Submissions:2024/Introducing the Citation Watchlist!

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This submission has been noted and is pending review for WikiConference North America 2024.


Introducing the Citation Watchlist!

Type of session:

Lecture (15-30 min)

Session theme(s):

Open Data, Reliable Sources, Technology


The vision for the Citation Watchlist is to streamline the tracking of changes in references, particularly unreliable sources, within Wikipedia articles.

This tool aims to enhance the existing Watchlist feature by adding a visual overlay that highlights the addition of questionable or prohibited sources in individual edits. Experienced editors can thus easily identify and address problematic references with more information available at a glance.

In just five months, we have developed a robust beta version of the Citation Watchlist. This in-browser userscript tool accurately identifies sources from dubious domains and alerts editors with intuitive icons and tooltips. It notifies users only when a new URL is added, not when an existing one is edited. The script supports custom source lists, including the widely accepted Perennial Sources List, and can be extended to include other lists like predatory journals or pseudoscience. Users can update these lists through a regular wiki page without modifying the JavaScript code.

The Citation Watchlist script scans recent changes against a “warn” list and a “caution” list of domains. It uses visual indicators (a red exclamation point for severe warnings and a yellow warning hand for caution) that, when hovered over, reveal the matching domains. In short, the tool facilitates scrutiny and intervention.

Phase 2 of the project aims to develop a mature, integrated toolset for widespread use across Wikipedia. Planned enhancements include improved tooltips, display of domain provenance, links to invoked lists, deployment as a gadget, internationalization, server-side processing, and integration with MediaWiki’s filtering capabilities.

This tool has garnered significant interest from users, and we aim to lead citation tool promotion, supporting the movement's anti-disinformation and media literacy efforts.

Author name(s):

James Hare, Jake Orlowitz

Wikimedia username(s):

User:Harej, User:Ocaasi

E-mail address:

Affiliated organization(s):


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