[citation needed]

[citation needed]

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Updated May 10, 2021 at 04:36AM EDT by Autumn Able.

Added Jan 29, 2010 at 09:46AM EST by Masem.

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[citation needed] is a superscript notation used in Wikipedia articles to identify questionable claims without any basis on reliable sources.[1] Outside of online communities, the tag has been also used in real life to poke fun at public / corporate advertisements with dubious messages.


"Citation Needed" was originally introduced as part of Wikipedia's fact-checking policy in February 2006. Since its initial adoption, it has proliferated throughout the encyclopedia, appearing on approximately 421,000 pages as of April 2020.[1] It has been applied to material in Wikipedia articles and lists of all sorts, and in particular to information about living persons. Here's an example of "citation needed" tag as shown in Wikipedia's article on internet memes:

s news stories, videogames, web services Thus, seriou songs by established musical groups, or the like are usually not called Internet memes [citation needed) ,

Wikipedia even has an article about the tag itself.

In July 2007, the popular webcomic xkcd published a comic called Wikipedian Protestor, which showed a political protester holding a "citation needed" sign at a public speech, probably in reference to President Bush's 2007 Fourth of July speech. This illustration is the earliest known instance of using the Wiki meta-tag outside of its original context:

Then in early 2008, Matt Mechtley announced the launch of a culture jamming operation on his blog, which entails putting "citation needed" stickers on corporate advertisements in New York City:

One day an idea struck -- what statements are more dubious or outright ridiculous than those in advertisements? Thus, an OM (Operation Mindf*ck) project was born. I had 250 8×2 inch stickers printed, which I handed out to friends, who circulated them further. In true Wiki fashion, the final placement of the stickers is a collaborative effort, now distributed and anonymous. If anyone sees one somewhere, please make a photo! I’ve been tagging my photoset on Flickr with citationneeded and wikiffiti.


This subversive practice of using "citation needed" tags in public soon became known as "Wikiffiti" and was subsequently covered by the news media both online and offline, from BoingBoing and MAKEzine to Boston Globe and Reason Magazine.

BK STACKER WITHHAT YOU LOVE [citation needed] THE BURGERS BUILT Meat! Cheese Bacon! DOUBLE TRIPLE QUP REE RENT *CA [citation needed) MISSION ACCOMPLISH citation needed] Up...up.up...up.. That's the career track of a New York City Correction Officer. APPLY NOW FOR OUR NEXT EXAM citation needed LEWD WOMEN HOMOSEXUALS SPORTS NUTS BABY KILLERS JESUS MOCKERS MORMONS ELL AWAITS YO! citation heded e ques ON ISN [citation neededl ec do ol

Due to the widespread nature of the phrase in various contexts, it is somewhat difficult to measure the extent of its usage outside of the Wiki community. However, a customized Google search of "citation needed" without the term "wikipedia" results in over 640,000 pages within the past year.

Usage in Discussion

Since gaining its catchphrase status, "citation needed" has been used in online discussion forums to humorously point out biased or baseless statements made by others. The xkcd forum thread that resulted from the 2007 comic strip provides early examples of the [citation needed] within forums, e.g., from one response:

Just think of how this could apply to memes?

So I herd u leik Mudkips? [citation needed]
I shot a man in Reno. [citation needed]

Examples of Usage in Forums

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – Template:Citation needed

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