This allows you to keep the overview of where you have put your sources. You do not have to care about the links that are provided to the footnote, they are automatically created by the system.

Multiple citations of the same source

In long articles, you could come across the problem of needing to give the same source twice. To do this, you do not need to say the same things twice and add it to the References list two times, but can reuse your previous reference and give it again. For this, you need to give names to your references:

If you give two or more references the same name<ref name="test">Only
the description in the first ref with the name (that is, a) is
shown</ref>, they will have the same number<ref name="test"/>

The first time you give the reference, you have to use the name= parameter to give a specific, preferably descriptive name (e.g. "official_guide"). The second time you use the reference, you simply use an empty <ref/> tag with the same name given as your previous. Both references will then share the same number, and in the list of references at the bottom of the page, there will only be one entry, with links back to each part of the article from where it is linked, so that the reader can continue to read exactly where they have clicked on the reference:

If you give two or more references the same name[2],

they will have the same number[2]
[...]

2. ^ a b Only the description in the first ref with the name (that is, a) is shown

Requesting a source

Use the {{refneeded}} template to mark any statements that require properly documented source material. This includes information from non-English versions of games, supplementary material (i.e. game manuals or websites), secondary sources (i.e. news outlets, game review sites or other wikis), media (i.e. interviews or advertisements), obscure in-game facts, any information about glitches, upcoming or pre-release content, or any disputed and/or controversial subject matter. The template is used like this:

Mario is able to fly in ''BS Super Mario USA''{{refneeded}}.

The result is this (with the link leading back to this very page):

Mario is able to fly in BS Super Mario USA[citation needed].

Except in cases of newly released titles making most of their information easily accessible in-game, references should never be removed. If a link being used as a reference stops working, either replace it with a new ref, or if you are unable to do so yourself, add {{deadlink}} after the reference.

Having some sort of reference is better than nothing, however some sources are more trustworthy than others. In order to ensure that we are transparent about where we are getting our info, and how reliable that info is, {{bettersource}} can be used (once again, following the reference in the text) to flag any iffy references. In addition, when citing print media, it is not enough to simply state the title: bibliographic information is preferable, but at the very least, a page number should be provided, and if one isn't, the reference should be flagged with {{pageneeded}}. Unlike the other two templates, however, this one can be embedded within the page-less reference.