User:GreenMeansGo/Using crappy quote websites

This is an essay. It is not a policy or guideline; it merely reflects some opinions of its author(s). Please update the page as needed, or discuss it on the talk page.
Crappy websites are not a reliable source, but they can be a useful tool.

In general, you shouldn't link to what I personally refer to as "crappy quote websites" and use them as sources on Wikiquote. By this I mean sites like BrainyQuote, Good Reads, and any number of places online that host user generated quotations. There is no guarantee that these are not miss-attributed, misquoted, or downright made up by some anonymous person one day. These sites may have little or no editorial oversight, and as a source, are often of little more value than any online chatroom or forum.

Whether Wikiquote falls into the category of "crappy quote website" is probably a matter of opinion for many, but we should ideally be holding ourselves to a higher standard than generic websites, because our goal isn't to generate clicks or sell adds, but to make an educational resource of lasting value.

These websites can also run into problems with presentation copyright, since the vast majority of content available on the internet is copyrighted. They may also be of limited or no value in judging the lasting significance of a quote, because if we're being honest, if something is only quoted by some guy online, this may well not represent anything other than the unqualified opinion of some guy.

But that doesn't mean that these websites are of no use at all for our purposes. Some of it may be good, and some of it may be bad, and we can work to sort out the difference. Chances are probably 50/50 or better that the quote from the crappy website is there because it's widely quoted, and that's how someone found it. So we can use that to look through books and magazines and other published sources, and find a reliable source for the quote, and that's where we can add material value to readers. They don't have to take our word for it, and they don't have to do the research themselves, because we've done our digging, found a source you can count on, and done it for them.

If however you legitimately can't find a quality source for a quote anywhere but on a crappy website, this may be a pretty good indication that it is misquoted, miss-attributed, or downright made up. So we don't really want it here anyway.

  1. Find a nice quote on some crappy website
  2. Do a bit of digging and find the source for the quote and/or find it quoted in reliable published sources
  3. Add the quote to Wikiquote using a reliable published source, so readers can see that the content has been verified
  4. ???
  5. Profit[2]

Notes edit

  1. Source: Found it online on some crappy website.
  2. Just kidding. The whole point here is that we're giving this stuff away for free.