Communpedia:Citing sources

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A citation is a line of text that uniquely identifies a source. For example:

Ritter, Ron. The Oxford Style Manual. Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 1.

When and why to cite sources

Cite sources when:

  • Adding material that is likely to be challenged by other communists and/or capitalists. See Communpedia:We are all leftists and Communpedia:Common point of view.
    • By doing this, we tell readers that we are not a propaganda website, but an informative encyclopedia where leftists share their point of view backed up by historical and present facts.
  • Writing about a specific variant of communism/socialism, e.g. Trotskyism, Stalinism, Social democracy. Unlike Wikipedia, here on Communpedia sources such as forums (Yahoo answers, etc.) may be used to back up sentences related to a specific variant of communism/socialism. There must be at least two contributors in cited forums, and they should not the only sources cited if posting potentially controversial content.
    • See Communpedia:We are all leftists.
  • Quoting someone, with or without quotation marks, or closely paraphasing a source.
  • Summarizing source material in your own words.
    • In order to give credit to the source of your ideas.

When this is not necessary

Citing sources is not needed when:

  • Writing non-controversial sentences on non-controversial issues. E.g. the date of establishment of a political party, if the date is certain, then citing is not necessary.

How to format and place citations

Inline citations

An inline citation is a line of text—such as <ref>Smith, John. ”Name of Book”. Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 1</ref>—that identifies a source, and which is added close to the material it supports, offering text-source integrity. If a word or phrase is particularly contentious, an inline citation may be added next to that word or phrase within the sentence, but it is usually sufficient to add the citation to the end of the sentence or paragraph, so long as it’s clear which source supports which part of the text.

Two styles of inline citation are clickable footnotes (<ref> tags, as above) and parenthetical references; the latter would involve adding (Smith 2011, p. 1) in round brackets within the sentence. Both are used on Communpedia.

A quick how-to

Most editors add inline citations inside footnotes; see below for more details. One easy way to write them is to add this to the end of the relevant phrase, sentence, or paragraph:

  • <ref>Rawls, John. ”A Theory of Justice”. Harvard University Press, 1971, p. 1.</ref>
  • <ref>Sanger, David E. [ “With Warning, Obama Presses China on Currency”], ”The New York Times”, September 23, 2010, accessed October 31, 2010.</ref>

Then add this to the end of the article:



“Footnote” and “note” are used interchangeably to refer to citations and commentary placed between ref tags, so that they appear at the end of the article under a Notes or References section heading.

Most Communpedia articles place their citations in footnotes. These appear as clickable numbers within the text, which link to a numbered list of full citations at the end of the article. The citations will appear at the end of the article if you type {{Reflist}}. This will generate the list of footnotes. This is usually called the Notes or References section.

For a citation to appear in a footnote, it must be enclosed within “ref” tags. You can add these by typing <ref> at the front of the citation and </ref> at the end. Alternatively use the list of “markup” in the edit box, which includes <ref></ref>. You can also use the name attribute by using <ref name=name>details of the citation</ref>. Thereafter, the same footnote may be used multiple times by adding <ref name=name/>. If the name contains an embedded blank space, you must either add straight quotation marks (<ref name="name more"/>) or replace the unacceptable blank space with an acceptable symbol such as an underscore or a hyphen (e.g., <ref name=name_more/> or <ref name=name-more/>), thus eliminating the need for quotation marks. The name is case-sensitive, but quoted names match names without quotes; USGS is matched by "USGS" but not by usgs.

This is how it looks in the edit box:

The sun is pretty big,<ref>Miller, Edward. ''The Sun''. Academic Press, 2005, p. 1.</ref> but the moon is not so big.<ref>Brown, Rebecca. "Size of the Moon," ''Scientific American'', 51(78):46.</ref> The sun is also quite hot.<ref>Smith, John. ''The Sun's Heat''. Academic Press, 2005, p. 2.</ref>


This is how it looks in the article:

The sun is pretty big,[1] but the moon is not so big.[2] The sun is also quite hot.[3]


  1. ^ Miller, Edward. The Sun. Academic Press, 2005, p. 1.
  2. ^ Brown, Rebecca. “Size of the Moon,” Scientific American, 51(78):46.
  3. ^ Smith, John. The Sun’s Heat. Academic Press, 2005, p. 2.

Shortened footnotes

Many articles use short citations in footnotes, giving the author, year, and page number, such as <ref>Smith 2010, p. 1.</ref> As before, the list of footnotes is automatically generated in a “Notes” or “Footnotes” section. A full citation is then added in a “References” section.

This is how short citations look in the edit box:

The sun is pretty big,<ref>Miller 2005, p. 1.</ref> but the moon is not so big.<ref>Brown 2006, p. 2.</ref> The sun is also quite hot.<ref>Miller 2005, p. 3.</ref>

== Notes ==

== References ==
*Brown, Rebecca (2006). “Size of the Moon,” ”Scientific American”, 51(78).
*Miller, Edward (2005). ”The Sun”. Academic Press.</span>

This is how they look in the article:

The sun is pretty big,[1] but the moon is not so big.[2] The sun is also quite hot.[3]


  1. ^ Miller 2005, p. 23.
  2. ^ Brown 2006, p. 46.
  3. ^ Miller 2005, p. 34.


  • Brown, Rebecca (2006). “Size of the Moon”, Scientific American, 51(78).
  • Miller, Edward (2005). The Sun. Academic Press.

Shortened notes using titles rather than publication dates would look like this in the article:


  1. ^ Miller, The Sun, p. 23.
  2. ^ Brown, “Size of the Moon”, p. 46.
  3. ^ Miller, The Sun, p. 34.


  • {{Unreferenced}} – template used to warn of unsourced potentially-controversial content.

See also

  • Communpedia:Sources of information – where you can find a list of known reliable sources.
  • Communpedia:We are all leftists