Wikipedia talk:Reliable sources/Cost
Isn't this essay conflating verifiability and reliability?
Moreover, does not some aggregate cost impact usability? An extreme example: an obscure work, in a foreign language, with incomplete information on publication. Perhaps I'm simply suggesting that the more obscure and potentially more difficult a source is to access, the more incumbent it should be on the editor to provide complete publication information. But ultimately, what happens when even a source's existence is almost impossible to verify? It would seem to me that there's a lot of ground between not requiring that any particular person at any given moment be capable of verifying a source and requiring only that some person somewhere possibly be able to verify a source. Assuming that the source actually exists and supports a statement that it is purported to support. I'm not suggesting that faking references is common practice on Wikipedia, but I've encountered a few editors who have offered as support sources that they clearly had not personally consulted.
A cost-related issue is the lack of a page number. Though it appears to me that WP policy does not require one, for practical purposes, a lengthy source without a page reference is essentially unverifiable to anyone who hasn't memorized that source. Moreover, without a page number, it's difficult to reasonably assume that the editor correctly understood (or perhaps remembered) the source material (or in some cases, even consulted it).
Reliability is, of course, a different, and in my opinion, a far more difficult and subjective issue. And perhaps one for another essay. JeffConrad (talk) 05:47, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Extremely difficult to access worksEdit
Imagine a tablet sunk to the bottom of a trench in the Pacific Rim. Only accessible by a skilled and well-moneyed expedition of mariners. No other copies. Prior to sinking, the tablet was read and used as a source by several well-known Wikipedia editors. Still verifiable? --Atethnekos (Discussion, Contributions) 22:07, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
- I'd (hesitantly) say yes as long as the text on the tablet is still readable. We do allow sources with only one copy of them, and there is probably a decent number of mariners in the world today who could perform such an expedition given the right coordination. (I have no way to check the latter claim.) Depending on copyright, these people could then replicate the text elsewhere, or even bring back the tablet, thus invalidating concerns about ease of access. Glades12 (talk) 16:56, 7 June 2020 (UTC)
Especially in certain black and white circumstances, is it arguable to remove a paywall source if there are plenty of free to view and arguably equally reliable secondary sources for a certain piece of information? I've been adding sources to a lot of countries wikipedia pages that lack sources for their official languages and one page had a secondary source with a paywall that I removed because there are plenty of other corroborating sources that are arguably more reliable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wbvillerius (talk • contribs) 01:04, 1 September 2020 (UTC)
User confidence/editor biasEdit
It seems a clear and foreseeable outcome of this policy that A. Disreputable sources will be deliberately paywalled to avoid scrutiny Could an interest group publish a source to which only they had access? How could the accessibility of a source be practically determined? B. Users in certain countries or regions (eg. not America) may be persistently unable to edit or verify content on Wikipedia C. Content on Wikipedia will be less credible and thus less valuable to users.
This is not a decision to take lightly, and if it a compromise that needs to be made there ought to be mechanisms in place to at least attempt to mitigate these effects. Perhaps a tag for pay-walled sources? --184.108.40.206 (talk) 07:07, 12 February 2021 (UTC)