Here on CannaQAwiki, verifiability means that people reading and editing this wiki can ensure the information comes from a reliable source. While CannaQAwiki focuses mainly on cannabis-specific content, some of its content may be based on previously published information rather than the beliefs or experiences of its editors. When writing non-marketing content, it must be verifiable before you can add it. When reliable sources disagree, present what the various sources say, give each side its due weight, and maintain a neutral point of view.
All quotations, and any material whose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged, must include an inline citation that directly supports the material. Any material that needs a source but does not have one may be removed.
Burden of evidence
Attribute all quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged to a reliable, published source using a proper citation. Cite the source clearly and precisely (specifying page, section, or such divisions as may be appropriate). The citation must clearly support the material as presented in the article.
Any non-marketing material lacking a reliable source directly supporting it may be removed. Whether and how quickly this should happen depends on the material and the overall state of the article. Editors might object if you remove material without giving them time to provide references; consider adding a citation needed tag as an interim step. When tagging or removing material for not having an inline citation, please state your concern that there may not be a published reliable source for the content, and therefore it may not be verifiable. If instead you think the material is verifiable, try to provide an inline citation yourself before considering whether to remove or tag it. Of course, do not leave unsourced or poorly sourced material in an article if it might damage the reputation of living people or groups, and do not move it to the talk page.
Sometimes editors will disagree on whether material is verifiable. The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material and is satisfied by providing a reliable source that directly supports the material.
What counts as a reliable source
At CannaQAwiki, the word "source" has three meanings:
- the type of the work (some examples include a document, an article, or a book)
- the creator of the work (for example, the writer)
- the publisher of the work (for example, Oxford University Press)
All three can affect reliability.
Base articles on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Source material must have been published (made available to the public in some form). Unpublished materials are not considered reliable. Use sources that directly support the material presented in an article and are appropriate to the claims made. The appropriateness of any source depends on the context. The best sources have a professional structure in place for checking or analyzing facts, legal issues, evidence, and arguments. The greater the degree of scrutiny given to these issues, the more reliable the source. Be especially careful when sourcing content related to living people or medicine.
Where available, academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources, such as in history, medicine, and science.
Editors may also use material from reliable non-academic sources, particularly if it appears in respected mainstream publications. Other reliable sources include (but are not limited to):
- university-level textbooks.
- books published by respected publishing houses.
- mainstream newspapers.
Editors may also use electronic media, subject to the same criteria.
Regarding blogs and newsblogs
Several newspapers, magazines, and other news organizations host columns on their web sites that they call blogs. These may be acceptable sources if the writers are professionals, but use them with caution because the blog may not be subject to the news organization's normal fact-checking process. Where a news organization publishes an opinion piece in a blog, attribute the statement to the writer (e.g. "Jane Smith wrote..."). Never use blog posts that are left by readers as sources. For personal or group blogs that are not reliable sources, see Self-published sources below.
What counts as a questionable source
Questionable sources are those that have a poor reputation for checking the facts, lack meaningful editorial oversight, or have an apparent conflict of interest. Such sources include websites and publications expressing views that are widely considered by other sources to be extremist or promotional, or that rely heavily on rumor and personal opinion. Questionable sources should only be used as sources of material on themselves, especially in articles about themselves. They are not suitable sources for contentious claims about others.
Note: Sources that may have interests other than professional considerations in the matter being reported are considered to be conflicted sources. Further examples of sources with conflicts of interest include but are not limited to articles by any media group that promote the holding company of the media group or discredit its competitors; news reports by journalists having financial interests in the companies being reported or in their competitors; material (including but not limited to news reports, books, articles and other publications) involved in or struck down by litigation in any country, or released by parties involved in litigation against other involved parties, during, before or after the litigation; and promotional material released through media in the form of paid news reports.
Anyone can create a personal web page or publish their own book, at the same time claiming to be an expert in a certain field. For that reason, self-published media, such as books, patents, newsletters, personal websites, open wikis, personal or group blogs (as distinguished from newsblogs, above), Internet forum postings, and tweets, are largely not acceptable as sources. Take care when using such sources; if the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else will probably have done so.
Note: Self-published material is characterized by the lack of independent reviewers (those without a conflict of interest) validating the reliability of contents. Further examples of self-published sources include press releases, material contained within company websites, advertising campaigns, material published in media by the owner(s)/publisher(s) of the media group, self-released music albums and electoral manifestos.
Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications.
Finally: Never use self-published sources as third-party sources about living people, even if the author is an expert, well-known professional researcher, or writer.
Citing non-English sources
Citations to non-English sources are allowed. However, English sources of equal quality and relevance are generally preferred over available non-English ones. As with sources in English, if a dispute arises involving a citation to a non-English source, editors may request that a quotation of relevant portions of the original source be provided, either in text, in a footnote, or on the article talk page.
Quoting non-English sources
When quoting a non-English source (whether in the main text, in a footnote, or on the talk page), a translation into English should always accompany the quote. Translations published by reliable sources are preferred over translations by CannaQAwiki editors, but translations by editors are preferred over machine translations. When using a machine translation of source material, editors should be reasonably certain that the translation is accurate and the source is appropriate. Editors should not use machine translations of non-English sources in contentious articles or biographies of living people. If needed, ask an editor who can to translate it for you.
In articles, the original text is usually included with the translated text when translated by CannaQAwiki editors, and the translating editor is usually not cited. When quoting any material, whether in English or in some other language, be careful not to violate the associated copyright.