Wikipedia bans use of Daily Mail as a source because it is 'unreliable' 


In a move that will surprise few people familiar with the newspaper, Wikipedia has chosen to ban the use of the British Daily Mail as a source. Editors for the site reached the conclusion that the paper "is generally unreliable, and its use as a reference is to be generally prohibited".

While this does not constitute an outright ban -- something which would probably not go down well with the Wikipedia community -- editors are strongly encouraged to find an alternative source wherever possible. The decision comes after a vote in which editors debated the Daily Mail's "reputation for poor fact checking, sensationalism, and flat-out fabrication". In other words: fake news.

This clearly presents something of a problem moving forward as there are already numerous articles on the site which do cite information from the Daily Mail. Wikipedia is encouraging its volunteers to review such entries and make adjustments to them, changing citations where appropriate.

A post on the Wikipedia noticeboard says:

The Daily Mail should not be used for determining notability, nor should it be used as a source in articles. An edit filter should be put in place going forward to warn editors attempting to use the Daily Mail as a reference.

It's a proposal that has been discussed for some time, and the noticeboard post outlines three reasons for making the decision:

  • The Daily Mail is actually reliable for some subjects. This appears to have been adequately addressed by the support !voters: if there are topics where it might be a reliable source, then better sources (without its disadvantages) should also exist and can be used instead.
  • The Daily Mail may have been more reliable historically, and it could make sense to cite it as a primary source if it is the subject of discussion. These seem to be good points, but should come up very rarely. Editors are encouraged to discuss with each other and apply common sense in these cases.
  • Singling out one source does not deal with the other poor sources that are currently permitted. This point is outside the scope of this RFC (Request for Comment), which concerns only the Daily Mail. However, the discussion is closed without prejudice towards future discussions on such sources.

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